At Ray’s urging, days before the one year mark of Anne’s diagnosis, she was admitted to the hospital again because she was having trouble breathing. The pleural effusion is becoming an ongoing problem.
The doctors used a local anaesthetic on her back to insert a long needle between her ribs to remove the fluid from the sac that surrounds the lungs. (This procedure is called thoracentesis.) As they removed one liter of fluid from the first lung, she said could feel her lungs expanding and it “kind of tickled.” They will only do one lung per day to ensure there are no complications. She stayed overnight to have the second lung done the next day.
Anne was released just in time to enjoy some time with her sister, watch her son’s soccer game, and have a much needed actual date night with Ray. She takes full advantage of the days she is feeling well.
A week after being discharged, Anne had an appointment with her medical oncologist (chemotherapy doctor). Anne said she’s been having more energy, though it did not look like it that day. Her feet and ankles are swelling- more fluid retention. She was prescribed Lasix (a diuretic) and potassium to offset the side effects of the Lasix, and instructed to eat more protein. The protein asks like a sponge, keeping the fluid where it belongs in the body. Anne asked for the flu shot and a referral to physical therapy because she feels weak and unsteady.
Anne also asked for a break from the chemo. She is ready to feel “normal” and give her body a break so she can enjoy the holidays with her family. Anne’s doctor agreed. She is concerned about the two recent hospitalizations and will review the results of Anne’s upcoming scan with the surgical oncologist to determine their next steps.
That means Anne can get her tattoo!
The following week, Anne had a regularly scheduled CT scan to see if the chemo is continuing to work. They found “stability”- growth in some tumors, shrinkage in others. Unfortunately, Anne was having trouble breathing again and the scan showed more fluid in her lungs. She was admitted again to have it removed followed by an EKG to ensure the breathing problems are not putting extra stress on her heart. This time they removed 1500mL from each lung, and the EKG came back good.
At home, an embarrassing incident that left Anne lying on the cold floor was a humbling experience to remind her she is not as strong as once was and she cannot do this alone. It also reminded her that people love and care about her as they drop everything and speed across town to come to her rescue.
Despite the most recent setbacks, Anne continues to give thanks for all she has and has not given up hope. She wrote:
I’m one year out from my initial diagnosis. Stage 4, 1% of 1%, rare and aggressive, leiomyosarcoma. My doctor agrees with me. I, according to the statistics, shouldn’t be here. Yet, I am. My faith has definitely played a huge role in where I am. I have an amazing care team that keeps me focused. I have supportive friends who walk my path right next to me. I have a family who loves me through it all. I. Am. Blessed. True, things have been challenging lately, but I wouldn’t change anything. One step, every day. And thank God for giving me that day every evening. One year down, many more to go! Thank you, to everyone, who has helped us on this journey. Our strength comes from you all……..
Follow Anne’s Journey
Review: Anne did not qualify for clinical trials and started the third line of FDA approved chemotherapy for leiomyosarcoma. March 2019 I took Anne out to lunch. Moving around took great effort and focus. At the restaurant, Anne barely touched her food and...
Review: Anne’ chemo treatment was no longer working and the side effect pleural effusion had become unmanageable resulting in a pleural drain being placed in her lung sac. The doctors decided to give Anne a chemo break over the holidays to give her body a rest and to...
Review: Anne has been dealing with the ongoing side effect of pleural effusion (fluid around her lungs). After her second admission to the hospital, the doctors decided to give Anne a chemo break through the holidays. Two admissions later, a more long-term solution...