Monthly Archives: May 2016

Erin Brandon Patricia TV – Sat. May 28, 2016

I invited Brandon, Lisa, and Beck over for dinner so that Erin’s Aunt Patricia could see them, but they decided to entertain us instead.
Brandon cooked steak, swordfish, potatoes, and asparagus on the barbecue. And Lisa fixed a to-die-for sauce for the fish, says me who isn’t a sauce person.

Brandon bought an “outdoor TV” for the occasion just so Clark could watch the Golden State Warriors-Oklahoma City game. Brandon said that he loved seeing Clark’s face light up when he told him he was going to hook up a TV. The game certainly had an exciting ending.


Core Biopsy – Fri. May 27, 2016

The charge nurse from Head and Neck Surgery finally called Wed. morning with an appointment for Erin to have the core biopsy today at noon. Clark took Erin in for the appointment. (My sister Patricia arrived Wed. from Denver and we were tied up with a bridge game.)

Dr. Cua took 2 samples from the spot at the base of Erin’s neck.  I asked Erin if the process hurt, and she just shrugged and said she has had so many procedures in the last 7 years that nothing really phases her.

Dr. Cua said that the results would be back next week, and wouldn’t speculate about the possibilities.

Erin really enjoys talking to Patricia. Whenever she hears Patricia and me talking in the kitchen, Erin appears on the scene.


National Brain Tumor Society Blog -Wed. May 18, 2016

Many of you get notices of my blog posts through email, but I don’t think that you necessarily get notice of comments that are made.

Tonight I received notice of a comment which Liz Salvi made to my post about the 60 minutes segment on GBM. This is what Liz said:

“What the FDA did was give the vaccine ‘Breakthrough Therapy Designation,’ which ‘is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions.’

“Check out the full explainer here:

This is a link to the blog of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS). This link has a link to the program which aired this past Sunday.

Thank you Liz!


Huge Burrito at Cheesecake Factory – Tues. May 17, 2016

Erin and Clark are waiting for their CheeseCake Factory lunches to come:

Barb and Erin waiting:

Erin ordered a chicken burrito. I think it is the largest burrito I have ever seen. She only ate a bite or 2, and said that it was too spicy. I tasted it at dinner and didn’t find it that spicy, and I am a whimp when it comes to spice.

I called again today to the Head and Neck Surgery office, and the clerk said that she would hand-take a note to Brenda who is supposed to schedule the “core biopsy”, but we still have not heard anything.

Not Scheduled Yet – Mon. May 16, 2016

We did not hear from Brenda whom Dr. Cua said would call to schedule the “core biopsy” on Erin’s neck. When I hadn’t heard anything this morning, I called the Head and Neck Surgery office, and left a message for Brenda, but I have not heard anything. Will post as soon a I hear anything.


Polio vaccine and GBM – Sun. May 15, 2016

Shannon texted me at 6 pm this evening that 60 Minutes was having a segment about GBM. Scott Pelley reported on research at Duke that was using a modified polio vaccine to attack recurrent glioblastomas (GBMs). In some cases the vaccine completely eradicated the tumor. Others survived a few months longer than expected.

Here is a link to Pelley’s March 2015 report:

The first patient, a 20 year old nursing student, is cancer free and she is now a nurse 3 years later. The 2nd patient is also alive. Others have not done as well. Nancy Justice did not survive since this 2015 link.

I think that use of the vaccine has been approved by the FDA. Did anyone else see the program?


Clark & Erin – Domino Pizza – Fri. May 13, 2016

Erin appeared at our doorway about a half hour ago, sheepishly saying that she wanted “p”. I figured out that she wanted pizza, and she said it takes her about a half hour just to order it on line. So, Clark phoned up the local Domino’s with Erin’s order: a pepperoni and olive pizza for Wheeler and a vegetarian one for her. Clark ordered a salad. The vegetarian one really looks fresh. Erin is shown having just fixed a plate for Wheeler, which she took to his room to his delight.


Message from Dr. Cua – Fri.May 13, 2016

Erin received a message from Dr. Cua a little while ago which said, “Your recent fine needle aspiration showed a tumor. However, they cannot fully characterize it without more tissue. I’d like to have you come in for a  ‘core biopsy’.  Brenda will contact you for an appointment”.

Since the message came after 6pm, I assume that we will hear from Brenda (his office assistant?) early next week.

I think that a core biopsy is a with a larger needle allowing for a larger sample.


Visit with Dr. Cua, Head & Neck Surgeon – Wed. May 11, 2016

Today we took Erin to see Dr. David Cua, a head and neck surgeon at Kaiser, Morse Av., to see about the lump on the right side of the back of Erin’s neck.  He read the CAT scan which Erin had last Thursday, and he said that the scan is inconsistent with the lump being a lipoma, a soft benign accumulation of fatty tissue. Her lump is hard and the size of a golf ball.

He did a needle biopsy which he said is the most accurate way, short of surgery, to determine what the lump is. He called a cytologist who set up shop in the office right across the hall. She analyzed each slide to determine the type of cells in the sample.

The first biopsy try, the lump was hard and not coming through. There was no fluid, so it is not a cyst. Then he put an attachment on the handle of the syringe and this time, she determined that it was muscle tissue. The 3rd try had “adequacy”. Meaning that the sample was large enough to send away for further testing. We will probably hear more within the week.

After the doctor’s appointment, Erin needed to go to the bank, to lunch, and to the new CVS. Each of these 4 stops involved Erin’s  getting in and out of the car, which she did quite readily. Clark thinks that Erin seems more interested in actively participating in life.


Erin Brandon – Mother’s Day Dinner – Sun. May 8, 2016

This evening we went to Brandon and Lisa’s for Mother’s Day dinner. Erin was very active in the conversation. Besides the appetizers shown, Brandon barbecued tenderloin steaks. Clark’s was nice and red. For the non-meat eaters, Lisa had crab stuffed salmon.

The evening started out very mild and a little on the humid side, but ended up cool enough for a jacket.

Beck sported new glasses (very briefly). He is near-sighted.

On the way home our plan was to stop at the new CVS/Pharnacy at Fair Oaks and Howe. But, Erin was too tired to go in, so I just ran in to get a couple of things while she and Clark waited in the car. The new store is very roomy and airy with shelves low enough that you can survey the whole store.