May 30, 2011

Pain relief

I finally got adequate pain relief today. While waiting to get Avastin and Abraxane, the current chemo combo, I spoke on the telephone with Dr G. He decided to treat me with Lidoderm (lidocaine trasndermal5% topical patches. These are patches that distribute medication directly through your skin. The fentanyl patches are similar.

The wonderful pharmacist at the Cancer Institute, Lanny (I don't know how to spell his name), walked over to deliver the box of 30 patches to me. Our insurance coverage through Premera charged only $20 for this medication. I put one on in the middle of treatment at Dr G's request to see how well it might work while I was still in the chemo chair. Evidently the Lidoderm works extremely well, because Rik and I had a busy afternoon.

We went to the new Skillet Diner for lunch. It was not as good as I had hoped. My hamburger, ordered medium with a specific request for pink on the inside, not red, arrived overcooked and dry. There are few chances to eat poutine in Seattle, and I always jump at the chance (and am usually disappointed). Poutine is three things: fried potatoes, gravy and fresh squeaky cheese curds. The fries were terrific! The gravy, made with chicken stock, had plenty of herbs. But given that the local Beecher's makes really good cheese curds, I was disappointed to find melted cheddar cheese on Skillet's poutine. Maybe they think Seattleites don't know or care about authentic poutine?

Here's a shot of my poutine.
At least it came as a side to the burger and so wasn't an enormous helping.
After lunch, we picked up some bagels at Eltana. A tragedy was averted just in time -- we had run out of bagels this morning!

Nordstrom was having their half-yearly sale for women, and I really wanted to stop by while I had Rik to drive me. I did find a cute pair of black flats at a really good price. They might be a half-size too big, though, and I'd have to go to Alderwood Mall to find the smaller size. I will wait and see. Of course, while we were at the mall, I shlepped Rik into Macy's where there was also a sale, and I picked up a summer belt patterned in small squares of colors and a new purse, again in multiple colors patchworked together. It was a lot of shopping, but Rik was gracious about taking me, and I found such lovely things at good prices. Rik is the one who found the purse, and it is truly a keeper!

We came home and I watered the garden (we had two days of sunshine in a row!) while Rik mowed the lawn. Then I made us dinner of spinach and mushroom enchiladas suizas, rice and sliced fresh mango.

It's now after 9 PM and I am done for the night. I just took off the 12 mcg Fentanyl patch (it had been on for 72 hours) and removed today's Lidoderm patches. It hurt to remove them!, but we will see if I maintain good pain control overnight with the bedtime doses of valacyclovir and gabapentin. I will report to Dr G that I removed the small dose Fentanyl patch.

It felt totally terrific to be this busy for the first time in a week. I haven't cooked a meal in more than five days, ran an errand or driven the car in more than a week, or even been off the sofa this much in ten days. I know I may have overdone things (that's the trouble with pain patches, you feel good so you don't realize you do still have pain and it's easy to do too much). I may pay the price tomorrow, but there is only one item on my agenda, and I can do it from home if need be.

Time for a good night's sleep!

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