Sunday, October 17, 2010

1 Week Down, 23 to go

We've successfully completed the first week of Vicki's treatment. It consisted of 10 separate appointments, four of which were radiation and 3 chemo. The others were an outpatient minor surgery for her port placement, a shot at the end of the week to counteract the effects the chemo has on her bones and another one that I forget what it was about.

So now we have two weeks of just afternoon radiation, with one exception. They will be doing a needle biopsy on a tumor in her side that we all believe is not cancer. Even so, the doctors want to be sure. So she'll be in St. Joes on Tuesday most all day between that and the radiation.

Hopefully the results of that test will be negative and we can focus on her health and state of mind during these next 6 months. We went out and found her a recliner chair today that will allow her somewhere to hang out without being in bed all the time. Currently she is using the couch. The last couple of days she's been asleep by 5:30 in the afternoon. She is going to be a morning person. They told us there would be some times during the day when her energy level would be at its peak and it seems that time is the first few hours after she gets up. After that she is tired and not really feeling that spiffy.

My two oldest daughters have been a great help during this first week and Bridget the oldest will continue after her sister Jamie goes back to Enid on Wednesday. I admit to enjoying the time spent with the girls, but wish it could be under other circumstances. Jamie has stayed with us during the week and went out to her sisters on the weekends and that has worked out well. She'll be back here this afternoon and we'll start the new week off with an afternoon radiation session on Monday.

All in all it feels like things are going OK at this point. I hope and pray that continues till we defeat her cancer and she's cancer free.

Wish us luck,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Last "Pre-treatment Weekend"

Things will get busy starting Monday. So we took the opportunity this last weekend to spend time together. Friday night we hung out and Saturday night we went out for dinner, dancing and some gambling at a local Casino.

It was the right thing to do and I knew it when Vicki told me on the way home last night that for a few hours she'd forgotten the upcoming trials of Chemo and Radiation therapy. For just a few hours we were just a couple having a good time on a Saturday night. Sometimes that's all you can ask.

We've been given the schedule from both cancer treatment groups and Vicki has 9 separate appointments for treatment next week. It will be hectic to say the least. While we are blessed to have some of the best doctors and technicians in the country at Barrow's Neurological, the offices for Chemo are at some distance from us and the hospital. It means we will be spending a great deal of time in transit from home to one and then the other treatment location. The tightness of the schedule has already caused some stress and tension, but we have put a plan in place to handle it next week.

My middle daughter Jamie is here for another week from Oklahoma and she along with her oldest sister Bridget are taking Vicki to St. Joes on Monday. That day she will get her port for chemo and her first run through for radiation. She is freaked out about the mask she must wear during radiation. It fits her face extremely snugly and holds her head in exact position.

Tuesday she and I will be going to her almost day long first chemo session. During this one they will give her two separate drugs and couple of liters of saline. This takes 5 and 1/2 hours. Then from there we will drive down to the hospital for her first radiation. That takes no more than 1/2 hour or so total. Still, it will be a very long first day of treatments.

Wednesday and Thursday she gets a one drug chemo treatment lasting about 2 hours and again radiation after each one. Then Friday she gets a shot at the chemo Dr.'s office for bone marrow loss and then another radiation treatment at St. Joes. During all this I will attempt to got to work all the days but Tuesday.

The next three weeks will be daily radiation and then the fourth week we start with combined chemo and radiation again.

This is scheduled to continue till she's had somewhere between 28 and 33 radiation treatments and 5 or 6 chemo cycles. That puts the total treatment time to around 6 months. Hopefully by February or March she will be done with all this and cancer free.

Anyway that's what I'm hoping for.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cancer treatment schedule begins

Now that we're deep into it even Saturdays are not safe from calls from Doctor's offices about upcoming treatment appointments and various other necessities of the oncology related culture.

After breakfast this morning my wife informed me she'd received a call before I got up confirming her appointment to have a "port" installed at St. Joes to make her chemo easier.

There will be potentially 3 chemo and 5 radiation sessions during her first week of treatment. In addition there are other tests, shots and procedures upcoming.

On Tuesday of the coming week we go to St. Joes to have her mask made. This device will hold her head in exactly the same position for each of her 28 to 33 radiation sessions. There will be focused energy on specific parts of the interior of her skull to kill the remaining cancer cells that her surgery did not remove. The simultaneous chemo (done the same day) is supposed to enhance the effects of the radiation and also pickup any stray cancer cells in the rest of her body.

Vicki sat down this morning at the computer and printed out a schedule so we can determine who will be going with her for what treatments. My goal is to be with her for all initial procedures, but I may have to miss the placement of the port so I can keep my hours at work up enough to stay full time and therefore keep my insurance.

Our middle daughter Jamie is coming in from Oklahoma to stay for two weeks and she will be going with Vicki to some of the appointments.

The hardest part for me seems to be letting go and allowing others to help. My two oldest daughters are awesome adults and I guess its time I let them show it.

I had a dream that life would get less complicated and slower as we grew older. I am constantly disabused of this notion. Still, its better to be active and fighting than the alternative.

Wish us luck,