Wednesday, March 29, 2006


OK, here we go again, only this time the rollercoaster is a little weirder....

Since the middle of last week, Lisa has been feeling, well, strange. She’s complained of increasing numbness in her left foot, weakness in her knees, and went in the course of three days from using a cane occasionally to needing a three-sided walker. Naturally, we went to her oncologist, and, equally naturally, he ordered an MRI to see what the remains of the tumor were doing.

The answer is, apparently, nothing. What has happened is that she has suffered radiation necrosis: part of the (formerly) healthy brain tissue has died, and its death is causing swelling that is affecting more healthy but endangered brain tissue, and could eventually cause that tissue to die as well. Right now, the problems are in the cerebellum and around the big nerves that allow the brain to perceive where the body actually is. In other words, her right brain no longer knows what her left foot is doing. If she looks at it, and concentrates, she can put it where she needs it to be, but not any other way.

We knew this could happen. We knew that the chances were greater the more times she did radiation, but it seemed to be a reasonable trade-off, given the location of the tumor and its inaccessibility to conventional surgery. But it sure ain’t fun.

Right now, her doctor has her on steroids again, to reduce the swelling and hopefully minimize any further damage. Since it’s not safe for her to go up and down our house’s stairs any more (and those who have visited will understand!), we are in the process of moving our bedroom downstairs into what used to be my office. My office will go upstairs into what used to be the bedroom - that’s about 2000 books, two filing cabinets stuffed with papers, the desk top, two chairs, several boxes of notes, etc. (you remember the boxes I pulled out of the attic? now I get to take them back upstairs again), two guitars, a (small!) amplifier, all my office supplies, my sewing machine and boxes of fabric, all of which have to be pried out of their niches in a 12 foot by 13 foot space and carried up a steep flight of stairs. Oh, yes, and two bookcases have to be chopped in half, because they won’t fit any other way.

In return, we bring down the two twin platforms, the king-sized mattress, the television, at least one dresser, and all Lisa’s clothes. Oh, yes, and the several hundred books that live in the bedroom. And the videos. And buy Lisa a laptop (and us a wifi hub) so she can work wherever she happens to be.

And at some point, we need to find time to paint at least the new bedroom, because we are not going to make this purely utilitarian. Yes, we have to do this, just as we had to install handholds on the toilet and buy a laptop so she can work where she feels most comfortable. But we are also going to make it as pleasant and positive as possible.


At 11:41 AM, Blogger Dharma said...

Oh Melissa, my heart goes out to you and Lisa.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger anne said...

Sending best wishes for both of you - Anne, knitsyb

At 9:30 AM, Blogger StickLena =KnitLena said...

Melissa, only now I found you web site and could read about Lisa and her struggles. When I got you message of the loss, I did not know she even had existed. Reading your blog makes it a bit easier to understand your situation. Hoping it is not more difficult than needed.
You are every day in my thoughts.


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