How many people in the Bay Area know that the one of the best views of San Francisco – stretching from ocean to bay (looking west in posted photo) – is from the neuro-oncology/neuro-surgery clinical offices at UCSF? More poignantly, how may people have had the opportunity to enjoy it as many times as the Dual Gs? The female DG wondered these thoughts this morning, ensconced in her favorite cube on the 8th floor of 400 Parnassus (complete with great WiFi access).
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal form of brain cancer, so many of the patients who make their way to the 8th floor have, even with the world-class treatment offered by the team at UCSF, a limited life span. Unlike the male DG, they aren’t as lucky to find themselves still sitting in the waiting room three years after diagnosis (albeit the still serious but less lethal “stage 3 glioma”).
By the end of the day, she also knew within every bone and muscle, that being a patient (or the spouse of a patient) is exhausting. The Dual G’s totally agree on that. Today it was all about the male DG’s brain – MRI, appointment with neuro-oncologist Dr. Susan Chang and then Avastin infusion. For the record, the news was good; the MRI showed that the edema “cloud” (that is the female DG’s word for the liquid that had been surrounding the male DG’s largely quiescent tumor) had disappeared. They were pretty much aware of that, thanks to the male DG’s increased left side functionality, but it’s always good to get clinical validation.
What continues to surprise the female DG is the inconvenience of being a gimp, which she remains about 10 weeks after surgery to repair her left Achilles tendon. The conveniences of life – dropping the male DG off and parking the car blocks away and easily walking – is now an inconvenience of life. She hates that the tendon continues to bark. She is not a patient person. She knows there is no alternative but to continue healing a day at a time.
Five days after she shed the “clunker” and almost 10 weeks since having surgery on her left Achilles tendon, the female Dual G began twice a week physical therapy at the Diablo office in Atherton. She thinks she has a winner in physical therapist “T,” who completed a thorough range of motion and strength examination of not only on her surgically repaired left foot but on a her right foot (it needs some work too!) as well as other lower body muscle/tendon groups. (Looking over his shoulder, the male DG remarked, “She even looks a bit like Heidi” – his wonderful PT.) The good news from the female DG’s perspective was that no matter how T twisted, turned or pushed against the left foot/ankle and poked around the surgical site, she had no pain. At the end of this initial evaluation, her foot got iced along with some electrical stimulation that was supposed to make her feel like a pack of mice was running up and down her calf. (Not quite – even with the machine turned on high.) She eyed the really spiffy looking GameReady machine, which was in already in use by another client, hence the icing the old-fashioned way. Not many take home exercises after this first visit – more to come when she returns on Thursday.
The male Dual G has been diligently working away at cataloging his years of black and white photography (mainly 80s stuff) in their garage. A couple of days ago, he posted a photo of himself with the intriguing head: “That’s the man I feel in love with.” It’s created quite a stir – and a bit of horror from the woman (that being the female DG) who actually did the falling in love. Here’s the quick rundown:
– Noting the increased hits on gulker.com, the male DG thinks it’s because visitors are eager to find out the name of the man he fell in love with.
– Their rector thinks he looks like the Unibomber. (But where’s the hooded sweatshirt?)
– One close friend emailed that he looks like “an angelic Charles Manson.” (Yes, Charles was much more hollowed checked and wild eyed. And the young male DG was a clean cut preppie in the summer of ’69.)
What this all proves the female DG is not sure. That image is not everything? Or that image is everything?
The Dual Gs had a great day filled with family and friends. Thanks to all who took the time to share it with us. Of course, Grace was the star in their minds – and she loves it when her tunnel comes “alive” courtesy of Daddy.
The female DG headed to the Y this morning and actually managed to get a semblance of cardio workout on the bike – without any “comment” from her tendon. Being in athletic shoes is somewhat more comfortable than the clogs. But the clogs were the only option for wedding reception attire in the afternoon. After a full day, she’s looking forward to getting her foot elevated but is not near as uncomfortable as yesterday. Looks like progress but she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself.
This was true: by about 3:00 pm today the female DG had had it. It’s not that she was in pain. Everything just felt achy and heavy, and she was starting to wonder if she really would be able to take a step when she stood up. (She could.) By the time she got home a couple of hours later, the idea of the “clunker” (hideously ugly walking boot) sounded good. But in some kind of ironical delight, when she put it on, it really didn’t make things better – although getting up and down the two steps to the patio was probably done with more confidence. What she really needs is to get this leg up…soon!
The female DG thinks it’s pretty strange to be walking without cast or boot and is taking tentative steps around the house before heading out to the office. The sensation is hard to describe. There’s no pain but in a way there’s no there, there. It’s like the left calf doesn’t know what to do and interrupts a normal gait , although she’s not limping. Guess it’s another one step at a time deal.