March 8, 2005

It has been 2+ weeks since Diana’s last chemo treatment. She has not been as sick this time as last but she has been more tired these past 2 weeks. Her coughing has continued and she has been very weak. She has spent the majority of the time in bed.


We left our house Monday AM at 6:30 AM for Houston and Diana’s third treatment. Diana had several tests scheduled prior to her next chemo treatment including an Echo cardiogram, chest x-ray and blood tests on Monday starting at noon. Diana’s next chemo treatment was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon after we see Dr. Blumenschein for the test results.On Tuesday, she was to have a CT scan.

Wednesday morning she was scheduled to see Dr. B and Wed afternoon was her chemo treatment.

On Thursday, she was scheduled to get an EKG and her white cell booster shot. We would drive home Thursday after her booster shot. It was to be a very busy week. Especially since we decided to drive down leaving early Monday morning rather that drive down Sunday and spend the night at the Marriott. However, leaving Monday morning means one less night at the hotel and one more night in our own bed. It was worth it.

We drove directly to and arrived at MD Anderson at noon on Monday for her Echo cardiogram. I went into the room with Diana and could watch the computer screen as the technician moved her hand with the sounding device over Diana’s heart. We could hear the thumping noise of the heart also. With me being a computer person, this would have been very interesting for me if the patient wasn’t my wife. The computer technology is unreal. But it was my wife on the table and I did not enjoy seeing her heart on the computer screen. It made my skin have goose bumps.

Usually, as soon as a test is complete, the technician conducting the test says you are finished and you can leave. Not this time. After the test was completed, she said to wait – a cardiologist needed to meet with us. The Cardiologist came in and informed us that the echo cardiogram showed fluid in and around Diana’s heart. They found a substantial amount of fluid around her heart and scheduled her for a Pericardial Centesis – insert a needle/ drain into the chamber around the heart and remove the fluid. They were very concerned about the pressure the fluid was causing to her heart. Diana was immediately admitted to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of MD Anderson. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 – go straight to the ICU. All of a sudden I was by myself. Diana was gone. I finally found my way to the waiting room for the ICU. Finally after a couple of hours I was allowed into Diana’s room. When I finally saw Diana, she was in good spirits. It seemed like the cardiologists were attracted to Diana like bees to honey. She had a team of three including the Chief of Cardiology at MD Anderson assigned to her.

After much consultation and since Diana’s vital signs were good, the cardiologists decided to do the procedure on Diana on Tuesday AM when the hospital is fully staffed rather than Monday evening. Once that decision was made, I left to check into the hotel I returned as soon as I was checked in to stay with Diana. Diana spent Monday night in the ICU. I learned one thing about hospitals that evening – if you have to be in a hospital, go for the ICU. There are nurses, doctors, everywhere. Diana couldn’t move without someone asking if she was ok or needed help.

The operation was performed Tuesday morning at 10 AM. It was a 45 minute procedure done in her room in the ICU. Diana was given a local anesthesia in the chest area where the incision was made. She was awake during the procedure. I was not allowed in the room during the procedure.

While I was in the waiting room – it is a sad waiting room. Many people had been there for quite a while and were sleeping on couches, chairs, floor etc. A pastor came in and asked if anyone was with Diane Grace. I raised my hand and he started to talk to me. What he was saying did not make any sense to me – so I asked who was he looking for? He showed me a card – it was for Diane Grace in Room 153. Well, I told him, my wife was Diana Grace and she was in room 135. Unreal, out of 60 ICU patients, there were patients named Diana Grace & Diane Grace and one was in room 153 and the other 135. The nurses had realized this potential problem earlier and had put big signs on both doors.

Once I got over the pastor shock, I finally spoke with the Cardiologist after the procedure. He said all went well and that they had removed 1.3 liters of fluid. For us laymen, 1.3 liters is almost 2 bottles of wine. The Cardiologist was surprised at the amount of fluid removed. Further testing before the procedure showed that her oxygen level in her blood was low causing some shortness of breath.

I now was allowed back in to see Diana. She looked great. She told me how the cardiologist was shocked at the quantity of fluid extracted. That they had to temporarily stop the draining while they went for a new bottle container. Diana spent the day in the ICU and is resting well. The drain is still inserted in her chest and fluid is continuing to be removed. Her oxygen level in her blood is back to normal.

Diana also had her CT Scan and chest x-ray tests done this evening. She was wheeled down in her bed. I am now back at the hotel writing this email. I am both happy and sad. Happy that they found the fluid and extracted it. Sad at what Diana is going through. I certainly had not planned to be at the hotel by myself this week. It is very lonely in the hotel. I am beginning to recognize some of the people who are also here for medical reasons. I spoke with one gentleman tonight and he will be at the Marriott for 60 days while being treated. He has been there for three weeks so far. Wow. At least we are only there for a few days at at time. I should feel lucky.

Diana will spend tonight in the ICU. The Cardiologist will make a decision on what is next for her tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, her chemo treatment scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed until Dr Blumenschein has time to analyze the CT Scan and what is causing the fluid. I was told it may be 3 -4 days before we know more about the fluid removed from around the heart. Apparently, some of the cultures take that long to grow out.

I spent the night at the Marriott by myself. In the morning I will walk over to see and be with Diana. Obviously, we now know what was causing her shortness of breath. Dr. Blumenschein had noted the fluid on Diana’s first series of tests at MD Anderson.


March 14, 2005

Picking up where my last email left off – Diana spent Tuesday night in the Intensive Care unit (ICU) at MD Anderson. I spent the night at the Marriott.


Once I got up and dressed Wednesday morning, I joined Diana in her ICU room. On Wednesday, the drain in her heart had accumulated another .3 liters of fluid in the 24 hours since her procedure. Thus, on Wednesday AM, the Cardiologists decided to leave the drain in her heart for another day. On late Wednesday afternoon, Diana was moved from her room in the ICU to a regular recovery room in the hospital. She spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in that room. Wednesday night, I spoke with the Doctor covering Dr Blumenschein’s in-patients and she informed us that Diana’s left lung had partially collapsed. That they were going to treat her for pneumonia with antibiotics (using an IV). The IV antibiotics started Wednesday night. Diana was still connected to a monitoring device for her vital signs – pulse rate, blood pressure and oxygen level in her blood. The extra oxygen tube that she had in her nose was removed.On Thursday morning, cardiology removed the drain from her heart. Less than 100 milliliters of fluid had drained in the prior 24 hours. Thursday at noon Diana had more x-rays. It was determined that there was excessive fluid between the lining of her left lung and the lung itself. This fluid was causing the lung to collapse.

Thursday evening – the head of Pulmonary came to see Diana. After much discussion, it was agreed that he would perform a thora centersis on Diana Friday morning. This is a procedure whereby they stick a needle thru her back into the space between the lung lining and the lung and remove the fluid from that space. Similar to the procedure that had been done to her heart on Tuesday. The disease is referred to as pleural effusion. By the way, her heart disease is referred to as pericardial effusion. Wow – things were happening so fast

On Friday morning, the thora centersis procedure was performed to remove the fluid around the lung. Approximately .7 liters of fluid were removed (1 bottle of wine). Diana came thru the procedure very well. X-rays were taken of Diana’s pleural area immediately after.

All went very well.The Drs. reviewed the x-rays and think they got all of the fluid, A respiratory specialist tested Diana to see if she needed extra oxygen. The test showed no external oxygen needed. They walked Diana all over the floor of the hospital to test her breathing. No problem. At about 3 PM, we were told that Diana would probably be released from the hospital Friday afternoon. I couldn’t believe it. Diana was ecstatic. I just never expected her to be released so fast. I left her hospital room immediately, to check out of the Marriott. I never made a round trip between the hospital and the hotel that fast all week. Diana was released from the hospital around 4 PM on Friday.

We immediately drove home arriving about 10 PM. We were both exhausted but so happy to be home. Diana could not wait to get into her own bed.

Diana rested at home this past weekend. She is still coughing. We are taking her vital signs every few hours. Her blood pressure has been a little low since the fluid was removed from around her heart – but has been very consistent and an acceptable level. She has anew antibiotic prescriptions for her cough/infection.

Based on preliminary test results, her cancer treatment will probably change. We won’t know until I speak with Dr Blumenschein early next week. He wants her to rest and recover so there probably will not be any treatment next week. Both of us are still in shock. Everything happened so fast – two serious procedures performed on Diana and here we are at home. Diana is so happy to be home. I was not sure we would see our house ever again let alone so fast.

We are tentatively scheduled to go back to MD Anderson the week of March 21.

Needless to say, it was not the week we were hoping and praying for. Diana is home resting. I am at her Company trying to understand what happened in her business last week.

Thanks for your support and prayers..


March 27, 2005

After arriving home late of Friday, March 11,Diana spent a quiet 10 days at home recovering from the two procedures performed on her heart and lung recently. She was and still is coughing – sometimes pretty severely and it occasionally turns into gagging.


I was in contact with Dr. Blumenschein a couple of times during the past week+. He tried 2 different prescriptions for the cough – neither seemed to help that we could determine.On Tuesday March 22, we drove to MD Anderson. Diana had a chest x-ray and blood tests done late on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we met with Dr. Blumenschein. This is the first time we have met in person with Dr. Blumenschein since Diana was in the ICU and had the heart and lung procedures performed on her. While she was in the hospital, she also had a CT Scan. Here is a summary of what he told us.

The CT Scan done 2 weeks ago on Diana showed positive tumor growth in some areas and decreased tumor size in other areas. Including the fluid problems Diana had, he overall result was not as good as he had hoped for. Therefore, he was going to stop the clinical trial and change Diana’s treatment to a new 2nd line chemo treatment – Altima. He said this chemo was less toxic than Cisplatin and hopefully her body would respond in a positive manner. She would also now be getting a vitamin B!2 shot every 9 weeks. Altima is an approved FDA drug and Diana will no longer be on a clinical trial. Neither Diana nor I expected that she would have positive results from the clinical trial. We both supported the idea of changing the treatment.

The other news we received was that fluids extracted from her heart and lung both tested positive for cancer. This was not a surprise to the doctors. While Diana was in the hospital, I was constantly bugging one of the doctors making the rounds of in-patients – inquiring if the fluid test results were available. She always answered no but would add words that I did not want to hear – “Natural progression of the disease.” When she told me that, I decided that I did not like her. It really wasn’t her, I didn’t want to hear those words associated with Diana.

Another finding, based on the x-ray taken on Tuesday, the fluid appeared to come back to Diana’s lung. Dr. Blumenschein said the heart looked good – no new fluid accumulation. As a result Dr. B recommended that a procedure be done to Diana on Monday March 28 to drain the fluid from the lung again and insert a drain tube that will remain in Diana for as long as she continues to have fluid accumulate in the lung. Possibly 3 – 4 weeks or even longer – months – as the pulmonary doctor told us. Diana was not happy with the prospect of having the drain installed. However, it is a procedure developed at MD Anderson – named “The Denver Catheter”.

Wednesday evening Diana got her B12 shot and new Chemo treatment. All went well. We went back to the hotel exhausted and spent the night. It was a grueling day for Diana. Not lots of good news and more procedures and tests. Although we were unhappy with the results, at least we were at a place – MD Anderson – where they had procedures to immediately address Diana’s fluid problem. Dr. Blumenschein did not want to delay either the new chemo treatment or the drainage tube procedure.

We drove home Thursday afternoon. Diana felt pretty good on Thursday and Friday – however, today (Saturday) she is very sick and nauseated from the chemo. She has spent the day in bed and has not eaten any food.

Tomorrow – Easter Sunday – we will be driving to MD Anderson in Houston in preparation for her lung procedure on Monday. Traffic will be terrible in the evening with it being Easter, so we will try to leave as early as possible. We will be meeting with the Pulmonary Dr on Monday morning and hopefully can make some progress on the cough problem at the same time.

I spent some time reviewing the past couple of weeks in my mind. What would’ve happened had we not been at MD Anderson? Would the doctors in Dallas have moved as quickly/ I doubt it. As I sat and thought about what Diana had gone through the pst few weeks, I was so happy we had gone to MD Anderson. The speed at which decisions were made and implemented – I still cannot believe that it really happened.

To make matters worse last week – I got sick in Houston Tuesday night with the flu. Just what Diana needed to get exposed to in her condition. Fortunately, Diana’s mother is living with us and she took care of both of this week. Today is the first day I ate any solid food since Tuesday. It also delayed my getting this email written and sent. Sorry.

Thanks for your support and prayers.

Happy Easter


April 2, 2005

Diana was still very sick from her chemo treatment on Easter Sunday. However, Diana had an appointment to have a Pleural Drainage Catheter inserted into her Pleural Cavity (left lung) on Monday at 10 AM at MD Anderson. So we had to drive to Houston. We had to go – she needed the catheter to drain the fluid. It had been a couple of weeks since the draining procedure had been performed on her and I knew the fluid was building inside her pleural cavity.

We (well me) wanted to depart as early in the day as we could. With it being Easter Sunday, there would be lots of traffic on the road heading home after spending Easter with family and friends. We waited as long as possible for Diana to get better. It never happened. Diana was still sick and not feeling well. We waited until I could wait no longer. So we did our best to make a bed in the back seat of Diana’s car. With her being sick every couple of hours we knew it would happen in the car. We put down an old carpet first to try and protect the car. We surrounded that with pillows and sheets. Finally, around 4 PM we departed. It was not a fun ride – lots of traffic with everyone returning home on Easter Sunday night and Diana got sick twice (nauseated) during the trip. To top everything off, there was a detour on the Interstate because of construction. We did not arrive at the hotel until 11 PM. The trip took 7 hours – two more than normal. I know it was especially hard on Diana, but I felt we had to go.

We used a wheel chair to move Diana in the hotel Sunday night. She did not complain so I knew she was really sick. Diana was very weak on Monday AM when we left for the clinic. Fortunately, the hotel is in the Houston Medical Center area and had a wheel chair available for us to use. Diana was not strong enough to walk. Not quite as sick on Monday as she had been the day before, but still not feeling well. She was very weak from being so sick the prior three days.

Somehow we made our way to MD Anderson Monday AM. Diana had to have blood tests done first. We then made our way to Cardio-Pulmonary Center where the procedure was scheduled to be performed.

All went well. They drained approximately 350 MilliLiters of fluid (1/2 bottle of wine) from Diana and inserted the Pleural Catheter. The procedure took about 1.5 hours. I was a nervous wreck. I was happy that we were finally at the Clinic and Diana was having the procedure completed. But I was still a nervous wreck. Once the procedure was completed, Diana went for a chest x-rays. The doctor wanted to make sure the catheter was inserted into her pleural cavity properly.

Around 3 PM we met with Dr. Eapen (Pulmonary Dr who performed the procedure). He said all went well. However, he said while they were using the Sonogram on her lung and from the new x-rays – he was concerned there might be more fluid around the heart. He said they would need to monitor the heart. My heart dipped. No we did not need more fluid problems. We had previously inquired as to what if the fluid returns to the heart. Unlike the pleural cavity, a catheter cannot be inserted into the heart. The procedure used is to cut a small hole in the heart lining so the fluid can flow from the heart to the pleural cavity and be drained. That would mean Dian would now have a hole in her heart lining if the fluid returned to the heart. Not something we were looking forward to having get done. I was scared and feeling sick.

The nurses showed us how to drain the pleural cavity catheter. They also gave us a CD to take home with all of the steps illustrated. I did not know how we – I – was going to accomplish the draining procedure. And it had to be done every day. Wow. Dr, Eapen reviewed the x-rays and released us to go back to the hotel. Our plan was to rest at the hotel Monday night and drive home on Tuesday.

While driving back to the hotel (5 minute ride) I received a phone call from Dr. Blumenschein. He had spoken with Dr. Eapen and Dr. Durand – the Cardiologist and they wanted to have a new Echocardiogram test performed on Diana Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM. We had only left Dr. Eapen’s office about 30 minutes ago. How were we going to rest now – impossible.

Diana was in a lot of pain but we rested best we could Monday night at the Marriott. Diana had some chicken soup that I went down to the Marriott kitchen to get and brought back to the room Monday night – the first food she had eaten in 3 days. It was great to see her eating. The Marriott was great. They understood I had a sick patient and really went out of their way to make the chicken soup for her. It was not on the menu but the chef wanted to help. Diana devoured the soup.

Tuesday morning we got up early – had to be at the clinic for 7:30 AM Echocardiogram test.Diana had some juice and yogurt as she was starting to feel a little better before we left for the clinic. However, mentally, neither of us was looking forward to the Echocardiogram. Diana was still in lots of pain from the pleural cavity procedure. We once again used a wheel chair to move her about the hotel and the clinic. The Echocardiogram was very painful for Diana because of the pain in her side do to the Pleural Drainage Catheter procedure.

The Echocardiogram test took about 45 minutes, Diana was finished about 8:30 AM. About an hour after the test was over, Dr. Durand called me on my cell phone. I spoke with Dr.Durand – he had viewed the test results and said the amount of fluid found around her heart was not a problem. Great news!!!!! And we could go home.

We flew back to the hotel, packed up and checked out. We immediately drove home Tuesday afternoon. I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. It is amazing how good news will perk one up. Diana had an uncomfortable ride home. She was still sore from the procedure and now had this tube coming out of her side.

As soon as we arrived home, it was time to drain her Pleural Cavity thru the Catheter. This must be done daily. It is a 2 person job so I am the assistant. We played the video CD and we did each step while watching the CD. We used the CD the first few times we drained Diana and are getting pretty good at the procedure. So good in fact and have enough confidence that we did not use the CD as a guide today. we each have our own steps which we accomplish in a sequential order.

It is a very sterile process as you can imagine and a little painful for Diana. We have drained approximately 200 Milliliters of fluid each day this week. Once the fluid drained is less than 100 Milliliters for 3 days in a row, Dr. Eapen will consider having Diana’s Pleural Catheter removed. Could be a few weeks to a few months or longer.

Our procedure has been for Diana to shower each day around 1 PM I go to her office every morning and I come home around 1:00. After her shower, we remove the dressing and drain her pleural cavity. We then apply a new dressing. Takes about 30 -45 minutes. Once completed, we eat the food for lunch that her mother has prepared and I go back to her office and work.

Diana is still very sore. She has been sleeping propped up in bed every night. Her appetite has returned and she is eating well. She did not leave the house this week. Still very sore from the insertion of the Catheter. Hopefully, next week, she will feel strong enough to resume some normal activity.

While Diana was resting in bed earlier this week, she asked me if I thought she could play golf. I stopped in my tracks and looked at her and said what? After some verbal interchange with her – I realized what was in her mind was her Stonebriar Women Golf Association (SWGA)annual member-guest golf tournament. It is held in June every year but you must sign up by March 31 which was only a couple of days away. After a practice round of golf on Tuesday, there is a theme party on Tuesday night, The tournament is held on Wednesday and Thursday and closes with an awards luncheon after golf on Thursday. One of the rules to be eligible for the tournament is the Stonebriar member must play 5 practice rounds before May 1 to be eligible. Diana has played in every Member-Guest including the inaugural in 1991. Obviously she wanted to play again.

I let the President of the SWGA know that Diana was interested in playing in the Member-Guest Golf Tournament, but she probably could not play the required 5 practice rounds because of her physical condition. She immediately sent Diana an email saying that the 5 round requirement had been waived for her. I showed Diana the email. She thought it was a fake email that I had created as a joke. When Diana finally realized the email was authentic, Diana was ecstatic. Diana called her golfing friend in Oregon inviting her to play in the tournament. We immediately filled out the entry blank and I went to the post office to make sure it got mailed.

Picture this – Diana is resting in bed. Has a catheter in her side that we have to drain every day. She barely can walk and she is determined to play golf in June for three days. Diana was convinced that she would be able to play by June. I was happy that she had such a determined attitude, but I don’t know if I would have bet very much money on her playing in the Queen’s Quest Golf Tournament in June.

While I was driving to the post office, I called Diana’s friend without Diana’s knowledge and told her that yes, Diana had signed up to play in the Queen’s Quest as the tournament was called, but please don’t buy your airline ticket until May when we would have a better idea if Diana could play at all. Anyway, Diana set this goal for herself and she was determined to make it. I was really pleased that she set the goal – but looking at the reality of the situation – I was not as convinced as Diana that she would be able to play golf in June.

Her next chemo treatment is scheduled for April 14. We will drive down to MD Anderson on 4/13 and have her blood tests done that afternoon. We will see Dr. Blumenschein on 4/14 AM and she will get her chemo treatment that evening. If all goes well we will return home on Thursday. We will bring supplies to drain her pleural cavity in the hotel each day.

Thanks again for your support and prayers. Diana really appreciates the support she has received. It has helped her mental state immensely.

April 18, 2005

We have been draining Diana’s Pleural Cavity daily for the past 3 weeks. Diana is still speaking to me which means that I am doing a good job. The first week home we drained approximately 200 Milliliters of fluid each day. The second week, the level went down to an average of 150 ml per day. This past week the level dropped again. On Thursday (4/14) we drained 90 ml. On Friday 75 ml. We skipped Saturday ( 2 days in a row below 100, so the procedure calls for draining every other day once you are below 100 ml 2 consecutive days). Today, Sunday we only drained 30 ml – even after 2 days accumulation since we skipped Saturday. Today was kind of a milestone – only 30 ml after 2 days of fluid collection. We were both excited. Diana had gone below 100 ml 2 days in a row once before last week. We skipped a day at that time. However, the next day we drained 150 ml. As Dr. Blumenschein said – this is a good sign. I am getting very good at the draining process. We have only messed up once or twice with the vacuum sealed bottle that helps draw the fluid from her pleural cavity assisted by gravity.


We drove to Houston on Tuesday April 12. Diana had her blood test Tuesday night Her appointment with Dr. Blumenschein and her chemo treatment at MD Anderson were on Wednesday & Thursday (4/13 & 4/14) of the past week Dr. B was pleased with how she looked and her blood test results. Dr. B was really pleased that the fluid level was decreasing. He was not anxious to remove the Pleural catheter and will probably make Diana keep it until our next visit. As a result of all the tests he decided to continue with the Alimta chemo treatment. Thus Thursday afternoon, Diana had her next chemo treatment.We spent Thursday night in Houston at the Marriott. We finished her treatment at 6:30 PM. Too late for a 5 hour ride. Spent the night in Houston and left the next AM Diana was fine on Friday – the day we returned to Frisco from MD Anderson. Saturday she was also up and a little active – but tired very easily.

Dr. Blumenschein prescribed a new anti-nausea medicine for Diana to take this time. She started on the medication Thursday morning before receiving her chemo treatment. So far it appears to be working better than any other anti-nausea medicine that she has taken previously,

This morning(Sunday 4/17), she didn’t feel well and is extremely tired. She got sick for the first time around noon today. Although her reaction to the chemo is kicking in as expected – usually 2-3 days after the chemo treatment – she is much less sick this time than she was with her last treatment. Hopefully, this will only last a day or two, and Diana will be feeling better again.

Diana’s next chemo treatment is scheduled for May 4, She will have tests on May 2 & 3 to measure progress of this new chemo against her cancer tumors. We will meet with Dr. B on 5/4 prior to the chemo treatment.

Diana has been busy looking at clothes (in catalogs) that she will need to get for her Queen’s Quest Golf Tournament. She needs an outfit for the theme party on Tuesday and she and her partner will dress alike for the tournament. She has been feeling better and is still convinced she will play golf in June. I certainly do not discourage her. Secretly, I am hoping that she does get to play golf. It would be huge mountain for her to climb. The odds look better each day. Maybe I should have placed my bet when the odds were higher.

Thanks for all of your support and prayers.


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.

June 26, 2005

It has been an outstanding four weeks since my last email. Diana has been feeling great and very active during this time period..

The Stonebriar Women’s Golf Association Annual Member-Guest Queen’s Quest Golf Tournament was held last week. Diana’s friend Linda flew in from Oregon on Monday. Diana and I went to DFW Airport to pick her up. Linda was a guest at our house for the week. On Tuesday, Diana and Linda played a practice round of golf. It was the first time Diana had played 18 holes in one day since Hilton Head.

Dr Blumenschein was out of town this week so we made arrangements to get her chemo treatment in Frisco. Dr. Blumenschein sent Dr. Trillo, the original oncologist we had seen in Frisco Christmas week before going to MD Anderson, the chemo treatment orders to give Diana. In preparation for Diana’s chemo treatment on Friday after the golf tournament, Diana went and had her blood work done after playing golf on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday night a theme party was held for the golf participants at Stonebriar. Diana and Linda went and had a good time. At the “Maui Wowi” theme party on Tuesday night, a Hula Hoop contest was conducted for all participants. In her day, Diana was a good “hula hooper”. On this night, it came down to two finalists – Diana and one other – all the others “lost their hoop”. Well, Diana did not lose her hoop on this night either – she did tire and just stopped “hula hooping”, letting the other participant to win. She did great and had a really good time.

Diana played in the golf tournament for 3 days (Tuesday – Thursday). The temperature was in the high 90’s every day. She had a great time – although quite an emotional one for her. Seeing all those people and everyone asking her how she was – or how glad they were that she was better. It is the first time she has been in a social environment since she was diagnosed. The emotional part was harder than the physical. She played all 3 days – quite an accomplishment and was quite tired when it was over. Diana had set her goal – when she was in bed sick and could hardly walk in March to play in this golf tournament. And through some miracle she made it! You don’t know how happy it made me to seeing her have some fun.

On Friday morning, I took Linda to the airport. On Friday afternoon we went to the original Oncologist’s office – we saw him in December before going to MD Anderson – for her chemo treatment. Dr. Trillo has been getting all of Diana’s reports from MD Anderson but had not seen Diana since December. Dr. Trillo was visibly surprised and shocked at how good her physical condition was as were the nurses in his office. He was very happy. It made Diana and I both pleased and proud. After the treatment, we drove the 10 minutes home – quite a different drive from the one we usually have coming back from Houston.

Diana took the same anti nausea medicine this time and hasn’t been sick at all after this treatment. She has been very active since the chemo treatment including going bowling on June 24 with friends – one week after receiving her chemo treatment. Diana has always loved bowling. We never went bowling very often but Diana often mentioned that we should go bowling. Every time she saw bowling on TV, she would say we need to go. I used to enjoy bowling but was able to avoid going for many years.

Well we finally went bowling. There is a new bowling alley in Frisco. Opened up a couple of months ago. I don’t know how long it has been since you have been to a bowling alley – but this is not how I remembered them. The alleys, balls and pins were the same. But the flashing lights and loud music were not what I remembered. Unfortunately, I have been hobbling around all weekend – sore from bowling. We haven’t been bowling for at least 15 years. Diana has some sore muscles also. It was fun and we both had a great time even though we are now paying the price – especially me.

Our next visit to MD Anderson is scheduled for the week of July 11, Diana will get a series of tests at that time – CT Scans, x-rays, etc – to measure her progress. We will see Dr. Blumenschein at that time also. Her next chemo treatment is scheduled for July 13. I expect that based on the test results Dr. Blumenschein will provide us with an update to Diana’s treatment schedule for the next few months. She is doing so well – i don’t expect he will change the chemo treatment for the next 2 – 3 months.

In the meantime, we plan to spend a quiet July 4 at home. There will be fireworks all around us that we can see from our yard and that is where we will watch them. In the meantime, even with all of this activity, I have made progress with our goal of selling Diana’s business. I have selected a broker to handle the transaction and have provided him with all of the information he has requested. The business will formally be put up for sale on July 5 (of course without the employees knowledge.) I hope you all have a great fourth. I know we will.

Thanks for your support and prayers.

July 16, 2005

For the past couple of weeks, life has been almost normal. Diana had no negative reaction to her last chemo treatment on July 13. Diana has started to drive and travel locally to stores, etc by herself. We had a cookout on the fourth of July for the three of us (Diana, her mother & me). Later we watched fireworks from our yard. The rest of the week was great. I would go to work at ( and Diana would stay home. We also received our first inquiries from potential buyers of the business. I had two meetings – off premises of course – with potential buyers. I was surprised but happy about the amount of interest in and the activity. Good problem.

We travelled to Houston last weekend and spent Saturday and Sunday as tourists in Houston. A new experience for us. We stayed at the JW Marriott which is near the Houston Galleria – a large high end shopping center in Houston. We ate out a few times and walked around the mall. Diana did not buy anything, but we had a great time. We spent much time driving about different sections of the Houston area and visited several housing developments. We saw lots of areas we did not like and a few that we did like. At least we started the process of investigating where we would like to live in the Houston area. It was time well spent. We were both tired at the end of each day but enjoyed doing other things in Houston – rather than going back and forth to the MD Anderson clinic.

Diana had tests scheduled for Monday – Wednesday – Blood tests, X-rays and CT Scan and an appointment with Dr. Blumenschein Wednesday morning. On Wednesday, we met with Colleen – DR. Blumenschein’s PA (Physician Assistant) and Dr. Blumenschein. Dr. Blumenschein was absolutely ecstatic with Diana’s results. He commented to Diana that he does not get to give good news to patients very often, He said her news was not good news but great news – The tumor shrank about 40% from the May tests. That means that the tumor has shrunk about 75% since March. Dr. Blumenschein is going to continue with the same chemo – Alimta for at least 2 more treatments and possibly 4 if Diana continues to respond. Dr. Blumenschein said that it is very common for the cancer cells to get immune to the chemo after 2 or 3 treatments and start to grow/spread. He said Diana was one of the lucky ones in that the chemo was still working after 5 treatments. Diana was scheduled for her next Chemo treatment later in the day and that would be number 6 with Alimta.

We are now home, we dove home Wednesday night after Diana’s treatment. Diana has had no negative reaction at all this time. The last 3 times with the new nausea medicine have been great. We have had a restful weekend in the house. I worked a couple of days and Saturday morning trying to catch up. I am in telephone communications with her office several times a day when we are traveling and the office calls me on my cell phone if I am needed for any reason.

We made arrangements for Diana to get her next chemo treatment in Frisco again at Dr. Trillo’s office in 3 weeks. It went so well last time. Home in ten minutes after her chemo treatment. No sleeping in a hotel bed. Home cooking made by Diana’s Mom. Life is pretty good right now. Three weeks after the Frisco chemo treatment, we will then return to MD Anderson for the next series of tests and chemo treatment during the week of August 22,2005.

We are planning to attend a Drum Corps competition in Dallas on Thursday night, July 28. A competition is held in Dallas every year even though Dallas does not have a local drum and bugle corp. There have been attempts to start one in Dallas but they have been unsuccessful. We have attended 2 or 3 of the annual Dallas competitions in prior years. There will be 8-9 Drum Corps from all over the US performing that night. The corps are touring their way on to the National Championship which will be held in Providence RI in August this year. The competition we are going to will be held outdoors in a local football stadium. For those of you that don’t know, Diana played the Bugle in a Drum Corp in her growing up years so she relates to what is going on as the corps perform. I just watch and listen while she tells me every time some one in a performing corp makes a mistake. I guess it is similar to when we watch a football game together on TV (not very often). Since I officiated football. I tell her every time a team makes a mistake. I’m not sure she is listening. But this will be a very fun filled event for her – even in Dallas 95 degree weather.

Again, THANKS for your support and prayers. We both appreciate them.