Monday, November 24, 2014

Update 11/24/14

Hello all, not much to update, but I wanted to make sure I posted something before the Thanksgiving can all thank Claire Faler for the gentle reminder that it had been a while! :-)

My husband and I will be out of town visiting his parents, so my Uncle Bill and Aunt Alice (Mom's brother & sister-in-law) have generously volunteered to stay at my house so they can check on Mom while I'm away. It will make me feel better to know someone will be here for her, and it was so nice of them to offer so that I would feel comfortable leaving town. Alice has plenty of experience dealing with nursing homes, so I know Mom will be in good hands!

Mom has been eating a little bit more, although still not near enough. But it's encouraging that she says she actually feels a little hungry, even if just a few bites fill her up. She likes ice cream! Not much else, but she likes plain, vanilla ice cream. And apparently Cream of Wheat is another dish she requests, regardless of the time of day.

Her pain level fluctuates, and the medical staff are unclear whether it's coming from her back, the tumor, or her bed sores. Regardless, we are working on tapering off some of her pain medications in an effort to increase her alertness so that she will eat and exercise and hopefully get strong enough to come home.

Exercise, exercise...she absolutely HATES having to do physical therapy! Luckily, she has a very good physical therapist who doesn't take "no" for an answer. I just wish the rest of the staff had that attitude; many of them give up far too easily in my opinion, whether it's getting her to eat or shower, or just sit up in a chair for a while. She is still extremely weak, and that unfortunately doesn't seem to be improving, so eating and P.T. are key.

The social worker suggested that maybe she needed some activities to motivate her, so I also got her some magazines and brought her some yarn so she could knit; she hasn't actually knit anything yet, but she holds the yarn and talks about what she's going to make!

Thank you all so much for the wonderful cards she's been receiving; I read them to her, and leave them for her to look at. I have another meeting with her "care team" on Wednesday, although I doubt I will hear anything new. Then I'll be gone for a week, but I will do my best to post an update when I get back.

Thanks again for your support and prayers.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good morning, everyone...don't get too excited, it's just Tracy. I promised Mom I would post an update since she's been offline for a while.

For those of you who don't know, Mom has lung cancer. In August she came to live with me in Colorado to undergo treatment at the Shaw Cancer Center. She underwent an aggressive treatment of both radiation and chemotherapy, which did result in a reduction in the tumor size of about 42%.  Unfortunately, the treatment was too much for her and we stopped chemotherapy early, although she did fight her way through and complete the radiation.

We had to hospitalize her 3 weeks ago due to her weakened condition and overall state of malnutrition. After a week at Vail Valley Medical Center she was transferred to Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale for rehabilitation. The first two weeks it was touch and go, but she is starting to show some improvement, albeit slowly.

We met with her "care team" on Thursday - this consists of the doctor, a physical therapist, a dietitian, an occupational therapist (still figuring out what that gal does), a social worker, a wound care nurse, the head nurse and her case manager. It was a very crowded room.

The good news is that she is a little more alert and eating a little bit more. Her appetite is still nowhere near what it needs to be so that is the main concern - to get some nutrition in her. She's lost about 45 lbs, but the last week or so that seems to have slowed down.

The not so good news is that she is still extremely weak and cannot sit up or get out of bed without help. She sleeps pretty much constantly, unless she is woken up for physical therapy or meals. She has pressure sores on her bottom that are also a big concern due to infection and her weakened immune system. Even sitting up tires her, and while I've passed on to her the emails and text messages she's received, she's not yet up to returning calls. But she does appreciate your concern and support.

I visit her daily, so I would be happy to pass on any messages. My mailing address is PO Box 5246, Gypsum, CO 81637 if you would like to send a card or letter. Or you can email her at

Not much else to share; at this point it's up to her. She is getting the best possible care and only time will tell. Thank you all for being her friend and for all your thoughts and prayers.

Tracy LeClair