Thursday, June 28, 2012

The road isn't always straight

Did I say last week was busy? HA! This week has been nearly nonstop as well... but not in the best of ways this time. :\

Last weekend the hubby and I went for a low-key/relaxing visit to his Mom's house. We just hung out with my MIL, her boyfriend, SIL and our nephew. Stuck my feet in the spa, got a pedi, ate some tasty food and took it easy. I still got so worn out simply from being out all weekend, but figured I'd be fine with some good rest.

When we got home Sunday afternoon, Jason and I relaxed some more. Around 9, he went to go lie down so he could get up for work in the morning. I watched some TV and tried to allow myself time to unwind. About 9:30pm, I noticed some discomfort in my chest on the left side underneath my breast. I thought maybe I had bumped my port-a-cath or something? So I just tried to shrug it off. I didn't go get in bed until nearly 11, and by then I had some shortness of breath and the pain wasn't dissapating.

I felt really guilty doing it, but I woke Jason up and told him my symptoms. I was legitimately really, really  frightened. I didn't know if my port was becoming infected, if it had shifted, if I was having lung or heart issues, etc. etc. etc. Not sure if I've mentioned it here before or not, but I also have a long history of dealing with panic disorder. It's controlled, but I still have attacks occasionally. And considering all I've been through in the past few months, I have dealt with more than I would like. So, what I'm trying to get at, is the fear of the pain I was experiencing put me into a panic attack.

So, yeah. Good times! Haha. After getting to the emergency room, I had to fill out some forms and wait my turn. They took my vitals, asked me some questions and then semi admitted me to a room. More waiting, see the doctor, then more waiting for tests. Had a chest x-ray and an EKG done on me. Wait again for results. Find out all looks okay (as far as my heart and lungs go), and then got discharged at approximately 3am. I hadn't slept yet, and poor hubby only had been asleep an hour or two. It was a long night.

I finally slept with some peace of mind once we returned home. I had an appointment to see one of my surgeon's nurses to check out how my port was healing on Monday. I flew solo to that one, as Jason was still exhausted and sick of driving to the hospital (I don't blame him for one second). She knew all about my ER visit and questioned me on it. She said that while my lungs and heart looked okay, in the report on the x-ray, they didn't mention anything about my port-a-cath placement.

She called Dr. Kushner and asked him what he wanted to do about it, as I was still feeling discomfort and burning intermittently. He was in the middle of something with a patient but said he'd look over my chest x-ray to see whether it could be caused by the port placement or something related to it as soon as he could. Nurse said she'd call me once he had and give me the next step to take, if any. That was that and I was sent on my way. As I walked back to my car, I was feeling the burning pretty intensely and was short of breath. I was convinced this wasn't quite right, but I started for home.

Naturally, as I was maybe 2 minutes from home she called me. When I listened to the voicemail, she instructed I return to the hospital ASAP, as in like, NOW. I guess it was iffy enough that Dr. Kushner wanted me to get a port check radiology test. They basically put me on a table with an x-ray machine, injected some contrast dye into my port and watch for leaks, if it's flowing properly, and where the fluid is going live.

All looked beautiful! Hooray! So, port was immediately ruled out as the cause of my discomfort. My surgeon happened to be working at the hospital while I was there, so he even popped in and watched them do it. He then asked me a bunch of questions. He was still concerned, so he requested an order for a CAT scan on my chest.

Sooo, back down to the radiology office again. I had to wait for them to have an opening in between patients as it was spur of the moment. Once they got me in, it was fast. But here's the deal. For PET/CT scans, they give you this iodine-based dye that makes you feel very odd. It flushes your entire body. For this test, they have to put it in one of your large veins in your arm because it needs to be given all at once. So this means my port wasn't able to be used for it. My poor veins. They had issues getting one yet again. When she got it, the end of it wasn't closed off so I bled all over the place. Total awesomesauce.

This was after they 'cleaned' up the bloody mess too. -_-;

Short test, thank God, but they always warn you about having any shortness of breath because of any sensitivity to shellfish and a long list of other stuff. I'm not allergic to anything that I'm aware of. However, when they gave me the dye I only lasted about 30 seconds to a minute before I sort of freaked out. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I don't know if I was actually having a reaction to the dye (I hadn't before) or if I was panicking. They stopped right away, gave me some water and let me wait it out. I had not eaten anything since early in the morning as this all demanded being taken care of on the fly. Who knows though.

Check out my insides! I think I see my squeedily spooch!

Then we waited... again. The big concern with my chest was to be sure I hadn't started forming any blood clots in my lungs. Apparently you're more prone to them when you're going through cancer, and even more so when you're going through chemotherapy treatment. Cool that everybody neglected to tell me this. Lol! Praise the Lord yet again though, as my lungs looked good!

So all that testing, and we still don't know why I've been having the hurty chest stuff. The ER set up an appointment with my oncologist as a follow up on Tuesday. We went to that too, and what we got from that is suspicions that it's a side effect of chemo and/or likely from indigestion or my body still healing from the trauma of the port placement. I have an appointment to get another ultrasound on my heart for next Friday though, just to be safe.

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fuuuuun times!! [Insert huge super deep sigh here] O_O

My one day so far this week I didn't have to go to a doctors appointment or get a test done, I went to get my blood drawn yesterday and decided to busy myself with regular typical girl-type stuff. I bought a new nailpolish and gave myself a manicure to the best of my abilities. I then baked some cake batter blondies. It felt so nice to do that superficially pointless stuff I miss being able to busy myself with. You take that sort of thing for granted big time. Yet another case of "you don't miss it 'til it's gone" me thinks.
Back to my reality of dealing with docs and nurses and medical junk today though! I am glad to report that I am done with one month of my Taxol regimen though after today. As long as everything stays on track without delays, I have just two months left!

Chemo treatment #8 - 4/12 of Taxol. 

Ugh. I look so squishy in that picture! Man oh man do I miss working out. I need to try yoga if nothing else, because I feel icky. :( I'm scared to try anything more because of how easy I am winded. Anyway, enough of my silly vanity! Treatment went okay for the most part. I felt discomfort throughout part of the first portion of my infusion. I'm in the belief that my body is just weird and still healing from that surgery because it didn't hurt until she was poking/pushing around on my port. It did go away for the most part too after a while.

About halfway through, Dr. Wagner told the nurse that my WBC were on the low side with a 3 this week. She only administered 90% of my Taxol because of this. Well, 1/3 of the way through this regimen... seems about right that the accumulation starts to stack up. Oh, goodie. Haha

I have blabbed an enormous amount already, so bear with me while I add a little more! Hey, if you've stuck it out with me this far, then kudos! I am impressed! I'd have probably skimmed through this monstrously sized blog post most definitely! ;) Lol

It's tricky for me to discern where I'm at in my emotional journey through this at this point. I have accepted this is my life now a few months back, so that's not it. Perhaps the best way I can put it into words is that it feels as if there's no end. Logically I know that is as far from the truth as possible. The strangest thing is that I don't feel angry or upset about it. I just feel kind of apathetic. I know I will get to the end of this, and Lord willing will stomp my cancer out of existence... but I dunno. Just different steps in the process, I s'pose.

I try to remind myself that it's okay and human to have my moments. I'm fighting for my life. That's not exactly a walk in the park. I am blessed though  to have all my loving supporters, great medical insurance and my faith. There are so many who are facing the same fight or worse who may only have one of these blessings, if any. So I shall count my blessings one by one. :)

Song choice for today (frankly I think I need to listen to these lyrics myself) --

Okee dokee! Now I'm done, I promise! As usual, enjoy that weekend everyone! Go enjoy your lives. Treasure those silly yet readily under appreciated things you love to do. God bless and thanks for reading.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."   2 Corinthians 4:16-17


  1. Can't stress enough how much I agree with you on this! It really does seem like there's no end in sight! Just when we think things are going to level off for a while something else comes along to kick us in the butt.

    We get through it all somehow, but a breather at this point sure would help! Here's to hoping the next two months go as planned so we can get this chemo behind us!

    I love you and you continue to amaze me with the strength and patience you continue to show!

  2. You both are amazing and it really is an example of how much we can handle when we have to. I hate little sayings but it brings this one to mind....It isn't that God doesn't give us more than we can handle...He gives us the strength to handle what is given to us....or something to that affect.

    Ed and I talk all the time about the world missing one quality particularly-and Anj, you have it in spades...It is Grace my dear. You are A-FREAKIN-MAZING!!! So blessed to be a part of your family. Thanks for the smiles-always.

    Have a restful and peaceful day!
    Fake MIL

  3. Hey Anj,

    There is light at the end of the tunnel. With your patience and faith, it will be here sooner than you know it. I've kept you in my thoughts and prayers! Once we both have enough energy and the doc appts slow down, we will def meet up for a short time for coffee/tea.

    Hang in there, my friend!
    Gently Hugs,