Journal entry by Jean Hibben

This has been an exhausting week. I understand that much of my time has been spent sitting and waiting, but I've determined that can be tiring... Probably because I'm waiting for decisions or results and my mind tends to horriblize possibilities. Even tho most discoveries were on the plus side, worrying can sure take it out of a person. Meanwhile, Butch just slides from one event to the next as tho this has been the routine his whole life (well, at least it is these days). So, what was so overwhelming and stressful? 

On Wed we started early with Butch getting labs done (blood tests to determine levels on all sorts of things) and then he headed over to talk with the gastroenterologist to see how they are evaluating his liver surgery where they put a Stent in so the bile could drain. All seems to be in good shape but he was told that occasionally those stents need replacement and he was made aware of what the symptoms would be. So far so good. I slept in the car while he did those appointments. 

Next we left the VA hospital and went to another building where he had an appointment with the pharmacist, primarily to go over his insulin needs. He keeps a record on his smart phone to stay on top of his numbers and the pharmacist was pleased with a fairly regular pattern. He wasn't pleased when she emphasized that less fat and more direct methods of raising the blood sugar (juice, hard candy) are preferable to mini Hershey bars. I'm not sure he believes her. We were all pleased with the results of his earlier blood tests... Levels of all things examined were normal or significantly improved. 

We had a pleasant lunch with a good friend after the apptmt and before going back to the hospital proper where he got his third chemo treatment. This time they doubled the dosage, but he was done in record time... Woke me from my nap in the car to go collect him. (I said this was a tiring day.) His side effects of nausea and abdominal pain were a little more pronounced than after earlier infusions, but nearly gone by the time we got home. He walked just fine and, tho somewhat tired, was still alert and ready to drive. 

Got home, ate leftovers, and virtually fell into bed. But not before setting alarms for Thurs (today) in order to do it all again! 

Actually, there was only one doc apptmt scheduled for today, but had a bunch of errands to run, many dealing with the "new" RV. Plus, seems that over the past weeks, the frequent doctor apptmts cut into the regular process of accomplishing the mundane: shopping, paying bills, writing emails, returning phone calls, etc. Then it was time to get to a late afternoon apptmt with the podiatrist. We learned that at his last visit, Butch was pronounced CURED of his wound: the toe space is HEALED. We got it verified today. He'll still be stopping by for rechecks and they want him to try another size shoe since the initial ones don't seem to be large enough, so he just may be out of those black Frankenstein's monster clunky sandals in a couple of weeks (special shoes with inserts accommodating the "toe space" are preferred over "off the rack" strides).

Since the last entry, we have finally received the RV we ordered back in September or October and are outfitting it for upcoming camping excursions. We are very grateful for friends who have been helping me organize things into the camper as well as getting rooms in the house back to some sort of normalcy. There are many projects still ahead, but it is all coming along... a little at a time. 

My own asthma is much more under control and I'm being careful not to overdue (as evidenced by the naps I take while Butch makes his rounds at the medical center). That does not mean that I am avoiding stress, but Butch and I try to make and take time to discuss our separate concerns and fears. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients has been quoted as 7%, but recently the percentage has gone up to 10%. I know it still sounds hopeless, but when a person is in that small population, it's 100% for that individual. And why shouldn't Butch occupy that group? 

Again, we appreciate the kind words, help, prayers, and positive thoughts. The fact that just when he was diagnosed with the cancer, Butch's stubborn toe amputation wound made huge healing progress and suddenly the opening that had been treated for over 9 months closed up with no sign of a scar and only healthy skin covering where a toe once had been. You can call it a coincidence, a pleasant experience of positive timing, or a miracle. Whatever it is, we are just fine with it. 
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