27 December 2008

Mom's Surgery & Update on Dad

Mom's surgery went well. The doctor found no abnormalities, tumors, etc. in her wrist. The entire procedure took 26 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly...26 minutes! The surgeon told Mom that it would be 45 minutes. He must have wanted to get home...who knows? Since the carpal tunnel surgery took so little time, I didn't have time to eat anything but a few Snap Peas, finish reading the last couple pages of Fables, vol. 11 and text my brother and Jason to tell them Mom had gone into surgery. It took longer for them to come get me to see her in recovery than it did for the surgery.

One of the nurses that took care of Mom recognized her from the week before when Dad had gotten his port. The nurses in the out-patient surgical center of Franklin Square Hospital were AWESOME! They were smiling, caring, and just great to be around. The nurse that discharged Mom explained everything thoroughly, made sure Mom understood what she needed to do when she got home and treated both of us like friends. The manner of all the nurses made the experience that much better.

2 days after surgery, Mom is doing well. She is taking her pain meds, which make her sleepy and a bit dizzy. She has been keeping her arm elevated and in the sling when she is up and about. I've already noticed a distinct decrease in the swelling of her fingers. Plus, she can feel her fingertips! I told her that was good pain-better than the numbness prior to the surgery!

Now onto Dad...the hospital was supposed to call to schedule Dad's second biopsy. They haven't as of 5pm tonight. They probably won't until Monday, when they wanted to do the procedure. Figures. More waiting. Dad was fitted for the mask for the CyberKnife and also had the CT scan in which they locate the lesions for programming the robotic arm to the correct locations. It's amazing what some Stanford doctor came up with to treat cancer with radiation in a non-invasive manner.

Dad is still experiencing some pain- 1 or 2 out of 10 (for most of us that would be a 7 or 8 out of 10 and have us in the hospital begging for morphine!). He did go to work today and Aunt Felicia helped out (THANK YOU!) and he plans to go to work tomorrow with the help of Joe and Tim (THANK YOU!!). The doctors told him he could and I don't think he knows what to do when he's not at work. Plus, he eats better (or more) when he goes to work. That's a plus because he needs to keep his energy up for the upcoming chemo treatments. Dad is scheduled to start his first round on January 7th.

That's all for now...hopefully, I will know more on Monday! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, spent time with family and friends, ate plenty and just enjoyed the holiday.

23 December 2008

Nothing Definitive

The latest update on Dad is that the pathology report from the bronchoscopy did not tell what type of lung cancer it is. What that means is that Dad will have to go in for another biopsy, this time it will be done through the chest wall. We're not sure when this biopsy will take place since the hospital did not call today to schedule it. It will probably be on Monday. The reason they need to do another biopsy is to determine which protocol of chemotherapy to give Dad. For one type of cancer, the protocol would take 3-4 hours to administer. For the other type, about 5 hours.

The results from the brain MRI were more definitive. There is a spot there. The doctor is going to use the CyberKnife at Franklin Square Hospital. It is an interesting procedure in which Dad needs to get fitted for a mask that will keep his head absolutely still during the intense radiation. Dad will also have the procedure done on the spot that is located close to his spine because the doctor does not want it to attach itself to the spine. Tomorrow, Dad is going to be fitted for the mask and have another CTscan.

While Dad is doing all that, I will be with Mom who is having carpal tunnel surgery on her left hand. Thankfully, we'll all be at the same hospital, but in different areas.

Please keep both Dad and Mom in your thoughts and prayers.

18 December 2008

Update on Dad

I talked to Mom at lunchtime yesterday and the doctor was giving Dad an infusion of some medicine (it starts with a Z) so that his bones would not be susceptible to breaking. If a bone breaks, he would be set back. I talked to Mom again last night and Dad also had a bronchoscopy to see the mass in his lung. The doctor went through his throat-so Dad's throat was sore last night. The doctors have ordered an MRI on Dad's brain, I guess as a precautionary measure. He will also be having a port inserted on Friday afternoon for the chemo. The schedule for chemo right now is once every three weeks starting between Christmas and New Year's. The pulmonologist told Mom and Dad yesterday that he thinks this is Stage IV lung cancer and that it is treatable. Right now the treatment will be chemo, but Dad does need to make an appointment with the radiologist just in case the cancer does not respond to the chemo alone.

The doctors are stunned that my father has never been sick and never really taken any medications. My dad has gone from seeing one doctor once a year to having at least 4 different doctors and Mom says he is a bit frustrated with it all. I can only imagine... Mom and I see a bunch of different doctors all the time; we are used to it and Dad is not.

Please continue to pray for him and my entire family.

17 December 2008

Just not feeling Christmasy

I'm just not feeling in the Christmas spirit this year. We've put a wreath (Snowman-see previous post), bought a tree that we can plant outside (it's not got any decorations yet...hope to change that today or tomorrow), send cards and hung the ones we've received, purchased and started wrapping gifts, participated in Secret Santa at work and went to the staff 'holiday' party (it was not much fun...especially being groped by another faculty member that I don't know much about except his name-oogey!) And still not feeling the spirit of the season!

This is mainly due to the fact that my mom will be having surgery Christmas Eve for her severe case of carpal tunnel. It runs all the way to her neck. She's not had use of her left hand for about a month now-her fingers are so swollen that they look like Vienna Sausages (great imagery...I know...). Being ambidextrous makes this worse because as the doctor told my mother that your brain doesn't know how to deal with the loss and therefore confuses the person. Mom has learned to open some bottles with one hand (some are just impossible) as well as other every day tasks that we take for granted.

What makes this situation even more difficult is that my dad had been having some pains before Thanksgiving. His doctor sent him for some tests which came back with some bad news. There are lesions on his liver and spine. He was sent to see an oncologist who ordered more tests then sent Dad to see a pulmonologist, who ordered MORE tests. The conclusion so far is that they found a mass in Dad's lungs. The doctor's seem to think that this is cancer related to being exposed to asbestos. With Dad working in construction for 40+ years, I suppose this was inevitable. Dad goes in for a biopsy today. Please keep him and my mom in your thoughts and prayers. This will be a difficult journey for all of us and for those of you who I have already told, thank you for listening and being there for us. I love you!

I will attempt to keep everyone posted with updates on every one's conditions.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

15 December 2008

Christmas Decorations

We have decided to go simple this year for decorating (unlike just about everyone else in our neighborhood)...

We purchased this at Kennedy Kreiger's Festival of Trees after Thanksgiving. It was too cute to pass up and of course, I love snowmen!
We also spotted some live Christmas trees at Sam's Club before Thanksgiving, but when we went back to purchase one, they were all gone. We headed over to Lowe's to look for one and found a lovely little Charlie Brown-ish tree that we can plant outside when the weather gets warmer.

ETA: Yes, it even lights up! (I failed to mention this and Niki said that I needed to tell everyone this!)

Letter to SP13

Dear SP13 Spoiler,

I've been bad. I've been very bad. I received a package from you and have not posted about it on my blog. Yes, I did email you to thank you, but that's never enough. You were so sweet to send a gift straight away and I have been remiss. I am so sorry. I have been using the stitch markers. I love them. They make knitting even more fun! [I didn't think that could happen :0)] I just want you to know that I promise to be better to you in the future and post as soon as possible...not waiting; not procrastinating; not letting anything (not even Guitar Hero) stand between me and posting about the fabulous gifts you send my way!

The Forlorn Spoilee

11 December 2008

Brought to you by the letter A

I've worked hard. I've shed some tears. I've stressed. I've left my students to attend conferences. I've used my students as guinea pigs for projects. I've co-planned and co-taught with colleagues. I've made colleagues listen to me talk about technology. I've read. I've written. I've reflected.

I've received an...

...for completing my internship!

Now time for a little rest, relaxation and repose before starting the Spring semester with my portfolio. The end is near! (and time to decide if I want to walk at graduation...)