Friday, November 16, 2012

Of Medical Update,Hostess and fun at Busch's Supermarket

Its 7:20 pm on Thursday

   Its a chilly night here in SE Michigan...its around 40 degrees and feels like winter except just like last year,there really has been no real weather to speak of. We had one day of decent rain and last Saturday we spotted our first snowflakes,which I could count on two hands.

  First off,my biggest fear about undergoing a second round of chemo is coming true. This has been far worse then what Lori went through the first time around. And we are meeting new "friends" that we hadn't met before.
   Monday saw us at the local UM infusion clinic for the first time. This is where we went for the last 5 treatments in the first go around and with a little luck,this will be the last go around. She checked in at 9:30 for labs and I joined her at 10:15 am in time for the chemo treatment. The room was pretty full and our favorite nurse Mel (Melanie) was able to not only steer Lori into her section but also place her by the bathroom. This is nice because at having so much liquids pumped into a person,a close bathroom is a must!
   The treatment went by nice and slow,Lori slept once she got her heated blanket and I continued to try and slog through my Martha Grimes mystery novel.
  But I had to work at 4 pm so I had to leave at 2:30pm in order to get ready,Mel said that Lori would be home at 3 pm....3 pm arrives and still no Lori. I knew she had one more I.V. drip to go and maybe they were running a little behind but I had to leave for work so I did.
During my break I was able to call home and Lori was there...she was upset because she had a bad reaction to the chemo. Simply put,she didn't a good breakfast and the chemo upset her stomach so much that she had to vomit. Her blood pressure also spiked high and after slowing the I.V. down,she was able to finish the treatment and get home at 5:30 pm!! Needless to say,I was pretty worried at first but Mel explained that a chemo patient has to eat a good meal before coming in. The clinic has muffins/bagels but those are mostly for the caretakers and not the patients.
  I wrote in a earlier entry about how we ended up at Oakwood Hospital because of a unrinary tract infection. Well Lori shared that with Dr. Johnston,including the mucus discharge. Dr. J said that was actually normal and not to worry too much,some things just have to be allowed to run their course.
 But this week Lori had a hard time in the bathroom,cancer patients often has this problem,this is why they are given stool softeners . This happened the first time as well. but despite going through this doesn't make it any easier.
  To help her system out,she also took Mulax...which opened her up in a big way. Good news,yes? Not all of a sudden that discharge is now looking like her poo. This was very alarming and once again we call the UM and explain was going on. Now we know....its called a "fistula in ano". Basically its a fissure between the rectum and the vagina. It causes fecal matter to come out both the rectum and vagina. Her radiation had weakened the area there and add the constipation,it caused the fistula.
  We will be getting a MRI scheduled where as they'll shoot a dye to track the fissure and schedule a small surgery to try and fix this problem.
  The condition is very painful as it totally irritates the tissue around the vagina. To help out,I had to install a new portable showerhead to help keep the area clean.
  Today has been very quiet,we were going to try and set up Christmas today but she has been too weak,she has almost no energy to speak of. The good news (I know,about time,right?) has been that the Nulasta shot aftereffects have been much better then last time because of a tip Mel gave take a Benedryl BEFORE the shot. This has really helped as far as the pain goes but as far as the energy go....its just not happening.
   I brought down our two little trees only to find that one of the leg stands is AWOL. I have to tell you,this has not been my favorite week! Got one tree plugged in but will have to wait til tomorrow to see if she has enough steam to decorate,otherwise,I will have her direct me. Lord have mercy!

  Saturday saw us doing some Christmas shopping,Macy's was having a 1 day sale and since we had some great coupons,we went there first. The little Westland Mall was booming and that included Macy's. People were everywhere and they were really shopping hard! Its been a while since we have really seen this kind of activity,there were lines at every register!
   We shopped for Lori's folks,her aunt Emma and neice Carol. We also shopped for our neighbor Marlene as we got her a killer chafing dish for great price. We ate lunch at the Lakeshore and noticed that the gourmet foods were also on sale for 50%. As we were looking the clerk said that certain items were off 70% as in a bag of 11.00 coffee was on sale for 5.50 and then take ANOTHER 70% off that plus our coupon....we got 4 bags of great coffee for a buck a bag! Also picked up some Maurice salad dressing and some honey glaze for 3.00 a jar...just an incredible bargain to find. Very grateful to the clerk for sharing the sale with us. When cash is tight its cool to be able to get some great deals,especially at a place like Macy's!
  But the Force was still strong with us (thanks to fellow cancer fighter and Jedi Master Sean!). We saw that a local supermarket chain called Busch's was having a good sale on meat and we need some items for the deep freezer. We stopped at the Livonia store....but was told it was the Plymouth store who was having the sale as they had remodeled the store and were having a re-grand opening. That store was only 10 minutes away and so we headed there.
  Just like the mall,the store was packed with shoppers. Busch's had done it up right with some great deals,sample tables and drawings for huge gift baskets. They had plenty of staff to help guests and everyone was very cheerful. We poked around and got some items and met Norton the Penguin who walking around handing out popsicles.
  We filled out a card apiece for the many baskets there offered as prizes and then headed up to the check-out line. As we did so,a man grabbed my shoulder and said "Stay here,I'm going to give away a pasta strainer pot and you'll have a chance to win. But I need a big crowd." So hey,what the hell,right?
  Soon he had gathered a nice crowd and grabbed a box. He said he was going to write a number between 1-25 on the box and whoever guessed it first would win...I told Lori to guess 12 and I would guess 25....not only Christmas numbers but also Lori's momma's birthday. We then started yelling out numbers....and the man pointed at Lori and 3 other people who had shouted "12".
  He then said he was going to do a tie breaker by writing a number between 1-10. Now while I didn't SEE him write the number,I could see by how his hand moved what he wrote and I yelled "3".
And that was that.....we had won the pasta strainer bowl!.
  We walked outside and saw the first snowflake of the season....and then we headed home.
Sunday morning...I was at work when Busch's called the house...Lori had won one of the gift baskets! How cool was that?
Its 2:00 pm on Friday

   Lori is feeling a little better compared to yesterday but is still feeling very crappy. I set up our little Christmas tree and brought up the decrorations . And that is the extent of what I'm allowed to do..she enjoys fixing up the house by herself. Don't know how much energy she'll have but I know she'll give it her all.
  Yesterday was a complete washout for us...I insisted she rest and take it easy. I don't know how she thinks she will be able to go to work feeling like this and having to deal with the fistula-in-ano.
I canceled the trip we were hoping to make to Eastern Market in Detroit,just feel that would be really pushing the limits of her health as of now.
Am going to try and get out to a movie tonight....but again,just not quite sure if that is a good idea or not.
Just read that Hostess and their union can't agree to a new deal and that Hostess will be forced to shutdown. Wow....once again the union workers are showing just how stupid and clueless they are. Instead of taking a pay cut,they rather lose thier whole damn company. So now 18,000 workers are going to lose everything in the middle of the holidays and winter. I can't wait til they try and find another job...good luck with that,especially now in this new underemployed normal we are being forced to adjust to. The old days of striking and forcing companies to increase pay and benefits are long gone and if these 18,000 haven't been paying attention to what has been going on....they're going to find out the hard way.
   That said....we picked up a couple of Ding Dongs for the freezer....

Well,that is all I have time for,need to head to the bank and pick up some plumber's tape. Hope whoever dropped by and read this has a great day and leaves a comment or three. Its nice signing in and seeing that someone did take the time to do so.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are you Red or Blue?

Its 11:43 am

    Its a beautiful crisp day here in SE Michigan. The house is very quiet as I type this entry.
Derek is curled up in his "batcave" as it has a thermal blanket that he loves to sleep on when it gets colder.
I am the 2nd day of a 6 day work stretch including a 11 hour day tomorrow. But no complaints,so very happy to have a job and very grateful to my co-workers who are supporting us in this tough time.

   I finally saw a movie I had wanted to see when it came out this past summer. It was "Seeking A Friend For the End of the World" and starred Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. It was labeled a comedy-drama and while yes,there were a few funny moments,I thought it was more of a love story.
 I wrote this after I watched Carell in "Crazy Stupid Love" and "Hope Springs"....give this man a SERIOUS role already! We know he can do comedy in his sleep but he is so vastly underestimated as a serious actor.

  I really liked this film quite a bit. The idea of re-connecting with a loved one when you know you only have a certain about of time left is a question that is a universal one,who would we want to connect with before "the end"?
  A chance to say "sorry","I love you" or yes,even a hearty "fuck off and die"...everyone has someone with whom they would like to go back and address. This film asks that question and also says 'Maybe the fantasy is better then the reality". Not every last encounter might not go as you would hope for and the time wasted in finding that out just can't be recovered.

  Caught the latest episode of "Arrow" last night....the writing is getting better and more even which is a good thing. Still some major plotting issues still to be ironed out but now that The CW has greenlit the show for a full first season,maybe the back half the season will see the creative team relax a bit and proceed a bit slower.
   I mean,having Laurel Lance see Oliver Queen's scars from his 5 year long ordeal on that island is almost as bad as him just unmasking in front of her. When you have too many people know the secret identity of a superhero,it sort of takes the mystery and aura away from the character,see "Spider-Man 2 and 3" as a prime example of that.
   I see that starting next week,Oliver will start to deal with the street level criminal activity in Star City,I was hoping that would happen rather soon

because the "Billionaire of the Week" list plotline had me worried. You really need to have all sorts of cool bad guys for the hero to battle every week. Without that,you run the risk of cornering your main character in a creative dead end and the fans will start to get antsy.
  So I am excited for next week when the Green Arrow meets the Royal Flush Gang for the first time...should be great!

  Talking to a co-worker last night...he mentioned that it cost him about 18,000 a year for daycare for his two sons. As it turns out,we were asked to catsit for our neighbor this weekend. Yep,we get to watch her kitty Crash like we did for a week this past summer. We're hoping Marlene doesn't charge too much for this weekend!
  In all seriousness,I'm really proud of Marlene,she and her son are really making a great effort of not letting Crash go outside anymore. This is a good thing as we need to put some poison out in our back deck area in case any other mice decide they might want to stick around.

    San Jose State's season is starting its final push....the Spartans are 3-1 in league play and 7-2 overall heading into today's game at New Mexico State. This is a perfect "trap" game for the Spartans. The Aggies are 1-8 and facing a unknown future as a Major Independent as their football team was unable to find a conference home after this season.

  While NMSU got whipped by a terrible Auburn team,42 -7,last week....they had a real chance at upsetting 25th ranked Louisiana Tech two weeks ago...they played outstanding defense in holding the nation's 2nd best scoring offense to a mere 28 points in a 28-14 loss. SJSU cannot afford to come out slowly as they did against Idaho and except to just "turn it on",they just are not that good yet.
  This will be SJSU's last cupcake before they face BYU and the same La. Tech that put up 57 points on Texas A&M and is tied for 1st place in the WAC.
  Phil Steele,the renowned college football expert has San Jose State facing Ball State in a bowl game...I agree but ONLY if they win 1 of the 2 games at home against BYU and Tech. While the Spartans have two very good wins under their belts (Navy,San Diego State),the rest of the schedule has been pretty doughy with the weak teams in the WAC and losing by 22 at home to Utah State pretty much negated those two earlier wins. Since the WAC only has one bowl game for sure,the Spartans really need to impress people that they are for real....
  But there is one coolness factor kicking in....looking at the incoming recruiting lists. Most times we Spartans fans never knew who we were recruiting because players never signed with us until SJSU was often the last school picked by players. But after last year and now this year....this has changed. When you look at the lists,you can see that 5 players have already committed to come to San Jose. This is perhaps the most exciting thing to see,now that Coach McIntyre has signed to stay until 2017,players being recruited now are looking at SJSU in a different light! This will really help to add some quality depth to the team and will factor in as to how healthy the team will be late in a season.

 Of course this won't help the hoops team because they just suck...

I have a question.....when you go to a Christmas party,do you 1.) bring your spouse and 2.) drink any booze while attending such party? Can I get some/any input about this?

   Hope you took the time to vote this year. Seems like America liked Obama a little more then Mittens and he wiped Romney out by over 3 million votes. Am I excited about this? Only if the teapublicans can put aside their hate and deep racist hatred of the President. If they don't and won't.....I can see us sliding backwards,not forwards. The real enemy to us all is the mainstream media...why the fuck do we let them get away with this? "Blue state/red state" "battleground state". Terms meant to divide us,to polarize us and after watching the level of posting in my group,its works VERY well.
 Will we ever learn? When will we tell the people at Fox,NBC,CBS,CNN,ABC and anyone else that we are not colors but Americans. When will they help push for the reform of the electorial college and make every state worth the same amount of votes? The bastards keep on wondering if the President and Congress can work "together" when they themselves work very hard at dumbing down of America with the vile crap they keep forcing down our throats and working overtime to further the divide among Americans.
 Just hope we can wake up in time before mere shouts turn to actual civil unrest and violence. Don't kid yourselves,if we continue this path,we will be revisiting a civil war footing again.

Alright,I'm outta here.....hoping my next posting will be a "8 Questions with....." interview with my friend Michelle in North Dakota. This is one interview I'm sure you'll want to read.

Thank you to Amy who left a comment last entry.....that was very sweet.

Can't wait to watch the Fox 2 news this weekend and see Robin's reaction to what possibly could be our first snow of the season! The Queen of Snow will be very VERY happy I'm sure!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Medical update and becoming a Ace

Its 1:38 pm

  Wow......President Obama has won a 2nd term despite a strong effort by Mittens Romney. But that is just a sideshow as to what has been happening as of late.

I hadn't have much of a chance to blog lately....been trying to work as much as I can and my hours have been all over the map. Between that,dashing to Ann Arbor and the Oakwood ER,it feels like Superstorm Sandy landed in my own damn house.

  Medical update.

      The 2nd round of chemo is so much rougher then before. We are both tired and run down. Last Saturday saw Lori develop a 100.4 fever that landed her in the E.R. at Oakwood. For those of you who have been following this story,you KNOW just how much I love Oakwood.
  We got there at 10:30 pm....and left at 1:30 am. Turns out she had a nasty urinary tract infection which also happened to her the first go round as well. This is because her immune system is being flattened by the chemotherapy. It makes any illness a serious matter,which is why you see cancer/chemotherapy patients wear masks,especially in the hospital itself.

After seeing Dr. Weaver for the 3rd time,we went by the local CVS store and fill her medications that she had to have. We got home at 2 am and went straight to bed. Made it through Sunday okay and then on Monday we had our regular appointment with Dr. Johnston in Ann Arbor. Did our blood draw first,then had to kill an hour before our appointment.
  The waiting room was pretty busy,I had brought along a British mystery novel written by Martha Grimes...

Tried to get into it but just didn't have it in me. Lori was dozing in her chair when she suddenly had to use the restroom. She came back and said she saw blood in her urine.
 Sort of didn't surprise me,UTI cases often has blood,its because the urethra is inflamed and irritated. I just encouraged her to wait before seeing Dr. J before going to the restroom again so they could get a good sample.
   Finally they called her back....for her vitals. I tried again to get into my book when I saw a shadow fall across my lap. I looked up and saw Terry,one of our nurses from the infusion clinic near our house. Terry is a supervisor and Mel is Lori's favorite chemo nurse. We really bonded with them last year during Lori's first round. In fact,we had seen both ladies at the first infusion just 2 weeks ago. Terry was there filling in for a nurse who is expecting and Mel was rotating through the main hospital on Mondays for a while.
  Lori and I made both ladies coupon books as a way of saying "thank you" for their kindness.
I stood up and Terry gave me a big hug....Lori said while she was getting vitals,Terry popped up and sat on her lap....she explained Lori was "one of my patients" at the infusion clinic.
   We made some small talk and then Lori got called in and I waited outside.
Turns out everything is fine (as well as can be expected for a cancer patient). The UTI is being treated gently,no real string antibiotics because that would produce our old pal C-Dif and we don't want that!
 She had a mucus discharge that is also a good sign and the blood in the urine is also normal. I was told to have her keep pushing the liquids.

So we'll keep on  doing that as much as we can. That night Lori said she started seeing her hair starting to fall out now. This too was expected so we placed a call to her hairdresser,a delightful lady named Donna,who will take care of Lori's hair. We had to dust off the wig again and come next week,she'll be wearing that again.
  We both had a good cry....we really wish we had more friends. Lori was very upset because when she was first told she had cancer,suddenly all of these folks she had rarely heard from suddenly popped up. It was nice getting the cards and calls but when she went into remission,that all stopped.
  We have hosted many people in our house...but rarely do we ever get a invite back. Its a real mystery as to why that happens...I only know that we bust our asses getting ready for our guests and make sure they are  fed a excellent meal and have a good discussion about just about anything.
   It really upsets her,especially around the holidays...
I was thinking about inviting 2-3 of my co-workers over for a "orphan's dinner" for Thanksgiving but I don't really know them that well as to be comfortable with that idea.

   Derek becomes a "ace".

So last Thursday morning I get up for work at 5 am. I stumbled out of bed,got my clothes ready and headed for the bathroom. I turned on the heat light as its softer,Lori was still sleeping. As I came back into the bedroom,I heard Derek make a ruffling noise. Ruffling is catspeak for "I love you". I glanced down and there it was,a dead mouse on the top of the stairs,this is where Derek sleeps during the night....unless he is killing mice.
Derek got his first two kills in Northville.....then 2 more a couple of years ago when our neighbors had a bad mouse infestation problem. In fact,he killed those 2 a mere 10 minutes apart.
And now this...his fifth kill.
   The term "ace" comes from from World War I when a pilot shot down 5 enemy planes,he was a called a "Ace". Its requires great skill and daring to become a ace and despite being 13 years old and a strictly indoor cat,Derek still has lightening fast reflexes.

Doesn't look different then a Me-109 does it?

Lori had to work yesterday so I waited for her at home...we always vote together at our polling place. I had watched the news and heard about the crazy long lines in Detroit. People lined up around the block waiting for their chance to vote. The local branch manager at Chase Bank said he had to wait about 40 minutes but it went it by fast.
   So when 5:30 pm came,I was a bit worried.

If the lines were really that long,we might have to chance coming back because we can't risk standing outside
with Lori undergoing chemo. We decided to take a chance and brave it. We got there at 5:30....and left at 5:50 pm with  our "I voted" sticker proudly displayed on our sweaters.

We had no real lines to speak of and the process went smooth as silk in our town!

Well that is it for me.....

Thanks for stopping by and I'll and throw something up tomorrow as well!

- Denise in Texas,we're praying for you! Such an amazing spirit!
- Joan,DJ and I are proud of you on the new job!
- Theodore,thanks for having a open mind.
-To everyone who actually reads this blog and leaves a comment---THANK YOU!