Chapter 15: The Waiting Game

Last week’s most common question: “How are the new drugs going?”

I wish I knew! There’s been a bit of a delay in getting the new drug because we have had to wait on my insurance to authorize them, and then they have to be mailed to me from a specialty pharmacy. It’s worth the wait though because the price tag on the medication is ridiculous. Let’s just say that if insurance paid for cars, I’d have several by the end of the year.

The past week saw a nice upgrade in my energy level and I have managed to put on 7.5 pounds in 3 weeks. Yeah!!!! Let it be known that this is one of the few times in my life I will likely be cheering about that. And if you are even thinking of making a judgmental comment about how it’s unfair that I’m happy to be putting on weight, I’d like to direct you to blog post #7 in this series so that you can hear my thoughts on the matter.

While my weight is going up, my hemoglobin is not going up as expected. I have been getting IV iron infusions for the past 3 weeks and we are not seeing a change. My oncologist is running a few labs to see what’s going on there.

I’m continuing to stay with my parents and Daniel has been staying with us too. It’s been really nice and I am so grateful to have family to take care of me. My sister came into town to visit and help out as well, and we have been so happy to have her around. She is 32 weeks pregnant so she’s been quite the trooper to come out and support me! We are celebrating her birthday tonight.

Yesterday morning I awoke to a small little bump in the road. I have had a cough for as long as I can remember at this point thanks to Mr. Benedict, and yesterday morning that cough decided to come with a vengeance. I woke up and was in the process of getting out of bed when I coughed so hard that I felt a huge clunk in my right upper ribs. Hey-remember that time I coughed so hard I threw my back out a few weeks ago? This is not a good trend! I felt a wave of nausea come over me and an immediate sense of “OH CRAP.” This was followed by a deep throbbing ache and a feeling of it being nearly impossible to move any part of my body. In the event you weren’t aware—rib injuries rear their ugly heads every time you so much as lift a pinky or take a breath. I was laying flat in bed at the time so not being able to sit up was going to be a bit of a problem.  

Cue total freak out.

Screaming, crying…oh wait, it hurts really bad to cry…whimpering/quiet crying, coughing…oh wait, it hurts really bad to cough…more crying despite the pain.

What a mess. I immediately texted about 10 PT friends asking them what to do. When you’re in that much pain, you don’t want to think for yourself.

I’ve been staying in my parents’ basement apartment (which is awesome!) so I texted my parents (talking on the phone was going to be too painful because exhaling hurt). My mom came down with an ice bag and painstakingly watched as I sobbed while trying to push myself to sit up. It’s not until you’re injured or disabled that you realize how integral the “little things”-like sitting up in bed-are to our daily lives. Whew!

So that was an unexpected traumatic start to my Saturday. I proceeded to sit very still in a recliner with an ice bag and cry every time any part of my body moved for the next 5 hours. Then my sister convinced me to try one of my percocets from my previous surgery. THAT was a good idea.

My friend Blair was home and lives near my parents, so we were also able to go over there so she could help mobilize my rib back into place.  That was very helpful too. By evening I felt good and was laughing and smiling again!

I was also surprised with a huge outpouring of love and support from friends and family near and far this past week. Many of my sorority sisters from Duke came together to send a generous gift, as did my coworkers, Emory DPT program colleagues, Daniel’s coworkers, and several other friends and family members. These gifts and cards are totally unexpected and TOTALLY appreciated. I’m so overwhelmed and humbled. Daniel went to get the mail from our house so I got everything all at once yesterday—it was such an uplifting time to get it after my rough Saturday!

As a family we have enjoyed the start of college football season with 4 family football wins: Duke, UGA, Georgia Tech, and Baylor. Being sick has afforded me the opportunity to stay in my cozy recliner and actually watch football. We don’t have cable at our house so I never get to watch sports. We’ve played a few board games this weekend too. I love games! Daniel and I look forward to date night tomorrow on Labor Day. We are both craving sushi so we are excited to try a new place out here in the ‘burbs.

Hopefully this week we will get the ball rolling on the new medication and we can start to blast Benedict into oblivion! Thanks again to everyone for all the prayers, love, and support—it really really makes a huge difference!

Just when I thought I couldn’t stoop much lower…on to Chapter 16

Update from the future (10 months later): after getting copies of all of my scans and reports to keep for my records, I learned that the CT scan I had a few weeks after this incident showed a pathological fracture of the 1st rib. Nobody told me, but I’m pretty sure I made it clear that I knew in the moment!

One thought on “Chapter 15: The Waiting Game

  1. Julie,

    PT Brad told me about your blog and I’m so glad to be caught up on what’s going on with you. I’ve been thinking about you, missing you and wishing you well. Please let me know if I can help out or send a card etc. You’re such an amazingly person and I’m glad you have lots of support and help getting through this. Here’s to Benedict shrinkage. Keep up the weight gain and enjoy eating anything you want. Have they considered Procrit for the anemia? I’m not a doctor/hematologist but it’s a thought – not sure what the down side would be to stimulate new red blood cell growth. Take care!!

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