Sunday, April 27, 2014

The meeting with the VA

Friday morning was our meeting with the Occupational Therapy department of the VA. At the last minute, Marshall had nausea (and everything that goes with it) and he couldn't go. So I went to this meeting by myself.

The girl I met with was very nice and when our meeting was over with, she had promised us the following:
Manual wheelchair
Grab bars for the shower
Seat for the shower
Handheld shower
Toilet riser
Support bars for the toilet
Life Alert subscription
Dressing Kit -- this one was really cool. Since Marshall can't bend over, the items in this kit help with putting socks on and off and putting pants on and off, a long-handled sponge to use in the shower and a long handled shoehorn.

I think that's it. These things are supposed to start arriving in two to three weeks, so we'll see. We are still waiting to hear whether or not we are approved for the monthly allowance to hire help.

And with regard to Marshall's nausea, we are trying something a little different. The cancer pills that he has to take in the morning have to be taken on an empty stomach and he can't eat for an hour after taking them. They are pretty toxic and we are thinking that maybe they are causing him to be sick. (DUH..)

So we are going to try an experiment. I get up about 3 hours before he does, so I am going to wake him up to take the cancer pills and then let him go back to sleep. Then when he does get up, he can immediately take his Prilosec and then 30 minutes after that he can take his Prednisone with food. We tried that this morning and it went well. At least it went well until around 2:00 this afternoon when he got sick again.

He has NO appetite in the morning so it's all he can do to get down a piece of toast and glass of milk so that he can take the prednisone. And then he is not hungry until late afternoon, which means he goes for 6 or 7 hours without eating. So I'm thinking that maybe he needs to get more food in his stomach during the day, even if it's small amounts. So tomorrow we'll do the same morning routine of giving him the pills early and letting him sleep, etc., and then we'll make sure he eats something every few hours.

Wouldn't it be great if this new routine cut out all this nausea and throwing up? I'm not sure who would be happier about that.....him or me....

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today was Coco's dental surgery. We had to get up at 5AM in order to get to the vet by 7:30AM. And we didn't want to drive all the way home just to go back to pick him up at 4:30 so we bummed around Canon City all day. Marshall's energy level stayed good until around 2:30 or 3:00 so that's good.

We did something we've been wanting to do for a while. We drove Skyline Drive -- a very scary one-lane narrow road that sits high above the city. My heart was in my throat.

Marshall is still having stomach problems and has been throwing up more than usual. I can handle almost anything that comes along with regard to his health but I just can't handle the throwing up. Just can't do it.

On another note, we have had several meetings with the VA concerning what kind of help they can provide to Marshall.

First, there is something called Aid & Attendance, where they would send someone out on a regular basis to help with house cleaning and chores. However, they tell us that no one will come to Westcliffe because it is so remote. But the social worker said in cases where they can't send someone, they provide a monthly amount of money so that the caregiver can hire whoever she wants. We have applied for that and are waiting for the response.

The next thing they will provide is any type of equipment Marshall may need as time goes on (walker, canes, a ramp, oxygen, etc.). We are meeting with them on Friday concerning this benefit.

And they have informed Marshall that he is now considered 100% permanently disabled. Last year they didn't want to award him the "permanent" part because they said he might be cured. They have now agreed that his cancer is not curable and he is considered permanently disabled.

This is important because once they award the "permanent" disability, that means I am entitled to benefits (like health insurance). Also, if he should die before me, I am entitled to a portion of his monthly disability check. And they also gave him a free no-premium $10,000 life insurance policy. So he has made progress with the VA.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

A pretty quiet week

This has been a quiet week, no emergencies, no pain, everyone in the house is doing well. I can handle this!

Marshall had his regular visit with the primary care physician on Thursday and all is well.

Marshall's frame of mind has been much better, so we assume the Venlafaxine is working, along with the oxygen.

I forgot to mention that we did talk to the nurse practitioner about Marshall's possible GERD (if he bends over he gets really sick and he has a pain in the middle of his chest). She said he could talk to his primary care doctor about maybe getting some tests done but in the meantime Marshall should continue on the Prilosec.

We are not giving up on the possibility of finding a dentist who can maybe make some new dentures that will accommodate the bone issue in his mouth. Most dentists are afraid to touch him because he has been taking Xgeva (a bone strengthener) that has a possibility of causing a serious jaw problem. In the meantime, he can only put his teeth in when he is eating or when he needs to be "pretty"! So many things to adjust to.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Cancer Center Day

Today was our monthly visit to the Cancer Center. Marshall has been in a deep depression for the past week or so. It's awful. I know he's in the house but we don't really talk. And as we approach Cancer Center Day, he always starts getting worked up.

His first appointment was with the psychiatrist. I asked him if it was helpful and he said "yes."

Then over to the lab for blood work. Then to the oncologist where we saw the Nurse Practitioner (Kathryn).

All of the regular tests today came out exactly where they should be. The PSA went up from 2.46 to 4.64. Kathryn said that since his PSA has been "bouncing" and since he has no pain, this rise is nothing to get concerned about and will probably go back down next month.

We discussed depression and she prescribed Venlafaxine so he will try that and see if it helps.

He needs to get a Pneumonia 13 shot (which is kind of a booster) and they will do that at the next visit.

That's it for today......

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Not much to report

Marshall is still working with the oxygen people to try to get his oxygen levels where they should be. His energy level fluctuates every day.

He also has a chest pain that could be GERD or a hiatal hernia, so we will be talking to the doctor about that next week (Monday at the Cancer Center and Thursday with primary care physician).

Today Coco went to the vet and he no longer needs to wear the cone. The stitches are out. He's almost normal again. But he has one more surgery to go -- dental surgery. The vet said to wait a few weeks so that he can get totally healed from the bladder surgery. Taking care of him has been a round-the-clock job, I am SOOOO tired.

Marlee is doing much better. It looks like the bacterial infection is gone.

That's it for now!

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