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Friday, August 29, 2014

Depression

Not much to say these days.  Marshall has been in a deep deep hole of depression.  He went to see his primary care physician a few days ago and Dr Bliss suggested that Marshall make an appointment with the VA psychiatrist (who is a friend of Dr. Bliss').  So we will call after the holiday weekend and make that appointment.  Marshall was better today so we can hope that maybe by Monday he will be continuing to feel better.

And here's your "cute" fix for the day -- our new kitten Jerry, after a hard day of demolishing the house, climbed up on the cat tree and went to sleep before he could even get all the way up there...
Jerry is using Okie as a pillow!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Prostate Cancer Support Group

Quite a while back, I signed up for regular emails from a group called Us Too International, for prostate cancer patients. The emails are referred to as Team Inspire. I get one every day or two and they contain links to various "conversations" going on concerning prostate cancer (to sign up for these emails you would send an email to subscriptions@inspire.com). Last week I got one that mentioned they have a conference call support group the first and third Mondays of each month.

Tonight Marshall joined the conference call and it was 2-1/2 hours of laughter, tears, and a lot of great information about various treatments. I think there were about 10 men on the call. For anyone reading this who is interested, the information can be found at http://www.thereluctantbrotherhood.com. There were two other men from Colorado who were also going to Anschutz and Marshall exchanged phone numbers with one of them. This was wonderful. Marshall will be a regular on these calls.


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

This week at the hospital

We got to the hotel late Monday afternoon and had a pretty relaxing night.

Tuesday morning we got to the hospital at 9:30 to start the day of scans. It took a long time for them to get the IV in his arm in order to inject the radioactive isotope for the bone scan. So he had to be taken to what he called the "vampires" -- the nurses who had a machine to find a good vein. So that delayed things a bit.

Then he drank the contrast liquid for the CT scan. He finished the actual CT scan around 10:30 and he finished the bone scan around 1:30.

Wednesday morning we were at the VA Audiology Department to get his hearing aides checked. They needed to be sent off to be repaired so he will get them back in several weeks.

Wednesday afternoon we were back at the dentist for more adjustments to the dentures. They don't stay in good and they still cause a little pain around the one bone (although much less pain than the prior dentures). Dr. Dhawan did more adjusting and said if these adjustments don't do the trick, he may have to start over. He is a pretty awesome dentist.

Thursday morning we went to the lab for blood draw and then at 1:00 we met with the oncologist. The PSA is now 11.23 (went up from 9.4). All the other blood work was in normal ranges.

With regard to the scans, he said that the scans that were done on Tuesday showed very little change from the ones done in June. So he feels that the cancer is progressing but is progressing very slowly. We told him we have two trips planned in September so he said that we should continue with the present treatment until after we return in early October. We will touch base one more time before the trip -- on September 15 (for blood work) -- and then when we get back in October we will do all the scans one more time and then most likely start chemotherapy.

He said that we will start out with one session of chemotherapy (docetaxel) and then do all the tests and scans again to see if the chemo was working. If it is working there will be at least two more sessions. He told us that with some patients, once they have finished three rounds of chemo, their system gets kind of "reset" and they can go back to the Zytiga cancer pills and they will work again. That would be awesome.

So the bottom line is that we will stay status quo until the end of October. Marshall was depressed today but is coming out of it. He's not in any pain, just the ever-present fatigue and hot flashes.

Dr. Flaig reiterated his opinion that there are three "tests" to consider before getting too worried: (1) is there any pain; (2) what are the scan results; and (3) PSA -- in that order. So he puts the PSA last. As long as there is no pain and the scans show little or no change, then he does not get overly concerned about a rising PSA.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fred and Us

When we went to the Dumb Friends League fundraiser on August 1st someone took a picture of Marshall and me and my boss, Fred. (Fred does not like it when I say "boss," he prefers the word colleague....)

Anyway, they sent me the photo and it is a good one, so I thought I'd post it. We had such a good time and the kitten we adopted has literally become the boss of the house!



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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tomorrow starts our "ugly" week

We head back to Denver tomorrow morning for a stressful week.

Tuesday Marshall gets all the scans (bone scan and CT scan).

Wednesday morning he goes to the Audiology Department of the VA to try to get new hearing aids.  Then Wednesday afternoon back at the dentist for more fine tuning of the dentures.

Thursday at noon is lab work.  Then at 1:00 he sees the oncologist who will give us the results of the scans and the lab work and discuss any changes in treatment, if necessary,

Please send good thoughts our way -- this will be a very tough week for Marshall.  The "anticipation" depression started setting in a few days ago...

I will update Thursday night or Friday.

I should mention that this kitten we got (Jerry) now has the whole household wrapped around his little paws.  He and our other cat play together for hours.  The Sheltie sleeps most of the time so he is oblivious.  The dachshund snuggles up with Jerry and they nap together.  And Jerry sleeps with Marshall at night.

When he's not napping, he whizzes through the house like a lightning bolt and plays with ANYTHING (shoes, table legs, rugs, water bottles, you name it).  He is absolutely delightful.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the coolest thing that happened today: we were watching TV and a bear walked by our patio.  He glanced in the window and kept on walking.  Then he came back and walked up the ramp to the front door!!  He looked around and then walked away.  It was so cool.

We called our neighbors to alert them to the fact that there's a bear in the neighborhood and he had already been to Gina's house and was on their deck, too.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A hawk

For those of you who may be as interested in these birds as I was, here are more photos.

These photos show the hawk in the hands of a female handler and it is being taken quite a distance away from the guy who was giving the bird presentation. The female handler released the hawk and it flew down and landed on the arm of the main guy. You can see the people who were at this gathering watching with interest. Most of the birds in their shelter were found on the roads after being hit by cars. So it is amazing what this bird rescue group does.









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Owl photos and update on dentist

First of all, here are a few of the owl photos from Saturday night. Awesome and cute. One is a round-faced owl. I had never heard of them before. The round-faced owl is snuggling into the arm of his handler.






Then when we were looking through all the photos, we came across one of Marshall saluting with the eagle on his shoulder (but our photo had the eagle's handler in the picture). So we imposed on the guy who photoshopped the prior eagle photo and he not only photoshopped the handler out of the photo again, but he put the US flag in the background. This is one heck of a picture.



Yesterday we went to the dentist here at the University hospital and spent several hours fine tuning the dentures. When Dr. Dhawan was done, Marshall had a set of upper dentures that no longer give him any pain. I tell you, this Dr. Dhawan is an artist. It was so interesting to watch him work. And he has a great sense of humor and keeps us laughing -- even when Marshall comes in all down in the dumps!

We have to go back again next Wednesday to be sure everything is still going well and then we will be finished with the dentist.

Tomorrow we see the dermatologist. Today we will just relax in our hotel room.

We got a call from our housesitter that our new little kitten, Jerry, has decided he wants the run of the house and is now climbing the barrier we had put up between the bedroom (where we had him all set up) and the rest of the house. And no wars broke out between him and our dogs or him and Gina's two dogs. However, our other cat, Okie, is not at all happy with this situation. He is hissing a lot and not eating much. Hopefully in the next few weeks they will become friends.


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