Archive for December, 2008

31
Dec
08

No Progression of Cancer

TB had a CT scan last Thursday and yesterday we met with the oncologist to discuss the results.

Compared to the base scan done in October:

  1. The size of the mass of nodules on the outside of his right lung has not changed.
  2. Some of the nodules that are part of that mass have shrunk in size.
  3. Some of the nodules that are part of that mass have become larger.
  4. There are NO new nodules.
  5. There is no explanation for why his phosphorus levels changed (they were low) earlier this month but they took a blood sample and will let us know if the medication he was given to adjust that has been effective or not. Not sure when we’ll know the results but probably at his next treatment on the 13th of Jan.

That said, the oncologist said he can continue with the clinical study treatment provided he’s okay with the side affects. Since he is okay with them, TB has chosen to continue with the treatment.

Unfortunately, TB’s right knee is screwed up but that has nothing to do with the cancer. There’s a problem with a lack of cartilage in his knee and that causes pain. He’s going to see a specialist on Friday for that. But he refuses to think about a knee replacement – at least for now.  I sure don’t blame him!

All in all, this is good news. It’s still early in the treatment phase but we’ll take the pluses when we can. Even though we know this treatment won’t cure him, to know that it’s been halted even a little bit is a blessing.

22
Dec
08

An Update

The last month or so has been incredibly stressful as I was finishing out my old job (my job was eliminated and my last day of work was this past Friday and I was STILL transitioning/training someone up until 4:45pm, uggh) and I really feel like I neglected him during that time. I know he would say I didn’t, he was more concerned that I get out of there in one piece – my mind in one piece, that is. But more than once at work in the last month I had to go into the ladies room and just bawl my head off, I couldn’t control it. Too much stress at work and not enough time in between to relax just amped up the emotions, I suppose. I’ve also only been sleeping only about 4 hours a night for the past few months, then I toss and turn the rest of the night. This past Friday I did that as well but last night I actually slept 6 hours without waking up.  Go figure.

Right now as for how TB is feeling is that he says it’s not bad, not great but not bad. He seems to sneeze a lot and be stuffed up and then it goes away for no reason at all, then comes back again. We checked the list of possible side affects for the meds he is on and this is one of them only they list it as ‘allergic rhinitis symptoms’. He’s also still terribly fatigued. Yesterday, he and a best friend of mine and I went bowling. TB and I hadn’t bowled in over 10 years (it showed and we can feel it today, him more than me). TB got a little pissed while playing, and I don’t blame him, because his gait was off and it was obvious he was in pain when he was bowling but he wasn’t going to give up. We played two games and did have fun despite the fact he was in discomfort. He has a rod in the one leg due to a rollerblading accident years ago and that’s the one that hurts. But it never used to. So is the medication having some affect, is the bone cancer and the rod at odds with each other? I’ve got no clue. I don’t even know what questions to ask other than, is this related to the cancer?

We’ll know more soon about how he’s actually doing on this treatment because he has a CT scan on the 26th and we meet with the oncologist to discuss the results on the 30th. I’m trying to keep my ‘glass is half full’ attitude and I think that will be easier now that I’m not working which means I don’t have that additional stress hanging over my head. You would think it would be more stressful without a job but the fact I am blessed with a severance package for a while is what is saving my sanity. Seriously. I don’t even want to think about what it would be like without one right now.

Keeping fingers and toes crossed that the treatment is having a positive affect on the cancer cells. I’ll get back out here once I have the results.

FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T COMPLETELY IN THE KNOW ABOUT MY HUSBAND AND HIS CANCER:

TB has kidney cancer, stage 3. He had a kidney and the tumor that was in it removed in 2005. The cancer has returned and has metastasized to his bones and the outside of one lung. It is not curable. The clinical study he is participating in is to provide him with a treatment that will halt, for an unknown length of time, the proteins from getting to the cancer cells. So in essence, slowing but not curing, the progression of the cancer. There is no question he will die from this, the unknown factor is the ‘when’ it will happen.




I Will Love Him Forever

The love of my life passed away peacefully on February 28, 2010. The fight he put up through this tough journey is truly commendable.

Though I am sad at his passing, I am so grateful for the time I had with him, our families and our friends. The memories of our times together will sustain me forever.

I think this quote, shared with me by a loving cousin, sums up how I feel.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

My Cancer Hat

I'm a person who hates wearing hats, both literally and figuratively. Now I will be wearing a caregivers cancer hat because my husband has cancer and I need to be strong for him. But I also need a place to vent, look for support and find strength.

Hopefully, this blog will enable me to deal with the process and meet others who are going through a similar challenge.

TB’s Cancer

TB, my husband (TB is his nickname), has kidney cancer, stage 4. He had a kidney and the tumor that was in it removed in 2005. We discovered in September 2008 that it had returned and has now metastasized to his bones, specifically his right femur plus spots on his skull, his spine and his ribs, the inside and outside of his lungs, his brain. He is not curable.

TB was originally participating in a clinical study that would provide him with a treatment that would halt, for an unknown length of time, the proteins from getting to the cancer cells. So in essence, slowing but not curing, the progression of the cancer. There is no question he will die from this, the unknown factor is the 'when' it will happen.

Unfortunately, TB had to be removed from the study as the metastases have grown. He was placed on a new regimen of Aerida and Sutent but that didn't work out. It made him too ill. Now he's on a daily regimen of Afinitor - "Plan C" as we call it. Basically, we're working to extend his life but in a manner that will allow him to still enjoy it and maintain his dignity.

1/27/2010 - At the suggestion of our oncologist, TB will no longer take any cancer medications as the benefits do not outweigh the possible negative side effects a new medication would have. He will be transferred soon to a facility where he can receive rehab, as he is extremely weak due to the pneumonia and inactivity. Our goal is to improve his quality of life as best we can.

2/21/2010 - Frank is now home, we've begun hospice care.

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