Merry Christmas, one day late!
Monday I got home in the afternoon, and despite being uncomfortable from the surgery had a lovely evening sitting on the couch between my sweet kiddos, with the four-legged kids occasionally interrupting for some attention of their own. So this is the stuff that I was going to post then, but was too blissed out to get to…
The surgery Monday went fine, just as they expected. While the first surgery required great precision and a fair amount of time (they checked the plaque placement via ultrasound 3 times during the surgery), this was a pretty quick in and out deal. I still felt like I’d been hit by a bus afterward, but that only lasted a few hours, then I was free to get the heck out of there.
So here’s what the next month looks like: drops in my eye twice a day for 2 weeks to keep it dilated (this supposedly helps with pain), a neosporin-like ointment squirted in my eye 3-4 times a day for 4 weeks (helps it stay lubricated and comfortable. Unfortunately it also makes it very hard to see), a shield taped over my eye at night (to keep me from poking myself while I sleep – and because they must have known how much I’d miss having industrial tape ripped off my face daily), a total kibosh on exercise for the month and…this one’s a doozy…I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than 4 pounds. Seriously. It’s fine right now while I have kids, husband and in-laws visiting, but once school starts back up and Rich starts traveling again it’s going to get interesting. So all of you who have been asking what you can do to help, I may be calling on you in a few weeks. Just silly stuff like going to the grocery with me so I have someone to put bags in the car, walking the dogs, carrying laundry upstairs, that sort of thing. My kids are good helpers (and pretty strong too), so I should be ok most of the time, but there may be some times I need to put out an SOS. And I do enjoy company. Left by myself too long, I do things like think..and look at google…and that’s just never a good thing for my sanity.
My eye is looking much better every day. On Tuesday when I was able to take the patch off, my eye was so swollen I couldn’t open it. On Wednesday I could open it a little, and what we saw wasn’t pretty – the eye was completely bright red. Today I could open it more, the eye is still red but maybe not such a vivid red, and I can see ok out of the eye (provided I haven’t put my gel stuff in recently). It’s sore, and sometimes I can feel the stitches (they will supposedly dissolve), but mostly it’s ok. I haven’t noticed much in the way of double vision, but Rich said the doctor said that would come on a little later. I don’t remember hearing that, but then I was asleep for much of last week. Oh, and I do remember them telling me this, I just didn’t think it’d be so extreme: they cut my eyelashes. I knew they were going to trim them for surgery, but holy cow, it’s the eyelash version of a crew cut. I’m not a terribly vain person but that was tough to see. And I don’t think eyelashes grow quickly. Sigh.
I’ll see my ocular oncologist in a month, but it will be strictly for post-surgical follow up. They’ll check to see if the stitches have all dissolved and if not, they’ll take them out. And yes, I writhed and whined when he said that, but he assured me there would be lots of numbing drops involved. They will also evaluate my vision and if I’m still having double vision I’ll be sent to “the eye muscle guy”. It’s the Mayo Clinic, of course there’s an eye muscle guy.
I was disappointed to learn that they won’t be able to tell me at that visit whether the radiation is working or not. Apparently it’s a pretty slow thing, so that appointment won’t be until 4 months from now. I do not like this. I want to know RIGHT NOW if we fried the sucker into oblivion or not. But we will wait. The doctor said to plan for an entire day when we come that time, because in addition to zillions of pictures of my hopefully shrinking tumor (actually he said it might not even be shrinking by then. They just want to see that it hasn’t grown), they will also at that time do scans and liver function tests to see if there’s been any spread of the cancer.
So, to review: this month is dedicated to recovering from the surgeries. Then, we go on with our lives and try to forget that I have cancer for 3 months. Then we have the big appointment to see where things stand. Assuming all looks good, I will then go on a schedule of scans and blood work every 3-6 months.
Somewhere in all of this we will have to come up with a way to live in this limbo, this permanent uncertainty. Because with this type of cancer, you don’t get to be considered “in the clear” for 15 years. Don’t get me wrong, 5 and 10 years will be milestones, but 15 years is the biggie.
For now though, we’re focused on getting through this month. One hurdle at a time, one day at a time. So far so good.