Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Territory. Again!

'Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.'
- Leo F Buscaglia

Once again we have moved into uncharted territory with swelling of the right arm and upper body. The shortness of breath, and inability to pass urine, became a huge concern. Monday morning of last week when the Community nurse arrived to help with shower and dressing change, she indicated her concern, deciding to make a phone call to the palliative care team once the dressings were firmly in place. I felt relieved, due to my confidence in their ability to assess the situation and their wisdom in making appropriate decisions. Before the Community Nurse departed she used a portable ultrasound to check the bladder confirming it was not the culprit. No problems there it seemed. Back to the drawing board!

The Palliative Care nurse undertook a thorough examination before telephoning the Palliative Care doctor. In the meantime, I received a call from the co-ordinater at the Mater hospital. We discussed the current crisis, she took notes relaying the information to 'Dr Amazing' who indicated he would probably like to see me admitted to the hospital for observation and further assessment. Radiation was mentioned, although given my previous experience, it made me shudder. That was certainly not my preferred choice!

Given that 'Dr Amazing' is away this week, and knowing that I am so reliant on Haydn for personal care, including dressing changes, the Palliative Care doctor decided to try an 8mg injection of Dexmethsone immediately with 4mg tablets taken daily, in the hope it would reduce swelling to the area. The hope is that, with swelling reduced, I will breathe a little easier and feel more comfortable which obviously means passing urine regularly.

It is now one week later and I have been on the steroid [Dexmethsone] for almost a week. There has been some easing of symptoms. This feels like a difficult journey to undertake! It does appear that this dreadful disease which now appears to be a fungating tumour is spreading quickly, and aggressively, across the chest wall, causing swelling of glands and vessels. Not a pleasant sight or thought! My right arm is so swollen it is hard to believe the skin does not burst. The arm and hand are covered in tiny bubbles and we can only wonder what is in store? There are absolutely no clothes in my wardrobe that fit me and leaving the house has become somewhat distressing. This is the most incredible journey. I have discussed with Palliative Care my wish to be given whatever is necessary to ease my pain and ensure my comfort as much as possible.                                                                                      

'We seem to gain wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn't. Success often lies just the other side of failure.'
- Leo F Buscaglia