Friday, June 13, 2008

Good Days and Bad Days

As promised here is a new post sooner rather than later. We have a lot to discuss for only a single day. Wednesday evening just after completing yesterday’s post my pain began to intensify quickly. I tried taking a hot bath, and I took my fast-acting (break-through) pain medication, but nothing would shake the pain. I began to compare notes about the last 3 nights and noticed that my nerve pain symptoms were worsening. Fortunately I had a pain management appointment this morning to review my medications.

As we were leaving the apartment Thursday morning to go to our appointment, my dad went to pull the car around and noticed it would not start. After further inspection he also discovered the side window was broken out. I assume that the alarm system worked because the hood was up and the battery disconnected. Someone had broken into our car and stolen our IPOD and FM tuner out of the glove box, as well as our GPS power cord and mounting bracket. Probably much to their disappointment we had the actual GPS unit with us. We did not have time to evaluate further damage as we still had an appointment that wasn’t going to wait. We had just missed the shuttle bus from our apartment to the hospital by ten minutes. The bus, however, doesn’t include provisions for my wheelchair. Our car insurance has a deductible, so there probably wasn’t even enough damage to claim. Much of this apartment complex is dedicated to cancer patients. Also, my wheelchair was in the car, untouched. But, in my opinion, that is one desperate thief to steal from a cancer patient’s vehicle. God bless him/her. It appears that the earliest appointment for the window replacement is Wednesday, June 18. The internal contents taken from the car must go on homeowners insurance, which is of course filed under a separate deductible.

The first appointment on Thursday was with Dr. Lalani, a pain management specialist. This was a follow-up appointment that had been scheduled last week when I was discharged from internal medicine (inpatient). I was glad to have this appointment set up because over the last three days my pain symptoms have gotten worse. The nerve pain seems less and less responsive to the medications prescribed to treat it. The major downside to it all though is that the side effects (e.g., drowsiness! etc.) are showing up stronger than ever. I have discovered that chronic drowsiness is the most debilitating feeling that I have ever experienced. Dr. Lalani decided to add a few new additions but took none away from the regimen. Obviously, I was a little concerned that adding more narcotics was going to make me drowsier. Dr. Lalani said that it takes my body about a week to acclimate. He promised me that in a few days I would see a 70% - 80% decrease in drowsiness.

After a quick appointment with Dr. Lalani, Marissa and I set off for the Infusion Therapy clinic. For our 11:00am appointment we arrived at 11:05am. We were taken from the lobby waiting area around 11:45am. They started with vitals, and then placed me in a room very similar to an inpatient room but a little more lavish. The drugs were all explained again by the nurse, but it was all a little too much to absorb in one sitting. I have 3 main chemotherapy drugs: Ifosfamide, Vincristine, and Doxorubicin. There are a couple of others that are administered along with these three main ones for side effects. I do not know all of the details on these. The Ifosfamide is given at the first of the appointment. It is set up for a 30 minutes drip time. The Vincristine is set up simultaneously with the Ifosfamide and set up for a 4 hour drip time. The Doxorubicin is set up late in the appointment. It is set up for a 24 hour drip time along with a 24 hour drip of mesna, some type of side effect medicine. So far all is going great with the chemotherapy. I have not seen any effect of nausea, fatigue, vomiting, etc. The only thing that I have noticed is a slight aversion to my dinner tonight. My tastes seemed a little off and nothing seemed appetizing. After four hours in the chemo treatment, the nurse says a simple, “You’re done! I’ll see you tomorrow…” The treatment doesn’t feel any different than receiving a standard saline solution.

After chemo treatment on Thursday night, we all came home to an apartment with no cable. When we signed the lease on the apartment last Friday, we were told that cable was turned on in the room but billed under the previous tenant’s name. They said when the cable month expired we would need to transfer it into our name. The previous tenant did in fact have TV service but did not have internet. We decided to call Comcast to see if we could just add internet. Comcast said that they did not show record of any type of service since December, 2007. We spoke with a Comcast rep Saturday morning outside the apartment who was nice enough to handle the whole situation for us. He gave us a package deal on the internet and TV, changed the service to our name, and personally came back on Sunday to connect the service. He also said that since we had alerted Comcast of service in the apartment, they would schedule someone to disconnect it. Thursday night, June 12, we arrived and had no internet and no TV service. It quickly became apparent what had just happened. The rep took care of our service hook-up quickly over the weekend and Comcast had scheduled our “Free Cable” to be disconnected during the day on Thursday. My dad quickly scheduled a service call for Friday to reconnect the service. We were assured that no one needed to be home for the service call. Friday evening we arrived home to find once again that the cable was still down. A call to Comcast revealed that, “the tech knocked on the door, no one answered, and he postponed.” The next available appointment is Wednesday, June 18.

To top off the Friday the 13TH story, we also arrived home Friday evening to not only find that the cable was still down, but now the air-conditioner was down and there was no hot water. A quick call to the after-hours line at the apartment complex saw a repairman in about 30 minutes to address both of these problems. If only Comcast had this type of customer service.

Back to medical topics for a moment, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lalani Friday morning. He had scheduled a pain block steroid injection in my spine. The two shots were located between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. The injections came with a little bit of local anesthesia. The Doctor said the anesthesia would block my pain for approximately 6 hours. After 6 hours, the pain would return for about two days until the steroids started to take effect. The half-life of the steroids is approximately 3 weeks. Having this long-term pain relief should allow me to stop taking the fast-acting Dilaudid pain pills. I think these are the ones causing the bulk of my drowsiness. Also, Dr. Trent thinks that the Chemo, if effective, could shrink that tumor enough in as little as 3 weeks to relieve that nerve pain permanently. I could not be more excited at the idea of permanently relieving this hip pain.

In summary, we have had mixed emotions over the last two days. Always mentioning the positive first, my first chemo treatment is well on its way, and my hip pain is seeing some much needed relief. On the other hand, we were victims of theft from our unattended vehicle, we lost our cable, internet, air-conditioning, and hot water. Fortunately, the latter two have already been addressed.

32 comments:

  1. Good grief! Talk about a friday the 13th. I am very glad to hear that your pain management is becoming more effective. As always, you are in my prayers.
    Please say hello to your mother. We miss her very much.

    Love and prayers,
    Jill, Billy-Matt, and Grant Powers

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  2. hi youll had a really great friday the 13 glad to here things are looking up it is hot here but we did get rain last night the yard sale started out slow this morning but ended with a bang at about 430 got to get ready we are having a revival this weekend and the preacher doing it has also been in a battle with bladder cancer but seems to be doing real well went thru the chemo without a lot of trouble and you will too i will get this money in the account set up at first cit on friday and i am sure you can find something to do with it i guess you could hire someone to work at the cable company maybe you can buy you a new ipod but like you said bless the ones that needed it that bad i hope they enjoy praying for you keep on smiling mimi baker and widdis

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  3. Bradley, Only one more day left of chemo and then a break. Hang in there, we are all praying for you. Love, mom

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  4. Hey guys,
    Sorry to hear about your car, that is just terrible that someone would do that!!

    Glad the chemo went well and the other issues were addressed. I hope you get some relief soon from your steroid injection.

    Take care, we are thinking and praying for you guys everyday!

    The Hughes'

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  5. Hope you are both doing well. I wanted to tell you that these posts are so articulate and thoughtful. It is intersting reading about the chemo and all of your treatments and your perspective on it all. Thanks for sharing all of this with us as we are always wondering how you are doing (I'm sure you know this by how often I call!) Keep your spirits up and only one day of round one chemo left. You are a real trooper and an inspiration to us all.
    Love,
    Meaghan

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  6. chad & jessicaJune 14, 2008 at 9:45 PM

    Sorry to hear about your car and all that other stuff. But Im glad to hear that they are getting your pain under control. I know that things are gonna keep gettin better so keep your head up. Jessica and I keep you two in our thoughts everyday. Stay strong bro.

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  7. Hi Bradley and Marissa,
    I am Ann of the John and Ann Burgan duo. Probably Marissa's mom has spoken of us. What can I say except it sounds like all has to be uphill from here. Talk about kicking you when you're down! Hopefully things will get better, how could they get worse you say, and that your pain is relieved quickly and that the chemo is in there killing all that nasty stuff. I was going to ask what you thought of Texas, but I got my answer without having to ask. There is a special place in hell for people who abuse animals,or children and who steal from cancer patients. Hopefully your parents, Bradley, can be of some help in sorting it all out. We'll keep looking for better news.

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  8. Hi guys,
    I just read your latest blog and can't believe all the extra challenges you guys have been having to deal with! You are in our constant thoughts and prayers. We are glad to hear that the chemo is going so well. That is great! Hopefully, your cable will be hooked up soon. Hang in there and stay strong!
    Love,
    Kim Morrison

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  9. Glad your chemo is over with for this month. Hope you can get some rest. Love, mom

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  10. hi hope things are going okay it is hot in trimble i wish there was more that i could do to help all of you if i can do anything let me know something that i dont even realize you might need got things going for another yard sale this weekend GOD helped me so much with this one on sat nobody came for 3hrs and i prayed GODyou have got to send the people and at 10 minutes till3 when i was going to stop the people came remember 3GOD is always there ready for us wanting us to ask him for help but we have to ask i can sense the strengh you and marissa have on your blog and it has helped me so very much to sit down and look at myself and really understend what is important material things are great and i do like stuff but it does not matter in times like these okay i have got to go all of you take care of each other sherry took dawson and hunter golfing yesterday and hunter loves it bye

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  11. Bradley,
    I hope your weekend went well. All of my family is praying for you continously. I am so happy to hear you are having some relief from the pain. That is a blessing. I have faith that you are going to have more and more blessings to come.

    Thinking of you,
    Jason and Ashley Roberts

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  12. Hey guys, sorry to hear about the car (on top of an already rough weekend). Hang in there. It can only get better, right?

    Trevor and Teresa

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  13. Hi! Glad that nothing is scheduled today. Hope you are able to relax and chill out. Weather here is not too bad today. Dogs have been on their early morning walk and have dropped the girls off at Bible School. Trevor is here doing some work for Gary. He is installing an attic fan. Hope he doesn't think we can just use that instead of the air.Bradley, you are always in my prayers. Love, mom

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  14. Bradley and Marissa, you are an amazing young couple - what you have gone through already would have broken tons of people many years your senior. I don't know what to say but that I was so truly sorry and heartbroken with the dreadful news. Ashleigh keeps me posted daily with your progress. I agree with the person who said there IS a place in HELL for people who abuse animals, children and steal from a car with a wheelchair in it. How awful and what awful people they must be to do such a thing. Keep up your positive attitude, sometimes that can perform miracles. You are in my thoughts each and everyday.

    Love
    Carol

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  15. HEY!!! UM, I HEARD ABOUT YOUR SITUATION FROM YOUR BROTHER-IN-LAW, NATE, HE'S MY CLASSMATE IN HISTORY 1111 @ GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY...AND YOU'VE INSPIRED ME WITH YOUR RESILIENCE AND HUMILITY. THAT IS HEAVEN'S BLESSING TO YOU. HE GAVE YOU A B-E-A-UTIFUL WIFE AND, APPARENTLY, FRIENDS THAT LOVE YOU. PERSONALLY, I HAD MY GODFATHER GET DIAGNOSED WITH LUKEMIA AND PROSTATE CANCER. HE WAS A STUBBORN IRISH PRIEST THAT SMOKED CONSTANTLY AND I LOVED HIM. UNFORTUNETLY, HE ENDEDUP DYING ALONE AFTER HE HAS HELPED ME AND MY FAMILY OVERCOME EVERY OBSTACLE IN OUR PAST AND THAT STILL HAUNTS ME TILL THIS DAY. SO, KEEP ON MY MAN BECAUSE YOU GIVE STRENGTH NOT JUST TO YOURSELF BUT ALSO TO OTHERS AND THAT IS WHAT WILL SAVE YOU. PEACE OUT ;)

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  16. Glad you received the package today-remember the deal-now you have to drink tons of water!! We really miss you and Jack was smiling and laughing when he heard Marissa's voice. One round of chemo down and you are doing so well in dealing with everything! We are going by your house tomorrow and will send your mail and water everything. Love, Meaghan and Jack

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  17. Hi,
    I heard of your situation from Nate.
    I'm not too great with words, but I'd just like to say that you are truly a brave individual. Keep fighting the good fight. We'll be cheering for you.

    .Gene

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  18. Hi Bradley and Marissa,
    I sent this message a couple days ago, but I'm not sure it went through. I heard about your situation from Nate (I'm in his history class at GSU). You sound like an amazing person, one who is strong and vesilient. I wish you the best of luck, with this and with everything. Please know that you both are in our thoughts.

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  19. Hey Bradley and Marissa! We are about to turn in for the night and Jack has been asleep for a few hours now. Just wanted to tell you we are thinking of you and praying for you every day. Hope you are feeling better! Nate is going to Jesse's bachelor party tomorrow so it is just Jack and I for the weekend..we miss you both!!
    Love, Meaghan and Jack

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  20. Hey Bradley and Marissa,
    This is Becky Chandler Bruce, Chris's little sister. I haven't been able to get you two off my mind since Chris told me about your situation. All I can say is I am so sorry. I know you have probably heard this a million times, but I'm praying for you constantly. It seem so unreal that this is happening to someone I grew up with. I know God has you in His hands. Stay strong!
    Love,
    Becky Bruce

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  21. Hey Bradley,
    I haven't seen your blog updated this week so I assume you are probably feeling the chemo effects. I have seen enough of that to know that it can be rough...on both of you, hard to take and hard to watch someone you love take it. I am thinking of you and praying that it goes easy on you. One round down and hopefully we will see some positive changes. Keep up your strength and try to eat healthy even though it might be the last thing you want to do. It really will help as you advance to the next round.
    The kids are making you two cards as we speak, so look for a package towards the end of the week. It should at least give you a good chuckle!!!! Imagine as they cut, paste, fold and color they stick their little tongues out in concentration. It's pretty dang cute! Take care and know we are thinking of you and your family all the time! Marissa girl, hang in there. You amaze me with your strength.
    Teresa Stokes

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  22. Hey Guys: I hope your reading of all the letters coming in from the southeast and beyond is as heartening to you as it is to us. The trashing of your car was outrageous, and, as one of your friends put it, that special place in hell (already far too crowded) will soon have another tenant because of it. Your fighting spirit is a true inspiration and everyone is hoping for the best. We think of you both often. Jack and Susan Morrison, 6/21

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  23. Hey guys! Hope you had a good night and are enjoying the time with your friends. Jack is watching a video but tiring quickly of it! Just had a second to say how much we miss you! We finally got some rain last night and it looks like we may score some more today. Not much else is new-hope you are feeling better.
    Love,Meaghan and Jack

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  24. Bradley and Marissa,
    We were just thinking about you guys and our family is saying our daily prayers for you. Please just keep the faith and know that as a couple you can conquer anything. I have not ever met 2 stronger people.
    We love you,
    George,Nicki,Ashlee and Haylie

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  25. Bradley Dycus. I haven't seen you since high school and I just heard recently about your illness. Today I came across a bulletin Kim "Deason" Abernathy posted listing this site. I read all your postings and am happy to see that you have a positive outlook on this. As you said, the battle is 80% mental. I truly believe that. My mother-in-law has lung cancer which has just came back after 4 years of remission. They had only given her 6 months to live. She is a very strong woman with a great mind. I will continue to pray for you and watch for updates about your progress. I am shocked though at all the things you've had happen to you in this posting! Like my mom says, "when it rains, it pours." But I also believe that things have a way of working out. I look forward to hearing more and hopefully good news. Keep the blogs coming as often as possible. Oh, and congrats on being married to "the most beautiful girl in the world." I hope you live a long happy life together.

    Lisa "Spain" Hicks

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  26. Mom and Dad DycusJune 23, 2008 at 2:57 PM

    You and Marissa are amazing. As we watch you guys on a daily basis fight this battle, it is obvious that your strong will and your faith in God will pull you through. We believe that HE has a greater plan for you in the future and you will live to fulfill that plan.

    As you can see from the 80+ cards and letter you have received, you have friends from everywhere who care and are praying for you. And for everyone reading this comment, KEEP THOSE CARDS AND EMAILS COMING. You would not believe how much it lifts his spirit.

    Bradley and Marissa....We love you!

    Love,

    Mom and Dad Dycus

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  27. David & BeverlyJune 23, 2008 at 6:55 PM

    Just dropping in to let you know that you are on our hearts and in our prayers. You are constantly being upheld in prayer, and we know this is the source of your strength. We serve an awesome God, and nothing is too difficult for Him. May the Lord continue to daily provide all you need to sustain your faith. Keep believing in what God can do. We love you.

    David & Beverly

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  28. hi. my name is alex. i am in nate's history class and he told us about your story. i just wanted to let u know that u r in my prayers.

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  29. Hi Bradley,

    I've heard your story from several different people. First, you were added to our prayer list at church from a lady who works with your Aunt Grace and then again I met a good friend of yours, Amanda Chandler. Amanda is doing a clinical rotation under me as we speak and I know she has just been to visit this weekend. With all that said, I just wanted to tell you that I said a prayer this morning that God is using you to show that healing can come from having faith in Him. You seem to have an awesome attitude and wonderful support from family and friends, which will take you through this bump in the road. Amanda should be back to work tomorrow and I will get the details from her trip then. I hope you were pleasantly surprised to see them and had a wonderful visit with all of them over the weekend. You may not realize it, but you are being a tremendous inspiration to a lot of people. Gina Upton-Jackson, Tn.

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  30. We've not heard from you in a few days. We just wanted to let you know that we love and miss you all. So, glad that you have felt better the last couple of days.

    Hunter and Dawson mailed some cards today! They ask how Uncle Bradley is doing everyday.

    Stay strong..... and know you are in our prayers and that you are loved.

    Tina, Mark, Dawson and Hunter

    P.S. Shotgun, Boo, Bridgett, and Bruzier send some love too!!!

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  31. Bradley,

    Just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and that I am one of those people that checks your blog several times a day. Your mother is a very special person and has taken great care of my daughter. I'm sure she is doing the same for you right now.

    Cindy Beason

    P.S. Please tell your mom that Avery misses her.

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  32. Hello, Bradley and Marissa been reading your blog and praying earnestly daily for you. I believe in the power of prayer,I know I witnessed a miracle with my brother about for three years ago doctors gave him six months.well guess what he is cancer free today and I speak healing over you.Just keep your faith God is powerful. Haven't seen you in forever and wanted you to know I thinking of the two of you.
    Love and prayers,
    Randy and Sharon Ashley

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