Posts Tagged ‘toxoplasmosis’

Health Issues – Recap

July 22, 2008

Yet another installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

Ed. Note: This post is written to wrap my own brain around all that’s been going on in my life the last 15 years. It is not intended to garner sympathy or validation from others (though I’d be lying to say I didn’t appreciate it). It’s really so I can recount my life experiences in order to validate my thoughts and move forward with my own life.

Okay, so let’s recap…

GnuKid’s marriage loses its heart and soul.

GnuKid and The Wife hit the counseling circuit, marriage and personal.

The Wife contracts leukemia.

GnuKid takes on caretaker role through leukemia treatment.

The Wife contracts toxoplasmosis.

GnuKid’s tenure as caretaker is extended.

Yep, that’s the quick summary of the last few posts (and some of you may be wishing I’d left it at that level of detail…tough, this isn’t about you…Nyaah!!).

The addendums: some other personal issues going on through this 15 year time frame which may have had a mild influence on my mental well being (presuming there was any to begin with)—

GnuKid’s left eye gets a detached retina. They have to pop it out, freeze dry the rips to keep them attached, put a band around the ol’ eyeball, and put it back. My vision is saved, but my prescription goes way up.

Most likely due to stress, GnuKid develops a bad case of Urticaria (otherwise known as “Hives”). Swelling (and not in the good place), itching, and general misery. This lasted about three months, during which there were quite a few meds.

GnuKid’s right eye gets a detached retina. First fix attempt is to pump a huge gas bubble into the eye to hold the rips against the eyeball, requiring me to lie face down for 48 hours. When that doesn’t work, they resort to lasers, welding the rips back into my eyeball.

Mom passed away.

GnuKid is diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart which reduces its effectiveness. (See? I knew I had a big heart.) Luckily, in my case it is mild and its effects are controlled with exercise and diet.

One of the hives medicines, a steroid, resulted in my developing nasty ass cataracts, first in my left eye, then a few months later in my right. Both cataracts removed surgically… thankfully on separate occasions. (On a good note to this, the doc inserted intraocular lenses which meant no more glasses [other than reading glasses which I would’ve ended up with anyway]! And, it adds a certain twinkle to my eyes as well!).

And you already know about my sister’s lung cancer (remission) and my brother’s brain cancer (still fighting)…

So… I think I’m quite ready for some health and happiness in my life, thank you very much – – –


Health Issues – Toxo

July 21, 2008

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!”