Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

After a little more than a week the pain & discomfort of the clots is finally starting to dissipate.  The arms are much improved, from what they were last week when I had to go to the hospital.  Swelling is down in my left arm, and the hard veins in both arms are starting to soften up.

We saw the doctor last night and he was relieved to finally see a big improvement in my arms (there still wasn't much improvement when we saw him just a few days earlier on Monday) and the pain had gone down enough that I stopped taking percoset around the clock, and instead switched to Advil.

Going off narcotics after a full week of taking them every 4-6 hours didn't bother me much until about 2:30 am last night.  I got up to take more Advil but never was able to go back to sleep.  I moved to the couch with Bica and turned on the TV.  I was in luck, two good movies were just starting.  My favorite WW2 Submarine movie, Run Silent Run Deep and a great old John Candy (& Eugene Levy) movie, Armed and Dangerous.  I know both movies pretty well so I was able to flip between both to see all my  favorite scenes.  Unfortunately that meant I was awake for good even if I wanted to sleep.

Maybe I should go back in time for a minute though since in my last post I was in the hospital.  I stayed overnight last thursday night and I was really in a great deal of pain.  The hospital would only give me pain meds every 6 hours (Julie told me later I was giving them too low a number for my pain on the 1-10 scale, probably correct).  I also did not have a private room, instead I had a Pakistani young man in the room who was on the phone (I'm not kidding) non-stop.  In fact I think he had two phones, one of which had a barking dog as the ringtone.  Sleep was out of the question both because of the pain in my arms and the pain the ass roommate.  He finally went to sleep about 1 am, I slept off an on until 4 am when I could take pain meds again.

At 6 am I got another blood thinner shot in my stomach, a practice Julie had continued at home.  6 am and 6 pm she shoots me full of Lovenox (70 mg).

Anyway Julie & my mom showed up at the hospital at 8 am when visiting hours started, and after another day of feeling like I was in a Pakistani immersion course I was finally discharged around 4 pm.  I was in desperate need of a pain pill, but being discharged I had to go get prescriptions filled then head home where I was finally able to relax.

It took until the following Tuesday morning (just a few days ago now) before I could really notice a reduction in pain and swelling in my arms.  But since then it really seems that each day it's a little better.  I can now imagine a time where my arms are not constantly killing me, and I can almost straighten both of my arms.

No telling how long Julie will have to give me these shots, "indefinitely" was the word used by the hospital doctors.  My oncologist wasn't so gloomy.  He seemed to think we could revisit the medication each monday, depending on how I react to upcoming chemo treatments.

Speaking of which I'm not getting treatments this week (did I already mention that above?).  When he saw my arms Monday he postponed treatment and we will revisit on Monday to see if I'm well enough to continue.  Of course that's nice in some ways, I'm feeling and eating better now and without the narcotic in my system I expect to be less sleepy during the day and to sleep better at night.

On the flip side, I would have just one more day of treatment for my final big week had I started on Monday.  I'm ready to put chemo and cancer behind me, for good I hope.  I'm ready to move on with my life.  If I ever have 3-4 months off or more from work again, I want to spend them doing something I love.

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