Monday, August 30, 2010

Turbans for Cancer Patients

As I have already told you, I lead the Womens Ministry at our church. One of our ladies, Cindy M. had a pattern to make Turbans for Ladies with cancer.   On March 22, 2004, we were scheduled to make Turbans.  At the very time that the meeting was to start, I was in surgery, having a lymph node removed to determine the type of cancer that I had.  The first Turban they made that night was for me. It has a crown on it, because I'm the Queen.    I can not talk about it with out crying.  Who would have ever known.   

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chemo 2....3....and so on.....

I took chemo every three weeks.  Chemo days were very long days for me and Gina.  Gina would have to come and get me, because I could not drive after chemo because of all the drugs that go with the chemo.  Gina was not too good driving my five speed Cruiser.  We would have blood drawn, then wait to see the doctor, then wait for a chair in the chemo room.  My chemo took about 6 hours to infuse, sometimes longer.  There are lots of other things that go with the chemo drugs.  You get a huge dose of steroids, and you get a big dose of Benadryl in your IV. That would cause me to sleep between 4 to 6 hours.   I don't know if you have ever had Benadryl in an IV, but, it's "lights out" for me.  They would begin to infuse the Benadryl and wave bye to me, and I was gone.  I would wake up later, grab the medication paper out of my IV pole basket and check the dosage, because I was sure that they had overdosed me.  Then we all laughed.  

You know, I don't have a clue what Gina did while I was asleep.............

After the treatment, if we had time, we went to Red Lobster.  You know, there ought to be an easier way to get to go to Red Lobster.  

The First Chemo

This was a pretty scary day for me, because I did not know what to expect.  I did not know if I would feel crazy, if my insides would be on fire, or if I would just go insane.  None of that happened.  I didn't feel anything.  I remember when they started the chemo for the first time, I looked at Gina, probably with a look of desperation, because I was afraid that the chemo was going to kill me.  
(I don't think my family knew I had that much fear.  I really tried to hide it.  I'm a tough girl.)  
I am in charge of the Women's Ministry at my church.  The day of my first chemo was the first day of the Ladies Retreat at Petit Jean.  I packed my bags the night before, just like I had good sense.  I told everyone that I was coming just as soon as chemo was over with.  My friends Bev and Becky were waiting for me.  They went to the pharmacy and got the medicine that I would need for the weekend.  When the chemo was over, Gina took me to Bev's house.  We all thought I could do this.  I was still under the influence of the drugs from the chemo.  I do not remember driving through somewhere and eating on the way.  I do not remember the drive to Petit Jean.  I remember that I was overwhelmed with love from the Ladies when we got there.   I felt pretty good that night.  No nausea.  I kept waiting "for the other shoe to drop" so to speak.  I didn't eat much, and I took all of the medicine that I was supposed to take.  I really did very good.  My family was worried and made me promise to call.  Phone service was poor, so I would go out and stand on a ledge on one foot with my phone up in the air and then I would have a signal.  I called home and put them at ease.  The first chemo and the Ladies Retreat went quite well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And then...........

So, to make a short story long, I saw an oncologist the next afternoon, which was Friday.  He told me that he was 95% sure that I had Lymphoma, but he was just not sure what kind.  He wanted me to go straight to the hospital from there.  I said, "NO."  So, he wanted me there that night, and I said, "NO."  I had a husband, kids, Mother, grandkids and the rest of my family to talk to.  Plus, we have  met our group of friends on Friday night for supper for over ten years.    I needed to go there, and tell all of them.  Plus, I needed to go to Wal-Mart.  The doc demanded that I be in the hospital the next morning by 8:00 a.m.  So, I agreed to that. This was on Saturday morning.  This is the day that my life began to spin out of control.   When we got there, they were waiting for me to take me for a C T Scan.  The next morning, on Sunday, I had emergency surgery to save my kidney.  Many things began to take place.  All day Monday I was supposed to go to surgery to remove a lymph node to determine the type and stage of cancer that I had.  Monday morning I had a bone marrow aspirate, and they left me "drugged up," because they thought I would be going to surgery at any time.  Finally late Monday, around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m., I was finally taken to surgery.  (My family has a great time when I am drugged up.) I say crazy things.  I had an 8 inch incision in my groin from the surgery.  I went home on Wednesday night.  On Thursday morning, I had to be at Dr. Patel's office for my first treatment.  That treatment was a laboratory produced Rituxan, made from fish protein.  The following Tuesday morning I had Outpatient Surgery to put in a "port" that would be used to administer my chemo.  The next morning,Wednesday, I had a Muga Scan to make sure that my heart was strong enough to take the chemo.  Then we went back to the surgery center because I had a reaction to the port.  On Friday morning I was supposed to get my first real dose of chemo.  I could not receive it because of the problems with the port.  My iron level was also very low, so I received Rituxan, and an 8 hour infusion of iron.  The following Friday, I received another infusion of iron.  My first Real Chemo was scheduled for next Friday, April 16, 2004.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Story

Where do I begin?   Back in the fall of 2003, I was picking up pecans in my small orchard, which I do every fall.  I crawl around on the ground and work pretty hard.  My record year of pecans was over 3000 pounds on 14 nice sized trees.

My right knee got a little sore, oops, it was my left knee.    I thought it was just from crawling around on the ground.  It continued to be very painful.  In the spring it was still painful.  I thought that I needed a laproscopic surgery and then I would be good to go.  I had a garden to plant and grass to mow, so, I needed to get on with it.

My insurance does not require a referral so I went straight to an Orthopedic surgeon.  He did an x-ray of my knee.  He didn't have much "pazazz" so I went to another doctor.  He looked at the x-rays and said there was too much bone marrow above and below the knee.  He did not elaborate, and I did not get concerned.  I just really wanted my knee fixed, because I had things to do.  Then the doctor ordered a bone scan.  The nurse called and said that I had something coming out of  my right kidney.  That scared me.  She said it was probably just a calcium deposit.  The next day I was to have a C T Scan.  After my scan, my daughter and I went to see some ceramic tile that she had created that had been installed in a million dollar home.  When I got home, my family doc had called a few times.  (Keep in mind I had not seen him for my knee problems.)  I called him back and he wanted to talk.  He asked how I was and where I had been.  I said, "oh, by the way I had a C T Scan this morning."  He said "I know."  When he said that my heart nearly stopped.  He knew something about all of this.  He said that the Radiology Doctor, the Orthopedic Doctor, a "Tumor Doctor" and himself  had been talking about me all afternoon.  He said, "I need to tell you something, but I don't want you to kill yourself getting here.  So I said, "Just tell me."  He said, "You have a mass in your abdomen." I said, "So what is the plan?"