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martes, 21 de julio de 2009

Crónicas de un cerebro enfermo XVI.

Monday, April 6, 2009.

I slept excellently last night. Smelling the breeze by the sea and using the aroma-therapeutic creams, body wash and eye mask that Mai gave me helped me sleep like a baby, and wake up relax and ready to go to the hospital without feeling any stress. We woke up at 4:45 AM because we had a blood work appointment at MD Anderson at 6:30 AM. Sonia drove us to the hospital. We left Porter at 5:15 AM and arrived to the hospital around 6:15. At 7 AM, we were all having breakfast at the cafeteria, while waiting to have our 9:00 AM appointment with Dr. Levin. Sonia and Jaime accompanied me, and Sonia was remembering the exact place were she and Rosemarie were seated when the doctor announced us last year that the MRI showed that the surgery was so successful that Dr. Prabhu was able to remove the whole tumor. This time around we were a feeling more confident, but I was still a little worried that I might have to head into more chemotherapy or radiation as other patients usually do. The doctor came and told us that he had both a good and a bad news. The good one first: the tumor has not grown. Bad news: I have to follow up one more year of MRI every three months, another year of MRI every four months, and, after that, I will continue having an MRI every six months for ever. I also have to come back to MD Anderson once a year to continue monitoring my blood and MRI results. In case of reoccurrence, which happens for every 1 in 100 people, 7 years after the surgery, I might have to take radiation therapy. I am confident that I am among those 99 people who will live happily ever after.

The doctor made me a neurological evaluation, while Jaime and Sonia were trying to answer them in their minds. They thought the exercises were difficult, but they were happy to pass. I passed them too. Dr. Levin noticed, though, that when he asked me to relax my legs, it was impossible for me to relax. I was relaxing, I swear. It’s just that I forgot that since I am lifting weights, and I inherited my father’s capability to make muscles easily in that part of the body, my legs feel like stone, which means that I recovered all the leg muscles I lost while I was hospitalized last year. I wish I could say the same about the rest of my body. After having my neurological test, I took out of my purse my own list of questions, and… my doctor was able to pass the test too! I informed him that I gained 30 pounds while taking Temodar (oral chemotherapy). He looked into my record and corroborated my story. He told me that It is the first time one of his patients gain weight. Lucky me! This is one of the possible side effects (severe weight gain), and I hit the lottery. Other patients vomit all day long, have constipation problems, and lose hair. I think gaining weight was better than those three. “Can I diet?” I asked. He told me that I should because my weight gain is also raising my sugar levels putting me in a pre-diabetic stage, even though, as I told, him, I have followed a vegetarian diet. He told me that I have to cut the fruits, all kind of bread and sugars, and eat more protein and vegetables. I eat protein and vegetables, but I have to eat more of them. I eat bread, which I shouldn’t, and avoid sugar. In any case, I have to consult a dietitian as soon as I arrive home so that I can lose those thirty pounds in order to stabilize my sugar avoiding becoming a diabetic. In other words, going to Gold Gym every day have kept good leg muscles but is never going to be enough for me. The doctor told me that I can drive again, since I have not had a seizure within a year. That’s good news for Carla. I can drive her to all the parties she might want to go to.

After seeing Dr. Levin, I had my Psychological test. The one I call “brain torture.” This time around it was not that terrible for me. The bad news is that I will have to contact the doctor tomorrow to obtain the results and come back to the hospital to pick up all the MRI CDs. They are going to put everything in MD Anderson records. Sonia, Jaime and I went to La Madelaine for lunch. The food was great.

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