Monday, May 4, 2009

Medical Update

Hi VP's...well some of you have asked so Nurse Dee will give the medical report...also called "the bullet"...on our favorite patient. Actually I'll give you a lot more details than the real medical bullet but Amanda and Vic will understand that I'm still learning the nursing ropes! Sorry Docs!! here's how it went. We got some lunch and then headed over to MD Anderson for our day's activities. First we had to find a parking spot in the garage...that's sometimes easier said than done. We figured that the population of the entire state of Texas could take a month vacation with all the money they make in all the Texas Medical Center parking structures in a week...well I might be exaggerating just a tad...but not by much! Dang!

So we toodled up to get a blood sample first. Man! Are they efficient up there. I thought it would take forever with all the people waiting for their "numbers" to be run...NOPE! They were johnny on the spot and got her in and out in record time. They didn't use the PICC line because they needed special orders from the doctor to do that. Brenda said the lab folks were really good so it wasn't too bad. Unfortunately needles are needles! OUCH!

Then we headed across the clinic to the Infusion Therapy Department were we got her PICC line dressing changed. She picked the kind of covering bandage that needs to be replaced twice a week so Nurse Dee has got to get on the stick and get her certification or we'll have to go back to the clinic each time the bandage needs to be changed. 

Then it was back across the clinic and up to the 10th floor for our appointment with Dr. Hong. We were really early so we sat around for a while. We're going to have to learn not to be so eager...the waiting makes us crazy nervous! So here Brenda was waiting for Dr. Hong to come see us in the little box they put you in. She was wearing her new Yankees hat thinking it would make him smile because we thought that was his favorite we were caught up in that rabid sky diving interval so we totally screwed that one up. He isn't a Yankee fan...He's a RED SOXS fan!!! Dang!! So now we'll go get a Red Sox hat. How did we get that so messed up?

Dr. Hong corroborated that the tumor sizes in Brenda's neck were decreasing...yes! Brenda had felt them decreasing shortly after the first round of chemo was over. He wants her to go see all the other specialists on her medical team just to keep them in the loop and the chemo will continue for now. We didn't have all the info on the blood count so we had to wait a tad for that. She'll see all these other docs after this next chemo round.

When we got home, Mary called...that's Dr. Hong's key medical assistant. She said that Brenda's white blood counts were too low right now and they wanted to get them stimulated and in the correct range so they could keep the chemo on track. So tomorrow night and Wednesday night, we have to go back to the clinic so she can get a shot of Neupogen which will stimulate her body to produce more white blood cells. This will also help her fight infections which is critical. Infections are a BIG NO-NO and we're being so obsessive about keeping her out of any bacteria laden environment. It's really amazing that she feels so good right now compared to how she felt during the early days of chemo, we thought those numbers might be OK. She is on a high dose of the drugs and it takes a while for your body to produce these while cell goodies so Dr. Hong will keep her on this drug after she finishes this next round of chemo so those numbers can stay in the correct range and she can stay infection free. That's a good thing.

Some of the reading I've been doing about our nutrition says that we really need to stay away from processed food. I'm just wondering if all those chemicals in our food might be one of the reasons we have so much cancer these days...think about it. We could probably all do ourselves a big favor and eat better. So Chef Dee went over to Whole Foods and got us a nice rotisserie chicken, some fresh asparagus, a couple yams....and some organic BBQ sauce! It was a really yummy dinner. I'm really going to put a lot of effort into this cooking thing...the right way...with the right'll be great for both of us.

So that should bring you up to date. It's really a good thing that we're here because they have everything so organized and timely. Although it's a HUGE place you don't have the feeling that you have fallen through some crack in the system. That's amazing. The battle plan gets adjusted all the time and they definitely know how to deal with that. Some of the medical facilities I've been in could certainly learn some lessons from this place.

Now we HAVE to go find that Red Soxs hat!!! Night all...

Nurse/Chef Dee

PS: I wish I could claim ownership of that hilarious Tonto / Lone Ranger post but that was compliments of Bonnie & Jackie who have been absolute crazy gals with their Photoshop program...ladies...all those have been nothing but masterpieces. Please keep em comin'. 


  1. Ok sista...As we were talking on Sat., I knew something was up with the Yankee cap..How could a great doctor love those dang Yankees??? But whatever it took to get you well was ok by me. So my gut instinct WAS right, GO RED SOXS!! Now I feel better with you with another hat on!! Heck even a Houston Astro's hat is better.....j/k....but really go change your hat!!!!! Here's to a good chemo week!!!! Love ya Sis...Rhonda

  2. P.S. Auntie Brenda... Amy said to tell you that the Neupogen "SUCKS BALLS" !! Good luck with that. You will need a heating pad and or a hot shower, that's what made her feel better. :)
    She sends her LOVE!!! oxoxo

  3. That's pretty bad for me if it sucks balls. YUK auntie Brenda

  4. Hey hey hey - Yankees rule!!!!!
    The Red Sox s---!
    Chemo sabe - thanks for the laughs on the hair-do. I was happy to read Dee's medical update - decreasing in size - nice group of words.
    sucks Balls - not too familiar with taht term-explanation please ;)

  5. Whole Foods is a great place to get all kinds of good organic stuff... I know most doctors are not big on natural/organic ways but we try to do as much organic fresh vegetables, fruits, etc as possible and when we are sick use distilled water... it has helped we believe keep Evelyn's cancer brushes at bay!
    Anyways thanks for all the great updates with the medical jargon!
    Love & Blessings to you both
    Cathie & Evelyn

  6. Great News that your neck is officially shrinking! Sucks Balls is an interesting term......don't think many of the village people are familiar with that one. The biggest side effect of neupogen is bone pain (30% of patients) nausea, fever and fatigue....that sucks balls doesn't it? Your counts should bounce up so your chemo can stay on schedule. The most important thing is to get your treatment and get better and get home! Love you lots!


  7. Brenda and Dee...You are such role models of dignity, humor and strength. Thanks for the medical update that is so encouraging, as is your positive outlook. Our Whole Foods is a major grocery stop and has lots of fresh food ready to throw in the oven or microwave. It's healthy, often very easy and beats sucking balls any day. xoxo, Bonnie and Jackie

  8. Hey Brendita! What is wrong with all of you -- and what SPECIFICALLY is wrong with "suck balls," especially for your straight sisters?!

    I love the new hair do. You know I was always adventurous when it came to 'dos. In fact my girls were just teasing me about the spiky hairdo I had when we worked together in Patrol. They somehow believe you had influenced me in some way. Boy were they wrong. Wrong plumbing! Wrong person! :)

    Anyhoo. . . missed the blog for a few days -- was up in Denver watching Courtney graduate from Regis. Wow. Can you believe that?? Basketball is done, and she'll have to come home and get a job! Imagine that. . .

    I am glad that you had a good report today, and will continue to pray that the chemo continues to work and your blood count will stabilize. Can you send me a Texas address so that I might send you a card??

    And, by the looks of that photo in 2007, it looks like you needed a little less hair anyway!! Keep laughing, sunshine!

    Love you, Rosie

  9. Hello All,

    I had my first Neupogen shot last night and it wasn't bad. They gave me 3 pages of things to watch for and the only side effect I really have is a lower back ache/pressure. The nurse that gave me the shot used a fine needle and I don't even have a sore arm. I am watching the area around my picc line because that is a potential side effect for infection. I am also going to hunker down today because my system is vulnerable. I have another shot tonight and the docs said that the 2 shots should be enough to start chemo again tomorrow. They have to make sure so I have to go in at 7am to get my blood drawn and numbers checked. That's my 7 hour day so Dee dee may have to sneak off to yet another dressing change class and another demonstration to the nurses. This is a critical piece to keeping my picc line free of infection. The nurse has sure earned her candy stripes by now!!! I have yet to see her uniform though. I think that she is keeping that as a real form of entertainment when I need it most. As Michelle's niece would say ooh la la!!!

    As for my straight girlfriends, sister, and niece, you can have your skin flutes and suck balls. We still love you and wish you the best in your endeavors. To each her/his own and to my gay sisters I know that this is beyond our comprehension and for a very good reason. To my gay brothers I know that you don't see a problem with this at all.

    The good thing is that we can all love one another regardless and anatomy and still have a blast. Just ask my sister when she came on an Olivia trip with us and is still making us laugh.

    Hey if you want a good news story of my sister and niece go to KIVI Channel 6 in Nampa and click on the sports section. There's picture of my sister and niece so click on that. My niece, diagnosed at 20, is overcoming breast cancer and her softball team is going to nationals in Alabama in a couple of weeks. They are my heroes.

    Rosie 7171 Buffalo Springs #414 Houston Tx 77025

    Thanks to you all for keeping the laughter alive and my spirits up. This blog has been my connection to all of you and I don't get as homesick because you are right here with me. That is a gift you will never know how much value.

    love, chemo sabe