Sunday, March 31, 2013

4 Days Post Opt. and Gone

The surgeon made rounds  early this afternoon. The Foley was removed this morning and finally I felt nature's  call. I have an IV of  Lactated Ringers running at 100ccs an hour and the Diludid  on demand.

He asked how I felt  and of course I tried to look as healtjy as possibe and plastered a big smile on my face. I denied all pain, no swelling and mentioned the great bouts of urination  I was having along with the  flatulance that was required before being discharged ffrom thie hospital.

I asked if the IV could be DC'd. He agreeded and said the  Dilauaded could be stopped if  I didnt need it. I was IV free and I could cruise along by myself without taking all this stuff with me.

My nest qusestion was  "Can I go home tomorrow?" I really didn"t expect him to say "yes" but that's exactly what he said.

I'm packing now. Of course the surgeon that did the surgery might have a different opinion when he rounds tomorrow. I'm packing anyway.

I'm on my way to shampoo my hair, find my lipstick  and eyeliner. I want to look as bright and shiny as possible tomorrow morning.

At The End of the Hall

It is now 0340 hours. I have been awake since 0200 hours. I updated my status on Facebook because...well just because. Someone some where might be interested.

I won't have to worry about the nurses or the staff walking in and finding me awake until it's time to do vitals.Things have changed a lot since I walked the halls of this hospital. The nurses have computers that check the meds they are giving. They have to scan the patients' armband. The computers list the meds as another check. A computerized MAR (medication administration record).

  The nurses, doctors and aides all chart on their own computers. Some of them like doing this; usually the young nurses but the doctors hate it. Much of what the doctors are doing used to be handled by the unit secretary.

My room is at the end of the hall. I have no idea why because both sides of this hallway are empty of patients. My nurses and other staff have to walk the long hallway every time I ring that call bell so I try not to use the call bell often. When my IV pump starts beeping because of an "occlusion"  I can fix it and not have to call the nurses station. Though these pumps are a new style it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure them out.

I pushed "the button" and the Dilaudid is doing its' thing. I have to go now..and I do mean "go".

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The doctor rounded today and was amazed at the blood pressure readings I had thrown out today. He ordered a IV push of a cardiac med and then when he got here made a standing order for an IV push and a consult with my General Practitioner. Ah, another person on the case.

The upside of today was he didn't order a transfusion. The Epogen (an injection that spurs the long bone to build red blood cells) must have bumped my H&H up enough for him to not be concerned. 

Fidel made an appearance this morning. April and her family were here for a while but I really am OK with them just calling. I can't stay awake for long.

The window sill is lined with pretty pungent plants. I was told the names  and NO, I can't remember one of them. April spent the evening coloring Easter eggs with Carrie. I phoned and told her she didn't need to make a trip here; I was going to sleep again.

The doctor was going to order a clear liquid diet today then changed his mind and left me on ice chips. He did order the Foley catheter removed. I told the nurse we could leave it until tomorrow.  IV Fluids were still running and I didn't want to drag the pump around the room tonight.

That pretty much wraps up my activities today. Exciting wasn't it? At least it's recorded. Happy Easter; enjoy the ham.

It's Time to Bid Farewell

OR in plainer terms...GET ME OUTTA HERE.
Today is Saturday. I came in for surgery on Thursday. I did mention to you that this was a journal of times and places of where I am so I could check back later since my memory seems to be fading fast. It might be boring to the readers here but it has to be done.

The staff is wonderful. I see all of them from the housekeeper to the RN every day and I farted.

OK, now I know that was a sneaky way to get that information in here BUT it is very important and I don't know why, being a nurse, that one bodily function always embarrasses me to talk about it. I could have used the term "passing gas" but that wouldn't  have been as funny as passing on the information the way I did.  IF you don't you pass gas you can't eat and you can't go home. I don't think they expect a bowel movement since I was cleaned out with the Mag Citrate on Wednesday night.
As the aide was walking me down the hall I saw my nurse at the nurse's station and called her over. "Dee! Come here!"  Poor Dee. She expected bad news. I leaned over and whispered in her ear "I farted!"
She fell back laughing. I like to get the nurses laughing. They deserve a stress break whenever or where ever they can get it.
I just spoke with Wanda and she is in Kentucky. She should be back home around 1400 hrs today. That's a long trip especially with two little ones in the car.
I'm still tapping the Dilaudid button and I still have the muscle relaxing med being pumped into the muscles of my stomach.
I was able to walk the length of the hall and when we got back to the room, I settled into the chair with my laptop to do my little bit of charting here.
The husband called and he is on the way to as soon as he gets his coffee and a shower. I don't expect he or my daughter to spend long blocks of time sitting and watching me sleep in a drugged out stupor.
I had a bath today. Not in the shower but the one where you soap up a cloth and then wipe the soap off with a towel. I didn't go through the rinse cycle. There was no rinse cycle.
Clinically my H&H was low so they injected me with Epogen. If that doesn't work, they might have to run a unit of blood on me. I'm hoping this doesn't happen. I hate getting blood and I have no idea the "why" of this. It almost nauseates me. I never thought a thing of it when I was hanging all of that blood on my patients.
It's time for my treat. I'm going to get some ice chips and PIG out...and crawl back into my bed for a while.

Friday, March 29, 2013

She Whispered Softly

Thursday, March 29th, 2013. I barely made it. Two surgeries before this one was done in March.
My daughter was born in March and my beloved grandmother.

I have to post in spurts. Once that button is depressed for the Dilaudid,  the effects hit within minutes and along with the medicine comes the itching, the slurred voice and then I'm gone to la la land for a while. I try to fight it when guests are here which makes for some funny questions from the daughter. Louise appeared for  a few minutes. She was working and took a short break to offer her support.

I don't have many friends here but the few I do are alike in many ways. It's an exclusive club.

 Louise is  a kind gentle person. Soft spoken and petite, she lives and let lives. Spiritually, she spends much of her time in her flower gardens; she visited Machu Picau, likes herself well enough that she doesn't need a crowd around.

 Wanda was married to my brother. I usually say when  introducing her to others "This is my ex sister in law. She divorced my brother but kept the rest of the family."

Again, Wanda has some of the character traits of Louise. She is quick to respond to teasing my husband lays on her; a good sense of humor and spiritually, much like Louise and myself. Wanda doesn't like crowds either.

Sometimes I go for a few years before I connect with Louise. She has a busy life. Wanda lives 18hrs away but we keep in contact on the phone.

A few more women, Kathy and Peggy. Kathy I've known since the third grade and  Peggy a friend since I moved here and foremost my daughter.

The daughter is much more like me then she thinks. She can take a stand on something she believes in and will defend her believes no matter what you may believe. She does allow you to have your beiefs as the other women I have mentioned here.

Most of these people have some thing in common with me and everyone of them accept people as they are. That's the part I like best about them.

Everyone of them have rallied around during this emotional time in my life.

I was in "holding" preparing for surgery yesterday. The husband sat to my right and in front of me in a chair they bought into  the room for him. A nurse in front and to the  left had her computer on rolling stand taking my H&P (history and physical). A surgery nurse was attached to my right arm starting an IV while the left arm was being punctured for a lab stick.

A surgical nurse walked in wearing light blue surgery scrubs, her hair covered by a net cap. Her eyes matched her scrubs in color, a light seemed to flow from them. Time was getting close to go and a tear rolled down my cheek. Too much happening at one time I think.

This woman, put a hand on each side of my face and laid her cheek against mine and whispered a prayer. She had a soft powdery smell about her, clean and fresh. She whispered a prayer for the surgery to be successful, and the healing quick. I didn't see her again but we all know they don't hang around long. They have too much to do.

The Versed kicked in, the husband shared a kiss.  I settled back on the gurney as they rolled me to the surgery suite.

The prep continued, arms and legs strapped down, and the sedative began.

I believe an angel is what you feel and see and believe; actions of kindness and think I saw one in surgery yesterday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


In surgical holding. IV started....everything is a go. April and Wanda are in waiting room. Fidel is here with me in this holding area. Spoke with the surgeon..

April..key word....remember the dryer if you need to.
Should I survive, forget the keyword. 

Fidel knows where the jewelry is. Don't let him give it to the next in line. It's yours....

OK..enough foolin around, I'm outta here.

Colon Resect, Aisle 3

I drank the watered down tomato soup, and ate the orange sherbet yesterday.

Huge thick juicy hamburgers, hot dogs with grill stripes and brats plumped to bursting from the heat filled a lap tray on the patio table. The husband was grilling. 
 A platter held lettuce, thin sliced tomatoes and purple onion slices. Chibatta bread had been buttered and arranged on the grill to crisp it up and dinner was served. Baked beans, and a huge bag of potato chips rounded out the meal. I tried not to look.

I slipped into the kitchen and sat at the counter eating directly from the orange sherbet container. All mine. I could do this because nobody else would be eating Sherbet.

Our day ended with the husband playing with the 5yr old and the 9 year old and the remote controlled helicopter after dark.  The blue and red lights on the helicopter pinpointed where they were in the back yard.

I was up early yesterday morning. Rob made his appearance a few hours later. He mixed up some power drink stuff and headed for Planet Fitness. The little ones were now up and borrowed into the sofa cushions beneath blankets watching cartoons. Gradually everyone else start drifting in from the bedrooms. Carrie has spent the night. I bought in the mesh recliner from the patio and tilted it back flat, put a pillow and a blanket on it for her and placed it at the foot of my bed. She slept in it until she had to have a potty break. The husband was up. I went to check on Carrie. She was in the king size bed beneath the covers where she had returned after her bathroom break.

Soon she joined everyone else in the living room. Carrie requested milk.  That milk was spewed over the living room floor and down the hall. It's inevitable. A house full of guests and clean up on aisle 3.

I herded her to the bathroom while I did a quick clean up on the floor. Being the nurse that I am, I noted it was just curdled milk she had expelled. No temperature was noted while I rinsed her hair and reassured her she would be alright.
I always feel so vulnerable and alone when I have a regurgitating episode and I assume others feel the same way. It's such an "out of your own control"  and sudden thing to do.

April appeared after my frantic call. Carrie is not well, cleaning up vomitus and breakfast help needed. She arrived shortly.

Sausage gravy and biscuits were served. For a crowd, it's easier then frying up individual egg orders, bacon grease everywhere and it's a "eat when ready" meal. Everyone had their own agenda from some that didn't like to eat before 1000hrs to those returning from the gym later and those that weren't interested in breakfast at all.

By now it is close to 1400 hrs. April loaded up everybody 18yrs old and under and chaperoned them to a movie while Wanda, Rob, me and the husband boarded the Dodge train and headed to Avery Island, home of the Tabasco Factory.

Daily tours, done every 20 minutes was our destination. I had to be home for my Mag Citrate experience so time was at a premium.

Where is a gecko when you really want one. Usually the walls of the patio and the carport are covered with the little critters. Carrie and I slink away from this as much as possible. The 5yr old and the 10 yr old wanted to see geckos. I tried to tell them it was so darn cold here now that they were in their thermals and snuggled down in the attic.

They looked and looked. The hunt was on. Their grandmother Wanda, the fearless bug hunter went to the little house in the back yard and started searching. We now have 7 of them in Folgers coffee containers parked on the patio. Grass that has been saturated in water and placed in the containers supply their moisture. Safari Wanda will be on the hunt for bugs to feed them to keep them alive. I'm so grateful for a girl grandchild. I don't do well with boys, bugs and crawly critters.

It is now time for me to shower and dress. The alarm is set for 0600 for the ones accompanying me to the hospital. Fidel and Wanda from this house and April will join us too.

The first thing I wanted to do this morning was brew a pot of coffee. I'm NPO this morning and I have to be at the hospital at 0730. Morning meds is all I can have with a sip of water. I don't know where I am on the surgery schedule but I hope I'm "first call".

Friends phoned last night to wish me well. I was so surprised when Claudia called from Iowa. It has only been 30 yrs since we've seen each other! Denise from Casper, Wyoming called too. These are friends from the past that are always in our thoughts. Distance doesn't seem to matter.

I promise Kathy..I will get back to you as soon as I can. Skype is the word sis!

I'm off to get a quick shower before everyone else is cued out of bed by their alarm clocks. I will put on a pot of coffee for them.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homage To Ernie

I signed in to Facebook today and found a message from Diane. A simple message of only a few words but my heart contracted as I read it.
"Ernest passed away yesterday."
I reread and reread this message. I posted back out of disbelief.
"Are you talking about Ernie?"
It was 1971 or thereabouts. Sheriff McCoy was in office. Deputy Otis Raines, Deputy Chester McClain, Deputy Ed Speece and Deputy Ruth Brooks, myself the evening radio operator and Ann Landfried the midnight operator were the staff at the Jackson County courthouse.
I counted Otis and Chester as friends. Otis had a barber shop in town and a son name Ernie. Ernie was considered one of the "older" guys around town which meant he was probably 5 or 6 years older then me.
Just as Otis, Ernie had an infectious personality. He liked to laugh and tease me. When he laughed his eyes crinkled up and the sound was all Ernie.
I liked hot cars and the crowd at that time were all gear heads. Sometimes I would see Ernie at the 1/4 mile runs with his buddies or around town with his friends.
I suppose after all these years, I can tell you that at one of the races at Fairplain, the deputies showed up to bust everybody. Otis and Chester waved me though with instructions to get myself home. They knew I would lose my job had it be known that I was breaking the law. Working at the Sheriff's office and being at a late night drag race was not going to go well with the boss.
Otis used to cut my hair. Chester would loan me and friends horses to ride. They were part of my growing up and tried to guide me through my stupid years.
I haven't seen Ernie in years. When I friended him on Facebook, I smiled and grinned as the teasing Ernie was true to form. It was great to see he and Diane on my pages.
When I was diagnosed with the big "C", Ernie was quick to offer his reassurances. Just a few days ago he sent xxx's to my page and I knew he was thinking about me. A day or two later Diane sent her best wishes.
They were part of my past and I was devastated to learn the news of his sudden passing.
I'm saddened today more then I can say for his family.
Tomorrow I enter the hospital for surgery. I will be remembering Ernie and Diane and their best wishes. I never felt as though they were far away. It was easy to conjure up a mental image of Ernie and Diane.
Peace be with you my old friend.

The Silence, The Hunger, "The Day Before"

I'm wrapped in a Saint's blanket that was gifted to me at Christmas. I think it was a joke gift or so I have been told. It's one of those blanket  things that has sleeves on it. I ignore the sleeves and they hang like appendages when I shake it out to rearrange it. I've though about snipping them off. I haven't worn this blanket as it was intended but I do use it to sneak beneath on these cold mornings when I'm on the sofa before everyone gets up and stirring around.

I have the house to myself; or at least this room. Three little children, one teen and 4 adults are here right now and this person banging away on the keyboard is the only one awake. Blissful silence!

Today I am on a liquid diet. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I'm starving. The first think I thought of when I left my bed and headed to the sofa in the living room was some leftover baked steak and gravy over rice. Instead some strawberry jello and a cup of black coffee is in my immediate future. I'm well stocked up on jello. Two containers of sherbet sit atop each other on the freezer shelf. Two cans of tomato soup, no milk, no butter and no crackers are stationed beside the stove should I slip and forget. A reminder of my diet.

This afternoon between 1400 and 1600hrs I will be sipping on some Mag Citrate. Purchased from Walmart, it's clear bottle holds Lemon flavored liquid that promises to keep me house bound for the afternoon. NPO after midnight. That's my plans for today almost.

When the house guests awake, the daughter will arrive to fix sausage biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs. I get to observe.

As soon as everyone gets dressed, I'm assuming hours from breakfast, we will tour the Tabasco factory in New Iberia and then make a few stops around town. Time is limited for much sight seeing now. Wanda, Rob and the boys have to be back home by 1600 hrs. on Saturday. I have to be in the hospital tomorrow morning.

The husband took them to the swamp yesterday to look for alligators which was on their "want list of things to see."

Wanda was here last year at this time. We whipped around all over the place in the roadster with the rag top down. This year the highs have been in the 50's and at night dipping down into the 30's. It hasn't be a warm vacation for them. The only redeeming factor is WV is beneath 5 inches of snow and it's much colder there.

It's time to publish this and either lay quietly beneath this sleeved blanket or make a pot of coffee.

I'm going to try the first option.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Here Today

Baked steak and gravy, rice and corn on the cob and dinner is served.

I started early with this meal so it would be ready when the guests arrived. Wanda, Rob and the boys arrived this afternoon.

Beds were turned down and luggage was unloaded. Meal time was for when and who was hungry.

I had to shop today for my lovely menu for tomorrow. At least I can have tomato soup but it has to be done with water and the usual bouillon, jello and a new item. I get to have sherbet. I should hear tomorrow when the surgery time is scheduled for Thursday.

I'm going to do my usual on how I project forward at times like this. One month from today, I'll be done with this. It will be in the past. I try to not think about the fact  that  that will probably be the time I will be starting chemo. Always something huh?

I have to sign guests here and I don't want to appear rude.
Catch ya later!


Another milestone approaches. I think milestone is not the correct word here. A surgery is not a milestone unless it's on the path to something else. Another reason for this not being a milestone, there was nothing to accomplish before reaching this surgery except time. Waiting is a passive event. There wasn't any struggle or strain; just the waiting.
Does anyone pass out medals for waiting?

I definitely need to stop searching the web for information. All the forums have topix on whatever you are searching for. I noted when I had my knee replacement and did topix searches, all the information found was from patients that had bad outcomes. Some time passed before I realized, those that had perfect knee replacements were out walking and jumping and running and enjoying their new knees. The problem knees were the ones found posting on topix sites to try to find a fix to their problems.

I spent much of yesterday digging myself into that hole and had to finally stop. I even Googled a search for "good outcomes with a colon resect". The pages found were from the surgery centers and doctors that were giving out information on post op instructions.

Gone are the days when we walked into a  doctor's office and didn't mention to them "I read on the internet......"
I'm sure the doctors must grit their teeth at this statement.

I listen to people, when faced with something out of their control say "It's in God's hands." I nod and smile. That doesn't work for me. Fatalism. I can't get there from here. Too many unexplained and  contradictory stories for me to accept that. Maybe I'm just too "science based". Show me the proof. Gather information to support your hypothesis and don't ever tell me "it's not ours to question". Ask my daughter about me and questions. I should have been a journalist.

Before this blog gets off on an entirely different path, my update is a short one.
Wanda and the boys should be here today. Tomorrow I start packing and prepping for the colon resect at LGMC. Note how I mention the hospital? I do that for a reason. In a month or so I'll never remember where I was for this surgery. I have used both main hospitals for all the testing that was done and can't remember which hospital did which test. I'm making a note right here and now to refer back to.
My emotions have become much more stable. Louse called to check on me yesterday. Pat and Peggy called and my daily calls to Kathy keep me grounded and sane. They are a great distraction and a comfort to know they are there.

The husband doesn't get far from sight either. He is scheduling work as soon as this surgery is done. I will be on a healing path for a few weeks before the chemo starts.

I'm tired of waiting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Relax, Veins; Dilate and that's an order!

Just a short post before the Ambien kicks in and I start slobbering onto the keyboard. I look like a drunk on last call at the bar when that Ambien gets full control. 
The blood pressure cuff I have is one of those automatic ones and I don't trust it. Different readings lead me to believe I am either stroke level or ready to bottom out from it being so low. The first reading scared me so bad I swallowed a Klonopin. The husband questioned me on it and I told him that's why the doctor ordered it. Anxiety causes the blood pressure to rise. I've only taken about 3 total out of the bottle he gave me almost three weeks ago so I don't qualify to be named a druggie yet. I'm not one to enjoy the downed out feeling that these drugs cause. I did get a nap today which I havne't been able to do for a long while.
I just swallowed that Ambien and I am jonesin for a nice long sleep.
I'm outta here to enjoy every bit of it!

Monitoring, Research and Preparation

I am the Princess of surfing. I'm constantly looking things up on the web. Should a "what" question pop up, I'm flipping open the laptop and heading into web land. I'm so conditioned, I have pitched out all my phone books. I can look that phone number up quicker by tapping a few keys.
Strange given my addiction to the web, I have just started searching for information on my upcoming surgery and then the treatments for the breast cancer. I suppose I was hiding from the information. I wasn't ready to know more then I already knew. A little over a month from diagnosis, I'm ready to gather a little information. I'm investigating "softly" and only doing a little at a time.
Yesterday I checked my blood pressure and it was ugly. I swallowed a Klonapin. The husband's advice is to "calm down" which is a waste of his breath. An order doesn't do it. It does nothing to calm me nor slow down the brain's full speed ahead thoughts that I can hardly maintain the same pace.
I've left the BP cuff on the coffee table in plain view.

This is just part of the process. Fear of the unknown produces anxiety. I have to accept that and submit to that Klonopin when needed.
I must be relaxed. My eyelids are drooping. Maybe it's nap time again?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bugsy Has Moved Out

Kids! You know how they are. They get to a certain age and think they must have a place of their own. Not realizing how much it costs and the expenses of moving out, they soon come to realize how fortunate they were to have had a place that didn't cost them a thing.

No more rabbit pellets on my grocery bill. No more alfalfa supplied by this house. Her mineral wheel, her chew sticks and the shaved wood on the floor of her hutch will no longer be my responsibility.

Bugsy is an albino. It took me a while to figure out why she stayed in her hutch most of the day. Those red eyes were probably very sensitive to sunlight.

As soon as the shade moved over her area, late in the afternoon, Bugsy would peek out of her condo. If you happen to be up around 0300, you could see her racing around her "run", into her house and back out again to continue her race. She would stand in one spot, shake her head and then spring straight up into the air and do a 180 degree turn. That was my favorite thing to see her do.

Bugsy will still be dependant on someone. It just won't be me. She has no visible means of income so moving out on her own wasn't an option. She has moved in with April and Carrie. April spent some of her birthday money on a rabbit hutch for her own yard.

Bugsy has moved up in the world..literally. Her new home has 3 levels with stairs leading up to each floor. I think the wood is redwood. A green domed roof tops off the top floor. We will move the "run" part down to April's house for Bugsy to do her midnight escapades.

I'm going to miss her but April said I can visit anytime I wish.

As April was carrying her supplies out the door I was following closely behind babbling instructions on taking care of her. She drinks lots of water..check it often. Watch for flood waters...don't let her food bowl sit out if it rains...and on and on. April kept nodding and moving toward her Jeep. Sometimes I think April humors me and is rolling her eyes  when she is turned away from me.

I'm am now pet free once again. I will say this. If you ever want a pet, a rabbit is an easy peasy pet. Very little, water and clover and you're good.

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I was in a pair of shorts, the husband was in the yard cleaning flowers beds, spreading mulch and planting flowers. Today we are in sweat pants and sweaters and huddled inside beneath warm blankets.

The wind is not hurricane strength by any stretch but I can see the newly sprouted leafs on the Maple tree whipping back and forth in the breeze. The sun slips out from beneath a cloud but not long enough to warm anything up before going undercover again.

Wanda, Rob and the boys are in Panama City and on a pontoon boat. The weather there is not much better then here, rip tides make it too dangerous to go to the beach. They are making a trip to Dolphin Island on that boat. I question whether there is white caps in the bay. She says they are staying in the bay but being on the water with white caps is something I avoid. I'll feel better when they call me and tell me they are back in their room.

Eventually they will arrive here. I suggested they just leave tomorrow morning and head to Lafayette instead of going to New Orleans. They can hang here until Wednesday morning then head for New Orleans for the afternoon and Thursday. They have to be back in WV by Saturday at 1600 hrs. so they will have to be on the road again early on Friday morning.

Wednesday I will be prepping for my hospital visit and surgery on Thursday.

I'm busy doing house chores; stripping beds and replacing with fresh linens, laundry and a few other odds and ends.

Lunch was a bowl of vegetable beef soup. There isn't much in the fridge for leftovers as the chef has been too busy with his yard work. I would rather live on crackers then cook and then clean the kitchen.

Bugsy and Carrie return today. I kinda sorta miss seeing that bunny in the yard in her run. I miss Carrie too of course. I haven't spent much time with her lately and we haven't shared with her about what is going on with me.

I think I will discuss with her mother today about telling her about the surgery on Thursday. She doesn't need to know all the details but just that I will be in the hospital getting something fixed and that she will be visiting while I am there.

That's it for me for now.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

From February 7, 2013 to March 23, 2013

Around February 7th, 2013,  I bought a ticket on a roller coaster ride in the disguise of a mammography. Prior posts can be found on the days leading up to today. The tests, the appointments with specialists and more tests and the anxiety, anger and emotional distress.
Today has been a tearless day. A major improvement from the past three weeks. I'm moving forward on this journey. The proof of that is when I went to You Tube and started searching for "breast reconstruction" videos.
Much to my surprise many of the women posting their videos are very young to be going through this. 21 years old, a husband and small children, they post their videos of their chests after surgery. Calmly and with a smile, they talk freely about their experience with chemo, radiation and breast reconstruction.
My feelings? I've finally calmed down from the hysterical me of a few weeks and days ago. I'm sure I'll have emotional swings to come. I'm charting this on this post for myself to look back to where I have come from to where I am now. 
I want to be especially aware of the time it took to get to this point. It's just little steps on a long path but I'm thankful for this much progress. Two weeks ago I could not see myself here.  I can only imagine what the date March 23, 2014 might look like to me!

When You Post on a PUBLIC forum, don't publish will not be flattering to you

Muesetta Lee Tate Holbert i cant talk about her now...she found out she has cancer..and i sympathize with anyone that has cancer.....but she acts like she is the only one that has ever had it....zahra is a survivor....and im suppose to feel sorry for her...i do..but my sympathy is as much as she had for me when bob died..none .only to accuse me in my time of to you later ..zahre

The above posted on FB to her friends. There is always a reason she posts for making such a comment when really there is no justification for cruelty. 
 The problem with this is...when it's your cancer diagnosis, you do feel as though you are the only one that has ever had it. It's that devastating when you get the news. The biopsy shows the cancer, then the worst part comes. All the tests scheduled to find out where in the body it could be. With each scan, the time it takes to get that appointment you wait and wonder if those cancer cells are moving through your body. You imagine that they have already attacked your vital organs and have even invaded the brain. The stress is tremendous and it's not only the person afflicted but their children and husband. Everyone walks around dazed, shedding tears and feeling numb.

You have the CT done and wait. Everyone is subdued. Laughter isn't heard. The young granddaughter is kept away so she doesn't notice the tenseness and the emotions that can't be kept hidden for long.

When that test comes back clear, another test and more waiting and finally that test is done and we wait on the results. Everyone is on edge. This test shows the already known area of cancer plus a thickening in the colon wall. A colonoscopy is scheduled, more waiting and finally the test but this time the results are immediate. Colon cancer along with the breast diagnosis.

Yes, it does feel as though you are the only one to have it because you can't focus on anyone else in this universe. Your attention has narrowed down to a tiny speck on this planet and you worry that the tiny speck will be leaving her daughter, grandchildren and husband.

As more information is gathered, you sit along with your family in a numbed state until the doctors get together to formulate a plan. With the additional diagnosis of the colon everything changed once again in my life. An immediate surgery is need. The breast will have to wait. Meds will be taken to block nutrients to the tumors in the breast so they won't grow.

Surgery is scheduled and the wait is a week long. The husband is anxious. He wants it cut out. He wants the chemo to stop the breast cancer from moving on. Our world is contained in this house together and getting to tests and procedures and now surgery.

This is only the beginning. Months and months of chemo, and then more surgery, pain and recovery and then radiation with the burns and all that entails.'s not that we think we are the only ones to ever have it but we are the one that has it right now in this household and it's more then enough for us to manage.

There is no time in my life to be concerned about anyone but my family and their pain.

We don't need anyone's pity. We are appreciative of the concern shown by friends here and acquaintances on FB. 
Horrible comments like the one above are not necessary. We are in enough pain here.  

Anyone that has the insensitivity to make light of something so serious should maybe just stay off a public forum where those comments can be seen and shock even  their own friends.

I can't imagine friends of that poster doing the same to their family and friends so if you allow that sort of post then you are saying you condone it. What an awful thing to be. That's not a good Christen; that's not even a good human nor are any of those that allowed that meanness to flow onto their wall without a protest.

Her accusations are unfounded. Four months before Bob passed on, I had deleted her from my FB for making ugly personal comments on everything from my personal appearance to negative comments on any post I made. I ignored it for a while.Then her campaign started in ernest.  I have had no contact with her or anyone in her family. I was 1800 miles away. Two people called to let me know he had passed. Nobody accused her of killing Bob..which is her usual war cry.  I didn't attend the funeral. R.I.P. Bob.

 My Facebook page is never used to berate anyone. What you put in print can be observed forever. Think about it before you post. I may have a mouth that spews forth a cuss word occasionally but I know enough to not post those words. I'm always amazed by the pictures young girls will allowed to be taken and posted publicly. Suppose you become involved with a public gets serious and suddenly all those pictures start appearing on the Internet. That could put that relationship at an end.
Play it careful what you post, be it words or photos. Some things hang around to haunt you.

Don't bother protesting. It's nobody's fault but the poster. Remember your mom telling you "Use your brain". Then do it!

Early Morning Saturday Thoughts

It's dark as a dungeon in here, the only light and sound coming from some show that I have ignored which is the only reason it is still tuned to that channel. Give me a second here and I'll tune to CNN for some background noise.

I haven't bothered to switch on a light. The darkness is comforting and doesn't stimulate me to stay awake. The first numerals I saw on that clock in the bedroom as I rolled to the right and swung my legs over the bed, it was 0230. I didn't really want to get up that early but the brain was engaged and rolling ahead of me so I had to get up and follow it.
It is now 0400 and about 30 minutes ago the husband could  be heard passing through the kitchen then back to the hall bath. "Don't make any coffee. You need to go back to sleep." he grumbles as he heads back to the bedroom.

I made the coffee. It won't keep me from napping. I'll have a cup or two and catch up on the news.

We made the drive to Breaux Bridge yesterday to see the tax guy. The husband is very depressed but then he always is this time of year. He is contracted and he doesn't pay quarterly taxes so he pays everything for the entire year by April 15th. Forty Five Thousand in Federal taxes and Forty Five Hundred to the State of Louisiana.

It takes him a few days to digest this and he puts off writing that check until he settles himself with it.
Every year I have to tell him "Go get a minimum wage job and you won't owe so much money. We will probably even get some back!"

He scrowls at me. My  input was not appreciated. I just stay out of his way while he goes through his grieving process. I never get upset because I expect it. I just assume that the government will get their share, so write the check and move on!

Wanda stayed over with her family in Duncan, SC. last night. They should be in Gulf Shores in 12 hours but I have no clue on when they will get up, in the car and on the road this morning.

I will be doing a lot of rearranging in the bedrooms and getting those rooms ready for these guests. They will be here on Wednesday. I will be on my liquid diet getting prepped for the surgery that is being done on Thursday.
The colon resect and the three to four hospital stay will be my future. I'll be glad when this is done and we can get to the next step.

Emotionally, I am becoming more stable. The shock of the diagnosis is being ingested and dealt with though I still get the shaky voice when I get a flood of overwhelming thoughts that causes fear and anxiety. This is just the stage I am going through right now and hopefully it will level out.

I'm researching plastic surgeons now. It gives me something to do and is a positive sign for me. I'm looking toward the future. I started out wanting a bilateral mastectomy but after more research, I am going to talk to my doctor about a unilateral with a breast reduction on the other side. Less trauma to the body. Of course this won't be for months yet but I want to prepare mentally and emotionally for this. By the time it's a reality, I should be stable as a rock.

I have moments now..even hours where the thoughts of this change in my live is shoved to the back and I can go outside and spend time with the bunny. I can have a phone conversation with friends and follow the husband to Walmart. The husband seldom leaves me alone for long periods of time. I think he senses when alone the depression hits.

As soon as the surgery is done and I'm home, he will have to start scheduling jobs for himself. I won't be doing anything but recuperating from that surgery for a few weeks. Then getting the chemo is something I can do by myself. I have April that can accompany me should I feel the need to have someone around.

Things are getting easier emotionally. I expect as time passes it will only get better and better.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Should be Doing Something Other then This

Friends know I'm an avid reader. I'll read whatever you suggest, whatever you send. Facebook is a wonderful area to find reading material. I won't promise that you will learn much or at times not waste hours scrolling through other people's walls to observe their actions.
Recently a friend a I were talking about a "friend" on her FB page.
One day the rant of this male "friend"  was roaring along which she says happens about once a week. His friends were offering support. The rant turned ugly and cruel and the comments from his friends  on his comments started tapering off, support diminished, the crowd embarrassed by the callous, cruel posts. There are just some things that one shouldn't be critical of but apparently boundary lines are blurred for this individual.
This friend of mine  knew what the next day would bring. God and religion peppered his page. Web sites offering free printed material to post; verses from the Bible, pictures of Christ, prayers and love. He fools few.
She laughed and said "It's make up day. He has to prove what a good kind person he is so after the ugliness of the day before, he tries to salvage himself with all the religious postings.
Apparently this is her favorite person to watch. She tunes in frequently for her daily dose of "psych drama".
Yes Facebook, you are much entertainment to many. I, like my friend, am not one to post much. It's more fun for me to watch the show. I've never been one that liked to be center stage.

Kubler-Ross and The Five Stages

It's Friday morning, very quiet as I sit here alone in this darkened living room. To my right a lamp sits on a table cluttered with my drink, a paperback book and a set of coasters that are clear glass and held by their own stand. The coasters have envelope sleeves on them and each one has a picture of the grandchildren. The lamp sheds very little light. It's those new spiral bulbs that are the culprit. They just don't seem to do the job that the old incandescents did.
There are also sweat rings from a hot drink that missed the coaster, a light film of dust and a column of dental floss.

Someone really needs to move away from all her distractions and do a little house work. Today is the day. I promise myself.

I'm monitoring my self for the 5 stages of the Kubler-Ross model of grief and how and when I go in and out of each one. Being  aware of them helps me get through them without beating myself up too badly about my behavior.

The Denial: not returning the doctor's call after the second mammo had to be done. He called on a Thursday with a message to to call his office. I knew he would be closed on Friday and I deliberately did not call on Thursday when I got the message. My thoughts on that: I'll have the next three days that will be my normal life for me. I knew after talking to the doctor, my life would change and I wanted 3 more days of what would soon become known as my prior life. I called on Monday.

We go in and out of the five stages during a loss. I'm aware and I will be alert to where I am in this model and that none of the stages last forever.

I've started projecting into the future. Though I know I'm months away from the mastectomy, I've already began research on this. The pictures  of reconstruction leave me wondering why I would even want to go that route. The tattooed sleeve short tank top looks more appealing. I must remember to check to see if I can be arrested for going topless should I choose that route. Compared to what there is to offer, right now the tattoo has my vote and I'm not one that thought I would ever let my body be used like a coloring book.

Have you taken a look at breast reconstruction before and afters? You might not be ready. Do every thing in your own time. You will know when that is. Acceptance is the stage you have reached.

I may be in the stage of Acceptance but I want to row my own boat down that river.
I discussed this with the daughter last night and the oncologist yesterday afternoon.

The oncologist confirmed my suspicions. They weren't estectically pleasing. They were just to make your clothes fit better.
If face transplants can be done successfully now, and women can have breast implants that look like halfs of cantelopes stuck to their chest, why couldn't a reconstruct look at least as good as those implants. EXPANDERS..that's the answer.

I now know enough about the subject to request expanders to be placed in the chest wall at the time of the mastectomy.

The daughter knew my concerns and sent me this video:

As I watched this young girls' peppy attitude, it raised my spirits that she was taking this so well and at such a young age. It also offered hope that the after the pictures I had been looking at were not what I would have to accept.

I will be discussing this with the oncologist  as an option to be done at the time of the surgery.

Nobody wants to have a body, though a bit old and tattered, faded and scarred, that veers too strongly away from what they have been used to. I'm requesting a smaller size. Will there be a tube top in my luck tube tops are out style and so our my shoulders. I've passed that time.
 I've already told my husband that if he thought he was going to miss these, he could have them. They won't be on my chest wall.

The video was just the thing I needed to "let go". You might be thinking this is still early on to be anticipating this surgery. I want plenty of time to research and learn to accept what is coming.

The "D" word (depression) in the Kubler-Ross model is the one I fear the most. I'm making plans. I plan on not just sitting around through the upcoming processes.

I'm cranking up my bike (gonna have to buy a new one) and dropping the top on the roadster and take me and my cancer for many mini trips around the area. Maybe I'll get a pink ribbon on a stuffed  white 4ft. tall bear or bunny and have it in each photo I shoot on my travels. It can ride in the passenger seat, tall and elegant with it's pink twisted ribbon. In my album looking back, it will denote the time in my life needing no caption.

If anyone asks about it, I'll just tell them I'm taking my cancer for a ride.

Enough of my silliness. I'm going to brew a pot of coffee and wait until the nail salon opens and get a manicure. Yesterday I waxed my upper lip. I forgot to ask April to do me a favor should I become unaware or unable to do it in my future. Look for chin hairs and remove them. I would do the same for her should she ever be unable to take care of them herself.

Maybe I need to draw up a contract on that? I'll have to think on it a bit. Here's the video of the young lady AGAIN in case you prefer to watch it AFTER reading this post. I was so impressed with:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And Again to the Oncologist

Breast Cancer survivor, double mastectomy chose to not reconstruct.

Up early, showered and dressed, I selected a soft, pink short sleeved sweater and a pair of white jeans and a white jean jacket. For some reason, it drives the daughter around the bend, these white jeans. She always comments on them and sometimes I wonder if it embarrasses her to be seen with me wearing them. I love white jeans and she knows this. I like to see her reaction and if she thinks she will shame be into NOT wearing them..well..she knows better.

Again to another visit with a doctor, we three climbed aboard the Dodge train and headed out. It is barely a 5 minute drive.
Louise appeared soon after we arrived there and we waited to be called in to see the doctor.
This was a visit to name the person piloting this ship. One has to be the central station for co ordinating everyone involved. We went over everything once again that Dr. Breaux (the surgeon)  had discussed with me yesterday. Of course I had my usual 1000 questions.
After yesterday's debacle, I got the feeling that  the doctors have discussed my case from yesterday and are a bit careful about making sure I'm told everything and it doesn't have to be in layman's terms.
Surgery will be done next Thursday and along with the colon resect, the mediport will be placed. The oncologist prescribed a medicine to block the Estrogen from going to the cancerous tumors and lymph nodes. Of course I had to question this estrogen's origin as I'm post menopausal and my ovaries are not producing estrogen.
Estrogen is needed is large amounts when child bearing years are in progress. The ovaries supply this in large amounts.  Menopause happens, child bearing years are past so those large amounts are not needed. The body still produces estrogen in smaller amounts from the food we eat. The "good cholesterol fats" go to the adrenal gland where it is converted into estrogen in women and testosterone in men. The tumors in my breasts are estrogen positive instead of estrogen negative which means they are fed by estrogen and blocking this estrogen production will block the growth of the tumor and the cancer cells. I'm taking an estrogen blocker to give me time to have the colon resect and recoup before I start chemo. Femara 2.5mg daily is the one I have started with and will stay with unless there are side effects.
Another fortunate thing for me is that those tumors ARE estrogen positive. It seems I'm just one lucky girl doesn't it? ...said with a bit of sarcasm.
I will repeat what my daughter said to me today.
"Mom, you're lucky they found breast cancer because if they hadn't you would have died from colon cancer. You were NOT ever going to have a colonoscopy. The colon cancer would never be found and it would have killed you."
I'm counting my "fortunates".   Two metz...and tumors that are estrogen positive instead of estrogen negative.
The oncologist gave me two scripts and said "check with the pharmacy to see which one is the least expensive and get that one filled and IF the price is exorbitant, call me and I will apply with a drug company to get you drugs direct from them on a no pay basis."
I took both scripts to the pharmacy. One was over 400.00 for a month's supply, the other was 109.00 for a month's supply. Then I had them check with my insurance company to see if they covered these meds and how much I would be responsible to pay.  For 8.50 cents I could get the 400.00 one and for 8.30 cents I could get the one for 109.00.
What a relief. I had to pay a mere pittance. I'm tellin ya. This cancer thing is going so good, I may have to start cracking jokes here soon.
Some times you just have to make humor where you can and though it may be considered sick humor, at least it's humor.

When I was leaving her office, the oncologist, I turned to her with one last question. "Do all your patients have this many questions for you?"

"No, she says "only the oncology nurses." She grinned and passed out hugs to me, Louise and the husband. I like her very much!
Again, I'll say this. This blog is a journal and is not meant to sadden anyone reading it. I appreciate the kindness from those who read and respond. It's a journey that might be one that someone you know will take and this journal may help someone or make the road a little less frightening.
Today has been 100 times better then yesterday. Carrie and I met up at the bus stop and went for ice cream. We walked the bunny on her leash. We watered the orange tree. We set up bases in the yard and hit a few balls and had dinner together with her Poppy. We laughed. We played. We were normal again.
I don't expect every day to be smooth and that's ok. Days like today will get me through the night. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This Post Has To Be Done

My eyes are swollen and my headache rocks my skull. I am seldom at a loss on getting information from the keyboard onto a page but today has been one for the books.

To start with, my history of being an oncology nurse is the biggest problem and I am quick to admit that. I've taken care of every kind of cancer patient. Most of the time, if caught early, it can be cured either by medicine or surgery if it's in an operable area. I know this. If we were all required to have for no charge,  full body CT scans, PET scans and colonoscopies EVERY year, a cancer wouldn't get the opportunity to grow and spread from one body part to another which is called metastasis.

When I think about someone having cancer in more then one body area, I automatically think of metastasis.

That is my explanation to you on what happened today with me.

 If you tell me your cousin had breast cancer and is a survivor, the oncology nurse in me whispers "they caught it early enough and it didn't metz". Colon cancer? Early detection, a colon resect and the patient is fine. I could go on but you get the picture I'm sure. I don't want the doctors to sugar coat any thing for me. I'm suspicious. I understand that you know survivors. I also understand about metastasis.

I was escorted into a holding room, changed into a gown and climbed aboard the gurney. An IV was started and a bag of Normal Saline was started at KVO (keep vein open rate).

The Klonapin I had taken earlier was doing what it does. My blood pressure reading on the monitor was the best I had seen in a long while. O2 sats were at 100 percent, pulse rate in the 60's. I could have been resting on a beach in the Bahamas. Maybe I should just live on this gurney. I'm so healthy here.

In a few minutes, I was wheeled into the treatment room. A full wall of windows afforded a view of the early morning sky, a few tree tops and the top floors of an adjoining building.

To the right the camera stuff and tubing hung for the doctor's access. I have no other clinical term to use for the equipment he uses. I have never worked Endoscopy.

The petite brunette, hugely pregnant was the nurse anesthetist; she  charted vitals and prepared to do her thing when the doctor arrived. Profernal (sp)  (the Michael Jackson sedation) was the sedative that would be administered. I asked cause I like to know these things. Again my nursing background demands I question anything medical.

The doctor arrives and we chat for a bit. He steps back out of the room and I turn my attention back to the anesthetist.
I watch as she pushes the plunger on the syringe and the milky sedative creeps down the IV line.

I open my eyes to a tall, blond female that wasn't pregnant. "Are we starting soon?" I asked. She smiled and said "You're in recovery."

That quick and it was over. No discomfort in the bowels. Air that was pumped in was being expelled. Within a few more minutes I was helped to a sitting position. When I could stand, the nurse helped me dress and the husband was bought back to collect me. We were guided into a small windowless room. A desk and two chairs left little room to walk around.

"The doctor will be in to talk to you soon." and that nurse left the room.

The wait wasn't long. It's a busy day in Endoscopy. He seated himself and looked across that desk at both of us and said "She has a large tumor and it looks like cancer. We haven't received the tissue reports back yet, but my experience leads me to believe it's malignant."

I was still feeling the effects of the sedative. No emotion from me. That would come later.

My husband said "What do we do now."  I don't remember any of this conversation.  The husband had to tell me later.

The doctor's reply was "Take her home and give her something to eat. I'm sure she is hungry." A nurse will be in with the discharge papers." The husband was shocked and numb.

Another nurse escorted me to the exit, holding firmly onto my elbow. I was still wobbly. The husband had gone ahead to bring the truck to the door.

I'm not going into more detail on the emotional roller coaster both of us were on again. When it hit,it was bad. I posted what I could on this blog. I was unable to even call the daughter.

All I could think of was the primary had finally been discovered. It had metzed to the breast and everything in between was infected too. I was overwhelmed with fear and anger. Why didn't the PET scan show this. Why didn't the CT show this? Why did we do all these tests.

You must remember I'm thinking metz. I don't care how many survivors anyone knows. If it has metzed from the bowel to the breast, everything between those two areas was affected.

The phone rang. It had to be a doctor. The number wasn't a number listed in my contacts. I answered it and it was the Nurse Practitioner from the surgeon's office. "Ms. Charlotte?"

"Yes?" I answered. I heard her say something about moving the mediport placement up a day. I was sobbing. She stopped and said "What's wrong?"

I told her about the colonoscopy results. She became quiet for a few beats and said "I'm sorry. We hadn't got the results from the doctor that did the test. We can fix this. You are going to be fine."

This wasn't what I needed to hear. I wanted the truth.

She asked if I wanted to talk to the doctor. I said "yes" and she asked if I wanted to wait till I felt better.

"No. I don't want to wait!"

"Come in at 345PM."

She got off the phone and went directly to the doctor (the surgeon). He called the Endoscopy lab and talked to that doctor then called in his son, an associate and the wheels started spinning.

Meanwhile the only person I could talk to was Louise. She understands my fear of metastasis. She came right over. We sat in the sunshine on the front porch and I wailed my misery and anger and fear of the organs that had to be involved. She listened as I vented about why the tests didn't show involvement. What good were they? Why would the doctors promise me I would not die from this breast cancer?

To cut this short, talking to Louise got me calmed down a bit because she UNDERSTOOD why I was so frightened. Metastasis is an ugly word in our world. I just needed someone that understood this.

We loaded up and made the appointment. Jill the Nurse Practitioner walked into the room, climbed up on the examming table and faced me.

I hit her with all these questions. She was very kind and patient and she said "The tests were correct. The PET shows the breast involvement and a thickening in the colon. The only test that will diagnose the colon is the colonoscopy. That's why we ordered it".

I was still focusing on metastasis (metz). When she realized why I was so frightened she looked at me and said "You don't have metastasis. You have TWO primaries".

Two primaries?  What's the chances? I know that a second diagnosis of cancer might seem devastating to some but to me it was a relief. The breast was a primary and the colon was another primary. No metastasis.

I'm scheduled for a colon resect next Thursday. The breast will be dealt with later.

The surgeon appeared and reaffirmed what Jill had told us. He said he suspected colon but didn't want to add to the breast diagnosis until the colonoscopy was done. Both are fixable he says. He also says this year will not be an easy one for me. You will have a lot to face but we are going to be here for you.

That's my story. I'm exhausted. I feel as those I've been run over by a bus. The husband, daughter and Louise have shed our share of tears for this week. I'm so thankful for my few friends and family here that are quick to be there for me.

It's Ambien time.