Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's Journal
Written Jul 11, 2012 11:41pm by Kathleen Blanco
At my one year anniversary, I am truly blessed to have once again passed a battery of oncology tests showing no signs of metastasis. The tumor in my eye is responding to the radiation treatment and is now about half its original size. So I have another 6 month reprieve! Praise God!
I had an opportunity to be invited to be a keynote speaker earlier this year at the Ocular Melnoma Foundation's patient conference held in Washington DC where I heard several specialists present the latest information on treating metastasis from this eye cancer.
This was a sobering experience. There is not much good news to report other than there are efforts by a few dedicated researchers to find cures for this potentially devastating disease mostly using money raised privately and specifically dedicated to finding a cure for ocular melanoma.
The large pharmaceuticals have little or perhaps no research money dedicated to "orphan diseases" like ocular melanoma that affect so few people since there is little to no potential return on their investment. In other words, they invest in seeking cures for diseases that affect a lot of people so they can make a lot of money off the sale of drugs.
As you may remember, 50% of all ocular melanoma cases are likely to spread as an agressive melanoma to the liver for which there is no known cure. I met some very courageous, wonderful people who also have this cancer. Some have metastacized, some have not. Please keep all of us in your prayers.
Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. And my prayers go to all of you who have been diagnosed or have someone close to you that has suffered from ocular melanoma. Don't forget your own annual dilated eye exam, either. Make your appointment today!
Your prayers have been sustaining and are deeply appreciated. Thank you!
Six Months Down and a Lifetime to Go!!
Written Feb 3, 2012 3:34pm by Kathleen Blanco
I am definitely late posting since my last exam was right before Christmas but the holiday season was in high gear for the Blancos with all of our children here for several weeks. We loved every minute of it and stayed incredibly busy.
I have continued monthly visits to my local opthalmologist who declared in November he thought my retina was flattening out and pigmentation was fading...and he saw that with a visual exam. That sounded like good news to me but I knew we needed pictures to prove it.
When I returned to Memphis in mid December Dr. Wilson and his team confirmed Dr. LaHaye's observations. It seems the radiation is doing its intended job. The tumor in my eye is not growing and continues to shrink. My vision is improving as my eye heals. I also had a CT Scan, x-rays and blood work done and Dr. Pallera the oncologist finds no sign of metastasis! Praise the Heavens!
Don't forget to get your dilated eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy, even if you have perfect vision. Never take your eyes for granted, ever!!
Thank you for your continued prayers.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
My First Report Since Radiation
Written Aug 29, 2011 10:28am by Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Dear Friends: Thank you, again, for you sustaining prayers. I have had little to report in the past few weeks as my eye slowly healed from the plaque radiation treatment done in Memphis. I was not bed-ridden, but I did spend the past weeks being extra kind to myself by following doctors orders: 1)not lifting heavy items (you suddenly realize bags of groceries are heavier than you should be lifting); 2) keeping my head above my heart (which is harder than you think when some incidental falls to the floor and the tendency is to bend down and swoop it up instead of sitting and carefully reaching for it); 3)and getting more rest including day-time naps (a luxury I had never experienced). My eye no longer looks like a Raisinet. It looks like a normal eye. My vision in my treated eye is still not back to what it was before radiation, but it is good enough for me to resume driving without scaring myself. I am checked regularly by my local doctors to ward off unforseen problems and after waiting 8 weeks, I took another trip to Memphis so Dr. Wilson could check my progress.
The odds of radiation reducing these tumors are very high, but a small percent of patients do not respond well and have to have the cancerous eye removed, afterall. I was praying I not fall into that rare number, so with some last minute nervousness, Raymond, Karmen and Monique and I left for Memphis. After ultrasound and other eye tests I was relieved to learn that the tumor in my eye which first measured at 6mm high is now 4.5mm. Shrinking is a good thing and I pray this continues. Hallelujah! I still have swelling in the macula and Dr. Wilson gave me a shot (yep, in the eyeball!--OUCH! ) to help the swelling go away. Of course my next prayer mission is for the swelling to go down as this is what is affecting the clarity of my vision.
I will continue to see my local eye doctor for periodic exams and return to Memphis in December for comprehensive tests like CT scans, liver studies, etc., to detect the presence of matastasis if it exists (I PRAY NOT!) and to determine whether the tumor continues to shrink (I PRAY SO!)
i look quite normal, but still have a bit of fatigue to deal with. Keep me in your prayers along with all our friends who suffering debilitating or dangerous illnesses. Other than being somewhat tramatized by all of the above, my family is doing well. God bless all of you, and again, thanks for your hevenly petitions in my name. Love you all, Kathleen