Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Got the Big C

When a blogger stops posting for a while there is always the concern that something unfortunate has happened to them so I pray that isn't the case with you and it is just a case of being too busy.
This blog is precious to me . . . so much of what I hold dear, things that give pleasure to me are in this blog. The commenter above notes I have been absent and I have. So an explanation is in order ...

A little over a month ago I started having renewed episodes of cluster headaches after having been free from these debilitating headaches for ten years. When I did suffer from clusters it was usually during the months of February and November (obviously a sunlight exposure factor). Being a practicing nudist and actively seeking whole-body exposure to the sun year round might be an explanation of why I had been episode-free for years . . . but I more likely suspect doctor-suggested dietary changes away from chocolate, nuts, aged cheeses and red wines (which all contain large amounts of the same amino acid (tryptophan).

Diet has not changed and I get plenty of sunlight (as you all should know). So what was causing these acute (and out-of-cycle) episodes of cluster headaches . . . so frequent that I've spent most of my time in my house, huddled under a shower digging my fingernails into my thighs to deal with the pain? I ended up in the emergency room a couple of times and am now back on the self-injector of sumatriptan.

My primary referred me to a neurologist (coincidently, the same one I dealt with years ago and whom originally diagnosed clusters). This time I went through that torus-shaped monstrosity (MRI) and a follow-up PET-scan. They found a growth pressing against the side of the pituitary gland (and later, a smaller one near the hypothamlus). Last week they biopsied the growth near the pituitary (they go up through the nostrils). Friday I got some unsettling news . . . it is malignant.

So what I face now is . . . can they get it out? What kind of prognosis? I don't have all those answers yet. The doctors are being candid and I'm not really one to panic or go into a fugue. A treatment plan is being drawn up. Chemo, fortunately, is out . . . since that witches brew will not pass the blood-brain barrier. What we are discussing is surgery (probably the same route as the biopsy) with radiation treatment to shrink what remains.

The prognosis is fair. My father had a tumor on his pituitary removed (which makes me wonder how much genetics plays into this) and he lived another fifteen years with hormone-replacement therapy to shadow for a non-functional master gland.

More importantly, I have to deal with how others are taking the diagnoses . . . particularly my loved ones. That is where my energy has been for the last several weeks . . . plus just trying to get a modicum of normalcy back into my daily life. I still teach . . . and I still defy those who think I should relax and take care of myself . . . by heading up into the mountains and enjoying a long, solitary nude hike. And, I still have many personal obligations to people who have no inkling of what's going on.

I love this blog and love every comment that readers post. Just knowing that more than a few have discovered the joy of nudism through this blog is wonderful reward and validation of my decision to 'expose' myself in such a public venue to prove the point that nudism is not shameful, is not vulgar or lewd . . . that nudism enables you to accept yourself. I love every chance I can get out there and enjoy nudism. You can be sure that I will continue to do so and post about this great passion.

Till later just bear with me 'cause I will hike and soak and nude recreate as often as I can and post about them.

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