Saturday, July 22, 2006

Medical Update


After 5 months of relative inactivity my left hand has decided to get off it's ass and actually do something. And in good time too. I just saw the nerve specialist who said the MRI looked normal and no surgery was necessary (just a follow up in 2 months) - so while not fully functional - it's at least started to function and extend itself. After 5 months of owning a clutched mitt of a hand, like a stuffed monkey paw memento from a Brady Bunch episode (minus the fun occult curse) it feels good to sit and practice opening and closing my fingers. Weeeeee look-at-it go! Summer fun never ends when you have two functioning hands!

Now for the really serious news. On Wednesday I was told that Monday, July 24th I finally go for one of several planned 'sessions' in which my tongue will be injected with Bleomycin and other lumps of knotted blood vessels may or may not be injected with an alcohol solution. These various drugs are injected "at the site of the malformation" with the aim of shriveling them into insignificance. The hopeful result being no more lumps in my tongue, jaw, ear, neck etc. etc.

The Bleomycin is a recently approved treatment which is less aggressive (causes less swelling) than other solutions and is thought to be the best approach to treating Venous Vascular Malformations (VVM) in the mouth, tongue, lips or other sensitive areas. This new treatment is practiced in two places in the world. Toronto and Johannesburg. It may take up to 5 sessions, with several months in-between each, to make a significant difference but it really is the only option as other solutions cause too much swelling to be practical in the mouth or tongue. So hopefully the toughest part of this session will be getting to the hospital at 6:30 in the AM. It's a out-patient sort of thing, so I'll be home in time for tea and scones. I'll probably be completely out of it on Monday but hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll just have a slightly sore tongue and be in a mildly sour mood. Unlike the last treatment I had with alcohol, where I was sore and weeping (i.e. bleeding) for 2 weeks, I shouldn't really notice Bleomycin working. Because there is less swelling, it will take more injections over a longer period to achieve the desired results. If I'm really lucky, one injection will have sweeping results and have a great impact. If I'm really unlucky, there will be no change. I expect the result to fall somewhere in-between. As with anything organic, it will take time and patience to see what the real results will be.

So there you have it. You are now just as up-to-date on my health as I am. You lucky devils! So many people are completely ignorant of my health it is really very sad. I only hope my recent UN designation as a Superficially Unhealthy Citizen (or SUC as we like to call ourselves) will help all those other people with minor skin aliments, bothersome allergies and stiff necks from sleeping awkwardly on the couch to know that you are not alone. We will prevail and the future is ours to enjoy.

Yours, regardless,
Peter

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