Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I spoke too soon

Clearly I was too glib in my previous post about the tedium of my side effects; I had a new and alarming one yesterday.  I was sitting on the floor playing peacefully with Eleanor when I suddenly realized that my vision was deteriorating.  When I looked at a person's eyes, I could not see their nose and mouth.  Nothing was blacked out, but it was more than just blurry.  THEN things started to appear electrified.  I laid down, ate a clementine (mmmm), and called the nurse.  She said to go to the ER if things got worse, but otherwise just talk to Dr. Oncologist about it at the next appointment (today).  The visual impairment only lasted for 20 minutes, and the only other symptom was a mild headache afterwards.  

Dr. Oncologist, as always, got right on it.  I had a brain MRI scan this afternoon, and I'll have my eyes checked tomorrow morning.  She said if it happens again to come in right away so that she can check me out more or less during the episode.  She said that it could be another side effect of the chemotherapy (my hypothesis, naturally, and possibly duh), or that it could be a sign of a migraine.  I've never had a migraine before.  I don't even get headaches.  But now I've had a headache virtually all day, thank you stress and chemotherapy and scan.       

This being my second brain MRI scan, it was much less scary than the first one.  My only complaint is that at times I felt a bit like Auntie Em's house, caught in the twister, spiraling down onto the Wicked Witch of the East.  Said another way, I've been dizzy for several days now, and being in a small space with loud noises exacerbated the problem.  I wore earplugs and headphones to soften the noise, but I declined to have music in the headphones because I kind of enjoy the sounds of the machine.  It's a bit like percussion, and quite rhythmic at times.  During the scans, I find myself transported to a discotheque in Amsterdam.  I've never actually been to either a discotheque or to Amsterdam, but I imagine hip European DJs creating sounds that are akin to those of the MRI machine.  I am not the only one who has found musical inspiration in an MRI scan.  Charlotte Gainsbourg's title track to the album IRM is some excellent musical mimicry of the sounds of the brain scan (click to here to hear the song via YouTube).  

Updated poke tally:

"port"  11
tummy  4
left arm  4
right arm 4
left breast  1
superior vena cava 1


  1. I hope your dizziness stops. I know how you don't "agree" with motion-sickness. I will check on you tonight.

  2. Yes. That is exactly the thing that happens to my eyesight before I get a migraine. I was told it is called an aura. I almost like them because it is a precursor to my migraine and it allows me to act quickly to prevent the terrible headache. Things that help me- dark/quiet rooms, food to raise my blood sugar, lots and lots of water, caffeine, or sometimes Excedrin for migraines(but be careful because this has a lot of caffeine and makes you jittery.) Also, pay attention to what triggers your auras- did you eat, get sleep? Are you dehydrated? Did you take terrible drugs(obvious, huh?)
    I hope that figure this out soon!
    Love you and MISS you!

  3. Yikes that sounds yucky. Keep us posted!

  4. damn the asparagus 3 cheese burritos!

  5. Darci has it on the nose. Pay attention and if these symptoms come again you will know what to do. Yes caffeine helps because of the vaso constrictors!
    Most of all know that we and that is a GINORMOUS we are here with to help
    love, mom