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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home nursing care

My mother's primary care doctor set up a home nursing care for us. The woman will come once a week at whatever time is good for us (most likely after my aunt is home). She will check her blood pressure and other vitals, make sure she's OK. There are many helpful things that a medical professional knows that no amount of research can replace. Sure Khalamoni, Apu and I are doing well managing her medications, doctor's appointments etc. but it gives us a piece of mind to know someone is looking in on her.

Mom is back to eating solids, chicken, very squishy rice, soup. I've found she really likes to nibble on ice cubes. Instead of just plain ice cubes Apu and I thought she could have popsicles made of Gatorade so that she can get electrolytes. Today I made some out of pomegranate juice.

Like I've said before vegetables are hard for anyone to digest (i.e. we don't produce an enzyme naturally to break down cellulose) so it's even harder for her because she's not even making regular pancreatic enzymes.

This week we have an appointment at Dana Farber on Tuesday the 9th. It will not be the chemotherapy infusion, it will be a physical with her oncologist, some blood work to look at her chemistry and do a complete blood count. This will show a before and after picture of how her body is reacting to the chemo drugs. There have been advances in chemotherapy so they are not as harsh as before. The nurse that visited mom today did say she worked in a cancer ward for a long time and administered chemo. She said the first thing to beware of is the extreme fatigue. Anemia is a side effect of chemo so that leads to the fatigue (partially). She said not everyone looses their hair.

The loss of hair, though traumatic for some, I can live with (she owns several colorful headscarves/. I don't know how she feels about that possibility; I am sure she will make some amazing joke about it. She is quite a witty woman underneath her reserved exterior :-) But I worry most about the nausea returning. It was very difficult to watch her vomit for two weeks straight. I do not want that to return (I know I speak for the family as well, that they feel the same way I do). She is already compromised, and her strength is clearly not what it used to be.

Anyway, we'll just burn that bridge when we get there. I need to not over-think things.
I hope she is better tomorrow. Yesterday she was fine but of course I was at work and didn't see her well. Today I was home with her and she felt uneasy and a little queasy all day.

Tomorrow we are expecting one family to visit. It will brighten her spirits and will distract from any mild pain/unease.

The family truly appreciates your prayers and thoughts.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mt.Auburn Stay Update

Yesterday while I was at work around 3 I was talking to my mom on the phone. She said she wasn't feeling well. She said her right brow she felt like it was drooping
her right foot kept twitching and she couldn't stand up...well like it was shaky. her blood pressure was high and she felt heaviness in her chest everytime she breathed in.

I called Dana Farber to maybe have the doctor paged or talk to a nurse practioner. They connected me, the NP called the house and aunt was home by that time. The NP suspected the same thing I did that these were stroke symptoms. Aunt drover her to the ER at Mount Auburn, the closest one to our house. I met them there.

Her EKG was fine. They did a head CT scan which showed no sign of stroke.

Later on that night they did an MRI.

Today mom called to tell me they did an Ultrasound on her leg to rule out deep vein thrombosis (aka blood clot) and she's awaiting an EKG on her heart.

Pancreatic cancer patients have blood clot issues associated with their condition so that was a fear of mine.

Right now we are waiting on MRI results and more information.
No stroke, her EKG and ECG and LMNOP's are all fine (just kidding about the LMNOP guys hahaha). They are keeping her tonight. Don't really know why. Probably just to cover all their bases. Next week on the 9th is her first chemotherapy infusion.

She was fine when we left her tonight. She ate dinner, mashed potatoes, half a dinner roll and veggie soup (the broth mostly). Solids, YAY!

We had to tell them to MAKE SURE to give her her Reglan and Creon meds before meals (reglan every 6 hours of course). They misunderstood even though I gave them a chart of her meds and when she's to take them. A table I tell you! That we fill in at home! Apu and I worked on it and I don't why they didn't..."realize" that she needed this every 6 hours etc.

So anyway, glad that was taken care of. It's sometimes surprising how much people have to speak up to get things done. Her initial oncologist practices at Mt. Auburn too..doesn't anyone read clinic notes? :-p

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

At Mount Auburn Hospital - Minor Scare

Mom went into Mount Auburn Hospital today; she had some odd symptoms including droopy eyelids and spasms in her leg. I called a nurse practitioner and she recommended that we take her to the closest ER.

We did, and she seems to be fine now; blood pressure, blood work, and CAT scan all came out as normal. Still, they're going to keep her for overnight observation.

I think everything is OK for now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

So far so good

Mom has been doing well on the liquid diet. Today she will try to eat a potato, we will see how that goes.

The doctors were very unclear about her dietary restrictions so that is the reason why she threw up after coming home from the hospital, her digestive system was not ready for solid foods.

Right now we're transitioning her into solids but we don't want to rush things. Also we want to build up her strength for the chemo which is why we're holding off on that right now. We should have her first infusion next week. The doctor's office will call me with the date and time.