Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Feb 26, 09 Six days past chemo# 4
It was a day from Hell...was how Dad described Val's day on Wednesday. It started with an enema and metamucil with no results from the bowels. The MD and Tony the chemo nurse thought immediately that Val might have a bowel blockage this time. It took all of Val's strength to go to CVH in Berlin for an X-Ray which resulted with no blockage---that was good news. This whole day though the abdominal cramps were tremendous. UGH... At about 8pm the bowels started to move and diarrhea and vomiting continued until 11pm..

This morning on Thursday she ate and drank a little as now Tony is concerned she may be dehydrated. Val was able to shower and get into clean PJ and a clean bed to rest before lunch.
Dad was able to go the grocery store this morning. Now val feels comfortable enough for him to leave her to do errands. The worst week is almost over pray for Val's strength.
Love and Prayers to Val..... Salynn

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Feb. 25, 09 five days past chemo#4
Wow! How proud of Val I really am for continuing her attempts at eating, walking and going downstairs everyday since chemo despite being constipated and feeling her worst this first week after chemo!! Keep up the good work! I did remind Dad and Val the old fashion way of combating constipation (which seems to set in immediately after the chemo infusion; like the colon goes into shock shut down from the poison) prunes, prune juice, raisins, pears high fiber foods. Dad has been suffering with on again off again head aches which he says respond to Buffern....something to keep asking him about.
Love and Prayers to Val Salynn

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Feb. 22, 09 two days past chemo #4
Val was up and took a shower this am. She ate a little breakfast, but wanted to go back into her clean sheets and clean pajamas to rest. She is feeling the chemo effects, and doesn't feel the flu almost..she says her abdomen pain increases. When I spoke to Dad I told him to go rest with her. They are having a snow storm in VT and may get 8-12 inches in central VT. Dad and Val are both happy they can just relax and not worry about going to get the neulasta shot on Monday. The shot is coming to them at the pharmacy and the home health nurse will give it to Val in the back of her upper arm on Wednesday.

I learned on Friday that the chemo treatments 1-4 Val has received has been at 20% less of the normal 100% dose. This was because of her weakened state after surgery. Her MD said she is ready to have a full 100% at the 5, 6, 7,and 8 treatments. I asked if he ever did a 15% less, then 10% less then 5% less? He said yes, but she will handle 100% just fine. I was glad to hear his optimism.

Love and prayers to Val Salynn
Friday Feb. 20, 09 Chemo#4
I met Dad and Val at chemo at around 10am (they had arrived at around 9 am). Val was positioned in the recliner chemo chair already connected to her infusasport with the beginning IV's. She looked good, smiling and comfortable all wrapped in throw blankets as the chemo infusion makes one cold. She was wearing the black hat Cindy Catto made her and using the blanket Nancy made for her. Tony her chemo nurse was there. I got to spend the whole time with both of them as Joe was with John, Jazanne and all the kids at Bolton Valley skiing. There was no complications or reactions so she was able to eat her lunch, and was disconnected around 3:30. At that time she had her visit with Dr. Eltabacck (I will learn his correct spelling sometime I promise). He listened to her lungs which he felt were a little cleared, but a mild pleural effusion still remains on the right. He recommended they still keep the oxygen at home for one more chemo cycle. He agreed with them being off the oxygen since last Friday as her oxygen levels remain in the low 90's without it. He palpated her abdomen which he stated was less distended than last visit. Val asked about on spot on her upper left quadrant that was bothering her. He explained that it was the internal stitches which do not dissolve. He specifically asked her if she had gotten OUT. She proudly said yes that she had visited some puppies at which time they then talked dogs for two minutes as he has an old dog and asked about her dog Fuller who has come to some of her visits with her there. I reinforced to Val that the Dr. wants her to be going out and doing things especially since he was asking. We are all so happy for her that she has been going down stairs once a day for the past five days and we hope this exercise continues. By going downstairs she exercises her lungs, all her muscles, and gets to eat her meals with Dad at the kitchen table. I also reminded Val how deconditioned she was in general as she has been been sick in bed these last two and 1/2 months. Val has lost about 30 lbs since Nov. , and 3-4 lbs. since her last MD visit. The Ca-125 marker was down to 89 (Yes that is something to be happy about) down from 245 after last chemo treatment. Her hemoglobin remains to be stable at 10-11. Normal is 14. I asked Tony why not give the one more tansfusion of blood to bump her up to the 14, she would feel alt better?? She said that they only give the transfusions if the levels are below 8, that all chemo patients hover at 10-11. The nulasta shot will be given on this Wednesday by the home health nurse, and Val and Dad no longer will travel to Burlington to get this shot. (Yes this makes them very happy also) This is because as of Jan 09 insurance is no longer reimbursing the MD office for the shot, but Val can get it from the pharmacy. The shot should be given in her arm not her abdomen. Val was able to NOT take her pain medicine Thursday night as this is when she began her steroids prior to chemo treatment. We asked the MD if we should take the steroids instead of the narcotic addicting pain medication. He said NO. He doesn't recommend taking these steroids any longer than necessary. Val was in full agreement and didn't want to do this anyway. Steroids have side effects no matter what dose one takes. The steroids do make Val feel like a 100 dollars ( I would love to use the expression a million dollars, but I don't think anyone would feel this way when they are going through chemo treatments), and she uses them to avoid nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after the chemo treatments. She will try not to take the pain medication while she is taking the steroids in the next five days. I also asked the MD if there was anything Val should be doing more to help keep her liver and kidney healthy as they filter all these poisons out of her body? He stated she didn't need to do anything different, and reinforced to her that she was doing BETTER. That made her smile.
I went with Dad grocery shopping while Val was having her infusions. We found her favorite blueberries and Odwalla strawberry drinks along with some other new treats. He hates to throw away food at home and with Val's finicky taste buds she will eat something one day and not the next. It is a lot of work to think of three meals a day, prepare them and do the dishes. We hope he begins to use the dishwasher every other day run a would help reduce the time he has to spend in the kitchen. He should have no guilt about throwing things away (Just throw it away!), but he wasn't brought up to waste as a child, we can all understand where he is coming from. A BIG THANK YOU to all their friends, neighbors, and relatives who continue to make meals for them as this is VERY MUCH appreciated.
Val's coumadin level fluctuates with how much minestrone soup of Lea's that she eats as well as how much vegetables she eats. Apparently there is a list of veggies which includes ONIONS that will lower the levels so she has to AVOID these ( I will list them when I get the list). Val has to be careful to remember to elevate her leg when she is sitting, but overall has little pain in her leg from the DVT, despite not using the compression stockings or the Jobst stockings.
At 4pm they left the office visit to encounter black ice from Burlington to Waterbury. They made it home safely at 5:00. Both of them were tired and from the long day.

Love and Prayers to Val Salynn

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feb. 18th

I spoke with Dad again this evening and Val has been continuing to have good days. Val was able to stop using the oxygen on Friday and still is off of the oxygen. Dad takes her oxygen level in the blood several times a day and it stays relatively stable around 90 or 91 each time. Val has been able to make it downstairs for each meal and was feeling well enough this past weekend to make it outside and take a trip to Brenda Bailey's to visit the puppy's that she has. Of course Val loved this. The nurse was at the house today and took blood. The results will be discussed during friday's doctor visit and chemo treatment. Today was a fair day as Val did vomit this morning but she felt it was just because of her brushing her teeth. Val still was downstairs for meals and seemed ok this afternoon. Dad and Val are getting prepared for the treatment on friday and we are all praying that it goes well and the side effects are not too severe.
Love and Prayers for Val!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feb. 13 , 2009

I spoke with Dad again last night and Val had a pretty good day again. This is about 4 days in a row that are going better. Val made it downstairs for lunch and was a little discouraged that she was really tired out going back up the stairs. Dad was trying to encourage her that the more she excercises , the more strength she will build up. Val decided she would make it back downstairs for dinner and she did that and was back upstairs resting after dinner. It was really great that she did make it down twice and may indeed be a way to build up some strength by a little more exercise. It is great that Val had such good progress.
Love and Prayers to Val!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Jan. 9, 09. 9 am
I just spoke to Dad who said Val was starting to turn the corner yesterday on Sunday as far as feeling a little better. Val came downstairs to use the computer! I am shocked as well, but ooooh soooo verrry happy! Their neighbor across the street is a man fighting leukemia and he goes to Boston for treatment. He brought them some soup. She was looking something up regarding best I can understand. Val has taken on the responsibility of giving diamond his thyroid pill again which she pushes down his throat. Dad was having so much fun doing it that he had stopped and Val found out so she is doing it. Hey I think it is great she is taking responsibility again for her animals that means she is feeling better! Her right leg is down to 14 1/2 inches and not bothering her at all. Her pain is the same in her abdomen. The plan for today was a shower for Val, and to have Val go downstairs again today for a short time. Dad said she was very tired and slept alot yesterday afternoon after doing it. I reminded him of how much exercise this was for her and how good it was for her in so many ways. WOW!!! Love and prayers to Val. Salynn

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday, Feb. 7, 09 Eight days past chemo #3
Val has had improving days now that the first week is over. She was up and showered today. Rudy and Lea were just leaving as I spoke to Dad at 4:15 pm. Dad was cutting up some roasted chicken and vegetables for dinner while fighting a headache.

Val was visited by Cindy Catto on Thursday in the morning while DAd went to the store for an hour. Friday Val was visited by Mary Lou who also came in the morning. Sunday, tomorrow, Jason and his wife may bring the baby up as Val loves to see their baby and touch his feet. Monday Cindy Catto is suppose to come back and maybe do the Valentines with Val. Wow that is the busiest she has been since this cancer fight began 3 solid months ago. I am happy for Val that she is up to seeing some of her friends again.

Dad said he ran into someone at the grocery store who's wife has been fighting ovarian cancer for 6 years. She also sees the same doctor as Val. Dad said that he and Val were learning that the woman at chemo therapy with them have had cancer and then it had come back. These same people had had multiple surgeries as well. I explained to Dad that from what I have read, ovarian cancer has a high recurrence rate, and that the remission time is very short. Some places, even do maintenance chemo to keep the remission time longer. I was very happy to even have this conversation with him. He ended by saying "I don't know if the fight is worth it"...I said that is certainly up to Val. She has to want to fight and to live through it..... It is hard on the care taker seeing your beloved everyday sick and struggling physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Dad was reading a small hand written notes of scriptures, bible verses, and inspirational notes which Val had received in the hospital. I know it came from either Nancy, Jane, Laura or Fran.
Since Dad and I couldn't remember gave it to Val maybe someone can comment and remind us. Thanks. Love and prayers to Val Salynn

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday , Feb. 3

I spoke with Dad this evening and it was another bad day for Val.
She was in quite a lot of pain and was not able to eat. Val was just exhausted and really not feeling well. The shot on Monday together with the chemo seemed to be taking it's toll.
Val did take her pain medication and was trying to rest.
Hopefully Wednesday will be a better day.
Love and Prayers for Val !!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Jan 3, 09 Chemo #3 day 4
I spoke to Dad this am. He called to thank me for the care package I had sent to him and Val. I had sent a costco size bag of dried berries as berries are a great antioxidant. Val had some that mornng with cream...delicious. She had showered and was up in the chair looking through two People magazines I had sent her. She had taken a pain pill at 5 this am so I thought this was pretty good considering she wasn't feeling well at all. This phone call was at 9 am so both Val and Dad were planning a cat nap before Rudy and Lea arrived. They always call at 9 am and go up at 2 or 2:30.

(Monday)The trip to Burlington and back for the Nulasta shot to keep up her red blood cell count was uneventful. It sounded like Val sat in the car for several stops with Fuller-man while Dad went into a couple stores, got gas and got the car washed. It was a beautiful day for a ride he said.

Val's birthday is the big 60 on March 17, 09. She will have chemo #5 on March 13. March 17 is four days after chemo when she will be feeling her worst. So perhaps we can have a "CARD PARTY" for her. By sending all her cards to arrive as close to St Patricks day March 17 as possible so she is inundated with birthday wishes.! Given the circumstances, we as a family are not planning a big party.
Love and Prayers to Val Salynn

Monday, February 2, 2009

Feb. 2, 09 Day 3 of Chemo #3
I spoke to Dad last night who was actually chatty for a 15 min. conversation. It was dinner time and Val was about to eat a grilled ham and cheese "she knows how important it is to eat to keep the blood levels up". Sunday was a "tough day". Val did get her shower in today. Val took a pain pill about 10 and felt a little better by 1 pm. Val is starting to feel her poison (as I call it) right on time. Day 3-7 is always the worst for Val as far as reaction to chemo I reminded Dad. Val mentioned (speaking through Dad) that her friend Laura called as she does regularly to check in on her with love and prayers. Dad states he has been sleeping better as he states he has less stress lately; admitting he didn't need his sleeping pill for a couple days. He is able to awake a 5 am and go back asleep for a couple of hours. He also mentioned that he injured his low back several weeks ago helping Val and that is still bothering him. He mentioned taking some motrin. I reminded him that he could take mortrin regularly for 5-7 days to really bring down the inflammation and to use the heating pad on his back when he lies down at nite.
Love and prayers to Val Salynn