Thursday, May 28, 2009

Let the healing begin

I have been at my parents for two days now. I slept 17 hours the first day and about the same the second. I only have one comfortable position because of the chest tube in the right side and my 10 incision on my left. My Mom helped me bathe today. I shaved my legs, washed my hair, and she washed my left side of my back. This all while covering my chest tube entry on the right side. It was a bit tricky. I haven't puked yet today which I have to say is so painful that your body does it in slow motion to minimize the pain. Today, everything seems to be getting back to normal. I am doing my exercises, eating more, etc. I tire quickly as I am noticing right now I need to stop typing. Jen is coming over to visit tonight after spending the entire week with the boys giving everyone a brake. It has been nice for everyone and the boys are totally in love with her looking for her in the morning (not Grant), wanting her to give them breakfast (not Grant), etc. She goes home tomorrow and, while the boys will be sad, they will just add another amazing friend to the list of people that love them. Thank you Jen! Happy Thursday, Ang

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Angie was discharged from the hospital Tuesday afternoon and headed to her parents to convalesce. She was happy to lose most of the protrusions from her body but she still has the second chest tube they placed for her right lung (first surgery). She still has some air leakage from the right lung that is healing and improving slowly. She's in more pain this time, I suspect due to the cumulative effects, and the chest tube site is always painful. She has a post-op appointment early next week and, hopefully, she'll get the chest tube removed. Jen is in town this week to help take care of the boys and give Karissa and Angie's parents a break. We had a nice visit with Angie in the hospital Monday night for milkshakes, Tinkerbell, and a couple books. Now it's time to get back to work. Have a good day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lung Surgery No. 2

Friday was a much better experience than the first lung surgery - we were only 75 minutes late but it sure seemed like it was on time. Everything went well and they removed only the 3 spots that were noted in the scans. She came out of surgery with only one chest tube this time which, I am told, means they are expecting less drainage. They removed the left chest tube today but the right chest tube that she got a week ago is still in since they are still getting a little fluid and air leakage. This second surgery they tried a new method of moving nerves around during surgery to try and reduce post-operative pain - Angie is on the cutting edge and will be able to give them a comparison between the surgeries. If Friday night is any indication, the pain isn't any better. We had a fun experience with Angie's arm going numb, the epidural getting turned off, Angie's arm regaining feeling, then the epidural being left off way too long. Apparently shift change is more important than patients in agony. So, we should get biopsy results in the next day or so. They indicated that Angie may get out on Monday but we're guessing Tuesday is more likely. Angie would like to get the remaining chest tube removed before she heads home. For you Yanks out there, enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Angie will be back to blogging in a few days.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Off I go...

Well, I am doing much better today. I think it helped to put it all on the blog, processed through it, saw my beautiful boys and have so much support. I am past my blip from Wednesday. I leave in an hour and with a lot of prayer and a little luck, I will wake up tonight with Grant saying to me, "They got it all." Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, love, and support - I am so grateful for them. Love, Ang

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Almost there..

I finally got my surgery time. It is 12:30 tomorrow with a check in at 10:30. I am anxious again. I just want it all to be okay and over with. I didn't have a great afternoon yesterday. I had a great morning, but then I realized I screwed up on the checkbook, I was behind on a payment to preschool, I haven't seen the class pictures and it scares me to death that they may have sent them back already without me ordering any. And then there is the spiral....I am so useless....I can't pay bills, can't remember pictures, can't do the checkbook, I can't even drive my kids to school, and it all falls apart. Grant comes home to a crying heap on the floor that can't get it together and despite his attempts at telling me I have a lot on my plate and it is normal to make mistakes, it doesn't help. The anxiety, the "failure", all of it, just comes out. Logically, I know these thing are little, normal, and insignificant, but they still bother me. The solution? Grant has to go to preschool, figures out daycare, sees if the pictures at there, etc. Grant to the rescue again because I couldn't do it right in the first place. See the horror is that I can even go to these places to fix the problem. Everything I do is from home. I haven't driven the entire month of May, I have been hooked up to an "atrium" for a week that is holding my lung fluid (that look a lot like pee), I can't carry or lift anything, the list goes on and on. And you know what bugs me the most? It is one of my best friends 40th birthday's today and I want to talk to him so bad, but I don't want to talk to him because I am afraid that I won't be able to get past my own crap to be happy for him. What kind of friend is that??? Which turns me to how do I have any friends at all if I am so selfish? See the spiral?? Actually, that stinks way more than that they chest tube, the check book, preschool pictures, everything. I know it will pass, it has to. I have to get past it before tomorrow. I know I will, but what some say is a "process" and I just have to "allow it to happen" is really hard for the control freak that I am. And so, again, I throw my hands in the air and say, "Fine. You win." and I curl up on the couch with Africa, close my eyes and hope it passes soon (like before 12:30 tomorrow!) Karissa offered to bring the kids by today for lunch.....maybe that will shake me out of this. God, I hope so. Love, Ang

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I am home

I have a chest tube, but I am home. I slept in my own bed for the first time in two weeks. It was bliss. Love, Ang

Monday, May 18, 2009

This past weekend...

Hi - I am still in the hospital, but Michelli brought me her computer!!! Yeah Michelli!! This weekend was a bit of a disappointment as you can imagine. I was so looking forward to going home and being with my family proper. I was pretty upset about the whole thing but then the meds kicked in and Grant brought the boys for a visit. We watched half of Bolt, read books, went for a walk and gave lots of hugs and kisses. It changed my entire attitude. Nolan relaxed against me during the movie and I got to kiss the top of his beautiful perfect little head. Then he figured out that you could turn the lights on and off from the bed and a light show ensued (sp). Moment over. Mason was the big boy looking at my atrium (the contraption that is draining my lung and monitoring the air pocket). He sounded very official when he was asking the nurse all sorts of questions. Everyone loved them and they were the talk of the shift. Of course, they were! When it was time to go, Mason wanted to stay longer, but Nolan happily looked at me gave me hugs, kisses and said, "Bye Bye Mommy." Mason said he would come back tomorrow and I gently told him with we would visit again soon, but that I couldn't tell him exactly when. He accepted the answer while looking at me sideways. He asked if I lived here now and I replied quickly that I did not. In any case, they had a great weekend with Dad and happily went back to Grandma and Grandpa's house Sunday. It is so nice to have them so amenable. I am so lucky. Yesterday, my mom, Michelli, and Donna stayed with me for a while so I was far from alone. I clipped Sunday Paper Coupons, sat outside in the sun for an hour and even walked to Bartell's with my Aunt to buy more magazines. Yep, I was in my hospital gown, robe and carrying my atrium with me. I got a lot of looks and quite honestly, I totally had forgotten how strange that would have looked. I really didn't care. It was a big walk and I was tired when I got back. This morning, when I told my oncologist that I did that he laughed and looked at me like, "Of course you did." So, I am doing okay. There is serious talk about me going home today and I would like that if nothing else, just to get some rest in my own home, spend some time with Grant, go through the mail, etc. I miss my house. I miss my husband. I miss life, but the important thing is I am a lot better then when I got here and a hellava lot better than after they put this thing in. I am ready to go home....cross your fingers that they will let me. One last cute story....Michelli and Beth were cleaning my house on Saturday and Mason was talking to Michelli. Michelli said something along the lines of, "Mason, I sure love your Mommy." He replied with, "I love my Mommy too and she loves me." Michelle said, "How could she not love you?!?!" And, without missing a beat, he said, "I KNOW! Everybody loves Mason!" What a lucky boy. Enjoy today, Ang

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sometimes Things Don't Go As Planned

According to the chest tube doctor on early Friday morning, the procedure was going to take no time at all and Angie would be on her way home in an hour. An hour later, Angie was in excruciating pain and a couple hours after that she had an inpatient bed - and was still in pain. Her pain got a little better with midday meds and much better by evening. Her lung surgeon was in surgery all day, but he gave her the good stuff when he saw her around 6PM. Angie is still in the hospital as of Sunday night. It appears that she has an ongoing leak from her right lung and her chest tube needs to be hooked up to the vacuum machine to keep the lung inflated so she can heal properly and she needs to be in the hospital to use the vacuum machine. She may get out of the hospital on Monday but she'll need to carry around a chest tube drainage thingamadobobber - the plan changes frequently, so we'll just have to wait and see. She is still scheduled for left lung surgery on Friday and she'll probably have the right lung chest tube in until then. On a positve note, it sure was a nice weekend. High 70s and sunny. Mason had a special "Spring Tea" event at day care on Friday. We had swim lessons on Saturday, the boys and I planted the vegetable garden on Sunday, and I coaxed Mason through a 2 mile bike ride - I'm still not sure who that was more painful for, but we made it through without a major breakdown. We also had a visit with mommy in the hospital on Saturday evening. The boys enjoyed the view and the milkshakes mommy ordered for them. We all enjoyed our little family time together and it helped rebalance emotions. Angie is doing better now than she was a couple days ago since she can see the end of this process in view. She'll give you an update this week if she gets out of the hospital for a few days.
Enjoy your week. Do something fun.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All is not perfect, but it will be okay

I went for my follow up to the lung surgeon today and they found that there is air leaking out of my right lung. It is not horrible and if they were not trying to get me in for another surgery on the left lung, we would probably just wait it out. Since that is not the case, they will be putting a value in me tomorrow. It is a one way valve that will allow the air to escape, but not go back in. This will allow my lung to fully expand and seal the hole. If you just look at it like that it is pretty cool that your body can do that! So, the good part is that it is completely fixable. The bad part is that it is another surgery, another trip to the hospital, another procedure, another fast, etc. So, I will be there at 6:15 in the morning and leave sometime early afternoon with a valve attached to me. Silver lining? I can use conditioner. My followup for this will be on Tuesday. If all goes well, I will be in surgery on Friday. I know, I am not thrilled about Friday either, but if it is not then I cannot do it until the following Wednesday because of the Memorial Day Holiday. So, this afternoon, I have spent talking to schedulers, nurses, rearranged my schedule, my help, etc. trying to let people know what is happening in my life so that they know what is happening in theirs! Sometimes all of this is overwhelming and I can do it all until someone says, "How are you doing with all this?" Most of the time, I answer, "I am okay - I have so much help it is easy." Which is totally true, but sometimes if they catch me just one degree off, I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I want to cry for my fatigue, the burden that I put on everyone on know, my luck that it is all going well, as well as, the fear that it might not, for the inability to scrapbook and how far I am getting behind because if something bad happens that is all my boys will have, etc. etc. etc. I am two weeks into a process that will take another seven weeks. Am I strong enough for this? Everyone says I look good and I am ready for the next surgery, but am I? I think I am. I want to be. Then I relax, breathe, and tell myself I can, I will, and I will be fine. I have to be and that is just it. So, for the next 90 mins, I am going to get organized for tomorrow, pack up to spend the weekend at home with my family. Then, Karissa will bring my boys home. She is going to stay and visit for a while with one requirement - a glass of wine. I would need a glass of wine (or two) if I took care of five children! What an amazing friend (and she works for cheap)! I am going to enjoy my time with her and let all this crap slip away for a couple hours. After all, we only have right now. Have a great weekend, Ang

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quick update

I am doing just fine. I am a little disappointed that I didn't heal faster to go to the next surgery, but everyone thought 10 days would be a little quick. Apparently, some rules apply to me. I am slowly getting better. The bruises from my IV are healing and my incision seems to be healing well. I am getting in my walks and my exercises. It is easy here at my Mom and Dad's. The hardest part for me is doing nothing especially in someone else's house. It is just not in my nature to do nothing. But, if I do too much, I pay. On Saturday, I did too much and paid for it on Sunday. I could hardly move, felt ill most of the day, and slept more than I was up. This morning, I helped Nolan up from a spill not even thinking about it. For my efforts, I got shooting pains down my torso until I slept for two hours to let it work itself out. While it feels ridiculous, I also try and remember that a bunch of guys just had their hands in my chest less than two weeks ago. Thursday I will know more about when the next surgery will be. I meet at the surgeon's office for my stitches to be removed, a checkup to see how I am healing, etc. I imagine we will talk about the next one then, or a least have a target date that will have to be approved by my oncologist and, of course, the surgeon. Friday I should have something to say about what will happen next. Right now, I am trying to accept my body's healing process and am actually enjoying my family's company with everyone together. Mason is thrilled that I am staying here with him and Nolan is speaking to me again, so everything is going in the right direction. I hope you are enjoying your week of surprise sunshine. Take Care, Ang

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mason's Mother's Day Celebration

What a trouper Mason is. I haven't seen him in a week. I have talked to him on the phone, but I have not seen him in a week which is the longest I have ever gone. Leading up to the surgery, I was coaching him especially about how we were going to be separated, how he needed to be a good example to Nolan, how we were so very lucky to have the support that we have and that instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we need to be thankful for our situation. Well, apparently, he listens really well. Karissa picked me up yesterday. Nolan was in the car and would not give me the time of day. You see, to Nolan, ignoring me is he way of punishing me for leaving him with someone else. He is two and it is all about him. He wouldn't hold my hand as we walked to Mason's classroom, he wouldn't give me a hug - nothing. Knowing him, it didn't bother me too much and I looked on the bright side too. I didn't have to change his diaper and when we was covered in cupcake he started yelling, "Karissa!!! Karissa!!" I did reply to that one with, "You know dude, she isn't your slave!!" and I cleaned him up. We got there a little early and I got to chat a bit with the teachers and parents before the performance. Everyone was, of course, very generous with their praise of me. "You look great!" "I didn't think I would see you for weeks!" "What a trouper you are!" I responded with, "Karissa made this happen. I just showed up." And it is true. She called me, she made it easy, she drove around, back and forth, up and down so that I could go to this performance. Believe me showing up wasn't the hard part. One of the teachers said that every time they referred to the "Mommies" coming for the performance, they would hear Mason either front and center or from the back corner of the room clarify, "And Karissa!" Mason didn't know I was coming. We made it a surprise so that if something went wrong he wouldn't be disappointed. So, after chatting with everyone, one of the teachers came out and asked if I wanted to see Mason before, you know, to get the surprise out so that he could focus on his performance. I agreed and they brought him out. He saw me and blinked. It was like it didn't compute with him. Mommy isn't supposed to be here - Mommy told me so. I explained that the doctors thought it would be okay to come for the performance wasn't that nice of them. He said, "It sure is!" I tried not to cry, but that didn't work. I hadn't seen him in a week, smelled behind his ears, hugged him, kissed him. I got myself back together before he had to go back in to perform. The performance was great. They sang four songs. One included him signing "I love you." to me and he did it directly to me. We had a snack afterwards and he was glued to my side. I read him a book, held him, smelled behind his ears, and savored the moment. Nolan? Yeah, he was somewhere playing with the big kid toys - whatever. He had Karissa!!! After class, Mason asked me if he was going home and I clarified the schedule to him. I told him that he would be with Daddy all weekend, I would see him on Sunday, and then all of us would be staying with Grandma and Grandpa. While he was not thrilled with the info, he bucked up, exhaled, and told me that if was okay because he had to go meet Quinn (Karissa's eldest son) at the bus and he would see me later. They dropped me off at home (so that I could go back to the doctor's) and off they went. Nolan ended up giving me a kiss Goodbye that was more kind than, "See ya later loser!!!!" and when I said goodbye to Mason, he gave me a big kiss and hug. I told him to tell Grandpa that he sang beautifully today and he got shy. I said, "Mason, say it." So he said, "I am beautiful today." I smiled and said, "Yes, yes you are." I waved good bye and my visit was over. I would see them in a few days. As the adrenaline left my body, the pain in my back set in and my fatigue returned. Yes, my visit was over, but I was the one he pointed to when he signed, "I love you." It was me. I was there. Happy Friday, Ang

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Things are moving along...

Drugs are good. I am slowly getting better. I do my walks which should not be so impressive. They are 10 mins longs and I am way slower than the tortoise ever was. I show everyone that stops by my scar and wonder why I purchased two new bras last week. Yeah, let me just jump back into those! Ouch. Things that I learned in this part of my journey is that if you say you like a drug too much, they don't prescribe it to you. DARN! If you have a sensitivity to tape you should remember that before you leave tape on for seven days without skin protectant and then wonder why your skin aches and blisters. And finally, I am so glad that I didn't do both sides at the same time - how would I sleep? It is hard enough now sitting up in our chair in the living room or on one side in bed but only for a few hours at a time. It still hurts to cough, but worse to yawn. I do have my "pillow" that helps me do both. My aunt bought if for me and it says "Rockstar" on it. It is a pillow sized like her husband's when he went through lung surgery. Of course, his didn't say "Rockstar". That was just for me. I am finally getting through all my email, magazines, etc. and I finally got why I kept finding Elmo Bookmarks in some of my magazines - very funny Nanette!!!! So, I am doing well. Everyone has made it very easy for me to rest easy. I am going to rock the boat a little bit tomorrow. Tomorrow, Mason's preschool class has a special Mom's Day presentation and I can't miss that. So, tomorrow, I am going to put on mascara, do something simple with my hair, Karissa will pick me up and guard me from being tackled by my two boys and I will go listen to Mason sing to me with his class. I think that is worth a little set back, don't you? Happy Wednesday, Ang

Monday, May 4, 2009

What Country Am I In?

For the past two years, I have been told by my Canadian counterparts that I am receiving "excellent care", "amazingly fast care", "care not to be compared", etc. Well, as you know, my lung surgeon is French-Canadian. Well, turns out that (and I am not sure how if this is correct or not) my "resident" surgeon was Canadian also. How did I know this? Well, when he introduced himself, I began to respond to him like he was my anesthesiologist. He quickly (and I am mean faster than light) corrected me on his role point blank, and, of course, had the accent. So, being who I am, I pointed at his face, wiggling my finger (not shaking - I am way smarter than that) and said, "So, sir, what part of Canada are YOU from?" He took it is stride but was a bit surprised by the question and said, "Originally, or in a couple months?" I said, "Originally." Grant is looking at me like, "How do you do that?!?!?!" The resident surgeon said, "Mainly Vancouver." I replied with, "That guy (pointing to Grant) is from TO and you have quite and accent for Vancouver." He looked at Grant and said, "Oh, I am going there in a couple months." They begin to talk. So, my husband is Canadian, my surgeon is French Canadian, my resident surgeon is also Canadian, and the NHL playoffs are on TV. So, before some of us break out into O Canada, I am thinking, maybe I should have rethought the marrying a Canadian thing especially since now they are all talking about Canada (our home and native land) and I am now not secondary, but WAY DOWN THE LIST OF IMPORTANT THINGS GOING ON. Finally, I am saved by the anesthesiologist who Grant asked as he leaves, "Is he Canadian?" I am like, "Nope - no way." He looks at me like I am a nut bar and I say, "It is a skill, a questionable skill that I can make no money with, but a skill none the less." So, the anesthesiologist comes back and I say to Grant, "So, you going to ask him?" He is like, "No, you ask him." I am like, "I don't care because I already know." So Grant asks him and he says emphatically, "No. What made you think so? All I know about being Canadian is that they love being Canadian, can't stop talking about how great Canada is, they never leave home without their Canadian Flag Pin on their backpack, something else and something else...." I am crying I am laughing so hard at this point. Grant is laughing and said, "Yeah, that is how it is." thinking to himself, "I am so happy that he is not Canadian!" while I am thinking, "You are the American I was looking for all my life!!! I should have married you!!!! Pesky little problem that I met, and feel in love with that guy - you know, the Canadian. Pause. Things settle down, I get my IV, the anesthesiologist gets crap from the nurse that he is using her table and he corrects her point by point on how it actually is his table and not to be confused. I decide that I am staying with my Canadian; same guy; different country. And then everyone walks away and my husband asks, "So, where is he from???" I just look at him and say, "I don't know. The gift only is between countries not regions!" He then takes my hand getting read to say good bye and something like, "I would be way more emotional if I wasn't starving to death....." A true romantic. Then I went off to surgery. So, Canadian readers take heart, my resident surgeon from Vancouver is returning to the homeland permanently. (So, the argument that all of them come here is now completely invalid!!!!) He moves to TO sometime this summer. If he needs anything, I will be giving him some contact numbers. After all he operated on your truly and, from the looks of it, I couldn't have been in better hands. You are lucky to get him. Okay, now you can break into song, "O Canada, our home and native land, true patriot love in all thy sons command......." Gotta take a nap. Happy Monday, Ang

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I am home.

I have lots to tell, but not a lot of energy to tell it with. By the time I get done with all I am supposed to do (breathe into my breathing toys, go for walks, stretch my arm, etc), I am exhausted. I don't do anything fast, but I do it. Thank God the kids are with my parents this week because I am a sad sack. Holy cow. So, here is the important news - the pathology came back. Out of the six "abnormalities" that they removed, three were cancer. With this news, we go to the left as soon as I have no pain on the right. Thank you for all your emails, thoughts, prayers, beautiful comments, etc. Grant and Mom printed them out for me and read them to me in the hospital. I continued to be amazed at how amazingly supportive everyone is with words, actions, and love. I hope someday I can shower someone like that - it feels pretty good and makes me believe I cannot lose. Enjoy the sun - Ang