Monday, November 7, 2011

Seasonal Transitions and Gone To The Dogs

We woke up to snow on Sunday! It wasn't awfully cold, at least. I don't have Kevin, my shoveler, here so before everyone arrived to "baby shower" Robert on Sunday, I was out there shoveling. Perhaps not the best thing to have been doing. I notice it's a little puffy today under my arm but not too bad. I expect it will go down as has happened in the past when I've overused it. I hope it doesn't snow again.

This morning I went to work and walked along my totally cleared sidewalk. When I got home tonight after voting look at what I found! Even though it wasn't windy, the tree out front decided to let loose all its leaves rather suddenly! It looks strange to see all these orangeish leaves blanketing the sidewalk and the snow.

I plan on keeping a very low profile for the next two weeks while Kevin is away. I need some down time. Some quiet time. Some sleep. Some quilting time.

The past few weeks have been a little challenging. It been very busy with so much to do for both Kevin and me. Kevin was so busy this summer and leading right up to the grand opening of his new Sarcan processing plant last Friday. If you were watching the news that night, you probably saw him and Brad Wall talking about it. When that was over, there was lots for him to do to get ready to leave on his trip.

For me there have been lots of little disturbances. Everything from the medical appointments a couple weeks ago for the stuff that had been troubling me, to the series of additional little physical bothers that have happened since and that saw me back to the doctor this past Friday morning ... the Friday before all my family arrived ... and right after Kevin left. Nothing serious. Just weird. And nagging. Every little weird thing becomes as much or more of a mental game now than physical one. Cancer is like a ghost. I know now that it can be in your body without you even knowing it and I also know now that before you start chemo the doctors don't actually tell you that chemo itself can cause cancer or, at least, allow other cancers to grow. It's disturbing. They probably don't tell people because they might choose to not undergo chemo. I suppose chemo might save you from the current cancer and you might not get another cancer and if you do, there will be another type of chemo, perhaps, to try to save you from it. **shudder** Maybe you can imagine how this messes with one's head after having been through cancer and chemo and radiation and the other drugs ... a real mental struggle.

So, after my morning appointment I went to work and, as I told my colleagues, "If I were a dog, Kevin would be thinking about having me put down right now". That's really how it's felt the last little while. Nothing serious but just a bunch of little things that make me feel "broken". The proverbial straw. Here's a list of my little ailments from the past week or so ... again, not to complain but to document them for myself. If I don't do that, I find I really lose track of WHEN things happened. I may never need this information again but who knows ... maybe someday having this information written down for myself will be useful.

1. I don't remember if I already mentioned the night I hardly slept because my feet were so burning hot I couldn't get them cool enough to let me sleep. They're often hot at night and I play the hokey pokey most nights to some degree but that one night they were the worst. They burned and burned. Kevin felt them and didn't think they were so hot to the touch so maybe it was mostly the damage to my nerves that tells my brain they're hot but, if that were the case, why does finding a real cold spot on top of the covers by the open window feel so good? So what was that one night of especially hot feet all about? Chemo left me with what I think is a mild case of "hand and foot syndrome" (thought doctors have never called it that - in fact they don't name it at all), which explains the nerve damage in my feet - the pain, the numbness in my toes and the front of my feet ... and probably the heat, too. I'm so glad that the nerves in my fingers are mostly repaired. I don't have any trouble with them though they were quite numb toward the end of chemo and for quite a while beyond that.

2. Last weekend early in the day on Saturday it suddenly felt like my right wrist was sprained. It really hurt. It hurt to use it for certain things and some things I would try to do made it feel week and almost limp. That night I woke up several times in the night very aware of how painful my wrist was. I would have taken Advil if I could have but I have a bad reaction to Advil. I remember looking at the clock at 5:30 a.m. the last time it was bothering me. I slept late on Sunday and when I got up my wrist didn't hurt at all. Not one bit. I twisted it, turned it, poked it ... nothing. It felt perfectly fine. How can it go from being that painful so suddenly and for almost 24 hours to suddenly not painful at all?! I don't understand.

3. Tuesday morning ... I think it was Tuesday (this is what happens when I don't blog daily ... I forget days and details so much more quickly than I ever used to) ... anyway, I was putting on my jeans. I lifted one foot and I suddenly felt a "zap" slightly to the right of my spine in my lower back. Damn! Back pain? Are you kidding me??!! It still bothers me a little but it is almost all better by now. I've never ever had a back issue but I know that other people do and I imagine this is just one of those things that happens ... age related, perhaps ... and not related to cancer or cancer drugs. While it's almost a relief to have something weird happen that I'm sure has nothing to do with cancer or chemo or radiation or the drugs I've been on, it was still another thing upon a series of others. Just what I need is another reason to limp about or have trouble sitting or standing.

4. This one pushed me over the edge ... probably because it's just another of what has been a lot of unexpected health related stuff going on in the past couple of weeks. On Thursday night I rolled over in bed ... carefully because of my back ... and I suddenly had a funny feeling in my chest. Kind of like my heart fluttered and paused or my lungs did something funny. I've never had that happen before but it didn't alarm me. I'm sure it was just "one of those things" - maybe from twisting my chest somehow. I rolled back onto my back just to straighten myself out and then felt like I needed to cough ... just a little tickle. So what I expected to be a tiny little "eh eh" almost made me jump right out of bed! Instead of a soft little cough, it came out like a very loud "quack". Followed by another loud "quack" and then another. And then out of me came a very looooong cough that was one very long, loud, drawn out "quaaaaaaaaaack". Now THAT freaked me out! If I'd had a cold or had felt any rattling in my chest or if I'd coughed anything up, it wouldn't have alarmed me so much, but I couldn't think of any reason for me to cough like that. So I called my doctor in the morning and was able to get in. She couldn't find any reason for me to have a cough, especially a strange cough, so she sent me for a chest x-ray since I hadn't had one since spring of 2009 before I started chemo. She doesn't expect anything unusual to show up and thinks that perhaps it was just an unusual one-time thing. Still, I found it alarming. Before I had chemo, I never once in my whole life (or as far back as I can remember) ever had what I call a "barking" or "bronchial" type cough. Never. Not until I had chemo and then I occasionally had a barking cough in the night ... unexpected and loud just like this recent "quacking" cough. But I had read that "chemo cough" is quite common so I didn't worry about it. I expected it to go away after chemo was finished. But ever since chemo I will occasionally get that same unexpected barking cough. It mostly only happens at night and it always surprises me because there's never been any reason for me to cough like that. This cough really did sound like a "quack", though, and less like a "bark". It's the first time pneumonia or "lung cancer" ever crossed my mind. And while I'm quite sure I don't have either of those, I will feel better knowing I've had a chest x-ray done. Last night I had one "barking" cough. Why?

It was this last barking cough and the 4th visit to doctors in the past 2 weeks that pushed me a little over the edge. Between it and all the recent doctor visits to determine whether my other issues are actually diverticulosis or not, it just felt the last straw. I really did feel like a dog that should just be put down. I was, perhaps, feeling a little sorry for myself, tired of medical stuff, and a little overwhelmed with doctoring and so many little physical troubles in a short time ...

I figure if I just stay put and get lots of rest over the next 2 weeks and take care of myself, all should be better. And then Kevin won't have to contemplate putting me down when he gets back from Uruguay. "Ruff Ruff" ... or "Quack Quack".
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