In Honor of My Husband, Ron

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Erbitux seems to be working!

I'm so sorry I haven't updated the blog for a while. It has been a crazy few weeks. Ron has now had four treatments of Erbitux, and while he has not broken out in pimples all over, his nose is affected. He also has the side effect of splitting skin and bleeding on his fingers. It looks very painful but he says it really isn't. We have applied a liquid skin on them, but it doesn't seem to do much good. We did have another tough emotional appointment with his MO last week before chemo. The Dr. came in and said "Well Ron, most people in your stage live only about a month. How long has it been since we started treatment?" We said three weeks and he said "Well then, you are doing well, my friend." The doctor also said that he will not add another chemo agent to Ron's treatment because he could not handle it at this point. After the appointment we went back to the treatment room and Ron sat in a chemo chair. He looked at me and said "What did he mean about a month?" I told him that it didn't mean he would die in a month, but that I thought it would be months, not years. He nodded and that was the end of the conversation. He proceeded with chemo while I ran some errands in town.
Later that night, my heart broke. Ron came in to the kitchen and said to me "So you don't think I will be here next year?" I just broke down and hugged him and said "Honey, I hope you are but I just don't know." Oh, this is so hard. He said "I thought if I had this operation I would get another year" and I said "Well, you should have but the cancer came back right away." He said "Yeah, okay." I felt awful having to say that but I can't lie to him. Bless his heart, he still has the attitude that he's doing pretty well other than having cancer! He has had some very bad days in the past few weeks. He is now on a larger dose of the Fentanyl patch, and he takes Percocet about every four hours for breakthrough pain. So far, this seems to be keeping his pain at a manageable level. He has also been fighting nausea fairly frequently. Sometimes he will vomit because he has started choking and coughing, but other times he will just vomit for no reason. As far as the choking we may be looking at a permanent trach again at some point because the cancer was shown to be wrapping around his trachea.
Believe it or not, there have been some very good times too. One payday, I looked online to see if my paycheck had been deposited. I knew it would not be a very big one because I have missed so much work lately. Well, to my surprise it was a full paycheck. My wonderful coworkers had AGAIN donated some of their sick days to me when the Administrative Secretary sent out an email. I am so blessed to be working there. I truly love my job and everyone I work with. On top of that paycheck I also discovered that Social Security had deposited Ron's back disability pay. What a wonderful surprise! We can definitely use it, not only for Ron's medical bills, but his medications and also to take a few small trips. We asked the MO if Ron could miss any chemo and he said absolutely not, so our trips will be short ones. Just to give you an idea of his prescription costs, after our last chemo appointment, we left with two new prescriptions. One for 10 Fentanyl patches in a stronger dose and one for Percocet tablets to replace the liquid Roxicet because I thought the tablets would be cheaper than the liquid. I sent our daughter out to Walmart with them, and she called and told me that they did not have the medications, so I told her to go to Walgreen's. I had purchased a drug card from Walgreen's for Ron because he has no prescription coverage with his insurance. This card was supposed to give substantial discounts. So after a while Emily called and said "Um, Mom, do you know how much these prescriptions are going to be?" I told her probably around $200. NO. The 10 Fentanyl patches cost $310. The 120 Percocet tablets cost $160. Close to $500 for two medications! And the Walgreen's drug card had saved me $30 on one and $40 on the other! I try not to even let Ron know what the drugs cost because I don't want him to feel like his meds are costing too much money. Whatever it takes, we will find it somewhere. Now we have a little bit of a cushion to fall back on.
We spent a wonderful weekend up in Minocqua, WI. Our son-in-law's Grandparents own a cabin up there so we were invited to spend a weekend with all of our kids. Now you know that once your kids have grown up, it is very difficult to get them all together for a vacation at the same time. The only person who could not come was our youngest daughter's boyfriend because he had a paper due for school and there was no internet access in the cabin. We went up early Friday morning so we got there at about 11 a.m. We spent that day out on Bearskin Lake and walked around Minocqua. It was a beautiful spring day. Sunny and warm. The other two days were not as nice, but we still had a wonderful time. We took along some old family videos and reminisced about the kids. It's always fun to embarrass the kids! Plans for the future include a day in Woodstock, IL. for my Grandma's 90th birthday, a short trip to Dyersville, IA. to a toy tractor museum that Ron has always wanted to see, and a weekend up in Iola WI. to celebrate our oldest daughter's marriage. She got married to our wonderful son-in-law this past October in a very small ceremony here, and now they are going to have a party up in Iola where Eric's family live. Ron also wants to go to Branson MO. to see Paul Revere and the Raiders at some point this summer. I talked my sister and brother-in-law into coming along. We will have a great time! Also coming up is a fundraiser for Ron at Piggly Wiggly in Lake Geneva. It is this coming weekend, May 23, 24, and 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come out and eat a brat for Ron! He sure wishes he could eat one himself! We appreciate all of your cards and prayers!

1 comment:

denise said...

HI Lori and Ron
I have been a silent follower of your blog for the past year or so. Never got round to leaving a comment. However, I have been checking often on Ron's progress and was a bit disturbed when there was a long silence.
Please know that you and Ron are in my prayers. I pray that you have strength to go through this journey and that Ron be blessed with grace and endurance.
I lost my mother a year ago to lung cancer and can empathise how painful it is to see a love one in this situation.
Take care