Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life on the other side

I have been quiet lately, Gentle Reader, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have so much to say that I have been at a loss how to say it succinctly and meaningfully.  I am not sure I can do so now, but let me make a start by sharing one thing that has changed my life significantly.

The week before my cataract surgery, I saw my oncologist and received my remicade infusion. I had an honest conversation with my doc about managing the side effects of the post-breast cancer hormone therapy drug I have been on for about three years now. I had been on one of the aromatase inhibitors for that time, and prior to that, had been on the similar drug tamoxifen for about 3.5 years after my first breast cancer.  I knew I didn't feel well on those drugs, but the side effects were accumulating, so we crunched my risk numbers again, and weighed the options, and decided I could safely discontinue that drug.

As I said, I knew I was not feeling well for the last 6.5 years on those drugs.  But I had no idea how dark the place I have been living really was.  The first day off the drug I slept through the night for the first time in 6.5 years.  I woke looking forward to the day for the first time in 6.5 years. And despite the infusion and the surgery, I have a renewed sense of energy and hopefulness that has been totally absent from me.  I really had no idea how tough that medication was on my body until I came off it and saw the difference.  No words that I have tried to use to describe this does it justice.  It has been a huge surprise, a revelation, a rebirth of sorts.

I have heard people who have dealt with serious depression say that in the midst of it their pit is so deep and dark that they have no thought of ever being able to climb out of it.  That is how life has been on hormone therapy for me.  I knew I was not depressed in the sense of losing my grounding or my hope or my comfort or despairing.  I just felt so terrible all the time that realistically my outlook was bleak.  But there is new wind under my wings, and a new hope-- not just in the eternal and the spiritual, but in the here-and-now incarnated world-- just when I had given up on ever sensing it again this side of heaven. Every day has been such a battle.  I have felt like every step was made walking through wet cement. But now everything is different.  I have made it through something very hard and long.  But I am currently on the other side. Amazing.

Add to the end of the hormone therapy that my autoimmune disease is under control and in remission, and I truly feel like I've been given my life back.  Wait until I can get glasses that work, and can actually see again.  Life will be totally amazing!

God is so good.  And I am so thankful.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quick eye update: The pirate is gone

This picture is an accurate portrayal of how I felt yesterday.  I dumped both water and tea all over the counter at my mom's house before I realized I am not very savvy without my binocular vision, and asked other people to do the pouring!  It gives me great respect for friends who have learned to compensate for that problem.

Today the patch was removed, and I am back to using both eyes.  Everything looks good so far.  I am on large doses of prednisone, plus steroid and antibiotic eye drops, and am now experiencing some vision weirdness of a new sort.  My newly-lensed eye, despite being pretty red and getting a spectacular bruise beneath it from the shot that immobilized my eye during the surgery, is seeing great! (photographic evidence can be seen here)  It is perfect for the computer without glasses, and I can read road signs without glasses.  After not being able to read out of that eye for about a year, that is fabulous, and makes me giggle with delight, and praise God from whom all blessings flow.  The other eye, however, is its same horrible self, so the difference between the two eyes is enough to give me headaches, and I will have to learn to compensate for 4-6 weeks until I am ready to get new glasses.  We'll have to see what I can do about that.

I will return to the doc in ABQ early Monday morning for a recheck, but so far, so good.  I am so grateful for your prayers, Gentle Reader!  And so grateful to God for His hand of mercy in my life.

And now for a few days to rest these eyes a lot, and to figure out how to sleep on prednisone, and while wearing an eye shield, and how to get all the adhesive off my sore face.  :-)