Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Pray it gets a little smaller"

Steve's appointment with his radiation oncologist, Dr. A, went about as we expected. Dr. A reviewed the most recent MRI (from June), checked Steve's vitals and responses and chatted for a while.

Like everyone else, he's eager for Steve to get off Decadron but also recognizes that he has to have it right now. (Steve is still on 3 mg and isn't sure he's ready to drop down to 2 mg tomorrow. He says his left side is about 80 percent back.) Dr. A told us that another risk with long-term steroid use is weakened bones. So now I'm evaluating Steve's daily calcium intake to see if he's good or needs more. My goal is find a food or foods that fill the calcium need as well as other nutritional needs. Steve doesn't have a huge appetite these days, so we need foods that serve multiple purposes. His daily morning smoothies are great opportunities for sneaking in added nutrition.

Regarding the tumor, Dr. A says that we need to "pray it gets a little smaller," which would lessen Steve's neurological symptoms and allow him to stop taking Decadron. Little reductions to the Damm Spot can have a big impact.

Dr. A also checked Steve's gag reflex. He still doesn't have one. So he'll continue to thicken all liquids and drink through a straw.

His blood oxygen level is stubborn and was 94 percent yesterday. Steve has one more test related to investigating the cause -- a sleep study scheduled at the end of this month. We've not heard results from last week's echocardiogram, which we take as good news. We'll receive a final report after the sleep study.

The home front is busy. Our nieces are spending the week with us for some good cousin fun. Cooper and Brooke are attending Fine Arts Week at our church in the mornings. Katie and Molli spend the mornings in the water, building Lego towers and running around with me. Betty helped me with a sudden beetle infestation of our burr oak tree. (Diagnosis: harmless.) Rae has been driving for us often. Uncle Greg watched all four kids while we were at appointments yesterday. There's not much relaxing this summer, but we're enjoying our time with family and friends.

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