Friday, December 21, 2007

The best news....

Yes, it was a very long day. Fred was at the hospital at 7:30 am and we left the hospital at about 6pm this evening. We were so glad we had left overs that we could just heat up in the microwave in our room for supper. It was a day full of tests, waiting, MRI, doctors and more waiting and more doctors.

Everyone wanted so bad to give us good news and give Fred a treatment. His liver enzyme numbers have come down, but not as much as was expected or needed before he could have his vaccine treatment. He is the only one one this trial that has had this problem and they are very cautious about putting any more stress on his liver.

The best news is that Fred is still in the this drug trial and his treatment has just been postponed until his liver heals. So....we have postponed our trip home from January 6 to January 9. Fred will have blood tests and hopefully a treatment on January 7.

Tomorrow Skip is coming to pick us up and we will spend a couple of days with them. We are going to the crab shack for lunch. Fred and Skip usually make a run to the book store too. We always enjoy our time with them. I think it is time to teach Skip & Sandi to play "Hand and Foot", don't you?

Then we are off to see family for the holidays. It is time to spend time thinking about something besides cancer. It is very important to Fred that everyone treats him like he is normal. He is....this is our normal life now. It makes Fred uncomfortable when anyone hovers over him and tries to protect him. He is still able to make good choices for himself. We all need to let him do that.

It was great to hear the excitement in the air this evening as we watched the staff leaving the hospital for the holiday weekend. Everyone was greeting each other with Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday greetings, sharing holiday plans and excitement.

Fred & I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

Remember the best news - Jesus is the reason for the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas choirs, trees, trains, and flowers.

Just had a call from Dr G and Fred's liver enzymes are still high. Yesterday he had blood work and today they did a liver sonogram. Tomorrow he will be at the hospital all day with blood work, tests, Dr appointments and hopefully a treatment. We will see what all the doctors decide tomorrow.

What a great surprise today..... at noon we were at the hospital when the NIH Chamber Singers put on their annual Holiday Concert. They sang 20 songs, all Capella, in an hour. What a treat to hear that concert. The group of 15 was made up of employees and friends of the National Institute of Health. The atrium area where they were singing is a big open area with about 50 palm trees in giant pots. This month they all decorated with red poinsettias at the bases of the pots and a huge Christmas tree plus several tree shaped poinsettia displays. It is a wonderful Christmas display and then fill it with music. What a treat.

More Christmas tradition.... the first Christmas season we came to DC (4 years ago, I think) Fred and I went to see the National Botanical Gardens Christmas display. That year it was a 1950's theme with electric train, displays of Alpine Villages, flowers, decorations everywhere. Today we took the metro and went back to see what the Christmas display was this year. There were poinsettias in white, pink, old fashioned red and red with rose shaped centers. The main colors were light pink and white poinsettias and bright midnight blue balls decorating the tree. Also tucked in among the all the plants and flowers were a collection of models of historic buildings of the National Mall and Capital Hill. Maybe I can put up some pictures I took of some of them.

More about the train display... the garden railway features three islands, more than 800 feet of track and a 45 foot suspension bridge. You can stand and watch the trains for hours, winding up the mountains, through villages, past rustic cabins and across the bridges.

We are so blessed to be in DC during the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're Back...

Yes, we're back in the DC area... seems like we were just here last week. No it's been 2 weeks. Our flights were good. We got first class upgrades for the long flight from Seattle to DC. Today we moved into Navy Housing and tried to catch up with the jet lag.

Skip was here for a Doc appointment so we went out to lunch with him at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. He had good news about his cancer today.

We had a nice restful time at home and now we are ready to do the Doc thing again. Fred will have tests for the next 2 days and then hopefully he will get a treatment on Friday. We hope to do a little holiday visiting on the way home....we may be in a town near you.

Our new house sitter is Brad. Hopefully all will go well for him in Alaska. I kept telling him we are only a phone call away.

We want to thank everyone for your help in making our travel and stays smooth. Thanks for your prayers too. God is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Home again, home again jiggidy jog.

No first class upgrades, but our flight home was pretty uneventful. Just the way we like it. Most of the snow was gone, so we didn't have to clean off our car that had been sitting in long term parking. On the way home we stopped on base, picked up a few groceries and filled our gas tank. After we ate some dinner, we were ready to head for bed. We got up at 12:30am Alaska time (4:30am DC time) to get to the airport that morning.

Today we had a slow day - sorting through mail, adding a log to the fire, making a few phone calls, catching up on reading the local newspaper. It's good to be home again.

Sadie does not let Fred out of her site. Right now she is laying on the floor next to the couch where he is laying reading his book. I think they are both pretty contented.

Tomorrow will be busy filling out travel vouchers and finishing up the travel details just 10 days away. Not sure what or where we will be over the Christmas..... A lot can happen before then. Right now it is good to be home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tomorrow Alaska

First the liver news. The biopsy showed that Fred did have a drug reaction from a trail drug he took last month. He will not get that drug again. Fred is the first one on the trial to have this problem. The liver is getting healthier on it's own, so they are not going to give him more medication for that. Healing will just take time.

Time gives us a chance to come home for a couple of weeks, well 12 days anyway. Fred is scheduled for re staging on the 19th of this month. This means body scans and 3 days of tests. He has a ticket for the 17th and on the travel story goes.

Looking at my calendar yesterday, I realized that we have been here about half of the time for the past 4 months. Skip and Sandi asked if we ever thought about just getting an apartment in the area. My answer was no. We feel pretty at home here in Navy Housing......they know us by name when we walk in the door. We have what we need here or we know how to ask for it.

The weather has turned much colder and very windy. Last night when I walked home from the hospital, I felt like I should hold on to the lamp post so I wouldn't be blown away while I waited for the street light to change. I saw a lot of big winter coats today. It made me laugh, I just have a wind breaker. I did wish I had put on my gloves when I walked up to the hill to the hospital this morning.

Fred was discharged from the hospital about 2 this afternoon. He is on some pain medication. His ribs are sore and he is a little stiff. Right now he is napping.

All the motels by the airport are full so we will have take the metro early in the morning. We usually get a motel next to the airport the night before we fly. Oh well, not this time. I have our names on the list for first class upgrades.
We'll see.... tomorrow home to Alaska.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Resting comfortably.

It was a nice restful weekend. Quite a few people at the hospital commented that we both looked more rested this morning. Makes us wonder what we looked like last week. I know that Fred had better color this morning than he has had for a couple weeks.

This morning we caught a ride on the shuttle to NIH. Of course Fred stopped and gave the lab a little blood to start the day. We headed for the Procedure Unit and there was our liver Doc with a big smile. She does so well with Fred. She is truly a god sent to us. In just a few minutes they were ready to get to work, so I headed out to the waiting room.

Fred said that he didn't feel a thing and it was all over with before he knew it. Doc said they got a great sample. Everyone was very pleased with how good he looks on the inside. They keep telling him what a healthy man he is.

By 11am the procedure was all over. They kept him in the unit and watched him very closely for 2 or 3 hours and then they took him over to a room. He had to lay flat for 6 hours and didn't to eat until about 5pm. He was ready. After he ate, he had a pain pill and I left about 6:30. I do not think he will be awake for long. He was just getting a roommate when I left...I am sure he won't be bored.

We were visiting with to Misty on the phone today and she said we should start calling Dad a guinea pig. Fred's comment was that he felt more like a lab rat. They took more blood this afternoon and did a CBC that looked great. Nice to get good news once in a while.

I plan to be at the hospital about 10am. Fred is not supposed to lift or do anything stressful for a week. Guess we will be checking those bags. We still have tickets for Wednesday and may get to use them.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.