Thursday, September 03, 2009

09/02/09 - Deafness?

This may seem very strange, it was to me, but now I'm completely deaf in my left ear and it's very likely that it will never regain any hearing capability. It happened very suddenly (overnight), and I'm sure that I'll miss it more and more as time goes on.

Radiation #3 initially impaired my hearing probably 10-20%, that was obvious because Laura kept having to repeat things that she said. My hearing was slightly impaired for over a month, then it got worse rather quickly, then I woke up deaf in my left ear.

I initially thought it was a physical blockage, such as a wax build-up, so I tried for a few days to clean out my ear. I also sent an email to my Neuro-oncologist's Physician's Assistant. Her response was pretty urgent. She thought the deafness could be due to spread of my disease. She suggested we speak to my Radiation Oncologist and see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist (doctor).

We called my Radiation Oncologist yesterday morning. He also suspected the radiation treatment #3 could have caused some systems to over-produce wax. His office was able to set me up with an appointment with an ENT yesterday afternoon.

So, I went to see the ENT yesterday. He ran multiple tests. There was no physical blockage (that would have been the best option). From his experience, he said that the radiation treatment to my type of brain tumor was the likely cause (the second-best cause). He also said that if it is the cause, it is VERY unlikely to recover, and nothing will help, even hearing aids. One good thing, he said if radiation is the cause, he's only see it effect one ear...

Well, I'm scheduled to get MRIs done next Tuesday. I should find out then whether the deafness is due to radiation treatment (yeah!) or the spread of my disease (boo!).

Approximate graph of my left ear hearing

The above graph (click to enlarge) is only approximate and is meant to show how sudden the deafness in my left ear happened. The ENT tested the hearing in my right ear and found it was normal, with some high-pitch impairment.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

08/04/09 - MRIs - Out with the Old, In with the New

Posted 9/2/09. I'm so on the ball (posting MRIs one month after they were taken). My last few posts had no pictures, so I wanted to get some up...

MRIs of my eradicated brain tumor

Above are MRIs of my brain tumor discovered in June. It is circled in green (two different views, click to enlarge) because it was "destroyed" by radiation #3. If it were still "alive" it would show up white due to the contrast (an injected chemical) highlighting active blood flow.

MRIs of my spinal cord tumors

Above are MRIs with (left) and without (right) contrast. The tumor circled in green was eliminated by radiation #3. The tumor circled in red was discovered on August 4th on the MRIs shown. Note that it appears as a white circle in the left image due to the addition of contrast.

So there is presently a new spinal cord tumor. Radiation decays over time, so my doctors decided to both create more time between radiation treatments and give myself and my body a break from treatment - so I've had the last month "off".

Next week (9/8/09), they are going to image the tumor via MRI again to see how it has progressed. I would assume I will receive more radiation after that, and probably more chemotherapy after the radiation. Although I'm likely wrong...