Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24 - Each Day is a Blessing **LONG**

Hello. I apologize to those who have used this as a way to keep up with what is going on with Mom. It is an ever increasing struggle to talk/think about what mom is going through. I find myself fighting my own fears and depression about a situation I can do nothing about. It's difficult to keep my hopes high and fears low.....but I realize more and more, that each additional day mom is here is a blessing.

So much has happened since I last blogged. Back in early February, Mom developed a severe Nose Bleed. Sounds simple enough, huh? But with Mom, nothing is simple. Most people who know mom, know she had a valve replaced awhile back. (Mom had rheumatic fever as a child which left scarring on her heart, and is thus the main cause of most of her heart problems.) Well, because of mom's heart valve, her blood has to be closely monitored. It cannot get too thin, nor too thick. Needless to say, this "Nose Bleed" reeked havoc on her body.

I was not there when it occurred, so I cannot comment on exactly HOW severe it was, but it not your typical nose bleed. The first time (yes, I said first) she called an ambulance. They transported her to Greene County Hospital, simply because they feared the amount of blood she may have lost that she may not make it to Bloomington. There a TOTALLY INCOMPETENT and RUDE ER "Doctor" stuffed her nose and sent her home.

Mom and Roger hadn't made it back to the house but maybe 10 minutes or so, when the packing broke and the Nose began bleeding profusely again. This time, Roger took her back to the hospital (GCGH) in the car. Once again, the same INCOMPETENT and RUDE ER "Doctor" Repacked her nose, this time with something that looked like a prosthetic you would use in Boob Implants. (He was a little nicer the second time, but I think that was simply because he realized he SCREWED up.) Once they got the nose bleeding stopped again and got mom stable enough...they had her transferred to Bloomington Hospital by Ambulance. (Mind you, this was the same day the F1 tornado ripped through Bloomfield (see video here), so getting an ambulance to the Hospital, then to Bloomington, I guess was a real trip.)

The hospital stay is pretty much a blur now. Not nearly as eventful as what Greene County put mom through. What I can tell you is.....She had a WONDERFUL doctor check her in through the ER (Dr. Bannec) I'm sure it is partly because mom is a patient at IMA, however DR. Bannec Checked on mom EVERYDAY she was in the Hospital.....even after they moved her to the Oncology Unit. She ended up being in the hospital for 10 days total. She had lost quite a bit of blood. (I forget the total number of units of blood they ended up giving her.) It took a good 3-4 days before her nose stopped completely. After that they were worried about her levels related to her heart. Another doctor I should mention is Dr. Johnson. He was the ENT that came in and took care of her and her nose. He was as wonderful as Dr. Bannec. These two men deserve awards. Their bedside manor was unlike any I had ever experienced in a Hospital or by ANY doctor.

Because of the Severe Nose Bleed, Dr. Dayton changed her Chemotherapy. Apparently the bleeding is a side effect of the Avastin she was on. This time he decided to try her on Navelbine. With this Drug, She would be on two weeks off one week, however this Drug has caused mom many more negative side effects than any she has been on thus far.

Mom's fatique increased dramatically. She had severe Neuropathy, so much that she couldn't stand to have her feet and hands hardly touched. Pain shot up through her feet. She lost any appetite she had most of the time and she's so weak, she's to the point that she can't get up out of the bed or chair without assistance.

Fast Forward to today..........

Mom was supposed to have Chemo today and a Dr's Appointment. Because her INR was up to 5.3 and her hemoglobin was low, they refused to give it to her. This is actually a GOOD thing, because I think Mom was going to refuse it anyway. The Neuropathy, pain and fatique has gotten to be too much for her. They went ahead and gave her fluids while she waited to see Dr. Dayton.

On the 14th, mom had had another Head CT done. Dr. Dayton was pleased to inform us that she does INDEED HAVE A BRAIN. ( was quite humorous and humor is much needed. It helps to keep us sane.) Other than that, the "Brain Scan" showed nothing out of the ordinary. (Apparently, it was as good as the last one.) He agreed that the Navelbine was not working for her, since the side effects outweighed the positive effects of the chemo. It is afterall as much about increasing the "quality" of life.....or in mom's case.....that is the main objective. Navelbine was not doing this.

The next step in mom's Chemotherapy journey is Altima. With this drug, mom will have to get B-12 shots (which...I wouldn't mind getting myself) and increase her Folic Acid intake. Apparently her regimen with this will be Every third week (One week on, Two weeks off). She has to go Friday for some more CT Scans. I'm assuming that is to check the cancer cells and their sizes prior to starting the Altima, so they can see how it works.)

Roger asked the question that is on everyone's mind...... "how long." Dr. Dayton was very good at not answering that directly. He basically said the treatments were to increase her "quality" of life..... To me, it didn't sound promising as for the "Quantity", but both Mom & Roger left this appointment with increased hope, as they felt they accomplished quite a bit this time. They got the application for mom's disability parking tag. Mom FINALLY asked Dr. Dayton for some medicine to help with her depression. (I know depression, and rightfully so, she needs the help. I have watched my mother, a strong willed woman both physically and mentally, wilt to a frail and depressed woman. It breaks my heart and increases my own depression.) They got the treatments changed, so hopefully mom will start to feel better. I must note that with this visit, her weight was down to 159. Mind you, BEFORE she was diagnosed, she was in the 220's. That's ALOT of weight to lose in 7 months!

After leaving the office, we headed to the hospital. Because mom's Hemoglobin was low, she had to get two units of blood and apparently they only do that at the hospital. It was done as an outpatient on the oncology unit. They got there a little before noon and finally left around 6pm.

As if mom and Roger aren't going through enough....They are now having to move into Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy's old trailer next door. Apparently last week during all the rainstorms, water leaked into the breaker box, killing all the power to half of their trailer. To phrase it as mom did, "The House is falling down around them." They have most everything moved. They now have to just get the phone company to move the phone and the satellite company to come out and move the satellite before they will complete the move.

Grandma and Grandpa's old Trailer is in MUCH better shape then Mom and Roger's. But moving is still stressful none the less, and it is somewhat sad as Mom and Roger have lived in that trailer since 1985.

Well, I apologize for the long Blog. I had alot to catch you up on. I promise to try and fight through my own tears and keep this thing up a little more often. It sure is tiring to try and catch everyone up on two months worth of activity. Please keep in touch and feel free to call mom or send her a card. I know she appreciates the kind thoughts greatly.

In case you need it, her address is: Judy Kennedy, RR2 Box 82, Bloomfield, IN 47424.

Thank you. God Bless you. We love you all for your continued support and prayers.......


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