I’ve been living like this for more than a year. I was told that 3rd Cranial Nerve damage was always allowed a year to see how much it might recover. Monday (August 24th) was my surgery day………….
The next two images show how much progress I had made. Here my eye closed without the glasses. Imagine wondering around for a year with your eye closed….no depth perception, for example:
Waiting the year (and having the Botox treatment) did make my left eye and eyelid a bit stronger. Before the surgery I could keep my eye open, but didn’t because the eyes were not aligned………
Since the eyes were not aligned it caused double vision. Below, my immediate post op photo:
The wound continued to drain overnight, ;eaving my eyelids stuck together by morning. I had to use several hot, wet face cloths to soak my eye (instructions say NO RUBBING), Finally the eye was open:
I will still need still need special glasses to restore near normal vision, but for now I have a ‘sweet spot’ in my current glasses that allow me to see stereo vision. Each day my vision and the coordination between my eyes is better,
Now moving on to the MORE…….That more being further complications from the original tumor. Or rather, complications from the Radiation Treatments. I had very high levels of radiation with the Proton Beam, resulting in Necrosis defined as:
“The brain tissue necrosis is a delayed effect of radiation therapy and can occur several years after the radiation treatment, but it usually occurs within the first 1 to 2 years.Jul 8, 2020“
This Necrosis results in cysts growing in the Cranial Space and surrounding tissue. They started growing sometime after my 6 month check up, appearing in my May exam. The follow-up is every 8 weeks. I have that 8 week check in last week. Some cysts are smaller, some unchanged, and a few new ones have appear (but they are very small). So another MRI at the end of October and we’ll see where we are……
This was such a different subject than the other images on roll #2 that I wanted to post it separately. Calm. Peace, Stillness………Taking a few days off for long awaited eye surgery. Update at the end of the week…….
Reflections on Life a week after my Birthday. I had hoped to have my eye surgery wrapped up by my 60th birthday in May. But the surgical consultation said that I had to wait 1 year from when the problem first started. So I am scheduled for ‘Eye Fixin’ on August 24th. But May 9th was My Birthday and we are going to post what I’ve been up to since the last Posting (in February) and have a final wrap up in September……Also I want to call to your attention my musings on ‘stay home’ practices.
I had not included images from my Annual Sing Along Messiah Event. I actually felt energetic enough to sing in all three performances:
Zooming in on me in the Chorus:
For Valentine’s Day I attended the First Methodist Lafayette Valentine’s Tea. A traditional Ladies Church Tea with a program focussed on Women’s History. I attend annually with Claudia (blue sweater next to me) and her Family and Friends:
My Recent NoBo Art Presentation. I’ve had a long journey getting a good print of this image. No not the one that you see, but the final print from my Scanning Journeyposting.
You can see that my left eye is closed. This problem started to develop last September. I’m being treated at the Rodgers Eye Clinic at Anschutz Medical School (University of Colorado). The Tumor that was removed damaged my 3rd Cranial Nerve. A common side effect. But I have to wait one year to see if the nerve can recover somewhat on its own. I had a botox injection in March to see if the muscles could be relaxed to minimize what needs to be done in surgery. Surgery scheduled for August 24th. So there will be an update soon after that.
I was supposed to have 3 major signing dates this Spring. But the Coronavirus resulted in cancellations of all of my singing engagements. On the up side, I am doing voice rehabilitation with a local specialist. And she has plans for me to sing in a Wagner Chorus that she is training in the Fall. Let’s hope the Coronavirus is under control by then.
Add 3 months of Frugal Film postings and discuss–The Virus has not stopped my photographic practices. I am involved in the Frugal Film Project: camera less than $50 and films that the Group have agreed upon for quarterly shooting. Here My January through March Best of featuring Minolta 35 mm cameras and Ilford HP5:
JANUARY: Free Little Library Boxes
FEBRUARY: Valentine Roses
MARCH: Miscellaneous around the Neighborhood, Featuring the Sign…..
I’ve met an interesting group of semi-local photographers on Twitter. We have tentatively planned to meet in the Snowy Range of Wyoming in July. But no certainty of that right now. But we shall hope that I visit this spot below with new photo friends sometime soon:
And So, for my Birthday I celebrated with Family, with my eye improving each day,
…………and preparing for my follow-up medical visit to the Mayo Clinic:
I wanted to work on a “Facing 60” project. I also wanted to recap my Mayo Clinic experience. So for Part I, I am summarizing my treatment experience at the Mayo Clinic, and my recovery during the the first year through a series of portraits taken by my Husband.
Where it all Started on October 31, 2018:
Above, after my first 14 hour surgery. Puffy faced, but still with hair. I was growing my hair back in hopes of having small dread locks….but that won’t happen for a while.
I had a second surgery at the end of January (only 6 hours) and I was well enough by Valentine’s Day to Celebrate:
And actually I did quite a bit of Photography. I had several types of 35 mm film to test and write about. And I purchased a Fuji GW690 III to experiment with. See more here.
Facing the second surgery, this time through my forehead, I did a precut. The results of that below:
The shave, incision and surgical superglue:
Post Surgery #2
Below, I trimmed the back of my head as my hair begins to grow back so I can have even regrowth.
Keeping it short for Radiation
My last week of treatment; still no hair loss due to the radiation treatments; my special Proton Beam Mask in hand. I have to wear a hat to keep the UV away from my treatment areas when I’m outside:
And officially “Ringing Out” of the Mayo Clinic………
Had my follow-up in September and Stopped by Santa Fe, New Mexico to vist friend Nathan on the way home:
After My Mayo Check up in September……..I kept wearing my old favorite hat. Only a bit more hair happening here than in my pre-surgical haircut. My Surgeon successfully talked my out of trying a hair transplant. So we’re keeping as is. But by the end of September I was beginning to experience more serious vision problems with my left eye.
Alas, my vision travails continue….I am working with the Vision Clinic at Anschutz, the local University of Colorado Medical School. No worries, not going blind, but we’ll catch up on that in my next posting.
Reading Jim Grey’s recent Blog on the subject of Bathroom Mirror Selfies made me think about the ones I have done, and the ones that I want to do soon. He also mentioned the importance of Photography as Therapy., as any Art form can be. It certainly has worked that way for me, carrying me through serious illnesses twice now.
I am posting this to Celebrate my Birthday! Something that wasn’t assured just a few month ago. And I am going forth with my Series “Facing 60”. Starting here and now I will post self Portraits from time to time at different ages and stages……
About 10 years ago I was starting a self-portrait project called “Facing 50”. I had read an article by someone who had documented their life through self portraits taken over 20+ years. But my Project ended up being derailed by Breast Cancer. You think I would have learned from that and NOT tried to do a “Facing 60”. Undaunted, I started on that Series anyway, and it was derailed by a brain tumor that IS NOT Cancer, but nevertheless a problem. Having anything growing in your Brain that doesn’t belong there is a problem.
As you can see below I started the original Project on Ash Wednesday in 2010. In this case I was experimenting with my 20 ft cable release and my M645. A little soft focused because I had to ‘guestimate’ the distance. I featured one of my favorite images……
So, I had taken a few photos of myself before the current events. My husband had taken quite a few photos of me to post on my “Through the Glass” blog posts. To Summarize “Facing 60” will contain a variety of “Self-Portraits” and evolve into a Project Page.
So this is where I started 9 years ago when my Cancer treatment had ended, I was on the road to recovery and starting a new career:
And now for some Mirror-Selfies: One full-frame showing all the lovely bathroominess and the rest cropped Rollei TLR 6X6 to remove as much of the Bathroom as possible. I’m going to do a reshoot in this mirror when I get home. Next time I will not have the shower curtain line going through my head!
I’ve completed half of my Proton Bean Treatments. Wooooo Hoooo! So I’m sharing one of my husband’s digital images of: Argentine Giant (Echinopsis candicans). Happily blooming in a median at the Mayo Clinic.
Yes, this is me in my Proton Beam Radiation Mask. It was custom fit and molded to my face during the Radiation Simulation Session. You literally have to be tied down. The method is so precise that any motion would cause the beam to miss the tumor and hit something inside that you might not want to zap. The lasers and pink tape are used for rough alignment. Then low-level X-rays are used to “see” the four pins in my skull for fine alignment. If it looks uncomfortable, it is! And I go in twice a day for treatment. Best thing, I get to take it home with me. I’m going to make a shadow box and display it in my Living Room…….
The pressure from the Mask caused some swelling on the left side of my head to return. Ooops! But it is better this week. It’s stretched a bit and I’ve been working with the Technical Staff to get a better fit.
So I found out the details of the GLOW Club and will be attending on Thursday. Hopefully I can see the accelerator and take picture. I’ll post an update if pics are allowed. Fun Fact: you can actually see the blue flashes of the Proton Beam as it passes within the inter-cranial fluids. Your optic nerve can detect the flashes so your brain can ‘see’ it.
The focussed beam comes through the “screen” behind my head. The screen is so big because it needs to be focussed across a wide range of angles. It moves along the metal track for positioning. Below, a longer view showing the hand grips for more stability against motion. What you cannot see is that my feet beneath the blanket are tied down to the table also.
I’m keeping my hair very short so I can moisturized my scalp to minimize burning. In the image on the right, you can see a hint of the Surgery #2 Scar.
Keeping it short for Radiation
Below, a handy dandy summary graphic taken from the Mayo Clinic Website. CLICK HERE for better viewing.