UPDATE: Mrs RJ

Mrs R J was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. Some friends of Sparrow Chat have expressed their sympathy at this devastating news and to keep them informed of her progress I am including a regular bulletin.

UPDATE – SATURDAY 12th JANUARY

Following the CT scan on January 4th we had appointments with both the gynaecological surgeon and the oncologist on the 9th. We were informed the scan had shown a radical reduction in the ovarian carcinomas. She is to have a major operation on February 13th which will involve complete hysterectomy and removal of other affected tissues. Hospital stay is estimated at least a week, possibly longer. Meanwhile, a fourth chemo session had been scheduled for the 10th, but a recent blood test revealed serious depletion of blood platelets (another side effect of chemotherapy) so further treatment has had to be postponed until the 17th.

While it is heartening to hear the chemo is working, this whole dreadful business is a living nightmare. The toll of repeated chemical treatments on my wife has been devastating. Her weight has improved slightly in the last weeks, but she’s in constant muscle pain, has difficulty walking more than a few steps, and has very little quality of life.

Seeing her suffer in this way is almost too much to bear.

UPDATE – MONDAY 21st JANUARY

All chemo has been stopped. The session due on the 17th was again postponed due to a low blood platelet count. It’s hoped it can recommence Thursday. A blood sample was taken today for analysis and we are to see the oncologist tomorrow.

UPDATE – SUNDAY JANUARY 27th

As she has missed two chemos due to blood problems it was considered undesirable for her to continue further with it, as it would mean putting back surgery into March. Instead, the surgery has been brought forward two days and she will now have the operation on February 11th, rather than the 13th.

The oncologist prescribed Prednisone as a five day regime to help with the muscle/joint pains. It worked wonderfully for three days. I’ve not seen her so pain-free and revitalised since this all started. On the fourth day the pains came back with a vengeance and we are now back to the pre-prednisone state, where she cannot sleep for the pains and has similar symptoms to severe arthritis. It does tend to ease a little through the day, but returns at night. We may have to contact the oncologist for further medication.

UPDATE – FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15th 2019

Mrs RJ entered hospital on February 10th for a major operation next day that would remove her reproductive tract and any other cancer affected organs it was possible to take out.

The operation was successful in removal of the affected organs, but although it was possible to ascertain that no malignant lesions had penetrated the large intestine, a number were discovered on the outer wall of that organ and it was not possible to remove them by surgery.

As a result of this it will be necessary for my wife to undergo further courses of chemotherapy (three or possibly four) in an attempt to kill off these lesions. As yet it is not known when that will start.

She has spent four days in the Intensive Care Unit but it is expected she will be moved out to a regular hospital room today or tomorrow.

UPDATE – MONDAY FEBRUARY 25th

My wife was moved out of Intensive Care and into a standard hospital room after four days. After spending ten days in hospital overall she was able to be discharged and return home on 20th February. A nurse is visiting every other day to change the dressings and check all is okay. So far she is doing well.

We see the gynecological surgeon again on the 28th. Hopefully, we will be told then when the next chemo is to commence.

UPDATE – SATURDAY MARCH 9th

The surgeon was happy with Mrs RJ’s progress. Everything seems to be healing okay. The dressings have been removed and a nurse is no longer required to visit. There was an appointment with the oncologist on the 5th. She thinks another fortnight is needed before further chemo. We have another appointment on the 19th. A blood test on the 18th will determine if the chemo can go ahead.

Overall my wife is doing well and recovering from the operation. She is slowly gaining weight and her hair is now over half an inch in length. Sadly, she will probably lose it again during the next chemo sessions.

UPDATE – MONDAY APRIL 8th

At our appointment with the oncologist on the 19th March my wife’s blood test was good, but the oncologist was concerned about the sudden drop in blood platelet count after the three pre-operation chemos. She said it was due to one of the chemo chemicals being toxic to the bone marrow, where the platelets are formed. Instead of a further three or four chemos over three-weekly intervals, it was decided to try weekly chemo sessions (every Thursday), using a lower dose, over a six to eight week period.

Needless to say, my wife was not very happy with the idea of six or eight weekly chemo sessions, but there seemed no alternative. All went well until after the second week, but a blood test the day before the third session indicated a huge drop in the platelet count, coupled with a further drop in white blood cell counts.

The third session was called off.

We now wait to hear if her blood has recovered sufficiently to stand another session this Thursday (11th April), or whether it will be called off again.