Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why Are There So Many Damn Complications?

The hardest part of her melanoma isn't the cancer itself, it's the complications associated with it. She has been through so much in the last 10 months. Side effect, complication, infection, whatever you could imagine, has affected her.

First it was the vomiting and chills. The pain was next and still prevails even though she is on a fairly high level of constant morphine (She uses a PCA pump to administer her morphine at a level of 6.5 mg per hour with a bolus of 7 mg 4 times and hour). The interferon made her lose some considerable weight, about 50-60 lbs worth. You could see it in her face, in her neck, and especially, in my opinion, in her shoulders. Pictures of her from back in April and now are of a totally different woman. The lymphadema caused by the trauma to her lymphatic system (removal of some nodes and large tumors in others) have caused her to suffer from extreme lymphedema of the trunk and legs, to the tune of a 100 lbs weight gain. She is unrecognizable from the chest up due to loss of weight, and unrecognizable from the chest down due to the accumulation of fluid weight. As if it wasn't enough for her to be in pain from the tumors in her abdomen, the lymphedema has caused an incredible amount of uncomfortableness to her; the tightness of her skin and pressure on her organs is unbearable sometimes. She came down with C-Diff while admitted, which is a bacterial infection caused by too many anti-biotics killing the good bacteria in her GI tract; it results in severe diarrhea and cramping. She had dermititis on her legs from the weeping of the lymph fluid through her overtightened skin; it was itchy and painful. She has had three menstrual periods in the last month, whereas she did not have a period for eight months due to the VEGF-Trap clinical trial. It was spotty at first, took a couple day break, then came back heavy as hell, and then went away for a few days, and came back again, heavy as hell. The period(s) have caused pain in her back and lower abdomen on top of the pain from the tumors and lymphedema. The lymphedema makes the period worse pain-wise for her because of the internal swelling that keeps the discharge built up deep inside until it is released in a bathroom break. Sounds fun, huh?

Speaking of...does any of this sounds fun to you? Could you imagine seeing a loved one go through this, even if it is only one or two of those symptoms? And you still go tanning? God bless you. Please be smart and search the body (naked body) of your partner, kids, and parents if they are under your care. Melanoma doesn't care how young or old you are, what type of skin you have, what background you come from, or what color your hair is. I don't wish this amount of pain and suffering on anyone I may dislike; it is truly a living hell sometimes, seeing someone you love go through what Rach is going through right now.

I ask you all to continue your prayers for her. She needs them now more than ever. Thanks for those of you who read our story and may God bless you.
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