It’s 4 a.m. I’ve been awake since 12:30 a.m. I can’t sleep. Time to blog!
I’ve had a rough few days recently, but it’s getting better. As I told Troy yesterday, maybe two surgeries, three doses of anesthesia and my first hit of chemotherapy was just too much for one week.
So, in my last post, I talked about how the egg collection procedure was last Wednesday. I then had the opportunity to get going on chemo, so I jumped at the chance. This meant I needed another surgery to install a port, which I did on Thursday.
I wasn’t told that there were any problems with the port surgery, but I’m thinking now it didn’t exactly go as planned. I was first given IV sedation (just like the day before in the egg collection procedure), but that didn’t work. So, they had to intubate me and give me a real general anesthesia. I woke up feeling like I couldn’t breathe and since a punctured lung is a risk of the port surgery, I was immediately surrounded by thousands of people. An inhaler was stuck in my mouth and people asked me over and over, “do you have asthma?” I couldn’t answer with the inhaler in my mouth and all I could think was, “are you crazy?” I also wondered if NOONE had read the 10,000 forms I had filled out — where I never once said I had asthma. In between them removing the inhaler, giving me a quickie chest x-ray and then shoving a mask on my face for a breathing treatment, I managed to croak, “I’ve never had asthma.”
That may have been the wrong answer because then I went from being treated as an urgent-needs patient, to a crazy person. You know — the fact I couldn’t breathe was all in my head! One nurse was left behind to toodle around and tell me repeatedly to “just breathe.” HELLO! I’ve been doing that all my life. I pretty much have the hang of it under normal circumstances.
A few minutes later, back in my outpatient room, the surgeon simply said they had to intubate me in order to give me deeper sedation. Sounded like no big deal at the time. Well, almost a week later, I still have a sore throat, my voice is off, I can’t take deep breaths and I have a strange pain across the top of my chest – not to mention the port site hurts. I asked one of my oncology nurses about this over the weekend and she said to give it two weeks! Yikes.
My friend Marcia came along for the port surgery — to drive and hold my hand. Thank goodness. She was my surrogate mom for the day — made me take home the inhaler I’d already paid for and listened to everyone’s instructions for me. I insisted that Troy stay home and work, since he was leaving town that evening. So, it was great to have someone so trustworthy with me.
I also insisted that Troy keep his plans for his getaway weekened with his friends. In fact, I pretty much kicked his butt out the door.
Friday was chemo day. My good friend Judy took me. I’ve know Judy since I was 15 and we have an endless supply of things to talk about, so overall it was a great day! Oh, sure, I sat in a scary room with four other cancer patients for a few hours and had my body pumped full of dangerous concoctions, but other than that it was a breeze!
The look on Judy’s face when the nurse jabbed the chemo needle into my brand-spanking-new port should have been caught on camera. Her description of it was pretty good, “I would use something that size to hang a picture on the wall!” I didn’t actually see it myself. I don’t look at stuff like that. And the port is almost in the exact spot where my chin would be when I put my chin to my chest. So, it’s impossible to see it without a mirror. I didn’t ask for one!
Judy kept me calm all day, whether she realized it or not. I had a few moments of “I must run out of this place right now,” but just before the full mood hit, Judy would ask me a question or start talking about something really interesting to the nurse and she would totally get my mind off of it.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday are a bit of a blur. I was totally exhausted by Saturday afternoon, although I didn’t yet realize there was a level of exhaustion beyond “totally.” That was Sunday. Saturday morning, I was doing ok, although the symptoms were starting to creep in. My friend Faye drove me back to IU for my $3,000 blood marrow booster shot. This will be the only time I need to go to a hospital for this. The rest of them will be administered at home.
My friend Amy did an AWESOME job of lining up help for me all weekend. Petey was scooped up by Marcia and taken to her house for the weekend. Colleen spent Friday night at home (when I was still feeling ok), then Saturday night with her friend Molly, and Sunday night with Marcia. People picked her up from school and dropped her off as needed. Other people came over to make me eat or just make sure I was alive. Amy spent Saturday night with me. I’m not even sure I can remember everyone who helped out all weekend, but here is a shot at it: Rebecca (my sister, who folded about 13 loads of laundry and even put them away), Martha & family, Tanya, Mark, Amy, Marcia, Emily (who brought me a yummy homemade pasta), Faye, Judy, Natasha (who cut my hair for me), Sue, Mary S., Dan, Mary H. (who brought me farm eggs! yay!) … I’m sure I missed someone. There were other people “on call” if I needed them. Troy said it was pretty cool that it took 14 people to replace him! 😉
I was surprised that I wasn’t back on my feet on Monday. I had to take the day off because I couldn’t move out of bed! Tuesday was much better, though I’m still slow. I’m also having horrible fits of heartburn, which is not normal for me. I imagine this must be a side effect of the chemo. Another thing to call the nurse about. Anyway, the wicked reflux I’m experiencing is what has kept me up tonight — even after two Pepcids, about 18 Tums, crackers, water, milk — still, I’m a poster child for some prescription medication or another!
That’s enough night time rambling for now. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me out in one way or another, or has sent me something to keep my spirits up! Your work, your thoughts, your kindness is much appreciated!