Monday, April 5, 2010

Monsoon Season

Mike here....We’ve got a big week this week everyone. To begin with today Lisa’s sister Maranda has an appointment with her surgeon in addition to having x-ray’s taken. The appointment with the surgeon is to discuss what to expect with her spinal fusion surgery scheduled for April 29. Maranda will be inpatient for about a week and then home and out of school for a month as she recovers. Lately Maranda has been experiencing increasing discomfort on the upper right side of her back so I don’t think this surgery can come soon enough. We’ve heard accounts from a few sources say that after they’ve had the surgery they felt a lot better. However; that doesn’t negate the images of this surgery that I’ve seen, and the idea of operating on the spine is just disturbing to me. Please pray for Maranda and the medical team. May the days preceding the surgery be stress free and rest filled and that everyone is ready for the surgery on the day it occurs.

This is a scan week for Lisa. I’ll take her in for an MIBG injection tomorrow. Here’s a quick bit of information on MIBG. MIBG is a radioisotope (MIBG, iodine-131-Meta-IodoBenzylGuanidine) and it is injected into a vein. This compound attaches to specific tumor cells thus highlighting the areas where disease is present. The next day, Lisa will be scanned and the areas that uptake MIBG are more clearly visible. MIBG scans should not be confused with MIBG therapy. MIBG therapy utilizes the MIBG isotope as a vehicle to target tumor cells. In this therapy, MIBG is attached to a radioiodine, (radioactive material). As cancer cells uptake the MIBG and the radioiodine the cancer cells are destroyed by the radioactive material. The doctors at UofM pioneered this treatment so we've got some of the best minds working on this.

I met with Lisa’s doctor last Thursday before her last dose of chemo of round four. We talked about what to expect during and after her MIBG Therapy scheduled for April 26. The 26th will mostly be prepping her for the Therapy that will begin on the 27th. On the 27th she’ll begin her treatment which will isolate her for at least 36 hours because she will be so radioactive. During those 36 hours only the medical personnel are able to enter the room in full hazmat gear to take vitals and give meds and chemo. Yes, on top of the MIBG Therapy Lisa will be receiving her 5th round of chemo. After 36 hours the level of radiation emanating from Lisa should be low enough for Linda and I to go in for short visits. After another 36 hours levels should be low enough for her to discharged. Once home with her we can expect to experience all the “normal” side effects of chemo and radiation treatment. We’re cautioned that while we can resume our usual lifestyle, we should not sit for prolonged periods with Lisa where she is within two feet of us. Hugs and kisses – ok, naps and having her sit on your lap for the duration of a movie – not ok. This part is going to be difficult as Lisa has always been the cuddler. She’ll be out of school for a couple weeks as she recovers. At least she and Maranda can keep each other company.

So as you can imagine a month such as this brings with it all of the stressors that come with waiting. I find periods like these to be the worst. Idle moments seem to get filled with tormenting thoughts. To make matters even more distressing (ah yes, but wait there more!) My sister Sharon is in the hospital with what we’re not sure, except to say that there seems to be some sort of intestinal blockage. After suffering for more than a month she was admitted Friday after a particularly disturbing episode. And, Linda’s father is scheduled for surgery to treat his melanoma this month. If when it rains it pours, then monsoon season is truly upon us. I’m looking forward to May’s flowers.

April does bring with it one very bright anniversary. April 7th, 2008 was the day we adopted Thomas, Christina, and Lisa after fostering them for three and a half years. Lately I’ve been able to look at them individually; Maranda included, and truly appreciate each of them for their own uniqueness. In those moments I marvel at my own good fortune.


Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like your kids are in the best possible hands, both medical and parental, but I know that doesn't take away the fear and pain.

How cruelly painful that you have to keep your distance from Lisa (and vice versa) just when I'm sure you want to be closest!! I hope that that doesn't last too awfully long. But if your love for her can leap off of the computer screen to folks like me, it is certainly felt by Lisa. I'm sure that she'll feel the comfort of all the times your arms have been around her even when they can't actually be there.

I don't know what else to say except that I am sending heartfelt hugs and intensely positive energy to you all. You've all had (and will have) such unimaginable hardship, but your kids are so lucky to have you guys as their parents to tenderly shepherd them through it all. Take care.


Anonymous said...

Your ability to look at the positive is a lesson to all of us. Please know that we have all of you including your sister and Linda's father in our prayers.

Take care
The Kreagers