Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Late Night Ramblings

With the left side drain out and a little "filler," the 2 sides are starting to feel symmetrical again. The problem is that these expander implants make me feel like I'm wearing a steel bra. Tight, unflexible.

Jim's GP asked me to explain when I told him that Jim was inappetant. He had never heard that as a medical word before. I googled it tonight, and all the hits I got used the word in the context of animal. Is this a veterinary word?

I hate myself when I yell at Jim for failing to follow instructions. I did it again at 3AM when Jim got on his walker and started cruising the room because he was restless (and stumbling over electrical wires and other stuff). I yelled at him because I don't want to be awake every 20-30 minutes during the night, and that's what was happening tonight.

Jim's GP (who used to be my GP) gave me flu and pneumonia vaccines today. He asked Jim whether he wanted a flu shot, Jim said no, but I said may I have his shot? I'm running a tiny fever because of the vaccinations, but that will be short-lived, I hope.

The radiation oncologist said that the final reconstruction on the right side (which is the side to be radiated) would likely have an unfavorable cosmetic outcome. Today I asked Dr. Boob about that comment. Dr. Boob said that the radiation causes scar tissue below the surface of the skin, and that the tissue structure around the final implant will be inflexible and won't have the free wheeling feeling that the permanent implant on the left side will have (because it is not being radiated). Jim and I said--OK. We're looking for a cancer-free 54 YO body, not a perfect, enhanced 20+ YO one. We don't believe forgoing the radiation is in our best interest.

Jim and I are calling what is happening to my chest "non-boobs." For example, "how does your right non-boob feel today."

I cried when I was going through the CT Correlation as a precursor to radiation. I had to lay on this "mold," which will put me in the same position for all 28 radiation treatments. I had to hold my right arm over my head for ~20 minutes while they did the CT scan. I was crying by the time I came out--spasms in my right shoulder and the fingers on my right hand were going cold (they are numb anyway from the chemo). The axillary (armpit) area in both my sides are "corded," meaning that the surgery resulted in a shortening of the tendon that leads down to my elbow. I couldn't even start to get my left arm above my head (I haven't started range-of-motion PT on that side yet). The technicians wouldn't let me move as they tattoed me for alignment. The tattoing really hurt; apparently I was bleeding at the 3 sites they were tattoing so they kept jabbing that needle into me. The radiation oncologist came into the room to try to calm me down. I have a diminished pain threshold because of the chemo treatments.

The purpose of the tattoo is to provide the technicians points of reference for when I lay in my mold for radiation. There are three tiny permanent blue marks on my body: left and right sides and the front.

Max continues to lose weight with the chronic renal failure. I haven't weighed him since a couple weeks back, but he is started to appear to be a wisp of the cat he once was. Littermate Ennis is 17 lbs. Max is under 12 lbs. They used to be the same weight. I am scared to pet Max and feel the boniness he is becoming. It breaks my heart that this is a terminal consition and there is nothing I can do to reverse it, although there are things I can do to slow it down. Please Julie and Robin; anything you can suggest. Max hates the Sub-Q fluids. I may have to try a kitty burrito to get something more than 20ccs into him.

Bailey laid absolutely still for his fluids. Maxwell is an antsy one.

I cringe thinking about getting Jim out of the family room and into the car today for his neuropsychologist appt and back. He's so heavy and I'm so weak.

I spoke with Deb (of w/ Gizmo/Cujo) this weekend. She is such a loving and lovely person; we share a connection through living in Leavenworth KS and being the same age. Dearest, dearest Deb; please do take care of yourself and let me know if there is anything I can do. Jim asks about you daily, although he calls you Sue.

I am so happy that Alice's left boob scare seems to be turning out to be a benign lump/cyst. Alice, I would not wish a BC journey on anyone. But it indeed upsetting that 1 in 8 American women get it.

I'm getting no work done, and I need to finish a book I was working on when I was DX with breast cancer.

I've been having diarrhea for 2+ weeks. It doesn't make sense. Chemo is over. Immodium and Percocet are not touching it. Dr. Cutter ordered a test on a stool sample (I have not cared to collect a sample yet) and suggested a GI specialist for me to see. That GI doc didn't take my insurance, so I will go elsewhere. I really am not looking forward to a colonoscopy.

Speaking of which, Jim has a colonoscopy and endoscopy scheduled for December. Liver failure can cause bleeding in those areas. We had a friend, with alcoholic liver failure, who died because one of his arteries burst on him. (He lived alone and was found by a friend 2 days later.)

Jim has a goal of a shower next Monday morning. He has to practice steps and we need to talk to the OT about equipment for his bathroom/shower. But I think we are pretty close with what we need.

It's now 5AM. I am heading to bed. Thanks for reading my ramblings.


julie said...

V, I am sending a big hug to you....as you know I am still trying to understand this whole CRF thing too...perhaps putting Max on an appetite stimulant would help? I know Wellness is ok to feed based on carbs and phos, it is higher calories and may be beneficial to Max..or Eukaneuba Maximum calorie..that is CRF and FD friendly also...Smokey doesn't object to the fluids, but I find giving them to him in bed with a bowl of food makes it go much easier..Robin and I are both looking into Calcitriol as it helps as a preventative of CRF getting worse..I am meeting with my vet on 10/30 to discuss it. I think the main thing is just to get the fluids in so they feel good..evewn though it is a struggle, I think they will eventuially get used to it..I would try with a bowl of something he likes or burrito if you ahve to. If I come across anything else helpful I will pass it on!

Love to you and Jim!

Alice said...

Maybe you could try some muscle relaxers for the stretching part. I would also go with the pain pills. And I agree,cancer free is the goal not 20 year old boobs. Can't wait until all your painful cancer steps are over. Sorry about Max. When it rains it pours. Sending you lots and lots of love.

Love Alice