Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Radiation and Family

Kathy began radiation last week on the large tumor above her right clavicle. It affects her sholder and next and has been pinching the nerve causing numbness and loss of function in the right arm and hand. Considering that she is right handed the loss has been significant and a real burden. We are glad that her Doctor decided to put a hold on chemo and radiate the spot to shrink it faster.

Once Kathy had seen the radiation guys she knew a little more. It would be easier in time and energy and pain than last time but she wouldn't see immediate results. It may take a month after she completes the 12 days (next Thursday) before she starts to see the tumor shrink. We are just hopeful the tumor does shrink. The bad news is that they can't say that she will regain all or even a part of the use of the arm and hand. When nerve damage is done it isn't easily repaired. We aren't sure if nerve damage has been done or if they have just been stretched. Time will tell. In the meantime we have to be hopeful and realize that if nothing else it will stop or slow the growth of the big tumor.

Kathy hasn't had chemo for two weeks but she still has the same symptoms as if she was. She is nausious some days, tired every day and caughing off and on. Weird. It could be just a general decline but I don't want to think about that. Maybe it is just residual chemo.

We did see some positive results on the chemo so we are anxious to be done with radiation and start the nasty stuff again. It is a two edged sword, cutting back on the tumors but also cutting back on your lifestyle.

The boys all were here for Jacob's mission return. We don't have six sons home often but it was a fun and busy weekend last week when Jacob came home and Josh came home with his fiance (Tara) for the week. We had 10 people sleeping everywhere in the house. I was concerned Kathy would overdue but she has been good about naps and going to bed at a reasonable time.

Josh and Tara leave on Saturday. We will go to Utah in two weeks to the wedding. See, there are some good times amid the bad.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Game Plan

Kathy and I, David and Kathryn, Daniel and Matthew went to the Hardy reunion in Idaho last week. Kathy had a few fevers leading up to the day we left but nothing serious and she felt just well enough to make the trip. Fortunately, with all the drivers she was not required to drive at all and slept a lot. We also stayed in a motel most of the time to make sure we could get a nice quiet place to sleep as long as possible. That worked out well for us and we slept in several days.
The reunion was very nice and Kathy had no side effects except fatigue.

The external tumors have not slowed down which is an indicator to us that the current chemo either hasn't had time to work or isn't working. She had a doctor visit yesterday and I noticed the night before that there just could be a little fading of the external tumors. We were hopeful but at the same time Kathy's use of here right arm (the one with lymphodema) is hardly usable and aches a lot.

Dr. Chew looked it all over and believes the arm issue is due to the increasing tumor in her next and clavicle area and has recommended radiation of the area. This is good as it will help reduce the size of that one tumor but it also means being off chemo for as long as the radiation is necessary.....a two edged sword. Still, we are optimistic and believe it is the right process. The radiation will take place in Cameron Park which is only a few miles from our home rather than the 35 miles down to UC Davis Medical center.

Kathy took her chemo yesterday and is scheduled to go to radiation on Friday. She is resting at home. The next couple days will be her "sick" days which will hopefully end just as radiation starts. Our biggest hope is that she will regain the use of her right arm from this radiation and then the chemo can address the other tumors. We will see.

If it all does't go smoothly then after Josh's wedding next month she will begin a more difficult chemo treatment.

In case you were uncertain, cancer and the fight against cancer, is no fun.