Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More of Momma's Medical Musings

OK, I have a winner. My friend, EJ Krueger Blohm, came up with this alliteration and I think I'll keep it. Much better than Momma's Mutterings!

My mom has sent out a new update. Poor Momma!

Mom writes....

I hate to be a pest but I certainly would appreciate it so much if you would be praying for me right now.

As you know, I had my 5th chemo treatment on Friday and since it is a new "cocktail" of meds I wasn't real sure what side affects would pop up, if any. I stayed home Saturday and Sunday and other than feeling a little weak and shaky, I thought I was doing fairly well.

Last night around 9:00 p.m. I started having sharp pains in my toes and feet. This progressed into the ankles and both knees. As the evening wore on the pain took over my back, hips, shoulders...even my hands and fingers. Tom prayed for me twice. I was afraid to take anything of any strength to combat the pain because I didn't know how it might interact with the other medicines so I had a very restless night of sleep.

First thing this morning I called the doctor and spoke with a nurse who assured me that I could take more powerful drugs to ward off the pain. I did that and even though the pain has somewhat subsided from time to time I'm still in a lot of discomfort. Even my teeth hurt. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've suffered like this. The doctor feels that this new chemo treatment has stirred up a storm within my system that has brought out the fibromyalsia full force. If I knew this would only last a day or two, then I can deal with it but, of course, I don't know what to expect. Please be praying for me that I can endure this latest set back with grace and peace of mind. Thanks so much

My mom also sent an update at the end of last week that I thought you would like to read...

Back on Track

Thursday I didn't feel much better so I was worried that my chemo would be cancelled again. But by the time I went to bed I could tell that my cough had dried up and wasn't as severe. I slept quite well for the first time in two weeks. When I woke Friday morning I hardly coughed at all so I was very excited. I told Tom to be sure and bring reading material because I knew I would have my treatment.

We arrived at 8:15 a.m. and I had my blood work then we met with the nurse practitioner. I started having the "rice krispies" again but she wasn't too concerned about that. She gave me the all clear to have the treatment and added that I would not be having the Neulasta shot. I was out of my mind with happiness!

A Whole New Routine

Donna Gunnoe had reminded me that during my orientation they had mentioned that at some point in my treatment I would no longer be assigned a chair but a bed. So, I was not too surprised when the nurse directed me to a bed. I should have known that this would mean a different routine for the treatment but no one had prepared me for just how detailed things would become nor how long the treatment would take.

Tom and I had rushed out of the house without anything to eat, thinking that I would be finished with my treatment by 11:00 a.m. or so. There are always snacks available for people to eat and a refrigerator full of soft drinks and juices. Tom did grab an apple from our kitchen right before heading out the door and this came in handy later in the day.

I started on my treatment at 10:30 and I wasn't finished until after 2:30. It was a long day. And, boy, was I hungry! We know now to pack a snack or a sandwich and bring it from home.

The pre-meds took as long to administer as the entire treatment I received for the first four. Remember I told you all that I would be on a different "cocktail" so they really doped me up good before flushing the line and starting me on the new solutions. That took nearly two hours followed by another flushing.

They had me hooked up to a blood pressure monitor and as they started me on all this new stuff my blood pressure started sailing higher and higher. Each time it went up I started to cough. I was so embarrassed. Here were all these sick people on either side of me and my cough sounded like it had earlier in the week. I tried to confine the spray to my blankets and buried my face into a pillow. It finally dawned on me that my cough hadn't necessarily returned but that the blood pressure was causing me to go into these fits.

Understanding Why

Remember how I wondered why all this coughing had caused me to have to go to a different treatment schedule? I was really bummed out that instead of Tuesdays I would now be on a Friday schedule. Now I think I know why this has all been part of His plan.

Susie Dana had told me that she shied away from the "support groups" because she felt they turned into pity parties. She said she received more encouragement from those who were there at the times she received treatment. I had been looking for that but each time I had my Tuesday treatment I saw different people and many of those were none too friendly and preferred not to talk.

When I arrived at my bed I noticed a lovely young lady in bed to my left. The curtain was partially pulled for privacy so I didn't say anything at first. But soon, she had to get up to go to the bathroom and she stopped at the foot of my bed and said, "Do ya'al go to Southeast Christian?"

Tom was wearing his Master's Men Southeast Christian sweat shirt and it had already been the source of conversation in the waiting room. Of course, it didn't hurt having Tom with me anyway as he is such a conversationalist and he started up dialogue with just about everyone around us. One lady in the waiting room saw his shirt and asked about our former pastor Bob Russell and mentioned to her companion that she must go to the Easter Pageant this year. Turned out that another man waiting in the room had a nephew who attends Southeast and we know him well from our Bible Class...Bill Kalbfleish.

So we replied to the young lady that, yes, we attend Southeast. She mentioned the pageant and introduced herself and her husband. Lorrie and John Holmes from Brandenburg, Indiana. We became fast friends and the curtain was pulled back permanently. In between our bouts of sleepiness we talked and talked. Tom and John never ran out of things to say. Lorrie was receiving her 5th round and has three more to go, like me. We are now on the same schedule and so we promised to save beds next to each other for our next treatments.

Lorrie's situation is a little different than mine, however. She is only 41 years old. They have two daughters. One is getting married to their pastor's son this coming June. Last summer she started having problems with her digestion and lost 30 pounds in a matter of two months. They started running tests on her, mainly her stomach and kidneys thinking that was where the problem had to be. I think she said she had over 100 biopsies on her stomach. Finally a doctor got the idea that they needed to check outside her stomach and there they found cancer wrapped around several of her ducts. It was not the primary source however and one doctor remembered that on previous mammograms a ridge had shown which they didn't think amounted to anything. They did a biopsy and that was the source of the cancer. It had gone to her lymph nodes and set up residence in her uterus, as well. She is stage four and all her treatments have been of the more aggressive style. Her attitude is amazing and she has a deep faith that is contagious. We talked of the Lord and she was just a delight.We had a wonderful time of prayer before leaving.

So now I know that the Lord had all this in mind from the beginning and I'm not at all upset anymore that my schedule has changed. And, I'm so glad Tom will be able to come with me as this new process is very tiring and he was so much help.

Side Affects

As of now I'm unsure what side affects this new treatment will show. At the moment it appears to be diarrhea and a little vomiting. Not much, though, and I'm not nauseas at the moment. Usually the third day tells me what to expect. Today I'm weak and shaky and I'm coughing a little bit. The consensus is that whatever the side affects I shouldn't have them as long as with the first four. That is promising. I look forward to getting back to work faster