June 11: Day 11

My entire childhood, Mom had these huge brown callouses on her upper thighs, right near her rear. I remember seeing them when I was bit younger; they looked like someone beat her across her hind with a baseball bat. That's not far off, they were actually permanent bleacher callouses from all the years she spent sitting in the bleachers, first watching Dad play ball, and then us. A permanent bleacher butt 'trophy'.

We don't tend to discriminate among sports in our family but baseball and softball have always been tops. Mom is still the consummate spectator; never playing sports herself and lacking that competitive gene pretty much altogether, she's always been THE best sport nonetheless. She and Dad spend a lot of time these days driving to and from the grandkids' games and also watching Amber's (Cale's wife) Roland Story softball team.

Last night, Mom finally got to be on the team! It was cancer awareness night for the Nevada/Roland Story softball game. Amber's team honored Mom by sporting green, for Liver Cancer Awareness. Jessica Clem's husband Patrick and son Carson were honored there, among others. Mom was asked to throw out a first pitch, and then turned around to find the entire Nevada softball team with flowers. It was a complete surprise, and an emotional moment for all. Mom was still crying about the gravity it all this am! 

On a somewhat related note, (my) Tyler's baseball team made it into the Gold Bracket finals of a tournament for the first time this weekend. The final two games fell during the tail end of Mom's party, and she wanted him to be there. I enlisted the help of my own army to get him there and back for the championship. His team saved an extra trophy from their tourney and dedicated the win to Mom; their biggest fan. 


The Nexavar arrived unscathed today around 1 pm today, precisely the same moment an appointment reminder came up on my computer, for what would have been Mom's original Dr. Karwal appointment time in Iowa City. 

Nexavar is a molecule inhibitor, not a chemotherapy drug, so the goal is that it will attack the particular molecules that are rapidly developing in the tumor sites. The hope is that it will greatly shrink the tumors and the results vary pretty radically, but the overall consensus is that patients tend to live longer with Nexavar versus without it. The HCC cancer mutates very quickly as the tumors grow so the hope is that the drug will inhibit as many mutations as possible, for as long as possible. 

The side effects are minimal, and we are told that for most people the first couple of weeks tend to be pretty non eventful. The biggest side effect is diarrhea and dry/sore/cracking hands and feet. She had a mani/pedi with friends yesterday to file off all the callouses to try to keep these at bay, and she'll need to sleep chuck full of moisturizer with gloves and socks. She will also likely be tired, possibly more tired than she is already. The drug requires a minimum of 1.5 hours with no food on both ends and she'll take two pills at night and two in the morning. She's a total grazer and is even more so now given that the liver tumor is pressing on all her digestive organs necessitating it, so this could prove a tad challenging. 

I have told many of you who have contacted me individually that we are trying to keep the visitors at bay until after 10 am or so and this will need to remain as such. Mornings are Mom's worst time, as sleep tends to allow some fluid to build up in the lungs and it takes her a good while to get up, moving, and feeling like she can breathe well. 

Keep praying, loving, enjoying every moment. It's the only guarantee.