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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Quick Quick Update

I went to Mayo with my parents today, and really we don't know a whole lot more than we did yesterday. We know that he has Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and that it is stage 4. Tomorrow morning they are doing a bone marrow biopsy and a CT guided biopsy of one of his lymph nodes. Friday morning they are doing a PET scan, which is when you are injected with a glucose type of radioactive solution. They have you wait for about an hour and then the test itself takes about another hour. I have had three of these, and they are fairly painless, just long and boring. All of these results will be ready by his appointment on Monday, which I will be going to with them. They are staying in Rochester for the next two nights since his tests are rather early in the morning. You are probably wondering why he has to have these tests done if they know it is Lymphoma. Well, the tests will tell them if it is one of two possible types. To get the correct treatment, they have to know what they are dealing with. I think we all are happy with his doctor, very pleasant, very good at explaining things, just an overall good guy.

I guess that's it for now. If you want to do more research on the two types, they are called...

Follicular Lymphoma and

Diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma

We will know by Monday which kind he has and what will happen next. Oh, I forgot, they are also giving him steriods for the crappy side effects he has been dealing with for the last few months. He can have those after his biopsies, and the doctor says that it will make him feel like a new man. Pray that he is right.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter is Gone Winter is Back

Yesterday I went around outside with no coat. It was awesome. No bulkiness while I was driving my car, the smell of Spring was in the air. At least for the day. It was 46 degrees outside yesterday! Snow was melting, you could hear the drip drop of it, there were slushy puddles, I saw our driveway. For a little while. Today (technically yesterday) was a slap in the face. Literally. The wind chill was horrible! School was let out early due to the blizzard like conditions, and as I type this is is -12 degrees with a wind chill of -35, which means basically it is -35 degrees. If it feels like -35, then dang it, it is -35. Maybe tomorrow (technically today) there will be a temperature. Maybe.

Wed is also the day that I go to Mayo with my mom and dad. We have been pointed in one direction though. From the blood tests he had done the last time he was there, they know he has Lymphoma (which is what I thought). We don't know what kind, as there are many, but I think that is where the further testing comes into play. I have been poking around on the Internet and it seems, according to what I read, that he is in stage 4. Not good. Last night for dinner he had cottage cheese and some (deep intake of breath) Spam....I didn't even know he liked Spam. Yuck. But that was all he could eat. The fluid is pushing against his stomach making it hard and uncomfortable for him to eat. He sleeps very little, if at all, at night. He is in pain most of the time, and I hope that there will be some more answers tomorrow. I have a list of questions that I am bringing, plus an extra set of ears. That's always good.

I guess that's all I have for now. Well, I suppose I could mention that we wasted money on Nadia's bed since she has taken a liking to sleeping on the floor. She's an interesting kid, and for some reason has really taken on the Norwegian/Minnesotan accent. She's so cute! I would say that I am going to bed now, but in reality I am going to get into bed and stare at the ceiling for a while.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Lifter

So in case you haven't noticed my blog has become uber-sad. I don't think I need to defend why it is uber-sad, but I did think it was time for a more positive post. So this is it.

By merely coloring a picture of baby Jesus, Dion's work awards every colorer a $10 gift certificate to what is known in this house as Old McDonald's. So as we received our free food money on Friday, we decided to take a road trip to Cottage Grove to go to the extra special Old McD's where there is a playland. We did that yesterday. It was crazy. Mayhem all over the place. Screaming kids, running kids (one in particular I really wanted to trip but I go the lecture from Dion that I should be an adult. I nudged him instead. Come on! He had it coming for how many times he ran into me and pushed his way through), parents with glazed looks in their eyes.

The I saw him. Do you watch the Office? If not, then just bypass the rest of this post or Google who Stanley is on the Office. Wait. Maybe I can put a youtube of him in here....Stanley at his best
There was a guy sans mustache at McD's that I swear was Stanley. He talked like him, walked like him, had the same facial expression when looking for his kids. It was him. I swear. Stanley let's his kids play in the playland just like you and me! Yippee!

Friday, January 25, 2008

An Update, But Not Really

So it's been a week. We don't know much more now than we did before. I guess there are little personal tidbits, and maybe a few medical things, so I will share.

My mom and dad went to Mayo on Tuesday. He used a wheelchair. Sigh....the doctors want to do a biopsy of his rib but are faced with the challenge of my dad's blood. Right now it is too thin so they won't even think about doing the biopsy until that thickens up a bit. Everyday my dad has been going to the local clinic to have blood draws. As soon as he is at the level he needs to be, they will call Mayo and set up an appointment for the biopsy and the fluid tap in his abdomen. To keep his blood level stable he will have to have shots in his belly, given by my mom. Nothing is easy.

My mom had an appointment for her never ending problem of her hernia and the sores on her belly. It looks like she is carrying an alien on the side of her body, and it is trying to get out. With my dad's permission, we took his file to my mom's doctor, which happens to be my doctor, which happens to be a good friend. While listening to her talk and show us on the scans what was what, I realised why I liked her from the moment we met when she first mistreated my boob. Her voice is very calming, very matter of fact but caring at the same time. She makes eye contact as she explains things, and good lord, she is very good at explaining things. There's no sugar coating, which I like, and she is very honest. This is what she explained to us, and hopefully I am not forgetting things or passing bad information. I should have taken notes, but I was really wrapped up in the moment and forgot.

My dad has gained 13 pounds in the past week and a half from the fluid building up, and that won't change. What I did not know is that a lesion and a tumor are synonymous. The one that is in his chest that is destroying his rib is about 1.5 X 2 inches. Pretty big. I saw his rib, and it looks like Swiss cheese in the effected area. Lots of little holes where the bone has been destroyed. His spleen is enlarged, which I didn't know before, and there is a lesion on his spleen too, which I also did not know. There seems to be a very good chance that his peritoneum (outside lining of the stomach) has a good amount of cancer in it. So there you go, the medical update for now. They could change in an hour, a day, a week. That's cancer for you.

Now for the personal. I did not know that my dad had such a small frame. I watched him walk back to the bedroom and was shocked at how narrow his shoulders are. I think I said before, he has always been a man who was larger than life, who got attention of others when he walked into the room. While you can see his frame, his tummy is so big. He can only eat a little at a time as I think the fluid is making less and less room for his stomach. When he came home from Mayo it took all that he had to get up the stairs with his overnight bag. I can see at times that he is having trouble getting deep breaths, again, from the fluid. I have spent quite a bit of time at their house with them this past week, without my family. I have enjoyed listening my dad tell stories about his family. I love that he still cracks some one liners to my mom. Sometimes when he is talking, in my mind he is not dying. In my mind it is just us talking about the good old days, and the not so good old days. Sometimes when at work or the store or any other place I go for escape, I forget that our time is limited. That usually lasts about 10 minutes then it all comes crashing down again. Lately what I have been thinking about is not the selfish stuff like my loss, but the loss my mom is going to have. She said last night that she is having a hard time imagining not having someone to bounce ideas off of, to not have that presence in the house. I can't imagine it either. I think about their bedroom, and that big bed. I think about the things that my dad does, out of habit, that my mom never had to worry about before. I think about all of the $2 bills my dad gives the girls, something he did for me when I was little. Yikes. Some things are just too much to think about all at once. And now is one of those times.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Fog

I have found that I tend to wander around, not really knowing what I should be doing. Tonight I went to Walmart at 11:00pm with nothing really in mind to buy, but I stayed there for about an hour, just walking around picking up things here and there. I find that I really don't want to be at home, I think too much there. I went to work today and awaited the call from my mom to tell me what was going on with Mayo. She called and told me that if Mayo hasn't called in a week, that she should call them. The only other thing we know is that my dad's blood is getting too thick now and that could lead to a stroke. What the hell?

I find myself also thinking about my childhood, memories end up floating around like wisps of smoke. Sometimes I really think that this is all just a mistake, how could this really be happening? Then I wander some more. I am having trouble sleeping at night, I wake up with vivid dreams and have problems going back to bed. I decided tonight that I will have a beer and maybe that will help. If nothing else, it tastes good.

It has been surreal to listen to my dad's wishes. Talking like we were having a conversation about what to buy at the store. This just can't be right. I look at him and I see that he is not well. I can see his shoulder bones and collar bone....they stick out and I can see them through his shirt. But then you move down to his abdomen and it seems like it is getting bigger. I'm sure more fluid is collecting there. I watch him get up and move around like he is 15 years older than what he actually is. All my life my dad has been this giant of a man, strong and powerful, and now I can see him deteriorating before my eyes. His face is an ashy white color, but when I look close, I can see into his eyes, the eyes that gave me my eye color. I was the only one to get those blue eyes. I always felt like there was some sort of bond because of that.

The world seems to be spinning out of control and I don't know how to stop it, or if I even can. When I try to think, things seem fuzzy. It is amazing what a year can make. Almost a year ago we went to that cabin for my parents 50th anniversary. He looks like a different person in those pictures. What I wouldn't do to turn the clock back and be sitting in that cabin celebrating my parents, laughing, eating, creating memories. Just a chance to have more time. One little chance.

Friday, January 18, 2008

This Day Today

I cried today. I was thrown back to my diagnosis and cried just as hard. My dad was told today that he has cancer. For anyone reading this who is in contact with my parents, I ask that you do not call them yet. My dad is trying to get into Mayo next week and they have no answers what-so-ever right now. This is what we know:

His chest and abdomen CAT scan show that he has fluid in his abdomen and his spleen. There is a destructive lesion on his 6th rib, and another lesion the size of a small pancake on the side of his chest. They cannot tell where the primary is, or even what kind of cancer it is until a biopsy is done at Mayo. That is why there are no answers available. This is what I do know:

This sucks. I am afraid of what my dad is going to have to go through. I am afraid of what my mom is going to go through. I look at my girls and start to cry at the loss that they are going to have. Nadia is her grandpa's girl. I talked to them a little bit tonight about cancer, and they know about death and heaven already, and while I think they understand it as much as they can, I don't want them to have to deal with it. When my parents dog was put to sleep we talked a lot about death and heaven. I got them books about losing a pet and we still read it even though it's been over a year since Spark died. Cancer is a harder thing to explain. I don't even know if there is a right and wrong way of doing it. Sigh....

Something else I know is this, my dad and I didn't have the best relationship when I was growing up. They moved to our town 5 years ago this summer. In these five years he and I have become closer than we have ever been. That is not to say that we don't disagree on some things because we do, but our relationship is so much more solid then it was. I am thankful for that. I am thankful that he has had the chance to get to know my daughters and husband well. I love to watch Nadia climb up in his lap and just snuggle under his chin. Some may say that I am not being positive about this whole cancer thing. But I have said it many times before...hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I am realistic, but hopeful.

We are on this walk again with cancer, the second time in 4 years, one step at time, one day at a time, many prayers all the time. I have no idea what path we will be walking, or for how long. I don't know what the future holds, but I tell you what, it was much easier being the person to say "I have cancer" than to hear those horrible words from someone you love. I will update when I know more. Until then, please say some prayers or think some good thoughts for my family. We certainly will need them.

Complete Randomness

So I watched Idol both nights. The first night was kind of, well, blah. Not a lot of substance to it. The second night was a little better. Then I remembered that last year it took a bit for things to get interesting, but even then, the auditions take way too long. I want to hear the good stuff sooner.

I had to go to the dentist....again.....becuaes I was losing a filling and quite frankly thought I was dying. How does one little tooth cause so much pain is beyond me. So I have the temps in and next month when I go for my Mayo check up I will get the true crowns. I should just get dentures.

This weekend we are supposed to have highs in the negatives. Sounds odd, huh? Like those words just should go together. Well, THEY SHOULDN'T! That's way too flippin cold! It says on my puter that it is 12 degrees out, and the windchill is -2. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 1-, with a low of -12. Lord help us in this tundra.

My sinus issues are coming back. It's like I get a week or so off every time and then BAM! They are back with a vengeance. I hate my sinus issues, I hate green snot, I hate constantly blowing my nose wondering where all of this is coming from, I hate sinus pressure/headaches, and I hate the taste sinus infections create in your mouth. If green had a taste, I bet it would be this.

Ok, I've got nothing else. I will be signing up for some Community Ed classes, one of them will be for Nadia and gymnastics. We tried it with Claire, but it didn't go so well. We'll see what happens this time. Now I must go pay some bills. People get mad if they don't get paid.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Post

I had a few paragraphs here, but I was getting bored writing it, so I thought I would spare you, my readers, the same, if not worse pain. Don't tell me I don't look out for you!



P.S. IDOL STARTS TOMORROW!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

That's Right Folks!

Just so you all know out there, American Idol is about to start up again....as in NEXT WEEK!! I am so pumped I can hardly wait! As you may or may not remember, 2 seasons ago rocked my socks off and I got to meet my lover Chris Daughtry. Ummmm....yummy! I hope this year is a little better than last year!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adoption....Again

Actually, I am not sure if I have written about this before. But I think I have. Anyway, adoption is never far away in my brain. Sometimes it is more prevalent than others, and I am not sure what sparks it. Probably that a lot of people around me have had (or are going to have) a baby. Dion and I went out of town yesterday, so on the hour drive back home we talked a little bit about adoption. He says that he is not against it, but the cost of it scares him. I have thought about that too, but then I think well, if we had a baby on our own (which is physically impossible) there would be costs for that too.

I don't know the answer to the financial part of it. I do know that I feel like we are not complete yet, and that does not mean I don't love and appreciate my girls to death, I just feel like I am missing something (besides my boobs).

And that brings a whole different dilemma. Cancer. I am not at the 5 year mark. Does that matter? I have no clue. I have thought about talking to my oncologist and asking if he can write a letter stating what he has been telling me for a couple of years, that he feels I am done with the beast. I guess the question that is really on my mind is would anyone even give us a child knowing that I have had cancer?

Please, if you are reading this, and maybe have some insight for me, contact me. I really don't know where to start with all of this, or if it is even possible.