Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun! Not Fun. Fun! Not Fun.

We had a great time last weekend when we went to visit the Maynors in North Carolina!  We always have fun with Courtney and Lennie and Annabel is finally old enough to play with their daughters Willow (5) and Laurel (3).  We arrived late on Friday night.  We spent Saturday visiting and the day somehow flew by fast.  The girls did a great job of entertaining each other while we visited and relaxed all weekend long.  They have 5 acres and Annabel enjoyed playing both inside and outside.  The girls took turns driving her all over the place in their Barbie Jeep and she got to meet some chickens and their two pigs and dogs, including Frisco The Taxidermy Dog, pictured here.  Courtney's boss gave her Frisco for the girls and Court suspected that he might be a stuffed real dog.  Suspicions confirmed when his hair started falling out and he was examined closer.  This is definitely the strangest "toy" I've ever seen.  Frisco creeps me out!  I think that Courtney and Lennie were trying to phase him out because when we arrived, he was sitting on a high shelf in their laundry room.  Annabel saw him right away and kept telling me "dog" and pointing up.  He made his way down from the shelf eventually and spent the rest of the weekend lurking in corners and staring.  Shiver!  Anyway, the weather was great, so we spent Sunday morning and into the afternoon lounging outside and watching the girls play together.  I LOVE this picture of them together, even though Annabel is picking her nose.  I think it really captured the moment! 

I was feeling a little worn out on Friday before we left for NC, but I assumed it was because I was so busy trying to get ready to leave.  I felt a little weak all weekend, but again, chalked it up to the excitement of (finally) getting out of the house.  By Sunday, my chest hurt really bad and I was not feeling well at all.  By the time we made it home, I had a fever and felt awful.  I called the doctor on call, who told me to start antibiotics right away and follow up in the morning (Monday).  We called Scott's Mom and asked her to come up because I knew that I wouldn't be feeling great even if I did feel better.  I went to the doctor on Monday morning to get checked.  They weren't able to draw blood from my port, so I had to go to the lab, but there was a misinterpretation of the nurse practitioner's orders for a blood culture and they tagged me for a possible blood transfusion!  (They weren't going to give me a blood transfusion, but let me know it was a possibility...I would have had to go to the hospital, etc.)  Anyway, I texted Scott to let him know what was going on and he was there about 10 minutes later.  Count this rescue #1 for the week!  I was glad he was there when I saw the nurse practitioner though.  She apologized for the mix-up.  My counts were really low, but she felt like I had already hit the low point and that my body was working hard to get better.  She ordered up some IV fluids and the blood culture that I was supposed to have initially and said that she would call me on Tuesday to let me know if I had a bacterial infection.  I spent a few hours in the chemo room getting fluids to rehydrate.  I felt a little bit better after that, but my chest was still hurting.  When I got home, I asked Emily if she would take Annabel home with her to spend the night.  I hate to be without her, but I just really didn't feel like I could do much more than sleep. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the nurse practitioner called to say that I did not have a bacterial infection.  I still had a low fever on and off.  She instructed me to call her on Wednesday if I still didn't feel well.  I called first thing in the morning.  I still had tightness in my chest.  I went in to the doctor and they still couldn't draw blood from my port, so I had to go to the lab to have them get it from my arm again (3 pokes in the arm so far for the week).  My counts were higher, but not good enough for my scheduled chemo on Thursday.  The nurse practitioner was puzzled by my chest pain and ordered a spiral CT scan to make sure that I didn't have a blood clot and also let me know that this would show if I had bronchitis or pneumonia.  Luckily, the scan showed up negative for all 3.  I had a meltdown in between the doctor and the scan, so Scott left work to take me for the scan (rescue #2).  Annabel was still in Lavonia with Emily.  Karen was on her way from Chicago.  I was still scheduled for chemo on Thursday morning.  Scott went to pick Annabel up in the evening and later, I picked Karen up from the airport.  I was feeling better, but......

On Thursday morning, Karen took me to the doctor for my scheduled chemo.  No blood from my port again, so I got my 5th poke in the arm for the week (#4 for the dye at the scan).  Unfortunately, my counts weren't high enough for me to get treatment.  I got an appointment for Friday morning to go to the hospital for a port-a-gram to find out why they can't get blood from my port.  Karen and Annabel and I got to the hospital and waited.  When they called me back for the x-ray, Karen and Annabel went to get a coffee and take a walk.  I had assumed that this was just an x-ray, but I was taken to a room and had to put on a gown and lay on a gurney.  When they came in to wheel me to the x-ray room, Karen and Annabel were standing at the end of the hall.  They went to wait in my room while I had my x-ray.  It turns out that the cath on my port somehow got sucked up into a small vein.  The radiologist came in and explained that this can happen and they fix it by running a cath up through my groin to where the cath is now and "snaring" it and dragging it into its proper place.  They are going to stick a hose in my groin and roto-root!  YIKES.  They planned to do it right then and there, but I asked them to wheel me back to my room so that I could send Karen and Annabel home and call Scott to come to the hospital.  They do this procedure with local anesthetic and versed or something, so it is conscious sedation.  Really, I just thought it was an x-ray!  I had a(nother) meltdown.  I am not about asking "what next", but this is just something that I didn't expect.  So, they were getting ready to prep me for the procedure and Karen and Annabel left.  About 5 minutes later, one of the girls from radiology came in to say that she talked to my doctor and the procedure was off.  She wanted my counts up before I had my port fixed.  It was a rough day, but I was glad to get the heck out of there, even though I have to go back.

I have been relaxing at my Dad's house for the weekend.  Karen is in for 10 days to help and we were planning to visit next weekend before she flies home, but I am going to be recovering from my postponed chemo and will likely not feel like travelling then.  We decided to come here late Friday.  It is a good distraction!  I was worried about being away from the doctor because of the crazy week, but I spoke with the nurse and she said it was ok for me to travel as long as I was taking it easy and not exposing myself to germs.  So I have been roosting in my Dad's chair, visiting and playing games on my iPod while everyone is in and out.  We have had great meals and good times.  I miss Scott when he isn't here!  I am sure he needed a break and I know he enjoyed having friends over to watch football on Saturday.  We are headed back to Greenville this afternoon for a busy week of cancer crap.

This week's schedule is about as fun as last week's, but at least I feel much better!  I have to go to the doctor first thing Tuesday morning to have my blood counts checked to make sure I'm good for the port procedure.  If all is well, I am scheduled to have that done on Wednesday afternoon.  Then I will have chemo on Thursday and the Nuelasta shot on Friday.  After that, I will probably be down for the count for a few days.  Despite the trouble and complications last week, the nurse practitioner has assured me that she expects my last 3 treatments to be uneventful.  We just hit a bump in the road!  She attributes my fever/chest pain to low blood counts.  I am not sure that the port and the chest pain are unrelated, but I doubt anyone will be able to tell me for sure.  I am just glad to be feeling better. 

Unpleasant as it has been, one thing that I will say is that there was not a time this week where I didn't feel like I was getting the best care.  The nurses at the cancer center are wonderful.  My doctor was out on jury duty and I saw the nurse practitioner, who I felt was very thorough and personable.  The interventional radiology team at the hospital was great as well.  I felt like I had about 7 people on my case and they were good from the get go, but were sensitive and reassuring when I got upset over having to have my port "fixed". 

I dread chemo, but at the same time, I will be glad to get back on track.  I'm happy to have Karen here to help out, keep me company and distract me from the bad stuff!  I apologize for unreturned phone calls and emails lately.  I got a little overwhelmed last week, but I hope to catch up on correspondence soon!  As always, I appreciate the thoughts and prayers!


  1. Dang girl! You have as many meltdowns as you see fit!!! You are, in my eyes, handling this whole setback amazingly well! I wish we were closer so we could help out. I just wanted you to know that we're thinking of you, Annabel, & Scott!

    Take care,

  2. That dog is creeeepy!!!! Katherine!! You are so strong! I admire you!

    Niece Megan

  3. Wow, what a rollercoaster ride you have been on. and handled it better than i can imagine anyone dealing with this. You are strong friend! Annabel picking her nose cracked me up. and that taxidermy dog-you always wanted a pug! haha.

  4. i also think its funny how Megan is doing Niece Megan after the Meggles thing!!!