Wednesday, August 04, 2010

That Brain Thing

Mention you're having a brain scan and you get people's attention. I'm not sure if it's out of concern or interest if they'll find anything in this skull. Well, the answer is they have located my brain and it's where it's supposed to be. Second, there is nothing in the scan that would explain my dizziness, vertigo, or loss of hearing. Third, and perhaps most surprisingly, my brain is "normal." How many of you readers have scientific proof your brain is normal? Yeh, I thought so---not many!

I naturally have my own theories as to those ailments: The dizziness and vertigo are due to my drugs, primarily the antifungal drug, which I've had trouble with in the past. The loss of hearing is likely due to the extensive chemo I've had. My doctor even asked what I thought was causing the dizziness and vertigo and of course I told him. I don't know whether he's adopted that diagnosis. As Susan said a few years ago after an exam where I charted my future treatment and my doctor agreed, "the inmates are running the asylum."

But the hearing is improving. The loss has moved from profound on the left and severe on the right to between moderate and severe in both ears. A bit more improvement and I'll probably be able to get along without hearing aids. They were quite surprised by the significant improvement in the left ear, particularly.

White count continues to languish. I now need a neupogyn shot every Monday as I am neutropenic every week when I have my blood checked. Neutropenia is the condition of abnormally low neutrofils, which are the circulating white blood cells that serve as the primary defense against infections by destroying bacteria in the blood. Because mine are so low I have to limit my exposure to crowds, children, pets and other potential sources of bacteria/virus, fungus (like gardening, for example). W.C. Fields had much to say on this subject: "anyone who hates children and animals can't be all bad," and "children should neither be seen nor heard from-----ever again." But I digress. Staying out of the sun, out of the pool, out of the garden, away from crowds, not drinking wine, my god, I might as well be a monk!

But despite these issues and a few more (like these awful neuropathies) I continue to feel like we've turned a corner. My anti rejection meds have been further reduced and I'm back on revlimid, although just every other day since that will cause further reduction of my white count.

Best wishes to all.


ndslim said...

My recollection from the Abbey is that Monks drink wine.... Lots of wine!

dan patterson said...

Apparently the monks training didn't work on you. As I recall, you're a beer drinker, right?

sigun said...

Dear Dan,

Down in Marseille I could not access your latest blogs (the last one was from 2009, why? Heaven only knows!), and I just got to read them.
Great blogs, and great news!

I am so proud of our Catherine; and so glad you two got to be there at the finishing line. Bises, Sigun.

Steven L. Ritter said...

OK... if treatment requires me to stop drinking wine then maybe I'll just have to cut this life a little short.... I have a lot of admiration for what you have accomplished and what you are doing. Here's to you... as I lift my wine glass for the toast!

Sandy said...

Have they eliminated chocolate, too? I could manage without wine, but not chocolate... glad to read that the ears are improving and perhaps the dizziness is somehow related to the ear canal issues... I intend you continue healing - for the highest and best good of all concerned.
PS - I was in Denver two weeks ago and went to the Body World exhibit - very impressive... thought of you while in Colorado.

Bob OC said...


I've been following your blog since my sister was diagnosed with MM in November of 2009. You're an inspiration. Thanks for that. And keep fighting the good fight!

- Bob O'C in NYC

Raju said...

Dear Dan:

Doris and I say our daily prayers with you centrally in mind. Your courage and good humor continues to inspire us both. We hope to see you and Susan soon to hare some meals and some laughs Love, D.