What Happened Next?

I think I’ve given new meaning to the saying, “What are you waiting for, Christmas?”

For those of you who may still be interested, this is a post about what happened next. As you may recall, when last we heard from our heroine (me) she was suffering under a massive water weight gain caused by leaking capillaries as a side-effect to her last chemo treatments.  The Oncologist had told her that she would have to wait for the water to “naturally” be reabsorbed into her blood stream to be eliminated (peed out). Not a happy diagnosis.

In mid-October I had an MRI and learned that the next time I have an MRI I will ask for a little bit of “Mother’s Little Helper” because I had a mild freak out while inside the coffin-like space that is the MRI machine. I have a new appreciation for what The Bride goes through in Kill Bill Volume 2 (in case you haven’t seen this movie, Uma Thurman is buried alive in a wooden coffin. She escapes because of her mighty Kung Fu abilities, but it’s a very tense 7 minutes.) So the next MRI I have will be done “under the influence.”

We did the MRI because the CT scan I had in the hospital showed a little something that could have been scar tissue or could have been more tumor. The MRI proved it to be scar tissue (sigh of relief).

By mid-October, the Oncologist was starting to be concerned that the water was not peeing out. He advised me to consult my cardiologist. Sidenote: I’m definitely feeling an inflation of my ego here. I have a Family Doctor, a Gastro Doc, a Sleep Doctor, a Dermatologist, an Oncologist, and now I also have a Cardiologist. So many doctors! I must be a very important person (or maybe a hypochondriac?)

Anyway, recall that I had connected with a cardiologist back in January when my heart did it’s funny skip during the first attempt at my Whipple surgery. While I was in the hospital in September we discovered that I have a mild heart murmur. So I was already scheduled to see the Cardiologist — the issue with water retention simply bumped up the timing of the appointment. And that was the best thing of all! Because the Cardiologist took one look at me and said something like, “We’ve seen this before with chemo patients. Take this water pill and let’s see if we can’t get you to pee it out.” And I did!!

The Oncologist had said that a water pill would not help. But he also sent me to the Cardiologist when my edema was not improving. Thank goodness the Cardiologist knew what to do.

In total, I’ve lost 40-pounds of water. And I’m feeling so much better!


Before loosing 40-pounds of water.

Before loosing 40-pounds of water.

After loosing 40-pounds of water.

After loosing 40-pounds of water.

November was a busy month for me. Spent a lot of time peeing. Got my port taken out. Discovered I have a hernia. and I went back to work part-time.

I’m not a doctor, but I think all that stinkin’ water pushed my intestines through my incision. Gross, right? As I was getting dressed one morning, I noticed I had this really weird bump by my incision scar on my belly. My first thought was, “Is this another tumor???” I was scheduled to see the Oncologist the next day, and he told me it was a hernia. The only way to fix a hernia is–wait for it—surgery!! Which could actually contribute to another hernia because it’s the incision that causes a weakness in the fascia that allows the intestine to push though in the first place. (Sounds like a Catch-22 that keeps hospitals in business.)

A week later I saw the Surgeon to get my port removed. She confirmed that it was a hernia. She also told me that as long as it wasn’t bothering me (the intestine can get kinked up causing all kinds of problems and lots of pain), I didn’t need to do anything about it right away. I’m due for a CT scan in January, and we’ll be able to see more regarding the hernia at that point.

I started working part-time in November as a contractor for my former boss doing work I used to do when I was an employee. It’s the kind of thing I really enjoy — organizing information on a Microsoft SharePoint site. The job is for three months, and it’s an excellent way to get myself back into the swing of working again — I haven’t held a job in 10 months!

So there you have it. A tying-up of some of the threads I’ve left dangling by not blogging for nearly three months. I’m working to regain my health — physical, intellectual, and emotional. I’m keeping watch on my heart, my hernia, and any possibility of a return of what put me here in the first place (which shall not be named).

And I’m doing my best to live in the moment and enjoy life — which is really the most important thing of all.

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