Had my surgical follow up appointment today at Mayo and everything looks good! Dr. Chen said my eye is healing up really well. There were two sutures that hadn’t dissolved, so of course I promptly began to squirm in anticipation of having him remove them, and questioned him twice as to whether or not he had used enough numbing drops. It actually turned out to be a case of the anticipation being worse than the event, because it really wasn’t a big deal. It’s just hard to calm down and find your happy place when someone is coming at your eyeball with tweezers. He couldn’t get the second one because it’s “buried” in my eye (goodbye, happy place!), but said it was fine to leave it there (whew!). I didn’t ask but I assume that it will either dissolve eventually or be easier to get later on.
I asked him about the floaters that have appeared this past week (more on those later), and he said it was probably a result of the radiation. He got out another 5 million watt light, checked things again and said that he did see some blood around the edge of the tumor, and that could be the cause of the floaters. And why am I excited about blood around the edge of my tumor, you ask? (Ok you didn’t ask, but pretend that you did) I’m excited because he said that in his observation, it looked like the tumor might be starting to contract! Can I get a “Hallelujah” from someone?!? Yeah, cue the music, this girl’s doing a happy dance! I’ll take a “might be” any day – because “might be contracting” means it is definitely not growing, and that is very good.
He also said I could throw away the eye patch that I’ve been wearing to bed every night since the second surgery (I might burn it…), stop using the eye goop and…. no more activity restrictions! Woohoo!!! Gimme something heavy to lift!
Rich and I like Dr. Chen a lot (and not just because he was the bearer of good news, although it probably made us like him a little more). We were immediately impressed with his calm, confident air when he saw me during my hospital stay. It’s really hard to put my finger on it exactly – he’s really likable and accessible, yet completely professional, and just gives you the feeling that he totally knows his stuff. And today, like Dr. Pulido, he sat there patiently and answered every single question we had (and I had a lot).
So barring any unexpected complications, I will not be returning to Mayo for another 3 months. That’ll be a scary one, because it’s a ton of scans and tests and such, but doing that every few months is going to be my new normal, so I’m going to have to find a way to make it work. But that’s down the road, so I’ll work on that later. Right now, I’m busy with my happy dance…
This past week brought some major improvements to my eye, especially cosmetically. While it certainly doesn’t look normal, it doesn’t look infectious and it doesn’t look like my husband beats me, so that’s a significant improvement. The white of my eye is taking on a lighter pink hue and approaching – dare I say it? – white. My lid is still a bit swollen and droopy, but one nice thing about wearing glasses is that you can’t see the eye as well, so it’s not as noticeable. Oh, and my eyelashes are starting to grow back! Oh happy day!
My trouble with looking at computer screens lasted only about a week (but oh, that was a painful week. I’m glad that’s over.). The new thing that surfaced last week was the appearance of floaters. In addition to some big fuzzy suckers randomly sailing by my line of sight, I started seeing what initially looked like bugs. No seriously, the multiple black specks, when seen in my peripheral vision looked exactly like bugs scurrying along my dinner plate, my desk, my bathroom counter – it was unnerving to say the least until I got used to it. Still have ’em, but now they’re a reminder that my tumor could already be responding to the radiation, so I don’t mind them quite so much :).
I followed up my day at Mayo with a music rehearsal for “Godspell”, so it’s been a thoroughly wonderful day. Oh – and I made a vegan taco salad that my family actually really liked! Victory! Yeah, the vegan thing – that’s probably material for a future post. Starting the first of the year I made a major change to my diet, in hopes of making my body less hospitable to cancer. Trying to eat more vegan, more organic, less processed, less sugar, less caffeine… it actually hasn’t been as hard as I feared, it’s just time consuming and labor intensive learning a new way of eating. Yes, it’s definitely material for a separate journal entry, because while there have been lots of successes with it, the failures have been pretty funny and definitely need to be shared.
Thanks again for walking this journey with us. It’s an absolute delight to share the high’s with you, and an incredible comfort to share the low’s. We are so grateful for your presence with us on this path, whatever the terrain. It’s incredibly humbling and profoundly wonderful.
Now to resume that happy dance…