Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Hellish Morning

Today I had a CT Scan to see what is happening after the 3 rounds of chemo.  I have had several scans and it is no big deal.  They inject dye through an IV, you go back and forth in the tube several times, and it is over. Being agoraphobic I have to convince myself that I am in my safe place and not  in a closed in tube.  I can do that, so 10  minutes or less I am out the door.  Not today, we arrived at 9:45 and left at 12:15.

We arrived for our appointment and the receptionist tells us they are running an hour or more behind.  Come back later.  We went for breakfast in the hospital cafeteria.  Not exactly up to our local diner.  Then we upstairs to get an appointment straightened out for Monday.  We go check in and they are ready for me.  Marty helps me change into a hospital gown and I am ready for the tech to start the IV.

She checks veins and worries that they are thin, rolling, not pumping up well.  She doesn't want to have to stick me umpteen times.  So she studies my arms and hands.  She picks a vein and she is in.  No problem.  Oops, she hit a valve.  And then it will let her draw blood, but not inject anything.  The vein shuts down.  New vein, same story.  The tech so doesn't want to hurt me or upset me.  She contacts a nurse who is known for working through this type of problem.

They wheel me down to ER and the nurse starts working on me.  She is in, and the vein holds. Back we go for the scan.  The tech starts the saline and something moves in my wrist and I am screaming in pain.  What happened?  No ones knows.  No reason for anything like that to happen.  She starts it again and now the damn IV tubing is leaking.  Neither of us is happy.  Nothing is going right.

The tech checks everything and tries again,  still leaking.   She  pulls the tape ( fancy new pre cut tape for IVs ) off and re-tapes the IV, "old school".  Then she held everything together by hand until I finally receive the dye.   Finally I am ready for the scan. 

By now I am so upset that my calming thoughts have gone to hell in a hand basket.  I am crying, shaking, and in a full blown panic attack.  I just want it over, I want off that sliding tube thing.  I want Marty and I want to go home.  The tech was so sweet and trying to not hurt me, trying to calm me down, trying to get the test over so I could go home.  It is a wonder she didn't join me in the panic mode.

Now I have to get off the table and I am shaking so hard I can't get up by myself.  She grabbed the sheet under me and lifted me up gently.  After I was steady, she swung my legs around and got me off the table. I told her while I was stuck crying in that tube the song I've got tears in my ears from lying on  my back crying over you kept going through my head.  She puts me back in the wheel chair and takes me out to Marty. 


Don't think the tech did anything wrong.  She didn't.  I have rolling thin veins.  She tried so hard to not hurt me.  No one's fault.  Just the problem of old veins, stuck too many times veins, it was just a crappy day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wonderful Week!!!

My brother and his wife, Hank and Ann, flew in last Saturday and left at 6:00 this morning.  We have had a great, wonderful, laughing good time.  Because we are a one bathroom one bedroom apartment they didn't sleep at our place.  A dear friend who lives close by hosted them, plus loaned them a car to get back and forth to our place. 

It was my off week from Chemo, so I was feeling pretty peppy. A couple of days they took me shopping for  a coat, sweaters and shoes. Now every woman knows that shopping is work.  Lots of walking back and forth looking for the perfect thing.  I can walk, I can even shop a little bit without help.  But this was a massive event.  No way could I walk for hours.  I poop out after a while.  How could I do this?  And the answer came from Ann, wheel chair.  I said no, that would make me too pathetic looking, plus I didn't' want to buy or rent a chair.  Again Ann to the rescue.  Did you know if you ask for a wheel chair at most stores, they will loan you one? 

They rolled me all over Macy's and Nordstrom's Rack.  I now have sweaters, a winter coat, and shoes that fit.  After a 100 pound weight loss, I was desperate for shoes that would stay on my feet. I even bought some killer boots.  We had fun and accomplished our goal, getting me warm clothing.

Another day we went to the jewelry store.  My wedding rings will not stay on my fingers.  So I am having several rings resized.  I have missed wearing my rings.  Next week I will get them back.  I am really excited about wearing then again.

Every day we went out for breakfast after our trip to Kaiser for my white cell shot.  Some times I ate before we went, others I ate with the family.  I always had hot chocolate.  Come join us and I will take you on a tour for the best hot chocolate out there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chemo, round 3

Tuesday I had another round of chemo, and it  kicked my butt.  They hooked me up, I settled in to read, rest, sleep, whatever.   Then I had great intestinal urges.  Not normal, huge cramps, pain, and some screaming and crying from me. I was shaking so hard that I was vibrating.  Also my blood pressure spiked and all went to hell in a hand basket.   My babysitter for the day, Kirsten, rounded up  nurses and they began working on me.

They stopped the chemo and started me on something to calm my body down.  After that IV took effect, we started the chemo again.  I was totally worn out by then.  Finally all was finished, they hooked  me up to my take home chemo, and home I went.

Wiith in an hour of getting home I was vomiting.  After I had taken all the medicine I was allowed and nothing was working, the advice nurse sent me to the ER.  After several IVs this was under control.  We got  home around 4 A.M.

The intestinal  problem hung around a little, the nausea was still slightly there.  Wednesday was a tough day.   Thursday I was better and slept most of the day. 

I am able now to eat a little without being scared it will all come back up.  The next week is the off week from chemo.  My brother and his wife arrive tomorrow.  Maybe I will feel well enough for us to have fun.  If not, they can watch me sleep.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Great Surprise

Late yesterday afternoon I received a nice surprise.  Marty's phone rang and it had a number and  Corbin, KY. (my home town) I figured it was a high school friend.  WRONG.  It was my Big Boy Cousin, Ernest Triplett. 

Now to explain Big Boy.  Ernest was 16 when I was born. I only knew him as a grown up. I only had 3 or 4 cousins my age.  Most of the Daddy's were gone fighting WWII.  Ernest is a true Triplett:  charming, good looking, great hair, never met a stranger.  He will tell you stories about Kentucky, entertain you and sell you half the merchandise in his store at the same time.   Tripletts are great at retail.

He and my mother (Aunt Anna) were good friends.  He told me last night that talking to me was like talking to his Aunt Anna, that I sound just like her.  Ernest told me about a family feud that just maybe my mother caused.  Mother kept someone from being buried in the family plot and the offended family member cut all Tripletts out of his life.  I found this really interesting, Mother was a Triplett by marriage.  How did she have such power?  And why?  When I feel better maybe I will get all the details.

He gave me lots of information about the names the Triplett men were given for generations:  Henry, William, Hall, Napoleon.

Ernest called to tell me he loves me and to give some cancer advice.  His first wife beat cancer for 15 years and then lost the second battle.  He talked about Marty needing to take care of himself.  And then he said if you lose your hair, don't wear a hat or a scarf.  Get several wigs and have fun.  Also he said people look at  you differently if it is evident you have lost your hair.  They know you are sick.  Fancy wigs, they talk about how great your hair looks.  Interesting observance.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A little of this, a little of that

Marty takes excellent care of me.  He comes home with all kinds of stuff to keep me comfortable, to look better, or just to perk me up.

My hair has fallen out to an ugly state.   I guess I will have my head shaved when this round of chemo is over.  I need to be perky to make the ride to my hairdresser's.  Marty has been all over head coverings.  He googled chemo hats, wigs, head coverings for chemo patients.  I am happy with my baseball hat and the knit hats a friend made me.  Marty seems to want lots of scarves that look as if I tied them, but really are sewn together. He bought two great sparkly hats that I like a lot.  He  wants bright colors, design, fashion statements.   I just want  my hair back.

I went with him yesterday to look at head coverings.  I was tired and cranky, Marty was sweet and ignoring my bitchiness.  We went into a store that advertised they sold things for chemo/cancer patients.  First they didn't have chairs for patients, folks we poop out really quickly.  AND you can't try on any of the head coverings.  We left and I went home and took a nap.

Every day he asks what do I want for lunch, supper, for a snack.  And I always shrug my shoulders and go I don't know.  Even when food doesn't nauseate me, nothing seems interesting.   I am a hard one to help.

Warning Kirsten, gross stuff.

My mouth is full of sores and that makes it nearly impossible to eat.  These sores bleed, hurt, they make it hard to even open my mouth.  My teeth hurt and the gums bleed.  I am a mess.  The doctor had a mouth wash made up that you "swish and swallow".  It numbs my mouth for several hours.  So I can eat a little bit of soft food.  This morning I had bacon, scrambled eggs, English muffins: except I could only eat the eggs.  Everything else was too crispy, and hurt my poor mouth.

The "doughnut" is a huge help.  Pain levels have dropped.  Still not a nice thing to deal with, but we are handling it.

Back to sort of normal stuff.

We are getting excited about Thanksgiving.  My brother, Henry, and his wife, Ann are arriving on Saturday.  They know they are spending a ton of money to mostly watch me sleep and not eat.  But we will have fun.  We will laugh, Henry and I will as usual drive Ann and Marty crazy with stories from our weird childhood.  Some stories we tell over and over just to annoy our spouses.

If I am well enough we will go to friends for Thanksgiving dinner.   They have promised good food for all.  And for me, a warm bed with two adorable doggies to snuggle with. 

Keep you finger crossed that the chemo side effects don't go too crazy Tuesday-Saturday.  I would love to feel half way decent while Henry and Ann are here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More on what is going on

First I want to give a big hug to all of you lovely people.  You have sent hugs, love, prayers, good wishes.  You have been fabulous at making me feeling loved and at feeling better.  Thank you.

I am going to give you all a little update on my exciting life.  My, my but I do have fun.  I seem to have a problem keeping my white blood cells at the right level, so I am getting an assist from technology.  Five days after my last round of chemo, I have gone in every day for 5 days to get a shot of Neupogen.(really only 4 so far, tomorrow is the 5th shot).  Monday they will do blood work to be sure it is working.  If all is well, then I can fight off infections and get on with the big fight against the cancer.

The next part is gross, so feel free to skip over it and say you don't need to know that much about my life.  Many things cause problems in life, and some are common problems that non cancer patients experience.  I am experiencing two opposites at the same time, constipation and diarrhea.  Didn't know one could do that.  It is awful, painful, and you don't trust your body's signals.  The pain is very much like giving birth.  The same condition from childbirth and the after effects of chemo is there to make life yucky,  hemorrhoids.  So today Marty bought me a present, a foam doughnut.  If you don't know what I am talking about, count yourself lucky.  At  least now I can sit without great pain.  Gross enough for you?

I did feel well enough to go to lunch with Marty today, I ate toast, one egg, and two pieces of bacon.  That is a huge meal for me.  Tonight Kirsten is bringing me an Italian Subway sandwich.  So a good day.

Again thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.  You folks make me happy and make me feel loved.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chemo, round 2

I am not going to give you all the gory details of chemo.  What happens to  me, won't necessarily happen to some one else.  Very few do chemo without some side effects, and each time something different can/will happen.

The process is not that bad.  First I am given a huge amount of anti nausea medicine.  Then  I am hooked up to different IVs and sit in a nice recliner and doze, check email, read, whatever I want, gradually I just get tired.  Then they hooked me to the take home chemo grenade and we go home. 

That night, Tuesday, I was so nauseated, and I threw up several times.  That stunned Marty and me, I rarely throw up.  So it was an ugly night.  The next day my stomach was calmer, but still upset.  I took medicines and they sort of helped.  I slept  most of the day.

Thursday we went back to Kaiser to have the take home chemo removed.  They were concerned with the vomiting and nausea, so they gave me an IV bag to hydrate me and then a powerful anti nausea IV.  That helped, but was not a cure all.

Today I have slept most of the day.  I am not as nauseated, and no Code Brown yet.  That is the next big worry.   I hope tomorrow will be closer to normal and I will feel like eating.  Not much but soup being eaten so far.  I need more calories than that.

It has been a rough few days, but maybe not as awful as last time.  We will see how things progress.  This is more than a 3 or 4 day problem.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated.  Please add prayers for all suffering from cancer.  There are a lot of us out there.  I just heard a friend's cancer is back and has spread.  Prayers for unknown patients will help. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Not the blog I had planned

Halloween is a big holiday in the Bay Area.  Everyone dresses up, nurses, clerks, chefs etc. Costumes are fun and very well done.  At the Marriage Factory we marry zombies, clowns,witches. .  . . very interesting costumes and lots of weddings. . . until this year.

I had Joe and Patricia, the Friday Marriage commissioners, ready to take pictures and to send in blog reports.  Well something happened on Friday, there was a parade and a city wide party for the World Series winners.  Oh that was the San Francisco Giants.  No one showed up to get married.  Great sadness, but hold on.  There are a few pictures and a guest star appearance on my blog,

We had fewer Trick or Treaters this year, but we had enough to enjoy the costumes.  

The teenagers looked great.  I thought I had a winner for best costume but then I found the little girl at the bottom of the screen.

Now the boys costumes were better, scarier, but cute always wins out.  Look at our little Lady Bug.

Later that night I received a visitor, a world famous visitor, Thor!

Here he is all 6' 9" of  him.  He heard I was ill and came to give me a hug.  We  had a lovely visit.