Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Counting Down to Fire the Human Cannonball

We continue the dance with mom. She still continues to wean; very slowly. But other problems are arising. She has what's called anasarca (she's retaining A LOT of fluid.) They've started giving her some albumin which will hopefully help. The second issue is a potential infection. She's not having any fever and her white blood cell count is well within an acceptable level, but one indicator in her blood work was quite elevated (for you medical types: she had 34 bands...) They've taken samples of her blood, urine, and sputum and will check them for any 'bugs.' And they've started her on antibiotics just to be sure. She still remains in good spirits and donned her witches hat (complete with long stringy hair) as her Halloween costume today.

Her thoracic surgeon spoke to us today about her right lung. He said that he would like to try the talc procedure again. It would be not quite as big a deal, since she already has the chest tube he can just squirt the talc in through the tube. He thinks that since the lung has re-expanded that we may be able to take advantage of the improvement and that it may "take" this time. Mom's attitude is 'why not.' The tube is already there, so it's no big deal.

The count-down for my surgery is well underway. I've been working to get things done before I have to go in: paying bills, collecting all that I think I may need (knitting, reading, loading my iPod...), laundry, etc... It occurred to me that I absolutely had to make time to trim my toe nails! Sounds mundane enough, but if I don't get to it now it could be WEEKS before I can reach them! Little things like that just keep flooding my mind. I mean, I don't want to let it go or else I'd be able to climb trees with the things in a few weeks!

Tomorrow I go for a nuclear injection. Rose, Breast Cancer Coordinator extraordinaire, told me Monday that this won't be a normal injection into the vein. They will need to inject it directly into my breast so they can do a sentinel node biopsy. This checks to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. If it turns up positive, they will be able to see it during surgery and they will remove the nodes. Rose tells me that this burns when they inject it. I report for surgery at 6am on Friday. The surgery will start at 7:15 and will go for about 12 hours. After surgery, I will stay in the recovery room 24 to 48 hours. The nurses there are trained to spot early signs of clotting (which is a major risk of this surgery.) After that time, I'll be out of the woods and will be transferred to a regular hospital bed. I will have about 6 drains. I will also be "hunched" over for a while. It won't be pretty.
It will be a little while until I can get my hands over my head so I won't even be able to wear the t-shirt my friend Lizzy Lou got me that reads "Keeping Them Real!"


Anonymous said...

Dear Stephanie,
I hope your nuclear injection went fine today. Doesn't sound too fun, but I'm sure that is the least of your worries. Does sound pretty high-tech for those of us non-medical types! You will be in my prayers tomorrow every hour of your 12 in surgery. Keep the faith and remember you are so very loved by so very many.
PS: a little humor: boy-o-boy those underarm hairs will be braid-worthy! No waxing for a while! :-(
Love Amanda

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