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.

Osimertinib & Cannabis

Mom had her doctor’s appointment today, the one we’ve all been waiting for for several months.  I didn’t know about the appointment today until they were walking out the door.  I would like to have gone to hear directly what the doc said, but that didn’t happen.

She has been approved for two medications – the cancer drug Osimertinib and medical cannabis.  Both seemed to take forever to get done.

Osimertinib (pronounced oh”·sim·er’·ti·nib) is the replacement of Teva-Erlotinib, the one she’s been on for several years.  The cancer, luckily, has genetically mutated into the type they suspected, which hopefully can be controlled by this new Osimertinib.  The doc suggested start with 7 days per week to know definitively if this new medication is working, but Mom said she only wants 3 or 4 days per week.  I suspect she expects the same side effects as the last one – tired all the time.  It will be delivered by mail, weirdly enough.

As well, she will soon be on cannabis oil – one part THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) (gives her appetite and controls overall aches & pains) to four parts CBD (Cannabidiol) (for pain, anxiety, & tiredness).  It also has possible effects of somewhat controlling cancer.

Here are some reports from today:

 7/12/2018  4:45 PM       602598 Annette 20180712 cancer report.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:45 PM       467177 Annette 20180712 medical cannabis note.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:50 PM       475304 Annette 20180712 Megestrol prescription.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:50 PM       708059 Annette 20180712 Osimertinib 001.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:50 PM       647161 Annette 20180712 Osimertinib 002.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:50 PM       702384 Annette 20180712 Osimertinib 003.jpg
 7/12/2018  4:50 PM       708620 Annette 20180712 Osimertinib 004.jpg

three pills per week, no news on blood tests

Since May 5, 2018, Mom has been taking three cancer tablets per week instead of her regular four.  She’s been pretty tired the past few months and has missed going out places or stays in the car, like when Floyd goes shopping.  Not so good.  So, because this pill really knocks the energy out of her, she’s decided to go back to three.  There’s been no change on average in the cancer cells, so we’re hoping this will not adversely affect her.

There is still no news on the blood test.  Her blood test is May 22 and followup appointment is May 24.  It was supposed to be two weeks since they sent the blood back East, but it’s been two month now, and still no word.  The importance of this test, as you can read from earlier posts, is that they can determine if a new cancer drug will work on Mom or not.  If so, she can discontinue the ones that make her so worn out.  I’ll keep you posted.

This is from a couple of days ago.

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.

diet, protein powder

Mom’s diet and quantity are both pretty limited these days.  There are lots of foods she doesn’t like anymore, and her appetite is limited.

She’s taking medication to improve her appetite.  It’s working, but she still doesn’t eat much.  The foods she previously liked, like peas and carrots … kidding!  She’s always hated peas and carrots.  That’s kind of an inside joke.  We go to a restaurant, and she asks what vegetables they’re serving.  If it’s peas and carrots, she tells them to keep it.  Smitty’s is one place that does substitutions.  They bring sliced tomato and something else instead.  Anyway, pretty much everything she previously enjoyed doesn’t taste the same, so she just doesn’t enjoy eating.

So I bought some protein powder.

That did not go over well.  It acted like more of a laxative than anything.  Extreme proteins, like eggs for example, have never agreed with her.  But she is drinking the juice concoction I made, which is good, just so long as it’s not mixed in with this protein.

orange juice plus

Mom likes her orange juice a lot more than the Boost non-milk-based drink (“Boost juice”).  But an orange, especially one that has been juiced and now comes in a carton, is not a whole food – it doesn’t give full nutrition.  I suggested a couple of weeks ago that I could make a drink with protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, electrolytes, etc. that the body needs.  She balked at the idea because “I just don’t want it, that’s all.”

Last night I asked what fruits she likes and pushed to the end.  “And…?  Anything else?”  Floyd would mention another fruit.  Peach, for example.  “I don’t like peaches.”  “You eat peaches from a can all the time.  You like them.”  No solid conclusion to be made on peaches.

Today I mixed it up anyway – everything except the protein powder – gotta go shopping.  She drank it and, at the end, scraped up the pulp from the glass and said, “I’m eating it because it’s expensive.  Isn’t it?”  “Yes, but you should be eating it because it’s good for you,” I offered.  I hope this takes because it’s a bit more nutrition in her, and every little bit counts.


Last Thursday Mom and Floyd got a walker from the Canadian Red Cross.
Mom complained that it wasn’t as the doctor suggested – that it was all free – but that it was in fact by donation. As well, you don’t get to keep it. It must be returned to the RC when not needed. The RC suggested keeping it for three months. Mom felt that there’s a lot of misinformation given by the doctor and that she was talked into getting this walker.
As it turns out, she doesn’t really need the walker. It’s too cumbersome for use in the house. She’s better off using her office chair with wheels. Floyd pushes her around on it wherever she needs to go. She’s had it a few days now and thinks it’s really not useful.
So they’ll take it and the bath chair back, save the donation money, and buy a shower chair for $60-or-so from Shoppers Drug Mart or someplace.

Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131129.jpg
Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131155.jpg
Annette's walker Canadian Red Cross 20170822_131208.jpg

short grab bar in bathtub

I installed a short grab bar in Mom’s bathtub. It’s only about 1.5 feet long, but it might be useful for when actually showering, like when sitting down on and standing up from her bath chair.

Annette’s grab bar (hand rail) near shower