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!