November 12 – Sitting here just crying my eyes out. Various reasons. First and foremost, it just stinks that I can’t do this alone, that my family has to be involved again and have it intrude on their daily lives. Diabetes, arthritis – those things you can do alone and they only affect you, but cancer – well, you get to share that experience with everyone you love so they can be miserable, too! Then, this morning I had the very first sign-up for the mailing list on the BC Journals website. That in itself is a very good thing but then I cried some more because I even have a website devoted to cancer battles – in the plural no less! Feelingverysorryformyself Francine is here, Weepy Wanda is here, Sad Sue is here – where is Kerrie Kickass! Jen sent a great website link to Harold and I cried because she needed to do that for him and that she even needed to be thinking about such things. I don’t want to have a PET scan – I am afraid of what it will reveal – I am afraid not to have a PET scan to not know what may be there – I don’t want to have to do chemo again, even if I am not as sick as last time – I just plain don’t want to have to do that again! I HATED it! I don’t want to have to have radiation – I HATE the thought even if it doesn’t hurt but just makes you tired. I got so damned sick and tired of being sick and tired last time – had enough of that to last me a lifetime. Life Interrupted – that is what this is and I don’t like it one little bit! I guess Ranting Rita has joined the group! Excuse me, I have to go for some tissue……………………..
Took a bit of a break and have calmed down a bit. Very depressed today, that’s for sure. I am afraid it goes with the territory. See, I am not always in a good, cheerful mood!
Did I tell you about the conversation in pre-op with Dr. W, the surgeon? He is funny, too, in a dry way. I was in quite a state by the time they got that *&%$$^* IV in and he and the nurse came in to talk to me about the surgery and I was all trembly and trying not to cry (eyes were leaking a bit no matter how hard I tried, though) and I said I was sorry for being such a baby about the IV and that I was really trying to hold it all together and he leaned over close to me and said, “You cry all you want to, you deserve it, you have already been through a lot.” You would think that would make my cry right then and there, but no – I told him I couldn’t do that because my make-up would run (of course, I had eye make-up on – minimal eye liner only - and my hair was done, too! I told you before, I am vain!) I calmed down then and told him I was a list person and pulled out my list from the pocket on that dreadful gown they give you. He said, “You have the list here?” And I said, “Of course, and my husband has a copy just in case I didn’t get to see you.” Mind you, I had a list for the anesthesiologist, too! Just in case he forgot the recipe! Anyway, I started in on my list of questions and one was when could I drive. He asked me with a perfectly straight face if I could drive before I came in there. Took me by surprise and I laughed. I then asked, “How about bathing?” and he said, “Oh yes, please do!” I really laughed then and turned to the nurse and said, “Well, he is in quite the mood today, isn’t he?” I did calm down more though so laughter really is good medicine.
I thought I would give a visual and an explanation of the port and its functions. Figure 1 is the actual port itself and all that “stuff” is under my skin. The little round place on the top is the “port septum” where the needles will be inserted to draw blood for testing every week and to give the chemo treatments. It is made of a silicone material that seals itself after each use. Figure 2 is where the port is located, mine is in my shoulder so you can see the tube swings on over to the middle of my chest where it is inserted into a large blood vessel so blood is easily drawn and the medication goes right into my bloodstream. It is called a HMP Access Device with Vortex Technology Implanted. I have a Patient Identification Card that I have to carry that informs - whomever – that I have a port and where it is located along with the surgeon’s name and an emergency contact name. I seem to be collecting things inside my chest. Now there is this metal and plastic port to go along with two saline filled implants. Getting a bit full in there! This port seems to be closer to the top of my skin than the last one. I can see it better and you certainly can’t miss that it is there! The port itself is about the size of a fifty cent piece (2-3 cm) and you can see a raised ¾” in diameter area just under my skin. Did I tell you they do an X-ray in the post-op room to be sure the port is in the right place before you go down to the Rapid In and Out and are released? Okay, is that all you ever wanted to know about a chemo port???????????????? Instructor Inez has emerged!
November 13 – Worked outside all day yesterday in preparation for sitting around all day today like a slug! Actually I am going to do paperwork and pay bills. Oh what fun! I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and not only do I feel battered, I look it, too. Bruises all over my hand and arm from the IV, yellowing around both the surgical sites along with the steri-strips. Still feeling kind of down. Cried off and on all day yesterday. Some of it was that deep, screeching kind that gives you a headache. Luckily you can’t do that for very long, it is exhausting! Came across this today in a magazine and it seems to be fate that I saw it today. It said, “The trick is not to be ruled by the tears that fall without warning, but to wipe your eyes and keep going.” I believe Depressed Delphine is really trying to get a foothold here! Mustn’t let that happen.
Amazed again throughout the day at what wonderful people I know. When you listen to the news it I like the whole world is filled with hate but here, in my bubble, I am cushioned from all that so I think I will take a break from the news for awhile.
Progress on the addition, though. Harold has a huge stack of plywood sheets for the roof decking that can be seen out his new garage door. Looks like inspection will be next week, he is doing lots of little finishing up stuff. He wants all of it to be perfect! Did I marry a soul mate or what! We are both over achievers! Passed it along to our kids so we are a whole family of over achievers! Looks as if grandchildren are following along in the family tradition, too! Darling Chloe is in her first stage production this weekend in Dallas. Bid time stuff as she had to take over another girl's lines because that girl was in Los Angeles filming Santa Claus 3!
Here is the website that Jen found for Harold. I checked it out and I like it and will be adding it to my list of links. www.menagainstbreastcancer.org It has lots of good info on living with a woman dealing with cancer.
I have had a couple of people ask for more info about the Biofreeze. Go to www.biofreeze.com to see product info and call 1-800-biofreeze to find out where to purchase it in your area.
November 14 - Well, didn’t this just turn out to be the day from Hell! I am home so I survived it but………Geez Louise! Started off with me going to get the PET scan. Arrived there, got comfy in the recliner (after three trips to the bathroom because of all that water!) the tech placed a portable IV in my arm – (I love him! I always go to the same place for these types of tests because he always gets it the first time and has never hurt me once!) and then injected three vials of “stuff.” I asked about the reason for drinking all that water this morning (a half a gallon!) and he said it was because 1% of the isotopes remain in your blood after the test and that helps to flush them out. Same reason I have to drink a lot of water before and after chemo. Nothing injected to make me sleepy but after he covered me with a blanket, turned the lights way down and closed the curtains – I was in a small alcove – I closed my eyes and actually drifted off after awhile! I was surprised because I could still hear what was going on out in the offices. He came back after forty-five minutes and after another potty break – geesh – I went into the PET scan room. Huge round machine shaped like a flat doughnut, probably about three feet wide. Got on the table and he propped up my knees, placed my head in a foam shaped thingee, then Velcroed a band across my arms to keep them still and close to my body so I didn’t have to do it and try to keep still and then velcroed another band across my forehead to keep my head still. The test area was from the middle of my thighs to the base of my skull to cover all the organs. Started at my thighs and every eight minutes the table moved until at the end of forty-five minutes my whole upper half was inside the hole. I am a bit claustrophobic but I could see out the hole at all times so there was no panic. Had a closed MRI done once and thought I was going to die right there on the table of claustrophobia! He said the results will be ready for tomorrow’s appointment with the oncologist. Then, on my way.
Plan was to go to JoAnn, Etc. to see what wondrous things might be there since I was in the area, then on to lunch somewhere, then the post office, then the grocery store and then home. Well didn’t that just all change! Remember I talked about “Life Interrupted?” My neck and arm were still sore and I had read in my book that came with the port about possible complications and it said if you have any “Aching discomfort, swelling or pain in the neck, shoulder or arm that it could be Vein Thrombosis.” Well………………I have had blood clots before and that certainly got my attention! I worked out in the yard on Saturday to see if I could loosen up my neck and shoulder and then when I read that I decided to call my surgeon on Monday just to be sure I was okay to get chemo on Tuesday. They had called on Friday and canceled my post-op appointment and said they would call to reschedule so I didn’t have a set time to see him. I called his office, got the nurses answering machine and left a message. They called back while I was in JoAnn and asked if I could come in right away and they would work me in and I did. Called Harold and told him what was happening. Poor man! Only waited about ten minutes and saw Dr. W. First thing he told me was that the pathology report had come in on the tissue removed on Tuesday and it was all clear!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So even though there were cells at the back of the tumor that was all of them. Then he asked me questions about my pain and said that because I was able to work outside and had no swelling it was a good indication that I did not have a blood clot but that we needed to be sure. He said I couldn’t get chemo if I did have a blood clot. So he ordered a Doppler test of my upper right shoulder STAT – meaning right now! I asked him what would happen if I did have one? He said they would put me directly in the hospital, place me on Coumadin and if that didn’t work on some other drug and I would have to stay in the hospital until the clot was gone. He would have to take out the port and place it back in after the blood clot problem was over. Lordy! I did ask, didn’t I! They had to get the test scheduled, call the insurance to see if I needed authorization (I didn’t) and then off to that test. Called Harold again from the parking lot, told him the good news then the crappy stuff and I could tell he was becoming shell-shocked! I was a bit frazzled myself and turned like I was going home and then realized after a few blocks that I was going in the wrong direction, had to turn around and go back the other way and of course traffic was horrendous! Had only a half an hour to get to the hospital for the test and here I was going the wrong way! Finally got to the hospital and then couldn’t find a parking space in the parking garage! Finally stuffed Big Red into a parking space meant for a mini compact (Bid Red is a Dodge Intrepid – a big car!) Figured I’d worry about getting out of that tiny space when I came back out and hoped that no one hit me with their doors! Still had to go to Admitting, get all that paperwork done, find where I was supposed to be (that hospital is huge!) and it was already 1:30, my appointment time! No stress going on here!!!!!!!!!!!!! The receptionist called down to cardiology and told them I was in the building and then reassured me that since it was a STAT order they had to give me the test today. Finally found Cardiology after working my way through a maze of turns, gave them my paperwork and then sat down and just stared at the wall. I just had visions of being whisked upstairs and admitted to the hospital, more surgeries and starting chemo even later than planned. Then she called me into the room to do the test. I had to take off all my upper clothing and put on the lovely hospital gown. Lay down on the table, the tech squirted gel on my shoulder and then moved a device around in the gel to get the images on her screen. She turned up the sound and I could hear my heart beating! That was odd. She told me I would know the results right away and as she was physically doing the test she told me what she saw. She even did down my arm just to be really, really sure and nothing showed up! I felt like crying from relief! She chatted with me a bit and then went out to call Dr. W’s office to let him know the test was negative. I called Harold and he said I couldn’t go out anywhere by myself ever again! After all that I didn’t care about the post office, or the grocery store but I was really hungry! Only had a protein cereal bar after the PET scan at 10:00! Thought I needed some comfort food (you think so to, don’t you?) so stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken because I just love their Hot Wings. I know, I know, no one should eat them but I save them for a treat and I really felt the need for a treat at that point. Well guess what? They have taken them off the menu! Now doesn’t that just stink! Fit in well with the rest of the day though. I just gave up and came home and had a hot dog! This all sounds like and episode from the Perils of Pauline!
Day ended nicely though, a friend cooked a big dinner and brought it over and Jen stopped by to share it with us. Going to make chicken soup out of it for tomorrow night’s dinner as I am sure Dr. M will advise me to eat light after chemo. Jen and I were sitting at the computer after dinner, talking about the day and about the neck and shoulder pain complications and she looked at me and asked, “What kind of mood are you in?” I looked back at her and said, “Fine, why?” and she said (while trying not to laugh), “I wonder what the percent is of people who get that complication? Maybe 5%?” and then we both started to laugh! The dreaded Elite Five Percent Club!
Chemo starts tomorrow so I will begin Update 57 with that event!
Margot, a.k.a Kerrie Kickass, Ranting Rita, Instructor Inez and Depressed Delphine
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