Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The News Continues To Be Positive

DeBary, FL.

64 deg. rain, no wind.

Forecast = Showers and thundershowers likely. High 71F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. Locally heavy rainfall possible.

The news about Jim's lung problems continue to be good. Last Wednesday, ( the day of my last post), Lila took Jim and Linda over to the Imaging Center in Orange City, where Jim had his MRI. Jim says that unless you've had an MRI it's hard to describe what it's really like. He says it's lots of loud sounds while you're head is encased in a mask type thing and then inside of a tube.

Not real pleasant, but do-able!!! :-o

Then, in the evening, Jim went in for a radiation treatment, (with major machine setting changes), and had his treatment. As they were leaving and already out into the parking lot, Dr. Graham came running out and told Jim and Linda that, indeed, the lung had mostly inflated. The Dr. was surprised that this had happened so early in the treatment, and said that this would make zeroing in on the tumor and thus, making treatment much easier and more precise. He was very pleased, to say the least! :-)

Yesterday morning, after another radiation treatment, Jim and Linda again met with Dr. Graham and he went into more detail of the findings of the last CAT Scan. He showed them views of the lung, before and after, and explained how now the radiation treatments could now be more precisely directed to the tumor. He also noted that Jim's lung was now almost completely re-inflated and functioning quite well.

From Dr. Graham's office Lila took Jim up to Deland for a chemo treatment. Before the treatment, they met with Dr. Saferali who confirmed Dr. Graham's findings and also stated that she felt the lung was functioning quite well. :-)

Other than radiation treatments once a day, 5 days a week and chemo treatments once a week, nothing much else has been happening around here, just day-to-day living. Laura has stopped by a few times and Jim and Linda have called Joe, Mike and Jeff with the good news.

So, rather than just ramble along here, I'll leave you with this Quote to Ponder.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”
Eleanor Roosevelt


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Good News, and The Last Step Become Floridians

DeBary, FL.

36 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy. High near 65F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.   Tonight, Mostly clear. Low 42F. Winds light and variable.

Yesterday turned out to be a very interesting day. Not at all like Jim and Linda had envisioned.

It started about 7:30 in the morning when Dr. Graham's office called and told Jim that he shouldn't come in for his scheduled appointment to have a radiation treatment at 8:45.  Instead, he was asked if he could come in at 2:00 in the afternoon to receive a cat scan?

The reason was that they had looked at the results from Monday and determined that the lung had indeed started to re-inflate and move around, and being that the tumor is on the lung, the location of the tumor inside of Jim's body had indeed moved.

So, being that Jim and Linda didn't have to go to get the treatment, they decided to head over to the DMV and see if they could get their Florida Drivers Licenses. The original plan was to get FL licenses as soon as we returned here in November, but being that Jim was having all those breathing problems, it just didn't happen.

Anyway, they've built a new DMV office just a little North of here, so they headed over there, When they arrived, there wasn't anyone waiting so as soon a couple of the many stations, (10 or 12), became empty they were called right in and in about 1/2 hour, they were walking out of the facility with their new Florida drivers license!!!!

We're now officially Floridians!!!!!!!

At 11:30, Jim had an appointment with the pulmonary doctor for a follow up visit so they headed over there. Her office is also in Orange City, so it was a short drive. After a successful  visit, they headed over to Bob Evans to have breakfast for lunch, and then headed over to the radiation place to get Jim's cat scan.

The tech at the radiation place told Jim that there had, indeed, been some major changes with Jim's lung and that evidently the radiation treatments have been working as planned and the tumor was starting to shrink!!!!! :-)

Today, at 9:45, Jim has to head over to Deltona to get an MRI. That's a scan of the brain to make sure that no cancer has spread there. (evidently that sometime happens when you have lung cancer).  Then this evening at 5:45 he will head over to Dr. Graham's to get a radiation treatment. Then on Thursday and Friday, he'll get his radiation treatments at the normal time of 8:45 in the morning.

So,  ,  ,  ,  ,  a very interesting day, to say the least, but all around the news is good and Jim's lung is starting to return to it's normal shape and function. They'll have to keep an eye on it and adjust the radiation machine to match the changes, so he'll probably be having more cat scans so they can make the correct adjustments.  And, it's good that Jim and Linda got their new Fl. license as that was the last step to officially make us Florida residents.

Jim is feeling better and his mood is better with the good news. In fact, life is pretty darn good right now!! ;-)

Did you know that on this date in 1985 - The most-watched Super Bowl game in history was seen by an estimated 115.9 million people? The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16. Super Bowl XIX marked the first time that TV commercials sold for a million dollars a minute.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"Bad Dog" Has A Gripe!!!

DeBary, FL.

43 deg; clear, no wind.

Forecast = A few passing clouds, otherwise generally sunny. High 56F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.  Tonight, clear. Low near 35F. Winds light and variable.

I've got a gripe!!!!!!   It's about Jim's cancer.

You see, a few days ago, Jim got his current medical records off of an Internet site. I don't know what many of those things mean, but when it come to patient's "Social History" it only says one thing!!!!

Now, throughout most of Jim's adult life and even as a teenager, he worked on cars and became a mechanic at a car dealership at the age of 19. During these years, he preformed many brake jobs and clutch replacements, dealing with asbestos dust. No one knew how dangerous this dust was so there were no masks or any other type of protection used. In fact, they used to use compressed air to blow the dust off of the brake parts as they disassembled the brake system. He was also exposed to all kinds of fumes, including gas fumes, solvent fumes and other cleaning and lubrication fumes.  And, I'm sure he also inhaled gas and diesel fumes from the running cars, trucks and heavy equipment that he worked on.

Also, from the time he was 13, he worked on farms in the area around the small town he was raised in. Even as an adult, he worked on the farms on weekends and evenings, as a hired hand doing all types of chores including spraying insecticides, weed killers and general work out in the fields breathing in a lot of dust dirt, fertilizers and whatever else was in the soil.

Then, a few times during his adult years, he remodeled some houses, dealing with fiberglass, plaster, lead paint and asbestos shingles and asbestos house siding.

Back in the 50's, 60's and 70's no one even though about what was in all of the above chemicals.

Also, throughout most of these years, Jim smoked cigarettes. In fact, he started at a very young age and didn't quit until he was in his late 50's.

Now, can you guess what was listed under "Social History" on his medical records?????

Yep!! Smoking!!!! Nothing about farming, working as a mechanic breathing asbestos dust, breathing fiberglass or asbestos during home remodeling!!!!

So,  ,  ,  , as you can probably guess, my question is why is everything blamed on smoking??? He may or may not have gotten the cancer from smoking, but why couldn't he have gotten it from all that brake dust and clutch dust that he inhaled or all those chemicals out on the farm!!!!

It's popular right now to blame smoking for a multitude of ailments and so I'm thinking that they didn't even really listen to Jim when he told at least 4 doctors about the jobs he had throughout the years. It was easier to just blame "smoking"!!!!!

Jim is doing fine, he now has had 2 chemo treatments and 9 radiation treatments. He had kind of a  bad night this last Saturday when he was kept awake because of coughing. But by Sunday, he was feeling better and his breathing seemed a little easier. During the night, he coughed up a lot of  "junk" and that probably means that the Radiation is working and has shrunk the tumor a little, allowing some air in and out of the collapsed lung. At his radiation treatment, yesterday morning, he told the techs what had happened and they said that although they didn't know for sure, that was what happened many times when the lung opened up. :-)

They did a scan and this morning, Jim will see the radiation doctor, (Dr. Graham), and maybe he'll be able to tell Jim and Linda if that's the case.

A Quote to Ponder:  “One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”
Jack Penn

Grrrrrrrr!!!! Woof!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

3 Firsts

DeBary, FL.

43 deg. mostly cloudy, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy this afternoon. High 64F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

The weather change came through as expected and it truly was shock to the system, the first cold weather of the season. Anytime you get a 25 degree drop in the temperatures after having record high temps for quite awhile, you feel it all the way through to your bones.  Actually, the weather now is more like what it's really supposed to be like in January down here.

Monday morning, Jim and Linda took Lila and headed over to get Jim's radiation treatment and then headed up to DeLand for Jim's first chemo treatment. Everything went well and it was pretty much as expected. They first met with Dr. Saferali's PA and then Jim was taken into the chemo room. The worst thing about the treatment is that it takes a long time to administer all the different medications through the IV. Some of the meds are preventative to help counteract reactions of the treatment and of course the rest are the treatment meds themselves.

Jim got into the treatment room at about 10:30 and it was right at 3:00 when he and Linda returned to the car.

Jim was feeling fine, so on the way back here so they stopped and bought Lila a well deserved drink of 87 octane. This was the first time she had been filled since she was purchased and both Jim and Linda were well pleased with the 26.7 MPG that she attained, especially since all the miles were driven in town, :-)

For dinner, Jim and Linda again took Lila and headed over to Gram's Kitchen in Orange City. Jim had a fish sandwich and Linda an open faced beef sandwich. Both were very good. :-)

Yesterday, after Jim's radiation treatment the day was spend just kicking back after the busy day on Monday.

So, here's the schedule as of right now. Every Monday through Friday Jim will go to get his radiation treatment at 8;45 in the morning. Every Monday, after his radiation treatment, he will head up to DeLand and receive a chemo treatment that will last until late afternoon. This will go on for about 7 weeks and then, after the last radiation treatment, there will be 2 additional chemo treatments at 21 day intervals.

The treatments should be over by mid- April, but then there will be a recovery period and I'm sure another Pet Scan.

Side effects from chemo are accumulative, so by the end of the treatments, it's hard telling what kind of, or the severity of the side effects will be. As of now, no travel plans are being made for this summer. If we do get to travel, it may only be a short trip up to Illinois, but we'll have to see if that will even be possible.

Did you know that on this date in 1979 - The Y.M.C.A. filed a lawsuit against the Village People over their song, "Y.M.C.A."? The suit was later dropped.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

More Dr. Appointments, Starting More Treatments and A Change In The Weather

DeBary,  FL.

67 deg. overcast, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly cloudy. High around 70F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.  Tonight, Mainly cloudy. Low 41F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.

Friday morning, after Jim's radiation treatment, Lila took Jim and Linda up to DeLand and to Dr. Saferali's office. They had never been to her office up in DeLand, but it was easy to find and is a much nicer facility than the one in Orange City, where Linda was treated.

The meeting with the Dr. went smoothly and it was decided that Jim would start chemo treatments on Monday. (tomorrow).  The treatments will be once a week on Mondays and will last as long as the radiation treatments continue. Then, there will be a 21 day "rest", a treatment, another 21 day "rest" and then a final chemo treatment. Now, by just roughly figuring this out on a calendar, that would mean that if everything goes well, Jim would be finished with treatments somewhere around the 1st to the 15th of April.

It was also decided that even though the facility in Orange City is closer, the treatments would take place at the DeLand office. The reasons for this is that the Deland office is not as busy as Orange City, and the facilities are much nicer. Actually the additional distance isn't that bad. It will take about 1/2 hour to get up to Deland versus the 10 to 15 minutes to Orange City.

Jim's feeling well. He now has a nebulizer and is using it 4 times a day. This helps with clearing the lungs and makes breathing a little easier.

We're in for  a big weather change down here in Florida. The temperatures have been in the upper 70's and low 80's, and today, the high is only supposed to be in the upper 60's with lows tonight down into the lower 40's. I know that's not really cold, but I'm betting that it will feel really cold to us after having all those 80 degree days.

Did you know that on this date in 1911 - Major Jimmie Erickson took the first photograph from an airplane while flying over San Diego, CA?


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back To December 31st and Treatments Begin

DeBary, FL.

57 deg. overcast,  no wind.

Forecast = Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 73F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.

Well, lets see if I can get this all straight!!!! I'm going to go back to December 31st and try bring you up-to-date on what has happened since then.

So, lets begin!!

As I wrote in my post on December 30th, Jim had an appointment with the Oncologist, (Dr. Saferali), on the morning of the 31st to get the results of the Pet scan. Well, Jim and Linda headed over there and the news was good and bad. The good news is that the growth, (probably cancer) was all located in one part of the lung, (the inlet), and there were no other indications of any unnatural growths in the rest of his body.

Now the bad news.  From the time Jim had received the Cat scan on the 4th of December and the Pet scan on the 29th of December, the opening of the lung had closed and Jim's left lung had collapsed!! This sent up an immediate alarm and Dr Saferali said that she thought is was very important that Jim head straight over to the hospital for treatment.

So, that's what they did.

Now, you have to remember that this was New Years Eve day and there were a lot of people off for the long holiday weekend. That meant that it was hard to get people together for some of the tests that the pulmonary doctor wanted to preform. And, I might add that it was not where Jim and Linda wanted to be to bring in the New Year either. :-(

They did an electrocardiogram in the ER and then immediately put Jim on heavy antibiotics  because there is a high risk of infection in a collapsed lung. They also administered other medications to help him breathe easier. Then, on Saturday, the 2nd of Jan, Jim received an echocardiogram.

All showed no heart problems.

Monday, the 4th, they did a bronchoscopy which involved sedation and then running a scope down to his lungs where photos were taken. It was during this procedure that a biopsy was also taken and sent in for diagnosis.

Tuesday morning, Jan 5th, Dr. Ahuja, the pulmonary doctor that had been looking after Jim since he entered the hospital, and who is also the Dr. who preformed the bronchoscopy, came to the room and informed him of what she saw from the procedures. She is 99% sure it is cancer (no biopsy report yet), and showed Jim and Linda photos of the blocked area of the left lung and said that she thought that Jim could go home later in the day and should start getting radiation treatments to start shrinking the growth as soon as possible, preferably the next day.

Calls were made and an appointment was set up to see the radiation doctor, (Dr. Graham, the same doctor that gave Linda her radiation treatments) yesterday morning.  (the 6th), by 10:00 AM, they were talking to the doctor, and by about 11:00, they were finished measuring Jim and deciding on just where the treatment needed to be directed. After that, they came home for awhile and rested, only to go back to Dr. Grahams for Jim's first radiation treatment last evening at 6:15 PM.

You see, Dr. Graham also said that it was of great importance to get that tumor shrunk down to get air entering and exiting the lung as soon as possible to head off  a possible problem of the lung not wanting to start working on it's own again, which could be the case if it was blocked off for too long.

This morning, (the 7th), Jim will go back in for another radiation treatment and will continue getting treatments 5 days a week for the next, 5 to 7 weeks. (I can't remember just how long the doctor said). During this time, Jim will also see Dr. Saferali and get started on once a week chemo treatments. That means that for quite awhile he'll be doing both radiation and chemo at the same time.

It won't be easy and I'm sure it'll take a lot out of Jim, but because he's very healthy otherwise, the outlook is good. Dr. Graham also said that Jim has a good chance of full recovery, but as many of you know, cancer is a very hard thing to completely eradicate.

Jim and Linda both have very strong hopes and believe that this is just another one of those large bumps in the road that one has to go over. And besides, we still have places to go and things to do before hanging up those RV keys. ;-)

I don't know how much I'll be posting, but I'll try to keep all of you informed of anything important happening.

Jim also wants to thank all of you that have already called, e-mailed or commented. It really means a lot to know that so many of you out there are thinking and praying for his full recovery.

A Quote to Ponder : “All the really valuable things you own are things you can't photograph.”
Author Unknown


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Update On Jim

DeBary, FL.

53 deg. overcast, no wind.

Forecast = Overcast with showers at times. High near 70F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

I know!!!! I said that I'd report right after Jim got the results from the scan last Friday, but there were some major developments.

The results of the scan were not good and Jim was sent directly from the doctor's office to the hospital with the diagnosis of a collapsed left lung!!!!! It seems like the growth that was detected in the CAT scan and PET scan,  had completely closed off the opening to the lung and no air at all was getting through!!!!

So, because I don't have time right now to go into all the details, I'll just tell you that Jim was finally released from the hospital last evening and returned back here about 6:30 PM. Today, he has an appointment with Dr. Graham, (the same radiation doctor that Linda had), to begin radiation treatments to hopefully shrink the "mass" so that air can get in and out of the lung.  Once that is accomplished, we don't know how many or what kind of treatments will be required.  All of that will be determined after the lung is able to work again.

The growth is cancer but it is all located in the one spot on the lung. There is no evidence of cancer anywhere else in Jim, so that is good. And, all the doctors seem to agree that the prognosis  is good and they're expecting a good end result.

Thanks everyone for your comments and calls. Now that Jim will be home, I'll try to catch you up-to-date on what happened in the hospital and what's going on at the present.

Jim is doing well and is not in any discomfort. The only problem is that when he tries to do too much he gets severely out of breath, panting just like I do after a long run around the house. :-)

A Quote to Ponder : “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”
Abraham Lincoln