Thursday, June 22, 2017

An eventful Monday

I'm sure you all were wondering why I didn't post an update with my endoscopy results since I was supposed to be seeing that doctor for the follow-up visit on Monday June 19. As it happened, I didn't see the gastroenterologist that day because I needed to see my optometrist.

A couple of weeks ago, tree-like floaters suddenly appeared in my right eye. The tree structure collapsed and became much smaller over the course of the day and then disappeared. Since I had no other visual disturbances I figured that my eyes were ok. Then last Friday, a new (and rather annoying) floater that looked like a string curved into a partial circle appeared in my right eye. Later that evening I briefly saw some arcs of light in that eye when I moved my eyes around.

Since my vision was otherwise unaffected (there were no shadows, blurring, or decreasing vision in any way), there was only the one floater and not a bunch of them and it didn't block my vision (even if it was crazy annoying), and the arcs of light were connected to moving my eyes and they stopped, I didn't think I needed to go to an emergency room but would call my optometrist on Monday. Had any of those other things been going on  - or if any of them had started - I would have seen someone immediately because they're symptoms of retinal detachment.

I did call my optometrist's office on Monday morning and they squeezed me in to see the other optometrist in the office. I said I was supposed to go to another appointment and they told me that if I didn't go into their office that I needed to see my family doctor today and get a referral to an ophthalmologist today. I ended up rescheduling my gastroenterologist appointment for August 3 and going in to see the optometrist.

There, my pupils were dilated and my retinas examined. The big concern, and the reason they wanted me examined right away, was the possibility that my retina was detaching. Fortunately, that's not what is happening. Instead, I have posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD, which happens when the jelly-like fluid in the eye (the vitreous) detaches from the retina. It's normal and happens in older eyes. The big risk is that it could make the retina detach, too, so if I see a sudden increase in the number of floaters or any kind of shadow over my vision, I'm to see the optometrist or go to the emergency room immediately. Otherwise I'll see the optometrist in August for a follow-up.

Was I foolish to not head to the ER right away? Maybe. But I was fairly certain that I wasn't experiencing a retinal detachment as those symptoms are very well known and I didn't have them. I wouldn't have waited longer than a couple of days before seeing someone but I figured that waiting the extra days (in the absence of any new symptoms) would be all right.

And as it happens, I got the endoscopy results from my oncologist when I saw her on June 9. I didn't talk about those results as well because the gastroenterologist will need to interpret the results. Since I won't see him for another six weeks, I can tell you that the endoscopy showed....

Nothing. There's no ulcer. There's no damage. Te biopsies were normal. I am not gluten-intolerant. I do not have an H. pylori infection.

There's nothing wrong at all with my stomach. Why does it hurt sometimes? I have no idea. Maybe it's all in my head?

Friday, June 09, 2017

A fabulous scan and Gozer

I saw my oncologist this morning to get the results from last week's bone scan. The results are fantastic! The spot we radiated is less active meaning that the radiation therapy worked!!! There are also no new spots of different activity so the cancer is under control. I'll be staying on the current treatment - femara or letrozole - because it seems to be working to keep the cancer under control. Yippee!!!

This great news has capped off a difficult few days. On Wednesday evening, Gozer became very sick. She'd eaten bunny poop in the backyard in the early afternoon and some other kind of delicious-to-her poop on our walk through the woods. After dinner she began vomiting (which is the grossest thing I've ever smelled because of the aforementioned poop). She looked dopey and her head was rocking back and forth; the second time she vomited she didn't move away like she normally does. And then we saw that she couldn't walk.

I freaked out a bit, as I will do, and called the emergency vet. I described the symptoms and they said that if I was worried I should bring Gozer in. So we did.

When we got there, she vomited again in the lobby so they took us into one of the exam rooms. (They do have a wonderful spray that neutralizes even the worst smells, which made the lobby bearable for the other people there). In the room, I sat on the floor and gozer sat beside me; when she's got up, there was a puddle of pee where she'd been sitting. She didn't know she'd peed. She tried walking around but was wobbly on her feet and her feet kept spreading out under her.

I was so scared. I thought Gozer had ingested a poison and was going to die.

It turns out that she did ingest a poison of sorts. Based on her behaviour, the vet said she'd ingested marijuana. There's no blood or urine test that can tell for sure that this was the cause but her behaviour was definitely consistent with marijuana ingestion. There's nothing that can really be done for it, either; the dog has to ride it out.

The vet did give Gozer an anti-emetic and liquid charcoal and Gozer didn't vomit again. She did get very sleepy and slept hard throughout the night.

We ended up spending about two hours at the emergency vet's office, and when we came home around 11pm we stayed up with her for about 35 minutes before taking her out for a short walk.

It took about 24 hours for Gozer to return to normal and she's completely fine now. I did get quite a scare (even though I overreacted a bit) but I'm feeling better now, too.

We don't know exactly where she found the marijuana, but it was either thrown into our yard or it was in or near the poop she ate. I don't object to marijuana, as a rule; I know people who take it and I don't much care. But if you do take it, please dispose of everything properly and keep it out of reach of your pets. Don't make a pet owner go through what we did.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Bone scan day

It's been long enough since the radiation treatment that any we should be able to tell whether or not the treatment actually worked. The way to do that is via a bone scan, which I had this morning.

The scan is in two parts: the injection of a radioactive tracer that settles in the bones and is excreted through the urine, and the scan itself, where a machine detects how much of the tracer has been absorbed into each part of each bone. Any areas where there's either additional or less tracer are areas of interest. Sometimes those areas are non-cancer related (for example, the scan picks up my arthritis and the degeneration I have in my lower back) but we'll be paying special attention to the sternum.

I lie flat on my back on a table for the scan. This time they did three passes of the scanner: one from head to toe parallel to me and directly above and below me, one at about a 30 degree angle to my chest, and one that spiraled around my chest. The actual scan took about 45 minutes and then I was done!

I see my oncologist for the results in a week, on June 9. I expect the results to be good.