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My Ebay Auction

My February 2011 Checkup

It’s been hard to continue my blog. My story just seems to continue without any changes. Same pain, same issues, day in and day out. It’s been very stressful, not just for me but for my family too.

I now understand how relationships self-destruct with body pain and cancer being involved.

Nonetheless I provide this update for you, my melanoma warrior, because there is help (and you’ll need it) and just because my story may not end well does not mean that your life will be cut short. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And for the sanity of those around you, don’t stretch your imagination. Love and caress each day and those closest to you. Remember, they need you just as much as you need them.

My story picks up with my latest cancer checkup on February 14, 2011. It was discovered that I had a second tumor in my left eye. The proton radiation treatment I had in Oct 2006 was still working on killing off the blog vessels to that tumor.

But a second tumor was discovered. Large but not thick, which as I write this is a saving grace, of sorts.

I almost immediately had “I almost immediately had “diode heat laser treatment”.”. (Just a couple hours after my initial visit.)

If you’re ever offered this treatment option be sure to take the anesthetic offered. I didn’t, because of all of the pain killers I’m on anyways. And I really didn’t want another needle in the eye, having suffered through that with the Avistan treatments.

But if you can imagine a knitting needle, heated to 400F then shoved in your eye, and still heated up more as it’s burning away in your eye for up to 60 seconds, and repeated 8 to 10 times (honestly I lost count) then you’ll have some iota of what I endured.

Of course, this being an eye treatment you also have to “aim your eyes” to the proper point and keep them there for the duration of the single treatment period (again, for up to 60 seconds) to allow the laser to hit the correct place of the tumor as well as holding your chin in the stirrup and forehead in the brace.

The first couple of times didn’t hurt much, and I thought to myself, this isn’t too bad a treatment. After the fourth time the burning was intense and after the sixth time I could barely sit still and almost passed out from the pain during the final four passes of the laser.

Now, I’ve had really bad pain in my life, intense physical pain. Ruptured hernia, repaired and ruptured hernia after three months of the first surgery, smashed shins, bruised bones, and, of course, recuperating from the surgery of my eye being pulled from my head in preparation of the proton radiation treatment.

This pain was worse, almost indescribable, apart from what I said above.

Luckily for you, my dear warrior, I did not video the session, although looking back it woould be quite astonishing, to say the least. I might get a second chance though. I return to my doctor in 8 weeks and if this new tumor becomes untreatable then I will lose my eye, as in having it removed from my head. Or I might have the diode heat laser again, this time with the anesthetic.

I do have some pictures of the new tumor, as taken during the “colour fundus imaging” and you can see the first tumor as well.

Image 1- This image shows the first and second tumor. The first tumor is dark area center-right and to the left of the lighter glowing areas. The newer, second tumor is the large dark area on the lower-left area.

Tumor images

New and old tumor images

Image 2- Reverse angle image both tumors. It is the dark areas that is the cancer, you can clearly see the larger blood vessels and other optic parts I do not know the names of. The first tumor almost looks like a zygot in the womb. The pupil is the very light area. Fascinating.

Reverse angle image both tumors

Reverse angle image both tumors

Image 3- You should know that over a dozen images were taken of the fundus, to allow for a 3 dimensional position of the tumors. This final image clearly shows the tumors in relation to the pupil, as well as the optic nerves and larger blood vessels.

The pupil, the tumors and the larger blood vessels.

The pupil, the tumors and the larger blood vessels.

I do not know what is ahead for me, but I am positive that whatever comes there is a purpose. That’s what keeps me from going completely insane, I think.

4 months later

It is now October.

I can’t believe that it’s been so long since my last post.

I have had a period of great improvements in my health, great stabilization in the pain management and headache issues that have plagued me over the years.

But I feel that I am now in a downward spiral.

The pain that has struck my hands and feet is now moving permanently into my shins and wrists. I notice the pain more often when I have not been taking my Gabapentin on time. A couple of hours late and it takes days to get my body back to the pain-free state it was in weeks ago.

The stress of maintaining a level head, of being able to think clearly, of moving my fingers on the keyboard accurately has all but left me. (Thank goodness for spell check!)

The days are shorter, getting shorter every day, we have snow today which involves a whole new skill-set of house maintenance that I am not sure I will be able to accomplish anymore. My head often feels like an empty balloon, unable to process a string of thoughts, easily distracted by nothing, just an empty thought not tied to anything directly I am doing. What level of transformation am I now in?

The interview that I started with Talib Qizilbasb in June 2008 has been published in this month’s edition of “Optical Prism” the optician’s professional magazine for Canada.

My hope is that at least one person, whether doctor or soon-to-be-patient, has the opportunity to learn from my experiences and not have to go through which has so significantly changed life.

It is now October, the 11th and it’s snowing, hard enough to say, and if it continues we’ll be shovelling the driveway tomorrow.
My energy levels, are no longer what they were. My thoughts are frazzled and strained. While I appreciate outside involvement in my life (I have restarted a part time job I had to give up years ago) I find that the after affects are overwhelming. Hopefully this is simply an adjustment period.

Please continue joining this blog and adding your comments, without them I don’t know what I can count on next.

November is my latest checkup date. After so many months from April what will I have to report?

The left eye although there is very limited periferal vision, even that is diminishing. The wide eye straight ahead vision area (central vision) is getting worse by far. It used to be a waterfall effect that just obscured how my central vision was being blocked from seeing, now it’s dark spots that are the vision eliminators.

I am scared about this change in my sight. I can live with the obscrure bright areas but now with those vision areas being darker, much darker… I am worried. This type of change cannot be good.

In a month I will find out what the next step is…. And I will not worry until then.
My friends, stay in touch, I look forward to your support.
RL

The “Sunburn Effect”

The

This is how my eye looks 4 weeks after the proton radiation therapy.

The lower eyelid is very sore. I am using a cream to ease the pain and discomfort of the “sunburn effect” from the ratiation. This is an after effect that I was warned would happen. It feels just like a severe sunburn. The skin has already stared blistering, which makes it hard to concentrate, sleep, many things of a normal life you’d do but can’t if you’re badly sunburned. But it’ll get better.