Here’s the latest: Chemo Brain, Virgin Islands, Meds up the Wazoo and Cake

People have been asking about Doug and why they haven’t seen any new entries in his blog. So I will tell you. He is very sick.

It’s been 13 days since his last treatment and he continues to eat poorly and lose weight. I have heard about “chemo brain” but have never witnessed it until recently. In addition to the chemo, malnutrition and inadequate sleep have caused huge mental and personality changes. I don’t recognize my husband of 43 years. He also has bad headaches and together with the other changes, my concern was that the cancer had somehow spread to his brain. I asked that they do a CT of the head. Thankfully, it was negative.

More and more medications are prescribed, some are liquid but most are tablets which I douse in olive oil so they slide down past the narrow opening to the stomach. The small counter in the kitchen which we use as our bar, is now a miniature pharmacy where I pour, lubricate and crush large pills.

Fortunately for me, I have had wonderful support from family, friends and neighbors. Our son, Brian was here for a week. He arrived while I was at the hospital so my niece picked him up at the airport. Doug’s brother, Bill and his wife Jane came from Maine to help. Neighbors have walked the dog, cut the grass, made soup, and taken me to the hospital on a moments notice when Doug couldn’t drive himself home. My sister runs errands, buys groceries and helps with Alfie.

Jane and Bill have spent long taxing days at the hospital so Doug can get needed IV fluids. Today we met with the members of Team Doug to figure out a plan of care. ¬†We talked about various options for nutrition: IV fluids with amino acids, minerals and vitamins through his port, a PEG tube in his stomach or small intestine. The doctor decided on the enhanced IV fluids over the weekend. We will meet with his surgeon on Monday to discuss feeding tube options. Yesterday Doug said, “I want a 2-layer yellow cake with caramel icing. Will someone go to the store and get me one?” Today, my sister delivered a 2-layer yellow cake with chocolate icing and Doug said that was great! He ate a small piece, so I guess you can have your cake and eat it too.

As you may know, Doug bought a refundable ticket to the Virgin Islands for Friday April 7th. Then it was changed to the 10th, then to the 14th and tomorrow he will cancel his trip for the foreseeable future. He is very disappointed, but at last he realizes that he is not in shape to travel.

Follow up scans will be April 24th and 25th. Then it will be time for the big decision: To have an esophagectomy or not. Stay tuned in, Doug will be back.

Nurse Jenny




10 thoughts on “Here’s the latest: Chemo Brain, Virgin Islands, Meds up the Wazoo and Cake

  1. I had hoped that the recent absence of new entries was due to being in Virgin Islands – I am sorry that it is not for that reason. I am sure that Nurse Jenny and family are doing a great job and deserve an A+++. Keep it up. Dale

  2. Thank you Jen for the update…not what I wanted to hear, but am looking forward to better news soon. What your family and Doug are going through is summed up in the saying: “Hold those close that you hold dear.”… Holding you and Doug close in my daily thoughts…Mariann

  3. It’s so hard to accept the difficulty of this journey for Doug and his family. Praying that he will turn the corner soon and begin improving.

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