Saturday, June 20, 2009

Holding Steady

Les almost had his brain surgery on Friday (yesterday). Wednesday's blood tests showed acceptable platelet and WBC counts. But then the platelets took another dive on Thursday. So now it's a day by day thing. A Tuesday surgery, based on Monday blood test, will be the first opportunity next week.

Les's home health care agency has finally delivered the needed durable medical equipment--a hospital bed, wheelchair, and walker.

Les has been working with his elder daughter Stacey, who has an accounting degree, to get all his financial paperwork in order.

I've been scanning through Kubler-Ross's death and dying books to see which might be appropriate to send to my Texas family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Hits....just keep on coming

Les's PET scan shows cancer in his stomach, pancreas, and chest cavity, as well as the tonsils and brain. His white blood cell and platelet counts are too low for him to have the brain surgery this week. Over the next couple of days, the DRs will be talking about treatment options.

The only good news we have is that the cancer in his tonsils is squamous cell, not metastatic lung cancer. We are just assuming the rest is mets; no biopsies have been done.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Les Update--Thursday

I have been talking to Les daily since the DX of mets. He intends to fight, but is very emotional about this setback. He has come home from the hospital with steroids to reduce the inflammation in his brain, an anti-seizure medication, and Ativan for anxiety.

He has a PET scan scheduled for Monday to determine whether the cancer has spread elsewhere. Depending on the results of that scan, Les is scheduled for surgery to remove the cancer in his brain on Friday, or Wednesday if the surgeon can move around his schedule. Les would like to find a surgeon to remove the cancer from his throat at during the same surgery session.

Les is starting home-based physical therapy, primarily to address the paralysis in his right side. The therapist will be working with Les's insurance company to get him appropriate durable medical equipment. So far on their list is a walker with a support for his right arm, a wheelchair, and a hospital bed.

Les's friends are showing up to visit, and I understand these visits are pretty emotional. My brother Gary from Indiana arrived at Les's on Thursday. My sister Connie, also from Indiana, will arrive there probably Monday.

I will go when I am needed. I talk with Les everyday, and he thanks me for that.

Les is my second best friend in the world, after Jim.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Heart is Broken

I spoke to Les yesterday afternoon, and he was experiencing right side paralysis from the chemo/MS combo. He couldn't talk long; he was too fatigued.

He called today. He is in the hospital after experiencing three seizures later yesterday. An MRI this morning revealed he has cancer in the motor function portion of the left side of his brain. The paralysis is being caused by the cancer.

Last week, Les had a tissue sample for pathology taken from his throat because he has been bringing up bloody, loose tissue. Donna, Les's wife went for the follow-up appointment today. Also cancer.

Les was crying. It is the first time through this entire ordeal I have known him to cry. Until now, he had hope for survival. His lung was removed; only one of the 40= lymph nodes removed during the surgery was cancerous. He has followed every treatment boulder they have hurled at him.

When I asked Les whether he needs me there, he said "not yet." Jim and I are planning to cancel the reservations for our fall cruise. I will not make plans to attend Linda Lee's wedding. Jim's knee surgery is next Wednesday and, if need be, we can find others to caregive for him. I need to see my brother....alive.

I love you Les. I am so very sorry.......

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I am not at Room Temperature

I was properly chastised this week by my friend Libby for not updating the blog after my last surgery. I told her that I hadn't felt like sitting at the desk computer to type a long update. Libby replied that all I had to type was "I am not at room temperature."

The surgery went very very well, and I've already had two follow-up visits. The surgeon was able to resolve the last of the area where my skin was adhered to my chest wall. Consequently, except for the tightness from internal scar tissue, I have full range of motion in my arms. Not that I will ever play volleyball again.......

My foobs (or flaps, whichever you wish to call them) are reasonably symmetrical and well placed on my chest. The surgeon wanted to "diddle" a little more with them, but I told him he had accomplished my objective, and maybe sometime in the future, but for now I am THROUGH WITH SURGERY!!

The revision to my abdominal area added three inches to each end of my scar (removing "dog ears") and large black bruises on my butt (from the liposuction).

I am now where I hoped to be in February 2007. Finished with surgical revisions and whole. I will have the nipples tattooed on August 31. That's an in-office procedure done with lidocaine.

I have been cleared for exercise and swimming.

Thank you Dr. Bernard Chang, reconstruction surgeon extraordinaire!!