MD Anderson Update

The visit to The Wizards has thus far been amazingly consistent with the others, filled with unpleasantries.  Maggie, of course, retains her indelible spirit far past the point where I’m fairly certain I would have passed out.  In the sarcastic words of Martha May, ah, good times.

Maggie is in Houston for her pre-Dr. visit tests which include but are not limited to blood test, x-rays, and CT scans.  Dr. Lisa was kind enough to drive Maggie to Houston so that I could stay at home base and, hopefully, get lots of work done.  Thus, all of my reports are filtered by a phone line.  I’m certain there’s much more color to be had for the stories but this is what I’ve got to work with.

In the normal run of appointments, Maggie has several vials of blood drawn for tests called panels.  On the panel I’ve got from December, I count 36 different test results, all from the little vials they collect.  Standard stuff, I suppose.  Also standard is the whole cotton-ball-on-the-arm bit followed by the simple instructions to apply pressure while they wrap the needle hole, including the cotton ball, in tape.

Not so standard is the feeling of warm water dripping down your arm, taking off your sweater and seeing oodles of blood sopping the cotton ball, tape, and sweater.  Apparently the cotton ball sprung a leak.  It was quite a scene.  She quickly found a nurse who offered the first-aid basic instructions to visible bleeding “apply pressure.”  She did.  The soaked cotton ball responded with gushing more blood.  I’m sure a mess and requisite hilarity ensued.  A little more pressure, a few bandages and another cotton ball later and Maggie was fine.  She didn’t mention the state of the sweater.  Sadly, it was a post-Christmas gift she bought herself.  Bring on the Oxyclean!

The CT scan was just as much fun.  They had much difficulty using her other arm for the IV so they had to reuse the previous, obviously fertile, arm.  And, as is customary for our MD Anderson visits, Maggie warned the tech of the impending vomit.  For her efforts she was given a tub of ample size.  Thankfully, it caught all the vomit and, for the first time in the history of The Adventures of Chris and Maggie at MD Anderson, she didn’t have to lay in a pool of the foul stuff through the CT scan.  It’s clearly not the most optimal solution (not throwing up would sure be nice) but hey, if it’s coming up, we might as well have a place to put it.  It’s good news and we’ll take it.  Thank you, CT scanner tech person.  Bud Light salutes you.

When I spoke to her last they were headed to a dinner out to Italian food, Maggie’s favorite.  She seemed in good spirits and happy to be done with today’s battery.

Next appointment is 11:00AM on Wednesday with Dr. Kurzrock.  She’ll be giving us the news we already think we know, that the tumors have shrunk or have not changed in size.

More news worth smiling about.  Despite the oxaliplatin treatments, Maggie thus far has no evidence of that pesky neuropathy.  That’s great news.  The longer we go without nerve damage usually associated with oxaliplatin, the longer we’ll be able to continue these treatments that, again being optimistic, we believe are working.

A key part of this visit, we hope, is that we’ll have the all clear to remove the little buddy pack that Maggie’s been carting around with her since November 16th.  Imagine, if you will, being tethered to a little machine, slightly bigger than a paper-back book but much heavier.  And to that device is tethered a little medicine bag.  The device stays hungry, too, requiring a meal at random times of the day and night of fresh batteries and medicine bags.  And when it’s hungry it’s very insistent.  With the device comes the following limitations:
*  No driving
*  No showering (only very careful baths making sure not to immerse the IV dressing in the water)
*  No going anywhere without a bag carrying the device

Hopefully, with this visit with Dr. Kurzrock, we’ll get the nod to dump the device.  Unfortunately, I suspect it’s not as simple as just turning the machine off.  The fluid Maggie has been getting, fentanyl, is an opioid and, thus, requires a more complicated breakup routine.  Whatever the requirement, the effort to break the tether will be well spent.

Tomorrow is Dr. Lisa and Maggie fun day.  I’m not sure what the plan is but last I heard, exploring Houston was on the list.

7 thoughts on “MD Anderson Update

  1. A well-earned fun day!! Shop ’til you drop, paint ’til you faint, and see everything that’s fun and interesting in Houston. You’ll continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of hundreds of us here in North Texas.

    Much love …..

  2. Hydrogen Peroxide for the sweater. It’s dirt cheap. Pour it on the blood spots on the sweater. It will bubble up white where blood is and have no reaction to non-blood (which is creepy but absolutely mesmerizing..think of junior high biology). Then throw in the wash. Won’t take the color out of the sweater like bleach.

    Eli (huge dog) and I have you in our thoughts every day.

    Kat Logue

    1. Thanks for your tip. Oxyclean, if you haven’t tried it, is amazing on organic-based stains. We’ve used it with perfect success on wine and blood in the past. It’s like magic.

  3. If Kat’s blood-out solution doesn’t do the whole job, bring the sweater to me. Mom has some of those super secret old wives’ remedies that should do the trick!

    While I don’t want to put a bug in your beer, is it possible the neuropathy is only occurring in the liver? If so, there may be less pain because of nerve impact in that immediate vicinity.

    I’m so looking forward to good news on the doctor’s assessment.

    Keeping the faith and hope alive!

    1. Neuropathy would be systemic because the oxaliplatin, while most concentrated in the liver, is spread amply throughout the body. I guess it’s no longer an issue with the new treatment.

  4. Enjoy your day off Mags… too bad it’s in Houston though 🙁 Lisa will have to find out who I am before she can hit me.

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