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Monday, December 3, 2012

Chemo 4, Susan (still a) 10

4 done 12 to go.
Progress! The last of the "double bag" phase is now behind us.  Susan completed the first phase of chemo last week.  The first phase was the combination of two drugs administered every three weeks.  The doctor told us the chemo would have a cumulative effect.  Well he was correct. It seems it's going according to plan on that front.  The next phase will be just one drug administered weekly for twelve weeks. That will start the Friday before Christmas.

Before treatment on Friday, Susan had 12 very good days in a row.  Prior to that it was several days of pretty low energy compounded with recuperation from a severe cold.  
I can always tell when the *sparkle * comes back in her eyes and I can get her to laugh.  The *sparkle* and laughter are wonderful and welcomed!

The chemo & blood cell booster combination, translates to lots of sleep for several days following treatment.  She gets worn out pretty easily, so on advice from the doctor she rests.  We'll see what the next phase brings with her weekly treatments. We're hopeful 
it will be less of an impact on the daily schedule being one drug rather than two.  On the plus side she won't have the white cell booster during the next phase.  On the flip side however she will get a bag of Benadryl infused each week along with the chemo. I'll bet that'll be good for a nap or two.

Overall Susan is doing pretty darn well with the chemo but does not "recommend" it - unless you have to of course.  We know of others who unfortunately aren't, or haven't been so lucky.  So we both continue to count our blessings - which are plentiful.

It's now four treatments down and she still looks like a million bucks!  

She's assumed "ownership" of a couple of my winter stocking caps but she wears them well. They keep her head and neck warm at night. She's pretty cute with her dew rags in the day and stocking caps at night.

Susan was disappointed that she's had to give up her volunteer work at Genesis Hospital Gift Shop while in treatment.  She enjoyed her companionship with Connie Clay and other friends when there.  But that will be there for her to return to in the spring.  

We spent a very quiet Thanksgiving together at home.  Mr. Hy Vee prepared a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving dinner for four.  Fortunately Susan has a great appetite. The prep and clean up were a breeze - and we had warm ups too.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we met Susan's mom, aunt Alvina, cousin Joe, sister Peg and husband Jerry in Cedar Rapids for lunch.  It was good seeing them before they returned to Colorado.  

A few weeks ago we reported Brad and Jaxson got their haircut like Grandma.  Brad sent us a few pictures of the process.

Hold Still Dad
Don't move Dad

We're almost done Daddy

It looks like Jaxson really enjoyed it while shearing Dad but, well.............

Final touch

Not funny Daddy
No, Daddy stooooop!!

...didn't like it quite as much when it came his turn under the clippers.  But both looked great when they finished

Our friends at Bettendorf Amicare Pharmacy had a wonderful surprise for Susan last week.  Thank you Amanda, Laura, Lory and Michelle!!  You're always a bright spot and a real lift when we stop in.

Nice selection Larry!
Never Give Up
Fight Like a Girl!!

From the Amicare Staff

And from our long time friends Debbie & Larry Marshall

Our next trip to oncology will be the start of weekly treatments.  These will start just before Christmas and will go for 12 consecutive weeks.  We'll keep you posted on the progress. There will be progress!

On other fronts, Susan's mother is now in Loveland, CO and will winter in AZ with Peg and Jerry.  We look forward to seeing them next spring.

Some of you have also asked about the Pigg folks.  Mom is continuing Hospice at Heritage House in Atlantic.  Hard to believe it's approaching two years since her surgery for colon cancer.  She chose to discontinue chemo several months ago. She doesn't get around so well now at 90 but her mind is good.  In fact we received a hand written letter from her just yesterday!  She's an incredible lady! 

Dad Pigg recently learned of a cancer that resettled in his neck glands.  It likely stems from a skin cancer he had removed over a year ago.   It's treatable with surgery and radiation however at nearly 92 he has chosen to forego treatments.  He's decided to, as he says, let nature takes it's course. Treatment has undesirable side effects so he's had a difficult last few weeks. While some of us hoped he'd pursue treatments we respect his decision. It's one of those no-win decisions.  He's now considering moving to an apartment, possibly at the Heritage House complex, where he can be closer to Mom through the winter.  

Personally speaking, I've concluded cancer really does suck. 
Yip, sure does!

Susan and I thank you for your continued support via your prayers, cards, visits, emails and smiles. We'll continue to keep you apprised of progress and hope to continue hearing from you.

We wish you each a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and best wishes through the Holidays.  Be safe in your travels, keep the faith and count your blessings.  We sure do. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your updates brother. And you go Susan! Your hubby is right....you look like a million bucks! We continue our POSITIVE thoughts and prayers for you both. Glad you are retired Rog and are able to give that daily support.