Last time I was home I of course had to incorporate into my time there my quarterly ct-scan and visit with Dr. Dan. Friday morning my visit wasn't what I was expecting. Well, some of it was like when Dr. Dan told me that most of the tumors had grown between 3-6mm, but nothing worrisome. There was even a small tumor that has resolved; I think it's the one that was radiated that was superficial on my pubic bone, because I can't feel it any longer. The tumors in the left lung remained the same thank goodness. The concern was the left kidney, which had severe hydronephrosis (fluid around the kidney). Dr. Dan was afraid that if we didn't take care of this asap, I'd lose the kidney. I was complaining of my heart rate being 168 by just walking a few steps from the waiting room. My heart rate has been up for months and then I felt like I couldn't breath with any exertion. I also have had horrible swelling in my legs, which is very uncomfortable.
Dr. Dan got me an appointment with the urology oncologist for Monday morning. As I was making my appointment with Dr. Dan for December, the urology nurse called up and asked that they draw some blood and run some tests. It is always fun to visit the nurses in the chemo suite, which is where they access my port.
Mom and I then headed to Great Harvest Bread (our tradition after each visit) and Tj Maxx, well, I was in the car talking to Nick and mom was shopping. While there, Dr. Dan's nurse called to tell me that I needed to return because my hemaglobin was 6.8. It's suppose to be over 12. They thought maybe it was a mistake so they redrew it and in 3 hours it had gone down to 6. This bought me 2 units of blood. Of course it took forever so I only had one on Friday and one on Saturday. I seriously thought I was feeling rather well, but after 2 units I had a normal heart rate and more energy.
While sitting for hours recieveing strangers blood, I thought of how unselfish it was for someone to donate their blood to make me better. I had to go up to the oncology floor to have the transfusions. It was so wonderful to see the nurses who took care of me 4 years ago.
After my visit with him I met with the social worker and the financial/health insurance lady because I'm concerned about what to do when my cobra runs out the end of April. We talked through things and I felt much better and reassured by the time I left, well about the insurance, not the tumor. When we left St. Lukes, I started vomiting. I've only had this happen one other time because I was upset and it was the day I had surgery to remove the cancer.
Halloween Day I had the stint placed. I also had an xray of my left hip because I've had so much pain in that leg and hip. I was for sure I had metastisis to the bone, but another visit with Dr. Dan on Wednesday showed that the bone is normal.
The stint has caused me so much discomfort for nearly 2 weeks. There are times I wanted to rip someones head off. Thankfully I've figured out to take bladder spasm meds every 6 hours which gives me some relief. I really thought that they were going to have to remove this and put it into my back, but the last few days have showed me that I can handle it. I'm praying specifically that this tumor will resolve quickly. They will have to replace this every 3 months until it does, which means a minor surgery.
The only good thing from the stint is that the fluid I was retaining in my legs has resolved, so much so that I've lost 7 pounds. Dr. Dan did some research and said that there are some cases that severe hydronephrosis can cause anemia. I'm staying on this antiestrogen pill for 2 more months and will have a repeat scan around Christmas. If tumors are still growing, we will try a chemo pill. I'm trying to keep my head up, but I admit, there have been some days the past 2 weeks that I've been quite emotional and had some fear. But I've cried those tears and am feeling much better.
There is a general conference talk from Oct. 17 that has really hit me to the core. It's entitled Turn to the Lord. In it the speaker shares this quote from Elder Oaks which has really helped me this week, "Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a healing cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are healed by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us."
I won a contests at work this week. I never win anything! We were suppose to share pictures that brought us happiness. I shared this photo with the caption that said something like, "Happiness was working a few days a month. It's time that allows me to forget my diagnosis for a short and take care of others."