Friday, October 19, 2007

My Renal Scan Day

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This is what my pumpkin basket looks like (It's a good size and holds a lot of candy) except I have a candy corn basket liner and a little candy corn tie on on the front of the basket. I have that maple leaf tie on too that I use when fall is over.
Self explanatory

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This is where we stopped for dinner - The Black Forest Inn.

It seemed that the moment my feet hit the floor that I could feel the butterflies in my stomach and trying to swallow some oatmeal was an effort so I just had some coffee. The scan isn't bad at all... it's just what this one represents to me, you this IS "the one".

A good friend (She'd have to be to put up with waiting with and for me for these appointments/tests.) picked me up and took me to the urology office. They were extremely busy and so we waited a long time before I went in. We had fun though. Always something to talk about and actually we were cracking up like two school girls over my Bajingoland Brochure post. The laughing was a great tension reliever and got my mind off the test... sort of. I also got some ideas for a Bajingoland II Brochure post! ;) Also, I have such a good rapport with the women in that office that it feels like I am with friends when I am there which believe me has made all of this bearable over time. The docs are great too. :) If the staff was indifferent or cold, going there would have been a lot more stressful. But fortunately, while every bit professional they have also been the warmest group of people to interact with. I am going to miss them. I brought them a Longaberger pumpkin basket filled with candy and little Halloween toys/rings and some candy on the side too. It warmed my heart to see them enjoy it and when I left, to see one lady was wearing one of the bats draped on her shoulder. :)

I had the scan Wednesday and all seemed to go pretty well. I am fascinated by the way that test displays on the screen. Different views remind me of looking at galaxies... sometimes spread out like stars spanning the skies and other times clustered- at least in my R. kidney. Of course I have no clue what I am really looking at but I am guessing the cluster is indicative of the distal end where the stricture was. I believe my R. ureter is more narrow then the norm but still open. I have been drinking this particular aloe juice although I admittedly have cut back on it because it is so expensive, but I figure some is better than none. Anyway, it has been my hope that the aloe juice is further enhancing the healing process.

I really like the nuclear tech at this hospital. I had her in May too. We just get really chatty and share funny stories and other things too. Then predictably, a few minutes after the Lasix is in, I get real quiet because I DO get uncomfortable. I would give the pain level a 20! I'm kidding! That was for the medical people that pass through here cause I know that makes ya SQUIRRELLY when ya hear that! ;)

Seriously...I give it a 4 or 5. Starts in my flank but really it feels worse as it moves down in my rlq/rlb- a lot of pressure for a few minutes and then I am o.k. again. I'm not concerned about it because I already know the ureter is more narrow than it should be. Last may the scan revealed it seemed to be healing. I am feeling better. I probably drink 40 oz out of my water bottle while still in the waiting room and then the tech has an IV running into me too. THANK GOD FOR THAT FOLEY BAG!! I fill it before the test is done. I can't believe there are patients that do that test with lasix without a foley bag! They must have elephant bladders!

Then when the test is over I find it interesting that the tech takes a picture of my bladder, then of the foley bag after placing it on my abdomen and also the syringe. I wonder why? The other hospitals don't do that.

It was rush hour by the time we got out of the hospital and so we decided to take the more scenic route home instead of sitting bumper to bumper on the major highways. That lead us to A German restaurant that I have always wanted to try and I have been craving some German food. Perfect! :)

I had salad, sauerbraten, red cabbage, a potato dumpling and for desert, a to die for black forest piece of cake. I would have had a beer but that restaurant is still a distance from home and so I had a gin and tonic with a lime twist. It was a nice way to finish the day...a wonderful dinner, more good conversation and hearty laughter with a dear friend. :)

But then when we got home we decided to catch up on Grey's Anatomy that I had TiVoed, so we went to her house first so she could put her pajamas on, then we came back to mine (we're neighbors) and I put my pajamas on and we watched TV, talked, laughed until 2 in the morning.

I could've done all the medical stuff by myself and sometimes I do , but I sure do appreciate that she was able to be there with me. She has been an anchor of support through all of this and I am grateful for her shared insights, marvelous sense of humor and compassion. I am blessed to have her for my friend.

Thank you my dear friend. :)


Elaine said...

She IS a good friend to make you enjoy a lot of what must have been a stressful day.

Good luck with the results.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Elaine-yes she is. Thank you for your well wishes. :)

Chrysalis Angel said...

I know what it's like to face those machines, that you feel hold your fate in their clutches. I'm glad you had a good friend to go with you. It helps to have someone to talk with, even though you're still worrying in the back of your mind. When will you know the results? I'm wishing the best for you. I know you've been through a lot.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel-yes you do know exactly how I feel. My stuff has been a day at the beach compared to what you went through.

I basically believe it is going to be a good report but it's just that element of doubt I sometimes get because I didn't really have any significant warnings that I had a totally constricted ureter until I presented with the sepsis, hydronephrosis,etc and was really sick. I know now that there were some intermittent warninsg over the 3 mos prior to it all happening but nothing that was ever an indicator of something serious.

I am so ready to move forward and then every now and then think..what if I get a new job and then I get sick?? what if? what if?? This could have been life threatening but thanks to my excellent care it wasn't and I am doing well.

I don't bother my doctor with these thoughts. I don't bother my family with these thoughts. And I don't bother my friends with these thoughts. (I made them all crazy in 2006 but haven't at all this year)

I can't keep living in fear waiting for the other shoe to drop. I usually don't...just every now and then. I honestly don't know how to articulate my feelings about it all.

I wish it never happened. I am glad it happened. I am sorry for the negatives but am grateful for the good things that have happened because of it.

When I saw ortho doc a couple of weeks ago I apologized for crying because I was in pain and I was afraid it was going to be another knee surgery. (I am doing much better and the Medrol helped and I now think I will be alright) I apologized for being weak because people face things like cancer, etc. Then he said,"We take knee pain seriously here." I felt relieved when he said it and of course they do and should.

For some reason I feel guilty for admitting to pain or this whole thing bothering me because I do know other people suffer so much more. Some times were tough and in between not so bad. Then laced all through it the uncertainty of it all.

It will just be good to put it all behind me! I know uro doc will follow-up on me and wouldn't let me go unchecked like the first uro doc did in 2004.

I will see urodoc on Halloween and get results then.

Thanks for asking. :)

And like you...I have had wonderful docs, nurses,technicians and office staff all helping to make the process more bearable with their compassionate professionalism, not too mention some good laughs along the way. :)

Chrysalis Angel said...

Pain is pain Seaspray. It should be taken seriously. I do under stand about living in fear. Do it every day. I know about waiting for the other shoe to drop. I relate a great deal to your situation, albeit so different than my own. Let me know how you're doing when the results come in. You know you can always "bother" me. :)

SeaSpray said...

Thanks Angel-I have been blessed with wonderful friends and family and you are one of them. :)

I guess that's just life. Sometimes we are the ones that help and support others and sometimes they are the ones who help and support us. Just that it's so much easier to be in the role of the helper than the helpee. :)

There is a common bond that people share when they have walked the same walk. People can be empathetic but they don't "know" what something is like unless they have been through it too.

It helped me a lot to talk with one of the ER nurses I worked with because she had been through some urological issues (stenting/stones, etc.) and while her stuff was different in certain ways and involved some different areas...she KNEW what I was talking about and let me tell you really helped me over a few humps.

There was one Saturday (day and night)...OMG the kidney spasms were so bad that I called her in tears. I think it was right after the big stent was put in. I usually only took 1 percocet 2x a day but that day I took 2 every 4 hours and truthfully if I could have I would have taken them every 3 hours.

Now my family was there and feeling powerless I am sure but it was this friend who knew just what to say and plus being a nurse how to advise. I could have called my uro docs. They answer their own calls and they would have been really nice to me and told me what to do. But I needed more than that...I needed a "friend" who understood and I guess, could verbally hold my hand. Her husband (a paramedic) was also supportive and understood because of what his wife had been through. They are also beautiful Christians and so the faith component helped too. She had said my stuff was a day at the beach compared to hers but she still knew what it was like.

Ha! Knowing what I know now...I could lead a stent support group! Actually, I wished they had one when this all first happened.

People didn't know it but I was really hard on myself wondering why couldn't I do more with the stents with out pain medicine. Especially the big stent.

Then in an office visit in discussing the big stent that had been in me for a while, uro doc said,"I'm proud of you. I'm REALLY proud of you." THAT told me it WAS tough to cope with and I felt so much relief that it wasn't because I was weak. I have always wanted to thank him for that and I never remember to tell him.

Then this past spring, Dr Keagirl from Urostream blog told me that stents were difficult for people. (there had been a discussion about stents)and it helped to hear that even though by then I already knew that. I guess it always feels good to have thoughts/feelings validated by someone, especially if they are experienced in that area.

So for me it wasn't just the physical but it was psychological too. I was trying so hard to understand it all. I wish my body wasn't damaged, ie, the scarred ureter/enlarged kidney and the pain /discomfort sucked (excuse me)but I am GRATEFUL for the fact that this whole experience has caused me to reevaluate some things and change my focus and that I will be headed in a new direction. There are other good things that have resulted from this too and it will be interesting to look back on the whole picture years from now and to be able to say happily, "If THAT didn't happen...I wouldn't be doing THIS now." I am an optimist if nothing else! :)

Like in your post Angel...I am always thinking, analyzing basically I am analyzing the analysis of the first analysis. ;)

Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray..I understand what you mean. We've been on one end of the field, and then we read our medical friends that are still doing it, and see them complaining about the patients drug seeking for pain meds. It makes us afraid to appear weak to them or seeking. Pain is something the body does not become accustomed to, smell it will adjust to, but pain it will not. It helps to have someone that understands what suffering is.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

I hope you get better and you experience complete healing. My prayers go with you. It will be good if you pray too. Smile always. God bless and have a nice and peaceful day.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel- It wasn't just about the pain meds but also WHY couldn't I do more with the stents inside me? Or WHY couldn't I do the stents without pain meds?

When I had our first son, I was in an extremely long labor with unrelenting back pain that seemed to exacerbate when the contractions let up. He ended up being too big for me and so I had a c-section. I beat myself up because I thought I "FAILED" because I didn't do it the Lamaze way. I thought if only I wasn't so tired. If only I was stronger. If only! Obviously the goal was to have a healthy mom and baby and when a friend pointed out that if they had let my son be born vaginally he could've ended up with cerebral palsy, etc.,I started appreciating the fact that we were ok. It also didn't help me to have a nurse tell me that some small woman pushed out a 12 pounder a couple weeks earlier. She didn't know how sensitive I was feeling about not doing it vaginally.

So that is a trait of mine where I expect more of myself than what is called for I guess. Yet.. I do not hold others up to the same standard.

I don't think any of my docs thought I was weak or drug seeking. Well, o.k., I have been concerned that sometimes for procedures in office I have been a wimpette. But they were always patient.

They knew what I was going through. Well maybe not as if the stent was in them but with their training and other patients.

You know what else? I think people that work in the medical field have a hard time admitting that they are sick or need help and I think I am like that. And actually, you would think we would know better!

I don't have to think twice to go help someone else...I am there! Just different when the shoe is on the other foot. Or even if it was for a short time, then not so bad.

That is a good point about never being accustomed to pain. It is our bodies warning us something is wrong.

And as I said...his validation that the stent WAS tough helped me a lot.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Mel-thank you so very much for your well wishes and words of wisdom. Your words are like a healing balm to my spirit.

Smiling is as natural as breathing for me, but every now and then I need a reminder. A reminder to pray too. :)

May you have a wonderful day! :)

SeaSpray said...

P.S. To my thoughts on "Failing" LaMaze- close to my due date, the OBGYN had ordered a pelvimetry because he didn't feel like I was dropping like I should. The test cleared me for a vaginal birth.

So, that was the main reason I felt like I did something wrong-that if the test said I could...then I should've been able to.

I am grateful for how it all turned out but as a 1st time Mom...I was totally into the LaMaze mindset.

The pit made everything so intense but I never yelled out but I did whimper (kept saying my back, my back-worse than the contraction or maybe it's just that the pain NEVER let up). There was one point toward the end where I didn't want my husband to even touch me and I hyperventilated from the pain, the nurse had me breathing into a bag and I looked up to see my husband pacing in the tiny bathroom at the end of the room with a worried look on his face.

Next thing I knew is that they were drawing blood and I was going for the c-section I DIDN'T want.
I was 10 days late and Jonathan was 10lbs, 10 oz -23 " long born 10:04 at night.

I asked the doc about the pelvimetry results and he said I probably could've delivered a 7 or 8 pound baby but not any larger. I should have asked him right away. I told him at my 6 week check up.

In the end I guess it came down to that I just didn't understand why it happened that way and I was disappointed. I know that was ridiculous now because...having the healthy baby IS the goal and what is important.

Chrysalis Angel said...

10lbs is a good sized baby Seaspray! I'm just glad he was delivered and healthy.

SeaSpray said...

Me too-thanks! :)

Funny how we change over time. 8 years later when I was pregnant with our second son..I asked my new OBGYN if I was going to be scheduled for a C-section since I had already delivered that way and he said, "I don't know...maybe you can go v-back". It took me about 2 seconds of recalling the pain and then what else I might experience and I said that if he had to that I was fine with a c-section. :)

So much for LaMaze! :)

I went to my 7th month thinking I was going v-back. Then his new young partner came on board and during the exam I asked him if he thought I would have a c-section and he said, "If you don't want your baby born dead you will."

It was the one appointment I brought our younger son (8 yrs old)in on so he could hear the baby's heartbeat and he was sitting in the room when the doctor said that. So after the doc left, Jonathan said, "Mommy is the baby gonna die?" I said, "No honey, mommy's gonna have a c-section and the baby will be fine."

Christopher was 10lbs,06oz and 21" long. I think he may have been larger than Jonathan if allowed to go later and not taken on my due date. I had been a gestational diabetic and my new OBGYN thought I probably was with 1st son and they tend to have larger babies. I don't know if that is always true.

radioactive girl said...

Good friends are wonderful! I do most of my medical things on my own, but on the rare occasion I bring someone with me, it makes it so much easier!

SeaSpray said...

Hi Radioactive girl-yes they are wonderful. Friends and family have been amazing. :)

Like you, I do most alone but when stented or getting a procedure- pain meds are involved then they drive. We have always turned the appointments into a fun lunch or dinner afterward. One day the 3 of us spent about 3 or so hours at this coffee house just talking and laughing it up. (all good for the healing process)They never rushed us after our meal. :)

Ha! Kind of like a little kid gets a sticker after suturing, I got to have fun afterward. Except for this past August 1st. We were going to lunch after an office procedure (I left feeling fine) but instead she ended up taking me to the ER.

You know what else? People in the blogosphere also have made it easier.