Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Improvements

Mom has been very busy lately.  Her days are spent at appointments with multiple therapists all working to assist her in regaining her strength, speech, swallowing, range of motion and overall sense of wellness.  She has made a whole new group of "friends" - all associated with Queen of the Valley!

When not at her actual appointments ..... she has homework - repeating numerous speech and stretching exercises at home.  She does very well at them, but they do tire her.  Each day she gets stronger and her speech becomes louder!

As we share in this experience of Mom's journey to overcome this cancer, it is also important that we bring awareness to all fights against cancer.  We are so proud of Margaret's grandson Tyler.  He recently raised almost $100 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation by having his head shaved!  Read more by following the link under his picture.

Way to go Ty!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Talking is a Good Thing!

This past week Mom has been working very hard with her strength, speech and swallowing.  She has multiple trainers - all assisting her with regaining her normal abilities.

She is utilizing the treadmill and recumbent bicycle at the Wellness Center.  She has numerous tongue exercises for speech and swallowing.  It's actually a lot of work - all things we take for granted each and every day.  She is giving it great effort!

The Modified Barium Swallow test was done yesterday.  This did show that Mom is aspirating thin liquids.  She needs to continue diligently with her swallowing exercises to prevent the risk of pneumonia.

Natalie, her speech therapist, wants her to talk frequently - every hour.  Mom's voice is slowing coming back.  Right now it is more of a croak!  Each day it will get better and better.

This morning she had a pedicure and tomorrow will have her hair done.  It's great for her to get back out into the real world!  Every excursion she makes - strengthens her.

We meet with Dr. Knister on Friday for a radiation follow up.  I know he will have positive words of encouragement for her.

With so much therapy in front of her - it takes a strong mental commitment to recovery.  I know Mom has the fortitude and determination to get through this and succeed!

Happy 13th Birthday to James!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lazy Days .....and appointments for This and That

Compared to Radiation and Chemotherapy, Mom's days have been fairly quiet.  Her recovery and healing are moving along really great!

Last week, we started speech therapy and also saw Dr. Ryan at UCSF.  Dr. Ryan feels Mom is progressing exactly as she should be.  He took a peek down her throat (actually with a camera through her nose!).  He could not see any cancer - there is still some inflammation in the voice box area - we need to wait another month or so before the CT scans will be taken.

Mom attended her regular Sunday morning Mass this last weekend!  Just another step in getting back to her normal routine.  She also played bridge with her Tuesday group yesterday.  Today, we went to Mass for Ash Wednesday and also had speech therapy.

At therapy, Natalie - her therapist - attached some electrodes to her neck that stimulated her throat muscles to contract.  It is called VitalStim, and is supposed to help restore her swallowing muscles.  She will be having therapy three times a week until they feel she can swallow well enough to receive nutrition orally.  Next Tuesday, she is scheduled for a Modified Barium Swallow test to see exactly how much, if any secretions are escaping down her windpipe.

Tomorrow we meet with a trainer at the Cancer Wellness center to create an exercise program for Mom to regain physical strength.  She will be working out on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

On Friday, she goes for a Pressure Test (Ankle Brachial Index) at the cardiologist's.  This is to check the blood pressure in her arms and legs - just to be sure everything is working properly!

The radiation burn on her neck has completely healed over!  The skin is still very sensitive but it looks dramatically better.  The healing of her neck and throat has been a major hurdle - that she has accomplished gracefully!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good Morning and Happy March 1st!

Mom has been doing very well the last few days.  She has been sleeping well at night and continues to rest comfortably during the day.

Sunday was especially rewarding as she rooted Jeff on to victory at Phoenix!!!  Way to go Jeff!!!!

Today, we went to 8:45 am Mass at St. Apollinaris.  This is the first Mass she has attended since Thanksgiving Day.  There is only a small crowd at this Mass, so we were in and out quickly, with little fuss.

Tuesday, March 1st - heading into Mass
The weather has been clear, but cold here in Napa.  Yesterday, Jose was here working in the yard.  Mom went out to supervise the repair of an arbor in the backyard, as well as to take in a few rays of sunshine!

Watching Jose as he works in her garden
The agenda for the remainder of the week will be doctor visits with Manubens on Thursday and Ryan on Friday.  I shall report back following those appointments.