Monday, March 08, 2010

Family Updates...

Last week Reid went with me to visit Dad at the nursing home. He hadn't been for a while and I wondered if Dad would remember him. Dad spent most of the visit drinking the milkshake we brought him and only said a few words the entire time. As we were leaving he told Reid to get well. We were both shocked since I had no idea if he even remembered that Reid was undergoing chemo for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We think Dad is often off in his own little world and on occasion snaps out of it and joins us in this world.

Reid had a PET scan last Thursday and the usual blood work. On Friday he had his doctor's appointment at MD Anderson. His voice has been weak and horse for a long time. We were originally told it was because the mass in his chest was pushing on his vocal cords. Reid has found communicating a little frustrating and was looking forward to his voice improving. At his last visit we asked why his voice was still horse even though the mass had shrunk significantly. Well, the latest PET scan indicates that his one vocal cord is paralyzed. We were told this can sometimes happen after a chest biopsy or it could possibly still be from the mass. It just sounds like it's more likely from the biopsy. If it's from the mass there is a possibility the vocal cord will recover. So, we just have to hope and pray that's the case. Reid was very disappointed with this news.

The doctor said when he completes chemo he'll have a consultation with the radiologist to see if he can have radiation. He probably will, but since his mass was so large there is a possibility the field is too great for radiation. We'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

We also learned that the mass hasn't shrunk much since the last scan, but were told this is common. I guess it shrinks significantly at first and then slows down. I asked if it would be gone by the time he finishes chemo and was told no. It will continue to shrink on it's own for one to two years. After that he will be left with scar tissue.

This past Saturday he went for chemo again. That means there are only (easy for me to say) 3 chemo treatments left. There is light at the end of the tunnel! This time he seems to be doing a little better. They tweaked his medication again and he has been able to keep food down. He sleeps a lot, but fatigue is a constant side effect.

I asked what the stage of his cancer was originally. (I hadn't wanted to ask before.) He had stage 4 cancer, but with Hodgkin's Lymphoma it doesn't have any bearing on the success (or lack of success) of the treatment. It only indicates that it left the lymphatic system and with him that was his spine. I've mentioned before how Hodgkin's is different from other cancers in that only about 1% of the mass is cancer. The rest is inflammation and white cells. That is why there is a pretty good cure rate. Although there are no guarantees we remain very optimistic and hopeful.

Reid still walks with a cane when he goes somewhere, but around the house he goes without. He just needs it for balance when stepping off curbs or on uneven surfaces.

I want to thank everyone that calls and/or sends E-mails asking how Reid is doing and offering their morale support. You know who you are and it means a lot. Thanks for being with us on Reid's journey back to good health.

Meanwhile, MaMa our feral cat has been missing for six weeks now. I've put about 125 fliers on doors in the surrounding neighborhoods and continue to get calls from people who think they might have seen her. We continue to go out looking for her and I'm hoping she'll hear my voice and associate it with food and come home. Meanwhile, I continue to put food out for her. I had thought she might be sneaking into the yard and eating, but discovered this going on in broad daylight. Someone will have to tell this possum that he's supposed to sleep during the day!

That's it for the latest update from the Martin Family!


  1. Oh only 3 more treatments that's wonderful and a great stepping stone to look forward to. I love that your dad told Reid to get better! That is too cute, I have my great Uncle we play bingo with and you never know if he's comprehending all of till he laughs at jokes or comments to someone else, he gets it alright LOL Have a fabulous day and I hope you find your kitty!
    luvs and glitter

  2. Oh, Betty, Reid is doing so well but he has a lot to contend with, too. Three more treatments, that is a good goal.

  3. I'm happy to hear that Reid is doing so well. I hope and pray his vocal chords will heal 100%. It's wonderful that you are there to care for him, and that your Dad remembered Reid! Lots of hugs,

  4. Hi Betty,
    I have been thinking about you a lot lately. You and your son are always in my prayers. I am sure your son will feel better when the chemo is over. Sometimes as I have witnessed in my nursing career, at Sloane Kettering, the treatment feels worse than the disease. I am there for you.

  5. Good Morning Betty,

    I was trying to catch up on my reading of your blog. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's, my doctor had only seen 2 cases of it during his 30 yrs as a physician. It used to be more common among young, athletic males, but it seems to be rampant nowadays, and spares no age/gender barrier.

    I know the burden that any illness can place on a family. I know that without my Faith in God, Excellent Physicians/Healthcare and the support of my Family ,I wouldn't have been able to endure the journey very well. Reid is fortunate enough to have all three!

    I will keep him in my prayers. God is GOOD!

  6. Sorry I haven't been over for a while, Betty. It doesn't mean I am not thinking of you all. All the best to Reid and to you. I do hope your feral cat comes home. Love from Sicily. xx


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