Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things are getting pretty tough

I have not posted in several days because I have not been sure what to say. These last couple weeks have been really hard for mom and I wanted to obtain her permission before posting. Mom is still essentially on bedrest. It has been about two weeks now. She is not supposed to get out of bed even to go in the other room to fix or eat dinner. She is not able to walk around to get ciculation or look out a different window. She can go from her bed to the chair in her room. She must take special care to stay off her foot at all times if possible. Of course anybody would want their body to heal. This is especially important for her as she has very stong chemicals running through her body that affect her blood counts, as she has a weakened immune system and is suseptible to infection, and as she is preparing to have a major surgery in a few weeks. All these reasons increase the importance that she follow all the rules her doctor has given so that her foot can heal.

First of all, the pain from the previous chemotherapy treatment has really been hard for mom to take. The first few days after seemed to be going pretty well, but the pain has been increasing since then. She has pain in her joints and especially in her knees. She does have prescription medications to help manage the pain; however when she takes the medication, it causes her blood pressure to drop too low. This leaves her with trying to find the balance between a safe blood pressure and relieving some amount of pain.

Second, she is experiencing excessive anxiety symptoms. This is not surprising - she is dealing with a lot. In some ways the cancer diagnosis is still setting in(for her and for us). It is hard to believe that it was only three months ago that she was diagnosed. Her body has been through so much trauma already and she has so much to go (one more chemotherapy, surgery, raditation, and several tests). I think this has all become overwhelming for her. She also loves her job and the kids she gets to work with every day. I know that she has anxiety over not being able to work and not being part of their school year yet. She is so ready to get back to work, the kids, and her coworkers. Mom is so accustomed to being able to do things for herself. It has been very difficult for her to rely on others to bring her meals to her, to take her to appointments, and even to substitute for her at work. Both the pain and the anxiety have led to difficulties sleeping. I know that several days may pass with only a few total hours of sleep.

As I said before, I asked for mom's permission before posting this. She told me that the point of doing the blog was to let people know how she was doing - good and bad. I have tried to keep things general without going into too many details. When it comes down to it, this is all part of dealing with cancer. Cancer is a horrible disease and we all look for a day that nobody has to deal with this anymore. Now I will tell you, that as my mom talks to me about some of her symtoms she adds this:

"You know, being at home I have had no choice but to watch a lot of television. I have seen so much about the miners that have already been trapped for so long...they may be down there for so much longer. When I think about that, I don't think I have much I can complain about."

Of course that is what my mom says...of course it is.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pretty Good so Far

So I have checked in with mom and not too many problems with pain at this point. I know that she is getting bored of staying in bed all day, but I think she also recognizes that this is may be part of not being in so much pain.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Medicine

Mom went in for her chemotherapy treatment today. Her hemoglobin levels have dropped again, but still high enough to continue with treatment. The problem is that she is having neuropathy in her hands and feet. The doctor told her that nerve damage can be a side effect of the chemo and that it can be permanent. Since she has already lost feeling in her toes, the doctor decided to change her chemotherapy type to avoid further nerve damage to feet and hands. This treatment was faster to administer and mom is hoping she will be in less pain in the days after treatment. Saturday seems to be the telling day of if she will be in pain and the extent of it. The trip for chemotherapy is the first time she has been able to get out of bed in a couple days due to the toe issue. She quickly returned home and to her bed rest per her doctor's orders. She was given some medication to help her sleep since she has not slept much at all in the last couple weeks, especially this week. Tomorrow she will get another quick break from bed rest when she goes in to get her shot. I will update again on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No School for "Mizzz Pense"

Today was the first day of school for the kids. Mom has spent time over the last few weeks going to the classroom to get it ready and bringing home the new books and lesson packets to get them ready for each of the kids. She has been very concerned about how much time she would need to miss for her chemotherapy treatments and wanting things to be as consistent as possible for the students. Seriously people - I have seen her get her calendar out to try to figure it up. She hated that she was going to miss Thursday for treatment since it was in the first week they were back. She tried to get her Friday appointment changed for getting her shot so that she would be there to take the kids to their first time at church this school year. So she was NOT HAPPY when she went to the doctor today and was told she was going to have to miss two weeks. I was told the details about the toe but lets just say it is gross so that you can be spared reading and I do not have to relive the story while typing. The result is that she has some type of ulcer on her toe that was treated today and she must stay in bed on off her feet for two whole weeks. She does have permission to go in for her chemotherapy treatment Thursday and for her shot Friday. I will update Thursday as tomorrow will consist of staying in bed and NOTHING else.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Temperature and Toe

Mom had previously made an appointment with the doctor as she had a sore area on one of her toes. Today she said that her toe is enlarged and there is a large blood blister on it (this was her own diagnosis). She was back to work today and she said as she left, the teacher in her room gave her a hug and mentioned that she felt warm. Mom said that she took her temperature when she got home and sure enough had a fever at 101. If she has raises in her temp (above normal) she must immediately start taking medications. She started taking her antibiotics today and has an appointment to have her toe looked at tomorrow. She said her cancer doctor told her that this should not affect her blood levels and she should still be able to do her chemotherapy treatments. I will update to let you know details of the appointment. Mom said that she is feeling well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is good

Mom had her appointment with the breast surgeon today. Upon exam, the doctor stated that things look much better. She did an ultrasound in the office and stated that the cancer is...
This is fantastic news. Mom said the doctor is very excited about this. She has two more chemotherapy treatments and the doctor told her the chemo stays in your body for several weeks after your done as well. It looks like mom will have surgery sometime around the end of September and may have radiation after that. Mom sounds very encouraged by the progress. She says that all the pain she has been in over the last couple weeks is worth it as long as she gets the good end result.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Mom said this round has not been near as bad as the last one. She said that she is in pain though and is pretty much staying at home to not stress herself. She has been doing heating pads and cool packs as well as her medication for relief. She said that she is able to get around though and that things are better.

Friday, August 6, 2010

6 down 2 to go...

Thursday mom completed her sixth treatment. I know that she was not looking forward to this one as she has been in so much pain after the last one. Her doctor did give her medications to help with the pain and mom plans to stay on top of it over the weekend to try to prevent the pain for getting to the level it did last time. Most of her blood work came back good. Her hemoglobin levels have been getting lower each time and they are now below normal. Now I can't tell you what that really means except that this is the level they monitor to see if she can do treatment for that day. She was very restless through her treatment. Her sisters tell me she was shifting a lot in her chair, was getting up and down, and was "irritable." I know that when I would call to check on her she continued to worry that it was taking too long and that it did not seem like the chemotherapy bag was emptying quickly enough. She went back to get her shot this morning.

We are staying in Tulsa this weekend and when I woke up this morning nobody was in the house. I went outside and mom was in the swimming pool with Addison. They started swimming at 7:30 this morning. She says that she thinks tomorrow will be the test of how she is going to do as Saturday was when she started having problems last time. She is getting to be fairly tired. Not only from the chemotherapy, but she said that she is having a hard time sleeping most nights. She seems pretty determined to keep doing things as close to the pace she would before. As I type this I can overhear her talking (read complaining) to my aunt because she may have to miss an hour of work after her next treatment... The conversation has now gone to wigs vs. hats.

I will update by the end of the weekend to let you know how she has been doing with the pain. By the way from the sound of it...hats win.