Sunday, June 28, 2015

Harv has started (and almost completed) the first round of the new chemo. It's not unbearable but it is certainly not increasing his energy level. His appetite MIGHT have increased a little bit... He's slept well most nights with a combination of various "remedies." Last night was not one of those nights. Some nights (and I guess last night was one of them) he's not actually in pain, but his brain won't turn off -- regardless of the pharmaceuticals he uses to help him relax.

He does pretty well (usually) at the beginning of the day, but loses steam after lunch. Sometimes naps are very long. Sometimes he doesn't have an actual nap, but kind of rests.

Here's what I would love. I would love it if this particular chemo would do amazing things and shrink all of the tumors. I would love it if his energy was back and he was able to feel really good inside and out. I would love for some ridiculous and amazing miracle to occur and have his tumors just disappear.

So... if you believe in miracles, I would love it if you would pray for him -- and me -- and our family -- that this would actually happen. 'Cause that would be very, very nice. And, actually, even if you don't believe, you could still pray for one. :-)

I, for one, am weary. Granted, the weariness comes from more than Harv's cancer and the treatment and trips to Seattle... but I am weary.  And, I haven't heard Harvey use those words, but I think he might feel kind of the same way.

We have a relaxing few days planned for July and then there's a wedding in September. We would love to feel enthusiastic and energized for both of those things...and all that comes in between.

Thank you, people... And, much peace and many blessings to you all... 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To My Mama Friends...

Dear Sehome Mama Friends and Friends We've Known Since S & H were in elementary school, 

While I am feeling sentimental about my girls growing up and moving out into the world, I am also feeling very sentimental about y'all... 

Y'all were there when S & H started playing soccer in kindergarten. We went to soccer practices and games and were cold and wet in the rain together... We participated in and helped with the Fun Run. We volunteered together at the Luau or in the classrooms. We were on PTA together.

Y'all were there in middle school when they first walked through the doors at Kulshan. It seemed so big and scary. We volunteered for the carnival and for the eighth grade dance and the tea. We were on PTA there, too... We worked the magazine drive together...and drank coffee and ate doughnuts. We went for walks together...

And you've been there in high school for many of the same kinds of things... 

Some of you I didn't meet until we all got to Sehome. Our children ran together on cross country or were in orchestra together or in French classes together... And, some of us even formed a book group together!

Seems like it took a little while for us to "warm up" and make an effort to get to know each other beyond cross country meets or orchestra concerts. But, I just want to say... I am so thankful that we did. I'm so thankful that Sarah's and Hannah's high school years became a very rich time for me, personally.

And, while this season is all about them growing up and while it's a tiny bit scary thinking about them going out into the world... It is also a tiny bit scary wondering how my life is gonna change now that they're no longer in high school. 

And, I just want to make sure that all you people out there -- from the Carl Cozier mamas to the Kulshan mamas to the Sehome mama friends -- know that I'm so thankful that our paths have crossed. We've walked this road together for a long time. We share that "mama thing" that only we understand.  
Thank you for being my friends through the years. 

Many blessings to each of you.

And, hey! Can we get together for a glass of wine sometime?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Teeny Weensy Baby Girls

Oh my goodness... About thirty seconds ago, Sarah and Hannah were born...and about thirty seconds after that, they went to preschool....And then kindergarten.

How in the world did they get to be eighteen in just a little over a minute and a half?

In a few days, they will graduate from HIGH SCHOOL!!!! 
My teeny weensy baby girls who slept in the same crib for a few months 'cause they fit in one -- first side by side and then toe to toe.
My teeny weensy baby girls who were very afraid of the giant Carl Cozier playground when they arrived in kindergarten.
The creative, intelligent little girls who didn't really like much food other than chicken nuggets and pepperoni pizza.
The little girls who did not love swimming lessons... 
Who sometimes wanted to assert themselves and their preferences for clothes and who taught me the phrase "I wanna do what I wanna do."
The girls who took about 15 books to bed at night instead of stuffed animals.

Oh man... how in the world did THOSE little girls turn into young ladies so quickly?

Their high school years did, in fact, go very fast. People told me it would happen...and it did. But those years have been full of some really great memories (and a couple of family events that I would like to throw back and request a do-over). They've been great students and have studied the violin and become runners... They've made the most of their years of school while balancing it with just plain ol' regular life. 

They will start school in the fall at Western Washington University. And, while they will be close, they will no longer be living at home... which will be very, very strange. I might even miss them a lot.

Oh my goodness, I think I just might miss them.

Thankful for so many good family members and friends and teachers and coaches and families who have made their lives (and mine) so much richer. 

I am SO thankful that someone out there decided that those two little girls should be created and that I would be the lucky winner... There are no words that can express the gratitude that I feel... 

The tears might start pretty soon...  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bullet points from today:
  • We left home at 5:00 this morning...and fortunately, all appointments ran on time.
  • Harv's tumor markers are up. Didn't get the CEA back yet, but other numbers indicate there's some increase in size &/or number of tumors.
  • Dr. Lin thinks that the best thing for now is to start Harv on a trial (soon to be FDA approved) oral chemo to get to work on those tumors.... INSTEAD of starting on proton therapy now.
  • So, next week we'll go down again so Harv can have a CT scan before he starts the chemo.
  • Tuesday, he'll go to the local pain doc and we'll keep our fingers crossed that that treatment relieves some of his discomfort.
  • On the 25th, he'll still go down for the proton therapy consultation just so he has all the information. Dr. Lin thinks it will take a fair bit of time before insurance will approve it but once it's approved, he won't have to get approval again when/if he decides to get that kind of radiation.
  • We left SCCA at about 9:00.
  • I got a speeding ticket on the way home...  :-(
  • I'ma take a nap now. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

(The above video is from Sarah and Hannah's Orchestra Tour last weekend... 
It's just a sample, but it's pretty doggone good, if you ask me.)

The other day I sent Harv's Seattle nurse a note asking about alternative pain relief possibilities. She got back to me today and we talked about how to get that ball rollin'...

When I wrote her back, I mentioned some things that I thought Dr. Lin might want to know. They were aware of Harv starting proton therapy soon and thought we might be able to see Dr. Lin after that. But long story short, it would most likely be Sept. or Oct. when the proton therapy is over -- if I understand things correctly. So... after reading my email with Harv's current condition + the fact that proton therapy won't be finished for a while, Dr. Lin suggested that we have an appointment 7:00 Seattle.

So, that's what we're gonna do. And, hopefully, we will find ways to help Harv feel perkier and less discomfort and so on and so forth and whathaveyou... 

Prayers always appreciated.

This is a big weekend. Sarah and Hannah will be eighteen on Friday. We're having a small luncheon for some of their girl-friends in honor of their graduation... And, then NEXT weekend they GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Goodness, gracious alive! How in the world did eighteen years go by so fast?!

Here's a little shout-out to my friends all around me who have been loving me and supporting me and giving me wine and huggin' me and stuff.  It's amazing how much stuff a girl can handle when she has good friends and family.... 

And, lest they think I don't notice, my own family has been pretty doggone good to me, too... I sometimes don't have my act together, or I cry, or I can't remember diddly squat or I don't wanna cook dinner or I don't feel like takin' out the garbage and cleaning the whole dang house... and they just let me be me.

Lookin' forward to the day when I feel "normal" again -- if that can happen. :-)

Love you peeps!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Had today all to myself. Counseling, haircut, spa... Even took myself out to lunch after a lovely few hours at the spa.

At about 2:30, Harv called to tell me that Dr. Padia (the doc at UW who did the mapping for the Y90 treatment yesterday) called to tell him he is not eligible for the Y90 treatment after all. And the reason is that when they did the trial run with the contrast that simulated what the radioactive stuff would do, it leaked from the tumor to the lungs. Which means! That if they actually DID do the radioactive stuff, it would leak into the lungs and destroy them. It's not common that it would leak -- I think only 1 in 50 do, but Harv is a leaker.  :-) So! That is no longer an option.

However, shortly after he received that call, he got a call from SCCA Proton Therapy people saying that Dr. Kim (doc who did the radiation he had before) contacted them about the possibility of Harv doing proton therapy.  There are only a few places that do proton therapy but SCCA is one of them. It requires daily trips -- typically 4 - 9 weeks for five days a week. Some of this information is what Harv has learned on his own... but it seems that the treatment itself is only about one minute. I think the appointment is about 1 1/2 hours.

I pretty much don't know what I'm talkin' about, but bottom line is that there are still options even though the Y90 thing is not right for Harv...

And, so there you are. 

We're just pluggin' along.

Tomorrow: orchestra tour!  :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Here's the latest

  • Sarah had an appendectomy on Wednesday, the 27th at 10 p.m. What we thought was a stomach bug, turned out to be a ruptured appendix.  I don't totally understand it, but the appendix ruptured and it formed an abscess on her appendix before it leaked all over the place. Some of you medical people might know what I'm talkin' about...
  • On Friday night, Harv called me at the hospital to tell me that Hannah was taking him to the ER for a pain in his sternum...and that he was feeling a tightness in his chest. You might imagine that that information stressed me out... 'cause Sarah was still in the hospital and my brain was still overflowing with STUFF. You would imagine correctly.  He was in ER. Celeste, Anthony, Sarah and Hannah were in Sarah's hospital room. And, I was going back and forth while we waited for the news. Turns out, the doc thought, from reading the CT scan and the blood work, that the tumor in his liver was/is putting pressure on his diaphragm and causing that tightness. The upcoming radiation treatment will hopefully relieve some of that. So, even though the ER thing was stressful, it turned out not to be as scary as we thought it might be.
  • Yesterday, after Sarah was discharged from the hospital and arrived home, I took Harv to Mt. Baker Pain Clinic for an appointment to see if there is any way that he can have pain relief in his shoulder/neck area. After talking to the doc there, it seems most likely that the pain in his shoulder is not cancer related. The doc is gonna try some very targeted (using x-ray) cortisone shots. We left there with some hope that maybe relief is on the way.
  • Today, I took Harv to UW Medical Center for the mapping for the Y-90 treatment that will take place soon. We left home at 5:45-ish and got to UWMC at about 7:30. I dropped him off and then killed a little time with Raney before her post-op and rehab appt. She's doing well and the doctor was pleased. The physical therapist thought she was doing really well, too. And, though Raney was nervous at first, she ended up really feeling energized and happy at the end of the appointment. Then we killed lots and lots more time until it was time to get Harv at about 4:00.  The mapping for the treatment went well and the actual procedure will most likely be within a week. And, THEN! We got into some traffic on the way home. We found our way to Chick-fil-a for dinner. Got home at about 7:30. (I'm a little bit whooped.)
  • While we were gone, some amazing gutter-cleaning angels cleaned our gutters!!! My brain appreciates not having to wonder when it's gonna happen or who's gonna do it... And, my eyes really appreciate not having "gardens" growing in the gutters anymore. And, my heart appreciates the kindness of friends! 
  • Tomorrow, Sarah will go back to school. I will have a "Carrie Day" -- counseling, haircut, and three luxurious hours at the spa!
  • Thursday Sarah, Hannah and I are gonna go on the Sehome Orchestra Tour! I went a couple of years ago and it was really fun. The orchestra plays at multiple elementary schools and gets to have a reward for all their hard work. This year we're going to Spokane and they get one day to just play at a theme park. 
And, now... I'm goin' to sleep. Thank you for being our friends. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for letting me "lose it" every now and then. 

Much love to you all.

(I just re-read this post and some other recent posts... It seems as if I've already told you most of this stuff already.  Goodness! Sorry for repeating myself. -- SMH, man! SMH!  :-)  )