Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Road to Recovery is Filled With Potholes

I'm just finishing up my second week at home after surgery.  This week has been ultra boring.  Mostly because last weekend my incision started opening up.  Ugh.  So I'm trying to make extra sure I'm not doing anything to make it worse.  I guess this is just something that can happen, it seems like there was just extra fluid that needed to come out and it found a way.  It doesn't hurt or anything, but it looks so gross.  On Saturday we ended up, at the urging of my mom and step dad, at the ER.  They said basically the same thing my doctor did, nothing much you can do about it other than keep a wet/dry bandage on it.  I went and saw my doctor last week on Tuesday and yeah, nothing to do.  But in the meantime I have had a home health care nurse come out everyday to keep an eye on it and change the bandage.  That has been really nice and she will be coming out next week several times as well to check it out.  I'm just really hoping that it doesn't get infected because that would lead to a another hospital stay for some IV antibiotics.  Ugh.

So with going to the ER last week that puts me this year at:
2 Urgent Care Visits
2 ER visits
2 Surgeries
2 Types of Cancer
and 2 Hospital stays.
I guess 2 is my lucky number.  I am so over all of this.  And tired of being so bored.  At least starting next week I'll be able to drive again, that will help.  Not that I can go out and do much at this point, but at least I wont feel so trapped.  And really this week wasn't too bad, almost everyday my best friend Brandon was able to come by at some point and hang out with me.

Another hard thing that we have been dealing with is that on the night of my surgery one of our best friends Melanie killed herself.  She has been a dear dear friend for a long time now and even lived with us three different times.  No one had any clue she was feeling this way and the whole thing has been a terrible shock.  And I just can't stop thinking about it.  I'm so beyond sad while also angry and confused and just plain hurt.  She was one of S's very best friends and so of course S is having a very hard time with it as well.  And poor S was one of the first people Melanie's family called to let know and so she was dealing with that on top of my surgery and the very hard time I was having in the hospital.  She was also having to keep it a secret from me because she knew I couldn't handle it on top of everything else.  Melanie was an amazing person.  She was so kind and generous and loving.  She was a truly unique soul who touched our lives in ways we are still discovering.  We would have done anything for her, given her anything, done everything we could have if she had only reached out for help.  But she didn't want help and that's the hardest part, this is what she chose.   I don't think I'll ever understand.  And I know that this is going to hurt for a very very long time. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Liz Strong

I'm out of the hospital and doing great!  The hospital stay was rough, I ran a fever for a few days, didn't eat solid food Sunday-Friday and they ended up having to put this crazy pic line thing into my chest through my shoulder because my IV blew and they couldn't get a new one started.  But I really lucky to have so much support to get through it.  S and my mom took turns spending the night with me and between them and a few friends I wasn't ever alone for more than a few hours.  Now I have a clean bill of health. No more cancer!  No chemo!  No more periods!

Yep, no chemo.  The preliminary results came back and I had stage 1 ovarian and stage one uterine cancers.  My doctor feels they got everything out and I shouldn't need to do any chemo.  Yay!

Speaking of no more periods, hello hot flashes.  Surgical menopause sucks, but I'm dealing with it.  And honestly, its a worth while trade, but I can't help but complain.

So now I just have to wait to heal.  My incision is about 12 inches long and today I got the staples taken out.  It hurts but I haven't had to take anything stronger than Advil so far today.  I can't drive for another week and my mom heads back home tomorrow.  I'm going to really miss her.

I have an amazing family, not only has my mom come down for the last two weeks to help us out, S's mom came for two weeks before hand, my dad and brothers came down, S's step mom and step sister came and helped out and even got us new couches while they were here.  But the most amazing thing has been my brothers.  My two younger brothers have a brewery that is really taking off, one of my brothers comes up with the recipes and brews the beers and my youngest brother designs all of the labels.  They have beer all over the US and in Europe and are doing crazy good.  Anyway, they decided that they wanted to help our family out and so they designed a beer for me!  It comes out in October.  Here is the label:

They wanted to call it Liz Strong but were afraid of getting sued.  So it's Eliza5beth, which comes from high school were I saw a book with a similar title and was tired of being one of several Elizabeth's in school and started adding the silent 5.  And then the animals on the label are our dog Pedro and our one eyed cat Malcolm and our tabby PJ.  The cats aren't with us anymore, but they were near and dear to us.  Ok, so even cooler than having a beer named after you is that they are using the money from the profits of the beer to pay for all of my medical bills.  AND they will be using the profits to donate to Uterine and Ovarian Cancer Research and Awareness.  The bigger bottles will come with a bracelet from Uterine and Ovarian Cancer.  So very cool. I cried when the they told me.

Monday, August 5, 2013

out of surgery and on the way to recovery

Liz made it thru surgery.  Dr said she did great!  She is in recovery and they are having some issues with her pain level, but they think they figured it out.  She should get admitted to a room soon and I will be spending the night with her at least tonight if not more.

What a stressful day and am so happy it is over and my wife is going to feel better!! 

The Dr. said that she would not know if Liz had to do chemo or not for up to a month.  Basically, there was for sure uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.  If they were separate issues, then she will not need chemo.  If they were the same cancer spread, then she will need chemo.  It will take a bit for the tests to get back and then they will go from there.  The Dr. said it is not uncommon for someone this age to have 2 primaries, as in it would be 2 separate cases of cancer and as long as they are low grade, she will not need chemo. 

Either way, I am so happy she is out of surgery.  There seem to be 2 different opinions.  1 group thinks like me and is not as worried about the chemo and such and the other side is more worried about the chemo.  I figure, chemo doesn't kill you and surgery can, so I was much more nervous about the surgery.  Either way, a big scary part is over.

The Dr. felt around and said her diaphragm did not have any growths, her other ovary did not look like it had cancer and the lympth nodes seemed fine.  It seems to me that we are moving into the clear, but they will run some tests to confirm. 

Thank you for all the good thoughts and love and good energy and prayers sent our way! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Surgery Monday

So I meant to update things here after seeing the Oncologist, but obviously didn't get to it.  Sigh.  This week has felt crazy. The appointment went well, though not sure that we have any more answers even though we were there for almost 2 hours. They are running another test to see if they can find out for sure if it is uterine cancer before operating, but they wont know the results of that till tomorrow.  I'm going to be on pins and needles tomorrow waiting for that call. They think I have an ovarian cyst also but aren't sure exactly what it is. So it is possible that I have either uterine cancer or ovarian cancer or both or neither. On Monday they are going to do an open surgery.  They will be taking for sure one ovary and my uterus. They may need to take out my other ovary as well as other stuff depending on if they find cancer or not and what type if they do. I'll be in the hospital 3-5 days. 

My Mom, Dad, and brother are all coming into town to support me and S, which is really nice.  I'm nervous about the whole thing and hoping for the best.  I'll be glad to get this unknown part over with either way.  So, prayers, good vibes, all that sort of stuff is appreciated.