Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chemo Day #3

It’s a gloomy day. We got into Chemo at about 9:00 a.m. (picture of room at right) and now she’s on her last bag of the Carboplatin so we should be out by 2:00 p.m. Someone forgot to tell me it was pink day here at Trinity because all of the nurses are wearing pink and then mom had her pink flowered hat and pink hoodie on when I picked her up.

Yesterday when she came in for a checkup with Dr. Porubcin there was a bit of good news: her blood work showed that the levels of CEA went down from 2500 to 1300 – which means the chemotherapy is doing its job and stopping the cancer growth.

The only lasting side effect that has been a problem is the soreness and general achy feeling. Since she’s not taking her arthritis prescription anymore that probably has something to do with it. She can take Tylenol, but to get her to take one is like trying to give a cat a pill. She’s rather do without it.

The week after next she will go in for another CT scan to check her abdomen and pelvis for the blood clots and also see if the cancer has reduced in size. On the last CT scan they were able to pick out where some of it was attached to her peritoneum wall but there wasn’t any mass to speak of. I’m hoping the blood clots are dissolved enough to determine a surgery date this summer. The sooner her uterus and ovaries can be taken out the better I will feel that her cancer will be eliminated.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Graduation time

Mom came over on Sunday and we went to my nephew Ben’s (Tom’s brother Tim’s son) graduation party for the afternoon. It was a joint party with one of his best friends that he had grown up with, and there were tons of people there. My in-laws were really happy to see her and swarmed around her the entire time. We were both tired by the time we left – stayed a couple of hours - and then she came back to the house for awhile. Scotty had a friend over and we chit-chatted before they left. His friend is going into the Marines two weeks after graduation, so they are hanging out a lot. Between friends and the girlfriend, I hardly see him.

Mom said she had been feeling pretty good the whole weekend, and had been getting things done that she wanted before the chemo week started. Tomorrow she goes to see Dr. Porubcin for preliminary work before chemo on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Good week!

Mom had some blood work done on Monday to check her levels, and so far hasn’t heard anything back saying that things were good or bad. She feels good this week and most of the soreness is gone. Her arm (where one of the blood clots is located) isn’t bothering her that much either so that’s a good sign. Other than being tired more than usual, this week has been a good week.

Mom came over for dinner last night and we ate outside on the patio. Thank goodness the weather is finally shaping up! Today she was going to go to her sewing class with Lois and Connie over in Davenport. They had signed up for it quite awhile ago and she was looking forward to going.

Next week is another chemo week (Wednesday). We meet with Dr. Porubcin on Tuesday to go over her treatment and talk about anything that she has concerns about. I think that after this round they are going to do another scan of her torso to see if the cancer has reduced in size/scope.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Tom, Scotty and I went out to Mom’s today for brunch. I made a chicken ring with crescent rolls, some cinnamon rolls and then brought some fruit. Mom had a good appetite. She woke up not feeling a little ill, but by the time we go there, she was feeling OK. We brought Patrick out with us too, and as always, he was his happy self to see Grandma.

After we finished eating I got out the hair clippers and we clipped the rest of mom’s hair off. There was not much there anyway, even in the span of three days, I was shocked to see how much had fallen out. Even as I used the comb to smooth it out, it came out in clumps. I didn’t get close to the scalp because I was afraid of nicking her head, but whatever is left will be out by tomorrow I’m sure.

Scotty wanted his hair cut too, so I cut it off yesterday. I guess he had enough of his unruly mane while he was away at college. I have no idea why his hair is so thick... and it is much thicker than when he was in grade school. I couldn't even get a comb through it, and I had to stop twice to clean out the clippers.

Mom's wig fits very nice and you can’t even tell it’s a wig. The color is perfect – light enough but no gray. It will be interesting to see how much gray will grow back when this is all done.

For Mother's Day I got her a small purple Viola in a teacup planter and then an Isabel Bloom butterfly that was mounted in a frame with the words "Change is beautiful" in the frame along the mat. When I saw it I thought of her, as right now things aren't so beautiful and cancer is down right ugly, but after all is said and done, she will be ready to fly and flit around again just as she is used to doing.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Mom woke up today not feeling well, a little nausea, but has been feeling better as day progressed. There was a little bit of achy-ness but not enough to take some Tylenol I guess. She takes the Fenergen (for nausea) whenever she feel it coming on, and then she took her last Emend today (for nausea) ((the $100 pill)) so hopefully she has it nipped in the bud. Tomorrow will tell.

Picked up Scotty today! He’s back for the summer. Ethan has another week of classes and then will be done. Chad finished his last official college project last week and is now a Loyola Graduate! I like the sound of that. He will be coming home hopefully sometime soon and then we can take him out for a celebratory dinner.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Round two

Today’s chemo session went very well. We were in at 8:30 a.m. and out by 1:30 p.m. They gave her the same routine as they did at the first one: Nausea medicine bag, Benedryl bag, Paxitel bag, and then the final bag of the Carbo drug. The longest one is the Paxitel and that took a couple of hours. She was tired when we got back home and just wanted to take a nap. Tomorrow she goes back in for her Neulasta shot and then she’s done with Round 2.

The meeting with Dr. Porubcin yesterday went well also. He checked her blood work and then asked her about any harsh symptoms from the last chemo session. Other than the expected nausea, nothing new there. He said that the second round of chemo should be the same as the first and her symptoms may be a little more harsh, but not much. He is going to keep her off the Coumodin for a while and just have her take the Lovonex shot to control her clots and get them dissolved. So she will have to get a shot every day for the next few months ☹

The doctor is thinking that after Round 3 of chemo, he will have another scan done to see how the cancer nodes are doing (hopefully shrinking). Then mom will do three more rounds of chemo (for a total of 6 sessions), and then surgery to remove her uterus, ovaries and scrape out the cancer. Not sure about any chemo after that.

They had to draw another blood sample today to check her protein levels. Yesterday her protein level was high from the sample that they took, and they want to send it out to the lab to look into it further. The nurse didn’t say anything about how big of a concern her protein levels are, but we will know more after they finish testing it.

I’m going to bring my hair clippers with me tomorrow. Her hair is shedding so bad… she sneezes and hair flies out 360 degrees everywhere. It would be better to have it off. The wig looks really nice, and the color is perfect. It looks exactly like her hair color, except no gray ☺

Monday, May 4, 2009

Busy week ahead

Mom had a good weekend, especially since the weather was nice. She picked up her wig and had it shaped up a little. She’s been losing quite a bit of hair in the last week so she’s thinking maybe this week is a good time to start wearing it.

Tomorrow she is going to get her lab work done at 9:15 and then meet with Dr. Porubcin after that. There shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary but I guess it’s standard procedure the day before chemotherapy. Wednesday is chemo day, and then Thursday is the Neulasta shot day to kick her white blood cells back in gear. We’re hoping by the weekend the nausea will be on the downward swing so we can plan on having a brunch/lunch on Sunday. Scotty will be home! I’m picking him up sometime on Friday – he’s officially done with his first year of college. Chad is a big Loyola graduate and is going to take a year off and work before graduate school. The LSATs are in the fall, and he is planning on taking the test.

My friend Cara made a couple of small meals for mom this week: good old meat and potatoes. She makes a mean mini-meatloaf and they are perfect for reheating. She is all too familiar with cancer as her mom had breast cancer, not sure how long ago, but went through about the same procedure with the chemo and such. Her mom ended up having a mastectomy, but is now cancer free.