Archive for December, 2009

31
Dec
09

Happy New Year’s Eve

Since the last post, TB has had his ups and downs. Mostly ups, but when he’s down he’s really there. On Monday he had an ortho appointment at which the doctor told him that the portion of the scar on the front of his knee could get infected. Therefore, his suggestion is that TB goes in and had that part re-opened and re-stitched. That’s not happening until he’s feeling better and he’s not there yet.

I don’t think he actually HAS to do that, it’s more of a precaution than anything. When TB went to his oncologist appointment on Tuesday, the PA (Physician’s Assistant) took a look at it and didn’t agree or disagree on the ortho’s recommendation. But if I recall correctly, she thought it was fine right now as there isn’t any discharge of any kind.

Anyway, on Monday TB was just wiped out. I thought sure he wouldn’t even be able to make it to his appointment, he was all hunched over on the love seat trying to get the energy up to just stand.

The ortho’s regular office is not the one that TB goes to for his checks – he goes to our regular clinic where the ortho is for a number of hours one day a week. Just as TB is getting into his friend’s truck, the phone rings. It’s the clinic saying that TB didn’t have to be there for about another 45 minutes as the doctor wasn’t there yet (he was behind at his other clinic, huh, go figure). So here he is sitting in the truck – it took him 5 minutes just to get him out the door and INTO the truck. Like I was going to have him come back in the house and wait to leave later?? Hardly.

His buddy said they would just drive around and enjoy the sunshine. Great, works for me, works for TB.

Fifteen minutes later I get a call asking if TB can come now, as the ortho is almost there. I said I would try to get a hold of them but either way, is TB getting in asap? She said yes.

I contacted his buddy on the cell, he got him there, then brought him home afterward where TB literally just went to bed – until Tuesday when he had his oncology appointment.

I just couldn’t deal with the appointment on Tuesday, it wasn’t a results appointment (results from scans) so I really didn’t need to go. But I usually do when he’s like this (super fatigued – since it could be many different things) but I simply COULD NOT DO IT. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching when he is like this and I was full-up to here with emotions that have been up, down, up, down. It’s so hard to explain this to someone who isn’t or hasn’t gone through what we are.

Here’s the thing. One simply can NOT understand, unless you’ve lived with a loved one with terminal cancer, the emotional toll this takes on you. When you see your loved one hurting, only wanting to sleep, crabby, touchy, withdrawing – it’s awful. There’s not a damn thing you can do about it except persuade them to at least take their pills.

But it’s a fact of cancer life. Unfortunately. But fortunately for us, the friend that took him on Tuesday understood why I wasn’t going. I gave him the med list, the notes about TB’s symptoms, the requests for new meds and shooed them both out the door.

When they returned from the oncologist, they said that TB will go in weekly for fluids (thank goodness) and have a monthly Zometa drip (for the hypercalcemia). I think that will make a huge difference in his moods. At least I hope so.

Last night he was in a good mood, today he’s in a good mood. He went to lunch with a friend to his favorite Chinese place and has been hanging in the living room since he got home. Enjoying his version of medicine. Jazz music, pomegranate tea, and other favorite things.

Tonight we’ll enjoy some quiche, watch a movie, drink some bubbly (I will, anyway!) and just relax.

Happy New Year Everyone!

22
Dec
09

It’s Been A Pretty Darn Good 7 Days Or So…

Things are going along swimmingly…TB has been in a fabulous mood, feeling better, more alert, all around just in a good mood.

Zero arguments here.

Therefore, nothing to talk about.

Ta ta!

14
Dec
09

A Yucky Day

Prepare yourself for a mini-rant.

Why does the damn orthopedic surgeon feel a need to over-book himself? It’s so frigging stupid. I get that some people cancel, but to have an entire waiting room full of people for the same doctor? At the same time? Hello!! Anybody see something wrong with that?? Anybody see the dollar signs floating in front of his eyes??

TB had a 2:15 appointment today with the orthopedic surgeon to look at his leg again – feel free to be done any time, doc! – which is healing just fine, by the way and therapy is going well also. But he gets there and it’s a solid HOUR before he even sees the doctor, then it’s all of a 5 minute visit and a rush to get TB right back out the door. TB let them have it…I’m glad I wasn’t on the receiving end of those comments. Seriously, this appointment was such a waste of TB’s time, not to mention the nice neighbor who drove him today. Grrrrrrr.

Then he gets home and he gets sick because he had taken so many aspirin and other meds without food. He’s simply not hungry. Tomorrow is an appointment with the oncologist. Cross your fingers that it’s not as ridiculous as today. Then he has a dentist appointment on Wed. Then I’m betting he’ll be zonked on Thursday. Nobody panic though, okay? I’m just venting for the two of us. 🙂

I’m sure I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow,  but right now I just feel like being pissy right alongside TB. Though I just gave him a massage and he was nearly asleep when I left the bedroom.

By the way? This particular surgeon is arrogant, hates when YOU talk, and always gets the last word. If he weren’t an expert at this particular surgery, we never would have gone with him.  One more appointment with him in two weeks and then he can take his sorry-ass personality somewhere else.

06
Dec
09

A Pretty Good Week

All in the all this past 6 or 7 days, it’s been more positive than not. I’m so grateful, I cannot explain how that feels. We’ve just had too much drama and trauma over the last couple of months and I, for one, can use a break from it all. Obviously, so can he.

  • Even though TB was moving around a tad too much earlier this week and became exhausted by doing so, he’s recovered and is continuing to be determined to get up and move around on that walker. He’s been taking a few more pain meds to handle the expected discomfort but he’s also icing his leg which helps. We’re trying to find that balance between doing what he needs to and not tipping too far over by doing too much – trickier than you might think. But physical therapy will start-up again this coming week at some point and I’m sure the physical therapist will be able to help figure that out.
  • We’ve succeeded in getting the Christmas lights up and lit outside (his friends helped with the outside stuff – thank you to S and D, we couldn’t have done it without you, seriously!), the tree is all done and has nearly all of our ornaments on it because it’s so big – the remaining ones are on the fireplace mantle where I’ve placed garland with clear lights wound through it. It literally glows in the living room when all the lights in there are on. I’ll try to get a good picture but it could be tricky to get the right feeling in the photo.
  • TB has also been successful in eating more this week (yay!), in fact today for dinner we had breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, juice and cookies. Well, HE had the cookies because he always saves room for dessert, I’d rather have an extra piece of bacon. He also had 2 protein drinks today, milk, and his oh-so-beloved Mountain Dew.  This may not sound like a lot of food or calories in total but this is a guy who really LIKES food and this was great day for the caloric input.
  • The other day my good friend BW brought over some homemade tomato soup and homemade creme fraiche, oh boy, was that delicious. We’ll be having more tomorrow, we didn’t even add salt or pepper to it even though BW thought we might need to as he thought it might be too sweet, it’s seriously incredible soup – thank you B!
  • TB had two doctor appointments this week and an x-ray as follow ups to his hospital stays (the surgeon for the surgery hospital stay and the oncologist for the visit Thanksgiving week trip). Both appointments went just fine, the oncologist will discuss the chest x-ray results at TB’s next appointment on the 16th. For now, everything is status quo. We like status quo. 🙂
  • TB is actually sleeping in the bedroom tonight for the first time since coming home October 27th. This is a huge and wonderful change. He had to reach a comfort level of being able to more around to the bathroom at night and the bed is really high and too risky, so the couch has been his hangout. But he’s trying it out tonight, cross your fingers it will be a success.

Time for me to go to bed as it’s after midnight and I simply have to read at least a chapter of the novel I bought earlier this week. It’s touching my heart so much and I’m having a hard time NOT reading it to do homework! It’s called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. If you’re interested in reading something that isn’t your ordinary drivel, this is the book for you. The only drawback I forsee is that the book will eventually run out chapters to read and I really don’t want it to end.

Edited 12/6/2009 – I wrote this last night and WordPress took forever to post it. This is technically a 12/5/2009 entry – figured it would help to know if one was reading this in the afternoon on Sunday and I’m referring to going to bed after midnight at the end of the post…




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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