December.

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.

 

 

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “December.

  1. Hey David – thanks for sharing. I certainly hope that your shopping adventure proves to be enlightening. Gathering with old friends is always such a wonderful treat. May your days be merry and bright, and may your zest for life spill over abundantly on your dearest, Ju. Love you guys ta bits!!! ❤ (((hugs))) and hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick and whipped cream. 😉

  2. Thank you my Dear and special Friend. The trip was short but successful as I actually got Ju out of the car and into the cafe where the staff were delighted to see her which raised a welcome smile from her. Of course the day was ruined when we got home and I was forced to do the washing up and make the lunch. Ju actually ate some without being sick which foiled my idea of not having to do it again tomorrow…Drat!!
    Sending you Huge Hugs.
    David

    • Ohhhh – cooking, yeah, me and cooking don’t get along…now baking?…that’s a different story – I love to bake but can’t do it often. I’m glad you got to see a smile on Ju’s face. We have a diner here in town where everyone knows everyone and they are always delighted when mommy braves up and visits them for lunch. It’s a great feeling to see so many love the ones you love. Gotta run and get busy on the day…by the way, I love the falling snow on your blog! Perfect for the season. 😉
      ❤ (((hugs))) chocolate and flowers
      xx

  3. I’m so glad Julia is doing better 🙂 I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers as always. Oscar, I am sure would appreciate the shopping trip for kitty food and I I am very sure that he is happy to have his Lady home!

    Gigantic Hugs!
    Patti

  4. The shopping trip tired Julia out Patti but I’m sure it did her a power of good to see friends again. They always have a smile as we take them some sweets in to bribe them. Yes, Oscar was delighted as I bought both food and cat litter for his Highness. I’m delighted that he now goes to her and leaves me alone except in the see small hours when he loves to wake me up.
    Sending Huge Hugs
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. Thanks for stopping by the Wayside Blog, David, and adding your mite to the POV fun. I’m glad I was able to follow you here, and to read a snippet of your life. So sorry to learn about your wife and the cancer. I’ve been through it with loved ones–it’s not pretty. But am sending up prayers now. Stop by any time, either to Wayside or one of my personal blogs. Blessings, Normandie Fischer

  6. David, my heart goes out to you and your wife. I was wondering how your wife was doing. She’s been in my prayers. I “followed” your blog this time that I’m visiting so that hopefully I’ll catch the updates.
    I understand the heart-wrenching decision you have to make as to whether to continue chemotherapy or not. We discontinued chemo for my hubby back in the summer when the scans showed no improvement, but only continued growth. It was that, combined with the fact that every other treatment landed him in the hospital for several days with internal bleeding and the need of a blood transfusion. For him, it just was not worth the risks. We show quality of life at that point.
    Of course, now we’re considering another type of chemo. In the spring of the year a newly approved drug against the neuroendocrine class of pancreatic tumors came out. It’s still chemo, but a different drug and not by IV. It is not a cure, but a method to slow the progression of the cancer. It only works against that one type of pancreatic tumor. One lab says that’s the type Matt has. Another gives it another title. Sometimes things aren’t as clear as we’d like. We’re waiting for insurance approval, and then we’ll try this. Will it land him back in the hospital? Maybe. But we’re ready to try. Some handle it well. We’ll just have to see if Matt is included in that “some.”
    Continuing to pray!

  7. Dixie Goode

    David, I have been through cancer with several family members and have seen both death and a cure result more than once. It is hard to be honest if there is no hope, but the one with the cancer usually suspects that truth before anyone else. If you and your daughter have that concern, you wife probably has the same thoughts and is afraid to talk to you for fear of stealing your hope. Be honest with each other and talk out all your fears and love and hopes and then the family can make a decision with all the info available. Denial adds pain and stress to an already hard time but cancer, even terminal can’t steal all the love and warmth from the time you have left.

    • Dixie, that’s sound advice and very much what my daughter and I have been talking about today. I too have been through Cancer before and admit I never find it easy to talk about to the subject unless they choose to do so.I suspect Julia probably is more aware of the situation than I thought though I know she hasn’t been given the prognosis we have, I’m just afraid of her giving up the fight and accepting death earlier than she might, but maybe it’s my own fears that are talking. I’ll try to be more open and less fearful in the future.
      Many thanks
      David

  8. Dear Rosie, it’s incredibly hard to see someone going downhill and yet decide to discontinue a treatment. It’s almost as if you’re giving up hope. We won’t know until tomorrow whether the chemo is having any effect on the tumour Ju has but she’s being very stoic about it. She knows her time is limited but refuses to let a term be set. I think you and Matt are incredibly brave to have taken the decision to end that treatment but I understand it. I so hope that the insurance company come through and let you have the new drug and believe me, I truly want it to work so Matt goes into some remission and maybe there will be a way to be treated.
    The blockage seems to have been dispersed today and Ju’s oxygen levels have increased a bit though they confirm there is still an infection present and some of her stats are low. They’re going to try without oxygen tonight to see how she does. They know we want to make the appointment tomorrow and not put it off.
    Lets hope we both get our Christmas wishes.
    Huge Hugs
    David

  9. Perhaps when the infection clears up, Julia will feel better. Continuing to pray from you and your family. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Shawn. I’m hoping this batch of antibiotics may do the trick. I suspect getting out of hospital again may be the boost she needs but we’re learning to be patient. I’m very grateful for all the kind thoughts.
      Hugs
      David

  10. Mariette

    Hiya!!! Just a big hug for all of you! Take care and I’ll see you some time after the 15th when I finish with my client here in beautiful Lincolnshire.
    Lots of Love Mariette xx

  11. Pauline

    Massive hugs to you and Julia, you are constantly in my thoughts xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  12. James++

    Bless Julia, this day with healing, bless her with
    radiant sun energy, fill each cell of her body,
    bringing a flood of healthy energy to all her body,
    banishing illness and disease, as healing grows.
    May the abundant powers of health flourish within,
    each day, may they expand and grow stronger,
    bringing Julia the gifts of vitality, strength and well-being,
    Blessings flow to Julia with abundant energy and happiness.

  13. Best wishes to you all for 2012 lots of love and hugs to Julia

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