Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the tag “sickness”

Recovery From The Blackhole

I escaped from the Black Hole. Now is the hard part. Picking myself back up.

I look like a potato. It’s due to steroids and probably other meds.

Part of me was healing. Part of me deteriorated. I allowed my muscles to atrophy. Don’t do that. It hurts.

Getting out of bed or a chair has been hard. I have needed help.

I have been exercising. The muscle pain has been excruciating. The muscle pain has been worth it.

I have chair exercises and I have been walking around my living room. I had a day of shin hurt. A day of knee agony. Days of aches.

I have finally started to get up on my own.
Mostly.

I have my family and friends to thank for the progress that has happened. It is so easy to just want to give up. I needed my cheerleaders. Thanks everyone.

The Blackhole

I am back in the hospital. I was home for a whole day on Friday, February 12. Saturday… started downhill and didn’t stop.

I had to ask Gabe to help me to the restroom. On the way, which is not far, I told him I needed to sit down. He reached for a chair and I fell. Backwards. As if i were a trinket a cat knocked off the table.

I landed on my poor dog. He’s a pretty big guy, about 100 pounds. He squeaked like a mouse. He was not injured. My head hurt for two days.

Gabe called our eldest to help get me up. They got me to where I needed to be and we made the decision to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital safely. The roads were snowy and icy.

I was not able to was not able to walk upstairs. I couldn’t breathe. My travel oxygen machine was hooked up.

The EMTs checked me out, then put me on this stairclimber. Max was jealous and scared. The thing had tank wheels on it. I miss my kids.

I felt like we were in the ER for forever. If I had realized how long I would be staying, that thought would never have crossed my mind.

My new stay did not start well. Does any hospital stay start well? I’m not here for the five star rating.

I was told that if my breathing kept failing, I would be in ICU on intubation. I would be asleep most of the time and woken up about once a day. Or was it every couple of days?

I was sobbing after the doctor left. I worked on exercising my lungs.

I had four masks within two days. All for different reasons.

Normal Nose Leash
Can’t eat with this one.
The Frog
Really can’t eat.
Airflow and can eat.

Within the first few days, I went up and down with my breathing. It has been almost a week and we are still working on the proper oxygen flow. The goal is to have it as low as possible. This machine was meant for extra oxygen flow. I was to try to keep it in the low 90%.

I have been using the lung exerciser. I need to go up. I want to go up line by line. It has been helping. I do have trouble standing up. I have trouble sitting in a chair.

I have started to improve. I have things to do. It has been over a week. I was able to sit in a chair to eat lunch on Thursday, February 18. I use a walker and require help in getting up.

The doctor was more hopeful. He said he couldn’t be totally positive. He was pleased that I was displaying progress. I have been here longer than I thought. I hope to go home before another week passes.

I went into the hospital on February 13 and left on March 3. I do not like being in the hospital that long. The best feeling in the world is a shower at home afterwards.

It’s Just So Much

I needed time to process everything. In a way, I was forced to as Jesse required my iPad for his schoolwork. It was really the best thing for me.

An unimaginably awful amount of happenings came about within two months. My family is hurting. We will hurt for a long time.

Cathy died on January 26. She was an amazing and beautiful person. I have known her for more than half of my life.

She read books faster than most people eat dinner. She created the most magical things out of yarn. That is a witchery beyond me. Cathy was not afraid to try new crafts. She was inspiring.

Her catch phrase was “oh, well shit.” It’s classier than my “fuck, or fuckity fuck.” Not that I will stop.

Cathy & Gary

I hurt for myself. I hurt more for Gary, her sister, children, grands, the people that will always be part of our family. So many people loved her.

This is where I am indebted to the school board for depriving me of technology.

I am thankful.

With the crap that happened in December, I am still here. I was told I would need to contact palliative care. I did not need them nor did I go to hospice.

My father-in-law, John, and I were hospitalized with Covid-19. We are still recovering. We are getting better. Recovering from something like this is hard. Our lungs and muscles are still weak. The fatigue is pretty awful. We are slowly overcoming the bastard.

I will always be thankful to have a mother-in-law like Cathy. I truly have the best in-laws. All four of them.

I am grateful for my mom. She has been helping with my boys when I can not do the laundry or wash the dishes. Covid zaps the energy out of you.

(L to R) Papa John, Nana Bobi, Nana Jan, Me, Dad, Grandpa Gary, Grandma Cathy
Boys: (L to R) Jes, Sam, Max, Sol

My heart will continue to mourn.

I will continue to savor the small things and celebrate the big things.

I love all of you.

2021 Is Full Of Crap

It started out with a household member diagnosed with COVID. This led to everyone else being tested. I was the only one who came up positive. Ugh.

Everyone tested again. By the time I found out, I must have just smeared it everywhere. Everyone came back positive. *Everyone*

My father-in-law, John (who lives in the household), and I have had to go to the hospital. I am at home now and on oxygen. John is having a harder time. He is stable. I am still very upset about it.

I watched the Inauguration and enjoyed it so much. It was so beautiful. Lady Gaga was wonderful, Garth made me cry, and I couldn’t get enough of Amanda Gorman. It all made me so happy.

I texted my other mother-in-law, Cathy (who lives with Hubby’s dad), about Wednesday’s happenings. It was a good day. Then it wasn’t.

Cathy had a stroke that night. It was bad. She was transferred to my hospital and put on life support. She was so close to me, but I couldn’t see her. I cried almost all day on Thursday.

I went home Thursday evening. I have a huge oxygen machine next to my bed. I am tethered by a nose line. I have enough to walk around my area. Which is important for keeping clots away. It is good to be able to use the bathroom.

I had a rough time on Friday. My breathing had improved before I came home. It did the opposite that day. I was gasping for air every time I got up. I had improved on my lung strengthening device and it went backwards. It was as if I was starting everything over.

It might have been the trauma from two of my favorite people being so hurt. It might have been the new oxygen machine. Whatever it was, it brought my spirits even lower.

Fuck cancer.
Fuck covid.
Fuck strokes.

I Lost Tuesday

I guess December 8, 2020 will be memorable to everyone but me. I have no recollection of that day existing. It was Monday, then Wednesday.

I have been told about the events that occurred. I have been told of the events after. I have had to ask people to speak with my husband. He knew what happened. I don’t.

The day started with a text I had the good sense to send, but I don’t recall sending.

I sent the text to my husband. He was at work. He tried to call me back and I wasn’t making sense. We live with his parents, so he called his mom to have her check on me.

I don’t know what happened. I have been told that an ambulance was called and Gabriel came home from work. I scared my family. I would probably be more upset. I think I should be more upset.

The EMTs helped me up the stairs and into my car. On the passenger side. Gabriel drove me to the ER.

I know that I had tests. Blood work, MRI, probably a CT. I had new tumors growing in my brain. My blood pressure was low. My heart function would show as lower from an echocardiogram the next day.

I have used up my brain radiation. I am not allowed another whole brain, which would be the treatment for all those little fuckers. I think I am still allowed targeted, but there are too many.

The chemo was working really well for the rest of my lesions and tumors. It is just making my heart not so good.

I was suffering from a seizure in my brain. This would be why I was having so much trouble talking and can not remember Tuesday. I am now taking anti-seizure medication.

The very low blood pressure would be the cause of not being able to stand up.

I was taking heart medication with the intent of keeping my heart function above 50%. I am not taking that any longer and my chemo has been lowered in hopes of helping my heart get back into the 50’s. There is also some hope that it will break the brain barrier and get the brain tumors.

With the possible seizures, I am no longer allowed to drive. I just got a new car. I love my car. At least this gives me a chance to give my oldest hours for his driving class. In my new (used) Rogue.

Palliative care has been brought up. I had a team when I was first diagnosed. I was very sick at that time. I am so mad. I have plans. I need to prepare things for my family.

Fuck Cancer

It has now been a few weeks. I have been the recipient of the generous side of humans. We have had food delivered. People went a little crazy with gifting my kids. Someone picks up my kids clothes, washes them, then returns them.

The Warrior Sisterhood left a gift in my yard. I cried.

I can’t think of how to properly express my gratitude. I wake up most mornings with a headache or a back ache bad enough for pain meds. I have trouble walking a good portion of the time and I now have a loathing for stairs.

Having help with food and clothes is fantastic. If any of you read this, please know your actions have been absolutely appreciated.

I don’t know what my future will bring. December 8 scared all of us. My doctors and care team are working hard to keep me going. My family and friends are working hard to keep me going. I love all of you.

Fuck cancer.

When Treatments Fail

In the year and half since my metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, I have been on three treatments. As my cancer has invaded my skeleton, it is really hard to track it properly. We use nuclear bone scans, CT scans, and tumor markers aka cancer antigens or, for me, CA 27.29. Tumor markers are an imprecise way to keep track of spreading cancer. However, if they continue to go up, there is usually something going on, even if the scans are showing stability.

Tamoxifen and radiation were my first line of attack. My scans remained stable and my markers went down. For seven months. Then my markers suddenly shot up and continued going up. In April 2017, I started my second line of treatment, Ibrance w/ Letrozole. Once again, my scans were mostly stable and my markers dropped, but just a small amount. By February 2018, it was clear that this treatment wasn’t working well for me. We replaced the Letrozole with Faslodex injections. This combination did not work at all for me.

I am going to take an intermission here to explain nuclear bone scans. These scans are really fascinating. At least to me. About 6 hours before the actual scan, I am injected with a dose of radioactive tracer. I believe it is technetium 99 (Tc99). The techs always tell me that I am safe around people, but I do give off radiation. My husband has measured it in the past. After this injection, I need to drink a lot of water and pee as much as I can. This helps to get rid of the radiation that did not stick to my bones.
During the scan, I can see my skeleton appear on a screen as the scanner passes over me. Or I could if I was able to wear my glasses. People who come with me to the scan can watch my skeleton. The scanner itself reminds me of an iron and the surface I lay on looks a lot like and ironing board. The scan gets really up close to my face to start with. I usually close my eyes, which usually leads to me falling asleep for most of the scan. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I get in a nice power nap.

Back to treatment failures.

My last bone scan was on March 23. It showed progression of cancer in my left leg and slight progression on my skull. My CT scan on March 26 showed cancer lesions are now on my liver. I had really high hopes for Ibrance. It, and other 4/6 inhibitors, have been almost like a miracle treatment for many people living with MBC. My disappointment is indescribable. I had expected to be on Ibrance for at least 3 years. I got in 12 cycles/12 months.

I am now preparing to start IV chemotherapy for the first time. The chemo combination I have agreed to go with is Adriamycin with Carboplatin. My sessions will be one day every three weeks for four sessions. I hope that makes sense. It looks like each session will take at least two and a half hours.
I will be losing my hair again, but I don’t mind. Actually, I will also lose my eyelashes and eyebrows. I did lose half of my lashes and brows on the left side from radiation on my outer left eye orbital. That was hard. I am not a vain person, but I hated seeing my lashes look so ragged. It was also painful getting lashes in my eye. I might start working on drawing eyebrows. I have failed miserably in the past when I have tried to do this.
I will also be getting Granix injections for about 5 days in a row after my sessions. My white blood cells will completely tank on me. Granix will help them to come back faster. These are shots in the belly, which I do kind of mind.

Before starting chemo, I will be getting an echocardiogram to make sure my heart can handle this. I will also be getting a brain MRI due to dizzy spells. I am not normally an anxious person, but this on top of the changes has got me on edge. I guess my anxiety coping mechanism is cleaning. My upstairs living room is almost spotless. As spotless as four kids and two dogs will allow it to be. My basement living room is almost as clean. My kitchen is still a mess, but my dishes are as caught up as they can be. Those who know me know how miraculous this is. I will be mopping my kitchen tomorrow and setting up an Easter themed table cloth on the table.

Emotionally, I am feeling furious right now. It’s kind of like having a furnace in the pit of my stomach. And I don’t want it to get low or go away. I was angry like this after my diagnosis and I thought it was the right thing to try to ease that anger. I have a right to my fury. There is nothing about this that is ok. Cancer fucking sucks. It sucks for me, for my family, and for my friends.

If you wish to help me as I get used to my new path, I am currently accepting all forms of good vibes, positive energy, prayer, and good thoughts. I will also accept silly things that make me laugh and distract me.

This was not how I wanted to meet a goal.

I have had a struggle with my weight since I got pregnant with my firstborn. I just could not get below 164. In the eleven years since, my weight has fluctuated between 164 and 180. Well, except during my pregnancies. I just don’t count those periods of time.

I have tried to eat healthy and exercise. Turns out what I needed was a debilitating condition. After 11 years, I have met my goal weight. I lost a ton of weight during my last pregnancy due to illness and HELLP. Somewhere around May, I started to lose my appetite, have random fevers, moments of dizziness, nausea, and weakened and hurting muscles. I lost that last bit of weight and met my goal… but I feel so weak and I hate it. I wanted to get there and be strong. I have always been proud of my strength.

I have started to see a physical therapist and I will be seeing my general doc and my OB. I don’t think this has anything to do with Baby Max’s birth 7 months ago, but I figured I could talk to the doc and see what he has to say on the matter. In the meantime, I am doing my stretches and I have started to swim more. I don’t feel pain while I am in the pool, but getting out is awful.

Tummy Troubles

I am totally ready for my tummy to be back to normal. Thursday at about 4:30 am, I started yakking up uncontrollably. TMI. It sucked. I was also up at that time with baby and didn’t have time to put him down and run to the bathroom. So I held him while I hugged the porcelain god. Thankfully, the hubby woke up and took him from me. It was a miserable day. Water wouldn’t even stay down. I was starving and super thirsty by the time I could finally get a few sips to stay down.

It is now Saturday night and I still have very little appetite and the tummy is still twisting ominously. I made Chex mix in hopes that might spark something. It is one of my favorite snacks… But no. The smell totally turns me off right now.

And, before you ask, I am not pregnant. I’m actually pretty sure this is food poisoning. Yay!

Well, the idea was a good one…

So much for my list haha. Sam caught some sort of virus and was vomiting most of Thursday and part of Friday. He seems to be better today, but is still sleeping. At least he did not wake up in the middle of the night throwing up all over his crib. If he does well today, I will take the boys swimming tomorrow. Poor guy.

There are few things as sad as

a sick baby. I’ve been getting about 4 hours of sleep for the past couple of nights. Poor Sam has tested RSV positive and is absolutely miserable. He does seem better today than yesterday. I am just hoping this does not last the 2 weeks that I keep reading about. I think I will go nuts from lack of sleep. This has also put my exercise schedule on hold. I do plan on doing some yoga today, if he takes a nap after big brother goes to school. Sol is in afternoon kindergarten, so he will be going to school in about an hour and half.

I am very much afraid that this could lead to Sam getting pneumonia or bronchitis. All I can do for now is to pump myself full of vitamin C and make sure to keep nursing him as much as he will let me.

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