Saturday, March 25, 2006

Clear Scans

Adrienne's scans were clear of Hodgkin's Disease once again, now giving her 5 months of remission. We are very thankful and relieved for this bit of good news. Adrienne celebrated last night by going to a Spanish tapas restaurant with some friends, followed by rearranging her dorm room and a movie with a friend. It's all fun and we're so grateful that she's able to experience these things.

Adrienne saw the cardiologist yesterday. He doubled her heart medication but she is still on a very low dose. He remarked once again about how small and thin she is. Most of his patients are people with heart disease who also have cancer so she is not like his normal patient. He seems to have taken quite an interest in her. With the good news about the scans and the medications under control, Adrienne is now going to be free of doctors until the first week in May, the week before her finals.

The only problem now is Adrienne's right hip. It appears as if the surgery was not successful on that side and she is having quite a lot of pain. The core decompression she had doesn't always work but at least the left hip is okay. She has an appointment to see the orthopedist in May when she finishes school. This will surely mean more surgery, which will be much more extensive than the last one.

Since Adrienne won't be doing the clinical trial this summer, we're going to take a trip to Spain so she can practice her Spanish and, of course, eat more tapas. It will be just the girls: Adrienne, myself, and Adrienne's grandma. My mother and I have been to Spain but Adrienne hasn't. We'd like to focus on the Seville area and the Basque country since neither of us spent time in those places during our other visits. It will be awfully hot when we're there in July but I'm sure we'll find a way to survive. Ole.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Back from Spring Break

By all accounts, Adrienne had a great time during her week off, sleeping in, shopping all over Santa Barbara. She even learned how to knit. She and her friend arrived back at college on Saturday only to find out that the dining hall wouldn't be open until Monday. Luckily, the village is close by so she and the other earlier arrivers could get something to eat. Now she's back to the routine of classes, work at the Kravis Institute, ballroom daning, Straight But Not Narrow...sounds like a pretty good (though sometimes stressful) life.

Adrienne's right hip is hurting her quite a bit. She says each step hurts and sitting is also painful. As I recall, that hip was worse than the left prior to her surgery in December. The more advanced the avascular necrosis, the less likely that the core decompression surgery she had will work. I've made an appointment for her to see the orthopedic surgeon in May and have a call in to find out about pain relief in the meantime. Since she's now taking the cardiac medication, we may need to be more careful about pain killers that can cause clotting problems.

City of Hope called the other day to say that our insurance won't pay for a PET scan until the CT is done. This is a new policy, obviously designed to minimize the number of very expensive PET scans done on patients. For Adrienne, it just means extra visits to the hospital. So, she'll have the CT on Friday this week and probably the PET the following week. She sees the cardiologist on Friday too and he will probably adjust her meds. The extreme fatigue she felt the first week is gone but may return as the dose increases.

I spoke to the doctor running the clinical trial we were interested in. If Adrienne is still in remission with these scans, he doesn't want to do it because he doesn't want to take the risk while she's doing well. These types of treatments work best when someone's disease is under control but, on the other hand, we don't want to upset the apple cart while Adrienne is doing so well.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spring Break

Adrienne is very excited to start her one week spring break from college. She is going to Santa Barbara for the week with her best friend from college. Her plan is to stay with her dad, help the local Team In Training manager, and have fun shopping on State Street. Along the way, they hope to catch a few tasty dinners and watch some good movies. Sounds like a good way to relax and unwind. It's so wonderful to hear Adrienne sounding so happy after the last few years of nonstop treatment.

Last Saturday, Adrienne started her new heart medication. Her heart races a bit from time to time and she is very fatigued. It takes a few weeks to get used to it and, hopefully, she'll be feeling back to normal before we know it. She is on an extremely low dose, which will increase as she gets used to it. She'll probably be seeing the cardiologist every 3 weeks until the dose is right.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Good News - No Heart Failure

After completing all of her cardiac tests this week, Adrienne saw the cardiologist at City of Hope today. We were very happy to hear that she doesn't have heart failure. She is going to start taking an ACE inhibitor called Enalapril to ensure that she doesn't go into heart failure. Needless to say, we're very relieved. The only disturbing item is that she has low blood pressure in her legs (she had a test that measures that) with no real explanation. The low blood pressure is responsible for her blue feet, which is likely to get worse with the heart medication. The doctor wants her to wear warmer shoes and see if that will help her circulation.

Adrienne's oncology checkup went well also. She will have PET and CT scans in three weeks to make sure she is still in remission. We feel pretty confident but these tests always make us a bit nervous waiting for the results.

Adrienne is having a really good time at college. Last night, Salman Rushdie came to speak at The Ath. Adrienne didn't get to go to the dinner because she wasn't on campus when registration for the event started but she got to see his presentation in person. Her response, "oh my gosh, he was so interesting."