So last week I had my sigmoidoscopy on Thursday to try to figure out why I was bleeding. If you don't know what this test is, it is like a colonoscopy but they only go part of the way up the pipe. Dr. Ellington had told me that I did not have to be put under for the procedure if I didn't want to. There are two problems with that scenario. First, I like versed and feel great when I wake up from being put under with this med. Second, I couldn't imagine staying awake for a procedure where someone is sticking a large tube in a place it doesn't belong. That gives me anxiety just thinking about it. Before checking in, I had gone up to the oncology floor to have the chemo nurse, Carey, put in my port line. I did this just in case they needed a line for any meds during the procedure. When I arrived at day surgery, everything started happening faster than usual. They pulled me back quickly and had me change into a gown. The nurse in day surgery asked if I was going to be put under for the procedure. I told her I thought I would do it without meds. She said I could change my mind if needed before they got started. It wasn't long after this that they took me to the endoscopy area. I had been told my sigmoidoscopy was going to be at noon but everything happened faster because the case before me was cancelled. It was probably good that everything happened so quickly because then I didn't have too much time to rethink it. Luckily, I felt pretty comfortable because the same nurse, named Casey, that did my colonoscopy last year was with me again. She assured me that the procedure would be fast (like 5 mins) and wouldn't be too painful. We agreed too that since I had chemo after that, it would be better to stay awake. The next thing I knew, Dr. Ellington was in there and ready to go. It was too late to back out now. This is where it gets funny. So thank goodness there are 3 televisions in the room including one staring me in the face. I was getting nervous at this point because the scope was facing the ground and about to head my way. The next thing I see, to my dismay, on the t.v. in broad view is my big butt! Dr. Ellington had turned the camera toward my rear while getting everything ready for the scope. It's bad enough looking at your own rear in the mirror at home, but then to broadcast it to everyone in the room was humiliating. I wanted to start laughing but all I could do was lay there and sweat. The only cool thing about being awake during all this was that I got to see the inside of my intestinal tract for the first time. The doctor did end up taking a biopsy of a small spot that he called a lipoma. This is basically a little fatty tumor. He wasn't that worried about it but just wanted to make sure it was a lipoma based on my past medical history and family history. He saw again, like with the colonoscopy, that I had internal hemorrhoids. Friday they called me from Dr. Ellington's office and said that the biopsy turned out fine. I guess the bleeding is just from the hemorrhoids being mad at me from the chemo. Praise God they didn't find anything out of the ordinary. I finished up down in day surgery and then grabbed a bite to eat before heading up to chemo. I spent most of the afternoon up there in chemo, and the good news is that I'm halfway done with taxol. I've been having a little more tingling in my hands and feet lately, and now I've got a bigger problem. The left side was the side that had the cancer and where they took the 12 lymph nodes. I have always had a nerve pain going down that arm that fluctuates based on my activity level. Now, that pain has gotten worse and I've developed something called axillary web syndrome. It is basically a rope-like cord that pops out of your arm when you try to raise your arm. If I try to straighten my elbow or raise my arm very far at all, it feels like something in my arm is going to rip and that nerve pain shoots down the whole arm to my left thumb. The other problem is that my left hand and wrist have started swelling off and on. I've been wearing compression garments on that arm to try to prevent lymphedema from completely setting in. I'm going to start seeing one of our occupational therapists that specializes in lymphedema and treating axillary web syndrome this Tuesday. I'm just ready for this arm to stop hurting and to have full use of it. As most of you know, between my job and my active lifestyle I don't sit still very long. I also don't do well with someone telling me to not use that arm much. Again, I'm hard headed. I'm just hoping to get some of this stuff to resolve and move on without any more complications.
This week I have a few things going on. I have an appointment with Dr. Proffer, my plastic surgeon, on Tuesday to talk further about my expanders and the implants that will replace these. I figure my second reconstruction surgery will be around June of this year. Then, I see Dr. Pruitt, my oncologist, on Wednesday for a check-up before chemo that day. My counts were down a little last week and his nurse had to lower the cut off number on my white blood cell counts just so I could still do my chemo. If this continues I may need another $13,000 shot called neulasta to try to get my numbers up. I want to continue chemo without any breaks to not only get them over with but because I want them to be as effective as they can be on the cancer. I guess that is all the updating I have for now for me, but I want to tell you really quickly about my cousin. Her name is Lori Covey. She just found out a few weeks ago that she has breast cancer. They had scheduled her double mastectomy for this Tuesday and then they made her go see her gynecologist this past Friday. She had some tests run, and she was told she has a large mass in her ovaries. They think the cancer has spread to her ovaries. Please, please pray for her and husband and children. She is 41 yrs old and this is a lot for anyone to take in. She is still going to have her surgery Tuesday along with the first stage of reconstruction. Then, they are thinking they will do chemo to shrink the tumor in her ovary before doing a hysterectomy. I'm praying for peace and comfort for her along with successful surgery and recovery. She's a fighter and is going into this with her boxing gloves on. Well, I'm tired now and need to get some shut eye in preparation for another busy week. God bless and thanks again for following me during this journey. Love y'all. Shay