Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hope & Cure

Let the cure begin!! Hi everyone. It's 6:00 PM and Brenda and I are sitting...well she's lying down in the chemo infusion department and the big guns are rolling into her arm. Yep! We're on the road for a cure.

So let me tell you about this morning. Brenda made it to her 8:00 am dental appointment. The wake-up call just came way too early...UGH!!! They took an inventory of her teeth in anticipation of the targeted radiation that will come later. She got all sorts of instructions and info on what she will expect during the radiation process and what she'll have to do for the rest of her life to ensure she doesn't get an infection. We are learning soooooooooo much. This is all VERY precise.

Amanda and I were running around getting packed up and checked out of the hotel. She really has time management down to a science. Under her expert direction, we actually got checked out and made it to Starbucks for our morning coffee and made it to MD Anderson for our appointment with Dr. Hong exactly ON TIME!!! It truly was a thing of beauty.

So our appointment with the big man arrived and we were ushered into an exam room to await the news on treatment and whatever else he could tell us about this journey. He came into the room and I stopped breathing...just in anticipation of another rabid sky dive. He's just such a soft spoken, warm guy. So let me get right to the news...he said that she in fact had an intermediate grade neuroendocrine carcinoma the type of which they have treated before with success. He said that this was treatable and potentially curable cancer, but the road would be long and tough and would require constant monitoring. He actually said that no one wants cancer but if you had to get it, this type was better treated than some like lung, pancreas, or kidney cancer...AMAZING!!! I was actually starting to breathe and realized that the air would not get sucked out of the room and we weren't going sky diving today...AMEN!!! He wanted to start treatment immediately. Here's what treatment looks like for now:

He wants Bren to undergo 3 rounds of chemo at a high dose of the specific meds they were using for this cancer. (They actually developed the specific meds here at MD Anderson and everyone is using this routine...we're definitely in the right place!!!) Then they would lower the chemo dose, do more, but add targeted radiation in her sinus area to get all the hanger-on cancer cells (those are medical terms!!!) Adjustments will be made as he sees how the tumors in her neck are responding to the chemo. If anything is left after that, they'll do surgery to clean things up. This sounds a whole hell of a lot better that just slicing and dicing Brenda's beautiful face and head doesn't it?

We were so happy with this news we cried...there's definitely tons of hope with this message. Ain't it a thing of beauty?

So chemo wasn't going to start until 4:30 PM which meant that we had time to take our angel to the airport, run around and do errands, eat some lunch, and then move into the apartment. Things again were falling into place.

Amanda...thanks again from the bottom of our hearts for wrapping us under your wings, making us laugh, letting us cry, and offering so much knowledge and support to this damn scary process. To say you have been a life saver doesn't do justice to your generosity. We also love those fabulous naughty stories you shared...your secret is safe with us girlfriend!!

To all our villagers who have blogged back...thanks much. We LOVE to read your comments and I read them to Bren and we get warm feelings of love and have a laugh. You are the best so PLEASE keep the blog comments coming. It's so good to hear from you all.

Magyver...thanks for thinking of all the mechanics so folks can comment and for giveing such great detailed instruction on how to post. If we ever get stranded someplace, we definitely want to be with you!! We'll bring the duct tape and paperclips. You truly make us smile.

Toni...the "Hang on to your tits ladies..." couldn't be more perfect. We have the BEST sports bra ever!!! I'll give you a call and we'll coordinate our nurse duties and travel plans.

So here we are for the next 7 hours!!!!...things are going relatively well except for the fact that all the techs have such a damn hard time getting an IV started. Thanks heaven they are going to put in a "port" next week so that access will be so much easier and poor B won't feel like a damn pin cushion. You all know how she LOVES needles...NOT!!! We'll get back to the apartment around midnight give or take and I can only hope we don't have an 8:00 appointment...we need some good sleep badly.

Stay tuned for more info...pray the dang plane stays on the ground!!!

Love to you all...
Nurse Dee


  1. Not sure if you can hear the chant coming from us here in Hoboken to you there in Houston – it’s the one with the Aussie accent. We’re thinking of you – lots of love and hugs to you both.
    Hang in there 
    Don’t forget that date you have with Karla Koala !
    We are travelling every step with you via the blog – thanks for taking the time to keep us in the village feel like we are there with you.
    Lots of love,
    Wendy and Kiiiiiiiiimmm

  2. Thanks for the update Dee. I was wondering how things were going today. It looks like we're staying the course for a change. Good.

    I will be going out of town tomorrow but will keep an eye on the blog and will call you Sun or Mon.

    I'll be thinking of you guys. Hang in there.


  3. Thanks for keeping us all updated under these conditions... it keeps me from worrying whats happening & going on all the time... give each other a bunch of hugs and kisses from us! Today sounds soooo much better & yes everything is in divine order as usual!
    Lots of Love & Blessings
    Cathie & Evelyn

  4. Curable - what a great word. Adds clarity to a phrase I saw on the internet - cancer is a word not a sentence. In between the letters you can see hope and that is truly a good thing.
    I am sure the road will be long and windy with bumps along the way, but perhaps more rolling hills than free falling peaks and valleys.
    Hey Brenda - help me understand. What are you going to do sitting in one place for so many hours?? And without a nickel slot machine in front of you??
    Clearly, I would not ask that question if I did not have an idea. If you are up to it, I think it would be nice if you dictated to your nurse Dee the "fabulous naughty stories" Amanda shared. I am sure she would not mind your sharing with our intimate little village here on the blog ;) We can keep a secret - feel free to trust us. Who knows, maybe everyone on the blog will share as well. Of course I'll go last so as not to hog the blog.
    Another piece of useless trivia. The Lone Ranger used to call Tonto Kimosabie (sp?)which means friend. I think my new nickname for you will be Chemo-sabie. Okay I'll stop now before I hurt someone.
    Stay well my friends, get some rest and get through this round of chemo. Love you both.

  5. Hi Benda and Dee, I had no idea I could make comments until you posted that you were reading them today. I didn't know this was interactive, COOL!. anyway I'm exhasted just reading your on-going adventure. I can't imagine what it must be for you two. please know you are thought of oftenand prayers are sent daily for your quick recovery. let me or Jan know if you need anything--check on your house or cabin, a box of chocolets -what ever you want. Thanks so much for posting your journey for us to share. Hugs Marianne B

  6. This all sounds so damn familiar. I know exactly what you mean about the roller coaster ride. I am still recovering from mine. You are both on my mind constantly and in my prayers. If you need to talk about any of this I would be glad to be a sounding board for you. Sounds like you have everything under control right now.
    What are some of the side effects Brenda will experience from the chemo?

  7. Hi guys! I'm so glad the universe is taking care of you! You both deserve the best it can offer. Here's a note from the universe (sent by TUT -- I think you know him, Dee) just for you:

    "If you only knew just how incredibly well everything is going to turn out for you and those close to you, right now you'd feel light as a feather, free as the wind, happy, confident, giddy. -- Whoops, kind of let the cat out of the bag there.-- Well, now you know."

    Thanks, Dee, for keeping us in the loop. Please know that if you guys need anything from us, you have only to ask.

    TUT also says that thoughts become things so we should choose the good ones. We're sending tons of good thoughts, prayers, and healing energy your way.

    Love and hugs,

  8. Hi sista....Wishing I was with you today for chemo...been there lots of times with Amy. She called me right after reading today's blog and said I hope Auntie Brenda gets her port soon it's sooo much better than needles. She is one who totally understands what you are in for and will go through. She checks in many times a day to see if I have heard from you. oxoxoxox Chemo can be long days so make sure you have your Ipod charged and reading materials and most of all a deck of cards. Paul and I learned so many card games from her but she being the sick one still kicked our butts! She was definitely the strong one who was strong for us. That's just how I see have always been the strong one for "me" and for soooo many other people as well. You are and always were the go to girl for advice. I love you sis!... So stay tough and know that I am holding your hand today and sitting right there beside you. (as well as all the village support) :) It will be rough but only to get better. Thanks Peeker for taking good care of my sis...hugs and kisses to you as always.
    Love you both!! Rhonda

  9. P.S. Peeker, sending you some Starbucks deserve it!!!!! HA
    Love ya!

  10. Treatable and curable... two words we've been eager to hear! We wish so much we could be there to eat popcorn and watch you have to sit still for 6 hours. That would be good entertainment. I'm betting by hour 2 you were planning your escape. Don't they have mobile chemo units? maybe you could leave that in the suggestion box. The policewoman sitting beside me would like to know if you get Medicinal Marijuana? I'm great with spinach/broccoli brownies... who knows what could be done with that stuff.
    Any chance for some photos here? not that you haven't been busy or anything. Very curious about your new digs and the MD Anderson Club Med accommodations... I hear the Russian Women's water polo team will be dropping by.
    BTW, took care of your Annabelle request. She sends her prayers and good wishes.
    Beck says the house is good... and she's picked up the mail everyday.
    We still have you in our prayers every night and Ryder is adamant that "Auntie Brenda's not sick anymore!!" I think he's got a good read on this whole situation.
    We miss you so much.
    love you both bunches
    Julie, Becky and Ryder

  11. need more info on this "Peeker" nickname...

  12. GOOD NEWS>>> WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (I just about gave the girls a heart attack last night screaming that out.) I woke up twice in the night to of course do what we have to do more frequently as we get older.... and both times I sat there in a fog with a big smile on my face! Hope is so important in your road to recovery, and this news is definitely that. Each positive step is one to be celebrated. Get down and get funky girlfriends; It's party time!!!!!

  13. Dee & Brenda - It's a miracle that arrangements have fallen to place so nicely. But if I know you there was a lot of hard work involved and you make it sound so easy to pick up and move to Houston for awhile.
    I will call Mom and see if she is able to follow along, I know she said that she couldn't open the link.
    Headwraps will be on the way by Monday. I will send them to the Houston address.
    Our prayers are with you and thank you for posting log in instructions...I tried to post something earlier and couldn't do it.