Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chemo rescheduled

Mom didn't get her chemo treatment today after all. After meeting with Dr. Porubcin he felt that she needed another week before getting another treatment, so she will go in next Tuesday again.

Her port area is still very tender and putting a needle in would be very uncomfortable. And she has already started getting blisters on her feet (they never really healed after her previous Doxil treatment) and they are very inflamed at times. She can put ice packs on them to cool it down a little, but her feet are already a mess. Cream will also help somewhat. I brought her two new jars of Udderly Smooth so she is set for a couple of weeks at least.

Dr. Porubcin is also going to reduce the Doxil dosage slightly - from 40 ml to 30 ml. He feels that should be a good mix to attack the cancer yet reduce her side effects a little. We won't know until we get into the treatments more, but Dr. P. is concerned that her feet are showing the signs already.

She did get some good news from the lung doctor though - she won't need to see him again as her lungs have healed properly. The spot where the doctor put the chest tube in will be quite sore for a while though. It still bothers her and probably will for the next few weeks.

Mom, Rosemary and Carol having a chat at the wedding.
On a lighter note mom had a busy weekend - we went to a family wedding in Ottawa. My cousin Alaina's son David married his girlfriend of two years (or so give or take I think) Katie. The wedding ceremony was wonderful and the colors Katie chose were very cool - her "inspiration piece" was the colors of a peacock feather and everything was done in those hues of green, blue, purple with black accent. Great concept.

So we ate a lot of food (mom did put on a few pounds thankfully when she weighed in this morning) and danced (not mom) and then went to Ransom church Sunday morning. It was a fun weekend and mom enjoyed being around family. We had a nice surprise and saw some old neighbors from Hazelwood who were at the wedding - the Sowers. Turns out they are the bride's Aunt and Uncle. Small crazy world. It was fun to see them and mom got a kick out of Bob's usual demeanor to her "What are you doing here?" and "Who invited you?" Of course mom gave it right back to him - that is the way that it goes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter

A great day for Easter - fantastic church service and message at First UMC in Geneseo; mom was feeling good; a killer brunch at Pinnacle and the weather was beautiful to boot.

We felt very blessed. She is looking forward to the family wedding affair this coming Saturday. Cousin Alaina has forewarned us: "Make sure you bring your dancing shoes!"

Still trying to get mom the hang of doing a selfie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

World Ovarian Cancer Day

Once again, May 8 is World Ovarian Cancer Day. Last year was the first year for the event, and I think it has built some awareness about Ovarian Cancer, but we can always use more awareness. At this point, that is the best defense against the disease - knowing the symptoms, knowing your body and taking the time to be aware of what is going on with your body. 

As my mom knows, the symptoms are subtle and can be too easily confused with other body ailments. I have signed a pledge to share awareness on May 8 - it's easy to sign up and easy to spread the word, whether it's talking to people, using a blog or putting something on Facebook. 

Sign the pledge >>

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Restful evening

Mom had some good periods of sleep last night and this morning said she was feeling rested. It makes all the difference in the world to be at home. 

Today she isn't going to do much, and Scotty is going to head out to her condo later this a.m. and make sure she doesn't do what she says she's not going to do! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Home finally

The hospital released mom right before lunch so she has been home since about 1:00 p.m. and doing fine. She has a few follow up appointments next week with the pulmonary doctor and then a reschedule with the surgeon who put the port in her chest as she missed that follow up yesterday.

She is happy to be home! Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes and prayers! Her lungs are both expanded and the Physician Assistant said this morning that there is no detection of pneumothorax issues from what they could see on the x-ray.

Mom is a little fatigued but overall feeling good and pain-free. I'll be keeping an eye on her, and Scotty is planning on helping her out in the next few days as well. Mom also has some great neighbors who will be keeping their eye out - so mom knows she has to behave herself!

Going home!

The nurses wheeled mom down for another x-ray bright and early this morning for one more look at the lungs. The report was good, and the doctors said that mom can go home this afternoon. They also took her off the oxygen.

She is feeling much better this morning and looking forward to getting out of the hospital! I'm thinking that they will release her after lunch.

They didn't give her too many restrictions either - she just needs to be mindful of lifting, etc. She will have a few follow up appointments next week. We need to get the weight back on her (she is down to 95 pounds) so that will be a priority - food! I'm sure we'll be doing some Culver runs... and Geneseo has a new Casey's now. I still haven't tried their pizza so that will be on the list too.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Busy afternoon

Flower garden on the window sill.
Mom had a busy afternoon. The morning x-ray results were good, so the doctor took the GARDEN HOSE out of her right lung much to mom's relief. Her pain level went down dramatically after that.

She sat in the chair for awhile and ate lunch, and then had her mind on getting back to bed and taking a nap when my friend Kathy stopped by to say hello and how's it going... etc. About 10 minutes later someone announced that it was time for another x-ray and that her "transport" was ready (for the last couple of days they have been bringing the x-ray machine to her in the room; but since the tube was out of her chest that was out of the question now and mom had to go to the x-ray machine). So they put her on a cart and wheeled her down to the basement - I went along as I wasn't too trusting of the "transporter"(there's another story there). After the joy ride to the basement mom was looking forward to a nap, but the Physical Therapist said it was time to walk the hall.

Somewhere between the afternoon activities we set off a few alarms because I thought I could just help mom to the restroom instead of calling a nurse. I didn't know they had a bed sensor attached to her as well, so when her bum left the bed, a REALLY LOUD alarm went off. After I got the IV cart situated with all of the cords I turned around and the whole floor of doctors and nurses were standing in the doorway.

Mom finally got her nap though.

I'm hopeful that someone will come in tonight and have the most recent x-ray results. If they are good then she could be going home tomorrow, maybe. That's not confirmed. There was a short conversation earlier about whether or not mom was going to need someone to check on her at home. I'm sure we'll talk more about that tomorrow.

The good news is that she is feeling much better today!

Good night's sleep

Mom had a good night's sleep last night thankfully. The "garden hose" (that is what she calls it) in the side of her chest is uncomfortable, but the nurses have been on top of it and have helped mom manage the pain. Mom did get up and do a little walk down the hall yesterday so hopefully she can get some more activity in today.

The nurses did an xray again this a.m. so hopefully those results will be good. Dr. Porubcin was in early to check on her and I think that he was happy with her progress.

If the xray looks good maybe they will take the garden hose out this afternoon. Then she may be able to go home tomorrow. It always seems like this is all a big waiting game but the doctors and nurses want to make sure that mom heals properly (as we all do!) so we will wait.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Today has been an up and down day. The nurses clamped the pleural-vac (the thing that has the tube going into her lung) to see if mom's lung could maintain the respiratory functions. She did fine with breathing, but the tube coming out of her lung is still painful and making her very uncomfortable.

She ate very well today otherwise - better than yesterday.

The nurses took an xray of her chest of 5:30p and the results were pretty good - there was some change in her right lung...not fully expanded but better than Friday; the left lung is the same. So they are going to keep the clamp on the vac and see how she does through the night, and then take another xray in the morning. If the results are good on that xray then they will take the tube out of her chest and see how she does from there. The nurses and doctor seem to be hopeful.

But in mom's words "you better be sure my lung is good before you take the tube out because you are not putting another tube in my chest again." That is how bad it hurt and mom is not one to complain really.

Mom received some flowers today and my sister in law Lisa came by for a visit. Chad called her from Chicago and she was happy to talk to him for a bit. She has been getting calls on her cell phone too so that seems to make the day go better. Hopefully she will get a good night's sleep tonight and have good results in the morning tomorrow. She wants to go home.

Anniversary day

As good as the afternoon was yesterday, mom had a tougher time as the evening wore on. The pain from the chest tube was irritating and making it hard for her to sleep, but I think that after a while she eventually got a good 4 hour doze down. 

She ate a good breakfast this morning (half her oatmeal) and she looks perky-er but there is a little bit of pain still in the chest tube area still. Dr. Porubcin has not been in yet. 

Barb and Harry, circa 1963
Today is a bittersweet day - it's mom and dad's anniversary. Aunt Ruth and I deduced last night that they were married in 1963 (because Ruth wore the same dress to the wedding and prom??). So that's 51 years. 

It is really ironic because mom is at the hospital where dad passed in 1989. 

Barb and Harry were quite a snappy couple in the day. I think dad must of wore the same suit for years but mom was always very fashionable. I'll try and look for some more photos. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Private room with a view

The nurses moved mom to a private room this afternoon because all of her tubes and attachments were getting to be a issue every time she had to use the restroom and having a double room just meant more obstacles. So she is now in room 773. The nurses and doctors and staff have been really outstanding here and have made mom very comfortable, and that's comforting to me!

She had a good afternoon overall, and ate a good dinner. Mom will be here for a couple more days at least.

Nancy and Bill Craig stopped by today and so did Pastor Chris. Scotty also stayed for a little while this afternoon and Tom will be the first one in the room tomorrow morning again with coffee (that she can't have) so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day yet.

Back to the hospital...

Mom started to have a problem mid-week, commenting that she was short-of-breath and just overall fatigued. Her voice also sounded raspy and I thought maybe she was coming down with some sort of chest cold or something. She also said her left hurt as well... wasn't sure what to make of that either. 

She talked with Dr. Porubcin's office yesterday morning, and they thought there was a great concern, so I took her over to the Dr office yesterday afternoon, and long story short (after tests - scans, EKG etc) they found that her right lung was 50% collapsed and the left lung was also showing some stress due to some small holes in her lungs. Pneumothorax. (Read more here >> http://www.webmd.com/lung/tc/collapsed-lung-pneumothorax-topic-overview )

Right away they took her into the emergency room (Unity Point Trinity Moline) ((Dr. Porubcin's office is in the same hospital)) and put a tube in her right lung and hooked her up to a machine to re-inflate the lung. They also put her on oxygen, which will help the lungs heal. 

They took her over to Unity Point Trinity West in Rock Island where she is going to be staying for a few days. Dr. Porubcin wanted her in the QC to keep a watch on her. She is in room 790 on the seventh floor. 

Last night was a struggle as she was in a lot of pain (from the chest tube) and they gave her quite a bit of morphine and vicodin to get control of it. I think everything kicked in at about 10:30 p.m. She slept on and off throughout the night, and has been sleeping most of the morning. 

At this point, she will have the chest tube until her lung re-inflates and not sure what the timeframe is on that. A couple more days at least. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chemo day - Round Four

It was kind of comforting to be back in the Trinity Cancer Center Chemo room today. Most of the same nurses are still there - Carrie, Tracy and Marty - and they all know mom and were happy to see her (in a bittersweet way). They take great care of mom and all of the cancer patients. The room was full today, and that makes it fun because you get to meet people and hear their stories if they want to talk. The nurses are always great to family members and have always made me feel welcome and make sure that I can squeeze my chair next to mom's.

Mom was tired today - she didn't sleep very well at all last night - the bandaged area around the new port was not comfortable. I think the tape was irritating her skin a bit. The surgeon also left the needle in the port yesterday (so the nurses wouldn't have to re-access it today) and so that was uncomfortable as well. There were a combination of things that was just making it not easy for mom to sleep. Luckily she caught a couple of cat naps.

Overall mom's chemo session was about 2 1/2 hour total. The nurses gave her a mixed bag of 2 nausea meds and a steroid to start, and then put on the Doxil bag after that. Not sure if she will see any side effects right away since she has had this drug before. Her feet haven't been the same since the last time, and are not healed quite fully as it is, so I expect that she will have some blisters reappear in the next couple of months.

All in all the day went well.

She goes to Dr. Atwell for a check-in next week and get the stitches out of her chest. I'm hoping that we can hear about the cyst-thing that they took out of her neck by the end of this week.