Lovenox was not what the lyric snippet from Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb“ referenced. Lucy survived my first injection attempt and I still have all of my nine fingers. We found some advice on the Lovenox web site along with a handy PDF to help with the injections. We’ll be glad when Tuesday gets here. She gets reduced to once per day starting Wednesday.
Lucy has her appointments scheduled for the next three weeks. I think the phone got a workout today.
Lucy’s left leg looks better than yesterday. The erythema is smaller and a bit less red. Her right leg is back to normal except for some flaking skin. We took measurements of both calves so we have a reference point as was suggested by Dr. Thurmes. I’ll be taking twice-daily measurements until her leg gets better.
Lucy’s dad had minor surgery this afternoon. His surgery got bumped for an emergency, so it started at 3:00 instead of 11:00. Lucy had a Neulasta shot appointment at 4:30 so we couldn’t make it to the hospital tonight. She remembered how out of it she was when coming out of general anesthesia, and how it was nice that people cared, but she would rather had some time to get reoriented and rest up. We’re going to visit him tomorrow. It sounds like he might be getting released tomorrow late afternoon.
It was a very nice day outside today. We hope you had a chance to enjoy it.
We fretted about today’s oncologist visit, but Lucy’s left leg stole the spotlight. We did not even get a chance to discuss the PET scan or CA125 level. Her rash is an erythema and is a sign of a blood clot. Her leg also ballooned up this morning.
Lucy did get her Alimta treatment, so something went right. She can take her multivitamins instead of the prescription folic acid since the multivitamins contain the requisite 400 micrograms folic acid. Lucy’s next vitamin B12 injection will be during her next treatment in three weeks.
She was supposed to visit Dr. Thurmes tomorrow, but he saw her while she was getting chemotherapy. Lucy had an ultrasound on her left leg at Suburban Imaging at 6:30. As a precaution, Lucy will be getting twice-daily Lovenox injections for a week followed by daily injections for around six months. Her Coumadin was stopped immediately.
We had about 45 minutes between the end of chemo and the ultrasound, so we had a quick dinner at Leeann Chin’s about eight blocks from Southdale Medical Building. The Heartland Cafe in the medical building closed several months ago and a Subway is supposedly going in to replace it.
The ultrasound confirmed multiple clots in her left leg. However, she was not admitted to the hospital. We’ll find out more tomorrow. Apparently, the belief is the Lovenox will work on the clots such that she won’t require hospitalization or TPA catheters.
I will be administering the injections. It looks like the syringe has a short small-bore needle. Lucy has no abdominal fat remaining because it got removed in her de-bulking surgery. The “tummy poke” is best for her, so I must be careful. It’s funny, I could probably give injections to anyone else, myself included, but the thought of giving Lucy a shot worries me. I know it’s irrational.
So yes, you’ve heard the blood clots stuff before. Believe me we hate reruns, too!
The ankle is more complex than a single bone and “Dry Bones” was not intended as an anatomy lesson in song. It is somewhat applicable because Lucy is walking better. Her ankle is pointing forward (12 o’clock) instead of away from her body (2 o’clock). Yesterday she would walk mostly on the ball of her right foot. Today she can get her foot flat and bend it forward towards the ball. She is getting the hang of it. Today she managed to use the bathroom. Two days ago, she couldn’t walk but half that distance. The walker will be temporary.
Her hemoglobin went up from yesterday. It is now at 8.7. It’s been a couple of months since her hemoglobin has stayed steady or has risen a couple of days after a transfusion. Her platelets were 212,000 and her white count was at 5.6. Those counts have vastly improved from when she arrived nine days ago. It sounds like she is in “therapeutic range” for her INR. The Chromogenic Factor X test result was not quite in therapeutic range. Dr. Thurmes came by and explained the results. His feeling is Lucy will be in the hospital until at least Sunday now. Lovenox injections might have been an option, but Lucy was on those for her clots. The heparin is working and they monitor and adjust the dosage as needed.
Lucy managed a walk of about 100 feet tonight with only a small stop to turn her walker around. The Physical Therapy people commented on how pleased they were with the distance. She got her exercise in tonight. There is a Meditation Sanctuary on this floor that she wants to see because of the water feature.
In addition to the various hospital staff in and out of her room today, Lucy had some visitors. Her supervisor and supervisor’s supervisor came by for about 45 minutes. Anh-Thu brought in a beautiful flower arrangement that she had designed. Lucy has some really great co-workers!
Lucy’s sister Julie came by tonight for a couple of hours and brought us some lemon chicken from Leeann Chin. The hospital food is all right, but has a limited menu selection. Lucy does not have dietary restrictions. It was really nice seeing Julie!
Lucy is staying positive. She does get frustrated at times, and so do I. We know this journey will be a battle and there will always be unknowns. That is why the victories both large and small are cause for celebration.
Thank you, everyone!
Today is getting longer than we expected. I’m doing this entry via my phone so please excuse the egregious spelling mistakes.
Lucy’s leg is about the same. The pain relievers zonk her out so she had some quality time getting re-acquainted with the backs of her eyelids.
Lucy went to Minnesota Oncology to have an INR test and get a Lovenox shot. Tomorrow is the meeting with the hematologist.
She had the chills before the INR test. Lucy had a CBC test done in addition to the INR. Her hemoglobin was 5.5, which was very low.
After her Lovenox shot, Lucy went to Fairview Southdale for a transfusion. Her temperature is 102.8°F, so she is being held overnight. They are starting antibiotics and doing a blood culture.
Her transfusion started at 10:00 pm when her temperature was 98.1°F. It was stopped at 10:45 when her temperature rose to 102°F, then started again at 11:15 when it went down to 100.9°F.
Here’s hoping tomorrow will go better!
Lucy had another Lovenox shot today. For those of you with some medical background, Lovenox is a SC slow-push injection. The ideal area for the shot is in the belly region. Cringe-worthy for sure, but it’s also not as painful. Lucy has mentioned feeling only a couple of the injections. You can’t begin to understand how much we appreciate skilled nurses!
Starting around Thanksgiving Lucy had noticed her sense of taste was getting impaired. We did have a couple unusual food experiences where she believed her taste buds were on vacation, but they weren’t (trust me!). By and large she has mentioned food not having much flavor, even spicy Asian and Mexican cuisine. Many people going through chemo mention food tastes changing and some will develop food sensitivities. The past few days, Lucy is noticing food tasting better and her appetite increasing. This is good news!
Her leg swelling is slowly getting better and the coloration is looking a lot less “angry”. Her right ankle is swollen and not very flexible at this time. It is swollen to the point tonight that getting a boot on was nearly impossible. She got around that by pulling the insert out of her Sorel boot so it could easily slip on. I thought that was pretty clever! If the weather were still as mild as it was two weeks ago, boots would not be necessary. The Twin Cities area finally has a couple of inches of snow on the ground. We’re thankful the temperature was in the +20°F’s today and not the -20°F’s we can and do get.
Lucy is out on disability for the next two weeks. This is not a bad sign. She has had a tremendous fight going the past few months and her body needs a rest. Walking is still very painful and driving is out of the question especially with painkiller involved. She moved to a different cubicle at work after their reorganization and it means more walking for her.
The blood clot issue will resolve and her leg will get better. She is anxious to start using our treadmill, rebuild the strength in her leg, and be her usual independent self again.