This year for Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes lately that’s hard to remember but it’s definitely true. So today I want to write about what I’m thankful for.
Tomorrow I go to the Dana. I go every Wednesday and I never look forward to it but tomorrow, tomorrow I’m excited. Weird to say that I’m excited to head to the hospital but I’m hoping that tomorrow is the start of a long stretch of pain coming to a close. I meet with my pancreatologist and hopefully get the all-clear to begin eating again. Now I know it won’t be an “eat whatever you want” conversation but even being able to have a fruit smoothie or grilled chicken breast will be such a big deal. Like I’ve said over and over, I’m so hungry. Hungry and beyond crazy with cravings. All I can think about is food…sandwiches, pizza, angel hair pasta, sushi. I’m a ways away from all that but a girl can dream. I also start on steroids tomorrow for five days which make me absolutely insane when it comes to eating. They make me so hungry and able to eat like a growing football player. So tomorrow as I meet with my doctor, I will be putting on my persuasive pants and begging him to allow me to start my journey back to the real world of food. Wish me luck.
My first pancreatitis attack happened on August 13th. It’s now November 14th. That’s three hospital stays in the books, about 100 pounds in fluctuated weight, an incredible amount of pain medication down, a stent placed into my pancreas, two months behind on my chemo regimen and three months in the past of simply not eating or not eating the foods I want to eat. In fact, right now, I’m unable to eat anything but “clears” for the next two weeks (clears = broth, apple juice, jello, water). It sounds unenjoyable but not the end of the world, right? I would have guessed that too but not being able to eat is more than that. I’m having such a hard time with it because it’s something that I enjoy doing so much. I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy snacking on it, I enjoy going out to restaurants with my boyfriend and friends, and I enjoy eating it! Food was one of the last things that not much had changed since my diagnosis. And I so revelled in that. So the fact that it got taken away from me just seems unfair. Now, instead of eating, I have a feeding tube that I attach to every night for 14 hours. Not exactly a pasta dinner.
On Thursday I found out that my pancreas had suffered a leak in it during the first two pancreatitis attacks. So my doctors quickly scheduled an endoscopy procedure for the next day to place a stent where the hole is. I was so nervous about it as I hate being put under and I’m anxious about a foreign object being in my body. But I trust my doctors so I knew it was what I had to do. Friday morning came quickly and with Mike by my side, I had a stent placed in my pancreas. Everything went smoothly and the doctor was really pleased with how the procedure went. I was even able to go home that night in time to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters!! (Huge deal to me cause I had been really looking forward to that so I would’ve been really sad if that got taken away from me). Anyways, Saturday morning I woke up with intense pain in my stomach, I was rolling around and just could not get into a comfortable position. So I took pain meds that typically help and waited an hour. No such luck. After a call to my oncologist, Mike and I were on our way to the emergency room (which was filled with drunk halloween goers. Woof). My hope was that I would be able to go in, get some IV pain meds and head home but that wasn’t the case. After being in the emergency room for 6 hours, I got admitted, again, to the Brigham 7D. I am so frustrated because I had been doing so well. I was eating, my nausea was starting to go away, and I was overall just feeling good. So being back in the hospital bed hooked up to 100 different machines and unable to drink or eat…I feel more than discouraged.
On the bright side, it’s freezing out (I saw snow flakes out my window-ahhhhh!!!) and I’m inside all day. My amazing doctor made me two “pancreatitis” playlists to listen to (how sweet is that?!) My family and Mike have been by my side the whole time. And I got onto my favorite floor which makes things so much more enjoyable and comfortable. Definitely not an ideal situation but I’m trying to positive because things could definitely be worse.
(Here’s a pic of me and my TPN feeding tube at home! Fun, fun, fun!)
PS this is not a pic for the faint. So if you don’t like bodily functions, I’d X out now. But below is a pic of my pancreas before with the hole (on the left) and it now with the stent in it (right side). I thought it was pretty cool so wanted to share with you guys!