Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

I had cataract surgery on my right eye August 8th. The vision was so good after the patch came off that I could read without reading glasses. I didn't throw them away.

The problem was, without a PROSE lens on that eye, my lack of tears meant I frequently had to lubricate the eye, and it was half-closed much of the time. I had to wait until I got the green light from my eye surgeon before getting a new lens.

My left eye will have its cataract removed on October 31, just in time for me to be a pirate for Halloween. I still wear the PROSE lens on that eye; it's just a little blurred.

Last week, I got the go-ahead for a new lens. Today I received it. I was so excited. Before I popped it in my eye, I thought, what if this doesn't fit or give me good vision? I'm not usually such a pessimist but I think you can understand why I'm hesitant to celebrate anything health-related.

The good news, make that great news, is that it feels fine and I have the vision of a fighter pilot. My vision is so well-corrected, I have to wear reading glasses again. I turned the apartment upside down searching for glasses. I have at least five pairs, three of which are in Jeffersonville. I couldn't find mine so I'm wearing an old pair of my husband's that I found in a drawer.

It's true. One day at a time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Symptom

I finished my fifteenth and final radiation treatment Friday. I saw the doctor afterwords and mentioned that I'd been experiencing slight arrhythmia for the past week, off and on and at odd moments. I'll have several episodes in one day and have none for three. Marty's been taking my pulse at these moments, confirming that it's irregular and also rapid, around 100. My normal resting pulse is 72, sometimes lower. The only time I've experienced rapid heartbeat on its own was at the end of a run. Three years ago, the night before I was to be discharged from the hospital after my second transplant, I had rapid heartbeat (205 bpm) and arrhythmia together. Let's just say the crash cart was brought in and I was hooked up to every monitor there is and injected with a drug that made me feel like I was dropping into the abyss. I took a medication for a week and it never happened again.

The doctor said I should quit drinking coffee (ain't gonna happen) that if it continues, I should see a cardiologist. It happened last night, briefly.

I don't think cardiac arrest is in my near future, but I'd hate to survive leukemia and have my heart fail. You can be sure I'll be seeing a cardiologist, just one more doctor to add to my extensive cadre of specialists.

Friday, September 14, 2012

If I have one life to live ...

... let me live it as a brunette.

Yesterday was filled with appointments. After an early yoga class, I came home and had breakfast with Marty, then we were off to MSKCC for my appointment with Dr. Girault. My blood work was normal, and no meds were changed due to my leukemia cutis. The bump is getting smaller but is not yet gone. I'm scheduled for three additional radiation sessions next week, and I begin Vidaza shots October 8th.

I took the bus to my hair salon. I'd decided I needed a change. My blonde highlights were becoming too blond and I was sick of them. After discussing options with my stylist, I decided on a rich chocolate brown with red overtones. I look really different. When I came home, Marty actually noticed that my hair was changed. Usually he doesn't know when I get a cut or color.

I did a little paper pile movement (that's when you take a stack of papers and maybe group some together and pull a few out and remake the stack) and then left for my radiation treatment. I stopped on the way to get a 20 minute massage of my arms which look and feel buff but are merely uncomfortably hard and thick with water.

Radiation was fine except for the wait which nearly undid me. I had to practice a lot of meditation, eyes closed, because I was out of eye drops. When I went for the bus at 7 pm, it was a bit chilly. The bus didn't come for 20 minutes so I shivered on 1st Avenue and cursed the darkness. A late dinner followed. The Yankees beat the Red Sox and I drifted off to a deep sleep.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Four More Zaps

My radiation treatments end Thursday. Frankly, the "spot" has not "melted away" as my radiologist says it will. I have four more treatments this week so we'll see if the melting begins.

Yesterday, I experienced an odd pain in my sternum which was worse when I breathed or moved. I never used to be this way, but my first thought was heart attack and my second was radiation in the wrong place. Two ibuprofen later and watching the Yankees bomb the Orioles, I felt much better. Still, I was tired and couldn't go to my friend's art exhibit in Brooklyn as planned. Fortunately, I seem to have new respect for my limits.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

There's a Mole in Your Eye

Sometimes I feel like I have a mole in my eye, but today when the ophthalmologist asked me if anyone ever told me about having a mole on my right retina, I said no. We'll just watch it. Easy for him to say.

I was inflated, dilated, refracted, anesthetized, de-suturized and terrorized by the mole. My 4-week post-cataract surgery exam showed my cornea was in great shape. Having sutures snipped and tweezered out of your eye isn't pleasant, but I went to Playa Gringo. That's the perfect beach I went to in Costa Rica where I've built my fantasy house overlooking the beach.

I'll be having cataract surgery on my left eye soon. I still need to get a new PROSE lens for my right eye to treat my severe dry eyes. Saying goodbye to my daughter, who's returning to Peru for 6 months, drew nary a tear, just a crumbled expression with lip quivering.

Now I'll relax and wait until my radiation appointment at 5:40 pm.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Radiation Experience

First you wait in a room full of patients and supporters. When your name is called you take a key and enter the changing room. You slip into a super large robe worn backwards, making you look as though you're about to graduate as a Doctor of Whatever, minus the festive hat. Then you wait in an anteroom until they call your name. The cheery technicians lead you to the table and get you situated. This takes about 5 minutes because it has to be very precise. Yesterday, Glenn Gould was playing the Goldberg Variations. Last week, it was various jazz singers, mixed in with Avril Lavigne and Aerosmith.

They slip my right arm out of my robe. I place my arms over my head in supports that make me feel somewhat less uncomfortable. They place a 1 cm bolus (a piece of fabric that targets the rays even more) over my right breast and tell me to stay as still as possible. I usually try to meditate. I never think about being zapped by radiation.

When it's over, I put my robe back on, go to the changing room and get dressed. I leave the clinic aglow with the probability that my tumor is melting away.