Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Patty's Last Major Chemo Treatment Tomorrow!

Wow. I apologize for the long delay in posting. It seems like things have been extremely busy at home and at work over the last week leaving me little time to "effectively" blog. I know, "yea , right. You couldn't find time throughout the whole week?" I stand corrected and humbly throw myself on the mercy of the readership! I intended to blog yesterday but Blogger was down for most of the day yesterday. But fear not! I'll be consistently posting updates on Patty's condition throughout this next treatment.

Anyway, Patty's last major chemo treatment is tomorrow. #9 in all. (Sidebar: I just erased almost a whole paragraph. I'm beginning to really respect "real" journalists, if there is such a thing anymore, the more I "write" myself. It's tough work to pound out what you're thinking in your head and translate it into a format that doesn't allow expression, inflection, or tone to shine through. And, at the same time 'get the point across.' Not to mention correctly formatting it grammatically. But I digress.) She's done much better than I expected. She seems to be feeling fairly well lately. She'll start the steroids today which can lead to a little irritability so we'll cut a little slack over the weekend ;). Her hair continues to grow back at a fast pace. She even asked me the other day is she should just go without it. I'm kicking myself for not doing a weekly "dome" shot to document the growth for everyone. I don't think it will be long before she sheds the 'artificial locks' and fears the oven no more! lol...

As I contemplate this last treatment, I feel some deep thoughts coming on as Patty enters turn 4 and throws her efforts towards crossing the finish line. But alas, I don't have the time to express them now.

Ironically enough, today I'm meeting with a director from Komen for the Cure Foundation (formerly the Susan B. Komen Foundation) to discuss our Cancer Centers and our services for breast cancer patients. Boy, she'll never know how much I "really" know about our services.

Below you will find some previously promised pictures from the last few weeks. Enjoy!

Princess Prep

Snow White & Her Fellow Princesses

The "Real" Princesses

Icicles On The Cabin

Patty, Myself, Beth, & Chuck

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weekend Update

Patty and I had a great time up in the Smokies this past weekend. She did well all except for an extremely sore throat. We're not sure if it is due to sinuses, strep throat, or an ulcer from the chemo. It started to get better on Monday so hopefully that will continue.

We got about 4-5 inches of snow where we were staying. We've always dreamed of going up to the Smokies and getting snowed in. We couldn't believe it actually happened. Of course, it cleared up early the next morning and we were able to get and go eat that afternoon. The night it snowed we got in the hot tub and sat there while the snow fell on our heads! It was great.

Chuck and I went snow skiing Saturday morning. It was the first time I had been in eight years. Chuck is an ol' pro, he never fell until some wild and crazy snowboarder clipped him from behind and blew him out of his skis, lol... The guy hit him so hard it broke the front bindings on his ski! That ended our day of skiing which, was fine considering I had crashed about a dozen times. Some which were worthy of America's Funniest Videos I'm sure. My wrist and neck were starting to feel the brunt of my slaloming ineptness. Actually, I did better than I expected. I worked my way up to Gatlinburg's most difficult blue runs which are probably akin to the bunny slopes of Colorado. Moral victory nonetheless.

While Chuck and I were traversing the slopes of Ober Gatlinburg, Patty and Beth were doing what they do best - SHOP. I believe I got off easy as they didn't visit many stores and when the snow starting falling they begin to make a "bee line" to the cabin. The next day we got out and hiked around in the snow. Patty and Beth built a miniature snowman. The cabin had a real fireplace so we kept a fire going most of the time. It had a definite coziness about it.

It was a great time for Patty and I to get away and not think about the current stresses of life that are constantly on our minds. We hadn't really done that in a long time. Thanks to all of you who helped make it happen. You're the best!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Patty Update & Valentine's Day

Patty is doing well. She got her Herceptin treatment yesterday without issue. Her hair is continuing to grow back. I know she can't wait to first, get rid of the wig, and second, how her hair is going to come back in. Her mood has been improved as of late and she seems to be doing well emotionally. I hope that continues.

I took her out for a special Valentine's Day dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro - By the Tracks. We have only at their a couple of times due to the expense but I love the atmosphere. The fact one of our good friends Tracy works their has nothing to do with it ;).

Anyway, I had to tell her that morning that I was taking her out because she was going to cook a meal for us and I was afraid she would start preparing it before I let the cat out of the bag. I was able to keep one surprise intact though until we got there. I had asked one of Patty's longtime friends Janine and her husband Wayne to join us for dinner so they would get a chance to talk and luckily they took me up on it. So when we got there Patty was surprised to see them pull down their menus to reveal themselves sitting at our table! She was really surprised.

That wasn't the only surprise of the night. Janine had commented that she saw one of the doctor's Patty and her used to work with when they came in and sat down. Patty noticed him as well and nothing else was said after that. Later on during the meal, one of the waitresses comes to the table and hands Janine a folded piece of paper addressed to J-Nine (her nickname). The look on her face was priceless, a total state of 'shock and awe'. What was on it? It had just the simple word 'enjoy' a gift certificate for a rather large amount that covered both of our meals! And dessert to boot! Can't beat that. The giver didn't want her to know who gave it but I think we figured it out. So, all I will say is many thanks Dr. X.

Patty and I are stealing away for the weekend to Gatlinburg with my cousin and his wife, sans kids. Can you believe it? I don't know how she talked somebody into watching the kids but she did. Pray for Darrell & Beth and Ben & Tracy. They'll need it. Patty wanted to surprise me with this getaway but she just couldn't pull it off. It no problem though as I appreciate the effort.

I probably will not have internet access but if I'll do I'll post a snow watch! Have a Great Weekend everyone! God is Good!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Update & Another Visitor From the Past

Patty is still doing much much better than I expected this go around. I'm not sure if she actually feels better or is just toughing it out. She said today that her back is still bothering her but not limiting her to the couch. Her hair continues to grow back. I'm going to see if she'll start letting me do a weekly hair growth picture, lol...

Somebody came by the office today to see me that I hadn't seen in a long time. Patty and I had got know this person through another friend. We had grown to to really respect them for their spiritual walk and was often encouraged by conversations we had. We had lost contact with them just through the normal events of life, (you know, a job change, a move, etc.) but had heard they had experienced some real tough times through the last few years. Tough times that Patty and I had thought we would never imagine this person would have to go through.

So when I saw them today I was pleasantly surprised. I showed them some pictures of the kids and the conversation eventually turned to the recent troubles they had encountered. Some really sad and trying events. I had been concerned about their spiritual walk through these tough times but today, to hear them speak gave me such encouragement. They spoke of how their faith had been strengthened and that God was now their strength and how good that feels to depend solely on Him. I could see it on their face. God is good even through the troubled times. Wow. I want that. Don't you?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Patty Update

Patty is doing better than previous Neulasta episodes. Your prayers are helping! She says she is still very, very sore but thankfully she is not relegated to the couch for an extended period of time. She has been a real trooper and I can't say enough at how well she has handled this whole ordeal.

Last night, we had a community group leader meeting to discuss things going on with our groups. Penny Sparks heads up the leaders and provides us with tips, encouragement, and support in our efforts. Last night, she shared some scripture with us that was like soothing water for my parched soul. I needed it. I needed the encouragement and forgiveness it provides. I thought there may be some of you that need it as well so I'm going to post it below. It is Paul writing to the Philipians starting in chapter 3, verse 12. The bold emphasis is mine.

12 I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13 My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

101st Post

I didn't realize the last update I gave on Patty yesterday was the 100th post of this blog. 100 posts, hard to believe.

Oh well, first an update on Patty. She has felt pretty good for the most of the day. We had Kendall's birthday party this morning. It went really well. All the kids had a lot of fun. Patty said her neck starting hurting this morning and now this evening she is starting to get sore all over. I poked her in her side not thinking of it hurting her and was like "ouch!" Ooops!

Most of the girls from our community group came over to help Patty get all the princesses "dolled up" with make-up, hair, nails, and jewelry stations. I'll post a pic as soon as I can find the cord to hook up to the camera. I've got to get me one of those new wireless cameras.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Quick Update

Patty's treatment went well yesterday with no immediate reactions or side effects. She comes back for her Neulasta shot today. This will begin to hit her Saturday afternoon and get progressively worse until Tuesday morning when it will begin to improve. So the next few days are probably not going to be a lot of fun. I keep praying that it won't affect her as bad as the last.

Kendall turns 6 today. We're having a princess pampering birthday party for her on Saturday morning. I hope the Neulasta shot doesn't start to hit Patty before then. I had to take Kendall to the doctor yesterday morning because she had been complaining that her throat was hurting and it turns out she has strep throat. Its the first time ever any of our children have ever had it. So she had to miss school but was able to go back today because we got her on the antibiotics right after her doctor visit. He said she wouldn't be contagious by today.

I'll continue to update on how Patty is doing throughout the weekend.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Treatment & A Look Into the Past

Patty is getting her treatment as I type. It got started at about 12:30 after visiting with the physician. After speaking with him, it looks as if she'll have one more treatment after this one. He left it up to us because he said the data doesn't say one way or the other but since Patty had the different drugs out of sequence he would do another if we wanted. I asked him what would he do if it was his wife and he said he would probably do the extra treatment since Patty hasn't had any neuropathy side effects. So, that was the clincher. Not great news for the short term, i.e. another Neulasta shot experience but, hopefully better news for the long term, i.e. disease free survival.

While we were waiting for the nurses to hook Patty up I was looking out the window and noticed a person that looked familiar. Upon closer look, I realized it was someone that Patty and I used to know really, really well. We ran around a bunch and had a lot of fun together in the past. Once Patty and I got married and moved to Powell we faded apart as friends due to home distances and then when we had children, and this person was married and had none, we almost never saw them again. We would run into them "once in a blue moon" but that was it. Last year we had heard that this person had asked for a divorce because they had met someone else. It seems we've heard that scenario a lot this year.

The person we saw out the window couldn't see us sitting inside while she talked to a delivery man. As we watched them, I begin to marvel at how far our paths had diverged throughout the years. Here Patty sat, dedicated mom and wife, preparing to be hooked up for a chemotherapy treatment at way to young an age. Outside, sat someone one we knew that had given up a good marriage to experience personal freedom again and supposedly all the great things that come with it. You're probably thinking I'm going to begin expounding on the "life isn't fair" mantra, but I'm not. I never have and I never hope to. I've witnessed it everyday since I've been in the field I work. I knew bad things happen to good people. I just never got my own full taste of it until August 9. Boy, did I get a mouthful.

Anyway, seeing this person stand outside and chit chat and thinking about their circumstances I described above. It brought me back to a question I asked Patty a few weeks ago when we had heard about another friend experiencing unfaithfulness and a seemingly inevitable divorce. I asked her would you rather go through what your going through or be faced with a pending divorce. We both admitted it was a tough question to answer. In the end, we both fell on the side of what we're facing now. At least we have hope that what we have will last.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Another Big Treatment Tomorrow

Patty has another treatment scheduled tomorrow at 11:00 (be in prayer). This could be her last major treatment but we won't find out probably until we meet with the physician. I know she hopes it is her last. Her hair is continuing to grow back and she already considering ditching the wig. She will most likely start radiation treatments after this is completed. Those will last for 7 weeks and are daily except for weekends. So that will be a logistical issue will have to solve.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Saturday Kendall, our 2nd, was playing with her princess and troll figures. Not the troll that you would normally conjure up an image of but yet a small bright big hair troll. If you know Kendall, she would rather play with these by herself. She's always been this way and loses a bit of self control when someone attempts to interject into the play scene. Grant, #3, loves to play with these things as well and that doesn't suit well with Ms. Kendall.

So, on Saturday Grant decided he wanted to play as well and Kendall begin to have a nuclear meltdown. I called her to the top of the steps to discuss the situation. She explains to me that boys aren't supposed to play with girl toys. I explained that she sometimes likes to play with Grant's toys. She then pleaded, "but he's a boy!" I then instructed her to let Grant play. At this point, she thumps down on the step, crosses her arms in a huff, and places a stern look on her face and then shouts out "Grant's a TOMGIRL!"

I had to laugh. Never heard that one before.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Useful Site

For all of you voracious web surfers like myself I recently discovered one of the most useful websites I've seen in a long time. I read about it in the Wall St. Journal the other day and for me it is a great tool. I read a lot of blogs and news websites and this site allows you to customize one page to where it will download all the blog and news site headlines so you can see all of them on one page and then determine if you want to read them. It does it by utilizing a RSS feed. Check it out, Here's the link.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Hike

Patty received her Herceptin treatment yesterday without incident. One thing she hasn't consistently disliked while being on chemotherapy is what she describes as a "chemical smell." She says after she receives a treatment she smells a chemical smell. I've never smelled anything but she insists she does. I suspect that it may be emanating from her blood vessels in her nasal passages.

I mentioned a that a group of my close community group friends went on a hike in the Smokies. In particular, the Meig's Creek trail behind "The Sinks." Below is a piece that stemmed from that hike.

Recently, I went on a hike. I love to hike. It is one of the times that I feel closer to God. Strangely enough, I've never had a desire to be a park ranger. Probably because I'm afraid if I experienced God's unblemished creation on a daily basis its inspiring affect on me might be dampened. Maybe. More likely, its that I know they don't make much money. lol... As I write that last sentence I wonder what that says about me but, I'll digress.

One of the things I love about a hike is the anticipation of what hiking around the next bed of the trail might bring. An inspiring vista?...a ?...a refreshing brook? God only knows. The bend beckons me to peek around it in a quest of what as to what it holds. More often than not its the view of another bend or maybe another up hill climb. But just when I'm contemplating reversing course and heading back God jumps out in front of me in the form of a cascading waterfall or a breathtaking view of his vast creation.

A hike in a sense parallels the journey of life and boy have I walked down some beautiful trails of life. Over the last year, the hike has been a long, steep, difficult climb especially over the last month for me. My shoes are worn and wet from crossing swift streams and my knees ache from falling on the rocks. My backpack weighs more and more with each hill. But I know that God has a vista, a waterfall or a refreshing brook ahead of me just around the bend and thus I trudge along with confident trust in His providence for us.

For those of you who don't know me I'm in the middle front row