Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Christmas Day... Bridget comes to the hospital for a visit with her Mommy! It was great!!

Hi gang!! Wow... can you believe it??? I'm now home and actually able to post to the blog myself! I can't thank Melinda enough for having set up the blog and passed on the updates... and I also thank all of you who have contributed by sending information to Melinda to post on the blog. How cool is that?? A total universal experience where folk from Vancouver can send information to Australia and that information can be posted so that everyone who knows me can have access to the information, no matter where they live. And by using the blog, we aren't cluttering up anyone's mail inboxes. :)

So, from here on in, you get to read my babblings!! Hahahaha! And babblings they will be because I am not known for writing short, to the point posts . Dave, if you are reading this, I am baaaaaaaaaack and full of words coming out of these fingertips!!! I'm lucking that we don't type with our stomachs... I'm sure I would be struggling to type any words right now if we did. But they left my fingers alone in the surgery so you all get to put up with my babble'ness :)

Yes.... I came home yesterday (Friday, Jan 12th) in the morning. Steve O. and Don C. came to the hospital to pick me up. By that time I had gotten in touch with a few neighbours (Fern, Eric, Mimi and Nathan) who came on separate trips to pack up my room with all the wonderful plants, flowers and of course, the Friendship Wall and take them home. Poor Tomas, who went in to tidy the apartment and have it ready for my homecoming, had to deal with all the plants, balloons, etc. But gol' darn it, if he didn't work magic and the plants all have a home now. So now the apartment looks like a mini-greenhouse/florist shop!! :D

Getting home went really smoothly. Don brought the car to the Thurlow Street entrance, so Steve and I just had to go down the elevator and down a short hallway to get to the door and there was the car. Getting INTO the car wasn't too bad, except I couldn't lift my left leg high enough to get in... so Steve helped by grabbing the leg and throwing it into the front seat and then I could follow with the right leg. (hahahaha... ok, so maybe he didn't actually grab it and throw it, but you get the picture... I needed a bit of help). We stopped at the drugstore to fill my prescription for pain meds and then we headed home. Getting out was no problem. Going up the 8 stairs to my apartment was no problem either... so all in all, I was very pleased with how the trip went. I was expecting it to be way worse!

Mind you, once home, the whole routine changes from being in the hospital. Now I can sit up at the computer, or just putter about the apartment... which is a way more physical activity than I had been doing in the hospital while struggling with the pain and getting the pain management under control. But, I'm doing really well and when I get tired, I just go take a nap. It'll probably be another week or so before I can master the stairs and actually take walks outside... and that will be a long term plan of getting my stamina up again so that I CAN do my walking again. For the time being, I will be taking it super slow and being really careful to allow the insides to heal, even if I think I'm feeling better. That's the problem with me... when I think I'm feeling better, I am, only because the pain has fallen below my pain threshold... but that doesn't mean it's gone or that I'm healed, it just means I don't feel it like other people do. So I have to be extra careful.. and I will :)

I need to be healed and have my energy back before we start the next phase of this journey... which will be the chemo or radiation or both. At least I have a couple of weeks - 1 month to work on healing before we start that journey :)

Anywho... just thought I'd let everyone know that I am back and ready to heal!! Now, I'm going to try adding a few photos here in this post just to see if I can!! And I do encourage all of you who are reading to make comments. I have taken off the setting about having the posts monitored before they are posted. I figure we'll take our chances that spammers come in and put junk comments here... if they do, then I will reset the monitor setting. Some of you had problems adding comments, but keep trying. I believe all you have to do is click on that word about Comments, then it brings up a screen and on the right-hand side there is a place to type your comment and then click a submit button or something like that.

Will be back soon...


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

An update from Melinda

I just talked to the lovely Cheryl. She sounded a bit quiet tonight and put it down to being a little uncomfortable with some pain. All-in-all, recovery is going very well. I (Melinda) will be away for a few days, so there won't be any updates until at least Friday.

Cheryl says:

The last drain is probably going to come out tomorrow. So the plan is that I may be going home in the very near future, sooner than I thought. the doctors will know more in the next day or so. I'm now off all IVs. They've started me on soft foods, which is creating havoc with my stomach, and I'm pretty sure they'll put me on solid food before I go home. We're still trying to adjust pain medications and haven't quite mastered the right dosage yet, but hopefully this will all be solved before they let me go home.

  • Dianne Foussey... for the gorgeous bouquet of flowers and pink teddy bear.
  • Brisi... for the adorable diva dog and pink sweater and accessories for Bridget.
  • Dr Steve... for the beautiful orchid plant.
Now starts the planning of how to get home everything that is decorating my room!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

An update from Melinda

I just spoke with Cheryl and she sounds pretty darn good. It is now the evening of her birthday and all her visitors have left. She sounded a bit tired and she said her blood pressure was up a little, but we assume this is just from the excitement of the day.

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL WRITES (well, speaks!)...

I got a lovely palm tree from Christina in Chicago. When the guy delivered it up to the 10th floor, we couldn't even see him, we just saw the palm tree coming in. He was not a happy camper having to lug this thing up to my room. Because it was my birthday, Mimi and Nathan, my sister Erin, Steve and Don, Jo and Debbie were all here to celebrate. My brother Don came later tonight on his way to work.

Meanwhile, Graie and Robyn sent me the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers, of which I don't remember the name, but they are so exquisite. And, of course, I have enjoyed every birthday card that has come in. The nurses and doctors are just flabbagasted when they come into my room - all the colour, it's like coming in to a mini tropical forest!

Sister Erin bought me a Gund dog (super soft stuffed dog). Mimi's mum and dad bought a gorgeous pair of thick woolly socks and a wool scarf. Jo brought me a new bathrobe. Debbie brought me a book and a DVD (St Elmo's Fire). And Mimi and Nathan have caught me up with all my magazines with my fix of Hollywood gossip. And now we will have to rent a U-Haul to get all this stuff out of here!

So it's all pretty darn wonderful, but of course the best present is that I have come through the surgery with flying colours. Although they had prepared me the night before with a lesson and literature on the colostomy bag, they didn't have to put one in - great news.

So my job now is to heal and get home. And then about a month or so after the surgery date, I will be having an appointment with the BC Cancer Agency, who will then set me up with what kind of chemo I will be needing. Tomorrow, they are going to take me off the morphein pump and I will be doing my pain meds orally.

And more on the operation...

The tumour was enclosed in the mass, the mass itself had come a bit through a micro-perforation in the intestine. There was a pathologist in the OR and from what he could see, all the edges of the mass were clean (meaning there was no leackage). Of course, we won't know until we get the results from pathology if there were in fact any perforations of the mass, but from his eye he said it looked very clean. A very good sign.

The operation was actually four operations in one. (1) The resection of the sigmoid (cut out and sew up the two ends), this one would have been where I would have needed the colostomy bag (not any more!); (2) they found a large abscess attached to my bladder, so they had to take that out, which meant slicing a little bit of the bladder, not much; so the bladder is irritated; (3) the small hernia, which I knew I had before I went in, and they repaired that; (4) and they found a larger hernia that I didn't know about, so they repaired that too!

An update from Dad

Spoke to Cheryl this morning and everything continues to improve. Yesterday she was able to get out of bed and visit the rooms on each side of her own. Today she visited all of the rooms of the entire ward. The intravenous feed of morphine has been cut from the 57 milligrams of Friday to something in the 20s on Saturday and a further reduction to 17 today. Because of the positive manner that her body is reacting to the morphine, they will no longer be pumping it in to her on Monday and will instead be feeding her any needed painkillers orally from here in. She has had a wonderful day of visitors and phone calls today and claims that it has been a wonderful birthday party all day long. Once again, she and her family wish to thank all of you caring people for your kindness and wonderful thoughts during this blip that has marred her otherwise cheerful lifestyle; a manner of living that will soon resume once again so you can all look forward to her resuming her quips and good humour.