Thursday, May 29, 2008

Again, Home Again

Last Friday I went for a surgical followup and ended up with an all expense paid visit to the hospital for six days. My breathing was labored with fevers and other symptoms. After multiple tests, looking for a pulmonary embolism, they released me yesterday. YEAH!
I am sorry that I am not my usual chipper self. I am very tired from little sleep. What sleep I get is in the recliner so I sleep sitting up. I feel like a shit because my recovery is delayed a week. So all in all, this is a down side.
In a little bit, I will post some more and let you in on all the weird and wacky that happens in a hospital from the patients side. Especially over a holiday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not Dead Fred

The past week has been a series of ups and downs as I have readjusted to home. I hate that I am only able to do so little. I have been gasping for breath, bearing with the pain and shuffling from one chair to another.
Yes, that is as depressing as it sounds.
Until last night when I hit rock bottom.
My daughters were each having a rough night. My son wouldn't get to sleep and my husband was exhausted. I was also exhausted from hours of coughing.
Not a good night at all. I ended sleeping in the recliner so that I could sleep sitting up.
Today, I talked with my daughters and apologized for not being more upbeat. My daughter said that I had nothing to apologize. She likened me to Monty Python's Not Dead Fred. She sees me as jumping up and dancing instead of being thrown on the 'bring out your dead' cart.
I like that image. So tonight, while I am still struggling for breath and with pain, I will refuse to go on the cart.
I am Not Dead Fred!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

Of course it is 1am and I am blogging. Since I can't speak, I can write.

About the speaking. I am finally home from a week in the hospital. Breathless, bruised and exhaused but grateful to be home. As many of you already know, the surgery was successful. The tumor was removed from my right pulmonary vein, upper right lobe and left atrium. (For those not in the medical know, I have know idea why the right lung would hook up to the left atrium. Nor do I care at this point anymore.) They did not have remove a portion of my heart or rebuild it with a cow heart. I did not know about the cow heart before and am grateful. Moo.

The surgery was far more successful than anyone realized. I was flambayed like a shrimp -- that was how it was described for me afterwards. Ick. I am do have some nice scars to add to the parachuting/shark bite/motorcycle accident story I use on my other surgery scars. The worse part was after the surgery.

My blood levels dropped, my oxygen dropped, my sugar bounced high and low, salt levels sky rocketed and I painfully tried to walk, pee, sit, eat and just breath on very little pain meds. After only one week, I am home. Thank you God!

Except that now I have to deal with breathing in normal time without kind nurses giving encouraging words or doctors giving pep talks. I am coming home to reality.

But hey, at least I am here!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Serenity Prayer

I just read a beautiful inspirational book about looking and loving a person's imperfections. None of us are perfect. We have flaws and errors. The book emphasized that we need to embrace the flaws and allow people to share in our grief over those flaws. When walking on the beach, admire the beauty of the broken shell as well as the perfect shell.
This is very hard for me. I want to retreat into the imaginary perfect shell. I want to pretend that life is not as fragile as I know it. I want to believe that I can go out and smile and be a whole, perfect shell.
Instead I am reminded daily that I am a broken shell. I need to reach out to all of the shells for support. That is a real battering to my broken shell ego.
I recall the beauty of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things rightif I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with HimForever in the next.Amen.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Passed!

Let's Celebrate! Today I heard from the surgeon in Cleveland and I am eligible for surgery. I passed all of my lung tests. The doc may order a PET scan which may change all of the plans again. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday. They are going to take the tumor from the right pulmonary vein, up to 20% of the left atrium and the upper right lobe of the lung. They will try to save the middle lobe and reimplant the vein into the heart. I will be in the hospital from four to seven days. I will be put on a heart and lung machine just like a bypass surgery. They hope to control pain afterwards with an epidural of which I am so grateful since I am allergic to narcotics! Yes, I am wimp when I think of the pain.

Even better news is that I can start chemo as early as four weeks after surgery. Yes, this is aggressive but it gives me the greatest chance for overall survival.

So lift a glass of wine to me and thank God that they can do surgery! In two weeks I will be home and walking the block again (OK, maybe not the block but the driveway!)