Monthly Archives: December 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

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My final post for 2011 with an update of my Dad’s condition… He had a red blood cell and platelet transfusion yesterday… the first he’d had in a week!  This is good news… I wrote a friend earlier, it’s funny what normal, good news, etc is now.  A transfusion is normally something to be shocked, scared, etc by.  And in my Dad’s situation, he’s only had one in a week, after having multiple per week the last few weeks.  This is good news as it seems his bone marrow is starting to kick back in and do it’s job!  We need him to have a platelet level of 50 for him to be able to start Avastin again.  He’s been in the mid 20’s… He’s got a ways to go, and he’s been improving and holding his own, and this is good as his platelet level was at 19…

A new year, a new opportunity… Tonight we celebrated Christmas with my Dad, Mommy Sue and sister Jessica and family… my brother in-law had a birthday this week and was asked, by my Dad, the three questions… what did you most like, what most surprised you and what did you least like?  He then turned it around and asked Dad…  His replies were… he most liked the change in the tumor, the reduction in size and the amount of support he’s received.  The most surprised, well, was having a brain tumor… His least liked was how it took awhile to find out what was happening, even though he’d been having symptoms for awhile…  One of the trickiest things about having a brain tumor is that so many of the symptoms could have been caused by other things… And he had other things going on so perhaps the symptoms were assumed as being part of the other thing… The smarter and more advanced we are in medicine, the harder it can be to properly diagnose… we can prescribe a pill for symptoms and over look what we really need to see…

Here’s to contiuned health for my Dad, opportunities to spend time with him, peace, love and harmony and so much to be grateful for…

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“oh, oh tidings of comfort and joy…”

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I am sorry for my delay in reporting back with the results of my Dad’s MRI…  On Wednesday, Dec. 21, we made the journey down to Redwood City for a post -radiation, post-chemo MRI…  Can I say that we were all feeling a bit anxious?  And then we had to wait for our NP Oncologist Mady for nearly an hour… And she came into the room feeling very happy with the results of his MRI!  She said it was definitely cause to celebrate and that the “abnormality” – the tumor, cysts and swelling – had consolidated and was smaller.  And you could see it, with an untrained eye!  Such good news!  The concern now is his bone marrow.  Dad is one of a small handful, 6%, of people that have a reaction to the chemo, requiring blood and platelet transfusions.  The hope is that Dad’s bone marrow will rebound and his body will start producing these on his own.  And he needs to, to continue treatment.  His platelet level the Monday before his appointment was at 19, and they need to be at 50 to restart the Avastin.  If he were to do chemo again, they need to be at 100.  Mady wasn’t as concerned about the chemo, it’s the Avastin she feels is the most important component of his treatment.  Avastin tells the leaky blood vessels trying to feed the tumor to close up, starving the tumor.  And even though Dad only had one Avasin treatment during his radiation/chemo stint, she felt is was the greatest contributor to the shrinkage.

One of our boys asked if Pappy still had his brain and the other understood this that his fever had shrunk…. 4 year olds…

So good news and more healing needed!  Appreciating your thoughts, prayers and general good energy for my Dad!  Looking forward to the arrival of his brother KC and family today!  I think the visit will be good for my Dad…

Healing with every breath Dad…

“And the Winner is…”

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I can tell I’m anxious about tomorrow… I’ve been eating everything in sight… Tomorrow we head down to Redwood City for Dad’s follow up MRI and meeting with his oncologist.  I’m imagining that the chemo and radiation that have been so hard on my Dad’s body – countless platelet and blood transfusions later – has been even harder on the tumor!  I am seeing a tumor that was pretty massive, now weakened and so much smaller – perhaps it has even disappeared!

Dad was in good spirits last night – the 49ers won – and he had had a platelet transfusion yesterday.

I will report more tomorrow… Healing with every breath Dad….  Healing with every breath.

It’s no fun having a cold

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It’s usually not pleasant having a cold.  And most of us can get away with doing our normal activities, going to work, shopping, etc.  If, on the other hand, your immunity is compromised, a cold can be a dangerous thing.

I have been missing my Dad.  And I can’t go see him right now, because I have a cold.  So I am relying on my Mom, my Sister and my Spouse to fill me in!  My Mom spent time with him yesterday and he was in good spirits and they made a movie/video date for Saturday.  My sister stayed the night last night and she said he was tired, and good. This afternoon, Lori’s going to be with him so I’ll hear more!  

He’s having another platelet transfusion today.  I sure wish I could find some information about this… Is this normal?  Should we have expected this to be happening at this time?  The questions you don’t even know to ask when you’re meeting with the oncologist.  I will definitely be asking some more questions when we go with my Dad to his appointment on Wednesday.

In the mean time, if you want to hang out with my Dad, keep yourself healthy and if you have an inkling of a cold, please stay home *insert smiley icon here*!

Here’s some information I’ve found about side effects… I still don’t know if it’s common, but it must be expected…http://www.cancercare.org/publications/24-understanding_and_managing_chemotherapy_side_effects?gclid=CJWFkKWlh60CFQkaQgodsVuZlA#possible-side-effects

Emailed update

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Original email:
Hi Alicia ,I know this is a terrible time for you and coping must be hard so I haven’t wanted to bother you, but I world like to hear your take on how your dad is handling things and how his brain is working. I’m not looking for a prognosis but rather a snapshot of how Tim is day to day right now. Sorry to impose but it’s hard being so far away and having part of my heart in California. Love to you and your wonderful family,  Buz
 

My reply:

Buz,
I’ve been updating my blog… I haven’t seen my dad since last week, as either the boys or now I’ve been sick.  Last week he had a blood transfusion, Saturday a platelet transfusion and today another platelet transfusion.  I believe it is because of the chemo – which he has completed his cycle.  He’s weak.  I think that is to be expected right now and I’m hoping to have more of my own questions answered at his follow up MRI appt next week.  I will definitely update the general email after that appt.  My hope is that his body is recovering from the chemo and radiation onslaught and he will start getting stronger, and the transfusions give me concern.
 
Mommy Sue did hire someone to be with him while she is working. He’s fallen and it’s been a huge stress for her, as you would expect.  I think they are both happy with their person.  She’ll be off for 3 weeks after the 21st appt.  KC and family will be coming out between Christmas and New Years…  I think that will be good for Dad!
I think I’ll send this out to the whole list…
 
My blog is https://mydadhasabraintumor.wordpress.com/  I suppose that has more ramblings than anything!
 
Lots of love to you all!  And thank you for being such a good friend!
 
Alicia
 
 
 
 
 

What a difference a day makes…

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Yesterday when I spoke with my Dad, he was feeling strong.  He’d been visiting with some friends and was eating and getting ready for a walk!  Nice….  And Mommy Sue found a person to be with Dad while she’s working!  Hooray!  I’m grateful as this will provide some stress relief for Mommy Sue and Dad will have someone to watch over him during this strenghtening period!

I must remember… the human body is an amazing, miraculous thing!  I know that during the radiation, not only were the “bad” cells being killed, but some of the good cells… The good cells should start regenerating, just like my Dad’s energy and strength should be coming back!  Heck if the 49ers can have such a great year after years of disappointment, so too should he!

Healing with every breath, Dad.

This goes in the “Crazy things a brain tumor will make you do” file

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Yesterday when my sister and I were hanging out with my Dad in the ER, I brought up an event that I’d heard rumors of, but not directly from my Dad.  Seems my Dad has it in his mind, which is slightly compromised, to put on an event in early January.  My sister thought someone else was going to do it for him… Nope, Dad confirmed that it was his project.  Right now, my Dad can’t even take his daily walks as he’s too weak from t he treatments, he isn’t getting enough food or drink because he’s so tired.  HOW does he think he’s going to put on an event on January 8th?!  I hope, I hope, we’ve convinced him that it’s really not a good idea right now…. later, yes, and we’ll be happy to support him, but now, not such a good idea!

Healing Dad, with every breath!