Monday, January 28, 2008

Home Again and Sledding

I got the privilege of taking Meredith home today. I haven't been able to take her home since her chest surgery and I loved it. I'm sorry that we haven't been blogging as much but all of you are constantly on our hearts and minds.

There was not very much to report on this round of chemotherapy until yesterday. Meredith has been having problems with her veins (shocking since they spend five days at a time poisoning her). She has a semi-permanent port surgically placed in her chest that they can give most of her chemo through, but since she is on a VIP treatment not everything mixes well. That means that they also need a peripheral IV in her arm. During this stay the IV would work for a day or less. Poor vein condition + 1 IV trainee = 5 pokes in 4 days. After that Dr. Bernstein and the nurses decided to place a PICC line. For those of you not in the know, a PICC line is a glorified IV. It is an IV site that starts in her tricep deep in a large vein. The line that goes in her arm extends down the vein 42cm to a location just above her heart. Now they will not have to poke her arms again during the last round of chemo. It sounds terrible, but she said that it hurt less than any of the previous IV sites. It was, however, one more surgical procedure to add the list of "Meredith Firsts."

On an awesome note. We went on a trek to play in the snow before we went to the hospital this last time. We took my bother Chris and Rusty and headed out to Colton. Rusty went crazy, it was his first time in deep snow. Meredith stayed in the car most of the time, but got to hit the slopes for a few awesome runs. It was so much fun.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My First Acupuncture

Well, I'm back at the hospital- my home away from home. Tuesday I had my first acupuncture treatment. I went to bed on Monday with a horrible tummy ache. In fact it kept me awake for a couple of hours. I woke up with it on Tuesday and decided that it was alright because my naturopath thought the acupuncture would help with my nausea and I was definitely nauseated. She only put five needles in me this time. Next time she'll use more. I had one in each knee, one in each wrist and one in the top of my scalp. When I left her office, I felt so much better. Not wonderful, but pretty good. I'll go back after I go home and am feeling better. I've been in the hospital for two days now and it seems to have helped with my nausea here too. I've felt much better than my last cycle of chemo. Hallelujah!

My Brother the Cop

Okay, apparently there has been a bit of confusion about the connection between me and the Tualatin PD. My brother, Nathan, is a police officer at Tualatin PD. So the guys know him, but they don't yet know me. They were so kind to give us a financial gift and to shave their heads in support of me and as a sign of solidarity to one another. They ROCK! We were really touched by them. I hope that clears some things up.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Message of Hope

Fear and worry are normal,
natural reactions to threats,
but so are courage and hope...
and they are the stronger,
the more enduring.

-Author Unknown

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tualatin PD Solidarity

I met Nathan, Meredith's brother, at work this morning because he had a CD of pictures to give to us. The pictures you see are the result of awesome, caring, selfless people who shaved their heads in support of a woman they have never met. It all started when Meredith's brothers decided to shave their heads to support their sister. The officers in Tualatin were in search of a way to unite their department during a year of personal hard times. As a result they picked a day to unite together and support my wife. Milo, one of the officer's sons even got in on the shaving action. In addition Nathan gave us a wonderful card from the PD with a financial gift, and God continues to provide. I can't say thank you enough for being so generous.

On another awesome note, Meredith is feeling great today. As I am trying to write this she is singing Brazilian kids songs at the top of her lungs. She has been very tired, but the nausea seems to have subsided for now. It seems as though after chemo she is nauseas for a week, feels good but tired for a week and then spends the third week getting more chemo. I love seeing her upbeat and enjoying food. Thank you again Tualatin Police Department!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Alternative Medicine

I went to a naturopathic doctor yesterday to supplement my treatment. She wants me to up my fiber, protein and wants me to get good sleep. Since I've lost about 25 lbs in the past two months, she's trying to bulk me up a little so that my body can fight my cancer better. She also had me purchase some l-glutamine powder to help support my gut to help with nausea and vomiting. Since chemo targets rapid-growth cells, it kills the cells that line my gut, hence my problems with nausea. She gave me some other helpful tidbits and some yummy looking smoothie recipes that I can't wait to try. Next Tuesday, I'm going back to her for my first ever acupuncture. She thinks it will help with my digestion and right before chemo, will help me to be less nauseated during my treatment. Next week I'll let you know how the acupuncture went. That's all for now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Feeling Better

I feel great today! No vomit for two days now. (Thanks, Mel for the prayer and for all of your help while you were here.) I've felt pretty crummy since I came home from the hospital this last time. I have been battling nausea and have vomited a lot, plus I had a fever Friday through Sunday. The fever was almost bad enough to land me in the hospital, but I really kept tabs on it and did everything in my power to keep it down. At 100.5 degrees, I automatically have to report to the hospital- or so I've been told. Saturday, I woke up with it at 100.4 and immediately put a cold compress on my head and started drinking cold liquids. I got it down and by Sunday evening I was back to my normal temperature, but was still vomiting.

So, I came home on Monday feeling terrible. Tuesday Nick called the paramedics for me and I had to go to the ER. Wednesday was okay. Thursday was wonderful, even though I didn't feel the greatest, because Melanie came. Friday through Sunday I had a head cold and fever. My first week home wasn't the best. I hope it's all out of my system and the next week and a half are much better. I think they will be.

As I type these words, I feel like such a complainer. I'm reminded of a passage I read the other night with Melanie. I was flipping through the Bible and landed on Habakkuk. Even though times were tough and everything seemed to go wrong, Habakkuk still praised God. Even though I had a trying week, God has been good to me too. I know that chemo is working and God continues to provide for us and bless us every single day.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Saturday, January 12, 2008


As you know, I'm bald. I shaved my head on New Year's Eve day, because I had too many bald patches to get a regular short haircut. You may or may not know how hard it was for me to lose my hair. I cried-a lot, until the hairdresser shaved it. Then I was okay. At that point it was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. It will grow back. It may take a while, but it will.

As a sweet, supportive gesture, my brother, Matt, sent out an email to my husband, brothers and some of our friends asking them to shave their heads in honor of me and to show their support. The head shaving is now complete! Nate shaved his the day before I shaved mine. Matt and our life-long friend, Dirk, shaved theirs New Year's Eve. Matt's friend, Nick was already bald, but shaved his massive facial hair. Thanks, Nick for the progression of photos from beginning to end. A bunch of guys from Nate's precinct got together yesterday and shaved their heads in support and also as a sign of solidarity to one another. Today, Andrew shaved his. You guys all rock! Thanks so much for the gesture. I really appreciate it. Enjoy the photos.

Melanie is Here

Our friends Melanie and Scott Creps moved to Utah last year and we have really missed them. Just before they moved we found out that they are expecting and could not be happier. They put their heads together and worked out a way for Melanie to come visit, and help Meredith while I am at work. We are so amazed by all of our friends, family, friend's family, family's friends, co-workers of friends/family and everyone I am forgetting who read our blog and want to know how we are doing. Meredith took Melanie to a surprise baby shower tonight and had a lot of fun hanging out with all of the ladies. Even though it was Melanie's party we seemed to pull away with a few hats for Meredith and a t-shirt for me. I know most of my posts include a thank you to all of you, and it may be getting old and repetitive, but everyday I am encouraged by someone in one way or another. So once again. Thank you.

Oh, and I can't forget more good news. Meredith had a brain scan (MRI) yesterday. Dr. Bernstein was a little concerned that she blacked-out since the tumors in her pelvis had grown so fast. The MRI cam back normal and the doctors concluded that she was just dehydrated.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Late Night

Meredith and I feel bad that we haven't blogged since she has been home from the hospital. She came home on Monday and didn't vomit once...until last night. She was going to the bathroom about 8pm and I was called in because she was vomiting. She said that she had hit her head on the bathtub and thought that she had blacked out. Just then she slumped and lost consciousness. Her eyes stayed open, but she had a blank stare and was not responding. I ran into the other room, grabbed my phone and called 911. I laid her down, per the 911 operator, and the ambulance arrived about 5 minutes after she had initially passed out. By the time I let the paramedics in she was waking up but still very disoriented. Rusty had come home to us that night and was very confused as to why he was being shut in the kitchen. Her blood pressure was 85/45, but the paramedics said that she was fine. I got a hold of our oncologist, Dr. Bernstein, who said that as a precaution we should go to the hospital. I called Bobby and he drove us to the Portland Providence Emergency Room. As we were checking in Meredith passed out again for a minute or two, but the nurse wasn't too worried.

Praise God that her blood work came back great and it turns out that she was probably dehydrated. They accessed her power port and gave her a liter of fluid. Aaron and Amanda came and brought me some dinner and took us home about 2am this morning.
Today she is tired and a little nauseas, but otherwise doing just fine. She has, however, been drinking more fluids as we do not want to repeat our little excursion last night.

Tomorrow morning the sealant on the bathtub will have completed curing and Meredith can take a bath. Hopefully tomorrow's entry will only contain pictures of our new bathroom and not another entry in my "Scariest Night Ever" diary.

Thank you all for your continued support. We feel more loved than we could ever know.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fabulous News

I had a follow up appointment with Dr B on Tuesday to see how things were going after the first round of chemotherapy, and nausea at home, etc. Normally Dr B would wait until after my second round of chemo to have my pelvis imaged to see how things are shrinking, however, I told him I was having abdominal pain. He decided we needed to image immediately just to be sure the tumors weren't growing. He had to contact a gynecological surgeon to see which kind of image they prefer. We were thinking Ultrasound,but late in the afternoon the word was MRI. Either way it's an image that does not expose me to radiation, and I appreciate that. If the results of the MRI was that the tumors were shrinking, we'd go with the plan and check into the hospital the next day for Round 2 of chemo. If they were not shrinking, and even worse, if they had grown, I would go in for emergency surgery to try to remove them. This really scared me.

I got the call at 4:30pm to go to an imaging place as soon as possible- they were the only ones in town who could fit me in for an MRI that night. I was a little irritated because we had dinner plans at 6. Dr B said that we would probably just image at the hospital the next morning before we began chemo. We arrived at the imaging place at about 5:15 and left 2 hours later. Two hours later. We salvaged dinner plans. They were with Aaron and Amanda, so they were cool with pushing it back. We ran home, I changed into a fancy outfit, because we had decided to dress up. My hair would have taken me a little while to fix after laying on the MRI table for so long. Fortunately my hair took no time at all.

As we were running out the door Dr Bernstein called with the results-ALREADY! The MRI showed that the tumors ARE SHRINKING and are at least 2cm smaller each!! The outside edges are consistent with tumors that are shrinking. Well, I was much more excited about dinner now. We had something to celebrate. And we did. Dinner was a laugh fest and we had a really great time. Again, Prayer Army, thank you all for your prayers and please keep it up.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hats Scarves and Goodness

We had an awesome time at our friend's (Aaron and Amanda) house on Tuesday night. Amanda and my mom organized this for Meredith. Our friends and family got together and bought Meredith a plethera of hats scarves and bandanas. Since we are at the hospital tonight I can't post any pictures, but they will come soon. Thank you to everyone that came, I know Meredith really enjoyed it. In addition to hanging out with everyone she got a lot of cool head coverings that she has already begun to take advantage of. Meredith will be here at Portland Providence until Monday. While she is here I will be spending most of my time at home ripping out our bathroom to put in a new tub that Meredith can soak in. Demo starts tomorrow night. There is NOTHING that a 20lb. sledge can't fix.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy NewYear!

Happy 2008 everyone. I rang in the new year a little different than most years, bald. I began losing my hair on Thursday. Saturday night I washed my hair and it came out in HUGE handfuls. I had an appointment this coming Wednesday (Jan. 2) to get a short haircut so my hair loss wouldn't be so dramatic. I had to reschedule it for Monday (Dec. 31) because I already had bald spots by Saturday. Due to my patchy bald spots, I went for the gold and had my head shaved. There was really no alternative. My friend, Lori, took me to her hairdresser to get a pedicure, then get my hair cut. My mom and best friend, Amanda, also came to offer their support. So, here I am in all my bald glory.