Health Issues – Toxo

The next installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

Finally home after a difficult six-month recovery from the bone marrow transplant, The Wife still was considered at risk of the leukemia recurring. I was still committed to being a good caretaker to her until the prognosis improved.

Not long after returning home, she started showing strange symptoms. Walking a bit crooked… spilling drinks… and, what really drove it home, aphasia. This is word loss. She knows what to say, but can’t find the right word to express it. Previously, she never seemed to be at a loss for words.

She had recovered enough, prior to these new symptoms, to drive herself to the leukemia follow-up appointments. On seeing her the morning of one of those appointments, I suggested that maybe I should skip work and drive her in. Now, she is a very stubborn, independent person, so it actually scared me a bit when she didn’t immediately balk at my suggestion and just meekly replied, “…sure…”.

The moment the nurse saw her walking, that leukemia appointment went out the window and she went in for an immediate neurologic exam. Sent to the emergency room, they called for a CAT scan. Now, the hospital we went to at the time had a notoriously long wait for CAT scans… we got bumped to the front of the line only 20 minutes later. Whoa. This must be serious.

Sent off to another hospital, where they took another CAT scan. Both at my hospital and this new one, they found a couple smudges on the pictures of her brain. Blood tests were inconclusive, so they had to do exploratory brain surgery. Yoicks!

Then it took three days to find out – – – toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is a one-celled critter (parasite) that likes to party down in the lungs, eyes, or brain. It usually comes from, believe it or not, cat crap. Many people have it, but a healthy immune system can keep it quiet—sort of in stasis. Those with a compromised immune system, like a recovering leukemia patient, can have the thing all of sudden become active. And party down actively it did. In her case, it attacked two parts of the brain, one on the surface and one deep inside in the Thalmus. The surface one wasn’t any danger. The Thalmus one was nasty.

Treatment is Sulfadiazine in high dosages. The Wife is allergic to sulfa. Crap. Luckily, they can (and did) do a desensitization process.

But, nonetheless, by the time the Sulfadiazine took effect (taking longer than usual, per the doctors), the Thalmus was damaged…scarred. Now, the Thalmus is like the switchboard of the brain. The brain does the thinking and sends commands to the body, all via the Thalmus. The part that ended up scarred controlled her right side. She effectively presented symptoms as if she had a mild stroke… right side control issues… eyes involuntarily crossed… even some short term memory loss… and that aphasia was still there. Crap.

…looks like my caretaker status will have to be extended…

Did I mention, “Crap!”?

Or to use a new favorite phrase from Silverstar: “Fuckity-Fuck-Fuck!”

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10 Responses to “Health Issues – Toxo”

  1. Parenthesis Says:

    If I were you I would, right about this time, be looking for a gun. To shoot myself, you understand. But good on you kid, for being a man and staying the course. Always a tough one. A friend of mine was involved in a car accident just after her varsity graduation, and left quadriplegic. Everyone booed and hissed at the boyfriend at the time, who once reality had set in, decided to head for the hills. I probably would have done the same. It takes someone special to stay the course [even if for the “wrong” reasons?] But still, what a shitty situation for both of you ….

  2. daisyfae Says:

    cats. i’ve always suspected they were sent from another planet to cause mayhem and suffering…

  3. kyknoord Says:

    From cat crap to CAT scans. Looks like Mr Whiskers has a lot to answer for.

  4. stopbouncing Says:

    Half of me wants to insert a Lab(rador) pun as well.

    Those “What to expect when you’re being treated for cancer” pamphlets need to be written more better [sic].

  5. silverstar98121 Says:

    Actually, my first question was going to be “Didn’t they tell her not to play in the cat crap?” They tell pregnant women these days. Until I googled it and saw that 11% of people are infected all the time.
    I worked on a neuro ward for 18 months. You have my empathy.

  6. Dolce Says:

    fuckitty fuck fuck is exactly right.

    Gnu. How about a hug and a large bottle of beer?

  7. thegnukid Says:

    parenthesis – ah, you see the dilemma. but, here i am, contemplating leaving. tune in tomorrow for more…

    daisyfae – …and to top it off, they think they’re gods or something. and that sleeping on the baby’s face thing? and i hear they have no souls, either…

    kyknoord – i’m writing my congressperson right after this to demand action. PETA be damned, something must be done to stop this CAT-astrophic problem.

    stopbouncing – glad you said it, or i would’ve had to do so… the transplant clinic actually tested her and said to watch for symptoms. like silverstar said, some have it anyway…

    silverstar – yep, they definitely did tell her. she was just one of those 11% you talked about.

    dolce – can i request multiple of both? i really need it. this is fucking hard, even just writing about it. but to live it… fuckity fuck fuck.

  8. nursemyra Says:


  9. leavingevangeline Says:

    Being the entirely self-involved person I am…your story reminds me that I don’t have it that bad…and I should just cheer up already.

    Except I have three crap producing cats. Shit. (No pun intended.)

  10. thegnukid Says:

    nm – thanks… muchly needed…

    le – no worries on the cats unless they’re outside cats… that’s where they pick up the evil bug… don’t minimize your own troubles, le. they are what they are.

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