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Not the best start to the year,onward and upwards -I say


Well 2017 thus far has been a bit of a bugger ! and hasn’t gone quite to plan

I think I got up to about the 11th in my last post – well I ended up being blue lighted back to hospital. I had attended the Medical centre near me, who, incidentally are simply fabulous, even the receptionist is such a lovely lady H her name is and she just gorgeous and lovely  (apologies if that upsets but we have had some right doozies of doctors receptionists in the past),   I was booked in as a emergency patient and saw the big boss doc (the one who’s car parking space is next to the very narrow disabled space, its so nerve wracking every time I get in and out of the car, I’m worried that I might accidently bash his very expensive Jag when getting out- but so far so good). I went into see the doc who had a look through my records so had a good idea of why I was there, I had a v high temp again and my belly was HUGE, I’m told I passed out in his room as well, but I don’t recall this, so that was that back to hospital.

Once I got to the hospital it was clear I needed IV antibiotics AGAIN and TPN and I would also need a PIC line – its like a cannula but its 40cm long as it goes into the top of the arm and follows they vain all the way to a big artery at the top of the heart .

Here is some information from the PINNT website, they offer great support and information for those with artificial feeding issues etc.

What is Parenteral Nutrition?
Parenteral Nutrition (PN) is a means of supplying your body with nutrients and hydration which bypasses the digestive system. This is achieved through the insertion of a catheter directly into the bloodstream, through which a feed that is specific to your needs is administered. This is commonly referred to as Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) or HPN.
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What do the letters TPN mean?
TPN is a common abbreviation for TOTAL PARENTERAL NUTRITION. This literally means to eat (-enteral) through the vein (par-). However the terms PN (Parenteral Nutrition), HPN (Home Parenteral Nutrition) and TPN are often used interchangeably.
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How will the nutrition enter my veins?
A very fine soft tube known as a ‘catheter’ is inserted under the skin of your chest wall into a large vein that leads to your heart. A local anaesthetic is given beforehand to minimise any discomfort. A mild sedative may also be given while your catheter is being inserted. The procedure is normally done under Xray guidance. Once the correct position of the tip of the catheter is confirmed it can be connected to a container of PN fluid using a giving set.
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Will PN contain everything I need?
Your doctor and the nutrition team will have calculated the amount of nutrients you require in your PN to keep your body well nourished. This is done by making measurements of your weight, height and by blood tests and urine collections. Changes may be made to your feed to meet your on-going needs. Due to PN being prescribed on an individual basis, some people may make additions to their PN, if this is necessary you will be taught how and when to do this.
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When will I be fed?
Most people on PN feed whilst they are asleep however it is well documented that the infusion time often extends beyond time spent asleep. You will determine how best to fit in the time you require in order to complete your infusion time with your lifestyle. During the night sleep patterns may be disturbed due to necessary visits to the toilet. Many people find they adjust to this over time but people reported sometimes feeling tired depending on the number of times they need to get up. Feeding as much overnight allows freedom during the day, evening or morning. Each person’s infusion time will be agreed in line with your personal needs. New patients may be given a set time with this being reduced over time.
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Will I be confined to bed or at home?
HPN should not be restricted to lying in bed or staying at home unless that is your choice or is necessary for your individual needs. Portable feeding pumps have made it easier to be mobile whilst receiving your feed. Not all patients want to use a portable pump but improved mobility can be achieved with smaller drip stands for use around the home.
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How long will I need to be on PN?
Some patients will require PN for only a short time, such as to permit the digestive system to rest following surgery or illness or for a variety of reasons. For others they will require PN for the rest of their lives. If a specific condition improves then PN can be reduced or in some cases patients may be switched to enteral feeding depending on their specific medical needs.
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Will I be able to eat and drink?
This will vary according to your condition. Your doctor may suggest that you eat and drink as well as receiving HPN. In fact you may wish to continue eating and drinking on a social basis, which even if your digestive system is unable to absorb the nutrition may help you to feel included in social activities. Your doctor will advise you whether you are able to do this. This is one aspect that may change from time to time depending on your personal needs. If you are constantly thirsty you should contact your doctor or nurse and oral fluids will not replenish the thirst and may actually be detrimental to you. There are some oral mixtures for patients who want and need to drink which contain sugars and salts, these may be suggested on an individual basis.
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How will PN affect me on a day to day basis?
This will depend on the symptoms of your underlying illness. However many patients say that they feel stronger than they have for some time due to being well nourished and hydrated and therefore more able to cope with life.
Thankfully I was only on this for a short time and I got from it the energy I needed and the hydration I needed to allow my stomach to heal or whatever it needed and we were ready to try and use my RIG PEG again. thankfully it was successful this time (30mls per hour at 1kal per ml )- I am still getting pain – it feels like my actual stomach is bruised and it keeps filling with air – at times I can literally aspirate 100-200 +ml’s of air which is a bit odd.
Whilst in I met 2 really nice nutritionists one was called B and the other was called L both of which you just know they know their stuff and more importantly they clearly give a fuck about their patients and are not mechanical like the doctors can be – anyways L mentioned that perhaps I should be looking at my EDS (ehlers Danlos syndrome) as a reason for these feeding issues and it is a condition which can and does effect every single part of the body. so that’s something I will be looking into at some point.
Also whilst I was in I made contact with my new specialist Head and neck cancer Macmillan nurse NW and she was also great and gets it  for example she noticed before I even said anything that I was struggling to face her straight on as my neck was playing silly buggers! she also made me an urgent appointment to see Mr Fasanmade as I haven’t had an appointment since I moved here and I have a few new things cropped up regarding the cancer/cancer treatment side of things.
I mentioned the neck issues well at times these are pretty severe, they range of a tired ache as if my head is waaay to heavy for my neck, to muscle aches that male my right fingers (think its the pinkie and ring finger) tingle, although I still have movement and strength then at its worst it goes into full spasm and its not pretty my head tilts to the left my mouth is slightly open and my tongue (remembering the right side is just a graft and non functional) gets pulled to the base of the mouth and I’m almost paralysed by this I’m unable to do anything ot talk (well I try but its not understandable) until it passes, which can take up to 20 minutes.
I also have a palpable lump in my neck, we noticed it just before Christmas and have tried not to dwell? fret? panic? about this as we all know it could be nothing but we also know the alternative.
I will update about my appointment later
still smiling as ever
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Jan 2017

Update 2017 – still battling on


HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

Well here we are almost at the 4 year mark and we all thought it would be way behind us and we would have moved on with life but unfortunately not!

 

Here’s what going on – we are now living near Aylesbury Buckinghamshire (sounds posh doesn’t it ). The kids are doing great Dangerous D is 5 and as adventurous as ever and loving life and my boy is 11 now and is all of a sudden turning into a sporty thing ! who knew? he’s on the football team the netball team (they have a mixed team dues to numbers ) and he’s wanting to do rugby on Sunday mornings ! bye bye lie in ! haa haa only kidding, we have kids there’s no such thing as a lie in. Hubby AKA “G” is doing really well and loving his new role and he has a fantastic boss who had been so so accommodating.

now me !!! drama all the bloody way ! since September I have had 3 peg tubes that failed (the tube split or the balloon burst or the valve was faulty and it fell out), so most recently Jan the 3rd the peg fell out I followed protocol and went straight to A and E peg in hand and explained – unfortunately they were very busy and it was a few hours till I was seen and in this time the stoma started closing ! we managed to get a mall NG tube in it to keep it open and I was kept over night on a drip as I obviously couldn’t use my peg etc – then it all started to go tits up ! the next day I went to x-ray to have a RIG, I did the usual and said – it takes a lot to knock me out and I have EDS and sedatives and local anaesthetics have limited effectiveness yes-yes they said !  so I woke up halfway through and in my have apparently I was “combative” no shit it bloody hurt !!

righow-to-rig

 

 

when I woke up I was in a lot of pain and not really from the peg ! it was in my shoulder and the only way I could describe it was icebergs erupting through my collarbone it was excruciating the only relief was laying totally flat – which is terrible for my back and thanks to radiotherapy I cannot lift my head if I lay flat it really weird actually its like someone’s holding my forehead down I just cant do it lol, I digress. so I was discharged with new RIG PEG on the 4th and the next day was my birthday 34 years old and I’ve only recently decided what I want to do with my life ! more of that later !

in the morning of the 5th I could barely move and was in lots of pain and my tummy was really big but I painted on smiles whilst I received my gifts and opened them I have some gorgeous smellies including bayliss and harding  and ghost and from the children I got this.

birthdaygiftfrom-kids

anyone who knows me will know how happy I was with seeds an sets – I can’t wait to get planting ! I love seeing the fruits of my labour – literally ! we are trying to make raised bed for as little money as possible and using scrap etc (do not thing steptoe yard) it will look beautiful!

so on the 5th I ask Gary to take my discharge notes to the medical centre and I had written a note on there as there was very little information on the discharge summary (it even said I could walk unaided and had no risk of falls lol) anywho my doc, Doc P called to see how I was and by this time 2.30 ish I was in more and more pain. The doc asked if I felt like I had a temperature and I shrugged it off saying no, but he insisted I take my temp 39.9 OOOOPS – he said get to the hospital NOW as I could be going into sepsis — I was in too much pain to get into the car so we had to an ambulance and my numbers weren’t great and they had the usual issues with canualtion and also my sats were low and my bp was in the floor 60 over something ! they gave me gas and air for the pain – GOD I LOVE THAT STUFF and off we went to A and E where I spent a few hors while I received emergency treatment for sepsis I has 2 different antibiotics  and paracetamol for the pain and lovely morphine oh and a drain bag on my (so all the acid etc. was coming out rather that leaking into my abdomen). once I was stable I was put in the walk way as there was no cubicle available so essentially I was in a corridor on a trolley ! nightmare I was hooked up to drips and all over the place, scared and alone. I had my phone in my bra strap near my collarbone and I was in and out of sleep as it was the early hours – I was occasionally woken by people adding drips and or taking me temp and blood pressure – then all of a sudden we were moving we were off to a new ward when they initially I thought I was again going to be in the corridor but there was a bed space available, that when I realised MY PHONE WAS GONE – I hadn’t physically moved so I can only surmise that someone took it! talk about panic and i was heartbroken ! the nurse who wheeled me up ran down to A and E and even went through the laundry bag and there was no luck it was gone! I couldn’t believe it! on top of everything!

 

For the next 11 days I was visited daily by a surgeon who would decide if was suitable for surgery or if they could continue with antibiotics – thankfully I avoided surgery by the skin of my teeth and the medication – tazacin ? and doxycycline? I think they were called seemed to do their job. for those 10 of those 11 days I had nothing in way of nutrition and only had saline /potassium and magnesium infusions!   they were desperate to put me onto TPN (vein feeding) like I had last year but I refused point-blank as I wanted to get home, I didn’t mince my words either ! once we were confident my bowel had healed/ there was no leak we started using the peg, initially I just vomited it up but at a love speed 20mls per hour I tolerated the feed ! but that was only  200 calories in 10 hours so they said I could go home if I made it to 30mls per hour without vomiting, I managed with the help of cyclzine. If I’m honest I’m still pretty dry and not weeing much so I am trying really hard to drink more but its hard you know  after 11 days of starvation your stomach shrinks.

 

anyhow I do now have a working peg it a bit infected and gunky atm so the medical centre are dressing it regularly for me and doing a great job. you know I cannot complain about the medical centre they all go the extra mile and have looked after me so so well in the past few months (I think the fact I bake them cakes helps.)

 

Tomorrow I will give you an update on the cancer care side of things or lack of care – in short, I went from 6 weekly check ups to a 7 monthly check-ups. and i threw my toys out of my pram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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730 days Since..


I became a patient, a statistic, a member of a  club you NEVER ask to join yet can NEVER leave.

I’ve spoken of my depression and anxiety before, but I’ve never found a way to put it in to words.

I’ll try, once you’re in the club you’re playing Russian roulette with Schrödinger’s cancer,  it’s always there, even when it’s not, it is.

My 2 year cancerversary has been playing on my mind, especially as I’ve recently been struggling with infections (9 weeks so far!!), hand in hand with this I’ve felt generally unwell, generally exhausted.  Oh and joy of joys my nausea is kicking my arse again, I can’t even make it out of the village without feeling travel sick, and G is now an expert at finding places to stop so I can puke. The knock on from this is struggling with feeds.  It feels like a vicious circle.

This is a very lonely journey,  terribly so. I no longer have friends, no one says fancy a cuppa? Or are you in, I want a chat…I even have a volunteer friend, yep someone comes to see me once a week, because I’m so lonely I need a reason to get showered and dressed. Now this is no slight on anyone and of course there are exemptions that prove the rule. But I try really hard to not seem desperate while always saying *be my fwend,  come play wiv me..* but I say ‘I’m always in, just pop in, come say hi, I’ll teach you to sew, I’ll make that for you etc’. I always try to ask how people are and offer help and or advice. I set up a support group for military spouses with disabilities and or additional needs to try to fill this gap. But through my awkward paranoid anxious mind I don’t often post in there, because I don’t want my issue to trivialize something else if going through or that people will think it’s *Steph’s moaning again group*.

I try all these things to make friends or to socialise/converse with people. I think I’m the one of those people, that others will say ‘oh yeah I know her’ but that’s as far as it will go. Perhaps it’s always that way for me, I have had friends who I’ve been close to, but it’s never lasted that long.

Anyways, back to where I was going with this; it’s a lonely journey that only members of the club understand,  they understand the pain – it really bloody hurts – they understand struggling with nutrition,  fighting dehydration daily and the FEAR (that word is nowhere near adequate). They understand that if you’re on 6 weekly check ups that, week one is fabulous, two is still good, week three  is rocky and it gets worse from then until week six when you feel anxious and back to square one, and repeat.

One person who truly got this is an online friend, now we aren’t close close but we ‘get it’ we chatted online loads about the pain the struggles, solutions we have found. She’s a wonderful woman. We shared our original diagnosis and we’re progressing similarly.  Until I saw this…

image

On reading this I was overcome, I struggled to breath and started choking!  As soon as I got my breath I messaged Em, I can’t recall what I said and I don’t really want look back. It was her hubby who replied,  She’s already sick, really sick.

This broke my heart but it also has filled me with a fear and sorrow that I’ve never experienced.  I cried for days and days. It just makes no sense to me, she’s such an amazing woman.

There’s a link on my Facebook page set up by a friend of theirs to raise some money for the family, for now and for afterwards.  Please, if you can afford to, donate some money. It’s not a lot, but could really help.

My husband is taking part in ‘the suffering race’ an endurance obstacle race and will be seeking sponsorship which will be paid straight into Em’s go fund me account.

On top of this most terrible news, my husbands auntie died, a sweet old lady who made D the most beautiful and delicate receiving blanket, and handmade Christmas cards, her funeral is today. Then we heard that G’s estranged father has cancer that may be terminal.

So all in all it has been pretty shitty recently.

Saying that the children are well, D is 4 next month and I am 2 years post cancer diagnosis and still here!!!

I was picturing this being a memorable post but I’ve not achieved that. But I’ve written what I wanted to and feel better for writing it.

Sending love to those who need it and signing off.

Trying to smile.

I hope that by writing this blog I can help others in similar situations take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Please help me reach more people with my blog by sharing my posts on Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to follow my story, please sign up to the mailing list so that you can be notified as my blog is updated. Should you wish to get in touch please feel free to use the ‘Contact Me’ page to fill in your details and I will respond to you as soon I am able. Thank you, Stephanie x