Tuesday, July 25, 2006



Here we are again with another one of my patented medical updates. Many thanks to all my well-wishers. You know, it's hearing from all the fans out there that makes this whole thing worth doing. Thanks, no really, please, hold your applause to the end, thanks. Firstly, as to why it took so long for my hand to recover? Well, the nerve specialist said 4-5 months ago that it would take 4-6 months for recovery. Nerve sheathing regenerates at about a millimetre a day - let's do the math - it's been 5 months - that's 150 days or 150 mm, so the injury was about 6-8 inches (150-200mm) from my wrist near my elbow. Plus, I've discovered I am a slow healer. No Mats Sudin here. If they say 6-8 wks, then I'll log in at 8-9 wks without doubt.

Luckily, the VVM treatment hasn't been bad at all. The day of the treatment I felt pretty lousy, but all of that was the after effects of the anaesthetic combined with a bad headache I had before going to the hospital, which turned into a migraine during the day. After a good night's sleep, the headache,vertigo and nausea subsided and I feel okay.

My tongue hurts a little more today and there are some sores starting in the mouth (a side effect of the bleomycin) but over all it's not as bad as it could have been. Which does leave me to wonder whether or not the treatment will have any effect at all. Hopefully it will bear out favourably over the next couple of months.

They only did one of two procedures we had discussed. The second treatment would have been for a lump behind my left ear where they would have injected a much more aggressive solution. Had they done that, I would have, in a word, felt like shit. The more aggressive alcohol solution causes a lot of swelling and I'm sure I would have had a softball sized lump on the side of my head (no exaggeration) and it would have affected my whole left side of my head. I'm sure they decided not to do it for two reasons;

- mixing the two procedures is pretty unscientific, and probably provides poor clinical data (how would you know what was working when and where and would there be unseen side effects of combining the two drugs - the other being the Bleomycin).

- they seemed to be running about 15 minutes behind schedule, plus they had accidentally confused staff due to a change in summer schedules and they had someone scheduled to go right after me.

Surprisingly, the procedure takes almost two hours. They inject the bleomycin, then sit back and watch where it goes via x-ray monitors. Based on what they see, how much they inject etc., determines what they do next. So what they do precisely on the day of the treatment is decided by how it goes on the table.

One thing I couldn't understand is why the hospital is so damned cold. It was near morgue like temperatures in the operating room. Perhaps if they lose a patient, they don't have to worry about immediate spoiling. Luckily for me, no such precaution was required.

I don't really know what to expect in the next six weeks, when I'm slated to meet the doctor, but I assume there will be some slight swelling, mouth sores, then continued decreased swelling until I can have another procedure done. As the bleo-treatment is so less aggressive, they've found that about 5 sessions are needed to see big or full results. If this works, it's not bad at all. I could easily live with a day of grogginess every few months if it leads to success.

In this matter, patience is not only a virtual but a necessity.

Thanks for the well wishes and no need to fret, I'm doing fine.

Peter

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1 Comments:

Anonymous sadeyes said...

Many thanks for the update, Peter.
We're very glad that it wasn't so bad, and hope it has some effect.

What we find remarkable is that, even in your condition, you're able to find that cool, totally appropriate illustration, as well as write such a lucid and entertaining account.

sending healing vibes from the east,
xx, bernice, andy and gina

10:30 PM, July 25, 2006  

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