Saturday, May 24, 2008

The First Step On the (Probably Long) Road to Recovery

I started my full brain radiation yesterday evening, and so far I’m okay. Ian heard me breathing loudly in the night, as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen (my oxygen levels are pretty low right now, because of the state of my lungs), but he poked me and I quieted, and he decided I had just been breathing loudly. He frequently breathes loudly and I poke him and he stops, so I simply welcomed him into the club this morning. Even Hoover was a loud breather last night, snoring and snuffling. But he’s in his crate in the opposite corner of the room from me, and so I didn’t want to get up and go through the arduous task of crossing the room to poke him.

I had a headache when I got home last night, not surprisingly considering all the little lesions (tumors) in my brain, and that they’d swell just a little after being bombarded with rays. It had mostly passed when I woke up around 4 am, and heard an absolutely adorable chubby baby girl getting a morning snack in the basement.

Yes, I am already experiencing side effects here (I realize I have not yet written my side effect post). Not just the slight headache, but I was exhausted when I came home yesterday around 6:30 (to a fabulous split pea soup, salad and fresh bread. We do love the Essential Baking Company, six blocks from our house, and it’s been bombarded by everyone we know this weekend. I swear we and our friends have already spent several hundred dollars there on breads, cookies and fabulous desserts). Also, I’ve upped my intake of anti-nausea meds just a little. My head felt a little hot after the treatment yesterday, and the glands in my neck are a bit swollen this morning. I also had an interesting effect during the treatment—seeing blue light through my closed eyes, as the optic nerve or the retina (I don’t remember the anatomy exactly) got stimulated by the radiation hitting the side of my head. That was actually pretty cool. But, I’ll be back in at 10:00am today. The scariest possible side effects, however, and the ones I’d like your help with, if you think of it, are related to the swelling.

Last night Ian and I lay in bed and imagined my brain fluid being released from the tumors and dripping, oh-so-slowly, through the small space that’s left at the base of my brain, at the site of my brain stem. There really isn’t a lot of space there, and that’s the place where serious things could happen. So taking a moment, or a few moments—whenever you think of it, really—to picture a small, slow release of fluid and tension, that would be great. I’d really appreciate it.

I’ve had some serious conversations with doctors in the last couple days, and I am glad that I’ve got both a regular will and a living will on file. I recommend you get these documents if you don’t have them already, because once things go badly, they can go very badly quickly. I have also been told, however, by several doctors, that they are a bit nonplussed by my appearance versus the appears of my innards. It may be simply that my outer appearance keeps me optimistic—after all, I look at my scans and I don’t know all the dire things they could mean, and so to a large extent they just look fascinating to me. Perhaps more than is healthy—they are quite impressive. Ian and I are going to try and get a CD of them so we can share the fascination.

Anyway, I’m being remarkably well taken care of. I like my doctors, nurses and techs (all 300 of them), and I’m suddenly extra relieved that I don’t have to be at a job, or tell a job I can’t come, or worry about whether or not the extra headaches will make my performance on the job worse, or anything like that.

Our lives are what they are supposed to be, after all.

Note: I want to apologize to people who are trying to post comments anonymously and are unable to. According to blogger, you may do so—I’ve looked behind the scenes to make sure—but it seems the last couple days that hasn’t worked. At any rate, I am happy to receive emails too.


Ian said...

Testing the comments feature.
In addition to anonymous, anyone can use the Name/URL option (the URL is optional).
It seems to be working now.

Andrienne said...

imagining draining as we speak, I think I need that bakery.


Gregory said...

Here's a slow drip from a slow drip!

Thinking of you, Calin. I hope you feel swell but your brain doesn't.

Lots of love,

Sylvia said...

Hi, Calin--

I'm still thinking the positive thoughts, and now I'm adding the picture of that little drain working very smoothly.

My admiration for you and your attitude in all this chaos is just .. boundless.