Monday, December 21, 2009

What Condition My Condition is In

Thierry says I should write about what ails me, as that is one of the purposes of the blog - to keep everyone up-to-date on my “condition” - so be forewarned, this will not be one of my more cheery postings.

In general, I have felt pretty good I guess. This chemo has not affected me like in the past, when I was curled in a fetal position on the sofa for two days afterward. I have been pretty functional. What has been developing over the past several months is a chronic sinus condition that has me very grumpy.

Two days following my treatments, my sinuses seem to dry up, and congest, and run, and I wake up with incredible headaches. These conditions last several days. I am able to put up with a lot of discomfort, but this has really dragged me down, emotionally as well as physically. I have been trying some homeopathic remedies like NetiPot, steam treatments from a pot filled with hot water and Vicks or chamomile flowers, and saline spray, but not with any regularity. Last week my brother-in-law gave me a bottle of Fluticasone (a steroid spray), which I really believe saved me last weekend, and has made the condition bearable.

Today I had an appointment with an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) specialist. His conclusion was that my sinuses were aggravated by the chemo and they are dry and crusty (great image here). He gave me over-the-counter remedies: an ointment to moisten the sinus passages and saline spray 4-6 times a day – basically anything to keep the sinuses moist.

I have also experienced some very odd phenomena that I have yet to have explained. Saturday evening, after enjoying an afternoon of tree decorating and the company of several of our friends at our house, my glands started to swell and I developed a very sore throat – all of which disappeared on Sunday.

Sunday, while sitting in the oldest Catholic Church in Philadelphia listening to a Baroque concert, my left wrist started to hurt. Later that evening while attending a dinner party at a friend’s house, both wrists swelled and ached to the point where I couldn’t bend them. Thierry had to help me undress that evening. Isn’t that one of your worst fears – having to have help undressing – and not in a romantic, sexy way! Anyway, they were still swollen and painful this morning, although not quite as bad. A phone call to the nurses at the oncologist office proved unhelpful. Her first reaction was to ask “Have you gone to the emergency room”? How stupid was that! Not to be deterred, I stopped in at the infusion center after I got my Vitamin C infusion.  My nurse got the Nurse Practitioner  who confirmed that joint swelling is a side effect of the chemo, as are swollen glands.  No need to go to the emergency room!

So, if you were able to read between the lines, I’ve managed to live and enjoy friends and the season, while dealing with some inconveniences and discomfort. I guess that is what it is all about – focusing on all the good parts of the day, because each day I am alive is a good one.


Lisa Ruff said...

If Kirk took a picture of me, I'd look just like that (except my towel is green). Breathe deep . . . .

jeannine said...

Wish you much love from a white Amsterdam (yes, snow!)Jeannine and Carl