Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I was able to have chemo yesterday.  For some reason, this treatment really hit me.  I am exhausted and am having a lot of nausea.  I didn't have that to this degree before, although I don't have a headache as severe as I did the last time.

If I'm able to have chemo next week, then I will be having a scan to see what my tumors are doing; then we'll see how many additional treatments, if any, I will need.

Today is just going to be a rest and recuperate day.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Well, I just got a call from my oncologist to let me know that my CA125 (test that measures cancer proteins and shows response to treatment) is down to 17 from 69, after just two treatments.  This is good news, because it means my cancer responds to my treatment regimen.

It's about time for some good news!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Once again my WBCs have finked out on me, and I could not have chemo.  My platelets are up, but the WBCs are still way too low to be treated.

So, so frustrating.  The doctor thinks I will only be able to be treated twice a month, which is much less than originally planned.

The worst part is that I premedicated as if I were going to be treated, so I have the aftereffects of the prednisone to deal with. (Hungy, irritable, know, like I usually am.) On the way home from the doctors's office, I told my Dad I had a huge craving for a good doughnut, so he stopped at a local grocery store that has an awesome bakery, and he got 6 cream-filled powdered doughnuts.  The funny thing was, shortly after I got home and devoured one, my neighbor called and asked me if I wanted a doughnut.  Today is Fasnacht Day, so bakeries have plenty of these tempting treats.  I said "Sure!," then told her about stopping for doughnuts on the way home from the doctor.  She said, "Oh well, this one will just replace the one you already ate."

I like the way she thinks!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Now I am truly, "The Bald Nurse."

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Here’s How You Don’t Apologize

In the beginning of January, I went to the ED with symptoms that I was certain were the hallmark of my cancer recurring.   The trip to the ED was, to put it kindly, sub-par.  I decided to write to the hospital CEO after the ED nurse manager refused to return my calls.  My letter was forwarded to the medical director of the ED.  This is the point where things really went off the rails.

I received a letter from the medical director, dripping in sarcasm and personal jabs.  Apparently, even if you try to advocate for yourself in this ED, it’s not enough, because according to this doctor, he was “sorry” that I did not communicate my concerns “in a more comprehensive fashion that would have addressed the concerns I raised in my letter.”

Let’s just think about this for a minute.  Should someone who went to medical school, completed internship and residency need a patient to explain the ramifications of pain, nausea, early satiety (getting full after eating very little), and abrupt onset of edema in a patient with a history of late-stage ovarian CA?  Not in my opinion, but perhaps I ask too much.

The ED doctor refused to send me for a CT scan, according to this doctor, because there was the possibility that my gyn. oncologist (who wasn’t in the office that day) might order a PET scan.  He didn’t want me exposed to two doses of radiation.  Why?  What was he afraid would happen…that I’d get cancer?  The train already left that station.

He also said he was sorry that I “felt” like no one interacted with me during the time I was in the ED, and that I didn’t “feel” like I was checked enough.  I didn’t “feel” that way.  I lay there for 4-5 hours with no one coming in the room to see if I needed anything.  (Like, you know, something for the pain and nausea that in part drove me there to begin with.)

How should he have apologized?  For starters, not by making a patient bear the burden of making sure his/her doctor knows how to proceed when “x+y symptoms” show up in the ED.  Sending the patient a letter that is free of snide/sarcastic comments is another one.

I’ve had to apologize to patients as a nurse at times when I didn’t think I should have had to.  Too bad…it’s part of the job.  You suck it up, you try to make it right, and try to let the patient know you’ll do better next time.

As for me, looks like I will be shopping for a new hospital.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The best friends to have when you have cancer are the ones who read your text message about craving sweet and salt simultaneously, and show up unannounced with McDonalds fries and caramel nut sundae.  They let you talk about everything, or nothing at all.

Those are the friends who get you through the bad times.  Not because they bring you McDonalds, but because they get it.  They just...get it.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

OK, so I lied.  I wanted to add this the other day and forgot.  I blame chemobrain.

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One more...from The Bald Nurse's favorite video-making bald doctor!

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Getting in a plug for one of the many "forgotten" cancers.

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I posted on FB that because my platelets and WBCs don't have that "Can Do" spirit, I won't be getting chemo this week.

This reminds me of being on death row, then getting a last-minute stay-of-execution from the governor.  Sure, "Whee!  No chemo!" but, dang, I premedicated with steroids, so now I'm in that semi-roid induced level of crankiness and restlessness.  If it weren't only 1100, I'd be tempted to have a glass of wine so I could chill out.

When your treatment gets cancelled, it's not like it goes away forever; it's still out there, like a make-up day at school when there's a big snow.

I made the decision to call my stylist and buzz off the hair.  I wrote about my deciduous hair last night.  Well, this morning, more came out.  Having your hair fall out in clumps here and there is like the death of 1,000 cuts.  So, on Friday my lovely hairdresser "K" will be coming out to make me truly, "The Bald Nurse."

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Monday, February 9, 2015

And so it begins...

My oncologist told me that I wouldn't go bald; I would just have some thinning.  Well, it's really starting to...ahem, "thin.'  The last two times I brushed it there was hair throughout the brush that had to be cleaned.  Now, just running my fingers through my hair yields a small nest.

The eyelashes fell out right after the first treatment.  I'm now watching to see what happens to my brows.

The up side to this is at least I don't need to shave for a while.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Well, chemo #2 down.  My platelets are a little on the low side, so the doc said when I come in next week it's not likely that I'll get chemo because he thinks they'll be too low for me to be treated.  I'd really like to get through this without missing a treatment, but I during the last chemo rodeo I missed a week, so I wouldn't be surprised.

That's about it for today...still sleepy from the Benadryl!

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