Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt #34

More chemotherapy: part 2
Soon after her sessions began though, another complication arose; the chemo was not eliminating the ascites fast enough and Louise was suffering, more than a little I might add.  Something had to be done and fast. Modern technology was once more solicited and came to the rescue successfully.  An 'AbdominX' was inserted to help evacuate the ascites from Louise’s tummy without the use of that awful, almost medieval torture apparatus previously used in the emergency room. Thank God for that.  
Normally used to drain fluids from the lungs of cancer patients, then called a ‘PleurX', the unit had been adapted to suck the ascites from the stomach area and it was doing a great job.  It consisted again of a tube (but larger than the one used for the PIC line) that was inserted through the stomach lining and went directly into the areas where the ascites lay.  Twice a week at first, a nurse would come home to drain the fluid from Louise’s stomach.   Over the weeks, the chemo did its work, the ascites level went down so much that the drainage had to be done only once a week and eventually stopped as Louise’s condition finally stabilized.  After she was feeling better, I could not refrain myself from joking about the fact that I though she looked like a creature from outer space with all these wires coming out of her body, a few more springs  and a metal cap on her head and voila, your perfect ET.  She was a good sport about it and didn’t mind my juvenile poking as it acted as an efficient stress buster for us.
All through this period, a zillion things happened and I’d go nuts trying to detail them all.  Suffice it to say that Louise was in a period of remission and we were on an upswing.  Of course there were the occasional little blips like when she had to be rehydrated.  Picture this; Louise was already wired up with a PIC line rolled up and taped under her armpit, an ‘AbdomineX' rolled up and taped on her stomach, and now she had to sit, lie and walk around to her numerous appointments with some kind of battery operated pump containing a rehydrating solution that was shot through her veins with the help of more tubes and needles stuck in her hand (the PIC line could not be used on this one).  The whole damn apparatus was hanging inconveniently by her side on a strap looped around her shoulder and had to be removed and repositioned each time she got dressed or had to put on that ridiculous 'try-to-not-show-your-ass' hospital gown before each tests, and there were more than a few, trust me!  I tell you, she looked like a zombie out of a scary movie and if the situation was not so serious, it would have been hilarious.    
But aside from those little bumps in the road, things were good and both the chelation and chemotherapy treatments were following their course smoothly.  The side effects from the chemo, blisters between Louise’s finders and ulcers in her mouth were minimal and somewhat manageable without too much discomfort.  Of course, she lost her hair a second time and head scarves were once more in fashion. It was a busy period travelling several times a week to Ottawa for two different treatments, but her energy was increasing by the weeks and we felt more and more confident that we could beat the monster.  
Louise always had this dream about owning a knitting wool store and since she was doing so well with her treatments, I decided to support her and do everything I could to help put the project together.  After preparing a simple and easy business and marketing plan, I set out to convert the country kitchen of our small house into a cute little store and ordered the required products for sale.  I even modified our wrap around veranda in a way that she could exhibit her merchandise outside during the week ends.  We called it 'The Store on a Porch'.  It looked great, inviting, held good promises of success and Louise was happy which was worth a million dollars to me.  "Will she be able to enjoy it a long time though?" I questioned and I truly hoped that the feeling of dread rattling my guts was just a figment of my imagination.
October 9, 2009                                                                                                         
The cancer is gone...for now
Louise and I were sitting nervously on one of the comfy leather couches spread out neatly in the huge hall of the 'Critical Care Building' adjacent to the 'Ottawa Hospital's Cancer Centre'.  My hands were shaking with anticipation as I prepared to read Louise’s latest scan report we had just picked up at the administration office.   The look I gave her after perusing the results said it all and with happy smiling faces, we jumped up with joy and 'high fived' the moment; no more traces of cancer could be detected!
Little did we know then that sadly this marked the beginning of the end.


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Life Transitions Counsellor - Relationship/Grief/Stress/Spirituality Coach 
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation
Tel: 613.774.4389

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