What we need here are fluids . . . .

Keith’s daugther Christie stopped in for a couple of days this weekend and worked her magic on our guest room and mud room.  I am so grateful for all she did because while I am out of town, there is now a comfortable space for our substitute nurses to stay in.

Keith started feeling a stomach ache and gas on Saturday afternoon.  By this morning, he was having a tough time eating, drinking, or taking his medicine.  His son Brandon chipped in and helped me get Keith dressed and off to the doctor for his blood test.  Once Keith arrived, our nurse checked his blood pressure (low pressure is just one of many indicators of dehydration) and after receiving a low pressure reading, they did indeed start him on fluids. His blood work showed that his white blood cell count was low in addition to the hydration problem which has prompted our doctor to start him on a course of antibiotics.  They also introduced two medications through the port to both calm his stomach and help with the gas (again another indicator of dehydration).

So for anyone who communicates with him over the course of the next few days, remind him that part of his fight is to drink and eat.  One of the most important medicines he must take to survive this is nothing you need a prescription for – it just boils down to water and food – hydration and fuel.  Tomorrow we will return to the doctors for another IV of fluids.  I have no problems leading my husband to the water but how do I make him drink?  I’ve got bendy straws and ice cubes but it is becoming very clear that there has to be something else to motivate him.  Any suggestions?




Chemotherapy has Started

After a short hiccup in the road, Dr. Brennan successfully installed the power port on Thursday.  This is an amazing medical gadget that allows direct access to the blood stream so repeated chemotherapy treatments don’t ruin the veins.

Today, Keith received the first chemotherapy treatment.  Other than feeling his sinuses burn during the treatment and a brief cold sweat spell this evening, he is doing very well.  Right now, he’s eating away on steak and potatoes – a real man’s meal!

We will return for the second treatment tomorrow, then a third on Wednesday.  On Thursday, he will stop in for a shot of Neulasta, which is an immune system booster.

You’ll have to excuse my short and sweet synopsis of Keith’s current condition.  Overall, he is handling everything well.  Our only real concern is putting some weight on him.  He weighted in today at 130 lbs, which is a 7.4 lb lost from his last weigh in before they installed his power port on Thursday.  Bring on the ice cream!



Chemotherapy to Start Next Week

Our original plan of installing a port in Keith and then jumping right into chemotherapy has been postponed.

Keith arrived at the short stay facility yesterday with a fever of 99.7 degrees and a cough (which has be an annoyance for a few weeks now).  The doctor followed up with a blood test to see Keith’s white blood cell count.  It was elevated from that last test, indicating that he had an infection, so it was decided to postpone the installation of the port.  The hospital started Keith on an IV course of antibiotics as well as sending him home with a prescription antibiotic.  They also took chest x-rays to rule out any lung infections and I am happy to report  that the lungs are clear.

The plan is for Keith to return to the short stay facility Thursday, where they will do another blood test to see if the infection is subsiding.  If all is well, the port will be put in.

Once chemotherapy starts, Keith will have a 3 day course of treatments with 21 days off.  This treatment process will be repeated 4 to 6 times, placing the full treatment timeline at 18 to 20 weeks.  Bay Hematology Oncology gave us the following resource materials about the chemotherapy drugs Keith will need to take:



Vincristine (trade names: Oncovin, Vincasar Pfs)


Etoposide (Trade names: Toposar, VePesid, Etopophos)

Cystoscopy Procedure: Preparation, Complications, and Results

Cystoscopy Procedure: Preparation, Complications, and Results.

Hi All Had this procedure done to day to check the bladder.  Your awake for it and the Dr. and I bounded when I asked if I could watch the procedure on the TV.  I did take a Valume to take the edge off… my bladder is fine!…  Tomorrow, Friday I meet with the Dr. that performed the Colonoscopy.  Tuesday I go in to have the “port” installed in my chest.  This allows not having to get a vein every time I go in for Chemo Therapy. It’s like a 6 lane highway compared to a dirt road, they can inject all 5 chemo’s CHOP+E quickly if needed. They are also preparing a stem cell harvest also.  Lots happening and it appears the Chemo will start on Thursday the 20th it is a five to 7 hour treatment and it will be repeated every 21 days for either 3 or 5 weeks…

Sound Advice

It’s very refreshing to see the length some people will go to try and help someone in need…  With that said I graduated high school with someone that is now a top notch Oncologist in CA, thanks to another person I graduated with contacted him.  Here is some information we have been exchanging via email…  I am allergic to Myacin’s


Hi Keith,

CHOP is the standard chemo. If you have problems with Adriamycin, you can substitute Novantrone.

If CD20 marker is positive, I have seen Rituxan added. That is a BIOLOGIC DRUG, non chemo. I treated the 16th human that ever got that drug about 18 years ago!

This is a rare diagnosis, as you know. I haven’t treated anyone for a few years.

For relapsed disease, the new BIOLIOGIC drug called ADCETRIS or BRENTUXIMAB is used. There may be some clinical trials that add it to first line chemo..


So I am feeling better and better every time I hear from a person in the know.  I will keep you all up to date as new stuff arises.


Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma UPDATE 2 BONE BIOPSY!!!!!

Ok Folks just got a call from my doctor and it appears they have isolated the type of cancer I have… It is called “Non Hodgkin Ana-plastic Large cell Lymphoma”

I am told the survival rate is very good and they have (so they say) a standard procedure of Chemotherapy which I will start as soon as the oncologist at University of MD Medical Center agrees with what they found here locally.

Please click the link below to learn more if you wish.  BOY ITS NICE TO BE CLOSE TO A TREATMENT (-:

Talk to you all soon,


Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Preliminary Bone Biopsy Results…

I was on my way to the Univ of MD Medical Center in Baltimore yesterday to meet with the head of the Gastroenterology department and a dietitian.  Well I am sure you know based on the title it was my primary Doctor on the line with results from the bone Biopsy…

Well we are by far out of the woods yet as the initial diagnosis is “METASTATIC UNDIFFERENTIATED MALIGNANT NEOPLASM”   What???  Just a fancy couple of words that states it’s cancer but they are not sure what type OR where it started (cancer that spreads to the bones that comes from somewhere else) so I will be scheduled for another MRI as soon as possible, hopefully Monday or the latest Tuesday… So here we go again to get to the source… UGH…

Love you all,



A new growth is a “neoplasm.” Neoplasia literally means “new growth.” The term “tumor” was originally applied to the swelling caused by inflammation.  Neoplasms also may induce swellings, but by long precedent, the non-neoplastic usage of “tumor” has passed into limbo; thus, the term is now equated with neoplasm.  Oncology (Greek “oncos”= tumor) is the study of tumors or neoplasms.  Cancer is the common term for all malignant tumors.


In the great majority of instances, the differentiation of a benign from a malignant tumor can be made morphologically with considerable certainty; sometimes, however, a neoplasm defies catagorization.  Occasionally this prediction is confounded by a marked discrepancy between the morphologic appearance of a tumor and its biologic behavior:  An innocent face may mask an ugly nature.  Such deception or ambiguity, however, is not the rule; in general, there are criteria by which benign and malignant tumors can be differentiated, and they behave accordingly.  These differences can conveniently be discussed under the following headings:  (1)  differentiation and anaplasia,  (2) rate of growth,   (3)  local invasion, and (4)  metastasis.


The nomenclature of malignant tumors essentially follows the same schema used for benign neoplasms, with certain additions.  Malignant tumors  are usually called sarcomas (Greek “sar” = fleshy) because they have little connective tissue stroma and so are fleshy, e.g., fibrosarcoma, liposarcoma, and leiomyosarcoma for smooth muscle cancer and fibromyosarcoma for a cancer that differentiates toward striated muscle.  Malignant neoplasms of epithelial cell origin, derived from any of the three germ layers, are called carcinomas.  Thus cancer arising in the epidermis of ectodermal origin is a carcinoma, as is a cancer arising in the mesodermally derived cells of the renal tubules and the endodermally derived cells of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.  Carcinomas may be further qualified.  One with a glandular growth pattern microscopically  is termed an adenocarcinoma, and one producing recognizable squamous cells arising in any epithelium of the body would be termed a squamous cell carcinoma.  It is further common practice to specify, when possible, the organ of origin, e.g., a renal cell adenocarcinoma or bronchogenic squamous cell carcinoma.  Not infrequently, however, a cancer is composed of undifferentiated cells and must be designated merely as a poorly differentiated or undifferentiated malignant tumor.

In most neoplasms, benign and malignant, the parenchymal cells bear a close resemblance to each other, as though all were derived from a single cells, as indeed we know to be the case with most cancers.  Infrequently divergent differentiation of a single line of parenchymal cells creates what are called mixed tumors.  The best example is the mixed tumor of salivary gland origin.  These tumors contain epithelial components scattered within a myxoid stroma that sometimes contains islands of apparent cartilage or even bone.  All these elements, it is believed, arise from epithelial and myoepithelial cells of salivary gland origin; thus the preferred designation of these neoplasms is pleomorphic adenoma.  The teratoma, in contrast, is made up of a variety of parenchymal cell types representative of more than one germ layer, usually all three.  They arise from totipotential cells and so are principally encountered in the gonads but rarely in sequestered primitive cell rests elsewhere.  These totipotential cells differentiate along various germ lines, producing, for example, tissues that can be identified as skin, muscle, fat, gut epithelium, tooth structures, and, indeed, any tissue of the body.


Metastases are tumor implants discontinuous with the primary tumor. Metastasis unequivocally marks a tumor as malignant because benign neoplasms do not metastasize.  The invasiveness of cancers permits them to penetrate into blood vessels, lymphatics, and body cavities, providing the opportunity for spread.  With few exceptions, all cancers can metastasize. The major exceptions are most malignant neoplasms of the glial cells in the central nervous system, called gliomas, and basal cell carcinomas of the skin.  Both are highly invasive forms of neoplasia (the latter being known in the older literature as rodent ulcers because of their invasive destructiveness), but they rarely metastasize.  It is evident then that the properties of invasion and metastasis are separable.

In general, the more aggressive, the more rapidly growing, and the larger the primary neoplasm, the greater the likelihood that it will metastasize or already have metastasized.

Approximately 30% of newly diagnosed patients with solid tumors (excluding skin cancers other than melanomas) present with metastases.  Metastatic spread strongly reduces the possibility of cure; hence short of prevention of cancer, no achievement would confer greater benefit on patients than methods to prevent distant spread.


Dissemination of cancers may occur through one of three pathways:  (1)  direct seeding of body cavities or surfaces, (2)  lymphatic spread, and  (3)  hematogenous spread.  Although direct transplantation of tumor cells, as for example on surgical instruments, may theoretically occur, it is rare and, in any event, an artificial mode of dissemination that is not discussed further.  Each of the three major pathways is described separately.