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Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Awful - Medical Update

Sometimes I worry that I am whitewashing the cancer experience.

After all, I don't want to post every day how tired I feel, how my stomach is upset, how much I hate taking pills/going to the hospital/doing tests, etc. Yet these are feelings I have all the time.

It takes constant effort to keep my mood up and my attitude positive. That is so much harder to do when I am sick!

Yesterday, things reached an all-time low.

Two weeks ago, my oncologist wanted me to do a CT (head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis), to get a full picture (more or less) of how I am doing now.

I put it off a week, because I did not want to lose family time during Succot. Then, on the day of the CT, I felt too sick (with the flu) to get out of bed. I hoped I would feel better on Sunday (yesterday), and be able to go then.

Well, Sunday morning I was still sick and feeling lousy, but I knew that the radiologists review the CTs on Monday morning, so if I did not want to lose another week; I needed to go.

I had to fast for this CT (no food, but I could drink water until an hour before the test), so I fasted all morning, in the hopes that I could get an appointment that day. It took a bit of negotiating, but the secretary, who knows me by now (me being a "frequent flyer," and all that), managed to get me an appointment for 2:30.

On the way to the hospital, I joked with my friend that the reason they don't let you drink for that last hour is so that you will be so thirsty when you get there that you won't mind drinking the disgusting Barium solution required for abdominal scans.

Seriously, between the heat wave and the Xeloda (which makes me thirty all the time), by the time I got to the hospital, I was so desperate to drink, I was actually grateful for the liquid they gave me. Not for long. By the third cup, the drink was no longer the least bit appealing, even with the added lemon-aide syrup. By the sixth cup, I did not know how I would manage to drink any more!

In the past, I just drank each cup as fast as I could. (You have to drink two cups at the start, then one cup every 5-10 minutes, until you are finished with the pitcher)

I did not understand why it seemed so difficult for some people to finish the solution (besides the disgusting taste, which did not seem to bother others as much as me).

Well, with my current lack of appetite, I just did not know how I would manage to squeeze more liquid into my tummy.

I approached one of the assistant secretaries, to ask if it was really necessary for me to finish the entire solution. She checked, and was told that I should take my time....

It took half an hour to drink another two cups. I felt bloated and and nauseas.

I was miserable.

I wanted to cry.

I felt really, really sorry for myself.

I asked again. I know that once, in the past, they called me in when I still had some drink left.

Thankfully, they told me that I did not have to finish the last two cups and I would be called in soon.

The CT took all of five minutes.

I could not wait to get out of there.

The ride home was awful. I prayed that I would get home before I needed to either throw up or go to the bathroom.

When I got home, I went straight to bed. (do not pass GO, do not collect $200)

I felt so awful, I could not even fall asleep.

Poor me.

Just so you know (and don't worry), I'm better now (though I still have the flu).

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Robin said...


I wish it wasn't so awful, and having the flu on top of everything else. Not fair.

mother in israel said...

Poor you is right! It's okay to feel sorry for yourself once in a while. We'll even let you admit it here. Get well soon and we are praying for good results.

rutimizrachi said...

Oh, poor shefaleh! You are right: sometimes it is necessary to have a reality check, for yourself and for your loyal readers. You are a basically upbeat person who is handling one of the worst scenarios with grace and humor. Remembering that this is real builds the framework that allows me see how special your attitude is; and your honesty about the good days and bad days keeps it real. Thanks for trusting us. I give you the bracha that you are on an upswing now, physically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there

michele said...

Yes, those CT cocktails are disgusting, and on top of everything else you're experiencing, no wonder you're feeling crummy. You do tend to post mostly positive things (or at least you always try to find some positive in every experience). Sometimes you just gotta vent!

tnspr569 said...

Stick it out - you can do it! We're behind you!

Anonymous said...

What a hard day to get through!That was really something to manage to get the test done while still being sick. Please take the rest of the week easy. Everybody needs a lot of bed time after the flu, you need to get your strength back.
Ellen L.

Staying Afloat said...

Oy. When it's bad, it's bad, and without bad there's no good. I wish you rest. And health, of course.

Maybe you can call back the Chessed lady now and ask for Shabbos this week too? And maybe some meals during the week. Then, if you get hungry, there's good food.

rickismom said...

I wouldn't want you to whitewash it. Let's face it. Cancer is no fun. Sometimes accepting "issurim b'ahava" means just not kicking HaShem back, and accepting that HE is in control. No one says you have to LIKE it!

Batya said...

Darling, you can kvetch all you like/need to. You don't have to pretend it's fun.
Actually, I thought you'd post something more dramatic, like "losing it" on the clerk when complaining that you couldn't swallow another drop...
At least you didn't have to finish it.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Robin -- definitely not fair

Mom in Israel -- thanks. definitely in "feeling sorry for myself" mode

Ruti -- kayn y'hi ratzon!

Tesyaa, Michele, tnspr569 -- thanks

Ellen - as soon as I got home, I realized that I would be another week in bed....

Staying Afloat -- I'm almost never hungry....

Thanks for the suggestion! We already have people cooking for us a few times a week and we are invited out for at least one Shabbat meal (if we are healthy by then...)

Ricki's Mom - I definitely DO NOT like it!

Batya -- you have no idea what a bracha that was -- just those few, simple words: "you don't have to finish it"

Lynne said...

RivkA - Love you!!!

Shelly said...

Sometimes you need to let it out and you should always feel free. It sounds like a really yucky day! And in general - you always amaze me with how upbeat you manage to be.

I have to admit the headline really scared me - the combo of "medical update" and "just awful" - as truly hard as it sounds, I was so relieved you weren't referring to any test results. Davening for good CT results.