Friday, May 27, 2005

Orangeade, Smorengeade, Wherefore Art Thou, Orangeade?

27th May 2005

Tanya and I had a big breakfast in preparation for her noon chemotherapy appointment. She was in the lazy-boy type chair by 12:30 and hooked up to the IV drips in no time.

T had a craving for orangeade of all things when she got settled in, so I headed out on a citrus-flavored scavenger hunt. While Tanya was in the hospital last week, I brought her orangeade from the vending machine, and fortunately (I thought), the hospital was literally around the corner from where she was getting chemo, so I headed right over there to the orangeade supply. No orangeade. Off to the Texaco convenience store--no orangeade. Fry’s--nope. Safeway? No orangeade! It was looking bleak, so I went back to the hospital and bought the Peach/Papaya drink that was in Orangeade’s rightful place in the vending machine.

Tanya pretended to enjoy the peach/papaya drink, but, you know papaya smells kinda funny and I could tell she was faking! Next time I’ll try to be prepared.

Tanya is doing well tonight--watching The Late Late Show, and laughing. We’re off to have crepes in the morning.

29th May 2005

It’s Sunday, and thank goodness this weekend isn’t a replay of last weekend. Tanya is sleepy, but not in pain. She feels pretty durned good--especially compared to last week. We’ll have a little barbecuey-type thing on Monday.

Tanya says (in a sleepy voice) Thank you, everyone, for all well-wishes, and support.

Thanks also for reading through my nonsense to find out about Tanya, and we hope you have/had a safe, happy Memorial Day weekend! - Steve

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Updated South Park Tanya and Steve Posted by Hello

Great Comments!

Here are Steve’s responses to Rhonda’s comments. (Thanks, Rhonda!)

You’re right! Tanya’s wings are now visible (and my ribbon is back on).

Thanks to you for thinking of Tanya, and the potluck dinner idea. She will love to do that. When our schedules are ironed out a little more, and she recovers from the radiation treatments (she’s still very tired much of the time), we’ll have to talk.

Tanya will be having chemo treatments 2 weeks on, 1 week off for at least the next 6-8 months. There is also the possibility that she will be doing the chemo thing indefinitely in the future.

Thank you so much for your concern for Tanya—it means so much to her (and me) to have friends and family posting messages and sending her email.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

South Park Tanya and Steve Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

But wait, there’s more...

Here's today's note from Steve.

I forgot to mention that after being admitted to the hospital on Friday, rigorous testing and lung tapping on Saturday, recuperating Saturday night and Sunday morning, followed by shopping in the afternoon, Tanya went to work on Monday. Oy!

And here's a note from Kathy.

Thanks for all the comments entered from this blog! Tanya said that she would love to know who is sending the nice comments. (They show up from "anonymous" unless you enter, select, or sign your name.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Hey, gang, good news!

Here's today's news from Steve.

If you're up-to-date with the previous entries, you know that Tanya spent a long, long weekend at the hospital. Fortunately, I was able to stay with her most of the time, making it seem twice as long for her. After food services delivered dinner on Friday night, a gurney was wheeled to Tanya’s room (for a test we did not know was scheduled), and a nurse came in to help Tanya on to it. The nurse said, “You haven’t eaten yet, have you?” Unfortunately, the test couldn’t be performed after eating, so it had to be postponed until the next day.

Saturday arrived, and a battery of tests, scans, pokes and prods commenced. After this royal treatment the docs determined that her kidney has healed; it shows no signs of trauma or disease! Following the scans and whatsis Saturday early afternoon, Tanya’s lung was tapped, fluid drained, and relief gained. She was released in my custody (no longer detained). Tanya was now able to breathe a little easier (Sunday afternoon), and like all naughty patients wanted to go out instead of home. Off to the hairdresser, then to clothes shop.

The nurses and assistants in the oncology wing at Thunderbird Hospital were fantastic. They certainly were handpicked; what a great group of people. They treated Tanya as though she were family.

Tanya’s white blood count should improve by Friday, so the chemo that was scheduled for this past Friday, will happen then.

Thanks again for coming to check on Tanya.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Possible reason for shortness of breath

Here's today's news from Steve.

First stop: Radiology
It’s Friday, so today is supposed to be chemo day. Before going for chemo, we had to make a pit stop at the radiologist’s office to find out what is making it so difficult for Tanya to breathe, and why she is out of breath after just a short walk. The radiologist is just down the hall from the oncology group, so the results of the x-ray were sent as soon as they were processed. They determined that the cause for breathing difficulty is fluid in Tanya’s right lung (the one that was treated with radiation).

Next stop: Chemotherapy room
Prior to chemo, the nurse checked Tanya’s white blood count, and the count is too low for chemo this week.

Next, next stop: Hospital
Per doc’s instructions, we headed over to the emergency room at Banner Thunderbird Hospital to have Tanya’s lung drained. Because she was armed with doctor’s orders, we were able to avoid a 36 hr. wait for a bed to open, something the oncologist warned us has happened to patients before.

Tanya will have the fluid drained from her lung and then will be able to come home. She will definitely stay Friday night (I’ll stay with her), and possibly Saturday night as well. To reduce her suffering tonight, I’ll bring her a dinner, so she won’t be eating hospital “food.”

Friday, 6:00 PM
I’m at home to let our old pooch Rikki out to fertilize the desert landscape. Tanya just called and was assigned a room but given no indication of how long her hospital vacation will be. Her spirits are, as usual, high. I’m off to pick up dinner now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Saturday Good, Sunday Not So Good, Monday Better

Here's more news from Steve.

Tanya’s previous chemotherapy stint a couple of years ago was, not surprisingly, no fun at all. Without going into detail, I’ll say it was miserable for her and tough to helplessly watch for those who love her. How she could endure that kind of misery without complaining is a mystery. We were hoping that this round of chemo would not be so difficult, planned on it being no big deal, and prepared for the worst—a replay of the previous term.

The chemo treatment lasted approximately 3-1/2 hours. It wasn’t a full house in the treatment room, so I was allowed to sit with Tanya throughout. We talked with a man who was being treated for cancer that had migrated from his colon to his liver. He was a hopeful father of 12 children and has 7 grandchildren, too. The collective mood in the chemo rooms were surprisingly light and happy. Tanya’s treatment was completed, and we went for a bite to eat.

Her radiation treatments, administered in the weeks previous, still affect her and cause sleepiness, so we went home to watch the entertainment box, relax, and hope for less severe side-effects than last time. We hoped that the chemo’s effects would not include the intense nausea that it had last time, and we were lucky—no nausea at all. In fact, Saturday, Tanya woke up feeling fine, and ironically, because of the effects of the chemo, had rosy cheeks and looked great.

We went out for crepes, and planned to meet Tanya’s mom, Linda, and her sister, Christina, later. They had a nice surprise in store for Tanya—a visit from Carly, our niece! After a long hike around the Arrowhead Mall, Tanya’s sleepiness returned, and off to home we went.

Sunday, Tanya woke up in pain. Apparently, the targeted radiation treatment and the chemotherapy were reacting with each other. In this case, the effect was startling and severe. Tanya felt as though someone had smashed her in the chest as hard as they could. She had difficulty inhaling because it caused great pain. She was forced to breathe very shallowly, and the pain medications were of limited help. After speaking with the doc’s office, it was decided to double the amount of pain medication and increase the interval. That seemed to help, and slowly, the pain was managed.

Monday was a day of recuperation, and Tanya gained ground and appears to be recovering quickly. All-in-all, this round of chemo was not as bad as the last. Tanya described it as “different“ but was very happy to avoid the nausea.

Next Friday, more chemo. Hopefully, we’ll have crepes on Saturday, skip the pain on Sunday and Monday, and while Tanya can’t skip the rest of these treatments, we hope she will be skipping her way through them. Thanks again to everyone for all your concern.

Thanks everyone, for keeping Tanya in your thoughts. Thanks also for sending notes, comments, good vibes, positive thoughts, and prayers—they really make her happy.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ports Are Good

Here's some news from Steve.

Friday was a very busy day for Tanya. We woke up early, arrived at the hospital by 7 a.m., filled out the insurance paperwork for the surgery, and finished just in time to sit around in the waiting room. Fortunately, Tanya was in the operating room by 9:30 a.m. The surgery was to install a port to make chemotherapy treatments more comfortable. For those lucky enough not to know what a port is, it’s a small disk approximately the diameter of a quarter, but quite a bit thicker, which is installed under the skin (it appears to be a bump). Ports are used to deliver chemo through a blood vessel making it easier to administer the chemotherapy and to take blood for tests. One of the key benefits to having a port is that there is no more needle poking and misses when the nurse is searching for an acceptable vein. Compared with chemo given through a vein in the arm, it is more efficient, as it is delivered more quickly through a main vein via special needle into the port.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Here are two more San Diego photos. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Here are Tanya and Steve in San Diego. Posted by Hello

San Diego and Chemo

Steve and Tanya had a great time on their short San Diego vacation last weekend. They stayed at a Hilton in the gaslight district (thank you PriceLine) and went to the zoo, Seaport Village, and Coronado Island.

The biopsy results from the University of Arizona agreed with the previous pathology results, and Tanya will be starting chemo this Friday. Right now, the plan is to have chemo treatments on Fridays and see if Tanya can recuperate over the weekend. We'll see how that goes, since we don't know how these new drugs will affect Tanya (different drugs than last time). We don't know whether the treatments will be weekly, bi-weekly, or what yet.

Tanya has been having some back pain. Her doctor has ordered some kidney tests to determine more about that.

Tanya has been tired but feels okay. Thanks for all the emails, cards, flowers, and well wishes!
 Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Tanya Speaks at a Relay for Life

Tanya was asked to speak at a Relay for Life opening ceremony. Check out the speech she gave at the West Valley relay yesterday!