October 24, 2010

Cancer fight back on

Mom is thankfully doing very well.  Miraculously, Tiffany got her to the ER during the buildup to the heart attack. The actual heart attack occurred while she was being attended by the entire Emergency Room staff of doctors, nurses and technicians because she was the only patient…one doesn’t see that much in an Emergency Room!  Because of the unique circumstances, the doctors were able to immediately switch from monitoring/testing over to a procedure that placed a STENT in a 99% plugged artery they had discovered. Had the attack happened before she got there, they would have had to instead do open heart surgery and a bypass.

Dear ol’ Mom has some big changes to make in her lifestyle - none she is going to like one damn bit.  Mom has been healthy as a horse all her life.  Prior to this moment, she did not take any regular medications. I expect this transition to be a real bearcat brawl for her and the rest of us who might happen to be in the line of fire while explaining what needs to be done.  

Nobody gets as bullhead as me without some genetic pass-through – mine came from this gal. The world better Kevlar-up during the struggle to help her get used to having to pop a few pills a day.  84 year old her would say, “That’s what old people do; not HER!”

She is trying to manipulate a doctor supported escape from the hospital today. I hope we can stop that from happening!

Daughter Tiffany who was a total ROCK during Chemo Cycle One and Mom’s heart attack flew home to Chicago yesterday.  I will miss her a great deal…sigh.  We are planning to bring her back during the combo chemo/radiation treatment period in January.  

As Tiffany was in the air heading home to my grandson, my sister-in-law, Susie, was sitting on an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to our local airport here. Whew!  I have no idea how my wife Lieska and I would have taken care of Mom as we mentally prepare ourselves for the start of Chemo Cycle Two

I am coming up out of the Cycle One hole I have been in for awhile.  New side affects keep appearing but nothing outside the predicted window of pain or discomfort.  Yesterday was the beginning of the long battle to keep the inside of my mouth reasonably healthy during the coming months of treatments.  White sores inside the mouth and burnt lips lead the new crud list.  The chemo attacks fast growing cells and the mouth lining happens to fall in that category. Hair, finger nails and intestine linings are the other major areas with fast growing cells.

My weight dropped 5 lbs in Cycle One....a bit more than desired but no big trouble.  My first blood lab work says the white cell kill-off was in the acceptable window. The hair should start falling out sometime next week.  I just had my head buzzed down almost to the scalp so the falling out messy days will be a non-issue. 

I'm still hobbling around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame because of what looks like a blood vessel blow-out in toe pad area of left foot.  The jury is out if that was caused by the blood chemo hammering or what. One of the doctors will check it out next week.

And then we will start over again on November 4.   The plan for Cycle Two is to have Lieska home for the full week starting with the kick-off 5-6 hour chemo infusion Big Day.  Hopefully with Cycle One behind me leaving vivid memories for all of us, there will not be so much shock and alarm as I provide the daily creepy-factor entertainment around here for a week. I do not know hard Cycle One stresses hit Mom as she watched it unfold but I sure hope I can do Cycle Two without disturbing her peace of mind..