New Year, New Beginnings… almost.

Happy New Year everyone! 2013 brought us a lot of ups and downs to say the least, and this little family was happy to bring in a new year and toast to a healthy 2014.

Of course this time of year encourages reflecting on the year that’s passed, and plan for the new.  I was in a yoga class just before Christmas and during the final Shavasana we were encouraged to remember the last year, and let the images wash over us.  I can’t lie, 2013 will not go down in my books as a favourite, but there were some good memories in there too.  The Boy and I finally went on our honeymoon. Our puppy was liberated from spending the night alone in her crate in the kitchen and now sleeps comfortably on my pillow, or her new trick, under the covers, like a proper spoiled only child. I got a promotion, it may be temporary and sure, I’m currently being sucked back into my old job, but they’re still paying me more so I’ll take it! But most of all, I have spent a lot of time in one of my favourite places with my favourite people.  There’s been quite a bit of quality family time this year, and while the circumstances could have been better, they could have been a lot worse too.

But most of all, a lot of love was sent my way this year, and shared with my family. So thank you. It’s not enough, but it’s all I’ve got.

For those of you diligently keeping track – Mom should be having Chemo treatment 2 of 3 (or 5 of 6 depending on how you’re counting), tomorrow.  Unfortunately, her neutrophils are down.  For the non-medical among us, that’s basically white blood cells. Since chemo kills your immune system, they won’t do it if you’re already compromised.  Which is smart. But it does mean a 1 week delay, which stinks.  Not that a week of feeling pretty good is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that we were down to 6 weeks, and now it looks like we’re back up to 7.   Paula the pump will get ditched for a week and they’ll try again next week.

January does bring promise of new beginnings. Of course I’m hopeful that this year brings lots of positive things to share, and I promise I’m thinking about how to maintain this little blog after it’s current theme passes. All I can say for now is stay tuned.

One Down Two to Go

I think they call this the home stretch.  Or maybe this is the last leg, and 6 weeks from now will be the home stretch.  Either way, we are one chemo round closer to the finish line and I for one will take it.

Mom had her PICC line fixed on Tuesday, they were hopeful they could get it all done in one day, but unfortunately there weren’t enough chairs. So Wednesday she went in again and Paula is back in our lives.

And how did it go? WONDERFUL.  Mom came home for a long winter’s nap, but has had no nausea at all. This is what her doctor thought would happen, that she was so sick with the first rounds because she was nearly obstructed.  But now that we’ve got that pesky stomach out of the way… good to go.

She has been told that the devil in this cocktail will be exhaustion.  Flat out, dead tired, ZERO energy exhaustion.  But now that we’re in the last leg of this tour, we are all definitely rallying around the countdown.  8 weeks, 6 days.

It’s going to be a quieter Christmas than normal in our house that’s for sure, but I feel confident speaking for all the Weldon’s when I say – we don’t mind one bit.

Message from Mom – Do you think I willed the delay by saying I wished for a few more days before they killed me again? Shoot! What a waste of a wish!

Or… Not the first OR time

First update – not the first OR time after all.

Wouldn’t want anyone worrying unnecessarily, Mom’s OR time is 1:05 p.m.

So we won’t have an update until later in the afternoon.

Thank you everyone for your kind words and finger crossing.

Looking forward to reporting an all clear tomorrow afternoon.

XOXO

Let’s Talk Shrinkage

Friday is a day Mom has been waiting for 9 fast and slow weeks. Paula is leaving us for a while – that’s right, we’re through the first leg of the relay. The first block of chemo rounds is finished, and we’re waiting for a surgery date.

What else is new? Shrinkage.

That’s right.  It shrinks. Mom had another CT Scan to update the surgeon in a couple weeks.

Drumroll please….

We’re down 2cm.  4.8 to 2.8!!! That’s practically half!

Liver – clear! Lungs – clear! Kidneys – clear! Every major organ you can think of (besides the stomach of course) CLEAR!!

Can I get some big ups!?!

There’s just one small but.

One rogue but actually.

One rogue lymph node.

Was 7mm now 10mm.

BUT since it’s best to bookend bad news with good news – that uncooperative little bastard of a node is right near the shrinking tumour, and will be taken out with the surgery.

So it’s practically ike it’s not there at all… that’s the way I’m looking at it anyway. 🙂

Message from Mom: “It’s the best I could hope for. Now all I have to do is behave myself for the next 4 weeks.”

“Oh Paula I’ll miss you” – said no one ever

Round 3

She didn’t want to jinx it, so she asked me not to post until after the weekend – but to say this round was much better than the last, would be an understatement.

Mom was given an extra boost of anti-nausea meds this time, plus a handy prescription of Ativan. Between the two, she didn’t feel the need to stay in Newmarket post-chemo, she was able to make it home and largely sleep through it.

Dad and Brother got some education in how to start and stop an IV through the PICC line, which meant Mom could easily set herself up with 1 litre of saline each day Thursday-Monday.  That helped.  A LOT.  One of the big challenges last round was that Mom was so sick, she really couldn’t stay hydrated, which of course just made things worse.  Getting the saline in made a huge difference and something she’ll definitely be keeping in mind the next time around.

For now, it’s 2 1/2 more weeks with Paula the Pump, then she gets a good break.  No date for surgery date yet, but it should be sometime closer to the end of October.

Message from Mom – “What am I going to do with all my free time!”

 

Peace of mind for those that are far

It has come to my attention through the grapevine that while updates are great – seeing is believing. I should have known better – always add a picture is rule #1 of blogging.

First, I can tell you that Mom’s hemoglobin is up to 106! This is great news it means she’s not bleeding anymore and in fact is making her own hemoglobin.  The drug she is on to stop the bleeding is a wonderful thing.

They are still going to give her radiation on Tuesday to make sure everything stays on the up and up.  And if all stays on track, Wednesday will be her first chemo treatment.

They are going to try her on fluids again to see how she does, hopefully it’s okay since that will get her one step closer to home.

Now for a short gallery…

This is what 41 years of marriage looks like…

41 Years

Mom has a room now – so nice to be out of the holding pen.  But even better is sunning on the patio.

photo copy

We’re a goal oriented, strategic planning kind of family – and we figure it’s good to have goals…

Goals

Some family members aren’t so sure about any of this and would like to know – “Have you seen my mommy? I can’t FIND her!!!”

photo copy 3

A few other points to clarify –

  1.  Kim was right (sorry Kimmy – I didn’t write down why!).
  2. Anyone is welcome to call anytime.  Mom has her cell phone and a room phone – if you need the room extension please send me a message or a comment below and I’ll pass it on.
  3. The cancer and the blocked part of the stomach is at the bottom.

How you can help today – Ask questions if you’re confused about something, or I have left something unclear. Just send me an email (firstname maidenname @ gmail . com – no spaces) or leave a comment – just like when you’re in school, if you’re confused about something, chances are someone else is too!

Message from Mom: “Poor Puppy! I’ve asked the nurses and she can come for a visit!  We just need to provide proof of her shots – second drawer of the filing cabinet” – Clearly, Molly’s not the only one who is missing their cuddles!

Tomorrow – a non Cancer related update – variety is the spice of life after all!

And then things got complicated

So yesterday I gave you the low-down, today is the first of what I’m sure will be many updates.

While we were hoping that things wouldn’t get complicated until after chemo started – apparently Mom’s stomach had other plans in mind.

The current hiccup in the get better plan is somewhere in her stomach she is still bleeding.  We found this out last Friday when the hospital called with the results of her routine blood test – hemoglobin level was at 78… for the non-medical minded – it should be between 120-160.  For reference when she was bleeding out with the ulcer, her hemoglobin was around 70 something.  In true Nurse Mom styles, she did not beleive them, because she felt fine and having just experienced what 78 felt like, she definitely didn’t feel like that.  She said she would come in for a blood transfusion but only if they agreed to retest her.

They did.  It was 74.

Shit.

Two units of blood and she was sent home, feeling… exactly like she did that morning.

Monday was the surgeon appointment and by Tuesday she wasn’t feeling great.

Wednesday she went to the emergency room and told them her blood pressure was down, she was short of breath and pretty sure she was bleeding again.  Perk of being a nurse – you know what to say to get action.  By the time Dad had parked the car and found her – she was in a private room and more blood was on it’s way.

The plan was to do a gastroscopy – where they go in with a scope camera have a look around and hopefully cauterize wherever she was bleeding from.  In mom’s mind they would do it Thursday, she would be able to go home immediately afterward.

No dice.

Friday morning they did the scope, but what they found was food in her stomach.  Since she’s been on liquids only since Monday – this is not good. While she’s been there waiting for the procedure and decisions the hospital staff has taken the opportunity to get lots of other things done so she’s good to go for chemo.  She’s met with the oncologist, the radiologist, she had her picc line put in.

And the verdict, not going home Friday.

During the gastroscopy they couldn’t find anywhere that she was clearly bleeding from. So they are going to do radiation on her stomach to stop the bleeding. Not sure how radiation stops the bleeding – probably by magic.

She is now no longer on a liquid diet, she’s on nothing passed orally – which means a Total Parenteral Nutrition is passed through that handy picc line.  They are also giving her more blood because they want her to be in tip top shape for when they start chemo next week. She’ll start chemo and then they’ll likely keep her in the hospital another day or so to make sure she doesn’t bleed again afterward.

So that’s where we are.  She has been moved out of “the holding pen” where she was one of 25 beds, and into a semi-private room without a roommate – for now.  The staff at Southlake have been wonderful.

How you can help today – thank you for all of the positive thoughts, we really appreciate it. She has her cell phone so you can text her or call if you aren’t able to visit, she has her iPad too – so emails are welcome!

Message from Mom – (after finding out that she was going to be put on nothing passed orally) – “Looks like I should order 3 days of internet”

30 While I’m 30 – Update

Less than a month to go to the big birthday.  And since I’m such a terrible blogger and haven’t been updating as I’ve gone – I thought I’d do a little halfway update. SPOILER ALERT – I’m not halfway through the list.

Shocking I know.

Here we go:

  1. Take Gordon for 30 walks – we’re making progress, but seriously Mother Nature, could you give up on winter and bring me some nice spring days. Puppy needs some walks!
  2. 1 week moratorium on Starbucks I made it more than 1 week, 10 days in fact… but then I had training.  And turning 1 week into 3 all went to hell.
  3. 2 week moratorium on Starbucks
  4. Finish the ottoman DEFINITELY a post to come about this experience.  M&D Enterprises we’re going into business.
  5. Make a jewelry solution – I have the solution… I have not made it.
  6. Unpack my backpack (the last “real” box from our move) – the backpack is full of jewelry… see #5.
  7. Organize purses/purge for easier rotation – halfway – I have purged.
  8. Build a desk
  9. Clean/organize office
  10. Take wedding dress to be cleaned
  11. Update resume
  12. Take a long walk on the Tom Taylor Trail with my camera
  13. Organize photos on new computer
  14. Frame canvases from Sista I’m picking them up from the framer today – I’ll post a picture when we hang them this weekend. They definitely deserve their own post.
  15. Decorate bathroom
  16. Go to a spin class
  17. Set up a regular RRSP contribution plan – I’m pretty sure this makes me an adult.
  18. Have Kristyn, John and Logan for dinner – or bring dinner to them – We split dinner and had it at Kristyn and John’s so that little Logan could go to bed.  Turns out he’s not interested in missing the party no matter where he is – so everyone had a great night! 🙂
  19. Organize knitting patterns
  20. Finish Tanis sweater
  21. Finish cowl
  22. Finish baby girl sweater
  23. Stencil bedroom
  24. Clean hall closet
  25. Surprise The Boy with a present – Apple TV – although The Boy still thinks that we need cable… argh.
  26. Clean and shelf paper linen closet
  27. Vacuum and clean both cars
  28. Plan a front garden
  29. Get kitchen table and chairs – We’re halfway there.  We got a pedestal round kitchen table with a 24″ leaf for $100 at the ReStore – SCORE!
  30. Make cupcakes – just because. Made Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting for dinner with Kristyn and John.  We had leftovers and the Boy may have eaten 3 in one day.  When I told him that was slightly gross he said “aren’t they healthy cupcakes?! Usually when you make a dessert it’s got something good for you in it.”  I suppose the peanut butter frosting made with natural peanut butter could be good for you, but the 1/2 lb of icing sugar probably negates that.

Mmm Peanut Butter Cupcakes 

Lookin’ good – but I’ve definitely got some work to do this month.

7 hours in the car beats $3500 anyday

Well, the boy and I went and talked to Mr. Midas on Saturday.  He was once again extremely helpful.  Beyond helpful actually, he didn’t even charge us for the work that he did! Awesome.

The boy asked Mr. Midas, “Will it make it home?”

Mr. Midas – “Oh yeah it’ll make it home.”

Me – nudging boy “you might want to tell him that home is 2 hours away!”

Boy – “Oh yeah, will it make it to St. Mary’s – it’s about 2 hours away.”

Mr. Midas – “Off the record – yes.  But maybe write down some tow truck numbers along the way… and take the back roads.  Don’t get the RPM’s too high – maybe 80km or so.

Boy and Meaghan = Happy.

You see, Boy’s dad has a friend that likes to take apart cars and put them back together.  So instead of paying Mr. Midas to tear apart the engine and find out it’s total garbage – $1500 for figuring that out – we drove it to St. Mary’s for friendly Frank to figure it out.

So we crossed our fingers and we drove… and drove… and drove.  I hate the back way.  It’s SO long and there are no landmarks!  Just fields. At least when I’m on the 401 I can break my 2 hour trip into 20 minute segments… not the case taking the back way.  Just long and flat and boring.

But we made it.  I gave the boy a thumbs up about halfway there, and he gave it back.  He said he was going to give it to me earlier – but he was afraid he’d jinx the car and as soon as he put his thumb up it would die… or explode.  Happily it didn’t.

So now Friendly Frank has the car.  His initial assessment is that the oil was changed on April 1st – but there is some sort of crack in the engine or something somewhere – so something is leaking in, and it’s making it dirty.  Also the ticking stops after about 10 minutes… this apparently is a good sign.  He thinks he knows what’s wrong – and he’s hoping it won’t need a completely new engine.

We dropped it off, stopped in at Boy’s parents, no one home, left, forgot the tent – turned around, left again.  We stopped in Stratford for some lunch and got back in the car and went home – thankfully taking the highway!  Total time round trip – 7 hours. Total time in the car – 6 hours.

We’re hoping that this is the Love God’s effort to see us through.  Keep your fingers crossed too please.