[stanford_status] Jan 18, Thu - Chemo today round 5 - CT scan Jan 22nd

John R Larsen john at larsen-family.us
Thu Jan 18 23:13:23 EST 2007

Hello Everyone,

Stanford's counts were all within acceptable range today so he chose 
to have round 5 of gemcitabine.  I posted his latest blood work on 
the http://StanfordLarsen.org website.  His hemoglobin and 
hematocrit numbers are better than even those from Nov 15th before 
the crisis occurred.  His chemistry numbers are all on the improved 
side of things except for the albumin which has dropped another 
decimal point.  Ammonia level has also dropped to 67, but it is 
still in the same twice than normal neighborhood causing drowsiness.  
His platelets are over 450,000 compared to 48,000 last week.  
Unfortunately he has gained six more pounds of fluid.  He is up to 
171 pounds now and his abdomen is much more distended and his feet 
and legs are a lot more swollen.  We had to get him larger slippers 
and he needs larger underwear and socks.

Stanford is scheduled for a CT scan this coming Monday, Jan 22nd, at 
11:00 AM at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua.  All CT 
scans have been important, but this one is critical.  If improvement 
isn't seen then Dr. O'Shea will have a difficult decision to make 
whether or not to continue chemo at all.  He is very worried about 
Stanford's condition and based on his experience and knowledge he 
doesn't think Stanford has much time left.  I asked him what options 
there would be if the gemcitabine isn't working.  He said "there is 
always another drug on the shelf", but also said that it would be a 
difficult decision to decide to try another one because it would 
probably cause more harm than good.  He said he will be consulting 
with his collegues.  We are at another cross roads.  Decisions will 
be made once the CT scan results are available.

Stanford still enjoys the flavor of food and makes numerous requests 
for things.  He can't eat much, and he eats small amounts often.  He 
especially likes popsicles, push pops, and creamsicles lately.  He 
often has a small slice of warmed up apple pie with a small scoop of 
ice cream beside it, usually at midnight or a little after.  I read 
to him while he eats.  We finished reading "Eragon" last Thursday 
and are halfway through the second book in the trilogy "Eldest".  
We've really enjoyed reading together.  We read at all times of the 
day or night depending on when he is awake.  He likes foot massages 
and I often read while giving him one.  Several friends have visited 
over the last week and he has appreciated it.  I've put pictures of 
some visits on the website.

What more to say?  Joyce and I are very worried.  The stress level 
is constant and high.  We're doing all we can to keep Stanford 
comfortable and also keep the rest of the family going.  My employer 
has been very understanding and has supported me in taking care of 
Stanford.  I really haven't been able to work since the crisis on 
Nov 21st.  We are nearing the end one way or another.  We continue 
to hope and pray, but recognize that our Heavenly Father is the one 
who will decide how things go.  We thank you for your encouragement, 
support, and prayers.


John R Larsen <john at larsen-family.us>

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