Friday, July 25, 2014


We have learned in the last few months that Pop has a second aneurysm. This one is in a much worse location than the first. The first one was in or around the abdomen and Carmen, our Nurse Practitioner daughter, makes sure he has it checked yearly. IT JUST SO HAPPENED, this one was found when he was having a CT Scan on his lungs. Pop is a smoker and Carmen wants him to be able to smoke if he chooses to do so, but she also wants him to keep a close check on his lungs. As they were checking the results of the CT Scan, they found the aneurysm in the main aorta coming out of the top of the heart. That was scary, for sure. Immediately, Carmen made him an appointment with a doctor in Louisville who specializes in this type of surgery.  We met with him. He explained the dangers and the risks of smoking and lifting, but he recommended we wait a few more months and have another scan run, so we could see if there was any change. We waited until his birth month to run the second scan, them we made the trip back to Louisville to meet with Dr. Ganzel. In the meantime, Pop was put through some heart test, just in case.We were all very anxious about this meeting, since they had already had Pop to do the heart check up, just in case they needed to do emergency surgery. We met with Dr. Ganzel in mid July and IT JUST SO HAPPENED there was no change. Thank God! Talk about a bunch of happy people. We were all so elated.

Now that that was over, and since we were already in Louisville, we decided to track down the folks who were working with me and my business with the cancer. They had not gotten back to me about connecting up with the Oncologist, the chemo pills that I would be taking, nor the cancer insurance paperwork I had left with them. We were getting a bit anxious about it all. Sure enough, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center was just a couple of blocks away, so we set out to find our way there. When we got there, we found it was our lucky day. IT JUST SO HAPPENED, my doctor was scheduled to be at that location on this very day. We were directed to his cubical and found that my doctor had signed me up with two different Oncologists, hopefully, he was comfortable with both, and which ever one could see me first, would be my new Oncologist. I only knew about the one, but it turns out the second Oncologist was able to get to my case sooner, so we set up an appointment with him.  I was a bit leery about just now hearing that there was a second Oncologist lined up for me to see, but after returning home that day, IT JUST SO HAPPENED, I learned that a dear friend of mine had been using this same Oncologist for years and thought he was exceptional in every way. Such a relief to hear that news. Now I could rest easier. It is so scary having to go to a doctor without any knowledge of his work. They set up an appointment for me, and we returned to Louisville a few days later. Pop and I were on our own this day. Neither of the two girls were able to go with us. It has been so wonderful having one and sometimes both of them with us to hear and help us to understand everything that was said. Neither Pop's nor my memory is the greatest nowadays. but we got through it just fine. We were there from 9 to 12, meeting with all sorts of folks, each having different issues to go over with us. Much of the topics discussed with us, we felt was just a formality, since they are working with cancer patients, impending death, and/or long term health care. I have felt so good right up to the day I was told I had cancer, and I have continued to feel so good, it seemed useless for them to go through all that they did, discussing topics usually saved for the dying. Hopefully, I am not in that category just yet, but with cancer, it's not an exact science, and anything can change at any moment. Nevertheless, after all of the talks regarding all of the different issues we might be facing, they drew more blood and another doctor came in an discussed what they had found and the upcoming procedures they would be using regarding my cancer. They would be scheduling a couple of body scans to be sure there were no other cancers lurking inside my body. The process was started toward getting the chemo pills set up for me, and the blood test I would be taking weekly for a few weeks, to make sure my body was accepting the pills. The many side effects from the pills are scary, but I have spoke to one person who is taking the same pills and she says her body adjusted quickly to them and the symptoms leveled out. Hopefully, that will be the case for me. One symptom that worries me, is the disturbances in the heart rhythm.   Since I have learned that my heart is so sensitive to some things, I fear the pills may cause some problems in that regard. Caffeine sensitivity and the irregularities in my heart is what helped me to find the cancer in the first place. IT JUST SO HAPPENED, my heart doctor, Dr. Mehta, found the cancerous tumor while running an echocardiogram on my heart.

There has been a mix up in scheduling this last few days. I received a notice in the mail that said I was to have the necessary scans in Louisville on the morning of July 24. The notice did not reach me until shortly after noon on that same day. I was able to call and reschedule the scans to be done in our local hospital next week. That would be much better. The only bad thing now is that our local hospital requires you to drink that awful drink in preparation for the scans. Yuk!

So that's where I am at this point. My chemo pills should be ready to pick up on Monday. Then I must do blood work every week until they see how my body is accepting the chemo pills. I will offer updates as they occur. I have been posting daily on Facebook about my journey with this cancer, but I wanted it to be documented in my little books for future generations to see, so that is the reason I am posting about my journey, here on my blog, too.

With God's help and the support of my friends and family, WE will get through whatever is to come from this day forward. I say WE, because cancer affects the entire family in one way or another. Not just the person with it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Update on the new twists and turns in my journey.

Echinacea from my garden 
A lot has happened around the Nugent household, since my last post.  Dr. Marshall Johnson felt I needed to see a specialist after viewing the results of my endoscopy. He immediately referred me to Dr. Charles Scoggins of Norton's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. We wasted no time in getting an appointment set up for a consultation, and Dr. Scoggins wasted no time in scheduling me for surgery.  June 17, 2014 would be my surgery date.  5:30 am in the morning.  Eager to have it over and done, we took a room at the Hospitality House near the hospital, so my family could be near me. Dr. Scoggins had taken one look at my medical tests that had been run before I met with him, and he said, without a doubt, it was a cancerous tumor, and it needed to come out, ASAP. I went in on the 17th, Dr. Scoggins did the surgery, and came to talk to us immediately after. He said the surgery took less time than he had expected. From all of the tests, it was not real clear just where the mass was situated. At first it appeared to be in my stomach. The doctors ran the endoscopy on me, and found it was not in the stomach. It appeared to be behind the lining of the stomach. They could not be real sure of the size of the mass either. The earlier tests had said approximately 5,7, or 9 cm. but with it not being inside of the stomach, they would only know once they went in to get it out. Looking at it via the endoscopy was like looking at a ball under a rug. Not a clear visual. Dr. Scoggins went in, and low and behold, the mass was sitting there on the top of my stomach, in plain view. It was bigger than he had expected. Closer to the size of an orange.  He took out 5% of my stomach and the mass, and sent it off to be evaluated.  Dr. Scoggins had already prepared us by telling us that he was convinced that it was a GIST which is definitely a cancerous tumor, a Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor. Now we must wait for the lab results to tell us whether it was composed of fast growing or slow growing cells. He felt pretty confident that the cancerous cells were confined to the area which he had removed.
my pickings today
I spent the next four days, lying around, recuperating from the surgery. Liquid meals, then soft food meals, and IV meds, a catheter, monitors of all kinds around the clock. Nurses and aids, in and out checking this and that. Family visiting as they could. Friends dropping in occasionally. Four days in bed was the roughest part for me, although I was very weak and couldn't do much about it, at the time anyway. I tried to exercise my arms a bit to help myself get up and down better when the time come. It was helping. They soon took the catheter out and let me come and go as I was able. I liked that better, but the room and the hall outside my door was so small and crowed with medical people, I didn't venture out of the room that much. The doctor came in to check on me each morning, then finally on the fourth day, he came by to tell us, the tumor was fast growing, and I would most likely be on chemo pills for the rest of my life. If I don't take the pills, the chances of it returning is 50/50. If I do take the pills, the chances of it returning drops to 20%. I will be meeting with Dr. Scoggins on July 3, 2014 for my 2 week check up. I understand, at that time, we will discuss placing me in the hands of an Oncologist. That is tomorrow. Pop, myself, and the two daughters will be making the trip, once more to Louisville for that meeting. And that's where we are at this point. The first day home, was rough. The long trip from Louisville took a tole on me. I got a bit squeamish with the pain meds and the rough ride. I fainted as soon as I got up the stairs and into my house. Thank God, Carmen was there and knew what to do. My vital signs all began dropping. She got on the phone and called her husband who is a Paramedic, to come with oxygen. Between Pop rushing to the store to get Gatorade, and the wet towels on my head, a bite or two of crackers, David getting here with oxygen, and getting me in bed, all began to level back out for me. I guess I was simply exhausted from the trip. I have learned that I will be getting exhausted real easy for awhile, from very menial tasks. Two weeks have now gone by, and I am up and around the house quite a bit more, but I still must be very cautious about moving quickly, bending to low, or how I pull myself up from the bed or chairs. Every move I make requires the use of my core muscles, and that is the area where the incision was made. Moving to quickly or the wrong way may rip out the stitches, and I don't want to do that, for sure. They have taken long enough to heal, as it is.
Pop taking up the slack while I'm laid up
I have been able to take short rides on the gator with Pop. I even drove myself to the duck pond once or twice, during the last couple of days. I get winded real easy, so I try to pace myself, and take naps at regular intervals to recharge my body. I feel confident about my progress. I hope the doctor feels the same way tomorrow. My next entry should shed some light on my progress in choosing an Oncologist and whatever follows. I am so ready to get back to my normal life, or as close to normal as humanly possible. I pray to GOD that this is all behind me, but no one truly knows that, but HIM. 

The Waiting Continues

These last two posts were written a couple of weeks apart, so I hope there are no discrepancies in the two.  I just found that I  had not posted this one, so I am posting it the same day as my next entry.

I can't really say that I have had a lot of time to dwell on my new found problem. I am too busy with my life to do that. I had no problems all the while the mass was growing inside of my body, so I have no problems relating to it now, that I am aware of.  I do, occasionally, have a feeling of something pressing against my breast bone from within. I have had a sensation of having a rock or some hard article behind my upper back when I lay back in the recliner, and at times.  Then, at times, I feel like my skin has grown to my backbone in a tiny spot. A strange description of the feelings I get at times, but it seems like something is stuck to one spot in my back and won't let go. These sensations are not constant, so I don't relate them to this problem, but I guess it is possible they are related. Nevertheless, I am hearing through my older step daughter and Pop, that the surgeon mentioned calling in a specialist. Possibly because of where the mass is located. When they ran the scope, they found the mass was much larger than they had once thought. More the size of an orange, and located behind the lining of my stomach. I will meet with the surgeon tomorrow to learn what they are planning for me next. Therefore,the waiting continues.

I have been working on a lot of different things, in the meantime. My rock painting has consumed a lot of my time. I have been getting more requests than I can fill. I doubt anyone is in a great hurry, so I will get to each one sooner or later.

 Pop and I finally got around to putting up my new laminated fence display.  I found it at the auction for $20.00. It was new and still in it's original packaging. The owner said it was $159. new, in the store. No one seemed to know what it was or want it, so I got the final bid at $20.00. We have just recently acquired new property, so we have a new corner to our piece of land now. An ideal spot for the new display.  As I was mowing the right of way on the new yard section, the mailman stopped to see if I had lost it. Meaning my mind. He said my yard was on the other end of the property. Then I explained to him that this area was now, a new extension to my original yard. I keep moving the lines further out on the property, thus, expanding my yard. I drove around the fields yesterday, and found my Stella D' Ora lilies and a few other flowers, in full bloom where I had planted them last fall. Can't wait to see my burning bushes grow and brighten up the fields with their red leaves in the Fall. I have big plans for many more sites around the property filled with flowers. Pop amazed me this past few weeks. He had me to hop on the Gator with him so he could show me some wildflowers blooming on the property. Little did he know at that time, that I had planted them there. But it was so sweet of him to want to take me and show me the flowers. He knows how I love all flowers, wild or otherwise.

I wake up each morning, with a mental list of things I want to get done that day. Today, my plan is to go to Sonora, about 10 miles away, and get a trailer load of red mulch. I try to do this once a year. It deteriorates over a years time, so I must replenish it yearly. The plastic mulch would not break down so fast, but the chickens scatter it so badly when they are roaming free, it gets expensive. The regular seems to break down and help to build up the soil in the yards, somewhat, when they scratch it out of the beds. My plan is to use the red mulch under and around my new fence display. I have a red rose in mind to put in the center of the bed. The new one that requires little attention. If there is such a rose. I have had a few of these roses over the years, and they do still seem to have their own set of problems.