My Journey

I have no idea what God has in store for me but I thought I'd chronicle my journey for those who have been praying for me this past couple of weeks as I was in the hospital and released.

Sept. 28: The hair loss has started. I contacted a friend and she cut it off. Very shocking, stubby, and stickery. Didn't use a razor and shaving cream as I had some dry spots and she didn't want to take the chance of damaging those.

Sept. 27: Today's chemo has been canceled due to too low white blood cell count. Waiting for authorization for an injection to jump start white cell production. I am officially supposed to start avoiding people. Ugh. I will be going to a new schedule of 2 Tuesdays of chemo, then a week break with the shot. Oncologist was happy with my 1.5 lb. weight loss. By golly, I'm going to reach my weight loss goal this year! 10 lbs. to go!

Sept. 24: The last 2 days were full of fatigue from the chemo. It seems to wait 2 days then it hits me. If all that it does is make me sleep, ok. There has been some nausea but the med I was prescribed works so-so, Mylanta seems to do better. I joined the gals today for our monthly Tucson sample club meeting and, other then feeling weak (am finally eating) I really enjoyed myself. We did some retail therapy at Bluemoon Scrapbooking then went to lunch at at Kneaders. I had a small cup of chicken noodle soup (ate the broth and some of the noodles, chicken, and carrots) and a strawberry smoothie. That smoothie was wonderful! My oncologist warned that the 15th day after chemo starts the side effects get worse so no plans for next week except my heart ultrasound Friday morning.  When I got home I was pretty tuckered out. But it was a wonderful day!

Sept. 20: Seen my oncologist before my chemo treatment today. He was real happy with my blood work yesterday but concerned as I lost 3 lbs. since last Tuesday. Asked why and I told him about the low fat, low carb diet the hospital put me on when I was release Aug. 12th. Said EAT, eat burgers, eat anything I wanted! So, after chemo we went to have a burger. I ate 2/3 of it and 1/2 of my cheese curds. They were oh so good! And 2 1/2 hours later, no upset stomach! Praise the Lord!! And he was real happy about how I felt the last 2 days!! He says the chemo is working! Well, 2 treatments down and 6 to go!

Sept. 18: Today is the best I have felt since I went into the hospital Aug. 8!! No pain in the side, no fatigue, had some energy. Oh my gosh but this was wonderful. And it continued into Monday! I got so much done!

Sept. 16: I had quite a bit of energy the day after chemo but the next day... yep, some fatigue. I felt so tired for about 4 hours then better. We went to dinner with my dad and his wife and I ate 1/2 of a grilled salmon dinner. I kinda ate too much and had a little indigestion so took some Mylanta at bed time. Today a bunch of us went to Mesa, AZ (a Phoenix suburb) for the annual Stamp and Scrapbook Expo. I felt pretty good except for a bit of indigestion and managed to spend some money on some fun products! I even met Mary Ann, the owner of The Rabbit Hole Designs. What a sweet lady. I plan on dropping out of the Design Team (tried when I first was diagnosed) but I think she'll accept it this time. I'm really not dependable to post when I'm supposed to. 

Sept. 13: I had my first chemo today. The nurse flushed the needle that St. Mary's left in and all worked properly. She then gave me an infusion for 20 min. of something that is supposed to minimize side effects, then 30 min. of one of the chemo drugs, then 30 min. of the other chemo drug.  Afterwards we went to have lunch, bought some groceries, then home. I dozed for a couple hours as I was so tired from not sleeping well last night. I hope today I will be more energetic! 

Sept. 12: The people at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson that prepped me and installed the port were wonderful. They calmed and helped me considerably but I have to admit I was struggling with the thought of all this. It feels like a bad dream. While getting the procedure I was mostly conscious and the nurse Ashley was great at wiping my eyes and itching my nose. The 2 guys and Dr. Walsh talked me though much of it but I think I was in and out due to the  sedative and pain reliever. I was in recovery for about an hour when the nurses, Jamie (such a sweet lady) and (dang, I can't remember her name) got me dressed and walking. I was off balance for a couple hours. After release hubby and I went to Firehouse Subs as I was pretty hungry! We got home and I dozed for a couple hours. Since they decided to leave the needle in my port for the chemo tomorrow I slept in my chair hoping I wouldn't dislodge the bandages. I can't raise my right arm very high for the week and get to take off the bandages Thursday afternoon and shower. Tomorrow is my first chemo session.

Sept. 12: Today we're heading in to a hospital in Tucson to get a port put in my chest to administer the chemo which I start tomorrow.  I've had no food or water since last night. I'm taking a protein shake with me for when I am allowed some nourishment. I'll update you later with more.

Sept. 6: The oncologist experience. I will be taking 2 different drugs through a port starting next Tuesday if all works out. I will lose my hair, suffer fatigue, have flu-like symptoms and joint pains. I should hear from a hospital in Tucson to set up my appt. as out patient (hopefully by Friday) to get the port in. Dr. Ahmed will start me with 3 weeks (once a week) treatments then a week off.  They will be doing blood labs regularly the day before to watch numerous things. 

Sept. 6: Today is my initial consultation with "my" oncologist, Dr. Ahmed. I will be finding out what all will happen to me for the next 2 months. I'm working on keeping my eyes on Jesus and trusting Him to help me through. 

Sept. 4: I have so many caring friends (also on my FB pages) that let me know they're praying for me. Thanks for the cards and emails, and especially the prayers! Thank you, Judith, for the wonderful Jesus Calling journaling devotional! And Robyn for telling me about the Pray First phone app! I love it! And for all the hugs in church this morning to those who know who they are. I love our church and my church family who keep me strong and uplifted.

Sept. 1: My gosh but the doctors have me on a roller coaster! My surgeon found a complication (tentacles touching 2 major blood arteries) so surgery is off for now and I'm scheduled for 2 months of probably aggressive chemo to remove the tentacles. I have my consultation with the oncologist Tuesday afternoon. I will have more labs and scans Nov. 10 and another visit with the surgeon a week later. I'm just exhausted.

Aug. 31: Oh my how things changed today!

Seen the cardiologist for pre-op stuff. Due to my never smoked, fairly active, and good EKG no stress test was required! All good.  We ran an errand for hubby and as we were leaving a store I got a call from my surgeon. He wants to see me tomorrow at 9:30 to schedule surgery. My head is spinning! This is great news but not for my blog! Oh well! 

Aug. 29: today I had my CT with Contrast and MRI with Contrast. I was holding it together pretty good until I got the answer as to why the CT. I was told it was to see if the damn C had metastasized. I lost it for a few minutes. That is not what one wants to hear. The CT took about 5 minutes. Yes, you get a warm feeling when the contrast is added to the IV. The MRI lasted about 25 and was extremely noisy even with the head phones on. No feeling when the contrast was added. We ate at First Watch then went home.

Aug. 25: I finally got my appt. for Pima Heart & Vascular in Tucson. I think they'll be doing the chemical stress test to make sure my heart is healthy enough for surgery.  Friday, Sept. 2 I have my regular dental appt. Next week will definitely be busy!

Aug. 23: I now have appts. for the MRI & CT scans for next Monday at Banner South hospital. Also got the referral to see a cardiologist near TMC so will be calling shortly to make the appt.  Follow up appt. with Dr. Khreiss is Sept. 12 to go over all scans, etc and schedule surgery. Nurse said it is an very invasive surgery but they'll have me up pretty quickly. Unknown if any chemo or radiation will be required.

Aug. 22: This was a very emotional day. We got the referral from my PCP and headed to see the surgeon at the Banner Cancer Center in Tucson. I got checked in and sent to the waiting room. Dr. Khreiss was just a few minutes late, I was impressed because you usually wait at least 1/2 hour after your appt. time before they can see you. The news wasn't what we hoped for. He said pancreatic duct cancer is considered agressive. He reassured me that I'm in good hands. Needless to say I was shaky and weepy. I had 3 vials of blood drawn and am waiting to hear when I'm scheduled for an MRI with contrast and a CT scan. I also have to see a cardiologist to be sure my heart can handle a surgery or whatever they throw at me. I'm sure it is. I've lost 10 lbs. in a month and they were not real happy about that. So now we're back to waiting. Hopefully today I'll get the schedule.

Aug. 19: I was supposed to see my doctor's medical assistant today but an hour before I needed to leave we got slammed with 3/4" of rain. Our gully that we have to drive through was roaring with flood waters. Needless to say, the doctor's office couldn't get ahold of the assistant to delay my appointment about 1/2 hour. So, canceled. My next appointment is Monday with the surgeon.

Aug. 18: mid morning... finally heard from one of my primary care doctor's people. I need to get some Mylanta and Liquid Benedryl, mix 1 T. of each and rinse my mouth 4 times daily. Went into Green Valley and got the stuff. Gave it a try and it feels pretty good! Hopefully within a day or so my mouth will be back to normal.

Aug. 17: mid morning... still waiting to hear from my primary care doctor about the meds. My mouth is a bit better. Had quite a lesson with hubby how to pay one of our credit cards. I had him write what to do in a notebook. He only got a slight headache but now knows why I get after him about receipts! Heard from my surgeon's office to confirm my appt. with him Monday.  I'm feeling pretty good, slept well last night, ate a decent breakfast. On to working at my craft desk soon.

Aug. 16: Feeling much better. Spent yesterday morning running errands. Probably overdid it but I got a lot accomplished. Today my mouth is very sore with itty bitty blisters from my 2 meds. Called my Primary Care Doctors office. Could only leave a message and they'll probably call me back tomorrow. I stopped the meds. A few hours later it seems the blisters have disappeared but my mouth is still very sore. I am also unemployed. Right now I'm still recovering from my stay in the hospital but who knows what happens next week when I see the surgeon. The church told me to keep my keys as they expect me back.

Aug. 14: We went to church. I'm moving kinda slow as my side hurts from the intubation and stent. We eat breakfast at our church coffee shop and Jeanine got me the oatmeal I like as everything else I'm not allowed! Great prayer time in service. I did finally start crying and 2 sweet ladies sat next to me (Dean was on security and was patrolling the grounds) and helped me through it. 

Aug. 13: I slept. We had breakfast with friends and they are all so precious to me. So much support!! We then went grocery shopping for the foods I can have. 

Aug. 12: I was released in the afternoon. Dr. Hanna, who did the ERCP, said he'd call with the pathology results. We headed home. I got put on a low fat diet.  As we drove in our yard Dr. Hanna called with the results. The one word that puts fear in most people, cancer. Pancreatic cancer. He was encouraging in that he said all the tests show it is localized in the duct, has not metastasized, and we caught it early. So, thank you Jesus for the gallbladder attack!

Aug. 11: my blood numbers were coming back in line, my blood pressure was great. They found some pain medication that wasn't a narcotic that worked and I quit vomiting. I was put on a clear liquid diet for breakfast and lunch. That night I had mashed potatoes with gravy. No news on the sample they took. Originally I was scheduled to have my gallbladder out but with the scans and the blockage this got canceled.  Seemed like every couple of hours things changed. Dr. Khreiss' office called and set up an appointment with me for Aug. 22.

Aug. 10: I had a CT scan with contrast. Something.... That afternoon I had an ERCP. They put me out, intubated me, ran a camera down to check the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver. They found a blockage in the pancreatic duct, took a sample, then put in a stent.  Dr. Hanna then sent my info to Dr. M. Khreiss at the University of AZ Cancer Center. Now it got scary.

Aug. 9: They tried a different narcotic pain reliever, same problem. I made good friends with the little green vomit bags. I had an MRI that night. 

Aug. 8: I was admitted to the ER at Tucson Medical Center. They took blood, inserted an IV and started a narcotic pain reliever. Nope. I got so dizzy and started vomiting. I got an ultrasound about 2 that afternoon since I had a little food that morning. They seen something and admitted me to the main hospital at 9:30 that night.

Aug. 8: I was in pain and it was getting worse. I also had nausea. I wanted to go to ER. We stopped at the doctor's office and I got my blood drawn. We then stopped to eat so I could take my bladder infection pill with food. I could barely eat. In fact, I was having appetite issues ever since this started and had lost a couple pounds.

Aug. 5: I had an appointment with my primary doctor's office with a PA. She poked me just right and the pain was intense for a couple of seconds. She said it was Murphy's Rule that my pain was a sign of gallbladder issues.  She also took a urine sample and I had a bladder infection. She sent for a referral for an ultrasound and wanted me to come back for a fasting blood draw.

July 26, 2022: 2 in the morning I was awakened with the most horrible stabbing pain in my right rib cage. It felt like someone was shoving a stick all the way through. Front and back hurt. After a couple hours it minimized to a dull pain that was relatively easy to ignore. I went to work that morning to clean our church. I continued on through Aug. 8 with working and functioning fine. I did notice my stool and urine were funny colored.

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