Monday, November 24, 2014

Tomorrow we say goodbye to our sheltie Marlee....

This is just devastating. But yesterday and today Marlee has made it very clear that he is ready to go. He has stopped eating and drinking -- won't even take his favorite treat -- and he looks at us with those sad eyes while he keeps circling the room over and over and over. He's been kind of sick today, too. I just called the vet's emergency line and chatted with her a while and she agrees that he is asking us to let him go.

So tomorrow at 11:00, I will be at the vet while Marlee moves on to his next life. Marshall can't go because of his bone pain, so I will have Nurse Gina here with him. She is also our dogsitter so she and Marshall will be crying together.

I'm glad we have some tranquilizers here because I don't think I could do this without something to keep me calm and I definitely want to be the last thing he sees and smells.

And with regard to Marshall today, he is still in pain and stayed in bed most of the day, except when we had to go to the clinic here in town so he could get an oxygen test.  So we got that done and within the next week to ten days he should have a portable oxygen concentrator that he can carry around.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

No change

Marshall is still in bed -- he's pretty much been in bed since last Tuesday. Still in pain, even with the morphine and Dilaudid. The radiation oncologist had said that it could take as long as 6 weeks to see if the radiation did its job, but that it could be as little as 2 weeks. Today is Day 10.

At least the pain isn't at a 10 like it was for so long. He says it is about a 5 or 6 and that it moves back and forth across his back. Weird.

And he got on the scale today. He's lost over 17 pounds in the past few weeks because he just can't keep food down. But today he was able to eat a little bit.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014


We had Gina come to the house again today and I spent the whole day catching up on so many things. It was wonderful to be getting things done without worrying about Marshall.

With regard to the whole oxygen thing, we still have to take the steps to get insurance approval, but with the help of Dr. Bliss we were at least allowed to purchase oxygen without going through insurance. So I came home today with 4 bottles of oxygen. Now he can at least leave the house and not worry about oxygen.

I ran a lot of errands and was gone all day. Marshall stayed in bed almost all day today again. I guess those radiation treatments really zonked him.

Tonight his sugar was very high, so we need to get an appointment with his endocrinologist to get back on track with the diabetes medications.

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Still in pain

Marshall is still in a lot of pain, but we have gotten on a good schedule of morphine twice a day and Dilaudid every 2 hours. I hope today shows improvement. But we are still working on the constipation caused by the opioids.

Marshall has been in bed and pretty much continuously sleeping ever since we got back from the Cancer Center on Tuesday. I wake him up for his medications and he got up once or twice and tried to get comfortable in the living room but he couldn't so he went back to bed.

Radiation is supposed to make you very tired so when you take the radiation on top of the medications, no wonder he is sleepy. But I guess that's a good thing.

Today I'm having Gina come up for the day so I can go and try to get his oxygen situation straightened out, as well as pick up prescriptions.

And in early December we are bringing his daughter and grandkids in for a three-day visit. He hasn't seen them in quite a while, and he isn't able to travel to Virginia right now, so it's time.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today's trip to the Cancer Center

From my perspective, today was a good day. The PSA went up only two points (from 33 to 35). The NP (nurse practitioner) said that meant the chemo was working and the PSA was stabilizing. We should now see it head downward. We go back on December 18 for the next test.

All of the lab work was right exactly where it should be, so that's good news. He lost 13 pounds but that's because he has been in so much pain that he can't bring himself to eat.

She said the new pain Marshall is having is from a radiation "flare." And even though the radiation oncologist told Marshall he would not experience any side effect pain from the radiation, the NP said it happens quite often. This type of radiation flare usually resolves itself within 10 to 14 days after the last treatment but it could take as long as 6 weeks.

So she stressed that we need to stay on the morphine/Dilaudid regimen for a while to get the pain under control and when the pain starts letting up we will need to wean Marshall off of the painkillers. I tried to get a feel for how we will know if the pain is letting up if we keep him pain free with morphine. She said we will just know. (???)

Now, that was my perspective. Marshall didn't really think any of this was good news. He was in one of those depressions while we were in the doctor's office where he pulls his hat down over his eyes and won't participate in his own doctor's visit. If he is asked questions he gives one-word answers. This puts me in an awful position because I have to answer questions for him and I have to absorb everything that is being said and hope I don't make any mistakes. I should be used to it by now but I hate it.

We've decided it's time for a good family visit so we are arranging for Marshall's daughter and grandkids to come and visit in early December. We only have one guest bedroom, so it will be like a big slumber party!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

More pain

For some reason, some brand new pains have popped up for Marshall, on his right side and across his back (his recent radiation was on his left side). He has been in bed and living on morphine and Dilaudid which still doesn't completely stop the pain. I feel so bad for him. Maybe the radiation caused some swelling that will go away in time? Maybe he is having gallbladder problems (the pain he feels is centered right where the gallbladder is)?

Tomorrow is another trip up to Denver to get lab work done and to get another hormone shot, so we will be able to discuss this new pain with the Nurse Practitioner. But the 3-1/2 hour trip to Denver with him in pain is going to be awful. I sure hope we get some answers.

(Amy, I got that darling card today -- it was a bright spot in an otherwise yukky day.)

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Home health care

Today we hired our housesitter as a CNA. She stayed with Marshall while I took 6 hours to run errands and go shopping. This was our first time using home health care.

When she house-sits for us, she brings her two doggies with her. We asked her to leave her dogs behind when she wears her CNA hat because we felt that six animals in the house might be distracting in the event Marshall needed her complete attention. She had no problem with that. And, of course, she gets paid quite a bit more as a CNA than she does as a housesitter.

She arrived at the house this morning very professional. She was dressed in scrubs, had a stethoscope around her neck, brought her blood pressure cuff, etc. She even had that big strap with her that I think is to help get someone up who has fallen. I briefed her on the medication situation and I took off.

This worked very well. Marshall was comfortable with her and so was I. I was able to get the errands done without worrying. We will be doing this more often. I don't know if I can get Medicare to pay for it but I'm going to check into it. She is a certified CNA so hopefully I can get her approved. But regardless, she is going to be a godsend.

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