Friday, February 18, 2011


My parents are still at Overlake and will stay at least through tomorrow. Which means that Dad is eating well these days, if not sleeping well. The rest of last night was a bit rough: Mom had her CT scan around 9pm and couldn't eat before because she had to drink a barium solution to create contrast for the CT scan. And she had surgery today to take out the port, so she couldn't eat for 12 hours before that. So there was an hour window where she could eat from 11pm to midnight. She managed a quarter of a turkey sandwich, but that was about it.

This morning she had the port removed and a line put into her arm. The doctors still don't know the cause of the infection, though the leading hypothesis is that it's a urinary tract infection. She's on targeted antibiotics and all of the doctors are expecting it to clear up without complications. The surgery went well and they're hoping to be able to put the port back in once all signs of infection are gone.

The other thing that needs to wait until the infection is cleared up is chemotherapy. So, not only will Mom have a break from systemic chemo, she'll have a break from the intrathecal. No one wants to risk a brain infection.

And now, the best news of all. I'm taking everything in stride and trying to react with cautious optimism, but our oncologist decided to check out the CT scan results today. Mom was supposed to have one more systemic chemo treatment next Tuesday, then wait a week for a CT scan to see if/how the chemo has been working and what all of the tumors are up to. But since she had one yesterday to check for infectious abscesses, Dr. C decided to see if anything tumor related showed up, also. It did. They're smaller. All of them. The metastatic tumors, the breast tumors, everything is responding to treatment.

Now, this is just what it is. It's not miraculous, it's not spontaneous healing, it doesn't change the prognosis. But it does mean that she's responding to treatment. It does mean that all of the discomfort, the nausea, the fatigue, is serving a purpose. It's incredibly motivating to Mom, she sounded better tongiht than she has in weeks. I know that, in her deepest heart, she's been questioning if this fight will work. And now she knows that she's beating things back and hopefully gaining more time. And though an infection is never a good thing, she knows that she's getting a break from chemo without fearing that a week lapse will send cancer into her organs. It's moving the right direction.

In addition to gaining even more of a positive attitude, she's also developed quite an appetite tonight. Ross is texting me now her dinner: soup, salad, chicken, beets, avocado, peppers, and blueberries. And she's requesting some cheese, too! I hope that she won't eat herself sick tonight! I hope that both of my parents are able to sleep a bit easier tonight, with less worry and therefore sleep more soundly. I hope that in the next weeks, she'll fight the infection and maintain or even increase this appetite and be able to make big gains in physical and occupational therapy. I hope this positive, forward moving momentum lasts.


  1. She is in all our prayers and I have been going to services at TBT more frequently to get updates on her, in addition to the blog. Good luck on the wedding plans. It is important to your mom and therefore all of the rest of us too.