If you were to talk to anyone enduring a chronic disease, or to their caregiver, you will hear how valuable the small victories are. There are no Pyrrhic victories because winning means they are still here to fight.
Saturday was the toughest day Lucy has had since her surgery almost two years ago. She started having really painful stomach issues before going to bed Friday night. Several rounds of nausea later she started feeling less miserable. It’s a tough victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Lucy’s had two nights in a row that she has not had to get up. The Ativan seems to have helped her stomach a bit. One thing that has also helped is staggering her Pradaxa and Hexalen in the morning and evenings. Both drugs use quick dissolving capsules. Quick dissolving capsules are acidic and can cause stomach irritation. We’ll take this victory, too.
Her menu has expanded a bit. That’s a victory because Ensure and Activia get boring after a couple of weeks. We’re being careful with introducing foods that are more solid. She is finally able to take her SlowFe, which should help her anemia problem. To help with her stomach gurgling, we found that simethicone gel caps that work better than the Zantac.
Lucy still has very little energy. Her transfusion didn’t seem to help much with her energy level. This might be a cumulative effect of the Hexalen. She is as wiped out today as she was a couple of days after her Taxol round.
Lucy’s coworker Cathy stopped by tonight and dropped off a fun gift basket. Her coworkers have been so supportive and generous. Julie called tonight and helped cheer Lucy up some more.
It’s been a long month with the setbacks and slow recovery. She hasn’t been able to get out much. During our warm spell, she managed to get into the sun porch a couple of times. Today was actually below normal for temperature, with some light rain this morning and several hours of strong wind this afternoon. The forecast for tomorrow is warm, sunny, and windy. That might help with her energy level.
Your love and support help Lucy immensely! Thank you so much!
Lucy’s stomach issues are a result of one of the cancer growths pressing against her small intestine. She has had a stubborn growth in her lower left abdomen since her debulking surgery. That growth has gotten a bit larger. So while she does not have a full mechanical ileus (intestinal blockage due to an object), she does have a partial ileus. The course of action is to keep on the Hexalen and see if it starts shrinking the tumor.
This setback is still not a reason to hit the panic button. It’s still too early to tell how this will resolve. We all need to stay positive for Lucy. She has the heart of a warrior and a lot of untapped sisu yet. Her clotting problem seems resolved, which is a huge step in the right direction.
Tomorrow she goes in for a two-unit transfusion because her hemoglobin was at 6.4. She has to be at Fairview Southdale at 8:00 am. She did not have to get one tonight because her hemoglobin was over 6.0. It’s nicer driving her home at 1:30 pm than 2:30 am.
Lab work shows no gastrointestinal infection, which is a good sign. She is still taking Pradaxa and Hexalen. After two rounds of nausea late last night and early this morning, Dr. Boente tried having Lucy take Compazine every four hours to see if that helped. It didn’t help much. She will be switching to Ativan, which should offer better relief for the stomach issues. Ativan was originally developed to alleviate nausea and has a bonus of being an anti-anxiety drug.
We tried a couple of simple home remedies that would not affect her medications. I found some ginger ale that has about 1 oz. of ginger per 12 oz. bottle called Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew at Byerly’s in Edina. Most ginger ales use a tiny fraction of that for flavoring. Ginger supposedly has properties that soothe stomach problems, but it seemed to make her even queasier. I like it so least it won’t go to waste.
She tried applesauce for lunch yesterday and wound up with a very rude and quick upset. Apple pectin is another foodstuff that supposedly helps with stomach upset. Ensure and Activia seem to be the only things at this time that don’t cause issues. She tried a couple of unsalted top saltines (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it) and they do not seem to help though she tolerated them well. She is drinking about a pint of Gatorade or Powerade a day to keep her electrolytes up.
Yesterday and today were more the typical gray and slightly drizzly March days, albeit about 20°F warmer than average. Tonight should bring more rain. We are in a moderate drought now, so the rain is welcome. The frost is out of the ground and the rain can actually soak in. Most of the lakes in the Twin Cities metro are reporting “ice out” which is almost a month early. At least the flowering shrubs like the weather:
The warm weather and rain kicked our forsythia bush into gear.