Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Night after the Day Before

Good evening, dear reader.  I’ve re-written this blog entry several times now, and none of them flowed for me.  Maybe I’m distracted by the hockey game (Flames vs Wild) but I just can’t seem to get inspired.  However, I will try to give a readable update.

Dianne has had her 2nd chemo treatment, and is now trying to recover from the effects of it.  It has not been completely horrible, but it has not been completely brilliant either.  The ‘feeling sick’ part of it hit fairly soon after the administration of the drugs, but it was manageable.   By late Friday night, she was feeling pretty miserable, but did manage to finally fall asleep.

Saturday morning started pretty good.  But it didn’t last long.  Once Dianne started the steroid treatment (2 pills per day for 3 days), the day started to go downhill.  For the rest of the day, it was a really up and down battle.  For brief periods of time, she would feel not bad, but then would sink back down and feel like crap again.

That was pretty much the day.  Up.  Down.  Up.  Down.  Down. Down.  Up.  Down.  You get the picture.  Right now, she is resting seemingly comfortable.  Hopefully she can get a good sleep tonight.

On Sunday, Dianne and the kids will go to Barrhead and spend spring break with her parents.  This will be a good distraction for the kids, as well as Dianne.  She should have a fair bit of time to rest there.

And that, dear reader, is all I have for now.  As I said, I’m simply not feeling inspired.  It’s probably pretty obvious by the clinical type of update.  And by clinical, I mean boring.  Oh well, better luck next time.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not too bad at all…….

Hello dear reader.  Here it is….the latest goings-on in the life of my wife (wahey!!!  I’m a poet and I didn’t know it).

This morning, Dianne had a pre-chemo appointment at the CCI.  This included blood work and a chat with the doctor.  I suppose you’re all getting curiouser and curiouser about the results, so without further ado….here they are.


Thanks for coming, see ya next time.

Ok, well…if you’re reading this that means you didn’t fall for it.  *sigh*  I really need to work on that.  Of course, if I’d have published at that point, what would ya’ll have done?  Oh well, at least I’m laughing ^_^
Here is the latest rundown:  the blood work showed that her counts are perfect!!  This means that she bounced back from the low / no immunity stage really well.   This means that round 2 of chemo is going ahead as scheduled.  Dianne will be going on steroids starting tonight.  This is to promote white blood cell growth.  They are starting this a bit early so that they can find out if she can handle the ‘roids.  If she can’t, then the 2nd type of chemo (in the last 12 weeks) cannot be administered.  The ‘roids are in pill form, so hopefully she’ll be able to keep them down over the next little while (post-chemo).

Dianne convinced them not to put on any anti-nausea meds, in light of how poorly she reacted to them last time around.  It looks like Gravol will be the official drug of choice.  We are both please that they agreed to this (although there was never really any concern that they wouldn’t).

The doctor did not mention anything about the results of her previous ultrasound, so we are assuming that no news is good news.  And by good news, I mean that we are assuming that the cancer is contained at this point.  Why did she not ask, you’re wondering?  I think it slipped her mind…maybe when we’re at the CCI next, we can ask about it.  Dianne will be going for another ultrasound in the near future just to see how things are progressing.

The only sort of bad but not really bad and not totally unexpected thing that we found out today is that the tumors have not shrunk at all.  But, being only 3 weeks into treatment, we did not really expect anything else.
And that, dear reader, is it for today.  Both Dianne and I are in good spirits, and are remaining positive.  The relative ease of the past 3 weeks surely does help one’s outlook on the whole thing.  We are not expecting the journey to be as smooth as this, but at least now it is 3 weeks shorter.

Thank you to Gerda for giving Dianne a ride to the CCI this morning.  Thank you to Arlene for babysitting Rebecca.  And a special shout out goes to my buddy Ryan and his wife Dana.  Dana is also a breast cancer patient, and is roughly at the same treatment time frame as Dianne.  Stay strong, Ryan and Dana!!  The four of us can go down this road together.  Ryan, I’ll bring some homebrew over tonight.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bald for Cancer

In support of my dear wife Dianne. 

My initial bald pictures...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It’s done.  Pretty much done.  I don’t know if I reported in an earlier post about the state of hair in this house.  (It’s not like I actually read these things).  Well, the last week or so have been an itchy and sometimes sore experience for my dear wife.  Last night (Friday), we noticed that it was getting real close to falling out.  So, the decision was made.

This afternoon, after I got home from work, we first went to Michaels to pick up some fabric coloring stuff so the kids could color a couple bandanas for us.  Then, when we got home……*sigh*.  It was done.  I used our clippers (professional clippers at that!!) and shaved her head.  I did not shave it down to the nub, but it was cut with no guard on the clippers.  It’s short.  Oh, so short.  Shorter than what I keep my hair.

This is a really blatant way for reality to hit once more.  Nope, we are not dreaming.  I suspect it won’t take long for the kids and I to get used to the new look.  Rebecca’s biggest complaint was that ‘Now Mommy looks like Uncle!!!!’  (I’m not sure if she’s referring to John or Andy LMAO).  David took it all quite stoically.  The trauma was not as bad as it could have been.

Once Dianne’s hair cut was done, mine was next.  Usually, Dianne cuts my hair with a #2 guard on the clippers.  This time, she did it with no guard.  And, to follow up, I went over the stubble with my electric razor.  And now, I look like Rebecca’s other uncle (Uncle Pete!!).  As of this writing, Pete can say that he officially has more hair than someone in the family.  It’s been years since he’s said that.  (Pete, is 2009 another year of the bald eagle?)

And that, dear reader, is the state of hair in our house.  That’s a big enough change for now.  So, if you attend Providence CanRC, I strongly suggest that tomorrow morning, you wear sunglasses.  My scalp is blinding.

And my wife is still hawt!!!!  And I love her, hair or no.  That will never change.



Monday, March 16, 2009

Another week begins....

'Allo, dear reader.  And welcome to what's left of Monday.  I would have written earlier, but really, you would not have liked the mood I was in.  I was feeling mean, nasty and cruel all wrapped up in one ham sandwich.  Probably a good thing I didn't write, huh?

And then, I came home, saw my beautiful wife and my great kids, and all was good again.  Have I ever mentioned that I despise Mondays?  I don't do them gracefully.  As a matter of fact, I fall into Mondays from great heights with devastating accuracy.  And usually do a 3-point landing, with one point being my nose.

Anyway, you didn't drop by to hear me moaning.  I'm pretty sure you'd rather hear how Dianne is doing.  She is doing fairly well.  The heartburn has disappeared (have I mentioned that already?).  Now, my dear wife is tired...a wee bit of insomnia kicked in last night.  Hopefully tonight she will sleep a bit better.

And that, dear reader, is all I have for tonight.  All is well, Monday is almost over.  Tomorrow is another day.  And for me, it couldn't come soon enough.  For us as a family, we celebrate that today was a fairly good day, all things considering.  And for that, we thank our Lord.


Friday, March 13, 2009

And on to the weekend!!!

Dear Reader, all I can say is YAY!!!  It's the weekend.  Friday is pretty much done, and thus begins my favorite time of the week.

So, I want to just give you a quick update on Dianne.  She is doing quite well!!  Oh, there are a few minor little things going on, but in the big picture, it has been a great week!!!  Dianne is tired quite a bit, which really comes as no surprise at all.  A new development has been heartburn.  It was awesome when she started to eat more, only to discover that no matter what she ate,  she would get heartburn.  That can't be much fun.  But, she has discovered that if she eats a Tums or two before she eats then the HB is not as bad.  So, that is good.

Am I the only one that's reminded of the old Archie Campbell routine by that last paragraph?  Am I the only one that has heard that old Archie Campbell routine?  Did I just date myself?  *sigh*.

The next seven days are going to be the 'careful days' for Dianne.  It is this period of time where her immune system is at it's lowest.  So, from today until next Thursday, it is very easy for Dianne to catch any bugs that are floating about.  This is going to be the routine after each treatment.  Unfortunately, after each 'careful days' period, her immune system doesn't quite come back to the same level as it was.  We will deal with that as it comes, but it is a very important  thing to remember.

And that, dear reader, brings you up to date.  I will, of course, continue to update this wee space in the world wide web, in the hopes that you will continue to find it.  Have a great weekend!!!


PS:  a quick shout out to all those who helped this week - Heather, Evelyn, Joanne and Catherine --> we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  And of course, to all you who have continued to keep us in your prayers and have supported us in other ways...we thank you as well.  You're not mentioned by name, but you are never forgotten.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome to Monday!!!

Good day, dear reader.  This is just a real quick little update on Dianne.  For those of you who follow my Facebook status, you will already be pretty much up to date.  For those of you who don’t use Facebook….why not?

Sunday was a Gravol free day!!!  Yay!!  Dianne went to church Sunday morning, rested Sunday afternoon, managed to get some food (toast with margarine) into her along with some liquids….and she didn’t need the gravol at all!!  She did take one in the evening before bedtime, because she was starting to feel pretty lousy by 7:30 or so.  All in all, Sunday was a great day!!!

When she got up this morning, she felt ok.  She did manage some toast with peanut butter and something else (my memory fails me and I deleted the email already ^_^ ), and she was ok with it.  Last I heard, she was going to rest on the couch.

You are now as up to date as I am.  I hope you all have a good Monday.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

w00t w00t....made it to Day 2

Good morning, dear reader.  I can well imagine that you are sitting down for your morning coffee, enjoying the flow of caffeine through veins (or in my case, getting some blood into the caffeine veins LMAO), and you're thinking to yourself "Day 2 is worthy of a w00t w00t?".  Sounds a little too celebratory, no?  Am I being a wee bit too chipper about 'making it to day 2'?  My response is this:  heck no!!!  I'll w00t w00t all day long today if needed.

Alas, I fear an explanation is needed.  I've given you some appetizer, but not any main course.  It's like giving you a bowl of sour cream, with no pyrogies.  (oh my, that was quite possibly the greatest segue of all time!!!)  Because the reality this morning, dear reader, is that this post is all about Cheemo.  This morning I vent my spleen, and get day one out of my system, which serves a double purpose in that it lets you know how day one actually went.  Without further ado, let us begin the journey.

Day one began with a tour of the chemo ward at the Cross.  It was a whirlwind's the water fountain, here's the bathroom, here's another bathroom, here's warm towels, and here's the chair where today, we're going to pump you full of drugs that will make you sick and bald.  Tour over, start the IV.  Meanwhile, I'm still admiring the water fountain.  It shoots out water AND ice!!  How brilliant is that!!

Ok, we're firmly ensconced in the area where the chemo will be administered.  Privacy?  Bwahahahaha....what's that?  We are in a small area that have 6 other beds or chairs, with no dividers, nothing at all.  There we are....all together....machines beeping, drugs dripping, people sleeping, people snoring and me sending emails on my blackberry.

The three drugs that make up Dianne's chemo cocktail are all administered through the IV, but all done separately with a saline flush in between each one.  Before the drugs, she is given, via IV, an anti-nausea drug.  Dear reader, just image the drip of the IV, the flow of the drugs and the boredom of us (I can't imagine that you aren't bored by this time too!!), and you will have spent 3 to 3 1/2 hours with us in the ward.  Great, time to go home.

On the way out of the hospital, we stop by Wig Services.  We laugh at some of the wigs, trying to picture Dianne as a blonde, or with really black hair.  Oh, and the styles!!  For those of you that know Dianne, you know she is pretty low key...nothing flashy.  I suggested we go with a platinum blonde wig with a really outlandish style.  I got shot down.  Oh well.  We did find a wig that is very close to her present hair color and the style suits her.  So, we took it.  Nice thing is that we don't have to pay for the wig...we can just use it until done, then return it to Wig Services, along with a voluntary donation.  Excellent!! (I did a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure air guitar riff with that!!)

Now we're home.  So far all is well.  Dianne has tea with her sister, and relaxes.  For less than 3 hours, she relaxed, feeling pretty good.  Then it started.  Not feeling well, stomach is a bit wonky....the smell of supper (which was very good by the way, Henrietta!!) was enough to send her to the far end of the house where the smell hadn't reached yet.    And it was all downhill from there.  Twice within the next few hours she was sick.  So, according to instructions, we call the Cross.  We get the advice to try Gravol as an anti-nausea rather than the designer drugs she had tried (twice she tried them, twice she was sick....I blame the hoity-toity drugs!!!).

After a 10PM run to Shoppers Drug Mart, the new anti-nausea med is administered, and Dianne very slowly starts to not feel as horrible.  She sleeps fairly decent throughout the night (no more sick!!), and actually feels well enough in the morning to get up with the kids and feed them and all that stuff.

And that, dear reader is worthy of a hearty w00t w00t. As of this writing, Dianne is resting comfortably on the couch.  She is very tired, but not sick.  We can handle tired, but when the thought of food makes her physically ill, that gets tough.  So, we are working on getting through today, and not thinking about tomorrow too much.  We are on a day by day journey, and I thank you for joining us on this very brief stage of the trip.  Hopefully you'll come along for another ride....we enjoy the company.

Cheers and have a good day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And it begins...

Hello again, dear reader.  It's been a while since we've met on this page...I guess that's my fault for not writing anything.  Well, let me make it up to you.  Not only will I give you an update on Dianne, but also on myself.  That's right...two for the price of one!!  So, in the words of that world famous 80's band Platinum Blonde:  "Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we'll begin."

Both Dianne and I had our respective doctors appointments today.  I met with the Respirologist, and Dianne met with the Oncologist.  So who do I start with?  Dianne's update?  My update?  Let's first update the most important person...Dianne.

To start with, it is confirmed that chemotherapy is a go.  She also got the results from the CT scan that was done last week.  Thankfully, her organs are ok.  They did notice a bit of enlargement in some parts, so to be safe they are going to do an ultra-sound this coming Tuesday.  As for the cancer, the Oncologist is fairly certain at this point that the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes.  This can't be 100% confirmed (see last blog post regarding the Sentinel Node Biopsy), but we trust that with his expertise and experience, he is probably right.  This will not affect the chemotherapy at all.  All it means is that when it comes time for surgery, they will remove all the lymph nodes.  This development is not too unsettling for us.

And that, dear reader, is all the information there is on my dear wife at this point.  I will be updating the blog a bit more in the upcoming weeks, although the posts will be much shorter.  Basically, an update on how Dianne is feeling.  Now...moving on.

As mentioned, I had an appointment with the Respirologist today.  He is very happy with how much my breathing has improved.  This is a result of the medicine's I've been on the past 6 weeks.  He has recommended that I maintain taking the drugs, as well as going with the C-Pap therapy.  Yay!!  I get to sleep with a mask and a machine!!  An allergy test was also done today, with the result showing that I am quite allergic to cats and different moulds and fungi.   All in all, things are improving for me.  The stress of Dianne's health is not helping matters at all, but there have been definite improvements.

And that, dear reader, is all I've got.  As I said, I will continue to update the blog.  We both thank you all for your continued support in whatever form it is.  We appreciate it a lot.  I don't know how to better express our appreciation other than a heart felt thank you.

Dear reader...good night.