Archive by Author | Cindy's Cancers

#148 The Best Friend & My Husband


Being someone’s best friend means a whole lot of responsibility. I have other friends but my #1 top of the list best friend has been proving herself to me in ways that I never dreamed would come into play in our relationship.

When I found out that I did have breast cancer for sure and had started making all the appointments for all the other Dr’s.  I kept trying to call Diane in between all the phone calls…but she never did answer the phone for that whole week. We do live less than a 1/2 mile from each other, and if I didn’t tell her about my diagnosis soon I was going to have a huge melt down. I was trying so hard to keep it together so I didn’t make everyone else lose it while I gave them my awful news. I couldn’t wait anymore so I got into my wheel chair and pushed myself on over to her house a few streets away. She was on the phone when I went into her kitchen to find her and as soon as she hung up with whoever she was talking to she looked at me and said “you have cancer don’t you.”, I shook my head yes and we sat down to drink coffee and talk for a while. She told me that she had purposefully been ignoring my calls because she couldn’t take hearing if for sure.

 

All the time we’ve had to deal with me being sick there was a never-ending flow of friends, family and many gifts, some of paintings, some flowers were sent to me and some people sent me money when I really needed it the most. Let’s not forger the pounds and pounds of M&Ms that I couldn’t help eating…I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings ya know.

Anyway, we have had some people offer to help out around the house or just sit and read with me because my eyes don’t focus very well anymore. But for every ten people who offered to help us out only one or two actually came to help at all. I know people mean well when they offer help but that’s not something that anyone should take lightly. I really did need the help that was offered but we ended up going without or just doing the best we could to keep the house looking at least partially clean. Especially now when I have a 24 hr cough that never goes away. I couldn’t handle getting any more health problems. Here where I live we’ve been getting a lot of dust in the air (even inside through the filters).

 

When my sister Elaine decided to come to visit and stay with me, literally at my side, she did everything she could do to take care of me. She was amazing at remembering when all of my meds were due and she jumped awake every time I had a coughing fit in the middle of the night. Again I’ll never remember everything that she did but I could never thank her enough.

 

When Elaine went back home last month my bff Diane literally moved into my guest room so that she and Rick could take turns taking care of me when I needed someone to help me . Between the two of them I’m well looked after. I  had trouble all along with letting anyone help me take a bath but I’ve been told to only move when I absolutely have to. I broke down and with the help of a shower chair Diane has now seen all the scars from all the missing body parts and procedure scars. She’s been my friend for about 27 years now and I’ve never let her see all old my scars so I thought she might be a little shocked, she wasn’t and I now have baths more often that I could before. That’s not all she does. I won’t give you a list but she and Rich are taking turns with doing everything in the house, except when Jesse’s friend Danny stays over night to listen for my cough (Jesse works nights) and Rick and Diane are running on empty. I wish that I could do more than say thank you to them all the time but I think that I make it very clear how appreciative that Diane left her own family at her house and came here to care for me.

 

For those of you who understand bc lingo, it’s 6x9cm now and counting. My lungs are giving me a problem, but only when I want to breath so I’m working on holding my breath as long as I can at a time. I have to get back into bed now . I can’t believe that writing takes all my energy right out of me. My one and only thing left that I really love to do and it’s slowly fading away…just like everything else it seems. I’m trying to stay in a good mood and since I’ve needed him home all the time I decided that Rick should accept an invitation to go our for crab legs. He loves that kind of food but I never did so he’s probably missed out on a whole lot of having it for dinner. I promised him I would still be alive when he came home and scooted him out the door. He really deserves a night with a friend right now.

 

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#147 Thank God my nurse works night shifts


Yesterday I wasn’t doing very well and I was in a terrible amount of pain. Normally I would be able to push the button on my IV pain meds and then I would feel a little bit better. When I push that  button it gives me a whole hours worth of pain meds all at once. I know that I have a nurse coming this morning to set up a new IV bag so I figured I would just wait for her to come and tell her that my pain button wasn’t working for the extra pain meds. I guess it was about 9pm last night when everything on my IV meds quit working at all. The only pain meds that I take are in that bag so I hadn’t been getting pain meds for hours before I knew what was happening and I had to call my nurse late last night to ask her to come to my house right away and fix it. She was yawning when I was telling her on the phone what was happening, but she came right over.

I told her that I was really sorry that I had called her at home after she had worked all day but she made me feel better about calling her. I like my nurse…she understands what the pain can do to people. She ended up having to take the needle out of my port and insert a new needle and luckily the new one flushed perfectly. I was in so much pain by the time that she had it working right again that I actually felt the pain meds go into my body, normally I wouldn’t feel the pain meds at all. I asked her why that would happen and she said that I was moving around too much. I hardly do anything at all and now just taking a bath is a big deal. I don’t know how I can do less that I already do.I think I’ll spend my time watching a movie this morning so I don’t try to clean anything because I know I’ll hurt myself if I do. I do have a box of M&Ms and a pot of fresh coffee to comfort me.

My best friend Daine was here for days doing dishes and cleaning my floors so I think that just watching her do all the work that she did was what hurt me. I did probably do one or two things without realizing I was doing anything at all because she was doing so much. I don’t know how she has put up with me for twenty seven years (I think), but she’s the only reason that my house looks as good as it does. Thank you Daine! I hope you’re coming back soon, but for visiting or watching a movie or something.

 

#146 Humility, my own lesson with it


My take on life is most likely not what everyone else sees. Things that used to be very important to me are way back in the background, and different things are up front now. First lets take my morning routine. I wake up a little later now than I used to because I get up every few hours throughout the night. After each four-hour ‘nap’ I try to do one or two things that I would have before waited for the afternoon to get working on. Then there’s sleep its self. I have to take pills for this that and the other(right now I have pneumonia again) that usually makes me a little sleepy so the four-hour sleep thing actually works out fine. I would have thought that only sleeping in four-hour intervals would make me tired all the time, but it gives me a little bit of time after each four hours to do a few things. This morning I woke up and had a cup of coffee and read a few pages of my book and decided that I might have enough energy left to knock out a quick post.

I know I’ll have to write it quickly because I’m already getting tired, hopefully the coffee will help with that so that I can stay up a while longer. I have my M&Ms too so one more cup of coffee and I’ll be fine . I have a friend who I haven’t seen in a few months that showed up a few days ago and wanted to know if it was all right if she came to stay with me for a while to help with all of the housework and to keep me company. It’s nice to have people come over to see what they can do to help us out. We need help all the time so we have friends coming and going throughout the days. Some just come to keep me company and those are the ones who can’t help with any other needs. I think that kind of help is so precious. I’m not one who normally likes to have a lot of people around the house because I’m embarrassed that my house isn’t always clean anymore. That doesn’t seem important these days. I told her that she’s welcome to come and help out for a while. She should be here sometime today.

Then we have the bills. I can’t ever find the words to convey how embarrassing it is to have to admit that we can’t make ends meet anymore. I’ve always hated having to admit that we need help but I’m putting my pride away and asking for help in different ways. First we just signed up for state services for food and health insurance for Rick, he needs to be able to keep taking care of his heart. He went for over a week without taking his heart pills and never told me because he knew we had no way to come up with enough money to pay for his meds. We now have decided that we can’t just go without some things.

I’m setting up a way for people to help us financially if they want to. I think Elaine is working on a way for people to help in different ways. Some want to mail a check and some want to pay bills directly, and some just want to send cash or a money order. Elaine will make sure that if you want to help financially then it will be excepted in whatever form you wish. I think that letting people send us money is right up there at the top of embarrassing/humiliating. I’ve come to accept that it’s alright for me to say when we need help, and boy do we need help! Like I’ve said before we have helped so many other families when we were able to over the years and I wish I knew how hard it was for the people we were helping. I always just figured that they were happy to have some financial relief and that was the end of it. Well, that is so not the end of it. I remember feeling so happy about giving people whatever they needed, but I think that now its my time to learn how other people feel about having to except charity. Thank God we’ve never had or used credit cards, I don’t like to make payments on things, so if we didn’t have the cash to purchase anything we just saved up for things.

I think that I missed this entire Christmas season because I did everything but hide in my bed to stay away from people. I wanted my family to have a good time, but I think that I could have helped to make it a better holiday, even without any money. I know that my mood swings are coming from all the meds and the pain I’m going through. I’m so used to having a lot of pain but this is way more than what I’ve ever had to deal with…and it’s only going to get worse. I did finally get my mother to agree to take me to make my final arrangements while I’m able to have a say in everything. Of course I have a long time to go yet but I didn’t want to wait until I can’t go with the family to choose what I want. Rick and mom need to make theirs as well. I don’t think that anyone should wait until their too sick to go and have a say in their own final wishes.

I might think about things differently now but it’s only because I don’t want all the difficult things left for other people to take care of. My muscles are all very stiff when I wake up…every time I wake up, but then it gets a little better as I get up and move around a little bit. I get very excited when I’m able to finish any chore on my own, and I make sure that everyone in the house at the time knows that I accomplished something on my own. Here is a recent pic that was taken just hours before my sister Elaine left to go back go back to NC.:

Myself and Elaine

#145 I’m still here…I think?


I had the most pleasurable stay in my new Hospice inpatient unit lately and just arrived home Christmas day…I think. I don’t remember things very well anymore so if you need info on anything that is important, for God’s sake don’t ask me. I was having uncontrolled pain so the hospice team thought that I should be under their care at a facility that I know was supposed to be in kind-of-a hospital setting…but it was really more like a resort.

I was in such terrible pain when I arrived there, and it took an entire day to get the Medical Director in there to see me (he thought he should be the one seeing me because all of my prior medical issues with getting the right treatment) and then I waited hours for a nurse to come that was trained to hook up my port to give them IV access. It seemed then like it took forever, but considering what they were able to accomplish, it was a very short time after all.After all of that and a few more hours to have the meds delivered…they did it. They knocked down my pain level to a level that it hasn’t been in years. I’ve told you all about the tumor pressing on nerves (my own conclusion by the way) but when I told the Medical Director where all I was having pain he said that I was absolutely right.

It’s not often that any Dr would agree with me but this one did a through medical exam and after feeling the tumor he actually said “Oh my God! that’s way bigger than on the scan” Finally someone listened to me and understood that I knew what my future was looking like. It only took a few minutes for him to decide to give me the only medicine that has ever work on pain for me and he ordered that I have a Patient Controlled analgesic pump. He actually told me he was going to give me higher and higher doses of it until I felt better. I didn’t want to be in a haze and he didn’t want me sleeping all the time so we found the right amount that worked for me.
Now I’m home again. I did have to go in another time to increase the dose, but I think I’ve found the right amount of medicine to continue to let me function.

Now, when I say function, I don’t mean doing anything that takes much energy at all. I’ve had to have a hospital bed brought in because I can’t climb the stairs in my house without hurting myself.
I keep trying to do more around the house but I only end up hurting myself.My sister Elaine has come from NC to help out for a few weeks and my friend Diane has been here a lot decorating and cleaning.

This month I’m focusing on trying to raise money to pay some bills that I just can’t put off anymore. I did manage to get together enough money to pay all of the household bills…now I have to get my car paid for. I own my car free and clear…However it has a repair that has to be done before I can take it to get current registration. Rick called the insurance company to let them and the department of motor vehicle to let them know that the car isn’t being driven because of repair issues.

I’m trying to find a way to set up a legitimate bank account for people to donate into (so they know that this is all above table). I’ve done fund-raisers before but never for myself, so I’m at a loss as to how to start it. In the past I would always choose families for Christmas or friends of our kids’ families and have car washes. Now I know how it feels to have to ask for help, and it’s a horrible gut wrenching feeling that I don’t wish on anyone.
Hopefully it isn’t too late to talk to Santa?

#144 I’m about to lose my mind!


I’m still really sick from changing my pain meds and I’ve been trying to sleep as much as I could, but I keep waking up every two hours in pain. I know that I’ll be better soon but when you’re in this much pain it’s really difficult to be patient about it. Rick and Mom took care of Thanksgiving and I pretty much just tried to stay out-of-the-way. I guess it’s better than last year when they had to bring me dinner in the hospital. I’m trying to look on the bright side…but it isn’t very easy right now. I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I feel like I can’t do a damn thing anymore without having to pay for it for days afterwords. I wanted so badly to have the house looking nice for my family to come here for Thanksgiving  dinner, and I didn’t do that much, at least not enough to put me in the shape I’ve been in since then. My whole body hurts, and I know that some of that is from switching my meds, but just for one day I would like to feel healthy.

 

I was looking forward to getting the last check from worker’s comp so we could pay for the bills far enough ahead for Rick to start getting a paycheck. Because Rick had been released to go back to work we expected a final check from worker’s comp, but it was nowhere near what we thought it would be. I honestly have no clue how we’re going to get through the next month. Rick is out right now trying to find a job that he can manage without hurting himself anymore than he already has, but we didn’t know that he was going to be cut off like he was. On the bright side, now we can settle the claim for the personal injury, and hopefully it will at least cover all the bills. I’m not even thinking about buying Christmas presents anymore. I’m more concerned with just getting by. I don’t even have the heart to put up the tree. I had planned to put it up days ago, but I could barely move so I figured I would just wait until I was feeling better. So much for feeling better.

 

I know Rick will get hired on quickly with all the experience he has under his belt. I just can’t believe that all this shit happens to us. I’m starting to feel like the universe has it out for me. With any luck at all we might get the settlement money from the accident before Christmas. But with our luck the attorney’s fees will be more than the settlement. Just another case of truth being stranger than fiction. Rick told me not to worry and that everything would work out fine, but at this point I’m having a really hard time not worrying. I probably shouldn’t have put all of this in my blog, but I’m stressing about it and this is how I process everything. I hope nobody reading this was looking for a happy post.

 

I just found out about the worker’s comp check (or lack there of) so maybe I’ll be in a better mood later, but right now I don’t think I could take anymore bad news. I’m all out of sunshine! I think that considering my situation I need and upside down pink tree…it seems so appropriate.

https://i0.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3249/3134177075_7681af0889_z.jpg

 

 

#143 Yep, I’m still here


Even though Rick has been in a tizzy about getting his pc to work again I really didn’t want to miss out on my morning posts, luckily my lovely daughter suggested that I use the laptop that we gave her last year for Christmas to be able to write my posts with. Jesse can be a huge pain in the ass sometimes, but she also is the single most kind and generous person I’ve ever known. When we bought her this laptop we also bought two others for Justin and Ashley. And because we aren’t rich, we went to a reconditioned laptop store and were able to get all three, with new cases for less that we would have paid for one brand new one. All three kids were happy though because we had been telling them that there might not be any presents under the tree at all because we were hurting so badly financially. Rick would sell a kidney to be able to give our kids what they want for Christmas, but as they get older the presents seem to get more expensive…go figure.

So this year Rick and my mother want to have the holiday family get-together at our house. I tried to get out of it because I would have to go over my house with a fine tooth comb just so that I’m not embarrassed to have family here. Don’t get me wrong, they would probably not give a shit what my house looked like…it’s all me. I did manage to get the entire downstairs cleaned to my satisfaction, and then I spent the whole day yesterday trying to nurse the pain I had caused myself by doing things like reaching up with a swiffer duster while standing on one leg with nothing to hold on to just to clean my ceiling fan. Every time I touched the damn thing it started spinning around. Jesse and her best friend were told that they had to clean Jesse’s bathroom and the downstairs bathroom before I would give them the car keys to take all their friends skating. I still have to do a little more on the bathroom that Jesse ‘cleaned’,but at least she tried. She hates to clean.

This morning when the pharmacy opens I have to go and pick up my new meds. I haven’t taken this particular kind in years, but I do remember that one of the reasons that I didn’t want to keep taking them before was because they gave me way too much energy. Rick would have to demand that I sit in the recliner and take a break after six straight hours of doing chores. Now with as much as I need more energy just to do simple things, I’m hoping that it will work better for me this time. I do remember that it worked great for pain though so I can’t wait to see what happens.

Rick also told me yesterday that he wants to put up our Christmas tree today. I guess he wanted to have the house decorated before the family comes over. Last year he didn’t help at all, Diane and I had to do it ourselves while Rick watched TV pr played his games. To be honest I really don’t remember because I had my hands full of lights that someone had just thrown into a box. I am curious to see what decorations we have left. Every year more seem to hit the void. My favorites are the ones that my kids made for me when they were just old enough to be able to write their own names on them. I think everyone I know has at least one tiny little popsicle stick snow sled with glitter on it, and a red ribbon to hold it to a tree branch.
So today while Rick starts digging out all the Christmas decorations, I’ll be sitting in the middle of them all trying to figure out which lights are still in good working condition.  I’ll gently pick out the broken balls ans play where’s waldo to find enough extension cords to be able to plug everything in. I really don’t enjoy the process…but I love having the tree all lit up in the evenings leading up to Christmas. I also have a green and white wreath that hangs on my front door, this is the closest one to mine that I could find a picture of…except that my front doors are white so it looks really pretty. Happy holidays everyone. cin

#142 I’m being forced to take a break…I don’t like it!


I am unwillingly going to take a vacation for a little while, just until I can either get my computer fixed or find a nice cheap used one that will do what I need it to do…which isn’t very much really. Normally, I write a post every morning while I have my coffee and M&Ms, but I think that I’m going to have to take a break for a little while. Not that I want to…because I really don’t. I just don’t have a choice.

Not too long ago, I caught the cord of my head-set on the front of my wheelchair,  I didn’t realize that I was tangled up in it before I started to back away from my desk and saw that my computer tower was slowly tipping over. It literally looked like is was falling in slow motion so I didn’t panic and try to catch it, I thought that if I did that I might do more harm than good. So, I held the cord to the head-set and tried to let the tower down as slowly as possible. Even when the tower made its way all the way to the floor it didn’t make much of a sound at all, and nothing looked damaged at all…not even the head-set cord had anything wrong with it. I went to refill my coffee, which was what I was trying to do to begin with, and I came back to write my morning post.

Everything was going along as usual until I realized that I was hearing a very loud beep coming from the computer tower. I had no clue wait is was, and after writing a few more lines I decided that I might have shaken something lose in the tower and that I should just save my blog post for later and re-start the computer. I shut it down and tried to restart it…but something went very wrong. I must have done something really bad for it to not even be able to start Windows. I begged my husband, although he didn’t want to do this at all, to open the tower and just look to see if there was anything obvious…like a loose wire, or something unplugged that he could just fix and I could get back to my writing. Nothing found, and he gave up.

My little brother knows pretty much everything about computers, but he has a very demanding job as well as a family with two little kids, so you can see why I wouldn’t want to ask him to check out my problem. I didn’t want him to feel obligated and possibly miss out on anything important. Rick did ask Jason if he could take a look at it, and I was given very bad news about my little computer friend. When it tipped over, the hard drive was running…now I can’t fix it. It’s going to have to have a new hard drive installed, or I’ll have to find a very cheap pc . I love my computer. It isn’t anything expensive or difficult to use, it’s an e-machine. I don’t ever do anything but write my blog posts, check my fb, and talk to some other women with breast cancer online. I have no need for anything fancy, actually I think a fancy computer would simply be wasted on me. I just need to find a way to fix my sad little broken pc. I’ll look around and price some hard drives, hopefully because of the holidays they will be on sale somewhere.

So, I’ve been using Rick’s gaming pc every morning, I usually wake up three or four hours before he does, so that I don’t get in his way. No problem there. Jesse has been needing to use Rick’s pc too lately to look for a job (she didn’t like the ones she had, too much drama)but she stays up late at night and now Rick has things on his computer that he doesn’t want there (no, it’s not porn or anything vulgar). I told him if he didn’t want anyone on his pc when he isn’t awake then he should change the password.

He changed the password right before he went to bed (the night before last), and when he woke up he had no clue what he had changed it to. We’ve tried everything to reset the password, the computer, and even called the manufacture. They said that all they can do is send him a disk in the mail that should help him fix the problem. I don’t think I’ll ever agree to use his computer again. Somehow, even though I was asleep when he changed the password, it’s still all my fault. And everyone else’s fault too. He’s very, very touchy about his gaming pc because he waited years to be able to have one. I totally get why he’s so upset about all of this right now. But I did find out that he now remembers changing the password to one that I could easily remember…but he never told me what it was? Hmmm

I’ll be back as soon as I can,

All my Love to everyone, cin