Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marshall fell today

Marshall felt fairly good when he got up this morning, so I was able to go back to town and finish the things I couldn't get done yesterday.

But after I got home I was in my office and I heard a crash and then I heard Marshall yelling for me.  I ran to the bedroom and he was face down on the floor.  He was able to get up on his own with me just monitoring the situation.  He says he has no idea what made him fall.

I guess if there's anything good about falling, it's that he didn't break anything.  He is up and about now and is not experiencing any pain at all (and hasn't had an oxycodone all day).  Go figure.

And we got through that whole ordeal without me having an A-fib episode.

Friday, May 29, 2015

More pain

Marshall woke up today still in pain.  But it looked like it was manageable.  I gave him an oxycodone and I left for town to take another truckload of stuff from our garage to the Care & Share Center.

While I was in town, Marshall called me and he could barely talk.  He wanted me to come home quickly.  He thought his sugar was low.  So I rushed home (70mph on a dirt road -- yikes) and when I got here he was in awful pain.  He said the pain was traveling back and forth from left leg, across the back, and into the right leg.  He was in so much pain.  Between us, we got him to bed and I gave him another oxycodone and he is now resting.  I wish I knew what was going on.  We don't see the oncologist until Thursday and all he will do is set another date for more scans.  Marshall just can't win for losing.

I hope he wakes up and the pain is gone.

Suzanne, thank you for the message.  I hope your husband does well, too.  This is a tough journey.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Another physical therapy day

Marshall got up this morning feeling a bit of back pain which steadily got worse as the day progressed.  When we left at 12:30 to go to his physical therapy appointment he was in so much pain he was close to tears.  But we were already in the car so we went to the appointment.

They decided to take it easy today because of the pain and they hooked him up to the electrical stimulation machine for 15 minutes.  When we left there, he felt a bit better but he went to bed very early tonight.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.  We can't figure out what is causing the pain.  He just recently had x-rays that showed everything in his back was doing well.  And we don't think it's the cancer because the oncologist has told us a million times that cancer pain does not come and go, it would stick around.  I feel so bad for him.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New physical therapy

When Marshall saw the spine doctor for his post-op visit, the doctor gave him a prescription for physical therapy for his back, as well as to strengthen his legs.  His first appointment was yesterday and it went really well.  We go back for the second session tomorrow.

The reason we chose to use the physical therapy clinic here in town rather than having the home health care provide it is because the clinic has lots of equipment while the home physical therapy person pretty much relies on just stretch bands.

But in the meantime, when the home health care people learned that Marshall was leaving the house, they discharged him again.  I tried to explain that he is unable to leave the house by himself, he needs me with him to handle getting the walker in and out of the vehicle, but they said that if he is able to leave the house at all, even if it's being carried out, he is no longer housebound and their services come to an end.  That's the dumbest thing in the world.  It's like saying someone needs to be on death's door to get any help.  I hope when we relocate we have better luck with home care.  So the nurse came today for her final visit and she took all of the home equipment with her.

Today I painted the shutters on the house and bought some potted flowers to put on the patio -- giving the house a little curb appeal.

I was contacted by Bayer Healthcare to participate, along with many others, in a Virtual Summit for Prostate Cancer Bloggers and Caregivers scheduled for June 1 (to help Bayer better understand the life of a prostate cancer patient and his caregiver).  They sent me a webcam that they wanted me to use for the Summit and it arrived today; however, it is for a PC and I have a Mac, so I'm not sure if I'll be part of that Summit.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rainy days

It is now officially Colorado's monsoon season and we're getting rain every day.  So the roads are basically mud pits.  And the real estate agent won't come out to take the photos until we have a few sunny days.

Marshall felt better yesterday and today than he has in a few days.  He hasn't needed any oxycodone for two days.  He is still very fatigued, though.

Today our neighbor Dan spent the day (bless him) helping me get everything out of our garage loft and down into the garage so I could start weeding stuff out.  I felt so good all day, carrying things and lifting things and working pretty hard.  We got everything out of the loft.  Now I need to start going through it all.  I'll bet half of it will get thrown out.

When we were all done for the day and I came in the house, after a full day of no heart palpitations at all, as soon as I sat down and relaxed, the heart went into overdrive and here I am 5 hours later and still have a heart rate of 110bpm.  I just don't get it.  But at least I can live with 110bpm.  It's annoying but bearable.  It's when it shoots up to 120 or 130 and above -- and the legs get weak -- that it's hard to handle.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lab results

We got Marshall's lab work results yesterday and it all looked pretty good, EXCEPT for the PSA which has gone up to 64.9 (two weeks ago it was 48.8).  But the white blood cell count has gone up into normal range so that was awesome.

However, since Marshall is having quite a bit of pain again, the oncologist will call us on Tuesday to advise if more scans are in order and/or a change in treatment.  (He is out for the holiday weekend and won't be back till Tuesday so we talked to his nurse today).  In the meantime, Marshall is on Percocet again.

Our house is now on the market but they still have to come and take photos.  And today I started the tiresome task of going through things to see what to keep, what to throw away, what to sell and what to donate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Marshall still in pain

We were scheduled to go to the Cancer Center yesterday for Marshall's 2-week lab work and checkup since he's not been feeling good at all.  He has pain and he is totally weak and exhausted.  But when I got up around 5:30A, it was snowing like crazy so I made the decision to canceel the appointment.  (Of course, it stopped snowing within an hour, but the decision had been made.)

I called the oncologist and asked if we could just get the lab work done this time closer to home and he said absolutely.  So we called our primary care physician and he sent us to the lab he uses in Canon City.  So this morning we drove over there and got the blood drawn.  Hopefully we will have the results sometime tomorrow.  If the white blood cell count has gone down further, we'll have to see what Dr. Flaig wants to do.  They will also check Marshall's PSA again.

In the meantime he is glad that we don't have to go anywhere tomorrow and he can spend the day resting.

Tomorrow I'm going to call an acupuncturist here in town and make an appointment for Marshall.  He'd like to try a couple sessions and see if it helps.  I will probably do a few sessions myself.  I've had a few A-fib episodes and they sure are scary.    Yesterday I felt so weak and out of breath that I could barely walk around the house and that's the first time that's happened.  And the weird thing is that -- at least to the extent that I can tell anything -- I was NOT having an episode.  My heart rate was perfectly normal.  So it is evident that the blood wasn't pumping properly and that was very disconcerting.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Marshall had a bad day today.  His leg hurts and his shoulder hurts and he has absolutely no energy.  He felt awful.  He napped a bit and then went to bed early.  On Tuesday we see the oncologist so we can ask about it.

Tomorrow the real estate agent comes to the house to do an evaluation.

I've discovered that very cold food or drink (such as a smoothie) brings on a mild A-fib episode.  I Googled it and learned that the esophagus is right behind the top of the heart and the cold stuff can definitely trigger an episode.  Boy, the list of things I can't eat is growing by the day.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Good report from spine surgeon

We drove up to the University on Thursday to see the spine surgeon for a post-op checkup.  They took x-rays and told Marshall all the screws were right where they should be and the incision has healed nicely.  They removed all restrictions with regard to how much he can lift and bending over.

We spent the night at the Residence Inn and on Friday went to look at a townhouse in Centennial.  It was darling but was just too small for us.  But at least we got the ball rolling.  On Monday one of the local Westcliffe realtors is coming over to take a look at our house and do a market evaluation and let us know what price to put on our house.  It should be on the market in a few days.

Today I started the slow process of going through things to decide what to take and what to get rid of.

Marshall felt okay for the 2-day trip to Denver, but had a little trouble walking.  Today it got worse and his arm was also hurting.  Not sure if it's arthritis but he's taking Aleve.  I put a brace on his knee but he said it didn't help.  So he's down in the dumps.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

First, today we were able to get Marshall's motorcycle out of storage and into the shop for some repairs.  After that it will go to an airbrush painter for some touchups.  He wants it ready for this year's bike shows.

Second, we talked all day today and finally made the decision that we need to move to the city.  We both absolutely love it here, but we need to be realistic about what we can and can't do.  It is obvious that neither one of us can handle the maintenance on this property.  And finding people to come out where we are isn't easy.  And let's face it, as we get older and older, the whole process of selling and buying won't get any easier.

Also, the 360-mile round trip travel to the cancer center (which is now every two weeks) is very very tiring.  Being closer to medical care would be so nice.  Where we are, it's sometimes iffy whether or not an emergency vehicle -- if one is available -- can even find us, much less get to us.

So next week when we get back from the various cancer center visits we will have a real estate agent come out and tell us what we can ask for our property and go from there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Isn't this great?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Springtime in the Rockies

This is what we woke up to this morning!

It is absolutely gorgeous. However, Marshall can't do any shoveling and while I did the best I could, I could only clear off a path down the ramp at the front of the house. Normally the snow in Colorado is like powder and you can sweep it off in a few moments. This is a wet snow and very heavy. Let's hope that (1) the sun comes out today -- which isn't looking good so far; and (2) that we don't need to get out for anything! But we need the moisture and it is definitely great to look at!

Marshall is still sleeping as I write this so he hasn't even seen it yet.

Yesterday we went out and about and had a really nice day until Marshall just fizzled out and we headed home. But we went to a grand opening of a business in town and then we went to Canon City and bought the new toilet. So that was a great day for us.

Now if we can just get our guy Ray over here to install the toilet for us. If not, my fellow animal rescue volunteer -- Glenn -- said he would do it.

I think we'll just build a fire today and look out at the beauty of Colorado.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 8, 2015

Busy day

Marshall stayed home today and dealt with a water leak in the master bathroom.  Gina was here to help coordinate things and to watch the animals.

Yesterday I got an email from my cardiologist telling me to be sure to take my Metropolol pill this morning (it's a medication that slows down the heart rate).  I told her it seemed kind of counterproductive to take a medication to slow down the heart rate at the same time I'm going to be getting on a treadmill trying to raise the heart rate.  But she insisted that I take the medication.

She also surprised me with the news that when she went over the results of my 14-day Holter heart monitor, she is leaning towards recommending a pacemaker.  But she wanted to see the stress test results first.

So when I arrived at the hospital today the nurses/technicians said that I should NOT have taken the medication prior to a stress test.  (Duh)  But we decided to go ahead with the treadmill anyway.  I was supposed to get my heart rate up to 128.  I gave it my all, but I could only get it to 108, so they stopped the treadmill test and switched over to Plan B -- a chemically induced stress test.  But even with the confusion, I think it went well.  The cardiologist even sent me an apology for making me take the Metropolol.  At least she knows that I could have made it to 128bpm if it weren't for her!

So now I wait for all my test results and I see the cardiologist on June 3 to go over everything.  I don't know why she is waiting so long to see me, but I'm taking that a a sign that she does not feel it is an emergency.

When I got home, I learned that we need a new toilet in the master bathroom.  So tomorrow morning Marshall and I will be heading to Home Depot.  In the meantime, we just keep putting towels on the floor.

Other than that, Marshall had a quiet day.  He has no pain but is just fatigued all the time, can't get any real energy going.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

No more physical therapy

First off, look at the purple "badge" at the top of the page.  Our blog was selected by Healthline as one of the best prostaate cancer blogs for 2015.  We made Number 7.  That's pretty cool!  Here is a link to the full list of prostate cancer blogs on the list for those of you who follow our blog during your own cancer journey and may want to read what others are saying:  www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-prostate-cancer-blogs.
Now, back to Marshall:  He did not go with me to Pueblo on Tuesday.  He preferred to sleep in.  So I called Gina to come up and then I went and got the car fixed and got some lab work done.

On Wednesday, the physical therapist was here and she feels like he can be on his own now with regard to exercising so she discharged him again.  She says if in the future we feel like he needs her again, we should just call.

Tomorrow I go for my stress test.  Marshall has said he wants to go with me, but I'm thinking it will be another "sleep in" day.  Which is okay with me.  I would probably be worried about hin the whole time anyway.

He has been really sleeping in a lot lately.  He stays up and watches TV and then sleeps until 10:30 or 11:00 every day.  He is still pain free.

He got a call this week from the place that stores his motorcycle telling him he needs to get it moved because they are doing renovations to the building.  So next Wednesday we need to get the trailer over there and get the bike out.  The guy who owns the storage building is a biker and he will help us get the bike into the trailer since Marshall really doesn't have the strength or the balance to get on the bike at this point, much less actually drive it.  We need to get the bike into the shop for various repairs anyway, so we will just take it straight to the shop and leave it -- and the trailer -- until the repairs are done.

We had a conversation yesterday about driving.  I'm not totally comfortable with him driving because he is still so wobbly.  And he is not totally comfortable with me because of this whole A-fib thing.  We periodically talk about moving to Denver to be closer to medical care, but then the enormity of the whole process (selling this house, driving up to Denver regularly to look at houses, doing the mortgage paperwork, closing, packing, moving, unpacking, etc.) is more than I can envision.

In addition, the housing market right now is definitely a seller's market.  We contacted a few real estate agents and they send us emails when houses come on the market that meet our wish list.  Well, practically as soon as we click on the listing and look at it, it disappears because it got a contract already.  There's no way we can work fast enough under those circumstances!  So we stay where we are and hope for the best.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Nothing much going on

It's been quiet and uneventful.

I still haven't had an A-Fib episode (to speak of) since April 30.

Marshall is doing his exercises and with the physical therapist this morning he even took a walk outside.

Tomorrow we are going to go to Pueblo and try to get the back door of our Highlander fixed so that it will open automatically again.  Marshall will go with me because he "doesn't want a babysitter."

He also plans to go with me on Friday when I go for my stress test.  He'll have his power chair and he can run around the hospital while he's waiting for me to get done.  My friend Glenda, who has been taking me to my appointments, fell off a ladder and is in the hospital herself with a bunch of fractures, so she didn't think she could drive me this time!  :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Doctor appointment today

Yesterday the physical therapist came to the house and as she was taking Marshall through some exercises, his right knee gave out and he slid to the floor.  But he was aable to get himself situated and get back up by himself, so that was a good thing.

Marshall and I both had a doctor appointment today with our primary care doctor.  He saw us both at once, kind of cool.

With regard to me, I brought the doctor up to speed on my recent diagnosis of Afib.  He checked me out and, at least at the time of the appointment, my heart rate was completely normal.  I haven't had an episode for two full days now.  I will report back to him after I see the cardiologist in June.  I continue to take the magnesium every day.  (I finished my 14 days with the heart monitor yesterday morning and was very glad to see it go...)

With regard to Marshall, he talked to the doctor about a few little issues he's been having and they discussed remedies.  It was pretty much an uneventful appointment, just getting the doctor caught up on everything.  We asked him if he knew of anything Marshall could do to help bring his white blood cell count back up.  Dr. Bliss said there's not a whole lot we can do as long as Marshall is still taking the chemo pill, but probiotics (which can be in the form of Greek yogurt or Kefir), CoQ10 and exercise can help.

We picked up some prescriptions at Walgreens and headed home.

The home health nurse came by this morning and checked Marshall's vitals.  She said that now that he is using the Tele-Health machine, he doesn't really need a nurse coming by unless something is going on that warrants it.