Drugs in the Closet

Had a feeling it was going to be a long day. A new anti-nausea drug seemingly shot up her resting heart rate to 120 on tuesday and had stayed there. A check in over the phone confirmed they wanted her to come in for an evaluation today. It was also blood draw day and surprise, surprise, her lines were clogged… With the swelling in her ankles, the Doctor worried about a blood clots going to her lungs which would be consistent with the shortness of breath and very high heart rate. So, yet another chest CT, and xray for the clogged picc line and an ultrasound of her legs to check for clots.
But good news in the end. No blood clot. They are still concerned about the heart rate, so we have to give up on the new drug. A shame, as it did help. So yet another new drug to try. Its in pill form, but its long acting.

Yesterday was a really, really bleak day for Kathleen. We are speculating the Nulasta given so close to the end of the chemo just wipes her out. I could barely get her going this morning as it was a real struggle to get dressed and into the car for the 10am appt. As we suspected a long day, we packed IV gravol in our mini cooler bag. Good thing, as by 12:30 when we were waiting in imaging, the nausea was coming on strong. No where to go, other than the little change room. So, drugs in the closet. The old gals in the waiting room gave us a funny look coming out no doubt wondering what we were doing in there together for 15min. I should have given them a suggestive glance


Ringside Support for Round 7

Sheesh, with all the kindness and support people give Kathleen at the cancer center, you would think she would want to come here just for the hell of it. Really can’t say enough about the folks who are there. Just overwhelming kindness, care and concern. Perhaps some of the kindness is because its Kathleen 🙂 I would say yes, but I am biased. They are without exception all amazing professionals and wonderful people. Cancer and its treatment are really shitty, but I could not imagine anything else being done to make it as bearable as possible

It looked like another clogged line to start the day, but it worked out just fine with a few extra flushes.
Another new med today to try and stave off the allergic reaction. So that’s 13… 13, you would think extra limbs would start growing with so many meds, but I am sure its not a record. Still had a slight allergic reaction anyway, but the new drug seemed to make it pretty minimal.
Kathleen is feeling pretty wiped out tonight. She is more anxious than usual about the coming days. The last round really knocked her down and physically its taking its toll. And when you are physically beat up, its hard to stay positive mentally.

It was also a bit of a reflective day. A staff member Kathleen would chat with from her days on the surgical ward dropped by and we were telling her about the 25 anniversary party and how Kathleen and I met. It was neat to dig out some old pics to show her, so I will share here as well.

Below is where we met 25yrs ago. We both lived on the top floor at the Heuther Hotel. The pic was taken in my room (click on the image for a larger version)

In Waterloo Park on the swings

Yes, we were smokers back then

One of the first pics I ever took of her.



Didnt get a chance to finish this post from yesterday 🙂 I have been tardy as of late!

I just realized I never posted since the CT report 2 weeks ago. Chemo day the following Friday was another 10hr affair with a string of complications. Blood test repeat, clogged picc line and another nasty allergic reaction. In the grand scheme of things, relatively minor annoyances. These things happen and everyone at the center does an amazing job to minimize them. But sometimes not much you can do except deal with the issues as they come.
Recovery however, was very, very difficult this cycle. Its been quite some time since Kathleen has been this low energy wise. Feeling just awful and unable to get out of bed/her chair for 3 days. Its a good thing she still has her IV food at night as she ate nothing for a good 72hrs. Down 5 lbs from a few weeks ago.
Wednesday was another checkup with the main chemo doc. An assessment and review of the CT scan. He confirmed the good news in it without any caveats. There was one thing in the report we didn’t understand (a ‘feature’ on the lung). When I looked it up, it implied it was part of the legacy of smoking which chemo dr confirmed it was unrelated and uninteresting. It reminded me of when I had all those back issues and had a couple of MRIs. The first report was a paragraph and the second 2 pages with all sorts of detail with way more dire sounding language. I had the good fortune to be referred to one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Canada. When he looked at the raw images he said there was no difference in his opinion… Same conclusion from his resident and Nurse Practitioner.. Different radiologist, different conclusions, different effort and detail. Its amazing how TV really pollutes our notions of how professions with such vertical skills are uniform. Anything but.
We also asked if the shrinkage was predictive and if it was typical. He said, no, not everyone responds to the chemo with spots shrinking and that it was hard to say where and when things might go. But he said take it as a good thing. We will. We do. Round 7 tomorrow. Kath at least got 3 good days in this week. Hopefully next cycle wont be as rough on her.


Everything is Smaller

Finally, some good news. Unqualified good news even! Kathleen had her CT scan on Monday and of course we were anxious to hear the results. We were going to get them on Friday when she had her next round of Chemo, but her amazing GP called to tell her that she got the report as well and wanted to just followup on things in general. We are really lucky to have such a ‘with it’ primary care provider. The gist of it is, is that everything has shrunk or not gotten any bigger. We sort of already knew that as the lymph nodes in her neck felt smaller than before, but it was great to hear confirmation that the ones in her abdomen were also smaller as was the mass on what was left on her pancreas. And of course, nothing new to concern ourselves with. So, progress in the right direction for a change! More details to follow Friday when we see the report ourselves and over parse every last word.


Day Pass from the Bubble

There are occasional times when Kathleen forgets she is in the cancer bubble. Its easier for me as the distractions of work take my focus away. But Saturday night was the ultimate day pass for her when we celebrated our 25th anniversary. It was truly wonderful for family and friends to come together like that to celebrate with us. Kath had been coming off a tough week with the nuelastim side effects and she just had such a low energy level. But Saturday night was simply beautiful. Good food, good music, but most importantly good company.
Its been a while since I have seen Kathleen so animated and happy. What a wonderful night indeed

Unfortunately, I didnt have any time to take pictures, so if anyone did, please email them to us at Kathleen@sentex.net