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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun and cooking

Carl Grisa

Halloween - Carl says it is his favorite holiday. (Huh? I mean, of all the holidays...)

So... Carl carved pumpkins. He made pumpkin seeds. (A very weird thing to eat, if you ask me. But whatever.)

Friday he made fudge. Saturday he made omelettes, hamburgers, and deep fat fried french fries.

Sunday he made caramel apples. The caramel was from scratch - you know, starting with sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, vanilla and salt. For dinner he made a gourmet shrimp stir fry with asparagus and peppers. Busy weekend! :)

Sunday's stir fry with shrimp, peppers and asparagus.


Friday, October 22, 2010

October Update - Chemo Course 12

photo taken October 17, 2010

Fall colors, falling leaves, pumpkin farms, and yard work - October is more then 1/2 over, and we have been trying to enjoy autumn. The children are busy in school, and Anthony is busier then ever - being in the Homestead High School Play 'The Odyssey' means he can be gone from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM at school, especially in this last week before the three performances on October 22-24, 2010. Carl had a brief break from Chemotherapy. Carl had inpatient chemotherapy at the beginning and end of September, three weeks apart, which resulted in him having no chemotherapy in the first half of October.

Visits to Froedtert continued, though. On Monday, October 4, 2010 Carl had some testing (a pet scan and a CT scan) to see what is happening to the tumor. The scan results showed that the tumor is not expanding, and is less active then before. Good News.

Carl has now completed six courses of chemotherapy with the effective and powerful drug Adriomycin (also known as Doxorubicin). The doctors won't be giving him any more. The patient that might have about a 2% chance of cardiac arrest after six doses of Adriomycin would possibly jump to a 18% chance with the 7th dose. Carl has now reached his maximum lifetime dosage.

On Monday, Octo
ber 18, 2010 Carl had a course of chemotherapy with the drug Irinotecan, a new drug for him. It is the fastest chemotherapy session he has had, arriving at 9:00 AM and out by about 2:00 PM. On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 Carl felt well enough to go to work. Wow. Stay at home, relax, and recover; or distract yourself with a job you love? I understand that relaxing isn't so great when you are feeling under the weather, and I understand how distracting yourself from 'things' can work so well.

Carl will get a second dose of
Irinotecan on Monday, October 25, 2010.

But before the 2nd dose, Carl and our family will watching Anthony in 'The Odyssey' - in fact, some of us will probably see every performance. Our whole family is looking forward to the weekend...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Writing a blog can be hard.

I've been writing blog posts for this blog for over 9 months now. Perhaps writing blog posts should be getting easier, but in some ways writing and publishing the blog is getting harder.

My posts are perhaps less frequent, and less funny. Cancer really isn't that much fun, and so when all is well I prefer to ignore it (yes, I am ignoring the cancer as much as I can.) Some of the posts feel like reruns, and while I am trying to think of some new way to write about it, the delay builds. When Carl is doing well, we try to live it up and celebrate life, and when Carl is dragging or tired we try to have a higher quality, more relaxed home life. Both of these circumstances distract from writing a blog.

I have lots of ideas, that I get late at night or while driving in the car or waiting somewhere. I have multiple posts (some even funny) written in a draft mode, waiting for the final edits. But the final edits are getting harder. I defined goals to myself for this blog, and the audience I was writing for. Trying to keep up a level of writing, and improving it, gets harder. A blog is not a book, carefully planned start to finish. Sometimes I am not sure how much I want to say. This blog does not reflect my every feeling along the way.

Sometimes a post started in between chemotherapy treatments gets pushed aside because of the next treatment, and then the chronological nature of the blog makes returning to the started post seem awkward.

My photography was meant to be a large part of this blog, but the extra steps the photography requires has prevented some of that.

And then there is the real life that intrudes. What do I do about that? This is a blog about a journey my family is on. An unfortunate cancer journey. So what do I do with unexpected side trips?

My 89 year old father passed away Oct 4, 2010. This side trip is too major to be ignored, and also too big to be included. My thoughts and feelings about my father's death are obviously on my mind as I think about cancer and it's possible outcomes, about the blessings of a long life fully lived, or even a shorter life well lived and full of blessings. My thoughts and feelings about my father's death are on my mind when I think of my dad's multi-year medical decline, and my husband's far shorter medical struggle and my hope and prayers for it's multi step conclusion - first control of the tumor, then remission, then "cancer free".

In any case, I am not able to process how I should handle my father's death in this blog. So I guess, other then mentioning it here, I will leave it out of the blog for now. My next post after this one is already written. I'll try to post it a day or two after this one. But I felt I could not post my next, already written blog post today without mentioning what I mentioned here in this post.

I should wait before I publish this blog post, edit it one more time and try to make it a compact coherent piece, rethink it, redo it... but I don't think I know how to edit this any more to make it more coherent. So I won't wait, anymore, for now.