Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moving forward...

Reid had his pre-biopsy appointment this morning and now he's all set for tomorrow's procedure.

He'll have to stay for a while afterwards to make sure air doesn't leak like it did after his chest biopsy last year.  The one thing he doesn't want is another chest tube.  The Physician's Assistant told him that what happened last time is unusual and probably won't happen again.

Last week a package arrived from one of my doll friends.  She sent Reid the crocheted shawl that he's wearing in this picture.  It comes in handy when the A/C is running.  He was so pleased that she thought of him.  Thanks Mary!  (And thanks for mine too!)

We bought Reid a recliner last week since he sometimes finds it more comfortable to be sitting up in a chair with a high back.  That shiny thing in the picture is a Zip Lock bag full of ice.  He finds that helps some too, but the thing that has helped the most is the change in medications.  He actually was able to go out with a friend for lunch one day this week and to Friday's to watch the Rockets play the other night.  That's a big change since he hadn't been able to go anywhere for almost a month!  He still hasn't driven because he's lost some use of the left hand, but his friend picked him up.
So, we're off to MD Anderson first thing tomorrow morning for the biopsy.  Your warm thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Early Voting In Texas...

Early voting in Texas is about to drive me crazy.  Who came up with this idea anyway?

First of all, I don't trust it.  There's too much time for funny business.  Anyone want to vote for a dead person?  I'm sure they'd say everything is closely monitored, blah, blah, blah, but I still think there's too much time involved and I'd rather see voting on one day.  If you know you can't vote on that particular day you can always vote absentee (although I'm not sure I like that any better than early voting for the same reason).

What's really driving me crazy is the "robo" calls.  Does anyone listen to them?  Don't most of us hang up within the first few seconds?  Actually, I don't particularly care for the real human being calls either.  I can't even begin to tell you how many calls I've received in the last couple of weeks.

I'm on the Texas Do Not Call List and the National Do Not Call List.  I do not miss the numerous calls I used to receive from people selling siding, a new roof, etc.  The Do Not Call Lists were a wonderful idea and enacted into law because people were sick and tired of running to the phone (especially at dinner time) only to find someone (often rude) determined to sell you something and unwilling to take no for an answer.

The laws were a great idea, but guess who writes the laws?  Yes, politicians write and enact the laws and in their infinite wisdom they decided to exclude themselves.  That means come election time (and especially early voting time) they can harass us with their annoying calls.

This practice transcends all political followings and beliefs.  I've received calls from (or on behalf) of Republicans, Democrats, and even an Independent candidate.  To me it's indicitive of an attitude that many running for political office seem to posess.  It says to me, I'm so important I don't have to respect or honor a law that was made for the little people. 

It's a matter of respect...or lack of respect for the people that vote.  I cannot figure out a way to stop it.  A couple of years ago I E-mail both the county Republican and Democratic parties and asked to be taken off their calling lists.  I never received a reply from either party.

When a real human being calls I tell them that I don't want to be called and to remove my name from their list.  Often they immediately tell me that the Do Not Call Lists don't apply to them.  I know that and I'm merely asking them to respect my wishes if they want my vote. 

Perhaps I should run for political office?  I'll be the candidate that promises to respect the spirit of The Do Not Call List and not bother anyone with phone calls.  I think with so many people no longer having land lines the ones that still do receive all the calls.  I'm sure the phone lists are made up by using home addresses on the voter registration list and finding the phone listings.  It probably wouldn't happen as much with an unlisted number or a cell phone.  If I wasn't a registered voter I wouldn't receive calls either.

It's not fair.  I want to keep my land line and I want to vote.  With everything that's going on in our lives right now I can't ignore the phone.  So, I continue to run when it rings.  Election day can't come soon enough.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Troy...and what a week it's been!

Our middle son Troy turned 40 on Wednesday, but we celebrated his birthday last Saturday while Keith was here from Austin.   This post is a little late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY TROY!

It was a simple celebration at home.  Reid has been in considerable pain and we couldn't go out to a restaurant, so we cooked hamburgers out on the grill and had some cake afterwards.  When our three sons get together there's a lot of teasing and joking and this day was no different from any other.  It was a great diversion.

Troy blew out the candles on his cake (and  hammed it up a little bit for the camera).  Reid asked him if he had made a wish.  He said he had and Reid replied, "If I get better we'll know your wish came true."  They both laughed and then Troy said, "But tonight is lottery night."  We all laughed.  I know the humor sounds a little bizarre, but the important thing is that we were all able to laugh together.

They indulged me and posed for a picture together.  L-R: Reid, Keith, and Troy.

Keith and Jim observing the festivities.  Be sure and enlarge the picture.  Jim's shirt says, "My Wife Rocks."  We joke that the shirt is a chick magnet because he always gets comments from other women on his shirt.  It was a gift from me. :)

Keith was only supposed to be in Houston for work until Wednesday, but he extended his stay until Friday with a couple of vacation days.  It was really nice for Reid to have Keith here as a diversion.  The pain had become so bad that I finally contacted the Physician's Assistant and she was able to get his appointment at the pain clinic moved up to Thursday.  It's made a considerable difference.  Although he's far from pain free the additional medication (long acting pain killer, nerve relaxer, and more Hydromorphane) has made the pain more tolerable.  He's lost 20 pounds in the last month because the pain seemed to take away his appetite.  He's eating a little more now.  His left arm has gotten very weak and he can no longer type on the computer.  He pretty much holds it in one position most of the time. 

On Friday he was seen in the brain and spine clinic.  The doctor that saw him first said that they thought the cancer was around the nerve and not in the nerve.  With regular Lymphoma the cancer can get in the nerve, but he said he had never heard of that happening with Hodgkin's.  They also think the mass is outside the spinal canal and pushing in.  At least that was our understanding. That was the case last year too.  His one pupil is larger than the other and the eye lid is a little droopy.  We hadn't noticed and no other doctor had either, but this doctor caught it and said it's also from the mass on a nerve.

The strange thing about the whole appointment was that they didn't know why Reid's Oncologist had sent him to them for an evaluation.  It was our understanding that it was to see if he could benefit from some radiation now and I'm assuming that's for pain relief.  That was not conveyed to this clinic.  They also didn't know what the treatment plan was and we told them a stem cell transplant.  We were told they would speak with Reid's Oncologist and he'd let him know something.

This coming Friday he has his biopsy and then on November 5th he'll see the Oncologist again.  All these appointments are so spread out and it's taking time to get everything done so treatment can begin.  It would not be so bad if it wasn't for the pain.  I guess in a way the pain is our friend because without it we would not have known anything was wrong until sometime in November when he had his next scheduled scan.

I know last year when he went numb from the arm pits down they were very concerned.   It was considered a medical emergency and he was put in intensive care.  That does not appear to be the case this time, so I console myself with that knowledge.

I went out to Joanne's and bought some fabric.  I've decided I need to find something to work on to keep my mind occupied so I don't find myself worrying.  I'm hoping to get some doll sewing done for Ann Estelle.  I'm going to sew together some felt jackets and then take them along to the hospital and start the embroidery on them this week.

Thank you for your interest and concern.

Friday, October 15, 2010


It's strange how animals sometimes instinctively know when something is wrong.

Little Ashely was one of the feral kittens that was living in our backyard.  I told the story here.   It seems his mother left him behind and took his litter mates away for a few days.  Ashley was crying in the garage, so we caught him with a humane trap and brought him inside.  He hid under the bed in the guest room and wouldn't come out.  At the time Reid was having radiation and was very tired so he offered to go in that room and sleep.  Eventually, he lured Ashley out from under the bed.  Ever since Ashely follows him around the house and sits outside his bedroom door and cries.

Reid has been in severe pain with the recurrence of his Hodgkin's.  Ashely seems to know and stays even closer.

Reid's pain has gotten continually worse and on Tuesday I went down to MD Anderson and got a prescription for the stronger medication.  It didn't help and today when he had his appointment with the Oncologist he got another prescription that he can use along with the first one.  It's taken the edge off, but he's still in a lot of pain.  He'll be seen in their pain clinic on the 25th.

He's been told that he'll need a stem cell transplant which will give him a 50-50 chance of being cured.  Hopefully, next week he'll have a biopsy and then the chemo can begin shortly thereafter.  We're assuming this is a recurrence of the Hodgkin's and not something else, but a biopsy is necessary.

He'll also be seen in their brain and spine clinic on the 22nd to see if they think he could benefit from radiation to the spine.  And he's set up with an appointment with an interventional radiologist on the 28th.

It isn't easy watching your child in this kind of matter how old the child.  I've been on the verge of pulling a Shirley MacLaine on more than one occasion.  He's been through so much this past year and yet he still manages to smile.

Now Reid waits for word on when "Plan B" can be implemented.  Ashely waits at his side.

Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Preparing for "Plan B"

We spent a good part of Thursday and Friday down at MD Anderson so Reid could have blood work, CT scan, PET scan, etc., done.  He has an appointment with the Oncologist next Friday, October 15th.

Sadly, he's in considerable pain.  A week ago the ER doctor gave him a prescription for pain, but by Wednesday he was running out.  We tried to call and get the prescription refilled, but since it's a controlled substance only his doctor can write the prescription and he wasn't there.  The Physician's Assistant gave us a prescription on Thursday for a non-controlled pain killer and Reid says it helps some, but neither prescription takes the pain away or makes him feel like doing much.  He doesn't even want to drive because turning his neck to check the blind spots is nearly impossible.   Yesterday by the time the last test was done he was really hurting and we grabbed a wheelchair for the long walk through the hospital and to the parking garage. 

MD Anderson has wheelchairs all over the place and it's never difficult to find one.  They also have chairs, couches, recliners, rockers, etc., all over the place.  Since there's often a lot of waiting between tests they really try and make things as comfortable as possible.  There are also tables and chairs spread throughout the buildings with jigsaw puzzles.  You often see patients curled up on couches or in comfortable chairs sleeping.  For Reid one of the recliners yesterday with back support made him a little more comfortable while waiting.  I really think they've thought things through and try and make things as comfortable as possible.

This week while we were trying to get pain medication for Reid I got an E-mail alert from our local police department.  A drug dealer was arrested with 200 of the pills that Reid could have really used for pain.  It makes me so mad because people like that make it difficult for someone that really needs the medication to get it.  I totally understand why the prescription needs to come from his doctor.  Ever since I signed up for the E-mail alerts I've been surprised by how many arrests are made in this little town and so often it's for someone with prescription medication without a prescription.  It's definitely a big problem.

For now Reid is using the medication that the PA prescribed.  His doctor was there yesterday and we could have gone by and gotten another prescription, but Reid decided he'd go with what the PA prescribed.  I hope he'll be somewhat comfortable over the weekend.  We know his doctor will be in the clinic on Tuesday, so if necessary I'll go down and get the other medication then.

I feel so bad that he didn't call MD Anderson within a week of the pain appearing.  I know he didn't because he knew I was busy running back and forth to the nursing home while my Dad was dying and he was trying to make things easier for me.  I could cry when I think about him suffering now because he was trying to spare me.

The Oncologist told us in August that he has a "Plan B" for Reid if there was a recurrence, so we wait now for word on "Plan B."

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Family Update...

We arrived home from New Jersey and Dad's funeral very early Friday morning.  Everything went well in New Jersey (except the weather which didn't cooperate) and many wonderful memories were shared by friends and relatives.

Reid had been complaining about his left arm hurting and feeling numb for a few weeks, but wanted to wait until we returned to go down to MD Anderson.  Yesterday we took him to the ER at Anderson and sadly his Hodgkin's Lymphoma has returned and is pressing on a nerve to his left arm.  He's been given pain medication and will follow up with the Oncologist on Monday or Tuesday.  We were all very disappointed to hear this news.  He was finally getting some energy back after all the treatments and we were optimistic that he could begin school shortly.  On his last visit with the Oncologist in August he was told that if there was a recurrence he had a "Plan B."  So, it looks like he'll be moving on to "Plan B."

Needless to say, with all that has gone on lately I probably won't be having much time to post or E-mail.  My E-mail boxes are overflowing and I'm probably going to go in and start deleting.

Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers during this difficult time in our lives.