St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Update on Margo

Margo had her 8th chemo of the first series of 12 this Tuesday.  She is getting along pretty good--tired more of the time, but in good spirits and feeling reasonably good.

The main tumor in her left breast that measured 5 x 8 cm at the beginning of the treatment is now shrunk down to 2.5 x. 2.5  -- so the chemo is working very quickly.  The researcher thinks that the special research drug that prevents new blood vessels from growing and feeding the tumor is helping along with the taxol that stops cell division.  Both are to stop new growth, but they are making it shrink too.

About December, Margo will have some scans and measurements to see how things are going then.  The current schedule is to start another 12 sessions of chemo at that time with a different drug, however, the results of the first round may change the treatment drug or schedule for round 2.

One complication Margo is having is that her left hand is swollen.  It appears that when she got an IV into her left arm for a scan, the injection of fluid missed the vein and instead went into the arm itself, causing the swelling.  She has been wearing a set elastic wraps from shoulder to fingers to squeeze the fluid out of the hand and arm.  It has been working, although it is a nuisance to put on.  Tomorrow, she thinks they will give her an elastic glove and arm tube that will be easier to put on and off.  Most of the swelling is gone--just some in the hand itself.

Margo is staying in Pine Island now with our son Scott, who takes her to chemo.  I plan to join her at the end of October when I close the cabin for the winter this year.  With phones, email, facebook, etc., we keep in touch every day.

I am still not normal from myasthenia gravis, the auto immune disease where my immune system makes antibodies that block and attack the muscle receptors and make my muscles weak and tired.  I am tapering down the amount of prednisone I take to slow the immune system trying to figure out the minimum I need to block most of the MG symptoms, yet not have so many side effects of prednisone.  I was at 60 mg per day and now am down to 20 per day.  I have to start doing 20 one day and 15 the next with the goal of getting to 20 one day and 0 the next on my way to 10/0 in a month or two.  I may have dropped down a little too fast as some of my MG symptoms are returning, but it is hard to know if the problems are from prednisone tapering, from prednisone itself or from prednisone itself!

I have been trying to get a project at the Luck museum going--to digitize some of the records we have there and make them available on the web.  I am using a scanner and have been testing a camera to see if it can make the job faster--taking a snapshot of the document or record book is fast if the quaility is good enough.  It is something that keeps me occupied when I can't do much physical.  My first project is scanning/photographing the old Luck HS yearbooks.

Saturday I am out in the public--in Frederic, WI.  11-2 at the Frederic Depot museum with Stanley Selin to sell our history books and Saturday evening at the Frederic Arts Center 7:30-? to read selections from my books.  The evening session I share with Buz Swerkstrom from Atlas and Edward Emerson from Four Corners.  What we have in common besides writing books is that we all dropped out of the workforce while in our 50s and started alternative lives that include living economically and trying to have a few quality years of doing our own thing.  Should be interesting to hear from three dropouts!