Thursday, June 20, 2013

Portacath has been installed, Chemo starts on Monday

Well, today was another day of waking up early to drive up to UCLA for a procedure.  It was another day of fasting before said procedure, which means I was quite cranky on the way up there!  I was VERY nervous about going in for the port-a-cath insertion today, not because of the procedure itself (just installing a little medical device right under the skin that will connect to my veins).  

After getting upset that I had to provide another urine sample after not being able to eat or drink forever, I had a moment of brilliance.  I realized that maybe I am extra nice to all the health professionals I see to make up for times like today (when I am cranky and off pain meds and HUNGRY), or like friday after the 1-hour-turned-into-3-hour-procedure where I was apparently in so much pain I told the nurse I hit 20 on the 0 to 10 pain scale.  I cannot begin to explain how lucky I feel to be working with awesome doctors (and lucky to have such great friends to help us connect with such great doctors), to be seen by great nurses, techs, residents and students who are genuinely trying to help day in and day out.  

I spent a lot of time while waiting for today's procedure thinking how different it was than last Friday.  The Emergency Room at UCLA was straight out of a movie - although at times it felt like we were in an episode of Grey's Anatomy.  There were elderly patients, young patients, trauma victims coming in from speeding ambulances and helicopters - all being seen in the same area as we were.  We got to hang out in Hallway 2 (no rooms available when we first got there), and my husband and I just waited (me in the gurney, he had a little chair) and spent a lot of time watching and over-hearing the staff.  I think what impressed me the most was the young kids (yup, not me anymore) discussing the different crazy/urgent things happening and trying to see how they could be part of the action.  It takes a very special person to go into healthcare, and not a path I considered when I was thinking about careers.  I guess the fact that I find the tools fascinating (the CD with the CT scan where you can see the big mass looming over my heart and messing with my left lung just looks COOL) proves that I am an engineer at heart.

We also had a scary moment where they couldn't schedule me to start chemo on Monday because the doctor's office couldn't get pre-approval from my insurance.  My husband tried to deal with this while I was in surgery, but then of course my insurance company was trying to protect my privacy and couldn't discuss details with him.  I burst out in tears when I thought that after all I've been through this week, we might need to wait ANOTHER week before starting this fight.  Thankfully, I was able to groggily explain to the insurance guy that I knew who I was, and that I needed my husband to handle the details today.  So, my husband, my hero, saved the day, and got me pre-approved and all my appointments scheduled for next week while I was hanging out on the hospital bed trying to gather my thoughts.

Haha, this is my brain on pain meds, I need to be careful when I choose to write. :)  To make a long story short, we are home.  I am doing good, and now have this extra device installed.  My husband verified that it is all titanium (because that was a major concern of mine?!).  Now that baby is asleep, we are getting ready to watch a movie and have some normal time.   So, what's next?  The plan is to have a calm weekend, have lots of fun.  

Chemo starts on Monday, game on Cancer - we're coming for you!


  1. Big big hug from Texas! Estoy muy impresionado con tu actitud en estos momentos de dificultad. Es un orgullo ser tu amigo.

    Angel M Rivera

  2. Gabo is pretty awesome! You make a great team and will kick Cancer in the butt together! Thoughts and prayers! TQM.

  3. Ora y Entrega
    Confia y Espera

    Dios te acompañe en este proceso.
    Titi B

  4. So amazing things are going as planed. Keeping myself looking for information about my condition helped me a lot, you will see your husband getting to be an expert like you. We were always on top so everything,never never be afraid to ask & question even the Doctors. Knowing gives you power and peace! Prayers are running like rivers your way.💜

  5. You and Gabo make quite a team!! Lots of love from MD! :)


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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)