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Monthly Archives: December 2016

No good

Last week and this weekend were not good.

Yes, I made it through the colonoscopy  without incident, thank goodness. But since then, I’ve been feeling poorly. I thought initially I was coming down with a cold because my throat was feeling funny. I started drinking warm water with lemon juice in the mornings for the extra vitamin C kick. I gargled and drank my warm water with honey and apple cider vinegar. I was so tired one day last week that I actually went upstairs at 2 in the afternoon and got into bed. I didn’t sleep, but I wanted to.

I have felt that way the rest of the week and over the weekend. My throat is yucky, I feel nauseated, I’m tired as hell, and I’m feeling a lot of imbalance. And my jaw hurts. And my arms and back hurt. And I’ve been anxious as fuck. Thursday night I had Hub come hang out with me in the bedroom after dinner because I was so anxious. Yesterday, he went to help his Mom decorate their tree and I stayed home alone. And I hardly moved because I felt so bad and so anxious.

I put laundry in this morning but I am loathe to following through with it because I’m so anxious. I thought having something to do would distract me, but it’s not. I just tried to make lunch and while I was waiting for the microwave to heat my soup, I had a long uninterrupted run of PVCs–longer than normal–which upset me. I barely ate half my soup. Last night at dinner, I picked at my food and ate maybe 1/4 of what I would normally. I have no interest in food and no interest in drinking.

This isn’t the flu (thank goodness) because I have no aches and no fever and really my nose is only mildly running and my throat only feels slimy and snotty and just mildly scratchy-weird. And this has been going on since Tuesday. My legs hurt, too, I realized when I was sitting at lunch.

I feel kind of weak. Probably from not eating and drinking enough. I hate feeling this way. Hub is at work today and I’m alone at home. Well, the dogs are here, but honestly neither f my dogs is really an empathizer. They are both affectionate in their own ways, but Butthead is really just annoying or sleeping, and Le Moo is more independent and only wants affection on her terms and in her way.

I feel nauseated. Combine that with the jaw pain and the arm and back pain. And the fatigue. I just can’t get past the anxiety. I feel like I’m not breathing right, which I know is the anxiety. I feel warm and cold. Mildly sweaty and clammy. All of this is very likely anxiety. But what if it isn’t?

I don’t want to be alone. I want to cry. I want it to all stop so I can feel normal again (at least normal for me). I feel alone and afraid and like this will never get better.

 

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WordPress reader

Did anyone else’s reader format change? Also, now I’m getting pop-up “help” when writing my posts? WTH happened?

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in anxiety

 

Post colonoscopy refresh

Well, here I am, back on my recliner trying to recover from the last two days. The last five days?

The prep, while not as bad as it was for my surgeries, still sucked. I would definitely use this prep again in the future because it was less liquid to drink, and most of the liquid required was plain water. Also, it was split into two days, so that made things easier all around.

The colonoscopy, as everyone said, was the easiest part of the whole thing. The anxiety before (and now some after), is harder. The prep is harder. The half hour before going in is harder. Screw that, the hour before going in is harder. I still feel woozy-ish from some of the drugs, but I also think some of that is the lack of nutrition I’ve had over the last five days. I’m trying to go slowly back into food, both last night and today, so my intake is still smaller than normal. So I’m tired, I’m woozy-ish, and I’m anxious a bit.

Why anxious?

Well, let’s talk about the second worst part of yesterday (the prep was pretty bad for TMI reasons)… We get to the procedure center a few minutes early and checked in. They took me back only a few minute later than I had expected but not bad, really. I go to the bathroom one last time and they take me into a curtained cube area. There are seriously like 12 or 14 beds in this whole pre- and post-procedure area. It started feeling a lot like a cattle call. Get ’em in and get ’em out. So I get into my designated cube area and I undress and pull on my lovely gown, open in the back of course. I tuck my bagged clothes under the gurney as instructed and I get onto the gurney. I’m there about ten seconds and I get an excruciating abdominal muscle spasm. I start gasping and I hear the nurse on the other side of the curtain “you okay, hon?” So I say “uh” and she comes in and I tell her what’s happening. She seems sympathetic but not entirely interested. Says it’s probably from the prep and could she please have my arm to get my blood pressure? I tell her my BP is going to be through the roof because I’m in terrible pain and she just takes my arm and hooks me up. Shortly after taking my BP (which was high, of course), I get another spasm, and then another, and then another. It’s so painful and I want to cry and go home and I want Hub but the nurse says I’m up next and there’s no time for Hub to come back. I’m clutching my stomach and there’s a huge hard baseball sized lump under my skin and she’s asking for my OTHER arm so she can get the IV in. She promises to tell the doctor about the spasm but doesn’t seem distressed. Finally, the spasm gives up and the IV is in and the anesthesiologist comes in to talk to me. Then the doctor comes in and I tell him about something else and then alert him to the spasm. “Probably from the prep” he tells me.

If it’s the prep, then why have I had them before? If it’s not the prep, was it dehydration? I don’t know, honestly, and I doubt I’ll ever know WTF they’re from. What I know is, they hurt like a motherfucker and having four in a row was so painful that I was actually GLAD to be getting anesthesia. (Maybe it was dehydration and being slumped over on the toilet for two days. Hmm…)

Even after the colonoscopy, last night, and today, my stomach is so sore from the spasm. Cramp? Maybe it’s a cramp. Stomach charlie horse? I have no idea. But moving at all is uncomfortable because that muscle is apparently involved in every-damn-thing I do. And of course the fear that it’s going to happen again, because it actually takes my breath away it’s so painful and so out-of-the-blue.

Meanwhile, post-colonoscopy, I’m told I was very nice to the nurses and kept thanking people. Literally, as they were putting anesthesia into my IV before the procedure I blurted out to the two nurses “thanks for taking care of me!” and then I was out. So when Hub assured me that I was nice to everyone even before I was really conscious afterward, I said, “Well my mother would be proud of me.” My stomach was really inflated with air from the test, so I was really uncomfortable. They made me go to the bathroom and drink, then Hub helped me get dressed and we left. Less than two hours from when they took me back to when we got out to the car. When we got home, I walked around the main floor of my house and passed air for half an hour. I know that I kept asking Hub questions about what the nurses and doctor said after I “woke up”, but I couldn’t seem to retain the answers at the time. Every time I lapped around near Hub, I would ask him another question that I KNEW I had already asked, but the answers just kept eluding me. After being on my feet for thirty  minutes straight, I was done, so I went upstairs and changed and got into bed with a small container of yogurt to get some probiotics into my system. I had some apple juice, a small omelet and some jello for dinner. After a couple of hours the air seemed to have left my system, so my intestines felt better but my abdomen still hurt from the muscle thing. I was still kind of woozy and out of it, but I managed for the evening.

I didn’t sleep great, but that’s not news. This morning I didn’t want to get out bed, but I did it because I knew I needed to be moving around. And I knew I needed to get eating again, and drinking.

The doctor said they found one small polyp, which they removed and will send for pathology (2 week wait for that). They also found internal hemorrhoids, which I can have treated at a later date if I decide to do so. “A few” external hemorrhoids, too. Otherwise, I’m told there was nothing else of note, and my prep was “good”. Once they get the pathology back, then I’ll hear if I have to go back for my next colonoscopy in five years or in ten. I’m assuming it’s not cancerous, but I don’t know if I’m being naive about that or not. Either way, won’t know for sure until the report comes back.

Onward to my next job for this week…help my dad go through his mortgage refinance on Thursday. It’s supposed to be hella cold, single digits…yay.

 

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Insider information

I went through a couple different ideas for titles for this blog post, but this one seemed the most benign. Because I’m going to talk about my upcoming test on Monday.

It’s a colonoscopy.

I am less than thrilled, and at the moment, getting more and more anxious about it. Unfortunately, this last week, I’ve had stomach issues that resulted in me wanting to just cry all day and all night. I don’t get really constipated often, and this time was the absolute worst (and I have NO idea why this happened). It was made worse by the fact that I think I have a hemorrhoid (sorry, TMI) which was causing me pain every time I tried to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, the latter half of this week was bad. I had to call the GI doctor’s office late Thursday evening to see if I could take something because there was no way I could make it through to Sunday when I start my actual bowel prep. They said yes, I took something, and it hardly helped at all.

Are you aware that there’s a guy on Reddit (which I almost never read unless it’s a link from somewhere and even then it’s rare) who didn’t poop for a month and then posted about his “ordeal”? OMG, it’s both hilarious and horrendous. Don’t go look it up because there are links to pictures (which I didn’t look at), and lots of advice and a (supposed) doctor who urges the guy to go to the ER. The end result is that he goes to the hospital and eventually goes home and is fine. But there were thousands of people checking in to see if the “poop guy” had actually pooped.

I spent too much time on the internet Thursday and Friday.

Friday I finally had some relief (at the expense of more pain than I would have liked), but of course Friday night and today I’ve been feeling the effects of the milk of magnesia I took Thursday night. And since I’m expecting to start a bowel prep Sunday late afternoon, I figured I might as well eat light yesterday and today. Maybe it will make things a bit easier Sunday night and Monday morning. But the lack of food has been challenging, in that I feel cold and tired and anxious. I’ve been trying to stay hydrated and to eat enough to not feel woozy, but I’ve literally done nothing today. I desperately want to go back to bed, but if I don’t at least try to stay awake and move around, I’ll never sleep tonight.

I’m also worrying about why I ended up so damn constipated, because that was the absolute worst. I don’t know how people deal with that on a regular basis, for those who have IBD and Chron’s and such. I am afraid that this might continue to happen to me–because I can’t pinpoint WHY it happened this time, my diet has been pretty much the same for months–and I don’t know how I could handle it. On top of all the other stuff in my medical life…

I’m concerned about the actual procedure as well as the prep. They’re going to be putting me under anesthesia, which is scary to me. And of course the test could result in problems if they screw something up. And then the results of the test could bring up issues that will need to be dealt with in some way. All of this is is settling in on me and making me anxious. I talked to T about this stuff at my appointment yesterday, but I was feeling less distressed then than I am now. Of course, I’m a day closer and I’ve had nothing to do today except think. I have tried distracting myself with TV and watching some videos on Youtube, but I’m at a point where it’s not working anymore. I’m also vacillating between feeling hot and cold, for no reason…except maybe the lack of food. Also, it’s 35 degrees out and windy, so the weather isn’t helping, especially when I have to take the dogs out.

To add insult… Hub has some friends over to hang out. When they stopped to eat lunch, Hub told me he “wasn’t feeling right”, which scares me. He didn’t know what it was or why, but it was enough for him to check his blood pressure (which was a bit low for him) and his pulse (which was a little high for him, but he was feeling anxious). About an hour ago he reported in that he was feeling pretty much the same as earlier. So now I’m worrying about me and the prep and the test AND worrying about him.

I just want the test to be over.

 

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Next up in our schedule

The ceremony yesterday went as I expected for the most part. Hub and I–and one of my brothers–stood right with my dad, in case he had an issue during the service. He really shook like a leaf the whole time, so I was grateful that Hub was there right behind me and Dad in case Dad fell or fainted or whatever. Our Rabbi was the only one who spoke, and he said very nice things about Mom…he’s known us for more than 45 years, and he was especially close with my parents for the last twenty or so since my mother served on his temple’s board for many years in several different capacities. In addition to her attending services weekly after my grandfather died. He also read a poem, which I think is kind of a standard poem for funerals, even though this technically wasn’t a funeral.

After the short service was over, I stood at the headstone for a few minutes. While I was there, my brother (the same as above) came back over and sat in one of the chairs that the cemetery provided us. I went over and sat with him (after asking if he wanted to be alone, which he said no), and after a few minutes my father came back, as did my other two brothers and my SIL. We kind of sat there quietly for a few minutes…some of us crying and some of us not.

After about another five minutes, we left Dad at the headstone for a moment and the rest of us moved a distance away. When he joined us, we left and went home to eat lunch with everyone.

The lunch was fine at Dad’s house. We mostly did a buffet style, so it was easy enough to just put stuff out and then congregate at the extended table in the dining room. When everyone but my siblings and SIL left, we hung out for a while until my father ended up falling asleep in his recliner. Then Hub and I went home for the rest of the afternoon. We went back last night to say good-bye to my out-of-town brother and SIL, as they were flying home early this morning.

I don’t feel any differently about my loss. The Rabbi kept telling me that with the passing of this ceremony, maybe my father would find some closure and his depression would lift and he’d be doing better. I don’t think that’s going to be the case for Dad. Mostly because I don’t see Mom’s passing any differently on the other side of the ceremony. It doesn’t change the day-to-day living without her. Not for me, anyway.

Now that we have passed that…milestone?…, I have to move on to things that are waiting for me. One of which is a colonoscopy. Next Monday. I was having some mild stomach issues–that mostly resolved after my PCP appointment–that my primary sent me onward to a gastro doctor. The gastro doctor talked to me about my cancer history, which puts me at higher risk for both breast and colon cancer (which I knew, which was why I went to my PCP right away), and he suggested a colonoscopy. He said it was better safe then sorry, and indicated that if all was well and I didn’t have issues, I could go ten years until my next one. Normally you get a colonoscopy starting at 50, but again because of my history, he wanted to go ahead and do it now. It’s probably nothing major going on, but I don’t want to let anything go, so I’m getting the test.

Sadly, the part that worries me the most is the prep. I hated the surgery prep that I had to do twice in three months for my hysterectomy and then oopharectomy last year. The gastro doctor prescribed a different type of prep–so no gatorade, thankfully–but surgery prep is still really uncomfortable and tiring and anxiety-inducing. The procedure itself will include propofol, so I shouldn’t remember anything. I had that with my other surgeries and they were right, I don’t remember shit after they said “count backwards from 10” and the last number I remember was 9.

I’m also worried about the recovery in the days following. With my physical issues and pain issues, I am sure I’ll be uncomfortable after. I only hope I’ll be recovered in time to go to my in-laws for the holidays.

Coming up after that are appointments for my 18-month follow-up with my oncologist, Le Moo’s yearly “senior” vet visit (and buying lots of dog pills for both dogs), and then my mammo. I also have to get in to get my eyes checked and see the dentist, but I’m saving those for after my mammo.

Life keeps going on…

 

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I don’t wanna (stomps foot)

This morning my brother and sister-in-law flew in. Tonight we had dinner at our house, with Hub and I cooking breakfast for dinner. My father came over, one of my brothers who lives locally came over, and the my SIL and brother from out of town. It was kind of a last minute get-together, but that’s fine. I didn’t want to go out to dinner again (Hub and I took Dad out last night), so we volunteered to cook for everyone tonight.

Tomorrow, we go to the cemetery to have a very small and short ceremony to reveal Mom’s headstone.

Everyone left an hour ago and since then, I’ve been feeling…not ready for tomorrow. There’s absolutely nothing I have to do for the ceremony. We’ve already bought and prepared some food for afterward at my parents’ house, and there’s nothing left to do tonight. I don’t even know if the phrase “not ready” is appropriate.

I don’t wanna go tomorrow. I just don’t wanna.

I’ve known for weeks this was coming up. And as this last week has approached, I’ve felt more and more pain in my body. And more and more angry. And more and more upset. And amazingly enough, I’ve been sleeping even less. No matter how I try to fall asleep, or stay asleep, or get comfortable, or turn out the lights early, or try to linger in bed longer…I’m even more tired.

I’ve talked to T about some of this. She gave me some insights on William Worden’s “grief tasks” which are a slightly different theory from the five stages of grief (1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance). The four grief tasks are:
1. Accept the reality of the loss
2. Work through the pain of grief
3. Adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing
4. Find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life

These tasks are supposed to be wrapped up in each other, so that even while you are working one, you are likely working others at the same time.

Right now, all I know is that I don’t want to go tomorrow. I don’t want to be wrapped up in sadness. I want to talk about Mom and about the good parts of her life. I don’t want to stand there and focus on the grief of it all.

No one really wants to talk about her. I want to remember her life, not languish in her sickness and her death. There was so much more to her than her last two  years. So much more to her than cancer. So much more to her than metastases. So much more to her than her death. She had a life! A long and amazing life. A life full of love and travel and learning and joy and … life.

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Tomorrow will come and go. Another day marked off our calendar, another task completed (the installation of the headstone and the “reveal”)…and still she is gone.

I used to write poetry, just like I used to write fiction books. I tried to write a poem for tomorrow but came up empty. The words don’t come anymore. There’s just this emptiness and the fervent wish to express myself somehow. And then the inability to do so.

 

 

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