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ronvrens

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Hi

Im Ronnie van Rensburg from Durban South Africa.

My wife Pat was diagnosed with cancer of the spine on the 10 March 2010. The reason for seeking medical help was due to severe back pain. As my wife had had several back operations and was in constant pain we only became concered when the pain could not be relieved no matter what pain killers were used.

We went to see thee neuro surgeon that had performed some of the spinal operations and he arranged for an emergency MRI scan which disclosed the cancer.

After a full body scan further cancer was found in the right lung and the right adrenal gland.

After 10 radiation treatments the back is now pain free but due to having contacted pneumonia the lung is not doing well.

She has had two chemo treatments both of which were most unpleasant with the nausea and the present blood problems.

As this is the first time I have been involved with any form of cancer and because its my wife I have found it hard to cope at tmes. Both my wife and myself are trying our best to be positive.

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Welcome here. Sorry for the reason you are here, but glad you found us. Sounds like a rough time for both of you. You will find amazing people and stories here, and there is lots of room for hope! I'm so glad to hear that the radiation got rid of the pain. That is so good. I hope and pray that she sails through the rest of her chemo, and that the pneumonia clears up.

Post here, and put your thoughts out there for us. It will help you cope better if you can express what you are feeling.

Take care,

Judy in MI

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Hi, Ronnie, welcome to LCSC. Is your wife's "primary" cancer lung cancer, which has spread (metastasized) to the spine and adrenal gland? From your writeup, I'm assuming that's the case. The site of the primary cancer (where it started) determines the appropriate treatment, as the distant tumors retain the characteristics of the primary tumor and are generally responsive to the same drugs. What chemo drugs is she on? Those of us who have used the same ones may be able to help with side effects. Best wishes and Aloha,

Ned

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Hi Ronnie--and welcome. Feel free to ask any questions you wish. Chances are someone here has experience or knowledge that can help you. This is also a great place for support. As your wife's caregiver, you need support too. We are here to help both of you.

Susan

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Welcome. The beginning is the toughest. They are giving pretty good anti-nausea drugs in the states but during the mega chemos, I still had unpleasant times. No way of knowing what course of treatment your wife will follow. It may be one treatment until progression and then on to another. Or it could be like me, six mega treatments with three chemos in each, then on to a "maintenance" chemo that's easier to take. I'm working into my third year of treatment and am doing very well.

Keep us post and keep your chin up. This is a roller coaster ride and you and your wife may be do for an up sometime soon.

Judy in KW

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Welcome, although I'm sorry you have to be here. This is a wonderful group. While I'm not a consistent or frequent poster I always seem to come back when I need some reassurance and just kind words :)

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Wow. Thanks for the replies. All helpis most welcome. I am busy puting the whole story of my wifes cancer together. Should be ready soon.

At present the biggest problem is that although its been a good week with almost no nausea or pain she does nt want to get up and walk around. She needs the excercise as her body is quite wasted due to th time spent in hopital. Eating is another problem as she only eats a small portion and only when pressure is put on her.

At the moment while things are looking good she needs the foo and excercise.

Are there any suggestions or help please

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Be gentle, she is very tired. And be sure to take are of yourself as well.

Most everyone will tell you that the best thing to do is to have lots of snacks on hand - whatever has any appeal. I ate a lot of fruit flavored yogurt, roasted almonds, and toast. (The first two I barely eat a year later!) I also ate a lot of ice cream. Not health food, but it kept my weight pretty stable (I lost an okay amount). Exercise was pretty limited to neighborhood walks, and an acquaintance worked with me with a very mild form of motion therapy that may have been therapeutically beneficial.

For some people, Ensure or Instant Breakfast type drinks are more doable. I was lucky as I continued to eat and had an okay time with most smells and flavors - I actually ate lots of Indian and Chinese food, full of garlic, onions, ginger, and tumeric (etc) - many people will find that impossible.

Good luck.

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Hi Ronnie - so sorry to hear of what you and your wife have been going through. When my SIL was having difficulty eating it was finally discovered that she found it easier to swallow and digest things such as Ensure or Carnation instant breakfasts (with some well blended foods added-banana, etc). She had absolutely no interest in eating, but after trial and error, something she could tolerate was finally found. Does her doctor have any ideas for you about the eating/moving difficulties? I would imagine if she is taking in very little nutrients that she hasn't the strength to be active. I know there are medications that enhance the appetite as well; however, I am not versed in those, so I will wait until other members with knowledge of this come along.

I am so happy her back pain is gone! Hopefully these other issues will resolve quickly.

Linda

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A landmark today as it's one week at home without the many visits to the hospital. Pat is feeling much better and another miricle is that the lung seems dry. It would already have had to be draind after 5 days.

She sat up in the lounge and watched part of her favourite program. She even had a full breakfast of egg, bacon and toast.

She asked for a steak and kidney pie for lunch and ate half.

The coughing has subsided due to anti allergy tablets, yes its fall here and lots of dust and pollen and she does have some allergies.

I am still working on the full story and details. Not much time as caring for her and the house is a full time job. I will be going back to work tomorrow (Tuesday ) which is 3 hours away. I just hope that the other care givver does not mess up again.

Thats it for now

Thanks once again

Ronnie

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Such good news--the dry lung, sitting up and eating. Hope things continue to improve. It must be hard going to work thinking of being so far away. How did the caregiver mess up before? Are there ways to help avoid it happening again. Let us know if we can help with ideas.

Judy in KW

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Well today its 2 weeks at home and progress is in leaps and bounds. at had her third chemo session on Thursday 3 June. Another 5 hours. I am glad that I could accompany her thanks to the generosity of my company.

The two chemos that they use and Alimta and Cisplat. Due to the severe reaction the previous time they reduced the dose. This was also due to her lowered platelet count and the fact that the renal function has deteriorated since the last test a month ago.

The good news is that there was only one episode of nuasea which was promptly dealt with. The new anti emetic is Zofer and it seems to work. One problem encountered was that her feet and ankles swelled up due to the heavy load of fluids during the chemo session. The didnt want to give her lasix as the trip home is a bit long and they didnt want to cause distress. I administered lasix for 3 days and lo and behold this morning no swelling

I have returned to work but am in constant touch with her during the day :D

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Ronnie - what a wonderful update... and what a difference a couple of weeks make! It sounds as though her team is right on top of things and taking care of her quickly when situations arise.

I am so happy that your company is giving you the time you need to attend appointments, chemo, etc. with her. I am especially happy to see your smiley face at the end - I am smiling back at you both!

Take Care,

Linda

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Small setback.

Pat phoned me last night said she had pins and needles feeling in her hands. This was the case last time she went into hospital. This morning went to the doctor and was found short of magnesuim. Felt a bit nauseas and took the meds. Is now resting and I will check a bit later. Not easy being so far from home. :(

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Glad she got to the doc and got the pins and needles dx'd. Not to worry, lots of us here have reported that--can be magnesium, can be chemo side-effect and I'm sure a lot of other things. Breathe and hope things stay on a positive track. I'm sure it's hard working so far from home.

Judy in KW

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Thanks for the updates! Overall it sounds like, in spite of some minor set backs, she is overall doing much better! So nice to hear this. I had slight neuropathy with my chemo. Felt pins and needles in my feet and hands. I was blessed, that it was minor and went away on it's own.

Wishing you both well. You sound like a wonderful husband, and she is blessed to have you.

Judy in MI

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Hi there all you wonderful people. Thanks for the information and wonderful support.

I spoke to Pat last night and what seems to be the problem is the magnesuim deficiency as well as the blood counts low. She is also slightly dehydrated which should be easy to corrct.

She started taking magnesuim yesterday late and will see the doctor again this morning and a decision is to be taken as to hat the next step might be. She is also suffering from a slight loss of voice. The doctor doesnt seem to be too concerned. Hope its not an infection as everyone seems to have colds and flu at present

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Just a quick update on Pat (my mom and Ronnie's wife)... she was admitted to hospital yesterday for dehydration which was putting the kidneys under some strain. Unfortunately she does also seem to have a bout of influenza. She is doing much better today, though and we remain positive that this is just a minor setback.

Michelle

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Oh my goodness, the missing post again. Well, I want to say (again) that I hope the hospital does it's magic again so you're mom can come home and rest and recover from this latest bump in the road. And thanks for pinch-hitting here for your Dad.

Judy in KW

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Thanks for the update Michelle. Tell your mom and dad we are rooting for her to get rid of this bug quickly. I am glad to hear that she is feeling better today and hope that she improves by the minute!

Linda

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Hi there everyone. Thanks for allthe positive comments and wishes

Just as we were cruising the highway of recovery there appeared this massive pothole.

Pat was doing so well and I left home to go o work on Monday at 04h00. About 12h00 I recieved a call that she was feeling sick with pins and needles in the hands. She had also lost her voice. On Tuesday she was taken for blood tests and to see the doctor. Her magnesuim and calcium levels were down but not critically. On Wednesday she was worse and the doctor admtted her to hospital.

I rushed home on Wednesday afternoon and when I saw her I noticed that she looked ill. On questioning her it was sort of evident that she also had flu.

Since then she hasnt really progressed too well and is still plagued by the post nasal drip that causes her to becoe nauseses.

On Friday evening she was given 2 units of red blood cells. This has raised her HB level but today she was moved to isolation because of falling white cells and the chest infection. She has also got those auful sores in her mouth which is painful and makes everything taste bad.

I am hoping that this setback will not be as harsh as before and that she will soon be out of hospital and at home soon.

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