Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chemo news and such


Steve here. 
As before, we were quite anxious about those platelets of Gabrielle’s which have been in short supply of late.  Platelets had been in the low 30’s and they needed to be over 100 for chemo to be a go.  Happily, and with a great prayer of thanksgiving, they were about 109.  I know…I probably didn’t get the number exactly right, so Gabrielle can correct that.  Dr. M. adjusted the regimen such that she is dropping off the Gemzar which she figures is the culprit.  So that means that she only needed two drugs yesterday, making the day not quite so long.  Unfortunately, one of the other drugs was increased and that gave her a little more nausea than expected.  She was also loaded up with massive doses of Benadryl and promptly came home and had a nice long nap.  She said that she was out like a light—so good in fact that there was a pool of drool on her pillow.  Apparently that is a good indicator of being out cold, which is what she was after.  Well done, Gabrielle!  Of course she paid for it by staying up half the night watching Teen Jeopardy (and getting most of the questions right, I presume, though I cannot say for sure as I was already creating my own pool of drool on the pillow by 10:30). 

The plan going forward is to stick with just two drugs for now and see how things are.  Next week, more labs and a very pleasant “bye week” before a much anticipated cruise to the Alaskan wilds with Daniel.  Toward the end of August, she gets another CT scan to see where things are.  If it’s good, she will get a break from chemo, which would be wonderful and that’s, of course what we are praying hard for.  The chemo, this time around, has been much tougher with more fatigue and disruptions in her platelets and red blood cells.  Having a break would be a good thing, no doubt.  Despite the fatigue, she continues to have boundless energy for things like golf (see prior post), hosting parties, seeing friends and cleaning our clocks at canasta. 

So that’s a quick update.  I just have to end by saying that yesterday, mid-morning, I came out of a room after seeing a patient and was greeted by an oh so cheery bag of nothing but green M&M’s and a wonderful card from a dear patient and her daughter.  So thanks so much to…let’s see now, have to be HIPPA compliant…thanks to Burnett and Canon.  It came at a very good moment and cheered me no end.  I even exercised uncharacteristic restraint and brought the bag home to Gabrielle and turned it over to her…unopened!!  Can you believe it?  Thank you so much.  Love those green M&M’s.  Maybe they are indeed as magical as people say and have platelet reviving properties on top of everything else.  Of course, Cousin Rob (HIPPA not necessary in his case) certainly weighs in with his own extra generous supply of resveratrol (aka chocolate) to help things along.

Two other quick notes of thanks.  First is to my brother John who has been sending me wonderful letters that detail observations he makes in the little hamlet of West Richland.  They usually involve things like cows grazing in the fields or something else in nature: sunshine, fish, etc.  He often draws pictures which are a big treat as it is fun to see somebody who is about my skill level at drawing…we should play Pictionary soon!  So, thanks, John and hoping you stay cool over there in the heat.  And thanks to Laura next door who sent a card detailing her spin on “F” words for Gabrielle’s cancer struggle:  Fighter, Fierce, Fantastic!  Yep, that’s Gabrielle!  And with that, I am going to tear open those green M&M’s and pop on down to Edmonds for a dip in the Sound.  Cheers!

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