Tuesday, November 24, 2009

more alert

Mom was more alert on Monday than she had been on Sunday. While she didn't speak much, she did give me a bright-eyed "Hi!", along with a smile, when she saw me for the first time, a little after 1PM. She had a good appetite at lunch, and even felt good enough to sit on her barstool without any grimacing or complaints. As the day wore on, she remained quiet but responsive, laughing gently at my attempts at humor; she was even able to pull her focus away from the TV to look at me whenever I called out to her from the kitchen. Unfortunately, she didn't eat much dinner, but these days, that's not necessarily a bad thing: we're still campaigning to keep her blood sugar down, and because she's gained back so much of her weight, we can ease back on the quantity of food we give her. If she eats only a few bites at night, it's not tragic at this point. She's not starving by any means.

I wasn't upstairs when Dad put Mom to bed, so I didn't have the chance to do my usual good-night hugging ritual. When I got upstairs, I went over to Mom's bedside and whispered "good night" to her, rubbing her arm through her blanket. A moment later she stirred, and with some effort, Mom drew one of her hands out from under her blanket, freeing her fingers to wave at me and to hold my hand.

Final note: Dad took Mom to see Dr. Royfe, the parents' primary care physician, on Monday. The doctor's office is right down the street from us, so I didn't come along. Dr. Royfe told Dad that Mom has a vitamin D deficiency (this was true even before the cancer); he also offered us some strategies for helping Mom exercise her muscles, and gave Dad some advice about how to feed Mom her supplemental protein without upping her blood sugar too radically. Aside from that, and aside from the brain tumors, Dr. Royfe was satisfied with Mom's overall condition.

Now she's asleep. How will Mom be tomorrow? Alert? Withdrawn? Could the alertness mean that the carboplatin is working, or was this just a hiccup in a generally downward trend? Thus far, Mom has had only one infusion of carboplatin; while my own intuition, based on the worsening of Mom's symptoms, is that the carboplatin is doing nothing for her, it's possible that, as my buddy Mike ventured, the drug is working, albeit slowly. We'll know more sometime close to the new year.

Dad, meanwhile, has been diligent about communicating with New York Presbyterian; their office has requested quite a bit of paperwork, and Dad's the paperwork guru in our house. I'll keep everyone updated about whether Mom is deemed eligible for the intra-arterial Avastin trial.


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