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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carl Grisa's obituary

Carl Eric Grisa
March 25, 1963 - December 13, 2011

Carl Eric Grisa passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at the age of 48 years due to cancer. Carl was the cherished husband of Jeanne Selep for 26 years; the loving dad of Thomas Grisa, Anthony Grisa, Nathan Grisa and Miranda Grisa; and the son of Frank L. Grisa (married to Rose Grisa).  Carl was the brother to Heidi Surprenant (Mike), Gregg Grisa, Mark Grisa (Mary); Frank Grisa (Janice), Duran Grisa (Shirley) and Dale Grisa (Kathy).  Carl is survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and relatives. 

Carl worked in the printing industry for years, most recently at Arandell Company. He was a member of Crossroads Presbyterian Church. Carl's hobbies included his children, scouting, rockets, cars, listening to music and cooking. 

Funeral information:
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011
Crossroads Presbyterian Church,  
6031 West Chapel Hill Road, Mequon, WI

Visitation from 4:00-6:00 PM, 
Funeral service at 6:00 PM, 
Reception to follow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nobody Won

Carl Grisa finished his fight against cancer on Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011.  Carl died, and the sarcoma died with him.  Nobody won.  He is in a better place now, without the cancer, BUT I WILL MISS HIM for the rest of my life. 

Carl Grisa, 1992
Friday, Dec 16, 2011 we will have a service for Carl Grisa at Crossroads Presbyterian Church.  There will be a closed casket visitation from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, Funeral Service from 6:00 to 7:00 PM and a Reception to follow.  More details to follow.

Carl Grisa as I will remember him, 2007
The cancer altered Carl's appearance.  I hope the children will remember him as he was before cancer.

Our last family photo, 2011

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Monday, November 28, 2011

November 2011

November 2011 brought colder weather and some cold rainy days.  November was quieter then preceding months - for one thing Carl stopped going to work.  Despite the wheelchair for mobility, Carl's energy has continued to decline, and not working is one way to conserve his remaining energy. 
Carl and some of his co-workers
So some of Carl's coworkers came and visited Carl.  They told me that the music around the office has changed somewhat without Carl helping with the selections.  Not for the better, Carl is guessing.

Carl's nephew came into town with his first child - Carl's first great-niece Emily.  Carl's experience with 4 children had little Emily smiling in his arms. 
Carl, his sister, Emily and Emily's family

A highlight of November was going to our Church's "Great Getaway" retreat weekend in Green Lake Wisconsin from November 11 to November 13, 2011.  Crossroad Presbyterian Church has had an annual retreat in November for many years, and our family has enjoyed going.  (I think our family has gone at least four times.)  The retreat is just people from our church (and the speakers), and so the participants can end up getting to know each other very well.  For this weekend the sun came out and the weather was great.  Carl and I were really hoping we could go as a family, and we surprised many people when we did.  Carl was really tired after that weekend, of course.  
Dinner with adults at the Church retreat
Our Family at the Church Retreat

Thanksgiving Day was a laid back day with the family and wonderful food.  The children's Thanksgiving break was 6 days long, starting on Tuesday and going through Sunday.  We watched a lot of TV and it was kind of noisy at the house. 
Thanksgiving Dinner at our house

In spite of Carl's cancer, we feel we have so much to be thankful for.  But I guess I'll leave that for another post.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. 

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

October 2011 update

October 2011 seems to have come and gone very quickly.  One of the highlights in October for our family was seeing Anthony Grisa, our sophomore, in the play play "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" put on by Homestead High School. Carl and the family went to all three performances. 
Carl and the kids (and my sister Roseann) at the show
In the play "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" Anthony was a monster in the witches army.  Anthony has never survived the fall plays he has been in.  Anthony "died" in this play (once), and as a Freshman last year in 2010, Anthony "died" three times in the Homestead play "The Odyssey".   

Other October highlights were the Boys Scout chili cook-off (October 11, 2011), a dinner for a friend from Italy at my brother's house, (October 16, 2011), and Miranda's Cross Country Banquet (October 17, 2011), and eating out with friends. 
Our family of six at Francesca's dinner

Carl's started working on a rocket kit at home, his most ambitious rocket kit to date. (Carl has had a lifelong hobby of making rockets and launching them.)  The kit Carl is working on now is for show only, he doesn't plan on launching it.
Carl working on his Saturn 5 Rocket Kit
Carl went to work at Arrandell many days in October, and had a Pet Scan and MRI's, but no Chemotherapy.  The oncologist decided that the chemotherapy was only making Carl sick.  Carl started using a wheel chair in October, and we learned just how surprisingly unsuited our house was for a wheelchair.  For example, the smallest size wheel chair doesn't really fit trough the standard sized door into our bathroom, and turning in the hall is very difficult. 


Next post - November... 
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Incredible Support

Carl has been going through a lot, obviously.  One thing I have not really gone into on this blog is the incredible amount of help and support we have received from many sources.

Our church family, friends, relatives, Carl's coworkers, and even complete strangers have helped our family in many ways throughout 2010 and 2011.

Carl and his Pricing Analyst Co-workers.
People have helped our family by watching our children, transporting our children,transporting Carl, praying for Carl and our family, bringing us meals, visiting Carl at home and in the hospital, giving us treats and gift cards, helping us with yard work and home repair, fixing our cars, and more.

I want to say a big Thank You for all the support. 

I remember a story about Saint Patrick - were one of the most powerful ways of saying Thank You was to say "Thanks be to God";
so I say "Thanks be to God" to all of you.

In September 2011, Carl's co-workers held a golf tournament fund raiser, which I blogged about here.  I never wrote about another large fund raiser picnic that Carl's co-workers organized and held on June 3, 2011, and so today I wanted to rectify that.  Both events had many things in common, but both days stand out as days of exceptionally nice weather;   "God Blessed" Days.
Chris, Carl and Scott, the Pricing Analysts
(Pricing Analyst is Carl's Job title)

It was very odd to be half of the focus of the fund raiser like the Arandell folk held.  I remember trying to gear up to not cry at the picnic.  I never thought that I might someday be the recipient of such goodwill, assistance, charity?  It was an unfamiliar situation.  I don't know if I was too unemotional, if I was shaky, if I seemed too party like.  Suddenly you are at the center of attention, where people are giving generously of their time and money and support.  The Arrandell event was even more emotional - many of the people there were strangers to me, but good friends of Carl.  I had heard stories about some of these people over the years.  I wanted to make a good impression, and convey gratitude, remember people's names, and not cry.   

Usually I take pictures at an event, happy to enjoy things from behind a camera lens.  It didn't seem right to snap a lot of photos at a fund raiser for our family, so I only took a handful of shots at the end of the picnic.
I'm going to tell my children Carl flies kites at work.
Here are Carl and his co-workers, flying kites.

Chris, Carl and Scott, the Pricing Analysts
This photo makes me laugh. It reminds me of taking pictures of my children.  People goofing off and only one person is looking at the camera.

The money raised at the fund raiser picnic really helped my family financially and with medical bills.  The money raised at the golf outing was raised for my children's college education.  For both fund raisers, I want to say, "Thank You, and Thanks be to God".

I want to say Thank You as well to the people who spent a ton of time organizing both events.  I don't have a photo of you - but I really want to say THANK YOU for all the effort both events required.  I have volunteered for many things over the years and know how a small project grows and doesn't always fit seamlessly into a schedule the way you hoped it would.  Thanks again, and Thank you to everyone who has been helping my family, in any way, big or small.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

End of September update

After the 17th dose of chemotherapy, (infusion Sept 7-8, 2011) Carl had a rough time regaining his equilibrium and energy.  He didn't go to work for nearly two weeks after the infusion.  This chemotherapy round was probably the hardest for Carl.  It does not help that Carl's left leg has become unable to bear weight.  Carl walks with a walker or crutches at all times now.

On Monday September 12, 2011, Carl's dad and mom came for a visit from Michigan.

Carl, Carl's dad Frank, and Carl's sister Heidi

We had a family pizza party and we took a group photo.

We also took a quick family photo, shown below.  Left to right, Miranda (12 years old), Anthony (15 years old), Nathan (13 years old) and Tom (17 years old).  Carl and I are in the front.

Later in the same week Carl's brother Greg came to town for a visit, on the way to visit Carl's Dad.  

On Monday, September 26, 2011, Carl started his 18th course of Chemotherapy with a 24 hour infusion of Trabectedin, (also called Yondelis).  Again, he stayed overnight at Froedtert to get this infusion, and came home Tuesday.  On Wednesday September 28, 2011 Carl got a Nuelasta shot.   

Carl was determined that this course would not knock him out like round 17 had, and he was able to recover better.  He actually felt like working, and building models, etc.

Carl got some interest in cooking back, here is his first attempt  at a French baguette.  Carl's hair does not seem to be falling out with the latest chemotherapy drugs. 

Carl Grisa
Carl making French Baguettes

In the back of the photo above you can see a odd gadget on the counter.  The photo at the left is a close up.  The item is Carl's favorite cooking gadget, the "Thermo-Pen".  It's probably his favorite cooking toy (of many). 

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunny Day (Sunday) Golf

It's been a busy month since I last updated with blog.  I'll try to give a partial update on September.  

The children were back in school and getting into multiple activities.  Miranda joined cross country and has practices or meets 4 days a week, and Anthony is in the Drama club, stage crew and the first play.  The three boys are in Boy Scouts, Tom is in best buddies, and Nathan has to get up the earliest of all the children in the morning.  All four children are involved in religious education.  Three of the children take piano lessons.  All of the children have lots of school work, and multiple field trips are pending and etc. etc. etc.  

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, Carl finished a 24 hour infusion of a new (for Carl) drug - Trabectedin, (brand name Yondelis).  This was his 17th course of chemotherapy.  He stayed overnight at Froedtert to get this infusion, and came home Thursday.  On Friday September 9, 2011 Carl was back at Froedtert to get a Nuelasta shot.   
Carl at the Golf outing

Carl basically slept most of the days that followed, until Sunday.  On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, the whole family loaded into the car to go to the Ironwood Golf Course, where we attended a golf event put on by some of Carl's coworkers from Arandell.   
Anthony Golfing

The weather on Sunday was perfect.  Beautiful blue skies, green grass and trees, and a warm day really made for a wonderful day on the golf course.  We were watching the golfers and snacking, when Anthony spotted three of my brothers golfing.  He went over to join them, and soon Carl and I and the other three children followed.   
Tom Golfing

We 'helped' my brothers finish golfing their last four holes.  My four children and I had never golfed even one hole of golf, so the entire family had an adventure while Carl watched from the golf cart.  We had a great time, and none of the golf carts broke... 

Thank you Scott, Stacie, Elle and Stef, for setting up this event.  It was a great day for our family.  Thank you also to the other 30-40 golfers and friends who joined us.  I hope all had as nice of a day as we did. 
Carl and some of the golfers

The money raised from the Carl Grisa Open was raised for and will be used to fund the children's college education.

[By the way, Carl's work (Arandell) held another very successful fund raiser for Carl at the start of summer.  I don't want anyone who helped with that one to feel that I am not grateful for that event.  I hope to post photos and blog about that event soon.  It is so easy to get behind on a blog.] 
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Golfing Benefit for Carl

On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, Carl's co-workers are hosting a golf event to benefit Carl.  Golfing from 1:00 PM to 4:00++, Dinner to follow.  This notice may be a bit last minute, (my bad) but if you are interested you can still register.  (As late as noon on Saturday, even with a foursome). On the positive side of signing up this late, the weather forecast is good.  This might be a nice spontaneous Sunday adventure.

Carl Grisa Golf Open

The location: 
The Ironwood Golf Course, 
W270 N6166 Moraine Drive, 
Sussex, WI, 53089.

Carl Grisa Golf Open

Here are some details:
 
$45/person includes 9 Holes of Golf, Cart and Dinner

Over $1,000 in raffle and hole prizes, including
  • 50/50 Raffle
  • 2 tickets to attend the Pebble Beach National Pro‐Am tournament 
To reserve your spot please call….
Scott Conway
(262-309-5964)

or (Thursday or Friday only) 
Stacie Pike (262-255-4400 ext. 280)
Elle Little (
262-255-4400 ext. 152) 
Stef Raasch (262-255-4400 ext. 297)


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School starts and so does Chemotherapy

The children are back in school, and Carl is back to getting chemotherapy.   
The children started school September 1, 2011, and have had four days of school so far.  Tom is a High School Junior (11th grade), Anthony is a High School Sophmore (10th grade), Nathan is in 8th grade, and Miranda is in 7th grade. 

Carl started an overnight 24 hour infusion on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, and that chemotherapy infusion is ending today, Thursday, September 8, 2011.  It is a new chemotherapy drug for Carl - an experimental drug with some weird name.  (I'll find out the name later)  

I would love lots of prayers that this new chemotherapy drug works wonders - the stupid cancer cells have been growing again.  Please put Carl on your church's prayers list as well.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some cells are growing, since Carl has had only one other chemotherapy course in 2011, but I admit that the new cells are discouraging.    

By the way, Carl started out this chemotherapy course weighing 136 lbs.  

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weighty issues

As I mentioned in the previous post, on July 11, 2011 to July 14, 2011, Carl had his 16th course of Chemotherapy.  It was the hardest course of chemotherapy Carl had had to date.  


Carl's weight had been holding stable within a 10-15 pound range for the duration of his cancer since 2009.  He may have been at 160-165 pounds in 2009, and during chemotherapy he might drop up to 10 pounds, which he would then usually gain back most of the weight before the next round of chemo.  The surgeries (in 2011) really knocked Carl down, but he would gain most of the weight back.  But here is a recent history of weight.  All of the weights here were taken at the Doctors office on the Doctor's scales.


On May 16, 2011, Carl weighed 154 pounds.
On May 18, 2011, Carl weighed 153 pounds.
On May 23, 2011, Carl weighed 149 pounds.
On May 27, 2011, Carl weighed 146 pounds.
On June 9, 2011, Carl weighed 148 pounds.
On June 16, 2011, Carl weighed 158 pounds.
       JUNE 18, 2011 - Neck surgery
On July 7, 2011, Carl weighed 141 pounds.
On July 14, 2011, Carl weighed 142 pounds.
       JULY 11, 2011 to July 14, 2011 inpatient Chemotherapy 
On July 28, 2011, Carl weighed 131 pounds.  
       This is the lightest Carl was been since high school.  

On August 2, 2011, Carl weighed 137 pounds.

The July 2011 Chemotherapy Course really left Carl with little appetite and strength.  Of all the cancer months, this is the time Carl spent the most time in bed.  The next chemotherapy course was postponed, and then postponed again.  Carl has regained his appetite, a bit, and his energy, somewhat, and he is now back to work when he doesn't have doctor appointments.  Now it seems he may have chemotherapy on August 29, 2011.

In the meanwhile, Carl leg has been hurting more.  This has not helped things.  Carl uses crutches and/or the walker all the time.  An MRI on July 16, 2011 gave us the information for a procedure that might help (a cyto ablation followed by an injection of epoxy directly into the bone), but we only met the the doctor to talk about the MRI on Aug 2, 2011.  I wish now we had not allowed the 6 week delay, but Carl was really dragging and we dropped the ball.  We set up a procedure for August 26, 2011, the earliest time available with all the doctors vacations and what not.  Now the leg has gotten worse, and so we wait again, to find out more.  

At least the summer weather has been great for all this waiting around that Carl and I seem to be doing.  I hope your summer has been going well. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chemotherapy Course Summary

Carl asked me recently how many chemotherapy "rounds" or "courses" he has been through. I didn't know, so I thought I would summarize them.  Websters dictionary defines a "course" of chemotherapy as a "series of doses or medications administered over a designated period".  Carl's doses of chemotherapy are three week blocks time.  He gets the chemo drugs to start the chemotherapy course, and the rest of the "course" is built in recovery time before he can get the drugs again. 



Dec 28, 2009 to Jan 1, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 1,
Main drug was Ifosomide, with concurrent radiation to the neck.

Jan 18, 2010 to Jan 22, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 2 - five days inpatient (meaning he stays at the hospital the whole time, overnight as well.)
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

Feb 8, 2010 to Feb 12, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 3 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

[ Feb 22, 2010 Pet Scan and MRI's. ]

Mar 1, 2010 to Mar 4, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 4 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

April 19, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 5 
dose of ? on day 1 and day 8 with concurrent
[ April 20, to May 7, 2010] Weekday radiation treatments to the leg.

[ May 17, 2010 Pet Scan ]

May 24, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 6 - 
Day 1 and Day 8 dose of

Gemzar (also known as Gemcitabine) and
Taxotere, (generic name - Docetaxel)


June 24, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 7 - Day 1 and Day 8 dose of

Gemzar (also known as Gemcitabine) and
Taxotere, (generic name - Docetaxel)

July 12, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 8 - Day 1 and Day 8 dose of 
Gemzar (also known as Gemcitabine) and
Taxotere, (generic name - Docetaxel)

[ July 22, 2010 Pet Scan ]

Aug 9, 2010 to Aug 13, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 9 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

Aug 31, 2010 to Sept 4, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 10 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

Sept 24, 2010 to Sept 29, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 11 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Adryomycin.

[ Oct 4, 2010 Pet Scan ]

Oct 18, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 12 - Day 1 and Day 8 dose
Main drug was Irinotecan

Nov 11, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 13 - Day 1 and Day 8 dose
Main drugs were Irinotecan and Vinecristine

Dec 6, 2010 to Dec 10, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 14 - five days inpatient
Main drug was Ifosomide

Dec 27, 2010 to Dec 30, 2010 Chemotherapy Course No. 15 - five days inpatient
Main drug was Ifosomide

July 11, 2011 to July 14, 2011 Chemotherapy Course No. 16 - five days inpatient
Main drugs were Ifosomide and Etopocide

Lance Armstong only had to have 4 courses of Chemotherapy, according to Carl, who recently read Lance's book.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Michigan Vacation 2011

We have visited Carl's Dad in Michigan every summer for years, often over the 4th of July weekend.  

Carl and the children, Michigan, July 2011
This year, we loaded the car and headed to Michigan on Thursday, June 30, 2011. 

We hadn't been sure we could fit the Michigan vacation in because of Carl's chemo and surgeries schedules; but fortunately, Carl had recovered enough from his neck surgery (on June 18, 2011) that we could go. 
View of Chicago from the road (I94)
Carl and I usually split the driving, but this time I drove the 350+ miles each way.

Fountain at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

We decided to stop more often so Carl could stretch his legs.  The first stop was the Chicago Botanic Garden, were we ate lunch.
Lunch at the Gardens

We stay at Carl's Dad's log cabin on Little Wolfe Lake when we travel to Michigan.  The cabin's address is in 'Grass Lake' Michigan, which is kind of confusing.  There are so many beautiful lakes in Michigan.  Grass Lake is in the middle of the Michigan, between Ann Arbor and Jackson. We almost always spend time in Livonia, Michigan as well, where Carl's Dad lives.  Livonia is a nice suburb of Detroit.  This was the first time that we didn't travel on into Livonia, but Carl was tired enough from the ride to Grass Lake. 

View of Cabin from the lake

Grass Lake Michigan is a great place to have awesome $1.50 ice creams.  The dollar gets you a LOT more ice cream at Grass Lake's "The Lovin Spoonful" ice cream parlor then at home.

Carl and company at the ice cream shop
(Carl is wearing a winter coat because he was having a hard time regulating his body temperature in air conditioned places.)

This year, Miranda, Nathan, Anthony and Tom built two cardboard boats for a Cardboard boat race on the 4th of July in Grass Lake. 
Cardboard boats.  Ours were the only ones not painted
Miranda, Nathan, Anthony and I raced them, Tom and Carl cheered the boaters on. 

Miranda placed 3rd in the one person boat race!
Surprisingly, our unpainted boat (above) held up almost as long as the painted boats.

The start of the 2 person Cardboard boat race
There was an extra two person boat that the organizers gave to Anthony and Miranda for the two person race.  Anthony and Miranda are loading in the pinkish boat above.  They  finished 1st in the two person race.
 
Nathan and Nick in the two person race

  
The Cardboard Boat Race winners

Other activities over vacation included boating, tubing, eating and relaxing. 

Carl's Dad, Carl, his Aunt and Mom


Nathan and Carl

We took the pantoon boat to a sand bar in the middle of Big Wolfe Lake, where boats hang out while people play in the water, and a DJ broadcasts fun music.  One thing we really missed was seeing all the cousins, the schedules didn't work as well this year.  Otherwise, we had a nice 4th of July vacation, and then headed home on the 5th of July.
A Covered Bridge Somewhere in Michigan
Carl used a walker most of the vacation, (he uses the walker on uneven surfaces and grass), so we had the walker tied to the top of the car.

We got home, and the next week (July 11-14, 2011) Carl had inpatient chemotherapy at Froedtert Hospital.  Well, at least we managed to fit the vacation in!

Click on any photo to see it larger.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rest and Recovery

I am writing this Sunday, June 26, 2011.  Carl was discharged from the hospital just over one week ago on Saturday, June 18, 2011, after a Wednesday June 15, 2011 neck surgery that removed the remaining visible tumor from his neck.  [Actually, before the surgery, no tumor was visible.  (It was on the inside, ha ha)  But once the neck surgeon cut him open...  The surgeon looked around and removed all the tumor in the neck that was visible to the surgeon, and visible to the imaging (CT/MRI/X-ray?) equipment  in the operating room.]  

Froedtert Hospital interventional radiology operating room
Froedtert's Operating Room used for Angiograms
The photo above and below shows the operating room used for Carl's two Angiogram procedures on Monday June 13, 2011 and Tuesday June 14, 2011Above, the large white structure with the large curved arm is an imaging machine that rotates and slides forward and back to takes images before, during and after the procedure.  A second curved arm in the center of the above photo takes images from the top and bottom of the surgery table.  Carl's bald head is visible on the far right.  Carl is still in the transport bed, and will be transferred to the operating table shortly.

The photo below shows the same operating room from a different angle.  This is the view of the operating room from the monitoring station, a room next to the operating room that has glass windows viewing the operating room.  I believe this is where the machine technicians operate the imaging machine from.  Carl is still on the transport bed.  The curved arms of the imaging machine are visible at the far left.
Froedtert Hospital angiogram operating room
Froedtert's Operating Room used for Angiograms

Carl has spent the last week resting and recovering at home.  He did get lots of rest, hours of it a day, but there were still four children running to and fro - so not all of the hours in the day were 'restful'.  I estimating that Carl slept more then 12 hours a day, and Carl didn't move around too much.  He has started being a bit more active this weekend, and was exercising a little bit on a reclining exercise bike I bought at a rummage sale.  He went in to his work only for a short visit to say hi on one day.  Of course he didn't stay at home all of the time, though.  Probably once a day we/he left the house for some reason or other.

Carl came home from the hospital this time with a walker.  So now Carl has had a cane; crutches; a foot orthotic; and now a walker.  Today was one of the first days since the surgery that he has been able to move a bit without using either the walker or the crutches.  We went to church for the first time in weeks (with the walker). 
Carl on June 18, 2011
The photo above is from the day Carl was released from the hospital, Saturday, June 18, 2011.  Miranda came with me to pick Carl up from Froedtert hospital, and since it was a Saturday, we stopped at the Wauwatosa Farmer's Market.  Should we have?  Probably not, but Carl wanted to.  We did buy a couple of plants from local farmers for Carl's "earth box" garden.  One of the things accomplished this week was that Carl and the children planted tomatoes and cilantro and basil in two "earth box" gardens.  I can tell that Carl has lost weight in this photo. 

One of the highlights of this weekend has been a family film-festival viewing of the Lord of the Ring trilogy - tomorrow night we hope to watch third movie in the series, "The Return of the King".  We have decided that Nathan would make a good Frodo, the ring-bearer.


Thank you once again for your prayers.  We continue to welcome them. 

Click on any photo to see it larger. 7955 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carl is back home!

I am HAPPY to report that Carl was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, June 18, 2011, after 3 long days of procedures and a neck surgery on Wednesday.

Carl is glad to be out of the hospital.  I am looking forward to a good night's sleep, and sleeping late tomorrow morning.  

I am hopeful that Carl's recovery time at home will be quality family time.  This week has been challenging since the children were out of school for the entire week, and I was gone on most mornings before the two middle boys even got out of bed.  Things at home ran a little crazy.  Here is an example.  The lawn needed mowing all week, and yet with three teenage boys in the family, none of whom had pressing or scheduled commitments ALL week, the lawn didn't get started until after Carl got home today.  (Don't worry, Carl didn't mow it...)  Finally, with a parent (or two) actually around to say "no going to the pool before you mow the lawn",  Nathan tackled the overgrown front yard.  Perhaps Monday Carl and I can establish a good start of the summer routine for the children.

Thank you once again for your prayers.  Carl's surgery seems to have gone better then originally thought possible.  And thank you to those who fed and/or watched and/or drove and/or entertained some and/or all of my children at various points through out the week.  We are blessed to have all the prayers and help, we are blessed to have friends like you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 15 Surgery update.

Carl's neck surgery at Froedtert on Wednesday June 15, 2011 went well according to the surgeon.  Now Carl has to recover, which is painful, but the hard part is (hopefully) over.  I don't want to jinx anything, but I want to give out an update. 


Monday June 13, 2011 Carl was in SICU (S=Surgical Intensive Care Unit) after a angiogram with embolization procedure, which was done under full anesthetic.  Carl did not eat at all on Monday.  He had to lay on his back from 9:00 AM until midnight.  

Tuesday June 14, 2011 Carl was in NICU (N=Nuerological Intensive Care Unit) after an angiogram procedure was done to balloon and block off his left vertebral artery.  This procedure had to be done with Carl fully awake, not even lightly sedated.  Carl didn't eat at all until past 9:30 PM, when I tempted him with whatever I could find from Froedtert's all night cafe, because he couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight.  He ate a sandwich, applesause, milk, a candy bar, 3/4 of a pear, and a blueberry muffin. 

Wednesday June 15, 2011 Carl was in NICU after the neck his third neck surgery in 2011 - this surgery debulked the tumor in his neck. (Carl got operating room # 13-sigh...).  This surgery was done under full anesthetic.  He didn't eat at all on Wednesday, and had to lay on his back the entire day, except for when he was being operated on, when they rolled him to his stomach and the surgeon worked from the back of his neck.  Really, though, I haven't figured out if Carl even remembers anything after they took him to surgery at 8:30 AM. Carl got heavy duty pain medication - including Morphine.  It seems almost wrong to type 'Morphine' - like it is a bad drug, and he shouldn't have gotten any, but I am glad that he was able to sleep with apparent comfort.

Thursday June 15, 2011 Carl graduated out of NICU to the Spine care 'floor', walked a tiny bit, had soup and a pastrami sandwich (from Benji's - a deli we both love), and ate several times, watched a movie. His pain medications are back to oxicodone and oxicontin. 

I will be happier once he is home.  Then I will be freaked out that he might get a fever, fall, etc.  That's just kind of the way it is.  Stress either way, but at least at home things are calmer.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Neck Surgery No. 3

Today, (Wednesday, June 15, 2011), Carl is having a neck surgery to debulk / (remove?) the tumor there. (The neck tumor had grown back over the past 4 months without chemotherapy.)  Long procedures done on Monday and Tuesday have allowed us to get to this surgery today. Again, I would appreciate your prayers for a great outcome. Carl is a trooper.
Carl was wheeled in to surgery at 8:30 AM. at Froedtert Hospital, and there now as I am typing this.

I hope to update my blog with details later this week. 
I really believe the prayers over the last several days have been helpful.  Carl was so calm yesterday; and today, so far. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prayer Request

Carl is having medical procedures done over the next several days at Froedtert Hospital - I would appreciate your prayers for a great outcome.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

April 2011 update - one month late


I had felt bad that I didn't update the blog in April, and now May is nearly over. So now I really feel pressured to post something. It's been a busy 2011, so I will give a relatively non-medical update of April, at least.

April started well. Carl was feeling fairly good. Carl was actually able to drive to work again on Friday, April 1, 2011. (No fooling) . He had been counting the days until he could drive again, and it was now six weeks after Carl's second neck surgery. The Dr's. gave him the go ahead.

On Saturday April 2, 2011 Carl and I got to see our very talented niece be Carlotta in the musical "Phantom of the Opera" at Marquette High School.

The photo below is from Sunday, April 3rd, when Carl, Miranda, and I went to a show at the Art Museum.


The children's spring break vacation from school started on Saturday, April 2 to Sunday, April 10, 2011. Starting Monday, April 4, 2011, Carl was happy to drive off to work and leave me at home with the children.

As spring break progressed, Carl's left knee and the area just below the knee started to bother him. By Thursday, April 7, 2011, Carl's left knee was painful enough that he had to start using crutches to walk. The children's spring break vacation continued, though, with Carl escaping to his work when he wasn't at something medical or recovering from something medical.

On Saturday, April 9, 2011 we 'left town' for the baptism of Cooper Schmidt, my niece's 1st baby, and the first grandchild in my family. We took the family picture at the beginning of this post before Cooper's baptism in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

Here is Carl with Cooper. Carl is now a Great Uncle, but we already knew that before Cooper was born.


After the baptism (the very next day, even), we started celebrating Miranda's 12th birthday. We celebrated Miranda's birthday several times, actually. (Her actual birthday is April 11)


On Wednesday April 13, 2011 Carl had a small surgery for a hernia repair.

On Thursday, April 14, 2011 we celebrated Tom's 17th Birthday.




On Sunday April 17, 2011 we celebrated my niece's birthday, and Tom's and Miranda' birthday again!

On
Monday April 18, 2011 we finished our taxes.


Sunday April 24, 2011, Easter came, and we decorated Easter eggs and more.


We saw both side of the family on Easter - lunch with my relatives, dinner with Carl's relatives.

On Monday April 25, 2011, Carl's neck was swelling up.

On Friday, April 29, 2011 we went and watched a play at Homestead High school that Anthony was very active in. Anthony was the lighting stage crew manager, and had been working on this play extensively through out April.

Many other things went on in April 2011. Almost every weekday in April, Carl got a dose of radiation to the neck.

So, as I said before, April was very busy.