Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hello Mr. Neurosurgeon

Chad had an MRI yesterday as well as a consult with a vascular surgeon about his varicose veins. While painful and annoying the doctor assured Chad the small veins will not cause any serious or harmful issues and they are separate from those which cause blood clots to travel to the heart and lungs, etc., There will be a follow-up appointment to do an Ultra Sound on his legs to ensure his bigger, internal veins, are functioning as they should.

It was supposed to take two days for the MRI results to be available. They phoned Chad while we were en route back home. Chad didn't answer (I didn't even know they called) because he didn't want to know. They phoned again this morning at 8 am.

The MRI showed Chad as Spinal Stenosis with his C4, C5, and C6 discs bulging. They are setting up a consult with a neurosurgeon to review the findings and determine what sort of treatment plans are available, including potential surgery. Since they want this done immediately, the neurosurgeon will likely be done via Tri-West and hopefully somewhat locally.

It is pretty serious but not uncommon. We went to Chad's Chiropractor appointment today and provided him with a disc of the MRI. We will have more detailed information tomorrow about his thoughts on what he sees and how sever the bulging is. As of right now - it's not a huge shocker that his spine is jacked up but it's no less nerve wracking to consider another surgery may be in his future. Our hope for now is that it is far in his future.

So things aren't amazing but we'll get through this, just like we've gotten through everything. Hard work and determination. Chad's neck pain is manageable at the moment with medication, heat and rest. Unfortunately, Chad lost his job last week. :(  It was a hard pill to swallow but we're considering it a blessing in disguise because of all that is happening and with the neck pain, he likely couldn't have continued in that line of work for long. He filed for unemployment which isn't much because it's based on last years salary - of which Chad didn't work for seven months due to cancer - BUT it will be enough to help make ends meet. One day at a time, right?

Currently, our focus is him healing, feeling better and getting these medical concerns under control. Taking each day as a blessing and figuring everything out... one day at a time.

As always, thank you SO much for you continued support, love and prayers. <3 I pray for the day when I can write and say he feels great! Everything is going smoothly! No more surprises! lol We'll get there someday! xo

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MRI Booked

Sometimes I don't have the energy to post but I wanted to let everyone know who's been asking.

Yes, Chad is still having spasms and has a considerable amount of pain :(  Some days are better than others and he does get some relief. He is a trooper and keeps pushing through, bless his heart.

Fortunately, they have scheduled a Cervical MRI for Tuesday.  While I don't want them to find anything 'serious' going on, I do want them to be able to pin point the cause for the pain and hopefully develop a plan to correct it.

MRI - February 23, 2016
Endoscopy Consult - March 10, 2016
Endoscopy Procedure - March 16, 2016

Between now and then we will continue focusing on our blessings and working towards a happier and healthier tomorrow!

There are a lot of people who contact me on an on-going basis with alternative medicines, tips, hints, etc., and I really want to thank you! We try some of your suggestions, research others and plan to look into more. While we can't necessarily do everything, we're definitely appreciative of how many people care and always look for ways to help us with both advice, love and support!

Thanks Everyone!
Shannon & Chad

Monday, February 15, 2016

VA - You Suck Today.

While it took a lot of maneuvering last year to get the VA to support the route we needed to take for Chad's cancer, they've been good to us. Chad received the care he needed and generally speaking, we've had some good experiences.

But holy goodness, I am so unimpressed with them and this Tri-West program it makes my head spin and blood boil.

As you know, since Chad's colonoscopy came back clear in December, we've been trying to get him in for an endoscopy to make sure everything checks out in that direction. He was supposed to have had the scope in February but they messed up on the approval.

He finally heard from the doctor today and they have scheduled his appointment for March 10th. But oh, this isn't the endoscopy. This is another ridiculous consult because it will have been 30 days since the previous visit so we yet again have to go through this red tape! The actual endoscopy has already been approved this time and will take place on March 16th.

Still no word on the MRI.

I need a vacation.

Please forgive my rant. My frustration over this is through the roof. As always, your support and love is beyond appreciated.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Same Ole' Same Ole'

It's been a little while since I've updated. Truth is, nothing has really changed. Chad did go to acupuncture last Friday and it seemed to help him momentarily. By Sunday afternoon he felt decent and by Monday it looked like we were on the way up. Then Tuesday morning he woke with spasms again. He's ended up having to take the whole week off work again and he has an appointment with both the acupuncturist and chiropractor tomorrow. He did call the VA to request they put in for the MRI but I have no idea what will happen there. It's just difficult. Physically and emotionally. I won't air the dirty laundry but needless to say I've started polishing his resume :( 

It's just been a tough few weeks. I am sending up extra prayers and putting faith that everything is happening for a reason and we'll get through this.

Thank you all for your kindness, love and support! xo 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Needles, Needles! Everywhere!

No Work and No Play

Usually when someone takes the day off, they get to play. Not Chad! Nope. Instead he got to  suffer in pain all day. :( My patience for this is growing weary. The VA has to figure out what is going on because it seems obvious that it's more than just a muscle spasm. Tomorrow will be two weeks he's been dealing with this, with very little relief.

I've been trying to get him to consider acupuncture for a little bit now and it seemed everywhere we turned, people were suggesting it as well. Today he agreed to give it a shot. It's a bit on the expensive side but it will be worth it if it gives him some relief from this constant pain and spasms.

He feels better than when he went in but neither of us think it will last long. He is still sore but for the moment - no spasms. We have another appointment for Monday because he likely will be unable to work then either. It's worth a shot right?

I'm exhausted. I'm trying to focus on the positives and remember life could be so much worse and our struggles could be so much more difficult. It's just when I see my husband in constant pain and unable to enjoy the gift of life he's been given.. well it's just hard.

Thank you to everyone for checking in and always offering so much love and support!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Life Can Change On A Dime

I keep typing and deleting. I don't know how to approach this update. First and foremost, Chad is okay. There's not much change. Before I get into that - I just wanted to share some internal thoughts. Life isn't always easy. We're all imperfect human beings and every day we're given on this planet is a blessing.

Chad's life, my life - our family's life - was turned inside out and upside down 13 months ago. Yes, it's been hard. Yes, it feels like it never ends. But we are so blessed to still be here, still together, still fighting, still loving, laughing and living. Far too often lately, I've seen live lost, people gone way too soon. Whether it be cancer, other alarming health issues or a tragic accident. I've shed many silent tears over the past few months for people I knew, barely know or even some I went to high school with. Gone too soon. So even though things get tough and our own private hells are exhausting. Life is a blessing and I'm so thankful for every day.

Chad did not have his endoscopy today as we had hoped. The VA Veteran's Choice Program is a complete joke and the people handling the paperwork are less than competent. Hopefully it will still happen some time this month.

He did go to his Primary Physician today. He was working in Mayfield (the same town the VA clinic is in) - so I didn't actually go. (I hurt inside a little when I say that lol) This was the first doctor visit I hadn't attended and it's difficult for me because I only have second-hand information and I, of course, couldn't ask my million questions I always ask.

Chad has yet another new doctor at the VA and I hear he seems nice. He is actually familiar with appendix cancer and has dealt with it before. (Not sure what that means or to what extent) Apparently he was an Army doctor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chad addressed;

Neck and Shoulder Spasms - The doctor has put in for an MRI. He has also prescribed Chad stronger muscle relaxers. He suggested Chad get a cervical traction device to assist in stretching his neck muscles.

Belly Pain and Bloating - Chad's oncologist put Chad on amitriptyline to address some scar tissue pains he was having in the beginning. It has a side effect of weight gain and is also an anti-depressant. Chad decided to stop taking these a few weeks ago (with doctor's approval/encouragement) It has been my opinion, that this drug was the cause of some of his prior issues, as well as his new neck spasms. I believe a lot of Chad's trouble with the spasms is tension/stress and since the amitriptyline is weaning out of his system - it's attributing to his current difficulties. His new doctor seems to believe the same. He has put Chad on some different kind of anti-depressant that doesn't have sever side effects.

Leg Pain - This isn't something I've discussed before because it was never really related. Well I may have mentioned it in passing when I bought him some compression socks. Anyways, Chad has bad varicose veins in his legs which have began giving him a lot of pain and discomfort so the doctor has also put in for Chad to see the Vein Clinic people.

Medications - I don't know what this doctor has done but he's combined three medications/treatments into one so Chad isn't pouring so many chemicals into his body. This I have very little information on, so I don't know.

He did not address;

Moles - I mentioned a mole previously that caused him concern. I wasn't too concerned about it because it didn't look bad. It was a raised mole (always has been) and he said it was sore but I think he just irritated it by rubbing it against something. it stopped hurting the next day and looks normal. With that said, he does still need to have another check of his moles due to his family history of melanoma but due to his dislike of the VA Doctor who seen him previously, he is reluctant. Since I wasn't there, I couldn't push for it. Sigh.

In Conclusion:  *Sigh* I dunno. He's hurting right now. Bit of a cramp in his neck which is the first one since we left the ER on Sunday. Probably due to all the stress of the doctors but who knows. Hopefully his endoscopy will still be this month and God willing him being off the amitriptyline will eventually lead to fewer problems, rather than more.

As always - your love, friendship, support and prayers are priceless!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Laughing Gas

Do you ever get so overwhelmed and frustrated that you just end up laughing because really - there's nothing else you can do? The absurdity of life just leaves you at a loss for words.

Brief Update on Spasms: Chad went to work today. *Insert unimpressed face* Despite my many protests he went to work but promised not to, even remotely, try to push it. He didn't have any further spasms last night so the medication may be working. It did however, leave him very very nauseous with an intense burning sensation in his belly. I took him breakfast today and he is 'making it' (his words) He has another appointment after work with the chiropractor.

He did begin to tense up such because he got a call from Dr. Williams office (The one who was supposed to do his endoscopy). They are having trouble getting the approval they require from Tri-West (the VA Veteran's Choice providers). Apparently, the last time they dealt with this they ran into the same issues. After three (very, very aggravating) phone calls to Tri-West, I finally got a woman who was respectful and kind and did her best to assist me. She couldn't tell me anything other than Dr. Williams office needed to submit a form. When I explained the urgency of the situation (the appointment is in two days) she offered a suggestion. To which I phoned Dr. Williams office - spoke to the nurse and passed it along. The nurse (Alex) will re-submit the form again (Supposedly for the third time) with an attached note and mark it URGENT! in an effort to get approval in time.

Currently though - Chad's scheduled endoscopy that we've been waiting for since December - looks to be in jeopardy. Chad does have an appointment tentatively scheduled for Wednesday with his primary care physician in the event that we can't get the approval required for the endoscopy.