Friday, January 30th, 2009

I have been experiencing stomach pains for the last couple of days. They have been getting worse and worse, and I am starting to worry. I call my mom and she convinces me to go in to see my primary care physician in Brighton, just to make sure I am healthy enough for treatment on Monday. When I get there my blood pressure is again very low, and my heart rate is sky high. The doctor examines me and tells me I need to go to ER right away. I am very irritated. I am not excited about the prospect of waiting around there in pain for hours. I walk out of the examination room and try to tell my mom the doctor’s directions. I am so shaky and light headed that I tumble down into the nearest chair. I am gasping for breath and I can’t speak. I finally choke out the words and we head to the hospital.
Little do I know, I am about to experience one of my worst visits yet. I am stuck in ER for a long, long time. I have to undergo several excruciating tests, including transvaginal ultrasounds which put pressure on the area in my abdomen that is causing me pain. I cry through the entire procedure. The ultrasound tech asks if I am okay, but I am not, and there is nothing she can do, and I just want her to get it over with. Even worse is when the emergency room doctor insists that he must do a digital rectal exam, even though I assure him I have not had any internal bleeding or dark stools. I also warn him that I have a hemorrhoid. He goes ahead with the exam and I scream out louder than I have ever done in the hospital. The nurse grabs my hand. When it is over, he says it is inconclusive, due to the factors I warned him about in the first place. I am very angry and I want to hurt him.
After a long while it is discovered that I have had a cyst rupture on my ovary. Typically what they do in this case, is nothing at all. They allow the small amount of blood to reabsorb into your system. Unfortunately for me, I am on a strong blood thinner, which is allowing me to hemorrhage into my abdomen. When blood collects in places it is not meant to, it causes further pain and irritation.
In cases where there is as much blood lost as mine they perform a simple surgery to drain the area. This would be life threatening for me, because of the rearranging they did of my abdomen in my last surgery. I have literally grown new vessels known as collateral veins to compensate for the lack of blood flow in my IVC. It would be too complicated. As the situation worsens, the surgery seems as though it may be a necessity.
I am being evaluated by several different medical teams, and they all are ordering different tests and do not agree with how to proceed. I finally have to take control myself and refuse to allow them to perform a fourth ultrasound, opting instead for the much less painful CT ordered by another service. I am not allowed to eat or drink anything during this entire process, just in case I will be rushed into emergency surgery. I receive several blood transfusions, and I am taken off my blood thinner for good. Up until this point Ryan had been giving me two shot a day in my abdomen, which is completely covered in bruises from the injections.

Eventually my situation stabilizes and they decide not to operate. They estimate it will take ten to fourteen days for the blood in my abdomen to reabsorb. I will be in constant pain until my body is able to do this. Again, I fear constipation compounding my problems, so I opt not to take the pain medication ordered for me. I survive by taking Tylenol with codeine and keeping my heating pad on my stomach around the clock. I will not be able to go ahead with my next treatment until February 16th.


Wednesday, January 28th, 2008

I wake up to beautiful roses on the table and a tiny little gift box lying next to them. A card with my name on it is propped up beside the vase. Today is mine and Ryan’s third wedding anniversary. I am reminded how strange it is that we have been through so much in such a short time. I read the words Ryan has written to me and my eyes fill with tears. I am humbled by and grateful for the strength of our love. Ryan’s care for me has been immeasurable. I can tell that the gift box holds a Pandora charm and I am expecting an inexpensive silver present shaped one. When I open it, however I find the beautiful wedding cake, topped with a miniature gold heart. I call Ryan and thank him, telling him he shouldn’t have bought it for me, that we can’t afford it. He tells me I am worth it. I am happy to have had this bright spot in my day. This past round of chemo was difficult for me. The mouth sores were especially painful. The next round starts Monday, February 2nd.


Friday, January 9th, 2009

The New Year has come, and I felt even more nostalgic than usual ringing it in. I was unable to celebrate with Beth and Jason as I usually do, and this made me pretty sad. Instead I spent a quiet night at home which I hadn’t done since middle school.
I have a MUGGA scan today, to look at my heart. My oncologist needs to make sure the amount of Adriamyacin, also known as Doxorubicin (or the Red Devil,) has not caused too much damage. The test is an easy one, but one strange thing they do is draw my blood, mix it with an isotope and then reinject it. I have never seen that yet. When we get the results, my heart is fine, but I have had the maximum dose, so I will have a different type of chemo on January 12th, when I begin my next round.