Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I’m Still Here

I know some of you are concerned about me because I’ve been quiet the past couple of weeks. Well, it hasn’t been quiet from where we sit. I think in my last blog I mentioned that I had new pains in my chest – which is not really my chest but sort of the chest- abdomen area. I did call the doctor on Monday the 2nd and got an appointment immediately. This was Dr. D at Penn. They took a chest x-ray, did blood work and had me get a PT scan. We got home about 5:00 p.m. that day, having left at 10:00 in the morning.

Dr. D called me on Tuesday evening to tell me that the pain came from the liver and that the tumors were still growing. She told me I would be going off the study immediately and that she would contact Dr. A at Jefferson to talk about future treatment. It was a big decision deciding to go back to Jeff and to stick with Dr. A and not go back to Dr. M, my original oncologist. This was one of the major decisions we had to make that day, which caused me much angst. We had to think about the convenience of Jeff over Penn to receive treatments; Jeff is closer if I need to go to the emergency room, or what they offer in hospice care – to name a few. I liked the fact that Dr. A and Dr. D didn’t seem to have any problems talking to each other – there didn’t seem to be any egos or territorial issues involved.

Later in the week, while the folks at Jeff were trying to work out all the details with my new treatment plan, I received a call from Jeff saying that my platelets and white counts were low. The platelets were too low for me to get treatment. This would mean a delay in beginning the new chemo.

On Wednesday the 4th I sneezed and got a searing pain down the right side of my abdomen. The pain was debilitating and hurt especially when I took a deep breath, belched or sneezed. We had our friends take me to the emergency room at the hospital – fortunately there was only a 1.5 hour wait. They immediately plugged me into a morphine IV and came up with a list of tests: chest x-rays, ultra-sound of my gall-bladder, blood tests and cultures. They sent me home at 7:00 a.m. the next morning, unable to tell me anything. They did give me scripts for morphine. It’s amazing how quickly you become constipated on morphine. Now I have to take more stool softeners and laxatives to keep things moving.

I was told on the 13th that my platelets and white counts had gone up and that I could start the treatments this week. On Saturday evening, the 14th, I came down with the chills. When I took my temperature it read 99.9 which is high for me. We cancelled the plans we had to go out for food and drinks with friends, and I went to bed instead. When I awoke Sunday morning my temp was 100.8 – at this reading the docs would have wanted me to go to the hospital. I took two Advil and took my temperature every couple of hours. It went down and settled to about 97-something. This morning my temperature was normal.

As soon as the office opened today I called the oncologist and spoke with her assistant. I explained everything that was going on with me. She had me come in for a series of blood work, cultures and an x-ray. There will be no chemo this week either – we just have to wait for the tests results.

I think I’ve been handling things pretty well. This may be due to the anti-depressants I am now taking and the constant state of “high” I think I am in from the morphine. My support system has been here for me. During these last two weeks I was treated to a massage, been to lunch and movies with friends and family, went shopping and bought an outfit to wear to Lauren’s baby shower, which is this weekend.

Thierry was busy as well – when he was not sitting in a waiting room somewhere, he managed to plant twenty-four tomato plants,30 hot pepper plants and roughly 36 sweet pepper plants in my dad’s garden. Thierry also planted a tomato plant in a pot on our balcony and filled out the containers. The grass we had planted last year came back. (Unfortunately, Jeannine’s bulbs that she planted in the fall did not.) We picked something with a purple flower and they look great with the grass.

Hopefully I’ll find out what is going on this week and we can get a handle on it. It’s very odd to roll along with a temp of 97.6 and in a few hours have it read 100.8. Have a great even week!


Anonymous said...

thank God you are back - we have been very concerned about you. Back to the praying that they can sort this all out and ease your pain. Margaret

Jennifer said...

Charlie and I wish you both the best.
Hugs from Puerto Rico.

Anonymous said...

I have been checking in to see how you were doing and wondered if anything was wrong. I am sorry to hear that you have had these problems and the anxiety I know it has caused as well as the pain you have had. I am rooting for you and sending you healing thoughts. Terry x

Anonymous said...

Good to have an update. Thrilled that the grasses wintered over and cannot wait for a look (ala Thierry photo?) at what you paired them with for this season. Thinking of you always, much love to you both, Judy Shindel (sending this for a second time as it didn't save it earlier!