Missed one and another delay

Whoops! I missed one. A chemo round that is.  Mom is now 2 down and 1 to go.  The final treatment was supposed to start today, but she’s been delayed another week because of low white blood cell counts… again.

The bad news? Another delay means another week.  So we’re no longer counting down to February 25 but to March 4.

The good news? Another week off with no Paula the Pump.  This should leave Mom feeling pretty good by the time she goes in for the final assault, and maybe keep her from losing more weight (it’s become a small concern). Maybe she’ll get really crazy and gain a pound or two!

Either way, things could be a lot worse. And while she may be sick and tired of feeling sick and tired – there’s still light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s getting closer.

Thanks everyone for your continued love and support – sorry about missing a round, I’m back on track and staying on top of things. 🙂

 

Let’s Talk Shrinkage

Friday is a day Mom has been waiting for 9 fast and slow weeks. Paula is leaving us for a while – that’s right, we’re through the first leg of the relay. The first block of chemo rounds is finished, and we’re waiting for a surgery date.

What else is new? Shrinkage.

That’s right.  It shrinks. Mom had another CT Scan to update the surgeon in a couple weeks.

Drumroll please….

We’re down 2cm.  4.8 to 2.8!!! That’s practically half!

Liver – clear! Lungs – clear! Kidneys – clear! Every major organ you can think of (besides the stomach of course) CLEAR!!

Can I get some big ups!?!

There’s just one small but.

One rogue but actually.

One rogue lymph node.

Was 7mm now 10mm.

BUT since it’s best to bookend bad news with good news – that uncooperative little bastard of a node is right near the shrinking tumour, and will be taken out with the surgery.

So it’s practically ike it’s not there at all… that’s the way I’m looking at it anyway. 🙂

Message from Mom: “It’s the best I could hope for. Now all I have to do is behave myself for the next 4 weeks.”

“Oh Paula I’ll miss you” – said no one ever

And then things got complicated

So yesterday I gave you the low-down, today is the first of what I’m sure will be many updates.

While we were hoping that things wouldn’t get complicated until after chemo started – apparently Mom’s stomach had other plans in mind.

The current hiccup in the get better plan is somewhere in her stomach she is still bleeding.  We found this out last Friday when the hospital called with the results of her routine blood test – hemoglobin level was at 78… for the non-medical minded – it should be between 120-160.  For reference when she was bleeding out with the ulcer, her hemoglobin was around 70 something.  In true Nurse Mom styles, she did not beleive them, because she felt fine and having just experienced what 78 felt like, she definitely didn’t feel like that.  She said she would come in for a blood transfusion but only if they agreed to retest her.

They did.  It was 74.

Shit.

Two units of blood and she was sent home, feeling… exactly like she did that morning.

Monday was the surgeon appointment and by Tuesday she wasn’t feeling great.

Wednesday she went to the emergency room and told them her blood pressure was down, she was short of breath and pretty sure she was bleeding again.  Perk of being a nurse – you know what to say to get action.  By the time Dad had parked the car and found her – she was in a private room and more blood was on it’s way.

The plan was to do a gastroscopy – where they go in with a scope camera have a look around and hopefully cauterize wherever she was bleeding from.  In mom’s mind they would do it Thursday, she would be able to go home immediately afterward.

No dice.

Friday morning they did the scope, but what they found was food in her stomach.  Since she’s been on liquids only since Monday – this is not good. While she’s been there waiting for the procedure and decisions the hospital staff has taken the opportunity to get lots of other things done so she’s good to go for chemo.  She’s met with the oncologist, the radiologist, she had her picc line put in.

And the verdict, not going home Friday.

During the gastroscopy they couldn’t find anywhere that she was clearly bleeding from. So they are going to do radiation on her stomach to stop the bleeding. Not sure how radiation stops the bleeding – probably by magic.

She is now no longer on a liquid diet, she’s on nothing passed orally – which means a Total Parenteral Nutrition is passed through that handy picc line.  They are also giving her more blood because they want her to be in tip top shape for when they start chemo next week. She’ll start chemo and then they’ll likely keep her in the hospital another day or so to make sure she doesn’t bleed again afterward.

So that’s where we are.  She has been moved out of “the holding pen” where she was one of 25 beds, and into a semi-private room without a roommate – for now.  The staff at Southlake have been wonderful.

How you can help today – thank you for all of the positive thoughts, we really appreciate it. She has her cell phone so you can text her or call if you aren’t able to visit, she has her iPad too – so emails are welcome!

Message from Mom – (after finding out that she was going to be put on nothing passed orally) – “Looks like I should order 3 days of internet”

The Big C – again

As most of if not all my in real life peeps know – my mom has cancer… again.

This is not my family’s first time with this – and here are my two cents – COME ON! Unfortunately no amount of hating the diagnosis is going to make her better – yes it sucks, but we’ve just got to pick up, stick together and get her through it, because personally, I’m not having it any other way.

For those that don’t know, this is my little family’s 4th visit from the big C.  We have had a lot of success, we know the system, we know the questions to ask but in this case knowledge doesn’t necessarily make things easier. However, we do know that it’s the little things that count.  Positive energy, prayers you don’t know are happening, chocolate, visits and hugs – all little things that go a long way.

Unexpectedly, this little blog might just be one of those little things that make it a little easier this time around – that’s right for the first time we’ve got social media on our side and since every little bit helps, I’m going to use it. 

If you’re new to this blog because my mom just sent it out to you – welcome.  Feel free to look around and get comfortable.  You can either make a point to check back in regularly or you can subscribe in the box on the right side and all posts will come directly to your inbox.  (If you subscribe you will get an email to confirm your subscription, check your junk mail if it doesn’t come to your inbox – you must do this step to complete the subscription). If you choose to subscribe, you might find yourself with the odd knitting project, or something ridiculous the Boy said, but you’ll also get the latest in updates about my mom.

But Meaghan, won’t this make your blog sad? Why blog about not nice things? Well, this blog is supposed to be an online journal of my life – and quite frankly – life is clearly not always rainbows and sunshine.  So it’s logical the blog would follow. More than that though, my hope is we get 2 perks from blogging: 1. Consistent information told straight from the source.  2. Easing the number of phone calls that both mom and our wonderful key family members and friends get asking for new details – not to say that phone calls are not welcome, just this way we don’t have to have the same conversation 55 times.

So strap in – for those readers that have commented I’ve been slacking off for the last little while year or so – I’m back.  And when I’m stressy I do 2 things, I knit and I write.  The five sweaters that I’ve sewn together in the last two weeks can attest to the first part, and this little blog will inevitably get more attention too.

To start – the details. Next post – the updates.

The short version – My mom fainted about 6 weeks ago in a grocery store.  She thought it was because she hadn’t had much to eat that day and it was 30 degrees outside.  EMS came but she refused to go to the emergency room, instead she called me and I brought her home for a chocolate milk and a lie down. She fainted again that night and when my dad said “can we go to the hospital now?” her response was “well, probably – but first get the blood pressure cuff.”  When her blood pressure was in the tank she allowed a 911 call, and by the time they got there she was vomiting blood. 

FYI – that’s not good. 

To the hospital they went, where they treated her for an ulcer.  Everything looked good.  Until it wasn’t.  Yada Yada Yada, she bled out, yada yada, it was a very good thing she was already in the hospital, yada, they sent her home 5 days later and her biopsy to the lab.

We waited.

And waited.

And kind of forgot.

Until they didn’t have results. Then mom booked an appointment with our family doctor.

Then we got first results. Stomach cancer.

Then we said some not nice words.

For anyone that hasn’t done this before, let me tell you – so far in all our times with this – this is the WORST part.  Knowing, but not knowing how bad, or where, or what, or how fast, or where else. When all you’re left with is a whole bunch of questions and your mind is left to wander into the terrible world of ‘what if’ – it’s awful.

Last weekend she had her CT Scan, and on Monday she saw the surgeon at Sunnybrook.  Stomach cancer, and that’s it. It doesn’t appear to be anywhere else, there aren’t any glowing node areas (although lymph-nodes can’t be truly known until dissection after surgery).  The plan, 3 rounds of chemo, surgery (leaving her with 40-60% of her stomach), followed by 3 more rounds of chemo. Followed by all better.  Forever.

The not so good news, the cancer is at the base of the stomach and the exit point is very narrow.  She is at high risk for obstruction and is on a liquid diet starting immediately. Since the chemo will first expand the cells before destroying them – it’s possible that she will not be able to get through the full 3 rounds before running into trouble. If she is obstructed, they will stop the chemo and do emergency surgery followed by more chemo. Followed by all better.  Forever.

So that’s where we are – for one post anyway.  I’ll do my best to keep it as up to date as possible. And I’ll also really try to inject this little blog with some happy along the way.

How you can help today – Positive healing thoughts are always welcome. 

Message from Mom – Thank you everyone for all of your  love and support – we really appreciate it.