I just wanted to put a quick update on to say that mom is doing a little better and is in less pain. She said that she is still taking medications but that she is able to move around much more in the last day or so.
So this weekend has most certainly been more difficult for mom. We came to Tulsa for a visit. She was able to get in the pool during times there was full shade, but was not able to swim around much. She has started to have a great deal of pain in her hips and legs. She took a nap at her sister's house and was in enough pain that she said that she considered calling her sister in the other room from her cell phone to bring her Tylenol (notice I said considered, she did not do this). Her brother's retirement party was scheduled for Saturday and she has been looking forward to going. On Saturday afternoon, she did not think she would be able to go and was considering staying home (again notice I said "consider"). She did go to the party, but was not able to stay for any activities after dinner. She was very uncomfortable through the night and said that she did not sleep much at all. The next morning (Sunday) she was really struggling with getting around and was in quite a bit of pain. Mom did manage to get herself ready for the day and made it to St. Mary and worked in the nursery Sunday afternoon. When I talked to her Sunday evening, she said that she was able to take some of her prescription pain medication and that she was "finally feeling a little normal."
The pain could have two causes. First could be the shot she receives the day after every chemotherapy treatment. This shot contains white blood cells which are absorbed by her bones and pain in her joints/bones/body was a possible side effect. The new chemotherapy that she is doing has a side effect of flu like symptoms (among others) and could be also be causing pain. Overall she is still doing well. The negative treatment effects are certainly starting to show and she is struggling a little. She is a very tough person and has a very positive attitude. I know that she will adjust to any side effects. I will update again in a few days.
Mom went in this morning for her first Taxol chemotherapy treatment. Her blood work came back good and she was cleared to do treatment today. This type of chemo apparently has a higher probability of the patient having an allergic reaction. She was administered Benadryl before treatment and received one hour of medications to monitor her reaction. Mom said that her wrist was itching a little and she had some minor pain in her back. She did not have any significant reaction though, so they started her on the last three hours of treatment. After she finished treatment she asked the nurse what types of reactions they were looking for and they told her that some people have heart problems, rash, severe pain in back, and other not so fun things. We are very fortunate that she did not experience any of these. When I talked to her tonight, she said she is still doing well. She said that she has been a little tired and has taken two naps today. She plans on this being her big weekend to swim, so hopefully she will feel well enough.
Last weekend mom was able to come to Oklahoma City for a weekend visit. This is actually the first time she has been able to drive herself and stay a couple nights this summer. This has been a drastic change from the last couple summers. Not that she has not been capable of driving, but since she is doing treatment every other week, has doctor's appointments, ect., there just have not been many opportunities. This was the first weekend since mom has started treatment that I was able to see a real difference in her overall health. She seemed more tired than usual and she had a hard time walking longer distances. (The walking is due to the white blood cell shots she gets the day after each treatment). She is having some pain in her throat (due to tissue change - a side effect of the chemo) and has some mild trouble eating. We did get the chance to take Addison to see her first movie (Toy Story 3) and I know that mom really enjoyed doing this.
Tomorrow she will start her new type of medication. Of course, we all hope that she does as well with this round of medication as she did with the last. She will say that even if she does not do well, she will be grateful that the negative symptoms indicate the medication is working. She always says she would trade several weeks of being ill if it meant that she was able to get past the cancer. This round of medication will take longer to administer. The "red medicine" took about 2 hours, and this will take about 4. Her doctor told her they would do an even slower administration tomorrow to monitor how her body reacts to the new medicine. She will be at the treatment center tomorrow at 7:15am, will have blood drawn and wait for results, then a few hours after arrival will start the chemo drip. I will update tomorrow evening on how she is doing.
Mom's incision from her port has completely healed and she is cleared to go swimming this weekend. We will all be in Tulsa and she is looking forward to her first opportunity to get in the pool this summer!
Today mom finished the first half of her chemotherapy today. To this point, she has been taking what the doctors and nurses are calling "the red medicine" or "red devil." She will start a new kind of chemo in two weeks. She was told by her doctor that the medicine she is taking now is typically harder on the body compared to the chemo she will start in 2 weeks. Her blood work today was fantastic. Her white blood cell count is higher than before she started chemo and the other numbers are all better as well. Mom is happy to get through this first type of medication and is ready to move to the next. She said as of tonight, she is feeling well.
Today mom met with the surgeon. She had an exam and an ultrasound. The doctor said that her skin surrounding the cancerous area is softer (a good thing) and that everything already looks better. The ultrasound indicated that the affected lymph nodes are smaller and that everything is looking better. As long as chemotherapy continues as scheduled (meaning blood levels continue to be high enough to continue treatment without having to wait additional time), she will have surgery approximately three weeks after chemotherapy. This is all very good news. Mom was very excited to hear that improvement is already visually obvious.