Wednesday, July 13, 2016

be it ever so humble

There's no place like home.

Was finally discharged from the hospital tonight after thirteen long and trying days.

This certainly was an unexpected turn of events in my life.  Makes one reflect upon the impermanence of it all, and how things can change so suddenly, on a dime.

Having stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is no joke.  One's life is now so consumed by constant treatment of the disease, and even treatments of the treatments, if you can fathom that.  Test this, test that, monitor this, monitor that.  Deal with the pain.  Deal with not being at all what you once were.

Things are simply different.... I'm different, and I perceive a different world/reality. 

It is a very lonesome reality.  No matter what support you may have, this is essentially a very private journey.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


These hospital admissions go from one thing to another.   I am still here.  My breathing improved, but dangerously low calcium levels caused EKG changes, causing me to stay.
There is an injection I get, once a month, at the cancer center, to help with the bone loss due to the bone metastasis.  This seems to be what caused the calcium disruption.
I had to have a central PICC line placed in my neck the other day for needed IV infusions, because I have absolutely no viable IV access in my arm. Being one arm is compromised by lymphedema, and unable to be used, I had half the access to begin with.
Placing the PICC line was painful, but necessary.
On top of all this, I haven't been able to move my bowels in eleven days, and they won't discharge me until that happens.  I have received just about every drug and procedure you could think of to facilitate this, but to no avail.  Tomorrow they will introduce a rectal tube to see if that helps.  It's really out of line now.
One night, the cramping pain became so severe that my blood pressure went out of control, going over 202/120.  Vomited throughout the night, and was just so miserable.
Damn, I just want to go home, and be done with this madness.

Monday, July 4, 2016

another hospital admission

Another episode with me admitted to the hospital, for COPD exacerbation.

Last week I had done an Albuterol Sulfate nebulizer treatment at home, looking for some relief from labored breathing.   On the contrary, what ensued was one of the worst episodes of shortness of breath that I've ever experienced.   Barely able to take in a breath, I felt sure I could die at any second, or at the very least, have a heart attack.

I was able to type out a couple of words on the computer to get Evie to come over asap, and just be with me.  When I was able to draw in a breath, I used my rescue inhaler, and my rapid fire breathing started to ease up.  Weird thing is, the rescue inhaler is also albuterol, but yields a totally different effect.

Unable to walk even 5-10 feet without losing my breath, I spent the next day and night in bed, putting off going to the ER, but called 911 by Thursday, June 30th, and was taken by ambulance to Maimonides Medical Center.

After spending 8 hours in the emergency room, I was admitted to an Oncology floor for observation and treatment.  Was really thankful that it wasn't like my last trip to the ER, when I spent 29 hours there before getting a bed on a medical floor.

They treated me with another nebulizer treatment... this time something other than the albuterol, but I can't recall the name of what it was.  Anyway, I had a bad response again...  this time having audible wheezing, and painful chest tightness.   I don't know what it is about these nebulizer treatments that have me reacting so poorly, but I now refuse them, and won't ever do another one.  Only the rescue inhaler works for me.

I'm also being treated with 4+ liters of O2, and IV Steroids, 40 mg., 3X a day.

Tomorrow with be my fifth day here.  I haven't yet tried taking a walk in the hall, but will attempt that.  I've been able to walk to and from the bathroom without losing my breath.  I'm improving slowly, and can maybe be discharged in another day or two.

At one point during my stay, I was asked some sensitive questions about whether I would consent to intubation and/or chest compressions if an emergency requiring that were to arise.  Being the likely alternative to these things would be death, I did agree to both.  They said the chances of being extubated would be slim, and a trach would probably have to be done.  That whole conversation bummed the hell out of me, but I knew it had to be discussed.  I'm not exactly ready to consent to death just now, you know?

Pretty sure I will go home with supplemental oxygen this time, and probably continue on a course of oral prednisone.

It has been a pretty scary time, but I am getting through it as best I can.

Some really hot and humid weather is expected to move in very shortly.  That is never good for my breathing, so I will stay quite still and close to the air conditioner.  I have an appointment at the cancer center in three days, but will no doubt have to reschedule that.

My sister, and Melissa and Logan will be going on a short summer vacation soon, and I feel so bad I can't be going with them this time.  I will surely miss that.  I think Logan's Godmother, Kim, will be joining them, too.  Wish I could go, but this just isn't my time.

Hoping I can get back on my feet real soon.