Thursday, May 16, 2013

CANCER JOURNEY #20: My 2nd Port Surgery and Other Issues

A lot has happened since I last posted. To quickly review, in CANCER JOURNEY #18, I explained how I needed to take 3 Neupogen shots to help increase my White Blood Cells. The normal range for WBC's is 3.9 and higher. Mine was down to 2.5. I was scheduled for port surgery on Tuesday, and needed my WBC's to be increased in order to reduce the risk of infection. But, in CANCER JOURNEY #19, I mentioned how the first shot caused a big hike in my heart rate, and the doctor said not to have any more. We were praying that one shot would be enough to increase my WBC's to a safe level.

On Monday morning, I went back to the cancer clinic to have my blood levels drawn. It turns out the WBC's increased from 2.5 to 3.0 - still a bit lower than normal, but safe enough for surgery. Getting the old port removed was more important, since there was a risk of the catheter breaking off inside the vein. It was already cracked and leaking, and it wouldn't take much for it to completely break off and cause more serious complications. So, on Tuesday morning, we went in for surgery. They put me completely asleep for the procedure, so I wouldn't be moving around. From what I was told, I have tiny veins which called for intricate work.

The old port removal went quickly. He was in and out in under 10 minutes with that one. But, placement of the new port took a bit longer - more like an hour. Instead of putting a new port in the same place, the surgeon felt it was a better/safer idea to place a mini port in my left arm. It is positioned above the crease of my elbow.

NOTE:  If anyone has trouble with nausea after surgery, due to the anesthetic, I highly recommend you ask for a SCOPOLAMINE PATCH. Out of 4 surgeries since last November, this was my first nausea-free surgery. The patch is wonderful. It is normally used for motion sickness, but works well for after surgery as well.

On Wednesday morning, I went to the cancer clinic for my next chemo treatment. The WBC's have increased even more and are now up to 3.5. That is great! However, my HEMOGLOBIN is still declining and causing anemia. The biggest side effect of the anemia is weakness in my arms and legs, but I have been able to function otherwise.

The clinic nurse tried to access my new port for my chemo treatement, but it was still very swollen and sore. It was hard for her to feel where the port is located without pushing really hard and causing me a great deal of pain. So, I ended up getting an IV in my wrist again for the treatment. I am praying the pain/swelling will be decreased enough by next Tuesday so the port can be accessed.

Three more new things that have recently come about:

(1)  The chemo treatments have caused me to have some mild NEUROPATHY in my thumbs and first two fingers on each hand. This means there is some mild numbness and tingling going on, due to my nerves being effected. The doctor is not too concerned about it at this time, but we will be keeping an eye on it.

(2)  I am holding water, due to the chemo and have gained 3 lbs. in the last week. If things don't improve, I will need to start taking a diuretic.

(3) My right arm (the side where I had the mastectomy and lymph nodes removed) has had some mild swelling, most likely due to LYMPHEDEMA. It is mild at this point, but can get much worse if not treated. So, I will begin seeing a Physical Therapist that specializes in Lymphedema. My first appointment is on Monday.

Through it all, I have had peaceful days, as well as some discouraging days. The days that don't go as well for me are days when I take my focus off of my Creator and the fact that HE is in control of my life and the plans He has for me. My good days are days when I am staying connected to the Lord and accepting his gift of peace - a gift that has been made available to us all if we only choose to accept it. May the peace of the Lord be with YOU today...

John 14:27  - "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the encouragement and example you have been through all this Vicky. You are the type of believer mentioned in the Hebrews Hall of Fame. Your faith has been a blessing to me and has strengthened mine as well. I so appreciate the fact that you are letting the Lord use you in this to glorify Him.

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