Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Difficult Day

"There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them." --Phyllis Bottome

It's been a rough day. Plain and simple.

First of all, it's hotter than Hades here. Heat index was WAY over 100 today and we spent as little time outside as possible. No walk, no exercise for me.

Her appointments went well. The clinic was VERY busy. The busiest I've ever seen it in the lobby (standing room only). They did get us in pretty quickly, though. Then we just waited for Dr. Wolff. Her labs look pretty good. White blood cells are low but everything else is looking ok. So as long as she doesn't get a fever, we're still good.

Had to run through some rigamarole trying to get her Accutane prescription renewed. Still haven't filled it yet but I should be able to do that tomorrow.

We left the clinic with JUST enough time to wait for the shuttle, jet over to the proton center, and go right into radiation. Second day running on time. We're going to get spoiled! And after today, her time bumps back to before 1 PM! Yay! That will mean (hopefully) earlier time slots and less time NPO.

We came back to the RMH and she has been watching movies most of the afternoon. She got a great care package today from Aunt Kimmie with some new horse figurines to play with and some new videos so she's in 7th heaven at the moment. Didn't eat much (one corn dog bite and some chocolate milk...that's it!) but she had a poopie. Second day in a row for that!

Now to the tough stuff. I got onto the MD Anderson website last night to check some reports. One of the great things about MDA is that all of her medical reports get posted online and we have access to it. We also have all her appointments and can cancel, reschedule, and request appointments as well as contact anyone on her medical team. It's a really great website. Anyway, I knew that Dr. Wolff had been able to compare the post-surgery (May 29th) MRI with the MDA (July 14th) MRI (finally) and had taken it to the tumor board on Monday. Low and behold, he had posted a report.

And I quote: "The images from May 29th and July 14th were compared and reviewed....Some of the tumor lesions which had been left behind after the surgery became smaller during that time but there were new contrast enhancing lesions and leptomeningeal disease which appears to be new. This has to be judged as a mixed response-progression."

So what that means in lay-person terms is that while it looks like some of the tumor left over from surgery actually got smaller (yay) there are new tumors/lesions forming and the cancer has most definitely spread to the spinal fluid (NOT yay). Dr. Wolff and I had quite the talk about this today. He is still confident that the proton radiation will help shrink the current tumors; however, he realistically does not believe that radiation alone will be enough to fight this. We are looking at a cancer that grows very quickly, very aggressively, and is starting to spread into her spine. Not good. He mentioned a new drug (Velcade) that is used as a chemotherapy agent with many patients who have resistant tumors and this will probably be an option after radiation. We will continue to push the Accutane and possibly Topotecan (we can alternate the two every two weeks) during radiation and then revise the protocol following radiation to include a new mix of meds (some of the latest ones and maybe the Velcade).

It is so hard to hear this. It is so hard to know that while some of this treatment is working, it may not be enough. This is a very tough battle. I have always been a very positive person. Those of you who have known me a long time know that I pretty much try to see the glass as half-full. Always try to put a positive spin on things. And I am stubborn. I rarely give up (to a fault, I'm sure!). But every time we get a report back on an MRI, I keep getting knocked down a peg or two (or ten). Hope is there. Faith is there. But it is a weak candle that threatens to be dowsed at every turn. Here we are back in the middle of the hurricane and my tiki torch is getting drenched.

Please keep the prayer cycle flowing. Please keep the positive energy up (for me and for Roger...and for all of us). And just understand that I may not be the happiest person right now. I live life one day at a time. No faster....Perhaps I will feel differently tomorrow. Today it's a difficult day.

Thank goodness I have an appointment booked with Dr. Bitsko already for my return next week. And my "spa visit" is next Thursday. Much needed, don't you think?

On a funny note, I called the MCV clinic today to try to get Matt Bitsko's email address and check in with him on this issue (I seemed to misplace his email address) and the person that answered the phone said, "That person no longer works here." WHAT????? was the only thing I could say. Since when? What's going on? I didn't recognize the voice or name of the person answering the phone but he said someone from the office would call me back with more information. I just about went into a panic attack. Well, I decided to call Matt's voicemail (I did have that number) and just as I reached it, my call waiting beeped and it was the clinic calling me back. The same person was on the phone and apologized saying that he had gotten confused and had misspoken. Holey moley! Don't tell a woman in crisis that her therapist is no longer available!!! That's just WRONG!

So I guess that's really all I have to report. Sorry for the downer of a post. If you need a laugh, just go to yesterday's and look at the "funny Charlotte sayings" post.

I will add one more that I forgot: Another "latest thing" is that when we go somewhere, she always picks what animals/toys she will bring (usually Mickey but sometimes one other item) but she ALSO decides what I get to bring (mom, you get to bring the tiger and the snoopy!). Oh, gee, thanks. While I'm not already schlepping around the portable DVD player, your favorite books, diapers, and all the other accoutrements and necessities, I need my own stuffed animals, apparently. Ha! I have told her that I can only bring one animal with me and that usually satisifies her. She now has a Sorcerers Apprentice Mickey that she calls "Wizard Mick" but he gets to live on MY bed. She is FUNNY I tell you!!

Ok, that is all,


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