Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Downturn

I wish I were just talking about the financial markets. As if losing our life savings in this market downturn weren't enough, I'm going through a bit of a downturn myself.

Lately, I've had some problems breathing and I've had coughing fits, just like I had earlier this year when I went through that bad phase. I've had to get the oxygen machine back, and I spend several hours a day hooked up to this thing, lying in bed with tubes stuck up my nose.

But sometimes I feel back to normal. Last week, I went ice-skating at a kids' birthday party. But I was exhausted afterwards and spent almost all of the next day in bed, hooked up to the oxygen machine. A few nights ago, I had a coughing fit that left me unable to catch my breath. I felt as I were suffocating. I panicked. It was the worst feeling in the world. That's always been my worst nightmare - suffocating or drowning to death.

A few days ago, I forgot to take my pain medication and felt aches in my chest, back and head. This is the reason I had resisted taking pain medicine in the first place - I didn't want the drugs to mask symptoms that could tell me that my condition was getting worse. So now I know something is wrong.

And that brings me to another problem. My brain just isn't functioning properly. I keep forgetting to take my medications. Don't bother offering advice on how to remember - we've tried them all. Alarms, calendars, pill boxes, you name it. Tony and an oncologist friend of ours have come up with a checklist to ensure I've taken all the drugs I'm supposed to in a 24-hour period, but I've forgotten to use the checklist. I had it sitting next to me in bed, with the drugs and a clock, and still I forgot.

Here's a really silly one: I turned on the oxygen machine, but then forgot to put the cannula (tubes) in my nose. I then fell asleep with the oxygen machine running, so it was pumping oxygen into my room instead of my body.

I went to see my oncologist yesterday to talk about these problems and get a chest X-ray. The X-ray showed fluid in my right lung and some more opacity than there was in the previous X-ray. The nurses took blood to run some tests so they can rule out any sort of infection before we conclude that this chemo (Ixempra) isn't working and move on to something else. We'll get the results later today.

Since I wrote the above, I've developed another symptom: blurry vision. And the chest pains have gotten worse - now I have a sharp pain in my chest, just under the heart area, when I just breathe in. I'll let my doctor know, get my test results, and post again later today.


Leighbee said...

Dearest Shin .........

Well....I've sat here for 5 minutes having written only "dearest Shin..." I actually don't know what to write :-(

Sending you a big hug - I guess it won't help much but I don't know what else to do or say!

Shall be waiting on your news and (yes...) praying for it to be "good" .....

Alka said...

hi Shin..take care, be strong, and keep the chin up. I'll be checking this space for an "upturn".luv, alka

danchessari said...

Dear Shin, My thoughts are with you.....don't know what else to say


writerinresidence said...

Hey Shin,
Just know I'm always praying for you and sending you well-wishes. N

Tabrizi said...

Hi Shin,

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Know that people across the globe (California) are thinking about you and keeping fingers crossed for you.

Cancer friggin sucks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin-
I just your post and wanted to send you a cyber hug. We're both going through the same storm. I'm also on 2 types of morphine because of pain (in my liver area). I've had blurry vision too and the Rad. Onc says that it could be a side effect of the WBR. I pray that you get the medical attention you need quickly and that things turn around and you start feeling better soon. God is able, stephanie

PapaWog said...

Potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato, potato - ok, not much help, but I'm a big fan of the potato and maybe this email made you laugh. Hugs from the St. Louis crowd.

Francesca Giessmann said...

thinking of you... big kiss and a warm hug from Switzerland

Anonymous said...

Dearest Shin,

Will keep praying for you.


Shin said...

All of you,

Thanks for your good wishes, prayers, and potatoes. Or is that potatos? Must ask Dan Quayle.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Shin,

You are in my thought and prayers.
Hate is a very strong word but for cancer, I will repeats many times..... "I hate cancer, I really do"!