Saturday, January 19, 2013

Down and Ups

Ahhhh, cancer…the gift that keeps on giving. 

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that I had a small area in my right eye that would sometimes get fuzzy.  It comes and goes and initially I thought I had a smudge on my glasses.  After realizing that something was going on with my vision, I mentioned it to my oncologist.  He reminded me that one of the medications I’m on, Avastin, decreases the blood supply to my tumors and one of the side effects is vision changes because Avastin can act on the vessels in my eyes.  He recommended an evaluation with an ophthalmologist, which I did last Tuesday.  I’ve been found to have what are called cotton-wool spots on my retina, which are white puffy areas of inflammation.  Although seen in diabetics and those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, a rarer association is in folks with metastatic cancer.  That would be me.  The ophthalmologist didn’t think it was associated with Avastin because the vessels on and around my retina look healthy and Avastin is used in the eyes of diabetic patients.  So the thought is that if my chemotherapy is working, these cotton-wool spots may arrest or even get better.  However, if the chemotherapy doesn’t work, I may slowly lose my vision.  Nice, huh.  Could I please catch an f-ing break!  It’s taken me a few days to write about this because of all the shitty information I’ve received about my cancer, this one hit me pretty hard.  I have a follow-up appointment with my ophthalmologist and may see a retina specialist sometime soon.

A couple of days after I learned about my eyes, I was told that my liver enzymes had improved – which gave me/us hope that my chemotherapy is working.  If I had to guess, I think the fuzzy spot in my right eye that comes and goes, hasn’t been there as much – another good sign.  Please continue to wish me luck.

The other good thing is that my hair hasn't been falling out yet and I postponed my wig pick-up for another week.  So by my count, one bad, really bad, piece of news about my eyes gets balanced by good news about my liver enzymes and no hair loss yet.  That's one bad to two good.  I win!

[BTW local friends and family:  The ophthalmologist says that my vision hasn’t changed and that it’s safe for me to be driving.]


Wanwan said...

Thanks for keeping us posted on your journey. I'm sure the good news-bad news must sometimes feel like taking herky-jerky steps. (Is that even a word?) But you're right about celebrating the good news when it comes and hoping for the best outcome with the less-good news...

It would be really scary to lose your eyesight over hair because at least there's a replacement for hair loss. Wouldn't it be cool if there were some type of high-tech device that could be wired so that a computer could "see" for you, transmit clean images to your retina some how? Thankfully this hasn't impacting your vision/driving.

Wishing you a TON OF LUCK and LOTS MORE GOOD NEWS!! Also, keep warm!

Luna O. said...

On the contrary,Jeri...measuring my good news vs. bad news doesn't feel like herky-jerky steps at all. They are deliberate, carefully placed steps to help me continue to move forward in the way that is comfortable for me. It's one way for me to stay hopeful and positive, which all my cancer caregivers tell me is so important when fighting this fight.