Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We are in Albuquerque

We had a very nice drive to Albuquerque today.  Good moods, fun conversation.

When we got to the hotel we had to unload the motorcycle from the trailer.  (Every year he brings his bike to the military reunion and the hotel has always allowed him to park the bike right in front so everyone can see it.  I'll try to get a picture and send it along tomorrow.). Anyway, unloading the bike was a little challenging for several reasons, but Marshall and a few friends got it off the trailer and it is now parked right in front.

Then we had to unhook the trailer from the car and park it in the back of the hotel.  Marshall was exhausted by the time all of that was done.

But we came in and mingled with some of the others who arrived today and we had a lovely evening.  All in all, a very nice day.  Yay!!

Tomorrow's activity is going to the casino.  One of my favorite things to do.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Psychiatrist visit

Marshall got up today in the same depressed state he was in yesterday. Didn't want to talk, didn't want to eat.

We saw the psychiatrist around 3:00 (Dr. Bonney) and Dr. Bonney decided to stop the Ritalin and instead put Marshall on Provigil for two reasons. First, the VA will pay for it; and (2) he thinks the Provigil will provide the same benefits as the Ritalin without the heightened anxiety that Ritalin can cause. The Provigil is supposed to help with depression and to provide energy. We will start the Provigil tomorrow.

We asked about Abilify and he said he thought that was a great idea and a great drug but the VA does not approve Abilify so it would have to go through our regular supplemental insurance. Dr. Bonney said that Abilify costs around $800 a month, so we will need to see what our insurance will pay before we go that route. I will try to call and find out in the next few days.

Dr. Bonney wants us to call him on Tuesday when we return from Albuquerque and let him know if we see any improvement by using the Provigil.  Depending on how the Provigil works, we can revisit the use of Abilify.  Dr. Bonney said he will gladly write the prescription if we have a reasonable copay with our insurance.

By this evening, Marshall was a little bit perkier, probably looking forward to his military reunion and getting caught up with his buddies.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Cancer Center

Well, Ritalin can take back seat to today's cancer center visit. (Although we started out with another good day on Ritalin, it ultimately went to hell in a handbasket...)

Last month his PSA was 11.2. Today it was 20.8. The minute he heard what the PSA was he went into a deep depression. And this was after taking THREE tranquilizers.

The nurse practitioner, Kathryn, said the medication Marshall has been taking for the past 17 months is no longer working and the cancer appears to be growing. Marshall has been having some intermittent pain in his ribs and in his leg. Kathryn looked at the last scans and said that's where it looks like the cancer is growing. So she wants Marshall to have new scans done just to compare them to the last ones and be absolutely sure what's going on. She said we could do the scans after we get back from Europe.

At first Marshall got upset and said how could he go on trips with cancer growing inside him like that, but Kathryn said that even if the PSA went up while we were gone, as long as the pain is almost nonexistent, that means there's time, so Marshall said he would think about it. (By the time we got home, he decided we should take the trips.)

Kathryn also said that sometimes there can be tiny random cancer cells that are very very slow growing and these cells can sometimes be the cause for a rise in the PSA -- she said it takes at least 100,000 of these little cancer cells to group together in order for them to actually show on a scan, so that is why she wants new scans to compare to the old ones. I hope I understood that correctly. It was very hard to concentrate on what Kathryn was saying with Marshall disintegrating in front of me.

So on October 14 -- after we get back from Europe -- we go back for Marshall to have the CT scan and the bone scan again. There is a chance that they might be able to just do radiation on the ribs and the leg and see if that kills the cancer that is growing in those two spots and stops the pain and maybe bring the PSA down. But it is likely that Marshall will have to have chemo in October.

Kathryn says that in a lot of cases, when a guy fails on a drug and then gets chemo, the body gets "reset" and the patient can go back on the drug again. That would be great.

Right now Marshall does not want to talk to anybody. He is very down. Tomorrow we go to see the psychiatrist and then Wednesday we head to Albuquerque. Right now, I am thinking that when we get to Albuquerque I will sleep for at least two days. I am SOOOOO stressed out and tired. I feel so guilty saying that when I'm the healthy one.......

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ritalin - Day Five

Marshall stayed in an upbeat mood today and had a better than usual energy level. Went to breakfast this morning and then took his bike out for a while.

Tomorrow is cancer center day and he usually starts stressing about that the night before but he didn't appear to be fixated on it this evening. He did mention that he was starting to worry about the blood work that will be done, but that was it.

I'm starting to think the Ritalin is really doing some good.

Stay tuned for the cancer center report tomorrow evening.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ritalin - Day Four

Marshall woke up this morning (well, closer to noon) in a good mood and actually wanted to get out and about.  So we drove over to Canon City and did some shopping.  He stayed upbeat all day.  The energy level wasn't much better, but the mood sure was.

Tomorrow he has plans to get his bike out and meet a friend for breakfast.  It sure feels a bit better around here.

Monday we go back to the cancer center for blood work.  That is normally a pretty stressful day.  And Tuesday he sees the VA psychiatrist who prescribed the Ritalin (and we will ask him about Abilify).  Wednesday we leave for Albuquerque.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ritalin - Day Three

Marshall got up perkier today than he has in a while and stayed in a good mood all day long. His energy level wasn't all that much better but the mental attitude was quite a bit better. Is it the Ritalin?

Tune in tomorrow for another report.

In the meantime, here's a picture of Jerry after he fell asleep midstream again. He's a little tornado but he's so darn cute.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ritalin - Day Two

Ritalin does not seem to be doing anything beneficial for Marshall. Today was the same as yesterday -- deep in depression. I can't even imagine what our upcoming trips are going to be like if he does not improve. We'll probably both have to be institutionalized.

A dear friend of ours called today to suggest that we ask Marshall's doctors about perhaps prescribing Abilify. He said it has worked wonders for him. We see the oncologist on Monday and we see the psychiatrist on Tuesday, so we will definitely ask.

In the meantime, I took care of my mental health today by going shopping. Spending money does the trick for me every time.

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