Saturday, May 9, 2009

One Week Down.....

So far Mom has tolerated this round of chemotherapy rather well. We were in the hospital for about 8 hours Monday, then about an hour and a half Tuesday-Friday. The timing was actually a lot easier than we expected it to be, but both Mom and I were suprised how much it took out of both of us.

Monday was rough. The nurse had a hard time accessing Mom's port, which really hurt. Even though they started with a drip (not a shot - a DRIP!) of Decadron and Benadryl, throughout the day Mom intermittently broke out in hives from the Rituxin. When she broke out badly enough, the nurse would stop the Rituxin and pump Mom full of more Decadron and Benadryl. Between the high from the steroids and the low from the Benadryl, Mom's body couldn't decide if it was wired or woozy. Baptist has WiFi access, so most of the time we watched Carol Burnett reruns on YouTube.

Something I've learned from long-term healthcare: PAY ATTENTION, and sometimes you can keep from getting stuck all the time. The nurse took Mom's port access needle out at the end of Monday before I could say, "wait! You're going to have to access that again tomorrow!" In the end it was just as well, as Mom really didn't like how that first port access needle was seated. But once they accessed her port Tuesday morning, the nurses were able to just leave that needle taped in (with a gentle reminder from me) for the rest of the week. Therefore, next time Mom starts a week of chemo on June 1st, she will only have to be stuck once!

Tuesday Mom was ready to fight tigers from all the Decadron. Her cheeks were rosy enough for her to look slightly drunk all day, and she felt really great. Port access was much much easier. Wednesday-Friday she has been falling off the Decadron high, and by last night, she was feeling rather punk. Her white blood cell count is currently taking a nose-dive, so she'll feel pretty bad next week.

She will also be highly susceptible to infection, so if you have the sniffles, please stay away.

Remembering her pain from last chemo, even though she's taking different drugs this time, I made a point on Wednesday that we wanted some pain pills for this weekend, just in case. Mom was sent home with SIXTY Lortab! So she's set for a while. That kind of makes me worry about what we should expect. We know that since this is the first round of three, it will hit her harder than the next two will. She's not in the Vincristine-induced bone pain, but she is having trouble getting comfortable, and she rarely sleeps more than one hour at a time, but the Lortab should fix that.

And we have some good news: Monday's report from Mom's PET scan was a positive one. Previously, she had some cancer cells on the right side of her neck, but the PET scan showed that they were gone. I'm reluctant to believe it, but the cancer might actually be going away. Dr. S won't yet use the R-word. We've lived with it for so long, I wouldn't know what to do with a cancer-free mom!

I've felt pretty crummy lately. Maybe I've been exposed to something at the hospital or maybe I'm getting older or just a little run down. I have a new appreciation for healthcare providers. Guess I'm just not as young as I used to be.

She's going back in on Thursday for bloodwork to be sure her counts are OK and that she's not becoming anemic. Then we'll report back to the hospital on Monday, June 1st for the second round of three.

Meanwhile, Mike's ear is still stuffy and bothering him. We were in the ER two Tuesdays ago with an ear so infected that it almost ruptured. He's on his third round of antibiotics. The good news is that now he is almost consistently able to pop it, so we're hoping it'll get better every day.



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