Showing posts from July, 2018

30th July, 2018

Nick heads into Vic today to get a head CT scan for the purpose of radiation therapy on the four tumours in his brain. The radiation beam is precisely aimed to within 1 mm. In order to achieve this, Nick has to wear a frame which immobilizes his head. How this is achieved is that an epoxy mould is taken of his teeth, and the resulting mouthpiece is connected to a vacuum pump, which sticks it securely to the roof of the mouth. The mouthpiece is then connected to a rigid head frame, so he could probably have a sneezing fit and not budge one iota.  All is not medical hell here. My mom's in town for August, with her lovely dog Beatrice: Mom and Beatrice My mom's friend Donja is making strides in her recovery from her heart transplant. Slowly but surely, the fog is lifting, and she's getting her strength back. Mom and Donja Vincent has moved out, and into a great house recently purchased by his friends Peter and David. The basement is immense, and Vincent has his own

July 27th, 2018

Naturally, calmness only lasts so long. We had a pretty chill day. My colleagues borought over loads of food, we visited Vincent at work to seranade him with h Happy Birthday on voice and sax, and then kicked back on the porch with some beverages. We were hitting the hay at midnight when my mom, Susan, showed us her ankle. Yikes! A zombie bite! She's been on two courses of antibiotics, but it's flaring up badly. Off to Emerg! We're bracing ourselves for a long night. 3:52 am Finally made it into the ward. The Emerg staff, from registration, Triage and many of the ward staff, really love to yap and play on their phones. 4:15 a.m. The doctor got in, examined my mom, and suspects cellulitis. The concern is that the infection may have moved into the bone or blood. He's setting up a course of IV antibiotics right now, preceded by bloodwork, as well as an X-ray of the left leg. 6:20 a.m. No bone or systemic infe ction, thank goodness. However, there's a nasty in

26th July, 2018

We're home! We made our 1:05 pm standby out of Dallas, thank goodness, got in at 9:00 pm, had a few beverages and went to sleep, getting up 10 minutes ago! We’re still pretty wasted and jet-lagged. Nick’s doing well, and got discharged yesterday, but he’s on these anticonvulsant medications and is pretty slowed-down. No alcohol (just as well) and no driving for six months at least. This is the least of our worries. We're just glad we're all  together again. Nick's got an appointment with the radiation team tomorrow at 1:00 pm. The implication is that the chest CT showed no active tumours on the lungs, so they'll go for radiation first, then some form of non-devastating chemotherapy if the beta-hCG markers continue to rise. The plan is still to have Nick attend school in the fall. Next summer, I'd love it if we could all go to Hawaii. This was our third trip there, and it's become one of our go-to places, much like the Bruce Peninsula. Just wish the pla

25th July, 2018

We've experienced a delay in our flight home: a woman on our flight from Kona to Dallas went nuts early into the flight. We had to land in LA so she could be arrested by the FBI. We continued on to Dallas, but everyone on the plane missed their connections. We're booked on a 6:30 pm flight to YYZ, but also on standby for a 1:30 pm flight. Anyhow, DFW is a nice airport, so it could be worse. They have free WiFi, do we're able to stay in touch with Alex and Nick. Nick's still in the ICU, but is doing very well. He's on medication to control seizures (anticonvulsant or antiflamatory - not sure which). They're running a whole battery if neurological tests, and so far he's checking out fine. They've analyzed the head CT scan, and this shows a total of four lesions. Two are about 1cm in width, while the other are much smaller. Whether radiation or chemotherapy will be done depends upon what the upcoming chest CT shows. If there are active tumours in the

24th July 2018

Nick's still in critical care at Victoria Hospital. He's waking up gradually. Alex and her mom are by his side. The CT images have been analysed, and show that the occipital lobe tumour is very small, but had been bleeding, which lead to local swelling - hence the visual distortions and seizures. The docs feel that they can get the bleeding under control and proceed with treatment to wipe out the tumour. They feel that brain surgery will not be necessary at this time. We found a flight getting out of here at 2 pm, arriving in Toronto at 11:35 am on the 25th. Presumably we'll be back in London by 3 pm or so. 4:30 pm EST Dr. Potvin, Nick's oncologist, has a plan. An MRI has just been done. If Nick has only one or two small brain lesions, then radiation is the plan. If the MRI reveals more, then it's chemo. In any case, the long range plan remains the same: some form of chemotherapy designed to manage the disease, in conjunction with more experimental treatments s

20th July, 2018

Nick's had some time off of chemo, and we were hoping that the five cycles he'd had would do the trick, but no. The tumour markers never did make it down to zero, and are doubling weekly as is typical for this disease. Nick's most recent follow-up was this morning, and his oncologist assured him that, when he returns from Cuba on August 6th, she'll have a game plan in place. This time, conventional chemotherapy will not be the first line of attack. Instead, they'll be trying immunotherapy, a method only recently developed. If this doesn't work, they have a couple other tricks up their sleeves. The main thing is that these other therapies aren't nearly as debilitating, and if they can keep the disease at bay, then Nick will be able to get on with his life and go to school in the fall. If they fail, then it's back to chemotherapy, which still seems to beat the cancer back - but of course brings life to a standstill for months.  We're back in Hawaii u