Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years!

I would like to wish everyone a wonderful 2009! If you had a great 2008 than I hope it's even better, If 2008 stank (like ours did) then I sincerely hope it improves. I just plan to take each day as it comes and enjoy that day to the max. If 2009 stinks, then at least I'll have these pleasant things to remember! Yesterday Larry was watching Saturday Night Live on DVD, with headphones, I'll always remember the sound of his laughter- it's been pretty rare this year.

I've been re-arranging the basement, or at least my part of it, the last couple of days. Lots of work and hopefully a better working arrangement. I need a bigger space dedicated to my sewing and research, we need a bigger space for TV watching. Finding the balance is hard. Maybe this time. The real problem is that we have too much stuff! I'm working on that as well. I should finish the final touches tonight or tomorrow and find a place for everything. I need a different arrangement for the recycling which currently threatens to overrun us--told Larry I needed to quit bringing in so much stuff! Perhaps then I can sew.

We have decided, I think, to fly to Hawaii and take a cruise around the islands in February. Larry doesn't want to go to Hawaii and not be able to get in the ocean and so wants to wait until he's rid of the wound vac. I hope that's soon and the way it's healing I think it will be.

Again, best wishes in 2009! Enjoy it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, again

Sorry I haven't posted in a while but we've been on the Christmas tilt-a-whirl! Okay, sometimes it felt like it but it was really fun! We had an exceptional Christmas day here, unwrapping of the gifts in North Pole central began about 8:30 and continued until 12:30! We have begun a new tradition since children began moving out, when those who live here are all up we open our socks. Yes, I still make stocking gifts for everyone, Larry makes mine, and in some ways they are the most fun and most anticipated gifts of all! Go figure. Then we open one gift every 30 minutes until the rest get to our house when we open until they are gone but we open them one person at a time so we can see what everyone else is getting. Part of the fun is to watch the reaction of the person you bought the gift for after all. I think everyone was happy with their gifts, both large and small. After gifting we moseyed toward dinner, with my extended family; my father and both brothers as well as Jessie, Jim's wife. Many hands helped cook and set up the tables. We went back to moving all the living room furniture into the kitchen and the kitchen table, bench and chairs into the living room to make one large table (everyone wants to be at the big table and be able to talk to everyone else.) We used Mom's dishes again on the gold chargers set this time on green table cloths. It was very pretty and even though my rolls were a complete disaster dinner was terrific. Then on Friday, Scott and Bri who had been in St Louis for Christmas day joined us and we repeated gifting and had a big mexican spread. I took Saturday off cooking but on Sunday we celebrated Tanya's birthday! See what I mean? Tilt-a-whirl!

Today, Larry and I headed back to the VA as he was scheduled for Chemo but they had people stacked up like cord wood and one nurse out so we rescheduled for Friday. We had a couple of other things to clear up over there and the day that was planned to finish early morphed into our leaving in time to go out for lunch at Olive Garden; soup, salad and breadsticks always a winner for us. Since we got home I've been trying to clean up a bit, can't believe how much cardboard there is I think it may take two loads to get the recycling to the center! Rob took the outside lights down as it is a nice day and only the snowflakes worked--our icicle lights were a disaster this year! Rob and Tanya have plans for next year, I told them to go for it!

I hope to make some progress on the rest of the house, especially my desk and sewing area. I should be able to manage some work between shouting MIZ -ZOU during the Alamo Bowl! GO TIGERS!

I hope you are enjoying this holiday week and that 2009 proves to be a good year for you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

I just wanted to take a minute now to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! We are looking forward to a great one. Some how our living room has become North Pole central it's so stuffed with gifts! We are blessed in spite of everything with loving and local (distant too) children and just being with them is a gift! Our challenges continually bring to mind the need to savor every minute of every day, to see the beauty and love that surrounds us. May you be blessed in 2009.


Friday, December 19, 2008

He's home again!

Well, we finally made it home today about 6:45pm. We knew early in the day that he'd be going home but had to wait for the Dr to change his wound vac and for the portable wound vac to arrive. Changing this thing will be an ordeal for a while (like months) as there are foam sponges inside his thigh. The theory is that the sponges soak up the fluid which develop and collect in the space left by the tumor and the wound vac sucks them gently out. The wound itself is not closed by stitches and the sponge/vac allows it to heal from the inside out. Translate, big scar. There is also some evidence that it helps the lymphatic system recover from radiation/surgery faster. Unfortunately, this is not a speedy process and what progress there is will be slowed by chemo beginning again on the 29th. We will have a home heath nurse until I feel I can do it, which is basically now. I will be nervous but I'll manage. Due to the platelets and lack of coumadin before surgery we are back to twice daily shots to thin his blood, urgh!

We don't have Doctor's appointments until Monday, I'm so ready to stay home! Larry's ready to sleep in his own bed and not have someone wake him for vitals at some outrageous hour! Nearly ready for Santa's big day here, it will prove to be a good one!

No matter how often I re-read these things as soon as I post it I find something wrong, be patient!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good News! No Infection!

Test results are back and show no infection in the leg. Already the thigh has lost some of it's puffiness and all it's redness and heat, his leg and ankle are still swollen but that will just take some time. He says that as long as he doesn't move it doesn't hurt and the pain isn't too bad anyway. Perhaps he's becoming used to pain? He can't feel the wound vac either but it sounds like he's about to leave the ground! (Larry says it sounds like a motorcycle and Rob likes he's reving his engines!) Dr. Allen, his oncologist, was very encouraged by the news and despite the fact that the vac remains in until the wound heals from the inside out chemo will begin again on the 29th. Begin again is the right way to say it as it truly is starting over. The wound vac he currently has is the size of a small suitcase and weighs a ton but he's to get a portable one that runs on batteries and straps to his leg, can't wait to see that!

I'm home early as the roads are expected to get icy tonight and Larry worries. Never mind that I'm headed out to finish my shopping-never a favorite event for me and I certainly cannot even attempt to attain either Lucas' or Rob and Tanya's level of bargain shopping! I actually only have one more gift to buy and then I have to head to the pet store for frisbee's as all ours are buried under snow. The dogs have suffered a lack of my attention this year and it sometimes shows, I'm hoping to do better next year. They deserve new toys for being my faithful buddies no matter what. Larry has the cats, who never let him forget it! Rob and Tanya are going to meet me for dinner out then I'm for the sewing room again! My Christmas cards are to be done as well but that will likely be tomorrow's chore.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Surgery No 4

That's right, he's had four surgeries on his right leg! One, open biopsy, two, tumor removal, three drain insertion, and four vacuum drain insertion. We both vehemently hope this is the last one. Everything went well, it was about 12 before he went off to the surgery suite as he had to be given platelets to increase his clotting time beforehand. Dr. Templeton, who did both the open biopsy and the tumor removal, did the surgery. She said that visually it did not appear to be infected but sent some fluid off to be tested to be sure. Thinks it is still the lymph nodes that were damaged by both radiation and surgery causing all the trouble. He was resting comfortably when I left and has since eaten a full dinner. I don't expect him home before Friday as I have to learn to change the sponge and tubing on this drain. I am glad there is no infection as they were planning to send him home on IV antibiotics, that seems somewhat intimidating to me! Oh well, we just do today what needs to be done and keep on learning more stuff. Really, I couldn't give a shot before this year!

My house is a wreck and it seems that all the cleaning earlier was for nothing, sigh. Perhaps when I get him home again it will spiff up quickly. Tonight I'm heading for the basement to do a little sewing and watch tv until I go to bed. All this waiting is unreasonably tiring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No surgery today

Larry's surgery was postponed today. His blood clotting levels were too high (meaning he might bleed too much) so it was rescheduled for tomorrow first thing. This is what they want when they put you on Cumadin! First things translates into anything after 7:30am. He was admitted though and is in room 3210, phone number 816-922-5817. His spirits are pretty good even though he really doesn't want to do this-ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

We got 3-4 inches of snow today, I went shopping this morning, I love shopping when it's snowing and there's no one out--well I didn't go to the grocery store they are usually swamped! I've finished my shopping for the most part. I'm still thinking about a couple of things for Larry and I have some things I'm making to finish. Christmas will be good this year if Larry and I have anything to say about it!

I'll be at the hospital about 7 tomorrow and will post tomorrow night again with the latest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Interesting" Cat Scans

Dr. Allen's first words were: "These cat scans are really interesting." To which I replied, I don't want to hear that! Larry has a large pocket of infection in the leg at the site where the tumor was removed and the little buggies that are causing the infection have created air pockets there. Did you know they could do that? The things you learn. Anyway, we went over to see our good Dr Duncan in Orthopedics and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to reopen the leg, drain it and clean it. Will most likely put a vacumn drain on it this time and he'll be in the hospital for a few days on IV antibiotics. There's talk of sending him home on IV antibiotics, man the things I've learned how to do this year! Chemo is on hold until this is cleared up, maybe until after Christmas. Oh, by the way, the cat scans were interesting.

In other, less depressing news, We had all the children here on Sunday for a pre-Christmas celebration and a little package opening since the California kids went home today. I put them on a plane tonight, they were looking forward to San Diego Weather 9F degrees is too cold they think! At the end of the party Larry's Mom, Sister Marie, Niece Kristi and G-neice Alayna came by on their way home from the airport. Alayna had decorated cookies for all of us and they were adorable, Since she isn't even old enough for school they were amazing and very sweet of her!

I am nearly ready for Christmas, I was better situated before today but I'll make it, I think. I had gotten to a place where I was going to be able to just sew but I think there's a kink in that plan!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chemo Week two a no go

Larry was scheduled for chemo today but his white blood count was too low for it. Not dangerously low but low. That's one of the side effects of this chemo regimen plus he has something going on in his thigh which is likely to be an infection and that lowers white counts. The only thing to do for it is to wait and it will come up on its own. He's on antibiotics for the leg and is scheduled for a CTscan on that right hip and thigh Thursday evening. We tried to outsmart the system today. it didn't work. We decided that he'd go in and have his port accessed and blood drawn then come home and I 'd fix breakfast then we'd go back--not to be, he called about 8:30 and said he had an appointment at 9 with his oncologist so I quickly drove over to the VA. We had two cars there. After seeing Dr Allen, the Pharmacy, and getting his port tubes out we got home about 11:00, starving.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday, a sewing day

Yesterday, Larry and I took care of some nagging details--the icicle lights that didn't work now light up our house and we are no longer drowning in recycling to name two. We also got the tree up, so the decorating is done! Larry set up an oval for his old "O" scale train under the tree this year and I added other of our toys from childhood. It looks cute even though it cuts down on present space! After that Larry was going to watch the MU-OU game and since I didn't particularly want to see them get creamed I went to the basement to sew. I finished one of my never-ending shopping bag projects, only about 9 to go, then I worked on blocks for Brayden's quilt. Today I have made more blocks, it's such fun and even fabrics I thought might not work or might not work well together are working out. I'm shooting for 10 blocks a day so that next week I can make the quiltlets. I hope it comes out cute enough for them to use it as his bedspread but even if it doesn't he will have a warm quit made with love by his Granna.

Speaking of Brayden, he was here for a while on Friday evening while Mommy and Daddy went Christmas shopping. He enjoyed playing with all those old toys, and reading books. He knows where we keep the candy and now always wants a "butterscotch," he nearly always gets one! Strangely, he never asks for more than one. I'll be picking him up at school tomorrow and we are going to Bass Pro to see the trains etc. Should be fun!

Larry, goes in bright and early tomorrow for his week two chemo. He has to have blood work and will ask them about his leg. He continues to have pain in the right leg and it swells and gets red as the day goes by. We are hoping the problems cause a spurt in activity on the Drs part as he is still not scheduled for imaging on it.

We're headed out to dinner soon, Cracker Barrel here we come! It's one place we can be sure to find food he can eat so we go there if we go out. It would be pretty discouraging to order food and not be able to eat it. Every day we look for more foods that he can eat but it's pretty limited and there's no rhyme nor reason to it, we both get frustrated with it. Other than the leg and the food things his only other problem is that he tires easily, not as bad as we expected.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mid-week crazies

I'm trying something new here, adding photos! I pick Brayden up on Mondays from day care so we can spend time together and he loves Thomas the Tank engine trains. This is the layout he and Larry built this last Monday-it took up nearly the entire entry floor! I think they both had a ball, even though Larry complained about it being hard on the knees!

We went out and bought a snow thrower today. We'd avoided it so far but we have a lot of driveway (and parking lot) needing to be shoveled-sometimes. Also our helpers Rob and Tanya are just too busy this year to shovel, Larry does not have the strength and I have shoulder issues so a big hulking snow thrower has taken up residence here. It probably won't snow all winter now. I used to say that the winters when all the children had boots, gloves, snowpants etc were the ones with no snow, let me get behind on that and we got feet of the stuff!

I've gotten most of the decorations up and we plan to do the tree on the weekend. Saturday is to be warmer so we plan to get some outside stuff caught up. We need to work on the icicle lights and put the snow thrower together, I will probably mow leaves one last time as well. All before the MU-Oklahoma game!

Monday, December 1, 2008

CT news-Some good, some bad

I know everyone is awaiting news from Larry's CT scan last week so here goes. The good news is that there are no NEW places in his lungs, the bad news is that none of the old ones gone and two had grown a little. There is a little good news there as well as it was only a little not doubled or anything. This means that the course of chemo he was on isn't working so today he began a new course with different meds. These are administered on a out patient basis in a three week cycle, one today, one next Monday and then one off. After the second cycle he'll have another CTscan, probably the first week in January, the judge the effectiveness of this course. The good thing here being not admitted to the hospital AND the fact that there are fewer side effects to this stuff. He has been having some pain in the hip where the tumor was and will have some imaging of it in the near future as well. It could be a nerve, or arthur or more tumor, we have to wait and see.

I need to go get my little guy from day care, talk later.