Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No, I'm Not Crazy

When Honey had his surgery, he had a large abdominal wound that was closed with staples.  Two days after he left the hospital, he developed a fever and the surgeon had to open about 6 inches of the wound to allow it to drain.  He told me, "You're going to think I'm crazy, but I want you to get this stuff."   It's an antimicrobial spray that they use on horses.  He said to spray the wound with it every dressing change, that he had patients who had used it before and it worked great in helping wounds to heal. 

He gave us directions to the vet's office and off we went.  It was located out in the country, but we did find it.  I went in the front door and there were two doors, one to the right and one to the left.  I entered the office, stood in line until it was my turn to talk to the receptionist. 

Receptionist:  Can I help you? 

Me:  Yes, my husband's surgeon told me to get this spray called PuriShield to use on his surgical wound. 

Receptionist:  Excuse me? 

Me:  I need to buy some PuriShield to use on my husband's wound. 

Receptionist:  Ma'am, that is for animals.  I don't think we can sell it for human use. 

Me:  Well, my husband's surgeon said to get it and he said to get it here. 

Receptionist:  Let me ask someone about it (disappearing into the back of the office). 

Receptionist:  Ma'am, you need to go to the large animal side.  This is the small animal clinic. 

So I walk out the door and go in the door on the right this time. 

Receptionist:  Can I help you? 

Me:  Yes, I need to get some PuriShield spray to use on my husband's surgical wound. 

Receptionist:  From Dr. J, right?  Don't you just love him!! 

(Apparently he's a good customer!!). 

So we got our "horse spray" as we call it, after Honey had the surgeon reassure him that he would not want to whinny or run at Pimlico after using it.  

And it did work great!! 

Until next time ... 


Playing the Waiting Game

It's been 2-1/2 months since the diagnosis, and it's been pretty much of a waiting game.  Honey had to have CT scans of the lungs, abdomen, pelvis and whole body bone scan done.  He had to have a lot of blood tests done.  He had an appointment with the oncologist, who said that the CT scans showed an area on his right femur (thigh bone) with enhanced signal, so he wanted to get an MRI.  There was some inflammation in the lymph nodes in the groin that were "of concern" so he thought that Honey might need to have a lymph node dissection, which is removal of the lymph nodes in the pelvis and groin to see if there is cancer there.  That is a major surgery with a difficult and often complicated recovery period and can cause lifelong problems with swelling in the legs, so that was NOT good news.  However, after talking to the surgeon, who said there had been a lot of inflammation in the area of the surgery, they decided to put Honey on a course of antibiotics and repeat the scan in 6 weeks.  So we waited.  

It turns out that the increased signal intensity on his thigh bone is probably a bone cyst, which is not a concerning finding, and six weeks later, the lymph nodes had returned to normal, so no lymph node surgery was recommended. 

So the question remaining is what to do now?  There few studies on this cancer because it is rare in this country, and Honey's case is not typical.  Usually, chemotherapy and/or radiation is given first to shrink the tumor, then surgery is done, the cancer is removed, and if there is no spread, follow up is with CT scans every 6 months for 2 years to check for recurrence.  If the cancer has spread, it is generally fatal, but they can do chemotherapy to slow it down.  In Honey's case, the surgery had to be done immediately because of the size of the tumor and the incredible pain he was in.   

Now, the problem is that the oncologist isn't sure what to do in terms of radiation and chemo, since there are no precedents for doing chemotherapy after surgery when there is no spread to other organs.  So he is sending Honey to the University of Michigan to see an oncologist and radiation oncologist for their opinions.   That will probably happen the first week in May ... so we wait some more. 

In the meantime, Honey's wound is not completely healed yet, but it is getting close.  As of this week, I no longer have to pack the wound and he just needs a small dressing to cover the open area.  

The best part is, he says he feels better than he has in years, and in so many respects, it's been wonderful to have him back to his old self ... even with the chemo stuff still hanging over his head.  We've been able to do things together again, like go to a movie, or out to eat, or even just a drive or run errands together.  Things he couldn't do because the pain was too unbearable.  We've been taking advantage of that while we can before he starts chemo and will have to be careful about being in crowds for a while. 

I have to admit, I'm afraid of the chemo, though.  My dad had cancer and it wasn't the cancer that killed him, it was the chemo, which suppressed his immune system and allowed an infection in his leg to run rampant.  He started complaining of pain in his leg on a Sunday evening and 36 hours later died of septic shock because the infection spread so fast the antibiotics just couldn't get in front of it.  That scares me ... a lot.  

But I'm trying not to borrow trouble and not worry about it too much until I have to. 

I'm getting kind of good at that. 

Until next time ... 



Thursday, February 20, 2014

The C Word

A little over 2 weeks ago, we found out my husband has cancer.  

It's a rare cancer, with an occurrence rate of about 1 in 100,000 in the United States.   We knew when he saw the surgeon that he would be having surgery, but the cancer diagnosis was very unexpected.  

Since then, he's had major surgery, bone scans, CT scans, blood work, oncology appointments, followup appointments with the surgeon, and he potentially has more scans, more surgery with more biopsies ahead, possibly requiring us to travel to the University of Michigan, all before we'll know what treatment is recommended after the surgery. 

I've spent the last 2 weeks packing and dressing his wounds 3 times a day, caring for his catheter, helping him dress and bathe, all the while working my 4 to midnight full work-at-home job as a medical editor/transcriptionist.   

This cancer is so rare, that there are no studies with a large enough sample of patients to be able to even predict 5 year survival rates, recurrence rates and so on.   The statistics that are available are not very encouraging, with life expectancy of 7 months to 2 years after diagnosis for the more advanced stages. 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all this.  We've been together for 43 years, since I was 18 years old.  We have worked together in the same home office for the last 18 years.  We're sort of joined at the hip.   When you grow old with someone, you expect that at some point, one of you will die.  Somehow, I always thought that if his time came before mine, that it would be a heart attack, or something quick like that, where he's here one day and the next day he's gone.  

It never occurred to me that I might have to watch him die.  

I don't know how to deal with that, so for right now, I'm hanging on to hope that when all the testing is done that there will be a treatment that can cure him, and if not, at least hold it at bay for a few years.   In other words, I'm holding on to hope until somebody tells me not to, and that day is not here.  . 

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, but somehow, you never think it will hit this close to home ... until it does.  

Until next time, 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

You Can Call Me Grandma

The Big Guy and KT recently informed us that we're going to be grandparents!! We're thrilled!! We've actually known since shortly before Christmas, but the kids didn't want it made public until after the first trimester, after suffering a pregnancy loss last year. She's into her second trimester now and things seem to be just fine, so we're saying our prayers that things continue that way, and that we'll be welcoming a little one into our lives come summertime.

And yes, I'm already knitting booties. We won't know for a while if it's a boy or a girl, so my color choices are limited!! Yellow is pretty safe, I think.

I finally got around to hanging my mini quilts in the stairwell. As soon as I saw that stairs before we moved in here I thought it would be a great place to display these. Some I made myself, some were received in swaps. There's room to add a few more down the road too.

I haven't been sewing a whole lot, but I did finish a baby blanket I was knitting. I actually started this several months ago. I told the kids I was knitting in "on spec" since I figured someone would be having a baby one of these days!! Little did I know ....
It looks like 2011 is off to a great start for us. It's about time!! Life is good again.

Until next time.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

I've Been a Busy Girl...

I have been a busy girl the last couple of days. I promised myself once I finished the gifts I made for Christmas, I would work on some of my UFOs before I started anything new.

The first project was to finish up some mug rugs I pieced before Christmas. I put them aside so I could finish gifts. I just kind of made them up as I went along. Now that I know what I'm doing, I think I'd like to make some more of these. They were fun and quick, and useful.

The next finish, is a baby quilt I started in 2008. A relative was expecting a baby, and I made a baby boy quilt and a baby girl quilt, since they didn't know ahead of time what they were having. This was one of my first attempts at free motion quilting. I had some problems with the tension on my sewing machine and while the top looked fine, the back was a gnarled mess of thread. I spent hours taking out the quilting I had done and by then was tired of looking at it, so I put it away. (The relative had a baby boy ... lucky for me!! I sent the baby boy quilt. He's 2 now!!)
I've done a lot more free motion quilting since then, mostly on small projects, but I seem to be getting the hang of it, so I thought I'd finish this up. I don't have anyone to give it to, but my boys are at that age where their friends are starting families, so somebody will have a baby girl one of these days!!

Next is a table runner I made for a fall giveaway in blog land in the fall of 2009. As I was quilting it, somehow I got a big wrinkle in the back, so once again, I put it away to be finished another time. Fortunately, I had made two of them, because I wanted one to keep. That one turned out fine and now resides in a home in New Zealand. (That still amazes me that something I made belongs to someone halfway around the world!!)
Anyhow, I finished it up and got the binding on and it's now at home on my coffee table. It's just what was needed there.

My last finish, isn't really a finish ... it's just progress, but I'm happy with it, so including it here. Last year sometime I bought a couple of charm packs of Cotton Blossom by Moda. I didn't have a plan for it, just wanted something new to sew on. I decided to do a disappearing 9 patch. I got the 9 patches made, and that is as far as I got. This week, I cut the blocks up and pieced it. This is a picture of the blocks laid out on my living room floor. I'd like to add a border or two and use it for a wall hanging or a lap quilt in my living room. I don't really have anything in my stash that will work, so I'm going to have to find some fabric to finish it.
While I had the camera out today, my baby girl, Peanut wanted to have her picture taken too.
Doesn't she look just like one of those Ewoks from the Star Wars movie? She's like having a live teddy bear!! Scooter wouldn't let me take his picture today. He's kind of camera shy, but Peanut is a ham ... always has been.

Until next time...


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year ... Looking Forward

There's something about starting a new year. A feeling of new beginnings, endless possibilities, washing away the old and embracing the new. 2010 wasn't one of our best years. In fact, the whole decade kind of stunk!! Beginning 2011 is like taking a breath of fresh air.

I have high hopes for 2011. I won't call them resolutions ... I'll call them goals, but I have big plans for this year!!

In September, I joined Weight Watchers. By Christmas, I'd lost 30 pounds. I still have a long way to go. I don't think of it as a diet, more as a change in lifestyle, a way of eating that is healthier. This time around, I'm learning to understand that I can lose weight and still eat the foods that I love, just in moderation. I'm learning to forgive myself when I slip up, and move on, and the weight will come off. I want to keep up the momentum!!

I'm trying to be more active, which is saying a lot since it seems that the last few years, I've been so out of shape that getting dressed was a workout!! When we moved here, I couldn't stand long enough to prepare a meal without getting back pain. I had a hard time walking to our parking spot. The first few weeks after we moved, my knees hurt so bad, I was afraid I'd made a terrible mistake moving into a townhouse with three levels. But I got used to it. It's been slow progress, but I am making progress. The stairs don't bother me any more, I'm up and down them a dozen times a day. I walk my dogs every night after supper. Not real far yet, only about 10 to 15 minutes. And for the first time in 5 years, I did my grocery shopping without using an Amigo scooter. It doesn't seem like much, but it's a lot for me.

I finally got my sewing studio set up, just in time to make some Christmas gifts. I still need to do some organizing, but it's usable. I've been working on UFOs and I'll have some pictures to post of those, and some of the Christmas gifts I made tomorrow.

Living in less clutter means housekeeping is easier, and I'm finding some balance in my life again, with time to enjoy leisure activities. That had been sorely missing from my life for a long time. Now I have time to sew, to knit, to read. I'm baking our own bread again, and cooking fresh foods.

In 2011, I'm going to learn to knit socks.

I'm going to start playing the electronic keyboard again.

I'm going to finish at least one UFO a month.

I'm going to work up to walking 30 minutes a day.

I'm going to go to my youngest son's graduation from college and not have to worry about how far I'll have to walk to get to our seats.

I'm going to find some kind of volunteer work to do.

And if things go as planned ... I'm going to be a grandma.

Life is good!!

Until next time ...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving weekend is all but over. It's Sunday evening, I've just finished up the last of my work for the day, and have a few minutes to reflect on our holiday.

Most of my work life has been in medical facilities, my mom was an R.N., and now my son is an EMT. All of these professions require working weekends and holidays, we have always worked around when we could get the family together. This year, the Big Guy had to work Thursday and Friday, so we had Thanksgiving dinner at his house on Saturday.

Thanksgiving day was spent quietly, with just the two of us, relaxing, reading, watching movies ... and football, of course. We did cook a turkey breast and had that for dinner, (and we wanted to have some leftovers.) It was a great day!!

I haven't been a black Friday shopper for years. There is not one thing on this earth I need or want enough to go out to the stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving!! So on Friday, I prepared some of the food for Saturday's feast, and didn't even leave the house all day. I think I might have even spent the day in my pajamas!!

Our feast on Saturday was a big success. We celebrate with the Big Guy, his wife KT, whatever family we have in town, and KT's family, and some friends. This year there were about 20 people there. My brother and sister came from up north. My 80 year old aunt was there. The Wonder Child came home from school for the weekend. KT's brothers from Washington D.C. and Chicago,

It's kind of a collaborative effort. KT's mom makes a turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, Big Guy usually deep fries a turkey or smokes turkey breast (this year he smoked 2 turkey breasts) and everybody brings something. We have a great time, and I look forward to it every year.

I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. We always have great food, and great company. And this year, we are especially thankful for so many things.

Until next time ...