Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pleural effusion

This past week for me has been very busy, with days of energy and activity (Friday and Saturday when Alabama relatives were visiting), and days of not being able to get out of bed (Sunday and Monday). Frequent bouts of lower bowel pain were becoming more and more unbearable, though were usually under control by the afternoon. Tuesday, Wednesday and today were eaten up with hospital appointments, but these bore good results though we were all exhausted at the end of each day.

I have made contact now with the thrombosis clinic at Toronto General, where they are referring me to Miriam's friend from St Joseph's Hospital in the West End, who weaned me off the super expensive Arixtra ($30 per injection) and on to Warfarin, only to have to stop it in order to go in today for my thoracic tap. These lovely people gave me a carrier bag of my injections that had been donated by a patient who no longer needed them - a three month supply worth $2,700 that should tide me over until I can get back on the Warfarin.

Yesterday I met with the doctor from the Palliative Care Unit at PMH who is referring me to the Community Health Unit (called Symptom Management) and who are local, available 24/7 and who make house calls. This should cut down significantly the number of visits to hospital, where inevitably we seem to spend half a day for each appointment. I was assessed and my pain medication tweaked and I am now in my second day without pain - a first in a long, long while!!

This afternoon I went in for thoracentesis, but after my ultrasound the doctor was not convinced that there was enough ascites build up to warrant tapping. Instead she drew out a pleural effusion under the left lobe of my lungs - a whopping 1.7 liters of liquid that had been compressing my lung, which has left me 4 pounds lighter and hopeful that I will be able to breathe and sleep easier now. Tonight I am already feeling much better, and am taking pleasure in getting my blog up to date.

We have our pumpkin carved (thanks Cousin Jenn - he is beginning to have a serious underbite, so we will have to prop his mouth open with toothpicks) and are stocked with candies for the Trick or Treaters this weekend. Happy Halloween to all!!


Anonymous said...

Great to hear from you!
Am recovering at home from my final reconstruction surgery.
Happy Halloween!


Webbster said...

Hi Anne. You keep pulling tricks out of the treatment bag! And it's a treat to hear your humour poking through here and there. Much love, L

Susan Wales said...

Dear Ann:

I saw your cancer blog on THE RANDOLPH LEADER, and I wanted to write to you, because I am originally from Roanoke (I was Susan Huey, a friend of your cousin, Johnny, who was 3 grades above me.) We moved to Atlanta when I was a junior in high school, and I now live in Los Angeles.

I wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. My mother has been undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer for two years, so I can identify with most of your difficulties.

Initially, Mother was given only 3-6 months to live, and then after much research we found an amazing group of gynecological oncologists in Atlanta, who were making great strides with OVCA, and gave us tremendous hope! I am happy to report that after two years, my mother is now cancer free! She was so ill initially that she was unable to undergo surgery and had to have 18 chemo treatments before they could operate. Since her diagnosis she has never been off chemo, and her oncologists have told her that she will likely have to have chemo once a month for the remainder of her life in order to prevent a recurrence. For a year she was in Atlanta undergoing treatment, but she's been home for almost a year. She tolerates chemo very well and leads a fairly normal life.

Mother has been through a similar cancer journey as you, and has dealt with the same infections, ascites, etc. Having been through this with Mother, I wanted to share some of our experiences with you.

Sending you healing thoughts, lots of hope and prayers. Best regards, Susan Huey Wales

Susan Wales said...

Ann, my email address:

Would love to hear from you! Susan Huey Wales

MARIANO said...

Love the boubou, and you!

My New Boubou

My New Boubou
Boubou with handy pocket

Getting better

Getting better
Wilson and Me

Due to Popular Demand

Due to Popular Demand
I'm a Redhead

I still love my chemotherapy

I still love my chemotherapy
Who needs hair anyway?

I love my chemotherapy

I love my chemotherapy
walking to Princess Margaret