This is a blog dedicated to keeping friends and loved ones abreast of my husband's progress as he enters his now 10th year of fighting an aggressive prostate cancer. Enjoying LIFE while looking forward to HEAVEN.
Just a quick update- George is now enrolled in hospice care as of today. He was hospitalized for a week, and it was determined he needs regular care. He plans to still do a couple a treatments, and thankfully he can take advantage of hospice at the same time. What a relief to have them involved to help with all his needs.
Please pray for him. Every day he seems to lose a little more ground......
Wow. once again- I need to say- it has been a really long time since posting anything on here...
A LOT has happened since my last post. I will try to briefly bring this blog up to date.
In December, we needed to enroll George in hospice to try to get some increasing pain under control. He had developed Radiation Recall (if you have never heard of this and you or a loved one is receiving radiation- educate yourself!) and Lymphedema and somehow that all then morphed into a horrendous fibrosis that has hardened to a brick-like mass on his upper left thigh and buttock area. It is PAINFUL. It presses on nerves, and everything he does hurts it. He can't sit, lie, walk, etc. without agonizing pain. And to make us feel even better, every doctor says "I've never seen anything like this before". So, yeah.... good times.
He spent a week in the Hospice Hospital trying to get a handle on his pain. Basically, their solution was to drug him mindless. He may not have felt much pain- but he also thought he saw spaceships and animals coming down off the mountain. Not our idea of pain management for the long haul....
Finally he was referred to a pain clinic and started receiving nerve blocks. Those helped somewhat, but their relief was short-lived, and it was like being on a nightmare of a roller coaster. He would go weeks with extreme pain until the next nerve block could be arranged. It was such a hassle.
So then finally- after jumping through a dozen hoops- having to DISenroll from hospice since it seemed they were the ones not requesting the surgery (most people have good hospice experiences.... I can't say I was loving it....) - he was approved for a pain pump that was being recommended and he badly wanted. He had that surgery 3 weeks ago.
We are now in the process of getting that titrated to the proper dose that will give him some actual relief. We're definitely not there yet. Pain has become the primary focus of our entire life. He deals with it constantly. Every minute of every day without a break. It is EXHAUSTING.
On top of that- we learned about a month ago that George had a terribly broken hip socket. Apparently, he had been walking on it for some time not realizing that was what was causing some issues. It is beyond repair, and because his pelvic bone area is pretty invaded with cancer, surgery to replace the hip is not an option.
So now my poor husband has to walk permanently on crutches.
That was a MAJOR blow, as he had such high hopes for getting the pain under control and having some return to "normalcy". We will never see normal again- whatever THAT is....
And of course, there is still the relentless fight of the cancer itself!
George continues to take Protocel regularly (a cancer-fighting supplement. google it).
He will most likely be resuming some radiation and possibly an oral chemotherapy soon.
Please keep us in prayer as we are in a true valley right now. Every day feels like slogging through quick sand, and the world feels like it is spinning out of control.
I am trying so hard to care for him, keep up with the house, AND somehow run a business. All 3 require more focus than I seem capable of and it is very overwhelming.
I have gone from having a very independent capable husband who could do anything he put his hand to, to a man who struggles to get dressed by himself, in very short order. The adjustment has been difficult- for both of us!!- and we haven't figured out completely how to do this thing.
Today we have a Guest Blogger! His name is David Haas- a contributor to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance blog. He contacted me with a strong desire to share some very important information for those who are fighting cancer, surviving cancer- and their caretakers. I hope this information is helpful to you:
Exercise is Important for Cancer Patients and Survivors
by David Haas
The benefits of exercise for maintaining good health are well accepted. Experts working in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) agree that exercise also has several benefits for cancer survivors and people undergoing cancer treatment. The panel of researchers convened in 2010 to establish exercise guidelines for people with various types of cancer. Their key message is that cancer survivors and patients should avoid inactivity. The benefit of even modest levels of exercise, such as brief walks, leads to improvements in health.
Clinical studies demonstrate that exercise conveys the same health benefits to cancer patients that it provides to the general population. According to the ACSM panel there is abundant evidence that exercise significantly improves your quality of life because it enhances physical functioning and reduces fatigue caused by cancer treatment. Exercise also reduces your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A cancer diagnosis generally leads to depression, stress and feelings of illness from the cancer or the treatments. People who exercise have more self-confidence and optimism.
Exercise also improves body composition and body image in patients with various cancers. Treatment for breast cancer can cause excess weight gain. Exercise is instrumental in helping those patients lose the excess fat, control weight and achieve a healthier body mass index.
Regular physical activity is also beneficial in patients with cancers involving the head, neck or gastrointestinal system. This class of cancers causes loss of muscle mass and weight. These changes can make physical activity a challenge. Physical exercise increases your level of fitness, muscle strength, lean muscle mass and energy levels.
You should consult your physician regarding the ACSM panel’s cancer-specific exercise recommendations. The ACSM panel modifies various exercises based upon the risk of the activity causing health problems, such cardiovascular side effects and fractures. Patients with cancers that reduce lung capacity, such as mesothelioma, may find that short walks improve their disposition, appetite and relieves minor body aches.
The American Cancer Society, ACSM, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the YMCA are helping fitness professionals meet the unique needs of cancer survivors and patients. You can contact one of these organizations to learn more about their training initiatives and to learn whether there is a certified trainer in your area.
It's been a crazy year, 2011. George has had one setback after another.... exhausting and discouraging. We try to maintain a positive attitude, but it's hard sometimes. The crazy thing is- MOST of these setbacks aren't even cancer related!! The latest one is an after-effect of chemotherapy and radiation: Radiation Recall. It's awful.
On the upside.... George recently came across a book that is very encouraging and full of hope- and we thought we'd share it with all of you to share with anyone in a cancer situation.
You can find it on Amazon.com. Worth a read!! It could save someone's life!!
He has opted to stop the chemo after nearly a full year of taking it. His body was reaching its limit of tolerance, he was feeling worse and worse on it, and so he finally made the decision that he couldn't take it anymore.
Thankfully, the doctor concurred and felt it had reached its maximum effectiveness, so there was no "duking it out" to get him off. haha! He felt such a relief to not have to take it anymore.
It's a little scary- the next step... but there are other options available for him, and research continues, so we stay hopeful.
He has revved up his nutritional/supplemental approach and is trying to rebuild his body and immune system. Overall he is feeling better- some struggles that are keeping him from being as productive as he'd like, but we are working to get him feeling better on those matters soon.
We spent a few days at a lakehouse with his oldest daughter and her family, and had a fun, relaxing, much needed time of play.
Cancer's a drag- but every now and then you can kick it aside..... and just laugh!
Laughter and Play are great for the soul!! :-D
Keep playing, friends! and laughing! in spite of it all.....
Last year about this time, George and I were facing the decision to begin chemotherapy- a decision we had always dreaded, and always thought we'd choose not to.... however, life and circumstances and the will to live can change a lot of preconceived ideas about things, and it's very true that you never really know how you will choose to respond to anything until you've faced it yourself. His PSA was at 147 and rising fast. Our wonderful doctor at Cleveland Clinic made it very clear that if we didn't do something drastic soon, George's days would be numbered. So, here we are- over a year later.... I think about 15 chemo treatments later (he goes once every 3 weeks for an infusion).... and his PSA is 8!!!!!!!!!! Chemo is not a walk in the park... and my husband has lost a lot of his thick, curly hair, his face is always puffy, his eyebrows are sparse, he hardly has any facial hair, his long beautiful eyelashes are short and sparse and his eyelids puffy, his nails have thickened, his skin has aged... essentially- he looks about 10 years older in a mere year's span..... However, he's ALIVE and tolerating things pretty well, so we really can't complain about all the "minor" cosmetics things. and for that- we have to be very, very thankful. :-)