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    DeaconsWife shared an experience

    Other Care (Hospitalization): I woke up about 3 hours later. I was in a hospital room and had an IV in my arm and a nurse was checking it.

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    DeaconsWife shared an experience

    Oh No (Pulmonary Embolisms-Rare by known side effect of my chemo): I wasn't have just any ole asthma attack. I was dying. I had blood clots in my lungs. Both of them. One was 95% occluded (blocked) and the other was about 45% occluded. No wonder I couldn't breathe!

    I spent 13 days in the hospital on heprin and saline to 'melt' the clots. They also put a device in the sciatic junction of my veins that would 'strain' any clots from my legs so they could not get into my lungs again. The device is called a 'something' tulip. It looked like a plastic flower with holes in the petals. They went into the sciatic vein from inside my right leg and used a cable-like device to set it in place and adjust it where it belonged.

    They gave me a great local, but they gave me an oral general, too. The tranquilizers were supposed to 'help me stay calm'. and the local was doing all the actual pain-stopping work. I kept dozing off during the procedure. An hour later for what was supposed to take about 10 minutes...the surgeon was stitching my leg up. I asked what took so long. He said I kept passing out and they could not continue until they brought me around again because each time I passed out, my blood pressure would drop to almost nothing. Wow. I had no idea just exactly how sick I was until that moment. Then I passed out again.

    This time, I remember feeling like I was being held...like a baby held in one arm by a parent. I could feel my cheek against a chest with a strong-steady heartbeat. A woman (who sounded motherly) was holding my hand and another, younger man was pushing my hair out of my face, stroking over and over to calm me down. My mind raced to identify who and why I was being held and comforted. A great sense of peace came over me then. I felt I was being held in God's left arm (He needed his right one so he could keep doing his God-things) and that Mary was trying to soothe me and that Jesus kept stroking my hair and asking me to just keep my eyes closed that I didn't need to see Father's face right now that I could see it later. Once that sense of peace washed over me, I slept.

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    Oh No (A trip to the ER): The next morning, after a laboriously long effort getting dressed and catching my breath again, I realized I could not walk as far as our path from the front door of the house to the car parked by the road. The distance is about 30 feet. The solution was to use to chairs and 'leap frog' them so I could move from one chair to the next down the path to the car.

    Once I got in the car, we drove to the ER at the hospital where my oncologist's office was located near. It took about an hour to actually get in to see the triage nurses the first time. I dozed on and off in a wheel chair while I waited. My color was bad, so they had me sit in the hallway near the triage room so they could keep an eye on me while they worked on the car wreck victim they had in their at the time I arrived.

    I startled awake again and started the huffing and puffing like I had been holding my breath. That got a lot of attention and I was swept into the triage room. They check all my everythings and decided I needed to be admitted. My mind was blurry but I remember something about a chest x-ray and low oxygen and that I was going to need a room with oxygen in it. Of course I would...can't breathe without oxygen. Unless I had died I would need oxygen....Then I got it. They meant oxygen tanks...like when my brother had a major asthma attack and they put an oxygen mask over his face when he went to the hospital as a kid. I must have been having a serious asthma attack. Explained a lot from my point of view.

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    Side Effects (Shortness of breath): By the Monday before Thanksgiving, 2011, I was so tired from not sleeping well that I would only wake up when I had the most urgent need to urinate. I couldn't get to the bathroom fast enough to narrowly avoid an accident. I placed a wheeled computer chair by the bedroom door so that the next time I had to go, I could move from the bed to the chair and then quickly scoot down the short hall to the bathroom before loosing control of my bladder. This seemed to be a workable solution. However, I was still cold most of the time and my waterbed is heated...and the blankets were cozy even if I couldn't get really comfortably warm, I could get comfortably cuddly and would eventually fall back asleep. I hate hate HATE being cold and so another mad dash from the bathroom back to the covers was very important to me. I would be slightly out of breath by the time I scooted back to the bedroom and dove back under the covers. .....

    I started coughing, but nothing was coming up, so I propped my pillows higher and tried to sleep in the waterbed propped up like that. It worked through Wednesday, and Thursday we went to my eldest daughter's for Thanksgiving Dinner. I felt pretty tired, but happy.

    Happy changed by Friday afternoon. I woke up Friday morning achy like when you get the flu or lay in bed too long. Except it wouldn't go away. I kept thinking "Great, now I have the flu, instead of a cold." The feeling of not getting enough air (a familiar one for an asthmatic like myself) seemed constant in spite of using an inhaler twice during the day. I remember thinking "Don't go getting really sick now (as if cancer isn't 'really sick). Don't want to give any bad vibes to 'Black Friday".

    I went to bed earlier than usual, right after dinner....and two hours later had to use the bathroom. I really felt like lead in my arms and legs. I sat up and got myself to the edge of the bed and on my feet, and got to the chair and then to the toilet...and had to catch my breath. I sat there for about 10 minutes huffing and puffing like I had run a marathon. I got my breath back and realized I couldn't stand up so easily this time. I was a little dizzy and realized I was falling off the toilet. I must have yelped or something because both my husband and my youngest daughter rushed to make sure I was alright. My husband told my daughter I was fine and that she could go back to bed. I lay there on the floor in front of the toilet with the seat caught in the back of my folded knees. The seat. It was stuck in the fold of my knees. Ah, that must have been what happened, the seat broke and I fell off the toilet because the seat broke and slid off under me.

    We have a small bathroom. The term "Water closet" would be apt if applied to it's overall size. I was stuck because the seat was stuck and I couldn't straighten out my legs to let go of the seat so I could get up. My husband helped me out of my predicament and helped me to my feet. I went back to bed, more huffing and puffing but this time thought it was because of the accident in the bathroom and getting cold laying on the floor like that all bent over....

    Two hours later, I tried to go to the bathroom again. I made it there with all the huffs and puffs and I think I even took a little nap on the new seat there....I realized I must have dozed off and tried to go back to bed. I was in the rolling chair....then I wasn't. I don't know what happened in between but I must have made some noise because my husband was asking sleepily if I was ok. I said I was because I didn't know anything else to say. But I was on my back on the floor and I didn't care. I was too busy trying to breathe.

    Twenty minutes later, my husband asks "Are you ok?" "Yeah, just let me catch my breath and I'll be in bed shortly." It took another ten minutes but I got myself off the floor, and breathing hard, got myself on the bed. I used the inhaler one more time. There. That was going to be better. I fell asleep. I woke up shortly thereafter realizing I had a anxious feeling in my chest and was again gasping for air. I thought I must have had a night mare. It happened again a little later, I don't know how long, but I was still cold from having lain on the floor so it wasn't too long, I started awake again. I realized I couldn't breathe so sell, even under the covers and propped up on the pillows. I woke my husband and said I needed to go to the ER in the morning. Not right now, but as early in the morning as we could leave.

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    Side Effects (Mouth dryness): Toward the middle of November, 2011 I started having problems sleeping. I went from sleeping a lot to needing to get up every couple of hours because I couldn't breathe through my nose. I also had the worst-ever case of dry mouth I had ever encountered before in my life. I marked it down to needing to breathe through my mouth because I couldn't breath through my nose when I lay down. I thought it was either allergies, or maybe a head cold. I knew I couldn't take cold medicine without asking the doctor so I didn't take any.

    I started blowing my nose alot trying to clear it out, and that only made the stuffiness worse (my nose had become swollen, you see) And I was having more trouble keeping warm, even though the thermometer I kept by the bed said my temp was a little below normal, no fever.

    I drank water or warmed water every few hours, sipping it to try to get it to soak into my mouth membranes and stop the uncomfortable dryness. I started needing to use the bathroom more often, as a natural result of drinking more often. And I started sleepin on the couch because the arms of the couch could prop me in a nearly-sitting position so I could still breathe and try to sleep.

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    Side Effects (Chemo brain): I had already had some memory problems before even being diagnosed with Leukemia. Turns out I probably had the disease for years before it was finally accurately diagnosed, and that would have effected my brain's ability to get, process, and retain nutrients needed for good memory...least of which is NOT oxygen.

    Chemo made it worse. Much worse. I would tell my husband "yeah, I'll really try to do the dishes today." Then I would sleep until noon and get up for a little bite to eat and find my self in the living room on the couch with a book and next thing I knew it was 5pm and my husband was coming in the door from work. "What did you do for 8 hours?" he'd ask. I couldn't tell him, really...I had slept through most of it.