Sunday, November 6, 2011

Despicable Me, Looking Back At My Year as Cavity Sam

I must apologize to the readers of this blog (long suffering folks that they are) but I've been having a bit of a hard time, and haven't been able to see the computer screen well enough to write until now. Thank you for your patience.

I thought I'd start you out with a laugh. My pituitary surgery was only an overnight stay at the hospital—everyone who's had surgery knows you get woken up every 2 hours for vital signs—during one of those times I took some drugged-out photos of myself with my phone when I couldn't get back to sleep. The photos are a bit dramatic but I have to show you how much I looked like the cartoon man, Gru, in 'Despicable Me'!

 You have to admit the likeness is astounding! Don't be scared, it's only the camera angle and my drugged up state that makes me look so horrid.

In an equally drugged state, I took 'Finger ET's' photo. He was my friend for the night, and stayed with me through all my vitals.

It was an easy overnighter, in the terms of my Otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) and my Neurologist, the surgery was a success. However, in my own terms, my surgery's success is questionable, and my recovery since September 28th has been a challenge.

As you may remember, I was having incredibly bad headaches from the end of August, until about mid October, which have been attributed to the swelling of my pituitary stem (a side-effect of Yervoy,) as well as a tumor growing inside my pituitary gland. The good news is the tumor was benign. My Yervoy treatment was stopped, the tumor was removed and my headaches have tapered off.  Although I'm thrilled to have had the tumorous peanut plucked, I have been left with a torn retina and tasteless taste buds.  This has infringed largely on my life. Both of the doctors that performed the surgery stand firm in their belief that the torn retina is not in any way related to the surgery, but is a natural occurrence that has happened in accordance with my age. The dissipated everyday tasting abilities of my tongue is a natural part of healing and may or may not come back months from now. As of now I can taste certain foods well, other foods less well and some foods might as well be cardboard. My vision problems on the other hand, to me, are not so coincidental, and seem completely related to the doc’s knocking about inside my nasal cavity. Up and over my optic nerve, and definitely related to sawing a hole through my skull to retract the problem nugget with a tiny metal clamp. To me, it seems very likely that that was the cause of my retinal tear and also the subsequent bane of my life! Horrible floaters which dip in and out—up and down, forever swirling about in, and out of focus, these things infringe on my life on a very different level.  

I noticed them first while signing the hospital’s discharge papers. I was handed a pen, and I literally  swatted at the air and said, “What’s that!?” Then I noticed the rest of the black shapes floating around in front of me. There was a quite large uni-brow—shelf or visor type shadow hovering above my head. These dark shadows are actually blod drops. The retinal tear was fixed by laser surgery three weeks later, but the gigantic dark floaters were left behind. I feel like I'm about to be hit in the head at all times by sharp corners; or that there's a bug on the wall, in my food, in my bed, or climbing up me—It's a dim and horrible personal fireworks show. For those of you who have a hard time picturing this - I have found on the internet a likeness done by somebody with photoshop, as seen below:

These dark spots are constantly swirling around. 

This in conjunction with the cardboard food I've been eating has just pushed me over the brink. And please know, that this has been hard for Dan, who has toiled in the kitchen for hours on end, cooking up the most amazing dishes, trying to get the right food combinations so that I'll be able to taste.  Dan's cooking is outstanding at all times! Before my surgery, I'd push anyone out of my way to get at the table (this includes Glen).  It's no fun cooking for a tasteless sap, you might as well serve up a bowl of dog chow. I wouldn't know much difference. I'm sorry, Rooster!

I have taken up wearing a Dolby/DJ Friendly truckers cap. (David, you know the one.) This, in someway helps the floaters from distracting me too much. It's just right for the field of vision my floaters roam in, and the right color for them to fade into. I'm lucky I got that hat!

Nose normal looking - eyes with floater protection 

On Monday, I have my 'Tell All' PET scan, and I'm really scared to find out what's inside me. I have to ask all of you to please think of me on Monday and send me Lucky Vibes! The scan will tell me if the Yervoy, (and the Interleukin-2) is working, even though I never got through to the last doses of both drugs. If anything new shows up in my scan other that what I already know about—the atypical cells in my breast, and the mass in my sacrum—I'll have to have the surgery done quickly.

My insurance switches over to the state's 'Inclusive' health plan, which is insurance for the un-insurable. I'll have a new higher deductible ($5000) starting December 1st, and it has been suggested to me by an insurance broker to have whatever needs to be done—as soon as possible, before that date. I'm terrified!

Dan is going to try and organize some art sales and do some benefits to try and help out.

I know for a fact that I have breast surgery coming, which means it'll have to be done this month!

I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of my diagnoses. It's unbelievable that it was only November last year that I was told I had cancer. I didn't know I'd be living the life of Cavity Sam! (the man depicted on the operation game board)

I can't quite believe that all the surgery and treatments I've had were all done in one year. I'm just terrified that I'll find out I have more coming. 

Please think of me on Monday, I will be so thankful! I'm so tired of living the life of Cavity Sam.



  1. Lucky Vibes coming your way!

    You look like you could be my sister.

  2. Good luck Letha. I'll be thinking of you.