Sunday, February 28, 2010
We are very aware that the side effects have been very minimal up to this point, which we are very greatful for. Please continue your prayers in this regard. Thanks so much!
Next chemo: March 15th
Rachelle asked me if I had anything left to give after it was over. Interesting question. Yes, I could have run longer. I had decided to hold steady and keep a constant pace throughout - although I did "push it" during the last stretch of the race. My finish time was 33:30. I checked the final results on the CVRA web site last night and found out I was 6th in my age group (women 50-54). There was 11 of us total. The women who placed 1st thru 3rd all ran in 24 to 26 minutes! WOW! That is really fast (from my perspective). I'd like to think that there will be a day in my future that I might run a 5K in 25 minutes. I think I'll consider that a long-term goal!
I know most of the people reading my blog right now are doing so to keep up with Jim's health status. But in case you decided to read this particular post I'm going to recap on how I came to the point that I'm running races.
Our daughter Rachelle has been competing in triathlons for several years now. I've watched her grow and progress in her athletic ability and have been truly inspired. In 2009, Rachelle and I had conversations about my starting to run. For my birthday in May she said she wanted to give me what I needed to get started. First on the agenda was a good pair of running shoes. We went to Running Wild and I was fitted into a pair of great shoes. Next was some running clothes and we went out to Dick's Sporting Goods and got some things that were practical and looked great. The next step was up to me. Rachelle found a running program called "Couch Potato to 5K". This is a 9 week program. I jumped right in and got started. This program starts things very slow and builds you up week after week. If you are interested in more details you can see my post on July 5th.
I ran three races last year - the Fifth Season 5K Race (7/4), the Indian Summer Distance Classic - 4 mile (9/26) and the Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer - 5K (10/11). This year I have set a new goal for myself. I have registered to do a quarter marathon in Madison WI on Memorial Day weekend. Rachelle has given me a training schedule and I'm following it quite closely. I run three times a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Monday, Wednesday & Friday I cross train. I've been doing various programs, Turbo Jam, Denise Austin, yoga, and medicine ball. I'm switching around all the time and trying to keep things interesting. So I'm sure you are wondering when I do all this...right? Well, it is very early in the morning. I get up 4:45 or 5:00 each day and train for 20-30 minutes depending on the day. The morning is the only time that I can control. When you work till 6 p.m. or later each evening like we do, it doesn't leave much time to do much of anything after you get home and eat.
So how do I stay motivated to get up and exercise each day? First, of all I don't call it exercising. I'm in training. It makes a difference for me...in my head. There is something about knowing that I have a race coming up. By registering for races and having goals set up to accomplish, I am thereby motivated to stay on the training schedule. I'm excited. When I think back to my first race on July 4, 2009 - when I had to walk a couple times because I couldn't run the whole thing...and now...no more walking...mission accomplished! The fun has just begun!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
First let me tell you about Jim's appointment with the doctor. After his lab work he was escorted back to the examining room. Dr. Nabi told Jim his scans from last Wednesday looked very good. She said he is an A plus patient! Then we got the news that she wanted to add another chemo chemical to his treatment plan...and this one is administered by injection into the spinal canal. She explained to us that the brain and spinal column are very protected with very thick membranes. The chemicals that he has been receiving thus far have minimal affect on them. The new chemical would specifically target the brain and spinal column to protect them and kill any cancer cells that might be growing. She compared it to spraying dandelion seeds with weed killer, killing them before they start to grow. Dr. Nabi wants Jim to have 4 treatments. So after he received his IV chemo yesterday he was then taken to a special room for the chemo infusion (into the spinal fluid). Each of the remaining two chemo treatments will be followed by the same thing. And then after all the chemo treatments are done, he'll still have one more infusion that he'll have to go in for.
Jim was a real trooper. Because he didn't know what it was going to be like he was a little nervous about it. Dr. Nabi said it would be no worse then the bone marrow biopsy that she had done previously. And after it was over Jim agreed that it was indeed comparable. It was not an easy process as it took three attempts to find the right spot to put the needle in. She was looking for a space in between two of the vertebrae to slip the needle in. It was finally successful when they had Jim curl up tightly in the fetal position. She used lydocaine to deaden the insertion area so there really wasn't alot of pain. At least now, Jim knows what to expect with the other infusions.
It is funny how you think you know what to expect and then something else gets thrown into the mix. We both remembered that there was a possibility of another chemo treatment but we both thought it was only "possible" after the main ones were over with. We were both surprised with the prospect of them being simultaneous. But Jim is determined to do everything and anything he can to kill this cancer. He does not want to have any repeats later on. So whatever Dr. Nabi recommends he will willingly do.
So how is Jim feeling today? Great! He has a little tenderness at the point on his spine where the infusion was done, but other then that he is great. He got a good night's sleep last night. He commented that this was his best "day after chemo" that he has had thus far. Who could ask for more? Thank you so much for surrounding him in prayer!
As for my dad, he was discharged from the hospital last night They got his heart back in rhythm using meds on Sunday morning. Since he has his port in place, he will be going to the hospital on a daily basis to receive the antibiotics by IV. This will go on for a couple weeks. They really want to get the infection in his leg under control. He too slept well last night and was feeling alot better today. He will continue to need your prayers for quite awhile to come!
Thanks for all your prayers. Please don't stop as they are still very much needed!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Wanted to share...we got together with our camping friends last night and had a delightful time eating and visiting. We joined our camping club a couple years ago - the Rolling Rovers - with the intent of discovering new places to camp. Mission accomplished on that regard. But what we didn't expect was that we would make many new friends. Our camping friends really touched our hearts with their outpouring of concern for Jim. We can't wait for this summer to be able to spend more time with them!
My dad went back into the hospital on Friday. The infectious bursitis that he had problems with a month or so ago in his leg must not have been all gone, because it had come back. The knee was turning red and very painful. They wanted to put him the hospital and give him antibiotics via IV. They put in a port this time right off the bat which is very good because his arms are still a mess from all the IV's that he during his last stay. He had another transfusion today because something in his bloodwork wasn't right. They also determined that his heart was in A-Fib (?) and when the heart doctor came in this afternoon he started a new med to that his supposed to get his heart back in the proper rhythmn. He was told originally that he would be going home Monday but it doesn't look that will be the case. Please pray for his improvement so he can get home.
Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread (from Allrecipes.com)
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ cup hot water
½ cup chopped nuts
In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9X5 loaf pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for ½ hour before slicing.
FYI - I frequently put in more then "1 cup" of mashed bananas. More is better...right???
The bread should be nicely browned and firm to the touch.
I love bananas and this has become my "go to" recipe when I have browned bananas on my counter. If you love banana bread and are willing to try a "healthier" version I think this will fill the bill! Try it...you'll like it!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Jim is still feeling tired, but that is to be expected. It is not enough to keep him from doing anything. He is working each day, but tired in the evening. Last night after eating supper he laid down on the couch and watched the Olympics. Not something he would do normally but not unexpected due to the chemo. Please keep praying that the side effects continue to be minimal. He is so blessed to have so many people praying for him. When we pray each evening I ask God to look into the hearts of everyone that is praying for Jim and to help you with whatever is heavy on your heart. We all have something we need His help with......
Regarding my Dad - he is getting stronger each day. There are no immediate plans to do anything other then rehab. He had his first rehab at the hospital yesterday and another is scheduled for next week. I'm not sure what all that entails but I'm sure that they want him to continue to build his strength. He has lots of doctor appointments each week. When Jim & I visited him last Sunday evening I was impressed with how good he looked. He too is being lifted up in prayer by many people...and it shows!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
2/17/10 - PET Scan
2/22/10 - Chemo # 4
Sunday, February 7, 2010
We call Tito - "burrito boy" since he became a little chubby!
Jim is sleeping pretty well, eating well, feeling well. What a blessing that is! Thanks for your continued prayers...it is making all the difference!
I told Jim to raise up the plate of the winner! Fruit Filled Oatmeal Bar it is!
Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bar (from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook – Pink Edition)
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Oven: 350 deg
Makes: 25 bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup butter
1 21-oz can pie filling or 1 ½ cups fruit preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X9X2-inch or 11X7X1 ½-inch baking pan. In a medium bowl combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure ½ cup of the crumb mixture; set aside.
Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared baking pan. If using pie filling, coarsely snip or chop any large pieces of fruit. Spread desired filling over the crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Raisin-Filled Oatmeal Bars: Prepare as above, except substitute raisin filling for canned pie filling. To prepare raisin filing, in a medium saucepan combine ¾ cup water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Add 1 ¼ cups raisins. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Nutrition Info: Per bar fruit or raisin variations: 113 cal, 4 g total fat (2 g sat fat), 10 mg chol., 47 mg sodium, 18 g carbs., 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.
I have a feeling that the Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars will become a regular in our house! The recipe itself was very easy and I could easily open some canned pie filling and make something that Jim and I will both eat!
Old Fashioned Raisin Bar (from Variety – The Children’s Charity of Iowa cookbook)
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup water
1 stick margarine
Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup chopped nuts
Combine above and add raisin mixture to it. Mix altogether and spread in a 9X13 pan. Bake at 375 for approximately 20 minutes. When cook, you can dust with powdered sugar or frost with cream frosting.
Friday, February 5, 2010
My dad got home Sunday night as you know. The next two days he spent almost entirely in bed, sleeping. He was just soooo tired! We visited with him Wednesday night and his spirits are good. He saw the doctor yesterday afternoon and got the word as far as his blood platelets. They are now in the normal range. Which is good, but they still aren't doing the job they are supposed to. Why? Because Dad's kidneys are not functioning correctly. They are at 25-30% of normal function. He is in Stage IV renal failure. He has three doctors conversing about what to do next, but it appears that nothing will happen for several weeks. They want him to rest and build his strength. So we wait...and we continue to pray....
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Don't stop praying for Jim as he is now heading into the period of time in which he is most likely to experience the side effects of the chemo. Fatigue is the most common complaint. And as his immune system continues to be broke down he will be more and more susceptible to illness.
Regarding my dad - he was discharged from the hospital on Sunday evening. We now understand that bypass surgery is not completely ruled out but it is definitely not going to be in the near future. They need his blood to clot where it needs to clot and be thin where it needs to be thin. Finding this perfect balance is the trick. He is taking a ton of meds and is VERY tired. He spent most of the day in bed yesterday and was still there at 9 this morning when I last checked. His blood sugar and blood pressure have both been in normal ranges which is a good thing. Please continue to pray for his recovery.
Thanks to all of you who are praying. Jim feels it. My dad feels it. It is such a blessing!