Thursday, December 3, 2009

Catch up from after Thanksgiving

Looks like to need to  catch up a little on my blogging. Eye exam on Friday after Thanksgiving went well. Learned that my opthalmologist here in Indy screwed up by leaving out a few things. First, Dr Aras Zlioba says my eyes are both developing cataracts. But, they are not bad enough to do surgery - that may be another 6 months or so. This is a side effect of the brain radiation - one that we knew was likely. Examination indicates there is no cause/effect from the brain lesions. Apparently, my cataract development has been just a little faster than normal. It usually takes something like 1 1/2 years to 2 years for the cataracts to develop. However, it turns out that my vision can be corrected to 20/20. It is as simple as getting glasses - imagine that. I won't be able to use them once I get cataract surgery; but, they will correct my vision until then. I got a call today that the glasses are ready; but, I won't be picking them up until Dec 11 when we will be headed to Joliet anyway.

Then, this past Tuesday, I saw an ENT about my ears - Dr Michael Moore. He inserted tubes in both ears the same day. I had lots of fluid in the left ear - along with quite a bit of hearing loss. Right ear was much better; but, he put in the tube as a preventative anyway - something about negative pressure inside the ear that would likely result in fluid buildup. I go back for the ENT to check on progress in mid-February. Right now, I have been putting in ear drops twice a day to prevent infection - last day today. Need to keep water out of my ears and let the tubes do their job of draining fluid.

Then, on Wednesday, I got my last Alimta infusion. So...I'll be done with chemo for a little while - maybe months. The NIH wants to wait for confirmation of whether my lungs are in remission. Dr E seems to think that the Alimta may have been successful. I will get a chest CTs with and without contrast in mid-Feb to confirm. If I am in remission, then the NIH will wait before putting me on the test chemo - and that's a good thing. No reason to take the new drug to get me into remission if I am already in remission. The last time I was in remission, it lasted 18 months before progressing (Aug, 2007 to Feb, 2009). Dr E has told me that successive remissions are usually shorter than previous remissions - but we'll keep our fingers crossed. If he confirms that I am in remission (for the lungs), then I will get CTs every couple months and go on the NIH test chemo once the lung cancer begins to progress again. Hopefully, that will be quite a while.

Nothing new on the brain lesions. I get my next MRI in mid-Feb - it's gonna be a busy mid-Feb. With the eyes and ears both being side effects of the brain radiation, it seems that I am still not experiencing any symptoms from the actual brain lesions yet. All 13 are pretty small and, as I indicated earlier, the 3 largest lesions have actually reduced in size. Again, we monitor and get occasional MRIs and watch for symptoms. Dr H will figure out a course of action whenever the lesions grow, cause symptoms or when new lesions develop. Until then, no news is good news.

So...I think that catches things up through today.

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