Friday, April 15, 2011

The Eyes Have It

So, who knew that cancer could impact your vision!? I certainly didn’t until this morning.

I visited a new eye doctor today and expected to be treated like cattle … after all; this is The Eye Center that always has those iLASIK advertisements on HOT99.5.

With my new VSP insurance in-hand and a recommendation from my friend Kelli, I decided after two years of no eye exams to try a new practice and doctor. Diem Nguyen, O.D. was simply amazing. She spent time discussing my medical history with me and the side effects related to the chemotherapy, radiation, and the medication I am now on called Tamoxifen.

She did a normal exam, checked my contacts and vision, but then she did a medical exam of my retina. Apparently, a side effect of Tamoxifen is damage to the retina. She said that my vision was still 20/20 (with my contacts), nothing had changed, and my retina looked healthy. However, unlike a non-cancer person, I should have my yearly exam, but also a medical exam (covered by health insurance, not eye insurance), and have x-rays of my retina done. This way, they can compare over the years to make sure my retina is not compromised from the medication.

I will be going back to visit Diem Nguyen, O.D. next week to pick up my contacts and have x-rays of my retina done. She tells me that it doesn’t hurt and all they do is put drops in my eyes, but after several years of procedures and surgeries I still get a bit anxious. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The good news is that I am a great candidate for LASIK surgery! It’s something I have thought of a lot over the last few years and perhaps it’s something I’ll have done in the next year or so. Makes me nervous (although everything does these days), but it’s something fun to consider doing for myself.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Hereby Adhere to No Funny Business

So here’s the latest … after consults with both my women’s physician Dr. Ivey-Crowe and my oncologist, Dr. David Heyer, I am going to start taking a prenatal vitamin. (I’ll wait a moment to let the awww’s and squeals of my loving friends run their course.)

Now before you get all baby-crazy on me and start monogramming onesies (love you, Kere!) the purpose for this is for three reasons:
  1. My body is lacking some vital nutrients from going through chemotherapy, so I take a lot of pills (multivitamin, C, iron, probiotics, etc.). Taking a prenatal vitamin will boost my vitamin and iron intake. Probiotics should help my digestive track resume balance since I suffer from horrible IBS attacks and nausea nowadays.
  2. It should make my hair, skin and nails look amazing for my wedding day. Let’s be honest, that’s reason enough.
  3. And lastly, IF I decide after two years to try and have children I will have given myself the best possible chance by getting really healthy with vitamins, nutrition and exercise. I will do my part as best I can and God-willing, Matt and I will have a family in the future. If not, we will do a lot of babysitting for our amazing friends.
    My oncologist, Dr. Heyer made sure that I was aware that I am his for two more years; meaning that I need to stay on the Tamoxifen for a full five years. I assured him that there would be no funny business. 
    (I think my mother has timed it all out that between coming off of the Tamoxifen at age 32 and my next surgery around the age of 40, I could comfortably have two children. At which point she will be retired and can provide daycare. You have to love the optimism of my family.)

So between both of my doctors and a little bit of research I have decided to try Trimedisyn. The reason for this is because it is all natural and has all the ingredients that I am missing. I’m going to sound like a spokesperson for a second, but most prenatal vitamins have increased folic acid, calcium and iron. Trimedisyn is packed with 19 other essential vitamins and minerals, 10 probiotics, CoQ10, DHA, ginger root, inositol, and choline. Ginger root eliminates morning sickness, but also nausea that typically accompanies both IBS and iron supplements. And after reading some reviews women are reporting their asthma and allergies significantly improving or disappearing completely. *fingers crossed*

I’ll keep you posted on how the Trimedisyn works.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love After Cancer

Matt: “Are we going to be together forever?”

As we walked down the quaint streets of Killarney, Ireland Matt and I chatted while enjoying the street- lamp lit scenes of historic statues and a beautiful, old cathedral built back in the 1300s.

me: “I sure hope so.”

Although I had to admit, his weird nervous behavior and biting attitude was concerning over the last few days and the fact that he wouldn’t give me his jacket on the bus when I was cold was just plain strange. I was a bit aggravated with him to say the least.

Matt: “Why don’t we make it official?”

Matt had stopped walking and I felt the hand he was holding pull me back.
I turned and saw Matt on bended knee.

me: “Are you kidding?”

About a month earlier Matt had gotten down on his knee in the kitchen of our home which set my heart racing. Since Matt is over a foot taller than I am, he occasionally will get down on his knees to hug me in a joking manner, so I figured this was another one of those silly moments. Since I had just kissed a statue of Johnny O'Leary (renowned Irish accordion player in Killarney) and sang Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ to a statue of Jesus, I figured this funny gesture made perfect sense for us.

Matt: “No. Will you marry me?”

Matt pulled the little square box from his jacket pocket and opened it to reveal my mother’s engagement ring. It just so happened at that very moment an old Irish man drove by seeing Matt’s proposal. He continued circling until he saw that I responded, “Of course” and hugged Matt. The old man began honking his horn wildly and giving us repeated thumbs-ups.

We walked a little ways and once the proposal set in and I asked to sit on a bench outside a row of shops and pubs.

me: “You know, I did this before once and it didn’t go so well.”
Matt: “I know.”
me: “So, I’m sorry if I didn’t respond right …”
Matt: “Jennifer, relax. We are still just Matt and Jen. Nothing has changed other than I have given you a ring promising you that I will always love you. We will go home at the end of the week to our little condo with our little dog … we are still the same people.”
me: “I know. But, you know I’m really sick …”
Matt: “Jennifer, I know. Whether I have 2 years with you or 20, it’s more time than I would have without you. You are perfectly imperfect and I want to be with you.”
I began crying … the anxiety melted away.
me: “I know you know all these things, but I hope you understand I just needed to say that.”
Matt: “OK. Is everything OK now?”
me: “Yes. Let’s go find a pub and celebrate.”