Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunshine Salad

How do you feel about jello salads? There are alot of them that I can pass on by without a second look. But for me, it depends on the ingredients. If there are strawberries or pineapple, in it - I'm on it! Jim on the other hand likes all things "jello"! I think his mother made lots of jello dishes for him and his brother growing up and as a result they are sort of a comfort food. This particular recipe was one that I had flagged in one of my cookbooks as one that I'd like to make. In the margin I wrote, "Jim". The ingredient that made me know that Jim would like it was the mandarin oranges. I don't think Jim ever met a "mandarin orange" he didn't like. And this jello salad was no exception. Jim probably ate half of the salad by himself (over a period of days). You know how many jello salads break down and get watery after several days pass? Not so, on this one. I made this salad last Sunday and Jim ate the last of it today. He said it was just as good today. So if you are looking for a salad to take to a family gathering or potluck, try this one out!

Sunshine Salad (from Taste of Home Annual Recipes - 1998)

1 pkg (3 oz) lemon gelatin

1 c boiling water

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple

1/3 cup orange juice concentrate

1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained

In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Set pineapple aside. Add enough water to the juice to equal 1 cup; stir into gelatin. Add orange juice concentrate. Chill until partially set. Fold in the pineapple and oranges. Pour into 4-cup mold or glass bowl. Chill until set. Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Update on Jim - 4/25/10

On Thursday (4/22) Jim met with the trainer at the St Lukes Cancer Wellness Center. The appointment went very well. The trainer - Matt, put Jim through various exercises to assess where he currently was at. He showed him some new exercises to do and told him that he should start riding the stationary bike. He is supposed to only make small increases in distances, whether it is the bike or walking outside. No more then a 10% increase from week to week. He doesn't want Jim to return till after his final treatment. His next appointment is 5/6 and then Matt will give him a more detailed exercise plan to start working on.

Jim is feeling very well and his activities are very near normal. On the physical side he has lost almost all of his eye lashes and eye brows. Obviously they are the slowest growing hair since they are the last to be lost. But on the other hand Jim's hair on his head seems to be starting grow back in. It is white and seems to be thick. Kind of like peach fuzz. We hear from other cancer survivors that the hair can oftentimes grow back a different color and oftentimes a different texture. Only time will tell!

Tomorrow (4/26), Jim has his PET/CT Scan. That will take around 3 hours. Then next Monday (5/3), Jim will see Dr. Nabi, get the scan results and have his final spinal infusion. It will be much different then his previous chemo days. Instead of being there all day and getting the chemo by IV, he will go at the end of the day and see the doctor. Then she will do the spinal infusion and home we'll go with Jim having to lay down for 4 hours. Our time in the doctors office will take two hours tops. But then it is all done!!! YEAH!

Please continue your prayers for Jim. Specifically that the scans will be clear and that the final infusion will go smoothly. Also, that he will have no side effects from that last treatment. (He has never had only the spinal infusion so we have no idea how that alone will affect him.) Thank you in advance for your continuing prayers. We continue to pray for all of you and your needs in return!

Running update

I've hit some major milestones with my running in the last few weeks that I want to share. Two weeks ago I went running with my sisters, Patty & Cathy. We went out to the Cedar Valley Trail. Patty and I ran 5 miles that day. Five miles! That was a first time for me. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be to that point I would have never believed you! So we ran 5 miles two weeks ago, then again last weekened, and then today WE RAN 6 MILES! Because of all the rain and the fact that we had to run early today (7:30 a.m.) we decided to go out to Aegon's fitness center (Patty & Cathy both work there) and run on the treadmills there. The 1/4 marathon that I'm planning on running over Memorial weekend in Madison WI, will be here very soon. But thanks to my training plan (compliments of Rachelle) I will be well prepared. Next week I run 6 miles again and after that it will be 7 miles.

Rachelle had been asking me for some time after running if I "had anything left?" And I was always able to say "yes". Well, I can't say that anymore. I really feel like I'm giving my running everything I have. And it feels good! I'm almost 53 years old and probably in the best shape I've ever been in. There are several races coming up during the next 6 months and I'm looking forward to setting new personal records for myself. It will be challenging and exciting! I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update on Jim - 4/15/10

Jim is doing very well - thanks for your continued prayers!!

Typically Jim starts feeling better about 10 days post chemo treatment, and this time was no different. Last night was a real good night's sleep. His appetite is doing very well. And there has been no major fatigue this time! Yeah!!!

Dr. Nabi had suggested that Jim go St. Luke's Cancer Wellness program to see if there is any help that they can offer. We met with the program coordinator yesterday and got the overview. Jim's interest lays in their exercise program. They have a trainer that works with the cancer patients and helps them regain their strength. Jim lost alot of his muscle tone in his legs during the months of hip pain that he experienced last year. And then going into chemo treatment he didn't have the energy (or the desire) to do anything that was very exerting. Jim will meet with the trainer for the first time next week and be assessed. Hopefully the trainer will set up a program that will start rebuilding his leg strength. Jim really wants to get back into walking and bicycling and is hoping that this program will get him back into it without hurting himself.

Keep on praying! We appreciate it more then you'll ever know!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Update on Jim - 4/10/10

Good news everyone! This has been the best "week after chemo" that Jim has had thus far! Can you believe it? Yes you can...cause God is good! He has heard your prayers and answered them! Jim is sleeping well. He is eating well and he is not fatigued. He didn't nap all week. His sense of taste is off just a bit, but that is it! Please keep praying that the side effects will not affect him. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Update on Jim - 4/7/10

Jim had his last full chemo day on Monday 4/5. It went very well! The nurses have a little "good-bye" they do in the chemo room. It includes a kazoo and a mini ukulele, plus bubbles and singing! They have a little good bye song that they sang and gave him a certificate of "completion". It was quite cute and made the last full day momentous!

So here is what the doctor told us at the appointment. Jim will have a Pet/CT scan scheduled for the last week of April. Then on May 3rd he sees the doctor again, gets the results of the scans and then has his final spinal infusion. So instead of an all-day appointment, it will take a whopping hour or so and that is it. Of course, he'll still have to follow the spinal infusion with 4 hours of laying prone, but that is okay!
I asked the doc if Jim would be seeing her for annual visits and she responded he would be coming in on a quarterly basis for quite awhile. She wants to monitor him closely for several years. That is okay with us - we don't want any repeat performances!
The day after chemo has usually been a good day and yesterday was no exception. Jim did have some interrupted sleep last night and his stomach is starting to feel a bit off, but other then that he is doing alright. There is no way to guess how he'll feel after chemo since each time is different. I mentioned to him this a.m. that he is going into this chemo week, the strongest he has ever been. He has a solid week of good sleep, good eating and generally feeling good prior to this chemo treatment. Hopefully it won't knock him down to bad this time.
Please continue to pray that the side effects will be minimal this go round. The next 4 or 5 days are usually when he has problems. We need him to have a good appetite and to get good sleep so he doesn't get worn down. Thank you in advance for your prayers! We continue to pray for all of you and your personal concerns.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Update on Jim - 4/1/10

Not much to report since this last weekend! This is a good thing! Jim is sleeping pretty well and has felt pretty good. Such a drastic difference from a week ago! We went for a short walk last night and he is planning on going to the various Holy Week services at church the next couple nights. Praise the Lord! Thank you for all your ongoing prayers!

Don't forget Jim has his next chemo next Monday 4/5. This will be the last full chemo (IV all day and then spinal infusion at the end of the day). Please pray once again that the side effects will be minimal!

Unless something changes I won't post again till after that chemo treatment. Have a happy and blessed Easter!