Tag: nablopomo

Nablopomo Day 29: Crazycakes

What i wrote today, to my coworkers, who hopefully understand that i am just occasionally flat-out crazycakes and strange and weirdly nitpicky:

Random for the day, and very, very few people know this; Over and under really should apply to spatial reasoning only – numbers don’t have real “height,” they have value instead. 61 is not over 30, for example, because they don’t actually exist in any realm of space.

And this is so random but yeah, it’s something that only sticklers pick up on. And we don’t absolutely have to change it from the colloquial use, but … I’m randomly crazy about it.

Same reasoning that numbers don’t actually “rise” or “fall,” they increase or decrease.

Thus endeth my crazycakes commentary for the day.

Swollen

I know this is gross but yeah. This is what happens to my foot by 2 pm if i’m walking even a little.

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Swollen

I went into the office for the first day yesterday.  By about 2:00 PM , my right foot was so, so swollen.  I posted a picture yesterday as well. Now I understand why my doctor told me I would not be able to travel until January.

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Hot and Cold

Last night after a lovely meal, Mal and I went to see Breaking Dawn. After that we came home to watch the cat play with the iPad.
unfortunately for me, the rest of my night sucked. Narcotics withdrawal has me wrecked: flu-like symptoms, including nausea, stuffy nose, and, the worst, hot and cold flashes. I couldn’t sleep last night so I slept most of the day. Can’t wait till this is over. I’m down to no nerve pills and half a hydrocodone when the going gets tough, along with a ton of acetemetophin for the actual pain. I’m also taking a ton of calcium and vitamin D to help the bones heal/fuse.
This could be worse. This could be worse. This could be worse.
I know that is true but… Now that i’m not doped up i’m so, so cranky and frustrated and kinda depressed.

NaBloPoMo,Day 24: Thanks for all the fish

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. Here’s my annual list:
I am thankful for Barefeet Shoes and its $20 boots, peppermint tea, honey badgers, Florence and The Machine, white clover, grey nail polish, leave-in hair conditioner, red lipstick, Target $10 V-neck tee shirts, fan-style space heaters, old typewriters, fluffy bathrobes and hand-knit scarves.
I’m also thankful for Mr. Trouble, my mom’s cocker spaniel, who always greets me like we haven’t seen each other in ten years. I’m thankful for my big-eyed tabby, Puddin, and my fat Siamese, Pyle, and all their homoerotic snuggling.
I’m thankful for,most importantly, my friends and family. The past two months have been awful, but they would have been so much worse if I didn’t have amazing people who take care of me and support me and make me laugh.

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Busy, busy

I worked so hard today. I feel like I did an ok job. I’m still getting back in the swing of things, but I got a contest done and did decent job on my conference call.

Tonight is the night before Thanksgiving, which means it’s basically a high school reunion in Downtown Hampton. I usually LOVE going to Taphouse on “reunion nights,” but tonight … Getting showered and dressed is difficult. I’m pretty committed, because I have friends in town I want to see, but it’s difficult to get motivated after working for nine hours straight. I’m a liitle trepidatious about fielding questions about the sling. “It’s a long story” will have to be sufficient for the majority of people who don’t follow me online, I think. I don’t really want to walk through the whole saga repeatedly all night, you know?

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my annual, typical Thanksgiving post. It’s interesting because I’ve already repeatedly been reminding myself of things I’m thankful for, trying to keep silver linings in mind as I get more and more frustrated with the current state of affairs. I sat in my living room last night, complaining to my roommate about things, but bookending with “I know I should be glad I’m not dying” and “And it will all be over in two months, right? Things will be normal again, one day.”

Perspective is key. I was in the transplant area of the hospital for the first few days after surgery, and that actually helped me remember that things really could be worse. This could have been bone cancer, malignant, metastastic or even in my right wrist instead of my left. I’m surviving and I’m healing and I’ve got amazing doctors and even more amazing friends and family.

NaBloPoMo Day 22: OMG SHOWER

I just took the first full shower I’ve had since surgery. And then I put on fancy pajamas and ate a cheeseburger. I also put on deoderant, moisturizer and hair conditioner. All of these things are important, seriously. I feel almost normal.

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Good news!

Went to the doctor(s) today for my checkup:
Pathologists determined it was definitely a giant cell tumor, which is awesome. That means it wasn’t a sarcoma or a malignant primary cancer. That is what we were hoping for, so yay.

Pathologists ALSO believe we got it all. Instead of “scooping” it out, they removed Bob AND the bone near Bob.

The echocardiogram also came back normal. I had to get an echocardiogram after I had some weird heart arrythmias in post-op.

I’m healing well, and fast. I’m supposed to start taking calcium and vitamin D to speed up the bone growth.

To explain; A surgeon removed Bob while another removed 15 centimeters of my right fibula (small leg bone). The fibula was placed into my arm, about halfway up, extending over my wrist and into my hand. The bones in my wrist are too small to do anything with, so we had to graft further up. The means I will lose mobility in my wrist, but it will be super strong. Basically, I won’t be able to “Vogue.”

I had two doctors, HotDoc and CockyDoc. HotDoc is the orthopedic oncologist. CockyDoc is the hand specialist. CockyDoc is obviously the guy that’s so good at what he does, he doesn’t really need to be a people person. HotDoc looks like Seth Cohen with a medical degree.

CockyDoc was super thrilled about how well the surgery went. He showed me x-rays (I’ll post later) and was really pleased to be able to see on the x-ray a specific clamp that’s holding some blood vessels together. He also gave me great news; I can get my leg wet! Which means I can shower (Thank God. It’s so difficult to bathe when you can’t get you left arm or right leg wet). I also got my stitches out (I forgot to ask how many) and i got a smaller splint. It’s about half as heavy as the previous one. I get my hard cast in two weeks.

HotDoc gave lots of good news, stated above. Giant cell rumors only recur in about ten percent of cases, so hopefully this will be the last we’ll see of him. I won’t have to see HotDoc that often (I see him next after the first of the year).

Oh ALSO, HotDoc totally had pictures of Bob/my open wrist ON HIS BLACKBERRY. Which was kind of hilarious. Interestingly enough, giant cell rumors are basically jelly (that destroy bone, go figure). That photo was pretty gross, so I’ll refrain from sharing.

I’ll see CockyDoc in two weeks to hopefully get my smaller hard cast. If I keep working my leg and fingers I may even be able to avoid physical therapy.

Good news all around. Whew. In two months I should be out of a cast and all this will be behind me.

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Hugs.

I put on pants AND a bra today (along with a shirt and shoes, obvi) and ventured out of the house. Mal took me downtown and we saw some of my friends and had dinner, which was lovely. One thing I noticed, that I hadn’t considered; hugging people with only one arm is really unsatisfying. There were a few hugs tonight that were distinctly disappointing, I guess because I’d like nothing more than to truly wrap my arms around certain people and hold on for a bit. .

To update: Those of you who read about Bob know the original plan was to remove the tumor and replace it with a cadaver bone. A few days before surgery we decided instead to remove my fibula from one of my legs (originally we thought left, but it ended up being the right). The fibula is the smaller bone in the lower half of the leg. Also, apparently my bones are very small, but strong. The bones in my wrist are so small, in fact, that it was impossible to fuse the small bones on the edge of my wrist to this new bone, so the fibula bone actually extends into the back of my hand. This means I won’t be able to bend the wrist; no walking like an Egyptian, for example.

Surgery was Thursday, Nov. 10, and took about eight hours. I was in recovery for five, unfortunately, because I had some irregular arrythmias following surgery. Also, I apparently went buck in post-op; flailed my arms, spoke gibberish, didn’t know where I was, etc.

The following few days were weird. The food was awful, i couldn’t get out of bed, I was really, really high, etc. The first morning was especially bad because I was by myself (my mom overslept) and in a lot of pain and needed the nurses to shift my arm into a more comfortable position. After about two hours my actual doctor came in to check on me and fixed everything in like, two minutes.
After that, I slowly healed, enough to get out of bed and eventually be discharged.
One amusing anecdote; I got a echocardiogram and I told the guy who performed the procedure that I would mention him on the blog. His name is Matt, he’s (I assume) in his 30s, has three children and has a twin brother who ALSO has three kids. They’re basically racing for the biggest family. They come from a big family so they’re just popping them out. Also, Matt is attending VCU to pick up another degree, this one in English. I found all this out while he was rubbing the echo sensor all over and under my breast, basically. We bonded.

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Reborn

Seriously, washing my hair in the kitchen sink was easier than I thought, and having clean hair makes me feel so, so much better. It made me think of baptism, seriously. I can’t wait until I can actually shower.

NaBloPoMo Day 18: Technology woes

the last day in the hospital I dropped my phone and shattered my screen. I’ve probably dropped that phone a hundred times with no repercussions.
So besides the fact that my phone’s screen is shattered, it won’t charge. It will for a few minutes, then, nothing. So frustrating.

NaBloPoMo Day 15: Chocolate and soda

i am seriously wondering when I’ll be rational and lucid. Take for example my diet today: subway, pizza, soda and a Russell Stover box. I’m blaming my parents and their eating tendencies. I don’t usually drink soda or eat sweets. And I even told my mom I wanted to eat as healthy as possible so I can heal. But as soon as the chocolate was offered it was all over. I can’t remember simple details from conversations I had yesterday, and I ramble a LOT. I’m being a bitch, too, since I’m getting frustrated easily, along with being woozy and in pain.
I have also, while under the effects of my meds, invited multiple people to the house. When lucid I realize how stupid that is: I’m really not up for it. My schedule is like this: wake, take meds, eat, read, doze, take meds, eat, nap, meds, Facebook, nap, eat, meds, tv, sleep. Rinse and repeat. I’m in this weird sitch in that at least until my doc appointment Monday, I really can’t shower; I can’t position my body in any way that would keep water clear of my left arm and right leg. Super frustrating.
But you know what? I’ve got the windows open and a cat for my lap. Today is better than yesterday. Things will get better.

NaBloPoMo Day 14: Shattered

I got pretty upset today when they unwrapped my leg. After the doctor left the room I went to grab my phone and dropped it. The screen shattered. It figures that on my last day in the hospital one more thing had to go wrong. I’m home now. I have a horrible headache and everything hurts. My friend are all texting me and offering to come over and bring me food. I’m taking reservations. I think many of them don’t quite understand the extent of my injuries. I’m not allowed to drive, can’t shower, am hobbling around on a crutch, and have one arm in a sling. The fingers on my left hand, also, are so swollen they won’t move. Anyone coming to see me isn’t really here for a social call. I can’t really take care of myself very well. Luckily I have my mom taking care of me.
I know things are going to get better. Right now it’s hard to keep that in mind.

NaBloPoMo Day 13: Walking and Talking

Hospital food is so awful. Today I was able to walk around my room, change my clothes and sit in a chair for an hour or so. Progress! However, the fingers on my left hand are still way more swollen than they should be. I asked for a doctor to come look at them, but no one had came yet. If you ever have to be in the hospital for multiple days, don’t go on the weekends – it’s like impossible to get anyone’s attention. My nurses have been great but between shift changes and staffing, I feel like things get forgotten.
I may get to go home tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it.

NaBloPoMo Day 12: When can I put some pants on?

I have been in the same hospital robe since Thursday morning. HOPEFULLY, today I will get out of bed and be able to put on some pants. It’s going to be awesome.

In other news, the fingers on my left hand are giving me some problems.
They sting and I can’t stretch them out, which is really frustrating. I’m also getting an echocardiogram because of the arrythmias I had immediately after surgery.

I did get to sleep last night, finally, but I couldn’t sleep for long, the morning shift change is loud.

NaBloPoMo Day 11: Of Hearts and Underwear

So, here’s the deal: I had some heart arrythmia last night, so I was in recovery for HOURS.
But the cardiologist said today it was no big deal. i’m probably going to cut back on the caffeine, though.
In other news, I’m supposed to start walking around tomorrow, and my mom didn’t bring my clothes to me before she went home. So, the lovely, amazing Mallory went to Target to buy me underwear. She is seriously the best friend in the world.
For those of you who haven’t heard me describe my best friend, take note:
This will be our 12th New Year’s Eve together.
We first began spending time together in 2000, because we were both taking the creative writing class offered at Phoebus High School.

I can’t really think of how to describe our friendship. We know each other’s secrets, and would never share them. We have inside jokes that last for years. We share the good times and support each other during the dark times; deaths, injuries, breakups, unemployment, family sickness, birthdays, new years, moving, unrequited crushes (SO MANY CRUSHES OMG), the flu, concerts in the rain, competitive board games, giant bugs. Mallory is one of few people on the planet I would physically fight for. I will defend her to the death and if someone insults her or makes her feel bad about anything, I see red. I’ve been known to yell at people if they’re mean to her.

We’ve shared so much sometimes I wonder how we could ever function apart. It may be codependent and occasionally intimidating to anyone trying to befriend us, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A friend of mine last week said “Wow, you guys do a have a special relationship. Do you like, sing ballads to her when you’re in the house?”
Maybe I do? What of it?
We’ve joked about how we’ll never have boyfriends because we only love each other, but that’s not true at all. We have lots of room in our hearts, for sure. The only stipulation to our romantic lives is that the guy has to like the roomie enough to conspire with her on Christmas and birthday gifts.

Mallory came to the hospital today bearing ChicFilA, a peppermint mocha, and perfume and happy pants from the Gap outlets. Later she went to Target to buy me underwear.
Honestly when she walked into my hospital room today, a wave of relief washed over me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see someone. I love my mom, but we can only stand so much of each other.

Anyone, I think, would feel weird buying underwear for someone else, but not Mal. She bought the right color, size and style; the same ones I would have bought myself. Mallory holds my heart and owns my ass.
I’m writing this all loopy on pain meds, so this isn’t by any means particularly well-written. Sorry!

NaBloPoMo, Day 10: Bob is gone!

Posting late today because I was on too many drugs to function, sorry. Dilaudid, which was what I received, is apparently STRONGER than morphine. I got the good drugs! (Apparently so good that while I was in recovery in the beginning, the nurses asked me where I was and I said “Entercom.” Shout out to my homies 🙂 Also, they asked me where I was from and I said “feathers.”)

Guess what, ya’ll? We got that bastard. I am still in the recovery room, unfortunately, because I was having heart arrythmias, but I’m about to move to a room. I haven’t actually spoken to my doctors, but I will in the morning.

Thank you all so much for the well-wishes. I can’t begin to describe how much they are appreciated.

I’ll keep updating. Thanks!

NaBloPoMo Day Eight: Complaints

My doctor looked at me like i was crazy yesterday. Apparently doc#1 should have been more clear: I’m going to be in the hospital for the whole weekend not because they are worried about infection, but because they think I’ll be in so much pain/stop doped up I won’t be able to function. Great. Oh, and I shouldn’t work until Nov. 21. Even better.
I’ve been as positive as I can. It’s time I take a moment to complain.
These are things that make me angry: three scars, two on my arm and one on my leg. They’re taking the bone from my right leg; my left leg is the one I had surgery on four years ago. So both of my legs will have scars. I’m losing the joint: it’s hard to explain, but the fibula bone from my leg is going to extend from my arm into my hand; I won’t be able to bend my wrist. I told a coworker I shouldn’t be able to “vogue,” and she said “or walk like an egyptian.” I love her.
I hate that I got the first of many bills in the mail yesterday. I hate that my mom is superstressed and stressing me out in the process. I hate that I never clean my room or put away my laundry, and now I need help to do so. I hate that you can’t wear makeup in surgery; how is a little bit of concealer going to hurt anything? I hate that I’m at the point that vicodin isn’t really affecting me at all, it seems. I hate that I can’t turn my hand to put on deoderant under my right arm. I hate that I don’t have the ability to put my hair up in a ponytail easily. I hate that I can’t pick up a pint glass, open a can of soup, cut my own meat, do dishes, fold laundry or pick up my cat. I hate that I have to put off my travel for work. I hate that I won’t be able to work, that’s seriously making me angry and kinda depressed.
For some humor: it FIGURES that as soon as I’m absolutely NOT interested in, um, dating and whatnot, something interesting happens and I basically have to ignore it because god knows it wouldn’t be fair to him or me.
Flipping the switch back to “good” Amber; my friends are kind and good, I’m not going to die, etc.
I think I’m focusing on the immediate frustrations right now so my mind didn’t drift to the actual surgery and aftermath.

Nablopomo Day Six: Richmond, again

Back in Richmond tonight, because i have a morning appointment tomorrow with my second surgeon. So long as everything goes well (I actually don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, besides meeting) I’ll be going in for surgery on Thursday. I’ll be in the hospital until Sunday or possibly Monday, so long as I don’t get any sort of infection. 

I just want to fast forward to January, honestly. 

So here’s the deal:

On Thursday, I’ll be put under and one surgeon will open up my arm. They’ll do a biopsy of Bob immediately, while I’m under. As long as Bob is what they think, a giant cell tumor, they’ll proceed.

If the biopsy indicates Bob is something else (primary bone cancer, for instance), they’ll stop and close me up. Then we’ll start making plans for chemotherapy.

My doctor seems pretty confident Bob is a giant cell tumor. I thought he was definitely, but apparently there is a chance he is not. However, he’s got smooth sides, which is indicative of a giant cell tumor.

So, as long as Bob’s what we think he is, the second surgeon will begin working on my leg to remove part of my fibula, the small bone, of my left leg. I was told they’ll take a large portion of the bone, i don’t know how much. As surgeon #2 is doing that, surgeon #1 will be removing Bob and the surrounding bone. #1 will be going into my arm from two sides, the top and bottom, to completely remove Bob. They’ll then insert the fibula and do their magic (this part is a little unclear, I’ll get more info tomorrow). They’re going to use some screws and plates to secure the bone in place. 

According to Doc#1, the fibula only carries about 5% of my weight, which is why they can remove it without any big repercussions. 

I’ll be in the hospital for a few days, then i’ll go home. i should be able to walk out of the hospital, but *edit* I’ve been told not to work for a week and not to travel until after January 1. 

I’m going to be in a cast 2-3 months, but i don’t know if i’ll be put in a cast immediately, considering they’ll be watching my arm closely. I’ll be coming back to Richmond a lot initially, and then less frequently as time goes on. 

More updates tomorrow as things get clearer. 

NaBloPoMo Day 4: Live music

So here’s the thing: Writing a blog post every day during the month of November is going to be really hard. It’s not just the whole tumor/surgery thing: it’s days like today, during which I’m slammed at work until 7 pm and then I have to run errands and then I’m at a venue for a show and THEN I remember I’m supposed to write. Whoops.

NaBloPoMo Day Two: Bargaining, part one

I didn’t know I’d have to take of my pants on Monday.

I sat in a hard metal chair with tears streaming down my face as the xray tech looked at my chest scans and readied her doodads for the next two scans (wrist and leg).

I was wishing for clear lung scans. If Bob had metasticized to my lungs, we’d have to stop, and start chemo. But if my scans were clear, we could proceed with the new plan, and we’d be in surgery within two weeks.

If you talk to God our some higher power or force, and have ever had something make you really, truly afraid or powerless, you know about bargaining. I explained it (my version, at least) to my mom on the drive home. Yes, you’re making sometimes-empty promises, but you’re also identifying your own shortcomings. It’s one of the truest forms of self reflection there is, I think.

I’m glad I didn’t have any major things to promise. I can say I’ll be better in general, but I’ve already got the major stuff covered.

Nablopomo Day One: Ouch

I had a great blog post in mind: I’d explain what happened at the doctor’s office in Richmond and our next steps. But I have guests coming to my house and I haven’t showered yet (I worked from home today) and when I was trying to hang purses in the the guest room, a purse fell and I tried to catch it with my bad hand. Then came the excruciating pain. My xray monday showed that the tumor had grown faster than we anticipated and had completely finished working its way through my bone. I basically just snapped the fragments left. But yay for vicodin, right? I’ll post more tomorrow and in the next few days, but here’s the gist: no tumors in lungs, plan to do surgery SOON. No zombie arm, we’re going to take a bone from my leg instead.