Thursday, February 28, 2008

Larry will remain in the hospital for another day - still trying to manage the pain. He's very anxious to get home but realizes how important it is to get everything straightened out with his pain control first. The last thing we want to do is spend another night in the E.R. We are very optimistic that the chemo will start the first of next week. The good news is that it appears the pneumonia is cleared up. They're still giving him the IV antibiotics, but the Dr. hears air moving through the lung now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just got word that Larry will stay another day in the hospital. They are making progress, but still working to get the pain controlled. He's disappointed and very much looking forward to coming home tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Larry's health

Thank you does not begin to express how much Larry, Josh, Justin and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers of so many. There are many versions of Larry's condition, but here is what we're dealing with. Please understand that I am not a clinician and all that I'm talking about is my understanding of what we've been told.

Larry has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM). This is a type of cancer that is blood-born, and it's basically the white blood cells crowding out the red blood cells. The cancer was found when a chest x-ray was ordered to see if he had pneumonia. After spotting lesions on his spine, we met with our surgeon and a bone biopsy was ordered, confirming the type of cancer.

After having a lot of pain in his leg I called his regular M.D. to describe the pain and find out if there was concern for a blood clot. He asked us to come in the following a.m. to take a look at it. After examining his leg, it was advised that we have it x-rayed and wait for results to be called to him. Shortly after the x-ray I was called to the phone to hear that there was a large lesion on his lower leg (tibia). Our surgeon got us in with an orthopaedic Dr. who specializes in this, and he explained our options. We chose to immobilize Larry's leg and begin radiation on the lesion ASAP in order for it to heal faster, as surgery would have delayed radiation treatment. The next step was a meeting with the oncologist to learn about treatments. He then set us up to meet with the radiology oncologist to explain the radiation treatments. Fortunately, we were able to see him immediately after the oncologist. On our way out the door to meet with him, we were called back to the lab because Larry's hemoglobin was very low. While we were meeting in the radiology department, plans were underway to get Larry in for a couple units of blood. This was our first stay in the cancer center and it turned into an overnight stay for him. Just a precaution, I suppose. He came home the next morning.

The radiation treatment began the first of February and was scheduled to end on Feb. 15th. We were told many times to be very careful with his leg and not put any weight on it, as the bone was very fragile and could break very easily. Larry was very obedient and extremely careful, but the Wednesday before his last scheduled radiation treatment I had to call EMS because it seemed as though his leg was broken. After an x-ray in the E.R., the break in the tibia was confirmed. We were also disappointed to learn of another lesion in the femur. This means another 10-day regimen of radiation.

Our oncologist also ordered a bone marrow biopsy, which determines what stage the cancer is in. This helps to determine the best treatment for him, too. Larry's cancer is in Stage III. It is amazing to me that we completely missed any signs for the first two stages of this disease, but according to what I've read, there would not be anything very alarming that would make us think of cancer. We hear and read that this type of cancer responds well and is very sensitive to treatment. We're very anxious to get started.

Saturday, February 16th we were back in the E.R. with a cough that sounded too much like pneumonia, which is symptomatic of MM. After a short time we were told that he had bronchitis and we were given some antibiotics and sent on our way. Glad to be going home!

Larry felt much better for the next 4 days and worked every day. I encouraged him to stay home on Thursday and take care of his leg, which had begun to swell just a bit. In talking with him throughout the day I could tell that he didn't feel well, so when I got home I took his temp. and he had a fever. Called the Dr. and was advised to return to the E.R. for evaluation. Again, fear of pneumonia. Chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia and pleurisy. Lots of pain in neck and shoulders and a CT scan was ordered, which indicated more lesions in the cervical spine. At this point, Larry just felt so bad and totally overwhelmed with the rapid spread of the cancer. Again, reminder that it is "multiple". Larry was admitted that night and is still there as of tonight, February 26th. His pneumonia is better but the pain isn't controlled just yet. We're hoping he will be released tomorrow. He's very anxious to get home and get back to work ASAP.

Most days Larry will tell you that if it weren't for the cancer, he feels great! His spirits are good and he is optimistic that the cancer will respond to the chemo, once we get it started. It should have started last Friday, February 22nd, but the pneumonia was definitely a set-back. I understand it must be completely out of his system before the chemo can begin. The Dr. told me today that he will evaluate Larry again next week to let him know when the chemo can begin.

Many have asked how the boys are doing. For the most part, they are handling it well. There are a lot of questions, many of which I just don't have answers for. But they realize what is going on and that we have a battle in front of us. I hope and pray that we have raised them to be strong enough to face this with bravery, but most of all with faith. They are great young men and they both are very helpful to me and I find that they watch out for me during times when Larry is in the hospital. It's comforting and it makes me proud. At the same time, it hurts my heart that they have to go through this. I have said from the initial diagnosis, though, that there is something for all of us to learn through this experience. I pray that our eyes and minds are open to whatever that may be.

For those of you who pray for us, please pray that the pneumonia will be completely out of his body when he goes for his next appointment and that chemo can begin immediately. We both feel that the MM may stop spreading once that treatment begins.