Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Stage 2 - Round 1 of Chemo - Put a Fork in It...It's DONE!!
Hi VP's...another long day has ended and Round 1 of this chemo cycle is forked and DONE!!! Can you all scream YEAAAAAAAAAAA!!! We got our gal all set up in a tad bigger room in the chair unit this morning around 8:30am and I went to get my second morning cup of coffee at the Starbucks they have in the hospital and off to the CURE she went. Hey Vicky...I also had a cup of "Jet Fuel" that you sent...it's REALLY good. It's strong enough to curl your socks and I LOVE it. Thanks ever so much for thinging of me and my bold coffee addiction!! A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get our Bren through this!! I dare you to have a cup without out your hald and half!!! Ha!
Anyway...Brenda did some adjusting of her meds to help minimize the side effects of the chemo...and she took a great nap this morning. She really works hard to find the right combination that will give her comfort from the effects of all the drugs they give her on these chemo days. I'm so glad she can sleep and does a lot of that. It helps with the symptom control, gives her small bursts of energy, and helps her keep her wonderful, tenacious attitude. She is soooooo my hero.
We got out of the bed unit around 1:30 PM and headed over to the Radiation Treatment Center and met with a whole flock of folks that are part of Brenda's care team for radiation. We saw Dr. Swartzs' nurse Jennifer, his PA (oops...I can't remember her name!), the dietician Denise, and Tracey from the Behavioral Studies Department that asked us if we would consider joining a study about how couples communicate to each other through their cancer journey. Don't laugh...we agreed to subject the staff to our unique style of communication. On a serious note, they have done so much for us, we just wanted to give back. Michele...I know you must have a comment about this one. I can tell you this...this team is really going to be on top of any symptoms that crop up. Dr. Swartz really didn't have much of anything to look at or report so off we went. He did want Brenda to have an eye exam ASAP so they have a baseline on her vision. They are dangerous close to the lower orbit of her right eye and they have to radiate right between her eyes to target the brain lesion. We certainly want to keep her vision and other vital organs intact so help us with the shielding visualization if you feel so inclined. The more the better. The lady that checks us in at the front desk said that the radiation folks would fit us in so we wouldn't have to make another trip back tonight so we jumped for joy and headed for the treatment rooms and the waiting area.
Well, that didn't work out because they got backed up again so we had to come back at 7:00 PM. Bren went back for her treatment at 7:15 and she was out by 7:40...not bad. At least it gave us the opportunity to go back to the apartment and have her take another one of those "Power Naps." They are truly good for all that ails you.
I asked her what the treatment was like and maybe some of you are curious as well...OK so the medical folks know all about this, but those of us that don't like the sight of blood but are fascinated by the Discovery Health channel might be interested. Here's how she described it. She has to take her shirt and bra off and she covers "the girls" with a towel, then she lies on the table, and they have her put the mouth stent in and put on these wrist bands that pull her shoulders down toward her feet that help to keep her still. Then they put the mesh mask on and they make sure that she is all lined up properly. Then off the technician goes to run the computer program. Since Brenda's eyes are closed, all she can see/sense are different intensities of lights coming at different directions and, in some instances, the table actually moves so the beam can hit its target better. The technology is truly amazing. Day 2 of radiation = HISTORY!!
We're home now watching the championship game of the 2009 College World Series and it sure looks like Lousiana State University is going to beat the Texas Longhorns who were the reigning champs. We've been watching the games all week and they have been really good. LSU is leading 9 to 4 in the top of the 7th inning. At least tomorrow we don't have to get up at 6:15 am. UGH!
Tomorrow we have to see Dr. Hong at 10:00, get Brenda her white blood count building Nulasta shot after that and then be in radiation at 4:15 PM. Tomorrow is also the day I have to change her PICC line dressing, change the PICC line cap, and give her her daily Heparin flush so the line doesn't clog. A nurses duties are never done.
So now on to the slot competition. Thanks Bonnie for ensuring that we have RULES to follow...being a cop for 30 years, I've had rules out my eyeballs, but I truly understand that some of the villagers exhibit true competitive personalities that need the playing field to be defined out of fairness and good sportsmanship. So is everyone on the same sheet of music? How about we take Bonnie's suggestion and report the results in the blog every Sunday night by 8:00 PM Houston time. I just checked with Queen Triple 7 Slots of Buffalo Speedway and she's at $3862.75. It's 9:10 PM Houston time. Touch Away!!!
So that about wraps it up for Wednesday night in Houston...a VERY HOT and HUMID Houston I might add! Being from Arizona, Bren and I don't much mind the heat out there because it's a dry heat. Yes...it still is like putting your head into an oven but it's not like walking into a steam room like it is here. It really does feel so much hotter here. If you can beloieve this, they had the chemo room so cold this morning that I had to put on my fleece jacket!!! The hotter it is outside, the colder they make the building!!!
Hey Bonnie and Jackie...I got a voice mail from Vickie Shaw this afternoon. How absolutely wonderful. I didn't have a chance to call her back but will try and do that tomorrow or Friday at the very latest. It really was so very nice of you to mention our situation to her and for her to call. We're really looking forward to seeing them. I know she'll have us laughing our socks off in no time. I just listened to her talk on the phone with that southern twang and I was smiling. How cool!
The pictures are of our Rip Van Amburg through the years. The top picture is of our sleepy Chemo-sabe taking a quick Power Nap on the banks of the Little Colorado River while we were on a 7 day trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. That training has really come in handly to prepare her for these long days. The bottom pic was taken this morning. Being plugged into he iTouch has been a God-send. Catching Power Naps when you can is vital. I can remember taking a wonderful Power Nap in a cemertry over my lunch break when I had to work midnights as a Patrol Sergeant. I had such a miserable time staying awake all night. UGH. Sure glad I don't have to do that any more.
OK...so I have jabbered on long enough for tonight. Thanks for all you do to help us stay UP! You're the best village Chemo-sabe and her nurse could ask for.
Sleep well...good dreams...
Nirse Dee and Chemo Van Winkle