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Christine’s Caregiver Notes

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Thursday Oct. 1, 2009
Melissa picked me up from the airport at 1:30 and we headed back home to her house. Melissa was excited to be out of Cancer Treatment Center, but cautious of increasing back pain. She made a list of errands that needed to be done and we were off. Around 3:30PM she stated that back pain was not subsiding and started to experience abdominal pain as well. We returned home for her to rest, she took temp (100.7) and she took 4mg of Duladid. We left for a Spa appointment at 5:30 and Melissa took another 4mg of Duladid. We returned home at 6 and Melissa decided she wanted to go to CTC b/c the pain meds we not providing relief and also fever. She was admitted approx 7:30pm and Dr. Abbas ordered antibiotics and 8mg of duladid to be administered through port-a-cath, as well as chest and abdominal x-ray. Dr. Abbas came to Melissa’s room at 9:45 and stated that he spoke to radiologist who stated that there may be slight chance of early PNA so he will administer antibiotic. Melissa’s temp has returned to normal, and will be given MiraLax to help decrease abdominal pain due to constipation.

Thoughts of my first day back here? I am so happy to see my best friend. Although her hair is thinning out, and she looks several pounds lighter, she’s still as vibrant and beautiful as she always has been.

Friday Oct. 2, 2009
Melissa was up most of the night on her comp, possibly becoming Nordstrom’s favorite online buyer She got a Benadryl at 6Am and slept until 8. She received Duladid and MiraLax as well as Relastore. We had breakfast then Melissa gave me a tour of the facility, which is very nice. She introduced me to everyone,….and I mean, she really knows everyone. Melissa seems to be the most popular girl here (and for obvious reasons). The alternative medicine Dr. came in and Melissa requested some acupuncture for her pain. We got pedicures and Melissa had her wig trimmed and styled. She asked Dr. He if it was possible for her to start therapy again (which he said yes). She will also be getting another dose of Lovenox? to possibly help preserve her eggs. He also encouraged Melissa to continue wearing her brace to help protect her fragile bones and decrease the risk of fractures. Erica came by at 5pm to hang out for a little bit and Julie, Shannon and Marrnia came around 6:30. We hung around, talked and laughed while eating pizza, wings, and salad. It was a chill, but entertaining evening. I’m so glad that Melissa has such good friends to keep her company, make her laugh and support her in so many different ways. She continued to receive Dulodid t/o the evening about every 2-4hrs (depending on the dosage).

To sum up day number two; this is much better than my last trip here. St. Joseph’s was not as pleasant (I spent a couple of nights sleeping on chairs), and Melissa was in and out of ICU/surgery, and therefore in agonizing pain. Although she’s always in pain, I feel like it has been a little bit more under control so far this trip. Yesterday was also the first day I’ve seen Melissa out of the hospital in a while; it was nice to be able to hang out and run errands together. She continued feeling tired all day, which shows in her face, but the girl doesn’t sleep! When I hear her ticking away on her laptop at 3, 4, & 5AM, I’m amazed that she can function the following day. Occasionally I will look over, her hands are on the keyboard, her head is down, and her eyes are closed. She must be channeling her inner feline, and cat napping

Saturday Oct. 3, 2009
Up round 7AM with regular dosages of meds. Melissa said she went to the bathroom 4 x throughout the night. She did wake me up around 4:30AM stating that she still hadn’t officially gone to bed yet. She tends to cat nap throughout the night usually managing to keep her hands on the keyboard. She finally shut the light off at 5 and slept til 7, when she woke me up. She passed out at the keyboard around 7:30AM and slept til 8, and the doctor examined her. They decided together that she would be ok to leave today. He is re-filling MiraLax and Lactulose and instructed her to continue taking them to help move her bowls and to prevent the weekly constipation that she seems to be experiencing. Her breathing has improved tremendously since I arrived. When I spoke w/ her on the phone on her way to pick me up at the airport on Thursday she was out of breath after 2 sentences and everyday she seems to be breathing better and better. We’ve looked at so many beautiful homes online that she wants to possibly rent for Thanksgiving for her family, and hoping to check out a few of them in person today. We left CTC at 2 and went to Mystic tan because Melissa was feeling pale and thought she needed a healthy glow. She looked like a bronzed sun Goddess after that and we were off to another spa appointment. We both got Colonics later in the evening, Melissa having a good experience……me……not so much. Quick stop for supper, to rent some movies…and then home sweet home.

Sunday Oct. 4, 2009
Up at 10AM….Melissa took meds, we showered and then off to meet a friend of hers for lunch. Melissa told me she to fell asleep during the movie and stated she had to rewind the whole thing and therefore was up until 5AM! I stated, once again, that sleep deprivation can increase pain and decrease mental alertness, memory and the ability for the body to heal. She said she was going to really try tonight to sleep and hopefully start to regulate her sleep pattern. Had brunch with Kelly and then visited Rosanna to bring Miles (Melissa’s) godson his 1yr b-day gift. We ran a few more errands; mall, Costco ect….then came home and Wes grilled supper. Melissa had a better day as far as pain goes (she only had back pain a couple of times), and seemed to be able to handle being out and about. It’s so hard for her to just sit and relax. We have spent the majority of our “down-time” looking for a house to rent for her family for Thanksgiving. Many of the homes are sold or rented already, and some people are not retuning our calls. We have an appointment to take the car in tomorrow for a check-up at 9AM, so after we watch a movie or two, Melissa will get some greatly needed rest.

Monday Oct. 5, 2009
Today was full of more errands, another colonics appointment for Melissa and several unreturned phone calls to look at vacation rentals. A few guys came by the house to give Melissa estimates on the bathrooms (she wants to get them re-done), then we went to CTC to get a prescription filled and say hello to a friend. Anna was in the Outpt facility with her husband (Simon) resting when we arrived. She was scheduled to have surgery on a brain tumor the Dr had found 3 wks ago. She was full of life, spirit and faith in God. I was shocked at her positivity and love for Melissa and myself, a total stranger. What a strong woman. We spent over 2hrs discussing family, friends, cancer, and Melissa and Anna shared their feelings and frustrations with their disease. After another long day we went home, ate and continued our search for houses.

Tuesday Oct. 6, 2009
A sad day for me because I had to go back to Boston. I’ve always cherished our time together, even before she got sick. Melissa and I have always had such a strong connection. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but we have gone several years without seeing one another, and somehow we always just pick back up where we left off. We never skip a beat. I don’t have any sisters, but I’ve always thought of Melissa as my soul sister, and her family as my second family. Melissa and I have had all the ups and downs you would have with a sister and (or) a best friend. We’ve cried together, gotten in trouble together, learned together, had crazy adventures together, yelled at one another, have been successful together, but mostly we’ve laughed together. I tried to relocate to Phoenix, but unfortunately certain circumstances did not allow it. I am already trying to plan my next trip out to visit, but as usual finances and not enough PTO make it difficult. I cannot express how much I look up to Melissa. I looked up to her throughout high school, college, and after. She has always been so strong and gotten through the toughest of times. I, on the other hand, have always needed her support, and, reluctantly, her “tough love”. She continues to amaze me with her strength, spirit, and positivity. Melissa was, is, and will continue to be an inspiration to me and many others. She and I can still be dorks and laugh our asses off together. And only a true friend can tell you that your shoes don’t match and you need to fix your hair. I really hope she starts to regulate her sleep pattern to decrease how fatigued she feels throughout the day. I know she has many friends and a large support group, and I am thankful for that. On the other hand, there are times that Melissa needs her rest and visitors should be limited. This was a problem last time I was in town; this visit however, was much better, more organized, and less exhausting for her. I also would like to express that although Melissa needs friends and family in her life, she does not need/want the negativity. She has expressed to me that on occasion she will experience unnecessary complaints, arguments, negativity, ect…..my advice to those; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I LOVE YOU MELISSA!!! MWAH! XOX

Add a Comment2 Comments

(((( Melissa )))) Thank You !! so much for sharing your story. God Bless Us All !

December 28, 2010 - 9:20pm
Expert HERWriter

Hi Melissa,

Just wanted you to know all of us here at EmpowHER are reading your diary every day. Your caregivers give such great information about what's going on with your health, but more importantly, they continue to share their heartfelt feelings about you. You are one strong young woman!!
We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. You really had an impact on our entire team when you came to visit us and share your story.

Big hugs,

October 13, 2009 - 11:47am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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