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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Late Monday post

I do apologize about not posting on Monday. I was just so sure that being released from the hospital without drugs that everything would be great. Needless to say, that was not the case. You get so used to having the iv drugs in your system 24 hours a day that you have a feeling of being better than you really are. That was me yesterday. By last last night, I took some drugs, settled myself down and had a very sleepful night.

But I will tell you that when Pam (my nurse) wheeled me out of the hospital and I could breathe fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun, that was like a gift from heaven! During the afternoon I was on the back porch, protected from the wind, continung to enjoy the sun and fresh air. With all the wonderful treatment at the MMH tower, home is still the best place to be. Just taking a shower in your own home is something great! And without any tubes attached to you! And a real towel to dry with! Little luxuries that we often don't about in our daily lives.

My goals today are to get rested, exercise a little more (walking further to the bathroom and to the kitchen), drink and eating. I have lost way too much weight this week so must push past the bad taste and get some weight back on this body. My mind is much better this morning so am hopeful that as the day unfolds, it will be sharper.

Still have alot of treatment left to do before this is over. Have to have 6 teeth extracted on APril 16 and then the combined chemo/radiation treatment with radiation being for 6 weeks. But the only thing I am fosusing on at this moment is feeling good, gaining weight, and getting my energy back. My treatment is so much better this time that I am hopeful by the end of the week, I will be doing well. Not great, just well. Great will be for next week. I have also learned you can steps that are too big at times so I will go a little slower this week.

So gang - will go and shave my face for the first time in a week. And then crash for a couple of hours and then start getting myself back into the shape I desire to be in. Have a great day and may God continue to bless everyone who has supported us in this ordeal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A lazy Sunday

As the first day of week sets in the sun, I find my back looking for a soft comfortable angle to sleep. My grandsons found the mechanical devices to operate this bed and so my body went thru all sorts of stretches and compressions for a time this evening. These things grandparents will put up with when they get to see their grandkids.

No major medicine today. Just waiting for the shot this morning to take over helping my body rejuvenate itself. Was told that I get to go home in the morning. I am ready! So tomorrow I get to go home and my dogs get to snuggle up around me looking for a comfortable place to sleep!

My son had to return to his home this afternoon. He was such a help to Lucille as she tried to divide her time between work and the hospital.

I have spent the day visiting with folks who have come to brighten up my spirits. Got balloons which my grandkids thought were great!

My time in the hospital this week has been soooo much better than last time. All the reactions were corrected before anything bad happened so it was a good week. I look forward to getting back into a normal lifestyle this week. It will be hectic but then when is life not hectic?

I continue to thank God for sending his angels to show his love and devotion. And I pray that angels have entered into your lives this last week. Nite all.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Two chemos down AND one to go

The second of three chemo treatments is down. At 7:15pm tonight the last bag of chemo was detached from my life cord. I still have two days of the chemo running thru my system but at least the bag is gone. Today was another up and down day full of upset stomach and emotions. But with the help of family and friends I am another day closer to getting the cure I and my family desire.

I will have one more full week of chemo in the hospital starting in later April running concurrently with the radiation treatment. But that is three weeks away. All I will be concentrating on the next two weeks is getting my health and energy back.

My three grandkids came up for a sneak visit today. Kids always have a way of charging your batteries! It was truly wonderful to see Harrison, Walker and Hannah.

My white cells have dropped to the point that fresh fruit, flowers and visitors will be off the list for the next 24 - 48 hours. This happens with every chemo but the numbers came back the first time in good shape and I expect them to this time. My other counts are falling too but am assured that they will make a significant rebound this next week.

So tonight I hope that my stomach settles down and without chemo I will have a good day to rest and walk and maybe enjoy some outdoor air. You don't know how much you miss it when all you get to see is thru a window.

I cannot say how great the Oncology Unit at MMH has been. They are the most caring people in treatment, caring and visiting. They are folks that you never want to see but without them, this process would be much harder. Thanks is truly not enough to tell them.

I think God works in such a wonderful way. We just have to watch to see his good works. People come at the right time, friends doing things you worry about, the right cards come at the right time, comments are made by people that settle the soul. God is all around us, we just have to open our hearts to let him come in his way. I think we all want to see this big message from him, but he works thru the mulitdues of angels, both heavenly and human. As I have stated before, we all need to slow down and smell the roses and listen to what he has to tell us. I know it has made an impact on me.

Again, thanks for the support and prayers. I know without this support, this would be so much harder. May God Bless each of you this Saturday.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cancer is a WORD not a sentence.. (from Chloe and Tracy)

but the day started off like a sentence. I have finally figured out that I have been eating too much at one time and it was causing problems so have started eating a little all the time. It seems to be working much better. This evening at 6pm my last bag of chemo for this round was put on. So around 6:30pm Saturday night, I will have finished the second of three rounds of chemo!

Rev Mike Philliber came by today and I really appreciated his scripture and prayer. My emotions have been up and down today and his kind words really had an effect on me. Thanks Mike.

As I get ready to sleep for the night, I thank God for the prayers, calls, and support from each of you. God truly does not give you more than you can take and today was one of those witnesses. Grown men do cry and I think it is an important part of releasing tensions. At least it was for me today.

My grandson (Harrison - age 4) came by tonight. I have not seen him in a week and he seems to have grown up so much. He told me about his baseball game this week and the birthday party he went to today. He was going to have ice cream for me tonight!! Sweets are just not inviting right now. Have to be after I get a couple of days after chemo as I need weight back up before radiation starts in three weeks. But before then I will get my energy back.

This round of chemo has not been nearly as bad as the last. I think it was because of being in the hospital and being able to push iv instead of orals. So while it has had its ups and downs, it has been a significant improvement over the first round.

So hopefully I get to go home on Monday and start the road to weight and energy for the week. I hope everyone has a great weekend and even though I am in the MMH tower, I expect to have a good weekend! Cancer is after all a WORD not a sentence. Nite all!!
Good morning all. Had a stomach attack last evening and the nurses put me out early on so was not able to post. But did sleep well. Would be doing great if not for my stomach. But the good news is that by Saturday night I will be done with the second round of chemo. At this point I think I will be in the MMH tower until Monday morning. White counts have already started dropping so I think the doc will keep me here so see how the counts are Monday.

So I am just up here sleeping and doing some visiting. My blood counts keep dropping so that explains the tiredness. That is part of the side effects of chemo. Am extremely hopeful that I will get my energy back by the end of next week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One day closer....

Well half way thru this week's chemo. Have spent most of day in and out of sleep. Had a reaction to one of my meds this am. It was like a thousand sharp pains all over my body. Like every nerve ending reacted. I have this med everyday and it just reacted different today. I am tired today so I guess that is why I have slept so much. Had a pretty good breakfast and lunch but supper was just not to be today. I don't eat this much food at home so it's hard to eat it all. But the good news is that my vitals are good and my blood counts are good. Did do some walking today and even took a shower this evening. Even had to trim my nails! Losing more hair but that is minor. If I could just get my stomach to cooperate!! Three more days and then it's off the pump and then maybe three weeks to feel good again. Ooooops! Well, two weeks as I have to have teeth pulled on April 16.

I have to thank Adam and Kathy for all the hard work in keeping the shop open. Not sure what I would do if it weren't for those two. While they can't do taxes, they are taking care of the other side of business. Adam presses shirts while Kathy does the administrative and delivering. And all our clients are most supportive.

I guess the worst part of this is how tired I get. Am trying to exercise and to keep my mind functioning. But I also understand that sleep is good. It allows my body to take care of itself. But just don't like this tired feeling.

Each day passed is one day closer to getting finished with all of this. At the end of the week, I will be two thirds finished with chemo!! The last chemo is suppose to be a lower dose that is in conjunction with radiation.

Thanks once again for the cards and prayers. I know that these are lifted up and that God is answering these prayers. I don't think I could do this without all this support. God Bless and talk to ya'll tomorrow..

The reason I am in hospital.

Well, I just finished a night of being drugged. Started having problems late afternoon yesterday and was knocked out all night. Nurses just checked to make sure I was breathing and let me sleep. Had to get up several times and was really really unsteadly for most of night but did not fall. As of this morning I am just hungry as did not eat supper last night. They brought supper at 4:30pm and just did not want to eat at that time. But got sick shortly thereafter so guess it did not matter.

The good news in all of this is that I was in hospital and this was all caught to keep it from getting worse. The hiccups were caught in the first 5 minutes and the upset stomach caught within the next hour so did not suffer a long time. That was the whole purpose of being here and it worked!

With the care of the wonderful staff at MMH and through the prayers of everyone out there, we have made it through another day in the road to recovery.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I am a cancer survivor

I know this is another posting but it is on my mind on this early Tuesday morning.. Be sure to read the following posting. I have two posting for Monday.

Hopefully I can remember all that my mind has done. I need a automatic transcriber to remember all that has come to my mind. So it may be somewhat incomplete now that I am putting it on paper so I may be adding to it over the course of the week.

I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR. The day that I knew I had cancer I was a survivor. I am bound to beat this throat cancer. If I survive the treatment (which I will with God's help), I will be the ultimate cancer survivor and join the ranks of men, women and children who have wonderful stories to tell the world and especially to others who are entering the treatment phase of their cancer.

Cancer is not a personal problem. Yes, it does physically affect the person who has the cancer, but it affects the immediate family, friends, business associates and others with whom we come in contact with. The most wonderful part of this is how it brings people together for a person who has cancer. It seems so easy to just give up on treatment. After all, sometimes it feels like the treatment is worse than the cancer. It affects all of cancer survivors different. But the one common trait that binds us together is the positive attitude in fighting this cancer. And I think the number one person we rely on is God and the faith we have in him. He did not give us this cancer, but he will use our attitude and perservance to help others with whatever problems they may have. It does not have to be cancer. I do not want this cancer but I have it and will deal with it headon. And that is life for us. If we attack our problems head on, then we are helping ourselves and we are helping those folks who we come in contact with, whether personally, professionaly, or through contacts such as this blog or prayer groups around the world. As I tell my Boy Scouts, you never know who may see you and the effect you have on them while you are doing your deeds.

I have been so blessed in the support I have in this ordeal.
1) my wife
2) my children and their kids
3) my friends whether in Midland or out of town
4) the staff at MMH at the Allison Cancer Center and the Onology Unit
5) the prayers from those I know and those I don't know who offer me up in their prayers each day
6) my Boy Scouts and the leaders in the Troop
7) my church

The uplifting I get from each of you is so real to me. The kind words, the reality of my progress making sure I do not give in when times are rough, the cards, the paintings from kids, the phone calls from friends and Eagle Scouts, my grandkids who know of this "bobo" (it is amazing what they think at the age of 4 and 2), the food, books and movies, the skull caps. All of you have contributed more than you know. Yes, there have been rough days and there will be more rough days before June 15 (final day of radiation). But Lucille and I will get through this.

God has granted me an opportunity to truly give back a small portion of the blessings he has given me so far. Who knows, maybe these words will help someone else, regardless of their problems. I know I will continue to say words and do deeds to somehow help others in their plight. After all, I think that God wants us to be this way. Each other helping others.

This isn't exactly the thought process I had in my brain. But I think the final result is the same. Lucille has not proofed this so bear with me if it isn't quite correct. I just had to wake up to get it on paper before it totally left me. I sincerely hope each of you had as good a Monday as I have had and that your Tuesday will be filled with God's blessings as I hope and am determined mine will be. May God bless this and each of you.

Always Hiking

It is now 8:15pm and I have finished
the first two chemos of the day and fixing to start 5fu. The picture is of me walking the halls with my drug rack. My friend for the next 5 days. As you can see, there is no stone left unturned or money not spent on making me comfortable!! I have the same wonderful nurses in the onocology unit and it is very reassuring to me.

We got to Allison Cancer at 8am this morning getting blood drawn and visiting with the doctor. I weight about 162 pounds with my clothes on (157 without). Got over to the Oncology Unit around 10:30am. Because of someone else having problems today elsewhere in the unit, I did not start any iv's or chemo until around 3pm. So I just gave the nurses a hard time. The only problem is they give it right back. When they stuck my port I thought it must have been a #16 nail. It took a couple of hours for the hurt to subside. At this point I only have 2 bags hanging but if all goes well there will only be two for the balance of the week. But it looks like I will be here thru Sunday. But who knows, if I have no problems I might get to come home late Saturday or maybe Sunday. Money is on Monday.

I am feeling good at this point. But the trial starts tomorrow and this is the best place to be to make sure I don't go thru what happened last time.

So if I'm not in my room, I am hiking the halls of MMH. Only problem is I cannot leave this unit because of the chemo hanging. So I will not be going far. Have to keep hiking. My hiking stick is my pole! After all I have a camp out to get to in a few weeks.

Enjoy the pics! Depending on the rest of the I'll post some more. I am getting made fun of at this point by Lucille and my kids. So enjoy and may God Bless Us all this week..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is it Monday yet?

Slept til about 8am. Felt pretty rested. Got up read the paper and had eggs for breakfast. Went to the office to work and get things done since I will be in the hospital all week. Adam came up to help this afternoon and got alot of printing done. A pleasant surprise was the Air Force cadets who came by to have some t-shirts made. It was neat helping these guys.

I will admit I am a little anixous about tomorrow and the start of the second chemo treatment. But I am ready for it to start. My throat has become a little sore and that is the cancer starting back up. So I am ready to begin again to let the chemo attack the cancer. I think that being in the hospital will not result in having two bad weeks like last time. I don't know whether I will be out Friday or Monday. But regardless, I hope I will be able to get back to work. I really believe the doctors will be able to better control my pain and reactions to the chemo.

So at 8am tomorrow I will be getting blood work done in preparation of a full day of chemo. The two heavy doses of chemo are tomorrow. Then start 5 days of 5fu. The reactions and drop in white cell counts will start sometime Tuesday. But hopefully the drugs and being in the hospital will control everything.

So for the next week I will have my crutch back (the pole holding my drugs). It's hard to imagine but I am ready to get it on!

I even have a poster to put up in my room courtesy of the Gomezes. I know there are alot of prayers and support and I thank God every day for each of you. Thank you for your patience and love and support. Hope everyone has a good a week as I will!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another day down....

Was the weather nice today? I wouldn't know as I spent most of day working. Lucille and I did go to the eyeglass store to reorder a different pair of sunglasses. Seems they could not put my prescription in the first pair we ordered. Have to have them when I start radiation.

But we did sleep until 9am. Needed to get up earlier but somehow we made it to 9. I was dressed and ready for the day in 10 minutes!

Worked most of the day but had to take a little nap this afternoon. Can't get all the rest I need in one night. Lucille came to help and by shear luck Sarah came and rescued her. Seems she would rather babysit the grandkids than make copies. Another one of my Eagle Scouts came to visit today.

Adam came in from Albuquerque late this afternoon to stay for the week while I have chemo. He is also going to help at the shop printing t-shirts. He fixed a great meal tonight and it was really tasty! Am winding down on my last meals until after chemo.

So the day was good. Got alot of work done and have more to do tomorrow. Will try to work about 1/2 day and get everything in order for next week's workers while I lay in luxury at MMH where I'll be waited on every 2 hours. Other than being tired, I am going great! My last day of feeling good tomorrow but then I am getting excited about getting the second round of chemo done next week.

Your prayers and support will be greatly felt as I go into next week. Have a great night and see you tomorrow. Later gang....................

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yea it's Friday

Another week down! As I have tried to push myself to get alot of overdue work done, I have pushed my body too hard. But I figure I get to catch up next week while at the hospital getting my next round of chemo. I am tired today but feeling ok. Will sleep in (that means I maybe get to sleep til 7:30) and relax before going to the office to get things cleaned up before Monday. Had several people stop by to visit and enjoyed all of them.

Had another one of the Troops Eagle Scouts call today. He is a student at Texas A & M. I forgave him for going to that school!! And I'm sure the neigborhood is talking this evening as John, one of Midland's finest policeman came to visit! John is one of the Troop's Assistant Scoutmasters and his son is one of the Troop's Eagle Scouts.

The best food I am eating now is real spicey. Guess it overrides the bad taste buds so I can taste the good stuff. So expect spicey food for the balance of the weekend. Then I get to chow down on the wonderful food at MMH!!

The biggest problem I have at the moment is trying to gain weight. While I was wanting to lose about 5 pounds, I did not care about losing anymore. I currently weigh 156. So we are constantly looking for ways to gain weight. The problem is the taste. While I can sometimes eat through the taste, ice cream and chocolate (two of my favorites) taste terrible.

I shaved Monday and have not and will not shave until Monday morning. I will trim my head with the shearers Sunday night, although it probably will not be necessary. I am getting more used to not having any hair. But then, guess I had better as I will probably lose the rest of it anyway. But I tell you getting ready for work is a snap.

Thanks again for all the prayers and continued support. It keeps my spirits up and my faith strong. Have a great night folks.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Brick wall

Well, after a full week of working I have hit a brick wall tonight. I am tired to the bone.

I had a surprise from one of my former Eagle Scouts today. Danny came back and we had a great visit.

Lots of work done and lots left to do before Monday. If it was not for some special people at UTPB, the week would have been a disaster. But as such, things have worked out thanks to them.

Other than being tired, I feel good. Nothing tastes good unless it is spicy hot. Guess it dulls the tongue! But doesn't seem to affect my talking much. My throat is a little hoarse from talking so much today! I have decided that with all this talking my conversation skills are improving!!

Again thanks for all the prayers and support. Sleep well everyone. Goodnight...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another day down and getting stonger..

Good evening all - just another wonderful day in Midland. Today is why we live here. Lots of sun and a great temperature.

I had a glass of chocolate milk today and boy did it do a number on my stomach! Could not believe it as I had been drinking a small glass every day to help my weight. But will not for a awhile after today. Finally went away around noon. Now if I was in the hospital they would have given me a drug to stop the feeling. Ooops... guess I let my man side control my body today instead of listening to my body like the ladies do!!!

Typical day at work. Ruined a pair of pants when I tried to fix one of my printers. Visited with clients about their taxes and this blog and my health. It ceases to amaze me the number of people who are reading this blog. The hit counter doesn't even get close to the number of you who read this everyday. In fact the counter is down right now. Maybe this blog overloaded them!! (Yea right!!)

It's been a long day. We had supper at 9pm. So today will be short as my body is telling me it is time to lay down and sleep.

I know you may think that thanking you might be redundant. But I pray to God each day to bless each of you and for those who are praying for me. I feel blessed each day. I see other people and the problems they have and I think, I am so blessed. It could be so much worse. God has plans here for me. I just have to figure out what they are. You know I have the following problem so God will need a big stick to make sure I get what he wants done.

But I really mean it when I say thanks for your prayers, your support, your gifts, your cards, your kind words. In fact thanks isn't enough. But at this point it is all I can do. Have a great evening ya'll. Keep the faith cause I can assure you I am!!

P.S. A clarification on a previous posting. I do wash my head every night when I shower. My head seems to be a magnet for hands! And besides, if I didn't wash it at night then I would have to in the morning. That's all... Nite

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another day closer to the cure..

The day just got better and better. Yes, I am tired tonight but getting stonger as the days go by. At least until next week. But I am really happy with my energy level at this point. I expect it to get better and better as the week goes toward the weekend.

Things are getting a little more normal at the office. I have alot to do, but am making headway since I basicly missed two weeks. But as I have said before, you just make the most of it and keep right on truckin.

I don't know what kind of surgi-strips they put on me when they put in my port but they are still clinging to my body. Heck, they may stay on until this ordeal is over!!

I shaved today but it was more of habit than needing to shave. So will be able to get ready for work in about 10 minutes tomorrow!! So I get to sleep just a little longer or maybe work out a little longer. Yes, I am working out some doing my crunches. A six pack I will not get but it sure is not going to be flabby! Same with my arms. Besides I have to stay in shape so I can keep up with my boys. So far, I have been able to stay up or ahead of them thru these 25 years and I don't intend to get behind now. So when I feel able on these inbetween weeks I will be working out.

Food tasted alot better today so am hopeful that it will get better thru Sunday. Am gaining a little weight. Lucille has been great in trying to find something I will eat. Right now it is hot and spicy. She had carmelized onions tonight along with hot links and they really tasted good. I want to have some good Mexican before Sunday.

I got a call from one of my boys in New York today. I was visiting with some clients when he called but hope to visit with him sometime this week. It always great to hear from troop members who have moved on. Another one of my boys came by the office to visit.

The cards that have been received have been so uplifting. I look forward to the mail each day. The support and prayers that come thru these cards is fantastic. And I thank each of you that has taken the time to write and send cards. If I never received another card, I pray that each of you who has taken the time and effort and money receives a special blesing. I have so many memories to draw from. Please do not think that I am asking for more cards. I am not. It's just that they lift me up so much. I have gone through all of them more than once reading your kind comments.

As I told some clients today about how Lucille and I are approaching this cancer, I saw in their eyes the uplifting we are giving. I pray that our actions will spread to others who are having problems in their lives. After all, aren't we suppose to be helping others. I have alot of helping to do as a result of all the help ya'll are giving me. God Bless each of you and good night.......

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chemo is working

Good evening all - What a beautiful day! It was such a pity to be indoors. Nothing like a day in Midland in the 80's and no wind.

Spent about 3 hours at the doctors office this morning. The most fantastic news is that the doctor smiled when he checked my throat! He did not call in his PA. And said everything looked good which included my blood counts. Then the decision was made that I would become a resident of MMH for next week, letting the nurses wait on my hand and foot! Nothing like 24 hour care! But the real reason is to let them help me through the extra pain and reaction to the chemo that I had last time so I will only be down for a week instead of two weeks. So will be reading and sleeping and if possible eating smuggled food. I weigh about 161 but expect to lose a few pounds while in the tower of healing.

Jimmy Patterson dropped off the video and pictures he took at the shaving last week. Have not had a chance to review but will post some pictures and will ad the video in the next couple of days. My hair is growing faster on the right side than the left side. Shaved today cause it was Monday. Not necessarily because I needed to. Feel like high school when I shaved once a week whether I needed it or not.

So attempted work this afternoon and visited with clients all afternoon. One brought me a crocheted beanie. It is really comfortable. Another brought a beautiful cross and a magnet that says "Failure is not an option". The love and support from ya'll is so touching. You do not realize how good it makes me feel. All I know is that I will owe all of you when this over. And I realize you do not expect anything in return, but I will owe you.

Had a hot link for supper. No bread just a hot link. And it tasted pretty good. I continue to get stronger. Started lifting a little weight this am to tone up my arms, chest and stomach.

So tonight I am pumped!! Good news at the doctor, on the eve of the second of three chemo treatments to begin. Life is good, God is good. Thanks to all of you who hold me up in your prayers. God Bless Ya'll...............

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lazy Sunday

What a wonderful sunny Sunday. Slept in and then took another nap before lunch. Enjoyed the sun today while sitting on the patio. Have been tired feeling most of day due to the hours I worked the last two days.

Lucille fixed spam, potatoes and onions for supper. We both grew up eating this meal. It was a staple at both our households. But the best news today was that it tasted good. These taste buds are really weird in that what is good one day is not the next. So just have to keep eating and finding something tasty each day. But get to try alot of different foods that way. Last night it was just a hot dog with mustard. But at least I am eating which is helping my body heal.

We are thinking about going hiking next weekend with Adam. Hopefully, I will feel better and more energized as the days go this week.

Heck, with the weather getting hotter this week, I may not wear my beanie and be able to just show off my new hair cut.

Paul (my son in law) had a music cd release last night and I understand it was successful. Alot of people went out to hear him. We did not go as we stayed with the kids last night while Sarah went out to support Paul.

A lazy Sunday but we both needed it today. We rested and rested and will be ready for the hectic week. Alot of you will be spring breaking this week and I hope everyone has a great week. May God give all of you safety in your endeavors this week. Later gang.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No hair? No problem

Well, I paid the price for working 14 hours yesterday. Sept til 9:30 this morning, so what did I do? I got up and went to the office and worked until 7pm. Think I learned my lesson? Evidently not!! But will surely be ready for bed. But tomorrow will be another long day but only have a week before the next treatment. So gotta make hay while I can........

I have spent the day in a beanie! So I have come up with some advantages and disadvantages for not having hair.
No hair means:
Savings on shampoo.
Saving time each morning because I don't have to wash my hair. Saves about 10 min!
Don't have to worry about hat hair.
Don't have to worry about not washing my hair and it looking bad.
People love to rub your head when shaved. I know I do when my boys shave their heads. I rub them all the time.
People tell you how cute you are! Now really, cute??
Get to wear beanies and not get the gang look.
Hair will not ever get sweaty.

And to top it off, evidently my beard is going as I have been two days without shaving and I still look I just shaved. So I get to save more on shaving cream and not shaving. So I have effectively cut my getting ready to work by 15 - 20 minutes. Took me 3 minutes today. Just brushed my teeth. And in a few weeks, that may not take 3 minutes!

So may not ever get hair again. Just keep it shaved off saving time and money!!

Have not seen the video of the cut yet but hear it is pretty funny. By the way if you want a autograph from today's front page..... forget it!! But would like a couple of extra copies if any of you have not thrown it away. Going to make a poster of it......NOT. Just going to send to my favorite aunt and my mom.

It's been a good day overall and will enjoy my sleep. May God continue to bless each of you for your support and prayers. In another week, I will be taking chemo again which hopefully will not be as bad as before. But it will be the second of three down!!!!!! Yea

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good and tired

Well, I must be better as I worked about 14 hours today. Am tired tonight and will work again tomorrow. So I view that as good as my strength comes back, but not the muscles. I will work out some next week to get the muscle tone back before chemo on Mar 24. I do realize that I am working too much but after this weekend I think I can slow down a little. When you miss a couple of weeks of work something has to give! My mind is certainlyl getting clearer every day as the drugs are exiting my body. And this time of year that is important. With being so busy at work I really did not have much time to realize I needed to slow down. I'm sure as I hit the bed this evening that my body will say "about time".

Did everyone see the MRT web site and the article Jimmy Patterson wrote? I thought Jimmy did a great job on the article as I can tell he spent alot of time going over the video about the comments the boys made. The only comment I forgot to tell Jimmy was the lesson that we stress to the boys is that when stuff happens then do something about it in a positive way. And get up and get going again. Have not seen the video but he told me that he was going to put part of it up on the site. He is going to give me the full blown version and somehow I will post it.

I will not have my teeth pulled until after the second round of chemo. And if it goes well then hopefully I will have a couple of weeks to heal before starting radiation.

Hope everyone enjoyed the rain today. We certainly needed the moisture. I can turn off my sprinkler system for a few days!

Need to get some rest as I sit here, my body and mind are beginning to wind down. So hope all have a good night and enjoy the 70 degrees tomorrow. Later everyone, may God Bless all of you!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What a day...

Was evidently wired yesterday as I did not go to sleep until around midnight. After getting up a few minutes this am I crashed again for awhile. While I wasn't excited about it I know my body was telling me that it needed rest so it got what it wanted. Good thing as today was a disaster at work. My computer crashed and I have spent all day trying to recover and still have some recovery to do in the morning. It was the final breakdown after I found out that all my doctors did not get my tooth extraction done for next week. But with all of this, God shows his blessing as Janie and Steve Snelson dropped by the office late this afternoon for a real pick-me up.

So next week I guess I will be further recovering for my next chemo on Mar 24. While everyone is playing on spring break I get to work and get caught up before Mar 24. Alot of work to do but it keeps my mind occupied.

I lost all my email today so if you have sent any emails in the past few weeks of encouragement I would love to have them again. I read them often as a source of encouragement.

I had a talk with Jimmie Patterson this afternoon and he told me he was going to try and get the shaving video up tonight or tomorrow. And hopefully get a newspaper article sometime in the near future.

One of the side effects of chemo is the loss or change of taste in the tongue. Some days food is good and the next it is awful. Today I had coffee which tasted pretty good. But the bean and cheese burrito was forced eating. We had bbq tonight and it was semi-good. Something to get used to as it will be here for the next few months until my body gets completely healed. Guess that is one way to keep the weight off!!

Through the Bible, God has told us that he will not allow us to become totally burdened and today was an example for me. I have the faith that he is looking out for Lucille and me. As our faith and belief hold so will his love and support. He will not give us a burden we cannot bear. I cannot imagine anyone going thru this ordeal that does not have a faith in God. It is this faith that allows me to have the support base from all of you in this ordeal. I know that there is an extra tick in the book of life for each of you. Thanks for your support and love and prayer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

God has blessed us today

What a day!! Got up, fixed breakfast and then took a 2 hour nap. Then proceeded to work until 6pm and wore myself out. The good news is that I am feeling better each day and getting stronger.

Another blessing today was when one of my clients came into the office and we proceeded swapping cancer stories. She had cancer two years ago and it gave me alot of comfort talking to her about her experiences. She has such a positive attitude!

But the real story is about my shaved head. I have been cold all day and have worn a sock cap most of it. And I suppose I will for the rest of the week since it is going to be pretty chilly.

A comment from the Scoutmaster shaving last night made me think that you never know who is watching you or how you will affect them. I received an email from one of my former Eagle Scouts and it brought tears to my eyes. I stay after the boys about being good models and it really make me feel good that they have taken these words to heart. These young men cease to amaze me with their thinking and their actions. It is kind of like your kids when people say how good they are and you think "that can't be my kid". It makes me proud to be associated with them for all these years.

I expect the days to get better until next week when I have some teeth removed and then the next week with another round of chemo. But it puts me that much closer to finishing up these 4 months.

We have been blessed with rain today and hopefully the rest of the week. We all need to thank God for this blessing as well as being here for each of us today, whether we wanted him to be here or not!

I good nights sleep and another wonderful day tomorrow because of your wonderful and thoughtful prayers. I just cannot express how much support and comfort that gives me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Truly my first day from the hospital. Stayed at home this morning and then went to work. Lasted about two hours before taking an 1 1/2 hour nap before finishing up the work day. Now how many of you wish you had it so. An afternoon nap? I have found that although I know I have to rest, I am energizied in working and taking care of business. I still have a family to support, obligations and of course, grandkids to spoil.

But the biggest event of the day was at Scouts tonight. This morning as I was drying my hair (what little I have - er had) was falling out in handfuls. So tonight was the Scoutmaster shave off. I let the boys shave what hair I had left and subjected myself to their good natured jabs. But what I experienced most what the energy these young men gave me tonight. I felt good as I mingled with them, counseled them. Jimmie Patterson from the Midland Reporter Telegram was there to film and interview the thoughts of the boys. And some of their comments were real heart felt. I drew aloth of strength from them tonight. So now I have a clean shaven head. I did not realize that my head could get colder but it is. Guess I will have to find a crazy sock cap to help keep the heat in! Somewhere I will post pictures of the actual event and the aftermath!

It is late now and although I am tired, I feel better not only about today but about tomorrow. One more day down and one glorious day tomorrow. I know I have some tough days ahead but my attitude is that the sooner I get there, the sooner I am over this!

I truly believe that the prayers everyone is offering up are working. That God will provide for Lucille and me. I think the silver lining I have found is what I can do for others in helping them through their problems, in getting up every day and continuing life, in dealing with the events that are handed to us in a positive way.

Evidently, many of you have not been able to comment on the blog. We think that is now fixed so if you are so inclined, then comment away. I look every day to see where and how many people have looked. It gives me strength to know how much support I have. Thank you for that and may God bless everyone.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Have you smelled a rose today?

I would ask all of you who are reading this post to please say a prayer for Sarah and especially Walker (my grandson) who are in Dallas to visit yet another doctor. Let us hope that through this man, our Lord can give some relief to the whole Hughes family. Pray that the doctor can find Walker's real diagnosis.

At 8am this morning I was told I could go home. At 8:30am I was told I was not going home until after lunch. Guess they wanted me to have some more of their wonderful food. But the good news is that I have left the tower and am now sitting in my home, snug as a bug.

It was amazing to really see the outside world for the first time in 7 days. The trees blooming, apple blossoms everywhere. Seeing people going about their daily lives. As Lucille was driving me home, I came to realize that in fact I am a cancer survivor and that my life has and will be changed forever. But it also makes me appreciate life, each breath I take, each picture I tried to embed in my mind. I have two weeks to gather my strength for the next round of chemo. I expect to work less but more efficiently, sleep more to allow my body to do its job.

As I walked into our home, my two dogs nearly knocked me down. (one weighs 2 1/2 # and the other 5#) But after being here for a couple of hours they have settled down to their normal routine. I did some work this afternoon between naps and Lucille fixed a great dinner. While I did not clean my plate, my stomach ached for good food.

I cannot thank everyone enough for all the support and help but I want to single out Grammy today. She has helped saving me many hours of time and as a good Samaritan, she expects nothing in return. I certainly will not be able to repay all the efforts of those around me, but what really touches my heart is that the support is there, no questions asked.

The day is about done, I am free of my lifeline for the last two weeks. No more walking a pole to the bathroom, no pulling at the chest as I roll over in bed wrong. I will not miss the two hour wake up calls. I get to sleep in a real bed tonight and take a shower without being taped up to keep my port dry. The day has been good. One down and one full chemo treatment to go. And then radiation.

Yes, I am a cancer survivor and each day I wake up filled with thanksgiving to our Lord because I am one day closer to getting rid of this demon. As I have stated previously this experience has made me slow down and smell the roses. Have you done that today?

P.S. I did find my clothes......

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My clothes, my clothes

Am hopefully finally preparing to leave my MMH tower tomorrow. Am off all pain medicine, and everything else is to be taken orally. Had hiccups until about 4am this so sleep was not to be had. Every time I called a nurse to stop them, the hiccups stopped, and then returned so just decided to wait it out for about 6 hours.

The time to get ready to go home and all I have is a hospital gown. And I don't think they will let me take it. Have had no clothes for a week now. It will feel weird to be bound by pants, shirt and jacket. Who knows, maybe I will start dressing down around the house!!

Have slept off and on all day, reading the MRT, reading a great novel, and greeting friends who have passed through. Adam left today and will be back in two weeks when this ordeal starts over again. I WILL be better prepared for the next time. I don't expect to feel better but will know what to expect (non-discovery I think).

I have felt trapped in this small room today and it has made me somewhat depressed. But tomorrow I get to be back in the world of my home, my family, my friends. Assuming all goes well tomorrow the anticipated shaving of the scoutmaster will be on Tuesday evening. My hair is starting to fall out so just want to get it over with and the boys will so enjoy it. We'll see if anyone wants to join me. Yea right!!!!

Did not have much of an appetite today. But still had some chicken for lunch and Rosa's' fajitas for supper courtesy of Cindy (Lucille's boss). I now weigh 158 pounds. Do you think it all this good hospital food or maybe it has something to do with the contraband brought in from the outside! I will work from the house tomorrow but plan on being at the office on Tuesday. I have no pain except the pain in my back by being in bed too much. Needless to say hospital beds are not designed for comfort. Only good thing about them is you can adjust them up and down.

I did escape the hospital ward today for about 30 minutes. Adam and Lucille took me to the courtyard for some sun and fresh air. I actually think I could have walked off the place and they would not have ever known until they came by for their two hour check. We were told today that they catch people at Walgreens all the time in their hospital gowns and poles!!Great place to sleep if you can do it in two hours.

I could not do this without Lucille. She has been here holding my hand, keeping the nurses humored, and keeping track of my progress. The staff here has been fantastic. I will see them again in a couple of weeks for another session of 10 - 12 days and quite possibly again one more time when I go through radiation combined with chemo. But right now my mind is set to get healthy, gain a little weight and to get prepared for the next round of chemo.

I'm ready to get out into the world again where I can walk around, talk to clients, visit with friends, work, see my grandchildren and kids and be home. Oh, and harass alot of boys. I'm sure they will have some stories to tell me Tuesday evening about their camp out while shaving my head. Hopefully, the MRT will be there and I'm sure alot of cameras and videos. How often does one get to actually shave a scoutmaster!!

So if you see me butt naked tomorrow going down the street, I'm not streaking, just looking for my clothes.

Thanks for your continued support and prayers and cards. I cry, I laugh but deep inside my heart swells knowing that so many of you care.......

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nearly Home

As I survey my small kingdom, my humble belongings, I realize how people feel when there is no hope of breathing fresh air, walking on this good earth and realize that I WILL be doing those things in a couple of days.

I have spent the day doing what I am supposed to do. I know that will be a hard concept for some to believe, but I have. I relax, doing reading (which I have not done in a long time), taking naps, greeting friends. In the meantime, Adam and Sarah have been hard at work getting my tax work together so I will be able to hit the ground running next week, well maybe a slow walk.

I think I will be in the hospital about 12 straight days starting Mar 23 for the next round. But with all my wonderful friends I know that I am blessed. Got flowers from the Reids today, and a spiritual book from Teresa Sewell.

Meals were eggs and cheese for breakfast and a form of goulash for lunch and chicken for supper. Not the meals I would have received from the camping weekend but hoping the campout followers will grant me a couple of nights. If you know the policy of the Troop, you know I'm only poking fun.

Slowly being weaned off iv to see how i react to regular medicine before i can go home. My spirits are up and continue to rise with each breath I take, the going outside to smell the fresh air, the sites of Midland outside my window, and the patter of small grandchildren running amok. I don't think God is through with me yet.

Hiccups have returned to my body and must find a way to to get rid of them. Hope everyone has a great night. Remember to set your clocks forward tonight.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Do MMH nights count as camping nights?

Sorry for the abrupt stoppage last night but my problems lasted through about 10am today. Was informed that I would not be going home today and that I was to be a guest at this fine establishment for the weekend. And I had kept hoping that somehow, someway to make it to Hughes Aquatic Base for at least a few hours. Not sure how I was going to get to stay past midnight to get my camping night, but it is just a fleeting memory at this hour. The guys and boys are going camping and next to my family, I miss it the most!

After battling an upset stomach all night and the wonderful nurses keeping me a in semi sleep, I know now that the only thing going into my body for awhile will be nothing but protein. So for lunch I had a bowl of jello, beef broth, and some meat (chicken I think). My stomach has settled down for the afternoon and half slept through it. Had a few visitors today even though I was not supposed to. My white counts have continued to fall again and are at the 250 mark. I am hoping for an improvement tomorrow. When they get to 1500 and steady I get to go home! For supper, Lucille went out and we had some rice, chicken and pineapple from the King and I. I got the chicken and she got the rest. It has helps to settle the hunger pains. And then had some jello. Just finished some jello to keep this stomach from rumbling too much tonight. I want to eat but am afraid of what will happen so we are now approaching everything in a very cautious manner.

I have been tired today but tonight got up and shuffled up and down the hall a couple of times. Then as I realized what I was doing I picked up my knees, thru my chest back, pushed my chin up and walked like I normally do. I surprised Sarah and Lucille when I took off. Took a couple more laps and am now settling in for the evening. I look at today and see some progress and am positive it will get better!

I didn't want to know what would happen to me initially. I am not a discovery person so not sure why I thought such a thing. Not that it would have mattered this week with all the problems that have arisen. But I will certainly be more prepared for the second round of chemo in a couple of weeks. It probably won't make me feel any better but will know what to expect.

My Boy Scout Troop is having an Leadership Training Session this weekend. While they don't see it as much fun, it is very necessary to them and for the adults who teach the lessons. I have seen many boys who come back and saw what an impact it has had on them in their adult lives. First one I have missed in 25 years and will be thinking of them often this weekend. I consider the leadership training they receive in the Troop to be one of the assets of the Troop.

The only other thought in my head at this moment is how much the cards, prayers, calls, visits have meant not only to me but also to my family. To have such support from across the United States and especially in Midland is beyond words for me. (I know, for some of you that is a hard thing to believe!). Life is really about support and supporting each other, regardless of whether it is your family, church, associates, friends, strangers. And when one gives of himself/herself then at some point that can come back to help you. And I truly believe that has happened to me since Feb 4. A long way to go but with the help of all of you, I will be back at church, at work, with my family and camping.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Top of MMH

When we came to Allison Cancer Center Monday little did I realize that on Thursday I would still be here and can quite possibly be here til Saturday. These folks at the Oncology Unit are fabulous! I have asked and they have provided - now some of what they provided was not what I wanted but what I needed. It has be very hard for me to not analyze what was happening and then how to make sure it would not happen again. Just goes to show you that we are not in control of ourselves regardless of how much we think we are.

My 4th floor view has a window (but looks into the outpatient rooms!). It has one bed, 2 chairs, a tv, and bath. What more could I ask for!! It also has wakeup calls every two hours, prodding and poking, more medicines and lots of noises. And this goes on 24 hours a day. And when you confined to this 10 x 10 room, well, you can just guess how it feels to be in a prison. It seems like home will not become a reality at times. And I know that I will becoming a familiar face in the next couple of months. My contact with the outside world is a cell phone that seems to always be out of juice. And now this computer (brought by Cindy - Lucille's boss and good friend).

When we started this process, I did not know that it would kill me and then rebuild me! But all this chemo and especially the 5FU (just use your imagination about what it stands for) has done just that. So the further I get from the chemo process, the stronger my body will become. I did not think I would ever get tired walking down the hall or taking a shower, but this is my life right now. And to think I was going to go camping this weekend!

Today, I came off meds to see how my pain really was. The good news was I have used the medicine only once but the bad news is that it is morphine. At this writing I have not had any other morphine so if I can make the night, home might be in sight.

I had scrambled eggs for breakfast and lunch was some chicken I sneaked from a meal Lucille had gotten from Sarah. I felt like Walker (my 2 1/2 year old grandson who can't eat food) as I would sneak some chicken and rice. I eat slow to savor the taste as well as chew the food so much that it slides easily down my throat. Still not to the 2000 calories a day but it beats jello and broth.

And now. . .posted by Lucille

Steve just hit the wall. As he typed, his eyes closed and he fell into an exhausted sleep.

Each morning, Steve's first words are, "Did you bring cards?" So to all of you who continue to send notes, cards and email. Thank you for lifting his spirits. To Kathy, Sarah, and Janet, you can't imagine how your work at the businesses is helping Steve relax and heal. To Brenda, Bobby and family, thank you for being with us every step of the way. To Cindy and John, you don't even know how your understanding hearts ease my worries. To all of you who continue to pray and to share Steve's story of courage, thank you. We are deeply indebted to all of you who surround us with love and care.

Thursday News

Posted by Lucille

Before I leave for the hospital, there's something ya'll need to know.

This morning at 8:00, the morphine pump will be stopped. If Steve experiences pain, he can request morphine from his nurse. Until his pain can be self-managed, he will remain in the hospital.

For today, Joshua 1:9. Blessings to all of you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Moving On

When I arrived at the hospital this morning at 6:00, Steve was sleeping. "Ahhh, that's good," I thought. This is what I get for thinking!

Steve was so nauseated that he had been medicated into a 6 hour sleep to keep vomit from passing his torn-up esophagus. When he awoke, he mumbled, "I need scrambled eggs with cheese." Since he still hadn't eaten anything solid, this was wonderful news. I gathered my purse and keys to hurry home to scramble eggs. Our nurse noticed my frantic run toward the elevator and said, "Whoaaaaaa! Go to the cafeteria, find the manager, and tell her what you need." I did as I was told and was met by the kindest woman ever. On the spot, she scrambled eggs, melted cheese into them, and charged me $0.00. Man, I am more amazed everyday by the blessings of this journey. Steve ate more than half of his eggs. Good for him!

Though Steve wasn't fully awake until 3:30 pm, he awoke feeling much better. A walk in the hall ended the feeling good. At 5:00, Dr. Rastogi asked Steve if he's always been a take charge guy. "If so, you're going to need to realize, for once in your life, you can't take charge. You're body must go through the process I've described."

Tonight, another part of that process continued. For the first time, Steve's tongue and cheeks have started the process of losing cells, causing his tongue to be covered in fiery, red ulcers.

I think, with managed pain, we may get to come home on Friday. That will give Steve a week at his office before the next step in this process.

Thank you for your prayers so far, and please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

E Coli!!!!!!

Posted by Lucille

As I said last night, what amazing blessings surround us! This morning at 7:00 Dr. Rastogi and staff evaluated Steve. "Terrible, terrible throat. No good tissue left. No bad tissue left. This is good. Very good. Chemo's half life is nearly complete. Healing will begin now." So, for the next three weeks, Steve's throat and esophagus will grow new tissue. This really is reason to be happy! Other news . . .Steve's neutrophil (white blood cells) count dropped to 70. (You probably have a neutrophil count of 1500.) The doctor stopped all visitation until Steve's bone marrow could be forced to build new white blood cells. The good news is that he received a shot today to kick his bone marrow into a new frame of mind. By now, his bones should be tricked into believing that they can manufacture neutorphils. Tomorrow, he'll get a shot for his red blood cells. This shot is made from E. Coli. Isn't that strange beyond belief?(If you're reading this and if you're one our Dr. McFarland kids or Adam, just pretend it makes medical sense.)

We're not out of the woods yet, but we see the light shining through the trees that were once so dense.

Each day, we receive exceedingly abundant blessings from this journey. Our lives are richer because of all of you.

From my friend Margie

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stay Vigilant

Posted by Lucille

Ten Blessings from Today's Events
10. Allison Cancer Center Staff
9. Marisol (Dr. Rastogi's nurse)
8. Dr. Rastogi
7. Modern Medicine
6. My parents' determination to make me determined
5. Steve's positive attitude
4. Above ground and breathing (courtesy of Eddie Taylor)
3. Friends that are family
2. Our wonderful kids who are comfort and support
1. That we're never alone

The weekend turned to a nightmare. At 8:30 this morning, Steve was hospitalized for a stay that will last several days. When patients are asked to evaluate their pain from one to ten, the medical practitioners have some leeway. They evaluated Steve's pain at a twelve. He is very tired, on a morphine pump, on three antibiotics and an antifungal, on oxygen, and is being hydrated constantly.

Since I know it's not fun to read this blog when I write, we ask that everyone stay hopeful, positive, and pray vigilantly that Steve posts again soon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Long Weekend

Posted by Lucille

This has been a long, long weekend. Not only is Steve extraordinarily nauseated, he's also in excruciating pain. Thankfully, Adam was here from Thursday night until this afternoon at 3:00. His common-sense approach to life and his compassionate heart make everything seem better.

Steve's pain hits him like a sledge hammer in the center of his sternum. If we press our index fingers parallel to his spine at T3, he feels some relief. We've talked with the oncologist's office several times today. Each time, they've given us a little more information about steps toward relief. Now, we're counting down the hours when we'll return to Allison Cancer Center for hydration and removal of the pump. We're already celebrating the idea of no chemo for three weeks!

Troop 175, Steve's hair is thinning by the minute. Hope you have something left to shave on Tuesday night!

We continue to be blessed with your daily cards and inboxes filled with your prayers and support. Each of you is greatly appreciated.