Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Saturday, November 13, 2010

La de da and now we know

OK, so I don't know what I was thinking.  Tuesday morning I woke up in a good mood, took the garbage to the dump, picked up dog and cat food, packaged boxes to be mailed to family in Europe, took them to the post office.  Cleo told me I was just too damn perky.  hee hee, I did feel perky.  Got home and Ms Judy took me up to the outpatient surgery.  This was about noon.  They got me checked in and then took me back to the prep room and I got into the gown and waited for the parade of doctors and nurses to introduce themselves.  They wheeled me back to the surgical area, had me slide over onto the operating table and they had be put my arms out and they strapped me on to boards making a "T" out of me.  As I faded out, I told the nurses they were a little kinky.  I slipped off as I heard them laughing at the old white, scrawny bald woman.  

Hours later, I have no idea how many, maybe 4 maybe less or more.  I was slipping back into my body and realized that I was about to be very sick and they had an oxygen mask over my face.  This was not good.  I could not wave my arms, they felt different, but I could raise my left hand and I started spelling v..o..m..i..t...      v..o..m..i..t.  A male nurse looked at me and asked the room if anyone spoke sign language.  The nurse beside me, quickly removed the mask and lifted my head slightly and handed me a vomit bag.  And I did.  As I was busy filling that blue bag, the young nurse was repeating something .  "We have given you the maximum dose of every anti-nauseou meds we have.  We can't do anything else for you."  She was not dressed like the other nurses.  And the Recovery nurses kept teasing her about getting lost.  It turned out she was an OR nurse who had worked with all the other nurses in Recovery prior to moving to OR.  They had been so worried about how sick I got on the table, she had accompainied me from OR until I was released from Recovery.

I had gotten sick on the operating table.  Probably dry heaves because I had not had any for at least 12 hours.   I think I have mentioned before that if I walk past a pill bottle on the counter, I can get sick.  They gave me an antibitotic, pain meds, probably involving codine (yuck) and they used drugs to put me to sleep.  Basically., every drug they gave me has sometime in the past made me vomit and they could not stop it.  I try so hard to be an easy patient, but my body is strong in some ways, not so strong in others, the numbers are usually subnormal not normal, no surprise there.   And any kind of pill I take is possible that it could all of a sudden turn on me the next time I take it.  So I came too, sick.  Really sick.  The spinning started to subside and everyone was hovering over me.  So when one nice looking man walked in between my gurney and the next, I pinched his butt.  It didn't hurt him, but it did catch him entirely by surprise that this little scrawning, pale, old bald woman who was causing such anxiety must be coming around, because he yelled out loud that I was pinching him.  The room came to a halt and the people snickered and went about their job.  

So I don't remember anything from being strapped down to the table until I was waking up finger spelling v..o..m..i..t.  I do remember after I had already had drugs and that it was a regular parade of people in scrubs each carrying a giant chart with my name on it, each stopping by one by one to introduce themselves to me.

I do remember saying over and over in the recovery that I was uncomfortable.  I was completely and utterly amazed.  It had never occurred to me that being cut into was going to change the way I felt from all that energy that morning.  What was I thinking?  How can you go through surgery where they inserted a port on the right side of my chest and took out a node under the left arm, well or course there would be pain and discomfort.  I mean how foolish I had been.  I mean this whole little"c" thing has turned my world upside down so that my perception is completely skewed.  Thank goodness Mary, Judy and Denise had talked about it and set up a plan for taking care of me after the surgery.   It never occurred to me that I would need to be taken care of.  I was going to be just fine. Look at everything I had been through the week before!  I mean ever since I have met Dr. M I have been poked and prodded and cut into and knocked out and sucked dry.  I have had nasueau and not felt so great ever since meeting him.  Of  course I am not complaining, look at what he has been able to accomplish in those two weeks in connection with my little "c".  But it has been pretty unpleasant.  

Judy was finally able to break me out of the place Tuesday night.  They kept threatening to keep me overnight if I didn't feel better.  It was difficult but with that type of incentive I managed to get wheeled out of the hospital.  And I got home and for the next several days I was out of it more then awake.  Judy stayed with me and took care of me and the animals.  Mary and Denise came by as they were able, and that was wonderful, but I was not up to any other visits, or even phone calls.  They gave me hydrocodone with acetamedephin for pain management, I can't take either of those meds, they make me sick.  So for the discomfort I have taken Ibuprophin and that has done just fine.  

But drum roll please!!!  The results are in from the dye tests, it is lung cancer.  No doubt about it. We know for sure lung cancer.  OK, not really what I would have hoped for in the beginning, but that is what I have.  And the doctor will start chemo Monday, this time with drugs to affect lung cancer.  They have taken out a piece of cancer, and it is uncomfortable at the surgical site.  It hurts, but each day it hurts less, and that is how I feel about this cancer.  Now we know what it is, now we can focus those WMDs based on knowing.  Good news.  I understand that Lung cancer is the number one cancer that kills Americans.  But I have a different type of lung cancer we hope.  The genomic testing will let us know for sure.  Dr. M believes I have a specific mutation of lung cancer that is found in caucasion women my age without a history of heavy smoking.  And if I do, there is a treatment that will help me have the fullest longest life possible leaving with a possibly incurable disease.  But time will tell us all of that.  

For now, I appreciate Judy, Mary and Denise all stepping in to take care of me.  I had the animals prepared, but somehow had refused to think about what it would be like physically for me to recover.  And they took care of me and let me sleep and just heal.  And I am healing.

Next week will be a busy week of doctor appointments, but I know what kind of cancer I have now.  And I think I will be more prepared in the future for what is coming next.  No more La de da here, OK, well, maybe I will do my best to understand and think about things before hand, but nothing wrong with a little La de da.  hee hee

La de da.


  1. Kathleen you are a brave woman. I feel awful that medication makes you so ill...even when you are put out! All that upset to your system...well bless your heart and I am happy to know that you have such good friends to tend to you at this time. Home, I bet you were so happy to get home in your bed to recover and face the next phase of chemo. Take care of yourself before this next assault on the "C"!

  2. I am glad you have an answer finally, that the discomfort pain and vomiting got you somewhere a little closer towards health. You are a champion, Kathleen. Hang in there.

  3. I. Love. You.

    I'll probably knit another four inches on Monday of soft, sweet pink poncho.

    Hands, busy. Heart full.

  4. La de da is right!

    Glad you know. Glad you have friends to take care of you. Glad you're feeling a little better.

    Glad there are cute butts for you to pinch

  5. Now that you know, the work to help you can really begin. I find you to be an amazing person. A little la de da is maybe healthy.

  6. I'm rooting for you -- and glad that you have your friends around you -- and their friends. You are strong and I wish you much courage and strength.

  7. I'm glad we have a name for it finally, and we can start fighting back. We're still thinking an awful lot about you, and we're hoping to see you soon. - Jon, Steph, and Colin

  8. I am glad that you known and they know so that the most specific treatment can begin. Take care and hope that you feel better.

  9. I couldn't wait to come see how you were doing... and these words of yours... they are jumping off the page wonderful. You sound so positive.

  10. Keep pinching away! Love ya.


  11. La DI DA indeed. It just seems a relief to know where it's origins are and that it might be a "good" and "responsive to treatment" variety!

    keep a good thought. I will too.