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Posts Tagged ‘PET scan’

I don’t know if I’ve moved on up to the east side or if it’s more like the south side. I’ve never been very good at geography or at figuring out where I am. Just ask my friend Jordan…I got us lost in a circular city surrounded by a giant wall. You’d think I’d have been able to find my way back by just following the wall, but no.

Mom had her PET scan a week or so ago. (My sense of time is greatly skewed these days.) It showed that some tumors are bigger while some are smaller. The only remaining option is more chemo. I’d asked mom in the hospital if she’d go through more chemo. She said that if they could guarantee it would be just like the last round, she could handle it, but if it was going to be any worse, no thanks. I can’t say I blame her. Spiritos (the oncologist) also mentioned to my dad that mom’s mental state is not related to the cancer (stroke? delayed onset of radiation? nobody knows), and that even if chemo worked, it wouldn’t help any of her other symptoms since they’re not related. They’ve decided to wait a few more weeks without changing anything to see if mom gets any better in terms of her ability to walk and talk, etc. She’s seeing a nurse and physical/occupational/speech therapists regularly.

Dad fired that Crystal girl. Well, not Crystal herself. Someone other than Crystal showed up one day and left mom’s catheter line open so it got all over the place when they moved her. So he fired the agency. Dad’s younger sister came to stay for a week, and I know that helped a lot.

My birthday was last Thursday. We usually all go out as a family to celebrate, but mom didn’t feel up to it this year, much as she wanted to go. I called their favorite restaurant, Saint Jacques, and the owner agreed to put a big take-out meal together for us, including some wine to go. He’s a very nice man. I know mom really appreciate it. Of course, she decided to fall right before dinner, so she didn’t feel up to sitting through the whole thing, but at least she got her foie gras!

I still feel guilty about leaving, but we’ve all got to get this stuff figured out. I really need to start working on my thesis…I was supposed to get down into it today, but I found that a day 100% off of everything (exercise, school, work, cleaning, unpacking) would be more useful than trying to do actual work. I’m going to try to work out something with my manager so I can work from my parents’ house one day every week on a regular basis. That will give dad a chance to get out, at least. They have a lot of great friends bringing meals and offering to hang out and help around the house. I’m still hoping we’ll figure out a routine and settle into something soon.

Mom, when she was about my age

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Sorry it’s been a while since my last update. The results of mom’s PET came back okay…I’m sure we were all wishing for a complete remission, but everything seems to be shrinking, so it could definitely be worse news.

She just had a bone scan, which showed cancer cells in her ribs and spine. They aren’t sure if those cells have been there for a long time and if the Tarceva might have stopped their growth, or if these cells are relatively new. What they do know is that they’re slow growing (good) and unaffected by chemo (bad). They told her something like…it’s nothing to worry about until you feel pain, and you’ll know if it’s bone-cancer pain because it’s unending and excruciating. Sounds like a blast.

Mom’s still having issues with her energy, which might be a result of the chemo or because of her thyroid. Nobody knows. She also said that she’s afraid the effects of the chemo are stacking up…after each treatment, she feels worse than she did before. I hope it starts to get better.

I’m planning to go back down to see my folks the last week in March, which will be nice. It feels like it’s been a long time…and I guess it has been since January?

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I was lucky enough to get to spend about five days with my parents last week (thankful for a flexible job!), and it was really good to see them. I think we’re all trying to settle into what mom has called her “new reality.” I’m obviously dealing with my own issues, and it’s difficult to talk about them with my parents. I don’t want to upset dad, and I don’t want to make mom feel like she’s upsetting me. She’s not.

Anyway, mom’s doing well, all things considered. I know she’s just tired of being tired. There are a lot of things she wants to do, and she hates not having the energy to do them all. I don’t know what I’d do if I were in her shoes. I know it’s hard for her to think that this might just be something she has to normalize to, that it might not get much better. I personally think that it can get better with some minor tweaking in terms of diet (what she’s eating, when she’s eating, etc.) and exercise (exercise gives you energy, but you do have to have enough to start with in order to do it). But I’m not her, and only she knows her own body well enough to figure things out.

She has her next chemo treatment on the second, I think. Then they will schedule the PET scan to see where they go from here. I hope they can cut back on her medicine and that she gets some of her energy back. I know that would make everyone feel a little better. 🙂

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Merry Christmas

Anthony and I were lucky enough to be able to take an entire week for Christmas break, which was wonderful.  It was great not to have to think about work or school for a while and to just spend time with my folks.

I was glad to be there for mom’s first chemo treatment.  I know it was scary for her, and it was a bit scary for me, too.  It took a lot longer than we expected, but all in all, I don’t think it was too bad.  Mom didn’t seem to experience any pain.  She got hit with the fatigue that lasted from day 2-4 and a little nausea, but by the time we left, she was feeling a lot better.  It sure could be a lot worse.  I hope those are all the side-effects she experiences and that they get lighter over time.  Her next treatments are 1/10 and 1/31, and then I think they’ll do another PET scan to see where she’s at and recommend further treatment.

Christmas was great.  We ate a lot of good food and enjoyed being with each other.  We played bridge a lot and watched a couple of movies.  I love being with my parents, and I wish I were a bit closer so we could see each other more often.  Hopefully that will all work out sometime soon!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and New Year!

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The Greenbrier

Hello everyone!

Not much news on mom’s cancer front, thank goodness.  Her doctor’s initial reaction to her latest PET scan results was that she was in remission because there was no sign of activity…then he called back later to say that there was some activity around the area of the initial tumor, but as far as he was concerned, she should consider herself in remission.  I’m not sure you could ask for better news.  I know she wishes her nausea and energy were under control, but I have a feeling she could take care of much of that through an improved diet…if she wants.

They were very nice to invite us to spend last weekend with them at the Greenbrier, a fancy-schmancy hotel here in West Virginia.  I’m not sure Anthony and I would ever have been able to afford to go on our own (at least not in the foreseeable future), so we jumped at the chance, even though we had to put our poor kitties back at the vet for boarding.

We had a great time.  I wish we’d had another day so that we could have gone hiking, but we were able to do a tour of the Cold War-era Congressional bunker, which was neat, and we ate a lot of good food (though we had a few run-ins with sausage, which wasn’t much fun…as Anthony reminded me, we were still in West Virginia).

The day we arrived, mom got sick to her stomach.  It’s the first time I’ve been around her when she was sick, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  Some people like you to hold back their hair (definitely not an issue with her right now)…some people like to be touched, some people (like me) don’t want anyone near them.  So I made sure she had water and a cool, wet washcloth and then just tried to get the poodle out of the room.  She thinks it was because she took a pill at the wrong time or something like that.  It’s hard to be the one to care for your parents…well, the hard part is realizing that the person who has always cared for you now needs you to care for them.

You can check out mom’s blog for her thoughts on the trip.  She said her energy held up for the rest of the time they were there (they stayed for most of the week; we headed home on Sunday).  I’m glad they had a good time, and I’m very thankful that they included us in their vacation.

 

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The Family at KA

It’s been a while since my last update, so if you were waiting, you probably were wondering if we made it back alive.  Have no fear: we all made it to our respective homes, a little lighter in the pockets and with tighter-fitting clothes.  It was great to have the whole family together, and my only complaint about the whole trip was that it was too short!  I feel like I didn’t waste a single minute, which is great, but I never got a chance to relax!  That might also be because I had to work almost every day I was there, but that’s another story….

I spent most of the time at the gym and spa, and I think mom was too.  She worked out twice, and since she asked me to give her some pointers, I tried to help.  I still think the Canyon Ranch Grill is the best place to eat in Vegas: awesome food, they print the nutrition value right on the menu, and it’s not overpriced.  I’ve never been one for massages before, but I sure liked the one I had there!  (In the spa, not the grill, of course.)  I don’t think I’ve ever felt my shoulders without any tension in them before.

I didn’t do very well at blackjack, which stinks.  I usually do a good job.  I think I was too cautious, which might come with age, or maybe with a full understanding of the value of money.  It was easier when I was younger and didn’t have any bills waiting for me at home.

Mom on the Scooter

I think everyone else had a good time, too.  Mom’s energy kept up for all but one day, and we got her a little motorized scooter so she could go shopping with us at the Forum shops.  I have to admit that it was slightly annoying…I was looking for a couple specific things, and it’s really hard to run around and get in and out of places quickly with one of those scooters…but I was really glad she was able to come around with me, and I’d rather have dealt with the scooter than have stolen all her energy for the rest of the trip.  It’s not as easy to do things anymore because there’s a lot more planning involved: will there be a wheelchair and wheelchair access, how much walking is there, what if mom wants to leave early or gets tired, how early can we eat, etc.  I’m not saying that’s bad…just something different that we’ll have to get used to from here on out.  Kind of like learning how to be a parent and how to maneuver a stroller.

When mom got back to NC, she got her MRI and the results that her brain tumors are completely gone.  Her thyroid levels are back to normal (though she’s still a bit low on energy), and they took her off the blood thinning meds.  We’re all hoping for a clear PET scan in September, and then for it all to continue on the upward path for a long time!!

So the next exciting adventure is that Anthony lost his job, so we’re back into the thick of money worries.  I don’t think there’s any worse stress than wondering how you’re going to afford your mortgage (in our case, mortgageS).  I’m trying not to worry too much because I know that everything works out the way it’s supposed to, but I thought we were finally getting on track, and it sucks to be back in this place.

I’ll be seeing mom (and dad) again in a couple of weeks when we’re back in NC for a friend’s wedding shower.  I think I get to see them at least once a month from here on out for the rest of the year…after the shower, they’re coming to WV to visit the Greenbrier in mid-September; then the friend’s wedding in October; then Thanksgiving; then Christmas.  Time sure flies!

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Good News!

Well, folks, it looks like things are finally going well!  Tarceva seems to have done the trick for the time being.  Mom just got her PET scan results back, and it looks like whatever isn’t completely gone is on its way out.  I’d encourage you to go read the details in her journal.

Great news, yes, but I’m kinda upset that she made me cry at work.  🙂

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