CHEMO#4, Round #2

After two days of being able to function, I am going back in to Sloan today for another chemo hit.  The good news, There will only be 4 to go after this one and I am off for 2 weeks.  Also, the chemo is working. Let’s pray there are no complications today.

This is a pray hard day.  All of your strength and prayers are so welcome every day, but especially on days such as these.  As I lay there for hours with the IVs, I think of all the people who have been there to support me each day.  For all of you, I am so grateful.

 

MUCH BETTER

As a friend wrote to us yesterday, The worst labor pains are just before the baby is born, the worst days of the treatment may be killing the tumor and getting me healthy.  I needed to hear that after the experience of Friday night and Saturday.  I was so comatose and wasn’t sure whether it was the chemo, the let down from the steroid, the dehydration, the low blood pressure, the new blood thinning shots, or all of the above.  All I know is that I was unable to function and in pain.

Sunday morning I woke up and felt tired but much more myself and today and I am up and raring to go.  I have a lot to do to catch up around here in the apartment but I am going to take it slowly.  I would also like to add to the Debbi Reads collection of books that are stacked in my living room.   

Yesterday, I was outside 4 times; to the store twice, to sit on a park bench and to go to Barnes and Nobles for books.  Being out in the fresh air does wonders and I am going to try to get out as much as I can today also.  Also, I am preparing myself for the hit again tomorrow.  

I am so grateful that I will have off two weeks from treatment so that there is the possibility that I can feel somewhat human for Aaron’s wedding.  I can’t believe it is just a little over 2 weeks away!  Time sure does fly by quickly.  

I will now go meditate and pray hard with gratitude that I am feeling so well this morning.  It is amazing, how different each of life’s little nuances look to me now.  I appreciate even being able to just roll over on my side rather than always having to lie on my back.  Everything becomes important and everything deserves gratitude.

 

THE HARDEST DAY OF THE JOURNEY

Yesterday had to be the hardest day of my journey so far.  I was constantly in need of pain meds and slept most of the day away. Then I was an insomniac during the night.  I was so pleased to see the sun rise this morning and know that day has come and gone.

Today I feel a little stronger and was able to go to the store for a muffin and iced tea for breakfast.  It was quite difficult strength wise but I did it.  I have eaten and now I will rest again.  The treatments certainly are becoming more difficult but Jan continually reminds me that we are beating down the most important enemy – the cancer.  And so I go on.

Comments on CT Scan Results

The results of the CT scan in the previous posting show a 25% reduction in the size of the tumor in Debbi’s right kidney (renal pelvis actually). The newest aspect of the write-up is the presence of the blood clot near the inferior vena cava. Dr. Bajorin prescribed a blood thinner named Tinzaparin which is said to work better than coumadin. I have been giving Debbi injections of Tinzaparin each morning for the past week. These injections leave tiny dots on her stomach at the site of the injection so I am thinking of auctioning off advertising rights for the dot patterns.

Asked for comment on the mentioning of the lung in the CT report, Dr. Bajorin assured us that there was no lung involvement and all is well there.

So, we take the good news from the scan and look forward to completion of the chemo in early August.

 

 

CT Scan Report from 6/6/2008

June 6, 2008 CT chest abdomen pelvis.

Comparison: April 7, 2008 CT chest abdomen pelvis, May 23, 2008 CT chest

Clinical History: History of transitional cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis status post 3 cycles of chemotherapy. Bladder cancer.

Technique: Multislice helical sections were obtained from the thoracic inlet to the pubic symphysis after oral and intravenous contrast administration.

FINDINGS: A right chest wall port via the jugular is in stable position. There is no thoracic lymphadenopathy. There is no pericardial or pleural effusion. A scarlike density is noted in the left apex and is stable and probably posinflammatory. A tiny nodule in the superior segment of the left lower lobe is stable since the most recent CT and is indeterminate and somewhat linear. Peribronchial thickening is also noted in relationship to the lower lobe bronchi. Bronchiectasis with inspissation is noted in the lingula that is stable. The tiny nodule at the left lung base is likewise stable and indeterminate.

Liver, billiary tree, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas and adrenal glands are normal. An infiltrative neoplasm of the upper two-thirds of the right kidney is again noted with increase in extension of thrombus into the inferior vena cava. Whether this is bland thrombus or tumor thrombus is unclear. The overall dimensions of the upper portion the right kidney with infiltrative tumor have atrophied. This previously measured 7.9 x 6.2 cm and has now decreased to 6.7 x 5.1 cm. The vena cava remains patent. The kidney functions. There is no left hydronephrosis.

There is no retroperitoneal or pelvic lymphadenopathy. There is no abdominopelvic ascites. The pelvic organs are unremarkable. The intestines are unremarkable. The bones are unremarkable. 

IMPRESSION: 

1. Overall decrease in size of infiltrative mass in the right kidney but with increase in thrombus extending into the inferior vena cava.

2. Stable nodular lung densities.

 

ANOTHER NIGHT AT SLOAN

As I was lighting my Sabbath candles, my blood pressure dropped so low that I felt about to pass out.  So another night was spent at Sloan trying to determine if it was time for the transfusions.  It was dehydration even though I drink water and juices all day.  After two rounds of saline IV, I returned home around 1:30AM and have been sleeping since. I really cannot stand this drugged feeling and the thinning of the blood to get rid of the blood clot is making it even more difficult to stay awake.  So. Back to bed.

ITS FRIDAY

After having a great day yesterday, I was able to stay up for awhile and go to sleep at a normal hour but awoke during the night and couldn’t go back to bed.  I plan to just rest today.  Aaron and Stephanie will be here this evening for dinner and so will have kid company which I really love.  Still trying to do without the pain meds but finding it more difficult now that the chemo steroid has worn off.  I cannot stand that drugged feeling but I will also not play the martyr if I really have to take the meds I will.  Back to sleep.

 

I MADE IT!

Rose Landowne was so kind to pick me up this morning and drive me to Passaic to see the children at school.  It was so worth it and took every ounce of energy I had to get through it.  I was so thrilled to see my children all dressed up and singing and dancing.  I was so grateful to see the parents and to thank them personally for their kindnesses sending cards, pictures, and flowers. And I was so proud of my assistant, Aida, and my substitute Sonya, for carrying off this entire endeavor with finesse.  

I have now had a nap and will rest the day away.  It was quite an emotional experience but I do not regret the fact that I did it.

GOOD MORNING

After sleeping through most of the day, I was able to go outside, sit on a park bench with my friend Rose and enjoy a half an hour of heat and sunshine.  Later in the day, Rea and “Ricky Martin” came for a visit and dinner.  Then back to bed.

I made it through the entire day with no pain meds and I don’t feel as groggy all the time.  I do have a lot of nausea and so those meds are essential for now.  I did have some blood pressure issues, high for me, during the day and so doing too much was not on the agenda.

My dilemma for today: My children, at school, are having their end of the year play at 10:00 this morning. Rose has offered to drive me to Passaic to see them.  I really want to go badly.  I am not sure I feel well enough or should I be exposed to the kids right now but I really want to do this.  I also want to stop at the bakery and butcher but that I think may be adding too much.  I have about an hour to decide so in the meantime I will shower and wash my hair and see how much energy I can muster up to make that decision.

Times such as these, are the things that make me so sad about having this illness now.  There are so many wonderful things happening in my life that I really want to be a part of.  Sometimes I am just unsure what the right choices are since I cannot tell I have overdone until I hit the wall which can happen at any time.  This is very frustrating.  But again, I do want to see the blossoms and flowers I have so carefully planted on my life’s way. Today is one of those.  I may make it there and through it but I can pay the piper this afternoon and sleep.  

Time to hit the shower.  Have a wonderful, healthy day.  Please Keep in touch with your Higher Power or Energy Source, miracles are happening everywhere.

Just Resting

We are so relieved that the cancer is shrinking but as always, I am exhausted after a day in the hospital.  This new blood clot development and the red cells dropping still leaves us very concerned.  Jan has already given me 2 shots and we just pray that the blood thinner will dissolve the large clot and continue to keep others from forming.  We do know that the transfusions are in the very near future since my numbers are slowly dropping from the acceptable range.  BUT REMINDER: The Cancer is in reduction mode and I am being treated at the best cancer facility in the country.

I went right to bed after I wrote the blog yesterday and awoke to so many wonderful e-mails.  Thank you so much for continuing to pray and hope.  I am working very hard to help those prayers become miracles.  Back to sleep for awhile.