A belated birthday present…

Stefano accompanied me to my fractured shoulder checkup at the hospital on Friday. I had two X-rays of my left shoulder, and then we went to see the orthopedist.

Well, the news is much (MUCH!) better than expected: the fracture is actually no longer visible on the X-rays, yep, no kidding!, and my humerus is back in its place. I am going to need more physiotherapy, since my range of motion is still not perfect, even though I can now put both arms above my head, and you can’t tell the difference between the two. But I still can’t make certain movements, such as reaching behind my back enough to hook my bra. So, yes, more physiotherapy…No problem, I love my physiotherapist…She’s excellent!

Getting back to the orthopedic visit on Friday, I wanted to note that both orthopedists (yes, there were two at one point…A Grey’s Anatomy scenario) were surprised that I was doing so well and that the fracture had healed so quickly. In fact, when I raised my arms above my head, the professor laughed, shook my hand vigorously and told me to get out of his office. πŸ˜‰ Stefano noticed their surprised reaction, too. I was tempted to tell them about my curcumin intake…but in the end I decided not to…They probably would have given me the (ever-annoying) eye roll…Besides, it might just be that I have great bones, and that curcumin had nothing to do with the fast healing of this fracture…

Who knows?

Incidentally, a month ago the orthopedist told me that I wouldn’t be able to drive until September, at least. On Friday I was told that I can go back to driving NOW! A super nice belated birthday present…

Ah yes, you see, Thursday was my birthday. I turned 58. 58 years old! And to think that, when I was diagnosed with SMM in 2005, I didn’t think I’d live to see my 50th birthday!!! Hah! I’m way beyond that one now…

Well, I sure have much to celebrate, in addition to my healed shoulder…

I can drive again πŸ˜› …Life is good! πŸ˜€

Timed release of curcumin inhibits bone cancer cells…

Since I’ve been pretty much housebound because of my fractured humerus, I finally decided to go through our closets and get rid of all the clothes we don’t/can’t wear anymore. Of course, I have to be careful not to hurt my shoulder, and believe me, careful I am! But I can’t just lie around with the cats (our Pixie, in the photo) and watch TV series nonstop… πŸ˜‰Β 

Speaking of my shoulder, well it’s healing…and healing well, I think. I can now raise my arm above my head. Compare that to a month ago when I could barely lift my arm! Thank you, physiotherapy!

I have my third checkup, with X-rays, at the hospital later this week…the day after my birthday, in fact. I’m anxious to see how I’m doing…Not “anxious” = “scared.” Just very very curious.

My life isn’t all about physical rehabilitation or cleaning closets, though. I’m also doing some reading and trying to keep up with…stuff. Last month I came across this bit of interesting news , e.g.: http://bit.ly/2LsLZv9

This excerpt that says it all: “A Washington State University research team has developed a drug delivery system using curcumin, the main ingredient in the spice turmeric, that successfully inhibits bone cancer cells while promoting growth of healthy bone cells.” When I’m done going through our closets πŸ˜‰, I’ll have a look at the original study. In the meantime, it’s good to have further confirmation that our curcumin intake is most likely having a positive impact on our bones…

I hope everyone is doing well…This morning it rained in Florence for the first time since the beginning of this long boiling hot spell, and the horrible summer temperatures have gone down to tolerable levels. Life is good…at least for a day!!! πŸ˜€

My physical therapy…and cardiac toxicity caused by carfilzomib

First, my big news: I began physiotherapy yesterday, and, drum roll!!!, I won’t have to wear my shoulder brace anymore, or rather, “you don’t have to wear it unless you feel as though you need it,” my physiotherapist told me. She reassured me that there’s no way I could make my shoulder worse unless she jumped up and down on it. And, since that’s not likely to happen, I agreed that the brace should come off. It had become sort of like a Linus blanket (Peanuts reference) for me…I felt safe with it!

My physiotherapist pointed out that keeping my arm in a brace at home would have a negative impact on therapy. There’s no point, she said, in working and stretching muscles that I haven’t used in the past month, only to use the brace to immobilize them again. That made sense. So, last night, for the first time since I found out I had a fractured shoulder, I slept without a brace. And today I’m typing with two hands! Yaaaay!

I can take a shower and tie my shoes again…by myself, I mean. I’m sure that must sound silly…except to those who gone through a similar experience. I mean, what’s the big deal about tying one’s shoelaces? Well, for someone who has a strong independent spirit (yours truly!), it’s a BIG deal.

I’ve rediscovered how the small things in life can give me pure moments of joy. Even bending over to change the cats’ water bowls without experiencing a jolt of pain in my shoulder is such a thrill right now!

Another potentially positive bit of news: my full recovery may not take as long as one might think, given the nature of this injury. My physiotherapist told me that my arm’s range of motion and strength is much better than she expected (curcumin? Hah, who knows?). She thinks I’ll progress quickly. So do I.

She also told me that I would almost certainly have pain in my shoulder area the day after our sessions and told me I could take a painkiller if needed. Well, I don’t have any pain at all today. Indeed, early this morning you would have seen me pottering around the garden, cutting off dead flowers and getting rid of a few weeds. Sure, I get an occasional twinge if I use my left arm in a way I shouldn’t (yet), and of course I can’t raise my arm beyond a certain point, but that simply means that I’m looking forward to my second therapy session tomorrow! πŸ™‚Β 

Now for the second part of my post. I recently came across a rather unsettling Science Daily article about cardiac toxicity caused by carfilzomib. If you’re currently taking carfilzomib, or know someone who is, please have a look. It’s easy to read, so I’ll just give you the link: http://bit.ly/2XZkP1h

That’s it for today. Hope everyone is fine and dandy! Take care!!!

Healing

This morning I went back to the hospital for a checkup on my fractured (proximal) humerus. Good news, mostly. The orthopedist was quite happy with how my shoulder is healingΒ (I wonder if the healing process has been helped along by my daily intake of curcumin…? Curcumin has been used in traditional medicine to treat bone fractures…hmmm, interesting…).

It’s going to take a while, though, before I’ll be able to use my arm normally and go back to my regular bungee jumping (haha, just kidding!!! I mean, kidding about the bungee jumping, of course… πŸ˜‰ ).

More good news: next week I can take off my shoulder brace…aaaah what a relief!!!

Next week I’m also going to begin physical therapy to help increase my range of motion, deal with muscle stiffness and so on. I’ve already been working on my own, at home, doing an exercise that the orthopedist showed me a couple of weeks ago. That has helped A LOT with pain and stiffness in my lower arm. But, of course, now that I’m better, I need to the help of a professional, that is, a physical therapist.

I did get some bad news (which I sort of expected): I won’t be able to drive at all this summer. Aaaagh! Oh well. In moments of frustration, however, I always remind myself that my fall, which was quite a hard one, ouch!!!, could have had much worse consequences. I could have landed on my head, broken a leg, an ankle and/or who knows what else.

So, really, I can’t complain!!!

I just need to be patient…A few more months, and my humorous πŸ˜‰ will be as good as new! πŸ™‚

No surgery!!!

Yesterday I went to the hospital to see an orthopedic surgeon who told me to use my left hand as much as possible from now on, so this morning I thought I’d give typing with two hands a try, even though my arm is still in a sling, of course, and I’m not supposed to move my left shoulder at all.

Yep, yep, yep, this works…for a short post, anyway…

The orthopedist told me that my fracture is borderline for surgery. I’d actually been told the same thing last Monday, so I knew surgery might be in the picture. Aggghhhh!!! For a moment, yesterday, I froze…

When I told her about my smoldering myeloma, though, she agreed that surgery might be risky for me (that is, the risk of developing an infection afterwards), so she said, “ok, no surgery.” The fracture should heal properly on its own. She said she’d do the same if it were her shoulder. Fine with me!

I’m going back to see her in two weeks’ time, and then we’ll have a clearer picture. For now, the good doctor said, I have to think of myself as made of glass (Stefano’s aunt later suggested that, instead of soap, I should wash with the Italian equivalent of Windex, haha, very funny!).

This orthopedist had a good sense of humor, so we actually had a few good laughs, listing things I could do and things that I shouldn’t do with my left arm. She showed me an exercise that I have to begin doing as of today, and I’ll also need physical therapy once the fracture has healed completely.

So far so good.

Oh, speaking of good, a quick aside: it’s soooooo good to be able to type with both hands again! Fantastico!

I wanted to say a few words about the healthcare system here. Last Monday, when our family doctor told me to have an X-ray, Stefano and I decided to go to a private clinic in town. We thought it would be faster than going to the emergency room at Careggi, Florence’s university hospital. In retrospect, we should have skipped the clinic and gone directly to the ER. Reason: the clinic sent us over to the ER anyway, and I had to have my X-rays redone. Sp the clinic was a waste of time. Oh well.

The nurses and the doctors who visited me up at Careggi Hospital were incredibly attentive, and we had quite a few laughs, too (what can I say? I am irresistibly funny…Or rather, I THINK that I’m irresistibly funny…)…In short, my experience in Ortopedia at the ER of Careggi couldn’t have been better.

And all this excellent care, plus all my X-rays (and the CAT scan I had last Monday), cost us NOTHING. Not a cent. That’s how it should be. I couldn’t help but think how much it would have cost me to have all those tests and doctors’ visits in the U.S. Yikes.

I really do love this country…Not just for its ERs, of course! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, onwards and upwards…The worst is over. I’m playing cards today with my girlfriends. Life is good again.

Fracture!

This will be a quick post because I can type only with one hand. Reason: on Saturday, during a weekend trip with Stefano and friends in Maremma, a lovely area in southern Tuscany, I lost my balance while exploring an archaeological site and fell.

Hard.

On my left shoulder.

Bam!

We didn’t go to the local hospital because nothing seemed to be broken. I was in pain but could move my hand and even my shoulder a bit. I couldn’t lift my arm but we figured it was just because the muscles had taken a hit. We went toΒ  a pharmacy to get a painkiller and a sling for my arm, and that was that.

We kept on sightseeing, a bit more slowly, though. Yes, I was in pain, at times a lot of pain, but didn’t think it was that serious. Yesterday morning, however, since the pain hadn’t lessened, I called our GP who sent me to the hospital for X-rays.

Result: I fractured the upper extremity of my humerus…also a few other minor things, but the fracture to the humerus is the main thing.

My shoulder is in a proper sling, now, and it will take at least a month to heal. I have to rest…no volleyball for a while. πŸ˜‰

Pain, yes, but otherwise I’m okay. So I’ll rest, watch my TV series, go for my checkups (one next week) and hope that the fracture will heal properly so I don’t have to have surgery, aaaaaagggh.

Anyway, it could have been worse…I could have hit myΒ  head or actually broken a bone or…who knows? Lots of things could have gone wrong with such a fall…so, in the end, not too bad.

I’ll be fine, but no computer for a while….

Lesson learned: be super careful when walking on an archaeological dig!!! Hah!!!!

Marital life

Excerpt from a conversation Stefano and I had a couple of evenings ago…

Margaret: If you could go back in time, would you still marry me?

Stefano:Β  No.

Margaret (taken aback): Noooo? Why not?

Stefano: I wouldn’t marry anyone who would ask such a dumb question.

Margaret: Ohhhh…(pause)…Well, would you STILL marry me?

Stefano (looking up from his iPad): Of course I would!!!

Phew. πŸ˜‰Β 

20 years

20 years ago, on this day, Stefano and I got married. One of the happiest days of my life.

I’ve written wedding anniversary posts before, so I’ll keep this one short…I just want to say how lucky I am to have found such an extraordinary man…brilliant, funny, supportive, loving, wise…the list goes on…

Thank you for all these years, Stefano…and for the ones to come! πŸ™‚

Ti amo.

Buon anniversario!

Taking off

Just briefly…I wanted to say that tomorrow Stefano and I are zooming off for about 10 days (= holiday…yaaaaay!) with a couple of our friends. I don’t know if I’ll have access to Internet during that time, so I just thought I’d publish a quick post.

Well, I hope you’ll have as much fun as I plan to have!!!

Take care, everyone! Ciaoooo! πŸ™‚Β 

A terrible loss for everyone

Since yesterday evening, this is what I’ve been hearing on the news: it’s a terrible loss for Catholics, it’s a terrible loss for people of all faiths…

Of course it is, but let’s not exclude anyone. What happened yesterday in Paris is a terrible loss for everyone, even for non-believers like me.

I broke down and wept when I saw the footage of the fire devastating the medieval cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Horrifying…

Simply horrifying…

Stefano and I were in Paris in August of 2018. We were very lucky to have a great view of Notre Dame and the surrounding area from our hotel room.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took back then.

This is how I want to remember Notre Dame…intact…