MarySmith’sPlace ~ biopsies, blood clots & garden pics in CancerDiary#37

Saturday, 31 July: I’ve not yet quite got into the swing of regular blogging after my break and was shocked to find over a week had gone since I last posted.

On Wednesday, 20 July I had the ultrasound on the lump on my neck, which turned out to be three small lymph nodes, suspicious enough in appearance for the doctor to decide to do a biopsy. He said in the lab they will be looking to see if the cells are cancerous or not. If there are cancerous cells he thinks the oncologist will want to look at treatment options.

I’m not sure when I’ll hear the result and I so hate the waiting. Since the tumour in my lung was discovered last July, there have been endless periods of waiting – during which my imagination runs riot, scaring myself stupid with ‘what ifs’. Funny they never include a ‘what if, there’s a totally innocuous reason for the dodgy lymph nodes and all’s well! No, it’s what if the cancer is back, what of it has spread to …. (name every organ in the body) or …?

In the meantime, since Saturday, 16 July I’ve had a painful right calf. I initially assumed I’d pulled a muscle but not only did the pain become more painful, the leg began to feel hot. When, on Wednesday night, I asked the DH if one leg looked bigger than the other he insisted on taking me to A&E. Two hours later, the doctor said someone would call me next morning to come in for an ultrasound on my leg for a suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The ultrasound was done on Friday (all the slots for the next day had already been taken by the time the A&E doctor put through the request – it was about 2am by then) and the DVT was confirmed. By this time my right ankle had vanished into the general puffiness, my shin was hot with skin so red and shiny it looked like it might just burst open and it was painful.

As the ultrasound request came from A&E it was to there the report was to be sent and I guided back to A&E. Things became slightly bizarre then. First, I was surprised to be called into the triage nurse’s room where she asked me what had brought me to A&E this morning. I explained I’d just had an ultrasound which confirmed a DVT and the report – I pointed to the computer – should according to the radiologist, be there and I was to see a doctor. The nurse maintained she’d never heard of such a system and sent me out to wait.

Bandit the cat inspecting the dead patch of lawn!
Deciding dead lawns are too exhausting to think about!

It wasn’t long before I was called by a doctor, who must have received the report, and who showed me to a bay. He excused himself, saying he’d back in two minutes. A nurse came in and asked if I’d mind moving to a different bay. As she started to push the bed out the door ‘my’ doctor returned to ask where she was going with his patient. “Two bays down,” she replied, “as it will be easier to carry out her eye procedure there.”

This year the DH managed to prevent the delphiniums snapping off in the wind.

Luckily, the confusion was soon sorted out (and it soon would have been anyway the moment someone tried to get anywhere near my eyes!) and after an examination I was prescribed Dalteparin injections. The doctor said a nurse would come to administer the first one and teach me how to do it. Sometime later, saying the nurse was ‘too busy’, he returned to give me the injection (can’t say it constituted a teaching session). The prescription pad was finished and he said he didn’t know how long I’d have to wait until a new one appeared but I could leave if I wanted, with three injections, and call my GP practice to ask for more. I said I’d leave.

My GP was able to write up a prescription for more injections so I’m now stocked up for a few weeks – though I still need to be shown properly how to administer the jags myself. The DH, fortunately, is very competent but if I want to go away by myself I need to learn.

On Monday, 26 July I was taken aback when my oncologist phoned me. It’s only the second time she’s ever called. The biopsy report hasn’t come through, of course, but she’d been informed about the lump and the biopsy and the DVT. She is arranging for me to have a CT scan as soon as possible so she can see exactly what’s going on. And so, I wait.

I hope by this time next week I’ll have news of results.

My friend Farah’s fig tree.

112 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ biopsies, blood clots & garden pics in CancerDiary#37

  1. Hi Mary, I only liked this as I am showing my support. My killer shoes are tip, tip, tapping in red hot anger!
    What on earth is going on, no answers, long waits when they must know how you feel! There must be a better way I am so angry on your behalf.
    Sorry it’s not my place. I just feel so helpless, unable to help you. Thank goodness for D.H. …. Sounds like A &E in Scotland is as chaotic and confusing as it is here. Sending you love 💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to say I don’t understand what happens in A&E. There was one person in front of me the night I was there and two people came in after me who were seen before me – three people – and it took an hour and a half before I was seen.
      To be fair, I think the laboratory will get biopsy results to the oncologist as soon as they can and she is pushing for a scan appointment.
      I do wonder if any of them understand just how helpless patients feel? Hugs.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Just begining to feel ur frustrations and fears of the past year Mary, as G has a cancer diagnosis and we are inundated with Myoloma information packs and Macmillian info packs. Chemo starts on Thursday so your insights have paved the way for us. Keeping fingers crossed that the lymp nodes are innocent and that the DVT responds to injections by both you and DH. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, Steph, I’m sorry to hear the news G has had a cancer diagnosis and hope all goes well. A friend of a friend is currently on a break between chemo rounds for Myeloma and is doing well. I have a bookshelf of Macmillan publications – not the most relaxing bedtime reading. The only advice I’d give is to tell G to hang on to his sense of humour. And to speak up. Love and hugs.

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  2. Oj Mary, it’s one thing after another for you. Holding thumbs. My DH has not seen his urologist for over a year, but prostate cancer is slow-growing, so I manage to push that to the back of my mind. Thank God for the NHS – can you imagine if this happened in Afghanistan or even the US? We are so blessed with our free health. BTW have you heard from any of your old contacts now they are withdrawing the troops? Are they OK?

    Liked by 2 people

    • If it happened in Afghanistan I’d be dead by now and if it was in America I’d be up to my ears in debt trying to pay for it all. Yes, there is a lot wrong with some aspects of the NHS but thank goodness we have it!
      News from Afghanistan is not good – in fact, it’s dreadful as Taliban makes its way back to power. Although they don’t yet hold any major cities they have taken control of a lot of the country. For the women it’s a terrifying prospect.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, Mary, what a difficult time you have had. I know it is hard to hold onto positive thoughts with so many things bombarding you at once. Just know I am holding positive thoughts for you and keep you in my constant prayers.

    Bandit seems quite content and the delphiniums are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the photos.

    Much love headed your way, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Speechless.
    On the other hand, your garden is looking wonderful, and I’m so glad the delphiniums are strutting their stuff for you.
    All I can report is madness next door with them ripping up their garden and I called the council’s tree officer to make sure they got the message about looking after their TPO’d trees. After I fixed my fence which they’d flattened, I found a bee orchid in my wild garden. Good things come in small packages!
    Lots of love (the boys are busy cutting the grass for me)
    xxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I feel I’d quite like a break, Jemima, but hey-ho that’s the way things are right now.
      I’m sorry about your mad neighbours ripping up their garden and hope they don’t chop down the trees. Lovely news about the bee orchid. Love and hugs – and pats for the boys if they allow it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Mary, so sorry that you’re going through yet more worrying and difficult times. Keeping everything crossed that the results come back fine – and soon too. Sending you positive thoughts, my love and a big hug.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Wendy the positive thoughts, love and hug are truly appreciated. It does all feel a bit relentless right now. I think I must have upset the universe big time at some point 🙂 xx

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  6. Sorry to read this Mary, I think you’ve been through enough already. Sincerely hope the results come back with nothing sinister to report. Hope the injections do the trick, though you’re braver than me if you do them yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d quite like a wee break from the relentlessness of it all, Jill. My leg isn’t as painful today. It was less swollen this morning, too, and I could see I do have an ankle bone on my right leg – it’s puffed up a bit again but I think things are going the right way there. As for the biopsy result – just trying not to think the worst.

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  7. Certainly a good thing that you caught on to the symptoms and they found the DVT! And I’m hoping that your upcoming news will be very good. Yes, keeping the delphiniums from bending over or snapping off is always a challenge but surely worth the extra effort. These are beautiful, Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was the DH who thought it was probably a DVT as he’d one a few weeks ago so knew the signs and symptoms!
      The last couple of years, we’ve had very windy weather just when the delphiniums reach the peak of their loveliness but this year we either had them better supported or it hasn’t been so windy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh dear, Mary. It never rains but it pours. You don’t deserve to suffer all these symptoms and worry. Plus your local hospital sounds to be in such a mess. I do hope you receive some good news soon. I don’t think I could give myself an injection. Love Liz

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t believe it when the doctor said he couldn’t write a prescription because the pad was finished! Fortunately, I’m lucky to be with a wonderful GP practice and the medication was sorted straight away. I’ll let you know how it goes with giving myself injections – lots of people do it so I should be able to – must be easier than trying to do a Covid test on myself. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Don’t you just love people who don’t know Jack trying to make you believe you are mistaken? You have detailed a comedy of errors right down to the end of the script pad fiascio. If it weren’t so serious, it would be slapstick comedy. Praying here for the best results.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Mary, I’m terribly sorry to hear all of this. You have been through so much–too much. I must say, I don’t like the healthcare system in Scotland. It seems more confusing and complicated than America’s, and that’s saying a lot! For one thing, I could go to the Emergency Room at any hospital to get my leg checked out, and I’d be tested and treated within hours, not days. Also, as a cancer patient, my doctor would have ordered tests immediately if I had swollen lymph nodes, either at one of my health network’s medical facilities or at a hospital. I feel that much of your suffering could have been avoided. 😦

    At any rate, I hope and pray that your biopsies come back normal. You said that your husband had contracted Covid. It’s possible you caught a mild case from him and developed swollen glands. You can test negative one day and positive the next. So, let’s not rule that possibility out. With any luck, the injections with deal with the DVT and your leg will recover soon.

    Your photos are magnificent, as always. Such a lovely garden! Take care of yourself, dear friend.

    Love & hugs,
    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still think we’re lucky to have our NHS despite its faults. I was seen at Accident & Emergency by a doctor who was pretty sure it was a DVT but couldn’t start treatment until it was confirmed by ultrasound – and there is no ultrasound facility at that time of night so it had to be during the day.
      For the lymph nodes the test was ordered almost immediately but I’d to wait a week for an appointment. Now, I have to wait for the result to come back from the lab and it will go to everyone else from my oncologist to my GP – but not to me! I’m hoping the enlarged lymph nodes are as a result of Covid or some other infection and can only keep my fingers crossed – and try to enjoy the colours in my garden 🙂
      Hugs.

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  11. Good golly, what a tough time of it you’ve had, Mary. It’s a wonder that you keep your head with all the mix-ups of staff, etc. I’m praying for a negative lab result on the biopsy. Keep your face to the sun and Bandit in your lap. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Eliza – I have to keep my head or I might have an eye procedure done to me instead of a course of injections for a DVT! I’m just hoping the lab result comes soon. Bandit is not, unfortunately, a lap cat – she’s very stand-offish and a bit of a diva but she loves me really – I think 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I had a biopsy on a suspected lump in my neck a few years after I’d had treatment for thyroid cancer, but at the time the lump was benign. Although I’ve had 3 recurrences (but now have been in remission for 4 years), not every lump is cancerous.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mary I find your blogs so difficult to read and stand in awe of your ability to write them and not break down. Your courage and sense of humour are astonishing as is the ineptitude of your hospital services. I hope you counted all your organs when you left just to make sure they hadn’t pinched something while your back was turned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha, Barbara. I didn’t think of that! I think I might have noticed if they’d tried to remove a kidney 🙂 If I didn’t manage to find some humour – even if in the (occasional) ineptitude of the health services – I’d give up and crawl under a rock.

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  14. Oh Mary as if you didn’t have enough to deal with and now this. I hope you hear some good news soon and that you manage to cope with the injections yourself. Just sounds like such a lot for you to cope with and what a carry on in A & E. Take care and know I am thinking of you. Marje x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do feel I could do with a bit of a break, Marje. I’ve had no time at all to even get my head round the cancer being under control when it looks like it might be starting up again. I’m trying to keep remembering it might not be that and as Stevie says, not all lumps are cancerous. The waiting is hard, though, but then the result may not be good so maybe waiting is better! Thanks for thinking of me.

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  15. Sounds like something out of a Carry on Film! You might have been better off with Hattie Jaques, Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor…thank goodness you are not suffering from dementia or you might have come out with lazik eye surgery and a knee replacement. Joking aside.. it is quite understandable that the ‘What Ifs’ are ‘WTF’ you have had more grief in the last year than most have in a lifetime.. You know we love you and are thinking of you and only sorry that we cannot be closer to ply you with whisky, cream cakes and ice-cream.. ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m quite angry about it, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. However, the specialist nurse is back from holiday and on the case so he’s trying to speed up the scan appointment.

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  16. Hi Mary, I am so sorry to read about all this further anxiety and illness. My dad had a pulmonary embolism or thrombosis about 6 weeks ago. I had to give him these same injections into his stomach. Two injections, twice a day. I gave the injections. They are best into the fatty layer around the navel and don’t do the same spot more than once. If the site starts to bleed a little or bruise a bit don’t worry. This happened to my dad and I just about freaked out. It is only a problem if you get massive bruising. Praying for a good result for the lymph node tests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve been watching Jon administer the injections so I suppose I know pretty well how to do it but I would like a nurse to guide me the first time I do it!
      How is your father doing now? Have the the clots dispersed? I wish him well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mary, my dad had an enormous cluster of blood clots at the end of the pulmonary artery where it enters the lungs. I was shocked when I saw the CT scan. He had one week of injections twice a day and then one 15 mg tablet twice a day. Last week his dosage was reduced to 20 mg once a day. I thought he was going to die because he was incorrectly diagnosed with an enlarged heart, but that was a consequence of the clots. The treatment he went on for two weeks didn’t help at all and he got worse and worse. It was in the middle of the covid wave so there were no ambulances or beds in the hospitals. My sister got him an emergency appointment with a cardiologist by emailing him using his private email and he sent my dad for a CT scan and diagnosed the clots. He is doing ever so much better now but is still recovering and is not very strong. He was bed ridden for 5 weeks. The clots are definitely dissolving but the doctor said it will take another 4 or 5 months from him to be completely recovered. He may have to stay on blood thinners for life but we don’t know yet. My husband’s mother has been on blood thinners for 25 years and she is absolutely fine.

        Liked by 1 person

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  18. Not what you needed to go through on top of everything else, Mary. Hopefully the DVT will be sorted out with the injections but what a palaver! Hoping that the results regarding your biopsy say it’s nothing to worry about and it too will soon be sorted out. Glad your oncologist is being proactive (even though there was a delay in organising it!) by getting you a scan and hope that too will show that there is nothing untoward going on. Good that you can still see the funny side and am so impressed by your ability to do this even when you must be screaming inside. Glad you are getting such joy from your garden which looks wonderful. Keeping you in my thoughts, sending love and best wishes – Janet x 💚📚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your lovely comments and good wishes, Janet. I have to say I’m disappointed the oncologist didn’t actually follow through with booking the scan but left it to her specialist nurse who was on annual leave! However, he came back to work this week and has sorted out an appointment for me. Screaming inside is right! But, if I lose my sense of humour, especially for the ridiculous, then I’m doomed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t know you personally Mary (just through your DH via golf club) but your blogs are moving and inspiring. Having had many family members go through the Big C journey, my thoughts and best wishes are with you. Stay strong 💜 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jan. I really appreciate you reading and commenting on my blog post. The Big C journey isn’t the most fun-filled, is it, and I’m sorry so many of your family members have gone through it.

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  20. Never a dull moment with you Mary. So good of you to be suspicious of DVT, especially for those of us vaxed with AstraZeneca. So happy you nipped that in the bud pronto. Now we shall wait with you and keep sending healing prayers for some good news. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Debby, I can’t help feeling dull would be really nice for a while! I had my vaccinations ages ago so we know Astra Zeneca isn’t to blame for the DVT – well, at least I think we do, but who knows in these strange times. I’m glad to say the terrible pain has eased off and the swelling has gone down a lot – I can see I have an ankle after all 🙂 Thanks for the healing prayers. xx

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    • Congratulations on your remission anniversary, Miriam. I popped over to read your blog post about it. You must be so relieved. Thanks for commenting on my garden. I have been so lucky to have it during the various lockdowns and shielding.

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  21. What a terrible time you’ve had. Your adventures at the hospital sound as if they were part of a Monty Python sketch (reality being far more bizarre than fiction). Thankfully, no harm came out of it, but it goes some way to show how stretched the services are. I hope there isn’t too much of a delay, because you’ve had a long wait as it is. A sense of humour always helps, but some situations seem too bizarre to be real. Thinking of you and hoping it all gets better soon. Take care, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You really couldn’t make it up, Olga 🙂 I’m able to speak up and query things but I keep thinking of people who perhaps have dementia or are simply confused because of their age and wonder what might happen to them. I’m having my CT scan tomorrow (Friday) so hopefully the results will come through fairly quickly and we’ll know what’s what.

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