Fluid Reduction

January 26, 2010

O Best Beloveds, I’m sorry for any silence on this end, as I know it can be alarming. But no–it’s just me being lazy. And I’m still having trouble typing. (Michelle, I call for dictation help! If you have the time!) The worst part of this is that I have received a series of deeply loving, floods of tears inducing, supportive wonderful emails and I don’t think I’ve acknowledged a single one. I’m so sorry about such carelessness. I saved every one, and hope to get responses out eventually. But please, if you wrote, I am not ignoring you, you didn’t offend me, and I am deeply grateful for the time you took to write–and to write such glorious stuff.

Meanwhile, new medical procedures to complain about! I can’t recall if I kvetched on here about shortness of breath, but that has been a problem for some time. I would lose my breath while talking (perhaps this isn’t a liability), pant hard and heavily going up our stairs, and have a tough time walking even a block. Dr. Waisman decreed it was fluid on/near my lungs, and that I needed to have it suctioned out which involves a needle and–well, actually, I stopped listening, because I wasn’t going to do it. People, there are limits!

But I spent a few more days choking trying to get dressed, and struggling for air when I went to bed at night, and avoiding going around the house much, and I finally caved. Dr. W. swore it would be easy (he used to do it right in the office), everyone swore I would feel totally better right away, okay, okay, it will be fine. I guess, she said, sullenly.

So off to the hospital–where blood can’t be drawn through my port, yippee–and a two to four hour wait (with no food or water since midnight, my cotton mouth took my mind off my lungs), and me getting more scared (and eager for water) with each passing quarter hour. My fabulous fun nurse, Kari (who later sent us a Xmas card!), helped a lot during this time, and I nearly believed her when she said it wasn’t much of a deal. But finally I was in–Steve got to come along, too, after made him swear he wouldn’t faint (he only came close once)–and the doc explained that I would not get IV pain meds (cue; Mary whimpers), the local should do it, which he puts in and it stings like a bee convention, and I nearly twist Steve’s hand off. I wasn’t sure I couldn’t feel anything, so the doc gave me another injection and then pressed something and asked if I could feel it. No. Okay, the anesthetic is working! And I should say so; he was pressing something like an Xacto knife against me.

Next, guided by a CT scan that showed where the largest fluid pocket was (on my right, surrounding my right lung, which is why I couldn’t get a full breath), Dr. Sharp Objects did something involving a cannala and a very long needle, and we were off. Fluid rushed to fill up a bottle, and then another one. The stuff first looked like clarified butter, which explains a lot about me, I think. Then it was more like cloudy green olive oil (Mary and Dr. S.O. debate whether good olive oil is ever cloudy). All told, they drained one and a half liters. Is that a lot? Doc says if he drained a 6’5″ man he would expect about a liter. As always, my competitive side is delighted; I held out with non-reliable lungs for a pretty long time.

Eventually, though, I began to cough, and it hurt or was hard to breathe, and they stopped and took out all the needles and whatnot.

Did I feel better? No, not really. I was told I would feel great that night. I didn’t. But wait, they said–by the morning,you’ll be a new person! I wasn’t. A week or so after Xmas, I was in Dr. W’s office, and he could hear fluid in my lungs again. That darn cancer working its magic. This is going to keep happening, is the new official guess.

So today, we did it all over again. 1.3 liters this time.

And you know what? I think I can breath a little better,