On our way to Mayo

So if I can do this without getting totally carsick, I’m going to try to do a journal entry while Rich drives us to Rochester for our first day at Mayo. Today should be pretty easy: blood work, something called “computer”, and a ton of pictures of my eye, including a fluorescein angiogram. I had that last week – they shoot you up with dye and then put an industrial strength flashbulb one inch from your eye and flash it at you while you look various directions. Not enjoyable, but not hard either.

For those of you not on Facebook with me, I had tests done last week to see if the cancer has spread. At this point I’m not expecting to get my results until Wednesday when I see my oncologist. I’m not happy about waiting, but it doesn’t look like I have a choice.

Ok, ok, I’ll try to do the backstory now… This came completely out of the blue. Would it be inappropriate to say it blindsided me? Well anyway, I noticed about a week and a half ago that I had this weird shimmery effect in the periphery of my left eye. Then, the next night when I was lying in bed, I noticed a small shadow in my vision. The next day I looked it up on google, and after brushing off ocular melanoma, saw detached retina as a possibility. Now, my mom has had a retina tear, so I decided I’d better get in to the doctor in case I had that. That is the only reason I went in, because the symptoms really weren’t all that bad. The ophthalmologist examined me and was very quiet. When he finished he said, “I’m going to take some notes, and then I’m going to talk to you.” My heart sank a little. I knew something wasn’t good. He turned to me, and as gently as possible said, “There’s a mass.” He went on to explain that he was very certain it was melanoma, but I needed to see a retina specialist to confirm the diagnosis. He said a lot of other things too, but I don’t think I heard them, because by now I had this tingly, weak feeling flooding me from my head to my toes. I was getting hot and cold and the doctor’s voice was echoey. He said he understood I probably had a lot of questions, but I really didn’t. I was too shocked, too numb. He said he would pray for me.

The next day I went to the retina specialist and he confirmed the diagnosis, and gave me a card with the name of my ocular oncologist. That was the first time it hit me. I looked up at Rich, held up the card and whispered, “I have an oncologist.”

After that it was a whirlwind of telling people and making appointments for tests. Then, in the middle of that, we got a text from Riley: a classmate had died in a car accident that morning. We went and picked him up from school, because the one-two punch was too much for him. It’s still proving to be a weighty thing for him as he grieves the loss of a friend, and fears the loss of his mom.

His friends have been amazing. And his teachers too. And his small group leader. And his coach. His school counselor….We are grateful.

We’re arriving in Rochester so I’ll leave the writing for now. In future entries I will explain what I know about ocular melanoma, as well as my treatment. Let me know if there’s anything else I need to cover – I’ve been so scatterbrained from the stress and not sleeping and eating that I can’t always remember what I’ve told people. Thanks for being patient with me 🙂

Let’s start at the very beginning…

This was the first post on my Caringbridge site…


…ok let’s not. Not yet anyway. This is just a quick entry to assure you that I really will post stuff, probably a lot of stuff. But I can’t quite do it yet. When you are diagnosed with cancer, there are suddenly a lot of things that you need to take care of NOW… as well as a lot of waiting and worrying. Neither lends itself very well to thoughtful journalling, which is what I hope to do here. My dear friend Sara told me tonight that she’d help with this, so you can expect to hear from her sometimes. She writes really well, you’ll enjoy it.

So thanks again for stopping by. I swear there will be some actual information here soon. In the meantime, please keep my family in your prayers.