blog from bed…again

Pink Ink..

Just a quick update. I made it through the lung drain. Evidently people get these frequently. It’s not supposed to be “that bad”. Hmm…

The doc sticks a few needles in your back, up through your ribs in order to put in the anesthesia.  The drugs include lidocaine…which burns.  Then a catheter is inserted in between the ribs into the lung, with the other end in a bottle.  The Doc says hold your breath,…then you cough.  The liquid flows out.  It’s pretty gross, but goes pretty quickly.  But be clear, it hurts!  The doctor drained a liter…as in a big soda bottle’s worth of liquid from me, before he stopped.  Any more, and my lung may have collapsed.

a liter's worth of fluid

a liter’s worth of fluid

Now we wait for the results.  We wait to see if there is cancer in the liquid.  In the meantime, I can’t do much.  I can’t lie down, so I sleep sitting up with pillows around me.  I breathe a bit better.  BUT, whenever I take a deep breath,  yawn, burp, cough, move, I am crippled with pain.

The pain is my lung getting used to expanding again.

The pain is my lung, and ribs being aggravated.

The pain is my muscles readjusting after caring around an extra 2 pounds on one lung.

Tomorrow I have a CT scan, to see what my spots are up to.  So basically, we wait.

To top it all off, I am missing my Links conference in Houston.  The conference where I was going to present a workshop on listening to, and taking care of your body.  THAT is what causes me the most pain.  I am so disappointed !  I hope there will be other chances to speak to my Link sisters, from around the country. We spend so much time taking care of our families, and serving the community, that we often ignore the cues of our own bodies.  I was looking forward to sharing my story and ideas on how to take better care of ourselves!

The irony is not lost on me, that I had to stay at home, because… I am listening to my body.  I even  offered to Skype in.  Oh well.

Instead, I will just blog from bed…again!

Blogging from bed

Pink Ink…

Editor’s note: I wrote this last night while medicated.  ‘Nuff said…

 

My dear friend Lizzie texted me a few hours ago, so I know it has been too long since I have posted. As always, thanks Lizzie for reaching out whenever you haven’t heard from me.  It is too late with the time differance to text her back. So it’s time for a quick

MEDICAL MINUTE:  Number 1 zillion

The lesson for today is listen to your body.

Since my last post, I have been feeling as ok as can be expected!  After each chemo I would use 2 or 3 fingers, until the rest decided to work again. I know the routine by now.  I am tired.  But that’s part of having cancer.  Life had been rolling along until about 10 days ago.  I started to feel a little achy on my right side, around my ribs and chest.  Big B and I thought I had aggravated my cracked rib.  But you know me.  I just kept on pushing.

As the pain started getting worse, I developed a cough.  Since I have messed up lungs now, it raised an eyebrow.  But no blood or other stuff was coming up, so I didn’t panic.  I did mention it to the nurses.  But we kept on going with chemo etc.  When it got worse, I mentioned it to my head nurse.  Remember her…the “Breast Whisperer?”  Upon examination, she told me I had a pulled muscle, and prescribed muscle relaxants.  No help. At this point I am sleeping sitting up. Shooting pains on my side. Fast forward 2 days.  I have a coughing fit that literally takes my breath away…and puts me in the ER.

The ER!

As a side note, when a cancer patient with messed up lungs comes into the ER unable to breathe…it causes…a stir!

Unfortunately, Lil B had to see all that before we were able to get a close friend to take her home.

Turns out I don’t have a pulled muscle!!!  I have fluid in my lung.  (Thanks Breast Whisperer) Fluid that is pressing against my ribs and chest.  Fluid that is keeping me awake.  Fluid that causes me to cough and wears me out after climbing the stairs.  Walking from my car to chemo today raised my blood pressure to 160/110.  NOT GOOD!

Fluid fills 1/2 my lung!

Fluid fills 1/2 my lung!

So tomorrow, I am getting my lung drained.

Lovely.

They are checking to see if I have cancer in the fluid.

Lovely.

They say the drainage may become a regular thing, and may not totally relieve the pain.

Lovely.

Next week, they will change my chemo because my current chemo is no longer working.

Lovely.

So the message today is to listen to your body.  Trust your body.  We knew something wasn’t right, so we kept telling the nurses to check.   If we didn’t go to ER, my lung could have collapsed.

On the upside, my script is done, we did the table read, and have another in July, with a real performance in the fall!

Yay!

On the upside, there don’t seem to be any NEW clusters of caner in the lung.

YAY!

We will know more on Thurs.

Until then, I will keep …blogging from bed!

 

 

Make that cake for two, please!

red ink…

images-1

Happy National Cancer Survivors’ Day, my friend!

Like pink ink, I mourn, I celebrate and I give thanks…

I MOURN . . . the loss of our “old” relationship where we laughed and cried, complained and rejoiced with the sense that we would  keep doing this forever;  I mourn for our carefree days, especially on the Inkwell, with no agenda or sense of urgency;  I mourn . . .

I CELEBRATE . . . most of all that my friend is STILL HERE;  I celebrate the stronger, more purposeful, more stylish and beautiful than ever (despite how she feels sometimes) friend; I celebrate that we still laugh and talk about regular things; I celebrate the many, many joyous memories that we share about our loves – husbands, kids, families, a passion for doing something meaningful while on this planet – and that we continue to make memories; I celebrate. . .

I GIVE THANKS . . . for hearing her voice on the other end of the phone; for continuing to share stories and dreams and for being understood; for being able to “be there” for each other as much as possible even from far away; for the reminder that tomorrow is not promised to any of us; for her special relationship with my kids and for mine with hers; I’m grateful that I don’t cry whenever I get off the phone with her anymore, and that the overwhelming sense of sadness has been replaced with a sense of appreciation for what is present in my life right  now; I give thanks for friends – old and new – and especially for my husband, my children, and family, who have embraced me throughout this journey and provided light when I needed it most;  The experience of having a close friend who is touched by cancer changes everyone for sure, and is certainly one that no one chooses, but I am genuinely grateful for the life lessons it has taught me; For these reasons, I, too, give thanks.

In case any of you were wondering, my only explanation for not writing for such a long time (despite my ongoing conversation with pink ink) is that it feels unnecessary to insert myself into what has become (and was always meant to be) her conversation with all of you.   She has a unique and powerful voice that doesn’t require an alternate perspective.   I’ll only chime in when I have something on my heart that I feel compelled to give voice to.   Otherwise, know that I join most of you in the cheering section as pink ink continues to re-define life on the cancer lane and to tell her story as only she can…

I, too, will eat cake tonight and enjoy its sweetness and the joy it brings in honor of my girl, my sister, a phenomenal woman, friend, wife and mother who has given the term SURVIVOR new meaning.   I raise my fork (full of cake) and my glass (of champagne, naturally) to you!

Eat Cake

Pink Ink…

SU2C

I woke up this morning with the great desire to EAT CAKE!  You see, it is National Cancer Survivors Day!  A day we celebrate in my house!  But alas, no cake!  I made pancakes instead, while Big B played golf.

This is a day to mourn, celebrate, and to say thanks!

I MOURN the life I had before I entered Life in the Cancer Lane.  What does that mean?  I mourn the loss of freedom.  The fact that my every move is dictated by medicine and doctors visits.  I mourn my old body, as crazy as it may have looked to me, it was mine.  I mourn the loss of close friends who couldn’t figure out how to be there for me, and instead watch silently from the sidelines.  I mourn my identity that WASN’T attached to cancer.  I mourn the loss of a friend to the exact type of breast cancer that I have.  I mourn the days I could look at my family with complete happiness without any tinge of sadness.  I mourn the fact that I never got to be “Cancer free”.  I…mourn.

I CELEBRATE making it to my 2nd Cancer Survivors Day!  Last year I was in Chicago celebrating finishing treatment, or so I thought.  I am still wrapped in the love that I felt day.  It keeps me going on tough days!  I celebrate the fact that I am STILL HERE!  I celebrate each new memory that I make with my family.  I celebrate the times I see Big and Lil B genuinely laugh.  You know, that deep in the stomach laugh!  I celebrate this NEW frankenstein body that is keeping me alive…that’s keeping me here!  I celebrate my new identity that is often associated with cancer.  I celebrate each time someone DOESN’T look at me with “sad eyes”.  I celebrate my NEW friends and friendships made stronger because of this journey!  I celebrate each time a friend tells me they got a mammogram!  Indeed, I … celebrate!

Last year's celebration

Last year’s celebration

I give THANKS.  I thank God for this journey and allowing me more time with my family.  I thank Him for not feeling sick every damn day!  I thank my family for being there, giving me love and support and funny stories.  I thank my friends, for making me laugh, and helping me forget the elephant in the room.  I thank each of you for continuing to follow this story.  I thank so many in my own way.  I even thank Cancer, for reminding me that everyday, and an easy life, is not promised.  I am thankful for laughter, every new memory, for new creativity, for the stolen moments with Big B.  Today, I give…thanks.

I am celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day with a “Table Read” of my first script.  It is an apt marking of the day!  I am filled with nervous energy.

After that?  I will…eat cake!