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Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

This is the picture that should have been my Christmas card, so... MERRY CHRISTMAS.

(We went to the Domes and took a bunch of photos with a great background, but the tree behind us was in focus, and we were not. Then the setting sun light lit up a patch in this spot, so we took a quick shot here, but there is a pole growing out of Miranda's head.) This is the second year in a row that I didn't send out Christmas cards. This bums me out more then it should.

We had a good Christmas. Much better then last year's (2009).

Above is a family photo snapped at Carl's sister's house on Christmas day, Saturday, December 25, 2010. The next day Carl's hair mostly fell out, and he had to wear a hat to church to cover the bare patches.

On Monday, December 27, 2010, Carl went in for inpatient chemotherapy from Monday to Thursday December 30, 2010. The Doctors shortened the chemotherapy stay by one day so that Carl could try to attend New Years Day events. He is really tired, and so am I, but we are both glad he is home again.

I am feeling reflective on this year, and I thought I would be blogging about my feelings, but I find I just can't. My
feelings are "complicated". 2010 was a good year. At the beginning of 2010 there were no guarantees that Carl would still be here one year later. All I heard was that terrible word Cancer. I know more of what the cancer journey is like, and what will be happening in 2011 is not the big unknown that the start of 2010 was, but I am still unsure of what I feel about all this. I had a lot of good days and good moments. I had some bad days and bad moments. I think Carl could say the same. I am glad my family is intact, I am thankful for friends, family, and good health care. I hate cancer, and the fact that Carl has cancer. I want to end this paragraph on a good note, so I guess I will say that I am hopeful for 2011.

I'll quote Carl (although he was not the first to say this) - A day above ground is a good day.

Happy New year to you all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Update.

November was kind of a pain in the neck for Carl. This is a pun, because November is the first time Carl was having significant pain in his neck since, maybe, February 2010. The Doctor's reviewing his PET scan decided that the Irinotecan / Vinchristine chemotherapy was not working. So, on Monday December 6, 2010 Carl was once again checked into Froedtert Hospital for inpatient chemotherapy. This time he was given Ifosomide, a drug he has had before, and a new for him drug (something like Itopocide, I'll correct this when I get the name right). The Doctors also took this time to help get Carl's pain under control.

Carl was in Froedtert from Monday December 6, 2010 to Friday December 10, 2010, getting out after 8:00 PM in the evening. What's new at Froedtert? New Chemotherapy Pumps. Ooolala. (See photo below)

This is a kind of boring update.

Here is a photo of our family from the Thanksgiving weekend. Notice that Carl has some hair. The extra dog on the right is Rosie whom we watched for a couple of days. This is a fast snapshot, not a portrait, no one combed their hair, (Carl hasn't combed his hair for months), and I didn't take the photo. I can't believe I am adding this photo in, except this post is SO dry and boring. I do like Anthony's foot, I think it is cute.

There shouldn't be any chemo from now until past Christmas, and Carl should be feeling fine for the Holidays. Carl continues to work at his job pretty much full time when he is not at the Doctor's or getting chemotherapy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


One year ago today, Dec 8, 2009, Carl and I found out that Carl had cancer (a large tumor) in his leg.

I'm not sure what to think about that.

I guess I should celebrate that he has survived the first year really well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving was great. When you have 4 days off, like Carl did, you can fill the days with lots of relaxation AND getting together with friends AND movies AND TV AND cooking. Perhaps a silver lining of Carl's cancer is that we are getting better at enjoying the weekends.

Carl's 'hobby' of cooking has reached new heights in 2010, and the whole family is glad. So, over the Thanksgiving weekend Carl made the Thanksgiving dinner. He made a turkey awesomely, used his new super cool meat thermometer, etc.

Carl's neck has begun to really bother him. At the beginning of 2010, Carl got a prescription for Oxycontin, 200 pills. Until the middle of November, Carl rarely had pain the required him to use a pain killer, usually Motrin or Tylenol. But in November, Carl started taking more pain killers, including prescription pain killers, and over the Thanksgiving weekend his neck was in pain almost every day.

On Monday Nov 30, 2010, Carl had a PET scan to see how the new Chemotherapy (Irhineotecan and Vinchristine) are impacting the tumor. On Thursday, Dec 2, 2010 Carl went to the Oncologist. He was scheduled to start a 3rd round of Irhineotecan and Vinchristine. But the Oncologist said the PET scan indicated that the Irhineotecan and Vinchristine was not being effective, and the neck tumor is showing metabolic activity. DXXM. I was hoping the neck pain was because the tumor was dying, not thinking about growing.

This means goodbye to these 'nice' chemotherapy drugs that let Carl's hair grow, and only take 2 days of chemo infusion every 21 days. We had to schedule new chemotherapy drugs, and they will take longer to infuse. But chemotherapy is better then no chemo, so....

The Oncologist gave Carl a new pain pill plan, and on Friday Carl's neck was already in better shape, pain wise. Wednesday Carl's pain was so debilitating that I was really worried.

With the change in plans, we got to have a nice weekend of getting ready for Christmas, eating at a really good Chinese restaurant (Yen Chings), and shoveling the first snow this winter, visiting the Domes and Discovery World, and more. I hope you enjoyed your weekend and Thanksgiving.