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followup chest x-ray


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Mom has been doing fairly well over the past few weeks. The dexamethasone she's been taking to control the inflammation and pain in her legs has also greatly helped her appetite. She went from losing 10 lbs in the beginning to now having gained 20 lbs. We'd thought the puffy cheeks were from the steroid but her doctors said today, "nope, she hasn't been on it long enough, that's from weight gain."

I suppose that's a really good thing. It was sort of funny, thinking it was moon-face from the steroid then being told 'nope, you're just gaining weight!' I know chemo can really take a toll on some people but with the steroid my mom has been doing SO well. She is actually looking fuller and healthier with more color in her cheeks. It's a nice change, a really wonderful thing to see her able to enjoy her days. She has lost most of her hair at this point but has two wigs that she likes quite a bit. Standing in the bathroom with her, cutting her hair for her is I'm sure something neither of us will ever forget. The first time I saw a bald patch, I felt a little upset but quickly stuffed that down. As I stood above her cutting off what was left of her hair she just sat there and smiled. It was a bizarre bonding experience but there was sort of a mutual silent understanding and closeness that was really nice.

The doctors will be calling us soon with an appointment for her next chest x-ray. This one should tell us how much the chemo and radiation has done over the last month or thereabouts, and should let her onc know if she's at a stage where surgery is possible. I'm praying that she is... but rather than hope for her whole lung to be removed, I'm praying that this chemo and radiation has shrunk the tumor down so much she could just have part of her lung taken out - or better yet, that the cancer is completely gone.

I'm keeping my hopes high, but the idea of having a scan, and possibly the results, right before Christmas is scary. I'm very anxious about knowing where we're at as far as beating this thing. Knowing the baby is on his way in less than a month on top of possibly facing mom's surgery, or lack of surgery, is terrifying me. Just looking for a little support, I guess.

I hope everyone is doing well and is enjoying their holidays with their families. The holidays, and all the baking and decorating and visiting and time spent together seem to take on a much greater significance now.

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Well, we got the results from the follow-up x-ray yesterday. It was sort of one of those... 'no different from not knowing' kind of things. At this point, they say it's too early to tell how much shrinkage there has been from the radiation as she's only been doing radiation for a month, and some of the mass shown in the x-ray could be inflammation from it. I have to say I find it a little confusing. I've read on here people who've had radiation for a brief period and seen a big difference in their x rays. I guess I worry that the doctors are trying to buffer what could potentially be bad news, or that my parents are doing the same. Or just that we're not having the miraculous NED/remission results I prayed for.

It seems at times they hold information back from my brother and I so as not to upset us. Really I think he and I have aged so much from this in the past few months that having anyone hold something back for our protection is sort of more hurtful than just hearing whatever it is.

Mom's next round of chemo starts this coming Monday. She is off the steroid now, this is her first day off and she's already been having a rough day. Woke up with lots of pain so she took some extra morphine and was out of it most of the day. She's tired again, and walks slowly with lots of pain. I think they'll be giving her more of the steroid again with the chemo, so that should give her at least a few good days. But it's going to be hard facing the month after chemo, with more radiation and no steroid to keep her pain and inflammation at bay.

I have to say I am feeling very overwhelmed. I've been trying to do a little extra this holiday season to thank the people who've helped us, and I've been in the kitchen for three days with a steadily more achy back as a result. Also managed to get in a heated argument with my grandmother last night about her being rude to my fiance, and I seem to be finding myself more at odds with all the family aside from my mom. Everyone is stressed and tense and I'm feeling stretched too thin, so I'm more sensitive to the little snaps. So close to my due date it's kind of wearing me out and feels to be piling on. Added on top, I've lost my best friend recently due to her insensitivity about the cancer issue and my pregnancy, and haven't received any support or even any 'are you ok' type thing from any other friends. Maybe this is just me whining, but aside from my fiance I am feeling very isolated and overwhelmed these days, and often under-appreciated. I want to do everything, as best I can, and take as much of the burden off the rest of my family as possible, but every day it gets tougher as I get closer to my due date. I feel really helpless and useless.

Enough of me whining and being melancholy on Christmas. I hope everyone is having a good Christmas and having a nice time with their families in these few days - despite everything I really am thankful for this time of year bringing family together.

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H bohjack and a belated merry xmas to you. I can attest that radiation continues to work for months. My lungs got clearer over a few scans. So hold on to that hope.

Sorry to hear your mom is suffering. The treatments for disease can just take you down sometimes.

Finally I am saddened to hear how you are doing. Caregivers are often forgotten in this picture and you need support as well. Others sometimes just don't get what you are going through. Maybe they will get it at some point and maybe not. If they don't, you certainly don' t need them around. It bugs you though...you need to find a way to forgive them for their oversight and move on.

I hope you start to feel better soon. Take it easy please and try not to do so much.


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