Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I don't know what to call this post.
Not good?
Uncertain about everything?

Traveled to Edmonton yesterday for two appointments. One with an Internist and another with a plastic surgeon.

The roads were nice and dry this time so that made travelling pretty good, and that is probably the last bit of good news for this post.

1430 appointment with an Internist:

Because of all the symptoms she is currently having, like the shortness of breath that really hasn't gone away the internist has ordered a stress test, an MIBI, which I called for how many weeks ago?

We left the office and I said we should call Red Deer right away to get an appointment. So we went down the hallway into an area that WAS quiet. Seriously, as soon as Mom hit call 10 people showed up in the area and one kid starts crying and pouting then sits down on the floor and has a fit. Murphy's Law in effect there.

Red Deer informed Mom that they could not do the test because they need the local internist to requisition it.

How is that for a form of bureaucratic bullshit!

We went back to the internist's office and told the Secretary and she said she would see what she can do. She also informed Mom that she would probably want it in Red Deer because the test takes TWO DAYS. Mom gave her a name of a local internist who could possibly take the referral. She only knows... hmmm all of them? Well ok not all of them anymore but a lot of them. Hopefully that will come through. If not it means we have to travel up to Edmonton for two days within the next two weeks (just for that). I just fall more in love with Red Deer everyday. While I can understand facility permissions, if someone has a req from a Doctor (specifically an Internist) in the Alberta Medical Association it would make sense to me to just eat the req and supply the service. It's just such a good thing that the Goverenment of Alberta DEREGIONALIZED A PROVINCE and formed a "UNIFIED" ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES. #1086swearwordshere. Go Stelmach! (sarcasm!!)

Plastics 1630:

The second appointment of the day was with a plastic surgeon.
This began at 1630 and ended at 1800.

Surgery is going to be very invasive so invasive I am choosing not to lay it out for you here.

It will take 9 hours.

And she won't even get a new boob out of it.

And they expect her to be in hospital for 10 days.



The main Dr. wants to do the surgery before Christmas. At this point it is looking like Dec. 14. I wonder if they aren't moving too quickly. Are they going to do it without all the tests complete?

- She needs the stress test to evaluate her shortness of breath.
- She needs an angiogram so the surgeon can have a better look at the veins under her left arm.
- The hospital will probably want her to come to PreAdmission Clinic - unless they will do it by phone.
- She needs a type and cross.
- She needs her family doc to fill out some papers.
- She needs a CBC.

While I find the speed at which they want to proceed, kind; I question the rate at which it is occurring. Oh, and she should avoid, you know, getting the flu.

I keep hearing Dr. Graham say: The cancer has taken this long to grow we need to deal with the gut right now. (when she was in hospital with her abdominal problems) He's right you know, the cancer has been going on for quite awhile now, it didn't grow overnight. Would waiting until the new year be so bad?

Merry bleepin Christmas to us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Surprise! The final dose of IV poison was.... TWO WEEKS AGO!

On Tuesday at 0930 Mom had another CT Scan and blood gas performed.
I had gone hunting with Mike in the morning and returned home after hunting to find her shoveling our massive driveway. By this I was not happy, and I didn't hide it. Whether or not she was feeling better didn't matter to me, we hadn't received results from the doctor yet so I felt it was a bit reckless to be exerting a ton of energy pushing snow. I was really upset.

Yesterday (Wednesday) We made the trek up to the oncologist in Edmonton yesterday to consult on the results of Mom's CT scans.

It was a snowy wintery day - the first of the year, but we made the trek ok. Only one alarming incident on the way home. We were almost over the Leduc overpasses and I pulled into let someone pass. He passed, switched lanes and then almost spun out (and would have taken another car with him). He managed to get control of his truck and pulled off the road immediately, where I am sure he had to change his shorts. He was going too fast anyway.

There was nothing conclusive from her scans, so upon further consultation with his colleagues the oncologist suspects Mom was having an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy drugs. Apparently some side effects can manifest in the days following the treatment and that was what was causing the problems with her breathing.

Being that this is the case, it has been decided that Mom will NOT be receiving a 6th round of chemotherapy due to the likely event that she could have an anaphalactic reaction, which could be fatal. SO CHEMOTHERAPY IS OVER!!! YAY!

There is no evidence of fluid around the heart, or lungs so that is reassuring. I guess that can happen with the docetaxel. I wasn't out of line to suspect something SERIOUS going on. At least it has subsided and her SATS are back in the normal range.

It wasn't until we were on the way home that it hit me that she is done chemotherapy. It's been rough on her! Even the Doctor said that a lot of people would not have survived what she went through.

I'll never understand unsolicited *advice*. I write *advice* because it's not advice. Having someone who really doesn't know my mother tell me she is independent (BIGGEST DUH MOMENT OF THE YEAR) is crap. Correction this person said "us older folks" - and I almost burst out laughing. I don't live in a bubble, and I was never raised in a bubble. I know who my mother is and what she has done. She's been independent since the umbilical cord was cut.

To say I didn't want to totally lose it on this person would be a lie, but rational thinking took over and I just kept my mouth shut because honestly? it's not worth it. This person didn't even know the circumstances under which I had reason to be upset with Mom. Wouldn't you be upset if your parent was put on oxygen because her blood wasn't being oxygenated so she was literally GASPING for air and then you found her shoveling a massive driveway before we had results from the doctor? Blargh. 'Nuff said.

Mom's hair should start to grow back, and she shouldn't lose her nails now.


Meeting with the surgeon in Edmonton November 22 and we will find out when Mom's next exploratory surgery will be.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The oncologist just called and wants a different type of CT Scan done on Mom.

They are going to call with the appointment.

Mom thinks it won't be tomorrow because of the holiday.

I hope it IS tomorrow. In fact I hope it is this evening. I know that is unreaslistic, but something isn't right.

Even the oncologist knows something isn't right.

I keep asking her if they are going to look/test her heart? But they aren't testing her heart? She has a murmur. What if it's her heart?
What if it is failing.
What about her pulmonary arteries.
Look at the stress she is under.
Look at the stress her body is under.
What about hypertension.
What if it's her new blood pressure drug.

Maybe it's nothing.
Maybe it's something really simple.

But why aren't they looking at all the organs related to blood oxygenation.

Pulse Ox was ~97%, but arterial blood gas 55?
Why the disconnect between the two values.

She just feels fatigued.
You know how you feel when you are getting sick and you feel like you've been hit by a mack truck? I think that is how she is feeling.

Please note these are my thoughts, not questions. I don't need them quelled. I just need to put them out there.
Questions will be answered by the doctor. I will make sure of that.