Monday, November 19, 2007

Friday's Appointment

Friday we headed down to Portland for my second follow-up appointment at OHSU. Everything looked well .

Things I can do:

  • public pool - yes the incision is healed
  • running - yes, gradually
  • weight training - yes, gradual increase of weights
scuba - wait until looking at 3 month post-op MRI; I would like to return to diving in the spring.

standing on my head - yes, for 10 minutes a day.

LOL, sorry I had to throw a little humor in there! ;o) I am just joking about standing on my head of course. They do perform that in yoga but I don't do it as I would probably break my neck before passing out! LOL

Problems I have been having:

Hand writing is very difficult. Reason - The tumors were located in the area of the brain that controls fine motor skills. That area of the brain needed to be retracted (lifted up) to access them. As a result, there could be swelling of that part of the brain which causes weakness in certain muscle coordination. As the swelling decreases the coordination of my right (writing hand) will improve over time.

I have noticed a difference from first coming home. I could even sense it the first time I did dishes as scrubbing food off a pot/pan was not very efficientt. When I first came home it was also VERY difficult to document my progress. Writing was EXTREMELY slow! I was glad to have typing ability which surprisingly (and still is) better and faster than handwriting (I am a crappy typist: maybe 25 to 30 words per minute or less on an ergonomic keyboard). I do notice some improvement writing when doing upper arm weight lifting.

Blinking of the right eye is delayed and does not close fully (results in drying out and irritation of the eye); This should improve with time as the inflamation of the nerve decreases.

The tumor was also on the nerve that controls sensation so my taste should also improve over time.

Head rushes - should not be related to the surgery. I am still anemic. Now that I recall, I also experienced the head rush/vision blackening many years ago when I was anemic. I am not a steak eater so I really do not consume any red meat. I am a white meat kind of gal (poultry, seafood, and pork). Therefore, I am back on Slow FE (iron) which I took about a year ago when my hemoglobin and oxygen carrying blood counts were low.

I have really felt low on energy over the past week and working out is much harder than before. My muscles fatigue easily and I am physically tired also. I thought this was primarily from the steroids wearing off and not working out regularly for 2 months. I am relieved to have a better explanation then just thinking I was totally getting out of shape fast.

With my taste change I have stopped drinking V8 and eating bananas unfortunately which are very high in potassium. I have been having aching shin pain in my right leg at night which is probably related to my low potassium level and not the blood clot I had previously as that results in a different kind of pain. So I am taking the potassium supplements again which I stopped using when I went off the Diamox medication (Diamox depletes the body of potassium so I had to take supplements and eat high potassium foods to prevent lower leg muscle cramping).

Pain behind left eye and involuntary muscle spasm of the lower left eye lid - not sure what is going on there. The pain behind my left eye has seemed to go away within the past few days. We will make a note of these things to watch and take a look at the next MRI coming up.

It is possible to have another surgery right after a previous one if needed. However, my surgeon does not want to operate on that tumor at this time. It is smaller than the two I had removed. It is not big enough yet to warrant a surgery. These tumors are not removed unless they are producing problematic symptoms or growing to a large size.

Now that may seem a little confusing for some reading this as they have had tumors removed that were small or smaller. Remember I am completely deaf. Thus hearing preservation which some pursue when operating on smaller tumors is not an issue for me.

We will continue to monitor this tumor through MRIs like the others. My last MRI was in September (prior was April). The next one is in a few weeks. It is routine to do the MRI 3 months post surgery after the swelling has gone done. After that, as long as I am not having a problem, the MRI schedule will return to every 6 months again.

Other interesting tidbit -

Between my ear and the incision my scalp is numb. I can tap it and it does not feel like I am tapping my head. From making the incision some sensory nerves are cut and sacrificed. The feeling may come back or the lack of sensation may be permanent.

Things I was finally able to take care of that I could not or did not have time to do before the surgery -

Get a haircut/trim

Get my last dental cleaning for the year (when it was due I had the onset of trigeminal neuralgia)

Katie and Jake also got to have their bath today at Petco. :o) They were all excited to be clean and not stinky. Now they will go roll around in the dirt again! LOL ;o)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the numb scalp. Some nerves were cut during my spinal surgery and about a quarter of my scalp is numb. The surgeon said he expects the feeling will return, but it may take up to 6 months. It's quite a strange feeling, especially when brushing my hair!

It sounds like you're doing pretty well Beck. I hope things continue to look up. It's good news that the surgeon doesn't think you'll need surgery on the other side for now.