not “too many pills” (or, a good shin kicking)

Mom has been feeling poorly lately.  For the past couple of weeks, she’s been lying down more, not eating much at all, and having absolutely no appetite and no energy for anything.  I just found out why.

We were talking about her appetite stimulant medication at supper this evening.  She had only eaten about three tiny bites.  This plate looks almost the same as when I served it to her.

She commented that she mentioned to her doctor several weeks back that the pills didn’t seem to be helping much.  The doctor said she’d change her to something else, something more powerful, and that she’d only take two per day.  She’d been taking four previously.  The pharmacy said that she should be taking eight, but Mom balked at that and said that the doctor said to take only two.

Since then, I asked, did the milligrams go up?  No – or nobody can be sure because … well, nobody seems to pay attention to how many milligrams anything is, only counting the pills.  As it turns out, the pills are apparently exactly the same type and strength as before.  So, instead of increasing her dosage to try to get more energy going, she’s been taking half! and wondering why she’s so tired.

I insisted that she should be taking at least the same amount as before but that she should probably be taking six per day, not four, and certainly not two.  “But the pills will run out, and the doctor will ask me why,” she said.  “Then tell them you bloody need them and that they should cough the goddamn things up if you need them!”  WTH!

She’ll be taking four in the morning and two at night from now on.  If anything should happen because of that, I’ll go with her to the doctor and kick everybody in the shins.

I’ll keep you posted.

shortness of breath

Mom has experienced shortness of breath a few times.  This evening it lasted about 10 minutes.  She breathes heavily and can’t seem to catch up.  This has apparently happens a lot.  Things like this come and go.  She used to experience “panic attacks”, as she and her doctor call it, but they seem to have quietly subsided the past few weeks.  Now this shortness of breath happens instead.  Previously, pains in her side, cramps in her foot, and other things ailed her.  Now, a half hour later, she’s back in the living room watching TV, seemingly without breathing problems.

best customer

M&F went to the doc yesterday.  They also had some extra running around to do, so they were gone a long time.  When back, Mom said that Floyd had some good news to relay from the doctor.  According to her blood work, Mom is apparently this doctor’s “best customer”, as Floyd says.  That is, she has the healthiest blood test results of any of the doc’s clients with this type of cancer.  Aside from the cancer, she’s very, very healthy.


Mom commented a few weeks ago that she feels like she’s getting slower.  I can see this to be true these days.  I could argue that this is a normal sign of age, not the cancer.  Of course, as has always been, she sometimes has good days and sometimes bad.  More accurately, good hours and bad hours.

update in health & well-being

Mom is doing okay these days.  As it is still cold out these days, she sits on her chair at the kitchen heat register in the morning and warms up.  It takes a while to get breakfast down.  If often takes a couple or few hours to feel like she can get going.  But, as long as she is kept warm, she and Floyd go out to Wal-Mart, downtown, Safeway, etc.  I know Floyd is itching to go out somewhere, so he goes for walks while I’m at home or even if I’m not if Mom is feeling good and not too tired.  I haven’t asked her her weight recently, so I don’t know.  I’m pretty sure she hasn’t put on any weight.  I suggested that they might take a road trip up North or Saskatchewan when the weather is warm.  But I really don’t know if Mom can handle any trip longer than an hour or so.  She frequently needs to lie down.  Last night in the middle of a TV show before bed, she had to lie down.  We talked for a bit.  She was concerned about how it might look to everyone.  “I don’t think anyone knows how this feels.”  She talked about having the energy sapped out of her and feeling like there is absolutely nothing she can do but lie down.  I told her that, no, unless this happens to someone else, they really don’t know how it would feel.  <sigh>  “When this happens, I just have to lie down and wait.  But when I feel good, I feel good.”

Mom continues to take her new cancer meds, appetite pills, and occasionally her Ventolin (“puffer”).  I’ll post an update in a couple of months after her next doctor’s appointment.

cancer cut in half – again

Doctor Brigden says Mom’s cancer has decreased to half of previously – again.  Good news.

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So it looks like the new medication is really working well.  The doc still states that Mom should be in remission (yes, all cancer gone) by spring.  Mom cannot believe it.  “I’ll believe it when I see it,” she says.  But the proof is in the CT scan lab results.  (Previously, it was an X-ray.)

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Unfortunately, Dr. Brigden is leaving.  He’s taking a position elsewhere outside of Lethbridge.  Mom isn’t too pleased with this.  But, because of Mom’s success with this new medication, the good doctor wants to keep in touch with Mom.  She’ll give him my email address and, I hope, this website.

panic attacks

Mom has been having ‘panic attacks’ lately.  They typically happen just as she starts to eat.  I’m guessing it is part physiological – it takes a lot of energy to digest food – and part psychological – she knows she has to eat and dreads it most times.

She says she has more of an appetite lately, like the past month or so.  I might attribute that to using the cannabis oil again, but it might be that she just knows she has to eat.  However, it’s really hard for her.

I think she also dreads someone harping at her that she has to eat.  Although it is true that she needs to eat to keep her strength up, and we (Floyd & I) remind her of it, she also doesn’t need that added stress.  “Don’t worry – you’ll eat when you can.”

As I write this (5:45pm), she’s laying down with an Ativan in hopes this feeling leaves.  It generally lasts about 10 to 20 minutes.

In the time it’s taken me to write this (and delete all the spam messages on this site [83 since mid-December 2018]), she’s back at the table to attempt supper again.



Mom has been using the cannabis oil (50/50 mix of CBD & THC) for about a month now.  Five drops, three times a day.  She says it’s much easier to eat now.  She actually gets hungry now, and she’s eating more.  And, it seems she’s not as tired as before.

However, her hearing is not getting any better.  That’s not cancer – just age.