Archive | January 27, 2018

Wired and Radioactive

I love having this time with my son.  We walk to the bus stop together in the morning and walk again in the afternoon when he gets out.   It’s good exercise for me.   My doctors told me that walking would be good but not to go too far in case I didn’t have the energy to walk back.   This walk isn’t so bad.  Actually it’s just right for me right now.  The only thing is, that with the way my knees and other parts have been hurting, the morning walk is difficult.   I thought all of this would have passed by now.   I’m going on 3 weeks post-chemotherapy.  I had it in my head that once I was done, my energy and everything else was just gonna float back up like a balloon 🎈 and all would go back to normal.   But it hasn’t.  I’m waiting patiently.   Everyday my body seems to hurt more and more.  Now it’s not just my knees.  It’s traveling down to my ankles and the bottoms of my feet.  My hands still hurt, my knuckles, when I bend them or make a fist.    I thought it was soreness from the yard work I had done but it must be something else, cuz it should have gotten better by  now.   Honestly, I think my body is just going through withdrawals.  Withdrawals from all that garbage and the medications that I was on.   I’ve been on so much stuff since all of this started, I can truly say, I have my own pharmacy.   I was taking meds everyday, all day and some every week and once chemo ended, so did about 8 medications, including the steroids.  Just like that, it all stopped.   It’s like quitting something cold turkey.   I think my body is having a hard time adjusting to that.   I’m not complaining, let me tell you, it’s great not having to take so many meds but my body is having a hard time.   That’s the conclusion I’ve come up with for all these aches and pains.  What else could it be?? 

Today I decided to give myself a haircut ✂.   It’s not like I actually have hair, but I do have fuzzies.    Sooo,   I gave myself a buzz with the clippies.   I want it to grow out evenly and strong.  When you haven’t had hair in so long it was almost hard to buzz some of it off.  But I figured I better do this now cuz once it really starts to grow, I’m not gonna want to cut any of it off.   

Aug. 24 – Today is exactly 3 weeks that I have finished chemo.  Wow!  How quickly that went.   I remember marking the days off the calendar to get to the end of chemo and here I am, 3 weeks later.   It’s hard to believe.   Where is the time going? Oh well, I look at it this way, everyday that passes is another day that I am closer to feeling like my old self again.  Can’t wait. 

 Well, today I have an appointment.   I have an MRI that I need to have done.   Before I have surgery, the areas involved need to have clear markers and measurements.  That way my surgeon knows exactly where to cut.   So, I’m here to do that.   She had explained to me on Monday that when the exact measurements are taken, they will use those to put the wires. 

WIRES!!!!! 😱   In my breasts???? 😧   What the hell?!?!?! 

https://www.insideradiology.com.au/breast-hookwire-localisation/

  I will have wires inserted to the markers (titanium clips).  This indicates the exact area she needs to do surgery on.   They are long wires that will be inserted into the breast on the outer part to meet up with the clip.  They will be left sticking out when I show up for surgery.  😨  *sigh*  oh the shit I’ve been through and the shit I still need to go through.   And that’s not all.   I will need a radioactive dye administered as well.  This will ‘light up’ my lymph nodes that are going to be removed.   I guess.  Let’s get this MRI over and done with.   The wires won’t go in today.   This appt is just for the measurements.   So here I am.  Back into the noisy ass machine.  I’m happy cuz my veins didn’t need to get poked this time.   My arms and veins are finally getting a break.  That didn’t take too long.   MRI and measurements done.   Phew.  Now I don’t have another appt til next week.  That is when I’ll have the wires inserted and also the dye.   So on surgery day, it’ll be a long day.   1.  Appt at the imaging center for wires and dye at the butt crack of dawn.   2.  Straight to the hospital from there for surgery.  4 surgeries.  It’ll take about 2 1/2 hours.   If she can, she will pull out my chest port from the left breast surgery.   She won’t know til it happens.   Maybe I’ll be home by the evening.   I honestly can’t wait for surgery.   I think I’ll feel more relief knowing that all the debris from chemo will be scrapped out.   I just hope these pains are gone before then.   In the meantime, I’m just gonna rest and enjoy this time with my son.     Lots of pool time.   It’s been soooooo HOT outside ♨  ♨ My hot flashes haven’t eased up either.  I hope they don’t last forever.   They’ve been dreadful.   I don’t wear my wig anymore unless I’m going out somewhere.    The other day I went out in public with my beanie, I was with my brother, first time I had ever done that.   Damn!!   why do people have to stare sooo much? ? ?  That’s why I don’t go like that in public!!   It’s like, WTF are you looking at??  Never seen anyone with cancer before??  😠   I’ve noticed I have lost a lot of patience, I easily get very irritated with people.   It’s like having PMS daily.   My fuse has gotten very short.   I’m not bitchy but people in general just get on my nerves lately, they get very hateful looks from me.  Good thing I’m out of work.   And that’s not like me, I’m a very nice person.   So, for everyone’s sake, I hope this passes too. 

Well, my food has been tasting better and better.   My mouth isn’t so dry anymore and there has been no return of the yucky mouth sores, yay.   Water tastes just like it used to,  sooooo good and refreshing.   Even a soda tastes yummy.  There is nothing like a McDonald’s coke.

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My happy dance when I’m having a McDonald’s coke!!

My blurry eyes are starting to clear up more.  I still have tingly feet.  Funny, I thought that would have all been over by now but I guess that’s gonna hang around longer.  I don’t have them in my fingers so much.   The dry skin is also getting better.   For so long my skin has felt like sandpaper, gross.   My hands aren’t peeling anymore.  It crossed my mind the other day, you know its been a year now that I first felt pain?   Yup, one year ago I had pain under my breast and that’s how this whole thing started.     Back then, I never did think that pain meant breast cancer.   I just went about my life.  Here we are a year later, chemo came and went, surgery is coming up and I’m just dealing with all the after effects.   Geez, the things that can happen in just a year.   Don’t ever take it for granted.   I can’t wait to get back to my normal life to be able to enjoy it.  I’ve been doing things but I haven’t been able to enjoy them yet.     My body still aches 😢 At this point, there is no telling how long that’s gonna last.  I mowed my lawn and I hurt all over.   My system is just too sensitive right now.  I easily get achy.   Everyone tells me to take it easy and not do so much so soon.   but I have a life to live.  I can’t just sit around.   These after effects are reeking havoc on my body.  If it doesn’t get better over the weekend, I’m calling the doctor on Monday.    I just hurt. 

Aug. 28 –  Monday.   This morning I contacted my oncologist.   It’s very painful for me to move.   I feel like I’m 90 years old.   I can’t get out of bed in the morning without every bone in my body hurting.   Something isn’t right.   This shouldn’t be happening.   No one said this is how I would feel 😣  It hurts to move about and it hurts to rest.   I have a hard time getting in and out of the car and same thing with my bed.   Even to change positions while I’m in bed hurts.  The walking that I’m doing doesn’t seem to be helping.    It must be a reaction to coming off of chemo, it has to be.   Every day it gets worse and tylenol is not helping at all.   It’s joint and muscle pain and it’s all over.   I can’t make a fist without pain or grab my steering wheel when I drive.  It feels like an arthritis type of pain but its everywhere.   Resting is so uncomfortable and painful.   I know I probably sound like a broken record but my body hurts.  😔😢   To my oncologist,  “what is wrong and what can I do or take to get some relief?”  He doesn’t think that my symptoms are related to the cancer or the chemo.  All of the chemo should be out of my system by now.    What I’m experiencing is not a normal reaction.  I should be feeling better by now not worse.   He gives me yet another prescription, a pain killer, percocet 💊.   Yes, my pain is that bad.   I also need to see my primary to discuss the pain issues I’m having.   If it doesn’t get better by next Monday, I need to go in and see him.  One of my Aunties thinks I have ‘acute summer arthritis’.   I have never heard of this.  I guess the heat and humidity cause joint and muscle flare ups.   Sounds like what I have.  Anyway,  I hope this gives me relief even though I’m not happy, it’s such a heavy medication.   I guess, if it’s gonna help me.    Today is my older brothers’ birthday and I wanted to make him a bunch of goodies.  He likes sweets.   I couldn’t,  I’m just in so much pain, I’m miserable  😔   Happy Birthday brother,   I’ll get to it when I feel better. 

  I leave to get my prescription.   I take one as soon as I get home.   I hope these work.   About a 1/2 hour later,  wow,  I can actually move like a normal person.    I can bend my fingers without having so much pain and my knees feel better.   Looks like it worked.   Nighttime – I feel super relaxed.  I really needed this.  I’ve been in physical pain for 3 weeks.   Maybe it’ll knock me out and I’ll sleep like a baby.   Middle of the night – I’m wide awake  😳 👀 I can’t sleep for the life of me.   The pain killer took my pain away but it left me wired.   I’m not bouncing off the walls but I’m not tired at all.   That means I’ll be exhausted in the morning 😩   I just can’t seem to win at all.   

Aug 30 –   The pain meds have been working quite well that I didn’t even realize I had a kidney stone till I passed it. 

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 If anyone has ever had one of these then you know how painful them suckers can be.    Imagine not knowing you even had one til it popped out?  Yeah, that was me.   Didn’t feel it til it was in my bladder.   The last time I had one of these little assholes,  I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain and a visit that lasted 8 hours.   That’s when it took 6 pain killers for me to even get relief.   This time, I didn’t feel pain at all.   Maybe my pain tolerance is coming back since I finished chemo OR maybe its just the percocet.  I am taking those 2 times a day.   I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t agonize over this one.   But it is the 2nd time this year I have gotten one.  I never get them more than once.   I get 1 like every 2 years.   Good thing it’s out though.    Because I can’t deal with physical pain, a kidney stone AND surgery on top of that.   A person can only take so much.   sheesh.   

 Clara Sue sent me this cuz I’ve been losing my patience with everything and everyone.   Haha.  I thought it was funny.   Yup, that pretty much sums it up.   Short fuse these days.

Getting mad

 

Surgery day!!! 

 Sept, 1  –   Clara Sue is on her way.   She is going with me to my appts.   She will be there for my surgery.   Today I won’t be able to walk with Dominic to the bus stop cuz I have to be at the imaging center soon.   Time to start my long day.  Phase 2 of my journey, here we go.   I’m not nervous or anxious at all.   Doesnt even seem like I’ll be in surgery here in the next few hours.   It just feels like a regular day.   I still woke up with aches but I didn’t take any meds cuz I will be given some before and during surgery.  I was hoping I wouldn’t feel this way but no such luck.   I guess I’m gonna have to deal with both, body aches on top of surgery. 

 Ok, we’re here at the imaging center for my wires.   Let’s see how it goes.   I need to be at the hospital by 10:45, It’s 7:30, there’s plenty of time.  Besides, how long can getting wires take?   I change and I’m taken back to a room.   Clara Sue had to stay in the waiting room.   Yuck, it looks like I’m getting another mammogram.   They need to use the mammy machine to do my wires.   They better not squeeze too hard.   They get the image/measurements from my MRI up on the screen.   Now it’s time for some numbing medicine.  Hopefully this won’t hurt.  I’m trying not to get inside my head and it seems like I’m doing a pretty good job.   I’m still not nervous at all, even after looking at the wires they will be inserting.   The gauge doesn’t seem too thick but they are long, at least 12 inches.   Okay,  time to get my boobs in the machine.  One at a time.   They start with my right one.   On this image, you can see the titanium clip.   It’s a bit blurry and tiny but it’s there. 

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Titanium clip

 

If anyone ever gets a biopsy on her boobs, you can bet you’ll have one of these inserted.   It’s to mark the area that was biopsied.   If everything turns out fine, the clip will stay in there forever.    If there is malignancy, the clip will come out when surgery is done.   So, it is safe for me to say that this little clip will come out in just a few hours.   I’m positioned for the machine.   This time I will sit in a chair and just kind of rest my breasts’ (one at a time) in the machine, while the tech inserts the wires.   I am given shots of lidocaine 💉 in my right breast.   She waits awhile for it to take effect.   They have plenty of lidocaine for me just in case I will need more.   It could be painful, so they are prepared in case it is.   They sterilize the area with iodine.  After that part is done, I look like I’ve been brutally beaten.   Now for the wires.   Yikes.   I hope this part goes smoothly. 

Geez, that took FOREVER!  Trying to get my breast in the right position to get the wire exactly where it needed to be, took an eternity.   Talk about not being able to move at all.   Just for that one side, it took over an hour.    I didn’t feel anything.   No pain or discomfort at all.    Now I have a wire sticking out.   Great.   Its looks painful, but it really isn’t.    The images below may be a bit graphic for some.   

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If you look closely, you can see the thin wire sticking out.   The doc will coil it up and put some tape over it so it is not yanked out.   Now time to get the other side prepared and sterilized.   This side seemed to take longer.  There weren’t any issues but they just had a hard time getting the right area.  It is almost 10.  This is taking longer than I thought.   I need to check in at the hospital at 10:45 and I’m not even done here.   Time for the left side.    Again no pain at all but that took a very long time.    

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Again, you can see the thin wire.   You can also see the scar from my chest port.   Today that will come out.  Yay!!!   If my surgeon can get it out from my breast incision, she will.  If not, she will have to reopen the port area and remove it from there.    My poor girls,  they’ve been so violated and tortured this whole year.   They can’t wait to get a break.   But it’s not over yet.    I’m headed to another room to get the dye for my lymph nodes.   This part shouldn’t take long at all.   That’s what they said.   We walk down the hall and into the radioactive room.    Yowzer, they weren’t kidding when they said radioactive.   Nuclear medicine.   

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This area is under lock and key.   In we go.   The radioactive dye is in an airtight chamber.  *when tech takes it out, with another key*   holy shit!!!   That looks like a pipe bomb.   What exactly are they giving me?!?!   She opens it up and takes out a small syringe.    phew. . . that was a relief.   It’s just a normal size syringe.   I’m given more lidocaine for this injection.   This too, shouldn’t hurt at all.   The injection site for this will be close to my armpit.  This dye will light up my lymph nodes that are to be removed.    Injection is given.   Nope,   no pain.    That was easy.   I’m all done.  I’m given the images so I can take with me to surgery.   I can head on over to change and be off to the hospital.   

Well, at the moment I am WIRED AND RADIOACTIVE!!!   Everyone stay clear of me.   Its a good thing I don’t have any hair or this may have happened.   

hair-mask-for-frizzy-hair-diy

Clara Sue and I are headed to the hospital  🏨  This phase took so long that we have 10 minutes to get there.    Boom. . . we showed up right on the dot.   We go inside, i get checked in and now we wait.   Dang, I’m starving and can’t have anything to eat.    I’m called in to the back.    A nurse is waiting for me.    She asked if Clara Sue was my mother, and because of how we are, we cracked jokes.   Clara Sue –  “no, I’m just stalking her.”   Me – “yeah,  I have no idea who she is, she’s been following me around all morning.”  😂 😂,  the nurse wasn’t up for shits and giggles.   She was not impressed at all.   Geez, lady,  lighten up.   Who pee’d in your Wheaties this morning?  Damn.   I’m going through surgery here in a few, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wise cracks to lighten up the mood.   We thought it was funny.   Good thing she was only escorting us to the prep area.   She had a horrible attitude 😡

 I get to my bed/room.    I change and wait.   Now an onslaught of questions.   How many times do we have to go over the same things? ?   My IV is prepped.   Getting poked again.   Surgeon comes in.   She is very pleased with how the wires came out.   The surgery team comes in to introduce themselves.   They’re all very nice.   Surgery will be about 2 – 2 1/2 hours.  All my vitals are checked.   They’ll be back to roll me out.   Surgery will be at 12:45.   Almost as if on cue, here they all are to roll me back.   The anesthesiologist gave me the first injection 💉 through my IV.   She said the next one that she gives me will knock me out.   They get ready to wheel me out.   I turn to Clara Sue and told her, “I’ll see you when I get back.”   As I did that, for a moment, I saw my Mama sitting there ❤, not Clara Sue.    I started to tear up and get emotional.   I thought I was gonna start crying.   Just then, I was given the next sedative 💉.   My eyes rolled with a heaviness and before we got to the end of the hall,  I was out.   

 

And I’m off to never neverland . . . . . . . . . . .