May 2, 2005

Well – it has been 3 weeks since our last trip to MD Anderson in Houston. We are leaving tomorrow (Monday) AM for our next visit. Diana is scheduled to have both her blood tests and chest x-ray done on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon, Diana will have a CT Scan. On Wednesday AM we meet with Dr. Blumenschein and Wednesday afternoon is Diana’s next chemo treatment. We will return either Wed late afternoon or Thursday AM. Depends upon what time we get finished on Wednesday if we get finished on Wed.


Diana has had a great week. The amount of fluid that we have been draining from her pleural cavity has been decreasing. The fluid level was below 100 milliliters on a 3 day drain cycle. Initially, we were draining approximately 200 ml per day. She was below 100 ml on a 3 day cycle for about a week now. Really good news.In fact, when I provided Diana’s drain history to DR. Eapen last week via telephone – the pulmonary doctor – he requested that Diana not drain for a week. We last drained Diana on Monday 4/25. We will drain again on 5/2 before we leave for Houston. Diana has an appointment with Dr. Eapen on May 3, Tuesday AM at MD Anderson. Dr. Eapen will make a decision as how to proceed with the catheter.

Diana has been feeling the best she has felt in months. Diana went to lunch with a friend of hers on Tuesday. On Friday, she drove herself to her eye Dr. for an appointment. And on Friday afternoon April 29, Diana and I played 9 holes of golf. We got a Red flag which allowed us to take the cart all over the course and minimize walking. It was very windy – but she had a good time. Diana even mad a legitimate Par on one of the holes. This is the first time Diana has played golf since our trip to Hilton Head last fall. She is determined to play in the Queen’s Quest Tournament next month.

On Saturday evening, April 30 – we went to a baseball game. There is a minor league team in Frisco with a new baseball park. It was very cool temperature wise – temperature was in the high 60’s – we watched 5 innings and came home. Diana is not a baseball fan but she enjoyed being out. We have seats that allow you into the Stadium club where dinner is served. So in actuality, we went out for dinner. Sat at a window table and enjoyed ourselves.

All in all – Diana had a very busy week. She still tires easily – but she hasn’t had that much activity in 4 – 5 months. Golf, baseball game, lunch with friends – yes, a very busy and active week.

Diana is still coughing – but not as hard and not as frequent. More good signs.

Again – thanks for your support and prayers. I will send out an update email after we return from MD Anderson.


May 5, 2005

We left for Houston early Monday morning May 2 and spent the last 3 days at MD Anderson and returned home on Wednesday evening. It was a good trip to Houston. Per an earlier phone conversation I had with Dr. Eapen, he wanted us to drain Diana on Monday morning before we left. We were to see him Tuesday morning. We had not drained Diana in seven days – one week! We both got up early – both of us were anxious to see how much fluid had accumulated – and we needed time to drain before we left on our trip to Houston. I was so nervous draining Diana that morning – you would’ve thought that I had never performed the function before. After uncoiling the drainage tube, connecting the tube to the drainage bottle then collecting only 30 ml of fluid. We were both excited. Wow, seven days and only 30 ml. I think we could have run to Houston. Anyway, it made for a great ride to Houston. This was probably the first time we were excited to be going to Houston.

On Monday afternoon – Diana had her blood tests and chest x-ray. After her tests, we checked into the hotel. we were both mentally fatigued and went to bed early.

Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM we had an appointment with Dr. Eapen (Pulmonary). He looked Diana over – reviewed her chest x-ray that had been taken Monday afternoon and said everything looked great. After reviewing her drainage records, he said he thought it was time to remove the Pulmonary Cavity Catheter from Diana. But,first he wanted 2 more lateral x-rays to review so he could confirm all was well since Diana only had a frontal x-ray taken on Monday. He asked us to wait while he scheduled the new x-rays. In about 5 minutes he came back in and said they were scheduled. So Diana went downstairs in MD Anderson and had 2 more x-rays taken. After the x-rays were taken, we returned to the Pulmonary Department around 11:30 AM for his decision. Five minutes later, Dr. Eapen came in the room and said the x-rays looked good and he confirmed his decision to remove the Catheter. Thus at 11:45 AM, Diana entered a procedure room and her Pulmonary Catheter was removed by Dr. Eapen’s PA (Physician Assistant). The procedure took about 45 minutes to complete. At 12:30, we were walking out the front door of the clinic. I have never been so excited in all my life. I know Diana was happy even though she was a little sore. Neither of us expected this – it was so great. We knew Diana was improving but we did not expect this fantastic result.

Diana’s next appointment was at 2:40 PM for her CT Scan. Since we had time, I suggested that we go out to lunch and celebrated. There is a neat little shopping area not far from the clinic – Rice Village. It is close to Rice University which is also located near the Medical Center. We found a nice restaurant that had outside seating on a porch. The weather was great – around 80 degrees. Perfect for an outdoor cafe. The food didn’t matter – but we both had the best lunch. I kept pinching myself to make sure I was awake and not dreaming what had just happened.

We drove back to the clinic in time for our 2:40 PM CT Scan. We quickly found out that Diana was not supposed to have any solid food for 3 hours prior to the CT Scan. We both knew that previously but got caught up in the excitement of having the catheter removed that we both forgot. So we had to wait until 4:30 to do her CT Scan. Needless to say – Diana was mad at me for making us spend so much time in the waiting room. The lunch was ok – but not worth a 2 hour wait for her. For me it was worth the wait but not for Diana. We finally got her CT Scan and went back to the hotel for the evening. Diana was exhausted after a good but tiring day. (I was exhausted too!!!) And she was sore from having the catheter removed.

On Wednesday morning, our appointment with Dr. Blumenschein was scheduled for 8:50 AM. Neither of us slept well Tuesday night – and we both got up early Wednesday morning. Needless to say we were both nervous about what Dr. Blumenschein would tell us of his findings. Especially Diana. We had to wait in the big waiting room at MD Anderson which is always crowded at that time of day. It is not a great environment to sit and wait. All around you are sick people – many of them very sick. Diana finally got called by the nurse at 10:00 AM. They always take all of your vital signs every visit – ie, weight, blood pressure and temperature. If you have three appointments in a day as Diana sometimes has, her vital signs get taken three times that day. Diana’s blood pressure registered 155/125 this morning. The highest I have ever seen it. We did our best to calm Diana for about five minutes. I rubbed her back and told her relax. I asked the nurse to please retake her blood pressure. The nurse did so. I don’t think she wanted to record 155. The new blood pressure came back at 127/80, much closer to normal. The nurse was surprised that it dropped so quickly. Diana was a case of nerves at that time.

The nurse left and another 15 minutes went by before Dr. Blumenschein finally came into our examination room – He had the biggest smile on his face that we have ever seen. He looked at Diana and said – “Your response to this new chemo is unbelievable.” He then went on to say that the CT Scan had not been read by the radiologist yet but Dr. B stated that he looked at the images. He saw no indications of any new cancer and the tumor has been reduced in size by at least 50%! He then said to Diana “Diana – this is fantastic news – you should go home today and go out to dinner and celebrate this great news.”‘ He then proceeded to show us on a computer – a split screen image of her lung – The CT Scan in March and the CT Scan taken yesterday. It was unreal. In March, her left lung was almost not visible due to the fluid and the tumor. You did not have to be a doctor to say that something was wrong with the lung in that scan. In the new image – Diana’s left lung looked normal. It reminded me of pictures of lungs that I had seen in text books as a kid. Viewing the two images side by side – I cannot describe how dramatic the difference was! Needless to say – both of us were and still are quite elated! (As is Dr. Blumenschein).

We inquired about Diana’s ability to play in the Queen;s Quest golf tournament. Dr. B was all for it but would make a final decision closer to the date. He saw no reason not to play and encouraged Diana to go ahead and play.

At 11:00 AM, we felt like we were walking on air as we headed over for Diana to get her next chemo treatment. Once Diana got the IV connection inserted, I left the clinic and went back to the hotel to check out. At 2:00 PM we were on the road to the Big D. We stopped and ate Thai food – one of Diana’s favorites – for a late lunch. It was the most pleasant and enjoyable ride we have had from Houston.

Well, we came home – arrived around 7 PM – but since we were both extremely tired – we decided to stay home and relax – we will celebrate later.

Diana’s next treatment is scheduled for May 25 at MD Anderson. We expect her to have a few not so good days the next 4-5 days but after that – we expect Diana to be up and about and fairly active until our next treatment. We have changed the nausea medicine again – maybe one of these times we will find something that works better on her.

Thanks again for your support and prayers. They are working.

May 28, 2005

It has been about 3 weeks since my last correspondence. After Diana’s last treatment, a new anti-nausea medication was prescribed and used. Diana was uncomfortable for several (3-4) days after the chemo treatment but did not get nauseous. She had periods of being both hot – sweating – and cold. She rested in bed mostly for those few days. After those few days, Diana quickly recovered almost back to normal. But when compared to her earlier after treatment conditions – this past time she was the least sick. She was able to shower each day and eat. Not much else, but compared to her earlier reactions to the chemo treatments, this was a piece of cake.

Diana was pretty active during the past 3 week time frame. We ate out occasionally – mostly at lunch – and even went to the movies one night. We are controlling her activity – not letting her get too active too fast. Her cough has continued to lessen. For the past couple of weeks, she has not had any bouts of lost breath or wheezing as she has had since December. She is now communicating using the telephone. Diana did not use the telephone from November through April because of her loss of breath problem. Diana has also begun to work a little each day on her business from home. We have set up a computer connection for her to the office. She is not going into the office. I go there every day and Saturday mornings. Without Diana’s mother taking care of Diana while I go to the office – this would not have ben possible.

Diana did have an unrelated infection in her eye 2 weeks ago. We went to her eye doctor – he prescribed some medication. After about 10 days the infection was gone. We have an appointment with the eye Doctor on Tuesday AM – hopefully it will be the last one related to this infection.

For the first time in a long time, Diana has been feeling well. Up to now our total focus was on Diana’s day to day health issues. With Diana feeling better, I brought up the subject of a long term plan for us. Since there is no cure for Diana’s disease – I suggested we consider moving to the Houston area. We will be tied to MD Anderson – going for test and treatments for the rest of her life. Diana was supportive of the idea. However, there were a few obstacles that needed to be cleared before we could seriously consider moving. We owned a business and it would have to be sold. We owned a building that the business resided – it would have to be leased or sold. And we owned our house – it would have to be sold. Most of these tasks would need to be done quietly without employees and family knowing. Diana was concerned that her mother would be upset if she knew too far in advance of our plan, so we did not discuss the plan with her mother at this time. Each of these items would need to be completed but in a sequential order. The first order of business was to sell her business.

Selling a small business is not anything I was experienced at. I had purchased and sold big companies all my life but never a small private business. I immediately started to get myself educated on such a task. At the same time, I had to get the financials of her Company in order for a sale – and not involve or let any of the employees know. That was the plan.

At the same time – one of Diana’s most senior employees – the office manager – who had worked for Diana for 5 years was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just what i needed to make my days even more interesting. Fortunately, it was only stage 1. She had surgery which was followed by 30 days of radiation treatments planned. Here is a little company and within six months, two of its employees are diagnosed with cancer. Someone please calculate the odds on that happening.

Three weeks have now past since Diana’s last chemo treatment and once again it was time to go to MD Anderson for Diana’s next visit with Dr. Blumenschein and her next treatment.

On Tuesday of this week – we drove to Houston. Diana had her blood tests on Tuesday afternoon. No CT Scan this week since Diana had one last time. Wednesday morning we saw Dr. Blumenschein. He was really pleased with the progress Diana has made and continues to show. They (Dr. B and his PA) even commented – to Diana’s dismay – that she had gained a couple of pounds. Dr. B tried to explain that it was a good sign to Diana. He also assured her that part of the reason for her vociferous appetite was due to the steroids she was taking. Once, she was off steroids, her appetite would lessen. One of the medicines prescribed for her eye infection was also steroids.

On Wednesday afternoon, Diana got her chemo treatment and we drove home Wednesday afternoon/evening. It was a very nice ride back home. Diana was much more relaxed. We even stopped and got her some Thai food again (her favorite) for a late lunch.

Gr. Blumenschein also gave Diana the Green Light to participate in her annual Queen’s Quest golf tournament that will be held June 14 – 16 in Frisco. That week is the week that we would have normally been in Houston for her next chemo treatment. However, we have made arrangements for Diana to get her blood tests and chemo treatment in Frisco that week. She will get her blood tests on June 14 and her chemo treatment after the golf tournament on June 17. She would normally get a CT Scan at that time. However, Diana is doing so well that Dr. B said he would postpone the CT Scan for one visit. Diana is quite excited about being able to participate in the Queen’s Quest tournament and is really looking forward to it. It has been 6 months since she has socialized with any group. I called Diana’s guest partner in Oregon and gave her the green light to get her airline tickets. Linda was excited. Diana was excited. And I was excited. I still remember how she looked when she asked me the question in March about being able to play golf. This girl is a fighter. She was determined to play in the tournament and it looks like Diana is going to make her goal.

Thanks again for your support and prayers. They are working.