Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update 10.29.08

Hi Friends,

Tom's procedure went great. He sailed through like a champ and is in great spirits. Although it could be the Vicodin I think he is his usual Zen-master-super-calm-all-is-well-with-the-world self.

I of course maintain the universal balance by being manic and obsessive. Friday we go in for the first drug infusion. I think it is called Ara-C. -- Any brilliant folks out there pipe up if you know about this drug...

Thanks for all your prayers and love and especially for Erin's offer to go in a personally shoot all the bad cells. We may take you up on it.

Please keep Tom in your prayers.

Love Theresa

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update 10.24.08

Yesterday Tom and I celebrated his first day after radiation by spending eight hours at Methodist (I was hoping for dinner at some overpriced bistro but alas…)

We met with Dr. Kew (Oncology) and Dr. Blacklock (Surgery) about Tom’s upcoming insertion of the Ommaya reservoir. Here is an edited summary based on

The Ommaya reservoir is a plastic, dome–shaped device, with a catheter (thin tubing) attached to the underside used to deliver chemotherapy, in Tom’s case, to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). As the picture shows,

the CFS is created in the center of the brain and then flows through all the cracks and wrinkles in the brain providing lubrication, nutrients, and again in Tom’s case, possible little cancer cells. We must stop this from happening.

(Back to the article)
Chemotherapy may be administered to patients by various methods, depending on the type of cancer being treated. Some cancer types respond well to chemotherapy given by intravenous (IV) injection, and some cancer types may be treated with oral medication. In both cases, the chemotherapy reaches its target site systemically (carried by the blood). Cancers that affect the Central Nervous System (CNS) pose a special challenge. Systemically delivered drugs seldom reach the CNS because of a network of blood vessels that surround the brain. This protective shield is called the blood–brain barrier. It acts as a filtering device for the brain by blocking the passage of foreign substances from the blood to the CNS.

To avoid the obstacle created by the blood–brain barrier, alternative delivery treatments must be used. These treatments are collectively called intrathecal chemotherapy treatments. These treatments require injecting the chemotherapy directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The CSF is the clear fluid surrounding the CNS. The Ommaya reservoir may be used in several ways. Its primary function is to facilitate the uniform delivery of the intrathecal chemotherapy. By implanting the Ommaya reservoir, multiple rounds of chemotherapy may be given through a single access site.

Placement of the Ommaya reservoir requires a minor surgical procedure with the patient placed under general anesthesia. The procedure is performed in the hospital by a neurosurgeon. The reservoir is placed under the scalp with the catheter positioned into the cavity of the brain where the CSF is formed. Once in place, chemotherapy treatments using the Ommaya reservoir may be conducted as outpatient visits either in the hospital. To perform an Ommaya reservoir tap (CSF sampling and chemotherapy delivery) requires 15–20 minutes with little or no pain to the patient. (end of article)

We are looking forward to a quick procedure and an afternoon watching old movies. I'll write more next week.

Please keep Tom in your prayers.

Love Theresa

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update 10.20.08

Just another great weekend in the Lawrence household. Tom got his birthday present delivered: A Sony TV 47". I contend it is gigantic. He comments it is a "normal" size and I think he wishes he would have gotten a "big" tv.

At any rate, if Comcast would cooperate we might get to use it :-).

As opposed to showing you Tom watching his tv I am enclosing YouTube links to the Sony Bravia Commerical and then one on the making of. They are both really fun and if you have not seen them they might just brighten your day. (Cut and paste into your browser)

Sony Bravia commercial

The making of Sony Bravia commercial

Please keep Tom in your prayers as we enter into the last week of radiation.

Love, Theresa

Friday, October 17, 2008

Update 10.17.2008

Another week of radiation under the belt! Next Wednesday is the last day and Tom will once again ring the bell!

Please keep Tom in your prayers.

Love Theresa

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update 10/14/08

Hi guys,

10/10/08 was Tom's 52nd birthday and we celebrated in style. our style anyway. We went to Goode Company Seafood and had food that was just delicious! They even gave the birthday boy a big ol' slice of Pea-Kann (practice saying this out loud - it is fun) pie to take home!

On the health front we have had a bit of a set back. It seems this round of radiation is taking its toll a bit more and Tom is battling some demons. His short-term memory is slipping as is his general concentration and some processing skills. He has not been driving for a few weeks now (and frankly I think he likes having a "driver" available :-). With the help of Penny and John he is chauffeured to work and radiation and home each day. Truthfully I love the extra time we get together.

Radiation will end next week and then we learn more about the next procedure Tom will be having. It is basically creating a small cavity in this head with a tiny tiny tube coming out. This will allow for another chemo drug to be injected every two weeks. This method of insertion and distribution throughout the brain's membrane helps eliminate the notorious blood-brain barrier that prevents many drugs from annihilating the cancer cells as well as we would like.

At any rate I am still researching and will know more soon. We are having a great life through all this.

Please keep Tom in your prayers.

Love, Theresa