Friday, April 27, 2007

Lots of News

I flew to California yesterday to spend some time with Adrienne and accompany her to her doctor's appointments today. Adrienne picked me up at the airport, and after a nice dinner in the village of Claremont, we went back to the hotel and watched Grey's Anatomy in bed. She was quite tired after a few late nights but otherwise, she looks good.

We got up early this morning and checked e-mail. Hmmm, there was a message from DHL saying that Columbia is sending her a package. A turn down usually comes in a regular letter through the USPS, an acceptance comes in a package, but we didn't want to get too confident so we put it out of our minds for the day.

We arrived at City of Hope very early on Friday morning. Adrienne was scheduled for a pelvic ultrasound and was supposed to have a full bladder but, despite drinking 50+ ounces of water, her bladder wasn't full enough. So, we went off to the clinic to draw labs and wait for the water to go to the right place. Once again, Adrienne's port wouldn't draw and she made the decision pretty much right there to get the port out as soon as possible. After a needle poke, we went back to radiology for the ultrasound. Hmmm, the problem, an enlarged uterus on the last two CTs, looked normal on the ultrasound. Her oncologist compared the ultrasound and the last two CTs with her gynecologist, and he thinks the valproic acid caused some positive changes in the endometrium though he's not sure why. Just an interesting and positive development. There has never been a case where Hodgkin's Disease appeared in the endometrium but, as Adrienne's doctors have said, she doesn't follow the rules.

Adrienne had an echo and saw the cardiologist. Good news: her cardiac function is stable and near normal since she's taking the two cardiac meds. The doctor increased the Coreg dosage once again and wished her well in New York. The plan is to return in December and not see a cardiologist in NY unless she has a problem. That's very good news after the last few years of constant cardiology appointments and tests.

After we returned to CMC late in the afternoon, there was an e-mail from Columbia welcoming Adrienne as a visiting student. This was very exciting news. So, the plan is for her to go to NY for the summer and do her internship while living in the dorms at NYU. She'll come home for a couple of weeks in August and then she'll move into the dorms at Columbia. Luckily, they guaranteed her housing so that's one less thing to worry about.

It turns out City of Hope can't get Adrienne in to remove the port next week so we're going to see if we can arrange to have it removed here in Las Vegas. If not, it'll have to wait until she goes to NY. Adrienne will have another CT in about 10 days and we hope to see stable disease then. Her oncologist is very excited about the responses to valproic acid in other patients and hopes that Adrienne is responding well also.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Busy Week

There isn't much to report medically. Adrienne is still recovering from her respiratory infection. She has a bit of a cough (productive) and congestion but that can linger for a long time. I'm going to Claremont next Friday for her doctor visits. She has appointments with her BMT doctor, oncologist, and cardiologist, plus a few more tests. It often seems like the tests are never-ending, but often, they're reassuring. We're looking for good results on her echo (ultrasound of the heart) since she's been taking these new medications for awhile now.

At school, this has been a very busy week. Adrienne completed all of her projects and papers for the semester, which meant a lot of late nights. She's hoping to catch up on her sleep this weekend. The only thing left is final exams the second week in May. Then she'll spend a week here in Nevada and it's off to New York. We're planning to see Spamalot here in LV, which is getting rave reviews.

Our backyard and pool are finally complete. This is the biggest home project I've ever been involved with and I'm glad it's done. We still have a few bugs to work out, but all in all, it turned out beautifully. When the weather clears up, we'll take some pictures to post.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Doing Better

Adrienne is feeling much better than she was last week, though she continues to be fairly tired. Her hemoglobin dropped quite a bit in the last few weeks, not enough to need a transfusion but enough for her to feel the difference. The valproic acid can make her tired too. Hopefully she'll get a much needed bounce so she can finish her projects and exams for the semester.

I have a call in to the doctor in NY to make sure we're on the right track and to find out what he has in store for Adrienne over the summer. She is very excited to spend an extended time in her favorite city in the world. Adrienne should hear from Columbia in the next two weeks so we can finalize plans. In the meantime, she is signing up for a new dorm room and classes at CMC in case she comes back to California in August.

Sunday, President Bill Clinton is speaking at CMC. I can't wait to hear about it. There will be a video of the presentation available a few weeks later on CMC's web site so I'll post the link when it's available.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tough Week

Adrienne started the week with a cough that turned from mild to very bad in a few days. To avoid a trip to City of Hope, she decided to go to the health center at school. They told her to come back in a few days if she didn't feel better. After I spoke with her oncologist, she got to take a trip to City of Hope later that day for a real checkup. Adrienne had a chest xray and physical exam plus labs. After determining that there was no pneumonia or progression of her disease, the doctor put her on a course of antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine. Adrienne then spent a day and half in bed, but is finally feeling better today. For other people, having a viral infection isn't fun but it usually doesn't cause much harm. For Adrienne, it can go from bad to worse very quickly because Hodgkin's Disease affects her immune system, so we watch these things very closely.

Adrienne is feeling better today, though her sinuses are still bothering her. Her sinusitis has been chronic and she would like to have surgery, but there never seems to be a good window of opportunity when she's in remission and has free time. Hopefully, this will be a quiet week as Adrienne is in "project mode" at school and is very busy. President Bill Clinton will be speaking at CMC next Sunday so hopefully Adrienne will be feeling great by then.

Monday, April 02, 2007

PET Scan

Adrienne had her PET scan last Friday and I just got the results this morning. We still have a few questions since the radiologist compared it to one done in April, 2006 rather than to the one done last December. Another reading has been requested but the doctor is out for a few days for Passover so it will probably be the end of the week before we get another report. In any event, the PET aligns very closely with the CT. The area in the humerus (shoulder bone) in December's PET doesn't show on this one, which is good news. The only area of concern is new uptake in the thigh, which is very strange since Adrienne doesn't have pain there. We aren't so concerned about the thigh itself but rather spread of her disease.

Adrienne's doctor is very pleased with how she's doing and would like for her to stay the course, so we've agreed. He seems confident that there will be a curative treatment for her in the foreseeable future as long as we can keep things under control until then. This is a bit uncomfortable for us, watching and waiting, but Adrienne feels well and we don't want to upset things unless absolutely necessary. So, we'll finalize plans for New York in the coming weeks. She already has a great summer internship in NY and a place to stay in the NYU dorms for the summer. Columbia postponed the date when they would let visiting students know if they're admitted so the fall is still up in the air. They promise an answer by May 1 and Adrienne needs to tell CMC of her plans by August 1, so we're good there.

Otherwise, things are going well. Prince (our sheltie) already fell in the new pool. I should say, he ran into it trying to get to a splash of water. We had a good laugh over that. The rest of us can go in after Wednesday, which is nice since it has now warmed up here in Nevada. We still have some landscaping to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Adrienne is keeping busy and is looking forward to seeing President Clinton at CMC next month. Her college is amazing and we're so happy she can enjoy it, even though she studies incredibly hard. If you get a chance, go to to see some of the incredible things they do. If you look hard, you can find a current picture of Adrienne at the Kravis Leadership Institute.