Thursday, July 31, 2008

7/31/08 Thursday Afternoon

Well, Shelly took out her endowments a week ago Wednesday, got married on Friday morning and had her reception on Friday evening at the Groom's parents' home. It was an old fashioned Hawaiian Luau! The afternoon and early evening were overcast and the day was fairly cool for the family dinner and most of the reception. Just as they were getting ready for the Hula Dancers, the reception was rained out. Everyone went inside the Kip's parents' home for visiting and cake cutting. Shelly and Kip opened their gifts this immediate past Tuesday and both she and Kip went back to work on Wednesday.

Judy had her heart ultrasound and stomach CT scan on Monday. The cardiologist thought the tightness around her heart was more likely related to blood flow restriction than to cancer. The cardiologist said that the tumors throughout her abdomen were shrinking, but that she had a spot at the base of her pancreas and spots on the bones in her back that were not previously visible. She noted that the spot on her pancreas was probably there all along, but had been blocked from view by the overall swelling of the pancreas ... which had now subsided. She guessed that the spots in the bones were more likely from the dying cancer cells than new cancer cells. They gave her a medication to help strengthen her bones and then gave her the same chemo treatment as before ... which now seems to be causing numbness in her hands and feet. Since it does not yet affect her ability to dress herself and do other routine things around the house, they are going to keep her on the Taxol a while longer. However the numbness can be permanent, so they won't be able to keep going with the Taxol if the numbness begins to affect her daily actitivies.

Jerry had his heart MRI and his new U of U cardiologist told him that he did not put too much stock in the lower (42%) ejection fraction even though the MRI confirmed it (43%) and that Jerry would not be able to feel a 50% blocked coronary artery if everything else was OK. However, the cardiologist did say that Jerry had water in his lungs and on his heart and that the water in his lungs was causing his shortness of breath, not his heart. He made five medication changes for Jerry: 1) took him off Maxide (a mild diuretic); 2) put him on Lasix (a much more powerful diuretic); 3) reduced his Coreg back from 50 mg twice a day to 25 mg twice a day (said the heavy dose might be contributing to his exhaustion); 4)Doubled his Lipitor from 40 mg to 80 mg (since his cholesterol was 289 and had been down to 200); 5)put him on Spironolactone for his blood pressure and to lessen the affects of the expected Vitamin K loss that will be caused by the Lasix.

He told Jerry that he should begin having less shortness of breath and more energy soon and that he would see him again in 6 weeks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

7/20/08 Sunday Evening

Well, we didn't get to talk with the oncologist on Tuesday ... Judy only had a chemotherapy treatment. It went well, as she again slept most of the time. We both met with the cardiology intake team at the University. They agreed to accept both of us. Judy was given medications to control the tightness around her heart, and nitro tablets to take if the medication didn't work. The intake cardiologist thought that the tightness probably was a vessel restriction, vs chemo problems. She goes back for follow-up on Wednesday morning. She has taken one nitro tablet since Tuesday, but didn't really feel much relief.

I go in Monday afternoon for an MRI on my heart, a new diagnostic tool for heart problems. The cardiologist said he thought that my low (42%) ejection fraction might have been a mis-read. He said the procedure used to get it was not very reliable. He also took a cholesterol test blood test and probably will be putting me back on a statin.

It is going to be a big week this week, with doctors' appointments and Shelly's wedding and reception on Saturday. Even though Judy made it through 3 hours of church today, it is not likely that she will have enough energy to make it next Sunday.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7/12/08 Sunday Evening

Judy has been having pains in her stomach and also around her heart. She is fearful that the chemo has stopped working and that the cancer is spreading again. We will talk with the doctor when we go in for chemo on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

7/9/08 Wednesday Night

Judy's chemo went well until just as it ended. Her face got red and she seemed to have a reaction to the chemo. The nurse told her had this happened in the middle of the chemo, that she would have had to stop it and call the doctor. As it was, she tried to call the doctor to see if she wanted to keep Judy in the infusion room for an extra half hour, just to see if she was going to have any additional reaction. The nurse was unable to make contact with the doctor, so we just went home as scheduled. Judy had no additional reaction.

We are not all that sure that the reaction was caused by the chemo, since she has had a red face twice before. Once before she even started the chemo and last week the day after the chemo. However, we will have to watch her closely during the next chemo session to see if the red face comes back part way through.

We were advised that on July 28th they will do a new ultra sound to see if they can detect any change in the size of the tumors. Until then, it is all about how Judy feels.

I believe that Judy is gradually getting better and consequently that the tumors are probably shrinking. She seems to be getting stronger every day. She feels she has enough strength to walk from the parking into the infusion room for her chemo. Before she always asked for a wheel chair!

She has also been on a few outings in the last couple of weeks, one that lasted all day and tired her considerably. She did not feel well the next day, but bounced back the following day. She also went shopping for wedding dresses tonight with her daughter that is planning on getting married on July 26th. They found a dress that they could both agree on! (Shelly's kids and I weeded the garden, ate watermelon, otter pops, ice cream sandwiches and went 4 wheeling near the house. We had a great time!)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

7/5/08 Afternoon

Judy has good days and days that are not so good. She did take a trip to Cedar City (about 4 hours away) to help her daughter decide on a house to buy earlier in the week. We went down and came back the same day, so it was pretty tiring. She did not do too well the next day, but was feeling better the day after. We had family over last night for the 4th of July and she did pretty well through the day, taking a nap in the afternoon. However by the time the fireworks were over at around 10:30 PM, she was not doing too well. She has slept most of the day today, but enjoyed having the family over last night. She is up and about now, feeling pretty well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

7/2/08 Wednesday Morning

Judy had chemo yesterday and did very well. She slept through most of it! She was anxious to get started again, after having a week off. She did not do very well the last couple of days before starting again. She was very tired and had substantial nausea again. She seems to be doing better this morning, though.