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Posts Tagged ‘medical’

Last week was particularly difficult as I watched hurricane Harvey and all of the damage it did to Texas. The day after the hurricane hit, I got a call from my mom (who was born and raised in Corpus Christi). She told me about a phone call she had gotten from my uncle. She and my uncle are half siblings. My uncles’s cousins lived in Houston. She told me that the cousin, her husband and four great grandchildren had drowned in the flood waters. It was sad to hear it and even more so because of the family connection. I think we all hoped and prayed that it wasn’t true. However, the next day, word came through the media. It was true. The woman who was my uncle’s cousin, Belia, her husband, and four great grandchildren had definitely drowned inside of their van while trying to flee to higher ground. Great, great sadness.

And then last Saturday a fire was started by a very foolish fifteen year old who threw a lit firecracker down a ravine in a heavily wooded (and dry because we have had no rain in three months) area. The entire region caught fire. If you aren’t familiar with the news, it is in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most scenic and peaceful areas around. It is one of my favorite places to go. It has really grown in the four days since it began. The fire is near the watershed which supplies water to most of the Portland Metro area. If that goes, it  could be catastrophic for Portland. It’s so sad to see the pictures and to see the ash falling outside, as if it were snow. Then there is the air which is full of smoke and is causing hazardous air quality conditions.

It also seems that I am getting every single complication from my surgery that I could get. First there was the infection, then the sciatica (which I think is directly related to the surgery because I had to sit and lay down most of the time during the first three weeks post-op, which put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Now the latest is that it appears that I have developed an “incisional hernia,” which is most likely a result of carrying something that was too heavy during the post-op period. So now we’ll see if they decide that I need to have surgery to repair that. I am not looking forward to another surgery before the incision from the last surgery has even closed up completely. That’s actually how I discovered what I think is the hernia. The incision is still not closed. The opening is pretty small but it is still open. I noticed about a week ago that there was tissue protruding from the incision. Then over the weekend it was gone and I breathed a sigh of relief but then last night, it’s back. That’s when it hit me that the doctor warned that a hernia often develops in that kind of incision. So now I have to go in and get it checked out and go from there. Not too happy about that. I guess when the doctor said no lifting for six to eight weeks, I should have erred on the side of safety. I didn’t. I gave myself only the six weeks. Now there’s a problem.

So not good here. I guess you can understand that. I’m crossing my fingers that I’m wrong about the hernia!

 

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If we were having coffee, I would be embarrassed that, for the third week in a row, you would find me on the couch in pjs.  I wouldn’t be able to move very well so you would have to, again, help yourself to coffee, tea, and maybe some fresh fruit.

This has been a heck of a week. I think I previously wrote that part of my incision got infected. That was discovered on Monday and I was put on an antibiotic. That evening when my daughter was on her way to pick me up for the pharmacy trip, my four year old grandson and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps. It took about five very long minutes to get them off of him and me. Poor little guy got about twelve stings and four stingers left in place. Once the stingers were out, he seemed to be fine. Thank God he didn’t have an allergic reaction! I got three stings. One of them still aches now, almost a full week later. Then on Thursday morning I awoke to find my pjs and sheets completely soaked. It was kind of like that scene in The Godfather where the studio head wakes up to find blood all over his bed, without the screaming, though. It turned out that the infected part of the incision had opened up and was draining what I can only describe as “yucky stuff.” Every time I moved more would come, like a stream not a slow drip.

Later that day, the doctor cut open the incision and cleaned out as much yucky stuff as he could and packed it for me. The instructions were to keep packing it at home three times a day then go back in a week so he can see if the infection was clear. My problem is that I can’t pack it myself. It’s in the breast bone area and I can’t get a good look at it, even in the mirror. So my son-in-law has been doing it but he can’t get here more than twice a day so that probably means that it will take longer to heal than if he could do it three times a day but I am grateful that he can do it at all, even though it is embarrassing to have your son-in-law look at that area of my body!

Then on Friday I woke up about two in the morning with a horrible pain in my back which quickly migrated and intensified to the point where I knew it was sciatica. I’ve had it before so I knew the pain. This time, however, it was so painful that I couldn’t move even an inch without the pain being at screaming level and I do have a very high thresh hold for pain but this was pure agony. I live alone so I suffered here by myself, hoping it would get better but by the mid afternoon I called my primary care physician’s office. Unfortunately the office was closed (two hours earlier than usual). The on call doctor could only advise that I go to Urgent Care. By the time I could get a ride over to Urgent Care, the pain had intensified to the point where I was hyperventilating from the pain.

At Urgent Care, I got a prescription for a muscle relaxant. I already had pain pills from before which I had been taking throughout the day. There were other things they might have been able to do but couldn’t because I am diabetic (can’t take steroid) and post operative so that kind of tied the doctor’s hands. Luckily, the muscle relaxant worked and has continued to work through the weekend. The pain is there but it is very manageable, although I have had short periods of it being almost unbearable. The trick is to keep taking the muscle relaxant, I think. I’ll have to make a trip to my primary care physician on Monday so I can get more of the muscle relaxant as the Urgent Care doctor only gave me enough through the weekend. So hopefully I can get someone to take me.

Other than that, I am very sore from the incision that had to be opened up. That means that at times I am having to ambulate with two canes, one in each hand. I’m pretty much staying in bed. Thank goodness I have lots of books loaded on my Kindle and I can stream stuff on TV as long as I don’t lose track of the remotes! Last night I tried to get up and do a little bit of tidying up, clearing my bedside tray and fixing something to eat. I think that activity is what made the sciatica flare up overnight. I guess today I try not to do as much, not that I did much, but you know!

So how have you been? I hope you are all well and not having any pain or any kind of medical problems. It really isn’t fun. Let me know what has been on your reading list this week. Have you watched anything interesting? Have been outdoors much? Please share with this girl that has not been able to leave the house other than to the doctor and urgent care. Let me live vicariously through you! Tell me something good!

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Go check it out!

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First and foremost, the final pathology results came in and there is absolutely no cancer anywhere! That’s the biggest and best news!

However, when I woke up on Monday morning, part of the incision was red and itchy. My appointment to get the staples out was late that morning. Upon seeing it, the doctor said I had an infection. They lanced it to try to get the yucky stuff out of a rather large lump under the site. Nothing. They tried to get it out with a syringe. No luck. So now I am on a strong antibiotic to try to get rid of the infection. If it hasn’t worked in a week, they will have to open it up again and clean it out and pack it with antibiotic which stays in for a week then has to be opened up again to be removed. And the process will have to be repeated as many times as it takes to get rid of the infection. Yuck. But I am praying and crossing my fingers that the antibiotic will take care of it.

Then last evening, as the grandsons and I were out in front of my house waiting for my daughter to come get us to go get the prescription from the pharmacy, Spencer (4 years old) and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps! Poor little guy didn’t know what it was and kept screaming and running and flailing about. I jumped and tried to get them off of him and by then they were on me. Luckily my daughter arrived in time to help get them off of us. In the meantime Spencer is screaming in pain. We finally got in the car and stopped at her house just a minute away and tore off his clothes and took the stingers out. He was better then. We got out four stingers but he’s got about twelve sting marks. I got away with only three but I feel like I was hit by a truck because I jumped into action and moved too quickly and carelessly for someone that is still supposed to be moving guardedly for another eight weeks! This too shall pass. I know. We just didn’t need this. It makes it seem like one good bit of news then a couple of bad ones.

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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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That’s about four inches and it’s the size of the tumor that yesterday’s CT scan found growing outside of my gall bladder. From what the doctor says, the CT scan shows that it is “acting like it is cancerous.” The next step is a needle biopsy which should happen within the week and the gastroenterologist has already put in a referral to the oncologist. Approval for oncologist consult should take a couple of weeks, at least.

I’m sort of in shock. The doctor says it will have to come out, whatever it is, because it is protruding into the colon. So best case scenario is that it only has to be removed. But it is very likely that there will be a need for “follow up treatment.”

I managed to hold it together enough to call my three kids and tell them, and then my mother. I learned that hearing bad news is bad but having to relay the bad news to someone you love is far worse. So I guess we all have some more waiting to do. I wish the wait to be as short as possible.

I want to digest this news so that I can let my mind think about other things. Right now it’s kind of tough to think of anything. I’m sort of numb.

With luck, I can distract myself in a day or two so I can write and post here. I have a lot of ideas for posts.

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Come on in for a cup of something. I haven’t managed to get up for coffee yet. I’m moving slow today. It’s a bit brisk outside and inside so I’m under blankets, but come on it and I’ll grab a blanket for you and we can chat.

When I last wrote this week, I was having a lot of trouble with the medication I was given for diabetes. It wasn’t working and I was falling apart. I ended up getting an appointment for Wednesday. Apparently, my body has stopped making its own insulin so they put me on insulin. The doctor explained that the metformin I was taking doesn’t make the body produce any insulin, it just helps the body utilize the insulin being produced. With no insulin at all, the medication wasn’t doing anything. So now I am insulin dependent. They started with the lowest does and will increase it gradually. I go again on the 19th.

This past week was a little busier than in the past few weeks, mostly because of Spencer’s 4th birthday on Monday and the doctor appointments I had. Yesterday was also the memorial for my friend Peggie. I’m glad I went. I met all her family…most of which are former in-laws and a few former co-workers. It was a wonderful testament to who she was. I will add that she was the type of person that made friends with everyone immediately. The service yesterday was attended not only by family, but also by her gardener and her mailman! I’m so lucky to have known her.

I am currently reading (not very often) My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I haven’t read more than about five chapters but I like it. Have you read anything you’d recommend?  I’ve also gone through the entire six seasons of Parenthood in the past week. You? What are you watching?

Well, I am cutting it short. I have very little energy. I’m hoping that will change when they find the right dose of insulin for me.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog link-up hosted by Emily at Nerd In the Brain. Head on over and check it out!

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Things are happening here at home so I’ve been absent. I can’t discuss it yet but I think this weekend’s coffee share will fill everyone in on things.

In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about graduations and new beginnings. I guess it’s the season. I was going to write a whole post on graduations then things started happening on Tuesday and I couldn’t see writing that post or anything else.

What about you? Any graduation related memories? Tell me!

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