Tuesday, June 22, 2010

93 Days and Counting....

Well, where does one begin? Needless to say, I feel like I have been hit between the eyes, and I am not the one with cancer....
Hollie had her first chemo yesterday, and initially she said she felt fine. Even came home and walked with her daughter for 20 minutes. She wrote on her caringbridge site in a somewhat cavalier way that it didn't seem so bad. Then last night it hit. We spoke on the phone for a few minutes and then she had to hang up. They did go together and purchase a wig. It really is quite lovely on her. Looks very natural. The shop where she purchased it has been in business 30 years and the stylist says she sells about 6 wigs a week to chemo patients. That's only one shop in the Bellevue area. Staggering.
Patsy is on Tx 5 of 12 for Taxol. Just trying to get through it. She was able recently to attend a wedding shower for her beautiful daughter. And considering all she has been through, Patsy looked FABULOUS. Nothing like a happy occasion and the love of family and friends to help you get through things.

I guess what is most on my mind right now is my brother. He was scheduled for a biopsy last Friday at 9:30. My sister and I went to take him to the cancer center and he is so scared, he refused to go. You would have to know him and his history to fully understand why, but it is his choice. Instead we spent the morning trying to "convince" him why it was necessary to get a specific no avail for now. His oncologist did tell us it is stage 4--that he has a large tumor close to his throat, several tumors in his center chest area, and his liver. He also has emphysema. Just getting him to not have anything to eat or drink after midnight was a challenge for him, and he still feels the need to smoke. It's his way of self medicating. The reality for him, I'm afraid, is that once his initial percoset is gone and he is in more pain, he will be more willing to go back. For now, that is all we can do.

And right now, I don't feel much like walking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cancer strikes again...

Sunday my brother called and asked me if I would take him to the ER for a chest x ray. We spent four hours in the ER--They initially got him right back to an exam room, but by the time the blood was drawn, ekg was done, x ray was completed it was four hours....He was exhausted. The ER doc saw a spot on the x ray and said that the radiologist would read it and then call us. The radiologist called yesterday and he suggested a CT scan and some more lab work. Tonight he called and said it is definitely lung cancer, several of the lymph nodes are involved, and it has metastesized. He referred him to an oncologist, tomorrow I will call the oncologist and see where we go from here. I know nothing about lung cancer, but just listening to my brother try to speak, breathe, and cough, I am guessing this is not going to be easy. He lives alone, is quite poor financially. But, in spite of what has been said about healthcare expenses lately, I am grateful for compassionate healthcare personnel, who treated my brother with kindness and dignity.

Relay For Life

Saturday night was a Relay for event I have never attended. Hollie told me about it and so I decided to check it out.....In case you don't know what it is, people form teams, collect donations for the cancer society and then walk around a track....But it is so much more than that....Once you arrive, the track is surrounded by luminarias decorated to remember or support a person who has died due to cancer, or is someone who is experiencing, or survived cancer. In Hollie's case, there was a line of luminarias in her honor, supporting her. It's really quite a special event.  It's hard to imagine an infield full of people SILENTLY honoring cancer victims, but it happened. Once the ceremony started, the participants were more quiet than I what I have experienced in church. It was quite reverent and moving.