Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 26th

Received a call yesterday from Stockton Kaiser scheduling two of three chemo therapy treatments on Thursday and Friday, January 6th & 7th.

Today Denise had the two ports inserted at the Sacramento Kaiser on Morse Avenue.  One port-a-cath was inserted into her right side just below the shoulder and above the breast.  The other port was inserted under anethesia into her lower right side just below her ribs.  The lower port will be used to "flood" the pelvic cavity with the cancer fighting drug Taxol. 

The procedure was very extremely painful and Denise has signficant discomfort just moving.  Evidently Denise was not given sufficient sedation to take her to a level as to not feel the surgical pain.  They had to increase the sedation multiple times to get her fully sedated.

The chemo therapy regiment for Denise will be one treatment of Cisplatin one day, one treatment of Taxol the next day of the same week; one treatment of Taxol again the following week; and, one week without any treatment (recovery time).  In a nut shell and in layman terminology as I understand it, the aggressive chemo therapy is prescribed due to the cancer matastasizing (sp) to the lymph nodes in her pelvic area.  Once the cancer is in the lymph nodes, it then has traveled throughout your body/system.  The Onconologist's prognosis is Denise will be cancer free for the rest of her life after she has completed her treatment. 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday, December 27th

Denise saw the new chemo doctor at Stockton Kaiser and had her blood tested for coagulants in preparation for the procedure on Wednesday to insert the ports.  Now she awaits a call from the charge nurse to set up the treatment dates.

She had her favorite soup for dinner--corn chowder from Mimi's.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26, 2010

Denise was very happy to learn from her pathology report that the primary site for the cancer (high grade papillary serous carcinoma) was in the fallopian tubes--rather than the ovaries--this is the better of the two.

The holiday was spent watching movies with the family and playing Wii Pictionary that Rileigh received as a Christmas gift. 

During the last few days she has been pretty tired and not feeling as well as she would like.  She still strives to take at least 1 walk every day despite how she feels.  Today, it was beautiful walking in the sunshine under the georgous blue skies.  We saw a red tail hawk soaring above while walking.

Dramatic and emotional event today--Danny cut off Denise's hair down to the scalp.  Her hair has been falling out by the handfuls.  She says she really feels and looks like a cancer patient now (I sensed a little denial still present.).

I gave her a very soft white stocking cap that I found at Kohls.  So today I made a dash to Kohls to pick up a few more.  Denise's friend Robin is lending her the scarves she used during her chemo treatments.

Signing off until tomorrow, Mom/Joan

Thursday, December 23, 2010

PS 12/23/10

Denise's back pain was determined to be caused by a slip of her foot on our wet pickup running board and thus twisting her body when getting in.

Thursday, December 23rd

A busy day today!  First appointment was with Dr. Sattar, chemo therapy dr.  Good news that the chemo therapy is for 5 cycles--not 5 months and prescribing 2 drugs instead of 3.  Each cycle is 3 weeks.  Denise is strongly considering transferring the treatments to the Stockton Kaiser.  The IP chemo can cause significant abdominal pain and bloating so driving an hour plus after treatment  is not recommended.

Wednesday, the29th has been changed from chemo therapy to outpatient surgery to have the IP and port-a-cath inserted at Sacramento Kaiser.  Chemo therapy appointments will be rescheduled to begin in January.

Dr.Chen, Denise's gyn oncology surgeon, is amazed at her progress and healing from surgery.   Dr. Chen prescribed an antibiotic for an infection with her incision.

Denise's day was very uplifting.  After her appointments, she had lunch with Jacqueline, a dear friend, and then ran into Brad and Kim, old friends from college days.

We'll take a break from the blog for a few days to be with our family to celebrate this wonderful holiday!  Love and warm wishes to you all, Joan

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, December 21st

The last few days Denise has been experiencing some unexplained back pain.  She has appointments on Thursday with her surgeon for a post surgery checkup and the oncologist.  She hopes to find the reason for the back pain and the game plan for her future chemo therapy.  She continues to take her daily walks with Oliver.

We are all impatiently waiting for Denise's appointment to have her port-a-cath and IP inserted.  The harsh reality of the impending chemo therapy and hair loss brings on lots of emotions to grasp and deal with.

Happy Holidays and Many Blessings to all of you, Joan (Mom)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Catch Up for December 13, 14 and 15

Denise is getting stronger each day.  Very little naseau now but lots of gastric problems.  She's cutting down on her meds and trying to stretch out the doses.  Sleeping at night doesn't come easy.  Today she only took one nap so maybe the night time sleep will be better.  She's extended her walking to the end of our road (1/8th of a mile) and doing this 2-3 times a day.

She received her Cycle 1 Chemotherapy appointments:
    Week 1:  Wednesday, December 29th at 8:30 am
                   Thursday, December 30th at 8:30 am
                   Thursday, January 6th at ?? tba

This cycle will repeat every 3 weeks.  She's still waiting for her appointment for Sacramento Kaiser Permanente Radiology to insert a port-a-cath (between her shoulder and breast) and an interperitoneal (IP) in her pelvis.  These may be inserted with or without anesthesia.  Maybe all this info is too much or "tmi" (too much information) as my favorite saying goes.

The thoughts of chemotherapy and hair loss is emotional and hard to sense as reality.  Keep the encouragement coming! 

The above information is provided by Mom/Joan! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Denise's energy is really low now.  She managed to pull herself up by her boot straps and go out for 2 short walks.  The walks enhance the bodily functions and minimze some of the bowel and bladder cramping.  Chemo has altered how foods taste which is making it hard to find foods that are tasty.  Even water doesn't taste good.  She's also having trouble sleeping at night.

If anyone has any food ideas or ways to fall asleep, send a comment. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today is Oliver's 4th birthday!  He is by Denise's side vigantly sending healing energy.  She slept most of the day, took a short walk with Oliver and then what seems to be a developing pattern of the evening.  Between 8 and 10 is when the bowel cramps and now the vomiting.  Denise reflects she feels like shes been run over by a large truck; everything hurts beyond even her worst arthritis bouts. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Update for Friday, December 10, 2010

Denise rested and slept most of Friday and the night.  Subsequently, the pain meds are doing a better job controlling the pain from surgery.  She continues to have painful spasms from the bowel resection and the bladder where the tumor was attached (the pain meds are not effective with the spasms).  As her body heals, the spasms will diminish (hopefully in a few weeks).  She is able to eat small, light meals.

Naseau, a side effect of the chemo therapy, is "kicking her butt" and takes some meds to help.

Danny retrieved Denise's Christmas decorations from storage and has decorated the house to infuse our home with the holiday spirit!  Ahhhhhhhhh!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Those Who Are Guiding and Look Over Me

Many of you may remember Denise's beloved Ruffy, her Old English Sheepdog and soulmate.  He past a few years ago but Denise knows he is guiding and looking over her.  Here's an encounter of why she believes this to be so:

On Friday, 12/3/2010, while in pre-op prepping for surgery, a nurse came to start Denise's IV.  We both saw his name tag (we like to acknowledge those who help us on this journey) and then looked at each other with astonishment.  His name was Ruffy!  She started crying with appreciation to know that her soulmate energetically was with her. 

Ruffy is a nickname for Rafael.  Coincidence may or maybe not--what's your belief?  Share your stories on the blog--she would love to hear them

While hospitalized, Denise connected with so many like minded animal lovers and especially dog lovers.  Here's a little recount about the photo of her and Oliver on this blog. 

One such person is Liza, her day nurse.  She noticed Oliver's photos that I posted in her room.  She shared her love of her large, loving Bouvea (sp).  Denise told her that she missed Oliver and would like to see him.  Liza fully supported this and made it happen.  Dana and Dad brought Oliver to the hospital grounds and Liza got Denise in a wheel chair and took her outside to see him.  She was crying at the joy of touching and holding him.  She turned around to thank Liza and saw that Liza and the rest of the family all had joyful teary eyes as they watched this wonderful exchange of a dog and master's love!

Talk about creating healing--it happens in many forms and ways.  Written by Joan on behalf of Denise

Thursday, 12/9/2010, On My Way Back Home

Denise finished chemo therapy at 2 am Thursday morning.  Still no sleep as vitals were taken every half hour and complications with nursing staff administering sleep meds.

She decided early afternoon Thursday to check out and go home in hopes of better quality sleep.  It was a difficult decision to make.  Denise would no longer have the immediate availability of the IV pain meds and would have to rely on pain meds by mouth which were not controlling her pain very well.  It was a difficult decision to make whether to compromise--effective pain meds or sleep (5 nights without).  Since quality rest/sleep would help towards minimizing pain and coping with the side effects of chemo therapy, she chose to go home. 

Denise's doctors have advised her this will be a very challenging week as she'll begin experiencing fatigue, muscle aches, naseau, etc. as the chemo therapy is doing it's work.  So now Mom has minimized or shut off all phones, pacifying the dogs to keep them quiet and maintaining a restful environment for the next week.
We are all so grateful for all of you and your support, the medical staff that has and is continuing to help her on her healing path, modern medicine. 

Please keep your blog comments coming--they keep Denise inspired each and every day.  We know there are 100 or more of you supporting her healing journey through this blog.

We realize you would like to talk to her as soon as possible and she looks forward to the near future when she can personally visit and talk with each of you.  Until she can do this, please log in for the next daily update/

Love Denise (written on behalf of Denise by Mom Joan)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to post a comment

Several have e-mailed they are unable to post a comment--here's what I extracted from this site--hope it's helpful.

Right side of page under "Followers", find "Already a member?"  click on "Sign in"
Next page find "Sign in using account you've already created"  Google twitter  Yahoo; below the light gray box, click on "Don't have any of these?  Create a new Google account?"
This will take you to a page to fill in some information to create your account.

When you come back to the home page, see "sign in" at the top right corner where you'll enter your e-mail address and your password.

If anyone has a better way, please post your instructions to help others.  Thx

6th Day Post Surgery

Denise is very tired today still trying to catch up on sleep.  Dr. is amazed at how quickly she is healing.  A very frustrating day waiting to start chemo therapy; it's 9 p.m. and chemo just started which will take 5 hours and having vital signs taken every 30 minutes.  A long night ahead.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday, Post OP Day 4

Road to recovery progressing nicely.  Epidural out, foley catheter out, 1 of 2 IV's out, pain medicine by mouth, eating, farting, burping, pooping, walking; all important stuff!

Moving to chemo floor tomorrow and then first chemo treatment.  Possibly coming home after treatment or Thursday morning.

3 nights without sleep was hard, she's trying to catch up.  Appreciate all your loving support.  Please don't visit if you have any sniffles, snorts, or squirts etc..  Chemo decreases the immune system and little things that other people fight off and don't get sick from can make a chemo patient very sick.  So we know you love her but also be vigilant at protecting her!

Hopefully visits will start soon.  Please continue positive thoughts and prayers!
Joan and Dana

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday's Healing Journey

Making progress!  Walking more and eating normal food now.  Fever free for more than 24 hours.  Starting to wean off of intravenous pain meds to oral meds.  Dr. will start chemotherapy on Wednesday or Thursday and hopeful for discharge within a day or two after.

All of your supportive comments are sooo appreciated and encouraging.  

Catching Up with Post Op Day #2

Yesterday, Denise sat up in a chair for an hour and was exhausted.  She received another unit of blood.  Later in the day she was able to walk which helped with abdomen bloating (it's amazing what gravity does).  Her incision is looking very good.  More to come later. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rough Post Op Day #1

Wow what a day!  Denise started the day with a goal to get out of bed and to sit in a chair for a few minutes.  We helped her stand for a second but then she passed out.  She struggled with fever all day and because of the fever several more tests were ordered.  She's been receiving antibiotics. During surgery she lost a significant amount of blood which required having a transfusion today.  It's now 11 pm and her pain is stabilized, fever is low grade and she's starting to get some much needed rest.

When she's feeling well enough to have visitors, we'll let you know via this blog.  She enjoys and appreciates all your kind and supportive comments.

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Recovery

Forgot to mention she's in recovery!

Surgery Finished

Surgery's finished, went well, thank God!  Dr said she removed all cancer; complete hysterectomy removing both ovaries, tubes, uterus and cervixs, removed about 8" bowel, put it back together (NO colostomy needed/bag for poop outside body), removed omentum (lining covered all abdominal parts) and mesenteric lymph nodes.  Because she had to do bowel repair Dr has concerns for infection and fistula formation (where a hole can develop between the healing bowel and vaginal wall).  She will be monitored for these potential complications.  'Dr is hopeful that it is tubal and not ovarian cancer. Pathology results will take about a week.  
She will have to have a second outpatient surgery to place a porta cath (direct IV access good for 5 years in chest) and intraperitoneal port/IP (tube/port into her abdomen).  Both will be used to administer chemo.  Keep up the positive thoughts and prayers.  We will let everybody know when she's ready for visitors.  Thank you,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surgery Scheduled Friday, December 3 at 8 am

Denise is excited to be the first surgery of the day scheduled at 8 am (despite having to leave home at 4:15 am ugh).  She is sooo ready to get this over with.  All your support, healing thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated.  I will "blog" the surgery results tomorrow as soon as we have more information.  Joan

Dr. Oliver