March 18, 2012

Achy belly

Since last Sunday I've had aches in or near my belly, constipation, gas, bloating, pain in my (left) side and along my back, and a weight gain of three pounds. After several sleepless nights, and a recommendation from Dr G's office that I call SCCA first, I finally got through to Dr Gadi's nurse on Friday. (Although someone checks her voice mail on Thursdays when A is not in the office, it turns out that whoever does so only returns urgent calls. I guess I didn't sound sufficiently urgent on my two messages).

A was pleasant on the phone and said she'd tell Dr Gadi about my symptoms. At around 1PM Friday she returned my call and asked if I could come in to SCCA, have some blood drawn for labs, and then wait for the results. Since I was already on Capital Hill, I did so.

The lab was extremely busy and I waited more than thirty minutes to have my port accessed. I waited about an hour for the lab results. A spent some time with me, talked through my symptoms again, did a brief physical exam, and told me that my belly was soft, my bowels sounded fine, and that my labs had all improved since my previous visit. Not only that, but she printed out my PET scan reports and each area of concern regarding tumor uptake of glucose injection had improved since the last scan. The only difference in my situation since my previous visit with Dr Gadi was that I had started Femara (letrozole). He prescribed generic letrozole, which may be a culprit in my discomfort.

I waited again while A talked to Dr Gadi. Their best recommendation was to take a baseline measurement of my rib cage and belly on Friday when I got home, take another measurement over the weekend, and see if anything had changed. Dr Gadi also wanted me to have an ultrasound of the area, and since it was already 3:30 on Friday afternoon, A didn't think she could get me scheduled for that same day. I already have an appointment on Monday to see Dr G, so at my request, A spoke to Dr G's nurse, who was able to order an ultrasound for 6:45 AM Monday. (Oy. I am so not an early riser.)

I felt well enough to cook dinner for our guests Friday night. But after getting into bed I was restless with discomfort, so much so that even with Ativan and Vicodin I gave up trying to sleep at 2:30 AM. I got out of bed, made a nest on the sofa, half sitting and half lying down, and eventually fell sleep. Rik got up with the dog at 7:30 and I crawled into bed, where I stayed until after 10:00.

I sat around the house all day Saturday, trying to relax my belly and back. I nibbled on a cracker, drank some soup, and ate the remains of Friday night's salad. So far today I've managed to eat a small piece of French toast and a couple of bites of fruit. I even went for a walk with Rik. But I am still bloated, my belly and back still hurt, and my weight is still up from normal.

The point of tomorrow's ultrasound is to check for ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. If I have this, it likely relates to liver metastases. But based on last week's scan my liver has improved, and my lab results from Friday say the same thing.

I think all I can do is  hope that somehow my discomfort is due to that generic letrozole, that one of my doctors will recommend changing to the brand name drug, and that the insurance company will approve it even though I still have three weeks' supply remaining of the generic drug. I really can't face three weeks of not sleeping well, belly aches, etc.

Otherwise, who knows what might be happening?

1 comment:

  1. An abdominal xray would have been nice.All the best on Monday.