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Posts Tagged ‘blood clot’

I know, I know…it’s been a while. But no need to worry excessively – I’m doing okay. Just struggling a bit with motivating myself to write something.

Here’s a slightly overdue recap of recent events:

12/28/09 – I went in for an ultrasound on my right arm to see if the blood clot(s) had resolved. Thankfully, the answer was yes (no clot!). So, I got the “all clear” to have the port removed (although I still have to keep giving myself the Lovenox shot every day for a few more months as a preventative).

Later that day – Off to the cath lab for the port removal procedure. Two nurses told me it would be easy, with no sedation necessary, and nothing to worry about – so, I didn’t. Then, the doctor came in while they were prepping me and gave me a slightly more detailed version of what to expect: the procedure would take about 20 minutes, they’d give me local anesthesia to numb the area, and “most people do fine without sedation, but if you feel anything sharp, let me know…”  (What!?)  They tented my head again, as they had when I got the port installed, so I couldn’t see what they were doing, but I could feel tugging and pulling and hear the sound of clamps being used. At one point I swear it felt like the doctor put his foot on my shoulder and yanked the thing out of me. I’m sure that’s not what really happened, but it felt like it! They sewed me up and I went home. For a procedure that was supposed to be “nothing” I ended up on the couch for the next two days. I was really fatigued and it felt like someone had slugged me hard in that soft area between the shoulder and the collar bone. But I survived (once again), and the dreaded port is gone!

12/30/09 – I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Brown at four weeks after the surgery. He looked at all the wounds and said they were healing properly and he was happy with my progress. He also commented that when he saw me walk down the hall to the exam room “it didn’t look like you just got off a horse.”  I understood this to be a positive indication of how well I was doing. We discussed the things I’d been concerned about (the stoma bleeding, the wounds still seeping, the bulge on my belly just above the incision…). Everything I brought up was met with his nonchalant “that’s normal.” I’m to see him again at eight weeks after surgery.

1/8/10 – I was having a few problems with the colostomy bag, so I went to see Carla, the ostomy nurse, for a follow-up. She looked at everything and, like Dr. Brown, declared that all was well and normal for this stage of things (being less than six weeks after surgery). I talked to her about the features of the different bags I’d tried so far. There was one bag I liked everything about, except for the wafer (the part that adheres to your skin). I preferred the wafer on another bag, but it didn’t have other features I wanted. Carla looked through her enormous ostomy appliance catalog and found a bag that has the combination of things I wanted, including the “microskin” wafer I liked. I’m waiting for the new bags to arrive any day now so I can see if they’ll make dealing with this a little easier!

Staying warm while at the computer...

Other than that, I just seem to have days when I simply do not feel like doing anything. I think I’ve actually been just a little depressed – which, in Dr. Brown’s and Carla’s words, is “normal” under the circumstances. I’m still adjusting to a having a colostomy (a huge adjustment, I might add). My body is still recovering from the months of being poisoned, burned and cut open. Plus, the chemo and radiation brought on instant menopause, meaning my hormones are whacked on top of everything else. And, it’s been downright cold! So, a tiny bout of depression doesn’t seem out of line, does it?

The good news: It’s a New Year. I’m cancer-free. I’m well enough to get out and walk, drive, go to the grocery or the post office, and generally do many things I once took so much for granted. Only now, I usually remind myself how blessed I am to be able to do these simple chores of daily life. Okay, sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m silly! But, mostly, I’m just grateful for life.

Next time: Ostomy 101 (I’m giving you fair warning about the topic in case you’re squeamish…)

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New development: blood clots in right arm, probably from the port. Starts just below clavicle, extends into armpit and down inner arm to elbow.  Arm and hand mostly purple.  Limited use of hand, including typing! ARGH!  So, now also taking a blood thinner called Lovenox, given by shot into the belly daily for next 6 months – you guessed it! – by me. Double ARGH! (Was a big baby about this when told. Two nurses assisted me the first time. When I said how I dread this, one nurse admitted she couldn’t give herself a shot either!)

Once-a-day, whether you want to or not

Once-a-day, whether you want to or not

In other news: made it thru yesterday’s last chemo infusion with no incident.  Well, except the port is no longer safe to use, so chemo injection was into left arm.  Lots of neuropathy this morning (pins & needles numbness in fingers and along forearm) – so even my “good” hand not functioning optimally for this exercise of typing.  Otherwise, all went well, with Shawn bringing an Indian grain dish called “Kitchari” for my picnic lunch, and homemade oatmeal cookies with pumpkin seeds from an Ayurvedic recipe.  Very nourishing and stayed down!

And another lovely woman whom I’d not met before, Annette (went thru breast cancer treatment about six months ago) came to introduce herself and brought homemade foods she said “saved her” during treatment: broth made from beef bone and vegetables, tapioca pudding, dates, and electrolytes for drinking water.  Was so moved by her generosity in preparing all this for me though she didn’t know me.  We had a really nice visit, and I brought home lots of healthy food for next few days, thanks to both Annette and Shawn.

I want to celebrate this milestone of finishing the chemo infusions, but somehow seems hard to do while staring down the tunnel of another week of radiation and Xeloda (not to mention daily self-administered shots for six months).  Still, I know getting past this particular hurdle is something to acknowledge and honor – so, yes, I GOT THRU IT!

Fingers too numb to type more.  Love to all who are continuing to keep me in their thoughts.  I’m very grateful.

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