Tuesday, November 28, 2006

CT on Friday (oops, Wednesday(

As Adrienne nears the end of the semester and final exams, she is very busy. She's had an appointment to see her oncologist on Friday for some time but she heard from him yesterday that he wants a CT before he sees her. We knew she needed to have one soon but she didn't expect to squeeze it in such a short time. The only time Adrienne has available is Friday before her appointment. We appreciate that he, like her doc at Stanford, reviews her scans quickly and lets us know what's going on. I think it's awful how many doctors make their patients wait, agonizing over what might or might not be. (NEW: Right after I posted this, the hospital called to schedule Adrienne's appointment and they don't have a convenient time for her until next Wednesday.)

I worry about Adrienne going to some of these appointments on her own but she wants to so I'll respect her wishes. She says she's up to anything and I trust her judgement.

Adrienne will also see the cardiologist and endocrinologist on Friday. She is feeling much better on the thyroid medication but she has to cut the pill, so she's going to see if she can bump the dose up a bit to get to a whole pill (she takes 62.5 mcg now and there's a 75 mcg pill). She isn't having any side effects like nervousness so hopefully that will work.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

There isn't much news to report this week. Adrienne is feeling well, though she still has some days when she's very tired, probably because she burns the candle at both ends. She decided to skip Wednesday classes and head to her dad's a day early for Thanksgiving. I'm happy that she'll miss much of the traffic and get an extra day to sleep in. He only lives about an hour from CMC and some old friends will be there.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Adrienne and Daniel are both doing well. Our move to Nevada has gone well and we love our new home. Even the dogs are happy and love their daily three mile walk around our neighborhood. We hope this continues for awhile.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Doing Well

A LITTLE UPDATE: The costs of Adrienne's treatments for the last ten years are bindbogglng. Her first year of chemo and radiation cost $150,000. The first transplant cost $200,000 and the second one almost $500,000. Radiation costs $8,000 a week and she's had 20 weeks of radiation. The tomotherapy she had last year cost more than twice that. Five days of chemo costs $25,000. This doesn't count the many surgeries, doctor's visits, procedures, blood tests, drugs, and so on. I've spent countless hours on the phone with insurance companies and billing departments over the years and we've been very lucky to have great insurance. So today, I got a call from Stanford saying that they were getting ready to turn Adrienne's account over to a collection agency. I haven't received a bill but they obviously had our new address and phone number. I was pretty upset about the phone call and returned it right away. Guess how much we owe? $48. They're sending me a bill.

Adrienne is like a new woman. :o) Not only is she less fatigued and more energetic, but she is also much happier. I can hear it in her voice when we talk on the phone. It makes us so happy to know she's feeling better and more able to do the many activities in her schedule. She takes a full load of classes, works at the Kravis Leadership Institute, and is Vice President of Straight But Not Narrow. In high school, she wasn't really able to participate in activities so now she is getting involved in whatever interests her. Sometimes my head spins when I hear about everything she's doing, but she sounds so happy lately.

Adrienne's next checkups are on December 1. I'm sure scans will follow soon after that. She wants to go to the doctor on her own now. I'm always concerned that she'll get some bad news without someone being with her but she really wants to do this without a parent. She usually calls me right after her appointment or in between to let me know how things went. I often wonder what we did before cell phones.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Started Thyroid Medication

Adrienne started the thyroid medication last week and she says she feels like a new person. She no longer feels like she wants to go right back to bed after waking up and she doesn't need a nap every day. I don't think we all realized how much this was affecting her until now.

Since the fatigue problem seems to be resolved, Adrienne should be able to increase the dose of the Coreg. When she was diagnosed almost three years ago with cardiomyopathy, the talk was mostly about when she might need a heart transplant. Now it seems like they can manage her indefinitely with medication. This is certainly good news. Our hope is that stem cell therapies will come to fruition in the next few years so Adrienne's heart can actually replace the cells that the chemo destroyed.

As usual, Adrienne is busy planning her classes for next semester, her summer, and the following semester abroad. She definitely wants to go to Prague and her doctor thinks we can make this work.

And now, the third (and final) way to prepare for your first mammogram:

Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together as hard as you can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next week and do it again!!