no dental surgery needed

Mom was quite concerned about two of her teeth.  She just went for fillings a couple of days ago (supposed to be 2, got 3), and the dentist said that the two teeth he previously said would have to be pulled don’t actually have to be.  He looked at the X-rays and said it really wasn’t necessary.  So this is good news.  Mom apparently laughted when she left the dentist’s office.  Floyd asked where she was ’cause she couldn’t possibly be laughing if coming from the dentist.  Her impression was that, at her age, this wasn’t such a good idea.  (In other words, it wouldn’t be worth the effort.)  Now one might think that’s pretty crass, but from Mom’s point of view it was very good news.  She’d have to be sedated – hard on her system.  The two teeth were to be pulled, and new fake teeth were to be bridged across.  She only had two days with toothaches.  I gave her some Orajel, and it “went away”.

cancer drug update

Mom has some news from her doc’s appointment today.
They’ve come up with a new way of testing whether or not someone would benefit from a new drug that’s been developed. Previously, the doc said a biopsy of lung material was needed. He said that this wasn’t possible because of Mom’s weakened state – she’d (now this is Mom repeated what the doc said) “die on the table”. Now, however, they can do a blood test. It’s done in Toronto. No, she wouldn’t need to travel there. They just send the blood. “How soon can this be done?” Mom said. “Right now,” the doc said. So he’ll send her blood to Toronto to be tested.
The word “remission” was mentioned. I don’t have a recording of this doc’s appointment. However, here’s a video of Mom explaining the whole thing.

Annette cancer drug update 20180329_181500.AVI

You might recall another talk Mom had about the biopsy surgery.

Annette talking about biopsy surgery 20120117_232300 s1.wmv
Annette talking about biopsy surgery 20120117_232300.wmv

I’ll keep everyone posted.

bladder cancer

Mom has not been feeling well the past few weeks.  She went for her regular blood checkup last week.  They said they found blood in her urine.  The doc on duty said that it was probably cancer in the bladder.  I’m not sure how accurate a non-cancer specialist could be in this diagnosis.  Mom seems to think it’s true.  She’ll go Wednesday at 9:00am to see her regular doctor to talk about the test.

I mentioned to her that sometimes people have their bladder taken out; some discreetly carry around a bag with them.  She said there’s no way that she would survive surgery.  I also suggested that they may have a very effective treatment – no one knows until she sees the doctor.

I’ll keep everyone posted.

from 4 to 3 pills

Mom decided to reduce her cancer pills from 4 per week to 3.  Why?  She’s saying that she has no energy, that she’s tired all the time.  Floyd suggested to try 3 for one week then 4 the next and back to 3, etc.  Just a quick update.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

no biopsy

Mom has decided that a biopsy is not going to happen.  The risks are too great.  There is a small chance that an infection or pneumonia would take hold, and there is no way should would survive that.  The biopsy would only tell whether another medication would be useful to her or not.

But her current meds seem to be working still.  She is now on her cancer-fighting medication four times a week.  She can’t possibly do seven because it robs her of energy.  Quality of life is not laying down for hours at a time during the day and having no energy to get up.  So this is good balance for her.  She was so worried about telling Floyd and me her decision, but we support her.

Her X-ray shows that a large piece of cancer has shrunken down to a size that can’t be detected by X-ray.  Of course, it’s still there, but it’s certainly diminished in size since her previous X-ray.  I don’t know when her next CT Scan or X-ray will be.

Her mornings are still slow.  It takes her a while to get going.  She asks for help in getting food.  Floyd and I get what she wants, although both her taste and appetite aren’t really there much.  She gets hungry, but after a few bites she says she can’t eat much.  “Not too much,” she states with nearly every meal.  I joke with her, saying that she says it pretty much every time.  Something to laugh at.

change of meds, biopsy

Mom has a chance to change her meds.  She’s skipped about a week of Tarceva to regain some energy.  That stuff really tires her out; she’d been taking it 7 days / week lately.  But that could change if she decides to go ahead with the med change.

However, it means she must go in for a biopsy to determine if the new meds would be suitable for the type of cancer in her lungs.  One doctor says there is a 5% chance (one in twenty) that should would not come through the procedure.  Pneumonia or infection could set in.  This initially scared Mom, and she decided, “No way” would she go through this.

Even then, they still have to test if the meds will work well on this cancer.  They’re thinking that the cancer may have morphed into another type and that this med would be of more benefit.

But upon reflecting on all of this, she thinks she’d like to talk with her regular doctor, Dr. Oviatt, about this.  Her next appointment is Nov. 28th.  I’ll keep you posted.

visit from A&C

Angela / Aizlylnn and Caleb were here visiting Mom for a few days.  Of course, Mom was pretty happy about this.  They visited, played cards, went to Tony Roma’s for ribs.  Angela & Caleb sang for her.  (Caleb says, “No YouTube!”)  During the times Mom was resting, or before she got up, I went with them to Starbucks, etc. to talk, take pictures, shop for stuff.  Good visit all-round.  Mom says she only wishes they could stay longer.


Mom has been sleeping in the daytime much more these days than before.  “I don’t know why,” she says.  Since her fall in the tub a few months ago, she’s been tired and has taken naps more often.

Today I got in at 5:30PM and found out from Floyd that she’d been asleep “for quite a while.”

The evening before yesterday she walked to bed, not needing Floyd to push her in her office chair.  “I just forgot and did it myself,” she said yesterday, quite happy with herself.  Good!

So it’s one step forward and one step back.

update, chest pain

Mom seems to do well these days.  She made gravy from Sunday’s turnkey dinner.  She’s walking back and forth more.  Unfortunately, she had chest pains this morning that lasted 45 minutes.  Level: 10.  <sigh>  Not good.  But this doesn’t happen very often.  Here are Mom & Floyd watching Jeopardy on TV.

Mom’s voice & hearing, age

I’ve noticed that Mom’s voice is very crackly now.  She doesn’t have the lung power to push her voice out normal.  She feels badly about this and knows that, since her fall, things like this have been creeping up.  Yesterday we talked about this.  She can feel that things are very different, going downhill, as they say.

Yet, having said that, she is able to walk more without help (being wheeled across the house in her office chair), and she even made supper last night.  Meatloaf, asparagus, and mashed potatoes, if you want to know.  Floyd mashed the potatoes though.  That would be beyond what she can do.  Since her fall in the tub, she’s not made muffins or supper or my lunches for college (something she still so badly wants to do).

Mom’s hearing is not what it used to be either.  Her left ear is weak.  Even when talking in what I would call a normal voice in front of her, she still has trouble.  I think the TV is louder these days, too.

No change in the cancer situation.  She’s still on Tarceva daily.

How do I put this without sounding brash.  Well, just say it.  I’ve told her years ago that I thought she would die of old age, not of cancer.  I maintain this is true.  And she is now 81.  Then again, her mom lived to 93, so I believes she has a long while yet to go before she gives up.  …  It might sound brash to say so, but she says that she herself doesn’t feel bad about that.