Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Growing Fast

Patty's hair continues to grow back fast. We thought it wouldn't begin to grow back until her chemo was complete but evidently the Taxotere doesn't effect hair growth in some people. Her energy is still low but otherwise she is feeling OK.

I've got a bunch of things I want to blog about but I haven't been able to sit down and pound them out. Being the perfectionist I am, sometimes it takes me an hour to type, edit, type, edit again, and on and on before I'm somewhat satisfied that what I've written is suitable for reading.

Another reason I haven't posted much this week is I've been down and out with a dental issue. I had a two old fillings and a new crown down last week and up until today they have been killing me. I suffered through the weekend and then finally went back to the dentist on Monday so he could look at it. He said it was fine that probably the roots were a little traumatized (yea, no kidding). So he sent me home with the "take some tylenol" advice. After one hour of sleep on Monday night I called him back and said if I'm going to have to wait it out he is going to have to give me something for the pain which, he did. So last night I'm laying in bed and its still hurting despite the pain medicine and I'm having dreams of future root canals. At that point I realized I hadn't even prayed about it so I did. I get up today and it doesn't hurt.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Life Worth Emulating

Patty and Katie performed "I AM" again today for a group at Inskip Baptist church. Patty said it went really well. I never imagined the day that Patty would not mind performing on stage. She continues to surprise me. She is feeling better. Strangely enough her hair is growing back sooner than we thought.

I went to the funeral last night of our first volunteer at St. Mary's North. His name was Roy Perkey. Roy was loved by everyone and we were shocked to hear of his passing. He had just worked last Wednesday and died Friday morning. I am going to truly miss his presence. He always made sure to ask how I was doing. Little did I know the width and breadth of Roy's life until attending the funeral and speaking with Roy's family at the funeral. He was truly loved and rightly so. Below are a few words taken from a written eulogy for him

Roy worked for many years at Fulton Sylphon. A union man, his job for many years was chief inspector of the company's control products. As was true throughout his life, Roy was greatly loved and appreciated by his co-workers. They knew he could always be counted on in a time of need.

In his later years, especially after his wife of 55 years passed away in 1996, Roy worked regularly as a volunteer with several ministries: Western Heights Baptist Center, Mobile Meals, Habitat for Humanity, and St. Mary's Hospital.

Each year Roy planted and cultivated a vegetable garden. As the years went by, the garden became smaller, but he always had some tomatoes, okra, beans, squash, and a little corn. He would delight in loading his family up with fresh tomatoes when they came to town or stopped by for a visit.

Roy loved his church. Throughout his life he was an active Baptist laymen - teaching Sunday School and Training Union, serving on many committees, and serving as a deacon.

His greatest wish was to live life to the fullest until the end, and then to peacefully join his wife and Savior in heaven. His family is pleased his wish has come true. Roy's smile and kind words will be missed by his loving family, as well as his family in Christ.

I can only aspire to live a life as full of love and service as his. I imagine on Friday morning our Lord and Savior greeted Roy with the words "well done, good and faithful servant."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back is Better, Taste is Not

One of the side effects I haven't discussed on here much is the loss of taste. The reason being I guess is this is a side effect that doesn't cause pain but it does cause frustration. Patty says that things either don't taste the same or not much at all. Some people have described a metal taste but she has not experienced this - thankfully.

Her back is continually improving. Last night she said she just didn't feel good. I think this is the cumulative effect of the chemotherapy on your body. Her blood counts have been lower each visit and I suspect they will be low upon her next treatment. Hopefully they will not be low enough to have to postpone the treatment. Pray that her blood counts will be up for her next treatment which should be on Feburary 8th.

It was 21 degrees this morning. Cold. Real cold, to me at least. Until I was reading some friend's or ours blog who live in Minnesota and they had mentioned it was -8! YIKES! I was beginning to think Tennessee was the new Florida with the balmy temperatures we have experienced this winter. Patty doesn't like it but unless its going to snow I'll take it warm please.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Herceptin Tx Today / Faith

Patty is scheduled to come in for her weekly Herceptin treatment today. This one currently hasn't caused her any major issues. It can affect her heart and thus they have to due scans on her heart ever so often.

She hasn't recovered from the back pain she gets from the Neulasta shot as quickly this time. I think this has had her concerned but it begin to improve yesterday. I think she is just not recovering from the shot as quickly as she has in the past.

In Bible Study we are working through a study on who Jesus is. It is a study by Serendipity House called Knowing Jesus. Last night's topic was Jesus, the Healer. We were discussing the passage in Matthew 9:18-34 where Jesus heals a little girl, a woman with a lengthy illness, two blind men, and a man who was possessed. All different types of healing. At some time we all need healing, whether it emotionally or physically. The common theme with every one of these individuals who were healed was that they had absolute faith that Jesus could heal them. After the woman and the blind men were healed Jesus tells them, "your faith has healed you", "According to your faith.." The key emphasis throughout the study was our faith. Not faith that he might heal us. But faith that he will heal us.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

An October Moment with God

Patty did better today and I think is on the upswing for the most part. Hopefully this will continue tomorrow.

I wrote the following piece when our church had to meet outside on a crisp October morn due to the gym floor at "Brickey Church" as many of our church children so eloquently describe it, was being resurfaced. As you'll see I was distracted by the beauty of God's visible church. Enjoy.

"We're having church outside. Its cool, the sun is warm on my back, the sky is clear and blue. Blue, deep sky blue. Not even a whisper of a cloud to distract from its beauty. The trees on the ridge, tall and amber, crimson and stout, are waving in concert to me as I sit in admiration of God's canvas. A lone speck floats over the horizon swaying to and fro with the breath of the wind. A bird spreading his wings and floating on God's providence for him. As I sat while we were praying and once again felt the embrace of the sun upon my skin I wondered, . . . how valuable is that to me?"

This could have went on further but the situation prevented such. The sermon probably begin to warm up at this point and precluded further writing. But as I read it again the other day, I'm glad it didn't continue because it concluded with a poignant question that I have yet to answer.

Patty Update and Popcorn Showers

Patty started feeling bad on Saturday afternoon. It started with her neck and then eventually worked its way down to her lower back. By Sunday morning she was feeling completely wiped out. This lasted for the whole day and probably will continue throughout today and hopefully she will begin to fill a little better tomorrow.

Both days she was able to rest. Tracy came and got the three oldest to take to play at her house for most of the day on Saturday. And then on Saturday evening I took Katie and Grant to the UT men's basketball game with my dad. What an adventure that was.

We got the tickets from Katie's school at a reduced rate. I should have realized that the price of the ticket is inversely proportional to the height of the seat. How high you ask? How about the second row from rafters! My dad was about to have a heart attack he had to climb so high. Remember that law of physics you learned in high school about heat rising? Its true. It was smoking up there. Grant's cheeks were red like he had a fever.

Amazingly, Grant lasted the whole game. He got a little restless towards the end but on the whole he did better than I expected. He even got a little spirit towards the end and started yelling "shoot it in the basket!" He found that comical as he would turn and look to us as if saying "how was that!" The only mishap during the game was when Grant was munching on some popcorn and suddenly had to sneeze which, was unfortunate for the boy sitting in front of him. I was about to die when the boy, who was around the age of 7, turned around to see who had given him a "munched" popcorn shower. Grant just kept on eating like nothing had happened. So, I had to give him the "cover your mouth when you sneeze" spill which promptly exited out the other ear I'm sure.

The highlight of the game for me was when they announced that Vanderbilt beat Kentucky! A good friend of mine, who unfortunately is a UK fan, was at the game. So, he attends his first game of the year at home and they lose to Vandy! lol... How long has it been since the Kentucky has lost at home to Vandy? I bet he was pained to see it. Boy, I bet that was a long drive home.

Yesterday, I got everybody up and ready and headed out to church so Patty could stay home and rest. It was a challenge as it was raining and we were a little late but we managed. Randy and Kim Rhodes brought some homemade chicken noodle soup last night. I don't know which one of them cooked it but they need to put in an application to the Food Network cause it was deliche'! (Is that an official word?)

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Patty Treatment Update

Patty's treatment went well yesterday. Well meaning no incidents or reactions. She has been tired a lot lately and she found out why yesterday. Her red blood cell counts were below number. When these are low you begin to feel really tired. So she had to have a shot to try to increase these cells. She'll go for her Neulasta shot today which will have her totally wiped out by tomorrow through Monday. I could tell yesterday that she had been taking the steroids she has to take before, during, and after the chemo. She was on the edge a little. She has to take those today as well so hopefully their effect will abate by Sunday.

The bright spot of my day yesterday was the Mynatt's bringing my favorite meal, Wishbone's. They have the best chicken tenders in town. Me and the kids played hide and seek after baths and dinner while Patty rested. They're still at the age where they don't realize you have to be quiet when you're hiding if you don't want to be found.

After I got them in the bed I decided to have a night with no tv and sat down to listen to James Dobson's online radio broadcast of the "Strong Willed Child." I had been wanting to listen to it ever since I saw the topic in his daily email but, I listened for about 10 minutes and I was so tired I killed over on the couch until about 1:46 a.m. I can tell when I get a good night's sleep because I wake up about an hour before the alarm clock.

Pray that Patty will not suffer the usual effects from the Neulasta shot.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Treatment Tomorrow

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. We were away and I didn't have internet access. Since we've been back I've jumped back in to what appears to be regular life but, knowing its not. How do I know? Patty has another treatment tomorrow.

This will be treatment number 7 of 8-9, for the lack of a better term, "big" chemo treatments. Once these are complete Patty will continue the weekly Herceptin infusions until the end of this year. She may also receive radiation treatments after the "big" chemo treatments as well. This would take about 7 weeks of daily treatment excluding the weekends. Cancer treatment is a long road. A long road of uncertainty. With that I feel God is walking with us and I appreciate the company.

We have small group tonight and I have to attend a funeral visitation beforehand so its going to be a long day. But in my eyes a long day is better than none at all.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Get Away

Patty's throat is still bothering her and it may be related to the chemotherapy. Sometimes with chemotherapy you can get mouth or throat ulcers. Thus, they've prescribed her what in our field is commonly referred to as "Magic Mouthwash." I'm not sure what all is in it but its a cocktail of different ingredients that the pharmacist has to mix up at the pharmacy. Sounds yummy! Basically it numbs your throat and esophagus. I'm going to need some if I don't get over this cold. I've taken everything under the sun trying to tough it out. I've had about 100 cough drops, echinacea w/ vitamin C, more cough drops, sinus congestion relief pills, more cough drops. I'm looking into buying stock for Hall menthol drops.

Our church community group (7 couples) that meets for Bible study on Wednesday nights is heading up for a retreat this weekend in Townsend. Patty went up yesterday for a girl's getaway and the men are going to join them tonight. Then the men are going to stay an extra day to have a day of "male bonding", lol...

Unfortunately, only 5 of the couples are getting to go but we're looking forward to having a good time. Basically just going to watch some movies, play some games, and maybe go on a hike. But most of all enjoy some moments of sanity away from the kiddos. I'm hoping Patty will get a little rejuvenated and refreshed after a looooooong five months and another long year ahead. Laverne and her daughter are manning ours for the next couple of days. What a Godsend they are.

Five months since her diagnosis, hard to believe. I pray the next five will a little easier. Everybody have a great weekend.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Experience of Blogging

Patty is feeling better but still is suffering from a nagging sore throat. Everybody else seems to be doing better but me :( . Patty is now all of a sudden in a puzzle phase. She broke one out of the closet, a 1000 piece Wizard of Oz puzzle, and put it together in a couple of days. I come home last night and there are 6 new puzzles boxes laying on the table waiting to be put together. I had worked on one at the cabin over Christmas that somebody had received and I think this got the wheels in her head turning towards working a puzzle. So come on over and help if you feel the urge.

It seems like almost everyday now I run into someone that says they've been reading the blog which, at the time scares me to death because I immediately start thinking to myself 'did I reveal to much information about something or did I say something I shouldn't have?' I'm sure a look of concern crosses my face. Truthfully, it is a fine line to balance while blogging. Many times I have typed a post only to delete it because either I felt it was revealing too much of my personal feelings or that it may be construed the wrong way.

I've considering starting an anonymous blog where I can really spell out what I'm thinking or just to have an avenue to vent without any fear of the repercussions of such. I think it would be enlightening for those who haven't faced this situation and comforting for those who have as well as being therapeutic for me. Now, I know you're thinking, 'well you could do that here and nobody would be judgmental' but I say to that, we're all human and while we think and try our best not to be judgmental...we are.

Anyway, this blog was created to provide insight to Patty's Journey, hence the name, through this trying time. I thank each and everyone one of you for diligently reading the blog, praying for us, and interacting with us through your comments and emails. I encourage you to continue to do so and to share this blog with your friends and families that either might join in praying for us as well or that might have faced or is facing a similar situation.

You would not believe the consistent visitors from all over the country and the world we have to the blog.

From Knoxville, TN, all the way to Southern Australia.

From St. Paul, MN to Gainesville, FL.

From Dallas, TX to Charleston, SC.

Thanks to each of you whoever you maybe.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Patty had a real bad headache last night. The reason I know it was bad was she actually asked for some pain medicine. If you know Patty that's a rare thing. She very much dislikes taking any kind of medicine. Hopefully she'll turn the corner here soon.

Today is Patty's birthday so "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" birthday girl!

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The "Cold" House

Patty is recovering from the Neulasta shot finally but now has this terrible cold I've had, Grant's had, and Brett's had. It seems like the girls have avoided it but its probably just a matter of time. I started getting it right before Christmas and am still suffering its full effect. This has got to be one of the worst colds I've ever had. It just seems to drain any energy you have which, is not good for Patty. Her stomach and back have been bothering her as well. It seems she's goes from one hump to the next. Taxotere is known to cause neuropathy and I think she's concerned that she is experiencing some of those effects. Hopefully not.

With all these side effects her spirits have not been the best. I do my best to encourage her but I think I continually fail in this arena. Whether its my approach, style, content, or outright ineptness I'm beginning to think there is nothing I can do to overcome her past experience with her mother. No matter how many positive outcomes I've seen, experienced, or read about and share with her I haven't been able to overcome this negative experience she had. The Bible says in Proverbs, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Pray that Patty's hope bubbles over in abundance.

Patty turns 37 tomorrow. So everybody wish her a Happy Birthday. She really enjoys reading all the comments that are sent. I think it lets her know that there are people still out there that are truly concerned and praying for her.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My Girls

Chemo Tip #1 - Don't Cook With Your Expensive Wig On

Patty started feeling better this morning and continued to improve throughout the day. Hopefully this will continue tomorrow.

This is as good a time as any to share a humorous story that happened to us over the holidays. We had been up to Pigeon Forge on Christmas Eve to visit with my family from out of town. We left in the late afternoon to get home and prepare for my aunt's annual Christmas Eve party. Patty always fixes an appetizer or two to take for the party.

When she was getting ready she was complaining that she thought her wig wasn't looking as good as it originally did. I told her it looked fine. Regardless, she spent a lot of time trying to fix it right before we left and when she was done it looked great. I proceeded to load up the vehicle with gifts, kids, etc. and Patty went to finish up the food to bring out to the car. After putting something in the car I turned around to go back in and met Patty coming out with some of the food. I stopped and did a double take because her hair now looked the hair below.

Well, maybe not that bad but I asked her what happened to her hair and immediately the dreaded female "fear of bad hair" look washed across her face. I told her she needed to go look in the mirror. I followed her in and asked what had she done to it. She said that she just got the food out of the oven. Evidently, she got a little too cozy with the oven which, was on 450, and the fake hair got a little...shall we say - well done, sizzled to be exact. Panic immediately set in as we were supposed to be there soon. Out flew the hair gel/mousse and of course the scissors along with a few choice words. Well, maybe not the choice words but it sounded good to write.

Needless to say, she made it presentable and now a new one is on the way. With stuff like this you just have to laugh. So, I did. Although, I don't think she did and thus I expect revenge soon.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year Not Starting Out Well

Patty has been pretty sick today. She made it from the bed to the couch but that is about it. She started feeling nauseous when she got up and got sick later when she tried to take some medicine. The rest of the time she has been sleeping when I can keep the boys from bothering her. I was hoping that she would continue to do better today but it just wasn't to be.

Back to work tomorrow. Hopefully she will be better tomorrow as the girls don't go back to school until Wednesday. Katie has an eye appointment for her strabismus early so I'll probably take her for that. Managing all four is a task for a healthy person let alone someone not feeling well.

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