Archive for January, 2010


And Another Day Changes Everything

TB was admitted to the hospital this afternoon with pneumonia and dehydration. After I returned home from my out-patient surgery today (which went fine though I’m quite tired), I called his oncologist to give him TB’s symptoms and ask for advice. He told me TB needed to go the emergency room, and since he’s been unable to even get out of bed without help since Saturday night, I was to call an ambulance. It would be unsafe and foolish to try to make him leave on his own.

I feel so guilty for not doing this two days ago (brought him to the ER) but TB is one stubborn person – plus it seemed as though he was coming out of it – whatever ‘it’ was. But the cold should have been my biggest clue – the rattle in his chest didn’t go away so it wasn’t a cold.

But what’s done is done, and moving forward we’re going to work with a palliative care team, I’ll get that ball rolling with setting that up asap. In a nutshell, my understanding of what a palliative care team is – at least in part – is that it’s a team of people who will get to know TB and his case and help care for him, and what’s really important is that if I need to talk to someone on a weekend or at odd hours about an issue such as this one, I’ll be able to talk to someone who knows his case, and not having to talk to someone who doesn’t – having to explain all of this information over and over to someone who isn’t familiar with his case adds immensely to our stress.

We’re meeting with the oncologist tomorrow morning at the hospital to discuss his recent scan results from Jan 19 – that was on the agenda for tomorrow anyway, so we’ll just find out earlier. I’ll post an update tomorrow sometime.

In the meantime, feel free to send the dude some good karma vibes. He could use a few. I could use a pillow and a blanket myself, so that’s where I’m headed now.

Good night, all.


What A Difference A Day Makes

TB is resting comfortably. He’s talking, he said he feels so much better than yesterday. I gave him one of his pain pills last night and a Prednisone (per a suggestion from a very well qualified nurse) and had him drink some water. He slept like a baby from 5pm yesterday until 4:30am this morning, I checked on him and he said hi and that he was feeling so much better. I just checked him now (it’s 8:30am) and he still feels good.

I also checked him last night a few hours after taking his meds, at which time he said, see, I told you I was getting better. I’m wondering if the thought of being in a hospital nudged him a bit to help himself. šŸ™‚ He said after the last visit that he had no interest in going back. We may still need to see his oncologist today rather than going to the ER – if for no other reason than to get fluids – but his breathing sounds normal, he’s talking, he’s moving himself around. That’s an amazing turnaround if you ask me.

Will update as things change – for the better or not.


Rough Weekend

TB has what appears to be a chest cold, however, I’m concerned it may turn into pneumonia which could be very harmful for him. He’s very weak, has beenĀ  in bed since Friday night, hasn’t eaten since a malt on Friday and I don’t like how he’s breathing.

I may need to call on one of his friends to take us to the ER later today or tomorrow if he doesn’t start to improve. In the meantime, I’ve sent an email to his former wife for advice (she’s a nurse). She’s out of town on a get-away so I don’t want to disturb her by calling her. But I’ll follow up later today via phone if I haven’t heard anything from her by dinner time or call the on-call oncologist (though is it that doctor I call or his primary??, I’m inclined to say oncologist because he’s basically in charge of everything 99.9% of the time now). TB isn’t the sort to just go to the ER, in fact he’ll fight it tooth and nail if it happens to be on the weekend that it’s suggested.

Cross your fingers he’ll pull out of this, he’s so miserable right now.


If It Isn’t One Thing…

It’s Another…

Well, TB is doing fairly well. He has his moods and he’s entitled to them, I just sometimes wish it were spring and I could go take a nice refreshing walk to get away. Because I ‘get’ that he gets the moods, who wouldn’t? But sometimes it just gets to be too much for me.

What really makes him happy – and therefore makes ME happy – is when he gets together with his friends. Whether it be for lunch or a football game or a ride to the doctor, he really perks up for those get-togethers and it makes the other times more bearable for both of us (try being with someone 24/7 who isn’t sick, then try it when they have cancer, ’tis not an easy task).

TB has scans scheduled for tomorrow, he hasn’t had any since August so we’ll find out how things have advanced with the mets (I’m inclined to believe they have advanced only because they always have gotten bigger and traveled father as time goes on, so I’m prepared to hear that but I don’t tell TB that, he has enough on his mind). I believe the review of the scans is the 27th – I should be able to attend with him but if not (because of my hospital appointment coming up, more info later in this post)Ā  I’m hoping one of his friends can and will take good notes for us. I’ll update by the end of the month what those scans show and what our next steps areĀ  with his treatment.

Now I’ve got a health issue going on that is in the process of being reviewed and taken care of. My doctor has recommended a hysterectomy to take care of this problem but before he proceeds with surgery, he needs to be sure that the underlying problem isn’t cancer-related. Does he think it is? Absolutely not. However, he prefers to do more testing than some would deem necessary to be absolutely sure – it’s his way of crossing his i’s and dotting his t’s before performing the hysterectomy (or whichever option we choose to deal with this) which is fine with me. So far unless he can convince me otherwise, I’m choosing a hysterectomy – I’m okay with letting my uterus go, especially since he wouldn’t be taking the ovaries because if he did that, I would be sent right into menopause land – good grief, add menopause to our already complicated lives??? Oy! Besides, I’m too young, well maybe not but I’ll fight it for as long asĀ  I can!

So here’s the scoop. The first procedure he did to get a sample to do a biopsy to check for cancerous cells didn’t yield enough of a sample to make him 100% confident that all is well. Rather than do that procedure again in the clinic where I was quite uncomfortable (pain!!), he is going to perform a D&C next Tuesday, the 26th. If all goes well with those biopsy results, then he’ll schedule the hysterectomy in February. At least that’s what we’ve agreed upon to date.

My plan this week is to get as far ahead in my classes as possible so that I’m able to recover from the D&C without the added stress of homework pending over my head. I’m already done with a third of the work that’s actually due the 26th so I should definitely be where I want to be by this coming Sunday.

More next week…

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.

January 2010
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