Monday, September 30, 2013

A New Week Of Clinic Visits Begins ...

We had a great weekend at home with family.
We watched a great movie we'd been hoping to see for awhile - "Seven Days in Utopia".  We highly recommend it.

We are back in Seattle again, and have had a long day.

We stopped at Costco to purchase one item and arrived at the SCCA House just in time to warm up some (left over) pizza for lunch and then head to the clinic.

The drive was a bit hectic due to the rain.  At one point it was so hard that we had to slow to about 30-40 mph.  It was awful. We were so happy to get out of the weather. We are also quite happy to have the shuttle.

Our day at the clinic only involved 3 visits, but the last two were kinda hard on him today. 

Oral Med - visit with the dentist, because oral health is a big thing around here since there can be so many mouth sores or other issues with transplants.

Pulmonary Function Test - a breathing test that was kinda difficult and tricky with the cold/cough problem Terry is having.  He did good though! 

CT Scan - the contrast you have to drink is the hardest part for these types of things, but today the gal that inserted the IV did a terrible job at poking that vein.  It hurt more than it should have, and it's kinda ugly.

We got back to the House, brought a few things up from the car, put food stuffs away, made dinner, ate, and organized a bit.  We still have some things to bring up from the car (scrapbooking stuff) that I'll get another day when we aren't so tired.

It's a good day to have over!  Hope yours was a good one.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Friday!

We have had a busy day today, starting at 8:30 am ...

Blood Draw - 7 vials today, plus 2 cultures that required 10 ml each.

Oral Med - dental history and panorex X-ray.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy - both sides this time, each with the marrow and the bone biopsy. Ouch!

Sinus CT - went well.

ECHO - the drive to this clinic was fairly easy to find, the hour and a half allotted for this procedure actually only took thirty minutes. The drive back was slow - we went about 13 miles in about 50 minutes. One fun thing we saw was a red traffic light smiling at us.  It's true - the light must have had some slight damage so that it looked much like a smiley face. It was a fun thing to see.  Happy Day!

Okay, we made it home tonight, and we are so happy to be here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Schedule

We spent the morning reading through the stacks of paperwork they sent home with us yesterday.  Consent forms and studies and all sorts of research they wish to do. We agreed to some of the extra blood samples and to all of the studies using the leftover specimens, but did not agree to extra bone marrows and skin biopsies or other specimens.  I think he is going thru enough right now, we don't need to add to it.

Appointments started at 1:30, and included these:

Mtg with financial rep - signed papers for help with the donor portion.

Mtg with social worker - she was a very kind and respectful person that assured us she was there to help in whatever way we might need throughout our stay.

EKG - quick and easy.

Conference - this is where we learned about what would take place. The doctor kept it short because we have some experience behind us.  This is where we signed the paperwork we read this morning.

The transplant conditioning will begin on the 12th of Oct. with the transplant taking place on the 16th.

Things have changed a bit since we came in July.  Most of what we learned then has changed.  We have now learned that things will go much like the first transplant experience, except that the transplant will take place in the hospital, but he will only be there that one night.

Terry presently has a bit of Dennis' blood, so after transplant he will have three different types of blood until this second donor takes over. We are planning that it is going to take over!

I'm sure we will learn more as we go along, but that's all I can think of for today.
Tomorrow they will keep us busy with blood draw, dental visit/x-rays, bone marrow biopsy, sinus CT, and ECHO at the UW Medicine Regional Heart Center in Edmunds.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Arrival Day

Our first day of visits at SCCA is over. We are back at the room and will soon get some dinner ready. Before we do that we thought we'd let you all know what happened at the clinic.

Registration - get in the system correctly, receive patient number, get packet for medical history (to fill out before next appointment).

Blood Draw - 12 vials today.

Lunch - back at our room.

Physical Exam - discuss history and present health conditions.

Nurse Visit - more personal health discussion, vitals, tour of the 6th floor, discuss schedule.

Lab Work - 

Chest  X-Ray -

Lab results:
Reds = 3.94(L)
Whites = 2.98(L)
Platelets = 49(L)
Neutrophils = .72(L)

We will have more results from the testing tomorrow.
Tomorrow's appointments include a visit with the financial rep, visit with the social worker,  an EKG,  and the Arrival Conference meeting with the doctor.

Last transplant we were on the orange team, but this time we are on the tan team.  This really doesn't mean much except that it tells us who cares for us (since there are so many doctors and nurses and others who help us).
Last transplant our team nurse was Eileen - we really liked her. She was our only help that stayed with us thru the whole thing.  She is suffering with brain cancer right now and not working.  Our team nurse this time is Pat.  We are quite sure that we are going to like her too.

We've got some paper work to read and sign - two binders full, so we better get reading ...

Oh, one more thing we learned today - our donor is a 38 year old female from Europe. That is the only thing we know about her.

Hey, maybe Terry will begin to like the colors of our new bathroom!  ;)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On the road again!

We said our good-byes and started our drive to the big city.  Our good-byes made me kinda sad because Elsie wanted me to keep holding her instead of giving her back to her mom and Akleigh wanted me to carry her to the car, only not to her car ..., to grandma's car. So sad!  She stayed pretty close to me all morning, just like she knew something was going on.  I am so happy to know that we will be home for the weekend.  It's gonna get harder in a couple weeks when we can't come home.
It does however, make me happy to see that those two little gals love me.

The drive to Seattle went well, even with all the construction along I-90.  We got some rain around Issaquah, but that didn't last long.

We stopped at Ellensburg to mail a couple packages, but didn't remember where the post office was. There was a young man on a bike along the side of the street, so we asked him where it was. He told us and then said that if we turned around he would lead us to it. So we went to the end of the block and headed back his direction, and he led the way. He had a couple friends with him when we asked for directions. One left and the other followed him along the street as he led the way. What a nice guy! I hope someone does something kind for him someday soon. He deserves it!

I walked into the post office in need of boxes to pack up what I was mailing, and the man behind the counter came around front to help me find exactly what I needed. He was so kind and helpful.

Terry and I decided that WE HEART ELLENSBURG!

There was a lot of traffic thru Seattle, but it didn't seem to slow us down much or cause any problems.  We just kept on going and arrived at SCCA House almost with ease, and as we checked in we learned that there was a dinner being offered to the guests, free of charge, by a catering company, so we enjoyed a nice meal here on our first night.

We watched a fun old movie on TV (no idea what the name of it was, but it was fun to see the familiar actors in their younger years) and enjoyed some yummy caramel popcorn that Tawnee made  and sent with us.

It is obvious to see that our first day has been filled with a few tender mercies of the Lord.  We are grateful for the love He sends through the hands of others. I am going to have to be aware of how I can be those hands for another, to help them feel of His love - a "pay it forward" kinda thing.

We hope that those we left home had a good day too!  We kinda think they did.

Love ya all!

Here we go again!

Wednesday is our first day of appointments to begin the process of Terry's second and final attempt at a stem cell transplant.  

We will begin with mundane tasks of registering, visiting with the financial department, taking a tour of the facilities, attending classes and instruction, and even a visit with a social worker that will make sure we feel spiritually strong.   They want to make sure we have a good "support team".   So, to you, our family and friends, our support team, we send a Thank You!  We are very grateful for you and we feel your love.  We also feel the love of our Heavenly Father, who is always and ever near.  We are grateful for the sacrifice on our behalf, offered and given freely from a loving Savior and Redeemer.  With the strength of the Lord, we will be alright. 

The days will continue with medical evaluations and doctor consultations.  We promise to do our best to help keep you informed and step you thru the process with us. 

We are looking forward to these next few visits with the doctors and hope to gain some great and helpful information.  However, we are fully aware that there could be some confusion ahead, so we are trying to prepare for that too, and hope that you will bare with us if we sometimes confuse you. 

We do not have an apartment available for us, so we will stay at the SCCA House, which is more like a motel, with a common kitchen and other shared space.  (Maybe we'll post about that soon.)  We will be home for the weekend, so it is only a few days this week.  We are going through this thing on a weekly basis for awhile because looking at it long term is just too difficult for me right now. There is so much to learn still that will help us choose from among our possibilities for housing. 

One of the responsibilities of the caregiver (which is me/Elaine) is "Serving as a Communication Link with Other Family Members and Friends", so I hope to fulfill that responsibility well.  I won't be doing this because they suggest that I do, but I will do it because I want to.  I feel your love and concern and your desire to know about what is taking place in Terry's life.  I want you to have a little bit of a connection and feel somewhat informed.  We hope that you know that we are grateful for you - for your prayers and your kindnesses.  Thank You!

So, Seattle, Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Auger's Birthday

Auger is now 4 years old!
We celebrated his birthday Sunday night, but his birthday was really on Monday (16th).
He loved his cake, and the toys on it.
The Thomas Tank Engine Umbrella was possibly his favorite gift - he was so happy to get it.

He also loved his handcuffs - see them on his hands ... and his feet?
We gave him this front loader and he was happy to have that too.

I bought him a dump truck, but learned that he already had one that a friend gave him, so I quickly made a change of plans. He probably would have loved it too though.
He had a great birthday and enjoyed all of his gifts.

And, we enjoyed the company!
Shawna and David came to visit us for a while that evening.
While they were here we had a wind and rain storm, but as hard as it was it caused no major damage for us. We were happy to be inside, but thought it was perfect that Auger got an umbrella on such a day as this. 
When David and Shawna got back to Othello they learned that the city was without power and the next morning they learned that trees were blown over in the park behind their house and in other yards in town. We have heard of downed trees and power outages and other damages caused by that storm, but ours was pretty minor compared to that.  We had a some moisture on the floor inside our French doors and had to dry that up before it caused more of a problem.
We're feeling pretty lucky!  Last thing we need is something else to worry about right now.  knock on wood! ... Like that would help anyway!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our Main Bath Remodeled

We have been working on this project for many months now, and are happy to say it is finally completed (well except for two little things that we'll talk about in a minute).
Here is the old look - what it was ...
Then we started pulling off the wallpaper ...

then it sat for awhile waiting for us to decide exactly how we were going to handle it ...


We worked on this project as much as we could once we made our decision, and it still seemed to take us awhile, but we are finally able to rest from those labors, and this is how it looks now ...


Our favorite parts of this redo might be this ...
or this ...

 but we really love it all!
This was the only piece of furniture that was purchased for this room redo ...

and it received it's own redo.  I think it makes a lovely toilet paper stand, don't you?
All other pieces of furniture were being used in different parts of the house and were refinished and repurposed for this room. 
We are loving the color and the look ..., Well, "We" means "the girls"!
It's been kinda hard on the guys to see these colors in our house.  We can understand why, but we are fine with the change and have decided that the guys can use the mudroom bathroom -
because it's more guy-like, and this is more girlie! 
That works doesn't it?
However, Terry asks if this bathroom reminds us of Easter! 
Oh Bother! 
Oh!  I said we'd talk about the two little things that aren't complete yet.  Did you notice what that might be?  It's visible in two of the photos.  There are knobs on the drawers in the blue cupboard, but not on the doors.  Hobby Lobby didn't have six at the time, so I got the four they did have.  We love them, so we are not going to find something different, we will try to find the other two on our next trip to town. ;)
It's been fun to create this new look, but it's been a lot of work, and I'm happy to have it done.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Doctor Report...

We saw Doctor Brownlee (with the Wenatchee Clinic / Confluence Health) again today, for a check up on how Terry's wrist is doing.  Doctor says it is healing well. 

We will go back on the 23rd, before heading to Seattle.  The doctor hopes to remove the cast then and replace it with a brace that we can remove ourselves in a few more weeks. 
He thought that would be better, and less of a hassle, than trying to find a doctor over in Seattle to remove the cast for us, especially with everything else we will be involved in.  We agree!

We were pleased with this doctor on our first visit, and today we are grateful for his concern and thoughtfulness.  We have been pleased with everyone who has attended to us during our visits there.  If you ever have need to repair a broken bone, he would be a good one to see.

Oh, one more thing - no Neupogin shot needed this week. 
Terry's neutrophils are low, but not critical.  Happy Day!
Image from Google search.

Friday, September 6, 2013

When It Rains It Pours!

We got a down pour of rain last night, and some strong gusts of wind, causing a few power surges and one short flicker or loss of power.  The loss of power was only for a minute or so, so it was no big deal, except that it caused some concern wondering how we were going to boil our pears we were bottling and it caused some disappointment due to loss of the homework assignment that BrittanyJo was working on, on the computer. Oh Bother!

We are having more moisture today and hearing more thunder (I do love to hear it), but the wind and rain is not as strong.

On a different note:

Silage harvest has begun!
As is done each year, some time was spent getting the equipment ready and then it was in the field harvesting the crop.  It's starting out pretty well, except for one thing.

We are down one truck driver due to a broken arm.  Who got the lucky break? 

The same person who suffers with a cough that doesn't want to give him a rest - really, yesterday it seemed that he didn't have a full minute between each terrible cough, and after taking a cough medication it seemed that the time between coughs may have been increased to 3 to 5 minutes.  Not a pleasant night!
It's the same person who aches because of another neupogen shot received Tuesday, due to low neutrophils, and because of the CLL/SLL, MDS overpowering his body.
And ..., well, I'll not go on about that ....

Terry was standing on a ladder beside the truck and the ladder went down, taking him with it.  He caught himself with his hands, trying to keep his head from hitting the cement.  He was successful - his head did not hit, but his leg has a gash and a large bruise, and the bone in his wrist is crushed and chipped. (I guess this is proof that his bones aren't very strong.)
Doctor says no lifting or using that hand, because the type of break it is could cause the thumb to dislocate, requiring surgery.  But, guess what - even if he doesn't do something to cause the thumb to dislocate, it could on it's own anyway.  We'll be back to the doctor in a week to make sure all is well.

He has to be miserable, but I've seen him smile and I've heard his humor to make me smile.  He is one good man!  (I know, I've said that before, but it's so true!) 

Oh!  Silage harvest has actually stopped now, do to the rain. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


School started last week - It was too soon for me!
I wish I still had another summer before school started - I really do! Time is going by too quickly and I'm feeling like I need more of it.  

 BJo is a Senior - wow huh!
 Anthony is a Sophomore - more wow!
Schedules are complete and the school year has begun.
Luckily for me, neither of them are taking a sport to start off with, so I get to spend a little more time with them after school.
I am trying to savor the moments. There aren't enough days left.