Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A family resemblance?

I worked today, it's good to be doing something that gets my mind off of the hospital for a bit.

I went over to the hospital at 8pm ( and yes that is the END of visiting hours - but that is just how it works out). I brought a bunch of stuff with me. Mom wanted the laptop and I brought her more juice crystals, along with a juice jug and hair clippers.

We went for a walk and and watched a video from the surgical unit about colostomies. It was really informative and squashed some of Mom's fears. Then I shaved my Mom's hair off, she was getting pretty patchy and it was falling out everywhere.

I think she looks pretty good bald, definitely better than when she was missing the section of skull too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Static condition

Went up to the hospital today, no new change really.

Mom was actually out of her room for a walk. Funny thing she had written on the whiteboard she was going for a walk at 1900 but forgot her bed number! Good thing I know her handwritting.

Her chic hospital gown and housecoat were laying on the bed so I knew she was in her street clothes - it's a good thing I remembered to bring her some pants back last week!

I found her downstairs in the gift shop looking at all the knick knacks. She loves looking at them all, but really has no need for those "dust collectors" as she calls them. Then we sat outside on the benches in front of the doors and watched the storm come in as she updated me on her day.

A dietician had come to see Mom as per her request for a consult and as per Mom's request they changed her diet to high fibre. I understand why she wanted it, she's probably really sick of her full fluid diet and wants stuff with sustinance, however jumping from full fluids to high fibre (which can and does include corn) is and was not the best idea or decision. Mom ended up paying a bit for that one and had some abdominal pain again. Thank goodness for pain meds.

Our fresh air was interupted by raindrops and wind. It looked really beautiful coming down, the sun was shining from the east reflecting in the rain drops like diamonds onto a dark sky into the east and the wind was blowing the swedish aspens. We made our way to the overhang at the main doors and watched the torrential rain come down with people who were wanting to go to their vehicles.

When we got back to the room we discovered that Dr. Ferries had come to talk to Mom, but as she wasn't there would come back tomorrow. Dr. Graham came and checked in with her around 21:30 and put some things into perspective, that her abdomen was going on now and the chest had been going on for awhile.

Mom's hair is coming out by the handful now, and it's hurting alot so my plan is to bring the hair clippers tomorrow.

Settled In

Another new room.
With a roommate this time.
Very noisy roomate, who is very very ill.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunny Evening

Got Mom out of the Hospital for a couple hours again. Fresh air... ahhh..
We drove out east of Red Deer and ended up by the new C&E Trail Walking bridge that the Military helped construct.

Mike had to leave for Ontario again. He just got back last Sunday. His grandmother passed away. 88 years old! Had been having problems breathing the night before so they were going to take her up to the hospital in the AM. In the AM she went into respiratory arrest. Lungs just gave out. Thankful that she didn't suffer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Country Drive

Got Mom out of the hospital for a couple hours today.

Glad to get her some fresh air and sunshine.

I drove her around the country.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blood levels

Got to the hospital today and made it a foot into Mom's room before she kicked me out and told me I needed to wear a mask.

I guess her blood work is a little low. Due in part to chemo I bet, the mask is for her protection so I don't give her an infection.

I question though why the nurse on evenings didn't have to wear one? Afterall the day nurse wore one? Is it because the day nurse knows Mom and maybe cares more about her? The thing about being a nurse and not needing a mask is a load of crap. She see's more people in the hospital and is exposed to far more bacteria than I am. I didn't complain about wearing a mask. Those were the rules. Just because you don't like to wear one doesn't make you exempt. It's a little different than wearing a hair net in a packing plant to prevent hairs from falling in product, this is someone's life you are putting at risk because their blood work is shit.

Rain came in thick, made the city look foggy! Hard to see in the picture but normally you can see clear across it.

Some of the pics are blurry but they are pictures none the less.

You can see her arm where they poked her on Friday trying to find a vein. The cylindrically shaped one closer to her wrist. The circular one higher up was from chemo last Tuesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Sat most of the afternoon and evening with Mom again. We watch TV and socialized. Brought Mom's pillow and socks and underwear and other comfort things to make things easier for her stay in hospital. Even brought her some sudoku and books/mags for her to read. Not that she feels much like reading.

She finally passed her constipation this AM. Finally. After 6 days. She is due for another CT scan to see what is going on now that she won't be full. Now it will be a battle over the next few days to regain regularity.

Mom also go her port-o-cath inserted today so that she can receive chemotherapy through that instead of them fighting to find IV access. It gives her arms a little more freedom too, without a needle in it.

The dilaudid that Mom has been given for her pain is doing an excellent job. The question now is will she respond to antibiotics for the abscess in her intestine.

Dr. Ferris is away but will hopefully be back soon.
Dr. Graham is taking great care of Mom and Dr. Hovan has been into see her as well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Rough weekend. Mom's is in alot of pain due to the constipation. I've stayed with her most of the time and encouraged her to receive pain meds and reminded her that she needs to request them sooner than later because it takes time. Time for the nurse to respond to her request, time for her to draw the meds, time for the meds to be adminitered and finally time for the meds to start working so she doesn't have to be in the agony she has been. She did hear me on this one and she tended to request drugs on a more frequent basis. I understand her not wanting to take so many pain killers but there are times when we require them. We've been out walking a bit, just down the hallway. Hoping the guts start moving soon, they've been giving her a tonne of laxatives. Really wish Dr. Ferris was here. Really worried. We asked to have her chart brought up from when she was admitted in December and asked Dr. Graham if he was considering consulting with Dr. Ferris.
We'll see what happens, I just need to have a little more patience? It's been 2 days in hospital though, and 5 days since onset. I don't know what I need, I know I want her to stop being in pain.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I could hear Mom get up this morning around 0900 and I was up the stairs pretty quick to see how she looked. I urged Mom to call the clinic immediately. I had an appointment with the Chiropractor at 0950 so I left for that and said I would be back in a bout 20 minutes. While I was gone around 0955 Mom called the cancer clinic and speaks with NP informing her of nausea and vomitting, but not severity of abdominal pain. NP says to come in so Mom can at least get some fluids.

It took quite awhile for Mom to feel good enough to get in the car and go to the hospital. She feels like she is going to throw up but at around 1130 Mom is "stable" enough to get in the car. We bring a bucket in case she does need to get sick. I go to the directly to the hospital Cancer centre, park illegaly and I escort her into the treatment room. I leave to park the car. Unfortunetly the Cancer Centre staff were only under the idea that Mom was dehydrated, suffering from nausea and vomitting but were unaware of her abdominal pain. A younger nurse was unable to start an IV in her three times(causing Mom GREAT pain) at which point Mom asked for the nurse who started it on Tuesday. She came over and was successful on the second attempt. Fluids were started immediately while assessment of her condition made.

I had to leave for a bit and cry as the stress of the past couple days came out. At this point I was just happy that she was somewhere she could be being taken care of. They drew blood and results came back telling them she was fighting an infection so they started her on flagyl.

The NP recommended dilaudid as a pain medication due to the adverse reactions Mom has to Morphine, demerol and codeine and thankfully mom's pain began to decrease - without vomitting. Of course the pain meds only mask the problem but at least she can breathe and have a proper heart rate while the doctors figure out what to do for her.

While my mom rested I called and spoke with Mike, let him know Mom was being admitted and that I couldn't wait for him to come home. I also spoke with Beth (as she coincidentaly called) and I let her know Mom was being admitted.

We went down to CT and then waited for admission.
Around 1630 Mom was admitted up onto Unit 32 into the Palliative Unit (but only because that is the only bed they could find).

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I decided to stay home today, just in case, and so I can monitor Mom.

To keep busy I make some soup for Mom, with lots of nutritious things in it.

Mom is still suffering from intense abdominal pain along with nausea, vomitting and flushing. Her condition is progressively becoming worse and I am becoming very concerned, much like in December.

I want to respect my Mom's decisions and give her the opportunity to work through things, but there is a point at which we need to get help.

With Mom's permission I call the NP. Unfortunetly it's past 1700 and she is gone for the day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Mom suffering abdominal pain, intense flushing - which you can do nothing about, and nausea, but I go to work - hoping she will be able to get some rest and be better when I get home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chemo - Round 2

Chemotherapy treatment begins in Red Deer and the Cancer Centre 1130.

Met with NP who would be liason in Red Deer for Dr. Fenton.

IV was difficult to start due to previous chemotherapy and IV access only permitted in right arm because of lymph node removal under left arm and high risk of lymphedema.

Mom suffered an intense allergic reaction to Taxotare(docetaxel). We were informed prior to watch for warning signs. Allergic reaction starts as severe back pain, and then causing shortness of breath. BP read around 175/102 and she was put on oxygen. Upper lip swelled a bit and IV hand had turned a bit red. The affects were countered with Benadryl and steroids to reduce allergic reaction and blood pressure repectively. Slow reintroduction of taxotare to the body followed. Subsequent chemotherapy treatments will begin with dose of benadryl and then introduction of taxotare.

Throughout the treatment we tried to play cribbage(although there were a few distractions...). We managed to complete one and a half games. Mom became tired halfway through the second (mainly due to the benadryl) so we quit and I let her rest.

We left the centre around 4.
Hoping the next treatment goes more smoothly.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pre-Chemo Checkup

Drove up to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton for Mom's Pre-chemo checkup and bloodwork with Dr. Fenton at 14:40. Everything looked good on her bloodwork and she has healed nicely from surgery so chemotherapy starts Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dr. Fenton - Oncologist

Due to a cancellation Mom was able to see Dr. Fenton right away @0930

Course of treatment to follow but subject to change if chemotherapy is unsuccessful in making the tissue softer:

  • Chemotherapy to soften hardened tissue. 6 treatments over 18 weeks. (chemo every three weeks)

  • More Surgery to remove cancerous tissue which were unable to remove during May 25 session.

  • Radiation Therapy 5 weeks, every day.

  • Hormonal Therapy to lower the amount of estrogen in the body and by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells.
Treatment was to start immediately, however Dr. Fenton forgot that she had only had surgery May 25, 2010 so he delayed one week and would re-evaluate.

Mom's blood pressure peaked while we were there, so we had the nurse check her before we left. We were require to wait a bit before leaving.