Your Blood Spins Me ‘Round

The doctor decided I needed blood.  That frightened me, because there was so much stigma around receiving blood.  “I don’t know if I want to do that.”  I was concerned about diseases.

The nurse explained that testing is much better today, and I should take some time to think about what it would do for me.  My blood showed severe anemia, and that’s why I couldn’t stand up.  “You lost quite a bit of blood during the operation.”

“Alright.  I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

“The sooner, the better.”

It would be something if I were cured of my advanced cancer, but caught another illness with someone else’s blood.  I always think, “if only I would have kept Isabella’s umbilical cord.”  The cord can be used to make your own blood.  But having had cancer in my body, wouldn’t that procedure have failed me anyway?  I realize the new blood would be healthy, but how do my genes affect this blood if the cancer came from a genetic disorder?

With some reluctancy, I agreed the next day to receiving the blood, and it was given almost immediately.  I’m not sure I really had a choice.  The nurse likely gave me the time to feel more comfortable about it.  She hooked me up to an IV unit, and it took a couple of hours for the blood to go through.  It felt strange – in my mind – that I could receive someone else’s blood.

As soon as the day after, I couldn’t believe the burst of energy I had.  Finally, I could get out of my bed.

A couple of months, at the most, prior to diagnosis, I was having lunch at a nearby downtown food court.  As I was heading back to the office, I walked passed an area where people were laying on beds and drinking orange juice.  There were IVs next to each bed, and bags filling with blood.  It made me think about donating.  I requested a business card, and tucked it in my wallet.  I intended to do my part as soon as I had the opportunity.  My general health was normal, but recent months and the testing I was doing following the bleeding incident brought on hesitation.  “Maybe I’ll just wait until I feel a little stronger.”  But I had made no relation between my health that was about to explode and my giving blood.  I was determined to do this deed.

Unfortunately, the investigation into my own health didn’t allow any time or reassurance that it was a good idea.  If I had donated my blood, I wonder whether the cancer would have been detected.  I had had bloodwork previously, but none ever signified a serious health issue.

Eventually, I forgot about the card that sat in my wallet until I came across it some time following my treatments.  Although I knew the answer, I still called the clinic to see if I could donate blood if I was in apparent remission.

I see the importance of donating blood, now more than ever.  I’m so grateful that this help exists.  I wish I could do it now, but obviously, I’m one of those people who needs it, not gives it.  So I threw away the card.

 

A plead for all those who need you, when it may be too late to ask you:  Check your health for your sake, give blood for others’.  God bless you all!

 

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Failure To Launch

Also, during the second week, my weight continued to decline.  I had lost five pounds earlier that summer from trying “The South Beach Diet.”  Not that I was overweight, but I wanted to get healthier.  What I would give to take those pounds back.  Another five pounds melted away prior to the operation, and ten more while in the hospital.  From one hundred and forty pounds, I was now one hundred and twenty.  Losing pounds by the minute from being undernourished, my lowest known weight was around ninety-four pounds within the next weeks.  The feeding tube helped, but gaining weight was out of the question.

My blood kept showing anemia, from the tests that were requested every day, and taken at that ungodly hour, when I just wanted to sleep.  When the doctor prescribed that I begin to get out of bed, I had some trouble.  The nurse lowered the bed rail, and stayed with me as I tried to sit up.  I managed to turn my body and let my legs hang from the side of the bed within a few seconds.  She didn’t help me, but watched to see if I could stand on my own.

As I pushed my weak body away from the hard mattress, I suddenly felt my head in a whirlwind.  Previous experience made it clear to me that I was losing consciousness;  and, for some reason, I was explaining to the nurse the stages I was in, once I almost fell into the chair at the end of my bed.  Her attention to the details was minimal – or it seemed, as she stared down at my chart.  I wasn’t aware whether she was writing anything down.

I’m not sure why I felt I had to explain every step, but maybe I thought she wouldn’t believe me or she would think I was stalling.  As the symptoms of fainting were very recognizable to me, it was comforting to understand what was happening was nothing more than a little weakness.  Being in bed for more than a week didn’t help, but surely the nurse would look after the problem.

My head was still, but the room span.  The heaviness in my head was unbearable.  It felt like it had been filled with liquid, and someone shook it like it were a snow globe.  My ears were blocked, and echoed all the sounds around me, as well as my voice that sounded distant.  After sitting for several minutes, I felt myself returning to normal.

The nurse helped me back into bed, and left it at that.  “I’ll have to speak to your doctor about this.”  She disappeared into the hallway.

 

Have an amazing day!

Daily Prompt: Perplexed

via Daily Prompt: Perplexed

I refer you to “Dark Dreams” posted yesterday, and which has perplexity written all over it (https://livingaftercancerblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/dark-dreams/).  I was always intrigued by dreams.  What do they mean?  Why do they become nightmares or attempt to fulfill desires?  How does our daily life manifest itself in our dreams?

I think, in my case, dreams are partly my vivid imagination, parts of my day, or strong emotions I’ve experienced recently.  It’s baffling to think that something so horrid from our dreams could carry itself into the real world.  I read a book a long time ago that explained that the messages are what to take from our dreams, and not the literal sense.  Fascinating and perplexing trying to decipher these dreams!

Here is a copy of yesterday’s post that describes a nightmare while I was in the hospital following stomach cancer surgery:

 

In the second week, during my sleep, I began to have nightmares of my daughter.  They were awful and very graphic.  No matter how many times I’d be awakened by the fearful pictures, the next time I’d fall asleep, the dream would repeat itself and worsen.  Horrible things would happen to her… she was surrounded by fire or would fall into something as dreadful.  I couldn’t help or get to her.  It felt like doomsday.

I felt guilty for having those dreams, and the fear was traumatizing.  After about six or seven dreams, I told the nurse that I wasn’t able to handle them anymore.  She stared at me for a moment.  It was as though she was asking herself, “and how am I supposed to change your dreams?!”  Then, calmly, she explained that the epidural could have been causing the nightmares, and she would reduce the medication.  Thankfully, the nightmares subsided after that.

Eventually, the epidural was removed, and oral painkillers replaced it.  The skin on my torso still felt numb to the touch, and I couldn’t imagine what was going on inside where my stomach used to be.  I don’t remember ever feeling pain following the surgery.  My knee surgery – well, when they put me under anesthesia to force my leg straight and set a full-leg cast – three years earlier, was excruciating!  I couldn’t receive enough painkillers once I woke up from anesthesia that time.

 

I hope you’ll keep reading… weekly posts can be read on this site in chronological order beginning last December.

Be well,

Patricia

Dark Dreams

In the second week, during my sleep, I began to have nightmares of my daughter.  They were awful and very graphic.  No matter how many times I’d be awakened by the fearful pictures, the next time I’d fall asleep, the dream would repeat itself and worsen.  Horrible things would happen to her… she was surrounded by fire or would fall into something as dreadful.  I couldn’t help or get to her.  It felt like doomsday.

I felt guilty for having those dreams, and the fear was traumatizing.  After about six or seven dreams, I told the nurse that I wasn’t able to handle them anymore.  She stared at me for a moment.  It was as though she was asking herself, “and how am I supposed to change your dreams?!”  Then, calmly, she explained that the epidural could have been causing the nightmares, and she would reduce the medication.  Thankfully, the nightmares subsided after that.

Eventually, the epidural was removed, and oral painkillers replaced it.  The skin on my torso still felt numb to the touch, and I couldn’t imagine what was going on inside where my stomach used to be.  I don’t remember ever feeling pain following the surgery.  My knee surgery – well, when they put me under anesthesia to force my leg straight and set a full-leg cast – three years earlier, was excruciating!  I couldn’t receive enough painkillers once I woke up from anesthesia that time.

 

Despite the hardships we all face, keep hope that tomorrow will be better.

Patricia

Little Black Dress

Another uncomfortable moment I may have created was when I told Claudia and Mary that “there is a black lace dress in my closet that I love.”  Claudia and Mary were traumatized by my next words.  “If anything happens to me, I would like to be buried in it.”

“Stop thinking like that.  You’re going to be fine.”  Tears filled Mary’s eyes, reddened by sadness.

I do realize discussing your death is touchy, especially when you’re planning it yourself.  In what I see as inevitable, I’ve become realistic to the point where I would like to choose what I wear to eternity.  I have thought about my funeral a little.

Since my sisters spent much time with me at the hospital, they often got to know about the patients that shared my room.  Sharing stories with family members and patients, even some from other rooms along the aisle, was a great pastime for all visitors.

Patients were coming and going from the bed next to me.  Some were even in critical stages, but I had little idea of the goings on compared to my family, especially during the first week.

 

I’ve begun revamping my site layout.  Since I’m not an expert, please be patient as I attempt to better it over the next while.  Should you see something odd, please do not hesitate to let me know.  Rest assured, my posts will continue on Tuesdays, as usual.

Have a great day!

Patricia