Sunday, March 28, 2010

Update on Jim- 3/28/10

This was a good weekend for Jim. After a week of being tired, taking naps each day after lunch, hanging out on the couch in the evening, Jim was like a new man when he woke up Saturday. He was able to take his mom out for her Saturday morning shopping and they even did some driving around, looking at the old house and the like. (She enjoys these drives around town now that she doesn't drive herself anymore.) We went out for lunch, went to church and watched a movie with my sister Cathy and her husband Darrell. (It was Blind Side - I highly recommend it!) And then today we went to Menards, for the first time in months. And tonight we went to the church potluck. So it was a busy weekend, but Jim did very well. Tonight his stomach is a little off, but it may be from something he ate at dinner.

We are hoping that this "good" weekend is an indication of what this coming week will be like! Please raise your prayers in that direction...I know we will be!

Chocolate Trifle

Our church was having a Palm Sunday potluck tonight and they were providing the meat, potatoes and drinks. Everyone attending was asked to bring a side dish or dessert. I was looking for something easy that I could put together with things I had on hand. I found this Chocolate Trifle dessert in one of my many church cookbooks, specifically Salem Methodist Church. Fortunately it makes two dishes of dessert, which was good news - one for home - one for the potluck! It didn't last anytime at all at church. Others at our table didn't even get to try it since it was gone so fast!

Chocolate Trifle

6 Heath bars (I didn't use these)
2 (8 oz) containers Cool Whip
1 chocolate cake mix
4 (3.5 oz) pkgs instant chocolate pudding
2 large bowls

Bake cake in a 9 X 13-inch pan according to the directions. Cool. Make 4 packages of pudding as directed on packages. Chill. Cut cake in 4 equal parts. Crumble 1 part in the bottom of one bowl. Spread 1/4 of the pudding over the cake. Spread 1/2 of one container of Cool Whip over pudding. Cut up 1-1/2 candy bars and sprinkle over Cool Whip. Repeat all 4 layers again with candy bar crumbled over the top. Repeat with second bowl.

My comments:
1) Instead of using a 9 X 13 pan, I used a 10 X 15 "bar" pan. After the cake cooled completely I used a knife a cut one inch squares.
2) I did not use the Heath bars and we didn't even miss them.
3) I wanted the pudding to be real thick so instead of the 2 cups of milk per box of pudding, I used 1-1/2" cups.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update on Jim - 3/24/10

I can finally say Jim is feeling somewhat better then he has for the last week! He has just been exhausted. When at home he was in his PJ's and on the couch 80% of the time. That is what last weekend was like and after we got home from work each weekday. No energy, doesn't want to eat, food doesn't taste good, etc. So yesterday at noon Jim decided to call the doctor's office. Enough was enough. He is afraid that he is coming off as a whiner, but the doctor assures him that he should not "suffer through" the problems. She can help him if she knows what the problems are. So Dr. Nabi told him to come in yesterday and he did. It was decided that he was dehydrated again. He was there for 3 hours while they gave him 1-1/2 bags of fluids. I could tell a difference in him last night. His eyes didn't look glazed over. He didn't look on the verge of exhaustion. Today his appetite is a bit better and he thinks food is tasting better. He is still very tired. He stayed home at lunch today and took an hour nap before returning to work. We got home this evening after running some errands and it was straight into the PJ's and onto the couch. But there is improvement. He is "tired" but not "exhausted". My hope is that he will start seeing some improvement each day. That is what we can continue to pray for!!!

April Fools 5K Race

My running schedule included a race this Saturday that I'm not going to be participating in. It was to be held at George Wythe Park in Waterloo. Great park and with the current streak of good weather we are having it would have been a great run. Plus it was going to be fun. As the name implies, it was an opportunity to be a little foolish. The racers were encouraged to dress silly. I'm sure it would have been a constant source of entertainment just looking around at the many racers in the their odd attire. But alas, it was not to be. My hope had been to be able to drive up there with Jim but the way things have been going I don't think I can plan on that. A 40 minute drive one way is out of the question. But that is alright as I have a His Women board meeting that has come up for this Saturday. We are having our 25th Annual His Women Seminar on April 17th. That is less then 4 weeks away and there is alot of work done in those final weeks. Everything is on track and ticket sales are going well. If anyone is interested in info about this, check out our web site: . Our speaker is Tammy Trent and our music is being provided by Rhonda Funk. FYI - my daughter Rachelle designed this website for us a couple years ago and we couldn't be more pleased! Each year I give her the new info and she updates it for us. What a great daughter!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Update on Jim - 3/20/10

I have good news and I have bad news:

Good news: Jim felt better on Thursday. All of the "bathroom" related problems have gone away.

Bad news: Jim had the flu. How do I know this? Because I woke up sick early Friday morning and was sick all day! Same symptoms.

Good news: That means Jim's illness was not chemo-related!

Bad news: We had a house full of people here on Wednesday morning for our annual St Patrick's Day "before parade" breakfast. Hopefully none of them will get sick now from being here. Jim didn't spend alot of time visiting with them since he felt so ill, but he was present for awhile.

Good news: I feel 100% better today. It was very weird to have Jim waiting on me yesterday, but I couldn't do anything but lay down. He went to work and I stayed home.

Bad news: Jim is still not feeling very well, although he is functioning. He is struggling to find things to eat that appeal to him. Nothing sounds good, nor does it taste good. Oatmeal is the one thing that he can stomache, so he is eating it with some regularity. Plus he has a new problem - burping. Even during the night he'll burp and wake himself up. What is up with that?

Good news: All of you who continue to pray for Jim - please don't stop! The side effects are the thing that are most concerning to him. He is feeling very frustrated by continually "not feeling well". So pray for his frame of mind also, to hold onto the knowledge that things will get better! Plus we need him to be protected from any other illnesses as he is more susceptible as his immune system has been weakened.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update on Jim - 3/17/10

I'm sorry I haven't given any updates during the last week (other then the short one yesterday), but until today there really wasn't a whole lot to say. Here is the rundown...

Last week and weekend were really good. Jim felt good, had energy and a good appetite. We had a full weekend, which included a surprise BD party for a friend Saturday night and a trip to Riverside Casino on Sunday (for Jim's mother's BD). We came home, took a short walk and cleaned the garage floor which was nasty with sand from the long winter. As always Jim felt his best just before his next chemo (which was Monday).

Chemo #5 went very smoothly on Monday. When Dr. Nabi did the spinal infusion at the end of the day it was one insertion and right in. Jim told her she got an A+! Home we went and the next four hours were spent in the prone position. When he got up on Tuesday he felt pretty good. In fact he told a couple people that it was his best "day after chemo" so far. He may have jinxed himself, because it didn't last!

This morning at 4 he was up and in the bathroom. The next several hours were like that. I was very concerned about him becoming dehydrated again. He would take his anti-nausea pill and lose it an hour later. Late morning it finally stopped. At that point he became very good about drinking his liquids (of course I was nagging big time about it). And he finally ate his first solid food around 6 tonight. It wasn't much but it stayed down. We are hoping that he will feel better when he gets up tomorrow.

I wanted to share one of the things that I asked the doctor about at Jim's appointment on Monday. Dr. Nabi had written all these wonderful notes at Jim's first visit so we would have something we could look back on if we had questions about something discussed that day. One of the things she had told Jim was that after the 6 chemo treatments (by IV) that there was a POSSIBILITY that he would have an additional round of chemo - 4 treatments that would be given via spinal infusion. So, what I wanted to know was why the spinal infusion was being done simultaneously with the IV chemo treatments if the original plan was to possibly do it AFTERWARDS. Well, Dr. Nabi said that because Jim was doing so well with his IV chemo treatments, having so few problems, that it made sense to get a start on the spinal infusions and that way shorten the length of time that Jim would be undergoing treatment. The spinal infusions are highly recommended to aggressively treat lymphoma that is in the bone marrow. Dr. Nabi said she does not want Jim to come back a year from now with brain cancer. So even though there is nothing enjoyable about this part of the treatment plan it could make the difference in making sure that his cancer is completely cured. Also, Jim asked for specifics on the last PET/CT scan that was done a few weeks ago. Dr. Nabi said that all the spots that were there before the chemo are all gone. Thank you Lord!

We are very fortunate that our boss is as understanding as she is. Jim missed all of today from work and said for him to take tomorrow too if needed. That has been how she has been all the way through this. We are very blessed to work where we do and to have the type of boss we have. We have good insurance too which is another blessing.

As we go forward please continue to pray for him to have minimal side effects from the chemo. We want him to feel better and to be able to eat and drink as needed. Thanks in advance! We appreciate it so much.

NEXT CHEMO (#6 and final) and spinal infusion (#3) on 4/5/10 (the day after Easter) . The final spinal infusion (#4) will be four weeks later. Dr. Nabi wants another PET/CT scan before the final spinal infusion. We are hopeful that by early June Jim will be ready to some camping!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update on Jim - 3/16/10

This will be very short, but in case anyone is checking this a.m. I wanted to let you know that Jim did really well with his chemo (#5) and spinal infusion (#2) yesterday. He knew what to expect and that helped in itself. The days leading up to his chemo were very good. He had some energy and felt really good. He was able to do some normal activities - such as taking a short walk and cleaning the garage floor.

I will share more tonight when I have more time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Update on Jim 3/7/10

Jim used an ice pack to help him with his headache earlier in the week.

Jim has officially missed his first full day of work that was not a "chemo" day. On Friday the 6th Jim did not go in to work at all. He just felt like he had no energy. He talked to the doctor's office and they said that it is a side effect of the chemo. The headache issue has been mostly resolved and the stomach issues are under control with the meds that he has, but he is just dragging butt. I've kind of pushed him here and there to do some things and once he gets up and going he feels alright, not great...but okay. If he is up for an extended period of time that is when he seems to feel beat. He seems to need to rest between things. At least that is the way we handled it this weekend.

Not sure what this next week will bring. All through the years we've gotten to work around 6:30 in the morning. Since this whole cancer thing started we started going in around 7 - 7:15. Jim has now decided that we are going to go in around 8. And if he needs to take a long lunch and get a 30-45 minute power nap then that is what he'll do. It might even be necessary to work half days periodically. Whatever it takes! Fortunately for us Margaret is totally supportive and has given Jim free reign to do whatever he needs to do.

Please keep praying that the side effects of the chemo will be minimal. We know that Jim has been very fortunate so far and we hope very much that things won't get any worse than what he has experienced thus far. Thank you for that.

Next chemo (#5) is 3/15 - a week from Monday.

Sugar Cookies

Do these not look delicious? Well they are! I just L-O-V-E sugar cookies. They are definitely something that calls me. So anyways, I wanted to make something that could be sold at the Hooley today. What is a "Hooley" you ask? Well, it is a money making, food-eating, beer-drinking (by some), dancing, etc., party that is held before the SAPADAPASO Parade. SA (Saint) PA (Patricks) DA (Day) PA (Parade) SO (Society) is the host/sponsor of the party and the parade. My family is deeply involved, from being a volunteer that helps with staging at the parade, to crowd control, to being a part of the organizers. My Dad and bonus Mom, my brothers and sisters, my daughters, my aunt, uncle, cousins, nieces, nephews....and the list goes on and on. Let's just say there is alot of "Davis" blood, sweat and tears involved in each year's parade.

So back to the purpose of this post. I wanted to making something to be sold at the Hooley and it needed to be green and tasty. I decided cookies would fill the need. I had bought shamrock cookie cutters last year so I went with sugar cookie cut-outs. So on Friday night I'm flipping through cookbook after cookbook trying to decide what recipe to use. I found one that I had written in the margins, "Very good, 4/01". And so I decided to go with it. The recipe name just said "sugar cookies", it did not say "cut outs". So I started out trying to roll it with a rolling pin and that did not work at all. The dough just stuck to the roller, regardless of how much flour I put on it. I then noticed the recipe said to roll it into balls, so this was meant to be more of a "drop" cookie. Now I understood. So I tried patting the dough out with my hands and it worked like a charm. I divided the dough into sections and then after I did my cut-outs would re-wad it up and pat it out again. I was able to do that over and over with no problems. (Usually with cut-outs it starts getting difficult as you keep adding more flour.) The important thing was to make sure the dough was cold and sparingly use the flour.

Here is the recipe I used:

Sugar Cookies (St Ludmila Parish Cookbook)

1 cup margarine or butter
1 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for rolling the balls)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Cream first 4 ingredients together; add eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill dough 1 hour. Roll dough into balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen medium sized cookies.

I did NOT roll the dough into balls. I sectioned off the dough and patted it out on a floured board and used a cookie cutter.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix together and add food coloring if desired. I had to quadruple this recipe to frost all my cookies.

This is the board I used. You can see my shamrock cookie cutter if you look close!

I would pat out the dough with the palms of my hands, doing one section at a time.

Make sure that you don't get it too thin, or leave it too thick.
The cookies puff up nicely so make sure there is plenty of room between them.

I left them on the pan for 1-2 minutes to cool and then put them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Here are they are - waiting to be frosted!

Make sure you let them dry for a couple hours then storage won't be a problem.
This is a great recipe and now that I've found it (again) I will be using it alot. I have lots of cookie cutters and I like to make cookies that go with special days. These were super easy and I actually liked patting them out rather then rolling them. And did I mention...they are delicious!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update on Jim - 3/4/10

Jim’s headaches that started end of last week had continued to worsen. Yesterday he talked to the doctor’s office again, and Dr. Nabi said for him to come in - which we did at 3:30. It was determined that Jim was likely dehydrated due to the spinal puncture that they did at the end of the last chemo session. Seems there can be fluid leakage that happens in the spinal canal, which then results in a spinal headache. The only reprieve is when you lie down. A vicious circle had ensued. He’d get up in the a.m. and feel okay; the headaches would start up and worsen as the day went on. Jim didn’t want to eat or drink anything because the headache was making his stomach not feel good. Each day was getting worse. On Tuesday morning Jim woke up with cramps in the calves of both legs - which should have alerted me to what was going on. I just wasn’t thinking dehydration!

Dr. Nabi decided that Jim needed an IV of fluids. Because of the lateness of the day they couldn’t do it there at the office so he was sent to the hospital on an outpatient basis. We got there, checked in and were sent up to the Infusion Room. Jim got his IV set up and they started the fluids. They also gave him some stronger pain meds and a different anti-nausea medication thru the IV. By the time we left (around 7:45) he was feeling pretty good. (J) So home we went and he got comfortable on the couch, laying comfortably till bed-time. In the meantime I ran to the pharmacy and filled the new meds that Dr. Nabi had prescribed.

This morning we are back at work. He got something in stomach right away and took the new meds. He has a glass of water on his desk and I’ll be pushing fluids like crazy for the next few days! We don’t want any repeat performances.

Jim has two chemo sessions, plus three more of the spinal infusions to go and I have a feeling that he is going to be more susceptible to the side effects as he moves towards these final treatments. We need him to stay healthy and to keep eating and drinking. He needs to continue to be surrounded in prayer so please don’t let up in your prayers! Thanks in advance for that!