Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Main Attraction

Molly getting it started. This was her art class for today - artistic expression! And Dawn had to fly home really fast and hide all the scissors and clippers from the kiddos!

So, a  totally unrelated, yet, extremely cute picture of Micah today!

Anne made me strike a pose....the orange thing is a temporary feeding tube...more on that later.

Molly and I examining the final masterpiece

Everyone shampooing my stubble after we shaved it!

My haircut crew!

Mason just kept telling my I was bald. It was hillarious!

Half WAY through! 

Because I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting my beautiful bald pictures, I'm finally going to put a few up. There won't be much dialog in this post because I just got some serious pain meds for my nasal tube that they messed with today. So, enjoy the pictures! I had the most awesome group here at the hospital helping me shave my head. Okay, I'll have to post more later. I'm fading FAST! These drugs are crazy! 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hair Today, but Gone Tomorrow!

Dawn and Molly are going to meet me up at the hospital around lunch time for a some good old head shaving action! My hair has finally started coming out in clumps and I was hoping to shave it all off at home and then go swimming or something, but since I'm boarded up here in this swanky hospital bedroom until I gain some weight, the party animals are coming to me! I had a nasal tube placed this morning after having my stomach drained all night long - about - 8 liters worth of fluid total - not counting what I threw up when I they put the tube down originally. I have to go back in the morning to have the tube adjusted because there was still a good big of air in my stomach so they couldn't get the tube in the right place to get me fat! So, for today, I'm siting skinny chewing on ice chips and juice waiting for lunch, trying to not eat too much so I don't fill my stomach up too much. 

So, technically for anyone who may be concerned. My problems were not chemo related at all. Basically I lost too much weight and I have two arteries pushing on my small intestines blocking anything from passing beyond that point - hence the constant nausea and vomiting. As soon as the naso - tube is fit right, I'll be able to start putting some weight on and things should get back to normal! And I reallllly just want to go swimming right now! Soon enough I guess! I bought three head scarves today, so keep a look out for those, almost with pictures from tomorrow's shaving extravaganza! Oh yeah, I totally had no idea what day today was - seriously thought it was the weekend...not Monday. Woops. Oh and Warner is at work for a half day today...I think he needs a break from taking care of me!!!! oh well, lunch time...we'll see how this goes!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Medical Mystery

Stephanie is the first patient in very long time that the doc has had to admit due to chemotherapy. But now we are over a week past the treatment, and why Stephanie is still feeling so bad and can't keep anything down is a mystery. The effects of the chemo should have worn of by now. Of course with all the medicine she had she never should have been this bad off. When we saw the doctor on Wednesday he was shocked to have heard from the on-call doctor that Stephanie was so sick.
In better news, the cancer center floor here at the Lake has much better ammenities than either the other time Stephanie was at the Lake or the hospital we just left. There's an attached room for guest's that has a "real" bed (it's a hospital stretcher bed). It's nice also because I'm not in the way of all the middle of the night visitors. They still wake me up because although there is a door between the two rooms I leave it open just in case Stephanie needs something. She likes that I leave it open because when she wakes up at four in the morning it is apparently a very fun and interesting game to throw ice at the sleeping Warner.
Hopefully tomorrow she will be keeping some food down and be discharged.
Grace and Peace

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Official, I'm Admittable

Well, I officially got admitted to the Mary Bird Perkins inpatient unit hopefully for just a night. The rooms are nice and the nurses are nice as well. My phone decided to go swimming, something I'm dying to do as well. So, hopefully I'll be out of here soon and living it up by the pool in the shade! More info later.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jailbirds, But I"m Not Flying To Fast

We finally broke free from the hospital today while I was feeling a little more normal only to spend the rest of the night at home waiting around for more prescriptions to be filled so life can get back to a little more normal now. This has not been a fun weekend. Here's hoping this round of meds will do the trick!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 2 and Some Facts For You!

I slept through the entire night last night for the first time in quite some time - usually I wake up with my shoulder killing me and pop more pain pills. I guess the combination of the pain pills and all the other drugs from the day knocked me out cold from about 11 to 5:30. This was a good thing and a bad thing. I try and stay on schedule with the antinausea meds round the clock so the nausea doesn't sneak in on me because, yes, you can get sick right after getting your chemo but you're not in the clear for a few days. From what I gather, you have about 3 days of feeling bad before you feel better, and anything that I can do to keep from feeling bad over the next few days, I'm going to do it. At 5:30 I popped my pills and then I popped a few more around 11:30 and so far I'm doing alright. I feel like I'm on the brink of being sick, but I think as long as I keep on the meds and on the hydration, I'll be alright. I've slept the majority of the day away, only waking up when Warner came home for lunch and for a little bit when I take more drugs. And obviously now. I've started looking at chemo scarves, because in this blasted New Orleans summer sun, my head is going to FRY! I've found some really cute, kind of expensive ones so I'm still looking for now. I emailed my friend Haley, who lives in some place that probably doesn't exist except for her mind (just kidding, she lives in the land of far far away and EVERYONE knows that place exists) since she went through the same chemo I'm getting. She gave me some good advice as to what she went through. She started losing her hair right around 2 weeks, so we'll see how I make out with that. So, it's really nice to have her as a reference. Anyway, there's not really much more going on around here. Just doing the cancer thing again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Closing Down The Chemo Room

After our appointment with Heels yesterday we were told my oncologist would be calling tomorrow (today) to schedule an appointment to talk about treatment plans. Well, they did call and we did come in for an appointment and we did go over all the treatment options. And then he asked when I wanted to start. So we asked a few more questions and here we are, closing down the chemo room. We've been in the chemo room since 11 this morning and I still have about 2+ hours left. Treatment time will go faster from now on - they have to go slow on the first day to make sure you don't have a bad reaction to anything. 

Basically I go once every three weeks for treatment (I think - I'm double checking this when I leave) and I will have 6 cycles. So, I should be finished sometime in July. I am getting a crazy combination of drugs. I'm getting 5FU, Taxotere, and Cisplatin (which is the parent drug to Carboplatin which is what I had last time around).  I will lose my hair in a few weeks, but don't worry I've got some really cute scarves picked out. Aside from the main mass in my left lung, I do have some nodal involvement in my abdominal area along with another spot on my lower right lung, and the knot on my shoulder is also and tumor, as I pretty much expected, but the main concern is still the left lung. Surprisingly, my lungs are still clear whenever the doctors listen to my breathing which is good. Another good thing is that these tumors popped up extremely fast - the doctors pulled all my films and reconfirmed that there were no traces of cancer on the past films. Since the tumors grew fast it is a good sign that hopefully they will respond to the treatment better. I also got some drugs at first this time for high calcium levels in my blood, which is common with this type of cancer in the lungs. So, the meds will lower the calcium levels and give me more energy. I've noticed in the past week and a half or so that my energy levels have been dropping fast, so this should hopefully fix all of that. 

Since I've been here so long today, I've seen the majority of the people who have been here come and go. I talked to the guys next to me for a few minutes while Warner went to get lunch and my computer, and a book for him. He started the conversation out by saying "Man, you're awfully young for this." I wanted to tell him to tell me something I didn't know, but instead I just told him it was my second time around. He didn't stay for very long, he was just getting the home pouch / 24 hour treatment thing changed out. I've been listening to the two guys across the room from me and both of them were geologists, which is pretty neat. I still haven't seen anyone under the age of 40, maybe even 50, in here. So, maybe that's why everyone remembers me. 

And to clear up any confusion. I don't have lung cancer. I have pulmonary metastasis to my lung from my tongue. So, I have squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, spread to my lung. And they treat it the same way they would if it were on my tongue. So, I have tongue cancer on my lung.

Well, I've got about 2 hours left, so I'm going to go do a crossword puzzle or something.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Round Two

So, today did not quite end up the way we hoped it would. All we know right now is that my biopsy came back positive for cancer. We have an appointment tomorrow with my oncologist to discuss treatment options and all that. So, that's all we know for now. We'll keep you all updated as more info comes in. 

On another note, I had my regularly scheduled Pet/CT scan today and they give me a shot to dry up my head and neck which has been a pain in the buttocks all day with my mouth being dry! They also gave me Valium to make me drowsy so I would hold still through the scans and I have been completely out of it for a good part of the day. I'm sure Warner could come up with a few stories. 

Okay, I still need to update on New Jersey at some point.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big 'Ol Scary Needles

So, obviously I survived my biopsy. The doctors were really good about giving me meds whenever I asked them during the procedure. The whole biopsy was done on the cat scan machine. They basically took several scans, marked my chest where they were going to stick the 5 bajillion needles in, and scanned again. I seriously had at least 10 shots of numbing stuff and each needle they put in was longer than the first. It was pretty crazy. I made the mistake of asking the doctor early on about what he was doing, so when he was about to insert the biopsy needle he showed me and explained to me how it worked. I asked for more Versed at this point. Then, they would stick the biopsy needle in my chest, scan me, and then take the biopsy when they confirmed it was in the right spot. This was repeated three more times. 

Then I was wheeled in to recovery for two hours. During those two hours I was on bed rest, which apparently means you can't get up at all. I mean seriously, AT ALL. I really had to go to the bathroom after the procedure so in walks the nurse with the bed pan, to which I responded, no really, I just need you to take off the blood pressure cuff, I can seriously walk across the hall to the bathroom. Well, needless to say, after arguing with everyone for a few minutes, I held it for two hours. There was no way I was going to use a bed pan when I was perfectly capable of walking 10 feet to the bathroom. Been there, done that, and it's no fun. 

Anyway, the day after I realized that the pain in my chest was probably comparable to being shot in the chest with a bullet. Man am I ever grateful for Vicodin. 

On another note, I asked the guy who did my surgery if I could keep my biopsy needle. He originally said it would be fine, but then the other guys involved didn't think it was a good idea. So, Warner took a picture of it instead.

So, I will leave you with a picture of the biopsy needle and we'll update about New Jersey another day. Try having that thing stuck in your chest 4 times. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another One Down

Stephanie has successfully made it through another trip to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. It's sad that not only have we started recognizing people at the hospital, but they have started recognizing us, specifically the surgery check in nurses. The biopsy went well, that is to say Stephanie had it and is sitting beside me at home, not in the hospital. No results yet, we don't expect those until next week, possibly not until Wednesday (apparently there's a holiday this weekend and pathologists take time off for it too).
In other news Stephanie and I will be flying off to New Jersey/New York bright and early Thursday morning. I will get to meet Steph's paternal grandmother, and we are planning on seeing Kaylie on Saturday, returning to Gonzales on Monday.

This Videa Makes Me Laugh

This is pretty much what Edgar does to Ruekie ALL day long. And it makes me laugh.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Biopsy Take 2

My biopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. As long as everything goes well I will be out of the hospital that day. There is always a possibility of my lung collapsing and that would mean I would have to spend a night in the hospital. So, hopefully it goes well, because I do not appreciate being woken up every few hours at night in the hospital. 

And just some general housekeeping. Please please please don't ask us how we are doing. I think we are doing quite well given the circumstances but obviously because of the circumstances we don't want to discuss our "feelings" over and over again. I try to make an effort to not think about it all because there are so many unknowns at this point and I don't want to make it all more stressful by dwelling on it. I feel the same way I did two weeks ago when this whole thing started and I'm sure I'll post on here if anything changes. Thanks.

Tomorrow I am going to the Strawberry Festival with my brother and I am looking forward to trying the strawberry dumplings that my brother talks about every year! 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In An Effort To Not Let Warner Outdo Me

Well, it seems my competetive streak runs deep and I wasn't going to let Warner steal the spotlight for very long. I was going to post last night, but I wanted to wait until after April Fools Day so people wouldn't think I was joking.

Two weeks ago I went to an After Hours clinic on Sunday (March 22nd) because I had a cough that was hurting my chest and my underarm was hurting. The doctor listened to my lungs and said they were clear and I had no fever but that I had bronchitis (I was never thoroughly convinced of this diagnoses, but I went with it anyway). He gave me prednisone and an antibiotic, to be on the safe side, and told me to take Mucinex as well. I had already informed him that I had been taking Mucinex and it wasn't helping, but he told me to keep taking it. So, I went home and started taking my frisbee sized antibiotics and all that. My neck muscles on my right side had been tight the week before all this but that had slowly been resolving itself. My upper back on my left side started hurting me throughout the next week, and it would wake me up at night and was just super uncomfortable. I wasn't getting any better over the week, but I knew I had an appointment with Heels on April 1st, so I was going to bring it up then. Plus, I had seen my radiation doc in the middle of March and everything checked out fine.

Fast foward a week : On Sunday morning I was coughing up mucus that had blood in it and my underarm felt bruised so I rushed my butt back to the After Hours clinic and had xrays done - all the while Kasey and Hal were sleeping at the apartment, I even made it back home before they woke up. The xrays showed a mass in my left lung, but the doctor could not tell from the xray if it was just fluid or if it was actually lung tissue and he gave me the most amazing cough medicine I have ever had in my life. Seriously, whoever invented it is a GENIOUS! He told me to follow up with my oncologist Monday morning to figure out what exactly was on the xray. Warner called Heels for me on Sunday afternoon and gave her the heads up and she scheduled a CT scan for me on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday we got the news that the CT scan confirmed there is a mass in my left lung. We won't know for sure that it is cancer until I have the biopsy sometime soon. It hasn't been scheduled yet, but it will be before next Wednesday. It was scheduled for the 9th, but we have plane tickets to New Jersey to see my Grandmother for Easter (which I'm really excited about because Warner has never met her!), so they were going to try and move the biopsy up. So, for now, that is the extent of what we know. We are just waiting for the next steps to see where we go from here. For now I'm throwing myself in to researching all things fertility and I'm going to start some super cardio workouts today, just to be on the safe side.

I do have a disk of my CT scan if any of you medical nerds are interested. It's pretty neat!