hopeful. happy.

I believe that things are on the upswing in our neck of the woods.

On Thursday I made it in to school for the first time in a week. After an hour of being there, teaching, and walking the halls a bit, I realized that my oxygen tank had been off since I left the house. I was rather giddy. To think that I was able to do all that with only minimal shortness of breath was unbelievable.

For the rest of the day I went rather cavalierly on and off my oxygen. I even went out to watch Calvin volleyball on Thursday night.

However, by Friday morning, I was wiped out and needed a good long sleep. And a good consistent day on oxygen. But the returning energy, the returning breath, the returning normalcy just brim me over with hope that this medicine will do the trick.

Also, from Wednesday night to Saturday, my sister was here. She was visiting to attend the funeral of our aunt, Mom’s dear sister. It was so good for all of us to have Becki here at such a significant time.

I was already feeling hopeful, but having Becki here is always a happiness infusion for me, too. Hopeful and happy. Can’t get a better beginning to Thanksgiving week than that.

Unlike most other visits, I actually remembered to take a picture of the two of us. Not our best, but it makes me grin.

The pack is back..and it brought a friend

On Tuesday I wound up in the ER with more shortness of breath. By 10 pm I was back home, but with second drain in my lung. This one is the fanny pack style. Oh, returning 80′s fashion, why do you eschew the fanny pack? So practical, so stylish…ok, just practical. I am currently sporting my purple one.

On Wednesday I was to have chemo, but it was impossible to schedule me. I had to wait until today. In the meantime, while the 2nd drain was helping, I still had times of gasping for breath.

So today I was put on oxygen. I have a robot-like compressor by my chair in the living room which Mark will bring upstairs for me to use through the night. It has exceptionally long tubing, so I can go wherever I want on the main floor with my tubing leash on. I have only stepped on it once so far causing my own head to jerk down. Very fancy moves, I have.

I have two different canisters for leaving the house. A 3 hour canister that goes on a cart and a 1 hour canister that I can strap on like a purse. When I had treatment today, Mom cand I got good practice at getting around with these things. Should get easier as time goes on.

I don’t love having all of this cumbersome gear, but I do love being able to breathe. The panic that comes with shortness of breath is unparalleled.

I am a bit of a piece of work with all of these tubes around, but I am a breathing piece of work and that’s awfully nice.

a wild week

It was a wild week over here.

On Monday, I was extremely short of breath even after the efforts of last week to manage it.

I called in to my doctor’s office and was called back with the news that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. For some reason, this made me cry. I think I look at going to the hospital as some type of defeat rather than as going to a place where they can actually observe me and care for me.

After 18 hours in the hospital, only 2 real things had happened: I had a CAT scan and my dear friends Emily and Sarah got me into a private room when at 9 p.m. I was wheeled into a double room with a roommate who’s family reeked of smoke. There would have been no sleeping on my part that night.

By Tuesday afternoon, we finally learned that it was fluid causing my distress after all and that I would need a drain. Fortunately, the amazing interventional radiology PA we saw soon after we received this news agreed that it might be best for me to go home and to get the drain placed in the morning over at the cancer center rather than another night in the hospital.

The drain was placed Wednesday morning. It is a different kind than I had before. It is not as bulky and I have control over when it drains. With my new head of hair and my lack of fanny pack drain, I feel like I am not always advertising my health status. I was breathing well enough to make it happily from the couch to the door every time we had trick-or-treaters. I wouldn’t have made it halfway there even once on Monday.

Here is photo evidence of me with hair as I write this:

Thursday morning we saw Dr. Campbell. We will keep the drain in as long as we needed to for comfort and we needed a few more rounds of chemo to see if we can dry out the lung with medicine. I don’t feel impatient about this at all because the drain is so manageable. It seems the likelihood of a blood clot in the lung had motivated his caution with me and hence my hospitalization.

Dr. Campbell has also been very good about managing the pain that comes with the fluid, the drain, and the chemo. I feel optimistic and functional.

After the doctor, I went straight to school. My ever-praying and understanding colleagues were so welcoming and wonderful. It was great to be there. I even cooked dinner that night.

Today I’ve been a bit groggier trying to work out the right dose of pain meds, but did get a few good things done–again with Emily and Sara’s help.

After my drain placement, my parents went to be with my sister’s family in Atlanta. Auntie Roze and Uncle George have stepped up to be “team B” in their stead. I’m afraid they are spoiling us rotten just as my parents do.

After a wild week, I’m ready for a peaceful deep-breathing kind of weekend.