November 2, 2018
I am now 4 weeks post-op from having the larger of the two metastatic brain tumors removed from the back of my head.
I have one spot on my incision that isn’t done healing as well as the others. I followed up last week with the Neurosurgery PA and a nurse. after noticing some blood tinged gunk on my pillowcase. They did a blood panel last week to make sure there’s no infection going on. The Neurosurgeon says my blood work is normal for someone who’s had surgery, and where I am with my targeted chemo. He also said that there were some dissolving stitches under the staples that sometimes get inflamed. I’m hoping that it just heals up and goes away.
My vision has changed pretty much every day for the past 4 weeks. Each day is different as to what I can see. There isn’t anything particularly good or bad. It’s all just different. I’m able to read a little more. I can mostly see at distance pretty clearly most days. . The one thing I still can’t do is read anything with my bifocals on. It’s so weird that contacts and drugstore readers work fine, but prescription glasses with essentially the same reader prescription don’t. Some of the blurriness there is more likely the steroids than the tumor, but it’s hard to tell at this point.
After going back and forth between both pair of new glasses (regular progressive bifocals) and my new readers vs old readers, I found that my older glasses were still working better than the new ones, and contacts were still the best option out of all three. I returned the new glasses this week. I’ll be able to get a new prescription for both pair again in a few months after everything seems more stable vision-wise.
Other than that, I am feeling more and more like myself. When I first came home, walking outside was a little scary. My feet didn’t feel like they were mine for almost 3 weeks. It was like I was kind of floating off the ground – a really weird feeling. Not being able to walk and look around was a little freaky, too. I did find that natural light is a lot easier to handle than inside lights. I’m going to have to look around for some natural spectrum flood lights for my kitchen. The glare there is hard to navigate on the days that it’s raining outside, and seeing as Seattle’s getting ready to head into the rainy season, I need to deal with that sooner than later.
Driving has been a little bit of a challenge yet, too. I tried to drive somewhere between weeks 2 and 3. I got as far as the Starbucks on the corner and came right back home. It was too much multitasking for my brain to handle. I did some driving again at 3 weeks to run a few errands and go to a couple of appointments. I am okay during daylight hours and on back roads where there isn’t a lot of extra lighting. When I returned the glasses, the lighting at U Village was really hard to navigate both walking and driving.
This past week for my radiation appointments, I’ve used the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program that one of the social workers at the hospital helped set up for me. There are volunteer drivers, taxis and ride share programs participating. It’s been a great program so far. Cancer patients get $500/year to spend on rides to cancer-related appointments. It’s been really helpful for me with all the changes in my vision to not have to worry about getting down to the hospital in daylight and come back home in the dark. Most of my rides have been with Uber so far. I’ll be happy when Lyft starts providing charitable rides here in Seattle. They are providing rides in Las Vegas and Miami, and are now piloting their partnership in Atlanta, Philadelphia and L.A.
So now, it’s just time to heal from surgery and radiation for a few weeks. I’m looking forward to just being for a while. There’s been way too much going on for the past 6 weeks and it’s time for some ME time.