I can't say that I'm as relaxed or regrouped as I'd like to be but I'm back anyway.
After Marshall got home from the hospital after the spinal surgery, we had a physical therapist from Centura Home Health come in twice a week to work on his muscle strength again. She made a lot of progress with Marshall. She also arranged for a nurse to come in regularly to check Marshall's vital signs and medications and to also talk about diet. That will be a wonderful thing because she may notice things that I'm too tired to see.
Over the course of several weeks, Marshall's pain diminished gradually until all he had was a bit of soreness from the surgery. So he is weaning himself off of the morphine. He was taking three 100mg morphine pills a day (one every 8 hours) and now he is down to only one every 24 hours. Pretty soon he will experiment with stopping the morphine altogether and see what his pain level is. Hopefully it will be at zero.
We went back to Denver for Marshall to get "mapped" for his radiation treatments. That was a quick one-day trip.
Then we had another emergency visit to the veterinarian for Coco. He has a kind of X-rated problem so I won't go into detail but it requires some additional care for him in addition to his other health issues. Poor little guy.
Then we had to put the physical therapist and the nurse on hold so we could come up to Denver for Marshall's two weeks of radiation. We got here on Sunday, March 1st, and checked into the hotel that we always stay at. It will be a hefty hotel bill but when you consider that so far we have had very little out-of-pocket expense, we thought we deserved the comfort level of this hotel during a stressful time. Yesterday was his first treatment and today was his second. They are scheduled for every day at 5PM (excluding weekends) for 10 days. We are prepared with anti-nausea medication and anti-diarrhea medication just in case. So far, the only side effect he has had is fatigue.
He has slacked off on his exercises but today he got back in the swing of things. It would be terrible to lose ground with his leg strength after all he has put into building it back up.
He still has to wear the bulky intricate brace all the time and he's getting a little tired of it. It looks like a bulletproof vest! We see the surgeon on Monday for our post-op visit and we hope that he will tell us the brace can come off soon. The surgical incision has healed nicely.
He felt pretty good today after the radiation treatment so he wanted to go to Panera for dinner. He decided not to use his walker but instead to just hold onto me to go in and out of the restaurant. Bad idea. On the way out his legs gave out and he kind of slid to the sidewalk. Two lovely young people ran over and got him back up. We won't try that again unless the physical therapist says he is ready for it.
We will also be seeing the oncologist while we're here (on Monday) for lab work and to discuss what kind of treatment Marshall will be on going forward.
I'm still having anxiety attacks (palpitations and balance issues) but after 12 hours in the emergency room, several EKGs and an MRI of the head, nothing was found, so I guess I'll live. Tricia found an online meditation course and we both took it. It helped a lot. The "mindful" breathing showed me that I was constantly holding my breath so now I spend a lot of time concentrating on breathing. I no longer need the oxygen. It was a happy day to learn I don't have to lug that oxygen tank around any more -- and it's a great motivation to keep up with the mindful breathing.
I think I've caught you up. I will try to report regularly from here on out.
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