After 9 days in the hospital I finally got home this afternoon. These past few days have been hell for me (I guess I'm difficult!) and I'm still in a tremendous amount of pain from where the chest tube was pulled out today. I am currently neutropenic (extremley low white blood cell count) and my doctors basically ordered me out of the hospital because of this (it's much more risky to be there than to be at home). I guess this is the only time I will be happy to be neutropenic (of course I can't leave the house without a mask or have visitors until my counts come back up which should be a couple of days).
So, I don't even remember the chemo at this point. The surgery, and the issues we had after far overshadow the chemo and I am hoping that the next round (scheduled for August 17th-August 21st) will be an "in and out" in five days sort of thing. We'll see, but as far as I am concerned, after what I went through these past few days, the chemo felt like a walk in the park (that I didn't remember). I have to thank the staff at Crouse Hospital - they were all so wonderful and sympathetic to us. They really make a horrible time better for us.
The surgery I had was called a "pericardial window" and I have to thank Dr. Gorman for his work in getting me into the OR as fast as they did. Because of the chemo cycle this surgery had to be done the day it was, or we would have waited until the next cycle, which could have been very bad for me. Basically Dr. Lutz (the surgeron, who was awesome) went in under my ribs and removed a pretty good sized piece of my pericardium. This allowed for fluid to drain (which hadn't been happening) and amazingly, I'm told that over 1.2 litres of fluid came out. I kept imagining a litre sized gatoraide bottle just sitting in my chest cavity putting pressure on my heart. It's hard to say right now if theres a difference because I am in EXTREME pain from the surgery, but I can say that my airways and breathing do feel great.
When I came awake from surgery I was confused and fighting and had to be restrained. In my life I've never felt more pain and I remember begging for relief as they wheeled me to the recovery room. We would spend the entire night like this. I will say that the staff at Upstate (I was transferred there from Crouse for surgery) were great and they tried their hardest, even though it got very tense. I can't even describe how my family must have felt watching me, screaming in pain with nobody really knowing what to do about it. I know it was pretty rough for me...and today was really the first day the pain dropped below a "six out of ten".
I knew this would happen eventually. I've been living with this cancer for near 10 months now and it's been fairly easy on me, with a few bumps here and there. Now that I will be going through this new chemo things are going to get rough (as they have) but I keep telling myself that I know why I am doing this and this is the means to an end.
Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who texted, emailed, called and visited while I was in the hospital. Though I didn't have many opportunities to respond back, those things mean so much to me. Thanks for all the visitors as well, it was really great to see the family, friends and co-workers who stopped in to support me. And finally, thanks again to my family (and Shana's family) who just never stopped being there for us...my parents, in-laws, siblings and other family members were great. I love you all! (and Shana...you're the best!!).