Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plan B

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

After waiting in the waiting area for over an hour, believe it or not, I was on time, with Viv. For all of you who knew us in high school, there were quite a few times where we were late & we'd be getting our tardy slips from the office. Darn CTA buses (yeah, that's the ticket!) Okay, going back to the appt., I wrote down my name on the check in list. We waited for a while, then I asked a clerk if she needed me to fill out paperwork, she said she was working on it. A while later she asked to see my insurance card. About an hour after we got there, Viv went up and asked when I going to be called. The clerk replied, "I'm not even sure why she's (meaning me) here?" DUH! If she looked in the computer she'd see that I was scheduled to see Dr. Warso. Why didn't she say anything earlier when she was checking my insurance card? The world may never know. Anyway, she told Viv to check with another person in room A. She didn't tell her that she had to go around the corner to find room A. So Viv asked these ladies at another station who directed us in the right place.

This lady called me right away and got my vital signs and weight. I had put on 13 lbs since last Monday. I know it wasn't because of me eating, I don't have much of an appetite and the contrast yesterday cleared me out bowel-wise, sorry if I grossed you out. She then brought us to another room to see the doctor. Viv figured out how to raise the back of the exam table, I was happy because by this time my back was killing me. Thank goodness they had a pillow there for extra comfort.

Dr. Warso came in, smiling with a cheerful personality. He asked, "Guess who I saw this morning?" I replied, "Dad". He did see him but he hadn't looked @ my findings to discuss with him @ that time. He went to examine my abdomen and I warned him about my hairy legs, he and Viv got a chuckle out of that. When he touched the growth between my ribcage, oh did that hurt. He then went to look @ the CT and get the final reading on it. It took a while. We were hoping that all this bulge was ascites, excess fluid build up in the abdomen which is usually drained and the person gets relief. There's different reasons why people get this, I've seen the drainage procedure done in my ER and sometimes the patient gets something called albumin infusions afterwards. Again, we were hoping it'd be ascites.

The doctor came back and made a drawing. Drawings, in my case, mean that it's not good. He did say that I had some fluid in my abdomen, which he was going to call Vera, my NP, to get a paracentesis (the procedure to get it drained by sticking a needle into my abdomen and the excess fluid drains into these glass containers) scheduled ASAP, BUT, and here's the big BUT, the big growth between my ribcage is my liver with all it's multiple sized tumors. He said that even if I had the surgery I might not survive it and the "better" half of my liver still has small tumors in it. He too agreed with the Mayo clinic surgeons that even debulking would not be an option. He gave me a big hug and I told him that I'd prefer if he could speak to my dad about the findings. They can get as clinical as they want. I had to explain things to Viv and we both started crying.

We went down to see Vera in the Oncology clinic, thank goodness these clinics are in the same building, my back started hurting again. Vera came to tell me that she was able to get me scheduled in the liver clinic, where I first started my cancer journey, and they'll drain my abdomen tomorrow. They'll use an ultrasound machine to visualize it better. She also said that we'll have to come up with a plan B since the other chemo meds didn't seem to be shrinking the tumors. I joked @ home that maybe it was Miracle Gro instead. She offered me pain meds but I told her that I just want to be alert to experience life around me while I can but when that time comes, I'll start using it, just not right now. We started crying and she told me that I don't have to be so tough and she gave me a hug. I called my cancer a "bastard" and said that "this sucks". I guess I have a right to say so.

Viv went to go get the car so I wouldn't have to walk all the way back to the lot. I had to get my coags done, that's the bleeding time labs, for tomorrow's procedure. If my levels are high, I can't get it done. That's the lab that usually goes high after my chemo but usually bounces back the week later. Viv & I discussed that we have to keep our hopes up, that the paracentesis will give me relief and that the new chemo regimen will work. We got home in pretty good time, she had to get her boys to football practice by 6pm, it was already 4pm.

David was home to greet me and we started with the round of phone calls to family. I spoke with my friend, Suzanne, from Wisconsin. She plans on visiting soon and keeps asking if I need anything. I recommend a new liver and bile duct. She told me how she ordered some Garrett's popcorn to be delivered to dad's house. Her fellow Wisconsinites never heard of it and wondered why she was paying so much for popcorn and complained how expensive it was. She told them, "No, it's worth every penny, you have to try it." Another doctor vouched for her. Then she told me how they asked her if she could order it for the clinic. She responded, "I can't, it's just too expensive." :o) Then she told me how she asked her cancer patients what's a good cheese to bring to me, they gave her their recommendations, I guess one of them ate it so much, they kept their weight on. So she's like, I don't know what else to do for you except bring you popcorn and cheese. That's fine with me.

Well, I have to make more phone calls & e-mails for those who don't have computers or have access to this blog. I wish I had better news for you. Pray that plan B works and that I get some relief from the paracentesis tomorrow. We have a family reunion on Sunday, I'd love to be able to enjoy it without much pain and shortness of breath. Thanks everyone for your well wishes.

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