Sunday, March 28, 2010
We are hoping that this "good" weekend is an indication of what this coming week will be like! Please raise your prayers in that direction...I know we will be!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Good news: Jim felt better on Thursday. All of the "bathroom" related problems have gone away.
Bad news: Jim had the flu. How do I know this? Because I woke up sick early Friday morning and was sick all day! Same symptoms.
Good news: That means Jim's illness was not chemo-related!
Bad news: We had a house full of people here on Wednesday morning for our annual St Patrick's Day "before parade" breakfast. Hopefully none of them will get sick now from being here. Jim didn't spend alot of time visiting with them since he felt so ill, but he was present for awhile.
Good news: I feel 100% better today. It was very weird to have Jim waiting on me yesterday, but I couldn't do anything but lay down. He went to work and I stayed home.
Bad news: Jim is still not feeling very well, although he is functioning. He is struggling to find things to eat that appeal to him. Nothing sounds good, nor does it taste good. Oatmeal is the one thing that he can stomache, so he is eating it with some regularity. Plus he has a new problem - burping. Even during the night he'll burp and wake himself up. What is up with that?
Good news: All of you who continue to pray for Jim - please don't stop! The side effects are the thing that are most concerning to him. He is feeling very frustrated by continually "not feeling well". So pray for his frame of mind also, to hold onto the knowledge that things will get better! Plus we need him to be protected from any other illnesses as he is more susceptible as his immune system has been weakened.
Thanks to all of you for your prayers!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Last week and weekend were really good. Jim felt good, had energy and a good appetite. We had a full weekend, which included a surprise BD party for a friend Saturday night and a trip to Riverside Casino on Sunday (for Jim's mother's BD). We came home, took a short walk and cleaned the garage floor which was nasty with sand from the long winter. As always Jim felt his best just before his next chemo (which was Monday).
Chemo #5 went very smoothly on Monday. When Dr. Nabi did the spinal infusion at the end of the day it was one insertion and right in. Jim told her she got an A+! Home we went and the next four hours were spent in the prone position. When he got up on Tuesday he felt pretty good. In fact he told a couple people that it was his best "day after chemo" so far. He may have jinxed himself, because it didn't last!
This morning at 4 he was up and in the bathroom. The next several hours were like that. I was very concerned about him becoming dehydrated again. He would take his anti-nausea pill and lose it an hour later. Late morning it finally stopped. At that point he became very good about drinking his liquids (of course I was nagging big time about it). And he finally ate his first solid food around 6 tonight. It wasn't much but it stayed down. We are hoping that he will feel better when he gets up tomorrow.
I wanted to share one of the things that I asked the doctor about at Jim's appointment on Monday. Dr. Nabi had written all these wonderful notes at Jim's first visit so we would have something we could look back on if we had questions about something discussed that day. One of the things she had told Jim was that after the 6 chemo treatments (by IV) that there was a POSSIBILITY that he would have an additional round of chemo - 4 treatments that would be given via spinal infusion. So, what I wanted to know was why the spinal infusion was being done simultaneously with the IV chemo treatments if the original plan was to possibly do it AFTERWARDS. Well, Dr. Nabi said that because Jim was doing so well with his IV chemo treatments, having so few problems, that it made sense to get a start on the spinal infusions and that way shorten the length of time that Jim would be undergoing treatment. The spinal infusions are highly recommended to aggressively treat lymphoma that is in the bone marrow. Dr. Nabi said she does not want Jim to come back a year from now with brain cancer. So even though there is nothing enjoyable about this part of the treatment plan it could make the difference in making sure that his cancer is completely cured. Also, Jim asked for specifics on the last PET/CT scan that was done a few weeks ago. Dr. Nabi said that all the spots that were there before the chemo are all gone. Thank you Lord!
We are very fortunate that our boss is as understanding as she is. Jim missed all of today from work and said for him to take tomorrow too if needed. That has been how she has been all the way through this. We are very blessed to work where we do and to have the type of boss we have. We have good insurance too which is another blessing.
As we go forward please continue to pray for him to have minimal side effects from the chemo. We want him to feel better and to be able to eat and drink as needed. Thanks in advance! We appreciate it so much.
NEXT CHEMO (#6 and final) and spinal infusion (#3) on 4/5/10 (the day after Easter) . The final spinal infusion (#4) will be four weeks later. Dr. Nabi wants another PET/CT scan before the final spinal infusion. We are hopeful that by early June Jim will be ready to some camping!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I will share more tonight when I have more time.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Jim has officially missed his first full day of work that was not a "chemo" day. On Friday the 6th Jim did not go in to work at all. He just felt like he had no energy. He talked to the doctor's office and they said that it is a side effect of the chemo. The headache issue has been mostly resolved and the stomach issues are under control with the meds that he has, but he is just dragging butt. I've kind of pushed him here and there to do some things and once he gets up and going he feels alright, not great...but okay. If he is up for an extended period of time that is when he seems to feel beat. He seems to need to rest between things. At least that is the way we handled it this weekend.
Not sure what this next week will bring. All through the years we've gotten to work around 6:30 in the morning. Since this whole cancer thing started we started going in around 7 - 7:15. Jim has now decided that we are going to go in around 8. And if he needs to take a long lunch and get a 30-45 minute power nap then that is what he'll do. It might even be necessary to work half days periodically. Whatever it takes! Fortunately for us Margaret is totally supportive and has given Jim free reign to do whatever he needs to do.
Please keep praying that the side effects of the chemo will be minimal. We know that Jim has been very fortunate so far and we hope very much that things won't get any worse than what he has experienced thus far. Thank you for that.
Next chemo (#5) is 3/15 - a week from Monday.
So back to the purpose of this post. I wanted to making something to be sold at the Hooley and it needed to be green and tasty. I decided cookies would fill the need. I had bought shamrock cookie cutters last year so I went with sugar cookie cut-outs. So on Friday night I'm flipping through cookbook after cookbook trying to decide what recipe to use. I found one that I had written in the margins, "Very good, 4/01". And so I decided to go with it. The recipe name just said "sugar cookies", it did not say "cut outs". So I started out trying to roll it with a rolling pin and that did not work at all. The dough just stuck to the roller, regardless of how much flour I put on it. I then noticed the recipe said to roll it into balls, so this was meant to be more of a "drop" cookie. Now I understood. So I tried patting the dough out with my hands and it worked like a charm. I divided the dough into sections and then after I did my cut-outs would re-wad it up and pat it out again. I was able to do that over and over with no problems. (Usually with cut-outs it starts getting difficult as you keep adding more flour.) The important thing was to make sure the dough was cold and sparingly use the flour.
Here is the recipe I used:
Sugar Cookies (St Ludmila Parish Cookbook)
1 cup margarine or butter
1 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for rolling the balls)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Cream first 4 ingredients together; add eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill dough 1 hour. Roll dough into balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen medium sized cookies.
I did NOT roll the dough into balls. I sectioned off the dough and patted it out on a floured board and used a cookie cutter.
Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix together and add food coloring if desired. I had to quadruple this recipe to frost all my cookies.
I left them on the pan for 1-2 minutes to cool and then put them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Jim’s headaches that started end of last week had continued to worsen. Yesterday he talked to the doctor’s office again, and Dr. Nabi said for him to come in - which we did at 3:30. It was determined that Jim was likely dehydrated due to the spinal puncture that they did at the end of the last chemo session. Seems there can be fluid leakage that happens in the spinal canal, which then results in a spinal headache. The only reprieve is when you lie down. A vicious circle had ensued. He’d get up in the a.m. and feel okay; the headaches would start up and worsen as the day went on. Jim didn’t want to eat or drink anything because the headache was making his stomach not feel good. Each day was getting worse. On Tuesday morning Jim woke up with cramps in the calves of both legs - which should have alerted me to what was going on. I just wasn’t thinking dehydration!
Dr. Nabi decided that Jim needed an IV of fluids. Because of the lateness of the day they couldn’t do it there at the office so he was sent to the hospital on an outpatient basis. We got there, checked in and were sent up to the Infusion Room. Jim got his IV set up and they started the fluids. They also gave him some stronger pain meds and a different anti-nausea medication thru the IV. By the time we left (around 7:45) he was feeling pretty good. (J) So home we went and he got comfortable on the couch, laying comfortably till bed-time. In the meantime I ran to the pharmacy and filled the new meds that Dr. Nabi had prescribed.
This morning we are back at work. He got something in stomach right away and took the new meds. He has a glass of water on his desk and I’ll be pushing fluids like crazy for the next few days! We don’t want any repeat performances.
Jim has two chemo sessions, plus three more of the spinal infusions to go and I have a feeling that he is going to be more susceptible to the side effects as he moves towards these final treatments. We need him to stay healthy and to keep eating and drinking. He needs to continue to be surrounded in prayer so please don’t let up in your prayers! Thanks in advance for that!