December 31, 2008
At the last infusion some poor lady was coughing her head off,
generously sharing her germs with everyone.
You guessed it, now I've got a rotten cold.
All we can do is try to keep it from turning back into the "P" word.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
December 28, 2008
~Chemo 10 Complete~
After two more weeks of pills and one more infusion, my chemotherapy will be complete.
Then we'll deal with radiation.
The plan is for me to take from 1 to 30 treatments depending on how well I tolerate them.
It's been a long journey but finishing chemo will be a huge milestone.
Thank you Amy, Greg, Sam and Sarah Grace for hosting a wonderful Christmas.
I'd also like to thank everyone for the cards, thoughts, prayers and gifts.
December 23, 2008
HO HO HO
December 19, 2008
Sam made some shrinkydinks
to give me strength and courage.
No medicine is stronger
than the love of family and friends.
Thank you Sam.
~Happy Birthday Cindy~
December 15 , 2008
~Hairy Humpty ~
Humpty Dumpty is growing hair.
My beard is coming back.
It's sort of symbolic, telling us that this ordeal is almost over.
It's my Don Johnson look.
Must be sexy because Janet just can't keep her hands off of me.
I'm not complaining.
This is another great day.
~Happy Birthday Greg ~
He's 29 today (again).
~Happy Anniversary Merrytt & Michael ~
Today marks one happy year .
December 12 , 2008
This is a fantastic day.
Janet and I spent all morning at Markey.
All of the news is good.
Blood counts are all on the rise.
Breathing is good.
I feel great.
I still sound like Kermit but we can live with it.
But, best of all, I have two more weeks before chemo.
The timing couldn't be better.
This is going to be a wonderful Christmas.
December 11 , 2008
~Try Again Tomorrow~
We go again tomorrow to see if I need a transfusion.
Yesterday the count was low but the Doc wanted to see if it could recover on its own.
I'm getting bloody noses so I'm not optimistic.
Thanks to cousin Connie for the Christmas candy.
Peanut Butter Smidgens.
Wow, they are good.
December 9 , 2008
Tomorrow we go to see if I need a platelet transfusion.
I don't notice any undue bruising or bleeding so maybe we'll have a short day.
I hope so.
It's so hard on Janet to sit for hours waiting on me.
The last time I had a transfusion we were there almost 12 hours.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be transfusion free.
Ruthie Loves Santa
December 7 , 2008
~The Best Medicine~
And shepard's pie too... thank you Dee
It was delicious.
December 6 , 2008
~Chemo 9 Is History~
Tuesday was a long day, putting us home at 6:00 PM.
WBC was reasonable so no more neupogen for now.
I go back Dec. 10 to see if I need another blood transfusion.
Breathing is still good.
I'm shaky and stumble footed and I have no voice.
Otherwise, I'm hanging in there.
Hopefully, this brings us down to two more infusions.
December 1 , 2008
~Chemo 9 Tomorrow~
If all goes well. we'll have the infusion part of MOPP chemo tomorrow.
The battle continues, but I become more optimistic as my breathing improves.
BigC is a formidable opponent, but I've got an awesome army with General Janet leading the way.
With the support of our family and friends, we will be victorious.
Have a great day.
November 28, 2008
~How Sweet It Is~
Yesterday was a wonderful day.
Some of our family couldn't be with us which made us very sad.
Amy & Greg were the perfect host & hostess.
The food was great. The Grand kids were perfect.
My breathing was excellent and I felt good.
Janet and I had a fantastic time.
Thanks to everyone.
November 27, 2008
November 26, 2008
~It's Deja Vu All Over Again~
Yesterday's chemo went off without a hitch.
The good news is breathing continues to improve.
Side effects are mild this time.
AND TOMORROW IS THANKSGIVING!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE.
Gobble 'till ya wobble!
November 24, 2008
~Three Days to Turkey Day~
The Doc's met and decided that I'll have 2 more months of MOPP chemo.
So, starting tomorrow, I'll be back on the poison.
The end is within sight.
Gobble 'till ya wobble!>
November 21, 2008
The beast is either dead or severely wounded.
A group of doctors will meet Monday, review my case and decide on a course of treatment.
I'll either have two more months of chemo or two weeks of radiation.
The chemo is hard on the liver, kidneys and bone marrow.
The radiation is hard on the lungs and heart.
They'll choose the lesser of the evils.
Either way, we can see the light and it looks good.
The Doc was all smiles so Janet and I are smiling too.
The best news is my blood counts are good enough for me to have Thanksgiving with the family.
Thank you Amy & Sarah Grace for the wonderful meal.
(Turkey meatloaf patties with mashed sweet potatoes and sweet/spicy tomato gravy)
No wonder Janet and I look forward to chemo days.
November 20, 2008
The past few days have been remarkable.
I'm off the oxygen.
The neuropathy in my feet has disappeared.
I can ride the exercise bike and climb stairs.
I'm not coughing very much.
I no longer have the swelling in my feet and legs.
And, I learned a new word.
Janet and I are gamboling like frenzied Shakers.
If BigC is dead and my blood counts have recovered,
we'll be gamboling all over the place.
We should know more tomorrow.
I still croak like Kermit.
But, Janet always thought Kermit and Rod Stewart were sexy.
November 16, 2008
~HOW SWEET IT IS!~
I completed the PET scan with no major problems.
Now, we just need to wait for friday when we'll find out the status of BigC.
If he's gone, I'll probably have two more MOPP chemos and call it quits.
If that's the case, my immune system may be recovered by Christmas.
If so, I'm going to have the grand baby huggingest Christmas ever.
And Janet will probably be pushing me out of the way for her turn.
We've both really missed the grand children.
November 15, 2008
It's so good to be off the oxygen and breathing well.
Maybe it's the chemo or shots or pills or prayers; something is working.
~AND WE ARE THANKFUL~
It looks like I'll be able to take the PET scan on Monday.
Then we'll know the status of BigC.
Is he dead or alive?
BigC is melting away.
November 14, 2008
OK, OK I confess. The top picture on the left was taken in the 1990's.
Thanks to everyone who noticed.
Some even went so far as to say the bottom picture is an improvement.
Now that's just mean.
I rode our stationary bike for 6 minutes (1.07 miles) this morning.
That may not sound like a lot, but it's a huge improvement.
For the past month or so, I've not been able to brush my teeth without gasping for breath.
As Janet pointed out, most bypass patients go through extensive rehab.
My heart barely got any attention at all and certainly no rehab.
Now that I can breath, it's time to work on the ticker.
No more couch potato.
Phew, all this talk of exercise makes me tired.
I think I'll go take a nap.
November 13, 2008
Today is a good day. Janet and I went in for labs this morning fully expecting to spend the day getting a blood transfusion.
It didn't happen. The numbers were good enough to send me home.
Plus! The blood oxygen was 95% and that's excellent so I'm off oxygen for now.
I still have some breathing issues. I'm short of breath when I lie on my back.
Which makes it very difficult to take a PET scan.
Which my Doc really, really wants me to take on Monday.
At this point BigC is larger than the Doc expected so he wants a PET scan to see if the cretin is still hot.
I'll do my best, but it's hard to hold one's breath for 45 minutes.
Oh well, we're making progress and that's what counts.
November 10, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAD!
WE LOVE YOU.
November 8, 2008
Yesterday was a very long day.
Janet and I arrived at the Markey Cancer Center at 7:45 AM and we got home at 6:00 PM.
We were exhausted.
My red blood count was low so we spent our day getting a blood transfusion (2 units).
The results of my CT scan showed the tumor is shrinking but still quite large.
The Doc thinks it's probably still "hot".
I'll return Monday & Friday to see if I need another transfusion.
Hopefully, my breathing will allow me to do a PET scan in a few days.
Then we can decide where to go from here.
November 6, 2008
Yesterday I had a CT scan with IV contrast. It should tell us how BigC is faring through the chemo.
Tomorrow, we go again to see if I need a platelet transfusion. The doctor seems to think I will.
I'm bruising very easily, so I'd say the doc's right. No big deal.
It's my understanding that I will probably be off chemo for the next 3 weeks.
What a wonderful thought.
The breathing comes and goes; usually it's fine if I'm only sitting. With any exertion, it goes quickly.
Since I can't take a flu shot, I'm still confined to quarters.
I have a great view of this wonderful fall day.
I hope you do too.
November 3, 2008
The MOPP chemo is considerably different from ABVD.
For one thing, the prednisone is causing me blow up like a pregnant blimp.
My diet consists of everything that can't outrun me.
It's a good thing I'm really slow right now.
Draven celebrated his first halloween as a pea in a pod.
Isn't he a handsome lad?
Draven James Allen Walls
Our Great Grandson
November 1, 2008
Chemo 7 is complete. Breathing seems to be slowly improving.
WBC was good this week. I go for a platelet check on Tuesday. If the count is too low, I'll get a transfusion.
It just never ends. Oh well, I guess it's better than the alternative.
Wednesday I go for another CT scan to see how BigC is doing.
Not well I hope.
Thank you Amy and sous chief Sarah Grace for the soup.
Nanna and I enjoyed it to the last slurp.
Ruthie loves halloween
Nanna, Ruthie & Matt
October 30, 2008
Chemo 7 is scheduled for tomorrow.
If the white blood count and breathing will allow, we'll be one step closer to finishing this treatment.
I went to a cardiologist this week and he changed my heart medications.
Hopefully, it'll help with the breathing.
Today, Sarah Grace stopped by in her bumble bee costume and I waived to her through the window.
Ruthie, Sam and Sarah Grace are going to have a great Halloween.
Thank you Michelle for last night's dinner. It was wonderful.
October 27, 2008
I've had so many emails from family and old friends; I can't tell you how much it means to me.
Today is another good one. The lungs seem to be clearing and I can go without the oxygen for periods of time.
Thanks to everyone for your support.
Ruthie is ready for halloween - she plans to be an elephant.
Isn't that a great picture?
Michelle & Ruthie
October 26, 2008
Chemo VI + 2
Today is a very good day. Breathing is improved and chemo side effects are light.
Breathing is the big thing. Last night I slept 13 straight hours.
Usually I sleep 5 or 6 hours and never over 8.
Janet said she could tell I was having a good night by the way I was breathing.
Today is going to be a great day. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as Janet and I do.
October 25, 2008
Chemo VI Complete!
The good news: Chemo VI is history.
More good news: My latest CT scan shows a 50% reduction in the size of BigC.
The bad news: Because of my breathing problems we had to abandon ABVD and start a new regime.
More bad news: I am probably going to have more chemo treatments because of the change.
The new chemo regime is MOPP (Mechlorethamine, Oncovin, Procarbazine, Prednisone).
It has been used since the 1960's and it has about 98%-99% the efficacy of ABVD.
Unfortunately, side effects are worse than ABVD.
I'll post more tomorrow.
Thanks Dee, Pam & Cindy for the shepherd's pie. It was wonderful.
October 22, 2008
After a week in the hospital it feels good to be home. The pneumonia continues to improve and I'm hoping Chemo VI will happen this friday. These delays make me feel like BigC is growing while I'm sliding backward into a huge abyss. It's time to get back to kicking BigC butt.
Janet had to cancel the pulmonary function test and the PET scan which were scheduled for this week. The breathing is improving but I can't generate enough air to blow in a tube so the PFT would be useless. I still can't lie on my back so the PET scan is out of the question.
Pills, pills and more pills, it's hard to imagine how the body can handle so many different medicines. I'm going to a cardiologist next week and I'm hoping he will eliminate some of the pills.
It's such a beautiful fall day. Enjoy.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein
October 19, 2008
Each day brings some improvement on the pneumonia.
I'm anxious to get back to the chemo treatments. It can't be good to drag them out this much.
Our home looks like a hospital with oxygen machines and tanks, medicines and bandages, stacks of paper work and medical information.
It's bound to be driving Janet crazy but she doesn't say much about it.
We're making progress and that's what counts.
A special thanks to Ruthie for bringing the cats through.
She outdid herself this week.
October 18, 2008
I feel some improvement today.
But tired, tired, tired pretty much sums it up.
I can get up and move around without gasping for air.
Tomorrow will be better and the next day better still.
We'll take it one day at a time.
With the help of family and friends, Janet and I will beat this thing.
Thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.
October 17, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER!
WE LOVE YOU.
For the past week I've been in the hospital on antibiotics and oxygen 24/7.
The Doc's feel like the pneumonia is on the run so they let me come home.
Now, I have more medicine and I'm tethered to an oxygen concentrator.
It sure beats not breathing.
I'll never take breathing for granted again.
Chemo VI is now scheduled for 10/24/08.
I hope we will have better luck next time.
Thanks to everyone for your support.
It's much easier for us to go through this when we know we're not alone.
It's been especially hard on Janet and I know she appreciates the support.
We hope you have a great day.
October 16, 2008
This week has been fun (NOT!)
Chemo VI didn't happen. When I showed up they stuck me in the hospital and said I had pneumonia.
It's been a rough week, but I'm home now.
I'll post full details tomorrow.
October 10, 2008
Chemo VI Day
Today is a scheduled chemo day but the breathing is so bad I don't know if we'll pull it off.
It's actually shortness of breath. If I sit very still and do nothing, I am fine.
If I walk across the room, I'm gasping for breath.
I'm also having trouble breathing when I lie down.
Hopefully, the Doc will soon come up with some relief.
I'll try to post again later today.
October 7, 2008
Janet and I spent yesterday afternoon in the Onc's office.
I have a sore on my wrist and it won't heal, so naturally they added another pill to my long list of medicines.
Thank goodness for pills.
We're having a good day and we hope you are too.
Sarah Grace went to the pumpkin patch yesterday.
I understand she's going to be a bumblebee for halloween.
She will be a great bumblebee.
October 5, 2008
As we approach Chemo VI, things are definitely getting better.
Breathing is much improved, but shortness of breath persists.
Foggy brain, fumble foot, fire mouth, metal mouth and fumble fingers have declined dramatically.
Janet thinks my face looks like a baby's butt; that might be an improvement.
Iffy voice is a problem and I'm still looking for employment as a blender or paint shaker.
Or, maybe I could join a rumba band and shake the maracas.
Even though we have very good insurance, the bills pile up.
The total tab so far is in the hundreds of thousands and our part is in the thousands.
What do people without insurance do?
Except for the breathing issues, chemo has been easier than I anticipated.
I've had my share of bad days, but they're not all bad.
From watching movies like The Bucket List, I thought I'd spend my life with my head in the commode.
It hasn't happened. Nausea medicines are much more effective than they used to be.
To give MEDCO credit, after long battles and rulings by arbitration boards they decided to be magnanimous and pay their part on the nausea prescriptions.
It may have been my threat to recover in their office that brought them around.
Janet has worked so hard throughout this whole ordeal.
We're hoping for a recovery vacation in the spring of 2009.
October 4, 2008
Hallelujah! The breathing has improved considerably over the last few days.
I'm still very short of breath if I try to do anything.
But, I can rest peacefully and sleep, so it has improved dramatically.
Three more chemos and ten RADs and I'll be ready to rejoin the human race.
Janet and I are anxiously anticipating that day.
For now, we plan to enjoy today.
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
October 1, 2008
What a beautiful fall day we are having today. This is our favorite time of year.
Janet and I have decided to get out of the house for a while this afternoon and enjoy this weather.
If I could just get this breathing under control and the WBC back up, we'd be party animals!
It's really good to hear from old friends. I just wish I could give everyone a big hug and say "thank you".
I hope Janet and I can have a big cookout next spring and invite everyone.
"The best things in life aren't things...they're friends." - unknown
September 30, 2008
Chemo V + 4
Good days and bad days, everyday brings a new challenge.
The good news is 5 down and 3 to go.
The bad news is breathing continues to be a problem.
Some days are really tough. Today is one of those days.
Thank you to Dee, Pam and Cindy for the wonderful meal last night.
I hope we can all get together next spring and celebrate.
Mr. Wolf & Sam & Sarah Grace
September 28, 2008
Chemo V + 2
Today is a great day! I feel better today than I've felt in a month.
Some days I wake up and realize how lucky I am. What a wonderful family I have.
September 27, 2008
Chemo V +1
I don't know if it was the lack of bleomycin, the addition of flonase, or Amy's great lasagna, but my breathing is about 25% better today.
My fuzzy brain, stumble foot, fire mouth, metal mouth, shakes, fumble fingers, iffy voice, and other disgusting things are about 50% of normal for day after chemo.
That's probably the result of taking away the bleomycin.
Anyway, all of the above makes for a great day.
Keep your face to the sunshine… and you cannot see the shadows.– Helen Keller
September 26, 2008
Chemo V is history - three more to go.
We arrived at 8:00 AM and finished at 1:30 PM.
The Doc removed Bleomycin from my poison in an effort to help my breathing.
My ABVD chemo is now AVD chemo.
He also gave me flonase; I sure hope it works.
When we got home, we had white bean and spinach lasagna with shredded chicken, thanks to Amy and Sarah Grace.
It was delicious and we have enough left over for dinner.
What a great day this has been.
Thank you Amy and Sarah Grace.
I hope everyone enjoys a deep breath of fresh air today.
September 25, 2008
Tomorrow is Chemo V day. I don't know what to expect.
My breathing has been so bad for the past two weeks, I'm wondering if we'll postpone the poison.
One part of me wants to get on with the treatment.
Another part wonders what I'll do if the breathing gets worse.
I have total confidence in my Doc, so we'll see what he says.
Today is a beautiful fall day.
I plan to enjoy it to the fullest and I hope you do too.
September 24, 2008
I had a pulmonary function test yesterday but I don't know any results.
Breathing has become a major issue again. If I do anything, I'm short of breath and I have this constant, hacking cough.
I know it must be driving Janet nuts.
Friday is Chemo V and I'm anxious to see what my Doc says about the breathing issue.
On a more positive note, after Janet spent hours on the phone with MEDCO, they reversed their position again and sent nausea medicine.
Better days are ahead.
September 23, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBIN.
WE LOVE YOU.
September 20, 2008
Yesterday our friend Shannon brought us shrimp and potato chowder and wedding cookies. Wow, they were delicious.
Thank you Shannon. We can't tell you how much we appreciate your kindness.
Maybe it was the wonderful meal Shannon brought or maybe it's just time to start feeling better, but I'm finally having a good day.
I plan to keep it this way.
Hope you have a great day too.
September 19, 2008
This has been a rough week, but today is starting off better.
I've had a lot of problems with shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.
Starting today, I vow to do better.
September 16, 2008
This is not a good day... short of breath, foggy, shaky, etc., etc.
MEDCO changed their mind again and decided my nausea was less important than their bottom line.
Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.
September 15, 2008
Introducing Draven James Allen Walls
Born 4:01 AM today, 7 lb. 12 oz., 21.25"
Our first great grandchild!
Isn't he a handsome lad?
And Forest looks radiant.
September 14, 2008
CHEMO IV + 2
Ruthie stopped by to visit yesterday and she demonstrated to me how Nanna-made silkies work. I think I'll have Nanna make me one. I can use it while I get my belly shots.
Maybe I'll take it to chemo sessions; that'll give them something to talk about.
I've got to give credit to MEDCO. After hours and hours of discussion, they decided I can have my nausea medicine.
I thank my wonderful nurse, Norma. She was like chinese water torture and she won.
My doctor and nurses at Markey Cancer Center have been so impressive. I sure am glad I decided to change to them.
The results of chemo 4 and belly shots are no worse than last time but I'll be glad to get through the next few days.
I hope you have a terrific day.
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. ~Author Unknown
September 13, 2008
CHEMO IV + 1
If the goal of chemo is to come as close to killing the patient as possible without causing a funeral, then chemo 4 was a success.
It's all back - fuzzy brain, stumble foot, fire mouth, metal mouth, shakes, fumble fingers, iffy voice, disgusting things, all the rewards of chemo.
The good news is, Janet says my face looks like a baby's butt.
It's amazing how low the good news bar can get.
Amy fixed the most wonderful chicken pot pie I've ever tasted. We still have the soup to look forward to. Thank you Amy.
We received more family bad news yesterday. I want everyone to know that even though I can't help, my heart aches for you and my thoughts are with you.
We've got to be strong, do the right things, and hopefully, better days are ahead.
I've never been one to pray for things because I figured God had plenty on his plate and he didn't need me advising him, but I find that I am more appreciative of the kind thoughts and prayers that others are sending.
Thank you everyone.
I can quiver without a spring.
Anyone have a job?
September 12, 2008
CHEMO IV DAY
Things went very well today. WBC was back up (woohoo!) and they decided to jack the ABVD back up by 10%. Mush brain is the result.
I still need to take the NEUPOGEN® belly shots so my WBC will stay up. MEDCO stepped up to the plate and paid with no problem.
I'm in a fog today, so I'll post more tomorrow.
Have a great day.
Thank you very much Sam.
September 11, 2008
Tomorrow is Chemo IV day and I'm ready. This may be my last easy chemo because Medco, our prescription provider, has decided that they won't allow any more nausea medicine until November 16. By then, my treatments will be finished. It's a shame they don't have a local office so I could recuperate in their waiting room. It wouldn't be a pretty sight and I'll bet they would change their mind tout de suite. My Doctor even appealed it to a medical arbitration board and they ruled in our favor but Medco still refuses. They paid their part on the first four chemos and they are willing to pay for four more if I wait until November 16. The lunacy of it is very frustrating. Since when did pharmacies have that power? Now, we not only need to battle insurance companies, we must fight with our pharmacist as well. If you have doubts, Google 'Medco complaints' and you will see that I'm not alone.
Enough of the bellyaching. On the bright side, Amy is making chicken pot pie and chilled cantaloupe soup for tomorrow. She's an excellent chef, so you can see why we look forward to chemo days.
I feel really good today and we plan to enjoy this beautiful weather. I hope you have a great day too.
September 10, 2008
I feel better today than I've felt in months.
This morning Janet and I were discussing how far I've come since being released from the hospital. When I first got home I couldn't breathe; I couldn't sleep; I had pain from the multiple incisions (10, but who's counting); I didn't dare cough or sneeze; I couldn't talk very well; I couldn't sit up or lay down and I had painful bed sores. I was miserable. Now, my breathing is good; I'm sleeping better than I have in years; the incisions are healed; my voice is steady; I can sit or lay in any position and, thanks to Calmoseptine Ointment, those horrible bed sores are gone.
Life is good.
Now it's time to pump poison again, but I'm not complaining because the chemotherapy is largely responsible for my improvement. BigC had entwined my heart, lungs, trachea, and esophagus, and it was strangling me. From the very first chemo session, I could feel BigC losing it's grip. I got sick with each chemo, but that's a small price to pay for the relief I'm feeling. Friday will be my half way point on chemos and I don't dread it a bit. It makes me sick but it's killing BigC. I can actually feel the tumor shrinking with each chemo session and I love it. Maybe I look like Humpty Dumpty at 100 , but I feel like a new person and my appetite is great so I eat what I want without gaining weight. How lucky can a person be?
In summary, I heartily recommend by-pass surgery and chemotherapy to everyone.
September 9, 2008
Three good days in a row; I like it.
Janet and I are trying to tie up loose ends, so we've been getting out some.
We're making the assumption that my WBC counts are improving.
But I've become such a big chicken. Every time someone coughs or sneezes, I run the other way.
It's amazing how many people are coughing and sneezing.
I'm getting a lot of good exercise running the other way.
Hope you have a great day.
We plan to.
September 8, 2008
I have a new goal.
On September 20, Matt and Michelle will star in a play at Providence Christian Church.
They play Samson and Delilah. My goal is to take Janet.
So please cheer for my WBC to leap upward.
I'm having another great day.
Hope you are too.
September 7, 2008
Today is a very good day.
September 6, 2008
Today, I will share a little known secret that was revealed to me by a wise oracle.
Kentucky's football team is not winning because of Rich Brooks or Myron Pryor.
No, it's a proven fact that they are winning because of Ruthie Snowflake.
Since Ruthie has been cheering for them, the Cats have delivered.
You can see that Ruthie is pretty excited about it.
Today is the second anniversary of Zebby's death. We sure do miss the Big Dog.
Ruthie is UK's secret weapon.
September 5, 2008
Yesterday, Sarah Grace started pre-school. She did art work and solved puzzles and played with her new friends.
Momma was a bit traumatized but she said Sarah Bear handled it like a champ.
She's such a beautiful spirit; she makes us so proud to be her Nanna and Papap.
Today is a much better day.
I feel good. I don't know where the WBC is, but I'm optimistic that it's getting better.
September 4, 2008
Chemo 3 has been a little rougher than the first two. Maybe it's the Neupogen or possibly it's the cumlative effect, but this one has been tough.
Isn't this a terrific picture of Greg and Sam? I don't believe a father and son could look more alike.
Sarah Grace started pre-school today. We hope she had a great experience.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
September 2. 2008
CHEMO III + 4
Molasses days are hard to describe. It's like gravity has suddenly quadrupled and every movement requires extra effort.
Fortunately, today is much better. Low energy and fire mouth have returned, but it beats molasses hands down.
No more belly shots for a while. Hopefully, the Neupogen will do it's job and I'll be able to get out some.
Isolation is tough - the grand kids change so quickly and we're missing some fun stuff but we'll have plenty of time to make up for it.
It's especially hard on Janet. Please keep those pictures coming; they're a source of joy for both of us.
Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. ~Author Unknown
Merrytt & Michael
We are so proud of you.
September 1, 2008
CHEMO III + 3
Today is another molasses day - every movement requires an extra effort and I'm in a fog. Poor Jan, I'll be a drip all day long.
Belly shot 2 was no big deal yesterday. Janet gives an excellent shot.
Chemo + 3 is usually a bad day and today is no exception.
Maybe I'll have good news tomorrow.
The following quote is apropos of nothing. I just wanted to leave you with a smile.
"When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car"
Are those Ruthie lips?
August 31, 2008
CHEMO III + 2
I highly recommend Janet for shot giving. She was a rock. No giggling or hesitation, you would have thought she gave shots every day. I, on the other hand, was shaking like a leaf in Katrina. We managed to get the job done even if Janet did have a moving target.
Getting a shot in the stomach sounds bad, but actually, if your six pack has plenty of padding like mine it's one of the easiest places to get shot.
The only side effect from the Neupogen shot so far is hip pain. Not bad though.
The wobbly feet and shaky hands get worse with each chemo. it's becoming more difficult for me to type, and Janet and I are looking like the Bobbsey twins since I sometimes use a cane to get around.
I've lost another 4 pounds even though I have a great appetite... strange.
Yesterday, I walked a quarter of a mile back in the park but Janet and I decided it might not be a good idea with my low WBC. Today I'll try riding the boring exercise bike.
Enough whining for today, it's time to go take my Zoloft, uh, I mean pills.
Have a great day.
Forest and I are changing daily. She will present us with our first great grandson within the month.
August 30, 2008
CHEMO III + 1 PART 2
(Read this morning's post first)
This morning I was so negative; I decided to reaccess my situation, looking for the stars.
I can still walk and talk.
Fuzzy brain is not all bad. I don't need to think so much.
Shaking is a new job skill. I can get a job as a blender in a bar.
I like luaus.
Humpty Dumpty was a good egg and Ewoks are cute.
I still have 9 toenails.
Janet will probably enjoy sticking me with that needle to pay me back for being such a slob.
I had 26 pills to take.
MEDCO is making a nice profit.
The big problems keep us humble.
The Zoloft is working.
August 30, 2008
CHEMO III + 1
OK 2008 you've blown it - you will not go down as one of my favorite years.
WARNING: IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR A BUNCH OF WHINING, CLICK OFF
Today I'm staggering like a sailor on Saturday night and talking like Rod Stuart on crack.
My brain is so fuzzy I wonder if all the hair is growing inward instead of outward.
I have more shakes than a luau.
I look like Humpty Dumpty with Ewok ears (hair chooses to hang on in strange places).
My nailless toe is molting like an anaconda and my chest looks like Zorro's practice dummy.
My neutrophil count has disappeared so I'm a complete recluse and I'll need a daily shot of Neupogen in the belly (at $600 a pop).
In the last 12 hours I've taken 26 pills.
MEDCO is denying my expensive prescriptions.
I had to close our business and waves of medical bills are rolling in.
And that's not to mention the bad stuff.
On the positive side, I no longer fight nose hairs or bed sores, Amy makes great soup and Janet is by my side.
Oh, and I have Zoloft.
"When it is darkest, men see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Janet and I are seeing a lot of stars but we need to learn to appreciate them.
Did I mention I can breathe?
Ruthie doesn't like whining.
August 29, 2008
CHEMO III DAY
Labs at Markey Cancer Center at 8:00 AM.
WBC & Neutrophils low so I get to take NEUPOGEN® shots.
Janet will give them to me in the stomach.
Is it my imagination or is she walking around with an evil grin on her face?
The good news is: CHEMO III IS HISTORY.
All went well and we got home about 2:45 PM.
I'm a bit wobbly-kneed but otherwise fine.
Still a bubble boy though, confined to quarters until further notice.
Amy and her sous-chef Sarah Grace came through again with a great meal.
I love you guys.
August 28, 2008
CHEMO III -1
The only good things about chemo day are:
We get it over with
AMY BRINGS A GREAT LUNCH.
Tomorrow's menu is:
Doreen's spinach salad with diced apples, blue cheese, and poppyseed dressing & Cream of chicken with mushrooms and wild rice soup.
Kinda makes you want to get an infusion doesn't it?
Here's hoping for poison tomorrow.
Wish me luck.
August 26, 2008
"One joy scatters a hundred griefs." (Chinese proverb)
Life is full of joy and pain. Somehow we've got to learn to cling to the joy.
In spite of the challenges, I'm desperately trying to remain positive and focused.
Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be."
I've got to learn to only worry about the things I can control,
to leave to a higher power the things I can't control,
and to enjoy the many blessings that I have.
Chemo III is scheduled for this Friday. I sure hope it's a go.
I'm ready to get this cancer behind me so I can tackle the important things in life.
Amy sent me this quote.
With the support of my whole family, I can do anything.
I love my wife, all of my children and my grandchildren.
If they are here with me, I can stand up a hundred times.
August 24, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!
15 years old today.
We love you.
August 21, 2008
Quadruple bypass, chemo, and life take a toll.
I'm going to quit posting daily messages for a few days.
I'll still respond to emails.
August 19, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!
15 years old today.
We love you.
August 18, 2008
BigC Battle: CII + 3
Today, I feel like a bruised bug in molasses; I look like Humpty Dumpty with Einstein eyebrows, and I sound like Kermit the Frog.
But I'm fortunate. My good friend, Earl Burton, sent me this link to his Grandson Preston's website.
Preston is 3 years old and he's been through much more than I have.
I have no room to complain.
Have a great day.
August 17, 2008
BigC Battle: CII + 2
REPORT: voice shaky, breathing is labored when I talk.
I think this is a result of BigC shrinking and pulling away from my trachea, esophagus, lungs and heart.
I'm also experiencing more chemo brain or is it senility?
I'll blame it on chemo brain.
On a more positive note, Matt visited yesterday and said Ruthie is talking up a storm.
She was 18 months old on the 14th of August and she is amazing with her vocabulary.
And she's beautiful.
Michelle sent a wonderful summer pie which was gone after 2 settings.
It was delicious. Thank you Michelle.
Have a great day.
"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump
August 16, 2008
BigC Battle: CII + 1
As Yogi said, "This is like deja vu all over again."
No nausea, no pain, voice iffy, tired, got the blahs, breathing good, life is good.
The best thing is I've got bullets again and I'm firing them all at BigC.
White blood count is up but it will remain our biggest concern because it will be falling again.
The doc got our attention when he said any infection, internal or external, could bring the battle to an end in 6-8 hours if left untreated.
A small scratch or slight cold could bring me down.
Which is why Janet invested $80 in an infrared thermometer. I take my temperature several times a day.
Anything over 100.5 sends me to the emergency room.
We all know emergency rooms have no germs NOT.
Methinks I don't want to be hanging out in any emergency rooms.
Cancer causes one to be so obsessive and self-centered.
The badest thing about cancer is: I'm not able to take care of my family.
Hopefully, I'll whip this thing and I'll be here for them for years to come.
I know they understand, but I worry.
I'll make it up to them when I can.
Right now, I have a war to win.
BTW, an infrared thermometer is a good investment for any cancer patient.
August 15, 2008
CHEMO II IS HISTORY
It was a very long day. We arrived at the
Markey Cancer Center at 9:00 AM and we departed at 4:35 PM .
The treatment went well and I feel great. My white blood count was NORMAL.
BigC is shriveling into nothingness.
Robin visited during her lunch break. It's really nice to have great family support.
Janet and I were exhausted so we were extremely pleased when we arrived home and found that Amy & Sarah Grace had a gourmet meal waiting for us.
Pork tenderloin, baked veggies and fish soup; it was delectable.
As they were preparing the meal Sarah said,
" I think this will help Papap feel more better...and when he is all done he can lay down for a nap."
Thank you Amy & Sarah Grace. I'll nap with a smile on my face.
How sweet it is.
August 14, 2008
OK, so I decided that the answer to this WBC problem is (drum roll)... EXERCISE.
But after spending two and a half minutes on the stationary bike, I decided there must be another answer.
Maybe eating is the answer.
Anyway, I created my little friend to exercise for me.
I'll handle the eating part.
Cross your fingers that chemo II will happen tomorrow.
Can I count this?
August 13, 2008
SAM STARTS SCHOOL TODAY!
Good luck Sam.
Have fun and learn.
Sarah will help you be brave Momma.
August 12, 2008
LOW WHITE BLOOD COUNT
It's a scary thing. I'm like a big, bald army going into battle without bullets.
It's so hard on Janet but she never complains.
Maybe we'll get some good news Friday.
In the mean time, Ruthie will be on guard.
Ruthie will give BigC a fright.
August 11, 2008
I don't know if the world is ready for it, but this visage is about to be bare again.
Hair is falling like snow in Vermont and I can already see splotchiness in my beard.
None of my grand kids have ever seen me without a beard.
Are they in for a shock.
No other afflictions to report today.
That's a good thing.
August 10, 2008
THINGS THAT WERE GREAT YESTERDAY
Sam got his splinter out.
I saw Forest and Bud; they looked terrific.
The chicken cacciatore was fabulous.
Brad, Matt and Jody are safely back from Las Vegas.
I feel good, my breathing is easy.
And, hopefully, the white blood count is improving.
Who could ask for more?
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
The beard is falling out like crazy.
Oh well, hair is highly overrated.
August 9, 2008
I don't like feeling vulnerable, hiding at home, running from germs, wearing a mask in public.
I want to fight but my hands are tied and Bigc is throwing all the punches.
It's a good thing I have Janet and the love of my family to keep me going.
Right now, I realize that nothing in this world is important except family and friends
When I look at all the pictures on this page, I realize how fortunate I am.
NEWS FLASH! Sam got his splinter out. He says Nanna is a miracle worker.
August 8, 2008
CHEMO II DAY
I like chemo days because Amy brings over the most incredible food.
Today I look forward to potato soup (like only she can make) for lunch.
For dinner we have chicken cacciatore and it looks scrumptious.
Thank You Amy
I've had a great week so now we'll see what new adventures chemo II will bring.
White blood count was too low. Chemo II was postponed until next friday.
I'm now officially a bubble boy.
Does that mean I've got to return the food?
Sam, would you share your silky with me?
August 7, 2008
Bud and I are all smiles. One chemo is completely history and I go for number 2 tomorrow.
I'm feeling great and I'm looking forward to getting on with the program.
I'm holding up better than Janet. She's working too hard and she worries too much.
Everyone have a great day!
August 6, 2008
I love this picture of Forest. Nanna and I have been thinking about her a lot.
We love you Forest.
Today's chemo surprise- MOUTH SORES!
It's my own fault though. I know the rules but yesterday I had meatloaf with ketchup on it, lemonade, and a crunchy energy bar.
I should have known better.
I've come to the conclusion that if you can breathe then you shouldn't complain.
Everything else is trivial by comparison and my breathing is great. I'll not be complaining.
On the positive side, these mouth sores have inspired me to start a chemo tips page.
If you're a cancer patient, check it out.
August 5, 2008
I just got word that Sam tested high enough to be placed in K1. He obviously takes after his Papap. Congratulations Sam!
I'm feeling good today and looking forward to doing a little genealogy research. Thank goodness for computers and the internet.
Good luck to Brad, Matt and Jody in Las Vegas.
I'm hoping I'll have three good days which will bring us to chemo II.
Everyone have a great day!
August 3, 2008
I took an inventory this morning and I'm happy to report that no parts fell off last night. Today promises to be a very good day.
THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY YESTERDAY:
Ruthie visited. She brought fresh vegetables from her garden and helped me wind the clock.
Sam and Sarah sent me pictures from the zoo.
I saw Merrytt at Kroger and she gave me her beautiful smile.
I saw Buddy briefly on his way to a nap (he stayed up all night).
We got a report that Forest, who will give us our first great grandchild in September, is doing very well.
We heard that Andy is enjoying Surf camp.
We know Abby is happy to be back to work and back to Ben.
Yesterday was a good day.
August 2, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY!
Amy is 29 today (you owe me).
Chemotherapy causes some interesting changes to the body. This morning I realized that 3 skin tags that I've had for years are gone.
I wonder what will fall off tomorrow?
August 1, 2008
Chemo + 7 days
Good news from the Doc today. All the numbers look good so we're full speed ahead for round 2 of chemo. Breathing is much better but energy levels are low.
Chemo is not for sissies.
5th Day After Chemo Report Card
July 30, 2008
All is well today. Nine toenails are safely intact and all systems are go. Fire mouth has lessened but continues to be a problem. Today I have a new entertainment - muscles on my chest and neck are twitching. It's like little pin point contractions and it's very distracting. I suppose it's some form of neuropathy designed to keep me awake and alert. It works.
I would like to thank everyone for the cards and emails. The love of family and friends is very important to me at this time.
July 29, 2008
4th Day After Chemo Report Card
I got off to a bad start today. Tripped on a step, knocked a toe nail completely off and scraped my knee. What a klutz. The strange thing is, I'm not normally klutzy. And this is at a time when the doc is warning me to be extra careful. Janet is a saint. I awoke her from a sound sleep to fix my toe. She really needed that on top of everything else. Thank you sweety.
On a good note, my beautiful Amy called and said she is bringing over some of her wonderful potato soup. Amy makes the best soup I've ever tasted.
All else seems fine, no nausea, no pain, iffy voice, fire mouth improving, breathing is still pretty good.
"Those that bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves." - James M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
July 28, 2008
Third Day After Chemo Report Card
FIRE MOUTH -FIRE MOUTH -OUCH-OUCH-OUCH
No nausea, breathing still improved, voice comes and goes, FIRE MOUTH HAS ARRIVED
Janet is my salvation. She shares each pain and disgusting symptom with me and she seems to have an unerring instinct about how I feel. It's impossible to lie to her. Having that kind of support gives me phenomenal strength.
LIFE IS STILL VERY GOOD.
July 27, 2008
Second Day After Chemo Report Card
No nausea, no pain, breathing still improved, hoarse voice and some choking last night but life is still good.
anti-nausea medicines: Emend Caps Trifold Pack & Dexamethasone Tabs 4MG
Since BigC has wrapped around my trachea, esophagus, and heart, I can probably expect some discomfort as his ugly tentacles lose their grip and shrivel into oblivion. This is a good thing. BigC has had free rein for awhile; now I'm fighting back.
My Arizona grandchildren have gone back and I'm saddened that I didn't get to visit with them much this trip. As you can see they are very beautiful and they are wonderful people. After BigC's demise I can make up lost time. Bye Abby and Andy.
Abby, Robin, Andy
Are they not beautiful?
MORE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
MATT, MICHELLE & RUTHIE
MICHAEL & MERRYTT
July 26, 2008
The Day After Chemo Report Card
No nausea, no pain, no after affects, breathing 80% better, life is good.
anti-nausea medicines: Emend Caps Trifold Pack & Dexamethasone Tabs 4MG
I want to tell you about two of my heroes and role models. Buddy, the SWOOSH man, and Brad have both endured serious hospital stays and they came through like champs. While I was hospitalized I was inspired by their examples. They both faced life threatening situations and maintained their composure, dignity and humor. I had a couple of hard acts to follow. Thanks guys. For the sake of full disclosure I must admit that they are my son and grandson. Two great people.
BTW, this picture was taken a few months ago. Wait until you see Brad now.
This Is Kroger's Biggest Loser.
This is Brad. Yes, the same Brad that you see above. On January 1, 2008 Brad entered Kroger's biggest loser contest in Lexington, Kentucky. The purpose of the contest was to see who could lose the most weight by July 4, 2008. Brad lost an astounding 114 pounds and he looks great! How did he do it? Pure willpower.
WAY TO GO BRAD
Brad at 215 pounds
July 25, 2008
Art by Matt
Yesterday's CT scan showed that my breathing difficulties are a result of BigC's continued growth, wrapping around my trachea, esophagus and heart but today we started fighting back. The scoundrel got his first taste of technology this morning and he's shriveling into a wad of nothingness as we speak. The first session of chemo is history. Janet and I spent the whole day with some of the nicest people you can imagine and at the end of the day I feel great; Janet is exhausted and BigC is retreating. I don't have any significant side effects except a runaway appetite and my left ear fell off. JUST KIDDING, my appetite remains at a healthy level. Amy fixed a scrumptious dinner for us and we wolfed it down like a couple of piranha. Thank you Amy. Matt provided me with the first actual picture of BigC. I don’t know how Matt does it – must be some giant computer assisted electron microscope thingy. I plan to have a restful evening and tomorrow I’ll let you know about the day after.
July 24, 2008
GLOWING BRIGHTLY TODAY
I completed my fifth CT scan in less than two months, along with 2 x-rays a PET scan, MUGA scan, heart cath, quadruple bypass, bone marrow biopsy, mediastinal biopsy, pulminary function test and who knows what else. Hopefully, we'll figure out this breathless thing. Matt called today to check on progress. It reminded me that he had sent us some great pictures of Ruthie. She's 17 months and as you can see, very precocious and beautiful. I'm told that she's exactly like her Papap. OK, OK I made up that last part. Ruthie and Sarah and Sam and Andy and Buddy and Abby and Forest and Merrytt and Michael and Matt and Michelle and Amy and Greg and Brad and Tonya and Robin and my Mother, Shirley and my wonderful wife, Janet are the reasons that I MUST kick BigC's butt. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a good start. It'll get it's first taste of ABVD.
TAKE THAT YOU BEAST
Because of my breathing problems I'm scheduled for ANOTHER CT scan tomorrow. Amy says I would make a good night light and I think she's right. If you see a beacon pointing up into the Kentucky sky. it's probably me glowing through the sky light. I guess it's necessary though. It's getting harder to sleep at night because I can't breathe when I lie down. I was hoping the chemo would shrink the tumor and fix the whole breathing issue but I guess we need to know what's causing the problem.
July 22, 2008
Our children are Robin, Brad, Amy and Matt. Robin has two children, Abbey and Andy. Brad and Tonya have three children, Merrytt, Forest and Buddy. Amy and Greg have two children, Sam and Sarah. Matt and Michelle have Ruthie.
Amy, Sam and Sarah joined us for lunch today at the local hog trough buffet (Golden Corral). They are such a joy. It’s impossible to be grumpy with Sam and Sarah around. I’ll miss out on a lot of visiting with the munchkins when I start chemo because we’ve all agreed that I shouldn’t have the exposure to germs. I need to discuss that with the docs because the grandchildren change so quickly and I don’t want to miss out. Two of our older grandchildren, Abby and Andy, are going back to Arizona tomorrow and I barely got to visit with them because of the stupid BigC.
My breathing is a little better today and I slept fairly well last night. Janet is freaking out over the breathing thing but after talking online with several people I believe it’s just part of the bypass surgery recovery. We’ll see how it plays out with the chemo. I sure hope it won’t delay anything because I’m scheduled to start treatments in three days and I don’t want anything to delay that. The sooner I can get this thing out of my body the better.
Amy, Greg, Sam & Sarah
July 21, 2008
The bypass surgery is almost healed and everything is making good progress except my breathing. I don’t know if it’s related to the surgery or allergies, but it’s keeping me from sleeping and I know I’m acting grumpy most of the time.It’s a good thing I’ve stored up a few “attaboys” over the years; I’m sure making withdrawals right now. Waiting is hard. My first chemo is Friday and I find myself obsessing about everything: Is that a new pain? Is my breathing worse today? Is that a lump in my neck? Poor Janet is carrying a huge burden right now and I’m making everything about me, me, me, so I’ve got to stop obsessing and get on with life
July 8, 2008
TO PORT OR NOT TO PORT
Had my port installed today. They cut just above the collar bone and insert a tube several inches into a large vein which feeds directly into the heart. Then they cut about a 1" opening about 3" below the first cut pulling the tube under the skin and connect it to the port which they install in the lower opening. They sew you up and VOILA, you have a port installed. This port will allow delivery of chemo and other medicines directly into the bloodstream. It also allows the nurses to take blood so it reduces the number of needle sticks that you must endure. I'm glad I went this route. The surgery wasn't bad but make sure you get pain pills because when the local wears off you hurt! They forgot to give me pills and I was too ignorant to ask so I had a miserable night.
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