Brain Cancer Patient, Wife & Mother

Please find knowledge and encouragement about brain cancer from this site - with every step Anna took
in her
4.5 year FIGHT, she continued to help others providing support.  
This site will live on to support her wish to always help others...........
Anna's Story
(as told by 3 of her friends)
To Our Friend Anna -
We just don't know how
else to help.
We can't make it go
away.................

December 31, 2007 - cycle 3 / day 6  - Emergency Room visit - to Rush-Copley hospital this afternoon
  • Anna has not consumed much fluid & not able to swallow medications past couple of days -fear of
    dehydration
  • Anna was admitted to the Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center  and they began pushing fluids
  • This is Anna's 3rd hospital stay to treat dehydration beginning with Nov 26, 2007
December 26, 2007 - chemotherapy cycle 3 / day 1
  • 90 minute treatment containing Gemzar
December 19, 2007 - cycle 2 / day 17 - return for outpatient treatment for additional fluids via IV
December 18, 2007 -  
cycle 2 / day 16  - Emergency Room visit - to Rush-Copley hospital this afternoon
  • Dehydration as a result of Diarrhea from the chemotherapy
  • Chest x-ray taken -- (not sure why?)
  • Pushed fluids via IV and released to go home
  • Ordered to return tomorrow for more fluids

December 12, 2007 - chemotherapy cycle 2 / day 8
  • 180 minute treatment containing -
  • Gemzar- primarily used for non-small cell lung, pancreatic and breast cancer treatment
  • Taxotere - primarily used for breast, lung, prostate, gastric, head and neck cancer treatment
  • followed by -
  • Zofran 8mg - every 8 hrs for 6 doses - prevent nausea
  • Decadron 4mg - every 8 hrs for 6 doses - minimize swelling - required by Taxotere due to
    fluid retention

December 5, 2007 - chemotherapy cycle 2 / day 1
  • Gemzar- primarily used for non-small cell lung, pancreatic and breast cancer treatment
  • Zofran 8mg 2 doses - prevent nausea

November 29, 2007 -  cycle 1 / day 16  - Released from Rush-Copley Cancer Care unit this afternoon
  • White blood cell count = 1.5 L which is low
  • Injection of  Neupogen ®  to help promote creation of white blood cells WBC
  • Will return to hospital for next 2 days to receive additional injections to boost WBC (white blood
    count)

November 28, 2007 -  cycle 1 / day 15

November 26, 2007 -  cycle 1 / day 13  -  Admitted to Rush-Copley hospital Cancer Care
  • Scheduled for BMP  test to make sure BUN level has come back into normal range
  • Doctor didn't like quite a few of Anna's vitals and requested she be admitted for 2-3 days
  • She was severely dehydrated and had very low blood pressure
  • Replaced her PICC
  • Began to push fluids via IV to correct the dehydration
  • Not sure if BUN level has come into normal range

November 21, 2007 - chemotherapy cycle 1 / day 8
  • Today's blood work shows elevated BUN levels - oncologist orders immediate stop of diuretic and
    scheduled an interim visit for BMP next monday 11/26
  • Pain medication being changed - will no longer will be using Fentanyl patch
  • 180 minute treatment containing -
  • Gemzar- primarily used for non-small cell lung, pancreatic and breast cancer treatment
  • Taxotere - primarily used for breast, lung, prostate, gastric, head and neck cancer treatment
  • followed by -
  • Zofran 8mg - every 8 hrs for 6 doses - prevent nausea
  • Decadron 4mg - every 8 hrs for 6 doses - minimize swelling - required by Taxotere due to
    fluid retention

November 17, 2007 -
  • Anna's oldest daughter - Danielle - came up from college for a visit
  • Spends majority of time sleeping
  • She doesn't have a good appetite and hasn't agreed to eat much lately

November 14, 2007 - chemotherapy cycle 1 / day 1
  • Gemzar- primarily used for non-small cell lung, pancreatic and breast cancer treatment
  • Zofran 8mg 2 doses - prevent nausea

November 12, 2007 - Appointment with new oncology Dr. Patel at Rush-Copley.  Very helpful discussion
surrounding chemo treatment plan.  This facility is so much closer to home - will be convenient for
chemotherapy treatments.  Blood drawn.
  • Anna spent most of weekend sleeping - has lost appetite
  • Short-term memory continues to be extremely poor
  • 50mcg dosage of  Duragesic / Fentanyl for pain
  • 4mg dosage of hydromorphone every 4 hours as needed for pain
  • Just 3 short weeks ago, Anna spent the weekend with us on a girls weekend getaway (see Oct 19,
    2007)

November 6, 2007 - Appointment with Dr. Newman (4th since 8/24/07 - none had lead to treatment plan)
-- family had very high hopes that this time a chemo treatment plan will be discussed.
Items discussed during appointment with Dr. Newman ---
  • Mention of spots on lungs - what are they?
  • Pathology report from 8/13 surgery still not received - 2.5 months later still no results?
  • MRI from 11/01 results not received -- has tumor identified during 08/13/07 surgery as inoperable
    grown?
  • Referral to Rush-Copley to begin a mild form of chemotherapy - why now when pathology still not
    back?
  • Rush-Copley appt for 11/12 -- not sure if starting chemo that day or just talking about it
  • Duragesic / Fentanyl patch increased to 50mcg - doubled from 25mcg
  • Vicodin replaced with a different drug - unknown
  • Prescription for wheelchair obtained --- Anna shuffles her feet vs. walking - also very unstable
  • Completely off all steroids - so hope is obtain some strength back

November 1, 2007 - MRI at CINN

October 31, 2007 - Anna's short term memory is extremely poor.  She asks people the same question
multiple times within a few minutes and doesn't realize it.  
  • Vicodin and 25mcg Fentanyl are not managing the pain.  
  • She has started falling on a daily basis - cane and/or walker are not helping
  • Spends most days sleeping
  • Had appointment with Dr. Benton who has been more than wonderful!

October 30, 2007 - Dr. Rosseau calls Anna at home --- body scan shows a lot of small spots on lungs -
most likely cancer but without further testing will not know this.   
We have so many questions.........
  • All research indicates that primary brain cancer does not spread to any other parts of the body.
  • So has she managed to contract lung cancer in addition to brain cancer?  Anna does not smoke.

October 29, 2007 - Body scan test at CINN - looking for indications of cancer in other body locations

October 23, 2007 - Had anticipated chemo treatment plan during this 3rd recent appointment (08/24/07,
10/09/07) with Dr. Newman.  Pathology still not back yet from Aug 13 surgery.  Dr. Newman still does not
have enough data to determine chemo treatment plan.  Experiencing daily morning headaches for the
past couple of weeks.  Pain aid
Fentanyl (Transdermal Route) patch dosage increased from  12 mcg / hr
to 25mcg / hr.  
Fentanyl is similar to morphine.  Also supplementing with Vicodin.   Dr. Newman orders an
MRI and body scan for week of Oct 29.

October 19-21, 2007 - Anna went on a getaway weekend to the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County
Indiana.   This had been tradition for the 4 of us dating back 15 years.  Children, jobs, and other
miscellaneous items had gotten in the way of us making this pilgrimage for the past 4 years, but with the
summer Anna was having, we planned this in July.  To make it easier for Anna to get around, we rented an
electric scooter (that's with 4 wheels - not 2).  We had a great time!  See photo of the 4 of us standing in
front of a covered bridge.

October 16, 2007 - Appointment scheduled at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to have Peripherally
inserted central catheter aka PICC replaced.  This one is in the right arm and will be helpful with chemo
treatments when they start.

October 9, 2007 - Another appointment scheduled with Dr. Newman (oncologist) to discuss
chemotherapy treatment plan which is anticipated to be different than previous pill form Temodar.   
Previously had an appointment with Dr. Newman on August 24 and the pathology wasn't in yet to be able
to determine what the chemo treatment plan should be.  Scheduled a 3rd appointment with Dr. Newman
in 2 weeks for October 23.  Should have chemo plan ready at that time.

September 27, 2007 - Outpatient Gamma Knife procedure to be done (similar to Anna's Feb 2004
procedure).  It's been 7 weeks since her last surgery and therefore she is now strong enough for yet
another procedure.

August 24, 2007 - (Update from Anna)  We spent the day downtown Chicago at Dr Newman's office.  He
will be speaking with Dr Rosseau and said that the
TEMODAR is not an option for this tumor, but that
there is IV Chemo that he will probably recommend.  I go back to see him in two weeks because he wants
my 4 surgeries that I had this summer to be completely healed before treatment with chemo.  I was
hoping for Temodar again, since I've already experienced it, but he seems to feel strongly that it will attack
the tumor well.  

The good thing is that there were no negative comments about anything, and he thinks I am doing well.  
So hopefully I'll soon be back on my feet and back to my regular self soon!

Anna


August 15, 2007 - Anna came home today!  She hasn't been home since July 23.  She will need to
administer antibiotic for next 6 weeks to eliminate staph infection obtained during surgical procedure
performed on June 26, 2007 at Loyola.  Follow-up appointments scheduled with Dr. Newman (oncologist)

August 13, 2007 - Surgery to identify what is being viewed on CT is either infection or tumor.  Visual
inspection of area is identified to be tumor.  It is located in the temporal lobe and cannot be removed
without harm to Anna.  Dr. Rosseau takes enough for a biopsy.  Next steps - contact
Dr. Steven Newman
(oncologist on Anna's case since April 2004).   Anticipate Anna may be placed back on primary brain
cancer chemotherapy named
Temodar.  Will also research options for Gamma Knife (similar to Anna's
Feb 2004 procedure)

August 12, 2007 - Anna will be transferred from Loyola to CINN - Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and
Neuroresearch
(Dr. Rosseau's hospital)

August 9, 2007 - Port aka Central Venous Catheter put in place; anticipated going home after port put in;
informed that an additional tumor which had been seen post-op on a CT from a week ago, had grown
30% in the past 7 days.  Discussions with doctors led to the decision to have
Dr. Gail Rosseau (who had
performed all previous neuro-surgeries until June 26, 2007 )  perform this tumor removal.

August 12, 2007 - Anna will be transferred from Loyola to CINN - Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and
Neuroresearch (since renamed to NorthShore Health System) (Dr. Rosseau's hospital)

August 9, 2007 - Port aka Central Venous Catheter put in place; anticipated going home after port put in;
informed that an additional tumor which had been seen post-op on a CT from a week ago, had grown
30% in the past 7 days.  Discussions with doctors led to the decision to have
Dr. Gail Rosseau (who had
performed all previous neuro-surgeries until June 26, 2007 )  perform this tumor removal.

August 8, 2007 - expected to go home today; white blood count high/climbing which indicated infection;
doctors wanted her to stay to put port in to be able to inject antibiotic after leaving hospital

August 7, 2007 - Anna moved out of ICU -- expect she will be able to go home by weekend 8/11

August 6, 2007 - Anna walked to room next door

August 5, 2007 - Ventilator & feeding tubes removed

August 3, 2007 - Family had a meeting with Anna's team of doctors Friday afternoon and they said Anna
was being weaned from the ventilator and they were going to attempt to remove the intubation on
Saturday.  They are treating her as if she has pneumonia but it is not confirmed that she truly has
pneumonia.

August 2, 2007 - Late afternoon they started reducing the amount of sedative Anna was receiving and
therefore she was able to communicate with the family via writing.

August 1, 2007 - In ICU for high level of care; intubated (breathing tube) inserted mid-day; sedated to a
sleep state to make it easier for Anna to breathe; culture of lung fluid taken to help determine what is
going on; full body / 3D scan to see lung capacity better; results not in
Anna & Scott December 2005