Monday, December 11, 2006

I have a Surgery Date

I will have my final (hopefully) surgery on February 9. This is the surgery to remove the expander implants and insert silicone implants, and to give me nipples. It will be an outpatient procedure at the SurgiCenter (not sure which hospital), so no overnight. My brother Dave is coming up from the Washington DC area for a few days to watch over Jim and me.

Dr. Boob showed me the implants today. He said that the choice of silicone implant style was recently reduced. Apparently 3-4 weeks ago, the FDA re-approved silicone implants for cosmetic purposes (not just for breast reconstruction, as was the case when I started all of this nonsense). But, an unexpected requirement of that re-approval was that only implants that had been in the marketplace for at least 10 years could be used—for any patient. There was a contoured implant that Dr. Boob liked to use that had only been in the marketplace for 5 years. So now I’m going to receive the plain old round implant.

That’s OK, because Dr. Boob said the contoured implants, which were teardrop shape, could shift under the skin and a woman could end up with the “big part” of the faux boob under her armpit. No thank you. If anything could go wrong with me, it will go wrong.

Dr. Boob said my radiation burn was worse than average, but not the worst he’s seen. Consequently, I made an appointment to see the radiation oncologist tomorrow. Dr. Boob also said that he did not expect an infection to result from the burn.

Dr. Boob has a machine that he says reduces inflammation. I forget what it’s called—something “Wave”—and for 30 seconds, it pulses a bunch of small yellow lights. Dr. Boob said there have been studies showing this Wave machine helps radiation burns, and that I should tell the radiation oncologist about it—maybe they would in time get one. Dr. Boob said I could stop by anytime, free of charge, and use the machine. The problem is getting a Jim-sitter for the 45 minute round trip to Dr. Boob’s office. We’ll see.

I spoke today to a social worker in the Cancer Center. They will help me to the tune of $1500. I have to provide invoices and paid receipts for Patrick’s time or for utilities. This is so great. Dr. Cutter started this ball rolling back when she first heard about Jim’s health. At the time, though, I didn’t need the help, because Jim was in the hospital.

Jim’s blood draw on Saturday showed that his blood sodium continues to drop. According to his GP, this is not something I can affect with diet. The DR is mixing Jim’s meds up a touch to try to raise the blood sodium. And he ordered more blood work for Thursday. Jim has no veins left that the nurses can find; I may need to take him out to a lab for a phlebotomist. I wish the home health agency had one they could send in.

The DR also said that if the med change doesn’t straighten things out, Jim would have to go back into the hospital. A place where he can get what he needs intravenously and be monitored. You should have seen Jim’s face drop on that one. Please please meds do your magic.

Jim is having a rough day. This morning, his blood pressure was so low I couldn’t get it. The PT guy got 98/70 before exercise and 110/80 after a strenuous (for Jim) workout. His temp was in the 92 range. When he stands up, he gets faint. Some of these events are more mini-seizures than fainting, where he goes rigid and shakes and his hands lock onto the walker. He has trouble talking when one of these events is coming on. We are working out a system where I ask him if he is OK, and when he doesn’t respond, I say if you’re in trouble, say “help.” He can manage the single word signal so that I know and I immediately set him back down.

Tomorrow, John K is coming in to Jim-sit. John is the one who helped me get Jim into the house when we came home from the hospital on that rainy day before Thanksgiving. How long ago that seems. John being here will allow me to go to the radiation oncologist, PT Bruiser, the post office to mail holiday packages, the bank, and Target (we need cat litter desperately).

Ennis seems to have broken glucose toxicity. It’s his 9th day on Levemir (thank you Julie) and he was in the lower 100s at +8 and +9. I have a +11 coming up soon. Funny, though, he doesn’t seem to be feeling any better.

Thank you all so much (as always) for your continuing thoughts and prayers for us both.


Alice said...

Great about the financial help. And nothing wrong with nice round boobs. Mine are kind of flat. Hope things get better for both of you soon. Sending lots of luv your way.


Annie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Annie said...


It is so good to hear that you have a surgery daye and are finding the time to take care of yourself too. It is great to get finnacial assistance to enable you to keep Patrick on more too.

I am so sorry to hear of the increasing kitty, health issues.

We will keep you all in our prayers.

Love, Annie