Anal cancer

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Phoenix Rising
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I think that when I last updated you, was on December 26th and the only goal I had set myself after having the previous two days of experiences was to do the laundry - I managed two loads and needed a nap - but, on the upside - two loads of clean clothes waiting for more attention is better than two loads of dirty clothes waiting for attention.

Thursday, December 27th - DAY ELEVEN - due to the hospital incident, I now also my radiation appt as well as a review by my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Joe. We did a review of the medical and the medications that I was prescribed (specifically the morphine and my reaction to it) and also to the anti-nauseant - while the Metoclopramide could keep up with the chemo drugs, the added insult of the Morphine and subsequent reaction was just too much. At the hospital, they had given me IV Ondansetron - which, within about 10 minutes had gotten the nausea under control, and IV Hydromorphone for the pain. And, as I didn't have a reaction to either of those drugs, I've now been switched over to them and when I am up (which is for limited times during the day) they are working
better for me). Dr. Joe examined my tender bits, but, unfortunately (for Dr. Joe) his rubber glove
stuck for a brief moment on a very tender area and I reacted instantly and physically ......... I'm sorry to say I hit the poor doctor (who is REALLY, REALLY nice) and his response was, "Oww, you don't
have to hit me". I immediately felt awful and apologized and he said it was okay and gave me a
hug. He said it was the first time he'd ever been hit by a patient. (I don't doubt it - he's such a nice guy) - REALLY - I was just a response (at least I know my "flight or fight" is still intact, although I'm
not sure that is any comfort to him).

I had decided that I didn't want to do all the getting ready to go to ictoria overnight (even though George made me, MADE ME, bring an overnight bag just in case for some reason we needed to stay) I wanted to be back home and in my own bed on started on the new meds, and hoped that that
conversion would make be feel a bit better overall. At about 3:30 heading home, I noticed that I was getting twitchy and felt a bit off, so, I started taking my temperature and between that period and when we got to the drug store for the prescription upgrade I hit over 100 F, four times. When we
were leaving the drug store I took it one more time to determine if we were going to be heading left (to the hospital) or right (to home). It was back into the high normal range ... for about an hour then up again to 100.7F and we called the medical oncologist who advised we were to immediately go to
the hospital and she would call ahead and advise them that there was a possible Febrile Neutropenia cancer patient coming in.

So off we went, taking the overnight bag that had been packed earlier for the trip down to Victoria (because if the fever 'stuck', I'd then get the pleasure of an ICU visit for six weeks, IV anti-biotics, and my treatment for this cancer would be stopped). As much as I AM NOT enjoying the treatment and what it is doing to me and my body and my mind - I want it over with - SO, it is imperative that I avoid anyone with bugs. While I'm home, I'm pretty safe, because I expect that family and friends will think through whether they or anyone they've been in proximity to and stay away from me - when we need to go out for other things, from this point, it's mask on for me. We got to the hospital, masked up, were checked in a taken to a private room in emergency (with it's own, patient only bathroom) and staff that came in masked before working with me. First came the blood fairy who took not tubes of blood, but freekin' BOTTLES (like they used to serve in-flight) for blood cultures, then came the ECG lady with her long loops and leads to check my heart, then the urine sample, then the blood fairy AGAIN with the same routine (samples 10 minutes apart), then the doctor check, and then the
chest x-rays, (and this is just for the work up!). My temperature now sits at high normal and they decide to send me home as they couldn't culture anything, BUT, because they couldn't culture anything and I was still not "normal" released with another prescription for Ciprofloxacin for that night
and the next morning with a note to my oncologists to follow up on anti-biotic therapy, oh, yes, and because it was now 10:30 at night and I hadn't had any of the other meds I should have had by now and was twitchy - 1 mg Ativan. The Oncologist from Victoria called me on my cell and told me that as my Neutrophils were still above 1.0 (they had dropped from Sunday at 2.93 to Thursday at hospital to 1.4) I should continue with the Chemo drugs and see another Chemo doctor on Friday (Dec.28) when I came in. Most of the medications I have, need to be taken with food and on a schedule, so it wasn't straight to bed for us when we got home - it was home and food and get ready for bed, and TRY to relax - we made it to bed just after midnight, and set our alarms to wake up as we needed to head for Victoria by 10:00 a.m.

Friday, December 28 - DAY TWELVE - hard getting up and getting going, but, we managed. George went up and let the animals out and Lisa showed up and cleaned them all up for us. Sweet niece. :-) First appointment was to have radiation treatment, then to see the nurse for a check of my skin and
how am doing and to get my lab requisition for Sunday, and then to see Dr.McGhie (the medical - chemo - oncologist), Dr. Joe also stopped by, but sat on the other side of George. I teased him about it, and he said that he thought there might be something wrong with the physician exam chair and
also to let me know he'd started taking Kung Fu lessons ......... :-) In jest of course, as he came over and gave me a warm handshake before leaving. Dr. McGhie felt that it would be prudent to continue the anti-biotics for a week and the Nurse felt that due to the continuing weight loss I should start
taking Boost or Ensure to try and keep my calories up so that my body can heal. Dr. Joe prescribed some Zylocaine jelly for my sore bottom as trying (and even sometime managing) to have a BM is agonizing to the point of tears and feeling as if I am going to throw up. He felt that this is due to some
swelling of the tumour due to the treatment with it then blocking the "exit" route. Dr. Joe also prescribed some Proctol lotion for the same area - anti-biotic and corticosteroid to help with the swelling and soreness. The drive home wasn't too bad with the new anti-nauseants, and pain
meds - plus, rather than taking the Tracker, we took the big Ford 350. And, just in case, we put a sleeping bag, pillow, and snuggle blanket in the back seatfor me in case I started to feel rough. So that's day TWELVE down of TWENTY-EIGHT - almost half way there.

Yesterday - Saturday, December 29th - was a day off from treatment, but was regardless a very hard,
and emotional day. Attended the funeral of a friends son, who had, for reasons unknown decided that life wasn't worth living anymore and had given up and given in. 26 years old and it's OVER - no chance to find that perfect partner, be blessed by his first child and then experience the joy of
building a life and relationships and having grandchildren enter his life. All gone. I've known his Mom since he was seven and of all three of her children, this youngest one is not the one that you'd have suspected of having difficulties dealing with issues and having any signs of depression - in fact, there was NOTHING. Just normal life and normal days. Mom went to work in the morning and found her
youngest child dead on her return. The funeral was held at Telford's (same place that had assisted last year when my dad died - and the fellow I knew from way back in my Attorney General - Coroner's Office days, some 30 years ago). I asked a favour about waiting in the office from earlier than the funeral to the actual start time - naturally, I wore a mask and Venus and Andy arrived early and commandeered 4 cushions chairs right at the back, for them and George and I. However, it was standing room only inside the chapel and down the hallway and with the exception of the area directly in front of me (which went right up the aisle) it was packed in there (there were a few people that thought about just standing in front of me, but they also saw the mask and stepped aside. My plan was to have been to be last in to the chapel and first out; however, I had to change it - given the number of people that kept arriving I then just decided to wait until most everyone had left. At one point, my mask was so wet from tears at the tragedy and waste of it all, that I was glad I had brought a second mask in with me.

Today - Sunday, December 30 - is one of my days off treatment. We had a lovely sleep in and I got up and had my first sitz bath of the day and George made me my egg/toast/juice/tea/pills breakfast
after I was finished. I decided to get caught up on my update - which I now have :-) - and then
snuggle on the couch in front of the fire that my sweetie has made me. We needed to head over to the hospital later this afternoon for another huge whack of lab work, but then, back here for more
snuggling. :-)

It's back to Victoria for just the day tomorrow for radiation and lab results / pharmacy and that's DAY THIRTEEN and then New Year's Day off, and then Wednesday, January 2nd, marks DAY FOURTEEN - half way there!!!!! The Nurses, the Radiation Technicians, the Radiation Oncologist and Chemo Oncologist all feel that I'm still right on target (despite the hospital visits) and my skin is looking good.

I know you are all thinking of us and praying for this treatment period to go through as smoothly with the least amount of complication as possible andI thank you all for that - bless you all - keep those positive vibes coming. :-)