Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday evening

After its great start, today turned out to be one of those less-good days we’ve known was going to come along. Lots of little snags, trouble getting balanced pain control, saying goodbye to Kearney (even though it was time and we all knew it), stuff like that. With some of that subsiding by now, we’re feeling pretty lucky. If this is a bad day, then it was a pretty good bad day and we’ll count our blessings.

The cards that came in the mail today were mood-brighteners and we much enjoyed opening and reading them. There was fun email with warm and caring thoughts and it’s always fun to watch the blog comments. The feelings of connection that come from all this communication have powerful healing properties. Dear Friend came to visit with me during the day while Michael had a meeting to attend, and she brought lunch (it was wonderful) and we had a chance to catch up. Also, we laughed ourselves silly watching Tina Fey impersonate Sarah Palin, which another great friend dropping by yesterday had shown me. Laughing is good.

While Dear Friend was here, we did an inventory of the neurological symptoms that are still going on and thought some about the various effects. There must be a good reason that the brain does this cross-hemisphere stuff, and we got curious about what it might be. Next time there’s a burst of energy, I might go googling to see what I can see. In any event, my physical symptoms are all on the right or central side of my body, which follows since the tumor was on the left: the not-fully useful arm/shoulder, the numb fingers and toes, and the areas that go tingly/numb now and then (chest, leg, etc.) So far, only the shoulder and toes are constant; the others symptoms wander in and out. My voice is strong and most of my personality seems intact. I have some pretty significant short-term memory holes now and then, and I’m guessing that I repeat myself a fair amount. The sweet-natured people who surround me don’t make an issue of it, but I often have the sense I must be saying the same thing all over again. Some words aren’t accessible, even when I know specifically I’m looking for them. (And, this could just be senior moments, anyway, and not tumor-specific, right?) Then there’s the reading: sometimes, I can, and sometimes, I cannot. Books are the least successful. I can scan a newspaper and the headlines and get some sense of the stories, but if I really want to read any particulars, the computer, with the ability to increase the font (a lot) is the way to go.

The comics are the strangest thing: I recognize the strips, know the names and characters, read the words, but cannot really make the thing work as a whole. Now and then, I “get” one, but mostly, they just look like kind of odd hieroglyphics. It’s a strange sensation. I guess if I’m going to lose some ability to decode information, the comics would be a prime choice. Finally, I’m often having trouble decoding dialogue in the movies we watch unless the closed captions are on. Odd. It’s early days, things are still shifting around in my brain (I’m told) and there’s all those steroids coursing about. I believe they’re doing me good, though the more I understand about how many of the icky effects that we’re seeing are theirs, the happier I’ll be to see the back of them. Fortunately, the first dose step-down comes tomorrow.

In the big picture, considering the miracles that modern medicine has wrought in my life in the last 12 days, we’ll call it all good. I’m clearly stronger today than I was two days ago, so the trend lines are all positive and encouraging. Plus, I can smell a wonderful dinner coming up, and I’m SO looking forward to that. Posting probably can wait until that’s been fully enjoyed. I love mealtimes right now. We’ve always liked good food, but I don’t remember ever being this enraptured by flavors. (Let us give the steroids some positive credit, here, as this is truly an enjoyable aspect of life right now and also seems to fall to their credit.) That means that there are really some great highlights in every day, no matter how the rest of the issues are sorting themselves out.

Kearney says she’ll keep posting when she gets home as she has thoughts to share, so we’ll all have that to look forward to, as well.

Again, thanking all of you for your support and for watching this saga unfold.

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