Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Through the weekend

Mom made it through the weekend. Last Friday she did not feel well at all. The timing made sense though - usually the second day after chemo is her worst day. This time, compounded with the surgery, made things more difficult. She was feeling better by Saturday - I took her lunch (baked Sweet Potatoes!) and then Scotty paid her a visit on Sunday before heading back to school in Aurora.

Now the concern is getting through these next two sessions in the midst of a flu outbreak. Her body won't be able to handle getting sick so I think she is going to plan to stay in for awhile. Before her next chemo treatment on Nov. 10, she wants to go to a baby shower and then maybe get out and do some Christmas shopping, so by then she should be back up to par.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chemo once again

Thank goodness mom's port worked fine this morning when they hooked her up. The nurses had a devil of a time with it a couple of weeks ago when she was in for her bloodwork. It had gotten clogged for some reason - maybe a reaction from the surgery. The nurses said that the body does strange things when someone has invasive surgery.

Her lab count results from a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 8) weren't that great... her CA 125 was up to 37 and her potassium was low. Even though that isn't a big jump for the CA 125, it still went up, which means the cancer is reacting to the surgery and the trauma it causes the body. They are going to put her on a drip of nausea prevantative medicine and then give her another bag of different nausea preventative medicine and then do a bag of Benedryl before they do the Taxol bag (the long 6 hour drip). The will also slow the Carboplatin drip down to watch for any reactions today. Apparantly the more Carboplatin you get the more toxic it is for your body, however it kills the cancer... so you take the risk for the benefit.

The Cancer room is full today. There is a new woman here with Ovarian Cancer and this is her first time with chemo. You can see all of the questions and uneasiness in her face. She doesn't know what's going on or why her body is doing this or if the chemo will get rid of the cancer. There is so much unknown in the beginning. And mom and I have been told time and again that every chemo treatment is different and people react differently. The taxol and carboplatin may not do the job for her. Only time will tell.

The Neulasta drug rep sales guy paid the Cancer room a visit this morning with a full menu of cappacinos, hot chocolate and any kind of coffee mixture you can dream up. Mom even ordered a cinnamon-caramel-something. She'll drink a few sips and then I'll probably have to finish it off :)

Neulasta is the drug that mom will take tomorrow to get her bone marrow to produce more white blood cells (because the chemo drugs kill them off). It's such a vicious circle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Busy week

Mom has been a busy little bee the last couple of days. She decided to drive to the grocery store on Tuesday to get a few things (which I told her to let the people help her out to the car and then get help when she got home) and did that fine on her own. Yesterday she went to Creative Club with her friends (its a class in the Quad Cities) and then they all went out for lunch after that - she was tuckered out by the end of the day and really wasn't feeling well. She felt better this morning after a good night's rest. Aunt Carol and Gayle came up for a visit today and brought her lunch and CAKE (thanks!) and then mom and I took off for the First United Methodist Church Annual Harvest Dinner.

Mom is very involved with this dinner each year but today she decided not to help out as in the past. I picked her up after work and we got there at about 5:15 which was good timing. We beat the rush and got a good pie selection before the slices were too picked over. You wouldn't believe how important that is :) when going to these church dinners.

Everyone was very happy to see her and came over to the table to say hello and also tell her how good she looked. Even after twenty some-odd years since I've been away there are still some of the same people there. Even the basement looks the same. As many renovations and additions that the church has been through, it is kind of neat that the basement hasn't changed.

Tomorrow and especially over the weekend she needs to take it easy because she has a chemo treatment on Tuesday, and I'm curious as to how tired she will be next weekend. After surgery, I don't expect her to bounce back after this treatment as fast as she has before.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Uneventful weekend

After this weekend mom should be fully stocked with food for the week: Aunt Rosemary brought some dinners and pie with her on Friday and then my sister in law Lisa made some hearty baked potato soup (with bacon!) so she should get by this week just fine.

The twins barged in on her Saturday to see if they could fix the bed that I crashed. They kept her busy while they were there (it's exhausting being around Tim and Tom at the same time when they both have had too much coffee). The bed isn't back together quite yet, as it needs some new slats and the lumberyard wasn't open. Mom also wanted to find some bed risers that would get it up higher- at the old house it was much higher off the ground. When we put it back together after she moved into the condo it sunk a good 12" for some reason we can't figure out.

Sunday we went to the 9:00 a.m. service at church. Everyone was very happy to see her and were glad she was out and about. She did a good job of sitting through the service but when it was over she was ready to go. This week is the Harvest Dinner and she wants to help with that... I told her ok as long as she wasn't scurrying around or lifting too much. She thought that maybe she could sit at the door and take money or something. Tom and I are going to go out for the dinner and then she can go home with us. She tires easily and she forgets that at times.

She starts her next round of chemo on October 20, and then will do one every three weeks. The final chemo should be done by the end of November, so she will be ready for the holidays and feeling good. This year has been exhausting and we both want to put 2009 in the rearview!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trinity appointment today

Dr. Porubcin was happy with mom's surgery results and thought that her incision looked good. He was a little concerned about her weight loss (she's back down to 96 pounds) however, he knows that she was gaining weight before the surgery and feels that she'll be back over 100 pounds soon.

We ended up being there for a couple of hours because the nurses had a hard time accessing her port and were unable to draw blood from it, so they had to stick her arm. Always something.

Her next chemo treatment will be on Oct. 20, and then will have a treatment every three weeks. She should be done with the course of treatments before Christmas - it will be nice to have that out of the way and start 2010 on a good note.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Iowa City follow up

Mom's appointment with Dr. DeGeest went well today. He was very happy with how her incision healed and had a resident take out the staples and put some "steri-strip" tape on the area. He thought that maybe she could start driving a little next week (not far, to church and back mainly) but no heavy lifting and such for the next four weeks.

He went over the biopsy reports again and was confident that they removed most of the "carcinoma" (doctor-word for cancer) except for that small area where her uterus used to rest. That small amount of cancer can be eliminated with more chemo and he suggests at least three treatments but no more than that. All of the lymph nodes came back cancer free except for one lymph node in the omentum area, but they removed it so there should be no threat of the cancer traveling through the lymph nodes. One of the tumors on one of her ovaries was about 1/2 a centimeter wide. I don't know how they missed that with the naked eye but I'm not going to criticize because he was very thorough and meticulous.

Tomorrow she goes to see Dr. Porubcin for blood work and to talk about a chemo schedule. She probably won't be able to start until mid-November as Dr. DeGeest wants her to wait about 4 more weeks to recover from the surgery.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Mom got along fine this weekend without me around to nag her. I did go over yesterday afternoon for a little while and she said that she had had a good night sleep on Saturday and got up and about fine by herself.

Gayle came for a visit yesterday and brought some soup for the week, and I also brought out Cara's little meatloaves and some cheesy potatoes, so she should be set for a few days. She ate a full bowl of Gayle's soup yesterday - plus dessert!

This week we go back to Iowa City Wednesday afternoon to get her staples removed. They will also do a small exam and post-surgery follow up questions. Thursday she has an appointment with Dr. Porubcin, so I'm sure we will try and set another chemo schedule as soon as possible. There is an indication that there is still some cancer in her (former) uterine area... which the chemo will take finish off.

Hopefully by the holidays she will be cancer-free and ready to kick of 2010 with a travel schedule. She's already talking about going to Arizona, and then going on a bank club trip to Nova Scotia (sp?) so she wants to be healthy enough for travel by the beginning of the year. Then there's JAZZERCIZE of course! She's ready to start that up again as soon as the doctors give her a green light for more activity. The new year will be here before we know it.

I'm back at work today (UGH) and about ready to crawl in a hole. Thank goodness the schools are on Fall Intersession break for the next couple of weeks so I can catch up. There is not enough coffee in the world for me at the moment! All in all - I have a great boss and co-workers who have been full of prayers and understanding. I couldn't have been with mom these last couple of weeks without their support and picking up some of the work load. Friends and family have been awesome with emails and cards and phone calls - I know mom would not have made it through this. If I haven't said it enough - thank you and God Bless!

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Day five at home

We went out for a walk early again today since it is going to be rainy for most of the afternoon. Fall is definitely in the air!

Mom has been getting up by herself in the a.m. and she got her stockings on by herself as well. The circulation hose is pretty tough to get over her feet, the have a lot of elastic and I can barely stretch them out enough to get them on. So if she can get those on her feet she's good to go.

My karma wasn't very good yesterday - three light bulbs blew out and then I crashed the antique bed in the guest room. I had been sleeping on it the entire week, but when I sat down last night -BOOM. A piece of the frame on the inside split and the mattress landed on the floor. Rather than mess with it I just went down to the basement and slept down there. Tom can fix it on Sunday.

Mom is bummed that she won't make it to Samantha's wedding tomorrow, but she gets tired just taking a shower, so an event of any type won't be in her cards for at least another week. I'm thinking she will be ready for church next Sunday. We have a full schedule next week anyway: to go to Iowa City for her appointment on Wednesday to get her staples out, and then an appointment at Dr. Porubcin's office on Thursday for a check up and blood work. Hopefully we will get a chemo schedule so she can be done with it before Christmas. Since her last treatment, her hair has grown back a little. Unfortunately, it will fall out again with this next round.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good news for a dreary day

Hello October! It is a rainy day here in Geneseo. Mom and I managed to get ourselves going early so we could go out for a walk before the rain started. I debated about going for a run, but right as we walked in the door, the drops started to fall.

Mom is getting along much better, yesterday we went out quite a few times to walk. The coughing and sneezing is difficult, but her body is handling it and it's not aggravating the incision.

Dr. Degeest's office called today with good news... they finished the tissue biopsy of the omentum, and other areas. They found cancer in the omentum and then another area right below her uterus, and found nothing from the tissue biopsies around her liver, pancreas and bowel. Since she had her omentum removed, that takes care of that, but as far as the area below where her uterus used to be, she will have to go through a couple more rounds of chemo to take care of it. That's it!

She was very relieved to know that no cancer was found around the liver, pancreas and bowel. She was worried about it since they told her that they still found cancer in her ovaries. But now we can really rest easy and recover. Hopefully she can get the chemo rounds in before Christmas and then start 2010 on a good note!