Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday... October 29th, 2012 Update.... The Bloating is Going Away!

It's been a little bit since I posted last so here is another update :)

I'm doing really well. I'm getting stronger everyday. I started walking on my treadmill and getting out of the house for a little bit at a time. I drove my truck downtown today to run an errand it felt so damn good! I'm not having fevers anymore either. My weird taste buds are returning to normal.... just have to be mindful not to eat junk, LOL.

Still need to see my oncologist on the 16th for the decision of chemo and whether I can resume working. I'm hoping for the best!

So here is a pic of me down 65 lbs (that includes the nasty 35 lb mass). And no, I'm not wearing 'blush' , I have naturally awesome cheek bones!!! (and I toot my own horn too!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 19th 2012... The Roller Coaster Ride

It's been a little while since I've posted and not all my friends are on Facebook.

I have been riding a roller coaster during this recovery. Everything was looking really well until my bowel movements stopped again. I was having back to back fevers, some around 102 (danger range for me is 101), and my urine output was concentrated and rather dark even with all the water I was drinking.  

I started to get really nervous about this change and called my doctor.... I was seen the same day. She changed up some meds, and told me to up my water intake and they are going to test my urine to see if anything viral is going on. Had a pelvic exam done and there's no sign of infection. More laxatives because I'm having a rough time moving my bowels as well. The pain meds were changed to non barbiturates and not containing Tylenol. She told me to get regular strength Tylenol and use it as directed. I was also instructed to up my stool softener to twice daily. If the back to back fever continue into next week, she's going to prescribe an antibiotic.

It seems my taste are changing along with everything else. On Tuesday I tried eating leftovers from a really GOOD pasta, spinach, and shrimp dish.... managed to get down 3 shrimp and couldn't eat anymore of it. I love Yoo Hoo and I couldn't choke that down if I was forced too. If I'm not craving it, it starts to taste bad (like a tinny metallic taste) and I just can't do it. 

I had pizza on Monday, french fries from the oven on Tuesday, and Taco Bell on Wednesday. That was it. Thursday morning I wanted bread and figured I'd butter it to make it a bit moister. Well, by the time I got to the 2nd piece the butter started tasting tinny and I gave it to the dog. I was craving strawberry Pop Tarts and sliced turkey. Jeff got me both so I had 2 Pop Tarts for lunch and a turkey sammich for dinner :)

It's really weird. My doctor said this is going to go on for awhile. It's okay I guess... I lost another 7 lbs. LOL

Yesterday, around 7ish, the laxatives kicked in and I got my appetite back somewhere around midnight, but I had another fever. I got it down and wanted anything potato. I wasn't going to ask Jeff to start cooking at 1am so I had a turkey sammich. This morning the potato craving was still there and Jeff made us some home fries, scrambled eggs (which is weird because I always eat my eggs sunny side up yet craved scrambled) and some bacon. I finished the potatoes and eggs but couldn't finish the bacon. It wasn't from a lack of taste, but rather I ate a lot of potatoes! LOL

My body is going through all sorts of changes. It's fight to maintain homeostasis is causing all sorts of weird shit. Like the cravings and my itchy palms. My doctor said this is all normal and I'll balance out eventually.

I talked to my doctor about returning to work. I was going to work tomorrow for 7 hours. Since I had this "change" in status, she feels returning to work any time soon would be a mistake. She said I should wait for at least another month. I'm a bit disappointed but my health is more important.

As my friend Joanne says... "Baby Steps". So that's what I'm going to do. Not think about when I can do what but rather monitor the present day and track what's going on. I'm going to take "Baby Steps" each day in order to recover :)

Thanks for listening! Love yous all and God Bless!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday, October 12th 2012

I am happy to announce.....


I went to see my OB oncologist today and had my staples removed. I have streri-strips all along the incision line and they will fall off themselves. It was also determined through the biopsy that the cancer was contained to the mass. I am completely over joyed!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!!

My case is going before a panel of other oncologists for discussion this coming Tuesday. My doctor is on the fence about giving me a preventative chemo dose because the mass was so very large. I'm rather glad that he is seeking objective opinions from his peers about this.

I will be monitored closely for the next 2 years to track my progress. My next appointment is in 2 months, unless it is decided I should have a dose of chemo.

Jeff hasn't stopped smiling :)

I'm dancing in my head. My back is really sore and I have been using a heating pad to relieve the pain. I spoke to the doctor about it and it seems that since my back isn't compensating for the added weight anymore it is trying to adjust to the sudden change. It will go away in time.

I also inquired about me returning to my part time job. My boss is very happy when I told her I will be back to work next weekend. It's the sit down weekend position I have had when I was in school. I can't pursue a job in the field I was trained in for another 2 months... I am not physically able to do it yet.

So that's where I'm at right now. Cancer free and still on the mend.

I am one of the happiest women in the world right now. With the grace of God and all the love and support from family and friends, I made it through.

Thank yous all.

Love yous and God Bless!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday, October 8th 2012... A Quick Update

I'm able to move around without holding onto the walls now. I battled a low grade fever yesterday but I'm okay now. I can lift myself up out of bed without taking a pain pill and waiting for it to kick in now. It still hurts but not to the point where I want to cry. I'm still eating a soft food diet and able to use the bathroom without an issue. My stomach and intestines seem to sound like their battling, but it's normal.

I get tired easily but I'm not pushing myself. I'm up and out of bed twice a day for 3-4 hours at a time. The napping in the afternoon makes me wake up really early, but it's not like I have anywhere to go. LOL. So letting myself fall into an irregular sleep pattern is okay for now.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow afternoon with my GP. He's just going to assess me. My OBGYN's office will call me to schedule an appointment next week when the staples come out, I'll get the biopsy results and find out if I need chemo or not.

Well, that's it for now.

Love yous all and God Bless!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday, October 6th 2012... So Far, So Good

My first night home was uneventful. I napped when I got home, woke up to some home made chicken soup that Jeff made and went back to sleep like 2 hours later.

When I woke up I was in a lot of pain since it had been long overdue for pain meds. I was REALLY sore but I really had to pee! Later after I went back to sleep (and taking a pain pill) I kind of snapped at Jeff before he left for work (I was still lying down sleeping) that I didn't need anything. He was only trying to help and I have since apologized.

I woke up 2 times after he left and each time I took a pain pill. So when Jeff got home for lunch I was good to get up and out of bed. He set up the laptop in the living room for me and hooked up another monitor to it so I could watch movies if I wanted. He made me some oatmeal to eat and just basically made sure I was set and comfortable before he went back to work. We decided that I'd text him throughout the day saying I was okay or not. If I really needed him he's only 15 minutes away.

When Jeff went back to work I started getting some awful back pain which I am definitely attributing to gas. I got on the comfy chair and even that wasn't comfortable. I took another pain pill and I think it was too soon because I started to get really nauseous. It was so bad that my mouth was producing so much saliva that I stood over the bathroom sink for 10 minutes spitting. I can honestly say I was scared to death of throwing up and I came pretty damn close. So I took something for that and went to lie down in my bed. I was able to lie on my side for the first time since the surgery and I FARTED!!!! The pain in my back instantly went away. Since I was spent from being that uncomfortable and still a bit nauseous, I napped for another hour or so.

My PA said since the diet change to soft foods I would go through another bout with gas not getting out and moving my bowels. She was right. But since I am progressing to the point I can lie, and sleep, on my side I think I'll be okay.

I'm sitting up now with a movie on and Jeff left some chicken soup covered in a pot for me so I had a bowl of that too. The chair I'm in tilts all the way back so I can take pressure off different parts of my body when I need to. I can even sit on my foot!!!

Life is weird. Only 2 months ago my goal in life was to graduate college. Now my goal is to fart and move my bowels. Go figure. LOL

Friday, October 5, 2012

Awwwww :)

One of the assistant nurses (Phyllis, she's been my absolute FAVORITE nurse during the day) asked if I could come back working there and educate all the patients who come in on how to be an excellent patient. She said that not once did she ever see me get cranky or aggravated with anyone even though I was in a lot of pain. She said all of the nurses had nothing but good things to say about me and they never had a complaint about me. She said that I turned my aggravation into determination to get better. I never whined, complained, or took out my frustration on the nursing staff. I was more than willing to help myself, and willed myself to do what I needed to do. She said that if all the patients had my attitude, they wouldn't have to be in the hospital for as long as some of them do.

I thought that was really sweet :)

Friday, October 5th 2012.

I'm going home today!!!!

I'm where I need to be at in order to be released. I'm ready and my PA thinks so too. The poopfest has calmed down and I'm doing well with just oral pain meds. I am able to get around, I was up last night cleaning off the table next to my bed and sitting up in the chair with my feet up on the bed yakking on the phone.... I can do that at home :)

We discussed what I should and shouldn't do for awhile and I'll have the staples removed in about 10 days. We will also discuss the biopsy results and how we will proceed from there next week. For now she just wants me to take it easy at home.

I called Jeff and gave him the good news and he'll be here around 2pm (I'll be discharged around 3ish). He's making a pot of home made chicken soup! He's really a great cook and his chicken soup ROCKS! We're both really happy with this news :) I really miss him and he's worked real hard to get everything ready for me to come home. I can't even begin to tell everyone what an exceptional man he really is. I'm fortunate to have him in my life and I appreciate him more than he'll ever know. I'm a lucky woman in this respect to have such a caring, compassionate, strong man as Jeff is.... I just love him to pieces! And he loves and adores me :)

Okay, enough with the mushy stuff. LOL

The nursing staff here at Sarasota Memorial Hospital is outstanding. With the exception of one night having to wait for almost 3 hours for nausea medication, I cannot really complain. Everyone is so willing to help and shows nothing but care and compassion for their patients. I am so thankful for their care these past 5 days. They treated me with dignity and respect and I never really wanted for anything. They anticipated my needs, assisted me when I needed it and left me alone when I wanted it as well. I'll be writing a nice letter for them next week letting them know how much i appreciated their help.

So, the "Stapled Lady" gets to go home today!!! Woo F'n Hoo!!! I'll still be posting in the blog after I get home but maybe not daily, we'll see. I'll still keep everyone informed of changes and progression.

Thanks for riding along with me through this leg of my journey.

Love yous all and God Bless!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just Listen.....

One of my Facebook friends said she had been following my posts lately. She said I really was an inspiration for so many of us and that I was amazing in sharing this experience with my friends! She was just curious as to what my symptoms were before I was diagnosed or if I had any symptoms? She hoped I didn't mind her asking...and she thanked me so much for sharing and she's praying for my full recovery every day!

I thought I'd share my answer with everyone.....

Ovarian Cancer is called the silent killer for a reason, the symptoms are minimal. Like my hips and back ached.... just thought I was over working myself or the mattress needed flipping. My period was heavy this time last year, would bleed for a week, stop a week, bleed a week.... it would stabilize, then miss a month, only to stabilize again. I was getting night sweats and the normal signs of menopause. I'm 48 years old, seemed normal to me when my period stopped last May.
I was diagnosed with gall stones this time last year and I think if they would have done a CT scan instead of just the ultrasound, they may have caught it in the early stage. Since I was still receiving unemployment benefits while I was attending college at that point I didn't qualify for the community program (I made $2100 too much). I blamed a lot of what was going on (pain wise) on that. Not realizing it was my right ovary that was really the culprit. The kicker was I lost 40 lbs (I had gotten very heavy there for awhile and attributed that to bad genes, age, and lousy eating habits), but my stomach dimensions didn't change. I figured since I was about 2-3 months away from graduating I would just take care of it after that.
All I can really say (in my own personal case here) is that being in school and not having health insurance was still NO EXCUSE for not having a yearly visit with my OBGYN. Do ***NOT*** take it for granted and if you have no insurance, make the time to register with the county where you live for help. I feel if that I had just spent the money for the office visit I could have caught this sooner. I had a little money but was more concerned with other obligations (like money for gas to get to my clinical sites) than my health.
I never thought for one second that I could possibly have ovarian cancer. It's not something you think about... unless you're a hypochondriac. LOL. But like I said, I can only recant my own reasoning why it got to this point.
A woman I worked with a few years back (that I still have contact with here on Facebook) had went through (is still going trough) breast cancer and she made a blog about it. Her experience was inspirational to me. It was right about that time that I knew I had to see a doctor yet STILL procrastinated long enough to finish school (reiterating here but I never thought I could possibly have ovarian cancer). And I figured if she could be that inspirational to me, maybe I could inspire someone else with writing this all down and sharing my experience. Maybe another woman will not have to go through what I did if they pay attention to their health.
The blog helped me mentally and spiritually to deal with this. Plus it fielded a lot of inquiries from family and friends so I wouldn't have to answer the same questions over and over again. Everyone gets an update on how I am doing and where I am as far as progression and recovery. This type of illness is very personal and serious. Sharing it, and my feelings about it, not only helps me but allows everyone to be closer to me through it.
So I definitely don't mind the inquiry and appreciate all the love, concern, caring, well wishes, and prayers. It all helped me be stronger and know I wasn't alone.

Thursday, October 4th 2012 Update.... The Poopfest has Started!

Well, the goal for the day was to fart. Really, it was. I had to be able to pas gas before I was able to be released from the hospital.

Umm... well, I blew right past farting to full blown diarrhea! But that's good! It's actually the ultimate goal.... the bowels are moving!


I also have no more pain pump *AND* I'm no longer on the IV fluids. So I'm no longer tethered to ANYTHING!!! I'm free I tell ya.... FREE!

They put me on oral Percocet and it makes me a little nauseous but I can handle it. It's taking care of the pain like it's supposed to. I haven't walked this afternoon because, well.... the poopfest had started and I'm not traveling THAT far away from the toilet.

The nurse took out the first IV I had because it was due to come out anyway. I had another one because I needed one above my wrist for a CT. Well, that one had to be removed too because it wasn't holding. So sometime soon she will be coming in here to start another IV. As long as I'm still a patient here on this floor I have to have an IV started even if I'm not hooked up to anything. Certain meds they have can only be given through an IV. I'm okay with it though. I'll want the Ativan later for sleep and I'll need the IV for that med.

But the real news is the poopfest. I'm very happy :) That means I'm getting better and one more step coser to home.

Oooh.... dinner is here!

God Bless!!!

Thursday, October 4th 2012.... Good Morning World!!!

I definitely started my day off better than I did yesterday. I woke up with the urge to urinate but hit my pain pump about 3 times before getting out of bed. I used the bathroom without difficulty and was able to get back into bed without crying. I had my vitals taken and slept for another 2 hours or so.

Spoke to my PA Regina again today and she said the smaller biopsy results that were taken from me (not the mass) came back last night and they were BENIGN! Great news!!! She was talking with Dr. Fiorica last night about it and depending on what the results are from the biopsy of the mass will determine whether I need chemo or not. He seems to think just the mass was borderline cancerous, and depending on how much will determine if I would benefit from some light chemo. Not quite sure of the "why's" here if it's just the mass that's cancerous and it was removed. I'll talk to him next week about it.

My potassium was a bit low and they're giving me this "cocktail" that tastes like shoe polish mixed with honey to supplement me and bring the count up. I have to sip it... not only does it taste a bit like floor wax, it will make me nauseous if I drink it too fast. I want NO repeats of yesterdays nausea-fest.... that was horrible!

I only walked the hallway once last night. Being nauseated all day was a minor setback for me. I should have walked at least 3 times yesterday. However.... I had my liquid breakfast without being sick and already walked today for the entire length of the hallway with the walker and an assistant pushing my IV pole. No issues at all. I decided to not drink the coffee here, it didn't agree with me. I am having some tea for the caffeine cause I'm getting a headache from the lack of it.

I'm relaxing a bit now writing my blog and then I'm going to take a shower. I'll relax again for awhile, have lunch and walk the hallway again this afternoon. I can finally feel some grumbling going on in my intestines! YEA!

My nurse just came in and they're removing my pain pump. Don't know how I feel about this. I'll be getting oral pain meds but it's not like knowing I can press the button and get instantaneous relief. I have a real BIG incision with a lot of staples. And apparently my estimation was wrong. They from about 4 inches below the bottom of my sternum (breastbone) all the way to my pubic ridge. Here's a pic of the staples.
That's a pic from top to bottom (not showing the pubic line). I'm gonna have a crooked belly button. But really, WTF do I care, my bikini days are LONG GONE.

Okay.... I rambled on enough for now. I need to take a shower while the pill is in effect. I'll write an update later.

Love you all and God Bless!!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Update... Wednesday 10/3

Went for my first walk up and down the hallway this evening. I had a rather tall walker and Jeff walked with me pushing my IV pole.

It's a long damn hallway!

Jeff said I had a pretty good pace and even picked it up on the last leg of it. I did cause I was a bit winded and wanted to get  back into bed! LOL

I need to get the gasses moving in my bowels and walking assists with this. That was the first time and it sure took a lot out of me but I am going to request to do at least 1/2 the hallway again before I go to sleep.

I am feeling a bit nauseated again though and that has me worried. I asked for another Mylecon gas tab so I hope that helps.

Still anticipating that fart! C'mon!!! LOL

**NOTE: They decided against the picc line. They don't think I'll need anymore invasive tests that would call for it and don't think I need to be put through it. YEAH!

And Carrie Longo came to visit and bought me a beautiful plant! It was such a nice surprise to see her!

Wednesday 10/3.... update - Nausea and a Visit! (not related) LOL

The second cup of coffee made me really nauseous. I haven't had caffeine since Sunday and I think the coffee here is just way too strong. I'm rather sensitive to caffeine. Plus the combo of pain meds and coffee didn't help. 

It's subsiding at bit. Had a Mylecon (chewy pill for gas) and cold wet rags on my head & neck. Laid quiet for a 1/2 hour and the shakes are going away.

DAMN. I really can't vomit.... my staples couldn't deal with it and there's not enough pain meds in the world that would stop THAT kind of pain. Unless I passed the hell out which wouldn't be unlikely considering how much it does hurt barely trying to clear my throat. Coughing and sneezing is also out of the question. I do have a pillow on my stomach to hold onto for such actions but I'm not trying to test it.

NOTE TO SELF: One cup of coffee and drink it SLOWLY.

On a good note, before I took a shower (and got nauseas) my friend Tammy came for a quick visit and bought me a card & flowers from her and her husband Kirk. He was working and wouldn't be home till after visiting hours are over. Tammy said he'll come visit me after I get home which will be great. Thanks for the visit, it was much welcomed but sorry I had to cut it short cuz of the shower :/

Wednesday. October 3rd, 2012

I slept better last night, got 5 hours straight from around midnight to 5am. I got up to use the bathroom and my vitals done, then slept for another 2 hours. I'm not in a rush to go home because there's no pain pump there. LOL. But the PA was just here and she said if I begin to pass gas today I may be able to go home Thursday night or Friday morning. I was EXTREMELY sore at the incision site that I actually cried it hurt so bad. But I hadn't used the pain pump for 5 hours. I used it immediately when I got back into bed and the soreness started to subside after the 4th pump. It delivers 0.02mg of hydromorphone on each push of the button. It allows me up to 2mg per hour but I haven't given myself the allowed maximum yet. The most was I gave myself was 1mg yesterday before and after my CT exam.

I was in a lot of pain in the right side of my lower chest and since I have a history of a pulmonary embolism, they sent me for a CT, ultrasound, an EKG and more blood tests. Honestly, I think it's just trapped gas since I haven't been able to pass gas or have a bowel movement. My menu slip said coffee on it but I was not getting it. I FINALLY got a cup of coffee now and I can already feel it working it's magic. LOL. I don't have any clots in my legs and the CT had to have shown nothing because I'm not in the ICU. So I'm banking on that pain being from gas and the PA and nurses agree.

I am getting a picc line today though because I have an IV line in my hand that needs to come out and I needed a CT done yesterday but I needed an IV line above the wrist for the bolus contrast injection and it took 3 attempts to get one above my wrist. And the one they got is a small vein and everything hurts going through it. I'm talking straight up BURN that brings tears to my eyes.

Dr. Fiorica just came by and confirmed me not having a PE, so that's good. He said I've turned a large corner in my recovery by being able to get around and not being catheterized. He said I'm doing fabulous and the incision staples look good. I'll probably have them removed in about a week and a 1/2. If I can begin having gas I'll be out of here tomorrow night after dinner or Friday after lunch. He wants me to have at least 1 or 2 regular meals before I leave. He also said it's going to take about a week for the biopsy reports to come back because it was such a huge mass. He also said the mass looked borderline cancerous but won't know until the report comes in. And he said the other biopsy places he took from were precautionary because if the mass came back as cancer I would have had to have another surgery for those biopsies. He said the sites he took from looked clear, but again.... I have to wait for the reports to come back. I'm not out  of the woods yet about having chemo until those biopsy reports return. So keep the well wishes & prayers going that I won't need it!

Anyway, gonna hit the pain pump a bit because I'm getting ready to take a shower, then do a walk down the hallway soon. Hopefully I'll have a good day and will be able to pass gas. It's funny they things you wish for for when you're in this situation but I'm praying for a good fart here people! LOL. I am burping which is a good sign :)

Hope everyone has a great day and cross your fingers I have one too!

Love yous all and God Bless!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday, October 2nd 2012

Jeff got the laptop up and running for me here at the hospital.

YEAH JEFF!!!!! :)

So.... I got about 35-40 staples from about 4 or so inches from above my belly button down to the pubic ridge. They removed a 35lb mass from my abdomen, a complete hysterectomy and my appendix removed.

I'm in some pain but I'm actually maneuvering better now than before the surgery. It's going to take a few days for the pathology to come back as I am told. I'm sitting up in chairs and already using the bathroom on my own. I even took a shower this morning.

The nurse said I'm doing the best of all her patients who even had less surgeries than I did.

I'm on an all clear liquid diet... yes, I'm hungry for real food but it ain't happening yet. I just had some broth and jello for lunch. Jeff got me some orange vitamin water and I asked my friend to pick one up for me later. And BTW... Ensure Enlive! is a juice and it's not bad!!! I'm having the mixed berry one.

Anyway.... all in all I'm in no shape to go home yet. My staples are oozing, I'm weak, I feel beat up and I'm self medication Hydromorphone. I'm still om IV fluids and I definitely need to be monitored. I'll be glad when I'll be able to go home though!

I'll write again soon!

God Bless!