STRIDES, GIFTS, AND MIRACLES

I am so fortunate today.  Not only is it a gorgeous day in NYC but Jan is home and we are planning to go out in the car together to do some errands.  I am gaining enthusiasm, confidence and energy (very slowly) and am starting to believe that I will recover from all these treatments.

The strides I made are that the shoulder exercises are getting less painful and I have been off the narcotic almost a week and tolerating the pain on tylenol only.  I was able to put a low ponytail into the hair I have left.  This is quite a feat when one arm is not very strong.  I have slept on my right side for two nights. and  last but not least., I rode my spinning bike for a 1/2 hour this morning.  I am not sure which there was more of; sweat or tears.  I cried the whole ride from, gratefulness that I could actually not only ride but hold on with my left hand.  Granted I am not up and running yet but I will be.

I received an email today from one of Jan;s second cousins who I have known since he was a young boy in Millis, Mass.  He just read the blog and offered good wishes and prayers for my recovery.  Out of nowhere do these wonderful notes come because of the blog and I am so grateful to my husband for thinking of this from day 1.  It is easier for me since I do not have to explain things 10+times and easier for those to keep in touch but not feel they are intruding.  It is also a history that I am going to go back and read one day when I am well and emotionally able to accept what has happened this year.

I am feeling the loss of my mother more now that almost 30 days has gone by and I know she was so worried about my illness.  She truly loved her children and hurt when they were ill.  This did not help her keep her strength up as she aged this year.  I am so grateful that she walked down the aisle of both Rea and Aaron’s weddings and she was thrilled about Yonah although never saw him.

The miracle:  Even through the fears and panic attacks and questions, it seem that I am improving and gaining my strength and health back.  If I pull out of this one….it will be a true miracle.  I have 42 days to get in shape to return to work.  I need all the strength I can gather for the litttle guys.

VERY EMOTIONAL DAY

Rea left to move to our home in Cape Cod this morning.  I have always been able, in the past, to let my kids go and fly and live their lives as best as they could.  Now, after being ill for so long, all I want is to see them more and more.  Three of them live in Boston and the fourth should be back in Boston by the end of next year.  We have a beautiful home in Cape Cod (1 hour from Boston)that is used in the summer and holidays by Jan an me.   More often by the kids.  WHAT am I doing here in NYC?  The answer is….This is where Jan and I earn our livings and Sloan Kettering is in NYC. So here we are.  I think, because time is so dear to me now, that all I want to do today is pack up and move to the Cape.  I want to see the kids more.  A dilemma for sure.  I must remind myself that hey are very busy people and I probably would not see much more of them anyway.

I have now been off the narcotic for 48 hours and although there is more pain, I seem to be coping.  The tylenol and cream take the edge off and I feel like I am closer to recovering when I am unmedicated.  I am diligent with my PT exercises and am seeing results slowly.  It’s hard to believe that someday I will be able to move this shoulder naturally.

These times of transition, from doctor appointment to scanning are very very difficult.  It is easier to march in for treatment weekly and fight for the cure.  The waiting to find out if in fact there is no more cancer is strenuous.  I am finding it lonely and difficult to cope with and many crazy thought have to be constantly shut away.

So for today, I am going to PT, picking up new glasses, going for a walk, having breakfast with my son Aaron and daughter-in-law Stephanie (who stopped in to crash last night en route to a wedding) and be grateful, that I am recovering and that for some reason my higher power has me just where I am supposed to be right now.  Hard to accept but I must.

NO SLEEP

This is the second night in a row that I have not been able to sleep.  I even stayed up until 12:00 AM and still rolled around all night.  I guess I will have to crawl back in bed a little this morning.

I am having a very tough time right now emotionally.  I am waiting to meet with the doctors again (in 2 weeks) and I have no information on what is happening inside this body.  The PT seems to be making my usage of arm and shoulder better but still painful.  I have not had the narcotic patch on for 24 hours and I am coping with the use of the “chili pepper” cream and tylenol.  I am determined to get as far away from these chemicals as soon as I can.

Thoughts about my mother rattle around in my brain and I am worried about Jan’s job.  It’s that time of year again.  See what happens when I get a few steps ahead of myself?  Reminder: Stay in the moment.

Rea is moving to the cape today and as happy as I am for her, I am sad that I will not see her as regularly as I have in the past year.  I will see her for Thanksgiving and in December before I start back to school. The baby will be growing so fast and he probably will not remember his grandparents very well.

So here we are in NYC and I am grateful that we have jobs, a roof over our heads and that I am recovering from this illness that has dogged me for the last nine months. Today is a rest day and hopefully, even though it is rainy and cold, I will get a chance to get outside. Hopefully I will get some rest and the tears will subside.

QUIET DAY (I THINK)

Yesterday I welcomed Yonah and Mom for a very short visit and my friend Nanci Schwartz for a visit and a walk.  It really made the morning soar by and the company was great.  As expected, I slept the afternoon away.  

We were supposed to go to the movies last night but when I got there, there was a red carpet showing of the new James Bond movie.  Such an ado for nothing.  People walking on a red carpet on the sidewalk and people taking their picture. WOW! So boring.  When Jan arrived, we realized the people we were meeting were stuck on a bus and decided to head home and avoid all the craziness from the prewiew showing. The night was lovely and the walk was great.

Sleep last night was impossible.  I changed clothes, bed clothes locations and I was wide awake most of the night.  I don’t like that.  But I finally fell asleep at 4:00Am and the phone began at 7:00.  After PT at 10, I think I may need some shut-eye.

It is another cold and sunny day here in NYC so I think I will bundle up and get some more exercise.  I have conquered those stairs outside in one run but still tired.  I think I may increase it today. I really need to build up this strength.

ACCOMPLISHING

Yesterday was a red letter day for me when it comes to accomplishments.  I began at PT at 9:30 for an hour. Then I walked up Broadway stopping in Loehmanns and North Face.  In North Face I had to walk two huge staircases to get to the men’s section which made my heart pound.  After visit these locales I continue up Broadway to 78th street and had my eyes checked and new glasses made.  Then off to 79th and Amsterdam to pick up a new knitting needle.  I was tired and thought to take the subway back to 72nd St. and decided to walk all the way home.  It was a a bit nippy but sunny and I felt so good.  I picked up lunch on the way home and returned around 12:00.  I ate my lunch and slept the afternoon away. Things are looking up.  I still am very weak but I am accomplishing a little more and I feel better emotionally.

Today, I will take another walk in the cold weather and possibly see my grandson.  Rea and Shuie are so busy getting ready to move NOT to Pa after all but to Ma to our home in Cape Cod until they find employment in Boston.  I am so happy for them that they are returning to where they met and fell in love as well as Rea’s yearning for the return since she moved to NJ.  Joshua plans to return from San Francisco sometime next year and so all the kids will again be in Boston together.  I wish I could be there with them. For now NY is the place I need to be; near Sloan and my tenured job.

I am getting more use of my arm and shoulder daily and the exercises still make me cry sometimes but I want to be pain-free so badly.  The new cream seems to be helping the muscle aches in the flank area and so exercise continues.  Maybe I can ride my spinning bike as soon as I can hold on with the left hand.  So much to look forward to.  But the most important is that I am ready to return to school in January.  I need to get very strong in order to work with 15, 3-4 year olds all day.  Maybe I’ll take a nap when they nap LOL.

The sun is trying to come out and so I will take a deep breath and be thankful for another day.

 

 

 

VERY FRUSTRATED

I had another bout of the excrutiating pain in the back and kidney scar area yesterday. We called the hospital because I am refusing to go to urgent care again.  They doctors believe, as I do, that the pain is muscular/skelital due to the exercises I am doing on my arm/shoulder. The arm/shoulder are really responding to the exercises but the pain in the flank makes it unbearable to do them.  I was passed on to the pain team AGAIN! They just want to increase my meds or use some narcotic that I have in the house.  Forget that. Finally they suggested an over the counter capzacin cream for sore muscles (Like ben-gay or icy/hot). It seems to be working but I have PT again this morning.  Very Frustrating.

So, the plan for today is to go to PT, walk, work on the poncho, read, and clean up my apartment after a weekend of newspapers, mail, and just stuff in general.  

Those seven weeks are looming in my brain to get back to school.  I sure hope and pray that I make it.   Again I am staying in the moment and not going ahead with the thought that I may not get back to school .  It really does cause me anxiety to think I may have to skip this whole year.  I am working my hardest to not let that happen.

SUNNY SUNDAY

The sun is so beautiful pouring through the windows and I am so looking forward to going for a walk or just relaxing with Jan.  But Jan woke up not feeling well this morning and so we spent the day napping and eating home-made chicken soup.

I am still on this continual battle with my medication.  The patch was replaced last night and I am weak and tired today.  Add a little nausea and still in pain.  I am also trying to stretch out the time between my other meds.  I so wish I was able to do without them at all.  They make me fell  miserable.

So for the rest of today, I will work on my niece’s poncho and do the sunday crossword.  Not much else to report.

Rainy Friday

The plan for today includes PT and a visit to the cardiologist.

The new cardiologist is a high school buddy of mine.  I need a work up since I have not seen my cardiologist in Morristown, NJ since January, and I need to get weaned off this Ativan without causing PVCs (extra heart beats). Heart disease is quite prevalent in my family and this was the cause of my Mother’s death four days after surgery.

I am getting around better and although I am still complaining about the PT exercises, I am seeing some improvement in the use of my arm.  I am stiff first thing in the morning, but the heating pad does help with that.

The Sabbath will arrive tonight at sundown and I am thrilled.  Jan will be home and resting and I have seen so very little of him this past week.  This may be a good sign that he thinks I am well enough to do things on my own. So after the medical appointments, I will be cooking ( just a little) and preparing to relax until Saturday night.

It is a miracle that I am getting stronger and feeling more confident on my own.  While lying here for the past 9 months, I had my doubts.  With all the energy and prayers from all of you, I really am fortunate that this miracle is happening to me.  Thanks you for your caring and taking time to think about the needs of another person.  This is what makes the world wonderful.

Resting Thursday

I am thrilled with all that I was able to accomplish yesterday.  I went to the pain doctor and he offered me more narcotic if I needed it.  Are you kidding! I would much rather feel the pain I feel now than become a zombie again.  Then on to visit my friend Bonnie.  Then home for PT.  New exercises but I am doing them 2xs a day with the hopes I will feel better.  My long time friends, the Haars, stopped in to see me and we had a wonderful visit.  Then to Knitty City to get yarn for this poncho I am obsessed with creating.  And last but not least, the grocery store!  Not bad all by myself.  And I still was not tired.

This morning I am very tired and uncomfortable.  Partly it is because of yesterday (but worth it) and because Jan replaced the patch on my back.  Always, after a new patch, I am nauseous and sleepy until my body accepts it.  So I am accepting that today will not be a repeat of yesterday.  But with a smile on my face.

I sure hope, by working this PT hard that I will be ready for my return to school in January.  This is my goal and I know it will be exhausting at first but I want to know I am doing something worthwhile and something I really love.  

For today: REST.

 

BUSY DAY

This morning I will head over to Sloan to meet with the Pain Team Doctor to discuss the medications prescribed and to continue this patch system.  I am so looking forward to handing over to him or at least showing him the amount of bottles of stuff I have cleaned out of my medicine cabinet that was just too much for me to handle.  There are at least 10 bottles of pills and I can also return my shots that I no longer need to take.  Unbelievable!

After that, I plan to walk a few blocks north to visit my friend Bonnie in the Hospital for special Surgery. She had a hip replacement yesterday so please add her to your prayers.  She has been a very important person in my journey holding me together emotionally when I was falling apart.   That can still happen at the drop of the hat.

Then on to physical therapy.  I am so looking forward to that and I am seeing results from those painful exercises.  Rainy days, such as today, are going to be a challenge pain wise and taxi wise.

I received a wonderful e-mail this morning from my favorite nurse, Tulsi, at Sloan.  Fortunately but unfortunately I have been under her care many times in the past months.  She is a young, beautiful, enthusiastic, devoted, and caring nurse in a very difficult field of medicine.  I was fortunate to have her assigned to me twice and both times, felt very secure under her watch.

Jan is in Washington today and so I am on my own.  This is a good sign that he felt he could leave me overnight.  And awake and ready to meet the world I am.  After my whirlwind morning I may be napping all afternoon and if not off to Knitty City to get yarn to try to knit a poncho for my niece, Abbey.

Enjoy the puddles and rain today.  After the storm there is always sunshine to look forward to. Isn’t that the truth!