So, I had my eye check up last week in the hospital. For the past 3 years or so, my check ups had reduced to only one every 6 months- which was a welcome change to the 6-weekly ones I had during the “acute phase” for a few years after my treatments.
Memories of last year
Last year, you might remember that I had a bit of a scare just before Christmas. I had accidentally discovered while going through my files that my extraocular tumour hadn’t been monitored and that we had no clue whether that tumour had grown, shrunk or was behaving in other mysterious ways. Thank goodness, all turned out great and there wasn’t even a sign of a lesion any more. The tissue around where the tumour used to be was completely normal.
The check up in May, just after the launch of “The Ketogenic Kitchen”, went very well, too. My vision was even improving, which was fabulous. My consultant congratulated me on the book and stated how proud he was of all my research, which he said I’d implemented in an extraordinarily “balanced and cautious way”.
Hemorrhage near the optic nerve
But this time round, I was super anxious the two days before the appointment. This is very unusual because I’d been very relaxed about it in the past 2 years. But given my stress levels in the past 6 months since the book publication, including bullying by the local dieticians and the cancer society (how ironic!) and also concerns around my daughter (that’s a “story” for another time), I was painfully aware that my levels of self-care had plummeted to near 0.
My gut feeling was right once more. While my tumour has continued to shrink and everything is calm on the cancer front, I’ve developed a hemorrhage near the optic nerve. In other words, this is a small bleed inside the eye. My consultant isn’t overly concerned and just wants to retest me soon. He’s of the opinion that these are still side effects from the treatments I received- plaque radiotherapy and proton beam therapy. Not surprisingly, my eye is much more susceptible to any kind of damage after 3 surgeries, 2 biopsies, stitches from the radioactive plaque and the markers that are still stitched to the back of my eye. But my alarm bells have gone off and I know I have to become way more proactive again and not become complacent.
I’m considering hyperbaric oxygen now to help heal the haemorrhage and to support me in general. Of course I’m also researching other strategies. My xmas present- an Oura ring– will arrive soon and will hopefully help me better monitor some lifestyle factors, including stress triggers and sleep.
I’m convinced that some emotional factors have played into my wellbeing lately, which I also want to work on.
So, all in all, I consider the check up last week as a welcome warning shot to better prioritise my own health and wellbeing again. To identify and remove some stress triggers.
But the recent check up is not all bad, of course. The priority is that the tumour is still behaving. This is a lot to be grateful for! And we all need small reminders that we “can’t have it all”, need to slow down regularly and re-assess our situation.
In these 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, I’m trying to take it as easy as possible, stay away from negativity (especially on social media- sometimes I think, this should be called anti-social media!!!), spend time with my family, catch up with friends, reflect on the past, difficult year and plot a bit for 2017- I know I won’t be able to help myself 😉 There are some incredibly exciting projects coming up, which also fills me with joy and gratitude!