Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Few Health Issues

Two posts in less than two weeks, what am I thinking? I don't know, I guess I am just in the mood to talk these days, LOL!!!!

One of the reasons I have written this blog, besides keeping everyone informed in the hopes of generating prayer for myself along the way :) Is because this cancer is so rare, when I was diagnosed I could only find one other blog of someone with this cancer in almost the exact spot orally that mine was and reading her blog helped prepare me for what was to come. Since then her blog has disappeared, I'm not quite sure why, but anyway I have always thought that chronicling my experiences here might be a help to someone in the future, if they too found themselves walking this path. Now that I have came through all the surgeries and all the treatments and still wake up every morning to share the days with my family, I feel so blessed that when most people ask how I am doing I reply with "wonderful" and tell them how the Lord has truly blessed me. It is because of His blessings on me that I hate to seem as if I am complaining about my health now, so that is why I haven't mentioned much about the physical problems I have been experiencing. In thinking over all this lately, I realized that in order to be a help to someone else I needed to keep chronicling my heath "woes" and the solutions.

I guess most people can clearly understand that when a person has battled cancer, from then on any health issue, no matter how minor it probably is, can send fear radiating down your spine until you have been reassured that it is not the cancer back, rearing it's nasty head again!!!!

A month or so ago I woke up in the middle of the night with an excruciating ear ache and a high fever. Not wanting to drive all the way to Nashville, to see my ENT, I went to my Radiology Oncologist who was willing to see me and prescribed some pretty potent antibiotics. After two weeks I was still no better, although the pain was somewhat better, I was still deaf in my left ear. Because Dr. Netterville had to remove my Eustacia tube during my original surgery my ears do not drain normally thus I am at an increased risk of having ear infections. My Oncologist referred me to an ENT in Knoxville to get the ear infection under control. After a few more days on antibiotics my ear returned to normal. About a week after curing the ear infection, I had a large lump come up on my neck on the right side. Needless to say I was once again terrified that the cancer was back, so once again I headed to the new ENT!!! He prescribed more antibiotics and also took a culture to send off. I got those results back last week. He said it had nothing to do with my cancer (Yeah!!!!) but was a pretty bad bacteria infection. I am now on my second round of antibiotics for this infection.

Before this cancer I was blessed with good health. Other than having my kids, or needing stitches due to an accident I never went to the doctor. Now it seems as if my week is just not complete without sitting in at least one doctors office!!!!!

About six months ago I began experiencing bone pain. I would wake up in the mornings hurting all over. Even my fingers and toes ached!!! It has gotten progressively worse over the last few months. It has become so bad on some days I just couldn't seem to function. I would get out of bed and go straight to my medicine bottle and then straight to my recliner where I would spend most of the day. I would rate the level of pain at a 7 or 8 on most days. I was taking so much Tylenol that I have became afraid of doing damage to my liver. Not only has the physical pain gotten to an almost unbearable point, but the mental stress of feeling so bad was really beginning to take its toll on me. I have never been a lazy person. Before cancer I would only sleep about four hours a night and while awake, would not stop. I was very productive. I know I will never be back to pre-cancer health and energy but would at least like to aspire to half of what I was before!!!!So I finally broke down and made another doctors appointment and went to see my family doctor last week. I was nervous going in because I felt as if I was on my last resort, that if I didn't get help from him there was going to be no relief from this pain. Physically I look very well, just to look at me, if you didn't know my history, you would not think anything was physically wrong with me. I have no outward sign of the inward pain I am feeling. I had been on the Internet researching the Chemo I had been given, to see if bone pain was a side effect. According to what I read, a lot of people who were given one of the chemo drugs I was given were experiencing bone pain two and three years out, but some of their oncologists were not convinced that the pain was related to the drug. So needless to say I was afraid my doctor would not understand and I would be unable to get any relief. My fears were quickly put to rest!!! He understood and even sympathized!!! He said that not only could it be partly the result of the chemo drugs but he also felt I was more than likely experiencing neuropathic pain. He explained several ways we could attack the pain and has started me on a few things he thinks will help. I was so thrilled he understood and had options for me, I could have shouted right there in his office!!!! On the down side he explained that this pain was something I would more than likely always have to deal with and there is a great possibility that over time it will get worse not better. Oh well, I just want to deal with today. I don't have the energy to deal with tomorrow's "possibilities"!!!LOL!!! I have learned to take one day at a time!!!! It's only been about a week since my visit to my family doctor but I am feeling some relief from the pain already, however my energy level is still pretty low. I know I need to wait a few more days before coming to any conclusions as to whether or not we are on the right track. I just thank God that He answered my prayer and my doctor understood!!!


Wilhemina Jones said...

Debbie, So sorry to hear of your pain and daily concerns to anything new. I have never experienced cancer so I can't even imagine the journey you have been on even I know God has been faithful and has helped you in many ways. It has been close to 2 years since I started having back problems. Although the Drs. say I have at least 10 bulging discs, stenosis, degenerative joint disease in more than one area and bone spurs, etc., there are times I still feel they really don't know what is going on. I was like you hitting the floor running til I fell over at the end of the day. No pain, no meds, just lots of energy and excitement for the day and whatever that held. Now I don't have any painfree days or nights, I never can do what all I had hoped or planned to do for the day. I love having the grandbabies but I am in worse pain when they leave and can't keep them as often as I would like or they would like either. I know lots of people have prayed for me but there have been a lot of days of depression and panic, pain meds all day, and a roller coaster of emotions. I want to totally trust Him and I do know He is in control and He has a plan for my life.

I'm sorry I haven't been as thankful for all those wonderful healthy years as I should have been. I don't know what the future looks like. I have seen several Drs., tried several things besides meds, had lots of MRI's and CT'S and Bone scans, etc which I hate as far as being exposed to all that radiation as I know you do too.

I pray the Lord will give you strength and help each day from the overwhelming fear you probably experience as I do. Never having faced depression or panic before now I can sympathize somewhat with those who live there more than me. I hope you have a wonderful day and get relief from the different things going on now.

Willie (Michael's mom)

Karen Crabtree said...

You have been through a lot the last couple of years and hopefully you will continue to be cancer free. You look terrific I think and I pray your health will improve. Mom has taken Aleve for aches and pains, so I have started doing that in the mornings. It does seem to help me. Her orthopedic dr told her to take two Aleve in the morning and two in the afternoon.
Just wanted to also say I have enjoyed reading your blog.
Take care,