Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weird thing. If I take a drink while I'm eating...I can't eat anything else. I have to remember to NOT drink! I got up last night and sat downstairs for a few hours. That wore me right out...took all my strength to drag my ass back upstairs..but after lying in bed for an hour or so and I'm rejuvenated.

Up and down many times in the hours between 1am and 5am...peeing my little heart out. GOOD!!! I keep drinking, forcing the fluids. Again, that's my job now.

Jean spent the night and was happy that the dogs didn't get up until 6 this AM and went right back to bed with me after they went out to pee! Even Truman snuggled up with me, not interested in staying downstairs, looking for breakfast!

Bubbles has been so faithful to me...she stays snuggled right up against my left leg...sometimes licking me, but mostly being a comfort to me. When I get back in bed, chilled from being up in the bathroom, I put my hand on her back and warm myself up. She is so sweet.

Got phone calls from Scott, Janet and Mike today. It was good to talk with them and I wish I could tell them to come over, but I get so tired. I think tomorrow Bob and Mike will come for a visit...haven't seen them in ages it seems. I'm hoping I'm up to a visit anyway. Maybe I can stay upstairs and they can come up to see me..then go back down to visit with Sandy...if I'm too tired that is. Who knows how I will feel tomorrow? Today I feel a lot stronger than yesterday.

I'm watching the Huskies play football against Pitt...and Pitt just scored, dammnit!
There's still time for UConn to come back though...

Things are pretty exciting in the neighborhood with Ty Pennington and Co. right down the road in Voluntown, for Extreme Home Makeover. They are building a new house for the family who's house burned down, then they went into foreclosure due to no fault of their own and then the father and son drowned. I can't think of anyone who deserves the makeover more than they do!

It's been very inspiring to hear about all the businesses and individuals who are volunteering and donating to make it happen. They have to build a house in two days! Unbelievable! I can't wait to see it on the tv and to see it in person too.

Well..I better close my eyes for awhile and take a little nap while I listen to the game...or else I'll be in trouble with Sandhead when she wakes up. She'll know what I've been up to!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Okay, so now we know that the second day after chemo is going to be one where I spend the day in bed, sleeping. Very woozy, tired and happy to just lie there and doze. Unfortunately, the butt gets tired after awhile.

Sandy got me up this afternoon and got me into the shower. It was so nice. Washed up good, changed into clean pjs and am back in bed with the laptop now.

I'm pushing the fluids, ate some sweet potato, yogurt and hope to have more for supper. My appetite seems to be coming back a bit...I'm going to take advantage of it when I can, because I don't recognize the body I see in the mirror. The weight is coming off fast and I don't know where it will stop. Maybe I'll finally hit that goal weight I had in my mind when I had the gastric bypass surgery!

Jean will be coming tonight, bringing supper. I noticed that I am a bit sensitive to the smells of cooking, but haven't had any nausea. Let's hope it stays that way!

Jean will be staying the night with me...which is a good thing, not because I'm afraid of being alone (as I was feeling before) but because I am a bit woozy and not capable yet of letting the dogs in and out in the middle of the night, if they need to go.

I'm interested to see what tomorrow I will feel. Pam says that her Mom learned that you can pretty much map out each you are going to feel, after chemo. So, I'm paying attention. I know that the second day out I shouldn't schedule myself to do anything but sleep!

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more pep. I know that about 10 days out I hit "nadir" when the drugs are at the apex...and that will probably make me very tired for awhile.

It's all going to be a balancing game for awhile. I'm sure we can handle it.

Huskies had a scare last night, but I was too exhausted to watch...I barely made it up the stairs to bed. I collapsed in the bed and rejuvenated myself just by lying quietly for about an hour or so while Sandy read her book.

The key to success: sleep sleep sleep and drink drink drink

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Got home around 6pm last night, Carol rushed over a bowl of hot, homemade turkey soup, just in time, before I got sick from hunger.

Watched the first half of the Husky Holy Cross game (or should I say "debacle?") and went up to bed to watch the second half. I shut out the light at 9:30 and went to sleep.

I woke up around 2:00 to find Bubbles sleeping on top of the covers, on my stomach! She has never done that before! I started laughing and then had to disturb her because she was putting so much pressure on my bladder I had to pee!

When I got back to bed the trouble started. I couldn't get comfortable. I tried lying on each side, no soap. I finally got settled on the pillows on my back and slowly drifted off to sleep.

I got up again around 6:00 and my abdomen felt I lifted my shirt and looked at my belly in the mirror. Sure enough! My stomach is looking like a wrinkled balloon! This means that the fluid is coming off my abdomen, just like they have been telling me! The chemo is doing it...and it's happening faster than either I or Sandy expected! This is good news as the fluid that ended up in my lungs came from the fluid in my if the belly fluid is going away...I don't have to worry about it ending up in the lungs again!

I'm taking my anti nausea drugs religiously. I DON'T want to me!

I ended up staying in bed until almost noon...Sandy brought me my protein drink and I had that in bed. I caught up on the news on CNN..which is a habit I got into while in the hospital. Then I watched some other stuff and finally got my ass out of bed, because Lynne was due to arrive.

Lynne showed up at noon, bearing won ton soup...which was yummy! She stayed with me while Sandy and the Russells ran lots of errands. Lynne was good with me, she'd make me shut up and shut my eyes and take a break...which is good, because I get run down easily.

I'm flushing the fluids through me as ordered. I have to push at least 60 oz of fluids, which I used to do regularly before I got ill..but I've had a hard time keeping hydrated by mouth sick I've been sick. But today, for some's been I know it's my job now to be properly hydrated.

I feel so good about what's happening..I have my doctor to thank, my favorite RN, Miss Marcia, for pushing the drugs through me for the first time (a good omen to me) and all of you for all your good thoughts, well-wishes and yes, prayers....I really feel the blessings you are sending my way.

I envision the drugs as little gladiators with shiny helmets and long spears...I sent them out to track down the cancer cells and attack the ones that are acting up. There was a skirmish I definitely felt in my right lower quadrant...where the bad ovary used to be. The rest of the gladiators subdued the other bad cells and have now coated them with a sticky substance (in my mind) to keep them from growing/spreading. They are now standing guard, waiting for the next treatment when we will do some more attacking and some removal of dead cancer cells.

I plan to pee the bad cells out and right into my septic system, where they belong!

Thanks everyone for all the cards, emails, notes, gifts and thought waves...I am so lucky to have you all as friends.

Now I'm going to enjoy other people's problems on Nanny 911.

Nighty night!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First Day of Chemo...and all's well!

Well, I'm lying here like the queen....all showered up, clean undies and just waiting on my last bag of chemo. That should take about another half hour and then we should be GOOD TO GO!

I'll be home for dinner, hopefully. I don't know how tired I'll be today so I making this entry now, in case I don't feel like going on line tonight.

Oh...and the Huskies are playing Holy Cross tonight on trust me, I won't be going on line tonight to post in any damned blog!

Take care all...thanks for all the good thoughts, they helped me FLY through the what they say is the worst day of chemo...the first day.

Now I will take my anti-nausea drugs faithfully. I may have some aches and pains in my long bones in a couple of days, like the flu and I will be tired. Hopefully, that will be it.

So I go back to see Dr. Lachance on the 17th and my next chemo is scheduled for the day after Christmas...they moved it from the day BEFORE Christmas which would have been a bummer.

Smooth sailing from now on...that's how I feel and that's what I believe is going to happen!

Take care folks, thank again! I really, really appreciate all you have been doing on my behalf.

GO HUSKIES!!!!!!! Go "Little Caballito!!!" Congrats on the six year DIRT DOG!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life goes on

Back to the mundane...had to go online today to transfer my $$ and pay my bills. I had $98 left over last month! Shows you how it pays to get ovarian don't spend as much on gas as you did the month before! Most of the "extra expenses" last month was paying my $15 copay for all those medical appointments!

Slept from 8:10 last night until about up and used the toidy and then it was back to sleep until the docs came in for rounds at 6:30! Best sleep I've had in a long time. I mean I would wake and doze..but mostly I slept.

Felt rather ill in the morning after breakfast. I keep getting this slight feeling of nausea, but it passes. Dr. Lachance came to see me it was a good day.

I caught up on my email this AM, had lunch, which made me feel ill again, met with the dietician, who is going to have them bring me snacks throughout the day to help with my appetite. I told her that when I take the cover off the food plate I groan as the sheer size of the portions are huge! Overwhelming. Sickening.

After lunch I shut off my phone and slept until 4:30...people would come in my room and I would just lie there and they'd leave. So it was a pretty good sleep.

Tomorrow chemo will start. They weighed me tonight so they can figure out the dosage I get. My weight is back down to 166! One pound more than it was in October, before all this started. That is good news, but also a concern. My abdomen is still distended with that means that I lost weight in other parts of my body. Maybe when all is said and done I'll be back down to 160 where I was after my bowel obstruction. I liked being that weight.

Dr. Lachance talked to me about my feelings about what's going on...I still haven't had time to take it all in and maybe that is a good thing and maybe it's not. I know I have a very serious illness, I know that the statistics for survival are not exactly the type of odds that one would like to have going for them. But everything has happened so fast, I haven't had much time to think. I'm going on instinct right now and on the counsel from Sandy....which has been a lifeline for me.

The schedule for chemo puts me in a good place to be able to go to the UConn UHART game (thanks to tickets from Marie and Don) and to go to Camp Husky in January...neither event will occur too close to my chemo session.

I don't know how I'm going to react to the chemo...but they say that most people feel fine the first few days after the treatment and then feel very fatigued for a few days after that. They also say that the first chemo treatment is the strongest one, which can make people more sick than subsequent other treatments. It's also the one where they have to tinker to figure out what rate they can pump the chemo in...what I will be able to take.

So, good thoughts tomorrow folks! I'm looking forward to getting this one behind me and getting to the place that Dr. Lachance spoke to me about...when I will have more energy, feel a lot better and can get back to work and into the gym.

Oh...big news! Sandy booked our anniversary cruise! We were going to go to Disney again for our anniversary, but Charmine and Pat are going on an Olivia cruise to Belize next October and we wanted to go. So, today Sandy booked our room...we have a VERANDAH room! That means we can sit out on our verandah, watching the sun go down. I can't wait to go ziplining through the rainforest in Belize! Of course the thought of it now makes me slightly ill...but I'll be raring to go by then!

Nighty night

Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy Day

I was scheduled for a CT scan this AM, so couldn't eat or drink after midnight. In the AM my doctor Lachance came in to see me and I asked him about having a port installed for the chemo.

So they set me up to have the port put in and then have the CT scan. I went to the hospital next door...through the maze of tunnels in the subterranean area of the interesting ride. The doctors (or techs) I'm not sure which, installed a power will sit right below the skin in my upper right chest. This is where they will access my veins for chemo and they can also use it for other tests, which reduces the number of "sticks" I'll have to have.

Then it was back to my room, transfer back to my bed, and start drinking the barium crap you have to consume before the CT scan. Sandy arrived and encouraged me through the second bottle of that vile stuff. Then I had to transfer from my bed to the gurney, to go to CT. Once there it was transfer from the gurney to the CT table...notice a trend here? I had a workout!

When it was time to transfer back to the gurney to go back to my room...I foolishly grabbed the rail with my right hand and pulled myself onto the gurney, mostly be using my strength in my right arm...totally fogetting that I had just had a port installed in that area! OUCH!!

Back to the room, transfer back to bed and I basically collapsed there as we waited for the nurse to come from Dr. Lachance's office to go over the paperwork for the chemo program. He and she arrived at 4pm and she went over the information with us. I was glad Sandy was there, she knew what questions to ask and I just laid there and listened, with my eyes closed. Then it was time to sign on the bottom line and the deed is done!

Dr. Lachance was kidding me about my blog and told Wendy, the nurse, to watch out or I would write her up! SHOUT OUT TO WENDY! She was wonderful...just like her boss Dr. Lachance...the whole group is fantastic from what I can see! So there!

After that my supper came...I had not had anything to eat since supper last night and nothing to drink since one last sip of gingerale at 11:30. I went in to use the pottie and felt nauseous. Sandy went and got me some gingerale and some saltines...that helped settle my stomach. I had to have that before I could eat anything on the tray. I did manage to have a few slices of chicken, mashed potato, sweet potato and gravy. Had a little apple crisp and a carton of milk. It wasn't everything...but it was a good amount, for me.

Dr. Lachance says that as the fluid comes off my lungs and abdomen I will feel more like eating. He's right I bet...right now I eat a bit and fill up fast. Feel like I have no room for anything else.

My feet, ankles and legs are almost totally back to normal. My abdomen has decreased since my first admission, but it is still pretty bloated.

The big thing with me right now is going to be working on overcoming my fear of being alone at night at home. Dr. Lachance says I will probably go home on Wednesday and Sandy will be there. I know Jean will come and stay sometimes when Sandy is working...but I really have to get passed this fear. I think I was so traumatized the last two nights at home (and oddly enough, the worst night I wasn't even alone...Sandy was there)....that I can't seem to get that sick feeling out of my mind when I think about going home.

I don't want to be afraid of my own house...but that's how I feel now. I'm sure this will pass. I hope so anyway...I can't stand being a wuss.

So, that's the big report for today...suffice it to say I was very busy today...and am just pooped now. I stayed up late last night, couldn't calm down after that Huskies win over Oklahoma...I was so excited! WHAT A GAME!! They are going to go all the way....barring injury. They are still a bit thin on the bench, but with Heather Buck returning to the team and Kaili playing like she did last night....

Nighty night!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Okay, let me start off by saying I'm doing just fine now. I am back in the hospital, at Women's and Infants and I am "resting comfortably." Sorry for not blogging but I have been a bit distracted the past few days. For those who want the gory on. For those of you who don't need all the news that's fit to can stop here and rest assured that all's well that ends well.

First, let me start out by saying that when one lives with a nurse, one learns to wait until the absolute last second before one says "honey, I need you to take me to the ER." This is because we know how much nurses hate the ER, sitting and waiting in the ER, being around the ER. However, I should have learned my lesson the last time when I had the bowel obstruction...I wait too damned long.

Thanksgiving was a decent day. Had a touching call from my brother Steve and the rest of the day was pretty quiet until Jean and Frank showed up with the turkey dinner. I was very tired, but managed to get up and eat a decent meal of turkey, dressing, DELIOUS mashed potatoes (the secret is using sour cream), sweet potato and corn. I even had a thin slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee for dessert.

Thanksgiving Night Sandy had to work. I sat up in bed until about midnight, watching Baba Wawa's interview with Obama...very nice. Then I developed the shortness of breath had been happening just about every night, but this time it hit hard...took a long time to subside. I had to prop up the pillows and sleep sitting up most of the night. In the morning I was able to lie fairly flat on my left side, which was a surprise.

Friday I was very tired, dozed in the recliner most of the day. I would get up to go to the bathroom and to do a few laps through the house downstairs, but it would make me very fatigued and I didn't feel well at all. I couldn't drink, eat and I knew I had to do better as I just felt very weak.

Friday night Sandy was home, for which I was very grateful. I was frankly afraid to be home alone. I had this thought, "Oh Christ! What the hell would happen if I had to call 911?" We've got the ADT alarm system turned on when we go to bed...I've got these killer dogs I'd have to lock up somewhere before the ambulance got here...what a freakin' nightmare!" So, I was happy she was home with me.

She slept blissfully through my night of gasping to breathe, panic setting in from time to time, wondering what the hell is going on with me. My back hurt something wicked at the base of my lungs. My right side was very painful and the hernia repair area was bulging out hideously and very very sore. I thought I was falling apart. Again, I had to sleep sitting up.

Saturday AM I realized I was in real trouble. I continued to pant essentially, trying to catch my breath. I was only comfortable bending over at the waist, with my head on the splint pillow that Linda made for new little security item.

I told Sandy that I needed her to take me down. We discussed calling an ambulance, but I nixed it as I thought the dogs would get too upset and then we would be leaving them...too traumatic. So, I got into the Highlander and off we went. Miserable ride.

Backus took me right in, rushed a chest x ray and another CT scan (third one this month) of my chest. Both showed that I was in deep doo-doo. My left lung was completely whited out...filled with fluid. The oxygen they put me on helped me to get more comfortable as they worked to figure out what to do with me. They called Providence and Dr. Stuckey told them to ship me up here. So that's what they did.

The ambulance's GPS system told them that the fastest route to the hospital was up ROUTE 6!!! Can you believe that crap? Route 6, the most jarring ride you can have. I would have gone up Rte 138 to Rte 3 in RI, a little jog onto 95 and then a straight shot up to the hospital. NO NO NO NOT ROUTE 6!!! OUCH!

Of course when we got here, they couldn't figure out how to get in...just the same problem Sandy and I had when we first came up. I told them how to get into the little parking lot by admitting, but they said it was fenced off. I couldn't see, so I couldn't tell them any different. So...they rode around and around and then finally I got them to really look for the entrance to that parking lot. BINGO! We're in!

I came up to my "old home" 4E....and not only the same room I was in before, thanks to my pal, Marcia who had called in to find out what was going on and told them to put me in 4119, my "lucky room." Good old Marcia!

Sandy and Jean came up to be with me for awhile. I sent them off at 7:00 as Sandy had to work last night and I didn't want her getting exhausted. I'm such a frigging martyr! LOL!

They told me that they were going to tap my lung and sent me for x rays...there is no way I could sit up in the wheelchair, nor stand in front of the x ray I had to transfer to a gurney for the trip downstairs. The tech took good care of me and we got the job done with the least amount of pain and discomfort. Then I had to wait for the blood work to come back to check my coagulation...that finally came back fine and we were good to go.

Dr. Stuckey came in and prepped my back...this is what they do: I wish I could have watched it but it was all done from behind me. Anyway, she felt around and around my ribs to mark the spot...marked it, washed it, numbed it up and then stuck a long needle in between my ribs that had a tube on it to drain the fluid off. They filled up a liter and a half (the most they can take off at one time) and even though it made me start coughing, I felt INSTANT relief! What a difference!

Then they sent me back down for another x ray to see what my lung looked like after the draining. That trip to x ray was a LOT more pleasant than the first one! The x rays showed that there was a significant difference, which I could have told them.

By then it was 9 pm and I was pooped. They gave me a dilaudid and left me alone with my dreams. I slept until 2am...the most hours of sleep I've been able to put together for a long time...even before my surgery! I got up, peed like a race horse and even pooped a bit. WOW!! All this good news in ONE NIGHT!

I got some more pain stuff and slept from 3:30 to 6:30...I don't know how to act!

This morning I'm singing "What a Difference A Day Makes"...ate some breakfast, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. Had a cup o' joe, glass of OJ and drank a carton of milk....ordered my meals for the next two days.

Later in the morning they returned with their needle and tube and drew off another liter of fluid.

OHMYGOD!!! I'm watching the Patriots as I type this and they just intercepted and then scored! 7-0 all ready!!! WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!

Back to the gore. Actually it isn't THAT gory, now is it? I would think the previous discussions of my bowel habits were gorier than this.

Oh, the fluid they drew off was tinged with blood...that's the gory part.

Take a look at a two liter soda bottle sometime. Then add a half a liter to that. That's what they took out of ONE of my lungs!!! Unbelieveable!

Unfortunately, this is going to keep happening until I start you can just imagine how motivated I am to start that stuff!

Dr. Silvestre came in to see me. Dr. Lachance is his partner. I really like this guy too. He sat on the bed and chatted with me all the time in the world. He told me his Mom is a big Husky fan and he clued me in to the fact that the game against Oklahoma is on ESPN tonight so I will be able to watch it! YAY!

He explained to me more about the clinical trial and after hearing what he had to say I've decided that's the way I'm going to go. It gives me the best shot at success and that's the bottom line isn't it? He is on the National Cancer Institute Board and is very involved with how clinical trials are done and which ones are done. He is very knowledgeable and feels that Dr. Lachance's surgery has given me the best shot that I will get surgically. Dr. Lachance had him come in during the surgery to get his opinion about what he should do (leave the uterus and left ovary) and he (Dr. Silvestre) concurred with Dr. Lachances' choice of where he should focus his efforts in surgery.

I felt very comfortable with this decision, based on the info he provided.

Tomorrow they will do another CT scan (fourth one in a month) to determine the baseline...where we are at in the pelvic/abdominal area.

He's going to discuss it with Dr. Lachance tomorrow, but I got the impression that I will be starting chemo soon...very soon. Maybe even tomorrow, if I'm lucky!

So, send the lucky vibes my way when you get a chance.

It's been an eventful few days. Sorry I didn't post in the blog...I know that it has created some anxiety...not knowing. Please don't inundate Sandy with calls...she needs her rest.

Oh, Sandy...she has been researching all of this stuff on the internet and by talking to folks at the hospital who are in the know. I haven't gone on line and read anything...part because I'm too tired, but to be honest, I'm kind of afraid of reading stuff. I don't want to get depressed at reading stats, etc. So, I've been relying on her to dole out information to me as she thinks I can handle it...or if I've come to the point when it will help me make an informed decision. She has been wonderful in doing this. This makes up for her not insisting that I go to the ER sooner!

So, I can't promise that I will post everyday and I don't want people to panic if I DON'T post a day or so...but the fact of the matter is, sometimes I'm going to have little setbacks, this is just one of those times. Other times I may not post because I'm too busy partying! LOL!

I'm partying now, in my own way...lying here in this hospital bed, laptop on my laptop (oddly enough) and peaceful. My lungs are fine for the time being, I'm not hurting anywhere except for my butt, which only means I need to shift positions.

Life is good.

Shout out to Plaxico there a bigger fool in the NFL???

Nighty night!