Thursday, June 11, 2015


My last blog post mentioned the fact that we never know what is going to happen next. My sister called it a crap shoot...this has proven to be true for me in the past month. On the day I went to have my final chemo treatment I had been suffering from severe headaches all weekend. I was also running a slight temperature. I assumed it was a sinus infection. When I went to the chemo lab they decided not to let me get the treatment until I had a CT scan and a MRI to check out the headaches. They wanted to make sure that the cancer had not spread to the brain. I was terrified. The next day the headaches continued to worsen so we decided to make a visit to the emergency room on Tuesday evening. We waited over four hours, a scan was done and I found out it was a brain bleed that was causing my headaches. Thankfully it was a small bleed so no surgery was required. The brain bleed probably happened because of the blood thinners I take to manage the blood clot they found last February. The blood thinners were reduced and I had all sorts of scans and tests to make sure I didn't have a brain tumour and I went home. My sister had arrived from Florida to spend Mother's Day with me. Since it was the first Mother's Day without our mother we decided we wanted to be together. On Sunday we planned to do some shopping together, visit Starbucks, spend some time at a local meditation center and then go out to eat. We made it as far as the shopping. I remember arriving at the store, picking out a few items, placing them in the cart...and then my memory has a lapse. I am told I froze in front of a shelf of towels. My sister came back to where I was and couldn't get me to respond. She thought I was joking with her and threatened to call the paramedics if I didn't answer her. As she dialed 911 she finally realized I was unable to respond. She tried to get me to sit down but I only put one arm around her neck and tightly grasped the shopping cart with the other hand. The paramedics arrived and took me away. They told her it was a stroke but it was actually a focal seizure. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes in the hospital emergency room with no idea of where I was or how I got there. I was quite confused for some time but gradually the confusion has faded though I still worry about brain damage or the possibility of having another seizure. The seizure happened because of irritation from the brain bleed. As the brain bleed resolves then the chance of a seizure lessens but the fear is still there.

So what was supposed to be a celebratory time of finishing my chemo has become a complicated time of new medications and visits to neurosurgeons and neurologists.  A scan has shown the blood clot has decreased in size to the point it was not visible on the scan. Also, there were no signs of cancer on the scan. Some good news in the middle of crisis.  On the down side I can't drive until I am seizure-free for six months. I can't return to work. I feel discouraged and frightened by these new complications. Things are probably not as bad as they feel but who knows?  I am presently tiptoeing through the tulips waiting for something worse to happen or for things to improve.  I'll let you know...