Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update: No news is good news edition.

I know I haven't posted much lately, but there hasn't been much news on the cancer front.  The chemo continues to work, my dad's latest CA19-9 number was 34, which is within the "normal" range.  Hoping that continues to last.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Latest news...

As of last week my dad's CA19-9 was down to 48, which is good. The chemo seems to be affecting him more, as his energy level on some days can get very low, and he's saying that on the day after the treatment, he has a sore throat.

Also, sad news, Randy Pausch has passed on due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Here's the link to the Carnegie Mellon news story.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Numbers still going the right way.

Dad's CA19-9 was down to 57 last week!

Friday, June 20, 2008


The chemo continues to go well for my dad, last month his CA19-9 was 145, last Thursday it was 97 (normal is 37 or less), so the gemcitabine is still working. Hope that keeps up!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Since the surgery...

So far my dad has done well, he is being seen by an oncologist in Fort Worth, had a port put in, and has just finished his second round of three weeks on, one week off of chemotherapy treatments. So far no new cancer related symptoms have popped up, and the side effects of the chemotherapy have not been to bad, according to my dad.

Monday, April 07, 2008

More of the story...

Dr. Fisher arrived that afternoon with a resident and a med student. He informed us that, they had reviewed the CAT scans and found where the blockage was. At that point they could not determine the cause of the blockage. He noted that the CAT scan showed a mass in the pancreas, but the blockage could be caused by adhesions from previous surgeries, or it could be a tumor. He said that the intestines prior to the blockage were very stretched out, and as such, the surgery to clear the blockage was considered to be an emergency, and the mass in the tumor was not able to be operated on at that time. The surgery was set for 7:00pm that evening. Dr. Fisher said we could go down to the surgery waiting room and wait there or wait in the ICU waiting room, and he would come up to us. We opted to stay in the ICU waiting room. At about 11:00pm Dr. Fisher had completed the operation and came up to the ICU waiting room. He drew us a picture of what they found, and how he corrected the problems. It turned out that the blockage was a tumor, apparently an adennocarcinoma, which had spread from the pancreas. They removed that tumor along with 12" of intestine. Dr. Fisher also found another tumor that had invaded the intestines adjacent to the pancreas. This tumor had not completely blocked the intestine, but probably would in the future. Since it had invaded from the pancreas, it was too risky to remove. To keep my father from having to have another abdominal surgery, Dr. Fisher opted to tie in the intestine to another place in my father's stomach, and also to the existing intestine. Essentialy creating two exits from the stomach, and bypassing the other tumor. Dr. Fisher also found some small tumors in the area where my fathers previous incision was, as well as one or more on a blood vessel feeding the intestines.

They sent off the tumors to do pathology on them, but to his very experienced eye, they were certainly cancerous. Dr. Fisher appologised for the bad news, asked if we had any questions at this point. We couldn't think of any at the time.

This was obviously a big shock for all of us, Heather and I knew the diagnosis meant, and I think my mom pretty much knew. As soon as Dr. Fisher left, we all pretty much broke down for several minutes. Then we waited for my dad to make it out of recovery and back to the ICU. We went back to the hotel at about 2 that morning.

The next few days were spend sitting with my father in ICU while the effects of the surgery, etc. wore off. He would alternate between being awake and sleeping every few minutes. Over the next few days he was able to resume eating, was moved out of ICU, and was finally discharged on February 8.

More later...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Continuation from the last post...

My father was admitted to St. Lukes on January 29, 2008. He went immediately to the ICU. Within five minutes of him arriving in the ICU, members of Dr. Coselli's team arrived to gather information. Since he had apparently had a complete blockage in his GI system, the doctors wanted to get a tube down his nose to pump out whatever fluids had been collecting in his stomach, so there would be room for him to take medicine to improve the CAT scan pictures, and also to keep him from vommiting any more. This had been attempted in Fort Worth, but since my dad has had several broken noses (he grew up in a rough area of town) they were unable to get one in. Somehow a doctor from Dr. Coselli's team was able to get a tube in, and at least four liters of fluid were removed immediately, with more to follow as the day wore on.

Dr. Coselli wanted to get a CAT scan done to see what they were working with as far as the aneurysm was concerned, and to see about the blockage. So he was put in line to have the scan done. Apparently the CAT scan was heavily booked, and it was not until the next day that the CAT scan was done. My dad was resting much better now that the fluid was not accumulating, although he did not like the tube in his nose much.

Once they had done the CAT scan, the doctors could tell that the aneurysm was not as large as was first believed, however they found a mass in his pancreas, and also found where the blockage was in his intestines. Since the priority of the aneurysm declined as it was not as large, the doctors began concentrating on the blockage. His care was transfered over to a team headed up by Dr. William Fisher, who is an expert in dealing with such issues.

Gotta go now...more later...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on my Dad

So at that point, the cardiac surgeon in Fort Worth felt that the aneurysm was too tricky for him to work on, and he refered us to Dr. Coselli, a world renowned vascular surgeon, at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, down in Houston. Before we could get him down there, he had to go again to the All Saints emergency room, as the nausea and vomiting had come back, and he had become dehydrated. The hospitalist at All Saints said that they could not find a blockage in my father's GI tract, and that he was considering exploratory surgery to attempt to find the problem. This would delay any potential repair on the anuerysm so we decided that it would be best for him to try and get down to St. Lukes to see Dr. Coselli, in order for him to coordinate any treatment. It was aranged for him to have a hospital to hospital transfer down to St. Lukes.

More later....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Updates and stuff

It's been a while since I have posted here...not sure if any body is actually reading this at all, but there you go.

Back on December 31, 2007, my father was taken to the All Saints emergency room in Fort Worth, TX. He had been having some trouble with nausea and throwing up, mainly late at night for a few weeks, but it had gotten to be a concern by December 31. They did some x-rays and a CAT scan and observed that there was an aortic aneurysm just above and adjacent to the one that was repaired in May, 2006. They said that it measured 5.7cm (which is in the range of great concern), so all focus of treatment went towards finding out about the aneurysm.

Gotta go now, more later....

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Speaker Repair Complete!

So, over the course of two weeks, I managed to finish installing the new speaker surrounds onto the woofers of my thrift store purchased Dahlquist DQ-10s. Upon removal of the woofers, and handling them, it amazed me how _old_ they smelled. They reminded me of an old (army surplus?) canvas tent my father had. The smell stuck to my fingers for the rest of the day, no matter how much I washed them.

Anyhow, I re-soldered the speaker leads back on to the woofers, screwed them back into the cabinet, vacuumed off the 1/4 inch of dust that had accumulated inside the back of the speaker, and tried to carefully clean the dust off of the crossover components, re-attached an inductor and capacitor back to the cabinet...luckily I didn't have to solder that, just stick them back down.

I put the speaker grills and the expanded metal screens that protect the components back on. I carried my old Nakamichi TA-2A reciever downstairs to where the speakers were sitting (I didn't want to carry the speakers all the way up to the media room if they weren't going to work), hooked up an FM dipole antenna to the Nak, and fired it up.

The speakers sound great now!!

Later I did some research on the DQ-10 and learned that somwhere in thier life, the super-tweeter horns have been removed. Apparently this was/is a common mod for them, and smooths out the highs. I have not yet tried to eq the new rig in the media room, and will be interested to see how much tweaking will be needed to get a flat response, especially with the super-tweeter removal mod.

Thanks again to the folks at Simply Speakers, y'all make a good product. The new surrounds fit well, the provided glue worked well, and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.