Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sandi and her Chemo

Monday was a brutal day in so many ways. We had worried all weekend and were pretty nervous by the time we got to the hospital shortly after dawn. At least it was not snowing or icing here as had been predicted in the prior days. Things started late as they had new information on her cancer situation and the news was not good. Then, she had to wait for her lab results as they had to get her blood processed so they knew where she was at this point. After what seemed like forever they had her sleeping from the initial drugs that would set up her system to accept the cancer killing drugs. That started and everything seemed okay.

About an hour into the cancer killing drug stuff dripping into her she had her first of two different severe reactions to the drugs. Treatment had to be stopped for over an hour each time as they added other medications to stop the increasingly severe reactions. We had been warned chills, blood pressure problems, choking sensations, breathing problems and numerous other issues could happen. It is another thing when it does happen and your wife goes pale and starts crying because she is scared and in pain.

Monday night was a long one as we got home long after the dinner hour and then only slept for about three hours as we were awake from 2:30 on. Neither one of us could sleep. We discovered that middle of the night TV is also mainly repeated news programs and infomercials. That and numerous food commercials. Not the best things to watch when one is trying to relax and go back to sleep.

Shortly after another cold dawn we were back at the hospital Tuesday morning to do the rest of the first round of chemo. That went better as this time she was able to stay awake for it and didn’t have any reaction at all. Apparently this happens sometimes as once they get you past the first half of the first round the second part isn’t nearly as bad. She was sitting up and smiling while the stuff dripped into her. As she sat there she worked on a new hooded scarf that she was making to sell. Patients and their spouses saw what she was working on and asked questions so she talked about her crafts and stuff for sale over at iOffer. Crafts for her serve the same job as books and writing for me do and it was pretty cool to sit there and listen to her talking to folks about what she does. Especially after what had happened Monday and the fact that back in August we were warned that the strokes might have prevented her ever doing that stuff again. The time passed quickly and we were sent home with the anti- nausea drugs and an expectation it could be another long night from that.

When we got home Tuesday we were both so worn out we went to bed. Surfaced briefly for dinner, which certainly was not my best effort ever, and back in bed. Thankfully she passed through the window of time when she had the potential to get violently sick with no issues.

Yesterday we were back at chemo for the injection that follows the multi-hour infusion process. The injection, as we understand it, is to boost her white blood cell count as best they can because the drugs damage and destroy the white blood cells and other immune support things in the body. She was fine yesterday with that and came home where she continued to crochet and watch TV. According to one of the nurses, it is not rare for a patient to have real issues with the first part of treatment in round one and then to be totally fine with the rest of it. Considering how widespread and advanced her two different forms on Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas are, it was apparently inevitable that day one will be bad. Personally, I am just glad round one of chemo is over.

At this point, assuming nothing happens to worsen her ongoing breathing issues or anything else, she is supposed to go back to the doctor next Friday for blood work and a checkup to see how she is after this first round. Round two is scheduled for right after Christmas as this will be an every three week process. So, at least she will have two treatments in before January 1, 2012 when we have to meet her new deductible of several thousand dollars. That is going to be ugly and I have no idea what we will do then.

Hopefully, for her sake, as well as my own health issues with my swollen left leg and pain that is about to make me seriously nuts, the ****** won’t last that long and I can get home and lay down. Sitting is very painful for me and does things like make my leg swell, lose feeling when it does not feel like it is on fire, and other things one does not want.  I have been doing way too much of that lately because of everything here.  People keep telling me I need to take care of myself but right now that seems impossible. I’m needed in too many places.

Again, on behalf of all of us, thank you one and all for your prayers and thoughts of support both online here and elsewhere, private e-mail, and by regular mail. I am way behind in my replies and thank yous, but please know it is simply because of events here and not because I don’t appreciate what you have done.  We appreciate it so much and far beyond what I can express here.



Lisa Harkrader said...

Good luck to you and Karl at the meeting, and so glad to hear that after the first brutal day, Sandi's chemo went more smoothly. Keeping you in my heart.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you both very much. She is currently taking her afternoon nap and doing okay. I came back from the wasted meeting to discover she wasn't feeling at all well--precisely why I didn't want to leave her. But, she seems to be okay now so I think

pattinase (abbott) said...

All of our thoughts are with you, Kevin. I so wish you all had an advocate to help you navigate this situation (s).

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Patti. I do too.

Hunter Shea said...

My prayers are with you and your wife. I know what you're going through and the stress it brings on. Stay strong, have faith and love one another.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Hunter. I appreciate it.