Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cruisin' with the family

On Aug 29th this year, our whole family including our 3 daughters, our son-in-law and grandson flew to Miami, Florida and the next day caught a massive cruise ship headed for the southern Caribbean. We stopped in Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan - an island off Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico. During the various stops we visited a turtle farm where they raise humongous sea turtles, para sailed, jet-skied, got massages, hiked thru the forest for 25 minutes after which we cave-tubed. Besides all this, we were waited on hand and foot by friendly staff both in our tiny staterooms and in the lovely dining room. On top of it all they had some of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. We laughed at the comedians, oohed and awed over the magic show, and sang along with the singers and dancers. Those 7 days passed by fast and now we're home again.

I was supposed to have a chemo treatment a few days before we left but with my doctor's permission, I skipped it in order to give my body a short break and to not be sick on the trip. And I wasn't sick! We used a wheelchair for me at first but I got tired of it and wanted to try out my sea legs and found I could do pretty well. The weather was, well...tropical. Hot and humid. Not Walt's cup of tea so he ended up staying on the ship for a couple of days. But that's the nice thing about a cruise, they have something for everyone.

Here are the three websites if you want to look at photos of our trip:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is my chemo week so it's back to the yucks. The doctor added another 4 days onto my antibiotic schedule so it's twice a day at the hospital unless there's a test to be done and then it's three trips to the hospital.

Anyone who's talked to me lately knows that my voice is difficult to hear or listen to. This has been going on for several months but now it's worse than even - at times I can only whisper. I saw a nose, ear, throat specialist and he explained that we all have 2 vocal cords that vibrate when we talk, thus making sounds. In my case however, only one is working. The other one seemed to be paralyzed or something. I've got a scan scheduled which will hopefully give him more info to go on. No idea at this point what there is to do for this problem if anything.

For those who don't live nearby, we're having extremely hot weather - over 100 degrees many days. Thankfully, this is the first summer we've had a heat pump which means AIR-CONDITIONING!! I'm not sure how we could have survived without it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Something doesn't look right

There are places on my body that I can't see including my upper right chest where they inserted a port by which I've been getting chemo treatments. Fortunately I have an observant sister (Lu) who saw the area around my port which was bright red, hard, swollen and painful to touch. Although we had a doctor's appt in 2 days, she insisted that I not wait and made an appt with my general practice doctor who immediately admitted me to the hospital and started me on IV antibiotics (again). At first I was told the port would have to be surgically removed but it was later decided to discharge me to home but have me come in twice a day (x 10 days)for IV antibiotics at the hospital in the hope of saving the port.

Thankfully, there have been many friends and family members who have volunteered to take me, stay with me, and bring me home. That's dedication - which I really appreciate! In the meantime, I'm feeling much better although the infection seems to still be present. Hopefully by the end of treatment, it will be gone - otherwise I might still have to have the port removed.

LuAnne has gone on holiday to India for 5 weeks to trek in the mountains with her friend from Great Britian. My other sister, Carolyn - bless her heart - has been making meals for us which has been a great help, esp when I was feeling so sick. Hopefully I'll be back on my feet again soon and can be of some use around here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hadn't been to the hospital for a while, so...

Walt here...
Last week the cough that Yvonne has had for a long time started getting worse, and she began running fevers. LuAnne took her to the doctor on Friday and after getting some x-rays done, Yvonne was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. Her white blood cell count was down to .8 (low normal is 4.8). Within a day or two at the hospital her white cell count was back up to 4.5 and her temp was back to normal, but she was still very, very sick. Her sisters and daughters have been taking turns staying with her day and night.

She was released today and is back home but still very weak.

As always, we are so grateful for everyone's prayers, encouragement and good thoughts.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Another Brief Update

Very short update from my appointment last week. Tumor markers had risen 3 small points (dr says he's not concerned). I continue to have lots of nausea and vomiting - the most embarrassing one being at a nice restaurant with a friend for lunch. Thankfully, I had an airline barf bag with me which I whipped out in time to put my deposit in. I was also wearing my "cancer sucks" t-shirt which hopefully explained to people what was happening. Still, I felt bad for the other patrons who were trying to eat.

Chemo week continues to be rough. I basically don't leave the house for a week and spend most of the day resting, wishing I could be more productive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brief Update

Last week we found out my tumor markers had dropped from 106 to 83 (normal is 0 - 35). Yeah! And the MRI of my brain showed no change - better than the other direction. We're happy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A great week

At my last doctor's appt on Monday (18th) we got good news that my tumor markers had dropped from 120 down to 106. Yeah! Unfortunately, my weight is going in the opposite direction. I've gained around 30 lbs in the last 8 months. Heavier than I've ever been which is discouraging since it's mainly due to the steroids I'm on. Discussing it with my physician's assistant, she said I could cut back slowly on the steroids and see how I do with nausea, appetite, etc. I'm on a tiny amount as it is but it still affects me a lot. Swollen face, neck, hands, feet, etc. I shouldn't complain but my vanity gets in the way.

On an entirely different note, our oldest daughter, Miriam recently announced she is pregnant for the first time! She and her husband adopted our adorable little 4 year old grandson, Isaiah and he was the one to make the announcement that he was going to be a big brother. He has no idea what that means but he dutifully recited was he was told to say. Very cute. The next day, their pug gave birth to six puppies. The father is a boston terrier and the puppies are so cute (at this stage anyway). We love playing with them.

Had all the kids over for Sunday lunch and in the heat of the afternoon (except for Hannah who was napping - and I) went outside and doused each other with water balloons and water guns. They were laughing their heads off so I guess they were having fun. Isaiah was soaked to the skin as were most of them. What a great family I have. I'm so blessed!