Saturday, December 23, 2017

Falling down, getting up, going to Boston

Pretty relaxed with a needle in each arm
As I walked into The Kraft Family Blood Donor Center for my internal sunburn Wednesday, a nurse was asking another patient the routine questions, including, "Have you had any falls?"

I had planned NOT to mention that I fell the night before during a clinic at the Ludlow Tennis Center. Instead, I said, "Don't ask me." Then I told them anyway. I had a "good" fall, meaning that I managed to get back up and continue to play. My foot must have turned funny. I lost my balance and went down hard.

"Don't put it on my chart," I said.

Another nurse said they were going to put an orange bracelet on me to mark me as a fall risk. But he said it laughing. And I went over to him and started bouncing around on my feet to show him that I was OK.

I've said it before but I'll say it again: Except for the part with the needle in the arm for three hours, and the part with the unpredictable transportation, and the part about spending basically a whole day on it every other week, going to Dana-Farber for ECP is not that bad.

The driver was a nice older guy who said he hadn't seen me for a while. I couldn't quite place him, but when he pulled into a rest stop, I remembered that he is the one who stops a lot. Bladder problem or cigarette? Who knows. He took Route 9 in, and when I mentioned that the other drivers avoid this crowded road and go all the way to the end of Mass Pike, he said they are the same. They are not, and I was about 20 minutes late.

Marc, the nurse who got me to use two arms last month, came over and did it again. The secret to it is not asking. Because when the other nurses ask, I usually say no, I would really like to have the use of one hand.

But I had taken my oxycodone and was pretty relaxed. You can see it in the photo. The WHATever approach.

Afterwards I went to Diane and David's. Diane made a good dinner. I tossed and turned most of the night. It was probably the after effects of the oxy. Useful when needed for pain but a disrupter of sleep. I kept thinking that I lost my necklace, (one that Diane gave me that I wear most of the time) then waking up and checking.

It was probably a subconscious expectation of going to the dermatologist the next day. The last time that Dr. Lin (Jenn) did a full-body check, I took the necklace off and put it in my pocket. It got so tangled that only the detangler expert, Jim Bloom, could restore it.

Jenn had a resident who came in first. He checked out my spots and recommended doing another round of Effudux (chemotherapy cream) on my hands, also adding my arms. Dr. Schmults, the Mohs surgeon, said it works best when you wrap your hands, which I couldn't do, so the last time I did it I slept in exam gloves. He also recommended doing photodynamic therapy (PDT), aka the face fry, when an opening comes up. I said I thought my face looked OK.

"Is she coming in?" I asked.

Yes, he said, she was coming in.

She basically said what the resident said: The PDT, in removing a layer of skin, kills skin cancer cells. In addition, she said, they now recommend a follow up six weeks after. The resident zapped some places on my forehead and out I went to make the appointments. I'm not crazy about this but the literature says it is safe. And I have to believe the doctor.

The past two nights I have put on the cream and slept in the purple exam gloves. I usually pull them off at some point in the night and wake up with them next to me. The goal is to light up the red spots which can turn into cancer and the ones that may already be cancerous. The spots will then turn brighter red and then hopefully either dissipate or fall off before I pick at them. I need to do it for three weeks.

I have a huge purple bruise on my left thigh and a smaller one on my wrist. It only hurts a little when I sit.

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