Appointments, appointments, appointments – My Cancer Journey

I forgot to mention during my appointment with my medical oncologist, I was advised that I would need a port. She showed me an image of a port and how it would look and feel under skin. She said that it would make all chemo injections so much easier. A tube would be attached to a neck vein and the nurses would just have to inject into the port. All I could say was, that is so gross!

The following week, I was scheduled for a ct and bone scan, chemo teach and port placement (I kept calling it a probe and Bill would roll his eyes – he got lots of practice with that with four sisters). You do have to agree with me that to have three appointments in a week is a bit much.

First was the ct and bone scan. Since two of four lymph nodes were diseased, we all wanted to be sure that the cancer hadn’t spread somewhere else. More needle pokes. Bill said I would end up feeling like a pin cushion (eye roll). I was given an iv and injected with a radioactive dye for the bone scan. Then I had to drink a substance for the ct and bone scan. Bill and I sat and waited for everything to take affect. A very pleasant technician passed out warm blankets to both Bill and I as the waiting area was fairly cool.

I was called in first for the ct scan. I will not forget this ct scan. The technician injected more fluid into my iv and warned me that my face and throat would get warm and that I would feel like I was urinating. She assured me that I was not wetting my pants since she had made certain I visited the restroom prior to the procedure. The sensation was indeed strange. My ears got hot. My face and throat got warm. Then I pulled my legs together as it felt really, really strange down there. But it passed soon enough and I was moved into the machine. The procedure lasted approximately ten minutes, the iv was taken out of my arm and I went into the waiting area.

We were told that the bone scan would be done in 90 minutes so Bill and I decided to head over to the hospital cafeteria to grab lunch. I hadn’t been allowed to  eat anything prior to the ct scan.

I should also mention that I have osteoporosis. I had been taking Fosamax once a week but in 2016 asked my doctor if there was something I could take once a year. I had seen television commercials about yearly injections and thought this might be better for me. I would not always remember to take the Fosamax so my doctor suggested Reclast. I was told by the medical oncologist, my osteoporosis is something they would have to watch.

The bone scan came next. Bill was able to sit in the room while I was in the machine. He found it interesting. Since I was told that I had to lie completely still, I fell asleep. It was a very small tube that I was put in but I had no problems with just closing my eyes and falling asleep. Thank goodness, I did not snore. This procedure took approximately 30 minutes.

We were then released and the technician wished me well. He said he hoped that I would receive good news. I really appreciated his words. Later that day, we found out that both scans came back clear. On to chemo teach and my port placement.

Feelings – My Cancer Journey

From the very beginning, I was in disbelief. How could I have cancer when I felt so good. I was healthy. The only prescription medications I was on was Pristiq for my depression. I was doing Reclast, a once per year medication for my osteoporosis.

I had started a weight loss program with Medi Weight Loss. I was gradually losing weight and feeling so happy with how I was doing. I was eating healthy, taking vitamins, exercising and newly married to the most wonderful, sexy, handsome man in the world. Just my opinion on this but my opinion is all that matters about Bill.

So okay, I was in denial but I would rather call it disbelief. I carried on with my daily routine. Riding my horse, taking care of the dogs and cats, taking care of the house, and taking care of Bill. I only had every other week appointments with my surgeon. But everything seemed to crash in on me the weekend before my scheduled ct and bone scan.

I should add that while Bill was in the hospital, my ex collapsed suddenly in front of my youngest daughter. She called me in tears. Apparently, the ex had pneumonia which then went to sepsis. When the ex fell, he also fractured his skull. I was upset for my youngest daughter, as she had to deal with her father on her own. My oldest daughter was 8 months pregnant and living in Canada. She could not physically help out. My son and his wife were in Chicago and making the move to Maryland. They could not physically help out. The ex is extremely needy and not a good patient.

The ex has a high level position in an international company. He had been making business trips to China and India. He does not take care of himself. So I was not surprised when he collapsed. I was hurting for my children who had to go through this on top of my cancer issues. As well, the ex is suing me and I am having to deal with court hearings, etc. I am trying to deal with all of this as well.

I fell apart the weekend before my ct and bone scan. I cried. And just felt so hopeless. My incision was not yet healed and my surgeon squeezed out more fluid when I saw her again. But she said it looked much better than it had. The incision grosses me out and I do not care to examine it closely like my surgeon and Bill.

I let myself cry and be sad. I called my best friend and just wanted to hear her voice and talk to her. That helped. I went to church. I have not yet found a church home but I think the church I have been going to will suit me. I can’t do this alone. And while Bill has been with me every step of the way, I am tired. Emotionally and physically. Bill still needs care.  I just feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was scared and nervous for the upcoming bone and ct scan. But Bill and I needed to know. We needed to be sure.

Bill’s Journey during My Cancer Journey

The neurosurgery PA and NP kept Bill in the hospital until Tuesday. He was told he could not go back to work for approximately 4 weeks and could not drive. Great.

He was given prescriptions and told that the hairline fracture at the back of his skull would heal in approximately 3 weeks. The subdural hematoma would heal in approximately 4 to 6 weeks.

Bill began throwing up Tuesday night. He did not stop. I lay in bed and listened to his vomiting, not being able to offer more help than that and I was surprised that I was not hurling with him. Watching or hearing someone vomit is not a strong suit of mine but I managed to hold it together. Mid morning Bill called the neurosurgeons about the vomiting and he was told to go to emergency.

Oh joy! That afternoon at the emergency department was like a gong show. Bill was put on a bed in the hallway under direct lights by the nursing station. He was given morphine and nausea medicine and told that he would be taken for a ct scan. Bill slept and I tried to keep my eyes on my phone, playing card games while patients were being wheeled in and out of emergency rooms surrounding us. One young man who was lieing in a bed close to Bill needed stitches to his chest. The young nurse sat on a chair beside the bed and proceeded to stitch him up in the hallway.

Bill was taken for his ct scan and when he returned, we were told that he would be admitted to the hospital. Seven hours later, he was settled in a room. While the bleeding had not increased, it seemed to have settled. However, his blood pressure was high and the neurosurgeons wanted to keep an eye on him. I sighed and went home.

Bill was kept in the hospital for 10 days. I was glad he was there. Every day seemed to be a different issue. One day his blood pressure was high. The next day his blood pressure was fine but his sodium levels were very low. It would swing back and forth between the blood pressure and his sodium level every day. But finally his blood pressure settled while his sodium level remained low. On the day we decided to go home, the neurosurgery team was good to let him go but the medical team did not want to release him because his sodium level was at 129. They wanted to wait until it was 130.

We went home with the agreement that he would have his blood checked Friday and again Monday. On Friday, his sodium level was 130. On Monday it was 134. Now the doctors were happy. Bill is still on disability. He cannot drive. While the pain in his head is not as severe, his dizzy spells are continuing. Bill’s head injury and bleeding in the brain outranks my cancer. Can you imagine that?

Things Go Bump In The Night – My Cancer Journey

I slept the rest of the day after my lumpectomy. The next day, Friday, I was still feeling the effects of the surgery. I told you I was a lightweight.

I was still urinating blue. I took a picture of it and sent it to my kids. They were not really impressed. I told them I could have sent them a picture of my Madonna boob which they really appreciated that I hadn’t. They were impressed with my blue pee.

Bill was extremely restless Friday night. By the time he decided to go to bed, I couldn’t sleep and I went out to the family room. At 3am, he woke me up, told me he had to watch a television show. He didn’t know what it was, but he had to watch it. He sent me in to the bedroom, and he looked for what, I don’t know.

When I woke up in the morning, he had fallen asleep on the couch. I turned off the television and made breakfast. I was not feeling well and Bill was quiet when he finally woke up. He had a small bruise at the corner of his eye which I noticed but didn’t say anything.

Early Sunday morning, Bill woke me up told me to look at his face. There were large  bruised circles around his eyes. I got up and told him I would take him to emergency. We both got dressed and we left in his car.

We were taken in to emergency rather quickly. Bill was examined and they then said they needed to take him for a ct scan. He came back from his scan and we were told he had a fracture in the back of his skull and had bleeding on the brain. Bill was immediately sent to the main hospital in Charlotte.

The doctor asked Bill if had fallen. Bill swore he could not remember falling. Although something nagged at me. Bill had been extremely restless Friday night. I do remember hearing something in my sleep Friday night. I am certain he had fallen that night. We have laminate flooring on top of the cement pad of our house.

I followed the ambulance to the main hospital in tears. Once we got to the hospital, Bill was taken up to NICU. While I was waiting for him to get settled, I texted all his family members to let them know what was happening.

Neurosurgery did further scans to make sure he wouldn’t have a stroke from the bleeding or spasms. The outcome was good. No stroke and he would be given medication to make sure he wouldn’t have seizures. The doctors again questioned the hairline fracture in the back of the skull. Bill again swore he did not remember falling. I was not surprised by that.

For the time being, Bill would be kept in the hospital and monitored. We were told that nothing would be done for the fracture. The fracture would heal on its own within 3 to 4 weeks. The bleeding would just resolve itself. He would have severe headaches. He was given several different medications. By night time, I went home exhausted, wondering what tomorrow would bring.