Happy Birthday Steve

Birthday Bravery with Dad 2015We celebrated Steve’s birthday on Sunday. All the kids and their kids came. Even Andy in Atlanta came in via Face Time. Steve wasn’t feeling well so we opened presents in the bedroom and had a lovely time. We  just had to keep reminding the grandkids to not bounce on the bed because Steve was a bit nauseated.There’s just nothing like having the family over here having fun together. It just makes things feel right.

Birthday Parlo with Dad 2015

Radiation Update

  • Yesterday Steve saw his radiation oncologist and decided to have radiation treatments on his penis and cervical spine. The purpose is for pain reduction. He will start the treatments next week. While Steve was at the radiation oncologist appointment I skipped over to the College of Nursing which is on the same campus as the Huntsman Center. I had a meeting to discuss my next semester’s teaching assignment. Looks like I will be teaching an online course. I’m looking forward to learning how to do that. After our meetings Steve went to his 5th acupuncture treatment. That was relaxing, but since he doesn’t see a huge benefit he may quit going.

Back to Work

Usually when I leave a job I pretty much never go back. It seems tacky to keep returning to a place I am no longer a part of. Due to my brain surgery I quit working at Fortis College over a year ago. I loved working there as Dean of Nursing and I loved the people I worked with. I’ve gone back to campus a few times to go out to lunch or wrap up some business. I went there on Friday to change a name on a bank account and to wish one of the faculty a farewell as she moves on to new adventures. I have to say the love I felt there was astounding and humbling. As people said hi to me I got the feeling that they really cared about me and were genuinely happy to see me. And I was very happy to see each one of them. They teased me about my hair.  It just felt so good! What a wonderful group. I know they were all busy but they took time out to chat and catch up, or at least give me a hug. It was awesome. I am honored and blessed to be able to say that I worked there. What a wonderful group of people. And now I am working at the University of Utah where so many people are genuinely interested in my welfare. I am a blessed woman.

everybody loves raymondSteve is having a rough day today. He went to church for about an hour but the pain was too much so he had to go home and miss a couple of the meetings. If he gets at all behind on his pain meds it leads to a lot of pain. He’s figuring it all out. Our family is coming today to have dinner and wish him a Happy Birthday (September 25) and I hope it won’t be too much for him. Our Bishop visited us today and Steve was just not perky! It is challenging to watch him go through this. We do our best to end each day with laughter so we watch Everybody Loves Raymond or Frazier at bedtime. We also watch the Jim Gaffigan Show. Funny! Tomorrow he will see the radiation oncologist to see if more radiation may help manage the pain. He’s also going in for more acupuncture.

Pain Managed

Steve saw his pain management provider yesterday and is now on different and more powerful pain meds. He did well today on them but has not been feeling well this evening. Nausea mostly, along with “wooziness.” He has to be careful to not let much time pass between doses of pain meds, or the pain gets bad. We read his CT scan results, and it looks like the cancer has spread to lungs, bones (hip, pelvis, and cervical spine), liver, kidney and penis. We didn’t know about the kidney until we read the report ourselves. Perhaps the oncologist mentioned it but we did not think so. Steve still holds out hope for a “radical remission.” He is taking some alternative remedies and is receiving acupuncture regularly, and I perform Healing Touch on him.

We’ve been watching old comedies (Everybody Loves Raymond, Frazier) every night lately. It’s nice to end the day together with laughter.

I just found out that one of my favorite nursing instructors has bone cancer. She made a big difference in my life and I hate to see her suffer. Stupid Cancer!! It seems to be everywhere lately.

Walker Workout

Yesterday my husband Steve noticed that the more he moved around, the better he felt. The pain and nausea lessened. So we went out on the back patio and walked around a lot and then did lifts with his walker! Very creative. Last night he was going to go to be early but around 11:30 he had absolutely no pain. So he stayed up late to enjoy it.

Steve cookiing classToday we attended a cooking class at Salt Lake Culinary Center, hosted by the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Wellness Center. We learned how to cook some delicious food and Steve did pretty well, although his hips got uncomfortable sitting so long. So he got up and walked as he listened. He is pictured here with Susan, the chef.

Stupid Cancer!

We got the results from Steve’s CT scan. Not encouraging. He has a tumor on his liver that’s 3.1 cm x 2.5 cm. That seems kinda big to  me. He has 2 new nodules in his right his lung, meaning he now has 6. Two of them have grown since the last scan. He has a lesion in his penis and in his pelvic lymph nodes, and a lesion by his left cervical spine. What now? He can choose to enroll in an immune therapy clinical trial, but that would mean he needs a biopsy of the liver tumor, which can be uncomfortable. He can get radiation therapy on the lesion by his cervical spine, which should alleviate the shoulder pain he has been experiencing. He also has knee pain but his knees and shoulder were not scanned. He’ll talk to the oncologist again tomorrow. I would like to tell you how we are feeling about all this, but I feel kinda numb at this point. Steve is disappointed, hoping that the alternative therapies he’s using will work. He got a peaceful feeling today and feels that everything will be OK. Peace right now is a gift.

Quick Update

Steve has had a couple of new areas of pain show up this week. His left shoulder and the back of his left thigh are hurting and he is taking pain pills very regularly now. This is challenging. We are getting ready to go to get a CT body scan this morning. Another challenge, because it is scary to see whether or not the disease is progressing. I hope we will get the report sooner rather than later. I love my husband and continue to pray for him and do what I can to provide comfort. He still has a positive attitude, and we are enjoying going out to a cozy lunch whenever he has a medical appointment.

Hair Brain

HairWell I try to blog about important updates but right now I’m going to blog about MY HAIR. When I had brain surgery a year ago the left side of my head was shaved. Interestingly, my hair grew back very curly. I didn’t much like it, but it sure was easy to take care of. Just jump out of the shower and let it dry on its own. No hair dryer, no curling iron, nothing to do. Boy, I sure liked that! Well, now that a year has gone by, the curls are gone! I’m back to my usual wavy tresses. Yesterday I used a flat iron and today I used the blow dryer. Not fun! I know this seems like a trivial matter, but I’m still a girl at heart and although I hate to admit it, I care about my appearance. And I’m lazy. Why can’t my hair just look great without any work?  The great magic question!

Now for the important stuff. My husband Steve went to church again today, which is a great improvement. He can walk pretty well. But he is having quite a bit of pain now in his knees and his left shoulder. I palpated his shoulder pain and it appears to be bone pain. I hope it is not a new tumor. The body scan will confirm it on Wednesday. I applied hot packs on his knees and shoulder, and he took some pain medicine and some anti-nausea medicine. I’m hoping he’ll feel better in the next half hour or so. I made him a dinner that he requested but when he smelled it cooking he got nauseated. I’m not taking it personally.

Dating

My husband Steve and I spent 4 hours at the Huntsman Institute today. Fun!
Steve had his blood drawn and urine analyzed, and an IV infusion of a bone strengthening medicine. His oncologist ordered a CT scan of his body to visualize the progression (or digression) of the disease. She also referred him to his urologist so he can scrape the tumors in his bladder to control the bleeding. Steve feels fine except for some bone pain in his groin and some fatigue. His lab tests were all normal.

corner bakeryAfter the long Huntsman visit we went to dinner at the Corner Bakery and wow the food was delicious. We are going to breakfast or lunch or dinner now whenever we go to a medical visit. It is romantic and cozy and takes the stress out of the day. A very nice date.

Trax of My Tears

traxI take the Trax (light rail train) to work on Thursdays. It takes 50 minutes. This morning just before I arrived at the University my husband called and said he was bleeding a lot from his bladder. It’s funny how the big picture doesn’t bother me as much as these smaller events. This was hard because I wasn’t right there to assess and help him. It’s like the whole cancer journey all hit me this morning on the Trax. I remained calm while talking to him but had a mini melt down as I got off the train and walked to work. I texted my daughter and asked her to spend some time with her dad and she did. That was comforting. And once I got to work I was distracted and quit worrying, although I repeatedly checked my cell phone just in case something happened. When I got home he was still having a lot of blood in his urine but he feels fine. We will see his oncologist tomorrow.