It has been a bear of a week.
We had some health scares which sent my emotions running down the same dark road that was reminiscent of those trying times I traversed with my mom. Dad has always been the strong and healthy one. At 78, he still volunteers regularly, doing gardening and other tasks around the Okinawan Center and occasionally helps maintain the church grounds. He walks the dog three times a day. I thought surely I would find some reprieve from the medical drama, at least for a while.
He complained of a sharp abdominal pain in his lower left side. His appetite hasn’t been the same ever since Mom passed away and he seemed to have less energy than usual. When he mentioned these symptoms to the doctor, he ordered a CT scan. We didn’t expect to find anything, but when the doctor called me to schedule a follow-up MRI, I was concerned. They had found a 2.5 cm “something” near his pancreas. The doctor said he could either give me the results of his MRI on the phone or we could schedule an appointment. I stated that I preferred to receive a phone call. “What if I have to tell you it’s cancer? Would you be okay with hearing that over the phone?”
Ugh, the “C” word. I told him, yes, I would prefer to have the news sooner rather than later.
Google can be your best friend or worst enemy. I should never google possible medical conditions. I discovered that pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates and prognosis generally not good. I shed tears over the possibility that Dad might have cancer. His MRI was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14 and I prayed at every opportunity for him. Actually, praying is probably not even the best way to describe it. I pleaded. I begged. I cried out to God. In spite of uncertain circumstances, I know He is always in control.
Dad’s blood pressure had been consistently running on the low end of the scale. Not dangerously low, but low enough that the doctor felt that reducing his blood pressure medication would be a good idea. So, he instructed us to cut the dose in half.
About a week later, I started seeing Dad’s blood pressure trending upward. From numbers in the 118/54 range to pressures that started going 150 and above. On Thursday afternoon, his blood pressure topped 213/70. I called his doctor and took him to the Emergency Room where they gave him 20 MG Lisinopril (same Rx he had been taking) and had him wait until it kicked in. When his systolic pressure reading was under 170, they released him. We spent about 4 hours in the ER that night.
The funny thing is that Dad’s fantastic ER nurse Sunny recognized me from my blog. What a small world!
The following morning his blood pressure was back up to 190′s, we saw his primary care physician and he changed his blood pressure medication. After that visit, we went straight to the hospital to get his MRI.
The time between the MRI and the doctor’s phone call was brief, perhaps only about two hours. From the sound of the doctor’s greeting on the phone, I surmised that he had good news for me. And he did. The “something” they saw was not a tumor. It was a blood vessel. Harmless. No cancer!
Instant relief. I thanked the doctor profusely and gave Dad the awesome news.
Now, we are just trying to stabilize his blood pressure. His numbers were good this morning. I am just praying that the new meds do not give him any side effects or drop his pressure too low.
If nothing else, this was a wake up call to cherish every day with my loved ones. Life is too short. Our days are numbered. Let us not waste a single one.
I inherited a grooming kit from nee-chan Joni. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a “before” shot of Chibi with his 10 lbs. of glorious, unruly hair — but alas, only the “after” shot exists. Let’s just say that I have a newfound respect for pet groomers, as wielding the clippers and creating clean, even lines in a canine’s fur is no easy feat. The poor guy was full of “rat bites” where the clippers slipped and buzzed a bit too close to the skin in some spots. Today, I decided to groom him a bit more to fix the uneven patches. Personally, I think it’s an improvement, but I’m sure the casual observer may wonder if the poor dog contracted some strange illness that caused his hair to fall out.
At least hair grows back. It will all be fine in a few weeks (or months?). Then, I can try again. Or, I can chalk it up and send him to a professional groomer. In my opinion, he’s not a show dog and the grooming is more of a hygiene/comfort issue rather than aesthetic, so I might just DIY most of his grooming and periodically send him to a professional for the more unpleasant tasks such as expressing his anal glands. Ew.
If I can get the dog to stay still for 5 seconds, I will try to get a shot of the rest of his body where the evidence of my grooming practice is more apparent.
I “groomed” Lil’ K yesterday, too. She had a complete spa day on the patio complete with bang trim and mani/pedi services. Thankfully, I tend to be more skilled at trimming Lil’ K’s hair than Chibi’s.
On August 31, 2012, I checked in at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children at 5:20 a.m. Another procedure scheduled to correct problems with the nether regions. My uterus just doesn’t like to play nice, obviously.
My OB/GYN suggested placing an IUD to regulate my lining, which has a tendency to do odd things (thank you, endometriosis and ovarian cysts). Place it and forget it — periods would steadily decrease until my monthly visit from Aunt Flo would forever cease. What could be better? Well, she didn’t take into consideration the possibility that my uterus has a mind of its own and enjoys playing games with my doctors.
The IUD was placed and was fine for a while. Periods started decreasing, then around the 6th month, it started picking back up again. Next thing I know, I have a period that is going on 4 weeks straight. Doc puts me on birth control pills to stop the bleeding, they do an ultrasound and discover that the IUD is totally in the wrong place. Somehow, it fell out of position and is no longer administering the hormones as it should. It needed to be removed, lest it perforate my lining. The doc also asked if I wanted to do an ablation (basically burn the uterine lining – WHAT?). It helps in some cases. I declined.
So, here I am. Going under general anesthesia again so that they could do a hysteroscopy and remove the errant device. It’s a good thing that I kind of enjoy general anesthesia (it’s a great nap!) and tolerate it well.
Long story short, they did the procedure and I did fine. Some discomfort, cramping, and a bit of bleeding — but all of that is to be expected. The ongoing saga continues. Although I hope not, I can’t help but to think a hysterectomy may be in my future.
Who is Champuru?Aloha, I'm Donna, known everywhere on the Internet as "Champuru." I was born and raised in Hawaii. I'm a Christian. I'm married to my best friend of 18 years, we struggled with infertility and successfully conceived via IVF (and by the grace of God!) in 2008. I resigned from my coveted "secure" government job to be a work-at-home mom to my 3-year-old daughter. Using my degree in Information Technology and the skills obtained in the marketplace, I started my own business. Now, I work from home, taking clients on a part-time basis, working in my PJ's while the little one sleeps. Life isn't always easy, but it's all good.