May '01
Home Up 2000 Diary January '01 February '01 March '01 April '01 May '01 June '01 July '01 August '01









1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

Schedule of Events

bullet5/1 - I (Virg) am doing this update a day late for all of you regular followers of the update.  Tuesday took a nasty turn for Jeri.  She woke up in the morning with a sore right problem...she just slept on it funny...we thought.  About 4pm, she developed excruciating pain in the rib area on her right side.  Jeri is a really tough girl, and when she started sobbing from the pain, we got scared.  After calling the doctor on call, Jeri and I headed to the emergency room at Texas Children's.  It was about 7pm when we got there, and because there were so many people at the emergency room, it was after 9:30 before Jeri was even checked in.  The pain was such that she couldn't lean back in a chair or lie down.  She could only double up with her head in her lap.  After being examined by a few doctors, they drew blood from Jeri and then a little after midnight we headed over to Diagnostic Imaging for a chest x-ray.  The blood work was all negative (which meant that the problem was not her liver, pancreas or kidneys).  The x-ray didn't show much different than last Thursday's CT.  Basically, we got a lot of negative diagnoses but nobody really knew what was wrong.  What they did know is that Jeri's pain had to be brought under control.  So they gave her some IV morphine.  That helped enough that she could doze a little but she still couldn't lie down or move.  Breathing was still painful.  After repeating the morphine dose this morning about 8, they gave us a prescription for some morphine in pill form and sent us home.  We got back to the house about 11:30am.
bullet5/2 - Since we got home this morning, Jeri has been much more comfortable.  The morphine seems to be keeping the pain down to an ache rather than a sharp stabbing (Jeri's words.)  We are both exhausted as sleeping in the ER is a lot like sleeping in the middle of a freeway at rush hour.  We cancelled her school session and physical therapy for today as it would have been impossible for her to deal with either.  Today will just be a day of rest and recovery.  We did see Dr. Murali in the clinic this morning before we left, and he speculated that one of the tumor nodules in her right lung might be resting on or close to the lining of the lung.  That lining is very sensitive and could be causing Jeri's pain.  He will be taking a closer look at her x-rays and discussing them with the surgeon.  The good news today is that Jeri's blood counts are all on the rise.  The best news is that we are back home and hopefully will sleep in our own beds tonight.
bullet5/3 - Well, Jeri didn't get to sleep in her bed last night and it looks like she won't sleep there again tonight.  It is just too painful for her to lie down, so last night she slept in Brit's big recliner in the den.  She said that she slept great.  She is going to sleep there again tonight.  While the morphine seems to help relieve some of the pain, Jeri says that it still hurts to stand up straight, lie down or move around.  She is such a trooper though...because she can't practice walking with her cane right now, she is doing her physical therapy exercises in the chair.
bullet5/4 - This was a rough morning for Jeri.  She had a fever and nausea from the morphine.  She drank lot's of water and the fever subsided and her stomach felt better.  The afternoon was a much more pleasant experience.
bullet5/5 - Jeri still has pain in her chest but it's getting better.  She thinks she'll be able to try the stairs and her bed tomorrow.
bullet5/6 - It was a better day but still wasn't all that good.  Jeri took it easy again most of today.  She took her bath and tried laying flat on the bed while Virginia changed the dressing on her central line.  Actually it's a pheresis line but it serves the same purpose.  She still has difficulty with the bed thing so it's another night in the recliner.  Jeri also went upstairs to her room for a few minutes this evening.  It was a difficult trip but she felt good to have a few minutes in her room to pick out her own clothes.  I hope we get an explanation of this difficulty.  Nothing on the x-rays have indicated the cause of the trouble.
bullet5/7 - Today's appointment at TCH was informative for Virginia and Jeri.  First, Jeri's blood counts are coming up.  She won't start another protocol until her blood counts have recovered.  Dr. Murali, Dr. Berg and Dr. Nuchtern have conferred and do not believe that, at this time, Jeri should have surgery to remove the nodules from her lungs.  They do not believe the nodules are large enough to cause problems and would still like to see if one of the therapies can stop their growth.  Naturally, we are concerned but will accept the judgment of all these fine medical minds.  They also discussed the pain Jeri is having.  They do not see anything in the x-rays or Jeri's last bone scan to indicate that the cancer has spread to Jeri's ribs.  They will schedule a bone scan prior to the next treatment, just to be sure.  That leaves the question of, "what is it," still out there.  They have speculated that a small, even possibly pinhead sized nodule may have formed near the pleural lining of the lung.  The note that the nodules can be too small to be seen in a CT-scan.  That was certainly the case when Jeri had lung surgery last September 15.  Then came the question of what to do about the pain.  They indicated that it could be handled with medication and that obviously, they had not yet gotten the dosage correct.  They said that the medicine should control the pain and that she should be able to function normally, including sleeping, school, eating out and physical therapy.  We'll see how it goes.
bullet5/8 - While Jeri won't be running any marathons soon, the increased dosage of morphine did make her feel better today.  Rather than sitting in the recliner all day, she got up at least once an hour to wander around the house and at least get the blood moving a little.  She is feeling good enough that she thinks that tonight may be the night that she can finally sleep in her own bed.  We'll see.
bullet5/9 - Well, Jeri didn't sleep in her own bed last night and she is not planning on it tonight either.  When I asked her why, she said that because she feels so crummy when she first wakes up, she is worried about getting downstairs.  She did continue her walking program every hour (when prodded by mom anyway) and tomorrow she will be required to leave the house on an outing.  I think she is developing recliner dependency.  The pain is much better but her energy level is very low.
bullet5/10 - Jeri did make it out of the house today.  We went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a few books so that she can entertain herself without the TV for awhile.  The morphine is definitely doing a better job with her pain.  She made it up the stairs tonight and is already relaxing in her own bed.  Her energy level is still very low.
bullet5/11 - The pain is still there but Jeri says it's sort of manageable.  It must be.  She had school today and felt like it went fairly well.  She had physical therapy in the late afternoon.  There has been some regression there.  She worked hard, as always, but didn't have the same level of energy as she did a couple of weeks ago.
bullet5/12 - The pain seems to be easing up a bit.  Jeri had much more energy today.  She did some light shopping with her mom this afternoon.  She's also eating better.  The trip also included a stop at the salon where Jeri had her hair washed, cut (slightly) and styled.  I've included a picture or check the Photo Album.  It's kind of hard to tell in the picture but don't tell Jeri.  She also made it up the stairs this evening with no assistance.  Jeri's pretty independent.  She was up the stairs before any of us knew she as even trying.  We would have insisted on helping and Jeri doesn't want help unless it's absolutely necessary (according to her definition of necessary).  Still, it's good to see her with more energy.  We'll see if tomorrow builds on the improvement or if it was an anomaly.  Oh yes, some of you may remember the original clinical trial that Jeri was going to try called ET374 (3/19).  The test was closed when Jeri's blood counts were high enough to start (4/3).  The trial has been discontinued.  Too many adults in a separate trial have experienced failure of the liver.  I suppose you know what that means.  Jeri was lucky on that one.  She'll get the chance to try something else.
bullet5/13 - Jeri's done ok most of the day.  We tried going out to dinner for Mother's day.  Jeri was fine when we left.  She wasn't so fine after about an hour wait for a table.  She brought her meal home and will try it later in the evening.
bullet5/14 - We went to clinic today.  We probably will not have the current blood counts until tomorrow.  Jeri had a tough morning but as the day went on she got stronger.
bullet5/15 - We received Jeri's counts this morning and they continued to slowly rise.  This was another droopy day for Jeri although she did gather all of her energy this evening to attend Randi's award ceremony at Cy Creek.  Randi was honored for being an honor graduate and we are all very very proud of her.  Tomorrow will be Jeri's last day of home school for this year and then she will have to gather up some more of that precious energy for physical therapy.

Category (see link for definitions)

Normal Adequate / Acceptable Jeri
Hemoglobin 12 8 9.1
Platelets 250,000 100,000 48,000
White Cells 4, 000 - 10,000 4,000 1,700
ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) 1,500-5,000 1,000 1050
bullet5/16 - Jeri had much more energy today.  She says that it is because she decreased her morphine.  She said that it was a good trade off to deal with a little more pain in return for a little more energy.  She had a great physical therapy session today and really worked hard.  Tomorrow, she is going to attempt a luncheon outing if she can.
bullet5/17 - The luncheon outing took place today.  Jeri gave the place a "thumbs down" rating.  She had a short walk outside using the crutches.  I saw the end of the walk as I was getting home from the airport.  It was nice to see her outside.  She's also on her second day without the morphine.  She's says it makes her too out of it.  She's still in pain though.  She won't say much but it's there.
bullet5/18 - Jeri didn't have much energy at physical therapy.  She's just generally in a low energy funk.  We tried making homemade pasta this evening.  Neither Jeri nor I were very good at reading the directions.  That was a surprise.  Jeri's usually a precise cook.  I can't say the same about her dad.  We salvaged enough to have for a meal tomorrow.
bullet5/19 - Not much happening today.  Jeri was out of bed fairly early for a Saturday.  She's been up and down the stairs several times.  There was a bit of light shopping followed by rest.
bullet5/20 - Jeri's sleeping habits are turning to normal now that she's been off the morphine for a few days.  She was up early today.  I asked her what she was going to do to get out of the house today.  She decided that going shopping with her Mom was better than the electronics store or driving range with me.  I was a bit leery of the choice but it turned out just fine.  They went shopping without buying.  Virginia said she's got some good ideas for Jeri's birthday this coming week.  I guess that's good news / bad news as far as the budget is concerned.  Jeri also helped make dinner this evening.  She used it as a chance to get around without crutches or cane.  It's good to see the sparkle in her eyes now that she's no longer a junkie.
bullet5/21 - Jeri continues to regain her strength and energy bit by bit.  This morning, she meandered around the kitchen without her crutches or cane and made brownies.  (nasty little diet-busters!)  We went to clinic for her weekly exam and blood test and then walked the half of the mall that we missed yesterday.  (There were a few teeny weeny purchases this time, Brit.)  Tonight, she is watching the Spurs and Lakers play.  

Category (see link for definitions)

Normal Adequate / Acceptable Jeri
Hemoglobin 12 8 9.7
Platelets 250,000 100,000 86,000
White Cells 4, 000 - 10,000 4,000 2,460
ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) 1,500-5,000 1,000 1,150
bullet5/22 - This was another good day for Jeri.  She went shopping with Randi and Randi's boyfriend, Chris, this morning.   They picked up a wig for Randi to wear as Dolly in "Hello Dolly".  Then, the three of them went out to lunch.  Jeri also accompanied Randi to her play rehearsal this evening.
bullet5/23 - Jeri is fighting a sore throat today and is not quite as energetic as she has been the past two days.  Even though she didn't feel like it, she did a great job at physical therapy today.  She is such a trooper!
bullet5/24 - The life of a taskmaster is never easy.  One again I issued a challenge to Jeri and she showed that she can rise to the occasion with the right motivation.  A package for Jeri had arrived.  Thinking it was for her Birthday on Saturday, I wouldn't let her open it.  I learned today from one of the senders that she should be allowed to open the box.  I told Jeri she could do so but only if she would  go and get the box herself while completing a circuit of the house without aid of cane or crutches.  She was gone in a flash and returned almost as quickly.  The key to Jeri's psyche must therefore either be money for shopping or surprises that come in the mail.  Oh yes, she also went shopping for her sister's graduation gift and out to lunch with her Mom and Grandmother.
bullet5/25 - Jeri's Birthday is tomorrow and that's also Randi's graduation day.  We went ahead and celebrated Jeri's Birthday today.  She received several nice gifts.  There will be plenty of opportunities for retail therapy.  Today was also physical therapy day.  She's gone up to her room early this evening.  I think she's tired out.
bullet5/26 - This was an important day in the Parker family.  Jeri had her th birthday and Randi graduated from  Cypress Creek High School.  That made it a big day all the way around.  Jeri reluctantly did most of her birthday celebrating yesterday so that Randi could enjoy her day today.  The graduation was early this afternoon.  It managed to start raining just in time to mess up traffic.  Nevertheless, the show went on.  We had dinner at Damian's Cucina Italiana.  It was a nice evening.  Jeri had lot's of hiking to do and held up well.  She was tired by the time we got home this evening.  She went to bed pretty early.
bullet5/27 - Jeri was up at a reasonable time today.  She seemed to get more and more tired as the day went on.  Early this evening, she did some walking with the cane and her physical therapy exercises.  She made it through them but seemed a bit more tired than usual.  She has her next blood test on Tuesday.  I'm hoping that they are high enough to get the next treatment going.  I worry about that stuff growing inside her.
bullet5/28 - The holiday is over and it's time to get back to business.  Jeri visit the hospital tomorrow to have the next blood draws done.  She should be getting close to the levels needed for the next treatment.  
bullet5/29 - Jeri started off this morning by making cinnamon rolls for the rest of the household.  MMMMM!  After a lunch stop at her favorite fajita provider, Lupe Tortilla's, we made a quick stop at TCH for a blood draw.  We don't have those results yet.
bullet5/30 - Jeri's physical therapist was absent today so Jeri walked up and down the aisles of the grocery store with me (of course as she pointed out multitudes of junk food that we "needed" at home).  She was pretty tired after that excursion.
bullet5/31 - The results of Tuesday's blood test came in today.  That made it a day of good news and bad news.  The good news is that the counts were high enough to begin the next clinical trial.  The bad news is that there are none currently open at TCH.  They are checking with the clinical trial doctors at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center to see if there is anything interesting available there.  Not much going on for the rest of the day.  Jeri felt good today.  Getting those blood counts up must be helping.  I don't think she thought it helped much to have her Drill Sergeant Dad back in town.  She's upstairs finishing up cleaning her room right now.  I know she feels good because she's working hard and taking great care to get everything in it's right place.  She's organized the shelves, the closets the tops of the furniture and even the floor.  Mom is amazed.  Here are the counts:

Category (see link for definitions)

Normal Adequate / Acceptable Jeri
Hemoglobin 12 8 9.9
Platelets 250,000 100,000 148,000
White Cells 4, 000 - 10,000 4,000 3,700
ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) 1,500-5,000 1,000 1,850

Return to Top


Home ] Up ] Stiff Drink ] Photo Album ] Related Links ] Giving Blood ] Search ]



This page last updated:  June 13, 2006