July 21 Update on Susan

I know I said I was going to take a week off, but I also know that a lot of you care a lot about Susan and how she’s doing. And besides, sometimes it’s helpful for me to write things down, to help me make sense of and remember them.

The very short version is: Susan is in incredible pain, and I’m scrambling to block it as best as I can.

The longer version is that on Thursday, Susan had to hold perfectly still in order to not feel like she was being stabbed with a knife.

I asked the doctor to come over (side note: the doctor just bought a Gary Fisher Rig, so we both have to make a conscious effort to not talk about mountain biking whenever he’s here). The doctor outlined our options as basically being to start steroids, as well as increase pain medication either through pills or through an IV.

Susan didn’t want to go near the steroids, in spite of the pain — I’m afraid both of us have such bad memories of her last encounter with steroids that even when desperate, we’d rather try just about anything else.

I wanted to go with the morphine pump, because it’s the more aggressive option and delivers pain medication constantly and directly, and I just didn’t see pills as being able to help that well.

Susan, on the other hand, didn’t like the idea of yet another tube being permanently attached. Plus, going to a morphine pump feels like you’re crossing a line.

So we went with extended release morphine pills, with immediate release morphine to supplement for breakthrough pain. No more Lortab — that’s too weak of sauce (and the pills are too big and hard to swallow) for Susan now.

And she’s taking five times as much as she used to be.

But it’s not enough. She’s still hurting, bad.

So I just called the hospice people and said how things have been going, and told them I wanted to revisit the morphine pump idea. I just can’t have Susan hurt this much. Even if it makes her sleep 16 hours a day, I can’t have her hurt so bad.

I hate cancer so much.

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