Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Through the holidays

We had a nice Christmas last week, all of the boys were home and mom stayed at our house for a couple of days. I made some stick-the-meat-on-your-bones lasagna and mom brought a couple of desserts, so we were full and happy.

Mom had an appointment with Dr. Porubcin yesterday to follow up on her blood counts from the week before. She clocked in at 103 pounds! I'm very happy that the weight is staying on... it makes her look a lot healthier. She has been feeling good the last couple of weeks since the last chemo treatment, minus the arthritis aches and pains.

Dr. P. was very happy to see her doing so well. The CA 125 count was down to 3.75 (all time low) and her other levels were just fine. He discussed the pros and cons of staying on the Lovenox for at least a year. The anti-clotting effects may inhibit the "sticking" of any cancer cells to any specific area, which in turn would discourage any tumors from forming. If that is the case, then I would say just keep mom on the Lovenox forever. One of the drawbacks is that she has to give herself a shot everyday, and also watch what she eats as far as foods that have a high Vitamin K content, like dark leafy greens. Vitamin K provides the blood with the clot properties, so she wants to stay away from that so the Lovenox will function properly.

She is going to have a bone density test next week and then her port will get flushed the week after that. They are going to leave the port in for now... as a precaution. They just want to be prepared down the road in case they need to access it for one reason or another. The nurses take her blood draws from the port so mom doesn't have to get stuck with a needle.

Mom is already thinking about a trip to Arizona for early spring. Even though she will have to have regular blood tests, no reason to stop her traveling plans for 2010. We are both ready to be done with 2009 in a big way!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Almost done

This morning has been pretty smooth for the most part. The Benedryl drip made her jittery (apparently it has a "restless legs syndrome" effect) but other than that, her treatment is going well. She should be done by 2:00 p.m. Tom is going to come in later and take her home and spend some quality time with his mother-in-law.

Mom bought all of the nurses an ornament from the Willow Tree collection. They are very cute. She also bought an Isabel Bloom for the chemo room so everyone can enjoy it. The room is full again today, different people again. Neurotic woman in the next chair told me that now that she has retired she wants to get back into the "Clown Troupe" that she was involved with a couple of years ago. That says a lot right there.

The experience at Trinity has been a good one. The nurses in the office and in the chemo room are wonderful and very empathetic to patients no matter what stage of cancer or series of treatments. They are there to help and comfort and make the treatments go as smooth as possible. One of the nurses, Marty, actually lives near my house in Rock Island. I see her with her dogs in Longview park and we stop and chat for a moment if our dogs let us :) She told me that they really miss the people after the treatments are over, and that the nurses will miss my mom after she is done. That really means a lot to know that your family is in good hands when you are going down a road that you don't see an end to. Quite frankly I don't know if we are at the end of the road or off the road or on a different road than before, but the people we have met on the way have taken very good care of mom and I can't ask for more.

Last Chemo Treatment!

Mom's appointment with Dr. Porubcin went well yesterday. Her CA125 level is back down at 7.6 (from 35 a couple of weeks ago) and her weight is a hefty 100lbs. She's been able to keep it above the 100 mark for the last few weeks and that is a good benchmark for her to maintain. The nurses had a hard time with her port AGAIN yesterday but it flushed out ok this morning. Always something.

Mom will go back in on Dec. 22nd for blood work and to check her levels. Even though this is her last treatment, I'm worried about that CA125 indicator and it staying down where it should. As long as it stays low, that means that the cancer isn't growing and won't return.

Dr. Porubcin always asks about her cough :) and I always roll my eyes and tell him that she's been coughing for about the last 40 years of my life. She didn't cough a lot the other day though and on Thanksgiving she didn't cough much, but the weather has been a little warmer than usual. Once the below freezing weather kicks in her cough will get worse. Guaranteed.

We had a great time Thanksgiving and over the weekend. Thanksgiving wore mom out a little and she was extremely tired at the end of the day. We went to the big craft fair on Sunday (always the weekend after Thanksgiving) and after about an hour of shopping she was ready to call it quits. The energy level just isn't there any more but I'm sure after she gets off of the chemo for a while her energy will be increasing over the months.

As luck would have it I am sitting next to a neurotic woman who is trying to talk UPS out of delivering a package that she was waiting for but she should eat something first so her blood sugar levels don't get too low (bag spills out on the floor, Holly picks up debris and stuffs back into bag) but before that please plug in her phone charger in before her battery runs out and by the way she brought a couple of movies "It's a Wonderful Life," and "Miracle on 34th Street" with her if we wanted to get in the holiday mood because she really needs some cheering up after her conversation with UPS...