Monday, January 30, 2012

A lodge called Hope

Kevin here. M is sleeping.

We've had a long few days. Last week, our aunt Norma (mom's older sister, and an awesome lady who I loved very much) died, and we had her funeral. I don't know about other families, but in our family, funerals are a mix of sadness for the one who is gone and joy at sharing memories of them with the rest of the family, and of renewing our bonds with one another.

We got to re-connect with family we don't see often enough, and tell stories about all the dumb things we did when we were kids. I got a chance to go out drinking with three generations of the family - Uncle Terry representing the elders, and my second cousins Amanda, Brenton and Taryn representing the next generation.

We drove down on Thursday, and back up to the Cities on Sunday. M had an ER visit on Sunday night (due to internal bleeding from an unnecessary catheterization for PET/CT scan, which is annoying in addition to being painful and frightening), and so he got about an hour and a half of sleep. I managed to get more than that, mom and M having decided that since I was driving down to Mayo, I should be well-rested. I don't know if I'd describe myself quite that way, but I did get about six hours of fitful sleep. Go me.

Today's developments in the ongoing saga: M does not qualify for the cancer study after all, mostly due to the internal bleeding - the agents they are using limit the body's ability to heal, so bleeding is bad - so we're going to be doing chemotherapy back in the Cities after all. This is disappointing but not without a silver lining, as it takes out the drive to Mayo for chemo and scans. One of the things we were hoping for with the study is increased scrutiny on M's condition, and it sounds like we are going to get that, at least to some degree - the Mayo oncologist we met with today wants him back down here for scans between the 3rd and 4th cycles of treatment.

The other silver lining is that it dropped a boatload of scans and tests from the schedule, and let us move the cortisone injections for back pain up to Tuesday afternoon instead of Wednesday, which is good twice: one less long drive, and one day less to wait for a chance at relief from pain.

Of course, all the schedule weirdness meant that we got to eat lunch about 3pm. We tried Newt's (which has nothing to do with former Speaker of the House and current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich), which has won "best burger in Rochester" for 8 years running. It was the best burger we had had in Rochester, but then again, it's the only burger we have had in Rochester. I'm guessing the competition isn't too stiff.

Now M takes a nap, I get in this update and a little work time. And then we go find dinner about 9pm, I guess. Tomorrow is MRI and cortisone and the drive back to the Cities, and then later this week with Dr. Straightshooter and the beginning of "second line treatment" chemo.


Eclector2 said...

Mixed feelings about the study, reports are that people on the additional new drugs are doing well. Agree about the reduced hassle from doing it locally.

I can testify to his pain and anguish over the cather problems. It was very hard to be there but be unable to help him with it. I hope it is resolved at Mayo.

I hope also that the cortizone shots are helpful.

John Slade said...

Thanks for the update, best to all!

lsikora said...

Thanks for the update, Kevin!

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