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What I did on my summer vacation. Sort of…

July 18, 2012

I apologize for the nearly month long absence from posting. I can give you lots of good reasons why I have been slacker—we went on a much needed vacation, we went through another round of surgery, we suffered through an infection. Truth is, I just didn’t want to post because I didn’t have anything to say. Apart from all of the business going on, I have still been struggling with some pretty significant depression that has kept me not quite curled in the fetal position but has definitely robbed me of any extra energy or motivation to do anything more than the absolute necessary.

So first the medical stuff, the current state of my body—I have had a third surgery that included the removal of a wedge from my lung and additional lymph nodes from my right groin. The lung wedge was as described by my 6 ft 4 in surgeon “about half the size of my fist”. I say that because the size of his fist and the size of my fist is very different. It was a VATS procedure meaning it was a video assisted thoracic surgery also meaning that I have a few stab wounds in my chest and had a chest tube for about 24 hours. They did not have to deflate my lung and instead of a long incision with a wide rib separation I have a small, about three inch, incision on the side of my chest. And a MUCH shorter recovery time. The groin incision was in the same location as the first biopsy site. He started with the same incision but instead of a three inch scar I now have a scar line across most of the top of my thigh. I also had two drains going into my abdomen, down into my groin for about 2 weeks. My skin reacted to all of the adhesive and led to an infection at the drain site that creeped into my incision site. No harm done except it was really painful and has slowed my recovery time by about a week. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I have received permission to start range of motion exercises with my right hip—oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that they rerouted my Sartorius muscle. That is the long muscle in your leg that goes from the outside of your hip to the opposite inside of your knee. They moved this muscle to make a flap over the hole left by the lymph node removal. It hasn’t necessarily limited my range of motion but it has significantly tightened all of my movement and I have some moderate amounts of swelling and soreness in my hip, thigh and knee. That will all go away in time. So, I am back up on it and moving pretty well. I don’t have a quite pronounced limp until the end of the day. I have one more week of ten pound right arm weight restriction and soon I can sleep on my right side again. I am taking pain medicine mostly at night and anti-inflammatory meds are keeping me pretty comfortable during the day. My lower leg incision has healed completely and I no longer have to keep it dressed or wrapped. I think a week of ocean water actually did it some good.

I am have a one month follow up with the chest surgeon, a six month follow up with the oncological surgeon and I am seeing the chiropractor about once a week with some massage thrown in there for good measure. I see the medical oncologist on the 30th to, hopefully, finalize the plan for infusion therapy. While the lymph nodes and lung wedge were not positive for any melanoma, it has a very high recurrence rate once it is in your lymph system and we have chosen to receive infusion therapy to help us decrease the opportunity for recurrence. While there very well MIGHT be no cancer left in my body, we are unwilling to take that chance without being proactive and if it did recur in someplace that was not operable or treatable we would never forgive ourselves. We feel the infusion therapy is the prudent thing to do. Enter the drug study. I will give you more information about that when more of that process and timeline is finalized. The short story is this: I will be randomized to one of three groups, each course is a year or a little more, we won’t know specifics until the research computer tells us which drug I am getting. I will keep you posted.

As for the mental stuff—I am working on it. Depression is such a part of any cancer diagnosis and we have been on such a roller coaster of “what stage?” “How bad?” “What comes next?” that I think I am feeling pretty normal in being mentally exhausted from all the drama, and stress, and surgery, and trying to maintain some consistency and control over my life and keep things steady for the kids. Part of me says that the time to “be strong” has been these first four months and I can let go a little bit and just try to roll with the punches. The other part of me is still wound tight and trying to maintain control of a world that I cannot control—having cancer did not initiate that struggle. I am taking something, I am seeing someone, I am working on it. That is the best I can do right now. It is persistent but waxes and wanes in severity. I am going about my business as usual, I am just a little more touchy, a little edgy, and have a low threshold for anything. I am grumpy and the pain and pain meds do not help that. I am working on it. I will get there.

You will help me just as you have helped me every step of the way so far. You will call or email or text or write and it will lift my spirits when I need it. You will act when I need something, you will act sometimes before I even have an opportunity to ask. We are hanging in there. Keep hanging in with us.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Janet permalink
    July 18, 2012 4:06 pm

    Keep hanging in! As much as I love ur blogs I understand ur energy is focused on healing- physically, emotionally, spiritually. Take care of u!

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