Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good news (sort of?), bad news

I've met with my oncologist, and started treatment for the cancer that has spread to my bones.  He tells me there is no cure, but with treatment I will likely survive for many more years.  I'm not sure whether or not I've dodged a bullet, but I am somewhat relieved.  The survival span he's given would take me past 3 score and 10, which is really all any of us might have anyway.  BUT .. I am still in a lot of pain, taking some heavy duty pain meds.  For someone with a strong family history of substance abuse, who's managed to avoid that trap for her entire life, this is so very depressing.  Earlier this month, at a visit with an orthopedic physician, he advised me to take the meds more often.  So for two days I took it at the shortest prescribed interval, around the clock.  Then I woke up with a "travelling" itch -- you know, where it's over on the right arm then the left knee then at the back of the neck, etc. -- and I thought I might be having a reaction.  This was about 2 am, so I quietly got up & ducked into the bath to check for a rash or hives.  Nada -- no obvious source of an itch.  I'm standing in our tiny bathroom, staring into a mirror & thinking.  I remember seeing police dramas, where some junkie is being interviewed, and the junkie's always scratching...and I had to lay my head down on the towel bar and have a bit of cry.  So now, I don't take the narcotic pain med around the clock -- I have a prescription NSAID, which I use once every day, giving me a six-hour narcotic free period daily.  And I haven't been "jonesing" for the narcotic.  I just have to keep in mind that an addiction to my pain med probably isn't a primary problem, and if the treatments I'm getting work as planned I should be in a lot less pain eventually. 
Today I met with another ortho doctor, for the tendonitis in my elbow.  He took some Xrays, and saw where that elbow had an old fracture -- and there's some arthritis around it as well.  These and my work (computer mostly) have added up to the tendonitis.  I have a sling, to add to the soft collar (for the cervical fracture) and thoraco-lumbar support (thoracic fracture).  I'm sure I look like a total wreck, or that I've been in one.  After the office visit, we went over to the Krispy Kreme for donuts.  We ate inside, where the tables are tiny and have only two chairs.  Of course, we number three.  So I asked a gent sitting alone if I could have his other chair, and he jumped up and moved it to our table for me.  The perks of looking like a wreck, I guess. 
I thank any & all who've been checking in here, I'm sure your good thoughts for me are doing me some good!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The calm before the storm

Last Friday I submitted to a CT-guided biopsy of one bony mass on my hip.  Dog, that was one unpleasant experience. For starters, I had no pre-op instruction such as "Do not eat!", so I ate a cup of yogurt at 5 a.m.  The procedure was scheduled for 8 a.m., and I had to arrive at 6 a.m. for all the paperwork processing, and to allow the radiologist to view the CD of my earlier CT & MRI scans.  Hey, I had a greatest hits CD!!  Folks who know me, know I cope with humor -- even very bad humor.  As soon as my breakfast became known, the service was postponed to 11 a.m.  I was confined to a very uncomfortable gurney from about 7 to 11.  The only bright spot was finding Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (we're Luddites, and haven't got cable at home), very cheering altho rather bloody.  The rest of the Plaid Patrol was present, but took turns running down to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Some 36 years ago, I herniated a lumbar disc, and have not been able to lay on my stomach since then.  So, when I finally rolled into the CT procedure room, I was appalled to learn that I'd have to be on my tummy for the whole thing.  And the CT table is very hard.  They kept promising me some good drugs, otherwise I think I would have made a run for it.  So, I'm on my tum, with an extra cushion under said tum, and the gown opened in back, and the nurse tells me the table is defective in that it won't slide back under the CT scanner unless I can pull my arms off the edge to a "Superman" pose -- does she know I've got a broken C-7 vertebra?  Much groaning followed.  Well, the whole thing took about 40 minutes, and the drugs were good; I dozed a bit near the end.  I  had no pain from the needle aspiration biopsy itself, but every core collected involved a loud crunch -- let's try not to think about that too much.  This Friday, I'll discuss the results with my Alpha Team Leader (oncologist), and we'll make some plan.  Enough of this topic.
Yesterday I found a "fatal error" in the second sleeve of the Gramps Cardi, so it's been frogged & restarted.  I looked at a lot of my knitting books & magazines yesterday; I still have so much to knit and possibly even less time to do so.  I surely wish I could get Disco interested in knitting, I hate to think my rather large knitting library and collection of yarn will go to some stranger.  Maybe I should consider destashing? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Unsettling, to say the least

I've been just about managing to keep working while suffering a severely pinched nerve in my neck.  My primary care physician diagnosed it (without diagnostic imaging) as a slipped disc, gave me 9 days worth of Prednisone and some muscle relaxant med to help me sleep.  When the Prednisone was a week gone, I had to call her again, wanting a referral to a chiropracter or orthopedist.  She sent me to a physical therapist.  I took PT 3 times a week for 2 weeks, then 2 times a week for 2 weeks, and wasn't really getting any relief.  The last scheduled session was cancelled by me, as I felt too much pain to allow me to do the exercises suggested.  I went home early from work that Thursday, and didn't go to work at all on the Friday after.  I was really just laying in the bed & moaning.  Saturday evening the Plaidman went to the hardware store & made a few more stops.  While he was out, I got up to answer Nature's call, took about 3 steps and heard (and FELT!!!) a huge snapping/cracking sound from my back & hip.  I was immediately immobile; Disco had to bring me a cane and take my arm to get me the last two steps to the bath (very small house).  I dithered, but eventually the pain won out and when Plaidman got home we headed to the ER in Robertson Co.  The upshot is, I've got two pathological fractures, in my cervical spine (the so-called slipped disc) and in my thoracic spine.
Other findings point to masses in my chest wall, spinal column, and hip.  The very worst of bad pennies seems to have shown up again.  I don't think I've talked much about my history of cancer, and I really don't want to now, but if you don't hear from me for a while just know that I am fighting and praying to save my life. 
Let's change the subject before I dissolve in tears.  AHEM! I've been working on the tiny Gramps Cardigan, and have one sleeve done up to the point where it'll be attached to the body.  I've started the other sleeve too!  Still tickled to pieces at this darling sweater.  I did a mini-project in cotton yarn, which should work as intended but which doesn't really deserve any more attention here.  Still working on the party purses ala CAP for the nieces, even though I still have not heard one word about the Bunny Hop being received.  Gah, all I want is one picture of the kid in it, for pete's sake.