Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cancer Recurrence: Catching Up

Hello everyone… I know I’ve been out of touch for awhile, quite a bit happened and between medical appointments, work, and being so darn tired I wasn’t able to keep up with emails, Facebook and blogging.  So, to start catching you up, here is a summary of what occurred between mid-April thru mid-July.

After my 2nd round of chemo I ended up in Urgent Care with a bronchial infection and missed a whole week of work. The following weekend I was in Urgent Care again for middle ear inflammation. Even though I was suffering from a bronchial infection and middle ear inflammation, the Urgent Care doctor did not give me antibiotics. I was sick, in pain, and was having real trouble hearing. On April 19th I verbally browbeat the after hours answering service for the cancer center into having the on-call doctor call me, even though it was not technically an emergency. He called me in a Z-pak, thank God. Two days later I was in to see my family doctor for fluid in my ears and blood in my urine. I was also having bad pains in my right shoulder and neck area, especially when I coughed.

On April 25th mom had to put her boxer, Sassy, down because of cancer.

On April 27th my Missy Bug died.

Somehow, for some reason, she got over the fence and out front into the road. Mom found her and buried her before I got home, she didn’t want me to see her like that. Missy was my baby girl, it just broke my heart to lose her. I still choke up and cry when I think about her. One day at the end of August, Simon brought a young bunny in through the cat door, I rescued it and tried to warm it up to release in the morning but it ended up dying. I walked down to discard it into the woods at the back of the property, on my way back I spotted the marker mom put at Missy’s grave. I hadn’t been to see it yet, it was still too hard, I cried the whole way back to the house.

On April 29th I went down for my third round of chemo, mom had something going on so my sister, Laura, took me. When they were doing the pre-chemo blood work, I complained about the pain and having a little trouble swallowing. The nurse went and got someone to come look at me… she came, took a look, asked me some questions and said, “We think you have a blood clot.” The sent me directly over to have an ultrasound done. Yep, I had a clot! Poor Laura… this wasn’t what she expected. I was admitted into the hospital immediately with a very large blood clot in my juggler. The clot was branching up towards my head, down my arm, and down towards my chest where the Port was. I was scheduled for surgery on May 2nd to replace my Port. I was in so much pain I was crying… I was on a Heparin drip to thin my blood (which also caused me to swell even more), but the pain was terrible. It wasn’t until late that night when a nurse finally called the doctor and said they needed to be giving me something for the pain. I was put on morphine, then Percocet was added, and eventually a muscle relaxant (can’t remember the name). That went on between Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. Monday morning I had the surgery to replace my port, but when he got in there, there was so much scar tissue… he said it appeared that my body was rejecting the port. So he removed the port from my chest and put a PICC line in my left arm. When he removed the port a huge part of the clot came out with it, which caused most of the pain to disappear. I had my 3rd round of chemo that evening. I ended up staying two more days, I was released from the hospital on May 4th around 6 PM.

My PICC Line

Port Scars

My swollen feet/ankles/legs. I couldn't wear my shoes, I had to buy a pair that were a size larger so I had something to put on my feet.  I also wore my slippers alot.

These are the flowers dad sent me when I was in the hospital... came with a little stuffed cat, but I didn't get a pic of the cat.  It's on my shelf now.

My oncologist wanted me off work for two weeks, but I went back a few days earlier on a 6 hour schedule. I was on major blood thinners, one is a shot mom had to give me in the stomach every night. You should’ve seen all the bruises on my stomach. I tired very easily, which is why I wasn’t online for quite awhile... just gettin' through the day was hard enough. The biggest blood clot came out when they removed my port, but I still had three smaller ones that will take awhile to dissolve. They also switched the shots I was taking… from Arixtra to Fragmin. I developed a severe reaction from it, I had yeast all through my system, it was coming out all over. I had a vaginal yeast infection, a yeast infection on my side and under my breast, on my legs between my ankles and my knees, and in my esophagus. It was awful.

Bruise from stomach shot.
(mom felt so bad)

May 20th was my 4th round of chemo. Six days later I was in the Emergency Room for shortness of breath. It was after hours and the PA wanted to be sure a blood clot hadn’t traveled to my lungs. With each round of chemo I was getting more and more short of breath and they weren’t sure if I would notice the difference. It wasn’t a blood clot in my lungs.

Because of the PICC line, they stepped up my chemo schedule from every three weeks to every two weeks.

June 3rd had my 5th round of chemo.  This FROG was given to me by another woman receiving chemo.  Her name is Michelle Scott and she started collecting frogs, adding the handwritten ribbons and giving them to chemo patients.

FROG = Fully Rely On God

On the 6th I was back in the ER, sat in the waiting room for 5 hours. Finally got out of there about 2:00 in the morning.

June 17th was my 6th and final round of chemo. That evening /early morning, I got so sick and started throwing up. I threw up so hard I pee’d on the bed, down myself, and on the floor… I saw blood in the trash can and thought I was throwing up blood, turned out to be my nose that was bleeding (remember, I’m on blood thinners)… I also broke blood vessels in my eye. So then I had to clean myself up, clean the floor, and change my bed. What a horrible night!

June 30th I had a Nuclear Stress Test on my heart to see if there was any damage done… still trying to find out why I was so short of breath, also had swelling and pressure in my chest area. Tests came back fine… my heart was good. I was put on Hydrochlorothiazide and Furosamide (water pill/lasik) for the swelling, also given Potassium pills.

July 1st I had a PET scan. July 8th I saw my oncologist for the results and follow-up. I was informed that I “appeared” to be in remission. The mass in my lymph node had decreased significantly, although still slightly swollen in size... but that is normal because the node had been stretched very big for a long period of time, sometimes it never goes back to normal size. The lumps in my arm had also disappeared. I was set up to have a PET scan in three months time (Oct), by then it would give us a better idea. That was also my last day at work, I was laid off.

July 12th I had my PICC line removed and had a Doppler (?) to check my blood clots. They were smaller but still there. Had to remain on the crapping blood thinners that make me swell horribly. July 26th I had a D’dimer (?) On July 28th I found out my unemployment was being held up because of a mistake/miscommunication with the staffing company I worked for. I talked with the company the next day and it was cleared up, but it took until September 7th for the unemployment agency to correct it and release my payments.


Miss Rando said...

oh dear. i am so sorry for you! I really hope you will get better!

Michelle said...

Thank you, Miss Rando. I visited your blog... loved your photos, very beautiful. I became a follower and will be keeping my eye out for more of your interesting and beautiful photos.

I am working on a post to update from mid-July to now. That way I can get back on track by posting more regularly.