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Friday, January 7, 2011

Being clinical

Feeling a bit strange this morning. Let me try to describe it as objectively as I can.
   I feel like something is … on the move. It’s the only way I can put it.
   My head feels fuzzy and tight. Maybe I haven’t slept long enough or well enough? Possibly. But I don’t think it’s that. This isn’t sudden. Each morning it has felt a bit more this way. I’m just accepting that it’s part of a continuum, not a one-off event.
   I look at other symptoms.
   My right arm has increased tremors. I suspect that, as I do what I can to strengthen it, the very fact that the muscles themselves are a bit stronger and more coordinated produces this effect. When the muscles were totally wasted, they didn’t even have the strength to produce much of a tremor, except in the fingers. Perhaps I should view this positively.
   I was encouraged last night when Sylvia and I were playing Crib [cribbage]. I decided to try holding the cards and even to shuffle the pack – that’s Australian style, not US. After some time and concentration I could do both, not very well, though the left hand was doing most of the work. But it’s positive.
    My right leg …. I don’t know. It seems different somehow. The foot remains swollen even though the Clexane injections daily continue. I really expected the ankle and foot to go back more or less to normal, but after these many weeks of injections, that hasn’t happened. I can’t tell whether it needs raising and resting or exercise, or both, or when. It’s uncharted territory and I know for a fact that no-one else knows either, even though their educated guess might be better than mine.
   Sometimes I can feel an all-too-familiar pulsing in my neck that suggests a serious seizure is on the way. But it doesn’t happen and that sensation goes away. Perhaps I am misreading this signal. Perhaps the Avastin is just doing its job and suppressing as much as it can the expansion of the tumour and the resulting inflammation.
   There’s really no point in speculating too much on such matters, as the MRI in Tamworth next week should tell us something. In fact, it is the only thing, apart from reading symptoms, that provides any sort of gauge at all.
   I would dearly love to dispense with the steroid altogether, but the last time we tried that, it reached a level too low to suppress seizures, and we had to raise it again to stabilise my system. At least, that’s how the sequence seems to work. Is it time to try again, very gradually weaning myself off it? We are flying pretty blind. Every day we walk on terra incognita, and some of it is far from terra firma!
   It’s halfway through the cycle of Avastin infusion. Things may go, or appear to go, a bit downhill from here until I get my next hit. We’ll see how the energy levels feel as the next one approaches.
   I’m going back to rest now.


  1. Oh dear. How have you been the rest of the day? I'm so sorry to hear that. It may sound a bit silly, but I have been SO tired yesterday and today and think it is because of the overcast drizzle/humidity. Let's hope that such a trivial thing is at least partly the culprit for your state.

  2. It has exactly the same effect on me too Julie! Unfortunately, the headache he has had on and off for most of the evening is more than the weather. :-(

  3. The weather doesn't bother me. My old farmer's background says that all rain is good rain [I know, try telling that to the Central Q'landers right now...] Let's see how the day goes today....

  4. While you wait for the MRI, think that it is possible that feeling and energy (chi) are returning to affected parts of your body. This causes all kinds of disruptions, tinglings, pains, and sensations, as when we cut off circulation to our leg and the feeling begins to return.

    As for the weather, I'm with Julie and Tracey. It doesn't matter how wonderful I think the rain might be, those low pressure systems bring migraines to many people, and to me, a heavy, thick head, depression, and lethargy.

    UNE email is not working today, so if anyone has sent me an email, I can't answer it.


  5. Joan - that is a very good point in your first paragraph. I just walked again half an hour ago, further than before in at least six months, and movement came easier - much more so than when I walked along the paths to your meditation room the other day. Progress that way, at least!
    I am glad I don't share your problems with rainy/depression weather! You can have all that on your own, with my sympathy.

  6. I've been practising gi-gong lately. I have a CD and DVD series by Ken Cohen, who is a very good teacher, I'm finding. After a good half hour workout the other day doing one finger zen and snake mediation (all in standing position), the following day the top third of my little finger on my right hand was blue turning to white on the tip!!! It was numb and cold. Yikes! EEk!. I thought I was going to lose the finger. What if it crept up my arm and took my whole body? Carl's not here to take me to the hospital. Something horrible is wrong with me.

    I put my hand in warm water and massaged the blood back into the finger. That worked. It got a bit cool later, and this morning it was a little cool. But, whew! My finger seems normal.

    Later that day (of the finger episode), I was googling something related to meditation and found a quote from a Tantric text that talks about the little finger going numb or tingly after certain practices.

    Meaningles coincidence? or one of Jung's meaningful syncronistic events?

    I'm so glad your crisis has passed. I really hope I'm right and that energy is returning to areas affected by the tumour. Perhaps your brain is rewiring itself to accommodate the changes.

  7. Dr Wright says: I don't think your finger has a serious condition - I have seen much worse with Raynaud's Syndrome and unless it comes back and affects more fingers, I think it's temporary. That form of massage does also bring Raynaud Syndrome affected fingers back to normalcy but it's a bit alarming when it happens.
    PS Remember, you and I aren't real doctors - they just allow us to have that title for fun! If your finger falls off tomorrow then this probably wasn't the best piece of medical advice you ever got....


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