Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Health Issue "Big Sigh"

Just Another Reason to Have Pain

This week I have been really busy.  I had "deliverables" I needed to finish for work, so got those done Monday! WooHoo!  I spent today working with my Mom, getting her prepared for her presurgery interview and talk with the anesthesiologist.  We went over what was going to happen, why the nurse was going to ask questions, when she was going to have the surgery, why she needed the surgery all morning.  I had planned to go into work, but was glad I spent the time with her instead. 

Mom seemed "with it" and was able to answer the questions from the nurse and the anesthesiologist without much help from me, AND she seems to understand what is going on much better.  Whew!  I was afraid of a repeat of her last ER visit.  She was Stellar today!  Hoping that the same will be happening Thursday!

I had a couple of specialist appointments Monday besides going to work.  My endocrinology appointment went great - my blood sugar is perfect, my thyroid levels are normal, my vitamin D levels are back up, so no change is needed for a while.  WooHoo!!!   Then I had my gynecology appointment. Not so woohoo.

Since having a hysterectomy which included removal of my ovaries because of endometrial cancer, I have not taken HRT (hormone replacement therapy).  There is debate whether or not HRT increases risk of recurrent cancer or increases risk of other cancers such as breast cancer.  I preferred not to incur any extra risk since my luck stinks.  In addition to NOT taking any estrogens I also had vaginal high dose rate brachytherapy (which was misfigured and overdosed) so now I am having issues with vaginal atrophy, making pelvic exams even more painful than they have been (and I didn't think that was possible!). 

The nurse practitioner I saw this time (my regular doctor was out of office) said that my tissue is very friable (thin skinned and easy to injure) and shows signs of mucosal injury from the radiation and considerable shrinkage.  So now in addition to the nerve damage I have tissue damage.  This is not an uncommon occurrence among women, especially with postmenopausal women but I'm just tired of every time I see a doctor I seem to find out something new, something not so good.  I'm definitely whiny about the whole situation. 

The mistake in my radiation dosage has not been good to my body.  Maybe this would have happened without the errors but there is no way for me to tell. I have my external anal sphincter partially destroyed by fibrotic changes.  My bladder is shrunken, has lower capacity, and nerve damage. I have problems with fecal incontinence and urinary incontinence both due to the tissue damage and the nerve damage.  I have constant pelvic pain.  I have pain down both my legs that worsens when I stand or walk or use my legs in any fashion. I have non-stop diarrhea and fast motility so food does not digest, and I am on the brink of dehydration most days because I exude too much water through my bowels.  I have nonstop bladder infections due to structural problems and nerve issues and I am running out of antibiotics I can take because this has been ongoing for 7 years.  I have been told I will need a colostomy at some point.  I am on fentanyl pain patches, and at the current dose which allows me to work I still have many many nights where I am up all night in pain. My teeth are falling apart because I have such malabsorption problems.  I have other bizarre health issues that I can only wonder if they might have been initiated by the radiation or from the side effects.

Ah well, at least I have some measure of pain control.  This is good!!!  I am still able to work, but on a much reduced schedule.  This is good!!!  I am alive and breathing.  This is good!!!  I am still able to walk.  This is good!!!  I can still read, write and do arithmetic (after a fashion).  This is good!!!  I have my family and my pets.  This is good!!!  I can still use a computer.  This is good!!!  I have all my various Internet friends.  This is good!!! Whew!  Now I am off the whiny wagon I feel much better!

Hoping you all have pain free days ahead and no downer news.  I am praying my Mom will have a great week and a normal gall bladder operation and will be able to eat chocolate once again! I continue to pray for the poor people in Japan (my co-worker's family members are all safe although they experienced some property damage from the quake).  People locally here in Missouri are buying potassium iodide pills like they buy milk and bread before a snow storm.  Wacky!  That radiation would have to travel a long long way to get here.


  1. Winny I know you have a lot on your plate with taking care and getting your mum ready for surgery along with your own health issues. You have been through so much. ((((Winny))))

  2. Please make sure that taking care of your mom isn't too much. There are people that can help that will still let you be there for her without demanding that the stress be on you. The stress WILL attack your body. You are not strong enough to just talk yourself out of that. I pray for both you and your mom daily. You know how much I care, dear friend!

  3. My bottom hurt just reading all that! =(

    I cannot imagine! I'm sorry, my friend!

  4. This is so much to contend with. You're in my thoughts dear Winny.

  5. JBR: Hey, God is good - Mom seems to be getting with the program (I think she is in much more pain than she admits - her blood pressure shows it)! Praying that tomorrow everything will go smoothly.

    DEJ: Thanks so much for the prayers!! I am lucky because all of us (my sister and brothers) live within 5 miles of each other, however we all have separate health issues that stink. I have been Mom's primary caregiver since my Dad died in 1989, though sometimes she helped ME more than I helped her. You have my number - I do try to talk myself out of stress!!! I will try and be more mindful.

    Jessica: Gynecological problems are not fun. Ah well, I think I need a plumber not a doctor! Maybe a quick connect/disconnect and an overflow oneway valve???

    Migrainista: I'm always more optimistic in the light of day!!! Thanks for the thoughts.