Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What a week! I have now been home from the hospital for 2 weeks and each day am getting a tiny bit more spunk. I took the boys and my mom and mother-in-law to Lancaster yesterday to see a Sight and Sound show. It was remarkable and then we smorgasborded it afterwards.

This cold weather outside makes it very difficult for me to breathe when I go outside. I am figuring out some "tricks" to make me more comfortable. I do have oxygen at home and portable canisters for when we go out. Depending on the amount of walking, I don't always need them. David said, "I have seen grandmas with those tubes."

The swelling has returned to my face which may suggest more fluid issues. I see my oncologist next week and will see what the pictures show.

Two dear friends have reported that their cancer has returned this past week. Someone said that hearing you have cancer has to be one of the worst things you could be told. I said the second time was worse than the first because I knew what I was in for. My prayer for these friends has been sweet rest at night. The nighttime is the worst for me and I prayed that they and their families would be able to rest snuggly in their beds at night, even though they are facing these trials again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I woke up feeling like a trainwreck and did my best to not look like it but there isn't any fooling those folks at the cancer center. I had an appointment with my oncologist and a follow-up with the thoracic surgeon today. Oncologist says, "take a 2-week break from chemo." Apparently, the CT scan done during my hospital stay continued to show shrinkage of the tumors around my lungs. Also, the fluid did not show cancer cells. Yeah! Next, surgeon says fluid has already come back to my left lung. My lung is not able to fully expand because of the cancer damage and the fluid likes to collect around it. We will follow-up in a month to see if it remains stable or continues to increase. He said we may not be done with draining this stuff. My breathing is still somewhat labored, especially at night or during activity. So, I will be getting some oxygen to help. I was told I may struggle with this for some time.

Well, I am PLANNING on not having anyone stick me for the next 2 weeks. I hope to continue to recover and feel better before the next round of chemo begins.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fun santa video

Click on this Santa site and create a unique message from Santa for your kids. My kids loved it!

What we woke up to outside

and it is still coming down.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Since I won't have time to do Christmas cards this year, we are sending electronic ones instead. Here are some photos taken of our family for the holidays. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings to your families in the upcoming year! You shoulnd't have to be a member of facebook to look at these photos. Let me know if you have problems.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now that I am home, I guess I thought I would magically have recovered - wrong. It is pretty easy to sit around at the hospital and get better, but home has things that need to be done, stairs to climb, children who can't reach certain things, etc. The hospital staff asked me every shift, "How would you rate your pain level?" So, I now have a number in my mind and the stuff for home is NOT the same as the hospital meds. I will have a couple days with the boys at school, Dave working from home, to really adjust.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rumor has it . . .

there is a surgical team on their way to remove my last drain and I will be headed home today! I may even be home before David gets home from school. The plan now is to follow-up with the surgeon and notify him if anything changes - worsening shortness of breath, etc. Right now, I feel pretty okay and ready to get back into the swing of things. I see my oncologist on Tuesday and we will figure out what the cancer plan is too.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Surgery Update

It is now Sunday evening and I am still in the hospital. The surgery went okay and an x-ray yesterday showed that the tubes are draining the fluid as hoped. The 3 large drains hanging off of me show that as well.

I now have a private room because I need so much equipment! I am managing the pain well with a pump and feel a little better each day. No talk of going home yet. Need to wait until the fluid has drained. So far, I have drained about 4 L of fluid! No wonder I had trouble breathing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Surgery today

My surgery is scheduled for today at 11 a.m. I don't know how long the procedure takes but I will have Dave update as soon as he can. I had to talk with my boys before I left for school. I called and David talked about how he has his least favorite special today and I asked Dawson to tell me his Bible verse he learned last week. (I got fussed at because that was LAST week's verse.) "Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Surgery on Wednesday

I met with the thoracic surgeon today. Apparently, there is also fluid around my left lung so that will also be drained. I will be admitted into the hospital on Tuesday evening and will receive the surgery on Wednesday. I will be in the hospital for 4-5 days depending on the fluid drainage. I will have 2 drains while I am in the hospital.

Needless to say, my head is spinning with all of the logistical details. With this new development, the hospital stay is longer than we expected. Please pray that the surgery goes smoothly, no complications, and for a quick and easy recovery. Please pray for my men at home, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How a day can change things

I had the 2-D echo done of my heart and really had trouble breathing during it. I was on my left side and had to really concentrate on every breath - even had to take a few breaks. It seems that the pericardial effusion is now affecting my heart's ability to pump at its full capacity, which is what is causing my problems. The cardiologist contacted my oncologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon to schedule me for pericardial window surgery. I meet with the surgeon on Monday and am expected to have the surgery some time next week. I was told that I should feel much better once the fluid is drained.

I haven't had a chance to speak directly with my oncologist but it seems that the cancer is not the cause of my discomfort. I need to speak with him to know the specific plan but I am assuming chemo will not be happening this week.

When I spoke with our families about this, they asked if I had good news and I told them it was more of a curveball. I am still trying to wrap my head around this one. The links to the information about pericardial effusion and the surgery are very informative, if you are interested in reading more about it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Never a dull moment

Well, over the weekend, I started having some trouble getting comfortable at night. Certain positions made me feel like I couldn't catch my breath. Today, when I went to the oncologist for Herceptin, just keeping up with the nurse walking down the hall had me winded. So, I am back on the chemo, had an x-ray and also have an 2-D Echo of my heart scheduled for tomorrow. There is fluid around my heart and that may be the cause of the shortness of breath. I will soon have a CT scan also.

I cried today like I haven't done in a long time. All I wanted was to get through December with no chemo - to feel good and be able to attend my boys' Christmas happenings. I am thankful for the very short time I had off but it is never long enough.