Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Update on Jim 12/30/09

Each day we get up wondering what changes Jim might feel that day. After a rough Monday, the last two days have been pretty good. Jim hasn't taken any more of the anti-nausea meds and hasn't needed to nap mid-day since Monday. He actually feels pretty good and has been working all day. He is still using the cane for support but I've seen him leave it behind when making some short walks around work or at the house. We were told to expect the changes to be like a roller coaster ride. Chemo patients "typically" have a slow decline (feeling the effects of the chemo), then bottoming out and slowing starting to improve, just in time for the next chemo. The ride then starts all over again although the effects happen faster and can hit a little harder with each treatment.

I have no doubt that Jim is surrounded in prayer and we thank you for that! We are very blessed to have family and friends willing to travel this road with us!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Update on Jim 12/28/09

Today we are 7 days post chemo # 1. Jim is noticing some side effects, mostly minor. His stomach is a little off, but he is still eating. He took his first anti-nausea pills this weekend. Getting a good nights sleep seems to be the biggest obstacle. He is up 4-5 times a night to use the bathroom. Not sure what that is all about as he isn't drinking anything more then normal - I'm guessing he is sleeping lighter. We'll be talking to the doc about that if this continues very long. He got up looking tired this morning and said he felt like he was "dragging butt". When we go home at lunch today I'm going to encourage him to lay down for a cat nap. We've gotten the okay to take long lunches whenever necessary if naps prove to be helpful. Getting up at 5:15 this a.m. may have been a mistake....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update on Jim 12/23/09

We are now two days post chemo and Jim is doing very well. He has noticed a couple small things, i.e., food tasting a little funny, some puffiness (from the steroids), but for the most part he is feeling the same as he did before the chemo treatment.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

NEXT SCHEDULED APPT: Chemo #2 on Monday 1/11/10

Monday, December 21, 2009

Update on Jim 12/21/09

One down and five to go! Chemo #1 was today and all went well!

Jim had to be at Oncology Associates at 8:15. He was originally scheduled for lab work first, followed by a visit with the doctor and then chemo. Because Jim had just been in last week for the biopsy that included lab work they were able to forego that today. One less "stick"! The visit with Dr. Nabi resulted in some very good news....the biopsy on Jim's right hip showed no cancer in the bone marrow! Needless to say Jim went into his first chemo treatment with a very good frame of mind!

The chemo program that Jim is on is called "R-Chop", (Rituxan, Cytoxan, Adriamycin, Vincristine & Prednisone). He received each med separately. The Rituxan was the one that was administered very slowly over a period of hours. The nurse checked Jim's blood pressure and heart rate every 30 minutes. This med was the one they are most concerned about for reactions -- and there were NONE! The administration of the Rituxan and all the other meds went very well. The actual chemo started around 9:30 and was done by 4:00. Jim says that the day went by very fast and was pretty uneventful. Now we wait....

Nausea is the first concern. We are hoping of course that it won't be an issue. But if so, he has meds on hand to take at the first sign of problems. Then in 7-14 days the potential for hair loss and fatigue will present itself. Once again we are hoping that these side effects will also be non-existent. We are optimistic that there will be little if any problems and that the next several months will go by quickly.

Please continue the prayers for Jim not to feel any ill-effects from the chemo. We really appreciate it!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Update on Jim 12/16/09

Jim had to be to Oncology Assoc this morning at 8:15. They did lab work and we met with Dr Nabi before she did the biopsy on his other hip. Dr Nabi informed us that there were some addditional spots of concern that showed up on his PET/CT scan that was done Monday. He has a spot on his back (thorasic area), one in the pubic area and one in a lymph node deep within his abdomen. These results do not change anything in the recommended course of treatment. These tests will provide a baseline from which they will be able to compare future tests so they will know what his progress is. Dr Nabi then proceeded with the biopsy of the bone marrow on his right hip. We hope to have the results of that when we see her at the next appointment. That will be next Monday 12/21 - which is when Jim will have his first chemo treatment. Dr Nabi gave Jim the option to wait till after Christmas for his first chemo but because he is anxious to get the "healing" started he decided not to wait.

On Monday, 12/21 Jim has to be at the Oncology Assoc at 8:15. They will do lab work, he will meet with the doctor and then proceed with his first round of chemo. It was kind of interesting how they described the process. There are five different ingredients in the "recipe" that will be used on Jim. I believe two of them are oral meds. The rest are given separately via IV- they are not a "cocktail" (meaning they are NOT mixed together), but are given separately, in "courses". For the first treatment they will be watching him closely for allergic reactions. It will be administered very slowly so if there are any problems they can stop it. Subsequent treatments should go faster once they've determined he can handle it. This first chemo treatment will take approximately 6 hours, so we are to plan on being there for the entire day. He is to bring a cold sack lunch. They don't want hot food brought in as the smells can be offensive to others receiving treatment. The chemo room has lots of big comfortable recliners in it, blankets galore, DVD players to watch movies and music that you can listen to with earphones. Patients are encouraged to bring books, or anything else that will help the time go by. Everyone is so kind and compassionate there. We feel really good about the care he will be receiving.

We've been warned about possible side effects and things that we need to be watchful for. They have a doctor on call that is accessible through the answering service 24/7, and we were told not to hesitate to call if we have any concerns. The actual side effects of the chemo may not kick in for 7-14 days, as it will take that long to work its way into his system. (Future treatments won't take that long.) I asked if we needed to be concerned about being around family over the holidays and were assured that there should be no problem. Jim was just warned to use proper hygiene habits (i.e., regular hand washing) and to avoid close proximity with anyone not feeling 100%.

Please pray for Jim to not suffer any side effects from his chemo!

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
~ Isaiah 26:3, NLT

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update on Jim 12/14/09

Jim had his PET/CT scan today and it was uneventful. He was there from 12:30 till nearly 3:00. After injecting him with radioactive dye (into his vein) he had to sit still for more then an hour so it could work its way through his system. He admits that he fell asleep for some of that time! They then took him for the scans which were also no big deal. We were back to work by 3:10, with Jim feeling no worse then when we left.

We are hoping to have results of this and Friday's heart test when he sees Doctor Nabi on Wednesday (12/16) for the biopsy. If we hear anything in the meantime I'll be sure to get it posted.

Keep the prayers coming!

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7 (New American Standard Bible)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jim's Status Past to Present

Last March we went on a road trip to Kansas City and after we got there Jim started feeling pain in his leg/hip area. We figured he sat wrong or something. He just kind of dealt with it for a couple months.

Jim went to his chiropractor several times over the next few months and there was little if any relief. He asked the doc to order an x-ray just to see if there was anything "wrong in there", and the results showed nothing. That was in June. The chiro gave Jim some exercises to do and he did them, religiously, every day.

In August, Jim went to his family doctor for a physical and talked to him about the discomfort he was experiencing and the doc guessed that it was I.T. Band syndrome since alot of his pain was down the outside of the leg. Routine blood work was done and there was no problems indicated.

Jim called the family doctor in late October and asked to be sent to physical therapy. He went 6 times and followed through with everything the therapist recommended with no relief. The therapist expressed concern that he had made no progress and said she would contact the family doctor with a suggestion that they do an MRI.

The family doctor referred Jim to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. Jim saw him on 11/19. The ortho ordered an MRI with the expectation that they would find something torn in his hip.

The MRI was done 12/1 (the day after we returned from Cozumel). On 12/2 Jim was called into the family doctor's office and we were told that a mass had been found. A biopsy was the next step.

A needle biopsy was done Friday 12/4 at St Lukes Hospital. Other then the fact that Jim's hip was extra sore for a few days, it went smoothly.

On Wednesday 12/9 Jim got a call from the family doctor saying that the biopsy had shown cancer. Jim has Diffuse B Cell (non Hodgkins) Lymphoma, stage IV. The doc wanted to get Jim set up with a oncologist right away. He hung up with Jim and then called back 10 minutes later saying that if he could get to Dr Nabi's office by 12:30 that they could get him in. (There was blizzard conditions going on and the office was closing was half the city.) Jim & I rushed out of work and were there with minutes to spare. Dr Nabi was wonderful. She very slowly explained the cancer that Jim has and what to expect in the near future. She also wrote out notes as she explained and then gave us the notes to take home after the appointment. There were three more tests that she wanted done ASAP. A heart scan, a PET/CT scan and another biopsy on the other hip. The one thing she insisted we remember from our visit was that Jim's cancer was CURABLE! He is going to have to work hard to beat it, but it can be beat!

On Friday 12/11 Jim had the heart scan at St Luke's Hospital. It consisted of them taking some blood through an IV, mixing it with some radioactive stuff and then putting it back into his blood. He then was put on a table and had several scans done of his heart from different directions. This test would provide a baseline which they could later use for comparison with future scans to see if there was any changes happening to this heart.

The next test is tomorrow, Monday 12/14 at 12:30. This is the PET/CT scan. Today Jim had to make some modifications to his diet in preparation. For 24 hours prior he was to have no sugar or caffeine. And his meal tonight had to be meat, eggs and/or selected vegetables. High protein, low carb, low sugar. So I chose to make him bacon and eggs. Real bacon, not turkey! He really enjoyed that! He has to have a repeat of this meal tomorrow morning. Normally we just eat something at our desk at work, but tomorrow, if he doesn't eat at home he won't get to eat till after the procedure - which means no food till 4:00 tomorrow afternoon! So we will have breakfast at home prior to going to work. Eggs and bacon, here we come!

Scheduled appointments:
PET/CT scan on Monday, 12/14 at 12:30 p.m. at St Luke's Hospital
Biopsy on Wednesday, 12/16 at 8:30 a.m. at Oncology Associates

Cancer Sucks!

I've not posted since 11/22! I've never gone that long! But time has stood still as great things and sad things have occurred. The great thing was a wonderful trip to Cozumel to watch daughter Rachelle compete in her first Ironman triathlon. She did it in 13 hours and 35 minutes. The days prior were filled with hanging out around the pool drinking fruity drinks, eating wonderful food and soaking in WARM, I repeat WARM weather. It was a lovely time and I'm so thankful that the timing worked out the way it did. (If you want to see pictures from the trip you need to go to either of the girls websites - Rachelle or Becca.)

Anyways, after we got back an onslought of tests were done on hubby Jim and in a matter of a week we found out that he has cancer. There are more tests to be had and then chemo will be started. So, I've decided that I'm going to use my blog as a means of providing information to family and friends who want to know what is going on and how he is doing. Presuming that I am able to do some cooking I may have some food blogging mixed into the picture. You will have to pick and choose what you want to read! My intent is to update every few days.