Thursday, July 5, 2012

We recently had a lung cancer-recurrence scare, and I went back to read Ray's blog, and saw that it's a really good record of what happened during that scary time two-plus years ago, so I think I'll start updating it to maintain it as an excellent record of Ray's lung cancer experience. Back in February, after his 3rd 6-month follow-up visit, Dr. Jones told Ray things looked good, and he should come back in a year. And, in fact, when I looked at my calendar, I see that Ray has an x-ray and appointment scheduled with Dr. Jone for Feb 2013. As it turned out, though, as I mentioned earlier, we recently had a lung cancer-recurrence scare. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ray has been having dizzy spells at various times for several months now, so his heart doctor, Dr. Lewis, put him in a heart monitor for 2 weeks and had him take a stress test to see if he needed a pacemaker. In late June 2012, when we went to Dr. Lewis' office to get the results of the monitor and stress test, Ray's blood pressure was 75/51 (!!!) but Dr. Lewis couldn't find any reason to give him a pacemaker. He told us that we should get our GP to get an adrenal sufficiency test on him, though. As it turned out, our GP, Dr. Paquette, was out of town and we were told that we couldn't get an appointment until September. Dr. Lewis then suggested we go to the ER, where they could do the blood work immediately. At the Lee Hill ER, they did the blood work and the young ER doc returned to say that it looked like Ray either had COPD or a blood clot in his lung, and if he did, he should be in the hospital, and he wanted to do a CT Scan. The CT Scan indicated that there was a new (since his last CT Scan in Sep 2011) 1.2 cm nodule in his left lung and some signs of infection. I sent the blood work & CT Scan results to Dr. Jones via email, and the following day, on Friday, Jun 22, I mailed a copy of the CT Scan DVD to him. On Monday morning, Dr. Jone's scheduler, Millie, called and said Ray was scheduled for a PET Scan at 10 AM at the Emily Couric Cancer Center in Charlottesville and he had an appointment with Dr. Jones at 12:30 PM. We had a long, cold (why do they keep those rooms so cold???) wait in Dr. Jones' exam room, but finally, at 2 PM, Dr. Jones came bopping in with a big grin on his face, and said it's not cancer, it's an infection, and that's already beginning to clear up, and Ray should come back in 6-months for a final follow-up. What happens to the body when long-held tension is released is amazing! First there's elation, then you want to lay down somewhere and go to sleep. Now, to prepare for our 50th wedding anniversay trip!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

After 6-Month Checkup: Back to Golf

Sorry to be so late updating Ray's blog after his 6-month checkup on Aug 30, but I couldn't remember the login address. Hmmmmmmm!

Yes, well. At the checkup, we learned that Ray's oxygen utilization was low (85%) and he was going to have to remember to breath deeply and keep up with his breathing exercises. Also, there was a foul-up in getting the CT scan image to Dr. Jones in a timely manner (turns out you have to ask specifically for the image to be sent to the doctor along with the report), but based on the report, Dr. Jones said Ray could go back to playing golf and lifting heavier things. So Ray was a happy man!

In fact, he's already been out in the back yard practicing his swing, and doing a little putting, so he'll be ready for his first golf outing on Monday. And, happily, the hot weather has finally given up and let the cool air in, and Monday it's supposed to be sunny and 82! Hooray.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ray's Follow-up Visit Today

We went over to Charlottesville last night, and presented ourselves at the UVA Radiology Dept. at 8:30 this morning, followed by a 9 AM appointment with Ray's lung surgeon. The xray looked good, and according to the pathology report, Ray's cancer was a stage 1 cancer (i.e., they caught it really early), the margins are clear and the lymph nodes show no signs of cancer, so he won't have to do anything else--no radiation, for instance. Hoorah!!

The doctor said that Ray is coming along just fine, and doesn't need to see him again for 6 months.

Ray drove the first part of the trip home, the first time he's driven a car since the day of his surgery on Feb 28. He feels like a free man.

And I feel like a free woman! Now Ray can return to his chores and I can start working on our income taxes. Whoopee!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ray's Follow-up Visit with Dr. Jones

We've had an exciting week, which I doubt seriously that you want to hear about since it involves drainage from the chest tube hole. I've been in touch with Dr. Jones' nurse, and have taken Ray to see our local doctor twice since my last post, and several times to the coumadin clinic to get his blood thinner stabilized, and I think things are going pretty well despite the inconvenience of an unhealed hole in the side of Ray's chest. Anyway, we've been assured that this, too, shall pass.

We will be going over to Charlottesville Monday (3/1/10) afternoon to stay overnight for an early morning appointment for an XRay and Ray's follow-up visit with Dr. Jones, his surgeon at UVA. Will post to the blog the afternoon of 3/2/10 when we return home.

Thoughts and prayers are still very welcome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


We received word today that Ray's pathology report shows that his lymph nodes are clear. The only cancer was the spot in the lung, and that's now gone thanks to his surgery on Jan 28. He is now CANCER-FREE!

Friday, February 12, 2010

We're Still Home and Feeling Better

I was just talking to a friend who chastised me for not doing another post so she would know if we were OK. So here goes ...

We've had our trials, but we are OK. It has taken some work to make Ray realize that there are some things he shouldn't do (like lifting things over his head), and that a pain pill goes a long way in relieving what he calls pressure in his chest (I call it pain). So now, he takes one of the pain pills the docs sent home with him every three hours. He had such a bad night last night, he even took two this morning.

As for me, I've been working my you-know-what off, since Ray can't do any of the physical things he usually does, like getting the trash together, washing clothes, shoveling snow, etc.

Friends have been bringing us food that we can reheat, which is really wonderful, because Ray usually cooks for us, and this saves me having to take on still two more tasks (grocery shopping and cooking) in my caretaker role, which I appreciate more than I can say. Besides which, it's such good food.

We did have another day-and-a-half snow storm on Tuesday, and Wednesday about noon, it stopped. I looked out the window and there was Frank, our neighbor, snow-blowing our driveway before even taking care of his own. So I went out and shoveled the 6-8 inches high snow away from our door and from around our SUV, then cleaned off the SUV (no easy task), so we could get out if we had to. I've also taken a couple of turns trying to shovel the snow off our deck, but it's been melting down and is so heavy, which--of course--is why I would like to get it off the deck. But 73-year-old women have to be careful about that stuff, especially if they're taking care of a 73-year-old man who's recovering from surgery.

I had to take Ray to the coumadin clinic last Tuesday to get his coumadin levels checked and he's supposed to return next week for another check. (He was off coumadin for two weeks preceding a colonoscopy and his lung surgery, and was just put back on a couple of days before he was discharged from the hospital.) He's also supposed to go see our family doctor on Monday to have the stitches remove, then he has an appointment on March 2 for a follow-up visit with Dr. Jones in Charlottesville.

I won't be posting as much to this blog in the future, but you can contact us at Ray's blog address by clicking on his picture, then clicking on the Email link under the word "Contact" on the left of that page. I'll answer any emails we receive, so let us hear from you.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and notes and good food, and everything you've done for us. Much love, Kay

Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Home! We're Home!

That's thanks to the efforts of our neighbors who dug out our driveway so we could get to our door! And that was no easy task!

The trip home was OK most of the way. VA 29 was clear; VA 3 was less clear, but OK.

And already, we've received a pot of soup for lunch, and will receive dinner from another neighbor this evening. I'm so tired, and so grateful to our friends and neighbors that I could easily cry. First, though, I think I'm going to take a nap.

More later.