Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Sunday Update

I haven't posted because not much is new. We are on a repetitive pattern through mid-November of weekly chemo (carboplatin and taxol), and the occasional extra bag of water or magnesium. Bill's lows are much less low, the farther we get from the Doxyrubicin days. His hair is grown back in. It's suddenly very thick and very fine and platinum but with black hair mixed in. It's curly on the sides and straight in the back. Even his goatee is back, along with eyebrows and eyelashes. He's quite happy about this.

He's got small ongoing bodily weirdnesses evidencing themselves from time to time, but no one seems worried, so he just rolls along. His mornings are kind of horrible, but his afternoons and evenings are almost normal.

As for me, I went through some kind of neutron-bomb burnout for a few weeks, and now that it has passed, I see that it was a healthy and necessary development and that it brought me into balance. Before The Burnout, I think I cared too much about every little thing. After burnout, I care just the right amount, instead of too much, and now I can deal with it WITHOUT the obsession I had before. The result is a less fritzy caregiver who is less hysterical all the time, and who can now proceed calmly (MUCH more calmly than the first three years).

Farewell for a while. I'll write in a couple of weeks, unless something dramatic happens. Love and gratitude, from you know who!

PS For the praying folks among you, and the others, if you wanna give it a shot: please pray for our faithful friend T, a brilliant teacher and gifted, loving leader in Bill's church, and truly a saint, who is having rather monumental surgery on the 25th. And if you could, please pray for his wife, A, who has stood by us, as if we were her own blood kin, ministering to both Bill and to me with emails, letters, books, cards, pictures, home made custard, just love bombing us all these years of Bill's illness. Thank you soooooooo much. Bill says if you only have time for one prayer that day, make it for T and A--you can skip Bill. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MEH . . . .

(This preamble is by Beth. I am french fried, circuits blown, burned out, burned up, exhausted, and falling down on the job. But don't feel sorry for me; feel it for Bill. Bill is going through it too, and he's got cancer and chemo, in addition, on HIS shoulders! So tonight Bill wrote the blog for you. Here he is.)

Bill here.  Short entry tonight--Beth's  having a truly lousy reaction to yesterday's flu shot, and I devoutly believe in taking care of the caretaker.

Chemo today, preceded by a chat with Onco Bronco, who was actually very helpful.  The CT scan report is in from Wake, and all is okay, if not great:  the tumors (turns out there are two, not one) have *not* grown, so the chemo regime seems to be working.  For those of you keeping score, today's was the fifth round of twelve drips, dragging on into grey November.

Early tomorrow, I go to the hospital to have them fiddle with my "power port," the surgically-implanted device in my shoulder through which blood is drawn and chemicals are injected.  The problem is that stuff goes in, but blood doesn't come out predictably.  Have no idea how they fix that.

As Beth always says (and means), your prayers  are the bar which permit my occasional chin-ups.  Inexpressible thanks and heartfelt love for all you do for us.

Cowboy Bill (for Diamond L'il)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sept. 9, 2012: Sunday Update

We're celebrating THREE YEARS of cancer survival since Bill was diagnosed about this date in 2009. He has beaten every odd, all along the way. He has been given "months" to live for so many years that it's funny. And we (okay, my much-loved atheist friends can look away for a second) KNOW that prayer is part of it. (Okay, atheists, come back. And yes, I was reading excerpts from Atheist in Chief Christopher Hitchens' post-mortemly published book Mortality, about chemo and cancer and life and death, and yes, I saw what he said about prayer, and he was entitled to his opinion, but we're all about not disrespecting, 'round this here corral.)

Only news is that tomorrow morning VERY early, the cowboy has to go to Wake (Diamond Lil at the wheel) for a CT scan to see if the current chemo drugs are doing a Chuck Norris on his tumor.

I do not have ANY idea when we will have the results, tho if it were up to me, I'd sit down right there and wait two hours till the radiologist had that thing typed up. But Bill's a different breed; I got a $20 bill says he isn't going to let us wait. He'll say what difference does it make, anyway. And I'll go along with him, cause he's so cute with no hair. (He's got this super adorable baby fuzz coming in where he used to have hair. It's platinum white, and about 1/8th of an inch long, and looks awful cute when the sun hits it. My foxy boy be struttin.)

We will NOT see the Onco at Wake due to Madame Boone Onco Bronco having set the appointment up (a) late; and (b) completely weirdly. I'll skip that. But this causes us to not get the results till possibly Thursday, his next chemo time.

(If you ever go over there, you want Dr. Gray. He and everyone there is/are superb and beyond perfect and on top of his/their game/s. But I'm entitled to my opinion that there is one exception to this superb perfectness. Now, moving along...)

I also do not know what will happen with each possible outcome--I mean, if the tumor is or isn't responding, I don't know what the next move will be. Of course, if the appt had been set on time and correctly, we would have met with our Oncologist at Wake last week for all this, at which time he would have given us the results and discussed all the scenarios and choices, but noooooooooooooooo.

Maybe I'll get my way, and we'll get the radiology report tomorrow by waiting a couple of hours. Either way, YOU KNOW I will post as soon as we know anything, so if you don't hear from me till Thursday night, you will know: (a) I won my $20 bet; (b) I am unimpressed by a certain Madame So-and-so in Boone.

Goodnight, and thank you as always for praying, caring, reading, supporting, loving us! xoxo Beffie and Billy

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday Update: Bill is Pretty Darned Okay

Sorry I skipped posting for a while there. I started feeling like all I was doing was whining and upsetting everyone. Ooops! But you have to admit: I've been known to be a drama queen! :)

So just this quick note of update: Bill is doing fine. He had chemo on Friday, even tho he had a fever and some medical issues. We are now waiting for his nadir day to kick in, his lowest day. It should have started tonight, but it didn't, so either it will hit on Monday or Tuesday, or it won't hit at all. We don't know, but we're happy he is feeling decent. Not GOOD, but decent.

Next event: A CT scan at wake to see if this chemo is working, and if they should continue it or try something else or who knows what. No more chemo till he gets that scan. I'll report as soon as we hear a date for that!

Next time I go with Bill to Wake for a scan and any kind of "report" from a Dr., I have to have a special prescription for one whopper of a sedative. The last time I tried it on my own steam, and I almost went crazy with anxiety, feeling panic and tearfulness and terror all day. It was unprecedented. I used to be so brave. I had to call my brother in Morehead City to talk to me, until I could calm down while Bill was in for his CT. It has become almost unbearably upsetting to go there. It used to be interesting. Now it is terrifying. For me. Bill is calmer. Next time, I hope to be half asleep through the whole thing. I am not designed for drama, fear, and terror at THIS level!

Bill's symptoms now: Mainly fatigue, low grade fever, digestive troubles, shaking hands, numb feet, hair loss, and rapid weight loss. Even steroid appetite stimulants that make him eat almost every hour, and a LOT of food, and high calorie food, couldn't stop the weight loss. He lost almost 3 lbs last week, eating at least 8 to 10 meals a day! About 30 pounds in the last few months! But he isn't yellow or white or sick looking, too much. He is ready for his hair to come back, though, curly, thick, blonde and gorgeous. Can you see him with curly hair? It happens a LOT with chemo! His beard is gone, eyelashes, eyebrows, has a little bit of moustache left. Poor ole cowboy! He's still awful cute!

Thank you for caring, and I hope this lets you not worry about him for now. I will always post if a dramatic downturn occurs! But I should follow my Sunday rule and always write on Sundays, just so you know not to worry.

Love and hugs and thanksgiving for your thoughts, prayers, wishes, and good hopes for our boy!

Bethie and BillyBob the Cowboy