Sep 15, 2020 Latest post:
Apr 23, 2021
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Many of you know my story and my history but some of you may not so I thought that I should add some of the details here.
In April while our school was working on figuring out distance learning, part of my time was being spent putting paper packets together for kids that did not have internet access, part was spent helping in the kitchen with making and packing breakfasts and lunches that would be delivered to students and part of my time was spent completing on online class. On April 21st, I was making room on the table to work on my online class and went to move a 3 ring binder so I could put my laptop on the table. I felt a pop in my back that caused the worst pain I have ever felt and my legs went numb and I sat down hard in the chair. I tried to get up and move to my recliner and ended up on the floor on my back. I called Kevin, who was at school working on his Google classroom and he rushed home. We called an ambulance and went to the hospital in Pueblo.
With this being at the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine situation, Kevin was not allowed to come into the ER with me. This was frightening for both of us. I won't go into detail here but this was one of the worst examples of healthcare, in my opinion, in so many ways that really had nothing to do with Covid-19 or Kevin not being allowed to be there. Just a few examples are me not getting assistance to use the bathroom and when I was put on a bedpan, it was dumped everywhere and I was left in wet clothing and bedding. Blood test were never run which might have helped diagnose multiple myeloma sooner. I was in the ER for about 9 1/2 hours during which time, my phone battery died which meant that Kevin and I had no contact with each other. Although prescriptions were written, they would not contact Kevin and let him get them filled so by the time I was released from the hospital, there were no pharmacies open which meant a very long and painful ride from Pueblo to Ordway with one compression fractured vertebrae with no pain medication.
Over the next month, I ended up with 3 more compression fractures for a total of 4. I ended up in the ER again but this time, we went to the stand-alone ER where they also ran some blood test and discovered that my calcium level was extremely high. The high end of the normal range for calcium is 10 and my calcium level was 19. This landed me in the ICU for several days during which time, they worked to lower my calcium level, raise my potassium level, figure out what had caused all of this and what they were going to do to treat me. This was the beginning of 3 1/2 weeks flat in bed, literally not out of the bed even to use the bathroom.
Shortly after being transferred from ICU to a general ward, I was diagnosed with cancer but they were not positive which form of cancer and needed to run a few more tests including a bone marrow biopsy. It was also determined to do kyphoplasty which involves inflating a balloon to restore bone height then injecting bone cement into the vertebra. Both the bone marrow biopsy and the kyphoplasty were scheduled for the same day but could not be done at the same time, therefore, the biopsy could not be done with sedation, not something I will do again.
I continued to have severe pain in my back and soon after I was transferred to a rehab ward, it was determined that I needed another surgery to put a pain pump in which is a box in my abdomen that holds morphine with a catheter that runs to top of my spine and drips the morphine down my spine, therefore, it is not going through my system, just going to my spine and helping with the back pain. I spent about 2 weeks in the rehab ward before being able to finally come home. All told, I had spent 30 days in the hospital.
Since coming home, I have been hauled back and forth to Pueblo for countless doctor appointments including visits to the back/pain doctor, the oncologist for chemo treatments twice a week for two weeks then off one week and back on again, to the dentist and the oral surgeon, surgery on my mouth to remove the rest of my teeth and smooth out some bumps in my jaw bones and the dentist to get dentures made and then adjusted. Most of these appointments have meant Kevin hauled me and my oxygen tanks back and forth but when he could not, we have several good friends that have stepped up and hauled me around.
Now we are at the stage of running back and forth to Denver in preparation of my stem cell transplant which is right around the corner. If there is anything I have missed and/or you have any questions about things that have happened along the way, please feel free to ask.
Thank you for visiting, for your love, for your support and for your prayers, I could not have made it this far without all of those things!