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Monday, October 29, 2012

Decision Made

October 17th
I took the car in to get the service done on it. We were given a free oil change etc. and I didn’t think I would be in town to use it, how wrong I was. Anyway, it didn’t take too long; I killed time by reading on my IPad and getting all the updates caught up since the dealer has free wifi.

October 19th

Today was the day Sarah met her cancer treatment doctor, Dr Hill. He went over the type of cancer she has and the prognosis. He gave Sarah a bunch of papers to look over and it was a general discussion of treatments and what to expect.  Then it was off to see Dr Isaac the radiologist, he will do the radiology treatments, which follow the chemo treatments.

By the time, we were done with the two appointments it was time to eat. So we called our friends Norma & Orren and went to the Pizza Ranch for lunch. For those of you who have never been to a Pizza Ranch it is a buffet style pizza place, however you can order the type of pizza you want if it isn’t on the buffet. We stayed there for a couple hours talking and enjoying our meal.

The weekend was spent around the camper and not doing a whole lot.

October 24th

We picked up Norma & Orren for dinner; we went to the China Buffet. I have to stop going to buffet because I always eat too much. I do like this place though because they have sushi, I think I tried all the varieties they had, all were good.

October 25th

We went out to eat with Dick & Judi Wicheal and John & Kathy Evans, this time we went to Famous Dave’s restaurant.  If you read my last blog, I mentioned calling an 800 number and by answering a few questions, you are given a code. You write the code on your receipt and when you present it on your next visit, you get a free desert; my favorite is the bread pudding. So we all had bread pudding, the other stuff doesn’t count because it is all about the bread pudding. We had a good time visiting and eating. These folks are leaving on Sunday so this was the only time we could all get together.

October 26th

We both knew this was going to be a long day. We had to be at Iowa Methodist, Stoddard Cancer Clinic by 10:30 am for Sarah to get a PET/CT scan. I couldn’t go back with her but they hooked an IV to her and then she had some dye injected so the scan would show all the hot spots in the body. Here is a link if you are interested, http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=pet. Sarah was done with this is a bit over an hour.
Then it was time to have some lab work done, a blood draw. All of these tests, the PET/CT scan and blood work, were done to help the doctor decide on what treatment will be best for Sarah. After the lab work, we went in search of something to eat; Sarah couldn’t eat anything after 6:30 that morning. We settled on soup for Sarah and a sandwich for me from the kiosk in the lobby of the clinic. It wasn’t the greatest but it was filling. I did get a rice krispie treat with chocolate on one side, I love these, when I was at Marsh one of the ladies made these and they were the best I have ever had, these weren’t as good as those but they were ok.
At 3:30 pm, actually closer to 4 pm we, Sarah’s sister Cynthia was with us, met with Dr Hill, he will be Sarah’s cancer treatment doctor, he showed us the scans and went over the treatments. He had told us before that Sarah might be eligible for a couple of studies and he showed us three of them. Only one was appealing at all and he told us to think about them over the weekend. The standard treatment is 22 weeks of chemo. The study had this treatment and another treatment of only 18 weeks, the difference was the elimination of one of the drugs in the standard treatment. So we left his office with a lot of information to digest.

Orren’s niece, Ashley, gave us a lead on a condo we might be able to rent. I had put out an SOS to several people we know in the Des Moines area for leads to possible rental places. I called the number Ashley gave me and spoke with Ed, the owner, and arranged a time to meet him at the condo. So after the doctor appointments we went to the condo and met with Ed and his wife Gail. It is a two bedroom completely furnished unit not far from Jordan Creek Mall, it met our needs perfectly, so we rented it.
As I said it is completely furnished so all we have to move out of the camper our clothes, food and liquids. I will buy a TV but we will want one later for the townhouse in Omaha. I don’t know if I told you we have bought a townhouse in Bennington, NE, northwest of downtown Omaha. It will be ready May 1, 2013 so we will move into it after Sarah is done with her treatments and she will be able to build up her strength and stamina. Our intention is to continue going south in the winter and occasional camping throughout the summer months.

October 27th

My brother Larry and his wife Kathy came to visit. Their grandson Caleb is in eight grade and is already six foot tall, he was playing in a basketball tournament in Ames. So Larry & Kathy came up to spend the night with us and then we went to the game on Sunday. Sarah stayed home, she had a headache and she and Cynthia were going to go over the options of treatment Sarah could choose from. That night Sarah and I discussed the treatments and Sarah made a decision which one she wanted to do. She chose the standard treatment of 22 weeks of chemo and then 5-6 weeks of radiation.

October 29th

Sarah called the doctor’s office and got the ball rolling on the chemo. She will have a port put in this coming Friday, with the chemo beginning on Nov 9th.

We are taking the camper in to Shorewood RV in Altoona, IA to be winterized and fix a mirror I broke, and then put it into storage for the winter.  If Sarah is feeling up to it, we may move back into the camper as early as May of 2013, we will decide at that time.

For now, we have a plan and we are going to follow it. All indicators say everything will be fine and Sarah will come through this with flying colors and be cancer free when all is said and done.

Thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming.

Until later, Dreams Do Come True. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Post Surgery

Monday, October 15th will be remember by Sarah and I for as long as we live. It is the day Sarah was given, the beginning, of a new lease on life. This is the day she had surgery to remove the spot in her right breast. It began quite early, 7:30, she was given an IV and then went to nuclear medicine to have a dye injected, then she went to get another mammogram which identified the areas of concern. The dye indicated a lymph node had cancer also, this changed the surgeon’s approach and increased the area he cleared of tissue in the breast. When he went to remove the lymph node the pathologist didn’t like the looks of another node so they removed it.

Sarah was in surgery longer than anticipated but she came through it fine and is sitting here at home giving me orders. Actually it is my pleasure to wait on her and make sure she fully recovers from the surgery. We are waiting on the pathology report so we can visit with an oncologist to see what form Sarah’s treatment will take.

Friday, October 19, what a week, the doctors here are great and we were able to get some things accomplished in a week where it takes others a longer period of time. Today Sarah had an appt with the oncologist and the radiologist. First the oncologist, Sarah has to have chemo to ensure a full recovery, radiation is not enough, this is due to the node have cancer cells in it. The treatment takes 22 weeks, so we are staying in the Des Moines area for the winter. (Note to self, buy winter coats.) We will stay in the camper until we find someplace to rent and then winterize the camper and find a storage place for it.

This isn’t what we wanted but this is the hand we have been dealt so we will play it out. The treatment path Sarah is going to go through has a very HIGH rate of success and that is what we are looking for.

So that’s it for now. I will post again when there has been a change in our situation. For now we are back in Iowa for the duration.

Dreams Still Do Come True.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Bump in the Road

September 20th

We met Mike & Sheri Cord for dinner at Pagliai’s Pizza, http://www.pagliais.com/; this is one of the best pizza’s I have ever tasted. We had a great visit with them and Mike brought me the latest Clive Cussler book, one of my favorite authors, I haven’t started it yet but I will as soon as I finish one of the three others I am currently reading.

September 21st

We met Bob & Judi Van Cleave for dinner at the Olive Garden. We met them at Mesa Regal last winter; they are from the Des Moines area and called to see if we wanted to meet them for dinner. We had a very nice visit with them. We should see them again this winter in Arizona.

September 22nd

Today we went to a “Celebration of Life” for Larry Paterson. We met Larry and Loretta at Griff’s our first year in the camper, 2010. Larry always had a smile, even with his health problems; he was fun and a joy to be around. He will be missed by all.

September 24th

Today I headed into the VA hospital for my annual physical. I get my labs done at 7:30 because I have to fast and then I can go have breakfast before meeting the doctor. Therefore, after my labs were done I checked into the clinic and found out they had changed my appt to Wednesday. The clerk asked me if I got a letter telling me of the change, I said no. We did get the letter yesterday in our mail packet so at least they did send it.

Now I had a problem because my dental appt was for Wednesday at the same time as the one at the VA. I got on the phone to the dentist and told them of my problem. I wanted to get the dentist out of the way this week because we were scheduled to leave next Monday for Omaha. The dental receptionist was very nice and I was able to get in today being Monday, so all is good.

I hate going to the dentist. I go to a Periodontist for teeth cleaning because they check the gums for receding since I have had the deep cleaning I don’t want to go through that again. So I’m sitting in the chair and the hygienist is fussing around and looks like she about to start and I say, “Whoa there partner, I need that thar gas because I am a CHICKEN”. She looks at my chart and there in big bold letters is the word CHICKEN. So she gives me the gas. I could not go through the pain and agony of the cleaning without the gas and even with it, I struggle not to make loud noises, but I made it through the ordeal and was on my way.

September 25th

Sarah had her mammogram today. We went over to Orren & Norma Cairo’s afterwards. Norma & Sarah are beading, Norma is very good at it, and she has some very nice bracelets and earrings. It is good for her to do and it keeps her out of Orren’s hair. Norma made chili, which was very good. The woman is a very good cook. As always, we had a good time.

September 26th

I finally had my physical this morning at the VA. I have a new doctor, Dr. Green, a very nice lady. She is full of energy and as all of the doctors have done in the past twenty years, she told me to lose weight. “I’m trying doc, not doing a very good job but I am trying, most of the time”. I was able to get all my prescription filled.

September 28th

John & Kathy Evans invited us to go with them to meet Loretta for lunch at Famous Dave’s. Now if you have eaten at Famous Dave’s and never had their bread pudding, you are missing a treat. It is absolutely the best I have ever had, plus take your receipt and call the 800 number on it, get a code and then get a free desert the next time you eat there. 2012-09-28_13-45-27_418

September 29th

We headed for Moline, IL to meet up with Tom & Cathy Gerdes2012-09-29_21-42-34_9692012-09-29_21-42-55_751 and George & Barb Granberg,2012-09-29_21-42-59_8972012-09-29_21-42-48_904 Tom, George and I worked at Ruan Leasing together. Chris & Amy Walkup were going to be there also, but something came up and they weren’t able to make it. Chris we had a great time wish you & Amy could have been there.

We stayed at the Radisson in Moline, it is a great hotel and right across the street from Johnny’s Steakhouse where we ate, http://johnnysitaliansteakhouse.com/ , it is a great place to eat.

We had a lot of fun being caught up on what everyone is doing, Tom & I are not working but George is selling real estate for Ruhr & Ruhr Realtors, http://muscatineproperties.com/. Barb is a retired schoolteacher for the Muscatine school system.

September 30th

Tom wanted to see the American Pickers place in LeClaire, IA, http://antiquearchaeology.com/ and http://frankfritzfinds.com/about.php. Mike and Frank have individual websites so I have listed them.

The building is nothing to speak of, just a small garage, at sometime in the past it was most likely a repair garage. Danielle has her own antique shop across the street from the American Pickers store. It was fun to see, there is a 1950 Nash sitting out front of the store, my grandfather had one just like it, not quite as rusty but the same vintage. I bought a t-shirt with a picture of the car on the back of the shirt. I bet I will be the only one in AZ with this t-shirt.2012-09-30_12-57-21_3852012-09-30_13-01-52_4612012-09-30_13-12-39_982

October 1st

We packed up and headed for the West Omaha KOA in Gretna, NE. We like this campground and as I have stated before it is the only one within decent driving distance of Daniel’s house. It is great to see the kids again.

October 3rd

We drove back to Des Moines. Sarah had a mammogram last week and they called and said they saw a couple things that didn’t look right and they wanted a biopsy of both areas. So we headed back to get this procedure done.

October 4th

Sarah received a call from the doctor who did the biopsy and he said the cloudy area was clean, no problem, but the spot had cancer cells in it. So we have an appointment with an oncology surgeon this coming Wednesday to see what options there are for her.

Cancer is something you always think will strike someone else until it hits this close to home. I always thought I would get it because of Agent Orange. Sarah has always been the healthy one of the family but now my best friend, companion has it, and it is a sobering thought. I pray the doctors can remove the spot and surrounding tissue and Sarah will be free of it, but regardless I know God will not give us more than we can handle and we can handle anything with his help.

October 7th

Daniel & Marie refinished their basement and were needing more room to put things. We had several items stored with them, both in the basement and the garage, so we rented a storage unit. Today we took all of the items at their house and put them into the storage unit, plus a few of their things. I suppose we should have done this from the beginning but there was no need for a unit until now.

October 10th

Today is the day we have been anticipating and dreading at the same time. We were both scared and hoping for the best at the same time. Sarah’s doctor, Dr. Daniel Kollmorgan an oncology surgeon, put Sarah and I at ease immediately. He told her she was going to be fine. Sarah has Stage 1 breast cancer, the tumor is about the size of a pencil eraser and is slow growing, which is why is probably didn’t show up on a previous mammogram. After he examined her, then he gave Sarah her options. A complete mastectomy or a lumpectomy, the mastectomy removes the entire breast and therefore any other cancer cells present. The lumpectomy is the removal of the tumor and some surrounding tissue, then chemo or radiation is given depending on how wide spread the cancer is and if it has gone into the lymph node.

Sarah chose the lumpectomy with five days of twice a day radiation treatments, the radiation treatment is dependent on what pathology says about the cancer and if it spread.

So we are headed back to Griff’s RV Park in Des Moines this Saturday for four to eight weeks depending on the outcome of the surgery, which has been scheduled for next Monday. We are praying for the best results, but prepared for whatever shows itself.

As with all cancer the earlier the detection, the better chance of isolating it and removing all of the cancer cells. The doctor believes this to be true in Sarah’s case.

Until later, Dreams Do Come True.