Monday, June 8, 2009

Medical Bullet For Stage 2

Hi VP's...well our waiting for news on Stage 2 is over and we just heard this afternoon what that stage of Brenda's journey to the cure will be. The docs that Brenda saw while Vic was here really led us to believe that surgery for the brain lesion, etc would be the next stage. Both Brenda and I have been trying to get our minds around that big stage. YIKES!!

Well folks...that's NOT going to happen right now. The next stage will be the combined chemo/radiation treatment. It looks like she'll have a lower dose chemo once a week and radiation 5 days a week for 7 weeks. They said they have seen very good results with the combined chemo/radiation therapy. That means they radiate while she's having chemo. So that puts us at around August 8th for the end of Stage 2. They staffed Brenda's case in a big medical conference at MD Anderson and everyone got to weigh in on their thoughts about what to do next. This was the concensus. We'll find out more of the details in the days ahead.

Tomorrow she has to go to the dentist who we think will make mouth splints for when they do radiation. Then on Friday we go into to the Radiation Treatment Center for what they call "Simulation." They'll make a mess mask of Brend's face that she will wear during radiation that will help the doc target the radiation. On Tuesday the 16th we have to go to a mandatory patient (and Nurse!) education class. Then we go back to the radiation center for another planning session. On the 18th we'll go see Dr. Hong and we can get our 100,000 questions answered. Inquiring minds want to know!!! On Monday the 22nd Stage 2 will actually start.

So now you know what we know. More as we march through this next stage. Brenda is doing great right now...her energy levels have improved a lot and we 've had daily outings to some local craft stores to get supplies for several things we're working on. We are calling our new effort, "Craft Hour at the Retirement Home!!" Got the visual? Brenda has also been able to explore some old time favorite steak at Outback, BBQ Chicken Salad at California Pizza Kitchen, Starbucks Iced Mocha's, Baby Back Ribs...actually she's been eating like a horse!! And that's a good thing with what's coming up in Stage 2. She's really such an amazing person.

Later this week our good buddies Kim and Lynn from Arizona are coming to visit some friends here in Houston. We are all going to try and get together so we're really looking forward to that. Then next week our hysterical one and only Michele is stopping off here on her way to and from Dallas...OK a little out of the way from New Jersey, but we're so glad she decided to come visit.

Hope all's well with each and every one of you...
Nurse Dee


  1. Love your visual...there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's shining brightly. Glad that you know the plan. Postponing surgery sounds like it's in the best interest of Brenda's well-being. Let Stage 2 begin and your blogging buddies will be there with you.
    xoxo, Bonnie and Jackie

  2. Thanks for all of your support Bonnie and Jackie. You are absolutely right when you say that you are all with us. It is a comforting feeling to know that I have a village behind me and believe me I am proud of this village and can't even imagine doing this journey alone. It helps with the healing process and gives me something to look forward to other than more cancer treatment. It is more powerful than chemo itself.

    They told me that this is tougher than chemo itself and it lasts 7 long weeks. The good news is that I can get my picc line out after that time and I will get to drink a lot of shakes. Fortunately I can now get milk and some mochas down so I should be able to get some protein shakes down along the way. I am sure that we will find a way to keep my weight up. The alternative of tube feeding gives me enough motivation to make this work.

    I have to take it a day at a time or it is overwhelming. I have energy now so I am up more during the day and believe me I cherish those days. Bad days are good days because I am alive. It is just one day closer to the cure and better than new. These docs are committed to the cure and so am I. It's just a rough road to get there.

    Thanks to you and the village I am doing well considering what the other side effects are and how others come through this. It's because of you and the village that I am kicking cancer's ass right now.

    Thanks to everyone for all of the love and support.

    Chemo sabe (on her new MacBook!!!)

  3. Cheom sabe...Thanks for the heartfelt message that's full of gratitude and grit! The 'take one day at a time' philosophy is the winning attitude. Sounds like you're ready to embrace it with all of your being while you honor (and thank) your body that's doing the work. You and Dee remain our heroes in this battle that you'll be winning soon.
    xoxo, Bonnie and Jackie

  4. Chemo sabe and Dee,
    I hope you are conserving some energy for my visit. Albeit short, I intend to garner enough laughs to take you well beyond the seven week timeframe.
    I am sooo glad to hear that your culinary choices have broadened. I am not sure I could even think about eating pickles with hot sauce or whatever other delights you concocted.
    Stay well my friends

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  6. Well I got home and I can access the blog and make comments on the home computer but I have suddenly lost the ability to see those great little videos on the home computer... and I still can't get my work computer to let me make blog comments all of a sudden today... I think someone is trying to hex my PC's ?!?!

    Anyway great news Ms Brenda... you know we are always sending that good positive energy to both of you and all of the "docs"... I say later for that old brain surgery!

    Lots of Love, Hugs & Blessings

  7. okay I fixed the video problem...

    "Well if its not one thing its another..."

  8. I'm so happy to hear that you don't need surgery right now. I'm praying that the chemo and radiation will obliterate this thing so you don't need surgery in the future. I'm trying to get a handle on what it must feel like to get ready for one plan and then all of a sudden have to redirect your focus to something entirely different (not just once but many times over). Being a control freak I just can't get my mind around that. It must be very frustrating. You bravely just go with the plan and place your trust in a larger group of people that are all dedicated to your cure. There is no doubt in my mind that you are in the right place. I just started reading a book about a doctor that was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that is often fatal. He talks about how your life suddenly becomes controlled by your disease and it's treatment. He was diagnosed 20 years ago and is currently a pediatric pulmonologist at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. There's a quote at the beginning of the book that says, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." I am so proud of the way you have chosen to take this journey and honored to be among those that in some small way help you down the road.