Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week Two in the Books

Hey hey! We've made it thru week 2 of radiation.  On Tuesday, the Husband met with his new Dr. Nguyen.  He called to tell me that after radiation they took him back because the doctor wanted to chat with him.  I said "what?! Don't they know I'm suppose to be there for 'talks'!"  He verified with Nurse Kim that it was only a weekly check, nothing for me to worry about.  So the husband did discuss some side effects he was experiencing from the radiation.  They gave him suggestions and offered to prescribe him medication, which he declined.  He's so hard headed!

On Wednesday, the husband's dad flew in.  He's gonna hang out with us until the end of April.  I really need to get my "list" together of all the things I need done around here.  He's pretty handy. ;)

On Friday, Dr. Nguyen met again with the husband after his treatment.  Nurse Kim was waiting outside his changing room to snag him up. ;)  Have I said I REALLY like the doctors and nurses at the Cancer Center? I love that they stay on top of him.  They checked on his side effects.  He's been having some tummy issues. Plus his hip has been hurting. And the fatigue is starting to set in.  All kinds of fun stuff!  He again declined pain medicine for his hip.  I have since discussed this with him.  I think he may take them up on their offer at the next check in.  At least to take at night so he can get some good sleep.  

Saturday, the husband helped me with some engagement pictures.  I don't know how I would manage without him.  I know it was exhausting for him to walk up and down a hike trail with the couple's dog in tow but he was such a trooper.  I get so much strength from him.

This morning I was out running.  I started whining to myself that I was tired.  I could just walk.  Then I thought of the husband and how I just need to suck it up.  So I pushed myself and finished my 6 miles faster than ever!  Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

For the most part, it's been pretty quiet this past week.  Stubby has even remained in his pen! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week One - Check

Well the husband has completed a full week of radiation. He's experiencing some stiffness in his hip and achiness.  And I think he may have over did it this weekend so he hasn't felt real well the past two days but for the most part, he's doing alright.  He has been following the "rules" about lifting too.

Other news this week, Stubby is back home. After spending time with the neighbor's cattle, not by the neighbor's choice, they brought him home a few days ago. We had tried getting him several times but Stubby just loved those F1 girls. :) Now that his jail was complete, we just needed to get him back. 

Well, we got home late one evening and I went out to feed the young bulls. I walked into their pen and noticed the walk thru gate to Stubby's jail bent in half. I  went back out and asked the husband if he saw where the young bulls were. Yea, they were where they're suppose to be.  I told the husband to come with me. I showed him the gate and he immediately said Stubby! The neighbor had brought him home without us knowing earlier that afternoon.  Of course, he escaped out of the only small gap there was in the 7' tall pen. We had planned on fixing that before he was put in it. So I went around the barn and looked, there he was.  I got him to follow me back into his pen. We moved some panels to cover his escape route.

The husband was not happy with "MY" bull. He said he was going to give me a bill for everything he's torn up. Whatever!  He's been contained for several days now. We'll see if it lasts or if he decides to try his hoof at climbing. 

The husband took some young bulls to Stephenville on Saturday evening. They bucked them for us early Sunday. I had to stay home for a photoshoot. I think it may have been a little too much for the husband though. He felt puny after getting really cold that morning. So he'll have to learn to pace himself during his treatment. 

So besides Stubby's eventful homecoming, the past week has been pretty quiet.  We shall see what this week holds for us!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Heart Day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Newest Member of the Medical Team

Dr. Butch would like to review all of the husband's labs, scans and treatment plans. ;)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Let the Zappin' Begin!

This morning was the husband's first day of radiation.  He wasn't expecting me to go with him but I surprised him.  Of course I'm going to the first one! I knew he was pretty anxious about it. He was the first patient of the morning and like always, they got him right in. It took maybe 20 minutes and the radiation tech came and got me.  She said Dr. Nguyen was going to speak with us so she took me back. 

We met with Dr. Nguyen and Nurse Kim. He reviewed the husband's treatment course. First 25 radiation sessions will be to a larger area to ensure we get all the boundaries of the tumor and inhibit any further spread.  Then the last 9 sessions would be more direct. He said this should also help with lessening joint stiffness because he knows being active is important to the husband.  This high dosage of radiation tends to really stiffen the joint so he's trying to minimize it best he can.  

Dr. Nguyen told us they did find something suspicious on the husband's shoulder. Right now, we really don't know what it is. He said after we finish with the hip, then we'll check into the shoulder.  He didn't want to order a biopsy or mess with it when the husband has to lay down every day for radiation. No need to make it any more uncomfortable for him.  And since all tests point away from multiple myeloma, they feel we are okay to deal with one thing at a time.  So we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Of course, there is no telling with the husband's shoulders. They have had so much trauma over the years, it's amazing they only saw one oddity!

Before we left, I asked them to please tell the husband he could eat pretty much normal. After he read the radiation manual and all the possible side effects, he had told me all he could do was drink green tea and suck on his spit.  Yes, seriously!! I read everything too and tried to assure him that he could still eat, just to stay away from spicy stuff. And guess what?! I was right. They advised him he could eat just about anything. Dr. Nguyen said he didn't expect the husband to have any major side effects but due to law, he had to explain every single one that MIGHT occur. Thank goodness! 

Dr. Nguyen's last day is Thursday, then his replacement will take over the husband's care. We're gonna miss him. He's such a hoot and very straightforward, which we love. His parting words for the husband. NO LIFTING! ;)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

BLESSED by The Husband

I just want to thank all of our family and friends for the many prayers and kind words.  You never really know who your true friends are until you are in need.  Heck, when you're on top everyone is your friend or kin to ya!  But when things are tough, that's when you really know who you can trust and rely on.  I have to tell ya I didn't know how many wonderful true friends we had.  Thank you!

Now I have to brag on my wife.  As most everyone knows, she's pretty dang awesome.  I've always said that I used all my luck up on catching her but it was so worth it.  She reminds me so much of my Grandma Marge.  She's smart, beautiful, dedicated, hardworking and very tough.  She'd rather hang out with the guys even if that meant working 12 hours with little to eat in the heat or cold versus sitting with girls talking or shopping.  She's usually quiet but when she speaks, you'd better listen.  Yes, she's petite but she can and will knock you on your butt if you need it.  She has a heart that's as big as Texas although she handles pressure as if she had ice water in her veins.  She is so very talented with her camera, writing, knowledge, patience and love for animals.  Oh yes, she LOVES her dogs!

I didn't say she was perfect, just pretty dang awesome.  I think if it were possible, every acre of our ranch would be covered with dogs.  Dogs that she would love and take care of and they would all love her.  She's never shy'd away from hard work ever since the day I met her (a LONG time ago).  She's had at least one, two or three full time jobs.  Smart, wow, I didn't know someone could actually graduate college that fast and work full time!  Not to mention have common sense!  But with all of her many talents, I still can't figure out how a broke, crippled, risk taking, wild ass bullrider caught her attention.  It had to be luck and I'd rather be lucky than good any day.

Now I have always been the tough and fearless one.  At least, that's how I acted.  Heck, if I were as tough as her, I'd be a multiple time world champion bullrider.  I always like to have a plan but would often shoot from the hip or roll the dice.  I was so confident in whatever I did.  I knew things would work out.  Well on January 2, 2014, my life was forever changed.  My wife showed such strength and courage as I crumbled.  Dying has never scared me but being a burden to other has.  How was I going to take care of all the cattle, family, friends and most importantly, my wonderful wife? She stood tall and strong as I fell and cried like a baby.  With all of her many irons in the fire, she never weakened.  I complained about not sleeping for 3 days but she didn't stop for a week and never complained.  She took on more tasks and responsibilities like it was nothing.  She sat with me at every doctor visit, test, scan, etc with grace, strength and love.  She has been so strong and positive not letting anything get her down not even my lack of patience, anger or crying.

She recently ran a half marathon that meant so much to me.  She'd trained hard for the race but the past 60 or so days our world was turned upside down.  I tried to get her to back out of the race due to all of the things that were going on in our life but she would have no part of it.  I was very concerned that mentally and physically she would break down.  I continued to tell her that she didn't have to do this but she refused to quit.  On race day, I was more nervous than anytime riding bulls.  I remember her taking off and waiting impatiently to see her at mile 5 and she was right on time.  She looked really good but as I was waiting at mile 11 very very impatiently, I was truly concerned.  Then right on time, she came blazing around the corner.  Wow, the joy and pride I felt cannot be explained.  She was performing so well that she thought she needed to win another medal and tackle a major stairway challenge.  As I hurried back to the finish line, I was glowing with pride.  I got there just in time to see her cross the finish, snap a few pictures and give her the hug of a lifetime.  To me, she had just set a new world record not for the race but for strength, courage, toughness and love.  Ya, she's kinda a big deal around here. She means the world to me and I love her with all my heart.  She's my strength, courage and positive outlook and together we will conquer this disease.

Thanks again to everyone for all the thoughts and prayers.  It has truly meant the world to my wife and I.

(Wife here, umm, just wanted to say I did NOT have the shock collar on him while he wrote the post.  Really, didn't. ;) hehe)

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Challenge

I'm a control freak. Does that come as a shock to anyone? One thing C-Town has taught me thus far, I have no control over it! How dare it?! I'm a planner, a doer, a everything has a place and it's where I put it not where you want it kinda gal. I don't like it, not one iota. So I had to find something I could control. Put the power back in my hands and out of the creepy gnarly fingers of cancer.

A few days ago, I was reading (yep, on my third book this week) from "How To Cope Better When Someone You Love Has Cancer" by William Penzer, Ph.D.  It's really good BTW.  A sentence really struck a cord with me.

"See yourself becoming a Cancerville athlete and going the distance for your loved one."

I marked it in the book. Read it out loud to the husband later that night. Told him this was me. I am your athlete. It spoke to me. This was what I could control in a completely uncontrollable situation. Of course, I'm sure Dr Penzer was not actually intending for me to take it so literal but that's how I roll.  

That same day I had seen a story come across my Facebook newsfeed about the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Endurance Team.  Individuals join the team and raise money through various running/cycling/swimming events.  How perfect is that?  I was excited and told the husband I wanted to join the group. I just needed to find a half marathon later in the year to enter for my fundraising event. Of course, the husband replied with "Why would you want to put yourself through another half marathon?" Because this is what I NEED to do.  

I started looking through race calendars for half marathons in Texas. Would run dates past the husband and he'd tell me yes or no (he knows bull event dates in his head, I don't). I finally came across the Fort Worth Marathon on November 9th. I told him this would be my birthday gift, to let me run this race. He was quick to tell me that wasn't my birthday. Yea, but it's in the month so we're counting it.  Oh, then he mentioned it was probably opening day of hunting season too. Whatever! 

So by 10 that night, I was registered as a MMRF Endurance member and a participant for the Fort Worth Half Marathon.  I see it as insurance. MMRF directs 90% of its budget to research and related programs in efforts to find a cure for multiple myeloma. No, the husband does not have multiple myeloma. We were blessed that his plasmocytoma had not progressed to that.  However, I am aware there is a chance we could face the beast down the road at some point, Heaven forbid.  So why not raise money for research that might one day greatly benefit us.  Like most insurance, I'll pay for the policy now in hopes I'll never have to use it in the future.

So between now and November 9th, I will be fundraising. I have pledged to raise at least $1500. We can do that, right?!  Dang right! Please share my fundraising page with everyone you know.

Tell them to check us out on the blog too.  I'll give updates here along the way. 

Also, late yesterday the clinic called and they were able to bump the husband up to start radiation. Instead of Wednesday, he will start Monday morning! Let's get it going! I will post Monday evening about how that goes. Oh, and the husband asked if I would help him this weekend to post. So stay tuned people, the husband speaks this weekend!

Till then, peace out!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World Cancer Day

So I've never realized that World Cancer Day is held every February 4th. Guess it never crossed my radar in my busy "doesn't apply to me" prior life.  But as the husband said the other day, "Our lives changed forever on January 2, 2014."  Yes, it did but we choose our path not cancer.  

It really feels as though a year has passed in the last month. Maybe the shock of the diagnosis has finally worn off? All the anxiety of the unknown has subsided after receiving the test results?  Now I'm settling in with what needs to be done to get the husband treated, keep him healthy and support him in this journey.  

I've learned a few things in this past month. For one, people deal with the diagnosis of cancer in many different ways. One is no more right than another. For me, I am goal oriented. I see the problem, now let's work on the solution. Plus my almost 15 years of criminal justice work has taught me how to deal with really bad stuff without emotion. Does that make me appear cold at times, yes, it does. But it works for me. Do I have meltdowns? Of course!  But because people don't know what is going on behind closed doors, some have felt I'm not handling the situation "appropriately". Appropriate by who's standards? Is there a handbook on cancer that I've overlooked?

Another thing I learned is those diagnosed with cancer are poked, prodded, stuck, measured and all around jacked with relentlessly. Though it's necessary, it takes a toll on the patient. The husband is SO tired of seeing doctors and taking tests.  His frustration is warranted. I wish I could take his place at times.  Okay, maybe for like the urine test. I could handle that one for sure!  And along with all the tests are all the questions from family and friends.  It becomes exhausting repeating the same thing over and over but we know everyone just wants to know the latest thus the blog!!

I find it's hard for people to know what to say especially the first time you see them after they've heard the "news".  You see it on their face.  I wish I could just put them out of their misery. There are no magic words. For me, if you think you need to say something, just say you've been thinking of or praying for us. That works for me. Then we can move on to normal talk. Normal talk is the best!

Yep, our lives are forever changed.  Cancer has invaded our space but it does not define who we are.  We are and will forever be Crazy M.