Thursday, July 17, 2008

C-Day + 27

The wait goes on.... I had my appointment with Dr. Harbour yesterday. I arrived at the Barnes Retina Institute at 01:15. After about 30 minutes of reading the LARGE PRINT addition of Readers Digest. (Good story on sleep). I was called back to have my eye's dilated and the preliminaries. Eye test, right eye whet K V E T R, D F O P Q, etc..
No problem. Left Eye # % @ *, nothing, I couldn't even see the largest letters. She then gave me the the little eye blocker thing with pinholes in it. Wait K, yes L, yes.... This went on for a total of 5 lines and it only took about 10 minutes. I can't ever remember working so hard on a test in my life. After the eye test she dilated my eyes and it was off to the second waiting room "50 %” of the people sitting here are waiting for the dilation to take affect, I guess the other half are going to drive us home.

About 1 min after sitting down, (Jen had went to the restroom) I heard the words (Choroidal Melanoma) where did that come from? Wait I see a couple people over there in the corner. I listened intently for a few seconds more, before shuffling over. It was like seeing a unicorn 5 times over. Since Dr. Harbour had been in China the last month or so he had a full slate of "lottery Winner's" in the office. The group consisted of 1 ten year vet, one 4 and and one 2 year survivor plus 2 newbies (counting me). The questions started to fly fast and furious. The other newbie was a few years older than me from southern Illinois, this was her first appointment to confirm that her blurred vision was due to a Choroidal Melanoma. In my exuberance to show my knowledge, I began to explain everything that I had read about this disease. It was interesting that within moments a bond was created. More than once it was mentioned that if this was such a rare disease, why did 30% of the people sitting there have it. At some point during the discussion the other newbies daughter told me that she had researched on-line, but hadn't told her mom everything. Oops, I then closed my mouth and went and sat down next to Jen. Over the next 20 minutes I was able to chat with a teacher from Peoria IL that had her surgery 4 years ago. It was really comforting to hear that her life had gone
on and that she was doing well. All three of the survivors had major vision loss in the treated eye but had gone on to live a normal life. At some point I was informed that Dr. Harbour had made it clear over the years that the appointment took as long as it needed so waiting was normal.
After about 30 minutes I got a quick wave from the other newbie and her daughter, and then they were gone. I hope that it was just a mole and she doesn't have to come back.

We waited another 45 min and the it was my turn.

This is my impression of Dr Harbour, at first he looks like he could be an extra on "Days of or lives" needless to say he was a good looking guy with just enough gray to look like a doctor. The next thing you notice is that he is extremely good at what he does, he did a visual exam of both eye's then and ultrasound of the left eye, there was very little chit chat. The best way to describe the exam is you know the auto mechanic that can hear you drive up tell you what's wrong with your car? No test's needed. Dr Harbour had spent a couple of minutes looking and knew the problem and the solution.

He then asked me to sit next to Jen and began to explain our options:

The good:

1. The tumor is only 6mm thick. ( This makes radiation plaque a good option 98% success that the cancer in the eye will be destroyed and the eye will survive.

The bad:

1. I am going to lose most of the vision in my left eye.

2. There is no way to tell if I am Category 1 or Category 2 without a biopsy.

So this is our future, 1 Aug I have surgery to radiate the eye and kill the cancer, but first cut a small hole in the wall of my eye, and take a needle biopsy. I will be in the hospital with the radioactive cap sewn to my eye for 5 days. Then wait for the test and find out if I am Category 1 with very little chance of the cancer spreading to my liver. or Category 2 spreading almost certain. So the march goes on........

EyeCandy (Paul)

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