Saturday, October 22, 2016

Boy, oh Boy where has the time Gone!

It's gone to additional medical issues. I did get an air boot instead of a regular cast. Thank heavens too. I ended up having two splints as the heel broke on the first one and second one was put on badly and made a mess of the ankle and scarred up the skin.  When it came time to get a cast, the orthopedic doc was dismissed from the clinic. I ended up seeing an orthopedic surgeon but he is suppose to be a great plastic surgeon. I wore that boot off and on into July.

June I saw dental problems and had one molar pulled and another was scheduled to be pulled; but, other issues darted their big heads up. My seroma, that is located where I had the lumpectomy and radiation had turned into a hematoma and was increasingly getting bigger. When I saw my regular oncologist in July, he recommended having a complete mastectomy. Here it is almost November and no mastectomy and still have the hematoma, although it feels to be getting smaller.

In July, the ankle gave me some problems with breaking out in an ugly rash. Other medical issues were starting to develop with my housemate Jim, so the rash got put on the back burner and I just kept putting stuff on it to take away the itch. I finally got into see my primary and she gave me some lotion to put on it and that lotion finished the job I had started.

In late July, Jim was really having trouble with his back, so off to doc we went and he was given some meds for his back spasms.  Pretty soon the poor guy was totally out of touch with what was going on around him - he was in a constant state of confusion. I cut his meds in half with no improvement, then cut the half into fourths, then quit. His home health nurse and I were just aghast at what had happened to him.

One morning he was in really bad pain and I asked him if he wanted to go to ER - YES he said, can I call the ambulance to get you there because he was too much for me to handle - YES he said. So we spent 4 or 5 hours in the ER and he must have had every test that is available. He was finally admitted to the hospital here in town and then the next day, after consultation with several other docs, he was taken to Memorial Medical Center hospital in Las Cruces.

He was severely de-hydrated and that had started the ball rolling on a bunch of other problems. He has gallstones, but they weren't of importance at the moment, perhaps had had a small heart attack, his kidneys were declining rapidly, bladder infection and the pancreas was in an "itis" form. He spent a week at Memorial and then was transferred to rehab back home and spent 3 weeks there. He finally got the point of understanding where he was and was ready to go home and that was in early September.

Coming home was the best medicine he could have. He still has memory problems but gets around with his cane and can fix a meal or two for himself, does his laundry, is handling showers pretty good by himself and is back to sleeping in a bed.  He got so use to sleeping in his recliner and that elevated position from the hospital and rehab, he wondered if he could adjust back to a bed. He has a home health nurse that comes in twice a week and a physical therapist once a week.

We interrupted everything by taking a week to go back to Kansas to see daughter Juno and the Day of Caring she chaired this year.  Day of Caring is held each October during Breast Cancer Awareness month and her support group, SOS, puts it on each year. The event is a brunch followed by a fashion show. The models are all breast cancer survivors and have a lot of fun doing their "walk" down the aisle. Son was suppose to go with us but instead had to stay home because for his 50th birthday present to himself, he had strep throat. It was so good to see her and meet her new dog Sam. He likes my ear rubs. And I got to finally meet some of the SOS sisters that have been so good for me through my ordeals. That meeting opportunity gave me great comfort.
Daughter Juno, her dad Jim and Sam

Ahhh, mom and daughter

Sam likes my ear rubs.

Upon arriving home, we started a week of doctor appointments and my nose surgery.  I saw my radiation oncologist and he said to "go fly my wings and live"; Jim was to see a nephrologist about his kidney as a follow-up but the rehab center made the appointment with the wrong one; Jim then saw a lung doc and was now officially diagnosed with moderate COPD and given new meds to take (already can see the difference).

That brings us to my nose job.  Well it was necessary, as had a big basal cell carcinoma on the left side of my nose - hence the nose job. It was done by a plastic surgeon in  Las Cruces and it remains to be seen how it is going to turn out.  Right now it is a mess. I have my Halloween mask on already.

And one ugly mess.
To finish out the year, we have 3 follow-up doctor appointments and the one with the nephrologist and we hope that is all we have. Okay, that is enough as it is time for my morning coffee and to enjoy the sunrise.
Some flowers I managed to grow.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

This Is Not My Year. . . .

Oh No! What is that on my leg? Oh it s a splint.
Well, I get to add to the list of "events" - a fractured ankle. Thursday, I had been relaxing in the gravity recliner, got up to come inside and on the second or third step, my ankle gave way and over I went. When I could see the bottom of my shoe I knew I was in real trouble. Fortunately, a wooden bench stopped my fall from landing on the concrete patio. I have been having trouble with the ankles sort of giving out on me for the last couple of years but have been able to catch myself.

Neighbor Helen (who is moving away to Toronto, Ontario to go back to school) came and got me and off to the ER we went. Had X-rays taken and yup fractured the end of the fibula in the ankle area.  The orthopedic surgeon came and applied a splint with all the instructions - don't do this; and do this. Ya, tell a 74 year-old-woman how to walk (actually hop) on one leg and with crutches/walker. I was given excellent instructions and the ER staff wouldn't let me leave until I had started mastering the "crutch walk" and how to get up off chairs.

Called the kids and relayed the latest event in their mom's life. Son came down from Socorro after work on Friday and staying until Sunday evening to help out. Neighbor Arlene said anytime need something - groceries, doc visit, etc - to call as well as Helen is available until she leaves in a week or so.

Emailed my brother and he said to learn how to drive the automatic with the left foot, like he did many years ago when he had a problem.  Guess this old dog, will be learning a few new tricks.

From what I have read the ankle will be in a splint/cast for 4 to 6 weeks. I go in next Thursday (the 12th) to have a cast put on. Meanwhile will learn how to use the crutches/walker, figure out how my plants will be watered (I have a gravel yard) think son is going to put in my drip watering system for me and work out some transportation situations. I drive cancer patients to Las Cruces for doc appts and treatments, so someone else will need to fill in my spots for awhile.

But let's end on some good notes. Jim again continued to have a very low PSA reading and did not need a hormone therapy shot for his prostate cancer.  The Lupron is working to keep the cancer located in several sights in his bones at bay. My seroma (mentioned in the previous post) is slowwwwwwwly shrinking. The bruises that I sustained with my fall from the ladder (and onto it and mentioned in the previous posting) disappeared in less than a couple of weeks. There is a little bit of hip discomfort.

Torn tonneau cover, ribs showing.
One thing I did not mention earlier, is that in coming home from a doc appt. in Las Cruces, I lost about a third of the vinyl overlay on my truck's tonneau cover. That was back in March. The wind gusts blowing at the time were 50-60 mph and one gust got under a corner and from there it was bye-bye. I now have a new Snug-Top truck topper. The match is excellent and my brother and daughter suggested that I dye my hair the same color as the truck! I may go for a streak when my "distinguished" gray spot grows out a bit more.
Big Red with his new topper and me with my shorter hair new topper.

That is it for now. I dare say nothing more.

Monday, April 11, 2016

M-m-m my Seroma, M-m-m-my Seroma

Got one of those. Wasn't fun at first as it scared me. It is located in the area of my lumpectomy; but my docs assured me that it wasn't cancer returning.  My oncologist wanted me to see the surgeon first to see what she suggested or wanted to do. She ended up extracting 4 ounces of fluid from the area and it felt good, especially being able to sleep on the left side. But, that didn't last long as the area filled up again. Went I went back for the follow-up, she wanted to leave it alone - she didn't want to risk infection - and let my body take care of it. And it is as it gone down (slowly) in the last 3 weeks.

A seroma - it is like a bruise (more on that later). She explained that the capillaries located in the area of radiation swell up and as happens occasionally, they get stretched a bit too much and tear open releasing a clear fluid into the area. It is not common but it isn't abnormal. Like a bruise, the fluid will slowly be absorbed back into the body and disposed of. It can take up to a year.

I have started volunteering my time to the local cancer assistance program by driving cancer patients to Las Cruces when needed. I can either use my truck or use the group's vehicle. Some are going down just for a doctor appointment, or radiation. Others go for chemo or tests. Every one of them has had such interesting lives and come from all backgrounds. I really enjoy getting to know them. Today's ride was heart breaking as hers is terminal. She is such a sweet lady.

As usual, I am enjoying the wonders of Spring. Many American Goldfinches are passing through on their migration northward and they have just overwhelmed us in numbers this year. Jim has a feeder outside his bedroom window and they entertain him all day long. I have finished feeding the local birds as it is time for them to find for themselves around here.

The hummingbirds are just starting to come in and as of today we have 3 that I am able to count. They are the black-chinned ones. One has been here before as he knew where the feeders where hanging last year and let me know that I was a little slow on the ball this year.  I had one feeder sitting on a table out in the carport last week, while I was busy fixing something, and he came up to the feeder on the table, flew up to the chain where it was to hang, flew back to the feeder on the table and did that one more time then came over to my face and just flew there in front of me. I got the hint.

My son bought me a Minstead Scotch Broom plant for my birthday and will be planting it on the west side of the home, next to the Spanish Broom. In most states, they are considered invasive but NM doesn't list them as such. They are seen in garden nurseries all over and have beautiful flowers. The Minstead is a pink/purple flower and the two brooms will serve as a windbreak (eventually) for the back door. Daughter got me a gift card and she said in the birthday card to get something for the birds or for my self. I told her - the heck with the birds! I love the Danskin knit pants, so have gotten one so far. When the fall/winter clothes start showing up, I will get me a couple more. Thank you kids.

I mentioned earlier about bruises, well how about this one.  I was fixing something at the edge of the patio cover and needed to give a hard push to something and as I did, I also pushed the ladder away from me. Need I say more? I have an imprint of the ladder leg on the back side of my right thigh - this perfect rectangle outlined in a pretty purple/blue color. It goes from the top of my thigh to about 2 or 3 inches below my knee, with the back of the knee a pretty purple too.  There is a couple of other bruises and NO I didn't go to the doctor.  I am having experiences with bruises this year.  Sorry no pictures, just imagine.

Well, this is all my laptop can handle. It is as old as I am (in laptop years, whatever that is) and is having trouble multi-tasking as I am. So will close for now. I did have to get at least one picture in.
The Minstead Scotch Broom, with sweet-pea like flowers.