Sandi’s Story

Site created on August 14, 2018

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Newest Update

Journal entry by Matt Smith

Mom and dad both are dong well. There are good days and bad,  it mostly they are adapting to the new daily routine. Mom is halfway through her 6 week radiation program. It’s 5 days per week and the appointment time is before noon, which works out well because then they can go out to lunch after the appointment. They like to eat out everyday for lunch and then usually bring home take-out food for dinner.


Her radiation treatment involves wearing a form-fitted face mask that’s clipped down as a restraint so her head doesn’t move during the 10-minute session. The process is mostly straightforward and uneventful. The one appointment she will be talking about for a while is when the machinery broke down in some way and needed to be rebooted. It would have been fine except none of the personnel let mom know what was going on and she was left in the room alone hooked to the mask for 20 minutes instead of 10. Quite scary!


She’s been spending more time using the walker and less time in the wheelchair. From walking around the house to walking through the cancer center (with walker), it’s been good to see her gain strength and energy. We’ve been told that her energy levels will probably start to decrease again in this second half of radiation therapy, so it’s good that she’s up and walking while she can. She even walked into a restaurant this week, and sat in a real chair instead of her wheelchair! Yay mom!


She had a nasty fall while Tami and I were visiting. She was alone on the couch and wanted to get up and stretch her legs like she does when someone is there to help her. Probably because she’s been feeling a little better and stronger she decided to not wait for anyone and went ahead and stood up. While most of her body fell on the carpeted living room floor, the right side of her head hit the hardwood floors. She didn’t loose consciousness and we put ice on it pretty quickly to keep the swelling down, but she still had quite a lump on her head above her right eyebrow area. Her doctor recommended we take her in to the ER just to make sure there was no internal bleeding and she ended up being discharged from there after about 4 hours. The CT scan showed no internal bleeding, but she developed bruising on her head, hand, and knee, with a very sore right shoulder as well. She promises she won’t do that again!


She has labs done every week and those have continued to show no concerns. Her appetite has also not left her!


Dad has a lot to keep track of on top of the daily care-giving. Her many daily pills, appointments, personal care, and household chores keeps him very busy. He’s never complained. In fact it took us all to get him to think about getting some hired help. That will allow him some down time and to take care of himself so he can take better care of mom. He will also be able to be a little more husband and less care-giver, even though he’s been totally capable of both!


Her hair had been holding up very well, until last week. It’s coming out any time she touches it, and her scalp has started to itch. She had an appointment today with Jeanine, her hair dresser, to cut it down to stubble so she’s more comfortable. We will see if she lets us post any pictures here! She sure will look tough with a bald head and a black eye from her fall! :)


Radiation and chemo pill continue for three more weeks. After that it’s just the chemo pill for 1 week out of every month, indefinitely. The radiation is supposed to keep working on the tumor for up to 6 weeks after radiation treatment is halted. At some point during that time a scan will be taken of the tumor and her doctors will be searching for any alternative/experimental treatments that she might be eligible for.

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