Thursday, April 30, 2009

Axillary Alopecia

Woody came up with the title AND idea for tonight's blog. (I'm not taking credit for this idea for a blog!) But he has discovered one of the side effects of radiation...removes hair in the areas that are radiated. So he no longer has any hair under his left arm. He couldn't at first figure out the cause or when it would have happened (remember this is the arm that is broken and he has had surgery on so it has very limited movement and he can't raise it very much)-- so his first thought went back to having surgery on that arm and he was trying to remember if it was gone after the surgery--thinking that they might have shaved him for surgery. Then he decided to read up on the side effects of radiation and thus found out what caused it to disappear!

So now you know a side effect of radiation...perhaps more than you wanted to know?!

I know that it was good for Woody not to have to go for a radiation treatment immediately after work today. It was nice to have him come in the door at the time that he used to prior to having to go for radiation appointments.

I contacted Vanderbilt today to have Dr. Sosman's office call me. They told me that I would hear from his office today, this point in the day they haven't called back. So I guess that I will be calling them again tomorrow. They will be setting up an appointment for Woody to have a CT scan. This scan will tell us if the IL-2 had any positive effects on the hot spots (areas of cancer) that he had in his body prior to the IL-2. IF there are positive effects then they will offer him another round of IL-2 like he had before--5 days of infusions at Vandy, then home, then 5 more days of infusions at Vandy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


(Click on picture to read)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

14 down, 1 to go!

Woody had his 14th radiation treatment this afternoon. That means that tomorrow at this time he will be finished with radiation! Hip-Hip-Hooray! He didn't see Dr. Bradford today so I guess that means that he will see him tomorrow.

Abigail, our 5-year-old granddaughter, had her adenoids removed today and also had a tube put in one of her ears. She will probably be having a more involved surgery on her other ear in a couple of weeks. Please pray that these surgeries will help her hearing and help lessen ear infections, etc. She was feeling great this afternoon when I saw her. She was having to be reminded not to get too active! Ahhhhhhhh to be young and bounce back so quickly! The last I saw of her and her siblings, they were all four following a toad around on their patio. Giggles galore! Ahhhhhhh to be 7, 5, 3, and 1!

Monday, April 27, 2009

13 down, 2 to go!

Wow! The numbers are sounding better and better! Woody had his 13th radiation treatment this afternoon. The tech said today that Woody would see Dr. Bradford, the radiologist, either tomorrow or the next day...standard procedure prior to finishing radiation treatments.

I asked Woody earlier if he was in pain and he thought a minute and then said that he wasn't. He is resting at the moment...supposedly watching the nightly news...but I'm not sure that he is hearing all that is going on in the world! Rest is probably more important!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The three "R's" of Sunday

Religion (taught Sunday School), read, rest...oh, Woody also ate...let's see that would be guess there are at least four "R's" for Woody's Sunday!

And...I almost forgot to post today...guess that would have been remiss of me!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Woody got up early this morning and made one of his favorite salads: Peasant Salad. It has a lot of cutting up of raw vegetables which isn't the easiest thing to do one handed--so he had to involve his left hand some too. I guess you could call it...occupational therapy? He even cleaned up the kitchen after he finished making the salad.

He went to the library this morning--which over the years has been part of his normal Saturday routine. He stopped and got some more tomato plants as something has been nibbling on a some of the plants that are already planted. We are leaving most of the gardening to our neighbors (Nathan and family) this year. As a matter of fact, Graham, our 7-year-old grandson, planted all the tomatoes. We're calling him "Farmer Graham."

This afternoon and evening Woody has read, watched DVD's he checked out at the library and also watched a baseball game.

So all in all a pretty normal/quiet Saturday.

His upper arm is hurting. He feels that it is from the radiation. He says that the hurting is part on the inside of his arm and part on the outside. His back in the shoulder blade area still bothers him--that is the area that Dr. Sosman did a needle biopsy in Dec. and found melanoma.

Friday, April 24, 2009

12 down, 3 to go!

Woody had his 12th radiation treatment this afternoon. I guess that makes him 4/5 done. Sounding better all the time!

After his treatment he did our grocery shopping. That's the first time in several months that he has done more than just pick up a couple of items for me at the store.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

11 down, 4 to go!

That "to go" number just keeps getting smaller! Woody had his 11th radiation treatment this afternoon. So, if our calculations are correct, he should be finished with radiation next Wednesday. Then it will be time to get back in touch with Dr. Sosman's office to have a CT scan scheduled at Vanderbilt.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2/3 done!

Woody had his 10th radiation treatment this afternoon. Just five to go! Sounds good to him...and to me too!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nine down, six to go!

Surely does sound good to see the "to go" numbers smaller than the "down numbers!" Woody had his ninth radiation treatment this afternoon. He is having pain, but there still seems to be no burning.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Over the hump!

Woody had his eighth radiation treatment. So (drum roll please!) he is over the half-way point for 15 treatments! He asked the radiation tech today about the pain that he is having in his arm in the area that is being radiated and she said that it is normal. He says that it is a dull ache.

Tonight he is having pain in his left shoulder blade--enough that he has given in to taking some pain medication (of late he has rarely taken anything for pain).

Please continue to pray for the radiation to be doing what it needs to do and that it not cause burns. And also pray for the pain to be alleviated that he is currently experiencing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Woody taught his eighth grade Sunday School boys this morning. Then we had a lazy afternoon and evening.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What do you think? Will this ever end? His left hand really does look bad. I don't know if it is due to the cast or if it is still effects of the IL-2. Be sure to click on the picture to get the "total effect."

Woody didn't sleep well last night. So he got up around 4am and walked for a couple of hours. I think that he hoped that this would let him sleep some during the day, but I don't think that he did. He went to the library and then has spent most of the rest of the day in his recliner reading and watching TV. I hope that he will be able to sleep tonight.

Friday, April 17, 2009

7 down!

Woody had his seventh radiation treatment today. They had him come in earlier than his regular time and Woody said that the treatment was done very quickly--guess they were ready to get away for the weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

6 down!

Woody had his 6th radiation treatment this afternoon. They also took two x-rays today. Guess he should start glowing in the dark soon! So far still no signs of burning--of course--as Woody said today--it is still early in the treatments. This evening our four neighbor grandchildren got to see the markings the radiation techs put on Woody. Joy (3 year old) thinks that Goosey should be "in trouble" for not using markers in the correct place (on paper!). Now, we just hope that they all don't decide to play radiation technicians!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

1/3 finished?

Woody had his fifth radiation treatment this afternoon. He asked today and they told him that they have him down for fifteen treatments. But...they may reevaluate after fifteen and decide he needs more. So...perhaps he is finished with 1/3 of the radiation treatments or...with 1/4 if he should have to have 20.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Four down

Woody had his fourth radiation treatment this afternoon. I called Dr. Sosman's office this morning to find out if Woody should keep the CT scan appointment that is scheduled for next week. The nurse conferred with Dr. Sosman and the decision was made to postpone the CT scan till after the radiation treatments are finished. So we won't be looking at a trip to Nashville for a while since he is supposed to have 15-20 treatments.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Three down

Woody had his third radiation treatment today. This is a picture of a Varian 2100C--the type of machine that is delivering his radiation. The top and arm move to deliver the radiation at the correct angles.
He is still itchy and now he has hives on some parts of his body--always something new! He is very sleepy this evening--not sure if that is a side effect of the radiation or if it is just an overall effect of what he has been through.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

Woody taught Sunday School this morning for the first time in 2 1/2 months. Then we scurried home to finalize our lunch preparations. Nathan and family joined us for lunch. Then we chilled out the rest of the day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Woody has had a relatively quiet day. He surprised me by having the family room vacuumed before I even got up this morning. He also went to the library and then went to the grocery store to pick up several items that I needed for our Easter lunch. Then this afternoon he got to enjoy watching a baseball game on TV. He dozed some in the early afternoon and again this evening. So hopefully this has been a fairly restful day for him.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two down

Woody had his second radiation treatment this afternoon. He said that this treatment didn't take long at all--no new markings--just the radiation. He said that it didn't take much longer than five minutes.

Today has been a rough weather day here in middle Tennessee...very harrowing. Our son and family (our next door neighbors) left this morning to go on a ministry trip. Since we were due for rough weather, I tried to follow the radar on the computer to keep them up to date. The timing of their trip kept them away from tornadic weather--they "just" experienced rain. When I turned on the TV to watch the Nashville coverage of the storms, I saw Murfreesboro was under a tornado warning. Our daughter and family live in Murfreesboro so I called them to be sure that they knew that storms were on the way and made sure that they had their TV on to stations reporting the weather. For those of you that don't live in the area--Murfreesboro was the TN city that was on the national news this evening due to the many tornados that swept through today. They are safe from the storm damage...but they were really almost too close for comfort! After calling them, I called the travelers to see where they were and to report on the weather in their with road atlas and radar on the computer I reported to them where the heavy weather was...did that several times as they traveled north to Kentucky. I talked to Woody after he got back to work from his radiation treatment and reported on the safety of our children. While we were talking the warning sirens started going off at his work so he had to go to a safe place out at work. I decided that it was time for me to check on my safety from the tornados. Not too long after I talked to Woody the storm warning sirens started going off in Tullahoma. So I headed to one of our safe places (the downstairs bathroom) taking three different phones and the laptop and turned up the TV so I could hear weather reports. We started having hail--not a good sign when there are tornado warnings. And...then I heard on the Nashville station giving areas of Tullahoma where circulation was indicated on their radar...well, when you hear your subdivision being is an eerie feeling! But all passed us by and we are safe and sound. Not so for so many families in Murfreesboro--at least 100 homes sad to see such devastation. And so sad to hear of the death of a mother and her young baby. Our prayers need to be with all of the families who have suffered losses.

So far Woody isn't feeling any effects from the radiation that he knows of--unless it is being really tired--he has really been "out of it " this evening--slept most of it away! Hope that he can sleep tonight!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One down...

Woody had his first radiation treatment this afternoon. He gets 250 centigrays of radiation at five different angles. He will have his second treatment tomorrow. Today he came home with some more marks added...this time they are blue..."baby blue" according to the radiation tech.

He is still itchy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

He's remarkable!

They erased the old marks and remarked him today. Today they filmed (xrayed) him using a linear accelerator. This is the same machine that will be used to do the radiation. All this was in preparation for his first radiation treatment tomorrow (April 9th).

Be in prayer that the radiation is being aimed where it needs to go to stop any regrowth of the melanoma in the bone. Also be in prayer that these treatments won't burn him. There is always a possibility of burns with radiation. Dr. Bradford said that Woody would probably be burned in one spot--but his assistant today said that Woody wouldn't necessarily be burned. I'm praying for the latter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Should we celebrate?

This is my 100th post to this goodness...I can't believe that I have done that many since I first started this back on January 7th. And, I thank all those who have stuck with us and continued to read and keep up with Woody. We definitely still covet your prayers even when we seem to be treading now.

The blog has been very therapeutic for me as it has helped me cope with all that has been going on around us. It is good to write down what happens each day...especially those days in the hospital. Sometimes I am amazed that certain things actually happened...a lot doesn't seem a dream...a bad dream at times! The blog has really helped us get information about Woody to a lot of people without having to be on the phone all the time. And I am using the blog like a diary for us, as I often look back to see what happened exactly when. I am capturing all the blogs in word documents so I can refer to them on down the road...if this site should ever disappear I will still have what I have written.

Woody is still waiting to hear from the radiologist. I personally don't like this waiting and want to get the show on the road since it looks like radiation has to happen. Woody is scheduled to have a CAT scan at Vandy on April 21st...looks like that will have to be postponed since the radiation won't be completed by then. Woody is planning to call the radiologist's office tomorrow if they haven't called us first. So maybe I will know something to tell you tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A marked man!

Here's how the radiologist marked Woody. The marks are to get the radiation "beam" all lined up. He is marked on both shoulders and also on his chest--the radiation will be directed at his left arm/shoulder where the melanoma tumor had eaten into the bone. The picture on your right also lets you see how well his incision has healed.
He didn't hear from the radiologist today. So we still don't know when his radiation treatments will start.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Calm Palm Sunday

Woody went to Sunday School for the first time in more than two months. He didn't teach, but he was back with his eighth grade boys' class. He's supposed to teach next Sunday.

He spent the rest of the day in the recliner reading, watching TV and itching.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Busy Saturday

I went out for breakfast with my ladies' Sunday School class and when I got back I found out that Woody had accomplished a lot. First he had Nathan jump our car that was having battery problems. Then he took the car to have a new battery put in. Then he "thought" that there was a problem with the brakes so he took it to the brake place...come to find out the emergency brake was on...oops! It's hard to tell in that car as the emergency brake light on the dash board is on all the time these days. Then he went to the library for the first time in quite a while. And by the time I got home he was out in the yard working on getting the leaves out of one of our little gardens in the front. I think that it is hard for him to believe how hard it is for him to accomplish small tasks (like the little garden) that he used to get done so quickly and with so little effort...of course when it was easy he didn't have a broken arm and hadn't just undergone IL-2 treatments! He even came over for a little while when I was next door taking care of the grandchildren this afternoon. And now he is watching March Madness.

I think that he is making a great come back from his treatments. This seemed more like a "normal" Saturday for us. Unfortunately, I do have to add that he is still itchy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday update

Woody said that he was scanned from his heels to mid-head...and it took a long time. He was to be at the hospital at 10:30am and he didn't get back to work till around 1:30pm. These appointments certainly do cut into one's day--even if they are local! The radiologist's office is to contact Woody about when he will start his radiation treatments.

We have been a lively pair this evening...Woody dozed in his recliner and I dozed on the couch. I know that adding the scan onto Woody's day wore Woody out...I'm not sure what my excuse is!

His skin seems less scaly and peely...but the itching is still with me his itching seems less, though I'm not sure that he would agree with me on that point! Most of his itching now seems to be on his lower maybe it is working its way down and out. He said that he didn't sleep very well last hopefully he will be able to sleep tonight. At least tomorrow he will be able to rest and relax all day.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

PET scan tomorrow

Tomorrow Woody will be having a PET scan done in Manchester. The insurance has approved this scan and also the radiation treatments (to be done in Tullahoma). So now pray that the doctor gleans information from this scan to be able to aim those radiation beams in exactly the right amounts to exactly the right place/places on Woody's arm to eradicate any melanoma that might remain in the bone.

Last night Woody said that slept better than he had in a while. He took benadryl before going to bed and he said that when he woke up this morning that he didn't feel itchy. Woody walked again at lunch time today. Again he had the burning pain/itch in his lower legs. His shoulder area on his back is giving him some pain tonight. This is in the area that Dr. Sosman did a needle biopsy some time back that showed melanoma.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Signs of returning to normal

Woody came in from work today saying that he had walked at lunch today--the normal route that he walked prior to the IL-2 treatments. He said at first that he thought that his legs were stiff and then realized that his skin was tight!

Another sign of normal: today Woody arranged to start teaching his eighth grade boys' Sunday School class this Sunday.

The normal for me today was that I actually did some sewing for the first time in quite a while.

It's good to see a few "normal things" return in our lives--"things" have been pretty topsy-turvy for some months now!

Another normal, at least lately, for Woody is that he is still itchy. He said that after his walk that his legs under his socks itched so badly that they felt like they were on fire.

Woody called the radiologist's office today to make sure that the PET scan/radiation treatments would be covered by our insurance. As of 4pm the office hadn't heard back from the insurance company so they rescheduled the scan for Friday. Dr. Sosman's office got back with me around 5pm and said that the dyes used in the PET scan wouldn't be a problem. So now we wait for the insurance to make a decision. And, for the first time in a day and a half, I'm not waiting for a doctor's office to call!

Pray for God's will for the right decisions for the radiation--on the part of the insurance co., on our part, and on the doctor's part.