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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Can't stop thinking of next trip to cancer center

Even though it's three weeks away, Marshall can't stop worrying about that next series of tests and scans.  The constant waiting game (waiting for medications, waiting for test results, waiting for the next PSA, etc.) is unnerving.  No matter how good things are going he is always waiting for the next trip to the cancer center.  Very hard to try to put that in the back of your mind.

But we had one diversion: we had to rush Coco back to the vet.  He woke up Friday morning very sick.  The vet thinks he is having a bad reaction to one of the medications they gave him (the one to open the airways), so we took him off of that one.  Now he is only on an antibiotic for the pneumonia.  He did well all weekend.  We go back Tuesday for another checkup.

And another great diversion:  Marshall is going to be interviewed for an article in a publication called "Guide to Metastatic Prostate Cancer." The interview is going to be Wednesday morning.  This is an excellent diversion for him because he is passionate about trying to advocate prostate cancer awareness.  And it is absolutely amazing how many men simply do not want to listen. On one occasion we went to the local Health Fair and he stood out front passing out flyers to the men as they entered the building.  Most of the men Marshall approached acted like that flyer was a hot potato as soon as they realized what the topic was.  I don't get it.  Anyway, I will report more on this interview and article as time goes on.

And last but not least, I killed a scorpion in the house this morning.  Me.  All by myself.  You have no idea what an accomplishment that is.  I usually scream for Marshall, but this morning I managed to kill it all by myself.  Of course, I couldn't bring myself to dispose of the body -- I waited till Marshall got up and he did it. (And, by the way, I did get the 50-lb bag of diatomaceous earth, I just haven't taken the time yet to spread it around yet.  This morning was a good motivator.)

Well, that's it for today.  Nothing much to report.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My boys

Marshall is doing well during this latest waiting game and has kept a good frame of mind. I've added a tranquilizer to his daily drug cocktails and that has been helpful.

Marlee (the sheltie) is sleeping most of the time these days. He has lots of old-age health problems (thyroid, severe arthritis, benign limpoma, deaf) but is doing good, all things considered. He is on several daily medications.

Coco (the dachshund) has been sick since Sunday, coughing and having trouble breathing, very lethargic. We went to the vet today and x-rays were taken. The consensus was that he has acute allergic bronchitis that has gone into pneumonia. So he is on antibiotics and on another drug to open his airways. This evening he seems to be resting nicely and the coughing has subsided.

And Okie (the cat) has feline herpes that requires daily medication.

I am the only one in the household that is not on any medications. And I am always worried that I will give the wrong drugs to the wrong "boy." It's like a pharmacy here!

We don't have to go anywhere for the next two weeks and we look forward to the down time.


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

A week of doctors

Monday Marshall went to see his VA doctor (in order to stay in the VA system, you need to see your doctor at least once a year).  We didn't expect much, but ended up getting the VA to pay for Marshall's Spiriva prescription.  That was a biggie.  The Spiriva costs $250 a month and insurance will only pay $150 so our co-pay was $100 a month.  Thank you, Dr. Gonz├ílez.

Dr. González also mentioned that new studies are showing that Metformin (a diabetes drug that Marshall is taking) depletes Vitamin B12, so he ordered lab work to check the B12 levels.

This morning we stopped at the VA to get blood drawn for the lab work.  They will mail the results to us.  Then we headed up to the Cancer Center.

Blood was drawn (from the other arm!) at noon for the regular lab work.  Then we had our appointment with the Nurse Practitioner (NP) at 1:00.  All of the results were in the normal range which is good.  But the PSA went up to 9.4 (from 7.4 last month).

It is always disappointing to see the PSA go up, but it was not a huge jump.  The NP stressed to us -- again -- that we should not put so much stock in the PSA but should concentrate on how Marshall feels.  So since Marshall has no pain, that trumps the PSA.  Yeah, right.  Very hard to keep that in mind.

Anyway, they have ordered a full set of scans again, which are scheduled for August 12, 13 and 14 and they will compare those scans with the ones taken in June.  They will also do another PSA test in August.

We talked a bit about the next round of treatments that could be in store for Marshall.  The first one, Xtandi, was the one that mentioned a slight slight chance of seizure.  The NP says that they have determined that the seizures can be avoided by simply taking the Xtandi at the exact same time every day.  The seizures occurred in men who took two doses of Xtandi too close together.  However, there are still a few men who experience falls while taking Xtandi.  Bottom line: she saw no reason why Marshall would have to give up driving if he is put on Xtandi.  That was excellent news!

Then there's Xofigo, and if I understood correctly, that is an injection of a radioactive drug that targets the tumors in the bones without affecting surrounding organs.  The NP says the Xofigo is having great results.  Then there is chemo -- a drug called docetaxel.  So we have a lot to think about.

Marshall stayed very positive during all of this and is still doing well here at home.  I was so happy to see that.

So now we wait another month....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Aches and pains

Marshall had a few unusual aches last night and a few sharp stabbing pains which threw us into panic mode. He got up and walked around a little and then took two Advil (and a tranquilizer) and felt better. I guess we will be in panic mode until we get started on the next steps -- whatever those may be -- and see how it goes.

CANCER SUCKS!


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Friday, July 11, 2014

Today's new addition...

First of all, yesterday the new refrigerator was FINALLY delivered. It is a thing of beauty. We have ice cubes again. And I went out today and replenished the freezer.

And today, FINALLY, the VA sent the guys out to install the ramp. The ramp will be a wonderful thing for Marshall, but an unexpected pleasure was how good the ramp is for the dogs. They are getting old and were having trouble with those steps. They are loving the ramp.




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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dentist is an artist

Marshall had his dental appointment (at the University) today. Dr. Dhawan is truly like an artist. You should see the detail he is putting into these dentures. He works like he is sculpting a masterpiece.

At every visit he fine tunes them even more so that they will fit around the bone problems that Marshall has right now. He is fun to watch, and he has a great sense of humor so these visits are enjoyable.

We have two more visits to go.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

My epiphyllum is blooming!

We've been more or less fighting fear and depression this past week -- but I think we are doing a decent job of staying as positive as we can while waiting until July 16 for the next PSA test.

Our new neighbor has been camping on his property almost constantly and we are starting to get used to having him there -- but it is still difficult to see cars whiz by the bedroom window (he's been bringing family and friends down). He got down here last night after dark and we somehow didn't see him drive by. We had our front door open and were watching TV and he appeared at the door rather suddenly to ask if he would give him some water -- he scared the daylights out of us. I don't think he will do that again -- after all, Colorado does have the "make my day" law and everyone back in the mountains feels very strongly about the right to bear arms.

On another note, about 4 years ago I bought a small plant -- a succulent called epiphyllum -- and it has flourished here. It has grown into a plant about 4 feet tall with branches going everywhere and it is absolutely bizarre and delightful. The other day I noticed it had 6 blooms on it. Today several of those blooms opened and the flowers are HUGE and gorgeous. Marshall and I both got excited about it and took pictures. It was a great diversion!










Marshall has an appointment with the dentist at the cancer center on Wednesday. He's going to have to go by himself this time because Whirlpool is finally going to replace our refrigerator and Wednesday was the only day they could deliver it. So I'll be at home waiting for the fridge. We are very much looking forward to having a working refrigerator again.


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