TheMetastatic breast cancer. It's still breast cancer but it's in the bones. That's what metastatic breast cancer does; it leaves the breast and settles elsewhere in the body. The bones are a favorite target; a very painful target that have been compromised by pathological breaks to her hip sockets, sternum and a rib. The good news is that they do seem to be healing.
Much of our day involves managing pain. Staying on schedule with pain meds is a big part of it but other aids to mobility add to Karen's comfort.
Around the house Karen uses a walker although she'd really like to get back to a cane. (with some more healing time and some PT.)
For longer outings we're using the wheelchair. Climbing stairs is easier now that we had a stair climber installed. Karen enjoys the view into the backyard from the second floor. Also new since our return from the hospital is an oxygen generator. Karen is still getting used to the trailing hoses. We're not sure if this is permanent; the doctors are hoping that the lungs continue to clear. To help this process Karen works on lung capacity with a small breathing device and we check her oxygen levels with our new O2 sensor that fits on a finger.
Finally for sleeping we just got a memory foam wedge system from a company called Relax the Back.
We also invested in a Stair Trac machine with caterpillar treads that can hook to the wheelchair and power up steps.
It's a whole new world but we're getting plenty of support from the cancer center to make our house as comfortable and handicap accessible as possible.
The Wheelchair, photo by William Evertson
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.