Here We Go Again…
14 May 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
It's been a little over two months since I last updated the blog. It certainly hasn't been an easy two months. We've been on a constant watch for side effects of the immunotherapy that Bill started a couple of days after the last update. The infusions themselves are non-events. We even kind of enjoyed the first two. At the first infusion, which took three hours, the nurse had nothing better to do than hang with us the entire time. She was very nice and we had a pleasant conversation. The second one only took two hours and we were visited by a neighbor who was having her infusion at the same time. The third was incredibly boring. The last one will be next Monday and I know we are both ready for them to be over. There wasn't much in the way of side effects in the beginning, a small rash, a few stomach problems. We were hoping for some issues because that shows the medicine is working, the immune system is being affected.
A couple of days before Bill's first infusion his mother got admitted to the hospital in Philadelphia with pneumonia and the flu. The blood tests showed an enormous amount of white blood cells and after evaluating it further they decided she had acute myeloid leukemia. At almost 90 years old that wasn't good news for her. They moved her to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Bill, his two brothers, and I spent the next ten days with her, around the clock. She finally had enough and went home to hospice care. She died in her apartment less than 2 days later. It was the first time Bill or I have ever watched anyone die. We were alone with her when it happened and it was very hard for us. Since then we have spent some time with Bill's family, and that has been very nice.
The stomach issues seemed to be getting worse so Bill rescheduled the third scheduled infusion so he wouldn't be sick during his mother's memorial weekend. Unfortunately, the morning of the infusion, Bill discovered a new lump in his leg, right next to the skin graft covering the original site. We showed our Annapolis oncologist and she wasn't concerned at all. She measured it and noted it in his chart. Bill wasn't completely satisfied with that reaction. He made an appointment with the plastic surgeon that did the skin graft to see if maybe it was a normal reaction. The plastic surgeon was much more concerned. He did a biopsy and sent it for evaluation. The initial findings are that it is just scar tissue but they have not completed all the tests yet. Bill had been pretty distraught about what this means. He was sure the cancer has come back and figured that meant the infusions weren't working. We went to see our Johns Hopkins oncologist who calmed Bill's fears and said this medicine doesn't really start to work until after all four infusions are complete and that it is not unheard of for the cancer to come back during the course of treatment and then go away after the last infusion. But...that lump has to come out, and soon.
So, here we go again... we are finally working on the boat, as evidenced in the picture above, which is exactly the same picture we posted on our October 4th blog, only the plants around the boat have changed. I have successfully redone everything that I finished last fall on the teak on the hull of the boat. We have a date to put Moonraker back in the water, May 26th! But... Bill is having surgery on his leg on Friday to have the lump removed. It's not supposed to be a big deal but you never know. He should be able to work on the boat again a couple of days after the surgery. We decided to let someone else paint the bottom of the boat for the first time ever and they will wax the hull for us too. The boat may actually look good next time we go cruising. Of course the interior is currently a disaster area. Our dining room is full of teak pieces in various stages of varnishing again. We are both ready for the boat to be done but we will take any progress we can get.
Our goal: Boat ready to sail, no more cancer. Not too much to ask...