Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘reality’

How would you react if… Part II

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on October 1, 2018

What’s going to happen next?

After being released from the hospital, I drove home and wondered what would happen… 

NEXT?

This now a tumor, when I thought before were hemorrhoids, started to make it’s presence known. All of the sudden I began to feel a lot of discomfort. As the week progressed, I began to feel some pain with that discomfort.

I had followed through with the surgeon’s request and made an appointment with his office. My initial meeting was to take place with his physician’s assistant. And at my last encounter with him, the day before I was to be released, he reminded me that the mass was cancerous and one of two types – one less serious than the other, and to not delay.

“Please don’t put off calling my offices to set up an appointment.”

His reaction was entirely based on the initial reaction in the ER, two days prior. That particular doctor never admitted to not telling me plain what I had. Instead he made it sound like I was in total denial. Oh brother! 

I eased his mind and told him I wouldn’t put it off, that I understood the seriousness of the situation.

BACK TO STORY…

So as my appointment approached I received a phone call from the office that they wanted to change my time. Strangely enough, they called just before they closed up their office. Me thinks too many people react badly to the prognosis of cancer, thus making the staff of such medical offices skiddish about contacting patients. What do you think?

But because his office is part of the hospital system I was able to speak with another nurse who made every guarantee to get a hold of his staff first thing in the morning to see what the schedule change was all about. Turned out that they wanted me to speak directly to the surgeon and not his assistance.

RED FLAG?

You betcha! Whenever it changes from the physician’s assistant to the primary care giver, the news becomes a telegram – no good news. And so it wasn’t. The type of cancer from the biopsy came back as the worst. He told me I wouldn’t like the numbers the Oncologist would give me. But I was getting the best they had and the best Radiologist Oncologist.

That was DEFINITELY God’s doing!

He then told me he would put the port in for any chemotherapy that might follow and I told him about my increased pain that I was feeling. He said it may be necessary down the road to do an emergency surgery where the tumor and colon would be removed together, but that he’d cross that bridge if we ever came to it.

SPECIAL NOTE

I learned a little later, while I was talking with a wonderful man who’s family had the privilege of running the family business – a Funeral Home, (I wasn’t going to let anything wait to the last minute. If this was God’s way of bringing me home, then all the last details were going to be taken care of.), he said to me:

“Doctors write in pencil. So much is apt to change without warning.”

This was good advice, even though I didn’t understand it at the time he said it. This was also advice based on real life experience. Their son, now 16 yrs old, has been fighting cancer of the lung for the last two years. His cancer is a lot like mine in that it just appeared and without any family history behind it. 

So two weeks after that appointment I had my friend drive me to the ER because the pain had become intolerable and I FINALLY gotten a hold of my surgeon through his nurse practitioner who agreed and told me to get to the ER. Plus I believed the tumor had become bigger and that emergency surgery he had spoken of in his office might be a real possibility. In fact, I had everything with me just in case they gave me a hospital admittance.

I learned very quickly that neither my general practitioner nor my surgeon could order surgery. Only an ER doctor could do that. What a crazy system we have created!  

This time, however, it was in the afternoon and the ER was very busy. So it took a few hours before the needed exam finally took place. But when it did, the ER doctor determined that the tumor had indeed grown and was now an inch and a half INSIDE the colon; which explained all the pain I was going through! But at the same time, it gave me great satisfaction that I had accurately called the increase of the tumor. 🙂 Now, how about the surgery?

“Doctor’s write in pencil. So much is apt to change without warning.”

The ER doctor assured me he was my advocate and would relate the extent of my pain to my surgeon – I had kept a running record of those two weeks, thanks to my friend Carol’s advice. Yet the first one back was one of the male nurses – I must tell you that the entire staff were men and very good looking – and he brought with him a pain pill that was amazing! It took care of all the pressure and pain that I had been experiencing, and with very little side effects. This became my prescription pain pill. 

Next the doctor returned and relayed the surgeon’s advice:

“After talking extensively with your surgeon, he feels that based on where the tumor currently is in the colon that surgery would be too risky right now, and that it would be best to do radiation to shrink the tumor first before attempting surgery.”

“Doctor’s write in pencil. So much is apt to change without warning.”

Now this made sense. So with the pain pill and my over the counter pain medicine I would have to endure a little longer. Thankfully they said both work well together and to increase my dosage of the second one to two pills instead of just one. This has indeed helped! Besides, I knew I had a PET scan coming up that Friday with my first appointment with the Oncologist the following Thursday. Something more would be determined, no doubt about it! The question was, what?

To be continued…

I begin a week of Radiation this week. It’s also my birthday week (Oct 4th). Please keep me in your prayers and that the radiation treatment is successful. Thank you and God Bless!

This story will continue as I am writing everything out now (Sunday, Sept 30th) and they will publish themselves during the week. 😉

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How would you react if…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on September 27, 2018

So… you had a particularly painful bout with food poisoning.

Your best friend had the nerve to call you in the middle of it (love ya, Carol!)

She begs you to just “bight the bullet” and go to the emergency room because, “They have to treat you!”

You agree, but won’t go until the following day…

On that day, you’re ready to walk out the door when the Lord God whispers to your heart, “Pray.”

But, shouldn’t I head to the ER to fulfill my promise to my friend?

Again He whispers, but a with a bit more insistence, “Pray!”

Yeah, but I need to take care of these hemorrhoids. I mean, they’re really becoming a problem.

Now with all power and might He booms, “PRAY!”

Yes, I am thick headed sometimes, and quite stubborn most of the time, but I’m not stupid. So naturally I changed my plans and went to my room to do what He asked of me, pray.

Before I even began a Divine Mercy Chaplet, I saw clearly in my mind’s eye that by delaying until the next day – Thursday, that everyone I would need would be in the ER to assist me.

THE NEXT DAY IN THE ER

The doctor serving his time is a radiologist. He asks my complaint, I tell him and ask if there is a way to get rid of these hemorrhoids cause they’re really causing a lot of problems. He finally does a rectal exam and says,

“I don’t like the feel of that.”

Next thing I know, I’m being fitted up with an IV starter – the nurse was really good! I hardly felt anything beyond a slight pinch.

A wheel chair appears at my door and she, the CAT scan specialist, wraps me up in wonderfully warm blankets and wheels me a short distance to their room with the scanner. They’ve come a long way since the original scan equipment. Now everything is open with just a section of scanner that leaves plenty of space between it and the patient.

After asking a series of questions, she has me lie down on the movable piece and we begin the initial scan. Next follows the routine injections, first saline – lovely taste; but then next the dye that they use to see inside the organs; I was told it would make me feel suddenly warm, and IT DID! But then as a quick afterthought she said,

“And you’ll think you’ve wet your pants. You didn’t.”

Sure enough, as she was saying it, that’s exactly what I felt.

When the scan finished, she brought me back to my private room in the ER – they’ve come a long way with ER set-ups as well, at least this hospital has. It didn’t even smell like a hospital! The room had a sliding glass door and a curtain for sound proof and privacy. A far cry from the last time I was in an ER many, many years ago.

A half hour later, the doctor came in and said I would need a surgeon. He then rattled off names and I looked at him like, huh?

“Listen,” I said,  “I have no idea about any of them, you just use your good judgment. All I ask is that he be a God-fearing man. A man of faith.”

So one was chosen that fit my request. Turned out he was also the best colon surgeon in the area!

Then ten minutes later, the nurse walks in with a booklet and a room number written on it informing me that I was being admitted into the hospital…

Come again?!

WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE! ADMITTANCE?! WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

She seemed confused, and left to have the doctor come in and explain all this. And I’m thinking, “Well, yeah! The doctor didn’t say anything about admittance. What’s going on here?” Turned out he wasn’t really big on confrontations, and so he began with…

“This is a common reaction. We see this all the time.”

“Excuse me, you see what all the time? the nurse has just informed me I’m being admitted into the hospital, but I have no idea why. You haven’t told me anything.”

(I did learn rather early on that communication within a hospital is seriously lacking. Something that hasn’t changed since the last time I was in a hospital environment.)

Now comes the moment of truth…

“Well it’s normal for people with cancer to react this way when…”

“Hold the phone! Did you just say cancer?!”

REALITY CHECK!

Turned out that what I thought were just hemorrhoids was actually a cancer mass growing on the outside of my colon. Then he said it was stage 3, because the CAT scan showed lesions on my liver, suggesting that the cancer had indeed spread. I finally got to see that scan, and what he said was true.

All in one fell swoop I was told that I had colon cancer and it had already spread to my liver. I was admitted and a colonoscopy happened the next day with a biopsy of the mass. Plus all of this occurred without any idea how I would pay for the whole thing!

Turned out the hospital system that exists out here is “not for profit”, and my working poor status qualified me for their free health care.

The procedure was unbelievable. The whole thing was done in 20 minutes and I was aware of none of it. All my support staff were totally wonderful and the surgeon a truly caring man. He visited me not just before the procedure, but a couple of times after just to check on how I was doing. I ended up leaving the day after, because they wouldn’t let me drive home that afternoon, even though I was cleared to go home.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience, though it did take a REALLY LONG TIME to get me out of the hospital even though I was clear to go the day before. And once you cease to be a “patient” the staff kind of forget’s about you. Now all I had to do was face the reality of cancer. What type of colon cancer would be determined by the results of the biopsy. 

Please Note: All this took place on August 23rd-25th

Clearly there is more to the story, that this section is just the beginning. Therefore, to be continued...

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