More Excitement - (Journal Date: August 14, 2005)
It has been six (6) weeks since my final chemo treatment and I am feeling better, but I'm still experiencing fatigue. The metallic taste is pretty much gone, the sensitivity to sunlight is much better, and I do have the desire to do things. I just don't have the usual stamina that I had before treatments. Also, it takes much longer to recover from any type of exercise or other physical activity.
I did visit my Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist on August 2 as a precautionary follow-up. He found the site of my original surgery to be well healed and looking fine. No other visits with him will be necessary.
I have been experiencing swelling in the lower legs and ankles. My oncologist was concerned about the possibility of blood clots causing the swelling so we scheduled an immediate appointment (August 3) with a vascular specialist. An ultrasound of the superficial and interior veins of both of my legs showed no signs of a blood clot. However, the valves in the leg veins were not functioning properly which resulted in the swelling and vericose type veins. This condition existed prior to chemotherapy, but may have worsened during treatments. Our initial strategy will be to use the support type dress socks to assist the vascular function and to raise up the feet above the heart periodically throughout the day and night. A follow-up visit in a few months will determine if a lazer procedure might be necessary to improve vein function.
As things started to settle down for me, I got stung by another bee in the yard while mowing on August 7. I had been stung twice about five weeks earlier in each leg in the same part of the yard, so I didn't think much about it. I took the usual Benedryl and I kept mowing. Over the next 15-20 minutes I developed hives on my shoulders and legs, red skin all over my head and face, and other allergic symptoms. I put the mower away and then experienced some chest pains so we immediately went to the Emergency Room at the High Point Regional Health System. There I was diagnosised with an anaphilactic reaction to the bee sting. They administered IV drugs to fight the allergic reaction and monitoring my EKG and other vitals. Finally, they admitted me into a room at 3:00 a.m. and had me do the stress test the next morning. With a cardiologist present, they put me on the tread mill until we got my heart rate up to 180 bpm. They took pictures of the heart muscle at work and compared them with the heart at rest. Bottom line was that my heart was in great shape and it showed no signs of any damage or blocked arteries. I guess that is reassuring to know, since we were all concerned about the chemotherapy drugs doing damage to the heart....But I could have done without the bee sting!!!
On August 11-14 we pulled our trailer/camper to Myrtle Beach with two other families from church and had a great little vacation before school started. We played in the surf, swam in the pool, and ate lots of seafood. Weather was wonderful, except I still have trouble with high heat and humidity since my treatments. I'm looking forward to this fall and some sweatshirt weather and a campfire!!
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