Monday, August 25, 2008

A Good Week

Gus has been with us for about 10 far, so good. Caesar and Prince (our shelties) won't play with him yet but they seem to have accepted that he isn't leaving any time soon. Adrienne started classes at UNLV today so I'm "puppy sitting" during the day, which mostly amounts to taking him out every hour to make sure he doesn't mess in the house. He's a pretty smart guy (as you'd expect from a poodle) and seems to be getting the hang of housebreaking quickly.

Adrienne did fine with her chemo last week and restarted the MGCD as scheduled last Friday. The GI side effects are pretty tough but she's handling it well with plenty of over the counter medications. She's fairly fatigued right now but hopefully that will improve as she gets used to the routine of being back to school.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Today is Adrienne's 21st birthday, one of those special days for everyone, but even more special in her case. Tonight we're going to do a bit of eating, drinking, and gambling, which is sure to be fun. Tomorrow is Daniel's birthday but he has to wait a year for his drinking and gambling.

Wow, what a week. After the elation of the scans on Wednesday, we got a call on Thursday saying that Adrienne had to stop the MGCD until she has an echo (an ultrasound of the heart) and gets approval to proceed from the drug company. She had the echo today and everything is fine, as we expected. In fact, her cardiac function looks even better than it did on her echo last fall. She started her third cycle of the Vidaza today and should be able to resume the MGCD on Friday.

Daniel got a dog, a miniature Australian Shepherd, in Santa Barbara. He named him Herbert after my dad. We thought it was quite funny and wondered how my dad would have felt, but Daniel means it as the highest compliment. Since Adrienne is staying here for the fall semester, we decided she should have her own dog. Meet Gus, a 10 week old toy poodle who weighs a whopping 2 pounds.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Gone...almost all of Adrienne's cancer is gone. I think we're all still in shock (in a wonderful way) but we couldn't have hoped for anything better. There's still some cancer in her lung but it's much smaller and all the other lesions are gone. Thank you to the wonderful radiologist who showed us Adrienne's scans yesterday, comparing them to the previous scans from May. The only weird thing is that she had what they thought was an adenoma (a benign tumor) in her adrenal gland but it's gone too so that means it was Hodgkin's. Honestly, I was a nervous wreck leading up to these scans and lost a few night's sleep and more than a few tears. With the recent coughing and wheezing, I fully expected there to be a lot of progression and was looking into other options. Thank goodness for the news we received.

Adrienne is still having a few unpleasant side effects from the treatment but it's better than it was during the first cycle, much better than chemo, and her blood counts are much improved so she should be able to start cycle 3 on Monday. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do to get her started at UNLV on August 25 with a little sojourn for her 21ST BIRTHDAY ON MONDAY. Stay tuned for another little surprise.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lungs Getting Clearer

On Sunday, Adrienne found that her wheezing and coughing were improved. By last night, they were virtually gone. We are very excited, hoping this means that what she had was infection and not tumor. Isn't it amazing that we hope for pneumonia? Only people who live with cancer would think that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Scans Next Week

Adrienne has a CT next Wednesday (August 13) and a PET scan on Friday (August 15). I expect that we'll get results on Monday (August 18), which turns out to be her 21st birthday. I'm not exactly excited about the idea of getting results that day but trying to get information from NVCI over the phone is really tough. They have an annoying rule where only the doctor can give scan results and he's not always available.

We're trying to prepare ourselves mentally for every possibility, at least I think we are. I know there are many parents who read this blog so you know how awful scans can be. These days, we've lowered our expectations but it still takes the wind out of you to get bad news. There are three possibilities that we're planning for: stability or improvement in her disease (yes, please), slight progression, or significant progression. If it's the first, Adrienne will stay here and continue on the trial. If it's the second, she'll return to CMC and either go on another trial or on maintenance chemo at City of Hope. The third possibility is tougher and we aren't sure what to do, nor do we agree on the best option. As usual, I'm trying to get opinions from her docs who often don't agree with each other either.

After last Monday's xray, I contacted Adrienne's docs at Stanford and City of Hope and both agreed that you can't tell much from an xray. It's possible that Adrienne has a partially collapsed lung or pneumonia, and it's also possible that everything they're seeing is Hodgkin's. Hopefully next week's scans will provide more clarity but sometimes they can't tell from the scan either. She is continuing the antibiotics but, honestly, I can't hear any improvement. She coughs a fair amount in the morning after being prone but it gets better as they day goes on with things moving around. The wheezing sounds the same to me though she thinks it's improving a little bit. I don't think any of us knows what's going on.


Yesterday, we went to UNLV to file some paperwork so Adrienne can take a full load of classes if needed. On the way over, there was a flash flood warning on the radio. We get those all the time but rarely even see any rain come our way. As we were leaving UNLV, the rain started coming down like you've never seen and there were 1-3 foot puddles within minutes. Luckily, I drive an SUV so we felt a bit safer but it was still scary and kind of interesting too. We had another stop to make at UNLV but the parking lot was under water so we decided to bag it, which means another trip there next week. Oh well, at least it isn't too far from our house.

Monday, August 04, 2008

On Watch Duty

Adrienne's wheezing and coughing have gotten worse the last few days. Today she saw the doctor and had a chest xray. Turns out she either has pneumonia or a partially collapsed lung behind the tumor. They can't tell exactly what is tumor and what is "infiltrate." She is slightly neutropenic and her counts are likely to go down the next few days, which puts her at more risk. She started a broad spectrum antibiotic (Levaquin) today and we're supposed to call at the slightest hint of fever or chills. She also lost a few pounds over the last week so I'm trying to make the foods she likes most.

Otherwise, things are quiet here. Curt went to see Daniel on Friday and his 9:45 pm flight home wound up taking off at 2:15 am (mechanical trouble) and he arrived home around 4 am so we had a lazy weekend.