Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clots & Herpies

(if you only want the funny, skip down to the last paragraph)

One day I noticed my hands seemed red. Like someone who has bad circulation or high blood pressure. I didn’t make a stink about it, because I figured everyone would think I was being a big baby or making something out of nothing…. A couple days latter… well, long story short, something was really wrong (along with numbness on one quarter of my face, down my neck, swollen arm)…. A trip to the hospital revealed my blood clotting. There was at least one at the site of the medi port. (interestingly, I realized later what my platelet count being quite high meant. First time it was 155, the last time it was 499, which means blood thickening. Apparently the person, who drew my blood that last time, didn’t pay attention to that & just tucked it away in my chart. If only we had a jump on the blood thinners & daily shots in my stomach, perhaps I wouldn’t have had to have surgery to remove the port, with still 4 treatments left.) After a week & a half of bringing me up to thinning blood at 2.2 with shots in the stomach (including Saturdays & Sundays at the hospital) and coumadin it dropped down to 0.9 in just 2 days (because I had to stop taking the meds & let it thicken again for surgery). The needle sticking before surgery was nothing to be desired. How many failed pokes in my swollen clot side arm, along with failed attempts to get a line in my foot & ankle (they kept poking THROUGH the vein) I had to let them go in my left arm, which is a huge no no when you’ve had any lymph nodes removed (again, I had 30 taken). WHY? Because then you risk developing swelling in the arm, hands, fingers, that will never go away once it’s there. One nurse almost said elephantitus then changed it to a more technical term. I had to start the shots & orals back up. Now after a week it’s back up to 2.5 (they need it to be between 2-3 so that it’t thin enough & the body can try to dissolve the clot on it’s own.) Now, my left arm is beginning to swell, but I don’t have a good arm to compare to show anyone how much.

So, now the port is gone. They say they will try to get into a vein for the next treatment and after that I need to get a pick-line. HA HA Ha, they really thought (with what little experience they told me in the beginning they have with getting a vein, which is why they prefer ports) they actually thought they’d be better at getting a vein & not collapsing it with pushing treatment when an anesthesiologist couldn’t? Yeah. Ok. Sure. They broke through the same vein a couple times & gave up. I missed my scheduled treatment. Which has repercussions of its own.
But, I’m scheduled for the pick line Tuesday (5/20) and chemo on Wednesday near a week late. I’m guessing this throws of the entire schedule…. Scared again. I know this has great potential to be painful.

In the middle of all of that…..
2nd Chemo, we decide I won’t take Neulasta because of the harsh reaction I had. Right?
So… just when I feel like I can actually get up myself & I gain a little strength, along comes a cold sore, and the red spots on my head start to turn to itchy bumps. White blood cells are declining leaving me with nothing to fight the cold sore with, and they think the bumps on my head are shingles, which could be pretty damn serious without immune systems working. More meds are assigned…. I go pick them up. Now, I know cold sores are one form of Herpies but I didn’t know that about Shingles as well.. so, the new young woman at the pharmacy passing over my medicines in the drive up window is looking at me pretty funny.

Odd looks & sideways too…. I really didn’t understand why she’d be looking at me that way. Until I got home and opened the instruction sheet she folded up. In big huge bold letters it says “this medicine is used for GENITAL HERPIES”…..

funny how that phrase “genital herpies” was in BIG BOLD and CAPITAL LETTERS on that sheet. TWICE! But “shingles” was in regular print. I felt like running back there and telling her "NO! I DON’T HAVE GENITAL HERPIES! JUST a COLD SORE & MAYBE SHINGLES! NO, REALLY!"

Instead, I just had a laugh about it.


Anonymous said...

Carol, I do not know the words, but you are truly an amazing woman and person, friend, "Auntie" and wife and mother daughter. One can only hope to show the grace and love and kindness that you show, even in the worst of circumstances. not even the word phenominal covers it - Extra love and prayers, I only hope that you are being as good to yourself as you have always(YES ALWAYS)been to everyone else. I know it must be very hard to stay "positive", but it truly is a necessary part of your getting well! So keep trying and fighting, love love love you all, gayle

Ice Angel said...


So glad to see all of your posts and you giving it to cancer with both barrels.

But please know that all anyone expects of you right now is to fight this thing with everything you have. You worry about you right now and we'll all keep praying every day for you.

We miss you!

P.S. No...REALLLLLLLLYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! It a blood clot.....NOT HERPIES!!!! Hilarious!!!

Carol said...

ICE Angel :
You liked that hu?
It's really IS a cold sore!!!!
Oh if only you could have SEEN the way this chick looked at me.

I appreciate you're keeping up on my progress. It really does help knowing you care.
And prayers... dear lord I still need 'em.

Carol said...

Gayle -
(I didn't post your entire comment, but) Sorry you been feeling sick, but yes, glad you don't have GENITAL HERPIES! (I'd come torture Mike if you did!)
Thank you for all the love you send!

Brigitte said...

Carol, you really have everything at once, clotting and Herpes. I am so sorry. I am sure though that everything will come out fine, but the road has so far been pretty rocky. Hasn't it?
Anyway, Steve and I are praying for you and we wish you and your family only good things. At least one prayer was answered and that was that you will have insurance. With your husband keeping his work for now, that came true ...
Now we have to work on getting all these annoyances out of the way so you can keep with your treatment schedule.
Much love my friend.
Hugs, Brigitte

PS: for everyone;

Shingles (Herpes zoster) is an extremely painful skin rash caused by the Varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In people who have had chickenpox, the virus is never fully cleared from the body; instead, it remains dormant in the nerve tissues. When physical or emotional stresses to the body weaken the immune system, the virus re-activates and spreads along the nerve fibers to the particular area of skin supplied by the involved nerve (called a dermatome). The virus responsible for chickenpox and shingles is a member of the Herpes viruses, although it is not the same as the Herpes simplex 1 and 2 viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes, respectively.

Pain, itching, tingling, or burning of the skin are symptoms of shingles that often precede the rash in an outbreak. The blisters that develop resemble the lesions of chickenpox but are concentrated in the area supplied by the involved nerve. Rarely, more than one nerve is involved. Blisters may occur along the entire path of the nerve or only in certain areas supplied by the nerve. As with the blisters of chickenpox, the blisters in shingles eventually burst and begin to crust over and heal. The entire outbreak can last for three to four weeks.

Beth said...

Hi Carol,
I am so sorry you are having such a rough time. We are praying for all of you.. Tell Sarah we love her and we are thinking about her.
I really miss you guys. Carol Keep fighting and know God is with you. Kick this thing called CANCER in the Ass and then send it packing!!!!You have the strenghth of 10 Men!!!
I am so proud of you!
Love You,