Friday, 1 February 2008

As usual, lots of disjointed and disorderly news so will use headings to try to steer you through the nonsense that is my life;


On Wednesday I went to the hospital for my appointment, but was disappointed to discover it was just an 'assessment'. Basically a student physio (bless him) asked me lots of questions about movement. I had to stand up, sit down, wave arms around. He looked perplexed. "You have no problems with movement," he said.
"I know," said I.
"So why do you want acupuncture?" he asked, after I'd explained that the pain in my shoulder was greatly reduced since beginning chemo/visualisation (either or seem to be working).
"I want to re-align my chi, sort out my meridians, and all that," I said. And when he looked at me as though I were completely mad, I tried, "I thought it might help with the chemo-induced nausea?"
He said he'd have to speak to his superiors, but let it slip he was starting his masters, so at least I was able to provide some useful advice in my capacity as a lecturer and PhD student! (He said the reading list was 20 pages long, so after berrating him with a 'so it should be for a masters' told him to aim to get through 75% of it, and to be 'discerning' in his reading. I don't know if it helped but the word count for my PhD seemed to give him a sense of perspective back!)

Basically the hospital physios to 'some courses' in acupuncture for pain relief, so I used the link from Zinnia and now have an appointment with a local TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner who does acupuncture and herbal medicine, and is used to the terms oncology, chi, and pancoast tumour. Can't wait. Going on Tuesday!

Gallstones - losing my sense of humour/the joys of morphine

I ate a whole packet of Kettle Chips on Wednesday. I was chatting away to Julie when I suddenly came over all 'funny'. Hmm, thought I. Need a lie down.

And then it started again. Bloody bloody bloody. Why I thought handcooked would mean okay with gallbladder I have no idea, but hubby just took one look at me and dialled 999.

Normally I'm crying, "Please, no ambulance, no hospital," but this time I was at the door screaming, "Where are they?! Boo hoo hoo!" And inbetween, "No, no, no, not again!"

So they carted me away, which is really I suppose, all I deserved. I got a lovely junior doctor who seemed to fascinated by the whole story. I love telling stories but kept thinking, "Not now - just gimmee the morphine NOW!"

She came in. "What seems to be the problem?" (I'm writhing around on the bed in tears, clutching a hot wheat-pack to my abdomen.)

I gasped, "Gallstones - ate crisps - bad pain - need something - took 1 diclofenic 50 somethings before ambulance came - argh argh argh."

She said, "Gallstones? How do you know this?"

I said, "Scan - here - October - 7 - big - ones - last attack 2 weeks - argh - ago."

She said, "Hmm. We need a line in," and called a nurse over who put a line in not so well, bled me, took bloods and removed line. The doc came back.

"Why did you take the line out?"

"I didn't!"

"Tell me more about your gallstones," she said, "I am very interested."

At this point the pain subsided as the Diclofenic I took at home started to kick in. I could breathe again normally so I told her I was on chemo, named the drugs, the pancoast tumour etc., and she just kept saying, "this is amazing... tell me what happened before that..." and I patiently went through it all. I wanted to say why don't you just read my effing blog because the next wave hit me and I was reduced to an arghing mess again.

Why oh why can I not just have the bloody morphine, thought I.

Eventually the nurse came back and fitted another line in the other arm (even worse - this one would leave a blackberry coloured bruise and still stings even now) and then gave me 5 somethings of morphine. Within seconds the pain had gone and a wave f nausea flushed over me. I wanted to go home but junior doc had gone and got a surgeon and now I was being asked to sign a consent form for surgery!!!!

I said, "I have a surgeon and he won't take 'em out until my cancer has been dealt with, and as long as I stay on a low-fat diet I'll be fine." When the surgeon came to see me he was a darling. He went through my bloods with me (all totally normally despite being in the 'crash period' of my chemo cycle) and wished me well before getting the line removed and sending me home.

Phew. I will never eat: Cauliflower Cheese, Chocolate Cake, or Kettle Chips ever again. Damn.


Working on the story. I was supposed to do it yesterday (self imposed deadline) but er... of course I didn't, and today the nausea is at interesting levels. So - more ginger required, a lay down infront of the fire while I listen to the gale force winds outside, and hopefully tomorrow's post will say - I finished it - hurrah!!!

But er... don't hold your breath!

Update in the evening...

Have been thinking about the writing seriously today, and posted my 'writing to date CV' on Hesitant Scribblings - check it out if you like :)


harriet said...

God Lisa all this is so unbelievable really -- what you are going through. I think you are wonderfully brave and I so admire you for blogging about it all. You are going to come out the other end of all this even stronger -- nothing will ever faze you again.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Oh Lisa - how you can make such a horrible experience into such a funny story beats me. Next time you want a snack from a crackly packet, try pretzels or Japanese rice crackers. Or carrots! NHS acupuncturists are generally not fully trained; glad you've found a TCM practitioner. Watch out for the herbs, though; if you're not taking anything else, they're probably fine, but TCM practitioners don't always know the full implications of mixing them with allopathic drugs. And you NEED those allopathic drugs! But if the practitioner you've found is familiar with the terminology, he or she is probably willing to work alongside, and support you through, the Western treatment you're receiving. A few acupuncturists are very anti-Western medicine, and will try to persuade you to come off traditional drugs, but they are in the minority. Fingers crossed for Tuesday - and, in the meantime, have a good weekend.

hesitant scribe said...

harriet - I've been saying that - that nothing will ever faze me after *stick in appropriate trauma* - but hey ho - life just keeps coming at me. I think I must have some very bad karma or something from my last lives!

zinnia - I'm glad I can make people life - that is the intention. After all, the best comedy often comes out of the worst pain ha ha ha! I'm hoping my novel will be equally funny/painful/thought evoking!

Acupuncture - yes - will be very careful about the chemo I'm on and the herbal medicine, but the tcm doc said they work in conjunction with western oncology treatments so am hopeful. And I had carrot sticks as a snack today - and it were brill! :)

Fiona said...

When you've finished the chemo, you shall eat kettle crisps and cauliflower cheese and as many chips as you like.

Please do join us at - follow links to the chat room etc. And say you'll come to the next lunch in the summer - will you? will you? will you?

hesitant scribe said...

fiona - oh yes - once these dreadful rocks are gone I shall! And will definitely come to the next summer thingy! And I shall be all cured by then, and will have finished my novel, and, and, and...! *all excited now*

Lane said...

o-m-g. That is horribly scary. Please, never, ever even look at a crisp again ... at least until all this is behind you. Can you eat rice cakes? ...though I must admit they taste like ceiling tiles compared to kettle crisps. I can't believe how well you're coping with all this horrible stuff (and I don't believe for a minute it's got anything to do with karma!)
When you meet us at the summer meet, we'll larf, ha har har, and talk writing and it will be such fun:-) It will! It will!

hesitant scribe said...

lane - hmmm - rice cakes... ceiling tiles... fine line! Although if steeped in Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt I'll eat just about anything!

SabineM said...

OH wow. Glad you are ok! I had no idea certain foods caused those kinds of problems!
You poor thing!