Shian-Ren had her procedure last Thursday at SBU hospital and stayed overnight for observation, which is routine. The procedure was a chemoembolization (there will not be a biopsy), in which a catheter is inserted into the groin area and snaked up to a blood vessel in the liver. Then the liver is imaged as the catheter is gradually brought through the vasculature to the vessel that leads to the tumor (which is a ~1 cm nodule). The radiologist had trouble keeping the vessel (about 1 mm in width) open, because as soon as the catheter touched the branch of interest, it spasmed (closed up). He treated with nitroglycerine to open it. This took time. Shian-Ren was in the procedure (not on general anesthesa, just tranquilizer) for over five hours (original plan was 2). But she got through it and feels fine. We had her home by 1PM on Friday and we had good weekend. We have the follow up with the oncologist today (and if blood counts are good we’ll start the 2nd infusion of the post-surgical chemo regime, which is expected to go through March). We’ll see the GI surgeon on Friday and there is an order to image the liver in February. We may also still need a full body Pet scan. She is feeling fine.
It has been a while December 28, 2014
We’ve had a nice Christmas here so I thought I would catch up a bit. Shian-Ren’s colon surgery went very well. It was the day after Thanksgiving. The prep Thanksgiving day and in the earlie hours after that was arduous, but we got through it. She got out of the hospital on the following Tuesday and the stitches came out two Mondays after that (if I am recalling correctly). The pathology report indicated two positive lymph nodes of the 13 they removed. These are believed to be the two that were seen in the initial imaging back in the spring. There was also a tiny remnant of the tumor well inside the colon wall (which would have been invisible to colonoscopy). It is good that this is out of her body now. The doctors consulted a lot about the liver lesion. It was decided to do interventional radiology to both biospy it and treat it. This is a one time (for now) procedure in which they run a catheter up from her groin to the tumor location (which is a difficult one: at the dome of the liver and in the back). It involves an overnight stay for observations but not much of a prep, other than not eating after midnight. We were scheduled to have this done tomorrow but insurance balked and last week during the holiday week the doctors on both ends were not able to get together. So we’re hoping that gets cleared up early this week. She is also scheduled to start the post-surgical chemo this week; on Tuesday if her white count is OK. The procedure apparently will not interfere with this schedule. Shian-Ren is feeling great and everything has been pretty normal around here since she got out of the hospital. My parents were here at that time and have come back for Christmas and New Years. As always it is great to have them here and to have their help with meals, dishes, and keeping Ru-Jun entertained.
Got too busy November 2, 2014
My work and caregiving schedule has been to busy to keep this blog updated. But hopefully things are getting better now. My MWF class is done (for the most part).
Shian-Ren has now been through all the post-chemo imaging and exams. The great news is that the chemo unexpectedly completely destroyed her colon tumor. Also possibly positive is that the post-chemo MRI of the liver lesion came back as inconclusive. It might be a cyst. We are hoping. Shian-Ren will have the colon resection operation on 28-Nov, during which they will take a biopsy of the liver lesion. My parents are coming down toward the end of this week and will stay at least until Shian-Ren is out of the hospital.
homework October 9, 2014
Ru-Jun’s homework started in earnest last week. On Monday she gets a packet and there is a menu to choose items from plus some math pages and this week some extra reading pages. It has to be turned in on Friday. It seems like a miracle when we get it done in time. When we get a chance to focus on it, Ru-Jun likes it and does well.
My lower right 2nd from last molar (M1, I think, tooth #30) has been a little bit bothersome for years. But my dentist checked several times and indicated that there was no cavity. In August, I was driving a co-kart with Ru-Jun while chewing gum and I bit down (pretty hard) and something happened and it suddenly started hurting. Not long after that I had it checked out and it needed a small filling. It hurt a lot after that procedure, which turned out to be due to inflammation. Ibuprofen helped make the pain largely go away but it still didn’t feel right. Two weeks ago I noticed that the outer gum in between those back two molars was swollen. I hadn’t had anything like that happen since my early 20s, when I had periodontal disease in all four of those areas and had to have surgery. I flossed religiously after that and those problems never came back. But I suspected that this was an abscess so I saw a periodontist last Wednesday. She drained it and indicated that it was not periodontal but instead was an endodontal infection. She referred me to the same endodontist who did my root canal on the other side a couple years ago. Yesterday he took the top of the tooth off (it’s going to need a crown, if the tooth stays) and cleaned the area extensively. He wants the infection to completely clear up before he does a root canal. I’ll be back there in a couple weeks for him to take a look and fill the root canal if it has cleared up. Otherwise he’ll do some more cleaning and medicating of the area.
Shian-Ren got the liver MRI today. It went quite well. It’s really good do be doing this stuff at Stony Brook now.
I’ll try to catch up, but my schedule has been insane in the last month, between teaching and all the activities with Ru-Jun and medical appointments. Things are OK though.
I can’t criticize tiger moms September 30, 2014
One of the motivations of tiger moms is that kids should not waste their talents. I agree with this. Underachievement is a tragedy. Without individual human achievement, there would be no great art, literature, science, technology, discovery. No civilization. I don’t see this as debatable. The discipline to achieve may not always depend on parents, but it has to come from somewhere and innate self-discipline does not appear to be a universal trait.
MMHP September 27, 2014
The only time Ru-Jun is not actively generating the Maximum Mess Humanly Possible (MMHP) is when she’s asleep.
Third Saturday in a row with no aide. This time she didn’t call in ahead of time, just a no show.
I hate the word ‘overwhelmed’ but weekends are rather brutal in this situation. Mostly jokingly but could really help the whelmedness here would be some kind of Platonic, supernumerary spouse/parent. I could not afford to pay such a person but I could house/feed/clothe them. Cultural limitations…