Monday, February 28, 2011

My Father's Passing

On Feb. 22nd my father entered eternal rest. It was a gentle passing and my hopes and prayers were answered as it was in his sleep and as my mother slept nearby and never heard anything we know it was not traumatic. She awoke at 4 a.m. and he was already gone. She called the hospice nurse to come and then my brother and I went there and and saw him before the funeral home came.

Later we went and made the arrangements and on Thursday, Feb. 24th it was just one service: an hour viewing followed by a funeral service. He looked so wonderful. His coloring was perfect and he was buried with a gold and diamond tietack I had bought him. It was his and I insisted. We left the funeral in a short procession to the cemetery. The state police escorted us (my nephew is a state trooper and his friends volunteered their off duty time.) When we arrived there were two Navy officers. I am posted a picture or of that. They played Taps and presented Mom with his casket flag. Rob took out his phone and snapped a few pictures which turned out beautifully (at Mom's request.)
My mother is doing better than any of us expected. I have been spending most of my time at her house helping. Her sister and niece stayed there all last week and then my sister came from upstate NY and later my brother and his wife. It was chaotic with us five kids and spouses but it all worked out. We were the recipients of constant food and floral deliveries and there was an abundance like I have never seen. Mom had a catered luncheon back at the church after the cemetery and we had those leftovers too! At least a dozen people bought food and some paid a restaurant to deliver cooked food.
I must say this: I am so saddened by the lack of acknowledgement of my coworkers that I have worked with for 3 1/2 years. I cannot focus on that but it has made me realize at a time such as this how just a simple email saying I care or a card means so very much.
I have letters to write and much to do but I wanted to post this and let you all know. I will be out of work until April 1st now. I still have plural effusion (fluid surrounding my lungs) and it causes me difficulty in breathing. I have been running a low grade temp as well. Hoping that will clear up.
OH! The day of my Dad's funeral my son who had been ill for several days went to the ER and collapsed. They admitted him and he was inpatient for three days. He had a bad stomach virus and had to be in isolation. He came home Saturday. He has his own apartment, he doesn't live with me and I couldn't be around him. Rob did go take him magazines and visit with him.
My phone is starting to ring a lot....I have lots to do. Life goes on and I am taking it one day at a time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

UPDATE on previous post

Have been taking my medicine at the much higher dose and with another medicine added to it and I am breathing oh so much better :)
IT is absolutely wonderful to be able to walk to another room without stopping to catch my breath on the way. I cannot put into words the relief I feel.

Weather reversed itself from 70 to about 30 and very windy but still sunny.

I am going to be making a cake (from scratch) that my sister-in-law, Leslie, made. It was scrumptious. It was called harvest cake but she and now I refer to it as apple cake. It has fresh apples and nuts and a light carmel glaze. My kind of cake. I get to use my new mixer. Leslie got a red one for Valentine's Day and named her Ruby. She called last night and asked me what I had named mine. Ummm nothing. She said well then she will be Olive. Yes she is green although more of an apple than an olive but she was so enthusiastic about naming her that I will keep Olive l0l.

I am joyous for the first time in weeks. I can breathe. Something most of us take for granted everyday but when you can't do it, trust me, it's major. Have a wonderful weekend. Spring is around the corner.

Friday, February 18, 2011

So much going on............

Yesterday was a crazy day. It started with me getting a CT scan of my chest to see how the pneumonia was clearing up. When they went to lay me down I was gasping for breath and the technician got upset. I assured here this has been happening for a week and she proceeded after agreeing that I could not elevate my legs on the wedge. When it was done a doctor came in the room looking very serious and began to ask a lot of questions about my heart surgery. I could tell something was wrong but I wasn't really eager to hear about it so I got my DVD copy for the doctor and left. I then went to the eyeglass place to have my new lenses cut for my existing frames. I have to tell you that I have terrible vision and now need progressives. I went to THREE places to price just the lenses and each place sold the same manufacturer and the price was consistently $550.00 just for the lenses! I had to have them. While they were putting the new lenses in I drove and got myself a diet soda. The weather was beautiful and I tried to soak it in. I returned, picked up the glasses and headed home. There was no phone message from the doctor so I was thinking maybe I misread the doctor (which I rarely do.) The mailman delivered my new laptop battery which I had waited weeks for. We had some leftovers for dinner and then I heard the cell phone ring but couldn't get to it before the house phone began ringing and my lung doctor was calling. It seems I have fluid and plenty of it: in and around my lungs. She said I had to up my lasix, doubling it and take potassium with it. I also needed to call the cardiologist and make him aware of this.

I had to run to the hospital this morning for a blood test. Did that and made it home before 9 a.m. when all the phone calls began. I need dr. a to fax this to dr. b etc. They all need copies of things that each has done. I need to see all of them next week.

I don't know where I am....what is the real problem: heart or lungs or perhaps both to some degree. It's scary but I've been dealing with it for nearly two years now. I want answers but they seem so slow in coming. These are not the first doctors who have tried to solve this. Half a dozen of each specialty have seen me. I am following their orders and taking it easy. I really have no choice.

I am trying to keep my mind in a peaceful place and assuring myself that this will get resolved and life will go on. I just want to be able to walk without struggling for breath. Patience grasshopper.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

This is my Valentine. He has not had it easy of late because I have been rather cranky. He has taken over much of my duties here and at times it makes me feel guilty and frustrated. I am very particular about how things (such as laundry) get done. It's very frustrating to me when I see my new black T shirt covered with white lint or some of my clothes have been shrunk. At times I just cry and I know it sounds silly but I don't want anyone doing anything for me. I want to do it all myself. I always took pride in being so independent. Now at night when I have some episodes where I am struggling for breath I feel I am not the same person. Ronni commented that "This too shall pass." I know this is true. It's just finding the patience until it does that I need.
This morning I went for an overdue mammogram and bone density scan. I already know that the area above my navel has thin bones due to radiation. The others seem okay as far as I know. When I was giving my medical history to the technician she looked shocked. When I had to lay down flat for the test it made breathing so difficult she wondered if I could do the test but I did. It didn't take that long and I wanted it done. The walk through the maze of the radiology facility left me tired and breathless but I did it. It was a sunny 55 too which made it so much nicer. I know that I am making slow progress. The breathlessness is something that will never totally be gone as it is due to more than one factor. I have to do the best I can. I have lost weight since my wedding nearly nine years ago. I hope to still lose more if that will help.
One day at at time. That's how I have to do it for now. I have much to be grateful for and I have not lost sight of that. I have survived cancer for thirty years. I deal with the problems now of radiation that they no longer give so much of. Would I do it again knowing all the problems I would deal with now?
ABSOLUTELY. When I feel my lowest I sometimes forget my goal to enjoy each day. It's hard when you feel poorly but I need to focus on the better days ahead and surely, they will come. When I see my first flowers bloom I know that my spirit and zest for life will be replenished.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Day Out

Today I went on my rescheduled eye appointment. It was originally to have been when I was in the hospital a few weeks ago. I needed a visual field test, pictures of my optic nerves and the thorough exam. I arrived at 2;30 and wasn't taken in until three. They were having problems with the machine that takes the pictures of the eyes. I did the visual field first and then they took the pictures which took forever to print out. I then waited about another twenty minutes before I saw my eye doctor. I believe I actually whined to him about being so very tired and explaining this was my first trip out on my own and that the handicapped parking was not available and I had to walk a long way into the building. This is not like me. He has treated me for years and said that he was a little concerned and offered to walk me out. I did order new lenses for my frames that I have. My eyes are so bad and I wear progressives. The lenses will be $600.00. I had priced them three places and all were the same. The cheaper places like Lens Crafters will not make my lenses. It will take about two weeks to get them. My reading prescription had changed a lot causing me problems when I tried to read.

I had made a list this morning of what I was going to do. As I climbed back into the car I decided that I had to scrap that plan. I just couldn't push myself. I was exhausted and needed to curl up somewhere. The fatigue is still with me and I need several naps a day. The coughing has improved somewhat. I still wake up every night several times. I am either sweating, having bad dreams or need more water. We are expecting some rain/snow tonight. I have to call my internist in the morning and see if she can squeeze me in. I found lumps in my stomach. I believe they are from the injections of Lovenox I gave myself but I need to make sure. They are painful and if I roll on them while trying to sleep, they are waking me up.

I keep giving myself pep talks. Sometimes they help and at other times I wind up making myself angry. I just want to be better. I guess I am better, I want to have enough stamina to do something and enjoy myself. I did bundle our tv, internet and phone. We went with FIOS and now have tons of free channels for the next three months. Every couch potato's dream: constant programming.

The doctors agree that I am getting repeat bouts of pneumonia because of not having my spleen. My immune system is weakened by that and age will also factor into that. There is no fix. All I can do is be careful to avoid sick people which is nearly impossible. The key is to get EARLY medical attention once it is clearly becoming pneumonia. Most likely I will need weeks of IV antibiotics each time. Oral medication doesn't seem to work any longer. When I am feeling better I am going to try to research and see if there is anyway I can try to improve my immune system. I do eat lots of foods which contain vitamins and natural chemicals but perhaps there are more.

Looks like my ativan is kicking in and I will be going back to sleep now. Sweet dreams.