26 January 2010

Pass/Fail

Each INR check Ford rates as a Pass or Fail. The past four checks, for him, have been all Fail, even though two consecutive weeks were moving in the right direction. Finally, today, he had a Pass. His number went up to a 2.0. Hoorah! That is 2/10ths of jump from last week. The range that is desired is in-between a 2.0 and a 2.5. We are so grateful to our friend Dr. J.W. and his lovely wife who have given us valuable information and help.

21 January 2010

Second Three-month Check

This afternoon was Ford's second three-month follow-up since he finished with his chemo.

The blood tests came back with nothing irregular, no flags, no spikes, no markers. Dr. Glenn said that all appears to be going well. She said that at the next three-month check, Ford will have a PET scan done. If the lesion in the lining of his stomach from the MALT lymphoma has increased, that they will look at treating it with radiation. She explained that they usually do not consider radiation therapy when someone has been diagnosed with a cancer that is considered systemic. However, Ford seems to have done well enough and if the PET scan shows no irregularities anywhere else, they will consider treatment just for the stomach area. She said that this would keep the lesion in check and hopefully prevent any trouble from perforation or other things.

However, if the PET scan shows anything suspicious indicating there is more than just the MALT lymphoma, then she will go back to the plan for stem cell transplant.

We are enjoying the good news from today and appreciating the good progress Ford has made since this time last year. Hoorah!!

19 January 2010

INR

Someone once told me that even the smallest increment forward is still progress.

The INR result for Ford this morning was 1.8. A small increase from last week, yet still an increase.

We'll take it and be happy.

14 January 2010

In the Right Direction

Ford had his INR checked on Tuesday morning. It had improved from a 1.5 to a 1.7. That is in the right direction and we are encouraged. He is to continue with his dose of 10 ml of coumadin three times a week with 7.5 ml. the rest of the time. Ford is also willing to keep taking the "natural" stuff we added to see if it would improve his levels. Although it has a reputation for tasting nasty, if it helps...it beats many of the alternatives.

09 January 2010

The More You Learn...

Somewhere in the educational process I remember a teacher telling the class that the more you learn, the more you find out how much more there is to learn. (It may have been as simple as the more you know the more you find out how much you don't know. Pretty much the same thing.)

For the past several INR checks for Ford (checking the clotting rate while on Coumadin), his numbers have been decreasing. The numbers need to be between a 2 and a 2.5 and his has dropped to a 1.5.

As this has happened, the light bulb has come on and I realize that this is what Dr. Alward meant using the term Coumadin Failure.

If I am understanding correctly, blood thinners are all a form of heparin. I have read that there are many types of blood thinners (many more than I realized) and Coumadin seems to be the most common used, partly because of low costs. The low-molcular-weight heparins like Lovenox are much more costly. The success/failure rate of heparins is individual, depending on various factors of medical conditions.

People that have cancer have a higher risk of blood clots and the medicine used in cancer therapy increases that risk. Coumadin is not always the heparin that works in these cases. That is part of what makes Ford a candidate for Coumadin failure.

Monday, 4 January 2010, Ford's INR was 1.5. His dosage of Coumadin was increased to 10 ml and his INR was checked again yesterday, Friday. It was 1.5. No change. He will be rechecked on Tuesday.

We are making an adjustment in his diet to see if that will make a difference. There is much to read and understand about how much diet makes a difference. We are also fortunate to have friends with training and experience in this area that can give us some valuable suggestions.

Other than the Coumadin issue, Ford seems to be doing quite well. The ice and snow has limited his biking for the time being. Actually it is the low, low temperatures that have hindered him. He has accepted that temps below 20 degrees just might not be good for skin, i.e. frostbite. The poor air quality in Utah County due to inversions also is a deterrent. Salt Lake and Utah Counties have alternated as having the worst air quality in the USA. I find that fairly amazing considering air conditions in places like LA and other big cities with habitual smog. News reports explain that the particulates in this pollution can embed themselves in the lungs and create severe health problems, some which can surface years later, especially in children. That is a might frightening.

Anyway...Ford is doing well. His next check at the Huntsman is 21 January 2010. This will be blood tests only. If something unusual shows in his blood levels, then more tests will be done.

Results will be posted. Until next time...