April 19, 2012

Our Cancer Journey Week 18

On Friday, after careful consideration, the BIDMC oncologists elected not to treat Kathy because her side effects from Paclitaxel (Taxol)  were so severe - increasing pain and numbness in her hands and feet.   She cannot hold a pencil, use a paintbrush, or eat with chopsticks.   She has to nap mid day because of fatigue caused by constant neuropathic pain.   Thus far, the Vitamin B6 has not helped and her clinicians recommended Gabapentin (Neurontin) to reduce the discomfort.   She's not enthusiastic about masking symptoms.   She'd prefer to monitor her body's progress objectively.

Kathy's attitude toward cancer treatment is aggressive - "poison me today for a cure tomorrow".  She can accept short term pain for long term gain.  The problem with neuropathy is that it may be permanent.    She admits that permanent loss of her ability to create art or feel the difference between silk and sandpaper is challenging to accept.

Tomorrow, her clinicians will evaluate her progress and consider several options:
*Stop chemotherapy and await the results of the April 25 imaging studies.  She may already be treated sufficiently
*Continue chemotherapy with an agent similar to Paclitaxel called Docetaxel (Taxotere)  
*Stop the entire class of Taxane therapies and return to a cycle of Adriamycin/Cytoxan since that seemed to work so well in her early therapy

There are many possibilities and we're confident that all will be well.

Last Saturday we visited the Erikson Grain Mill, a family operated supplier of feeds for chickens, horses, and other farm animals.  As luck would have it, a customer just cancelled their order for six Araucana/Ameraucana chicks (photo above).   Moments after we arrived another family offered to adopt them, but we had already made up our minds.   On Saturday at 2pm we became chicken farmers.   Our young hens are enjoying the warmth and security of their new brooder (a Rubbermaid 37 gallon storage container), infrared lamp, and feeder.    While at Erikson's we ordered the remainder of our 2012 coop population - 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Brahmas, and 2 Jersey Giants.

There's one other addition to our property that will begin life in our coop but then free range - Guinea Fowl.   I've had Lyme disease twice and the Guinea Fowl are well known tick eaters.    They'll start in our brooder for 6 weeks, live in the coop for 6 additional weeks, then we'll let them free range over our 15 acres, training them to return to the coop at night for safety.

Although Kathy's hands and feet are numb, she's very capable of caring for the new additions to our lives.   Our move preparations are nearly complete so she can turn her attention to our next life phase.  It's much more enjoyable to design the ideal coop for a  small flock of chickens than to focus on the short term disability caused by cancer treatment.   There are even a few chick brooder engineering problems for me to solve.   More about that in tomorrow's post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kindly submit you comment in good way,thanks..