Sunday, January 29, 2012
Ever have one of those weeks, where at the end of it, you think to yourself: I'm sure as hell glad that's over?
This was one of those weeks.
So much so that I really don't even want to write about it. But, alas, I'd hate to keep my fans waiting...
On Monday, I received a PET Scan to get a baseline view of my tumor so I can see how I respond to all my treatments over the next several weeks. PET Scans themselves aren't too bad. I get the radioactive glucose, lie down in the imaging machine, and 30 minutes later I'm good to go. The bad part? The waiting. The wondering. Wondering, did my tumor grow between my first scan in December and now? Did my tumor shrink after doing a week of therapies? Is it worse? Is it better? Somebody tell me something! Anything!
Yep, the waiting is the worst. And no, I still don't have my results. I'm still waiting...
On Tuesday, I got a PICC line. After being poked with needles about 25 times in the previous 10 days, I decided a PICC would be a worthwhile procedure. Actually, my veins decided. I wanted to tough it out to avoid another procedure, but my normally good veins decided to start disappearing whenever a needle was near. I guess being stabbed every day will do that. I was also told that if I decided against the procedure, I would be the only patient to ever successfully finish treatment without a PICC or a Port. My pride wanted that title. My veins did not. My veins won.
Putting in the PICC is supposed to be a very routine, easy procedure. Numb the arm, stick a tube like thing into the vein, all the way up your arm from your elbow to your shoulder, insert line and you're done. But as I'm starting to learn, my body tends to reject routine, easy procedures (please refer to my bone marrow post).
My first week at An Oasis, I was told repeatedly by several nurses how great my veins are and how easy a PICC line would be. After three failed attempts to feed the line up my arm by an outside nurse, I was finally told to "cross my fingers and hope it's good enough." Great. I've never really settled for "good enough" before, but unless I wanted head to the hospital to have this done with all sorts of fancy machines (read: lots of money), then "good enough" had to be enough. So far, the PICC has done it's job but it looks like yoga is now out since I can't fully straighten my arm without the risk of pulling out the PICC. Hot tubs, pools, rainy day puddle jumps and comfortable showers are also out since I can't get the line wet.
As if Tuesday wasn't bad enough, Wednesday was even more traumatic. One of the other patients stopped breathing and after about 20 minutes of CPR, was taken away to the hospital. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. I could try and justify it and say things like it was her time or she lived longer than anyone said she would in her condition. The reality is, she had an advanced stage cancer and couldn't breathe without an oxygen tank, but it's hard to justify anything when you witness someone die in front of you. I'd watch her come in every day with her daughter, struggle through her treatments, and leave. She rarely talked to anyone. She couldn't. Seeing someone not only lose their life, but seeing a daughter lose her mother, is hard. I didn't even know her and it's hard. And as cliche as it sounds, it definitely puts things into perspective when it comes to my own health and life. Don't take life for granted. This whole process is hard, but someone always has it worse. Carpe fucking Diem.
Thursday was a breeze compared to the day before. Structural Integration and IPT and I was done. Shortest day since I started treatment. I was also on Day 9 of my juice fast, or as they call it, feast. But I was starting to feel pretty bad and decided my 14 day fast would become a 10 day fast. I don't think I'd ever gone 10 waking hours without food, so still a good run if you ask me.
By Friday, I was exhausted. I had a jam packed schedule of therapies and a migraine to top it off. The treatments were really starting to effect my energy level and found myself dreading them more and more. I had one more day of the fast, but could no longer drink the juice. Mentally and physically I was over it.
At the end of the day, I decided that the only thing that could pull me out of this rut was a little retail therapy. I headed to H&M, where my unemployed dollar stretched the farthest, in order to add some color into my life. Apparently the universe wanted me to save my money because I ended up fainting in the dressing room and being carried out on a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. All sorts of tests were run and as I suspected, I was just dehydrated (I knew I should have listened to Momma Bear and had more juice). After a couple hours I was discharged and immediately went home to break my fast with pureed soup that resembled baby food.
Out of all my therapies, who knew retail therapy would be the one to put me in the hospital?
Here's hoping to a better, and less eventful, week!