Now, I'm really pushing it, I know.
Listen to this story. In it lies some great lessons.
So, back in May of '08 my father was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. What that means is that he not only had prostate cancer in his prostate– it had metastasized to his bones. Yuck.
Keep reading, this story isn't meant to depress you.
If any of you know my pops, you can attest– he's the youngest, happiest, hippest and most fit 61 year old man you've ever met. The only glitch– he has cancer.
Each day is precious. Don't you forget that.
Anyway, treatment thus far has been “successful” and nearly 10 months later, he still feels great and hasn't any bone pain (which is a typical and not so great symptom of his type of cancer). Sure, he has some side effects from the cancer… but, he manages.
About two weeks ago, he wakes up with a toothache, turns out he has an abscess in one of his canines. Not a big deal. He goes to the dentist, begins taking a course of amoxicillin and schedules a root canal. The day after he discovers the tooth abscess, he wakes up with double vision. It doesn't go away, it gets worse as the day progresses. A few days later it's still present. While he's in lecture (yes, he's also a full-time college student at the UCSD School of Engineering… can you say rock star?!) he can't make out the professor nor the notes on the board. So, he makes his way to the Student Health Services Center on campus. Knowing my dad's history of prostate cancer (and the fact that aneurysm's run in the family) they immediately conduct several neurological tests on him and send him for an MRI. Two radiologist's look at the image and they confirm the cancer has NOT spread to his brain.
They do, however, see a tinsy-tiny spot on the scan that could be an aneurysm. They also see some sort of mucus-like thing in his sinus cavity. Either of which could be the cause of the double vision.
His doctors recommend a follow up with a neurologist and an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor). Rightly so.
In the meantime, he tells me about the MRI findings, to which I say (with my heart lodged in my throat) USE THE NETI POT. I was thinking, with using the Neti Pot we could at least rule out whether or not it was that mucus like thing they saw on the MRI that was causing the double vision. As, I've read that sinus infections (aka a buildup of mucus in the sinus cavity) can cause double vision.
He doesn't listen to me.
When will they ever learn!?
On Wednesday–still seeing double–he heads to the neurologist. After some dialogue and several minutes of neurological testing the neurologist concludes, and I quote, “The double vision is DEFINITELY a neurological issue.” He also said something to the effect that the cancer has spread to his brain and is the probable cause of the double vision.
THUMP! My poor daddy's heart must have shattered right then and there.
My father was determined the neurologist was mistaken. Dad is an educated man and he knows through his own research that his type of cancer RARELY ever spreads to the brain…plus, TWO radiologists reviewed his MRI and said “no brain cancer.” So he does what any father should do–he listens to his daughter (me) and uses the Neti Pot.
The double vision is gone.
Power of the mind? Maybe. The mucus-like thing in his sinus cavity? Most likely.
It is now Friday and he has used the Neti Pot two times a day and the double vision has yet to come back. In fact, yesterday he felt so good he went for a three mile run.
Neurological issue my arse.
Listen, I know we're by no means out of the woods. That small spot on his brain could be nothing–it could be something. But, at the very least we can be sure that his double vision is NOT a function of something growing in his brain. His double vision is NOT a neurological issue. That neurologist misdiagnosed my father.
Dad is going to go for yet another opinion, and he has an appointment with his oncologist today. But, as it stands right now– I think we have learned some major lessons:
1. Always get a second, even third opinion
2. The Neti Pot rocks
3. Listen to your children 🙂
4. When it comes to your health– be your own advocate. Look under every rock, uncover every clue and for crying out loud stay positive!
Have a great weekend.