Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….

Of course it had to happen.

As soon as you are comfortable with things, they change.

And you learn, once again, never to use a sharpie on your calendar.

The change of the day is …drum roll please… My surgery has been rescheduled from Dec 5th to Dec 10th.

(you know you made the drum roll sound – don’t lie!)

Apparently (and smartly), my surgeon didn’t want to operate on me on a day that my hematologist was out of town.  So they are both in town on the 10th and that is when I will say “hasta la vista, baby” to my rack.

Today was an exhausting day.   Although before I get rolling on this post, I must write a disclaimer that I’m currently under the influence of a Brandon’s Diner comfort food dinner with an Ativan chaser.   This post could go anywhere.

As I said, today was an exhausting day.  I started at Norris Cancer Center at 9am and ended at 3ish – give or take 1/2 hour for lunch.   I had the following:

1. Chest Xray – this was no big deal. Although I forgot to wear a non-wired bra and chose the one with the bling on the front instead.  The xray guy asked me if I had a bra on and I just automatically did the “unhook and slide out the sleeve” maneuver.   He was like “oh, I guess not”.  Did the xray and then he high tailed it out of there for a few minutes so that I could get re-dressed.  That’s one funny thing I’ve noticed about the doctors.  They’ll have their hands all over my breasts to find lumps and things but then act all shy and leave the room so I can put my shirt back on.  Uhh, HELLO?  I think modesty went out the window a few months ago.

Seriously, it’s almost instinct to take off my top now when someone asks me how I’m doing.

Show me your tumor, I’ll show you mine!

2. Labs –  Had labs.  I went in only expecting to have my normal blood work, transfusion blood work and some thyroid tests.  Next thing I know they are setting up 7 FREAKING vials.  And a pee cup.   Now all of this new medicine has me cranky and acting like Sophia from the “Golden Girls” so I’m all “Who the hell FUCK ordered that?”  Well apparently it’s a pre-op thing I was never notified about.   Luckily, Norris has bathrooms hidden about where it is a one person only bathroom with a lock on the door and lots of counter space.  Except by the toilet.  The only thing by the toilet was the toilet paper holder which was not perfectly flat on top, just slightly rounded.   So I started off fine, set up paper towels on the top of the TP holder, used the wipes provided, peed into the cup and then, because there was nowhere else, I had to put the pee cup on the paper towel on the slightly rounded TP holder while I finished my business.

Have you ever tried going to the bathroom with one eye on a cup of pee that is delicately balanced on a TP holder, metaphysically willing it to stay upright while pulling paper out of said holder while also issuing SOS prayers to God that you don’t have to spend the rest of the day soaked in your own urine?

Ugh.  At least it wasn’t a stool sample.

(say it….ewwwwwww!)

3.  Next up was the hematologist.  Well,  not really the hematologist, but her Nurse Practitioner, Kristin.   Kristin is awesome.  Hematologist is out this week so Kristin and I went over my labs.  Nothing to write home about – my white cells still don’t exist, my platelets are low and my hemoglobin is low enough that I’m getting 2 units of blood this Friday.  My birthday.  How much does that suck?   Anyway, we talked about some of the blood issues related to surgery and she was with me for just over an hour.

One thing about Norris, they spend as much time with you as they need.  I’ve had appointments that lasted 15 minutes and some that lasted over 2 hours.  That place is amazing!

4.  Finally, fourth and goal, is my appointment with my surgeon.  I had a TON of questions to ask and she answered all of them and more.  I’ve been super anxious about the process of surgery and what happens when, and she just relieved my mind so much.  I’m not exactly looking forward to it but I’m not freaking out.  It looks like she might keep me for 48 hours in case I need more blood or platelets after surgery.  She is putting a waterproof dressing over my incision/stitches so that I’m able to take a quick shower as soon as the next day (I just can’t get any kind of soap on the site).   She thinks that I’ll be down and super fatigued for a week or two but I can start going on quick errands (not driving) or short walks as soon as I feel up to it.  YAY!   I need to stop reading the internet because there are some horror stories out there.

What I’m really excited about?   The second Hobbit movie comes out on the 12th, so I might possibly be able to see it the following week!  YAY!

There is also a little problem with my veins.  Because I am having lymph nodes taken from my left arm, I can’t really use it for any kind of blood draws or IVs after surgery for a really long time.  My right arm is the arm that makes nurses scream and cry because my veins are super small and sucky.  The size IV that the anesthesiologist needs for surgery will not fit in my arm vein.  So sometime prior to surgery, I have to have a small procedure to put a port in.  This is a small circular thing that sits underneath the skin near your collarbone and has a small tube that is attached to an artery.  After I get this placed, the nurse can use a special needle to access the port and I will get blood draws and transfusions through this from now on.  Much more comfortable than having my arm accessed all the time.   The plan is that during surgery, they will use the port to put me to sleep and then place a central line at my neck for more access points.   When I’m discharged from the hospital, they will pull the central line out.  It sounds worse than it is.  From what I’ve been told.  It could totally suck.  I’ll let you know in a month.

So that’s another thing to schedule.

Other things that are happening cancer wise:

  1. Another appointment with my hematologist
  2. Labs up the ying yang.
  3. Possible switch out of some of my meds.
  4.  Consultation with an anesthesiologist to get cleared for surgery.
  5.  EKG
  6. At least two more transfusions.
  7. Platelet transfusions and blood transfusions the day before surgery
  8. Shots of Neupogen (helps the white cells), 1 shot a day for the 5 days prior to surgery.  (I’m doing this at home).
  9. Oh, and I have to figure out which of the new meds is causing my blood sugars to go crazy and get them sugars down to normal or my surgery will be postponed again until after the new year.  No pressure though.

This is all just from today.  ITS CRAZY!!!

Just to let you all know:  I’m having some very crappy side effects of the new medications I’m on.  I’m working with the doctors to either change the dose or the actual medication.  One of the worst side effects is that I feel like I’m going mental – I’ll be super happy, then crying my eyes out, then ready to throw something out the window – and this all can happen in the same 15 minute time frame.  Part of it as well is the whole “shut down all the hormones” thing I have to do to keep the cancer away.   So if yu email me, text me, call me, etc… and I don’t respond right away… I’m probably having a moment.   I do appreciate your support and  love you all so much!!

Other Housekeeping:

1.  FIGHT ON USC!  BEAT THE FARM!!!

2.  Thank you for all the prayers for my grandma.  She had forgotten how to eat on Tuesday until my aunt showed her how, but today she was eating and drinking much better.  She also got up and walked for  5 tiny steps.

3.  I have a few other people that need help right now:

  • My Aunt’s ex-husband, the father of her three kids, passed away in his sleep quite unexpectedly this afternoon and my cousins are devastated.
  • A man I sometimes end up sharing the counter at Brandon’s Diner, his wife has spent much of the last month in the hospital recovering from a 10 hour surgery to get rid of cancerous tumors.
  • My mom’s cousin (96) health is declining fast.

If you could lift these folks up with prayers/good thoughts/however you do it, I would appreciate it!!!

A parting shot of where I will be this weekend for my birthday:

100_0041-1

FIGHT ON!

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4 Comments on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….”

  1. Lori Lewis says:

    Changes indeed! You’re amazing. No matter what day the surgery is, I’ll be there.

    So, my Dad complained bitterly about pretty much everything he endured, health-wise, but he LOVED his Power Port. He had soft & small veins as well and once he had that, he no longer dreaded going to the Dr., getting blood drawn, etc. etc. He wished they’d given him one a LONG time ago – I have a feeling you’re going to feel the same way about yours. It’ll make your transfusions, etc. for the anemia so much easier moving forward. I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t think to give you one earlier since you need bloodwork & transfusions so often & have so much trouble around that.

    I’m glad the surgeon answered so many of your questions for you! The unknown can be so damned scary!

    Speaking of surgery, I’m sure you’ve seen this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/breast-cancer-flash-mob-deborah-cohan_n_4227915.html

    Her kick-ass spirit totally reminds me of you!

    Love, love, LOVE,
    Lori
    xo

    Like

  2. Sue Downing says:

    I’m confused. Why not just put a urine sample on the floor? It’s not like you’re planning to drink out of that cup…

    -Sue.

    Like

  3. mindy says:

    Got prayers going up all over the place. Larger church in yucaipa . . . Small church in Anza. Good thoughts and energy coming from my house. Hope you enjoy Disneyland and have a wonderful birthday! !!♡♥♡♥

    Like

  4. Heather says:

    Pam, Thinking about you and your loved ones. Wishing all of you great health. So glad you took a trip to Disneyland for your bday. Hope it was a blast! Continuing to send vibes of immeasurable strength, although you are incredibly effin’ strong already. Love, Heather

    Like


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