Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Real Life

Yesterday I had a massage. The last massage I had with this lady, Luata, was the one where I left and was pleased and proud of myself for walking the 10 blocks to Laura and Sonja's house. This visit, I walked half a block to get to the office from the car, and had to lean against the wall and pant for a minute or two to recover. And it was just as big an accomplishment. Having a massage was heavenly, of course, in part because it was an outing, and it was something I do in real life.

Real life isn't at all clear yet, five days out of the hospital. I'm not sure, for one thing, how long I'll be on oxygen. I've already turned it down, from 4 liters (per minute it turns out, but it also turns out that I have no idea what that means, either—what is a liter of oxygen? How much to people normally get?) to 3 liters, and my sats (oxygen saturation levels) are holding steady at 98 or 99 (normal and healthy) except when I climbed the stairs last night and briefly dropped to 88 (too low, but I was back up within about 30 seconds which is very good). So maybe I'll be off oxygen before I get used to filling my auxiliary tanks and hauling them around? But maybe not, and maybe I should just get in the habit of filling my auxiliary tanks and leaving the house for things, because that's the best way to get to real life. And I know, I know, this is real life—that's all we can live, real life, whether in the hospital or at home, on oxygen or not. Maybe instead I'll call it "familiar life", because that is actually true.

Anyway, familiar life has included a massage, friends visiting, a dog, movies, paying bills, a workman fixing something about our house, and, of course, my surroundings, which include comfy chairs and a sofa as well as a bed . . . and changes of rooms!

Increasingly familiar life included today a visit from a home nurse (who was a bit taken aback that I'd already reduced my oxygen levels on my own, until she found out that I had my own sats meter and was testing myself all the time), and tomorrow will include a new chest CT (to try and tell the difference between the pneumonia scarring and the cancer nodules), and Friday I'll meet with Dr. Specht to talk about results. There is some chance that she'll be changing my chemo regimen—one reason we went with Taxol and Navelbine at the beginning was that they had been so effective seven years ago—but I didn't seem to be responding very rapidly this time around, and so based on the results of the CT Thursday, I may be started on some new chemo. I will continue with the Herceptin (which I already have had three times since entering the hospital) and the Pamidronate (which I also already have had once since then) because they aren't technically chemotherapy drugs, and are useful anyway.

I'm still due for a visit from home Physical Therapy and home Occupational Therapy . . . to check out my environment and make sure I'm safe here, is apparently part of the reason. Fortunately, I seem to be safe enough because I've been here five days already without falling or cracking my head on anything so I'm not exactly sure what they'll tell me when they come.

Okay, I think that's it for now. Nothing too terribly exciting (fortunately) to report.


Andrienne said...

Actually, you being at home and in your favorite environment IS terribly exciting! I vote for as many rooms as you need. Just keep movin'.

Anonymous said...

Cason and I have been thinking of you often and send you all our prayers and positive thoughts. I'm so glad you're home and celebrating the victories of "familiar life". We'll check in with you again real soon. Love you. Julia