This blog is not designed to be merely a dispatch center from cancerland (boring), but I’m making an exception today as I suspect a few people following my little medical misadventure may be wondering about my health status. It’s now been 10 days since surgery and I’ve settled into a routine of sorts.
Without any definitive medical input, I assume my recovery is about on track. We talked by phone with a physician assistant at Providence on Monday and he reassured us my symptoms were falling within a normal range. My major complaint is constant dizziness. These aren’t exactly the whirlies but rather a low-level unsteadiness that slows me way down and seems to confound my thinking. I’m wearing a scopolomine patch, which keeps the dizziness from being even worse. Otherwise, there's not much I can do to control this sensation.
Also contributing to my mental fog is the throbbing, near-deafness in my right ear. I remain on a steady regiment of steroids (dexamethasone), which I presume is gradually resolving the swelling that resulted from the bleed in my brain. There’s no quantifying that process in the short-term so I’m just hanging on and making the best of what mental firepower I have. I can maintain a conversation, but should we speak, don’t expect any intellectual fireworks from me. On the plus side, I’m learning to be a better listener. I believe my hearing will return as swelling in and around my right ear canal subsides. My surgical scar almost completely wraps around that ear, so clearly there’s a lot of healing going on inside there.
I’m also very uncomfortable from the plastic staples used to close my surgical incision. They press into my head like daggers when I touch them or lay on them at night. Fortunately, all 65 or so come out on Friday when we make a courtesy call at Providence. I’m not expecting much more from that appointment, as the opinion seemed to be at the time I was released last week that decisions about radiation and systemic therapy could wait a while longer. The goal right now is healing from the surgery. There’s no denying that’s slow going. Everything else being equal, it will probably be weeks before something resembling normal activity emerges in my life.
I’m determined to begin establishing a simple routine, however. Exercise is part of that, so it was incredibly great to get out this morning with Nick and walk the two miles to the covered bridge and back. It was a slow stroll but I didn’t need the cane, which of course I hate using. I’ve set as a goal being able to complete the Corvallis Fall Festival 10k on Sept. 23. I’ll know within a couple of weeks if that’s remotely realistic or not. My stamina will probably take another hit from radiation treatment, whenever that occurs, but it’s possible I can bounce back from that quickly.
Perhaps the best thing I can report is that I seem to have the overall physical resources I need to heal. My body was definitely strong when disaster struck, so I’ve been able to draw on that account to get back into the game. And I'm so blessed at not having to get through this without help. Ellen, Nick and many dear friends and family have helped in a hundred different ways to relieve the distress I’ve felt at being temporarily incapacitated. Thank you all.