Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31, 09 Day four of hospitalization
I left the hospital today on a high note. The good news was Val's white blood cell count has gone from 800 to 4700. Normal range is between 4000-10,000. Her red blood cells are 8 and that is usually a 10. She may need a blood transfusion before she leaves CVH. Her platelets were low too, but I can't remember the numbers. Val began the miralax today and her bowels started working. Her pain was well controlled today with 4 on a 1-10 scale. Val ate the most today I had seen her eat (not much, but better than before). She actually likes the Ensure vanilla flavored and drank some of that today. No news on what day they will be going home, but most likely in 1-2 days as her fever remains 98.
Love and prayers to Val always......Salynn
Sunday May 31, 09 Day four of Hospitalization

Dad's routine is to get to the hospital around 9:30 am stay until 2:00, and return around 5:30 to stay until 9pm. He then takes a sleeping pill and tries to go to sleep at 10pm. Since I have been here, he has been taking another sleeping pill at 1:30. He doesn't like it as these make him groggy in the morning, but he knows how much stronger he is when he gets his sleep, plus he can't afford to get sick hmself right now. He walks the dog about 6:30 am and then tries to go lie back down until 7:30am. He is doing fine for everyone who is worried about him. He is in a good place and doing everything he needs to be doing.

We continue to remind people that Val cannot receive flowers at this time due to her compromised immune system. However, she HAS been reading her mail which I hang up to decorate her room. So, if anyone wants to send her a card, know YES she is reading it.

Yesterday was a tough day as her pain was not well controlled like it had been at home. But be reassurred that by 9:30 pm when Dad and I left, everything was falling into place, and we left her on a high note. Her fever was 98.7 last night, but remember her baseline is 97 and the fever fluctuates throughout the day. We are not out of the woods with the fever. If she has the fever for two more days the MD (Dr. Villa) will ADD to this broad spectrum antibiotic an anti fungal antibiotic. Apparently it is common to have bacterial as well as fungal infections when your white bllod cell count is so low.

The MD put Val"s pain medications on a timed schedule as Val doesn't like to ask for them " I don't want to be a bother and I am afraid I will get addicted." She is also on Ativan for anxiety and relaxation which helps her to sleep. For pain she has a fentanyl patch on her back( I had made a mistake and called it a morphine patch) which lasts 3 days. Vicoden with tylenol and Diladid. Dad and I both feel we will find her feeling a little better today. At this stage we are looking to keep her as comfortable as possible. Blood was not drawn yesterday. I am guessing the MD was not expecting this white blood cell count to move or change quickly.

Val is really has not been eating for us. This started 6 days ago on Monday when she started to not feel well. She is getting IV fuids to counter this. I do remind her that she has to be eating and drinking for us to get her home to her pets. When she feels better she will. You can tell she doesn't fell well when she doesn't want the TV on which she hasn't for days now.

We are very happy with Val's doctor Dr Villa a woman who's job it is to treat terminally ill patients who come into the hospital. She has given us the guidance and compassion we need at this time.

Love and prayers to Val always.......Salynn

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday May 29, 09 Second Day of Hospitalization
Val was admitted to CVH in Berlin on Thursday because of a fever she has had . Her diagnosis is Neutropenic Fever. Her white blood cell count had gone down to 600 and normal is 4000.
(I drove from NJ to VT this morning and spent the day at the hospital with Dad and Val and will stay the weekend.) She is on IV antibiotics for a Urinary tract infection and taking neutorpenia shots daily to bring the white blood cell count back up slowly for us. The infection could have come from an ingrown toenail or anything when the white blood cell count is so low. She was able to eat 5 bites for breakfast and about 15 bites for lunch. I made her drink every time she was awake. She is so very weak and needs rest. She did walk with me 4 times to the bathroom which is an improvement.Her red blood cell count remain at 10, and no blood transfusion is needed at this time. She can come home when she is fever free for 48 hours. The doctor is NOT allowing flowers to be sent to her room or outside food. Anyone who goes into her room has to wear a mask, gloves, and gown as her immune system is so compomised at this time. Please call me on my cell is anyone wants an update. 908-337-2983. Our goal is to get her back home as soon as we can.
Love and prayers to Val always SAlynn

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday May 26, 09 four days past chemo #9
Dad and Val called my daughter Maeve today to wish her a happy birthday for she was 6 yesterday. I spoke to Val after her conversation with Maeve. First, she said she was worried about Lea who has been sick with a fever and the stomach flu for two days. Rudy has somehow escaped it. Val mentioned she hasn't felt like talking on the phone since the chest tube hospitalization. She is not in the mood she says. She feels it drains all of her energy. So for those of you who have wanted to speak to her she just doesn't feel up to it right now. She said she was really scared about these last two chemo's, but physically hasn't noticed them to be any worse on her than the first seven chemo treatments. The morphine patch she likes as she doesn't have to worry about when to take the pain pills. She doesn't like to take pills as most of you know by know. She does take one vicoden maybe in a 12 hour period to supplement. I told her if she is in pain then take something, you shouldn't be afraid to do so or feel you are doing something wrong. I asked if the morphine made her feel any different? Her voice seemed drugged to me; rather groggy. But hey, it was after lunch and she was in bed resting , and it was near her afternoon siesta time. She spoke of the new pill she takes for relaxation and anxiety
(it begins with an R ,and she nor I could remember the name). She feels it helps her at night to relax and sleep a little better when they turn the lights out at 10pm. I encouraged her to keep eating, drinking and getting up to go to the bathroom as it keeps all systems moving. She said honestly it is hardCheck Spelling work to just get up to go to the bathroom right now, but I do it.
Love and prayers to Val always....Salynn

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24, 09 two days past chemo #9
Val received chemo on Friday with no side effects during the treatment and none so far these past two days. This is her second chemo with the new drugs: gemcide and docetaxol. (I may have not spelled these correct.) According to Tony the chemo nurse, these are stronger drugs and may have more side effects even in the strongest person. Val remains using 1.5% oxygen all the time with her levels anywhere between 92-96%. Val continues to use the morphine patch at 50mg which she only has to change every three days. She started this morphine patch last Wednesday before chemo as it was lowering her coumadin levels). Val was able to eat more today and even walked a little upstairs a few times in the hallway. These past two weeks she hasn't been able to go downstairs for meals only, but a few times due to feeling too sick and weak. At night time, Dad and Val no longer watch a movie every might. Val has been enjoying her nightly news shows more. She is caught reading the Enquirer and People magazines occasionally to keep up on what she is seeing on the news!
Love and Prayers to Val always.........Salynn

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 16, 09 Saturday One day past chemo#8
Val received IV fluids yesterday along with two new chemo drugs named: (I lost the paper with the names so I will get back to you all on this). The pamphlet read about 20 possible side effects. So far, she was up at 4 am this morning suffering with diarrhea and vomiting. It did stop around 11. She was able to eat a little broth before lunch and her visit from Rudy and Lea. Val has been suffering with pain in her left leg from a new or old blood clot DVT. It pains her to walk and actually both legs are swollen from all the fluids since the hospital visit. She is not up walking except to the bathroom so her normal mechanism of muscle pumping the fluid out is not happening right now. The MD recommended the JOBST stocking which Uncle Bob in FL mentioned months ago. He has bought his rubber gloves to apply them, and he had his lesson on how to put them on her. Now he awaits their arrival. We spoke about the anti nausea medication Zofram. It didn't work for her in the past. We will keep it in mind if the vomiting continues and give it another try. Val continues to be on 3% oxygen at all times. Dad voices how loud and deeply she breaths almost labored although she always reads 92 on this 3% oxygen.
Basically Val is very sick and tired at this time. She is scheduled for chemo next Friday.

Dad has voiced some frustration in dealing with the staff at Dr. Elttabakh office. The chemo nurse calls and tell him one thing. Then when he speaks to the MD directly he is told something different. I can see his frustration with this as he is trying to get all his information straight and he is getting mixed messages.
Love and prayers to Val always....Salynn

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15, 09 Friday Day of chemo#8
Val and Dad made it to Eltabahk" office for Val's chemo treatment today. With no complications, they were home early by 2. Because of exhaustion and not feeling like talking to people they shut off their phones today. We hope for a peaceful night.
Love and prayers to Val always.......Salynn

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday May 14, 09 11pm
Val underwent a successful blood transfusion on Wednesday (yesterday) at CVH where she received 2 pints of blood. Her blood level was a 7 early Wed., and the chemo nurse likes it to be above 10. She got home at 8:30 pm last night. She and Dad had a tiresome day. Lea and Rudy were bringing up soup for lunch for her. The plan was to have Val shower this afternoon, as she will go for chemo #8 tomorrow at Dr. Elttackch's office. Val will be receiving a new type of chemo the name I do not know yet. Then, she will go back 7 days later for this new chemo again and one more added to it, and then chemo again 3 weeks later. They are changing the type of chemo used from taxol and cysplatum because her cancer has been resistant.
Love and prayers to Val always.....Salynn

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 10, 09 Sunday 10pm
Val was discharged from the hospital early afternoon. Baine and Denise helped Dad and Val with the bags and oxygen and drove together to Waterbury, VT. In Waterbury Dad and Val took their own car the rest of the way to Barre. Lea and Rudy went up to the house for a short visit to see Val. Val's right leg is swollen from the IV fluids and is painful. She ate a little crackers and cheese with her favorite tomato soup for dinner. She was resting comfortably with four in the bed this evening ( Dad, Fuller man, Diamond the cat, and her) all one happy family. It is peaceful to know Val is home safely from the hospital with no signs of infection from the chest tube. She is on 2% oxygen again. Her home nurse will visit Monday and Wednesday this week to prepare her for chemo on Friday. Nightie nite to Val! Sleep well back in your own bed.
Love and prayers to Val always.......Salynn
May 10, 09 Saunday 7pm
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers of the world!!!
Val had a special day with Fullerman in the hospital room with her all day. The chest tube was removed, and Val has no sign of infection. Val was able to take two good walks with her oxygen, but without it the oxgen levels are drifting down into the low 80's. She was busy with visitors all day which distracts her from the pain. Dad, Baine and Denise were there until mid afternoon along with Rudy and Lea during the middle of the day too. In the evening, Alison was there with Laura. Val used prunes and miralax to get a bowel movement. Medically, there is no reason for her to be there any more. We are hoping for discharge from the hospital today if they can arrange for home oxygen.

The plan will be to have the home health nurse come on Wednesday like she always does to do the CBC and all her blood levels. Chemo is scheduled for this Friday May 15 at Dr Eltabbhk"s office. They will use a different chemo drug therapy as Val's tumors in the lungs have not responded to the first drug of choice.
Love and Prayers to Val always...Salynn

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday May 8, 09 day four of hospitalization
Val was talking and cheery during our converstion this morning. Alison was there before going to work. Dad arrived around 10am and stayed until 2:30 -3:00. Rudy and Lea came around 2 until 4:430. Baine and Denise went back for the evening until 9 pm as Val was dozing after taking the pain medication. Val was given adheisve/glue or flora to attempt to keep the lung inflated. She had to stay 30 minutes on her back and each side to let the glue move around the lung. Her most pain is the chest tube right now. She hasn't had a bowel movement in 3 days so she took her Miralax again this evening. She has a bedside commode because she is still off her coumadin blood thinner. We are hoping the chest tube is coming out tomorrow on Saturday. If she can get up and waking after we pray she will be home on Monday or Tuesday.
Love and Prayers to Val always.......Salynn

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7 4:30pm Thursday
Val is out of surgery with no complications. They removed 2 liters of fluid from her lung, and placed the chest tube. Dad was in the recovery room with her. Denise (Baine's wife was in the recovery waiting room with Dad). Alison will go to the hospital after work today as this is a very long day for Dad.
Love and Prayers to Val............ Salynn

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 6, 09 Wednesday
Val will undergo her thoracic surgery to place a chest tube in her right rib cage tomorrow at 12:30. She was seen by the thoracic surgeon Dr. Schmoker while Alison was there this morning. He explained that the fluid in the lung was from the cancer. He wants to have her move around into different positions after the tube is placed to attempt to get as much fluid as possible out by gravity. He will put in some flora to attempt to allow the right bottom lobe to de-scar and re- inflate it (if either of these are even possible). Val is on an IV in her arm, an extension of her porta cath IV from her upper left chest and 2% oxygen. Rudy and Lea visited this afternoon. Dad was home today to rest before her spends the day there tomorrow. Alison will be there tomorrow evening when Dad leaves.
Love and prayers to Val always...............Salynn

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5, 09 Tuesday Night 9:30 pm
Val is in good spirits, ate a large meal of soup and Caesar salad, and was resting comfortably on 2% oxygen. Dad is extremely tired, and we as his children are hoping he stays in Barre for two days to rest and relax. Rudy and Lea want to visit Val in the hospital. Dad may recommend they go on Thursday to see her. Val has to wait two days for the coumadin blood thinner to come out of her system before they can do the lung procedure. As far as we know, she must undergo anaesthesia to have an arthroscopy procedure to remove the water from the membranes outside of the right lung. The left lung is not being treated at this time. The right lung has had fluid since Dec.
Love and prayers to Val...........Salynn
May 5, 09 Tuesday
Val had her CAT SCAN today at CVH in Berlin. She was seen by Dr. Eltabbhk immediately after. She was admitted to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington at 3:00 this afternoon with a diagnosis of right lung mod-severe pleural effusion. She will stay 2-3 days as a respiratory consult is needed before she can have her lung aspirated. The left lung showed diffuse nodules and the right lung was unable to be seen due to the fluid. She is presently on the McClure 12 ward, and her phone number is 802-847-9256. Alison my sister went to be with them at the hospital this evening and plans to be there for her MD rounds in the morning.
Love and prayers to Val.......Salynn

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4, 09 Monday Ten days post chemo# 7
Jazanne picked me up at the airport on Saturday morning. She drove me down to visit Val and Dad with me for lunch. It was noon and Val was in her PJs eating lunch at the table with Dad. She looks weaker, but still has a twinkle in her eye. She ate fruit, cesaer salad, ham salad some berries and a few bites of a custard tart for dessert. She still complains she is sick of taking pills when the subject comes up. I brought them some written information from the website: It talks about using, essaic tea, high doses of Vit C, melatonin and many others to fight cancer. How receptive they will be I don't know. I do know once chemo is over it is over for a while. Your body needs a break from all the toxins. Then you must do your own fight whatever that might be during that time period. Val was cheery, laughing and interested in conversation. She said that her pain was less that day and it continued to be less on Sunday when I spoke to her. It was great to see them both. Dad and Val looked tired, but they say they are sleeping the best they can. Dad has been trying Unisom, Melatonin, Tlyenol PM for a sleep aid as he doesn't like the prescribed sleeping pill. I wish he would try each one more than once to give it a fair try at effectiveness; two to three nights.

It made me feel better to see them in person. Our visit was only and hour and a half as they get tired. We stopped at Rudy and Lea's for an hour before we left Barre. Rudy had just finished walking a half a mile.
Love and Prayers to Val always...praying for only the best results from this Tuesday's CAT SCAN.......Salynn

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1, 09 Friday seven days past chemo#7
CORRECTION! Va will have her CAT SCAN done on Tuesday at CVH in Berlin and will either receive her results Wednesday May 6. Sorry about the misinformation.

Val had an OK night. She was able to take a shower this morning and ate a little before going to rest. The doctor is allowing her to take the pain medications (two of them) four times a day. However, these pills total 500mg of codeine, and 3000mg of tylenol. Apparently it is a 4000 mg max per day for tylenol so she can't take any more of this pill.

Love and prayers to Val always ......Salynn