Well here we are in December. Julia has been in hospital with an infection but was treated on the Cancer ward and was well looked after until she finally returned home on Tuesday night in advance of the Great Strike which affected transport on Wednesday. Though the chest infection seems to be clearing Julia seems to have lost the will to do much at the moment. No doubt one of the 5 stages of grief that comes with the knowledge that you have Cancer. However, today I’m going to see if I can persuade her to come shopping with me and see if that stimulates some interest in her……that’s if shopping for cat food can stimulate any interest. Maybe we can stop for coffee at one of the places we visit in my books ‘Cass E Dees’ or ‘Can I tempt you’ where there are old friends.
Anyway. On behalf of us both I want to wish you all well with your Christmas preparations and no matter what your faith I wish you a peaceful and happy season.
The shopping trip was a success. Julia stayed in the car while I shopped and bought his Highness the cat food he likes ( the dearest of course) and some cat litter. The latter was bought because after lying with Julia on Wednesday night until she was asleep I carefully slipped off the bed and donned my slippers. At least, I donned the left one, as when I started to put on the right foot I found my toes paddling in a pool. I had the dubious pleasure of hopping to the bathroom to empty the contents of the slipper down the loo while I stuck my right foot in the sink and washed it. Julia said Oscar did it because His litter tray was damp and it was my fault….not for using it but for not emptying it. I think it was spite because he wanted Julia all to himself.
Anyway, after shopping we took our usual box of sweets into the cafe for the staff who really made Julia feel at home again and it drew a wonderful smile that’s been missing recently.We sat and enjoyed a latte and caught up on news of the owners sons who are fantastic singers ( sometime I’ll find the youtube link) They are tenor and bass and sing wonderful operatic songs, show songs and even modern songs. Once they sang Somewhere from West Side Story and blew us both away.They are only 18 and 20 which is amazing. We were honored to be given one of their CD’s which we keep in the car.
So, she was tired afterwards but it was worth the effort and I’ll try again tomorrow. We’re due for Chemo om Monday and I’m hoping she’ll be well enough to go. On Thursday we have the results of a new scan to tell us how the chemo is doing and I have my fingers crossed.
Tuesday 6th December.
Julia seemed short of breath today when we shopped and it seemed likely the chest infection was still there. We called the Doctor who visited and after an examination announced it was likely there was a blood clot as there was no fluid sound in the lungs.
They tested her stats on the ambulance and found she was very low on oxygen saturation so started her on that. When we got to the hospital she was taken straight to the AMU ward and bloods taken. Sodium low, potassium low and oxygen saturation very low. It was confirmed that here was likely a blood clot on the lungs. So, she was put on an ECG monitor and given the equivalent of warfarin to thin the blood.
Wednesday 7th December
I’m told Julia will be going for an x-ray and a scan soon. Until then I remain as scared as Julia is and my daughter also though only Yvonne and I dare voice it to each other as we have to remain confident for Ju. She’s hoping that now they know what it is they’ll be able to give her some tablets and a supply of daily injections that she’ll have to have for 3 months then let her out. She’s desperate to be out to attend the meeting tomorrow to see the scan of the tumour and assess how the chemo has affected it. Yvonne has raised the thought that if there’s no visible progress is it worth continuing the chemo when it so reduces Julia’s immunity to infections. She’s quite right but it would be a difficult thing to say in front of Julia as it would be like taking away any hope at all.
Today’s visit has cheered me. The obstruction is dispersed and the oxygen levels are slightly up. They’re even going to try without oxygen tonight to see how she copes. There is still an infection present but we can manage that with antibiotics, the warfarin injections we can do at home but they’d like to see an increase in sodium and potassium levels too. Maybe I can convince her to chew bananas for a few days? Though not happy to be back in hospital so soon Julia was much improved tonight though her eyes were rolling with tiredness…or boredom, which Yvonne and I deny causing. We were happier leaving her than we were last night and know that the staff are trying to help us get her to the meeting with the oncologist tomorrow so we can see whether the chemo has had any positive results.
Personally I’m of the opinion that she’s staying in there to get out of Christmas shopping and gift wrapping in revenge for all the years she got lumbered with the job. Oh well, I hope people like teapots in humerous shapes or silver plated picture frames with pictures of Oscar in them !
Thursday 8th December.
Julia was released from hospital this afternoon so we could attend the meeting with the oncologist. They have diagnosed and treated for basal pneumonia and managed to get the oxygen saturation up a bit so we’ve got antibiotics to take now.
The meeting with the charming oncologist got off to a good start when Julia, Yvonne and my two nieces had stopped saying Corrrrr and drooling over him and his accent. He told us the tumor had responded well to the chemo and shrunk a bit. Before we were able to cheer there came a ‘BUT’
The two latest scans show anomalies on her lungs. There is the outside possibility that this is an infection but the most likely cause is a rare side effect from the chemotherapy itself. If that is the case then chemo will stop dead. Wonderful, the choices now are:- Stop chemo and allow the tumor to grow or keep chemo and damage the lungs beyond repair. A real Hobson’s Choice. He has suspended chemo for next Monday and pencilled in a provisional one for next Thursday following another meeting with him by which time he hopes to know what the lesions on the lungs are. There will be a round of blood tests on Tuesday but I have no idea if these are relevant to that question. We have to get Julia’s weight up again as she’s lost 3lb recently and must keep a close eye on her breathing and temperature in case the antibiotics don’t work and her O2 saturation levels drop again.
I really don’t want this to spoil Julia’s Christmas and I aim to do my best to keep her at home with the family rolling around to visit when they can. The weather’s not nice enough to take her out much and is it possible we’re heading for a White Christmas?
Thursday 15th December.
It was ‘Corrr’ day again as we went to see the oncologist. My wife, daughter and two nieces trooped in to what should have been a surgery and instead resembled a bus with the number of chairs out for us. Of course everyone was concentrating on Dr Garcia and I doubt anyone knew or cared I was in the room. His accent fixates them and it’s like being at the Dr Garcia fan club meeting.
He started to give me the news I was dreading. He’s 80% sure the toxicity in Julia’s lungs is as a result of the rare side effect from the chemo. Because of that he’s cancelled the chemo booked for tomorrow and said to give it a break. We can return in four weeks and he’ll review his decision and MAYBE start her on a new course of chemo at a lower dose. In the meantime I worry that the tumour can start to grow again in the four week break. It’s very hard, shrink the tumour and add more toxicity to the lungs ot save the lungs and……
Anyway, we’ll have Christmas safely at home and hopefully well. We both offer Compliments of the Season to you all and thank you for following this story.