Monday, January 30, 2012

The Cancer Club

Jimmie remarked yesterday about how nice everyone is at the chemo infusion center, and they are.  Of course, the people working there are very kind and helpful, you expect that.  But Jimmie was talking about the other patients.  Since you go pretty much the same time every week you tend to see the same people there treatment after treatment.  Some are obviously veterans of the chemo trip.  They come with their backpacks and blankets and go right to sleep.  But others are very friendly, offering a smile of encouragement and a chat to pass the time.  Jimmie called it being in a club.  The Cancer Club.  It isn't a club we ever wanted to be in, but the members are terrific.

In our culture far too often we stay isolated from strangers and never reach out.  Why does it take a devastating illness to make us friendly again?

Last Friday's chemo was #8.  Tomorrow Jimmie goes for a whole body scan to see if the treatment is working.  We will not get any results until Friday's regular chemo appointment.

- Linda

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chemo #7

So far Jimmie has breezed through this latest chemo treatment.  He had the usual chemo headache this morning, of course, but he has been as busy as a bee all day.  I think I'm getting tired just watching him.  It truly is marvelous seeing him come back to his usual, energetic self.

The doctor continues to be amazed at his progress as well.  Yesterday, as he came into the room with blood results in hand, the first words out of his mouth were, "Are you the same man?"  EVERYTHING (other than those levels related to the anemia) was within the normal range and looking great.  And they are confident that a few more iron infusions will bring that up to where it needs to be.  Another plus - yesterday the doctor also recommended Jimmie start taking some aspirin for the inflammation (pleurisy) in his lungs from the fluid.  Already today he can take a deep breath with much less pain.

I hope these improvements are an indication that the remaining cancer in his lungs and abdomen is being whipped.  But even if it is unchanged in the next scan, at least this return to health will give him more strength to fight.  Your continued prayers will be greatly appreciated.

- Linda

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chemo #6

It's almost time for chemo #7 and I haven't posted anything about #6.  The good news was that for the 2nd week in a row Jimmie's hemoglobin had nudged upward slightly so the iron infusions must be helping.  (He has now had 3.)  This infusion basically doubles the time Jimmie must be tied to the IV and increases the risk of reaction, so it is a relief to see some results.  The bad news was that this last chemo apparently increased the fluid in his lungs because his chest pain got noticeably worse.

But it was still a wonderful weekend.  Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson came to town to celebrate Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one.  But how do I describe all that?

There were presents, of course . . .

. . . some pick'in
. . . and grinn'in

. . . a little posing

. . . and lots of playing around!

It was a very happy family time!

- Linda

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chemo #5

Ok, it's official.  Jimmie is ready for chemo to be over and done.  I cannot blame him.  In the past month he has spent 11 hours hooked up to an IV pump.  And even though the side effects are minimal in comparison to the harsher chemos, they are still a nuisance and often painful. 

The oncologist told us he plans to take a new scan by the end of January to see where we are, and that was welcome news.  Then he told us not to get our hopes up, that a good report will simply be that the remaining cancer has not grown any.  Too late!  We have been counting on the cancer doing the shrinking act he mentioned before surgery.  NOW he tells us that this chemo gets very slow results, if it shrinks it at all.  Lovely.

- Linda

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good News

The mystery pain is explained at last. 

For almost 4 weeks Jimmie has been dealing with a thin, straight line of pain across his chest that, at times, has been fairly severe.  The oncologist thought surely it was a result of all of Jimmie's insides being jostled about during surgery.  The surgeon was sure it was not and suggested the possibility of acid reflux.  All kinds of theories have been batted about our house, but I kept saying it must be related to the chemo since they both started on the same day.  Today the pulmonologist was quite emphatic.  The pain is being caused by the fluid in the bottom of Jimmie's lungs . . . and the fluid was probably caused by the chemo, not pneumonia.  Chalk one up for the wife!  Better news - the pain has been decreasing so things must be getting better. The fluid now is minimal so the doctors will just check his lungs with another X-ray in 6 weeks.  And the best news - Jimmie doesn't have to puff on that breathing contraption anymore!

- Linda

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012!

2010 was a traumatic year due to the work at TFTW imploding.  2011 was disastrous due to Jimmie's health issues.  So, we are really looking forward to 2012 being better.  So far it is.  Jimmie told me yesterday afternoon that 2012 was great because he had perfect church attendance!  Personally, I was even more pleased because 2012 found Jimmie back in the pulpit preaching.  He had missed preaching far too long.  It was wonderful and very inspiring last night to hear him speak on the Providence of God.

Jimmie breezed through this weekend without getting sick from the last chemo or the iron infusion.  What a relief!  The foot swelling came back and the skin rash on his arms spread a bit further, but in comparison those are minor ill effects from the cancer meds.  Still, it would be nice if we could beat those, too.

- Linda