Saturday, February 28, 2015

Radiation Starting This Week

Rudy, Linda and Nancy met with Dr. Herskovik, a doctor in the Radiation/Oncology department, Thursday and Friday.  I was at home while the floors were being installed.  I sure hated missing those meetings.

Nancy described Dr. Herskovik as similar to Einstein!  They all agreed he was smart and nice.  Linda said he did a great job of explaining everything.

I talked to Rudy, Linda and Nancy separately, trying to find out as much as I could about the meetings. At the first meeting, Dr. H made clear that chemo was the most important part of his treatment and that Dr. Thompson was in the lead.  He had consulted with her in all plans.  He did feel radiation would be helpful in two key locations.  One is in the lung near his esophagus.  The other is in the lower back.  He showed a scan on a large screen so they could see the exact locations.  All I know is lower back.

The second appointment was to map out the target areas.  They made a mold of Rudy's body, did a scan and made marks all over.  With radiation, they have to be very, very accurate.

Rudy will go for a total of 14 daily radiation treatments (weekdays only).  The treatments only take about 20 minutes each.

Swallowing Issues
A new issue has popped up in the last couple of days.  Rudy is having trouble swallowing pills.  They all seem to stick in his throat.  He takes LOTS of supplements - each is to help with a specific issue - mostly having to do with keeping his immune system in good shape.  This doesn't seem to be a one time issue.  It seems to be happening at every pill taking session.  I am hoping and praying this ends up being a non-issue.

The new floors are being finished up as I write this post.  They are very close to finishing.  It looks so much better.  I will never again consent to move into a house before the floors are complete.  Truthfully, though, it was less horrible than I anticipated and the guys who did the installation were super nice!!!

Don't judge - When this photo was taken, the install was still in progress.  A layer of dust is covering everything in the house.  Rooms are still not put together.  Even so, it's a HUGE improvement!  

In some places, like the kitchen, the floor looks much darker than I anticipated. It all depends on shadow and light.  The photo below shows the true color.  I chose the color by sweeping up the dirt and fur on our floor and sprinkling it over all the samples I brought home.  The dirt didn't show hardly at all on this floor.  That sample board must have had fairy dust on it.  Things are definitely showing up on the real floor.  Dog fur remains hidden pretty well, but grass clippings, sawdust, and wall patch dust show up quite well.  Mud, too.  Our knucklehead dog, Teddy, bulldozed in on Thursday after playing in the mud and his tracks weren't disguised a bit.  I swear, that dog is super lovable, but he's more trouble than all the others put together.

As soon as the installers are done, I need to scoot to the grocery store.  I haven't been able to do any shopping for ages.  Rudy's weight is up to 190 (yippee!), but if I don't get some food in the house, that won't last.

I'm beyond tired.  Lots of other words come to mind - worried, overwhelmed, unorganized, out-of-control.  I always thought the Serenity prayer was perfect, but I've modified it a bit.  I'm running on empty.

Rudy seems down.  I hope the chemo and radiation next week help.  I hope we can start on immunotherapy soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chemo Postponed Again

Rudy's platelets are GREAT - 268!!!  That's a big improvement from the "10" he had just a couple of weeks ago.  Most of his numbers are great, with one exception - his white blood cell count is just under the number needed to be OK for chemo.  We'll try again next week.

White blood cells look sort of like flowers, don't you think?
White blood cells sense infections, move toward the germs, and kill them.  No specific foods or diet changes are proven to increase production of white blood cells, but we are trying to eat well in general to build his immune system.  Some days we do better than others.  I'm not known for my cooking and Rudy turns his nose up at many healthy choices. Over the last four months, my attitude has changed from "we'll eat the perfect diet and cancer won't stand a chance" to "OMG.  We're doing the best we can and we know it's not ideal."  I swear, if I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do is hire a full time cook.

Rudy is having back pain again.  He thought it was soreness from retching, but the location is the same spot he was hurting before his first chemo.  He's trying hard to avoid narcotics for the pain, but as I told them today, his pain is "ruling his day".  He hasn't been able to get comfortable at all.  On a good note, since his platelets are so high, he can take NSAIDS again.  He took Advil today and that really helped with the pain. He also has another non-narcotic pain prescription to use if the Advil doesn't do the trick.

ALSO, he'll be seeing a Radiology Oncologist Thursday.  There's a possibility he'll be a good candidate for targeted therapy.  That means they would use radiation to zap (shrink) the tumor in his back that is *possibly* hitting a nerve and causing the pain.  That sounds good to me!

Things are cranking up on the home front.  I think I've lost my mind.  I am by nature, a planner.  I admit I needlessly overplan.  These days, planning is useless.  We are surprised daily and nothing seems to go as planned anymore.  I used to be very organized, but nobody would believe that now.  I am having to learn to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl.  It's not easy.

Thursday and Friday, we are having our new floor installed.  The planner side of me has been screaming that this is not the time to do something major like this.  The new out-of-control me is saying, just do it and somehow or another it'll all work out.  The new out-of-control me also decided to start painting walls.  My sweet sister-in-law, Nancy, is a gungo-ho painter and she's encouraged me to just go for it. I already had most of the paint - I had bought it before Rudy got sick.   Rooms will be emptied for the floor installation so this is a great time to slap on some paint.   So, here in the midst of the most insane time of our life, we'll be doing some re-decorating.  If anyone wanted to have me declared insane, this should be all the proof necessary.  Hmmmm.... A short stay in a padded room might be nice.  I wouldn't have to cook! :-D

During all of the chaos, Rudy will spend most of the day in the barn.  For those who don't know, Rudy's barn is pretty great.  He has lazy-boys, cable TV, a telephone, a wood stove, a gas stove, and more.  It's decorated just the way he likes.  The only thing it lacks is running water.  He's looking forward to it.  He hasn't spent much time out there lately.

His sister, Linda will be going with him to see the radiologist on Thursday.  I hate missing that appointment, but Linda is great at doctors appointments.  She takes great notes and always thinks of good questions.

I'm sure I've forgotten some details from the past few days, but that's all I have the energy to write.  Now, I'm going to start cleaning out my pantry for our paint party tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nausea Solved - Low Potassium

Lesson for the week: If you have an extended bout of vomiting or diarrhea, make sure to replenish those electrolytes - particularly the potassium!

It's quite a conundrum - Vomiting can cause loss of potassium.  Low potassium can cause nausea.  Oral potassium supplements can cause gastric distress.

Rudy was given fluids with potassium Tuesday and within MINUTES, he found relief.  Apparently, the steroid was out of his system, but his potassium had dipped so low that he was continuing to be nauseous and he kept vomiting up anything he tried to eat or drink.

Once the potassium was in, he felt so much better... EXCEPT --- he had thrown up so many times that his back and stomach muscles were killing him.     So after, the fluids and potassium, they gave him some happy juice thru IV.  I can't remember what it was, but it looked like fun.  It didn't make him loopy, but it made him loads of fun.  He was entertaining everybody!  He continued entertaining me well into the evening.  He was so happy to feel good.

We had a really fun nurse.  Her name was Brooke and she was hilarious and cute as a button.  She's expecting her first child in a few months.  We're hoping to see her again when Rudy goes back next week.

Wednesday morning, the happy juice was wearing off and the soreness started returning.  I gave him a long massage and he planned to just lay around and recover.  He acted like he was OK (because he didn't want to worry me), so I took off to run a million errands.  I was halfway through when he called and said the pain was horrible - a 10 on the 1 to 10 scale.  He has never said that.  Rudy is generally tough as nails. I flew over to CTCA and my parents, who live right next door, drove Rudy over.  I went to Dr. Thompson's office and Brooke (not the nurse from Tuesday) set everything up for Rudy to get checked into the Quality of Life Department again.  We feel like we know many of the people who work in that department now.  They are all very nice, but boy, the place was hoppin' last night.  Apparently, there were a lot of emergencies all day and all night.  Everyone looked worn out, but still managed to be super nice and happy to be helping people.  We had yet another standout nurse - Heidi.  CTCA really manages to get the best staff!!!

Rudy got some more happy juice and they set up an appointment with pain management for this morning.  If Rudy's pain was going to continue, we'd need to find some other option besides happy juice.  The crazy thing, when he got up this morning, he kept waiting for the happy juice to wear off and the pain to come back.  We thought it might be a little better, but it was MUCH better.  He can still feel where it hurt, but it's nothing that warrants any kind of pain meds at all.  If you'd seen him yesterday, you'd be as surprised as we are at the improvement.

We've had lots of family help and support and love this week.  Linda and Nancy have dashed over for every appointment.  They helped with picking things up. Carl and Linda brought Rudy chair pads that heat up, heated blankets that plug up into the car, Naproxen for me (my TMJ chose this week to flare up big time), and more.  We've had lots of calls and emails and offers of help, too.  Our niece Carly and her husband Evan even managed to send flowers even though Carly's on a fun trip in Hong Kong with a group of her friends.  Evan stayed home and did a great job getting the flowers.

Carly is all the way on the right.  ♥

We have been on a crazy rollercoaster for pretty much the last week.  We got home around 11pm or so last night.  Our pain management appointment was at 8:15 this morning.  When we got home, we both crashed.  Absolutely crashed.  I think we woke up around 3 pm.  We feel human again.

This whole cancer journey is full of surprises and things that seem to make no sense at all.  Last night, in infusion, they gave him the first dose of happy juice and then we needed to wait a bit to talk more to the doctor and get a second dose of happy juice.  Rudy was no longer in pain thanks to dose number one.    There were many emergencies being dealt with all around us, but we were fine.  We sat in the room and talked and talked and as crazy as it sounds, we were happy and had a really nice evening.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Back to CTCA

Early this morning, we went back over to CTCA.  Rudy wasn't throwing up as often, but was still nauseous and feeling like he might throw up at any moment.  Also, his stomach was hurting from the last few days of being sick. He looked pretty bad.

Today, we had a wonderful doctor who took things a little further.  Fluids for dehydration and Zofran for anti-nausea are what most start with.  What comes after those two varies.  Dr. Blake gave Rudy several things that addressed the torn up stomach.

Dr. Blake is a professor at Morehouse.  He must be one heck of a professor.  He explained the stomach issues better than anyone I've ever heard.  Best of all, he gave Rudy meds that, so far, have helped more than anything anyone has done for him during these bouts with nausea.

Two different times,  we mentioned how much we liked Dr. Blake.  Both times, with two different nurses, they lit up and agreed and then remarked with great expression that he was also incredibly smart.  He's the best kind of smart.  He can explain things in simple terms and we could tell that he truly cared.

Dr. Blake was very attentive, too.  We saw him so many times that I completely lost count.  He checked on Rudy often and discussed every single action taken.

One more surprising thing -   Rudy had lab work done both Saturday and again today.  The platelets were up in the 40's on Saturday and they were 68 today.  Hurrah!  Despite being sick, his blood is recovering!

I sure hope that's all the excitement we'll have for this week.  Rudy is sound asleep right now and I think I'm going to crash soon myself.  I'm so tired that I feel a bit goofy.  If there are typos and errors throughout this post, I hope you'll pardon me.  :-D

PS - Linda and Nancy were with us most of today.  They come to as many meetings as they can.  Today, they also picked up prescriptions and made a stop by the grocery store to pick up a few things that Rudy will be able to handle once he's ready for solid foods.  I'll never be able to thank them enough for all they have done.  ♥

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nausea Continues

Valentine's Day wasn't all that sweet.  We spent a good part of yesterday at CTCA.  Rudy was dehydrated so they gave him fluids.  He felt better for a few hours, but the nausea and vomiting returned during the night.

This was a deja vu experience, except that CTCA addressed the issues much better.  With the previous episode, no Piedmont doctor saw Rudy even though he went to their office 4 days in one week for fluids due to prolonged vomiting.  Not once.  We felt abandoned.

This time, a doctor saw him right away.  He wasn't told to wait til normal office hours and then call.  We went right in on a Saturday.

There's a chance he may have to go back tonight.  We've been hovering all day.  He's still super nauseous and threw up several times this morning.  We talked to his care manager and she gave us a few suggestions.  Rudy agreed that if he threw up one more time, we'd go back over.  So far, he hasn't thrown up, but he has felt like he might every moment.  He's miserable.

I may over-ride our agreement and insist he go back over.  The amazing thing - even if we decide to go at midnight, CTCA will be ready for us.


Do you believe in more options
for cancer patients in Georgia?

Please go to this link and help 
make a change for Georgia residents -

CTCA is trying to get the law changed that limits the number of Georgia patients they can treat.  Rudy wanted to switch over in November, but had to wait til December because the Georgia quota had been met.  I have heard of some people who tried to get in during busier months and the waiting list was so long, they gave up.  I just don't think that's right and neither does CTCA.  People deserve a CHOICE.  When fighting cancer, a patient should be able to choose where they are treated.  They shouldn't be shut off because of a stupid quota meant to give other local hospitals more patients.  If other hospitals want more patients to choose them, they need to earn that choice, just like any other business.  They need to work hard to take care of patients and treat them well and help them feel truly supported in their struggle.  A business that doesn't put their customers first, loses their customers.

Getting this law changed could have a big impact aside from allowing patients a choice.  If other hospitals felt their patient numbers were dwindling because to the added competition, they'd likely start working harder.  Maybe they'd take a close look at all the things successful hospitals, like CTCA, do that makes patients so happy.  It's not that they promise better odds.  It's all about how much more they seem to care and how everything in the facility is designed to make a huge life challenge as comfortable as it possibly can be.  Every single patient we've met, regardless of their prognosis,  feels blessed to be at CTCA.  It would be really nice if all hospitals and medical facilities treated their patients so well.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sick Again - Steroids

Rudy started a new prescription for steroids today.  They have been giving him this same steroid thru IV with his chemo and he has been able to tolerate it that way just fine.

This one is milder than the one that made him so sick after his rash.  We had hoped it would work without side effects, but it didn't.

He's been sick as a dog all day.  He's taking two anti nausea medications, but is having trouble keeping those down long enough for them to help.

Prayers, please.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Insurance Induced Heart Attack

There's actually a number of things to talk about in this post.  I'll start with the most important news.  Rudy wasn't able to have chemo again today because of low platelets, but his numbers are continuing to climb.  Terri, explained everything to us and set our minds at ease.  She's great.  She has a way of presenting complicated information so that even those of us who retained nothing from biology class can understand.  Everything she said  made perfect sense while she was saying it, but there's no way I could re-explain any of it to someone else.

Rudy will try again for chemo Tuesday week.  That will give him PLENTY of time to recover.

He has been bummed about his numbers staying down.  He's bummed about having his chemo reduced - he would have thought he'd be one who could have it increased.  He has always been so strong and had an immune system that was amazing.  Terri assured Rudy that other than the cancer, he was in great shape (liver, kidneys, and heart are just great) and that most others whose chemo knocked them down with blood counts so low ended up in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

As for me, I was tired today because I was recovering from a heart attack thanks to an attention-getting statement from our insurance company.

We received an insurance statement for over $41,000 with insurance paying none and Rudy and I being responsible for paying the whole thing.  Claim denied.

Once I was able to breathe, I continued to read the claim and finally, in teeny-tiny font at the very end of the 3 page statement, found an explanation.  They needed to know if we had a secondary insurance company.  There was a form we needed to sign.  Of course they didn't enclose the form, but a call today, put the whole thing back on track.  I should sleep better tonight.

We are still dealing with a few other insurance glitches.  They don't consider a PET scan necessary for someone with lung cancer. Luckily for us, CTCA is helping us.  They put my mind at ease where the PET scan is concerned.

One of our painted subfloors

The scary insurance claim came just after we had agreed to finally have a floor installed in our house.  When we first moved in our current house, we couldn't make up our mind on a floor.  With so many animals, we knew we'd be rough on a floor.  Plus our house is passive solar, which can cause bad fading to many floor types.  Wood floors, which we both love, would look terrible fast.  A tile floor was considered.  Eco friendly choices were considered - cork or bamboo or even real linoleum.  Still, we kept putting off making a decision because nothing seemed right.  After all the debating, we're getting a floor neither of us had considered til recently - a laminate wood-look floor.  It's surprisingly pretty.  The pattern and color is great.  It looks like wood, but is tough as nails.  It has a lifetime residential warranty and should hold up just fine. It's backed with cork, so maybe the house will stay a bit warmer in winter and maybe the noise around the house will be lessened.

For those who haven't been to our house and are curious how we managed with just sub-floors for this long, you might want to check out the flooring posts on my other blog.  I did faux paint treatments on our floors.  They were great for a few years, but we'll be very happy to have them covered up.  This is really bad timing and honestly, I'm terrified of spending this chunk of money right now, even though we've had it set aside for ages, but it needs to be done.  Now that the decision has been made, I'm going to stop worrying and pray that everything works out.  The way I see it, if we keep getting $41,000 bills, we'll have to sell the house and it'll sell better with a floor.

Rudy has been staying super cozy in his recliner thanks to the two wonderful blankets his Aunt Betty and Uncle Emory sent him.  Mmmm. They are so soft.

I wanted him to pose for a photo with the blanket.  After I snapped the above photo, I told Rudy he wasn't animated enough.  So this was his next pose -

That's all for now.  Nothing much is going on next week, so if I don't post for a bit, it's because there's nothing much to report.  Feel free to call.  Rudy would probably welcome the distraction.  He still can't get around people too much, but phone calls are really great.  Don't worry about waking him - if he's asleep, I'll catch the phone and let you know to call back.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Dog Bite

The dog bite is doing well. So many people have been worried and thinking I need to go have it looked at that I decided to post a closeup view so everyone would believe me when I say it's fine.

The bite had very little puncture to it, thankfully.  It's more of a scrap with a whole lot of bruising.  I think he chomped more than bit.  It's tender when touched, like a bad bruise, but most of the time I am able to forget about it.

This photo is after the area was cleaned up.  It started swelling and turning colors within minutes.  That was a bit unnerving. You can see the swelling from the angle in the above photo.

From this angle, you can see the bruising.

This was from yesterday.  The bruised area is getting really colorful.   The whole area is really puffy and swollen, too.

This photo was taken today.  It's still swollen, but not quite as much as yesterday. I'm able to clean the area without wincing.  I looked very very closely at all the marks and none look deep.

Rudy and I went for a walk a little while ago, while it was still good and sunny.  Both of us are walking fine.  I'm not limping and Rudy's not struggling.  We sat outside for ages, too.  It was soooo pleasant.  I think we may have a touch of spring fever.  We're so ready for warmer weather.  We seem to have had a lot of gloomy, overcast days this last month.

As for Teddy, he's being very good.  He's eating by himself and I've been feeding him a bunch more than normal.  I wonder how long it will take a month's worth of steroids to get out of his system.   For now, no matter how much I feed him, he eats it down like he may never get another meal again.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Platelets & Dog Bites

We were both really tired today.  Yesterday, we left the house at around 8:15am and got home at 9:38pm.  We love CTCA, but we sure don't like staying that long.

Rudy went back to CTCA today to check his blood levels.  His platelets were at 36 - still very low, but better than yesterday.  He'll go back on Monday to be sure they are trending upward.  He looks better and feels better.  I hope he'll reax over the weekend and give himself time to recover.

The big excitement today concerns me.  Teddy, the dog who has been dealing with mange, has been on steroids.  They have made him really hungry and I guess they have made him a bit more aggressive as well.  There was a dog scuffle last week around dinnertime.  We were able to break it up easily.  We switched to feeding them separately at dinnertime til today.  I decided to try feeding everyone together again.  That didn't go so well.  Teddy and Annie got into it and I broke the cardinal rule - I tried to break it up.  I got bit on the inside of my knee.  Boy, did it hurt!
I cleaned it real well.  It's bandaged and elevated.  I've taken acetaminophen.  It's swollen and bruised and ugly, but it definitely doesn't need stitches.  I'll watch it carefully for signs of infection.  All the dogs are up on their shots, so no worries there.  The pain has gone down, as long as I stay seated.

As for Teddy, no more steroids.  He was at the end of the dose anyway.  I'll be feeding him 3 times a day (away from all the others) til the steroids are well out of his system.  He has never shown any signs of aggression til these medications.
Annie was very contrite and has been wanting to make sure I'm not mad at her.  Teddy is a bit goofy.  I don't think he even realizes he bit me.

Truthfully, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably still try to break up that fight quickly.  When Rudy heard the commotion, he was on his way out.  If he'd gotten bit, he'd probably be at CTCA now, trying to stop the bleeding and fight the infection.  

Platelet Transfusion

We're at CTCA in the infusion room.   Rudy is getting blood and platelets.

 Since Rudy couldn't sleep last night and today's infusion may be long, they put him in one of the rooms with a bed.  He said it's pretty comfy.  His nurse, Diane, is really nice.

 He started having a nosebleed yesterday.  It started mild and then changed to a constant drip.  As of now it has stopped and he hasn't even gotten any platelets yet.

 Today's blood test showed that his white and red blood cells were already improving.  Platelets are usually the last to recover, but they will probably be up soon.

 A platelet transfusion doesn't last long.  Maybe even as little as 12 hours.  So the transfusion is just a little jumpstart maybe.  He'll be retested tomorrow to make sure his own platelets are climbing back up.  They're hoping to do chemo next Thursday.

Now he's asleep.  ❤️

8pm Update:
Still hanging out at ctca. It's been a very long day. Each bag has taken about 3 hours. My iPad doesn't have much power left.

Things just got lively around here. A patient completed her last chemo and they started ringing bells and singing and dancing. I swear, so many people dealing with cancer know how to make the most of life. That goes for the patients, the caretakers, and definitely the staff at ctca.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mini Update

Not much to report today.  CTCA called.  They want Rudy to come back tomorrow and get his blood work done again.

We're glad.  Rudy is really tired and when he blows his nose there's some bleeding.  He feels sure he's going to end up getting platelets tomorrow.

He should have been resting today, but he set up appointments to have our propane tanks refilled and our water heater serviced.  Then, the water heater people did some work to the pond well.   He ended up spending way too much time on his feet, which is definitely not what he should be doing right now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Platelets - More Drama

We had a mixed day.  The platelet saga continued, but we found out some good news concerning insurance and disability.

Rudy had a morning lab test to make sure his platelets were improving.  They weren't.  They were worse.  Rudy was already home when they got the results.  They called and told him to go right back over to be checked.

He was sent to their Quality of Life department, which is basically an onsite urgent care.  They checked him from head to toe with a notable detour in the end zone.  Rudy has been making jokes all evening about how two women got personal with him today.  That man can find humor in the most unlikely places!

As for the platelets, this drama is getting old.  His numbers are at 12.  If they go to 10, he'll be sent to the infusion room for platelets. We thought we were going there today.  In fact, they got his port all ready for it, when the change was made. The magic number for Dr. Thompson is 10 .  I'm not sure when they'll want to retest him, but I'd be willing to bet they'll call us tomorrow.  Dr. Thompson's team is monitoring Rudy very carefully.

We spent time on 4 different floors at CTCA today.  Rudy's doctor (and the whole lung unit) just moved to new offices on the 4th floor.  We went to Quality of Life on the 2nd floor, only to find they'd been moved to the 3rd floor.  And of course, most everything else is on the 1st floor.  The lung unit has it's own wing.  When we first went up, we found out the main elevator was not the one to use to get to the new lung unit.  However, it was really great that we took the wrong one.  It opened right in front of the office of a lady I have been trying to find time to speak with - Bridget, the insurance / finance person.

I have seen comments online about CTCA not accepting Medicare. I now suspect those comments are by people who either are misinformed or worse, have less than honest motives.   But I wanted to talk to someone who would truly know.  Rudy has been looking into getting on disability but the thought of possibly ending up with an insurance CTCA wouldn't accept scared the heck out of us.  Bridget assured us that's not the case.  They work with Medicare all the time - many of their patients are on it.  She gave us more info as well, but the bottom line, he can apply for disability without worrying.  It's a good thing.  Now that we are so happy at CTCA, they'd have a hard time getting us to leave!

We're newbies to this Social Security & disability stuff.   Rudy rushed closing his company when he got his cancer diagnosis.  He's about to turn 62, which makes him eligible for early retirement.  We just figured he'd get a little less each month and we'd deal with it.  With disability, he'll get the amount he would be eligible for if he'd retired at full retirement age.  It's enough of an increase to make us very happy with this news.

It feels odd to share all that.  I still have the old school "do not discuss finances publicly" ingrained in me.  However, I hate seeing misinformation circulating.  My little blog won't be seen by that many, but maybe someone will find this information helpful.

That's all for today.  Prayers please!  We'd love to see Rudy make some good grades on his next blood test.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Platelets &^%$#@!

Rudy is low on platelets.  Too low.  Platelets.  What a dumb name.  It sounds like he doesn't have enough salad plates.  His "dinner party" was canceled.  No chemo again this week.  We'll try again next week.  He's going back over tomorrow to check his blood again.  I hope he has more of those little plates on the table!

Low platelets need to be watched carefully.  They have to do with the ability for blood to clot.  If he gets a cut, he could have trouble stopping the bleeding.  The other key items on his blood test don't look too bad.  They seem to be improving.

Prayers please!
Rudy needs more platelets!
The lab test was at 8:30, then Rudy went to the spa area.  He had chiro and massage appointments set up.  By the time Rudy had finished seeing the chiropractor, Brooke, from Dr. Thompson's office, had tracked us down and wanted to discuss the low platelets.  The lab work is done in another department.   They post the tests quickly.  I can pull them up online.  They are available to everyone on Rudy's medical team.  The team didn't waste any time looking them over even though he wasn't slated to meet with them until Thursday.  He may have unsatisfactory platelets, but he has a really great medical team.

Rudy is bummed.  He doesn't understand why his blood work is not better.  He has always been so tough and strong.  He has always been a fast healer.  He doesn't understand why he keeps having so much trouble with chemo.   He seemed very bummed earlier, but his state of mind has now been downgraded to somewhere between mildly bummed and stir crazy from watching so much TV over the last few months.

His spa treatments were nice, as always.

The chiropractor doesn't crack bones these days.   There a little gun-like thingie the doctor held against Rudy and fired a bunch of pops.  Rudy said it doesn't hurt.  His neck has been a key spot being worked on and his range of motion has improved significantly.

He had a massage, today, too.  He comes out of this room looking like a wet noodle after these.

Stephanie, his massage therapist is very pretty.  This photo doesn't do her justice.  She's also incredibly nice.  Best of all, she gives a great massage. She spends extra time working those kinked neck muscles, too.  You can't tell from this photo but the lights are dimmed.  There's soft music playing in the background.  I find it hard to believe that some patients don't bother signing up for these extras.  They just don't know what they're missing.

Last, but not least, this week Nancy passed along a gift from Rudy's Aunt Jane.  Actually, the gift is from her sweet church group.  They made a cozy lap quilt for him.

 Every time they tied one of the quilt knots, they said a prayer for Rudy.  We were both so touched by this.

I almost forgot this little extra -

 Our sweet babies can be so darned cute.  This is little George snuggling up to big Sadie.  They are so similar in nature and George likes to hang out with her.