Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Week of May 15, 2006

The big appointment weeks are starting to become second nature.

Jim's Dermatologist

Monday Jim saw his dermatologist and had a pre-cancerous skin lesion frozen off. Follow-up in 3 weeks.

V's GP

Monday V saw her GP who gave her a new dosage (3 mg) of the second sleeping pill--Lunesta. Seems to be working. Now if Venita could find the off button on Max's stomach alarm, be wouldn't be waking Venita every 2-3 hours for a snack. Venita really created a monster with this 24/7 free feeding wet food solution to his diabetes. Speaking of feline diabetes, the blood glucose level for Ennis, Max's littermate, continues to be in a nondiabetic range since his dental procedure.

V's PT

Monday also was a PT day, as was Thursday. Because of the increased wound fluids drained last week at the mast site, we've cut range of motion exercises back to fewer reps and for the weight training exercises, either cut back to 1 lb. weights, or cutting the exercise out altogether. Seems to be a correlation between the ramping up of the exercise level and the increased fluids. Thursday also was a "slow" PT day because of fatigue from Tuesday's chemo. (V went to Dick's Sporting Good's and got herself those multicolored foam-covered barbells in various needed weights.)


Monday's final appointment was a pre-chemo chekup with Dr. Chemo's nurse practitioner, Betsy. A few tweaks on side-effect medications. The biggest side effect is bone pain, which results from V's Neulasta shot on Wednesday, which helps to raise her white blood cell count. Instead of waiting until the onset of the bone pain on Friday pm/Monday am, V starts 2 Ibuprofen every 3 hours on Wednesday, the day of the shot. Then 2 Dilaudid every 3 hours is layered on top on that starting Friday pm. Here it is Saturday am and no bone pain yet. Betsy also approved the use of ginger capsules (as suggested by Martha and Alley Cat) as a supplement to help with queasy stomache.

Chemo #3 was Tuesday. Venita drove herself and slept through most of the procedure. Came away with a couple large bruises. One is in her hand where the nurses were trying to find a new infusion spot but "blew past" the vein. Another bruise in the actual infusion spot, which worries V because one of these chemical can cause tissue necrosis if it is released outside the vein. Big immediate side effect this time with fatigue. V came home and napped another 4 hours, and then got 14 hours overnight.

Wednesday, V went to crash at the home of local friends Ellen and Dick. She just showed up unannounced about 3 pm looking for a sanctuary from things to do and things to plan, and looking for someone to take care of her. V said just to leave her sleep except to wake her in time for PT the next morning. Ellen left V sleeping in this huge Daddy-Bear sized chair in the living room until 5:20 (dinner soon). Dinner was fried white-fish (V doesn't eat fish, but it looked and smelled great), asparagus, and twice-baked potatoes. V filled way up on the vegies. Watched two hours of TV--one of CNN evening news commentary and one of Baltimore Orioles baseball. V then headed home. She had had enough sanctuary time to rejuvenate her, and there were cats to care for and meds to take.

Dr. Boob

Venita saw Dr. Boob for another drainage on Thursday. He agreed there was fluid in there, but he couldn't get it out and the needle poked something inside that hurt (the first time that's happened) so he gave up that effort. Dr Boob had spoken with a colleague about the continuing fluid in V's seroma and that colleague suggested that Dr. Boob begin filling the temporary/expander implant--that might "squeeze" the seroma and "encouage" V's tissue to absorb her own fluids. Sounds logical, and that's what took place. He put 60 ccs of saline into the expander. The saline in the implants makes it feel more comfortable. It reduces the "hot spots" in the expander that were being caused by it sharp, 90 degree corners. But that's this time. Seems to V (from other Personal experience she has read) each fillling might bright "relief" or "discomfort."

Capacity for the temporary expander imlant is 450 cc, which at a weekly fill rate of 60 ccs would mean between 6 and 7 more fill-up sessions. That would finalize the filling about the same time Dr. Cutter wants to start planning the left breast mastectomy. So perhaps the swap-out of the temporary implant for the permanent implant could take place in the same surgery. Time wise it will work, but we need to talk with Dr. Boob about whether he also sees that as a possibility. He might have some concerns about cross contamination between the two surgical sites, or maybe concerns that V would have overly diminished strength/capability because of a bilateral procedure.

Sick Bailey

V's cat Bailey continues to be sick. Continuing inappetance, minimal bowel movements, dehydration (he's on sub-Q fluids). This has been going on now about 10 days. New current symptom--that wet-sounding breathing that he has had his entire life, but which he has not exhibited since he had been losing weight with the switch to an all-wet diet.

Yesterday V put the vet together with a compounding pharmacist. The meds are now in a Fancy Feast Savory Salmon-based oral preparation that V syringes in and most of it stays in. V also made an appointent with another Vet; the earliest she can get in is Tuesday later morning. We hope he makes it that long (euthenasia looks like a strong possibilty here), and are prepared if we need to take him to the ER vet.


Alice said...

I don't have any comment on the medical stuff. I just wanted to send you my love and a great big gentle hug.

Love you

{Steve Rapaport} said...

Let me know how that second bruise (possible necrosis) went. That sounds scary.

Lots of love,


Martha and Alley Cat said...

Sorry to hear Bailey is not getting better, my heart is sick for him.

Here is a link and please also google Traumeel. It's a homeopathic remedy for pain and inflammation. We use this lots, for joint muscle and bone pain. It's rather a miracle worker. Alley Cat gets the drops 3 times a day and has no sign of any back leg weakness anymore. She used to walk a few steps and them have to sit down.

The drs. suggested surgery for my knee and instead I went on a strict routine of "ginger capsules" and traumeel drops. (Yes, the ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory too!) I no longer have any pain at all in my knee.

Also google homotoxicoligy, you'll be amazed. Traumeel will not interact with your other meds, but of course check with the drs. too. Most probably won't know much about it but you can bring them print outs. It's just plain great for pain so maybe give it a try and see if it helps a bit. Lots of places on line sell it so shop for the best price too.

much thought and health coming toward you.
xoxo, martha and alley cat

julie said...

oh V, I am so sorry things aren't getting better for Bailey..praying he will start getting better ..

as for you, wow you have been through a lot this past week, I just don't know how you keep up with all these appointments..I am glad the hot spots are gone from the implant...that must be a huge relief..and it sounds like your pain management is working well, no bone pain for several days must be a welcomed blessing! I think of you often my friend and say prayers for your continued revcovery and happiness..


{Steve Rapaport} said...

Venita -- I just noticed that there's a "cancer" wiki with lots of content, on wikia, same place as our petdiabetes wiki.

Since you're now an expert on how these things work, maybe you'd find it interesting to read or contribute.