Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No news is good news.....

Yesterday I asked Dave if he was going to do an update on his blog. He said he didn't really have anything to say...so, here I am reporting that my husband is feeling better and isn't going to do an update! He started perking up yesterday to where I could tell he's feeling better, which I'm so thankful for. Last week really scared me. He was feeling better after the blood transfusion but was still really tired. Each day he's been getting more color, more of an appetite, a little more energy.
So, my thanks to you for your prayers and words of encouragement as we're in the middle of our journey. Here's to a good week!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dave's back home...

Just a quick note to let you know that Dave is home from the hospital. He's feeling somewhat better, still a little tired. Personally, between you and me, he looks A LOT better...he was really "grey" looking yesterday. I'm thankful he's back home, has an appetite and a LOT more energy...even if he is tired.
More later...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dave's getting a blood transfusion...

Yes, it's me, Holly, yet again! Well, we've known that Dave has been very, very tired and has not really had much of an appetite since he got out of the hospital last Friday. Fortunately, he had a good day yesterday, which was his birthday. He got up this morning though and was just incredibly tired and had absolutely no energy at all. We got a call from Joan, Dr. D'Amato's nurse, who told us that Dave's levels were critical...yikes...his hematocrit, hemoglobin and white cells were ALL critical and some of the others (potassium, etc) were "just low"...so, back to the hospital we go. Yep, Dave got admitted to Crawford Long around 1:00 pm and was in his room at 3:00 pm today. He's supposed to receive 2 pints of blood and supposedly he feel like a new man tomorrow. Hopefully he'll get a good nights rest and I can go pick him up tomorrow after the kids get on the bus.
So, keep him in your prayers and thank goodness he has a great doc and we live close enough where we can get him treated so he'll be good as new in a day!
Take Care, Holly

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Dave's birthday, it's Dave's birthday...

Dave would probably have my head if he knew I was writing this, but I figured after everthing the man has gone through in the last 2 1/2 months, the world should know that it's his birthday! Yesterday, he was walking through the kitchen and looked at the calendar on the wall. He goes, "If I hadn't just looked at the calendar and seen that tomorrow was my birthday, I wouldn't have had any idea it was coming up." We made an arrangement that I'll make his favorite German Chocolate Cake later on, anytime he wants it and can enjoy it...
Yesterday was a little bit better for Dave in case you're wondering. The nausea had subsided a bit but he was soooooo tired. Today through Saturday marks the phase when his white cells drop to their lowest, so hopefully he'll pull through it with no high fever or trips to the ER.
Well, I'm off to get the boys ready for school. Have a good day, hopefully the birthday boy will too! ;-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Round #3 is Completed, the Patient is home...

Hey there, it's me (Holly) again. Dave would be updating the blog, but, due to the fact that he's fighting some really bad nausea at this time, he requested I make the update.

Well, Round #3 went by quickly (for some of us) and we're glad it's over. It looks like this may mark the half-way point with the chemo which is awesome. We're so thankful the tumor is smaller, if only the side effects weren't so harsh on Dave. It's temporary and he's going to beat this thing!

My mom and niece came and spent the first 1/2 of the week with me to help with the boys. Bryce & Kyle love having the company and it helps me out a bunch...I'm much appreciative for the help. Dave's parents and sister, Barbara, came into town on Thursday. They went to spend time with Dave at the hospital and then came up to the house to spend time with me and the boys.

Friday, Dave was READY to blow the popsicle stand. I think the worst part of Round #3 for him was boredom. On Monday when he was getting hooked up to the chemo, he was practically counting the hours until the final Mesna would be done so he could check out. Friday morning, when Barbara & I went to pick him up, he had pretty much packed up his all his things and only needed to change his shirt when his port was de-accessed. He did an awesome job walking laps (of the 7th floor), not only because it's good for him to move around, but to help pass the time. He didn't even want the wheelchair trip down to the car, nope, he walked across the street to the parking lot. He was so glad to be out of there!

Now that he's home, his main problem has been the nausea, but he's managing it with meds and having me put anything smelly in our garage fridge. Hopefully this will be short-lived and he'll perk up soon.

Well, that's all for now...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day #3 of Round #3 and all is well!

I’m very happy to report that all is going quite smoothly thus far with Round #3. Even my appetite and nausea is in much better check than in previous rounds. I credit that at least somewhat to Holly for bringing me some of my favorite food and drinks (spicy ramen noodle soup, smoothies, Orange G2, and CranApple juice). These good foods/drinks seem to be helping me to tolerate better the Hospital food. Hey, whatever works!

Out of here Friday noon
Due to some juggling of my chemo and other drugs, it turns out that I should be getting out of here around noon on Friday. This is so much better than previously where I was released late Friday evening and as late as Saturday afternoon. This too makes me a happy camper!

Clarification on Shrinkage
Since everyone had so much fun with my shrinkage comments of the other day, I figured I should share that Dr. D’Amato explained to me in today’s daily visit that the tumor not only has shrunk but had gotten softer as well. And yes, I‘m quite happy about this new as it is all according to plan.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Checked in and “ready” for another week of Chemo

Well, I’m all checked into Crawford Long Hospital for round #3, just waiting to get hooked up my chemo (no rush, please). For friends and family that wish to call me, my direct line is 404-686-7137.

About the only thing that has me at all nervous or worried this time is trying to figure out how to survive the hospital food. It’s never really that good and once you start fighting nausea, it is the last thing you want. Just take my word on it.

To help combat the evil hospital food, I was sure to stop at The Varsity just prior to seeing the doctor and getting admitted. The Varsity chili dog is really quite good and their frosted orange drink is loved even by those that say they “hate” the place.

Size does matter
Just a little update on that MRI I had last week. Dr. Monson was indeed correct that the tumor did shrink. According to Dr. D’Amato, it appears to have shrunk by about 10%. She was very impressed! I asked if my quick shrinkage would possibly get me out of rounds #5 and/or #6 and her response was “just the opposite. The tumor shrinking proves that the chemo is working well and guarantees that you’ll be seeing rounds #5 and #6.” Nice try I suppose, but I cannot ignore the chemo.

Strong Echo
As mentioned by the tech the other day, my echocardiogram “looked good”. Exactly how good I didn’t know until today. According to the cardiologist, my ejection fraction measured between 60% and 65%. Since this is well above what it was previously, Dr. D’Amato quipped that the “chemo must be helping it.”

Here’s to a quick and easy round #3!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Echo Update

BTW, the tech who did my Echocardiogram yesterday indicated that all looked well according to him. I should receive official confirmation of this on Monday when I meet with Dr. D'Amato prior to checking into the hospital.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2-Week Update

Sorry for the silence
My apologies for neglecting this blog. I had intended to update it last week, but that's when things started heading downhill for me and I lost any will/strength to post an update. From Thursday thru Saturday I was feeling pretty puny due to critically low white blood cell counts (absolute neutrophil count in particular). During that entire time my temperatrue remained in the 99 - 99.5 sort of range and I was quite concerned that it would soon cross the 100.5 boarder, which would force me to the ER (as happened during my previous round of chemotheropy). But thankfully my temperature stayed in the "safe" zone and I was doing much better come Sunday morning.

MRI Status
On Tuesday (just yesterday), I had another MRI done on my left thigh and a followup appointment with Dr. Monson. As you may recall, the goal Dr. D'Amato was trying to achieve with these first 2 rounds of chemotheropy was to simply stop the growth of the tumor (shrinkage was not a requirement). You may recall futher that between my initial MRI and the baseline MRI a month later the tumor grew by several centimenters (all dimensions included).
So what was the result with this latest MRI after 2 rounds of chemotheropy? The preliminary results from Dr. Monson indicate that tumor growth has indeed stopped and possibly may have even shrunk slightly. That's great news as it shows the chemo is working! The downside, of course, is that it means yet another two rounds of chemo for me (which really is no fun). But if it can kick the cancer, then it should all be worth it.

Echocardiogram Thursday
As a pre-requisite to my next round of chemo, Dr. D'Amato has ordered another Echocardiogram to verify that my heart is still strong enough to handle the intense chemo she so joyously likes to administer. I'll post the results of that test when I find out (which might be next Monday).

Round #3 starts Monday
Between being sickly the latter half of last week and all of the hospital trips this week combined with the visiting nurse appointments Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I feel like my time off between chemo this round has just blown by. I better plan on doing something fun this weekend and make the most of the time I have left.

Mullet not to be forgotten
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions about the mullet. I do plan to put into action some of the suggestions that were made. But my guess is that's going to be after I get back from this next round of chemo. I'll just be bald or wearing a bandana until then.