Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rough end to a rough week

Chemo is getting harder and harder on Kel. He looks quite anemic and has been sleeping most of the day. Energy is harder and harder to come by lately for him. He slept well last night - almost 8 hours, and then tacked on another 5+ hours during the day. Then he went to bed earlier than David and has been sleeping for a few hours already.

Other than a shot of stimulating factor to stimulate red blood cell production, I am not sure what to get for him. Iron may help a little, even if just to allow his hemoglobin to carry more oxygen.

I was catching up on a few back episodes of Grey's Anatomy while everyone else in my house was sleeping, and a few weeks ago the episode was about how important one hour can be and how much can change in an hour. It made me think of many 'hours' - the first time Kel felt significant pain in his abdomen/side that we ignored. The hour between leaving his CT scan, getting a call from the PCP and going to the ER. The hour when we learned the source of the mass in his back ... and oh yeah, in his lungs too. Most of the time in between those hours are a blur, but those I remember. The hours that flipped our world.

Feeling sad and angry again tonight at all of this cancer crap. I think the people in this house shouldn't go to sleep before me. It makes me sad and angry. Not that they are sleeping, it just gives me time alone to think.

Think of pain, and sorrow, and lost loves.

We past a graveyard taking Sue to the mall on Saturday afternoon. Whenever we do that, David points out where Nana is. And I explain again that while it is similar, Nana rests in a place by Papa's house. And then we go through it all again - why? Where is Tahoe? Are Tahoe and Nana together? And it lasts a few days because I don't know the words to explain to a not quite 4 year old where we go when we die. All I can explain is that they aren't in pain anymore. And for them not to be in pain anymore it means we can't see them. We just have to remember them.

This is probably the bigger source of the sad and angry, not other people sleeping.

David didn't get to say goodnight to Kel tonight because he was already asleep. But we came in to the room so David could whisper to Daddy. And we hope daddy feels better tomorrow night for a hug and a kiss.

Thankfully Sue will be here tomorrow to help take care of David, since I teach again. But then she leaves Tuesday afternoon. It has been a great help having her here, and a comfort for Kel.

My head is starting to hurt from crying through writing this, so I am going to conclude with the sux for the night. I will be fine, btw, it is good to cry sometimes.

Ok, chemo fatigue has got to be tonight's sux. Fatigue so bad you can't walk, or move around too much, or do anything really. Unrelenting tired. All encompassing tired. And that is only what I can see, I don't even know. I just see Kel falling asleep all of the time, and so fatigued that he can't keep his eyes open while walking through a store. But then he wakes in the middle of the night and will be up from 3 or 4 am on. The fatigue hits hard, but randomly, and in doing so unceasingly perpetuates itself.

Unrelenting tired. And that sux.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Missed a few days again...

Sometimes I forget and am lazy, sorry I haven't written in a few days.

Today was Kel's 4th day of the 3rd cycle - off one day still since he had to miss Monday. Not a great day, he was feeling pretty sick to his stomach and had problems with his i.v. They left his line in since Tuesday, since it was in a good spot and he has really difficult veins to stick. However, today his arm started to swell and was painful. He had some infiltrate from the line into his tissue and they had to switch arms.

Kel was tired when he got home, since he is still not sleeping well at night, and slept for a while, which was good. He is supposed to be keeping his arm elevated to help with swelling too. We will see how he does tomorrow.

Even with a tough day, overall Kel is doing well. It is still surprising how well the physical side effects are controlled, especially the nausea. Kel says the most discomforting side effect is the metallic taste in his mouth (which was so strong the other night I could even smell it) and the loss of taste buds. (knock on wood) so far the peripheral pain was only transient. Psychologically is another story, I know he will feel better in April once the follow up CT is done and he knows if this is it (80% chance) or if he needs more surgery and chemo. The not knowing is the tough part.

Tomorrow will end the heavy chemo of cycle 3. To date he has 18 days down and from tonight he has 8 more days of chemo to go and ~ 2 months before knowing if he is done or more.

Oh, and good news too - his tumor markers are down even more from the 2nd cycle (bloodwork for those is only at the end of each cycle). His biggest one was AFP (normal is 0-7) at 13,700, down at the first cycle to 1700 and down now to under 300. All others are ~ in the normal range. After this 3rd cycle, we hope to see all back to normal with one more week of chemo to go!

David has been good for a few weeks now, mostly, and was again today. Even Saja was (mostly) good. He just wouldn't leave crochety old Hudson alone since the old man went to the groomer today and smelled different. Saja was constantly sniffing Hudson and getting growled at for his efforts. Stupid puppy just doesn't learn.

Sue has been a great help too - my dishes are never done this often! We had a nice dinner out last night at our favorite Thai restaurant in town (for those in Tucson, the place is Sa-ing in Rita Ranch) for my birthday. It was a good day.

I was informed that the next 'sux' was the metallic mouth. Kel had braces for almost 5 years, and now that the metal is gone from his mouth, chemo is putting it back. It is mainly on the first week of a cycle when he is getting daily cisplatin, but he can't get rid of it. Brushing is only a temporary relief. He hasn't tried ginger lozanges or anything yet, maybe those will help. It being so strong I could even smell it was pretty remarkable, and I can only imagine how much that effects Kel. Definitely a sux.

Getting some sleep before giving an exam tomorrow, so goodnight,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All about Kel this evening

I took this morning to vent about me, and thank you to all who lent hugs, loving words, or eyes to read my whining.

Kel had chemo today!! His WBC counts went up over 3 fold and was even marked as 'high'. So he got his poison, no problem. ;) And they will treat today as Monday and just tack on a Saturday to make it a full week. Sue went with him, but Kel mainly slept. The i.v. is even in a good spot, so they left it in at least overnight and maybe all week? That will be good since the 'sticks' are getting to him.

At his request we went out to dinner at the Mongolian Grill tonight - yum. Moderately not bad for you too, since you can control what goes in to your dish. Then we came home and watched the Blind Side (finally). Overall a nice evening.

Stuck for things to write - it was an ok day. Kel is obsessing about his chances for getting another cancer (other than the increased risk of leukemia associated with chemo), and life insurance companies jacking up the rates on him due to actuary tables. I think I am going to have to look and see if I can find any epidemiology studies for those who get testicular cancer and their rates of getting any and all other cancers.

Just what I need - more work! Oops, sorry, that was complaining about me again. ;)

Actually, just not sure if those studies are done, but I can look.

Nothing else to report, and I am going to cheat and just refer to my morning post for what sux.


All about Tracy post this am

This is all about me. I will write again tonight about Kel. Unsettling morning for me, so please bear with me as I vent.

Today, I officially threw in the towel.

I have to back up first, for you to fully understand. Kel and my road to David and having a family of more than 2 was a long one. We first had 3 miscarriages, years of infertility (on my part), drugs, procedures, etc, and to no avail. So we started the adoption process, and 1.5 years later had one of our best moments ever when we flew to Seoul, S. Korea and met David on 12/26/2007. It was great.

Over the next 3 years we weren't really trying for a family like before, but you never really stop trying either. It is always a possibility month in and month out. Everyone tells you stories of mystical couples they knew that had kids after adopting, or after they stopped trying. None of this is to diminish David - he is our SON, our child, our everything. A biological child would be no different, heck, we would even adopt again if we could (another long story there). But every month there was a glimmer of 'maybe'.

The day Kel went to his PCP with extreme back pain, I had my annual with my OB. She is a GREAT person. Her husband was actually the doc I went to through my drugs and treatments when we were trying. They are a great team, and as I left that Tuesday 12/28, she made a comment to me about 'You stop trying, we will get you pg yet.' Sweet.

We all know the next part - back and abdominal pain became known to us as metastatic testicular cancer. Curable, so let's go. Right before surgery they offered to "bank" for him for the future. We already knew I was pretty much unable to have kids, so this makes us even - no thanks. We are ok.

A month or so into all of this I realize - hey, if I can't get pregnant, why on earth am I going through monthly 'annoyances'? There is no reason for me to be in pain and go through it, so I made another appt with my great OB. Actually, I made two, since I arrived a day early for the first one a week and a half ago.

The appointment (remade) was this morning. The waiting room was dutifully fitted with pregnant women and me. And one young pg woman, which for some reason always sting the most. This is something that can really only be understood by others who have gone through the losses or infertility bit. It is probably a jealousy thing, but seeing pg people sometimes hurts. A lot. Reminds me of my failures, I guess (don't chastise me for this one, I am being honest here, not rational).

I just hold on to the almost 30-lbs lighter me with a great suit on (chosen partly by David) and awesome 4-inch stiletto shoes that I catch the pg woman eying. I may not be pregnant - but damn I can look good. ;)

So, ok, I get to the room, read a magazine and wait for Dr. Jenny. And while I wait, I hear some loud noises in the next room - an ultrasound being set up. It is normal, everyone else in the office is pg and want to see and hear their progress. Then my heart drops because in the next room I hear what I will never hear in person - a heartbeat.

Mine skips a beat.

Why did I have to be in this next room? To add insult to injury and just drive the stake in a little further? Ouch.

Dr. Jenny comes in, we talk, I fill out the paperwork and will get my resolution in another month or so. Gosh I hope when I go in again I won't have to hear another heartbeat.

I am at work now. Grabbed a chocolate scone with my coffee and going to forget about life's little stabs of pain in some delicious shortbread and ignore my diet for a few. Chocolate aids all.

Thanks for listening,

Monday, February 21, 2011


After using R2D2 I really needed to find a way to use C3P0, although this was not what I was thinking ...

Today was the start of cycle 3 (hence C3), but unfortunately Kel did not get any chemo (hence the P0 for period 0). They started the day with some bloodwork, and his white blood cell counts and differential were too low (too myelosupressed), so no chemo for him. Instead he received a shot (I am guessing of Epopoietin, but he doesn't remember the name) to increase WBC production. He will go back tomorrow for more bloodwork and hopefully chemo. I will have him get a report of his tumor markers tomorrow too so I can report them.

I think he is a little bummed about not getting chemo, not that it is a fun thing to get, but this is a little off track. It is entirely normal - the nurses even made a comment about this being his first time missing a day being not bad - but still a little upsetting.

Kel already isn't sleeping too well through the night, so giving him one more thing to obsess about isn't fair, but he is able to take big naps during the day so he is making up for the time.

Sue (Kel's mother) arrived in town on Saturday and they (and we) have been having a great time spending ... well time ... together. They even burned a Christmas tree together yesterday (my idea to start the fire though, since it was cold), and that went up in a giant "whoosh". Interesting ... Kel was trying to burn my house down! :)

David was very good at school today. He has actually had several days in a row of being very good and has even completed one big potty training hurdle (sorry tmi for anyone not a parent of a toddler) - he is able to entirely go by himself for every 'function'! Still working on the night time part, but all else is going really well. I like "David-being-good-at-school" days. They rock!

For me, my clutziness is reaching epic levels (and for anyone who knows me, that is really bad)! Tonight I dropped my cell phone from my tucked away-hidey spot up by my shoulder (this one you can guess), my waitband, and even into David's bathtub! Kel says I have been dropping things quite often all around the house. It could be the billion things I am juggling - both physically and mentally ... just me being me ... or my personal favorite, the weight loss. I just don't know how to hold things when I weight 29 lbs less? ;) That was today, btw, 2.5 lbs down for my 10 lb goal by St. Patty's day! Kel eats McD's burgers ... I get 7 L of water. Sounds fair, right?

I am tired, and nothing else to report, so onto the sux portion:
Myelosuppression. Kel has been doing really well on therapy and is on track. While this is likely to make no difference, it is still disheartening, even in just the irrational parts of our brains. Crossing our fingers for tomorrow, and I will let everyone know.

Cancer still Sux.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our cup runneth over (aka, the amazing generosity of friends)

I am yet again awed and amazed at the support and love from friends, especially work friends (all friends, really, but tonight's blog is about friends from each of our works).

When Kel was first diagnosed, I let my friends and colleagues at my Women of Biosciences Toastmasters group know that I wouldn't be able to serve as an officer this 6-months, and just to tell them what is going on in general. This is a group of women from all aspects of science work - students and professionals, bench scientists and more. Many of them have worked in the same building as me for years, and I didn't get to know them until we all joined this group (whose main focus is actually improving all of our public speaking skills and leadership skills).

Anyway, after the outpouring of support emails and phone calls, they organized a 'dinner chart' to help Kel and I eat well made and easy dinners, especially once teaching started. The food has been not only amazing in concept of supporting us, but also in taste and has turned out to be a wonderful help. They continue to surprise us with generosity and love. I am forever grateful.

When Kel told his co-workers, one of the things they immediately brought up was leave donations, since his first 3 weeks off burned through most of his banked time and we were preparing for time off without pay. Kel filled out the form to allow leave donations, but being the guy he is never wanted it announced - he didn't want people to take away from their sick time in case they needed it. He finally allowed at least word of mouth to be passed that leave could be donated, and 2 days later he has more than enough time to take care of the next 2 chemo weeks.

The generosity of Kel's 'other' family, in blue, is heartwarming. Thank you all so much for your support of Kel, and for getting through his thick skull about not wanting any help!

Report on Kel's health:
He is doing fairly well, but was exhausted tonight. He was in bed and asleep before David again - by about 8:30. His weight is holding steady (he has actually gained back ~5 lbs from his lowest point in cycle 1), and still no bad nausea. He takes anti-emetic drugs daily, and prevacid to help with heart burn. Still no tastebuds, but he just doesn't bother with the 'tasteless' calories - like peanut M&Ms! David likes that, since he LOVES those!

Speaking of David - he had a GREAT day at school today! He listened, was a good helper, didn't injure anyone, and even (sorry, tmi) pooped in the potty at school! That last one has been a big ordeal for us since he was just not telling his teachers he had to go. His only 'transgression' was not keeping his shoes on - obviously no big deal. He was rewarded with dinner of his choice - the always popular Mac and Cheese, followed by 'ice cream with cookies' (one of my Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches). It was a good night.

Things that don't suck - Good David at school days! I am so so glad he had a good day with no hitting, or hiya'ing, or anything! Boys will be boys, but we get upset when other people get injured by our son. The afternoon teachers, especially, at his school are so good with all of their kids and understanding individual needs. Plus, David is in LOVE with one of them. Even at home, he tells me he wants to go see 'Miss Mamayah (Mariah)'. Uber cute to see his first crush. :)

Oh, and for those who don't know me on Facebook, I was on tv yesterday morning!

More grading now, so goodnight!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2 x 2 Good news

Today was a good day. Started out a bit rough with David this morning and a little bit of a stressful am, but for both Kel and I - 2 bits of good news.

For Kel:
1. We knew that his tumor biomarkers had decreased from a phone call we received, but we didn't get the #'s. There are 3 'things' monitored by bloodwork for testicular cancer - AFP, bHCG and LDH. All 3 of these were high for Kel, but the AFP was the highest at 13,700 (7-ish is the highest 'normal' defined). We heard today that his first cycle of chemo this # went down by 85%!!

85%?! That is awesome! And that was only cycle 1. He had blood drawn again today and should know those results next week to see how much more they went down.

2. The doc actually put a # on the chance for needing surgery at 20%. It is a little higher than normal due to the size of the tumor in his back when this all started, but probably because of the tumor marker progress, it isn't too much higher. We also heard that the CT scan and decision should be about a month after the last chemo week, so mid-April.

Ok, going to add a 3rd 'good' for Kel - he handled today's chemo well. This time last cycle was his worst day, and today after he was done we went out to lunch (salads), I brought him home and he slept a little, and we were even able to go out to dinner tonight to celebrate the more 'good' (below). He is really tired, but that is also due to a lack of sleeping at night still (he was up at 3:30am, just cause ...). He is out cold again tonight.

One more good to add for him (and yes, Dad, at this point you can make fun of my math) is that his lack of tasting any food should be fully reversible!

My good's:
1. I was at my lowest weight yet - down 27 lbs overall! Still about 9 lbs to go for St. Patty's day, and I didn't do well today with Thai food dinner (my fave food), but I can make it!

And the best part ...

2. I was offered that job I was waiting for! They met today, voted, and unanimously wanted me! WOOHOOO!!! So excited - this is an assistant professorship, my own lab, more teaching at their College of Pharmacy - a great position for me. A few things to figure out for sure before we take it, but SO,SO, SO excited! I was a ball of anxiousness today waiting to hear too - my phone was constantly getting checked, but I didn't get the call until about 5pm.

To be sad now: I really wanted to call my mom and tell her about it as soon as I got the call, and it stung a bit that I couldn't. This is a major milestone for me, and something I've been striving for and working for some time. I am thrilled, and it made me miss mom. :( Just another of those 'firsts' that will be hard without her, I think.

Back to happy: Thai food is AWESOME! Great celebratory dinner, and they are so good with David at that restaurant (amused by the caucasian parents and then asian son, I think).

I have a ton of grading to do, since all of my classes just went through their exam cycle 1, so onto the sux/doesn't suck portion.

The doesn't suck is hard, because overall it was a great day. Kel's markers are dropping more rapidly than we knew, indicating the therapy is going very well. The job offer is great for me. a 20% chance of surgery is good odds for not needing it, and I am thrilled with 27 lbs!

The sux: Had a rough morning with David this am, probably more due to stress on my end. I go through this sometimes - get overly stressed and overloaded with work and life, and have to hit bottom before it picks up. My list of 'to do's' is too long to keep track of, and include needing to do laundry, dishes, clean the guest room for my mother-in-law's upcoming visit, write papers, schedule meetings, decide on a job (great thing, of course), run lab, teach, grade, etc... oh, and be a mom and a wife too (that is the easy part). David wasn't great at school today, had a 'Hiyah' incident with his teacher where he pretended to do a karate move on her and punched her, and apparently poked another kid in the eye? Don't know how to teach an almost 4-year-old how to understand not to hurt others. Any thoughts? He gets the aftermath threat of: would you want me to punch you there? or poke you in the eye? But he doesn't get that upfront.

Back to grading, Goodnight for the end of a good day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smaller clothes

Both Kel and I got some smaller jeans today. Woohoo, go weight loss! Felt good for us both, and both were down 2 sizes.

The boys were supposed to go to karate today, for David, but Saja being bad nixed those plans. I was at work, so this is all second-hand, but apparently Saja had climbed up on the kitchen table where David had left his chocolate milk, and Kel's disciplining of the dog got him bitten on the hand. This is the second time Saja has responded to Kel's discipline (just yelling) with teeth. Never to me, but I approach him differently because he has done this to Kel.

This dog is truly evil some days.

And thanks to the coumadin that Kel is on, a little bite leads to a lot of bleeding, and stopping that made the boys miss karate. Damn dog.

Kel is doing ok. He is eating well, and figuring out what he can still taste. Hasn't had any weight loss this week, which is good. As he is reminding me, he even had some fruit today!

And on the good side, he just told me (while knocking on wood) that it has been a few days where he has not had any of the peripheral pain. Awesome!

I ended up not yet hearing about that potential new job. They asked for some more information, and told me they are meeting again next week. I am a ball of nerves! Should hopefully know more next week. It is a great fit for me, and a great opportunity, so we would be very excited to get the job. Only a few more days to wait...

Nothing much to write about, just life going by ... so Kel's contributed sux/doesn't suck:

What sux: the excessive bleeding. Kel gets a lot of bloody noses this time of year since it is so dry, but now they are getting difficult to control because of the coumadin. So he bleeds a lot. Plus I can tell he is anemic because he is so pale, so it is a double whammy. Even Saja's bite to Kel's hand took a while to stop. :( We won't know how the clot is progressing for a while either, so it will be a few months that Kel is on this medicine.

What doesn't suck: not having to shave. Since Kel shaved his head before the cancer could take his hair, he never had clumps fall out. Instead, his hair just isn't growing anymore. He only has to shave once a week for his head or his face and even then he doesn't really need to do so. So cancer = saving $ on razor blades!

Anyone in need of a destructive and sometimes evil pup? He is cute as heck ... anyone?

Going to bed now with the red devil dog curled up at my feet,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My bewwy hurts

That is the only thing we ever hear from David. Usually it is when he wants some candy .. I mean medicine, but it is also all we heard this time. Turns out days of 103F fever actually equals a double ear infection.

David is the king of never letting us know he has bad ear infections. He has done this before.

Antibiotics and some tylenol are helping him a lot. Knocking him out a lot too, since he slept through most of daycare this morning, but he is getting better.

And thankfully, it isn't contagious for his immune-system-challenged Daddy.

Kel met with another police officer who had testicular cancer before and beat it. They had lunch today, and it was good for Kel. Good for him to talk to someone else who had been through a similar experience, if not in therapy (the other person had radiation following the surgery, but no chemo), at least in fears, and thoughts.

I can explain the science and the therapies, etc, but I don't really know what he is going through. I can empathize, but it is not the same. So I am glad that Kel was able to get more information and validation about his experiences.

Back to the belly thing - mine doesn't feel good. :( I have not been sticking to my 'eating well' plan this past week (I blame Dad. He is too good of a cook, and got me started on not eating well!), and we even went out to Chili's for dinner tonight. Too much yummy, but not so good for you food is really wreaking havoc on me. So, back to Nutrisystem tomorrow. We still have SO much food leftover since Kel isn't eating it anymore and I have been only 1/2 on the wagon since his diagnosis.

My new goal: lose 10 more lbs by St. Patrick's day. That will make a total of ~35 since November. I need all of the cheerleaders I can get too!

For things that suck tonight: Gonna go with Saja. We were just commenting on how he is doing better lately and getting out of the puppy stage ... and then he goes and pulls up the carpet on the stairs and decides it is snack-time. UGH! We have never had a puppy this destructive! He is getting better than before, but how much more house can he destroy?!?!

Gonna go curl up in a ball and will my tummy to feel better. :)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Today marked Kel being halfway done with chemo ... at least until evaluation. It was was a bleomycin day - in the past those have been both his worst days, and uneventful days, with no clear predictive clues as to which it will be. Today was mostly uneventful.

Kel drove himself to chemo (at his insistence), and took his car to be washed beforehand (also his insistence). Chemo was quick, and over by 1:30-ish. He drove home and did ok for a while - was just tired. I think he even cleaned the inside of his car when he got home? He loves that car ...

I got home, said a quick hi and then left to get David and go to Storytime at the library. By the time that we got home ~8pm, Kel was in bed and struggling to stay awake. Hopefully he will sleep well tonight, since last night was a bit broken.

Although he has been tired and had a few days of not feeling well, Kel is really handling chemo very well. As I have said before - the 'helping' meds that they give to control side effects are amazing. It is not a pleasant experience, and he is finding a few more annoying a long lasting effects like peripheral pain and a loss of tastebuds/tastes, but it is also not something that he (and we) can't handle. So back to cheerleading: go chemo, kill the cancer!

Nothing much with David and I either - he was a really good boy at school today, and moderately ok for me through storytime and bedtime tonight. Poor guy's fever is gone, but he has a cough that is settling into his chest and waking him up. I think I will have to use the nebulizer with him to clear it up.

Just a busy week for me ... busy few weeks really, but what else is new. It is test time for all of my classes, so I am making and giving those. I have papers to work on, grant progress reports to write, and experiments to do. On the upside, I think one of the positions to which I applied, and for which I am a finalist, will be making a decision this week! So I may know soon if I will be offered the job. Very exciting!!

For the sux/doesn't suck portion of tonight's blog:
Hmmmm, feeling unimaginative today (everyone can feel free to suggest stuff, btw) ... It seems like the "middle" chemo week in each 3 week cycle doesn't suck. The bleomycin day of week 2 last cycle, and today went pretty well. The only effect was a bit of fatigue, and that is easily managed by sleeping! Now we just wait a week and hope that the trend of a tough 3rd week doesn't hold up. We will also meet with the oncologist again next week and get a general report of progress and bloodwork check. David actually timed getting sick pretty well - Kel has a normal white blood cell count right now, and shouldn't be myelosupressed until next week. Good job on timing David! Well done. :)

Off to do more work, so goodnight for now,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sympathy chemo side effects

Yesterday and into today Kel has had a not so good feeling belly. Perhaps in sympathy, I have also had an icky-belly. Could there really be sympathy chemo side effects?

Dad said that he had it too with mom. Sounds like a good excuse for a scientific study - is there such a thing as sympathetic sickness for the caregivers?

Nothing overly wrong is going on, Kel is just tired and his belly isn't feeling well, either from the chemo or the pain. He is eating well, mostly since Dad is cooking and he is a great cook. I didn't think Kel would be up to eat anything last night, but Dad had prepared and brought a beef wellington and Kel was really looking forward to it, so it was made and enjoyed by all! (less enjoyed by me, but that was purely by volume).

Actually, as of today I am down 26 lbs! Woohooo! Most of that was before Kel's stuff started, and it has only been 4 lbs since the beginning of the year, but still.

Kel is down just over 30 lbs. 20 of that was before all of this started too, and most of the other 10 was in the first chemo cycle. But darned it - he eats a bunch more food now and is still losing! Cheater... ;)

In another joyful turn of events, David is sick with something or other. He started off and on with a fever yesterday, is was worse overnight with a little bit of sick belly too, and has held steady at 102 or 103 until the latest dose of Motrin. It is down to 99 now, and he is doing a little better. We will see how we fare through the night.

Thankfully, although he is on chemo, Kel is not too myelosuppressed and thus not too at risk for whatever David has. We are keeping them from sharing food, etc, just in case, but Kel shouldn't have any problems from this.

My poor boys.

All 5 of my boys (Kel, David, Dad and 2 male dogs) are crashed on the couch now watching the Superbowl. The Pats aren't in it, so Kel isn't too excited, which is probably good for him.

Thanks, Pats, for throwing the game v the Jets just for Kel - mighty thoughtful of you!

And in a message from the sick David:
alkklsk vmckrk ,dw,,,dms

Things that suck:
Too many sick boys in the house and not really being able to help any of them. David has been miserable all day, and while I can cuddle him I can't really help him. Kel isn't doing horrible - definitely not what you think of post-chemo 40 years ago, but he isn't feeling great either. The peripheral neuropathy is starting (pain in his extremities), and he is exhausted. The feeling of helplessness really sux.

Cancer sux.

Having a poor sick little boy sux.

Off to watch the end of the Superbowl - g'night,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chemo causes cavites

I wouldn't be surprised if Kel ends up with a few more cavities out of all of this. He is eating a bit more chocolate and sugar then he used to, so I believe we will have to increase his dentist visits in a few months.

The good thing is that he is eating fairly well. Kel didn't even lose too much weight this week - it has held steady since the end of the first week of the first cycle! It is definitely making my diet hard though! Grrrrr, no fair. ;)

The heavy chemo week of cycle 2 is done, and overall Kel did very well. He had a bit of pain this morning that woke him up, and was definitely tired by the end of the day, but on the whole it was better than the first cycle. Maybe he just knew what was coming and how to work with it?

Dad is here now and David is ecstatic! He loves his Papa. He was even so excited that he couldn't really read the Lion King ... It was hard to get him to go to bed, because he just wanted to come back downstairs and give one more hug and one more kiss.

Tomorrow I will teach while the boys play, and then we will do some mundane things. Dad made a beef wellington again, and Kel is really, really looking forward to eating more of it without feeling guilty (he was on Nutrisystem the last time dad brought one of them for us).

I wish Dad would just stay with us full time and be our live in chef. Forget that pestering lawyering career-thing and just cook for/with us. :) Dad is actually looking into taking more structured cooking classes from a few different places, including the Cordon Bleu Institute (the place Julia Child went to) in Vegas, because hours of watching cooking shows makes him want to learn more. Always the eternal student ... gee, I wonder where I got it from.

Hmmm, what sux, or doesn't, today? Kel is doing pretty well, came to work with me this morning before chemo and ate well, so I will go with curing testicular cancer doesn't suck. We got word today that the blood markers are decreasing, which is really good, and means that the chemo is working. The side effects are well managed, and he is doing well. Go cure!!!

Nighty night,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another day come and gone

Day 4 of the heavy chemo week is done, and Kel is still hanging in there pretty well. He said he didn't feel too well, but nothing overt or specific. Not too much fatigue compared to the first cycle either. Maybe he is just more comfortable with knowing what to expect?

Thanks to a gift from a friend from afar (Thanks Beki!!) we had some Boston Market chicken tonight, and Kel ate well (as did David ... and me). Kel's appetite has done better this cycle, and I don't think he is losing weight this week. Most likely holding steady.

From the start of this until he will be evaluated, there will be a total of 26 chemo days and 11 are already done! Next Tuesday will actually mark halfway. Woohoo!!

In non-cancer news, but wth is going on in Tucson news ... we had no water this morning because most of the town had frozen pipes. Really. Frozen pipes in southern Arizona. We have lived here for 7 years and that is a first. A friend even had her water dripping all night and it made no difference.

So Kel and I didn't get to take showers this morning, and we made sure to do so tonight because we don't know what tomorrow will hold. I believe it is supposed to be as cold - it was below 20 last night, and felt like 1. Really?! I thought I lived in the desert! This was just too surprisingly cold, and I definitely don't like having water!

I am amazingly on top of grading this semester, which is surprising considering I am juggling 3 different classes on top of normal work (Bio 101, 201 and 202). It may be that I am waiting for the day to come when I won't be able to do anything for my classes because more is needed of me here, and so I am trying to not get behind? Not sure, but I am not going to try and change it! It is much less stressful this way - a trickling of work often, rather than a mass of work at one time.

On the good news front, David had a really good day at school! We enjoyed a nice dinner with all of us at the kitchen table and no tv on, and avoided anything electronic for David all night (no tv, no iPad, etc). It was nice. He went to bed well, and even tried to read me our 'The Lion King' book - we have read it so much that he knows most of the words on each page.

For things that suck ... I don't know. Overall it has been an ok week, despite some early behavior 'kinks' with David. Kel hasn't been made too sick or tired this round (knock on wood for tomorrow). Work isn't too stressful for me - actually we are getting lots done and it is going well in the lab. Dad comes into town tomorrow through the weekend, and we are all looking forward to that (including his beef wellington for Kel).

So on the whole - cancer still sux, but not so bad this week.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

R2D2 ... and 3

Round 2 Day 2 (R2D2). and since I didn't post yesterday, and day 3.

Halfway through the heavy chemo week now, and Kel is doing very well. The major side effect is crankiness. He is mega-cranky, with very low tolerance, and I am trying hard not to react to it. He and I don't do well when the other is cranky - we tend to just make it worse. So lots of deep breathing for me and short temper for him.

The other side effect, which we noticed the first round but I think is worse this time around is the 'chemo smell'. I am not actually sure how to describe it, but only during the first of the 3 weeks he has a smell about him. It isn't the bleomycin, since he gets that all 3 weeks and this side effect is only the first week. And I don't think it is the cisplatin since Mom was on the carboplatin and I never noticed this. So it is probably the etoposide. Strange really.

Kel decided (as we are watching the Futurama with 'Superpowers') that the chemo smell is his super power. Hmmm - superstink? Yuck!

A friend sent me a forwarded email about free/donated housekeeping service for women undergoing chemo treatment. My question is why only women? This assumes a) that only women do housecleaning and b)when they are a down for the count, others can't help? What about single men? Or men who do housework? Or couples who share? Why only for women undergoing chemo? The overall thought is really nice, just surprising with the assumption that only women need help.

Now for us, while this would be a good help, it isn't necessary. Kel and I actually split the housework normally. And while I have picked up most of it through the first cycle, he is feeling better and is back to sharing (despite my objections). He did dishes and laundry tonight while I taught - amazing for a chemo day.

Overall, other than handling chemo well, Kel is feeling better. He only took pain meds once today, and was even up for taking care of a few things after chemo. It is amazing how much the 'auxiliary' medications help.

In my research I am always thinking of drugs that both work better at killing cancer than the present drugs, and ones that are less toxic to normal tissues. But looking at how well the side effects can be managed (i.e. what the chemo does to the normal tissues), the latter seems like less of a concern. More efficacious - yes. Especially in cancers where chemo doesn't do much or for long, like pancreatic cancers. But less toxic? Bonus if it is, but looking at how mom, and Kel, and a friends mother all handled the side effects, it doesn't seem as high of a priority.

Interesting how life experiences can effect my take on on my research.

Ok, onto things that suck ... David with the iPad takes the cake tonight! He was playing with it while Kel did work around the house and I was teaching. Despite the frequent asking by Kel about needing to use the potty, David decided to not leave the iPad and just to go pee where he was. It is a serious issue we have with him with the iPad, and even with tv sometimes - he won't leave the entertainment, even though he has been potty trained for almost 1.5 years.

And he was a bit of a monster at school this morning too. Looks like he is going to lose all iPad privileges and maybe even karate for a bit. :(

That is all I have, so good night!