Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Love, Lakes and Insanity

It's remarkable how life can pack the punches and the hugs all at the same time.  Since my last post, it's really been a bizarre mixture of insanity, love, lakes and more insanity.  I had the incredible pleasure of seeing in person so many of my "bubble" of energy people, and words truly cannot describe the intensity of love I have experienced.  At the moment, issues with my eyes also make creating and typing words a significant challenge. So I'm not going to try.  I'll just provide some photos and an insane health update.

July 14 insanity, After a terribly insane day July 14, I left for Penticton July 15 and did enjoy three lovely days with my oldest (friendship not age) friend Shelley, enjoying sunsets, sips and memories.  Before I boarded the plane on the 15th, I noticed a very slight issue with my left eye where I felt like the "refocus" of it was a fraction of a second longer than the right.

The eye issue while mild continued to into the following week when mom and I flew to Regina on the 20th.  That trip was filled with incredible moments as well including lots of rest, chill time, extraordinary eats, and overall amazing moments with loved ones and friends.  Mom and I counted over 45 of the Antonini group who "stopped by" to see my at my cousin Sonia's (long drives firetrucks, and Scotland flight changes included in the many surprise visitors) - overwhelming doesn't really cover it.  I had had a few bouts of vomiting earlier in the day but for the evening managed to enjoy the love.

Friday morning us Gunn girls made our way to the beautiful Qu'Appelle valley for our lake experience - Mireya's visual depiction of the weekend really says it all.  Ellen's cabin has been evolving since our last visit a few summers ago and provided truly as relaxing and wonderful place of wellness with so many of my closest hearts holding me up.  I did call into my oncologist back in Calgary (Dr. Nixon covering for Dr. Stewart over summer) to update my eye symptoms, and after some miracle-working collaboration by SK docs/family and her started taking some dexamethasone steroids on the 21st with the goal of managing the eye issues.  The weekend wrapped up in fine form - certainly some of the best moments I had in past months despite the eye challenges - and I even got a quick visit in with another old friend before we flew back Tues night.  That day I had reconnected as well with Dr. Nixon, who upon hearing the eye issues had not been fully resolved, had consulted our radiogology team, and an urgent MRI was booked for Thurs the 27th as well as direction to double up the daily dex dose.

July 31 insanity. Yesterday during an afternoon nap Dr. Nixon called my cell phone to find out if the upped dex had addressed my symptoms (not really - no worsening but not resolved).  She had been able to read the Thurs scan, which seemed to indicate that there was some development of lesions (or something like that) along the meninges - lining of the brain - that may be causing my symptoms. Obviously I need to see radiology for the full interpretation, but unfortunately Dr. Veroney had suddenly passed away (!?) so she had spoken to Dr Robert Nordal, another radiology oncologist and I should be hearing from his office about a consultation appointment next week.  Before they see me, they would like to have me do a spinal MRI to check the status of any metastases there (my quick google search of meninges does support their logic to checking the spine).  She also asked me to again double the dex dose for 2 days (now up to 8 mg/day) and call her Wednesday with an update on symptom progress.

So once again I am stunned, with more questions than answers, and I would say that I have a bit more fear again - certainly different than Unit 11 but fear nonetheless.  I hate to report the insanity and have it cast a shadow over the love of the last 2 weeks, but I know you get it.  And the pics capture a bit of the immense good smashed between the insanity.

Penticton skies
Shelley and I 

Surprise appearance from Louise
Uncle Len stops in from the truck

Lovely ladies make the trip
Incredible hostess Sonia
Three wise guys

Three amigos - we look no older?

Mireya captures the weekend plan

Divine dockside
Captain Ellen
Gunn girls take the farmers' market

Creative cousins

Kindergarten pals

Monday, 10 July 2017

All clear

All clear. *exhale* Check.  Bone scan and CT of pelvis, abdomen and chest show no signs of metastases.

Dr. Nixon, who is filling in for Dr. Stewart told mom and I the results this morning. Repeat the scans in 4 months.  We will have another appointment Sep 11, when we can look "high level"at the brain MRI booked for August 28. I also have an appointment Sep 20 with Dr. Voroney, when a more detailed review of the MRI will be shared.  In the interim, I will have a bone density test and possibly see an orthopedic specialist - there may be some bone thinning in one of my hips - to see if any further action is needed.

Since my last post, the muscle issues and related pain has gotten under control mostly, with a combination of medication, physio and massage.  Unfortunately, last Canada Day weekend some stomach issues settled in, and by the holiday Monday I was in the emergency room as I was too weak from the three days of diarrhea.  IV fluids, tests and 6 hours later I was able to leave and by Friday I was feeling a bit better and saw some friends.  Even managed to do a locked/escape room (on my list of fun things to do!) with Tasha and her family - getting out with 30 seconds left!

So the past two weekends have been one thing or another - but at least the waiting weeks are done and I feel better now.  Fingers crossed, for the next 2 weekends, I'll be heading to BC and then Saskatchewan to visit friends and family.  Normal summer stuff.  Normal is such an underrated word. Boring and uneventful also have that reputation - but I'd take all three forever ;)

Thanks again for all the thoughts, prayers and good energy - certainly helped me in the past few weeks. And as Stampede is in full swing - Yahoo!