Saturday, October 20, 2012

I got cancer...and all you got was this lousy blog.

You know you're in trouble when the eye doctor pulls out the big 3-D multi-part model of the eye to show you what the problem is.

I just didn't know how much trouble.

To begin at the beginning, or at least further back: I'd been having some funky little eye problems for months. Not that funky, and little enough that even a hypochondriac like me could ignore them. A few years ago, I had a couple of episodes of migraine aura, as diagnosed by my ophthalmologist. These symptoms were similar, and although they were more frequent, they seemed much milder. So I concluded they were as harmless as the doctor had assured me the migraine aura was, and ignored them. Plus, I was a little busy. After four months off of work, my husband had gotten a new job out of state, and I was consumed with getting our house sold and getting ready for the move.

Within days after we settled into our house, though, the eye symptoms I was having got even more frequent, and lasted longer. They were more intrusive. I found myself an ophthalmologist online and made an appointment. Out of fear or denial or ignorance, I didn't mention the problems--just asked for a routine appointment.

The doctor, Dr. P., was young, and seemed smart, but also new enough to practice that she could focus on either clinical details, or bedside manner, but not both at once. She picked clinical details. She told me it looked like I had a detached retina in my right eye. She made an appointment for me with Dr. S., a retina specialist a few miles away. For, like, immediately. You take a moment and thank God right now that you weren't on the road at the same time and place as a panicked hypochondriac with fully dilated pupils and an allegedly detached retina. Those things make it hard to see things like, say, signs that say, "Do Not Enter."

Anyhow, my eyes and I made it to the retina doctor. He was young, too, but him I liked. He told me that there are all kinds of "typical" abnormalities in the retina that can look like detachments, but which are really harmless. He was pretty sure that was what we were dealing with.

The good news was that Dr. P. was wrong.  The bad news was that Dr. S. was, too.

Did you know that you can get melanoma on your retina? Neither did I. But apparently you can, and apparently I did. I mean, I don't even know how you're supposed to get sunscreen in there. But whatever. That ship has sailed. I have cancer in my eye.

The good news: I now live near a major university medical center with an eye center. My husband is employed, as he wasn't for four months. We're together again, as we weren't for six weeks. We have insurance. And Dr. S. thinks that there's a "reasonably good" chance of preserving the vision in that eye. He thinks we caught it in time.

The treatment regimen is going to involve me being hospitalized for about five days. A radioactive seed (I know!) will be placed behind my eye, then removed. After that, I'm not sure.

I haven't Googled "ocular melanoma" because I don't want to see anything that's going to freak me out. Dr. S. was "99.9% sure" that's what this is. I'm going to wait and talk to the ocular oncologist, as soon as he gets me an appointment, and base my freaking out on information that pertains specifically to me. I'll let you know when I get that.

Them as prays, please commence to praying. We've got a little fight ahead of us.


  1. Geez, Becki. When you do things, you do them big. After all, go big or go home, eh?

    I had melanoma removed from a couple of spots on me - stage 2. You've got this. Kick Melanoma's ASS.

    And I'm praying for you.

  2. Prayers for you.. just as I/we/everybody figured your life was settling down.. Sigh. *Increased* prayers.

  3. Prayers for your health. I'm happy that some things seem to be moving forward - job, home, family being together.
    You're a tough cookie so I know you can kick this out of your life, too.
    You'll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
    Still looking forward to one day personally meet you. Hang in there, friend. big (((hugs))

  4. Crap! I wish I didn't like you so much. If this happened to someone evil maybe I could shrug it off... At my small group's smaller prayer group (3 people) this week, one person asked for a prayer that she might better understand why bad things happen to good people. Well, I prayed for that, but I know there is no understanding it. It just happens. But you're going to have a load of people pulling for you and some will be praying for you, and I am one.

    Becki, I see a cornea specialist and my opthalmologist regularly for eye problems, and I take my mom even more often to retina specialists for wet macular degeneration. They can do amazing things these days. Until recently, there was no treatment for my mom's problem. Without all the treatments she's had, she'd probably be blind by now. I have had laser treatments twice for glaucoma. I had my annual glaucoma tests this week. So far I'm doing well.

    So, take heart, dear heart. Try to get the best specialist that you can, and put it in God's hands. Many prayers will be going up for you. I'm sending a virtual hug; I wish it could be in person. --Pat

  5. My dear Becki...thank you for breaking the news to us with humor, although I am a little teary-eyed as I write back. Wishing you peace and CALM, which can't be easy for a nervous girl! Prayers will commence immediately and may you feel the numerous hugs that your friends are sending your way. Love, Susan, Barry and Sarah

  6. I don't remember giving you permission to get this particular malady, so am kinda ticked that you did it anyway. Geez, woman. Did you not have enough going on in your life already?!

    This news really really REALLY upsets me. And since you need to be living your life around my preferences, I am going to pray and pray and pray that all goes I can fly back East and kick your tail for worrying me. Then I will make you cook for me as punishment.

    (I really do heart you, friend. Get better. Immediately.)

  7. Lots of virtual hugs. I've got an "in" at retina at university of Illinois Chicago if you need a top dog opinion/ treatment

  8. Prayers from St James, Westminster, MD!

  9. I had hoped that with the new job and new home that your life would be getting a bit easier, but it seems the challenges just keep coming. I am praying for you and the whole family. When you feel tired and alone on this unwanted journey, please remember we, your peeps, are with you in prayer and spirit.

  10. Oh dear. Definitely praying for you: for peace, for health, for preserving your eyesight, and for BREAK for you soon.