Dave here. Julie did the title and asked me to do the rest.
The last two days have been the hardest so far. We had the impression that the port surgery would be no big deal. Maybe that's usually the case. Or maybe Julie's small stature, or the cutting of her strong tennis pecs, or just the accumulation of five weeks of surgeries and procedures, took its toll.
The surgery to install the port to her vena cava was Thursday morning. At home Thursday afternoon she was in the worst pain I've ever seen her in (yes, I was there for all three childbirths, the double mastectomy recovery and the drainage tube removal).
The day started off badly, and way too early, as we had to be at the hospital at 5:45a.m. for the 8:15 surgery. Julie was still tender and mending from the double mastectomy and lymph node removal four weeks ago, not to mention all the other pokes, prods and procedures in between, and not feeling at the top of her game for another surgery. To be honest, she wasn't even feeling up for an IV. We spoke all weekend about how we wish things could slow down a little bit, just so she could catch her breath and go into this port/chemo phase feeling a little bit stronger, and more like herself. But we know that is a luxury we cannot afford; and we know we want to have no regrets that we didn't do everything we could to fight this all the way. And then there was me, being physically and emotionally drained from trying to keep all my plates spinning (and feeling like I'm not doing a very good job at it). We let Matt drive us to the hospital and actually got in a fight over whether he should be hugging the center line (Julie's way) or the right line (my way). Julie's theory is the oncoming cars will move, but the mailboxes won't. It's hard to argue with that, especially since I recently took out a mailbox (it had it coming). I tried to tell Matt the arguing was our strategy for training him to drive under pressure, but I think he saw right through me on that one.
Things went from bad to worse when the nurse had trouble with the IV, specifically when she was trying to draw some blood for the CVC Scan. You know something's not going right when the nurse talks about your blood flowing "as slow as molasses" and you can feel the needle up to your elbow. But it did confirm the decision to get a port. And how.
After one quick joke for the operating crew (something like the title of this blog), the kind anesthesiologist cast a happier spell over the IV, and the next thing Julie knew she was waking up in the recovery room. The surgery was a fairly quick one, was way less traumatic than the IV debacle, and the mission was accomplished. The port was in and we are at the ready for chemo. Not excited for it, but ready. And no more IVs for a good long time.
We came home and crashed hard, so hard that we slept through Julie's next scheduled pain med dose, and she woke up shocked by the pain with tears streaming down her face. The rest of the day was pretty much just trying to get back in front of the pain, which is a very hard thing to do, once you get behind. I have since set my cell phone alarm to go off every four hours so that will not happen again.
Today she spent most of the day having a hard time dealing with the side effects (extreme nausea/dizziness) of the pain meds, and we finally figured out, late in the day, that maybe the side effects were more of a problem than the actual pain, so we called the doctor and asked to switch back to the meds she had after the other two surgeries, which she took fine. Ever since it seems like things are looking a bit brighter.
And hopefully they'll be even brighter tomorrow, which is her 43rd birthday. Happy Birthday, darling!
The Praise Meeting is still a go at this point. Our house at 7pm, Saturday, Sept 27. Hope you can make it, but if not please keep praying for us and giving thanks with us.
PS - an oncologist nurse friend of ours mentioned to Julie that she should name the port since it is going to be part of her for quite a while. We thought it would be fun to have a port naming contest (yes there will be a prize!). All entries must be posted as comments to this blog. Winner to be announced.