Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lunch at Good's

Mom and I met Aunt Rosemary, Uncle Steve, Aunt Carol, Cousin Peggy and Cousin Alaina at Good's Furniture Restaurant on Saturday to celebrate Aunt Rosemary's birthday. It was nice to have Peggy join us... she is a hoot. For everyone else out there, Cousin Peggy is from the Shackelton line (Grandpa Glenn McCann's mother, Ethel (Shackelton) McCann's sister, Jessie is Peggy's mother). The Shackelton's have a fun history a
nd that is probably a blog for another day. Yes, we are related to Sir Ernest Shackelton through our common ancestor Abraham Shackelton.

In true McCann style we all gorged ourselves and of course dessert was included
. Coconut Creme Pie was on the menu (not like Grandma's but I'll take it when I can get it) and after we were done everyone pledged to diet on Monday.

Mom had an appointment in Iowa City on Thursday. It was uneventful as they didn't have any answers about her last hospital episode a couple of weeks ago. They did their usual poking and prodding, which didn't go well as mom's abdomen was still sore from the infection. Overall their impression was that she was doing well with all of the chemo and told her to expect good results from the Doxil treatments. I about fell over - considering the problem mom had with the blood clots during the Topetecan treatments and the fact that Dr. Porubcin decided to discontinue the Topetecan as her CA125 count was climbing. Hence the Doxil. The doctor said that her CA125 count may climb a little on the first couple of treatments of Doxil, then go down. Dr. Porubcin did not say anything about that, so I will make sure to make a note to compare "notes."

Hopefully this week mom will have some time to get some energy before her next treatment on March 1. Every day is different - she feels good one day, then crummy the next. There's no consistency... but at least she's not feeling consistently crummy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Better weekend ahead

Mom was feeling better today. She has an appointment with Dr. Mullin in a couple of weeks as a follow up before she goes for her next chemo session.

She also has an Iowa City appointment this week so hopefully she will be good to travel in a car for a little while. I will be interested in if the doctors there have any comment about the bacteria infection and also any opinions about Doxil. At the last Iowa City visit they had promising things to say about Topetecan, but that didn't work out so well as far as mom was concerned as she had a terrible time with the clots and then her CA125 started going up while she was well into the treatment regimen. So was that worth it? I'm on the fence about that one.

A better week is definitely ahead!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good night sleep

Mom seemed to be comfortable and feeling ok tonight - she ate a piece of pizza for dinner. Considering the last few days I think that constitutes as a good meal. She has lost some weight with this episode so we have to work on adding weight before the next chemo session.

So, it was determined that she had developed some sort of infection, stemming from the urinary tract infection she had two weeks ago. They found the bacteria again in a culture test they did on Monday. Pumping her full of antibiotics has reduced the bacteria and lessened the abdomen pain, although she is still achy on her side and tender when she presses on her abdomen.

She has antibiotics for the next 10 days, and the course of the prescription should wipe it out of her system. As Dr. Mullin said, anything that she gets (whether it's a cold, flu or UTI) will be 10 times worse because the chemo has weakened her body that much.

The cold weather doesn't help either. It would be nice to get her somewhere warm for a few days as I'm sure that would ease the aches and pains.

Homeward bound

The scope went fine last night, Dr. Atwell didn't find anything of concern. Her pain has subsided quite a bit, and they think that it is due to the antibiotic dosages. She is more achy and sore today and tender when they push on her abdomen, but no sharp pains as before.

They are going to release her this morning and give her a different antibiotic to take for the next few days. Dr. Porubcin hasn't come back with any definitive answers, and will keep an eye on her until the next chemo treatment (scheduled for March 1). We'll know after the next treatment if her abdomen pain was related to the chemo.

Nurse George is working on her discharge, so she should be home before lunch.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scope this afternoon

Dr. Atwell made room in his schedule this afternoon and mom is going in for a scope in about 15 minutes. Hopefully they will be able to get a good look at something and determine what is causing mom's pain in her abdomen. Dr. Porubcin felt that there wasn't anything significant in the CT scans thus far, but he is going to consult with more radiologists.

Another day at Hammond Henry

Mom didn't get very much sleep last night, however she said that the pain isn't as bad as it was yesterday. She ate a good breakfast.

Dr. Mullin stopped in at about 8:30 a.m. He said he left a note for Dr. Atwell (the surgeon) to stop down and see mom about the possible scope. We don't know when that will happen, so she has to sit tight for now.

Dr. Mullin said that they are going to keep her on the Levaquin and are going to start on a pill dosage today. They gave her a dose of Protonix again as a precaution for any acid reflux issues. There doesn't seem to be any pattern of the pain with eating and such, so if they get the scope in today that would be good for troubleshooting any issues.

I'm hoping we'll hear more about the CT scan evaluations from Dr. Porubcin. I have to think that they will find something there or get some insight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Possible scope tomorrow

Dr. Mullin stopped by again this afternoon. He had talked with Dr. Porubcin about her CT scans and he (Porubcin) is going to go over them in depth with other radiologists. Dr. Mullin is going to suggest to the surgeon here, Dr. Atwell, that he do a scope of her stomach tomorrow to see/rule out whatever is going on in there.

A couple of years ago she had a scope done (as we were trying to figure all of this out) and they found she had the H. pylori bacteria. It didn't bother her at all and they decided back then not to treat it as they didn't want to do anything adverse to the chemo she was starting at the time.

Today her pain level was a little worse than yesterday - the nurse gave her a morphine shot in the afternoon so she could have a little break from the discomfort.

People have been stopping by all afternoon and that has helped pass the time and raise mom's spirits. One of her good friends, Lois, has been by every day. Her husband Ralph is in extended care at Hammond Henry, so she goes and visits him and then stops up to see mom. Lois always has a funny story about Ralph to tell. Ralph has cancer too - and about 5 months ago he was not expected to make it beyond two weeks... and somehow he has bounced back and in some ways is a lot better than he was a year ago. He is a bit of a pill - and gives the nurses a hard time... but I guess you have to be a feisty person if you are going to take cancer on head first and try to beat it.

Another night

Dr. Mullin was in early this morning and said he was going to do his best to get together with Dr. Porubcin (oncologist) and determine how to troubleshoot the abdominal pain. They need to review all of her past CT scans/Xrays to see what is different and then go from there.

They took out the IV this morning so she is free of the tubes and such. She ate a good breakfast and lunch, so the food seems to be going down OK. There is still discomfort in her abdomen, and she is just trying her best to keep quiet so the pain isn't aggravated any more than need be. She got a good night's sleep (with the help of pain meds).

She will stay another night at Hammond Henry Hospital, and we'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully we'll have more answers this afternoon. The room number is 310 if anyone wants to call and cheer her up!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend hospital stay

The day after chemo was about the only good day mom had this week. On Thursday she started feeling some discomfort in her abdomen... and then went away for a little while but then started getting worse on Friday. She didn't get much sleep Friday night, and I guess that was her tipping point because she then DROVE HERSELF to the hospital on Saturday to get checked out. They took a scan and an xray but couldn't make any determinations at the moment so they admitted her after the tests were done.

She was on an IV drip overnight and they gave her some pain medication to make her more comfortable. They also gave her some antibiotics (Levaquin). She was able to eat something for lunch today but wasn't very hungry. If she coughs it hurts but otherwise she's comfortable. Tomorrow Dr. Mullin and Dr. Porubcin are going to discuss her current scan and then compare with previous scans to see if there is anything different or if something stands out. There's not much to go on at this point. The Iowa City surgeon, Dr. DeGeest, may have something to offer as well.

So far no one is thinking that the abdomen pain is a side effect of the new chemo drug she is on - Doxil - but then again a lot of her chemo side effects have been atypical anyway. Hopefully we will know more tomorrow.

Below are pictures she took of the condo the day after the big blizzard. The plows had no where to put the snow so they just started piling it up in the yards. There is a huge mound in front of her kitchen window. The wind blew it around quite a bit and created a huge drift between her condo and her neighbor's condo to the north. We got a couple more inches last night but no damage done.

snow in Geneseo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quiet evening

Other than the blizzard outside, mom has had a good evening thus far and feels pretty good. They told her to rest and not walk around so much after the chemo and she has been doing that. The oncology nurses said that they really haven't seen too many people with bad nausea side effects when on Doxil.

New treatment

We made it to Trinity ok this morning. The roads weren't very bad although there was a little blowing and drifting.

Mom is about an hour into her Doxil treatment and it is going well. The nurses gave her a bag of steroids and a bag of Zofran (anti nausea). Unfortunately the insurance company didn't give the clear to get a prescription of Emend (the other anti nausea drug that she took last year during her very first chemo treatments with the Taxol/carbo) and that is unnerving. They don't expect that she'll have too much nausea side effects but I don't like the fact that the insurance company is telling us what she can and can't have. It is an expensive drug, but that shouldn't dictate anything either. She does have a prescription of Fenergan at home and she can take that if she needs to, but it makes her groggy and she doesn't like that.

Skin sensitivity is an issue with Doxil. The main thing she has to watch out for is sun exposure (wear sunscreen) and to take care of her hands and feet. Even daily activities with her hands such as cleaning and driving the car with hands on the steering wheel will cause too much friction on her skin and they will get chapped and rough overnight. They gave her a bunch of creams and sunscreen to use as preventative measures. I guess that it is a good thing that it is winter and she will be inside more than outside.