Numbers are good, progress is good, problems are being addressed.
First, the news about the patient whose heart was stopped for over an hour 2 weeks ago. Doctors were thinking of releasing Doug from the hospital after 48 hours--rare, as we understand it, after heart surgery. (He got a new aortic valve from a cow, plus a single bypass graft.) But when they found out about our remote location, they decided they'd better keep him another 24 hours since he would be so far from medical help should there be any complications. Though the first few days were rough when he got home June 7, he's been walking several times a day ever since. Pain is lessening, endurance is improving, walks are getting longer--but he's still weak and a long way from recovery. Today was his 1st post-hospital visit to his cardiologist, who said all is fine. He continues ahead of the recovery curve & will start a formal cardiac rehab program next week.
As for me--I was able to go ahead with chemotherapy this week despite a hemoglobin count that continues worryingly low from chemo's side effects. It was explained to me that the cumulative effects of chemo on red blood cell production are responsible for my extreme weariness & shortness of breath on the slightest exertion. Heart & lungs are in fine shape & there's no sign of internal bleeding; it's just the low blood cell production in the bone marrow. This is especially a problem because now that Doug can't do it, I have to walk our 2 high-energy, exercise-craving dogs a couple of miles every a.m. Today I could barely make it for our regular 2-mile dawn walk. When I complained to the PA about these problems, she said, "You know you can hire people to do your dog-walking." Ha! We probably live 30 mi from the nearest dog-walker. "And," she said, "when you feel short of breath, you just need to give your dogs a little tug on their choke collars so they'll wait for you." I'd like to see her try something like that with Eve & Reba. They are so fast & so strong, even a completely healthy Doug can't control them physically. Luckily they're pretty good at responding to commands, & Doug expects to be able to take over walking them very soon. And what a joy they are in our lives.
So to attack the problem of low hemoglobin, for the 1st time in nearly 2 years I again got Aranesp® this week. This is of course in addition to the shot of Neulasta® for white blood cell production a day or so after each chemo infusion. (BTW, that pricey shot has gone from $8,000 a dose to $11,000--plus the thousands of $$$, of course, for the other chemo drugs. Thank goodness, again, for good insurance.)
The good news: the all-important benchmark—the latest CA125 tumor marker number—continues downwards, though not to normal yet as I had hoped. The oncologist’s office called & left a message Wednesday with the number. It sounded to us like the number was 62, but when I returned for my Neulasta shot I found out it’s in fact 52—down from 74 last time it was measured.
TMI? Sorry! Thanks once more for all your good wishes.