Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well this first week home has had its ups and downs. Charlie was really tired when he first came home from the hospital. Kim was worried that she wouldn't be able to manage getting Charlie around the house and in and out of the car. But as the week went on he did start to gain some of his strength back.

Yesterday Charlie's dad was with him giving Kim the opportunity to go into work for a few hours. Then his family was over for the latter part of the afternoon into mid evening. Kim said it was a long day for Charlie and that she is sure he's pooped out, but it his spirits are up and it was a good day with his family none the less.

Also...Charlie's blood work for the week was really on that note I am finishing this entry. Please keep the prayers and well wished coming for Charlie. This is a tough battle...and he is fighting back with everthings he's got!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Charlie is Home from the Hospital!!!!!!!!

The phone just rang and it was Charlie himself saying he got home within the last hour. He said it feels really good to be out of the hospital and back in his own home. He loves the bed he now has in the family room which lies adjacent to the kitchen. He is more in the "flow" of everyday activity and that is a nice feeling.

Thank you so much for the many prayers...Charlie is home and hopefully will be on the mend. He is tolerating the new chemo drug well however he still has some pain from the surgery!

Thank you again!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CANCER...when first heard, this word typically evokes horror and fear in every part of our being. For many of us it signifies an “end” to our earthly lives. I’ve thought long and hard about this disease in which we as humans, are continually plagued and burdened with. I’ve had my own battle with Master “C” and, although I was very young, it did make a major impact of my life. As a teen I had to endure operations leaving me with ugly scars, chemotherapy and hours of real sickness…not being able to eat and enjoy food the way I like…countless trips to the bathroom due to nausea and vomiting, missing school and my friends, hair loss, mouth sores…loss of continence along with dates, socials, football games and I can go on…I was 14 years old…but still to me, it was more of a disruption to my life than a death threat. At that age it made me feel like an oddball, I wasn't like everyone else because of it...and I hated it because of what it stole from me.

In retrospect, I believe that my being so young and thus lacking the ability to realize my own mortality, provided me a different perspective on this disease...because as I grew up I realized what it did give me. Something many people never have until they are almost done here on earth...and still there are countless others who will never understand at all.

It gave me the ability to really “Live”…enjoy every nuance life has…it heightened my awareness and taught me how to really treasure all the things, both large and small, in my life. And as I grew older, I also grew a more keen understanding and acceptance of my own mortality. No we are not meant to live forever…so time is of the essences while we are here...make the days count for something.

These are some of the things I learned because of my battles with Cancer…

Do what needs to be done no matter how weary you are…

Listen to the smallest of voices because they teach the loudest of lessons…

Share, without restraint, of your talents...these are some of God's greatest blessings...embrace them and then give them to others...

To give without any expectance of reciprocation…truly is giving of self…

Follow your instincts, your inner voice…for that is God’s voice speaking to you…

Never harbor a grudge or ill feelings about someone…for that is energy lost…never to be recouped.

And when you love…love with all that you are and all that you feel, with the deepest part of your being…because love is the only thing which you are able to take from this life to the next… it is the only thing in our human existence which truly matters.

Love belongs to God…He created it and in His infinite wisdom, has parleyed the demon “cancer” into a way of making us realize just how important our love is in our time treasure it always...and to to give love freely to one another as He has so freely given His love to us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brand name for: Premetrexed.

Manufactured by: Eli Lilly & Co.

This anti-cancer chemotherapy medicine is in a class of drugs called antimetabolites.

Alimta works by interfering with enzymes that the cancer cell needs to replicate.  It blocks folate (a B vitamin cancer cells use to make new genetic material) therefore disrupting the ability of cancer cells grow and reproduce.
Throughout treatment with Alimta, patients will need to take folic acid and vitamin B-12 to protect  stomach, blood cells, and bone marrow from the side effects of Alimta. The patient will need to start taking these supplements a week before receiving their first Alimta infusion, and will keep taking them for 3 weeks after treatment ends.

Vitamin B-12 and folic acid are available over the counter. Patients should take only the forms and strengths of these supplements that their doctor has recommended.
Alimta is usually given every 3 weeks.

Alimta Coupons

Kim emailed me this note today...

Charlie's stitches came out this morning.!!

He will be getting chemotherapy tomorrow morning at 10:00.

I made the decision to have chemo done on Saturday, since Charlie will already been in the hospital
and his Oncology Doctor, is working the floor this weekend. Thought this was the perfect combination!!!!

According to Dr. Potz, Alimta is not like the other chemo drugs, and is very well tolerated.

If all goes according to plan, Charlie will be released on Monday.

Prayers are working!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spoke with Kim the other night...she said Charlie may be coming home from the hospital by the end of this week. It seems that they finally are able to manage his post surgical pain with morphine. The plan is to start him back on chemo next week

Kim said that due to lack of physical activity over the past couple of weeks, Charlie seems to be pretty weak. She is also less than impressed with the PT Charlie has been receiving. The sessions are not that long when he does get to go to them. And Kim said that if there is a visitor or physician in the room, or even if Charlie is sleeping when PT comes to get him, then he doesn't get the therapy that day unless there is another opening before all the therapist leave!

So bottom line...Charlie needs to come home!!! It has been 20 days and enough is enough on both of them emotionally.

Please pray that Charlie is able to come home this weekend! I think his recuperation will definitely be sped up once he is in his own home.

Thank you for your prayers and God Bless!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

As of today Charlie is still in the hospital. He was moved from the ICU to the oncology floor late Sunday afternoon. Charlie was feeling really good on Sunday...he even made the comment that "I feel like I could go to work right now."

Charlie's pain meds are being taken from the IV form to pill form. Unfortunately they are not translating well and Charlie has been out of it for the last day or so. Last night they weaned some of his medication doses back so hopefully he will be more alert today.

Charlie also had his rehab consult yesterday...once I know the recommendation I will post it. He may stay in the hospital and go to the rehab floor or he may be able to do it as an out patient. But Charlie is walking around so maybe there will be a minimal need for rehab or possibly none at all.

Once Charlie is recovered well enough from the surgery the docs plan on continuing the chemotherapy treatment.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Charlie's laminectomy was a success. the surgeon told us everything went as expected and he seemed to be very pleased to give us this good news.

The surgery was called "Thoracic laminectomy of T5 with a fusion of T2-T8", What this all means is that they removed the lamina (see previous entry for lamina explanation ) of the 5th thoracic vertebrae (we all have 12 thoracic vertebrae) and they placed 4 screws above T5 and 6 screws below. Then 2 rods were placed on either side of the spine, between these two levels, in order to fuse the vertebrae in-between together in an effort to stabilize T5 which has been weakened buy a tumor. The reason so many of Charlie's vertebrea were involved is because the surgeons wanted to anchor the rods in the healthy bones in Charlie's back.

Charlie's operation started at a little after 5pm yesterday and he was done in the OR by 8pm. He then was to go to recovery and from recovery to the ICU. He went to the unit is because anesthesia wanted to keep him on the ventilator due to the pain Charlie is expected to have post-op. This way they can manage his pain by keeping him asleep.

He will be in the hospital for an undetermined time at this point. Charlie will need to be evaluated to see if he needs rehab and what means they want to proceed with it. He may stay in the hospital and go to the rehab unit, or it is possible that he may be able to do rehab on an out patient basis.

Thank you so much for the prayers...we were all breathing a sigh of relief last night!

Although this picture shows the anchor pins in the lumbar vertebrae… it gives you a good idea of what the instrumentation looks like in Charlie’s back.
Thoracic laminectomy removes the small section of bone that covers the spinal cord, known as the lamina. Removal of this bone relieves pressure on the surrounding nerves as a result of spinal stenosis or disc degeneration. A fusion procedure can be performed with this surgery to join the remaining bones together.

                            The arrows are pointing to the lamina

Thoracic fusion surgery stabilizes the spine and allows for correction of spinal deformities. Fluoroscopy (live x-rays) and infrared image guidance systems can be used to allow for proper placement of the spinal implants.

The name derives from the Latin word "lāmina," which refers to a thin plate, sheet, or layer.