Continuing to Struggle

[TMI Alert if you’re queasy knowing about other people’s more intimate bodily functions.]

So far, no good news. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve tried, and there is no movement in the blockage. I can feel right where it is. It is tender to the touch on the outside, and so inflamed and painful on the inside. It is generally at a 8/10 on the pain scale. If I take acetaminophen it takes it down to 4/10 which is more manageable, but there is no end to the pain.

I have been working on softening and loosening it in a variety of manners in order to get it to move, and some things have apparently been moving liquidly from below it and maybe above it, but it is still there. No budging. There can’t be that much stuff still in me at this point, especially since I haven’t eaten solid food for a week now. It is painfully stuck. So, just in case I can’t get this done on my own, I’ve followed the advice of the ER doc, and followed up with a gastroenterology office to schedule an urgent colonoscopy for Monday, in order for them to perform an extraction. I would love to say that maybe I won’t need it, but at this point my hope is waning.

Concrete hardens not because of drying but because of chemical curing, and as we all know, concrete doesn’t just soften up when it gets wet. That is how this feels. Like this is some other substance entirely, besides just dry poop. Maybe it is petrified. Like fossilized Viking poop.

I had an appointment yesterday with my gyn-onc to discuss how I was doing on the PARP inhibitor, but the current situation superseded that as le topique du jour. Interestingly Dr. G, his resident, and the oncology pharmacist all said that Rubraca didn’t have constipation, at least traumatic constipation, as a known side effect. It is listed as one of many but not to this degree. And they also said the Augmentin antibiotic wouldn’t be known for this, nor would the combination. But they all put the caveat that all bodies are different so who knows how my particular chemistry reacted. In any case we decided to restart Rubraca next week after dis-impaction, slowly, while implementing and/or maintaining good gut practices to avoid constipation in the future.

On another note, my CA-125 was 144, up from 35 a month ago! (0-35 is normal.) When I saw that I lost my breath a bit. However Dr. G is not worried about that, as my CT scan from a week ago shows nothing worrisome. He said the CA-125 is probably up because there is so much inflammation due to this situation, and there could be a little bit of cancer growth since I’ve been off Rubraca for a better part of a week. However he is not worried, so, I will not worry about that right now, and hope that next month when I see him again all will have returned to normal.

What is comforting is that the GI doc, my gyn-onc, the ER doc, and presumably my PCP who sent over the referral to the GI doc, agree it is not an actual physical blockage of the intestines, in the form of a twist, a stricture, a tumor, etc.. Nothing like that shows up on the CT scan. I suppose if it had, it might have called for more drastic measures sooner.

In any case, I’ve been advised to continue softening with polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG), attempt to stimulate motility with bisacodyl (although honestly effectively “inducing labor” sounds like it will hurt when this thing is stuck so hard), and I’ve got one more colonic scheduled. At this point I feel like it will be miraculous if I can get it to move. After Monday I think I’ll take another week of low-fiber liquid diet just to allow it all to heal up. And then I will begin again.

Additionally, after seeing Dr. G yesterday I also had an appointment with Jo, my exercise physiologist. She had me cycle gently for awhile, then put me through a variety of stretches, one of which was really comforting for the low back. This pain affects my whole right flank, front, side, and back, and there is a lot of compensating going on so that other areas of my body, like my middle back, get really excruciatingly tired after awhile. So this particular exercise stretches out that set of low back muscles that have been tightening and holding. It was such a relief.

So, to get through another day. I had hoped to do a variety of things today, go to a memorial service, go see a great band, but I am just not up to it.

However, it is a beautiful day, I can tell by the angle of the sun that we are getting close to the Equinox, and I even went out to check on whether there were any signs of the crocuses that I had planted in the fall. I couldn’t see them yet, but there are tiny green fronds of Blue Flax beginning to appear. It reminds me of The Secret Garden. I may have to reread that in order to take my mind of things.

Thanks for your support, and please continue sending moving, flowing, freeing thoughts/prayers/vibes if you so feel like it.


6 thoughts on “Continuing to Struggle

  1. So much love and compassion surrounds you. 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Lynn!


  2. Andrea, as cruel as it could ironically sound, I was really moved by your words. GI problems have a way of hijacking our focus and this sounds like a doozy. Your attitude is commendable and reflective of a hearty spirit. I’m sending you oceans of love. Mariel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mariel! I’m hoping you make it across the ocean as scheduled with no problems!


  3. PATRICIA A. MCNULTY March 6, 2020 — 5:46 pm

    Best wishes for relief soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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