July 27, 2012

The Trend Continues....

I (Mary) am writing this post on behalf of David. We wanted to provide an update regarding the events of the past week.

The highlight of the week was the opportunity to host the third annual. 'FLHW Warrior Combine'. It was a beautiful July morning. We had a wonderful group of men participate, both regarding athleticism, as well as camaraderie. Money was raised to support advanced prostate cancer treatment research and additionally, we were able to promote the importance of early detection in beating the battle against prostate cancer. We had an exceptional newsteam join us who helped us to promote our message. If at least one man saw the story and decided to go get tested, then it was all well worth it. Below is the link to the story. It also contains the video:

Many thanks to Jason for selecting FLHW to be the recipient charity for this wonderful event.
Also, our sincere appreciation goes out to those who sponsored the event, as well as to the volunteers and those that came out to cheer the warriors on, including the Chiefs Cheerleaders that dedicated their time to support our cause. The event seems to get better with each passing year, and is fun for all! David was able to watch the event from the side lines. He enjoyed  visiting with friends and family and watching the competition. The enthusiasm and energy of those participating was infectious.

The final event was completed, the scores were tallied and the warrior champions were announced. We were able to clean up and head home by 11:00 AM, just as the summer temps started to climb.
David's sisters were in town for a visit, so we all went home, had a little brunch and decided it was time for a nap after an early and hectic morning. Later that afternoon, David commented that he was cold. I walked toward him and realized he was shivering. Touching his forehead, he was burning up. I immediately took his temperature and it was 104 degrees. Since a fever is one of the warning signs for infection when on chemotherapy, I immediately called the oncologist and David was soon admitted to the hospital. This is where our trend continues, April, May and June all included hospital visits, and unfortunately, July did not pass by without another trip to KU Med Center. After a lot of testing, it was determined David had an infection that settled as a urinary tract infection and then spread to his blood. Additionally, his blood pressure was extremely low coupled with a very high heart rate. Sunday morning, he was moved to ICU. He was not responding to the initial antibiotics that he was given and the doctors were unable to get his blood pressure back to a normal level. Finally, Monday evening progress was made and his blood pressure was improving. Late Tuesday afternoon he was moved back down to the oncology floor. His progress is slow and steady. He will be in the hospital until at least Monday. Each and every member of the staff that has assisted us during this visit have been amazing. Their compassion and positive attitudes while caring for David have been a source of comfort for both David as well as for our family. David's spirits are good and we look forward to him returning home early next week. As always, we will be taking it one day at a time.

July 17, 2012

Cycle 1.... Complete

Yesterday I finished my first cycle (three treatments, one each on the past three Mondays).  Now I have a break next Monday and I hope to spend the time recovering with the week off. I am happy to report I have very few side effects.

Fatigue has been the main issue and it comes sporadically. Some days it's in the morning, but most days it seems to come late in the evenings, after dinner. For the most part it feels like a real bad flu without the fever. Last night after treatment I was watching TV in bed by 6:30PM and fighting a nap. The reason I was fighting the nap was so that I would be able to get sleep later on in the middle of the night. For the most part I was able to stay awake, except for a 45 minute nap around 8pm. I was able to go to bed at a somewhat normal bedtime, I finally turned off the TV a little after 11pm.  Except for one bathroom break and less than an hour of television at 2am, I slept great.

Today as I write this, it is already early evening and not only have made it through the day without a nap, I am in no need of sleep at this time. Mary and I might even get to watch a movie tonight!  It doesn't take much for me to remind myself how much worse things could be. I could be sleeping constantly, dealing with other known side effects, or be back to where I was several weeks ago and be in need of far more pain meds than I am currently on.

One change we did agree to with the doctor yesterday was to adjust both my pain meds and steroid down slightly. The first change was to reduce the steroid (Dexamethasone) by half. I started yesterday afternoon and we'll give it a few days to make sure we don't cause any pain to resurface. If all goes well with reducing the steroid, in a week or so we will pursue further reduction of my pain medication. Mary has helped me to slowly transition the dose of my pain medication so that I no longer take any break through med and have stretched out the slow release med from 2 every 8 hours to 2 every 12 hours. Once we feel I am stabilized with the new steroid dosage, we are going to try changing the pain med to 1 pill every 8 hours. Hopefully, I will continue to tolerate the chemo well and the pain will continue to not be an issue. Being on less pain medication allows me to be more interactive and to mentally focus more easily. I am able to enjoy reading again.

Now that cycle 1 is complete, I hope the changes work, I pray for sound sleep at night and days that don't require too many naps! Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts.

For any readers in the Seattle area, I'd like to pass along this information about an upcoming golf tournament. The event is August 3rd and the beneficiary is the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Details can be found from this link:

July 04, 2012

So far.... So far

On Monday I had my first dose of chemo, the first of three during this cycle. The cycles will be 1, one hour dose once a week for three weeks, and then a week off. We haven't determined how many cycles I will be taking. I guess it depends on how I respond and what happens with my PSA and how I am doing over all. Happy that the infusion is only an hour, but just so you understand what is involved, it actually takes about 6 hours in full for the 1 hour infusion. First, I have to have labs so they can check my blood, then a quick visit with the doctor and then we wait for the pharmacy to prepare the meds. I receive several pre meds interveniously before I actually receive the Taxotere. Mary is at my side through the whole process, so we talk and keep each other company, so the time passes fairly quickly.

We did receive good news in conjunction with all of the testing on Monday, my PSA dropped from 1,539 (June 19th) to 975 (July 2nd). We pray this is a premonition for things to come with the chemo!
Also, and very importantly, the pathology test from the fluid that was removed from my lungs came back negative, so there were no malignant cancer cells in the fluid, hence, not cancerous tumors on my lungs. That was a great relief!

As for side effects from the first chemo treatment,  I have nothing to report after two days. Instead of the steroids keeping me awake, I actually slept quite well Monday night. Last night I was feeling 'normal' enough that we decided to go out for dinner instead of heating up the house. Nothing fancy, but it sure was good to get out of the house! The pain is still being managed with long acting pain medicine and no break through pain meds are required. I am happy to be on less pain medication, as it allows me to be more alert and feel like my ol' self.

Today will be a very hot fourth of July. I hope everyone manages to stay cool and has a nice day filled with fun and happiness with family and friends. Happy fourth!