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Posted 2018-02-21T21:22:19Z

Finally!

Julie was finally able to get her final chemotherapy treatment yesterday! We still have a ways to go, but that completes our first major milestone, and we're certainly happy about that. The plan is now for us to wait a month for her surgery. She needs that much time for her body to recover from the chemo treatments, and become strong enough for the operation. I need to get her to start eating more, to gain back some of the significant weight that she's lost since this started. She's skinny as a rail right now. Following her surgery, we'll have to wait a week or ten days for the complete pathology report to determine if any additional treatment will be required. That'll be a long wait for us. She's still fighting the shingles nerve damage pain issue. While she was hospitalized, we had a nerve block procedure done. It did help, but didn't completely resolve the problem. We're making another visit to the Pain Management team to see if there is still more that they can do for her. She still needs relief from the constant pain that we're trying to control with opioids. Have a great day![...]

Posted 2018-02-15T18:09:48Z

Hard Times

Julie continues to have a really rough time with this. Her post-shingles pain (postherpetic neuralgia) continues to be a bigger issue than her chemo side effects, giving her much pain, and continually delaying her chemo treatments. After our short trip home, we made a visit to a M.D. Anderson doctor. Because Julie had begun suffering side effects from the morphine that she was taking for the shingles pain, the doctor changed her to a different opioid. That drug turned out to be totally ineffective in controlling her pain, and within 24 hours I had her back in the emergency room. She had to be hospitalized until they could stabilize her, and find a pain med that would work. She was in the hospital for a week, and only released yesterday, Valentine's Day. Of course, this episode, once again, kept her from receiving her chemo treatment that was scheduled for last Friday. Her treatment is now scheduled for next Tuesday, the 20th. Today is her first day out of the hospital, so we will have to wait and see if (and hope that) the new pain med will hold her, without complications, until then. I will keep y'all posted. Have a great day![...]

Posted 2018-02-04T22:11:06Z

February 4 Update

(I erroneously titled my last post with the wrong date, Jan.10 instead of Jan 20. But this really is a Feb.4 update)

Julie has had a rough time since her last chemo treatment. I had to take her to the emergency room several times, and she's had to spend some time in the hospital. Her shingles have continued to kick her butt. The doctors have doubled her dosages of the medications she takes to help control the pain. But the good news is that she has stayed out of the hospital, and has felt well enough that we were able to come back home for a few days. This is the first time she has been in our own house in over a month, and she's really enjoyed it. We go back to Houston tomorrow. We have doctors' appointments during the week, and she is scheduled for her fourth, and last, chemo treatment on Friday. This will be her last treatment before surgery. Her treatments have been delayed several times in the past because of low blood counts, but we're hoping that her counts will be good enough this time for her to get her treatment. We'll just keep on keeping on...[...]

Posted 2018-01-20T22:55:59Z

January 10 Update

Yay! Julie was finally able to get her third chemo treatment yesterday. It had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed until Friday to give her body a few more days to recover from the trauma of her hospital stay last week. The nerve damage from her shingles continues to be a significant problem. The hospital released her with only a prescription for morphine to help control the pain. They really have no other treatment for the issue, and there is no way to know how long the pain will continue. We expect the side effects of the chemo to kick in shortly, so she is going to be challenged with dealing with the shingles nerve pain, and the chemo side effects at the same time. It's going to be rough on her for a while, but we'll handle it as best we can. But the good news is she got her treatment. Keep sending the positive thoughts this way...we need them![...]

Posted 2018-01-10T20:44:31Z

Uphill Battle

Julie's shingles pain continued to get worse, even after being prescribed pain meds last Tuesday.  This Saturday night, the 6th, her pain reached a point of totally unbearable, and I had to run her into the MDA emergency room before daylight on Sunday morning. They recognized how bad she was, and immediately checked her into the hospital. They put her on multiple meds, including morphine, and they have spent the last several days trying to find the right balance of drugs to provide her some relief. They believe they have finally found the correct combination. We're still at the hospital now, hoping to get out today (but it's getting a bit late in the day). We will leave here with her condition still generating pain, but hopefully with a combination of drugs that will allow us to manage it. Unfortunately, this episode caused her to miss her chemo treatment for this week, but when I checked her blood counts here, they were too low to have gotten her treatment anyway. Her next treatment has been scheduled for Tuesday of next week, but her counts will have to come up by then to allow the treatment. Given her current condition, that's going to be a challenge...[...]

Posted 2018-01-05T00:49:18Z

The New Year

Wow!...was I ever wrong about thinking that Julie had turned the corner on her shingles. Since my last post, the pain associated with her condition has gotten worse, and she's been in constant excruciating pain. We've tried everything to give her some relief, including pain meds, but nothing seems to be effective in reducing the pain. The only relief she gets is when the pain meds put her to sleep.[...]

Posted 2017-12-26T15:41:52Z

Holiday Update

We hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas. Because of her compromised immune system, Julie recently developed a case of shingles. Shingles are painful under normal conditions, but with her chemo-sensitive skin, she has been in some pretty severe pain. She is still hurting, but there has been a bit of improvement, and we're hoping that she's turned the corner and is on the road to recovery from this issue. If there are no complications, the current plan is for us to return to Houston New Years week for a scan and her next chemo treatment. We are hoping that her white blood cell count will be high enough for her to receive the treatment on Thursday, January 4th.[...]

Posted 2017-12-12T23:20:02Z

Another delay...

Julie's chemotherapy treatment scheduled for last week was delayed to today, due to a low white blood cell count. Unfortunately, her blood tests today showed that her count was better, but not yet fully recovered, and her platelet count was also low. She received an injection today to help get her counts up, and her treatment was rescheduled to this Thursday. Hopefully, her counts will be good enough then for her treatment. Always something complicating matters...[...]

Posted 2017-12-05T22:23:29Z

Chemo Delayed

Julie had her next chemo treatment scheduled for today, December 5th. Unfortunately, her blood tests showed that her white blood cell count was too low for her body to be able to handle another treatment right now. They are delaying the treatment for a week. That should give her body time to rebuild her blood count...we certainly hope so. We don't like the delay because it will delay the determination if her treatments are being effective, but it's very dangerous to apply chemo with a low count, so there is no choice. We'll have to wait another two or three weeks to get some definitive results. A long wait...[...]