Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sorting Through Treatment

We were in a room today where everyone had a very personal connection with cancer disease in one way or another - astounding. Not that it should come as a shock to me, given my own recent family history with the disease, but this was such a hoppin' scene!

So we met yet another doctor, who agrees with all of the previous doctors but - guess what? - more tests! So the last 3 days of this week will be taken up with various tests where they take bits and pieces out of Gerry and look at it under a microscope.

He doesn't have a heck of a lot of anything to give up - he's lost about 40 pounds in the past 2 months and is shorter, too. My incredible shrinking husband.

This afternoon he said, "I don't want to fight off a spider with a needle!"

Gerry's been worried about his pain meds again, this time because he read that they can be bad on kidney function. Thankfully the doc today told him to please go back to the pain pills (and even offered Oxi - which he turned down - he's afraid of being so dopey he falls and breaks something else!)

We thought we'd have to be away when the kids got home, so we arranged for a friend to be here (thanks Catherine!) but we ended up with an earlier appointment so we stopped by Sears and registered our cars (finally!) and then spent the afternoon setting up a database of Gerry's medical stuff / visits / procedures so far. There will be more, and we may as well get started organizing ourselves now.

We have a big blue accordion type plastic folder where we're sorting out the piles of paperwork we've already acquired - easily portable - and we're finding that this is helping both of us wrap our minds around this.

The doc would like to start Gerry on Zometa as soon as possible to reduce the calcium in his blood (which is leading to tiredness and confusion) and - as it's a treatment for MM, he feels that he'd have Gerry on it eventually so he rather do it sooner than later.

For me this means a lot of late-night knitting - catching up on what I haven't been able to do while driving around from testing facility to testing facililty. Thankfully, knitting is the PERFECT thing to do while waiting for Gerry to get poked (we each have our needle therapy) so I can "go to work" while being the supportive spouse I'd like to be.

Tomorrow off for a bone marrow biopsy. This will help seal the official diagnosis of MM, which all of the docs so far seem to feel is prime suspect. Where is Helen Mirren when you need her? According to Gerry's osteoporosis report (which we read together today) he's "grossly normal" - which we're still trying to figure out. We're astounded that ANYONE in our family is considered normal.


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Blogger Liz R. said...

Has Gerry taken OxyContin before?? It's an amazing pain reliever; it gave me my life back 9 years ago. It doesn't give you the same dizziness as percocet (oxycodone) because it is a time-release pill.

Like I said, I took it for eight years and only stopped taking it because I realized in order for it to work better I needed to take much more. I didn't want to do that so I weaned off.

It's great for short periods of time (months). Chronic pain can change who you are. I'll keep y'all in my prayers.

April 11, 2007 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I'm coming out of the lurking stage. I'm sorry to hear about Gerry, it sounds like he's in for a long haul. I'm glad he turned down the oxy. I had a hip replacement and to keep a long story short took oxy for 4 days. I don't remember those 4 days. I will never, ever, for any reason, take that junk again. Just one more thing, I went into the room when my dad had his bone marrow biopsy done, please don't go in there with Gerry. I don't know your personal history, but I would not recommend it, unless he really, really needs you in there. You and yours are in my thoughts.

April 11, 2007 4:52 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Platitudes. They suck.
But sometimes they are all we have.

I'm glad that you didn't get a spot on that reality show.

At one time or another, we all need our spouses/SOs. Gerry needs you now.

Things work out in the end. Try and remember that on the hard days.

You and your family are in my thoughts.

April 11, 2007 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Janet MF said...

Just thinking of you during this "trying" time. Remember to take a few moments for your own needs from time to time - not necessarily knitting - maybe a special massage or something to keep your spirit up.
Janet up in Yellowknife.

April 11, 2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Judi said...

I once had a head CT and the report said I had an "essentially normal" brain. Comforting, huh? I wish you and your family all the support you need as you travel this journey. It will be a roller coaster ride but there are lots of folks on the ride with you.

April 11, 2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous A reader of your blog... said...

Annie - I'm sorry that you and your husband are going through such a traumatic time so soon after your move. It will be rough. I know, my husband and 17 year old son were both diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of each other....4 years ago - now both are cancer free. My heart goes out to you. I pray that you both have strength, courage and wisdom as you navigate this rocky road ahead of you and that in 4 years you'll be able to say the same thing. God bless.

April 11, 2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Ah, normal but not average, perhaps?

April 11, 2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger Tina in AZ said...


My thoughts are with you. As of the 28th I'll be two years out from my cancer surgery. So even though it's vastly different mythought are with you (I'm a uterine cancer survivor - of course one never hears about this cancer - nor are there major National fundraisers for uterine cancer **sigh**)

Anyways, please don't be afraid to ask your new community of friends for support. Also check around, almost every community now has a non-profit cancer support community. You'll find support groups, cancer guides and all sorts of goodies (yes my friend you too need a support group for caregivers)

April 12, 2007 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Robin/Indy said...

Annie & Gerry - Along with your file of all your "stuff", Gerry might find it helpful to keep a medical journal of how he reacts to any new meds and the dates of procedures, Doctors he's seen, etc. After 11 years of back problems I frequently have to refer back to my journal when they ask me if I've ever taken a specific med and if it worked well or not. Also the dates of procedures..when different insurance cos ask if you've had a test and what date? Saves lots of time and headaches hunting through files.
Keep your chin up... both of you. Find a second of humor whenever you can - it helps through this period in your lives. Is Gerry reading or doing something to keep his mind occupied? Or is he just to tired to do anything? We have our knitting... sometimes I think it is my sanity.
Keeping positive, strong, and happy thoughts for you and your family...Always, Robin/Indy

April 12, 2007 7:14 AM  
Blogger Sweet Camden Lass said...

Good Luck. I hope that the docs get things under good control as soon as possible.

April 12, 2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

You are so brave - keeping organzied helps me to stay sane too! I'm glad you have your needle therapy as well as your husband. Lovely in a different way. God Bless!

April 12, 2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous laurie said...

If the disease is indeed MM, it is thought to be a genetic disease (you should see a history in his family) and normally attacks boys in infancy or early childhood, not adults. Has Gerry had these problems all his life?

April 12, 2007 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Gerry's tests go well and that he gets treatment that will make him feel MUCH better. I, too, am dealing with a family member who has cancer - hers has spread from her lungs to her stomach. :o( My thoughts & prayers are with you, Gerry, and your children as you go through this journey together. I hope he gets relief soon.

April 12, 2007 11:50 AM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

i read that book as a child (i think i was12 or so), and enjoyed it. seeing the cover brought back old memories.

here's hopingthey find a decent treatment for gerry soon.

April 12, 2007 12:26 PM  
Blogger Becka the Spoiled Knitter said...

I'm not sure if my post went thru because I had a problem with Blogger, forgive me if it did and I am repeating myself!

Please know that I continue to keep your family in my prayers. While I don't have what your husband has, I do live with pain on a daily basis and see a pain specialist. That said to say, should you want to ask me or talk about any of these meds, please feel free to email me, I will be more than happy to share my history with these meds with you if you think it will ease your husband's apprehension about this type of medication.

April 12, 2007 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Sherry said...

I enjoy your writing and am somewhat understanding your feelings as life gets crazy.My husband had kidney cancer in 2005 and I had breast cancer in 2006. In the midst of hope, the fear rears its ugly head. I could not have survived without knitting. Keep those needles humming.

April 12, 2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Love the way the medical profession use the word 'normal'. Remember reading it on my son's notes when he was born 'normal delivery' and thought Bl**dy heck, what was normal about that?

Positive thoughts for you and yours from the North East of England.

April 12, 2007 2:14 PM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I am impressed with the way you and your family are handling everything. I imagine it is tough to not let it overwhelm you. I am also impressed your sense of humor and that of your husband seems to be intact. I wish you the best.

By the way, I have been doing a little lurking on your blog that last few days so I thought I should show myself.

April 12, 2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger Ann said...


My thoughts are with you and your family!

April 12, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger DebbieKnitter said...

Hi!! I found your blog while googling you because, well, I am a huge fan dang it!! *smile* Even though I am a total stranger, I am a knitter so that means I am not a COMPLETE stranger, just completely strange LOL....I just wanted to tell you that I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers. I am trying to find the start of what is going on medically, I can only guess that it is not good. Just remember, this too shall pass. Your fans are all out there praying for you and yours. Now that I have bookmarked you, I will be checking back often. Good luck with the tests.

April 12, 2007 7:46 PM  

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