Friday, May 28, 2010

Well, I need to update everyone. This started out to be a confusing week because they had the start of chemo before the placement of the port, which was backwards. But after several phone calls we got that straightened out. I had the outpatient surgery for the placement of the port yesterday. You would think after all of the past 6 weeks, I would be a little more realistic about these 'little procedures'. But I am still not very smart. I went in yesterday morning @ 8:45 am. The surgery itself was only about an hour. But when I came to after the anesthesia my neck has never hurt so badly (and I know what neck pain is!). So after several doses of pain medication (and as Barbara says - drawing circles on the ceiling) we finally got it somewhat under control. But because they had given me so much drug, I had to stay for a little while longer. The port sits right below my collar bone off toward my left arm. There is a small catheter which exits the port and is threaded into an artery that goes to my heart. All of this is under the skin, so you can't see anything except a new glued shut incision, a lot of bruising, and a bump in my chest. But I guess in order to get there is runs down my neck. And I guess they twist ones head to the side to make all of this happen. No wonder my neck hurt. One of the nurses said they quite often have patients complain about the pain. (Really??) Anyway, after I got so that I could get dressed and into a wheel chair I came home. I went straight to bed and stayed there pretty much until I got up this morning. I made sure I was adequately drugged up for pain and sleep last night. I guess I was sleeping so soundly (and snoring) that Steve had to go sleep in the other room. How embarrassing!!. Anyway, the pain is better today. I imagine it will continue to get better each day. Steve took the day off work today. We went to run a couple of errands this morning and by the time we got back I just collapsed into bed again. It is now about 12:40 and I finally got up. Just in time to go for my first chemo treatment. I have to leave in about an hour to go back to City of Hope and get shot up with some disgusting cocktail of chemicals that is going to make me better. I sure hope so. Anyway, it is a holiday weekend so I get an extra day to get my act back together. So, I will re-post after this next new adventure. Thank you to everyone who continues to send cards and food. And to Barbara who spent the whole day at the hospital with me, got my prescriptions filled, and got me tucked into my own bed. THANK YOU.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Well, just a quick update. A few things have changed. The powers that be decided that they didn't need to do the bone biopsy. HURRAH!! ( I don't know how to spell that). Instead they are just going to start chemotherapy, and then I suppose re-scan me to see what if anything has changed. Because I had lymph nodes removed from both sides I am never, for the rest of my life, supposed to have IV's, blood draws, blood pressures, or injections of any kind in my arms. So they have to put in a port to take care of all of these issues. I thought that was going to happen today, but it didn't. At this point I am scheduled to have the port put it next week (which they informed me today is a surgery with general anesthesia) and then start chemo. So, next week will be an interesting week. Each week continues to get better, although I can't believe how slow it is. I still need my nap each day, but I can generally get by with only one per day. The pain level is going down, except for these little boob fills. This week I decided that I would only get half of what I got last week, and it is still very sore. I am not going to get a fill next week. With chemo and a minor surgery, I think that is enough for one week. So. . . that about catches everything up. As always, thank you to everyone who continues to support me. I really do appreciate all of the cards, telephone calls, rides to the doctor, and kind words. They mean a lot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Well, it is time to update. Because some of the lymph nodes that were removed during my surgery were positive for cancer, I was scheduled for a CT scan and a bone scan. I had those tests last Tuesday. On Friday Dr. Kruper called to tell me that the CT scan was "unremarkable", but the bone scan was "troublesome". She was somewhat confused because of the contradiction in the two tests. The bone scan was suspicious for bone metastases throughout the rib cage and there was a small focus on the left iliac wing (my hip). So, on Monday I met with Dr. Somlo. He is my oncologist. He also expressed concern over the reports. So, I have to have a bone biopsy, probably on my ribs. I am so thrilled. I am waiting to hear when this has been scheduled. It will probably be within a week. Dr. Somlo also needed to get additional tests on the original tissues to determine if this cancer is "estrogen receptive". Once he has that information, along with the bone biopsy, they will tell me when chemotherapy will start, what kind it will be and how long it will last. So, we are at a hurry up and wait game again.
I am feeling better. I have gone back to work, albeit very slowly. Yesterday I made (1) pillow and today I made (3). Such progress!! But I am trying to get back into the swing of things. The gal that works for me has been marvelous, but we are REALLY behind. All of my joking through the years about draperies and pillows not being life and death is still true, but the clients don't see it that way. But, I guess that is what keeps me in business.
I went in today for the first "fill" of my tissue expanders. That is an interesting experience. For all the women out there it feels like I am totally engorged and it's not getting better. They keep assuring me that the discomfort will improve, but since this whole thing cannot be finished until I have completed all of the chemo and whatever radiation they are going to give me this is going to be a long process. For the time I have to live with these bumps under my arm. I came home and took a heavy dose of Advil and then took a nap. I did try my hand at driving today. I needed to get to the bank, and since it is only a few blocks down the road, I decided that would be my first outing. As long as I didn't move too fast or jerky I got along fine. Anyway, thank you to everyone who has been by my side and made many trips to City of Hope with me. This is when friendships really mean the most. Thank you to everyone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I know it has been too long since I last posted, so I will try to update. There really isn't much to tell. Each day the past week has gotten a little bit better. The pain level is now down to quite tolerable. I am not taking any pain medication during the day. I am back to taking my usual Advil PM (which I have taken for years) at night. It just helps me sleep. My arms are getting better. The left arm is doing quite well. I can get my hand above my head pretty well. The right arm is still a problem. That was the arm that they fished around for most of the lymph nodes, and as my surgeon said, "we couldn't save every nerve, so we have to sacrifice at least one." So I just keep trying to do my little exercises to walk my hand up the wall and try to stretch the nerve and muscle out. I know it will get better, but it is slow.
I did have a bone scan and CT scan on Tuesday. They were not as ugly as I was afraid they were going to be, but it was just a long day. Anyway, I do not have any results back from the doctor. I called this morning, but as of this evening, I have not heard anything. So that information will have to wait for the next post.
Laura has been here all this week. My mom was here last week. It has been very humbling to realize that you need someone with you to do the most mundane tasks. Obviously the Lord is trying to teach me some humility ( and patience and a dozen other attributes that I am supposed to be learning). But it has been really nice to have someone here while Steve and Michael and Shannon have been traveling around Spain and France. Michael has set up video conferencing, so every couple of days in the middle of the afternoon I get a text message to log onto the computer and he turns on the cameras and we talk. They are having a marvelous time. I just wish I was there, but that will be another trip. So, until the next post, thank you to everyone who has called, sent flowers and food, and just generally be a great friend. Thank you.