The Dawkter's Wife - It's all champagne and caviar now … dahling

Surviving Cancer,The Loony Bin

June 22, 2010


Patient is a 40 year old female with a history of non-hodgkins lymphoma and exposure to CHOP-R chemotherapy and mediastinal radiation 4 years prior.  She presents in the clinic with peripheral neuropathy that started with electric shocks down the legs and then turned into cramping, numbness and burning in the feet and calves approximately 3-3.5 years ago.  Hair growth on the backs of the calves is absent.  Patient reports that neuropathy recently began to include  the fingers and parts of the hands.  Fasciculations of muscles of the legs, abdomen and fingers are also present but is most prominent in the legs.  Patient was also recently diagnosed with bilateral Trigeminal Neuralia after 2 admissions to the hospital for intractible pain.  This was treated with IV dilantin and ultimately resolved.  Patient has a positive Romberg’s sign and reports difficulty with balance since chemotherapy.

An MRI/MRA of the brain was normal.  There is no evidence of brain lesions or malignancy.

MRI of the spine showed a cervical disk displaced that may or may not be causing some of the symptoms.  In addition, the MRI showed damage to T2-T5 consistent with radiation injury to the spine.  Patient was referred to neurosurgery to assess cervical/thoracic spine and will have EMG and follow-up with neurology to determine whether other processes (including radiation damage/chemotherapy exposure/other disease processes) are responsible for symptoms.

You can’t make this shit up!  (Well, actually, I did make up the synopsis you just read…but…it’s the truth!)

So … as the stomach churns …  I have a bronchoscopy Thursday to assess pulmonary issues that I was told years ago were in my head … until my most recent CT … and then there is the whole radiation damage on the MRI.

Apparently, my radiation oncologist was a complete and utter dumbass!

“There will be no after-effects from the radiation.  We aren’t giving you a high enough dose to cause any damage.”

“Mrs. Math, the symptoms you are experiencing can’t be from damage due to radiation.  The radiation did no damage.  This has been a very stressful experience for you.  Go home and start living your life again.”


It’s ok that there are after-effects.  I understand that there was no choice.  Be honest though.

Enough about me though.

As if we don’t have enough going on, Aidan had a seizure last week.  Yes.  A seizure.  He was sleeping at the foot of our bed and began seizing on 1/2 of his body (arm and leg).  When he came out of it he kept trying to talk but his words were all garbled.  Thomas and I were completely shocked and I decided to stay up and watch him to see if we needed to take him to the ER.  Instead, I feel back asleep. :o  ASLEEP.

When I woke up in the morning, I had forgotten completely about it.  I must have been in a very deep sleep when it all happened.  It was Thomas coming down in the morning and talking about it that reminded me.

We saw peds and his neuro exam was normal.  Tomorrow AM we are doing a sleep-deprived EEG for him and Monday he will have an MRI of the brain.

The pediatrician that we saw assured us that sometimes these things happen (partial-complex seizure) and that usually there is not a tumor or other problem to worry about.  She said that it is likely he will never have another one … or if he does they could be mild and may not require treatment.  We are hoping that that is true.

The reason I say “the pediatrician that we saw” though is because once again, our part-time pedi was unavailable for several days.  We have literally not been able to see our pediatrician for any problem that has arisen with any of our kids.  Well child checks scheduled months in advance are fine, but for any acute crisis we are always handed off to a full-timer or part-timer currently in the office.  sigh.

I’m easily annoyed lately. My plate is absolutely overflowing. To top it all off, I’m also feeling very annoyed with and disconnected from dh lately. This is probably related to how much we have going on, but I’m just so aggravated by his impatience with the kids and focus on work and having time for him. I’m also feeling extremely resentful that he has been able to have this career in medicine and that I have not been able to put a career for myself outside of mothering front and center…not that I don’t love being a mom, and am not hopelessly overwhelmed by it all, but … I really am at a crossroads in my life and feel an extreme pull towards career. Some women feel their maternal clock ticking … I am feeling the career clock. This has led to some rather unfortunate arguments between Thomas and I and is a significant source of depression for me.

So … to make up for all of the stress, I headed out with kids to Jellystone for some relaxation before this week’s EEG for Aidan and my bronchoscopy Thursday and EMG Friday.

With Amanda in Germany, we took Andrew’s best friend Sam along. We all had a great time! Andrew, Sam and Alex hung out at the pool with some girls!!! and I had time alone to swim, ride the train, build sand castles and play mini-golf with Aidan and Zoe. I even managed to read (well, skim!) two books in the evenings!

The gang on our last day! What a great way to relax!

More pictures and story about the trip to come!

  1. Oh, Kris. Hugs.

    Comment by Heidi — June 23, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

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