Thursday, February 26, 2009

2/25/09 Update on Mom/Marjorie

An update from Donna to the Ford kids -- Just Read "Marjorie" where it says "your mom" and it will work for you all too:

As you all know yesterday your mom had her 3rd chemo treatment.  Prior to her treatment Dr. Greenwald (oncologist) met with her and reviewed her condition and blood work.  Issues that were discussed are as follows.

1. Your mom has lymphadema in her right arm and hand .  Dr. Greenwald feels that her fall probably was the culprit.  He suggests she wear her compression sleeve for her arm and hand during the day and removing it at night.  Elevation of her arm on some pillows when she is laying down is also a good idea.  Your mom may also see Holly, the lymphodema expert she saw prior to her surgery for other ideas.

2.  Your mom's increased weakness/fatigue .   Dr. Greenwald feels that is very important that Margie get lots of rest and not load her days up with many activities at this time.   It is important that she keep her strength up with some exercise but, it should be followed by rest.  

3.  Blood work.  Dr. Greenwald reviewed the blood work from this week and determined that although there is not much change for the better or the worse your mom's hemoglobin and hematicrit are below norm which contributes to fatigue, balance issues, falls and oxygenation problems.  He does not believe a transfusion is necessary as her levels are not that low but, suggested an injection that would boost her red blood cells.  The name of the medication is Aranesp and she will receive this today with her neulasta.  Unfortunately Medicare does not pay for this med and it is about 960.00.

4.  Falling/injuries- We all talked about the importance of your mom reporting any falls or injuries she may have immediately to Vista (the place Marjorie lives) and Greenwald.  Chemo causes poor wound healing and Margie is more susceptible to infections especially if she has open cuts.

After our visit with Dr. Greenwald your mom had her chemo which was uneventful.  We went through more of her past Christmas cards, laughed and shared stories.   

From chemo we went and picked up Sushi which she had a craving for.  

Her appetite was very good yesterday although her intake of fluids was not.  She does love her coffee!

Her BP, temp, pulse were all in the normal range for the day.

She took all of her meds, including the Dexamethasone.

She is up now and we will be heading to breakfast, after that Sabrina (Pilates instructor and friend) will visit and at 3:10 we will go to the clinic so she can get her injections.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Report from late January 2009

Most of you know that my mom (Margie) has breast cancer and had surgery in December. Her wonderful surgeon in Santa Barbara (Kim Grafton) removed her right breast and a number of lymph nodes under her right arm.  Mom recovered amazingly well from the surgery and had my sister, Mike (her husband), Donna and me at her place eating dinner on the day after her operation.  As we all know, Marjorie is a very strong and positive 87 year old.  

The pathology report revealed a very aggressive form of cancer that was clearly in her whole system. But on the good side, there was no sign of tumor growth in the full body scans that were done before the surgery. This cancer is one that very often recurs, but the tumors that had grown are out of her body and she is moving on.

Even though Margie is at an age when many would not be fit for chemo (because of multiple other health problems), Margie/Mom's general health and her own choices convinced her oncologist to try some powerful chemo treatments (the kind of cancer cell that is growing in her body cannot be controlled by estrogen or progesterone deprivation).

On top of all this new and scary stuff, Mom got the otherwise good news that a lovely apartment at Vista del Monte ("view of the moutain") opened up. This is in a community where there are the options for assisted living and further health attention.  So, in along with starting her chemo last week, Margie (with incredible help from Donna, Linda Ford, Steve Ford, Ceci [moi], Mike --- and huge huge huge work by Anabel) moved to a new home.  A week ago (last Friday evening), Mom was nested in her new dwelling and finding herself exhausted by chemo but feeling well-cared for and loved.  From her balcony she can really see mountains (for those of you who know SB, mom is looking out at the mesa that is above Hendry's beach).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Marjorie Henshaw Update Mid-February '09

Marjorie is healing from her second round of chemo, with two more to go.  

Her head is bare and her spirits are strong.  

She had a fall as she prepared to go to the pool a week ago, but besides some cuts and bruises, she is doing well.

She loves hearing from friends by phone, and she'll talk as much as you can imagine.  

Her son, Steve, and his wife, Linda, plus kids, Ellie and Tyler, are visiting Santa Barbara and giving her lots of love this weekend (February 21+).  

She is enjoying her new scene at Vista del Monte but is not sure about how our society segregates the generations.  She does not fit in any age-stereotyped category, our mom/Margie!

Donna (long-time member of the family, partner of Ceci) will be back to stay with Margie for her 3rd round of chemo, which starts on Wednesday, February 24th.

She sends big hugs to everyone who is keeping her in their hearts as she manages life with breast cancer.