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Posts Tagged ‘health’

On July third my right knee started to hurt more than usual and I wasn’t able to put any weight on it without it buckling and pain shooting down the front of my leg. I pretty much stayed off of it until the fifth when I got the doctor to order x-rays because I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get better on its own. I was right. Friday, the results of the x-rays showed that I have something called advanced tricompartamental osteoarthritis. That means that all three of the bones that make up the knee are involved. The stabbing pain that I have been feeling is because the bones are rubbing against each other, the cartilage having been worn away.

The is no cure for it. The only way to treat it is with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, and a brace. In some cases they are able to inject a steroid right into the knee. In some cases, surgery is required to replace the parts that are worn away with artificial parts. In my case, my doctor says she feels that it is far enough advanced that she wants me to see the orthopedic surgeon. Yay. Not. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve had six knee operations (on the same knee) in the past. They’ve been done through an arthroscope so the recovery has been “easier” and it was pure hell! I’m not looking forward to having them open it up. I’m hoping they are able to treat it with injections.

I haven’t even come to my one year anniversary since that last major surgery and now I’m looking at eye surgeries and knee surgery. Oy vey!

For now, I’m hobbling along using a cane, wearing a brace, smelling like Tiger Balm, and wincing in pain. I borrowed crutches and a friend gifted me a brand new walker (the kind with a seat on it) so at least I have some ways to get around so I don’t end up stuck in one room of the house!

Enough negative stuff! I’m hoping the weekend will bring a positive or fun (or both) post here. Come back and check!

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Note: This is a copy/paste from the post I just put up on Face Book. It’s difficult to write these updates and not forget things so it was easy to just paste it here.

On Thursday I got a call from my gastroenterologist saying the needle biopsy was benign but he doesn’t think it’s benign. He has actually seen it and was the first to detect it. He’s worried that we are not getting the full picture and might be lulled into thinking that all is okay. He really thinks it’s malignant. He said go ahead and see the oncologist today while I wait for the authorization to see a surgeon. His feeling is that the more eyes on my case, the better; another doctor may have had a similar case.

Today, the oncologist was also stumped and could only recommend either another biopsy, this time with an arthroscope as that will give them a better and bigger tissue sample even though it will be more invasive than the needle biopsy I had last week.

The tumor is on my right side and many of you will remember that I had a serious surgery two years ago during which a very large fluid filled cyst was removed from my right ovary. The tissue removed was biopsied and came back as borderline malignant. None of the current doctors had done a full health history so they didn’t know this. I felt it was relevant because both instances involved my right lower abdomen.

Once I explained all of that to the oncologist, he was able to access my records from two years ago and found that the growth two years ago was a “serous tumor” which he said are almost always benign. So now his theory is that the current tumor is also a serous tumor (not a misspelling) but is probably benign. So he wants me to stop worrying about it for now until we get the next biopsy which will hopefully give us a more complete picture of what is going on. So while I have some surgery coming up, it might not be a horrible thing. The tumor has to go so we can biopsy it and see what it is and also to prevent it from spreading to other organs and/or becoming a worse kind of tumor with a higher incidence of malignancy.

 

The oncologist is also going to try to present “my tumor” before his “tumor board” which meets Tuesday (the 11th). The tumor board is an opportunity for oncologist to present a case which is unusual or difficult and try to get input from other top surgeons. It’s up the hill at Oregon Health and Science University, a teaching hospital. So maybe that will help shed light on it!

So I wait some more. Hopefully I will hear from the surgeon and get to schedule that soon.

Thank you for your continued support. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it has made. It’s a very wonderful feeling to know that I have so many people to lean on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

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Today I am reminded that a friendship is a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is a “virtual” or real life friendship. The emotions and the attachments are the same. And when my friends hurt, I hurt.

I have a friend that I met online around 2006 on a site called Gather. Her moniker there was The Little Fluffy Cat. She was one of the most supportive, loving, friendly, and welcoming people I have ever met. Later, she and her family came to the Portland area on vacation and I got to spend a few hours with them. There was instant recognition and the feelings were as if we had always known each other in the real world.

She’s a very private person. Her name is Lydia. Last week, she allowed her sister to post on her Facebook page about her health issues. She had kept everything secret. If I understand it correctly, she has a problem with the “connectors” in the cerebellum, or blood vessels in the brain. Her sister told of how Lydia has been in the hospital since July when she underwent a couple of surgical procedures to solve the problem but then developed other complications which have caused some loss of brain function, mimicking a stroke but has not actually had a stroke. She has not been home since July, except for being allowed to go home for a weekend here and there. During the last weekend that she spent at home (Christmas weekend), she caught a cold which made her main health issues worse. Since then, she has become gravely ill and had to be resuscitated a few days ago then put into a medically induced coma. The doctors are out of options. They are stalling and hoping that they can solve some of the minor problems which might alleviate the major ones. She has asked her friends for prayers and a miracle because she’s not ready to die. She’s 57 years old. She has a 17 year old son and one that is 14.

My heart aches for her and her family. I have been praying for her. We used to say that one day we would get together and have a slumber party complete with pjs and talking/giggling all night. I want that chance for us to have that long sisterly talk. I want her to see her sons grow. I want her to hold her grandchildren in her arms. I want her to grow old with her husband who loves her so much and has not left her side in months. I want her to recover and live a long and happy life.

If you are a praying person, please hold Lydia up in prayer. Send her positive vibes…healing thoughts…anything that might help.

 

 

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Seven Months

I’m on the road but I wanted to try post about this. Let’s see how posting by phone goes!

Today marks seven months since my surgery. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed since I was wheeled in to the operating room. I can be myself again. I can enjoy my grandchildren. I can leave the house. I’m no longer stared at. But most of all, I feel so much healthier.

However (I bet you were waiting for that however), there also the not knowing how many days this will be true. They say that this kind of cancer rarely returns to another part of the body but there’s still a chance. That has really made me realize that up can’t waste time. Every chance I get I have to grasp and drain every bit if joy from it. Especially where my grandchildren are concerned. Every smile; every laugh; every hug; every time they ask “how many more minutes?”; every single opportunity to love those little boys…I have to grab and enjoy every single moment.

This is a good thing. We can not and should not take anything in life for granted.

Life is precious. Life it’s fleeting. Life is to be lived.

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Look Who’s Cooking!

My newer readers don’t know this about me but for many years (well at least three) I stopped using my stove, using only the microwave to heat and cook things.  I love my microwave but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to cooking.  It eventually got to where I wasn’t even cooking.  I was only heating things up in the microwave which meant I was eating a lot of packaged frozen food and occasionally, left overs that my daughter would give me.  Part of that was that my health was not very good.  I really had no desire to do much of anything.  It was very difficult for me to move around.  If something was not at my arm’s reach, I could not bend down to reach for it or reach up to grab it (and I’m very short so that left a lot of things that were out of my reach).  Then I had my surgery in April and things got immediately better and as my recovery progressed, I have been able to do more and more.  And I have been able to enjoy so much more which has left me wanting to do more.

So, I’m cooking again!  I used to love to cook and I still do, I’m just out of practice.  However, over the past three weeks, I’ve been using the stove to cook at least two of my meals each day.  I still have it.  I’m so glad that my flair for combining ingredients hasn’t left me.  I’ve still got it.  I’ve even made my own hot sauce, which I had never done before.

That all means I’m now eating heathier and I am happier.  I’m feeling more and more like me!  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve made chicken with zucchini and tomato with a some soupy liquid.  I’ve also made four or five different dishes with a small seasoned pork roast that I got on clearance.  I’ve used chicken breasts to make myself shredded chicken burritos and chicken sandwiches.  I’ve made ground beef tacos.  I’ve made chicken soup!  Add to this all the fresh fruits and veggies I am enjoying  and it translates to a happier and healthier me!

Yup!  Look who’s cooking!

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My hair is very gray. I usually dye it about every three months. I do it myself, at home. I found a dye recently, well less than a year ago, that is much better than what I was using. It is a foam in product that is much easier to apply and to see where you have applied it to and where there is no product, which means that you don’t have those “untouched” spots that translate into dyed dark hair (deepest brown is my natural color) with a lot of gray peeking in here and there. At $10 an application, it is more than twice what I pay for the other stuff that leaves gray in but it is well worth it. Plus it leaves my hair conditioned and feeling great!

I haven’t dyed my hair since Thanksgiving. That means that it is almost completely gray all over, down to my shoulders where there is still some of the dark coloring left down to my mid-back. I toyed with the idea of letting it go completely gray but I’m not ready for that. My daughter agreed that it’s not time yet. You see, I’m 59 years old. With my gray hair I look like I am well into my 60’s. With it dyed, I look late 40’s. No brainer. I decided to dye it.

Today is my grandson’s last day of pre school. He begins kindergarten in September. There will be a little presentation of certificates and pictures. I decided that today I was taking myself back. It has been a really rough three months and I am ready to start being myself again. So I rummaged through the cupboards looking for the good dye package but didn’t find any. However, I did find the old stuff that doesn’t cover the gray well. It was after midnight so I decided I would use the yucky stuff just this one last time. Maybe I should have waited until this morning or gone out at midnight. When I washed it out and dried my hair, I could definitely see a lot of gray. It seems that I left a lot untouched just below both temples. Then I realized that I only got the surface so when it is moved slightly out of the way, all the gray is underneath!

Oh well! It will have to do. It will wash out in less than a month anyway and by then I will have gotten to the store for the better stuff. I think I’ll stock up on it.

Then came the clothes. At about 75 pounds lighter than I was in April, nothing fits. I have two pair of leggings that fit loose but well enough to wear. I also have two pair of jeans that fit kind of baggy but they don’t fall down! So that’s what I have been wearing around the house. To go out though, I had my daughter take me to the store where I found two pair of nicer pants, not leggings and not jeans, that sort of fit. They were on clearance and then half of the clearance so I paid about $16 for the two pair. I’m wearing the dark blue ones today. The tops are harder to find so I dug through boxes of clothes that never made it to the Goodwill donation center, clothes that were too small when I was so much bigger. I found a few that looked less larger than others and gave them a fresh washing. One in particular is kind of gathered with elastic at the sides, creating a waist. That one is not huge on me. It’s a size or two too big but it doesn’t look like I’m a two year old playing dress-up in my mommy’s clothes. So I’m set. I’m stepping out! It’s only to my grandson’s pre school graduation but it means a lot to me.

I’m taking myself back. I’m ready to. My mind is anyway. My body isn’t entirely ready and I will have to remember to not over do things but I’m not waiting. I’m coming out, not as the sickly shell of who I used to be, but as the person that is looking forward to so much more than doctor’s appointments and medicines and fear of the cancer recurring. I’m not thinking of that today. Today is about an ending and a beginning.

I’m ready.

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Today

Today is the day I’m supposed to have someone from the finance and insurance department contact me. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if I am not approved by the date of the surgery (it normally takes 45 days). As long as I’ve applied, I’m okay. However, if I don’t apply or if they give me a quick disapproval, the surgery is taken off schedule and they won’t do it until if and when it again becomes an emergency. Right now it’s not considered an emergency because I came home!

In the meantime, I have absolutely no energy. I am sleeping most of the day and night. I feel like I am in someone else’s world, not mine.

Oh, and those of you that remember my mentioning that I was going to start volunteering in my grandson’s classrooom, well that never happened because they gave my slot to someone else and now I am supposed to go on Wednesdays but I don’t see it happening this week. Next week I will be prepping for the Thursday surgery and it is a long day long process so I won’t be able to do it then. And recuperation should be about 6 weeks. By then, his school year will be over! Maybe they’ll let me just come in and read a story to them each week or something.

Anyway, thank you all for the continued thoughts and for caring what happens to me. I’ll keep y’all posted.

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