Welcome to my blog about my mom, Loretta, and our journey through learning of her cancer and treatment.

Just a little background. Mom is 61 and hadn't been to a doctor in about 18 years until this past June 2011. The reason for this is due to the surmountable cost of insurance, even when your spouse has insurance it can be cost prohibitive.
So, Mom finally got approved by JPS in June and it was a good thing too, she had Basil cell carcinoma on the bridge of her nose. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and plastic surgery reconstruction. She also has high blood pressure and Thyroid problems. We thought she was finally getting the attention she was missing and was going to be OK. Boy were we mistaken.
Mom started having some abdominal pain the first of January 2012. After talking with her and the pain getting worse, she finally agreed that she needed to go to the clinic or ER.
The following blog posts chronicle the events since then. Future posts will continue to explain treatment, issues concerning her condition and general comments.
I appreciate you taking the time to learn about what it means to be diagnosed and this type of cancer. Mom has been a trooper so far, she says "I'll beat this".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chemo day 1 - Cisplatin

3/21/12 - Wednesday

Mom starts systemic chemo today with only one drug, Cisplatin. Her bilirubin count is still too high for them to use a cocktail of 2 drugs ( cisplatin + gemzar ). Once her counts are low enough or she shows she can tolerate the cisplatin, try will introduce the gemzar.
Mom is looking forward to starting her treatment too.

Yesterday we saw her primary doctor, Dr Sayeed. Very nice lady that loves mom. She's very hopeful that the treatment works.

Mom has a consult with Radiation this coming Monday at 9am. We are both hoping that they can do some radiation on the right side of her tumor to clear it away from the veins so that Dr Satya can try the chemoimobilization again.

Stay tuned, more to come!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Discharge Day!

3/13/12 - Tuesday

Mom called me at 1:15 to tell me she's being discharged today. Well, we all know what that means, hurry up and wait. I got there at 2:30, packed up her stuff and took 3 bags, 2 coolers, 2 pillows & laptop to truck.
We finally walked out the front door at 4:15.
We are now waiting at the JPS pharmacy for 9 prescriptions!!
She's very excited to be almost home.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Something Special for Mom

3/2/12 - Friday
Kathy and I started working on sewing mom a new robe on Wednesday night and finally finished it around 7pm and I brought it up to mom. The robe, along with the new Blitzen Polar Crocs I bought her made her week!! She LOVES her robe and shoes.

Chemo Day 1 (or so we thought)

3/12/12 - Monday

Mom's in surgery to have Chemoimobilization (direct inject chemo into the tumor).
Procedure was to last between 1-2 hours.
The Doctor was unable to get the catheter into her tumor because it is pressing on the vein and he couldn't get into the tumor.
Dr advises us to start radiation & chemo to help shrink the tumor. He is hopeful that he can still do the procedure later.
Mom was visibly upset as well as being in some pretty bad pain.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Awesome News!

3/11/12 - Sunday
So I'm a little behind schedule posting this info, but here it is.
On Friday we spoke to Dr Satya, a chemo doctor at JPS. He showed us a quick sketch as to where Mom's tumor is and what his plan is. He wants to inject chemo directly into her tumor by accessing it through the femoral artery in her leg. Once he fills the tumor to capacity with chemo (cisplatin and gemzar) he will plug the vein with particles and wait 30 days for a new CT. There may be a chance thy he will have to repeat the treatment a few times, but the goal is to reduce the tumor so that it can be surgically removed. Dr says there is an 80% chance he can shrink it and remove it.
Mom and I were both overjoyed to hear this news as this is the most optimistic anyone has been.
I course this isn't any easy surgery, nor is it going to be easy on Mom. It's quite possible that mom could have severe pain following the surgery and flu like symptoms for 2 weeks.
All risks mom is willing to take to fight this. I'm so proud of my mom. She's a true inspiration to anyone that knows her.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Surgery Day

3/5/12 - Monday
Mom had surgery today to install a drain, again. They also unclogged her existing stent and put in a new one as well. So now she has stents in both ducts.
When they remove the drain, they will install a stent at the junction of the 2 bile ducts.
Mom has been in quite a bit of pain since surgery. Wednesday is the first day she's felt well enough to move around on her own.
Kathy and I are making her a new robe and I've ordered her some new Croc fuzzy slippers! She'll be excited to get them both tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Back to the Hospital

2/28/12 - Tuesday

So we got home at 5pm and mom started repacking for her trip to the hospital. Kent went to get something for them to eat for dinner and they were at the hospital by 8pm.

2/29/12 - Wednesday
Mom finally got into a room on the fifth floor around 6:30 am. Around 7:30 they did a sonogram on her abdomen and then later on her legs. They found she had a small blood clot in her left leg.
The sonogram on her abdomen also showed the problem with her stent.
They will be moving her to the 7th floor, oncology, when a bed is available.

A Little Fun!

2/28/12 - Tuesday

Mom and I decided to stop and have a little fun on the way home from San Antonio. Of all things to do or see, WE decided to go to Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown. Before we could go spelunking, we had to wait for the school groups to finish their tours. So mom decided she wanted pizza for lunch and we went to CiCi's.
Our tour started at 12:30 and took about an hour and a half to make the full 3/4 mile trek in and out.
She was tired afterwards but said she had a great time and had always wanted to go there.
We made it home around 5pm.