Sunday, March 15, 2015

Good Days!

Rudy has had two very good days and we are hoping they will continue for a while.  Today is looking like it's going to be extra nice as well.  We are not taking these good days for granted.

Rudy had to get back on pain meds a few days ago.  We have quite a collection of tried and failed meds.  He has hated all of them because taking them means he can't drive his hotrod.  Beyond that, most of them have had awful side effects and didn't completely control the pain.  Luckily CTCA kept working to find a solution.

After a focused visit with our pain management doctor, Dr. Boomsaad, Rudy is on a program that is working great.  It's a three pill combo - a once a day pill for inflammation, a 3x a day pain med, and another pill for break-through pain (which he is thankfully not needing at all).  He also has a cream that he rubs on specific areas.  The cream helps pain, inflammation and chemo-related neuropathy, which we hope he doesn't get.

The pain med name is familiar and scary because you hear it on the news, but it's the lowest possible dose - nothing close to what people might look for on the black market.  A drug dealer would scoff at such a paltry dose.  Rudy's pain is totally under control.  He is not loopy at all.  At most, I'd say he's a little more mellow than usual, but that could also be from the joy of no pain.  Like most pain meds, it can cause some constipation, but we have that under control.  Many of his favorite foods are famous for keeping things moving. :-D

He started by taking the inflammation pill and the cream.  Those seemed to give a good bit of relief, and he hoped to use only them, but it didn't quite do the trick.  He was extremely reluctant to start the main one - the 3x a day pain med.  That's understandable knowing the crazy reactions he's had to a number of prescriptions.  He avoided it until it was obvious he had to get some relief.  First, he went for a long ride in his Challenger, then he came home and popped the pill.  He's so glad he did.  He is feeling like he has a life again (in between naps).

Hopefully, the pain meds won't be necessary for long.  This week, he'll begin the targeted radiation on his chest while continuing the targeted radiation on his pelvic area.  He'll have two back to back radiation treatments every day.  The pelvic radiation will be over early next week.

Rudy is super skinny right now - he had dropped down to 170.  His appetite is back and Operation Pack on the Pounds Before the Next Chemo is underway.  Lots of comfort foods are being consumed and nutritious choices are included as much as possible.  At this point, we are just focusing on what makes him want to eat more.  I don't think anyone would brag about our choices... except for those who have been there done that.  One of his recent favorites was chicken and dumplin's made by Trish.  He said it was perfect - not too rich, not too salty - just right.  One of Rudy's chemo taste changes has to do with foods that are too rich.  Trish also made a sweet potato pie and that was fantastic as well.  I'll bet he's up to at least 175 now!  Maybe even more.

3-15-2015, 8 PM Update - he weighed 179 this evening!

Yesterday, we had a bunch of company.  First, our niece, Kelly and her daughter Eiligh, came down from S.Carolina.  The Johnson siblings - Mike, Beverly, Wanda Kay, and Carrie - spent the afternoon with us.  Rudy group up with them and even though we don't see them often, it's as if no time has passed at all.  It was SUCH a fun day.   Rudy did great through the whole day and completely enjoyed himself.  He was pooped yesterday evening, but it was soooo worth it.

Friends and family have been doing so much to keep our spirits up.  We've gotten wonderful gifts and food and calls and cards and fun newspaper clippings and more.   (Thanks Susan, Carly, Shirley, Pam, Lou and Jeff, Diane, Denise W, and I know I'm forgetting somebody).

Oh  and Denise L and Daniel got Rudy a wonderful package that allows Rudy to watch Braves spring training games on his computer!  Did I mention that already?  It's working great and now that Rudy  FINALLY has a bit of energy, he can actually enjoy it.  Last week, he was too tired to even watch TV.

Phil Niekro signed the 1985 Fanbook that includes a photo of Ricky, Dale and Rudy at a game.
Check out those stylish mustaches!
Also, our niece, Denise, sent us the originals of the Phil Niekro autograph and photo.  Now that we are having a little bit of company, we're finally able to show that off.

It's wonderful to enjoy the magic of ordinary days - that's my current favorite phrase (from a movie title).  It's beautiful outside today.  I hope you can enjoy it as much as we are!