Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nancy, Congratulations on your 5 year battle, keep up the fight ! We Love You !

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday visit with Nancy

On a bit lighter note, Mark and I had a a nice visit with Nancy who is very glad to be resting at home. I must add that she felt well enough to determine the placement of the fantasy football trophy Mark won as a hood ornament on my car !

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nancy is home

Nancy was released from MMC late yesterday afternoon to continue her recovery at home. She will have visiting nurses checking in on her and giving her any medication she needs. She says she is feeling OK right now and just intends to take it easy and rest. I think she really wanted to get home so I'm glad the doctors were able to make that happen. If all goes well, she will have her second infusion of Doxil in Scarborough this coming Thursday, the 20th.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good News

According to Erin, who spent last night with Nancy at the hospital, Nancy's x-ray and CT scan results both came back normal and Nancy was able to eat last night. All good news!
Love, strength and hope to my sister Nancy ... Rest assured we are from hearty stock ( except for the Gene ) ! Daddy was surrounded by strong women. Aunt Marion, Hope you ar back on your feet soon ! Thinking of you. Joanne

Friday, May 14, 2010

Images from room 574

Nancy and Ruby, the therapy dog, visit on Thursday...

Mom visited Nancy on Thursday. (Mom is recovering from a fall and will not be thrilled that I posted her photos with her bruises...sorry, Mom!)

sleeping like a baby (a baby with a Tab...)

sign on the wall of the Gibson Unit at MMC...

flowers from John Mullen, Rob & Tomo, Mom and the LaJoies...

Teal roses from Aaron and "Hope" from Andi...
I came home from MMC late this afternoon to get a shower and some sleep; Nancy's daughter-in-law, Erin, is staying with Nancy tonight. (I must have been tired because I just woke up from my "nap" and am posting this at midnight. The circadian rhythm sure does get messed up when you're on hospital time.)
Nancy started off Friday strong but by late morning was having the nausea and headaches again so Dr. Small came in at about noon to check on her. The good news is that Dr. Small reports that Nancy's kidney function is now back to normal. The less good news is that some fluid may be returning to Nancy's abdomen and she still can't keep food down. Dr. Small ordered an x-ray of Nancy's abdomen, which happened this afternoon, and a CT scan of her head to try to determine the cause of the headaches. (Nancy said the doctor is really just trying to see if she has a brain and proceeded to entertain Andi and I with a complete rendition -every verse- of "If I Only Had a Brain" from her favorite movie, the Wizard of Oz.) Dr. Small also told Nancy that she would be staying in the hospital for awhile - it's clearly where she needs to be right now.

I'll post an update after I check in with Erin in the morning.

a good morning

Greetings from room 574. Just want to let everyone know that Nancy slept well last night and is feeling better this morning. She was able to eat a little breakfast....the first food I have seen her eat all week...and has kept it nausea so far. She checked her e-mail from her bed, watched the morning news and is now napping. Keep sending all those positive thoughts...they seem to be helping!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Update from MMC

Writing from Nancy's room...Aaron brought her laptop to the hospital. It's almost 9:00 p.m., Survivor is on, and Kit and Erin are here. Nancy has had a rough day...she has been struggling with nausea, her shoulder is still sore from the insertion of the port yesterday, and she had to have a transfusion today due to her anemia. I feel terrible that she's so uncomfortable right now.
Nancy did have a lot of visitors today and that has helped keep her cheered up. Erin brought Mom in this afternoon and they stayed for a couple of hours. Sherrill Weisman and Barbara Stirk, teacher friends from Wells Elementary School, were in this afternoon. A highlight for Nancy was when some of Aaron's Falmouth Lions Club friends, the LaJoie's, brought their therapy dog, a golden retriever named Ruby, to see Nancy. Ruby jumped right up on Nancy's bed and cuddled with her. This evening, Mark and Lisa Atkinson from EastPoint Church came to visit and, while they were here. roses were delivered from Rob, Tomo, Taka and Toshi. I know Nancy appreciates everyone's thoughtfulness.
Nancy has dozed off ... hope she can finally get some sleep. If you'd like to leave a Comment, I'll be sure that Nancy sees it in the morning.
Please keep Nancy in your prayers tonight...

Nancy - Wednesday update

I didn't get to the hospital until late afternoon Wednesday - worked first. When I arrived, Nancy was still a little groggy from the anesthesia they had used a few hours earlier when they surgically placed a port in her upper chest for delivery of chemo. Once fully awake, she had some pain at the incision site but appeared much more comfortable than the previous two days.
As always, Nancy had a funny story to tell: It seems that the Nordex man was in at 3:00 a.m. to draw some blood and noticed the three books on her bedside table. He asked, "Who brought you these?" and she replied, "My sister". He said something to the effect of, "Hmmm....interesting choices" . Nancy, telling the story and laughing, showed me the titles I had unwittingly chosen for her (hey, she loves a good mystery!): "Terminal" by Robin Cook, followed by "Likely To Die" and "The Dark Road Home". Fine selections for some light reading in the Gibson Unit! Maybe you'd have to have a sister yourself to understand how such an innocent, but stupid, book choice could throw us into unbridled fits of laughter...but it did. Nancy's daughter-in-law, Erin, had just arrived and laughed so hard she insisted I take a picture. So here they are, Nancy and her books. It was great to see her laugh after all she has been through.
Erin and Nancy...still laughing!
Dr. Small, Nancy's oncologist, came in while Erin and I were there. She said that Nancy's kidney numbers are already starting to improve and verified that the kidney problem is related to the cancer; apparently there is a tumor that is pressing against Nancy's kidneys. It is small and Dr. Small is still hopeful that the Doxil can and will kill it over the next few months so that Nancy can enjoy another remission. Nancy is still anemic but Dr. Small has not decided to do a transfusion yet; she'll wait and see if Nancy's hemoglobin count improves over the next few days to decide. The anemia probably partially explains why Nancy has been so tired over the past few weeks. Dr. Small said that Nancy "is not going home anytime soon"; she wants to keep her until she is able to eat and drink on her own and has gotten strong enough for her second infusion of Doxil, probably late next week.
I am heading off to MMC now to be with Nancy today and will try to update the blog tonight. Thanks to everyone who has checked in and offered support.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nancy on Mothers' Day

I wanted to post these photos of Nancy (and her "Groupie", Kristen) on Sunday...maybe it was the Beatles Guitar Hero that wore her out!

Aaron called this evening to say that Nancy's oncologist, Dr. Laurie Small, was in after I left today and feels very hopeful about getting Nancy back into remission. They will be doing minor surgery tomorrow to place the port in Nancy's upper chest. Ending the day on a much happier note than yesterday!

Nancy's room

For those who have asked...Nancy is in room 574 in the Gibson Unit. You take the LL Bean elevators, walk past the big fish tank, and her room is the second on the left:-)

Nancy resting comfortably

Nancy is resting comfortably after two procedures at MMC today. Early this morning (7:20 a.m.) she had surgery to place stents in her ureters. The first is to open a passage from her left kidney, which was blocked; the second is to prevent a similar blockage of the right kidney. This is the procedure that was originally scheduled for Thursday. Because Nancy's creatinine level (a measure of kidney fnction) was so high yesterday, her doctors chose to do the surgery sooner.

Nancy arrived back to her room in the Gibson Unit at about 10:15 a.m. She had not yet transferred back to her bed when they sent for her for the second procedure, paracentesis to drain the fluid (ascites) that had collected in her abdomen. This fluid was pressing on her internal organs and making her nauseous and weak. With the help of ultrasound, four liters of fluid was drained from Nancy's abdomen. (For those who are having trouble picturing how much that is, think of two full two-liter bottles of Coke!). As soon as the paracentesis was done, Nancy felt relief and was much more comfortable. While she was waiting to be transported back to her room, she got a visit (and flowers!) from her neighbor and friend, John Mullen. John works in the radiology department at MMC so he knew right where to find Nancy!

When I left the hospital this afternoon, Nancy was resting and looking forward to getting some sleep. Her old friend, Betsy Seavey was there with her, and Andrea was on her way in so it seemed like a good time for me to slip out. The goal of her treatment now is to get her strong enough for another course of Doxil (chemo) later this month. I'll continue to keep everyone posted through this blog.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nancy is at MMC

Nancy took a turn for the worse today and has been admitted to Maine Medical Center for cancer treatment. Tomorrow morning she will have surgery to place stents in her kidneys to improve kidney function. Hopefully, the doctors will be able to perform paracentesis (draining the ascites fluid from Nancy's abdomen) tomorrow as well. She had a rough day today...please keep her in your prayers.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How's Nancy?

In a recent Comment, one of our blog followers, Ann from Australia, asked how Nancy is. It reminded me that I've been remiss in letting everyone know how Nancy is doing. Here's an update as I understand it - I'm sure Nancy will jump in if there is more she wants to add.
Most of last week, Nancy was pretty nauseous and fatigued from the Doxil but, thankfully, she did not get the skin side effects she was warned about. Today, Mother's Day, she seemed to be feeling much better and back to her old self. The one problem she is having at this time is the ascites (fluid collecting in the abdomen). This has become very uncomfortable and she said that the plan is for the doctors to do an ultrasound and then drain the ascites either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. They do this on an out-patient basis by tapping into the abdomen to drain the fluid.

This Thursday, May 13th, Nancy is scheduled for day surgery at Maine Medical Center to determine whether she has a blockage in her urethra and, if so, to relieve it. Her surgery is scheduled for 9:15 and I have taken a medical day to be with her for that.

She will barely have time to rest up before another day surgery next Tuesday, May 18th to place a port in her upper chest area so that she can receive chemo directly rather than through an IV. Aaron plans to be with her that day.

And then, on or about Thursday, the 20th, Nancy is scheduled for her second infusion of Doxil. Not exactly a fun-packed couple of weeks!

In spite of all of this, Nancy was well enough to sing the vocals today on Beatle's "Guitar Hero"...she's amazing! I'll post some photos of our Mother's Day silliness later in the week (when I get my camera back..left it at the party, of course:-)

Nancy will be a 5-year Cancer Survivor on the 23rd of this month!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Snorkeling in Bermuda, 9/09

Trying my skills at posting on the Blog and just finally found these photos I took with my digital under water camera !

Arizona Trip

Here are some of my favorite photos of the trip Mark and I took to Tucson, Sedona and Carefree, Arizona in March.