Thursday, October 30, 2008


My hair started falling out today. That's all I have to say.

Monday, October 27, 2008

11/12, 91.7% Complete

I can't believe I only have one more treatment left. In retrospect, it has actually gone by rather quickly, for which I am extremely grateful.

I'm sorry I've not written on Friday or Saturday the past two treatments. My only explanation is that, with the new medication, I am MUCH more tired after the treatment. I took naps Thursday and Friday and still went to bed at about 10:00. That's very rare for me - I'm a bit more of a night owl than Leah.

Anyway, except for the exhaustion, I managed this one all right. It does make me a bit sick on Wednesday and I've found I'm much more out of it on Wednesday - Friday than with the other medication, which really effected me on Friday-Saturday. We actually had a fairly active Saturday, though I did lie down in the afternoon for a bit - but that may have been depression over the rear-end kicking Texas Tech gave the Jayhawks. We went to the pumpkin patch with some friends and got through a few more boxes in the garage (We're almost there!) I went home teaching on Sunday and felt fine, so it looks like the feeling fine by Sunday morning routine might just hold up. That is amazing. We have been truly blessed through this trial. I don't wish it on anyone, but, frankly, I don't wish for anyone else's trials, either.

Oh, and one more thing - the hair remains! I'm guessing that it will all fall out right after the final treatment. We'll see.

Seriously, when this whole cancer thing is done, I'm going to try and get back to posting things that are of greater interest - perhaps continue my sports rants, maybe a little politics to counteract my ultra-liberal brother, maybe more on our daily lives and the joy of working in the business world. By the way, my company announced it is merging with Century Telephone today and that the headquarters is moving to Monroe, Louisiana. As much as I love my parents and living close to them in KC, I am really glad we took a job in a field office. I know, Beth and Tim, we'd be within a days drive, but I have no desire to ever move my family to Louisiana. We won't really know how it will effect us until sometime in 2009, but it seems things like this always happen in October in this business - end of the year - planning the new year's budget. All that fun stuff is simply up in the air.

Anyway, those posts will come later. For now, we're down to one treatment left. Good times. You are all invited to our "Chemo is Over" Party in November. I checked and Target does not have a Chemo is Over Registry. I thought that would have been funny to register for things like grapes and apples - things that I haven't been able to eat without cooking them while on chemo. (Believe me, I'd rather go without than eat cooked grapes.) I guess I can only hope that the Sci-Fi channel is showing Leprechaun 2 when I get home from chemo next week. Watching the first one while talking to Joel only left me thirsting for more. Remember, the only way to kill a Leprechaun is to put a four-leaf clover on him and set him on fire. Also, in movies, gasoline doesn't just ignite, it explodes. Good stuff.

Monday, October 13, 2008

10/12 = 5/6, 83.3% Complete

So, I never got around to blogging this weekend - I was pretty wiped out on Friday and Saturday. But, Round 10 is in the books with no significant hair loss. I keep expecting to take a shower and have hair coming out in bunches with the shampoo. But, so far, nothing. With my luck, it will all come out right after the 12th treatment. But, if it happens, it happens, right?

The new medication for these last three rounds definitely had a different effect on me. I was much more sluggish, tired and dealing with stomach issues on Friday, but I started to feel better by Saturday evening, which was nice. Once again, the Lord is blessing us and when I got up on Sunday, I felt fine, despite the continued numbness in my hands and feet. That should now start to go away since it was caused by the medication that I am now allergic to. The doctor said that for most people, it just slowly goes away. For some, it hangs on, but those are usually survivors that have dealt with multiple cancers and chemos. I haven't had any pain, just numbness, so we should be good.

Anyway, I was once again able to go to church and teach my class, which has been a truly amazing blessing. Each Sunday, I just feel better. It's really nice.

I spent much of the weekend walking slowly behind Ryne, who got his crutches on Saturday. He goes back to school tomorrow. He had his follow up appointment today and everything looks really good. Six weeks in the cast, then another four to six weeks in a boot or brace. He's getting more mobile on the crutches and they have been a big hit in the neighborhood. He's a good kid and really trying hard.

All we can say is, what a year!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just So You Know. . .

Yes, the chemo doctor saw his shadow and ordered three more rounds of chemo. That wasn't that unexpected for us - we kind of thought we were heading down that path going in. The hard part was that he totally set us up at the beginning of the conversation by telling us that there are no studies that prove 12 rounds is better than 9. Leah and I both thought he was going to say, "So, let's just stop here and set up your check-up schedule." But, instead he said, "But there is another drug that we can use to replace the one with which you're having problems. So, we'll do the final three treatments using that drug." Disappointment.

And, as an added bonus, the new drug creates more nausea/diarrhea issues - FUN! Plus, the side-effects paper I have to sign before they give me anything new states that most patients lose their hair after a few days on this drug. I've kept the glorious Karpowitz head of hair through nine treatments - but there's a good chance I'll wake up tomorrow with much of it staying on the pillow. So, if you have any great products you use to get a nice, shiny pate, let me know! (Josh, Joel, Chris, Jeff, I'm looking at you!) I wonder if I have any strange bumps on my scalp. I hope not!

Anyways, that's about it. I'll do my usual post tomorrow after I get the pump out, but wanted all to know that my last two treatments are October 22nd and November 5th, with the pump coming off for the final time on November 7th. We can hardly wait!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Our Odyssey Continues

Suffice it to say, 2008 has been a very interesting year. The proverbial hits just keep on coming! This summer, Ryne learned to ride a two-wheeler - and he is very good at it. Yesterday, after school, Ryne was riding his bike and took a sharp turn. He didn't quite make it and landed in the street with the bike landing on top of him. When I got home, he was resting on the couch, but he wouldn't let anyone touch his leg or move him. When we asked if he could walk on it, he screamed loud enough to wake the dead!

So, off to our favorite spot - the St. Rose Dominican - Sienna hospital emergency room. Seriously, we should just rent space out there! Anyway, after much crying and screaming, we got some x-rays and the "big" bone is broken about four inches above his ankle. (Sorry, Fax, but I don't know all the technical terms!) They put a splint on it last night - again much screaming.

Today, I took him to an orthopedist who took more pictures and got a cast on it - it's a full-leg cast that goes from his toes to about the middle of his thigh. His leg is bent at the knee. He was very nervous, but very brave - though I think the staff was happy when we left. So, he'll be in this cast for about a month, then should get a walking cast after that. Very exciting.

I know the Lord is trying to teach us something - maybe it's just to be thankful that we have some money set aside because those medical bills just keep coming. So, pray for Ryne tonight that the pain will be limited and that he'll get the rest he needs. He's a good boy. I'm very proud of him.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The End of Birthday Season

Yes, it's true. I'm married to a MUCH younger woman. Today we celebrated Leah's birthday and the end of our annual birthday season - five birthdays in six weeks. Every few years, Leah's birthday falls on General Conference weekend, so we celebrated with a birtday lunch and DVR'd the afternoon session today.

What can I say about Leah? She's only the most amazing woman I have every met. I'd love to list out the all the things that make her wonderful, but I'll have to limit myself to only a few.

Leah has to think something is really funny to make her laugh out loud. Now, due to the fact that I am really funny, I'm somewhat disconcerted by the fact that she laughs at Sonic commercials. But she does.

Leah has a less than hidden love for Jeff Goldblum. Yes, my wife loves The Fly. In fact, the other day, when Jurassic Park came on, Kate says, "Look, Mom. Hubba hubba ding ding ding!"

Leah loves the heat. Leah is not interested in the four seasons. She'd take a warm spring, a hot summer, then a mild autumn, then right back to spring. She was a real trooper during those icy Kansas winters and is on cloud nine in Las Vegas, as it was in the 80s on her birthday.

Leah is an incredible mom. She doesn't know this, but that's one of the things that makes her incredible. I love to see how much the kids love her. In fact, when Ryne chose the card he wanted to give her for her birthday, it was listed under the "Romantic Birthday" sign. The card said, "You've got me and I've got you, who says wishes don't come true. Happy Birthday to my hearts favorite." How cute is that?

Finally, Leah inspires me. She is an incredible example of endurance. She chooses the right thing first and places her trust in the Lord. She teaches me all the time about doing the best things first. She is my best friend and the person I most want to spend time with. (Sorry about the dangling participle, Leah.)

Anyway, Happy Birthday to you, Leah! You're the best.