Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alaina's toes

So Alaina (my cousin) sends me a picture of her toes... :)

Aunt Ruth travels on

Mom took Aunt Ruth to the airport today (I met them there) and they had a nice lunch before we put her on the plane. Luckily they didn't weigh her luggage before tagging it - in AZ she clocked in at 47.1 pounds - so we weren't sure if she would exceed her limit this time around or not. She mailed a bunch of stuff back to AZ that wouldn't fit in her luggage so I hope she doesn't collect much more on her trip to West Virginia.

Mom really enjoyed having A. Ruth visit these last few days. Talking on the phone is one thing, but having her visit in person did her a world of good.

The doctor's office in Iowa City called yesterday and they scheduled mom for an appointment next Wednesday, September 2 at 9:40 a.m. She had all of her scans done that she needed, plus the blood work information to take with her. I'm sure they will want to do all of the exams and tests over again, and then talk about surgery.

She found out there was a place near the University of Iowa Hospital that helps families of cancer patients by giving them a place to stay while the patient is going through surgery.
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/hopelodge/IA_IowaCity/rag_index.asp
It looks like they need a referral form from the doctor, but that seems to be the only requirement. If we have time I think we may drive by there on Wednesday after she's done with her appointment and see what the place is like.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Iowa City bound

We had a lot of good news today at mom's appointment with Dr. Porubcin. First of all, she's up to 102 lbs! It must have been all of the fried chicken last weekend - plus I think her and Aunt Ruth and Aunt Carol have been eating out quite a bit this week as well :)

When Dr. Porubcin walked in I already knew he had good news - he gets so giddy it's hard for him to contain his enthusiasm. Her CA125 level was down to a whopping 4 (considering the fact that it was up over 3000 in April) and he had good results from the CT scan. There were no visible blood clots on her lungs - they all dissolved - and it looked like there weren't as many "implants" as the previous scans indicated. He said there was still some detectable cancer areas but it was significantly reduced. Dr. Porubcin has never seen these kind of results from a chemo treatment before and was very happy that mom took well to the treatments.

The only concern was mom's left arm where a blood clot had formed after her first chemo treatement. Her arm has been quite achy for the last week and she hasn't gotten much relief since the last chemo treatment. So, Dr. Porubcin ordered another doppler scan of that area just to make sure. She went to Hammond Henry this afternoon and had the scan done - and long story short there's NO blood clot there either.

So next week she goes to Iowa City to visit Dr. DeGeest again for a surgery consult. I'm sure she will have to go through the same tests she went through before, and if all indicators are good they will schedule her for surgery.

She will have to stop taking the Lovenox for a couple of days before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding, but will be able to get right back on it after surgery. Dr. Porubcin would like her to stay on it for awhile, until next April, to reduce the chance of blood clots. She will go see him again about 3 or 4 weeks after surgery.

With this big Dr. visit out of the way, she has a better picture of what will happen in the next month. She's looking forward to having it over with, and I don't blame her. Tomorrow the aunts are taking a Mississippi river cruise on the Celebration Belle, and then Saturday we are going to Kewanee for dinner and a little shopping.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friends and family are the remedy

No doubt I have the greatest friends and family in the world! Last night we were at some very good dear friends house celebrating a 50th b-day (BILL!)... however he did not want any gifts whatsoever, but wanted to give an option instead and asked that people contribute to a fund that supports Ovarian Cancer Research in honor of my mom. The little basket on the counter was full of donations!

Throughout this time in the last few months we have been very blessed to have friends and family around and it's true that you can't have enough of that love and support. Whether it's been making meals for my mom or checking in on her after a chemo day or just even sending a card to say "I'm thinking of you," the support has really been overwhelming and even though I'm an only child, I've never felt alone with all of the friends and family - cousins, in-laws, co-workers, and just about the entire town of Geneseo. There is all kinds of medicine in the world, but in the end people heal people.

All of the girls last night (including a little dog named Guinness and a 18 month old named Ella) painted their toenails Teal for Ovarian Cancer awareness. If we keep going we just may have a lot of Teal Toes around by month's end. I need to get on the ball and finish my cards to go with my 30-odd bottles of Teal nail polish to pass around. Teal the cows come home :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Teal toes by the tens!

We've kicked off our family venture into the teal nailpolish industry by doing all of our toes in the teal color. A couple of months ago if I would have seen teal nail polish on someones toes I probably would have thought "ewww that's a raunchy color," but now, it seems just as natural as pink and don't even give it a second thought.

It does spark a lot of conversations, even at work as I try to present the good school image, my teal toes get some remarks. But after the story, people often want a bottle of polish. I have a list of names I need to get polish to this week so we can get the word out before the month of September hits.

Having Aunt Ruth in town is a nice break from the norm - my mom and her sisters, whether near or far, are a close bunch and she couldn't have made it through these last few months without them. Mom has a break from chemo for the time being so Ruth's timing couldn't have been more perfect. Aunt Carol has an itinerary all planned out for the week (meanwhile mom has to squeeze in a CT scan tomorrow and then a Dr. appt later in the week) so the Aunts will be busy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Labs today

Mom is going to get her labs done today at Dr. Porubcin's office. They won't talk about the results after though, so all she needs to do today is go get her tests and then leave. The nurses will also flush her port out so it doesn't get clogged up - apparently that happens without regular use. On Monday she has a CT scan at Hammond Henry to see where everything is at (cancer, blood clots), then next Thursday she meets with Dr. Porubcin to see what to do next and possibly talk about surgery after he looks at all of the results.

I've got a lot of teal nail polish collected and as soon as I get some little info cards done it's going out to the masses (at least here in Rock Island and some other local parts)...after the last 6 months and mom's ordeal, there can never be enough said about making people aware about Ovarian Cancer. It's sneaky, and with virtually no symptoms, women really have to pay attention to what their bodies are telling them. Too often women don't find out they have Ovarian Cancer until after it has spread.

There's a lot of good information at www.ovariancancer.org, and with September coming up (National Ovarian Cancer awareness month) now is a good time to keep up the conversations.

Today I pick up Aunt Ruth at the airport for her visit - it was supposed to be a surprise but that fell apart thanks to SOMEONE who shall remain nameless. Nevertheless mom is looking forward to having her in town... we haven't seen her since last year. Family and friends have been the saving grace to mom through her treatments, and she is happy to be able to have everyone in one spot for a little while.


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Monday, August 10, 2009

This week

This week should be a good one for some down time. Mom has an appointment with Dr. Porubcin on Friday to go over her labs that she will get done earlier that morning. I don't know if he will talk about surgery or not. I'm thinking not... because he won't know anything other than what the blood work tells him. She has a CT scan scheduled for next Monday at Hammond Henry, and that should tell us where the cancer is still attached to and whether or not the blood clots are dissolving like I hope they are doing.

The more exciting part of the week will be when Aunt Ruth comes to town on Friday.

I found another web site www.daughtersofovariancancer.com that has good awareness information about ovarian cancer symptoms. One point that is made on that site is about becoming aware of the influence our politicians have upon major health care decisions and to pay attention to anything that has to do with cancer research and education that may or may not get passed in congress. How does this affect us directly? I don't know. I have heathcare, but not cancer. How would my healthcare change if that were the case? Mom's healthcare coverage has done it's job, however without it, I can't even imagine how the expenses would add up. One of her nausea medications is $100 a pill.


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Monday, August 3, 2009

Post chemo week

The weekend went by fairly well. Mom had a couple of down days but overall nothing severe. The aches and pains more than anything else. Last time her hip was bothering her, this time it's her arm. I guess the blood clot there makes it ache at times. She is still doing the daily Lovonex shot for her blood clots so I'm hoping that they are still slowly dissolving. She has a CT scan next week.

Yesterday was a nice day so we went out to Culver's for lunch and I stuffed my face with a Butter Burger basket and she had a plain chicken sandwich and ate the whole thing. If Geneseo did anything right it was definitely building a Culvers.

This morning she was a little groggy but as the day wore on she felt better.

I took the video with my new little "flip" camera that my IT department is letting me try out for a little while. Mom came out of the bathroom with that fuzzy pink thing on top of her head and I about fell over. There were a whole bunch of those hats in the back that someone had made for the patients, and some of them were pretty neat. I would wear one as a hat.
video