Monday, July 14, 2008

Back with new blog home.

Back from the colonoscopy and EGD or "Poke & Prod" as Jeff refers to it. Please go to The Jeff Report to for today's and all future updates. Bear with me, really it'll be better in the long run.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Taking advantage of mutal time off

Jeff and I were able to take off most of today together.

; ) I'll be working the Garage Sale at SPX this Saturday as a trade off, come by and take a look at what we have.

So, we spent the day together doing the mundane tasks of life. Buying dog food, sorting and taking the recyclables to the recycling center, coffee at Kaiteur, me back at work for a meeting, dinner out, blah blah blah.

It was a refreshingly predictable day and we relished every moment of it.

Prayers please for the "poke and prod" as he's calling the procedures this coming Monday. His blood pressure was a little high today at the oncologist's office weekly visit, although our joint day of rest was definitely a gift of the Spirit to ease the spirit.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Report on the scan

Jeff heard back on the scan from last Monday. The size of the nodes is appreciably smaller and that's right on schedule with what the doctor had said should be happening if all was going well. Sorry don't have the numbers at the moment.

Jeff's hair is likewise beginning to grow, however that could be short lived, so after a consult with "Tammila" as he calls her, we'll keep the cool summer look for a while : )

Sunday he begins the preparations for the stomach and colon scoping on Monday. Of course there's a whole regimen of clear liquids, drinking something and then nothing by mouth so it'll be a subdued day at the Retreat.

And speaking of the Retreat, although Jeff is disappointed that we don't have any foxes this year, he has noted the other wild life. we do have bunnies, a black snake, brazen cats and the little turtle is back, or rather we have a little turtle. We discovered "Yurtle" as Jeff is calling it when Chloe gave the very excited pouncy bark on the patio.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chemo Set II

I know I've been remiss in updating the blog, so here's what's going on with pictures!

Jeff's mom, Barb, was in town this past week for his second round of chemo. He tolerated it well. Mostly tiredness. Getting him a shake on the way home is very helpful so it seems. And we're pushing fluids to avoid a UTI.

A culinary thank you for the Coach Button cookies and yummy chicken salad with fixings! It was much enjoyed by all of us, especially for a light and refreshing lunch after chemo.
Followed by a good nap.

"Sargent Babs", that's what Johnson calls her, also accompanied her son to his consult with the gastroenterologist, this past Friday.

Dr. Shakur has scheduled the scope of Jeff's stomach and colon for July 14th. These scopes are in hopes of finding the source of the cancer. If we find nothing there, he goes back to Dr. Furtral for a cysto. Although we're again reminded we might never find the source.

Also in the wonderful world of medical tests, Jeff goes for his first scan since we started the chemo. Hopefully we'll see that the nodes are decreasing or at least staying the same in size. Although Barb did want us to ask when we're in on Wednesday if we should be concerned about all these scans occurring in such a short period of time. Should we go with an MRI instead?

Shout out of THANKS! to Tammy for the new buzz cut that our favorite Sports Editor is making all the rage for the summer. We thought he might need the Tell Savalis "who loves ya baby?" look, but it turned out a good military type buzz did the trick. It's much less traumatic than seeing clumps of hair fall out and he says very cool for the summer. A ball cap is now
de rigueur.

Much to his mother's delight, Tammy informs us, that often her clients who have lost their hair to chemo find that when it comes back in, it comes in curly. That would be different.

With Barb in town, we did a little sight seeing at the aquarium on Monday. You can tell that she's ready for football season, as she was classifying the fish by their likeness to NFL jersey's. So we had the fish that wer wearing the Steeler's away jersey colors - the at home colors, the Ocho Cinco reef dwellers, etc.

Tuesday we went across town to Kennesaw Battlefield - Kennesaw Mtn and Cheatem Hill areas. The Civil War aficionado let us know that the movie in the visitor center is much improved. And smiles all around as he netted a few gifts from Mom at the book store.

We decided to hold an impromptu soiree Friday evening - a "gathering of the usual suspects" as I like to call it because Jeff's mom was in town and I had cleaned the house - I'm just sayn' always a good reason to celebrate. To those were who able to attend this last minute event thank you, it was truly lovely as well as delicious!

It made Jeff smile and he laughed and it made real to him all the love and hope that's being poured out on him for his recovery.
I have to say that although my main objective was for Jeff, it did me good too. Especially to hear a couple of our friends say, "We had such a good time,when can we do this again, next week?" I'm having a bit of an issue trusting God with all this, but it's a lot easier to do when you can see His Love reflected in the eyes of your friends. I'm just sayn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weekly reports are in

Jeff goes weekly for blood tests and so far so good with platelets, red, and white blood cell counts. He's been put on a course of antibiotics for a possible bladder infection, oh the joys of chemo and the danger of having only one kidney. "That which does not kill you, makes you stronger" - definitely applicable.

I haven't been able to attend the weekly check-ups with VBS madness upon us; however, he communicates my questions along with his own and is very happy to share information, like "should he be out mowing the lawn in the heat? Could he go on the Life Teen up coming trip to Helen for tubing?
Answers:He's allowed to do the things he normally does, but using reason. No mowing the lawn for six hours straight through the heat of the day. Make it more like a few hours in the morning and that's it for the day. Tubing - of course that's fine it would probably be relaxing, so long as you don't have a six inch gash on your foot - wear beach shoes.

Quite frankly that's not a bad idea lawn care chores for when this experience is behind us either - living in the deep South as we do. I'm just sayn'.

"the wife"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chemo Day 3 - a rhythm to life that's not coincidental

We're adjusting to the rhythm of this new situation.

We wake up, Jeff gets ready, I work out, then get ready. We arrive at the Cancer Center, Jeff already has the IV in so we go right to the Infusion Center and he gets his meds and we make new friends.

Jeff was a great deal more tired today and slept most of the time. While he slept I noticed the man in the recliner across the way kept looking at us and smiling. I walked over and introduced myself and met Edward. Edward is a truck driver who has lymphoma in his bone marrow and is two treatments away from the last of his maintenance treatments. He looks healthy. He sounds strong. He gives all the glory to God for his recovery.

He didn't know he had cancer, he didn't even know what lymphoma was 4 years ago. He was emptying a freezer load and his bones hurt. The doctors gave him steroids. Then he fell - by the Grace of God he attributes - and hit his back very hard. He ended up with an E.R. visit and a string of doctors that led him to the Atlanta Cancer Center. He says if it wasn't for falling, and the subsequent chain of events he never would have known or been here to talk to me today.

He and I had a wonderful chat, while your favorite Sports Editor slept. He told me of hope, he told me of God's promise, he told me of trust, he told me that our doctor was smart, loyal and determined, he told me of his wife and the death of their youngest college age daughter in a car accident in 2005. He told me some things are just too big for him to handle alone and he just gives it to God and tells Him - "this is too much for me, You take this, You're so much bigger than I am." And after that he looks at the fact that he is alive and that God has something for him to do. He looked over at Jeff and told me Jeff was going to be all right.

He told me all these things with a smile in his eyes and a conviction in his words. When Jeff woke up at almost the end of his treatment time, he said " I see you made a new friend today." I said with a smile of my own "Yes, I did."

We needed Edward a great deal today. I thank God for the "coincidence" of him being there with us. As far as I'm concerned Edward was working as an angel - a messenger.

Think about someone you came across whom you attributed to coincidence today - I don't think they were. I"m just sayn'.

P.S. Mrs. G, I took your suggestion and prayed over the meds right after they were hung. Thanks.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Chemo Day 2 Set 1

Today was much like yesterday. Jeff took a seat...I guess we haven't described the "Infusion Center" yet. It's a long rectangular room with large windows all the way around and about 10-12 reclining rocking type chairs lining the outsides of the room. I hear that they are immensely comfortable.

There is a folding table by each chair, along with the intravenous unit, and small TVs with DVD players on dressers for patients. The dressers have open shelves with magazines and books. Along the right hand wall is a small beverage dispenser, Coke, Diet Coke Sprite and next to that a really cold water dispenser. There is coffee all day in the waiting room and the door to the "nerve center" stays open all the time. There is an "openness" that I didn't expect to find there.

The nurses station is a also along the right long side of the rectangle all one large window to be able to view patients while "mixing" their medicines. And unlike the hospital that keeps your IV machine beeping forever before you get attention, those nurses are right on it. They keep things moving and I guess that's the name of the game. People don't want to be there any longer than they have to.

Our doctor makes mini visits to all his patients throughout the hours we're there and you can see him remember things he wanted to ask as he cues in on you from across the room. His nurser practitioner said and I'm not sure why the other day that he's the type of doctor who is always thinking of his patients, their treatments, changes that need to be considered to the point that he looses sleep over them. the far right hand corner that has a view of the whole room and through the bank of windows that looks out onto pine trees. Jeff's thinking of bringing binoculars and studying a little ornithology. We got some water to start with instead of waiting for his mouth to get dry today. I could tell this time he was getting very tired.

Today when we got there, there was an elderly Caucasian couple where Willie and his wife had been the day before. We exchanged smiles and while Jeff was doing some paperwork, I started to read the Office. When I opened my prayer book, the lady asked me if I was reading my Revelations? I said sort of, but it was the prayers of the day, Christian prayer. And she said "Oh, I saw you make the sign of the Cross, only Catholics do that." I said "You're right, and I am Catholic." She asked me if I knew St. Pius X Church. I smiles and said I knew it well as it's been my Church family for 11 years and I work there.

Well we chatted on and off from there, until her medicine kicked in and she had to lay on her side and nap. With her husband who is the sweetest old man. He looked like a good breeze would knock him down, but the way he loving laid the cover on her legs and tried to tuck in her feet you would have thought he was a pillar of strength. She has lymphoma and it's everywhere.

I'm trying to live the adage you might have seen on my desk before" life is 5% how you make it and 95% how you take it." I might have shared with you my new philosophy of trying to see the grace in each moment. Watching the tenderness expressed even in the simple act of him feeding her snacks was heart wrenching and marriage affirming all at the same time.

Today I watched a mature love, a love that had bore children, raised them, provided and cared for their family and each other. A love that time can't change except to make sweeter. Walter is devoted to Eva and Walter is Eva's whole world - it's utterly beautiful.

I'm falling asleep at the keys again... Good night!