Symptoms: or just not feeling 100%

Avastin Treatment January 2006Other aspects of the change in my vision that appeared have varied over time. My left eye retina became ‘swollen’ and quite stretched and wavy due to the growth behind my eye. This change in its size and the way it transmitted light has caused headaches, a feeling of vertigo, tiredness, nausea and of course, poor vision. I have had several treatments to either reverse the deterioration of vision and to stop/hinder the growth of whatever was behind my eye. 

Since I was first diagnosed with ‘macular degeneration’ based on the fluid/growth behind my eye, I had two photo dynamic treatments which is where a light sensitive fluid is injected intravenously into your arm and the eye is subjected to a cold laser which activates the drug and destroys the abnormal blood vessels that are causing the macular leakage. These treatments were not successful. The PDT treatment leaves it’s photo-sensitive drug in your system for about two days. You have to stay out of direct sunlight and allow yourself no brighter light than a 60 watt bulb or your skin may burn. Just like a vampire. Well, actually more like getting a very serious sunburn from which your skin may not heal because the drug allows your sensitivity to sunburn to a great depth of skin layers quickly. 

For your PDT treatment follow your doctor’s directions closely and don’t go into the sun for about 3 days. I also had three treatments of Avastin. Avastin is a cancer drug that is used to treat colon cancer mostly. The drug is injected directly into the colon tumor in an attempt to kill off the blood vessels surrounding the tumor which also causes the tumor to die. Avastin works well with colon cancer having a great success rate but unfortunately did not help me at all. The Avastin drug is injected directly into the growth behind the eye. Not an easy operation for the squeamish. Luckily enough for me I have a great family doctor that supplied me with a mild sedative and a very gentle ophthalmologist who knew how to administer the treatment with the greatest of care and a minimal amount of discomfort. 

Other symptoms (maybe) that have occurred include a facial twitch that started in March 2006. I could feel the twitch at the corner of my left eyebrow and at times it went from my eyebrow to the left corner of my mouth. It was often accompanied with a feeling of numbness on the left side of the face that felt like getting a freezing shot from the dentist. When the twitching started it would last anywhere from 30 seconds to over 5 minutes. It was enough for me to feel it but not enough that it was a visible twitch. Over time the frequency has subsided to the point now that it happens only a couple of times a day. The numbness of the left side of the face has also subsided.

I saw a neurologist about the twitching and numbness sensation and after a couple of months had an MRI. It was inconclusive although there were other abnomolies that are being watched. Two weeks ago I have a more extensive MRI done and should get the results this coming week.

Today I am one month away from yet another visit to Vancouver BC for yet more tests to confirm or not if this is indeed cancer. 

I’m getting used to the wait and see timeline of dealing with my loss of vision.