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Mom & Dad

Dad Update – From Mom – 20090323

Good news Today

We saw Bill’s doctor today and he said that the CT scan shows that the smaller of Bill’s tumors has reduced at least 50% since the CT scan done in Oct. 08 which first showed the metastasis. The larger lesion seems to have decreased somewhat in volume but very slight.

This is great news, not only because of the decrease in size and no new growth, but the fact that the lesions most likely grew in the time between the CT scan done in Oct and when the chemo was finally initiated in January. This makes me think that if we had had a CT scan done just prior to starting the chemo, we would have seen an even more remarkable reduction in size.

Soooo, the chemo seems to be working at the present time, so he will be continuing his treatments. The MRI that was done on his lumber spine showed no effects of the cancer but there is considerable degenerative disc disease and several bulging discs, so this is probably what has been causing the pain in his back.

It is nice to finally get some good news. Bill will continue his weekly chemo program in 3 weeks on and one week off cycles for the next three months and then will get another CT scan.

I won’t be updating this page until we get the results of the next CT scan in June, unless there is another change before that time. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Betty

 

Ooops. LATE: Happy Birthday Babe! My sisters 48th birthday. November 13, 2008

I’ve had these pictures in my camera since last November. Mom had asked everyone to think of Babe on her birthday and at noon – where you happened to be – if you could, release a red baloon and say a prayer for her.

I forgot all about it. My buddy Addis in Philadelphia emailed me the morning of November 13 to remind me to release my baloon. 

Oh No. I felt SO bad. I’d forgotten the whole thing. :( I went back to work and after a few minutes I thought “Hey, its only 11:10. I can still do this.”  I got on the phone and found a florist a few miles from here. “Do you have red helium balloons?” Of course they did. “I need five. I’ll be right over.”  I left work without even telling anyone and drove to the florist. The wonderful woman was there with five red balloons already filled.

I got them and was watching the clock. I was afraid I was going to have to pull over on I-240 exactly at noon and release them. I pulled into work again at 11:58. Got out of the car, said something to my sister and let ’em fly.

Oh. I wasn’t sure if maybe my mom and dad may have forgotten too and my niece and nephew. Thats why I got five. One for each of us. When they went up one stayed alone (me), two stayed together (mom & dad) and the other two stayed together (DJ & Reanna). Pretty cool.

Later I found out my mom had bought five balloons too for the same reason. LOL. I don’t know if my niece & nephew even thought of it or not.

My dad had my mom get him a blue balloon because he wanted my sister to know which one was from him. :)

Happy Birthday Babe!

Update On Dad – From Mom – 20090220

We’re Hanging in There

Bill’s hanging in there. He just finished his second cycle of chemotherapy but has had a couple of bad weeks with a lot of back pain. He’s going to have an MRI done of his spine on Monday to see if there is a problem there. If they find something the doctor said they can probably zap it with radiation and should be able to aleviate the pain.

Once he finishes his third cycle of chemo, they’ll do another CT scan to see if the treatment is working or not. That will be at the end of March.

Every once in a while he’ll feel pretty good and I can get him out to the store or for a ride; other than that, he just basically sleeps, reads and naps.

Hope everyone is doing well and making it through the rough northern winter this year. Spring is in the air down here; weather is getting nicer and that makes things much better. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.

Betty

Bill & Betty - First Christmas - 1958

Update On Dad – From Mom – 20081126

Hi Everyone….

We had a great time on our 50th anniversary cruise. It wasn’t as warm as we expected, in fact it was downright cool when we left Tampa and pretty chilly when we returned!! It’s cold today too. Because of the huge cold front across the US, we had some pretty rough weather. Just seemed like constant movement, but nothing that made us sick or anything. Did feel a strain on my ankles when we got home though; I guess from bracing myself and leaning to meet the roll of the ship. Made for nice sleeping though; just like being in a cradle.The ship was very nice but except for a few excursions when we were in port, we didn’t do a whole lot. The balcony in the room was so nice we spent a lot of time there. Went to a few shows, dropped $35 in the casino and did a LOT of walking. It was just nice everyone being together. DJ made the most use of the ship; he talked to everyone and had a great time. Reanna used a lot of her time catching up on sleeping and reading. We got a lot of good, professional photos on the trip & DJ, Reanna & Billy took lots of photos too. Babe & Billy had planned on doing this cruise for our anniversary, and she made him promise to go through with the plans.  We really enjoyed it and appreciate his lovely gift.

Before we left, we had three anniversary dinners!!  Two of Bill’s niece’s were in town and they each took us out to dinner while they were here.  We also went out to dinner with Billy, Reanna, DJ and his girlfriend, Maka the night before the cruise.  They surprised us with an anniversary cake, balloons, gifts and cards!!   We would also like to thank all of you who sent us congratulations for our anniversary; it’s great having such terrific family and friends.  You made our celebration very special.   

We got back to Tampa on Sunday and stayed overnight so we could meet with Bill’s doctor on Monday. He’s planning on starting Bill on chemotherapy. Since the lesions are very close together (in the right lobe of the liver), he’s asked the radiologist to study the films to decide if direct radiation to the site would be possible. He said it’s not the usual treatment but since they are so close together, he feels it could be more effective to do the radiation with chemo for five days a week, for about 3 to 5 weeks before going on the regular chemotherapy. They’ll be calling us sometime next week to let us know if this will be possible. If it is, we’re going to see if we can get a place at the American Cancer Society’s “Hope Lodge” which is located about a block away from Moffitt. Hopefully, we can, because there is no charge while undergoing treatment and we could stay up there all week and even on the weekends, unless we wanted to go home for the weekend. They have communal kitchens and dining areas, so we would save on food too.

In the meantime, Bill is scheduled to go into Moffitt on the 8th and 9th to have a port installed for the chemotherapy, so they won’t have to put an intravenous into his vein each time. I imagine as soon as that is healed, we will start the other chemo, which will be once a week for three weeks with one week off before the next set of treatments. So the plan is radiation with 5-FU chemo daily for 3 to 5 weeks (if approved) followed by weekly chemo (Gezmar), in three week segments, thereafter. As I know more, I’ll let you know.

We appreciate all the emails, cards and prayers we’ve received; thank you so much.  I anticipate that we’re going to be pretty busy, but I’ll try to post a notice on Bill’s care page to update everyone as things occur.  

Hard to believe that the year is coming to a close so quickly. I had hoped that with the passing of 2008, we’d be starting over again and leaving all our troubles behind us. Guess that was wishful thinking. We’re doing all right though. Bill is determined to do whatever treatment they think might help and is feeling pretty good physically and emotionally. Whatever is ahead, I know we can handle it! Just keep us all on your prayer lists!!

Love you all and hope you have a great thanksgiving and Christmas!!

Dad Update (From Mom) – 20 April, 2008

16 April 20, 2008 at 08:45 PM EDT

Want to see if ‘editing’ will send this to TRL

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thanks everyone for your calls, prayers and support.

Bill is feeling much better since I last posted an update. He got pretty good news when we went up to Moffitt last week. He won’t be receiving any chemotherapy or radiation treatments. The radiation isn’t an option for that area. The cancer is rather rare and there are few trial drugs or papers written on it, so there’s nothing to indicate that any chemotherapy would really be effective. It’s the closest thing to pancreatic cancer and most chemo is not good for that either. In any case, he said in his present physical condition, he wouldn’t start chemotherapy anyway but would have to wait until he gained some weight and strength. Then, if he wanted to try it anyway, he might agree, but doesn’t really recommend it.

The doctor feels that since they feel that all of the cancer has been removed, and it has not invaded the lymph nodes and there is no evidence of it having spread anywhere else and it’s only a Stage I, that he would not recommend trying chemotherapy. He thinks we need to do a CT scan every 3 months for a year or so and then have one every year. He gave Bill a great physical exam and took a very thorough and detailed medical history from him. Since we will only have to go up every three months, we’ve decided to stay with him rather than see someone locally; we feel that as thorough as he is, it’s not likely that he’ll let anything slip by.

He came home in a much more optimistic mode and has begun eating much better; says food is tasting better now. He still doesn’t have a lot of energy and sleeps a lot, but he’s really much better. We both believe that he has finally turned the corner. He will be starting physical therapy this week, so that should help him to rebuild his muscles and get more energy.

We have to go back up on May 8th to see his surgeon, because he was in surgery when we were there.

Billy was down this weekend and it did us both good to see him. He helped us out by doing a few things that I can’t handle and we had a lot of time to talk. Poor guy will have to get up around 3:00 am tomorrow morning to make the drive back up to Tampa and get his plane back to Memphis and go to work!!

Thanks again for the concern and prayers and support you all have shown us…we really appreciate it.

Dad Status – April 17, 2008

I called the house yesterday and my dad answered the phone.  He sounded great.  He told me mom was at the pharmacy picking up a perscription.  They had been up in Tampa for a couple days for tests, to see the oncologist and the surgeon.

Everyone told him it looked great and that he was doing well.  They told him that sometimes the antibiotics they give affect your taste buds, but that the taste of food should be coming back soon.

The oncologist said that he doesn’t need to get radiation or chemotherapy.  I think he said that the type of cancer he has doesn’t respond well to radiation and that it is very rare and there is not a documented path of drugs to use for chemo.

They’re going to have him come up for scans every three months and just keep an eye on the area where the cancer was and see how it is doing.

I’m headed to Tampa tonight after work.  After driving the 1.5 hours to their house from Tampa it will be pretty late by the time I get there.  But I will stay Saturday and Sunday and come home on a 6:22AM flight Monday morning.  Because of the time difference I’ll get back here by 7:30…. EARLY for work (since I work right here near the airport).

 Looking forward to seeing them.  Since I got my new ipod touch, I’m going to take my old ipod video down so he can use it.  It has all 500 of my CDs on it… so he should never ever run out of music to listen to… lol.

Dad Update (From Mom) – 14 April, 2008

15 April 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM EDT

Monday 4/14/08…..

Bill’s been having a hard time since we came home. He has lost a lot of weight and is anemic so he doesn’t have much strength or energy. He has difficulty with his eating because he says nothing tastes right. It’s just been a long haul for him and he can’t seem to push himself enough to eat more or to walk, so he doesn’t see much progress.

I’m sure that with our loss of our daughter and Bill’s brother recently, that he is experiencing a good degree of normal depression and then, going through such a tough surgical procedure with it’s inherent problems, it just makes things worse for him. We are going up to Moffitt this week though, so hopefully we’ll be getting good news that will reassure him; also, as much as these trips take out of him, I think the activity will do him some good.

Billy will be visiting this coming weekend and Bill’s brother & SIL Chas and Mary will be coming the following week with their daughter, Jeri, who will stay with us for a few days. This gives him something to look forward to and I’m sure that he will enjoy their company.

I don’t want to bring anyone down, but figured you’d wonder why you hadn’t gotten an update recently. It’s just a tough time right now, but I’m sure that things will improve. His vital signs are good and I think it will just be a matter of time.

Thanks for your continued prayers and good thoughts.

Update on Dad From Mom – April 8th, 2008

14 April 08, 2008 at 11:11 PM EDT

Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 10:59 pm

Well, I’m sure that I posted another update either just before or the day that Bill was discharged and I saw it on the site…but it’s not there now!! Now I know it is the site and not me that is crazy!! :o)

We had a nice visit with Bill’s sister and nephew on Sunday; it was so good seeing them again.

We left Moffitt yesterday around 1:30 pm and Bill felt great. It is a bit of a ride though….a little over 100 miles and it takes us about 1.5 to 2 hours, so Bill was pretty tired by the time we got home, and so was I. I unloaded the car and then we both took a nap!! It’s good to be home.

Bill ate pretty good yesterday and I had no real trouble with taking over the tube feedings and meds again but Bill woke up this morning feeling bad. He felt his distress was caused by the feedings; perhaps he is getting too much by tube right now. The visiting nurse came this morning and all Bill’s vital signs were good, so we weren’t too concerned.

He just laid around today and hardly ate or drank anything until late afternoon, when he woke up from a long nap and felt well again. I guess yesterday just took a lot out of him. He had a decent dinner and later a snack and has just settled in for the night. We’ve cut his tube feeding in half for a while, to see how he does and will increase it when he’s ready.

We return to Moffitt next Thursday to see his surgeon and have a consultation with the oncologist. He also has to have another CT scan; we’ll probably go up the day before and stay overnight, so we don’t have to do that trip twice in one day.

I finally got started on the IRS returns today. I just haven’t had time to work on it until now. I have Babe’s about ready; just have to run it up on the software. I have most of the numbers for ours; just have to review them and then finalize and print the return. I’ll be really glad when that is over with, so I can get my house cleaned. I don’t think it’s been cleaned since before Christmas, when I began staying with Babe, except for an occasional vacumning by Bill and minor tidying when I was home.

Things seem to be heading in the right direction now, and I’ll update the board periodically so you know Bill’s progress.

Dad Update (From Mom) – 05 April, 2008

I am posting this on April 8, 2008.  The Memphis Tigers lost to Kansas last night in the NCAA Championship which was a bummer.  When you’re up by 9 points with 2.5minutes to go you’re supposed to win.  Oh well.

Dad went home yesterday.  I  spoke to him when they were about an hour from home in the car… but not since.  He sounded really good.  I’m sure whatever the problem was it got taken care of… hopefully he’ll continue to eat and be fine.  I think they go back up for a checkup with the surgeon in a week or two and they meet the oncologist.  Hopefully the future regarding cancer works out.  Here is a message mom posted on the hospital blog on April 5:

April 05, 2008 at 01:45 PM EDT

Saturday, 4/5/08…..Moffitt Cancer Institute

We BOTH slept much better last night!! Yippee!!!!

Woke up at 5:00 am when the nurse came in to do something or the other and realized we had slept through because NO ONE came into our room last night. Usually, someone is in there every hour or two doing SOMETHING!! Felt GREAT!!!

You wouldn’t believe the bed that I am sleeping in. It looks like a small, low cabinet. You open the doors and pull out a NARROW (a little less wide than ME) cot with a THIN mattress. It was hard getting used to, but seems okay now. Actually, we are so grateful just to be able to have me sleep in the hospital; the cost of a motel room for all this time would have been tremendous.

Bill’s CT scan showed a BIG reduction in size of the abscess since he was admitted and it has reduced some more since the scan done earlier this week. He is down to just tube feedings at night (usually only takes about 6 hours or so) an antibiotics and antacid medication. They’re planning on switching his meds to pills instead of the intravenous. This means he’ll be able to walk around without the IV pole MOST of the time!! He walks more often that way, since it was so cumbersome just getting READY to walk before!!

Bill started on a regular diet yesterday and is eating pretty well. He has a good selection of food at each meal and I would say that he is eating about 1/3 to 1/2 of it at each meal. He’s also been taking a small snack in between. This is MUCH better than he had been doing when he was home for those two days.

All in all, Bill is doing, looking and feeling well…..we’re hoping he is released early this coming week. We both are much more comfortable about him returning home this time, since he is so much better and eating so well.

Bill’s brother, Bube, visited yesterday. Bill was soooo glad to see him (as was I); we haven’t seen him & Mary since before Christmas, when I began caring for Babe. They had a very nice visit.

His sister, Jane and her son, Andy, will be visiting tomorrow. They came down for Fred’s memorial service and are taking the time to come down to visit before returning home. It’s been a couple of years since Bill has seen his sister and it’s been at least SIX years since we’ve seen Andy. Young Bill did make it to the memorial service but probably won’t be able to get down to Tampa tomorrow; I’m sure he’ll be down soon though.

Thank you all for your wonderful, uplifting messages. You can’t know how much this has meant to both of us. You are great friends and supporters!!

Love, Betty

April 1st, 2008 – Dad Update (From Mom)

11 April 01, 2008 at 01:45 PM EDT

Well, I had hoped that we would be home by now, but it didn’t work out that way. CT scans show that Bill has some leakage around where the pancreas was reattached to the small intestine. There is also an abscess and his stomach is not emptying, causing a huge amount of bile and acid to build up.

Bill is feeling better now though; the drainage of fluid from his stomach is much more clear and seems to be slowing down. He is still receiving antibiotics and is being fed intravenously with a formula which the pharmacy prepares each day for him, after reviewing his blood work, which is filled with calories, protein, carbs, vitamins, and other essential products geared to his individual needs. The doctors seem to feel that he is healing and once this fluid stops backing up, they will begin tube feedings again and then slowly get him on regular food.

He is trying to walk each day, but it is pretty hard. He has lost a lot of weight (down to 153 lbs) and is very weak and soooo thin. But each of the last three days he has shown improvement.

Since we will be spending a longer time at the hospital, I went home today to get some more clothing, do some laundry and pick up some stuff we need that I didn’t think of when we rushed out last Thursday evening.

I thank all of you for your many comments, notes, etc. and especially for your prayers. I am sorry to say that Bill’s brother, Fred, passed away this past Friday. We appreciate your prayers for him and I will be sure that his family knows about them. Thank you!!

Betty