Saturday, July 4, 2015

The times, they are a-changin'

Storm clouds scudding over Biddeford Pool at high tide

Wow.  Yup, it's been a long time.  I gave serious thought to shutting down this blog, due to my not feeling inspired to express myself.  And yet, I'm back.  Who knows what changes my motivation....
There certainly has been no lack of happenings in my life.  Maybe I've had a lot of attention consumed by other people's life events, drawing me away from my simple pastimes.  The little avocations that are easier to share, like needlework and domestic arts like cooking and sewing.

Here's a little update on what has consumed my attention and time for the last several months.

David.  David is doing quite well.  Now.  We have been through some seriously scary times.  He was in a clinical trial for a new cancer drug, to which he seemed to respond beautifully.  The study protocol then introduced the older drug, and his troubles began.  It's not clear to me whether the older drug caused the problems, or if it resulted from the addition of the older drug after the newer drug.  You see, both drugs work by stimulating/facilitating the body's immune system to kill off the cancerous melanocytes. Some people experience complications that seem to be primarily related to inflammation in organs unrelated to the melanocytes.  The more commonly noted conditions are pneumonitis and colitis, inflammation of the lungs, and the large intestine.  In severe cases, the inflammation can render the afflicted to be minimally functional, even to the extent of complete failure.  And when major organs fail, it is life-threatening.  The treatment is high-dose corticosteroids to fight the inflammation and thus allow a return to normal function. This buys time to determine and treat the cause of the inflammatory response.  David developed severe colitis and moderately severe pneumonitis.  He ended up in a hospital bed for 5 weeks!  And since that time, he has been fighting from all the complications of which there have been many, including adrenal failure, GI bleeding, severe anemia, requiring blood transfusions, malnutrition requiring intravenous feeding, deep venous thromboses requiring blood-thinning and complicating the GI bleeding and anemia, pulmonary embolism, taxing his already compromised lung function, atrial fibrillation, which I attribute to the strain on his heart by the PE and anemia.  Oh yeah, and opportunistic infections from his immunocompromised state, including fungal pneumonia, systemic cytomegalovirus and possibly bacterial pneumonia.  Oh yeah, and diabetes due to the steroids, requiring insulin injections and blood sugar testing 4x a day.  Fortunately, he has recovered from most of these complications.  In March, he had some back pain from one of the tumors in a vertebra compressing his spinal cord, and received a week of radiation.  Next week, he is due for his quarterly check-up to see if tumors are still receding or staying the same size, or if they are growing or spreading.
Whew, writing the David update has taken a lot of words and energy, so I'll quit for now.


acorn hollow said...

So very hard on both of you keeping you in my thoughts.

Lorrie said...

Difficult days for you. I hope David's treatment improves.