Monday, August 31, 2009

End of Summer Update

So it seems that Barb has been around the world... oh alright, so just around part of the United States Anyway! She is FEELING GOOD and her hair is growing in (as if that is all that matters)!!!

This Summer she had a Follow up appointment (described in our last posting), She had some fun with CJ there in CA, Then she spent some time in the Midwest at her 40th High School Reunion (Go Raiders) and hanging out here in Kansas City.

She's back at home and the most recent word was that her CA 125 was at a 7. Now remember that isn't the best indicator for her....but that is still really good news. Since there really isn't much else to report - Mom just wanted me to THANK everyone for their continuous Love and Prayers. We know you don't all check this very often but we are keeping it "LIVE" so WE remember what she went through, to provide help to others experiencing similar plights, and so that we can continue to celebrate her success & joys throughout her treatments and living her life!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Follow Up

Hello Hello!

Sorry for the length of time between posts but there really hasn't been much to report. NOW there is though. We have a couple of updates and stories to share- so it's finally time for this follow up!

We'll start with the fun story:

Mom has a friend from high school who comes from a Family FULL of DOCTORS and she also happens to write for a medical journal. Wanting to make sure we had taken the best course of action and made the right decisions we asked Judy to tap into her resources and see what they would recommend. They all said "she should see Dr. John Chan at UCSF!" And guess what - that's who MOM sees!!!! So that made us feel really good about mom's doctors and the care she's been receiving.

Now for the updates:

On Friday, Mom had a visit with Dr. Chan (her oncology surgeon). This was a follow up appointment from her Surgery on December 18. The update is that Mom looks good! Her most recent CT Scans were CLEAN. Dr Chan was happy with the results and said that she should stay on the AVASTIN as maintenance treatment.

Mom had chosen to stop chemo therapy (since she made it through the prescribed course of treatment) and is just having AVASTIN infusions every 21 days (as long as the insurance will allow it). There really isn't an ANSWER GUIDE to tell us if this is the RIGHT or WRONG decision but after letting Dr. Chan know about what she is doing and discussing her options - he AGREED and said this is the best course of action at this time.

Then we had some Questions for Dr Chan:

One of the Questions that we had was "does this mean she's Cancer Free?" Dr. Chan's response was "No, Not yet." He explained that she had cancer and underwent treatment and that now she is in the maintenance phase. In this phase all we can do is continue with the maintenance drugs and wait....Wait for the Cancer to reoccur OR not. If after two years without any signs of cancer then that is GOOD news.

Another Question that we asked was about Nutrition "What should mom eat to boost her immune system?" And then we talked about whether certain foods feed cancer or not. He said that there really wasn't anything she could eat to boost her immune system and just told her to eat a well balanced diet. OVARIAN CANCER cannot be brought on by DIET, EXERCISE or LIFESTYLE so she can eat sugar, chocolate, whatever!!! Just needs to maintain a normal healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Then since we all have this DANG Summer Cold AND since Mom is traveling next month we asked him about AIRBORNE!!! (te hee, yes we wasted his time asking him what he thought about Airborne). His response included a smile and smirk (that he did not present at any other time during the appointment) and said, "well, my wife swears by it but I don't use it" and that was all he said!!!

WHEW this has been long...but in closing:

We can't say she's in the clear.

We can say that she feels good, her hair is starting to grow back, and her results so far are GREAT.

Life is Good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ring a Ding Ding!

Mom has finished her scheduled treatment plan for her Ovarian Cancer! At the Redwood Regional Oncology Center, there is a BELL in the lobby/waiting area. When you finish your treatment - you get to ring the bell.

So, last week, Mom rang the bell!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weighing the Options

Barb, our super hero, is nearing the end of her treatment plan. The outlook was grim but the doctors have been so impressed with her response to the disease fighting infusions they've been giving her. They say she can:

A. Continue with Taxal, once a month for a year with close monitoring (turn to page 62)


B. Stop the treatments altogether and be closely monitored (turn to page 65)

But since this is real life and not a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book...we can't really look ahead. What we do know is that Mom is down to two more treatments (May 26 and June 2).
These are the last of the Original 6 treatments that she was scheduled to get (that somehow turned into like 15 or so...that just according to me...I don't really know how many she's gotten).

Anyway, She's weighing her options and talking to people. She has some friends who have faced ovarian and other forms of cancer and have "beat the odds." So she's talking and planning and moving on...but in what direction? FORWARD.

She's looking forward to our visit this summer and her 40th High School Reunion in August. That's about it for now though.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just a Few More

Howdy All,

Sorry it's been so long since the last update (I almost forgot my log in information). Wanted to give you an update though.

Mom had Chemo today! She has Treatments scheduled for May 19, and 26 and then should have her last round on June 2!!! She's looking forward to finishing up.

Her and Dr. Anderson are going over her options...because it is a RARE form of cancer with "squamous cells" (the floaters), Doc thinks she's going to have be a HIGH RISK for recurrence. BUT they won't know until they quit with all the chemo. He is VERY PLEASED with the CT Scans and says there are ZERO Signs of Cancer right now. SO that is very good.

Mom is Excited to be done and is busy making plans for Me, Tim and CJ to visit in Early July and then she and Dad will be making a trip back to Kansas City and Sioux City in August. So the calendar is getting filled again!

That's all for now - Hope all is well with everyone reading this! Happy Tuesday.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Birthday Post

Happy Birthday MOM! Here is a Cute Picture of her with her Birthday Cake in the shape of a HAT because she's considering hats for a change!

Today is Mom's Birthday. Yesterday she had a small celebration with family. Today and the rest of this week she is just resting. She will have Chemo again this week. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though in terms of Chemo Treatments (at least from the first plan of action). She should be done with them by the end of this month. Yippee!
God Grant You Many Years, God Grant You Many Years, God Grant you Many, Many, Many YEARS!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gosh Darn It

Mom had a nice visit with Mike and Abby. They all went out to dinner at the Bear Republic (one of my favorite treats) and my friend Emily just happened to be there. She wrote on my wall (Facebook Thingy) right away saying that mom looked "AWESOME."

I know that mom's been pretty tired though. Also, the other night she commented on how cold she was, so I asked if she had a fever. She didn't know but said she'd check. Well apparently she did have a fever.

Today she was at the oncology center and they gave her chemo anyway (despite the fever last night). They also ordered a bunch of new tests (more ultrasounds, x-rays and CT Scans). So she'll be busy this week with medical tests. Please keep her lifted in prayer - She really does have a positive attitude and that's great. It's just frustrating for me to hear of more tests - this bites.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Doing Well

Mom came home from the Hospital early this week. Saw Dr. Anderson and received Chemo already! After getting her dose of chemo she even went shopping. I talked with her yesterday and today and she seems to be doing well. Mike and Abby arrive tomorrow morning so I hope everything stays on a good course for her through the weekend at least!!!

Really hasn't been anything new. Mom did arrange for some house cleaners - and she LOVES that. She said it's quite a LUXURY but I say she deserves it!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Well, she's planning to go home today. She is still at the hospital right now...but should probably be home later this afternoon.

Uncle Mike and Cousin Abby are coming to visit her this Weekend.

Plans for the next Chemo are currently on hold...just because of the infection, hospital visit and such. Technically though she's ALMOST DONE with the original chemo plan (which was six rounds of the chemo). She has had 4 out of the 6!!!

So - Hopefully she'll have a good week and a GREAT time with Mike and Abby!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Latest

Well...Mom is back in the Hospital. Looks like she'll be there a couple days at least. I don't totally know what it is...but apparently she is "Septic." From talking to friend who is a nurse and from checking out webMD I found out that people receiving chemo are prone to this sepsis because their immune systems are compromised. It is basically an infection.

She was supposed to go up today for labs, so that she could get TAXAL (chemo) tomorrow. Last night however, she got super sick. She had the chills, shaking and was very weak. Dad took her up to see Dr. Anderson and he said no to chemo tomorrow. He called the hospital and told them mom was coming. So they got her all checked in and she'll be there for a couple days.

I know it's not good news...but I also think she is in good hands for now. I know she'll be disappointed missing Pascha this weekend but hopefully she'll be better soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The results of the Genetic Testing are in! Three tests were performed and the results on all three were "NO MUTATIONS DETECTED."

So I'm not a geneticist, or whatever you call someone who studies genetics, but apparently this means that it is NOT Hereditary. That is Good News.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Thank You Note to All

To My Dear Family, Clergy, and Friends,

First of all I want to ask that you accept this generic letter as "the best I can do for now"...... but more importantly as an expression of my deepest gratitude to all of you. The outpouring of prayer, great healing thoughts, love, concern, and of course great medical care has been overwhelming the past 4 months. There are so many of you to thank I do not know of any other approach. The paper and postage cost for this mailing alone will run right along side the cost of my co-pay for medical services.

While hospitalized in February at Memorial Hospital my condition was far more critical than I realized at the time. With your support and care I guess "I beat the odds" and now am on a miraculous road to recovery. It appears this may be a lifetime struggle for me but as with so many of you (my personal support group) SO BE IT!

I've missed so many Church services during the 2 most beautiful seasons of the year - Easter and Christmas.....but I've been there in spirit. And the parties and social gatherings - the 50's Beatnik Dinner and Poetry Reading, the 40 Years and Still Rollin' party, the retirement parties, Italian Vacation movie night, SSA lunches and so much more. Please accept our apologies for missing - you know Craig and I NEVER plan on missing great fun and friends and we were with you in thought (and regret).

We both truly want to thank all of you from my fabulous doctors, the great medical staff at Memorial, my loving and supportive family, all my wonderful Clergy and church family, and our lifelong friends from work, the car club, the neighbors. The flowers, fruit baskets, cards, calls, visits, gifts and meals are indescribable. What more can I say but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

We love you all!

Barb and Craig

Monday, April 6, 2009

Port In (La La La La La) I can barely stand to think about it...but the Port is in! The "La la la la la" is just me going to my happy place (can't stand the thought of this). Mom said that she was "consciously sedated" and she doesn't really know what that means other than she was kind of asleep, it didn't hurt, and she heard them say "OK we're done" yet she didn't know they had started. Guess that's good right? Oh and Gracie (her friend from church, who volunteers at Memorial) got to wheel her out, so that was nice.

As for this Friday, Dr. Anderson told her to cancel her trip to UCSF, so that she could get her BIG CHEMO (all three medicines). Chemo is more important right now than going to San Francisco for the Hysterectomy Follow up. And since the Chemo is working, we don't want any set backs. Her CA125 score is down to 12 (from 32 last time) and he wants to get her into single digits.

She'll follow up with Dr. Field the local OB-GYN regarding Hysterectomy follow up though.

I know she's picking up steam (trying new things everyday), but this weekend and early next week might be rough since this Friday will be all three drugs. That usually kicks her butt pretty good. BUT you know she'll be back up soon!!!

That's about it for now. Good Night.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chemo, Port, UCSF

Ok - I had to remember those three things for this update.

Mom has Chemo tomorrow (Friday). Just the Taxal again. Then on Monday she has to go to Memorial Hospital at 7am to get a Port installed...inserted...whatever they do with a port....she was telling me in detail and I had to go to my happy place....because I don't handle that stuff well. She said her veins are collapsing or something, making it hard for them to get into each time she goes for chemo. The chemo must do a job on your veins because I remember when I was there in February, several nurses said "oh you have good veins." I remember that because when Grandma Georgia had her heart attack they had to take veins out of her arms or something because she had had her leg veins stripped or something.... (sorry small tangent).

Anyway, after they put that port in on Monday, she'll go home (same day) no biggie. Then NEXT Friday she goes back to the University of California at San Francisco to see Dr. Chan the surgeon. This is her 3 month check up following the surgery.

OH YEAH and something else...SHE DROVE TODAY for the FIRST time in 3 MONTHS!!! Can you imagine???

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Genetic Testing

Mom sounds really good! Apparently the Taxal does not make her so sick. Today she had blood drawn so that it could be sent for genetic testing. IF insurance approves her for this then they'll send it on and see if this cancer is hereditary or not. IF insurance does not approve it...then we won't know (but her doctors said they would fight for the testing). It will probably be several weeks before we know any more on that though.

Mom is scheduled for Chemo on Friday (just the Taxal again). She was eating pizza tonight for dinner so I think she's doing well!

She's been out and about, visiting, and partying but she still is really only up for one outing per day. Nothing new to report otherwise. Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good News

Mom went today for labs and chemo. Labs came back good so they went ahead and gave her Taxal (just one of the chemo drugs). Since it was just one drug today the infusion did not take as long.

She also saw the Nurse Practitioner today and got the results of her latest CT Scan. The tumors have decreased dramatically, there is less fluid being retained, and they said the scan was really clear. SUPER GOOD NEWS.

They did also get her a different prescription for anti nausea medicine. Mom doesn't like taking drugs so I think she has been feeling pretty rough...when really she should be taking more pills to get rid of the nausea. Hopefully the Taxal by itself won't make her so sick and the new medicine can help her feel a bit better. That's it for now though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ask Your Doctor Follow UP and UPDATE on Mom

If you are all saavy enough to read the notes you'll see a comment by Debbie following the "Ask Your Doctor Post." I want to give some follow up to it because DEBBIE YOU ARE RIGHT :)

And for those of you not saavy enought to read the comments - Debbie shared that most doctors don't like to perform the test because it's not reliable.

I did some research on CA125 when mom first told me she had requested it. Since I'm not a doctor please don't hold me to this BUT the CA125 is a test that when used on a cancer patient, can give the doctor an idea of how BAD the cancer is. When people request the test that are NOT Cancer patients (Like my mom when she requested it) the results can be misleading as they may give a false positive.

HOWEVER, in mom's case it was better safe than sorry.

Some other information I read lately talks about Ovarian Cancer as a silent killer because most women don't realize that anything is wrong until the cancer is too far along. This is pretty interesting too since when mom was first diagnosed it was Stage 1 meaning pretty early on. BUT upon further CT Scans, Tests, and the evidence of her organs starting to shut down in the hospital I think her doctors indicated it was more like Stage 3.

As for how mom is feeling....still pretty rough. The good news is that she ate today!!! Nothing tastes good to her (even water tastes metallic). The food she ate was a subway sandwich and she said the MUSTARD and PEPPEROCINNIS were the best part! Not sure how she's going to do the rest of this week because if everything goes as scheduled she'll be up having lab tests tomorrow and then possibly chemo again on Thursday. Keep her in your prayers so that she can get through all the chemo!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ask Your Doctor...

This bumper sticker is Mom's new motto. For those of you that don't know, she heard about the CA125 test on TV. In 2007 she requested that the lab run the CA125 test at the time of her annual exam...they didn't. In 2008 she requested it again and they said no, then she put her foot down and said "I want the results of the CA125." The results came back "slightly elevated" but this truly is what got her doctor thinking she had cancer!

So, if you hear something on TV and think you should follow up on it...DO!

Mom had chemo on Thursday and did good Thursday & Friday but now yesterday and today have been pretty miserable. She's been really tired and had lots of nausea. She's looking forward to good week ahead though!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Talked to Mom today - her voice is all scratchy sounding. I thought maybe she was sick already - but she was just laying out in the backyard relaxing. Said it was a really nice day and she felt good. She had her CT Scan this morning and the results were being sent to her Oncologist, General Practitioner and OB. So she's going to check in early next week with Dr. Devor (GP) to see if he can fill her in on the results of the CT Scan. That's it for now - Happy Friday all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Long Day

Hello Hello

Sorry there hasn't been an update lately. Last week mom's chemo plan changed because her counts were too low. Today was the new day though. She went up yesterday and her counts were good. So this morning she went up about 9:30 ish. She recieved Taxal, CarboPlatin, and Avastan. Avastan is a new "experimental" drug that is typically used with colon and breast cancers. It is not actually a chemo but a booster for the chemo....if I understood correctly. She was in the chair today till about 4:30.

Tomorrow she'll have a CT scan but won't know the results for a while because Doc is out of town. BUT, from all the blood they've been taking Doc's been pleased because her CA125 result is coming down. CA125 was the test that got the docs thinking she had cancer in the first place. I don't know that I have all the numbers right but I think this is the breakdown (please don't hold me to this):

Her First Test 56 (Doc's think - hmmm maybe she has cancer)
Another Test 167 (when she was in the hospital)
And Now she's down to 32 (or something that seems to be in the "normal" range)

Anyway - we talked tonight and she sounded good.

She had a class on Monday at the Cancer Society and learned how to do her make up once she loses her eyebrows and lashes. She said it was good. No one in the class knew she was wearing a wig, until she told them!!! She also learned how to make a turban out of a t-shirt, she thought that was pretty cool.

That's about it for now. It was a long day for her...and she doesn't know how to work the if there are any iPod specialists out might drop by and teach her how to use it. She would also like some help downloading some podcasts from Ancient Faith if you can help her figure out how to use the iPod and download stuff, make a date with her and get to it!!!

Thanks all for your continued prayers, and thoughts for her restored health. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Change in Plans

Talked to mom tonight about her visit to the doc today. She won't be getting chemo tomorrow because her cell count is too low. So they'll wait till next week to do the chemo again. She's good with that. Today was one of the first days that she reduced her pain medicine so that one change was good for this week. So with this change in plans her new schedule is Labs on Wednesday, Chemo on Thursday, and CT scan on Friday (next week).

Mom made it to church last night - her first time since some time back in January. She said it was nice and it's feeling good to her to get out about one little trip/excursion per day.

That's about it for now though - nothing else new to report.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Visits and Emails and Cards - OH MY!

Talked to mom today and she had a nice lunch at Round Table, said she was happy she went! She was pretty tired this afternoon, although a 30 minute rest took care of that.

While there really isn't anything new to report today, I realize that many people are checking this daily and I don't want to leave anything out! I realized that I forgot to tell you that on FRIDAY this week she will have another round of chemo (remember they changed her schedule up so she'll be getting a dose every week now for a while). That's it though.

Mom also wanted me to be sure and say THANK YOU (from all of us: Barb, Craig, Kara, & Marcus) for all of the visits, emails and cards! Mom can't believe how many people are out there praying for her and pulling for her. The support is overwhelming and we all want to let you know how much we've appreciated everything!!! So I'll use mom's excuse of Chemo Brain to let you know that we can't possibly respond to every card, email or visit but just as you are praying for mom's health and strength, we too are thanking GOD for our many blessings - YOU!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Running around with no hair on!

he he he...I was just talking to mom on the phone when she said... "Oh shoot, someone is here and I'm running around with no hair on!" Oh my goodness that made me laugh (and hopefully you too).

Anyway, she's feeling pretty good and has an exciting week ahead.

Monday she's hoping to stop in at Roundtable for a SHORT lunch with her SSA Friends.
Wednesday she's meeting with the Pain Specialist to hopefully reduce the meds.
Thursday she gets labs done and meets with Dr. Anderson (her oncologist).
Friday she is going to have a visit from her brother/my uncle Jack!

She doesn't have anything planned for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday Afternoons - but that's probably a good thing. She still needs lots of rest!

She's been reading emails - but says she can't respond to them. She tries to and then has to move on to something else and if you've been reading comments you'll find that this is actually called "CHEMO BRAIN." Some friends who have been through chemo reminded her that this is actually a side effect of the chemo.

That's really about it for now - here is a cute picture of mom enjoying her new hair do (so what she looks like when she has the wig on...not so sure she wants me posting a bald one yet). Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Things

Mom had an appointment today at Redwood Regional Oncology Center. They just did some labs to make sure her counts are all good. She left the visit with a NEW Chemo schedule. She will now be getting Taxal every week and CarboPlatin every 3 weeks. I think she is ok with that.

THEN, Mom and Dad informed me today that Mom's hair is really falling out now, so today Mom went and got a NEW Haircut. Dad said she looks like a tennis ball! And since she is not quite ready to sport the bald look (along with her brothers) she also got a NEW Wig. Apparently she didn't like the 3 that I brought home for her. Thanks to Helen and Aunt Molly who helped her pick a wig that is pretty similar to her natural hair.

I think all the NEWNESS tired her out though because Dad called to give me the update and said Mom had to go rest. If you call her or visit her REMIND her that she needs to rest and remember to keep your visit short. We want her to have a NEW lease on life after all this chemo stuff!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Now What?

I talked to mom yesterday and today...and she's trying to figure out what to do! She's bored...but she gets tired so quick and easy. She wants to get out and do stuff...but she can do one little trip (like to the post office) and then she has to come home and sleep. She wants to see people...but not all at once and only in short spurts. She asked me yesterday if I could help her post to the blog...but then she got to tired.

Oh yeah and she told me today that she has trouble focusing...then during our phone call she and dad went over the Costco Shopping list and then came back to talking to me. I can't remember if trouble focusing is a side effect of the chemo...or if it is just in mom's nature to be GOING, GOING, GOING and her body is trying to remind her to take care of herself. Who knows. But that is the update for now.

Not too much to report - she's sounding good. It seems like maybe the day after chemo is good and then the two days following are harder. She goes to the doctor this Wednesday to check her blood work and all so we might have a more significant update later this week!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Chemo Effects

So Mom came home this week and was feeling pretty good! Yesterday and Today though, she is really starting to feel the Chemo Effects. Nausea, tiredness, and her hair is starting to come out. As you can see in the picture she still has hair, but I think as she showers and combs through, more and more is coming out. When she received the Cancer Diagnosis she was game for a wig...and now after trying 3 on...she might be leaning more towards HATS!

I talked to her today for just about 2 minutes and she was pretty tired and was struggling to find something that "TASTED" good. She says that everything tastes sour (and this too is a side effect of the chemo).

That's all for now - she's still glad to be home - it's just a little difficult trying to figure out how the chemo is going to effect her.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little slideshow with pics of BARB

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

Mom was sent home today! She is happy to be home and wearing her new comfy sweatsuit (NY& Co for the fashionistas). Dad is happy to have her home as well, he's so happy in fact he took a picture of her talking to me on the phone.

While everything is looking up - she still gets a little worn down from all the talking and pain medicine. Also, I think this is a side effect of the chemo, but her voice gets raspy.

Anyway, we just wanted to let you all know she's home and feeling good. She will go in for labs 10 days from yesterday (standard after the chemo). And then just before her next chemo she will go in for a CT Scan to make sure that the tumors are in fact shrinking. Aunt Kathy leaves early Friday morning and Aunt Molly will be here to tend to mom's needs. She's not ready for a bunch of visitors yet - and she has to be super careful to stay healthy. Thanks to everyone who's asked to be added to the list, Mom and Dad will probably be ready for some meals in the next week. As soon as mom is up for it...I'll have to show her how to POST to the BLOG so you can get updates from her.
That's all for now though!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2 Weeks Later and a 2nd Dose of Chemo

2 Weeks in the hospital and the second dose of Chemo is IN! Mom is feeling good, her attitude and spirits are good, and she just ate a whole HAMBURGER. Mom told me she's really enjoying the food, especially this Tapioca Pudding (Kozy Shack brand) they have at the hospital! She also said she is waking up in the middle of the night hungry. So to take care of the midnight snack needs - she asks for the Tapioca at every meal and then stock piles them in the fridge!

Another funny thing - Mom accidentally called the Hospital a Hotel! Then she realized and said, "well I guess it is a hotel...a LUXURY HOTEL! I haven't had to make a bed in two weeks, haven't had to do any laundry, and I'll have a bill to boot."

She sounds good and is anxious to go home. CJ is even ready to go back to CA now that he knows Granny is going home.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Freedom from the Catheter!!! Freedom from the Oxygen!!! Freedom from the Shower Cap Bath!!! Yippee - she sounds almost NORMAL now!!!

They removed her catheter today (that was put in on February 9th). She doesn't need the oxygen tubes in her nose anymore and she had a REAL SHOWER today!!! She is no longer on the IV Nutrition (they reduced that yesterday and eliminated it today) and she's looking forward to going home this week!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good News

Word is that mom is making GREAT PROGRESS!!! Thank you for all the prayers - Mom says she feels all your thoughts and prayers!!!! She has also really enjoyed all the cards and well wishes.

As of today:
  • They Reduced her Pain Medicine
  • They Reduced her supplemental nutrients (since she is eating)
  • SHE has been up walking around her floor several times
  • SHE is getting more color
  • SHE is able to talk more
  • The nurses that were there when she was admitted are saying she is a WHOLE NEW PERSON!!!!

It sounds like she will get chemo on Tuesday (assuming she stays HEALTHY - no cold or other sickness AND if her blood work comes back with the right numbers). It also sounds like they MIGHT send her home next week!!!!

Volunteers, Meals, & Helping Hands

So many people have indicated an interest in helping out in many different ways!

I'm not sure of the best way to organize this...BUT...I know that Karin Crawford at the church will be organizing meals. Karin will be in touch with mom and dad to find out what they need and then will work from the list of church members AND family/friends that also want to help. I need to provide Karin with that list of family/friends though.

Down the road, there may be other things that Mom & Dad may need help with (ie. transportation to appointments, house keeping, laundry, etc).

I know that many of you had said you want to help but I'm going to ask that IF you want to provide a meal or lend a helping hand in another way - please email me your Name, Phone Number and Email. Please indicate the way in which you would like to help.

I will then compile the list of helpers and provide that to Karin so that she can be sure to include all you in the meal planning. I will also have a list of people and can contact you for other helping opportunities.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Looking Forward

There really isn't anything new to report. Mom is still in the Hospital, she is still really groggy/tired, she is still on pain medicine (although it is a different one now), she is able to eat some real food now (and is still being supplemented by the IV). She's getting up about once a day to walk around the oncology unit with a physical therapist.

Dr. Anderson (Oncologist), Dr. Field (OBGYN), and Dr. Johansen (Pain Specialist) were all in today and are pleased with her progress. They say she looks great. Mom said "I must look like a million bucks when I'm not in here if they think I look great!"

So far all of her blood counts are looking good, so we are looking forward to TUESDAY February 24, when they hope to administer her 2nd round of chemo.

When mom had her surgery, they removed everything they thought was cancerous. Between the time of her surgery and the follow up CT Scans they think there was NEW GROWTH, so new tumors growing at a rapid rate.

As for visitors - IF you stop up to see her You should BE SURE that you don't have a Cold, Sore Throat, or any other sickness as the chemo weakens her immune system. In order for mom to stay strong, she needs to NOT be exposed to anything. ADDITIONALLY visits should be kept to a minimum (like 10 minute visits). I think that with the new news (from 2/21/2009) mom will be going home sooner that we anticipated, so you might just hold off until she goes home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Barb doing well/Kara and CJ back in KC

So today was the day that CJ and I were scheduled to leave.

I saw mom one last time this morning and she seemed to be doing well.

Then Dad drove CJ and I to the airport in San Francisco. Our flight was delayed an hour but we made it home all safe and sound. CJ was so cute - on the descent into Kansas City he put his hands up to his ears because they were popping. I asked if he'd like a piece of gum to pop his ears and he said yes. I gave him the stick of gum and he stuck it in his ear!!! Made me laugh.

Anyway - I called mom tonight too to let her know we made it home and all. She said things are going well - but she still is only alert for little spurts of time. I talked to her for about 7 minutes and she was starting to doze on me.

There really isn't anything new to report other than that they moved the second bed out of the room and moved her over to the window side of the room. So now it's kind of a private room! They are taking good care of her.

That's all for tonight. Thanks for checking in - Be Well!

Monday, February 16, 2009

No Visitors yet...BUT she's doing better

Ok so here is the scoop for this fine Presidents Day, 2009:

Her pain is pretty controlled now (YAY). Aunt Kathy says she only had to push her button a couple of times.

She is eating (WOO HOO). I hear she ate about 33% of her food (Pork chop, Green Beans, and Potato. She also liked the chocolate cake and milkshake they brought her).

Doc's been by to visit and he says - She'll probably be there another week at least but he agreed that she looks WAY Better now. He's keeping an eye on all her blood work because that will determine when he can administer her second chemo. HE is also considering a stronger dose of medicine (chemo) to be aggressive with the cancer.

She still is not up for visitors yet - but please know that she misses you all and is thinking about you...even while she's in the hospital!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day

Mom is doing pretty good today! Aunt Kathy and I got there this morning and she was awake (happy to see Aunt Kathy).

Three Docs came by to see her and it sounded like everything was looking good:
1) Dr Keiser (on call for Anderson her Oncologist) came in first - said he'd looked through her file and everything was looking good.

2) Dr Johansen was next - he's the pain specialist. He upped her pain medicine again so that she doesn't have to keep pressing the button to administer it herself. Last I heard, about 20 minutes ago from Marcus, her pain was down to a 3 on a 1-10 scale. That is FANTASTIC because she has consistently been anywhere from 5-22 over the last week.

3) Dr James was last and he's the urologist who is keeping an eye on her kidney functioning. He said her kidneys are near perfect but he's still keeping an eye on it (so this too is great news).

Then Father Lawrence, came today with a small crew (Nicholas, Genevieve, and Maggie) and gave mom Holy Unction.

Dad, CJ and I are making dinner quick and then we'll head back to the hospital to deliver a Valentine to her.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Status on Friday February 13, 2009

So mom was hospitalized and we don't know how long she'll be there. Her Oncologist and the Radiologist met to go over the results of the CT Scans. From February 2nd to February 11th the cancer has grown 20%. Doc says this is EXPLOSIVE GROWTH and he hasn't seen anything like it. The tumors are growing and they are pressing on her nerve endings. They are also pressing on other organs causing a lot of pain.

A urologist was sent in to monitor her kidney functions and they seem to be fine so far. A pain specialist came in today to determine better doses for her. She is on a lot of pain medicine and she is just exhausted. Today they inserted a PIC or Port so that she can be fed by IV (since she has not been able to eat).

She is at Memorial Hospital BUT at this time we'd like to ask that only FAMILY visits. She is not in any condition to see people and she needs to maintain a strong immune system so that she can get her next chemo treatment.

CJ and I will be in Santa Rosa till Tuesday (2/17) but Aunt Kathy (Mom's Sister) is getting here tonight and will be here until 2/27. We'll continue to assess her status and determine the best schedule for family and friends to help out.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and helping hands!


November 5, 2008
  • Mom was sick, actually laid around all day not feeling well

November 6,7, and 8, 2008
  • Mom worked at the Church Bazaar all weekend

November 10, 2008
  • She had her Annual Exam and the finding that there might be a cyst

November 14, 2008
  • Her labs came back (from her physical) and indicated a slightly elevated CA125
  • Docs Office called and told her she was scheduled for an ultrasound and meeting with OBGYN
November 25 and 26, 2008
  • Ultrasound
  • Follow up with OB
  • Yes there is a cyst and OB would like UCSF Surgeon to remove it
December 18, 2008 (DIAGNOSIS DAY)
  • Surgery to remove cyst
  • Mom was for warned that IF there was cancer they would get it out and do a full hysterectomy
  • Cyst was determined to be cancer (rare form with floaters)
  • Full hysterectomy done (removed ovaries, tubes, uterus, cervix, and lymphnodes)
  • Told that she will need to recover from hysterectomy and then begin a chemotherapy treatment plan
January 22- February 2, 2009
  • Pain increasing
  • Another Ultrasound and CT Scan (Mom reported the Ultrasound was the most painful ultrasound she'd ever had)
February 3, 2009
  • Follow up with Doc
  • Ultrasound was pretty inconclusive
  • CT Scan indicated MORE Cancer
February 6, 2009
  • CJ and I arrived just in time for me to attend Chemo Teach with Mom (they taught us about the drugs they were going to use and how it was going to be administered)
February 7 and 8, 2009
  • Pain increasing, several calls to on call doc who kept saying that the tumors were pressing on nerve endings (causing the pain) and that what she really needed was the chemo on 2/9. Suggested increasing pain meds
February 9, 2009
  • Mom was in so much pain that dad took her up to the Chemo Infusion center early
  • They said they wouldn't be able to administer chemo and that dad should take her to the ER
  • In the ER for 4 hours before anyone realized her bladder was obstructed.
  • Inserted Catheter and drained 2000 ccs (normal bladder holds 200, about to burst holds 500)
  • As soon as they drained her bladder, they sent her home!!!
February 10, 2009
  • First Chemo administered
  • She did really well
February 11, 2009
  • Pain went through the roof
  • Took mom back to ER (because of discharge orders - certain symptoms required we go back)
  • New CT Scan and mom admitted to hospital

Why a Blog on Barb

Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on December 18th. With the diagnosis came an OUTPOURING of support, thoughts, and prayers. It has all been so much appreciated and wonderful but we've had to come up with something to keep everyone informed. SO, I will update this blog as frequently as possible so that you all have the most up to date information.

Please feel free to forward this to others who may know and love my mom!