May 12 2011

Further chemo prep adventures

Published by at 5:03 pm under health,it's science!,me vs. cancer = I win

The port catheter install went through yesterday morning. Mornings are incredibly harder to function well for me right now, I definitely ramp up slow in available energy over the course of the day and mornings are the worst. I’d expected not to fall back asleep after the 4 am feeding but did, which meant that I had about 10 minutes to get showered and ready and out the door. Obviously that didn’t happen, I can barely move fast enough to get clothes on in 10 minutes, but with a lot of groaning and painful readjustments I managed to shower, dress, leave, and arrive only about 20 minutes late for check-in. My mother who has been coming down nearly weekly to help out for a few days at a time was here and drove me, while our normal driver-helper stayed at the house on baby duty. Yay juggling responsibilities effectively!

The lateness didn’t seem to affect things much, thankfully. Once again, everyone was just amazing in terms of helping accommodate my legs and hips issue and extra pain, even taking a bit longer during the procedure to do things like move and position me accordingly. This time I had modified anesthesia instead of general anesthesia, and functionally I couldn’t much tell the difference. I still got the gas mask and injections and went to sleep for the duration. I even had a touch of sore throat afterward though no tube went down my throat (I suspect that part was from not drinking water for 12 hours beforehand), and the awakening afterward was another nice slow non-disruptive event. In fact, for about five minutes after awakening in the recovery room, except for a small twinge in my spine, I had the least pain I’ve had in months and months. I enjoyed as much as I could of the tiny respite. I could feel each kind of pain as it started to come back online as the good surgery drugs wore off, which was at least interesting and informative to track if not any fun.

I am experiencing less soreness than I’d expected, though definitely still some. Since I have the tumor in the other armpit affecting mobility there, picking up the baby is an interesting time at the moment. I’m getting help with that whenever someone is available, but I can still move her if needed. Since the surgery I’ve had slightly better mobility in my hips (not stable by far, still dangerous) so I’m carefully enjoying the slight break there while still being cautious since it feels like it could get worse at any moment.

I am now a bionic woman! The device they installed is called a PowerPort, which amuses me. There is some bruising around the site of install, and it’s the first time I’ve had a wound closed with glue (usually they use steri-strips). It’s quite high up on the left side of the chest, a small lump resting below the collarbone that you can feel when pressing across it. There’s a little wallet-sized card I’m supposed to carry with me that has information for any doctors or techs that need to access my PowerPort. They also gave me a keyfob and one of those rubbery bracelets that can also identify the presence of the port, but I think I’ll pass on using those. The informational booklet was interesting, apparently there’s some special scan called a power injection CECT scan that can be done with these ports that allows contrast media to be infused at a rapid rate and gives better definition on scans to soft tissues than normal xrays. Not sure if I’ll need that part, but it sounds cool. I have yet to find out if I’m in the 85% percentile for being able to get blood draws through it, but I’m now ready to receive chemotherapy.

Which, thanks to Medicaid, won’t be happening until next week. (My MRI was also rescheduled to Monday due to the authorization still pending, blah.) Tomorrow I attend my chemo informative class where I presume they’ll tell me about the chemical bath I’m prescribed and more details on side effects than I got at the general meeting with the MedOnc earlier this week. I trundle through the forest of never-ending medical appointments, yay Google Calendar for tracking it all.

But today I actually did some writing. On a potential project I’ve been ruminating on for a couple of years now. So that’s pretty neat, we’ll see if it goes anywhere. That plus this blog entry counts as good work for today.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Further chemo prep adventures”

  1. CHERYLon 20 May 2011 at 11:16 am

    Have sent you email. I am quite serious about offering help if you need it, especially while I’m looking for work. Please let me know.

    Sending you good energy and hoping insurance matters work out soon.


  2. Sueon 01 Jun 2011 at 11:58 am

    Thinking of you, Reesa.

    I wanted to thank you for all the time and effort you’ve put into these health updates, I know I’ve personally benefited from them and I’m sure others have as well.

    If there’s any way we readers can give back or help, I hope you’ll let us know. Until you’re feeling up to posting again, I’ll be hoping you’re finding strength from the many small, but beautiful and loving moments that you must be having with your child and family and friends.

    Be well.