Thursday, August 26, 2010

Went Downhill and Can't Get Back Up

I beginning to believe that my MS took a turn for the worse and I'm afraid that I'm not coming out of it. I had a 3-day course of IVSM the beginning of August. The following week, I had my 12th Tysabri infusion. The following week I had another course of IVSM, and now I'm in the middle of a 2-week Prednisone taper. My tremors, balance, leg weakness and fatigue are all bad.

Through Gentiva, the home health organization, I am now receiving home PT. Their plan is called Safe Strides, and it has to do with balance between your legs, feet, ears and eyes. Tuesday, I had a 2-hour assessment with my PT. Today, she is going to begin working with me. I will have two sessions a week for eight weeks, then I'll be reassessed.

I also will be starting back with my Yoga class next Thursday. We took a break during the summer, and are hoping that we have enough people show up Thursday to make a class. I've taken the MS Yoga for over a year now, and I think it is remarkable. Although, whereas Monty could help me get up off of the floor after relaxation, my legs are too week now to be able to do that. I'm going to need him and another person in class to help me up.

I'm thinking seriously about getting a small scooter that comes apart and will fit in the trunk. I want it mostly for around the house, though. I'm now using my Rollator to get around the house, but I still fall, even with the Rollator. I figure a scooter will be a help and not a step backward.

One good thing, the Celexa is working and my mood is pretty even. I haven't had crying jags or gotten mad at anyone.

We had our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons here for a long weekend. Things got a little hectic, as the two neighbor kids came over every afternoon to play, eat, and have fun. A couple of times, the noise and commotion got to be too much for Monty. Every once in awhile, he would go off and lay in the hallway or the kitchen. We had a wonderful time talking, laughing, and playing. They've moved from South Africa to Brooklyn, NY. They took the train from Brooklyn to Lynchburg (a little over an hour from where we live), and we picked them up at the train station. We have plans to meet them in New York City in October, and they want to come to Salem again in December. It is so very good to have them here!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Incompetent People Rant

We have had a very busy, but frustrating week.

First off, I was to begin home physical therapy yesterday (Friday) morning. Thursday, I got a call from the therapist telling me that they were still awaiting approval from my neuro for physical therapy. I told her it was my impression that his office had sent in all the needed paperwork. She replied that they sent the orders for evaluation (which was done), but that they were waiting on orders for the therapy itself before they could begin. I told her to come out Tuesday, that I was almost positive the office would get the paperwork to her company by then.

My DH was to receive a shipment of two bottles of Sutent, the drug that he is supposed to be taking for his Stage IV metastatic renal cancer. He called the drug manufacturer, who is supplying the drug to him, Thursday. He was told that the woman taking care of the prescriptions cancelled the 50 mg prescript like she was supposed to do, but failed to turn in the two lower dose prescriptions. The person he spoke to said that they could mail the pills out Friday, and that he would receive them Monday or Tuesday. He mentioned that he was supposed to start the pills last Tuesday, so that would be an entire week wasted. So, they shipped them Friday overnight, and the package arrived early this morning.

I, and probably the rest of you, are receiving slip-shod help from a lot of the work force nowadays. It is pathetic, worrisome, and just plain makes me spitting mad. It seems that a lot of people out there don't care about doing their jobs correctly. You would think that in today's economy, people would do their jobs like they're supposed to do them in order to keep them. I don't know. What's your opinion?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SoluMedrol and Home PT

First of all, I had a 3-day course of IV SoluMedrol last week because my MS was getting worse. It helped with my energy level and a little bit with leg weakness. The RN used something called a Mediball. It was the neatest thing. The solution is in a small ball, which is pressurized to deliver the medicine over a 1-hour period. The beauty is, you can stick it in your pocket and walk around--you are not attached to a pole IV set-up.

While the RN was here, she mentioned that I could get Physical Therapy through their company (Gentiva) to help me with my balance and walking. This morning, a physical therapist came out and gave me an assessment. She will be coming twice a week for four weeks, giving me tips and exercises to do on my own. Then, the company has something called Safe Strides. This is a program that works with your eyes, your ears and your body, to help you walk and stand better.

I have a good feeling about this. I've been falling more often, and running into walls and doorways. Of course, the tremors don't help my walking any.

I feel like a real mess!

Because of stress and the hot weather we've been having, I had an MS flare and I was getting depressed--crying, feeling very sad, and getting angry. My PCP started me on Celexa, which actually is doing a very fine job leveling out my mood. The only side effect I've gotten is dry mouth, which is no big deal.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tysabri and SoluMedrol, and My Husband's Cancer

Things haven't been going good here at my house. The Tysabri was holding me steady at my baseline (poor, but liveable). But, I've been under a lot of stress and we were in an awful heat wave for two weeks. I guess those two combined gave me an MS flare. Everything got worse.

I called my neuro, who ordered a 3-day course of IV steroids. My veins are becoming scarred and they roll and are very hard to infiltrate. Home health came, and the nurse tried one arm and the vein blew. She told me that she only allows herself two sticks before she calls in another nurse. That's the way the nurses are at my infusion center. Luckily, she got the port in my left arm and it stayed. They use these things called medicine balls. They are wonderful. The ball is pressurized to deliver SM over a one-hour time period. They're small, and you can even put it in your pocket and walk around with it. However, there was no time to do that, as the nurse had to ask me 1,000 questions. She was super nice, though.

My DH was started on a new cancer fighting drug. The side effects are bad and there are many. After the 10th pill of a 28 pill cycle, he had fatigue to where he could barely walk and shortness of breath. He's sleepy but can't sleep. He's hungry but can't eat much.He's having diarrhea, mouth ulcers, and chills. Friday, I told him to stop taking the pills and call the oncology nurse Monday. He called, she talked to the doctor, and then she called back and told him to stop the medicine for one week. They will probably put him on a lower dose, 20.5 mg I think. She did mention that some people get the side effects, even on the lowest dose. Sutent is what it's called, and it restricts the growth of blood vessels, hopefully shrinking the lung tumors. There are two more chemo drugs for his disease, then that's it. Unfortunately, his type of cancer is incurable. They can only hope to control it for a time. But if his quality of life is as bad as it was Friday, he may elect to discontinue all chemotherapy and take his chances, living a better life for as long as possible. I'm behind any desicions he makes. I would do the same if it was me going through this hell.

We had my BIL and SIL here for the weekend, and we had a wonderful time with them. By Sunday, DH was feeling better. Yesterday was better still. Oh, the worst symptom with this drug is what they call hand and foot syndrome. The skin on your hands and feet begins to break down and you develop tears, cracks and ulcers, to where you can't walk. That usually happens in the fourth week. You get two weeks off, then they repeat the cycle.