28 February 2009

Mardi Gras...just a bit delayed

This week apparently everyone forgot that it was Mardi Gras on Tuesday...even the French teachers at school. Unfortunately, celebrations were a bit tame around these parts-a few students brought King Cakes to school and some beads and doubloons were shown. Dad received his own King Cake yesterday from his cousin, Deanna, and her husband, Richard, who live in Louisiana. It was sitting on the front porch when Dad and Mom came home from the oncologist's office (more about that in a bit). The King Cake was one with blueberry and cheesecake filling and came (as the box claimed) with a party-enough yellow, green and purple sugar and sliced almonds to decorate the cake, icing so the sugar sticks, a glove to apply icing, beads, doubloons and even a cup from which to drink.
I had the honor of decorating the King Cake. It smelled really good while I was decorating it...yum! Then I went to show Dad what I had done and took this:Then we cut the cake and everyone had a piece. It was sooo good! Mom was warning Dad that his blood sugar would be high because of the sugar, but when she finally did the finger stick, it was only one point higher than before he ate dinner! Who knows? Thank you to Deanna and Richard for the wonderful and yummy surprise!

Now for the oncologist visit...Dr. Bahrain thinks that Dad has an infection somewhere but cannot seem to figure out where due to Dad's shortness of breathe. He prescribed Cipro (an antibiotic) and sent Dad to have a CT scan because the one near his office was not working. When Mom and Dad got to the lab, they were told that the appointment had been canceled by someone at the oncologist's office. It was frustrating for Dad since he'd been wanting answers and he had been out longer than he usually is. Needless to say he was extremely tired when he and Mom finally arrived back home. Dad has another appointment on Monday (weather permitting) as well as one on Wednesday. Hopefully we'll know more then.

We'd also like to send big birthday wishes and hugs to SC for Jack's 3rd birthday!!!!

25 February 2009

Sorry that I have been slow in posting here this past week or so...grad school has taken over!

Dad started his second round of chemo Saturday night and has been doing well with it. It has made him cough a bit and of course not sleep as much as he needs. He has finished radiation for now and even went out for a bit on Saturday with Chris and Aunt Felicia. They took him to Lowe's and Home Depot to look for material for a job that Aunt Felicia is helping out with. Mom has been having Dad sit out in the sun room for while each day so that he gets a different view. On Saturday, we let him walk up the 6 steps from the sun room to the house instead of walking around the house to the front door where there is only one step. Jason walked in front of him and Chris behind him in case he had trouble or stumbled. No problems! He surprised us all by going up the steps rather quickly.

For now, all is well, but keep praying!

18 February 2009

Quick Chemo Update

Dad went to have the bone and nausea drips today (bone-to strengthen his bones; nausea-to alleviate the nausea from the chemo pills). He won't start the chemo until Saturday. The oncologist wants Dad to be finished with the radiation before he starts the second round of chemo. He will be finished with the radiation on Friday.

17 February 2009

Fewer Meds

Dad went to see the oncologist today. He was taken off most of his medications except for the steroid (which is down to once a day), the stomach medicine (Prevacid), insulin (which he will continue to take as long as he is taking the steroid) and oxycodone as needed for the pain in his side (due to taking a little fall on Sunday). Dad will finish this round of radiation on Friday (yeah!) and will start his second round of chemo tomorrow evening.

The oncologist said that there probably won't be anything new until they do CT scans and all in three months. This is just one long wait which is why we've just got to take it one day at a time.

Keep praying...

14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

We received the BEST Valentine's gift a bit early yesterday! Dad was released from the hospital mid-afternoon, went for his radiation treatment and then went home. I talked to him on the phone and he sounds like a new man! He's grateful to be home and you can hear it in his voice. Chris helped Mom bring Dad home and Aunt Felicia is spending the weekend with them. Jason and I will be going to visit this afternoon.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and know that we all love all of you!

P.S. Happy Blogoversary to me...it's been two years! Lots has happened in that time and this has been a great way to capture it all.

13 February 2009

Good News/Bad News

The Good News: The thoracic surgeon removed the tube from Dad's chest on Wednesday. This means that the fluid has pretty much stopped and the area needs to heal from the inside out. Dad does still have a bit of fluid draining from the area, but not anything to be worried about.

Dad is also half way through the 14 small radiation treatments. He was excited about that when I talked to him yesterday. Plus, the doctors have been hinting that Dad may be able to go home on Saturday (I'm sure only if the Bad News is cleared up. See below.)

The Bad News: Hospitals are notorious keepers of germs. One of them is MRSA. Dad has MRSA, but only in his nose, not in his blood stream. This is scary because of all the news coverage on MRSA last year in schools and locker rooms. We have been assured this is NORMAL and is being treated with antibiotics. Dad can still have visitors, but gowns and gloves need to be worn.

Besides being nauseous (which seems to have subsided at the moment), the only other side effect from the radiation seems to be a hoarse voice. Dad says that it doesn't hurt but does feel like he's talking loudly sometimes. Having suffered from dry, sore throats from talking too much at work, talking loudly is due to hoping others can hear you.

Right now things seem to be calming down and hopefully Dad will be home soon! (He's been in the hospital for two weeks as of today.) Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming.

11 February 2009

Out of ICU!

Dad was moved on Monday night into "intermediate care," which is a step up from ICU. This also means that visiting hours have changed AGAIN. If I recall correctly, they start at 1:30pm (and really cannot remember when they end...). Dad has been sitting most of the day in a chair and has also been getting the nurses to walk him a couple of times a day. Last night, he told Mom that he was going to watch NCIS (his favorite show), get the nurses to walk him on last time and then go to bed.

Dad has also been going each afternoon for his round of 14 smaller/shorter radiation treatments. These do not seem to tire him out as much as the round he had last week and he's been eating more as of yesterday. I think last week's radiation treatments caused a lot of nausea and since Dad hasn't been sick a day in his life, has never experienced the nausea/vomiting and has tried to avoid it by not eating a whole lot.

The doctors keep saying that the fluid that is coming out is lessening, but not stopped as of yet. They have said that once they can take the tubing out, Dad can go home. It would be nice if that would happen soon!

On another note, many of you know that my department chair is pregnant with twin boys. As of today, she has been put on bed rest because she is already 1 centimeter dilated. Her due date is not until the end of May. The boys are healthy and so is Momma, but please keep them in your prayers as well so that all goes well!

08 February 2009

Yesterday's Visit

Jason and I went to visit Dad yesterday. After an overnight stay in the Post Op Recovery (since there were no beds in ICU), Dad finally got a bed around 3:30pm. Dad was barely awake when we arrived and I told him to sleep. Mom said that he didn't sleep very well Friday night since Recovery was pretty noisy-no walls! He slept a good two hours. We were serenaded by snores.

Before visiting hours were over, Dad did eat a bit of apple sauce and drink some cranberry juice. The ICU nurse (another Katie) wanted to start him out with something small since he really hasn't had much to each since Thursday and has been nauseous as well.

Hopefully today Dad will be moved back to the Oncology floor where it's a bit quieter and he can have his "penthouse" again.

06 February 2009

Procedure Update

Dad's procedure went fine and he is currently in the post op recovery since there are no beds in ICU. Apparently, everyone in ICU is staying the same (read: not getting better) and needs to stay put. Hence, Dad has no bed per se and will most likely spend the night in the recovery area. The nurses did let Mom go back (technically, family is NOT allowed in recovery) and said that it would be more quiet there for Dad to get some rest. They also told Mom that they would get Dad up and into a chair (doctor's orders).

As I mentioned before, the procedure went well. The doctor did find a bunch of small lesions while doing the procedure and sent them to pathology. I suppose in a week or so we'll know the results.

Jason and I will be going to visit again tomorrow. I'm off to rest my exhausted self since I slept for 3 hours (between 9pm-12am) last night.

Day 8

The thoracic surgeon finally met with Dad the other day and he will be performing a pleurodesis today. This procedure will hopefully eliminate the space for fluid build up in the pleural sac. The procedure is 60-70% effective and the doctor will know within a day if it will work for Dad. (Like we've been told, every patient is different!) Dad will be in the hospital at least one to two days after the procedure barring any complications.

Dad has had radiation treatments at the cancer center every day this week and has one today too. He will have about 14 shorter treatments to come. Dad has been getting some nausea with the treatments this week and has been getting more tired throughout the week-he's been falling asleep about an 1/2 hour to an hour earlier each night. Last night, he was cat napping whenever any of us stopped talking.

A new round of student nurses came through yesterday and Dad had one assigned to him. She took his vitals, checked him out from head to toe and got him up to walk before dinner arrived. Dad was not hungry when dinner arrived, but was more interested in sleeping. So we let him sleep and took Mom to get some dinner.

I'll update here later today when I know more about how the procedure went.

05 February 2009


Just so everyone knows, Dad can have visitors! The oncology floor of Franklin Square does not have visiting hours like other floors of the hospital. At least for now, Dad has been going to the cancer center around 1-3pm and is usually gone for 1 1/2 hours. So, anytime before or after that is fine. Dad enjoys seeing faces other than ours every day!

04 February 2009

Day 5 and counting...

Dad is still in the hospital. The thoracic surgeon has not made it in to see Dad yet. We keep being told probably tomorrow. Hopefully, that will be TOMORROW! Dad has been going each day by transport to the cancer center to have his radiation treatments. He has two more that are scheduled-tomorrow and Friday. Dad has been getting up and the nurses have been walking up and down the hall with him at least once during the day. He then gets to sit up in a chair, usually while he eats dinner. Mom says that after dinner Dad is exhausted-from all his journeys this week, I'm sure-and ends up falling asleep around 7-8pm.

Jason and I will be going up to the hospital after work tomorrow to spend some time with both Mom and Dad. Sorry that my posts have been a bit scattered, but I'm physically and mentally drained with having spent the weekend at the hospital, teaching, my own doctors' appointments and grad school. I hope to be better once I have a schedule for myself with my grad school work.

Keep praying and thinking good thoughts!

P.S. Mom has been doing well with the physical therapy with her hand-so much so that the surgeon no longer needs to see her unless she has a problem. He ok'd more therapy time for her and it really has been working! She can touch her pinky finger to her thumb (not the other way around like we thought-that was hard even for me!) and has been using her hand more and more naturally...for the most part.

02 February 2009

Day 3

Yesterday, Jason and I went back to the hospital to see Dad and hopefully give Mom some relief. Mom had called earlier and said that the oncologist was coming in to the hospital to see Dad sometime in the afternoon. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. During the wait, Dad asked if he could sit up in one of the chairs instead of being in bed. The nurses checked and they actually got him up and walked him up and down the hall once. He didn't have any troubles breathing and on his return got to sit in a chair. He was happy about that. His speech has steadily improved with each dose of the steroid and has not been having too much trouble getting out what he is trying to say like he was on Friday.

Around 4:30pm, Jason decided to see if we could find out if the oncologist was actually coming in or not. He wasn't. We did get to talk to him on the phone and he answered all of our questions. For now, Dad's condition is guarded and everything depends on how well he responds to the chemo. Dad will start the next round on February 10th as long as the insurance company approves the drug. The clinical trial is on hold for the moment because of the newest brain lesions. The NIC does not want to have patients who have the potential for strokes or brain aneurysms.

Today, Dad will go across the street to the Weinburg Center for another round of radiation on the two new lesions on his brain. He will also have a consult with the thoracic surgeon to decide whether or not they will put the talc into the pleural sac to curb the fluid build up in Dad's lung.