January 30, 2015

Hope. Courage. Faith.

I planned to update much sooner than this, but a nasty cold stopped me in my tracks. This week has hardly existed outside of my dreams. Sunday, I came down with a killer headache, from there congestion and pure exhaustion settled in. My body ached head to toe deep into my bones. Monday thru Wednesday I didn't leave my bed and I practically slept 36 hours straight. While the rest of Las Vegas celebrated the debut of White Castle, I was dead to the world. Frank and my brother both enjoyed opening day sliders, in case you were wondering. Thursday came in a hurry, I had to get work done, but I couldn't work a full day. I was simply too tired. I retired back into bed and slept some more. Today, I finally felt some improvement. I'm probably still a couple days from a full recovery, but it's nice to feel human again.

So, that my excuse for my tardiness.

Last week, my mom had a PET Scan and Brain Scan done. It was a bit early to request, but with the slew of issues my mom has had her oncologist wanted a look to see what going on, so if anything was out of the ordinary it wouldn't be put off. Her scans were Monday, she received the report and discs on Tuesday. Her pulmonologist appointment wasn't until Wednesday. That would be the soonest we'd get official word. She couldn't bear to wait, she came right to my office. I interpreted the scans to the best of my ability and I was very pleased. I understood them to reveal no abnormalities of the brain - No mets, Woohoo! I continued onto the PET Scan. Her tumor had shrunk significantly. The smaller tumor that appeared after chemo and before radiation was no longer traceable. Areas showing suspicious uptake had all improved significantly. There was no record of inflammation that showed on the CT scan done after radiation that indicated the pneumonitis. I interpreted this all as fantastic news. It could only be better if there was no evidence of disease. I shared this with my mom, we were relieved but we were afraid to believe it until we heard it from an actual doctor.

Last Wednesday, she was scheduled for breathing tests. We've been awaiting this pulmonologist appointment for months. We had last seen him right before starting radiation. The test couldn't be completed due to mom's cough. Yeah, the pesky cough remains. It's changed over time, but the steroids have benefited her a great deal. She still has bad days and a plethora of symptoms, but she's turned a corner. She's gaining weight, strength, etc. It's been a noticeable improvement. We received confirmation that I interpreted the scans accurately. The cancer is still present, but it's shrunk significantly - YES! Her O2 saturation plummeted during another test so her oxygen dependency remains. She's actually on an increased prescription now. Her doctor seems to think that COPD is to blame. He gave her a new inhaler and some nasal spray. We'll follow up in a few weeks.

Last Friday, we met with her oncologist. She was quite pleased with the scans. She said even if my mom were younger, healthier and more active she wouldn't recommend additional treatment at this time. A weight was lifted. Life can get start to gain normalcy. In three months, she'll be due for another set of scans and hopefully we'll receive great news then too. Mom's cough changed the Saturday before these appointments, it now sounds like a barking croupy type cough. Apparently, RSV is going around and it's possible she caught the virus. It will have to runs its course. I'm somewhat suspicious because its supposed to be pretty contagious and none of show any signs of it. But who knows? She's improving, and that's what's important. It's been an incredibly rough ride since her diagnosis in July, even before that... since Mother's Day, really, that's when her shortness of breath began. However, with hope, courage and faith. We're here today, alive and well. I am most grateful.


Andie said...

I am so glad to read this!!!! This is so hopeful!!!

KathyinNY said...

Thank you for the update on your Mom. I'm sorry to hear you've been ill but positive thoughts sent your way. It is cold and snowy where I live and everyone has something whether it be a cold or flu bug.

christine said...

Great news!