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General Update on Mom -- 4-12-06


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Mom is in a "holding pattern," waiting for that right arm of hers to heal enough so radiation can begin. PT/OT is helping her make progress, but not near fast enough by what the onc. did with her yesterday.

Yesterday was a record 7 1/2 hours at the cancer center. The onc. focused in on her arm (she fell and injured it a couple of weeks ago and she can't get it into the position they need her to be in for optimal radiation treatment).

Mom was in alot of pain with that arm as the onc. tried to move it (she had her Vicodin that am too). They did a new set of x-rays just to double check that there had been no break from the fall (in case the first set missed it) -- no breaks, but another painful process for mom to do the x-ray stuff. Chemo commenced and, for the first time, mom got nauseous so she got additional drugs for that -- she said it felt like "they slipped her a mickey," but it took care of the problem.

After chemo, the onc. injected her right shoulder to see if there was a bursitis (sp?) going on that they could mask so the arm could move better -- no go there, didn't work. In the end, we are to give it another week with PT/OT and the onc. will re-evaluate next Tuesday -- if no better, she gets restaged for radiation with her arms down.

Mom has now gone through about 10-11 taxol/carbo chemo cycles and it is beginning to wear on her more noticeably. Plus she is getting more anxiety happening with increased bouts of claustrophobia (sp?), even just in the doctor's exam room with the door shut. The x-ray technician even called me in to his room (a rather large room at that) a couple of times because of this. Even the onc. noted yesterday that the chemo can't really do more good and radiation needs to get going (so why are we just continuing weekly chemo, I wonder?)

Mom also has picked up more pain in her joints and tendons (which she thinks is her old arthritis acting up) and her ankles and knees are swelling again like they did last summer for the first time, before we were in to all of this. We did bring this to the attention of the onc., but nothing was said about it by him.

Good news: mom is back down to 4 liters of O2 need (that's the lowest she's been since this all started). She is discouraged though that she cannot walk as many laps without fatigue as she used to. And I don't think she's happy about the prospects of doing radiation without her arms up --

Her fighting spirit still lives on: she was just one whooped lass by the end of the day yesterday (me too, quite frankly).


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Darn: having to deal with treatment is a bad enough without a complication like your arm getting in the way for radiation. I wonder if the shot they gave her was a type of steroid that docs somtime use to restore range of motion in damaged joints? Maybe that would help?

The people doing setup for me at Swedish kept trying to get me to move my left shoulder down. I had to explain to them that I had a rotator cuff and in the past at my left shoulder and that my left shoulder is just higher than my right shoulder. They accepted that and moved on.

I wish the best for you and your mom Linda.

Don M

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