I wish I had been able to post sooner, but today is the first day in weeks I’ve felt “well” and I am still not one hundred percent.
Last weekend was rough. The radiation apparently did a number on me in the end and I barely kept any food down. I dropped about twelve pounds total and lived on crackers, water and bites of grilled chicken. By Sunday, I was so frustrated and tired of being sick that I was in tears. I even texted Dr. Brooks and told him I couldn’t wait anymore for Dr. Borad. I needed help and for things to progress more quickly treatment wise.
Again, I need to be careful what I wish for.
Monday we drove to Mayo to meet Dr. J, the cardiothoracic surgeon that was going to do my lung biopsy. She was very nice and wanted to get things done for me pronto so the trial could get started. I agreed and the next thing I know, I am scheduled for surgery on Tuesday morning.
No big deal, right?
I’ve never really had surgery before, except for the port-a-cath placement. I hadn’t been worried then, but I was this time. They were going to be doing the liver biopsy (which I have now survived twice) at the same time as the lung biopsy (which freaked me out.) I mean, what’s not to panic over? They would be digging tumor out of my lung. Kinda vital that they not screw up.
We were staying with Deb, a friend of mine in Phoenix, and she calmed me with some reike work. It did wonders for me and I fully believe alternatives like reike and massage can be useful in treatments along with medicine. I suggest looking for trustworthy practitioners to help manage anxiety, nausea or pain.
Tuesday morning we went to the hospital and before I knew it I was on a gurney getting an IV, EKG and being prepped for surgery. They explained the procedure, which involved making three incisions between my ribs –one for the camera and the others for instruments– to get to my left lung and remove a large hunk of tumor. The device that removed the tumor would place three rows of staples in my lung as it pulled the tumor out. They would leave a chest tube in to be certain I didn’t end up with a collapsed lung from an air leak.
Once the consents were signed they gave me some versed and wheeled me into the OR, which resembled an alien lab to me, and had me move to the table. That’s the last thing I remember before waking in post-op.
I had a PCA (pain pump) that contained morphine and vaguely recall telling the nurse I needed Benadryl because I was itching so bad. I also recall waiting forever for a room, Milo coming to see me, the arterial line in my wrist being removed and lots of sleep and pain. Pain pumps are great if you are awake to hit the button.
I was nervous about moving until they removed the chest tube. They pulled it out and closed the sutures on that site (which burns!) On Wednesday morning. I was tolerating orals, had my foley removed and was peeing and had my pain controlled by Wednesday afternoon. I was surprised, but happy, when they discharged me that night at dinner time.
The following days were shallow breathing, bad coughs and pain. I’m finally able to breathe better, lay on my right side (though my left is too sore) and move around. It was not a pleasant experience and I definitely do not want to do it again.
The good news: this prompted the trial to speed up and we start in June. I am nervous, but excited, that treatment is coming and I might soon have the chance to be in remission! I can’t wait.