Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One week later

The last couple of days have been better... things started out kind of rough since the chemo treatment last Wednesday.

The ache and nausea came on kind of strong last Friday, which was the bad day, but then she was feeling better by Saturday. I didn’t get a chance to go out on Sunday, but Aunt Carol, Gayle and Dave went to visit and take her lunch. I went out last night to take her dinner (Sister in law Lisa made a grilled chicken and roasted potato package) and she was feeling better about eating and such. Since she gained a pound at her last weigh-in we want to keep it going and not lose poundage after chemo.

The tiredness is also taking a toll, she just doesn’t have as much energy as she used to and gets fatigued easily. She was out watering flowers at 7:00 a.m. this morning and that about zapped her (heat wasn’t any help either) so she’s going to stay in for the rest of the day. Yesterday she got some sewing done and also went out for a brief walk at about 8:30 p.m. when the sun was going down and it wasn’t as hot. The walking and exercise helps the aches, but if she does too much, it doesn’t do her any good. There’s a fine line there somewhere.

Even as crappy as she feels, I think the fact that the chemotherapy is working really takes the edge off of her aches and fatigue. Her attitude is also a big part of the equation, which is why I have been reminding her to not dwell on the stressful things because it’s just not worth it. We already learned early on that stress will cause a setback, so the game plan is to stay away from the stress and focus on treatment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chemo Day #4

Very good yesterday from the lab results: CA125 count is 135 down from 1300! The CA125 is the cancer indicator in her blood, and when the count keeps going down, it’s a good thing! For a while it was up to 3000.

Apparently there are different indicators for different types of cancers… for ovarian cancer they watch the CA125, for prostate cancer it’s the PSA, and for breast cancer it’s something else.

We also got the results from the CT scan she had last week - also showed that the cancer has minimized considerably. After only three chemo treatments, this is very good news and Dr. Porubcin was very happy with these results. Mom is going to continue with three more chemo treatments and then she’ll get to the surgery discussion.

They weren’t able to check on the blood clots with the CT scan, however he’s pretty sure that they are dissolving. Dr. Porubcin wants her to keep on taking the Lovenox for about the next 10 months to keep the clotting to a minimum. The abdominal fluid buildup she had a couple of months ago, added on with the chemotherapy, aggravates the clotting. He doesn’t see a need for her to go back on the Coumodin.

There are a couple of "newbies" in the chemo room today. You can tell when they walk in that this is the first session. And they had trouble with their ports just like mom did at her first chemo session. The nurses swear by the barometric pressure in the atmosphere. When it's high, they have a hard time with port access. And apparently high barometric pressure causes pregnant women's water to break as well. Who knew?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The week after

The weekend was a little bit of a roller coaster in terms of nausea and aches. Friday was mom’s worst day, and the nausea was pretty bad, but Saturday she felt better and then Sunday she felt fine. I took her some dinner on Sunday and it was a nice day outside. We went for a short walk up the street and back. She’s thinking that maybe that will help the aches.

Yesterday she had quite a bit of the bone pain set in, and finally ended up taking a Tylenol before she went to bed. From some of the chemo web sites and boards I have been reading, the bone pain can last the entire time between treatments. Some pain is so severe that doctors are prescribing either Vicodin (a prescription drug) and another anti-inflammatory drug. They don’t say too much about Tylenol because it’s not an anti-inflammatory, so maybe an anti-inflammatory is the way to go.

The Neulasta shot that is responsible for producing the bone pain is because of the white cell growth factor, which means it works by revving up the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. Since this is the cause of the pain, according to most experts, the intensity of the pain doesn't change based on how many days after chemotherapy it’s given. So mom could have the same range of pain for days.

The Neulasta shot mom takes is kind of a time –release version is the equivalent of ten successive days of injections… so the intensity may also have something to do with the pain. I suppose they may have some sort of injection that could be done once a day for the ten days, but I don’t think that mom would want to add another shot into her daily regimen since she is already doing the Lovonex once a day.

The bone pain seems to be the most bothersome of the chemo side effects. Mom’s been keeping track of her symptoms and says that each time around things are just a little bit different.

Next week mom has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday. Hopefully that will tell also if the cancer is subsiding and under control enough. I’m also hoping that they will be able to tell something about the blood clots as well.