Monday, March 26, 2007

Pictures and X-rays

First, we had the opportunity to have the girls’ pictures taken Saturday morning. I rushed out Friday to find them something to wear, and we pulled it together. I think they look great. We just bought pictures over Christmas, so we won't be buying up a lot. But, I do get a free 8x10 to pick from. It will be hard to choose!

Jadyn had her yearly appointment at Scottish Rite today. Jake and I both went to hear about her progress. For those new to our family saga, Jadyn has hip dysplasia and has been treated at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital since she was 1. She has been through traction and three different casts, but has been free from all treatment for a year. So, we were anxious to hear the news! She had an X-ray that showed improvement and healing. She does not have to come back for another 2 years! This orthopedic hospital will treat Jadyn until she is 18, and we are so grateful for the awesome care she receives there. We have several traditions at Scottish Rite: popcorn upon entering and soft serve ice cream at the end. Jadyn, Bryn and Jake also went up to the Child Life center to play for a while: Jadyn beat her Dad twice in air hockey! Bryn loved the kitchen center and all the new toys. It was a good day.

I found out that I might have to wait a few weeks for chemo, which I thought would restart this week. The jury is still out as Dr. Euhus said two weeks after surgery and Dr. Haley said 1 month. I am anxious to start as my hip is acting up and I know that the chemo was helping those tumors diminish. For now, I take my pain meds regularly and have started exercises for my arm. I am getting better each day.


Friday, March 23, 2007

My tube and You tube

I got my drain out today!! I had a drain in my arm to clear fluid from my lymph node removal surgery. It was beginning to become irritated at the site of the tube entering my arm. It was so bad, I did not like to even touch the tube. Well, today at my doctor's appointment, Dr. Euhus said it was looking great, drainage was low, and it could be removed. I was a little bit of a baby when I got it out. I have birthed three babies without any pain meds or an epidural, but try to take out a stitch, and I am in tears. Fortunately, it felt like a quick pinch, and a little pressure and it was over. My Aunt Sandy, who came with me, said my face was white as a ghost and the tube (which was about a foot long) was another 6-8 inches inside my arm.

I felt immediate relief when it came out. I have better movement in my arm and no more stinging! I now have to do exercises to get back full mobility. The big news is I can now drive. My life can get, somewhat, back to normal. I still have to take it easy, limit the use of the arm for a while, and watch out for potential side effects (lymphodema). Not having lymph nodes in my arm will be a problem I will always deal with. However, having them in would be a problem that would be too much to deal with had they grown. They removed a total of 18 lymph nodes, 10 of them cancerous.

Thank you for your prayers, calls, visits, and help with the kids and meals. You are all a blessing to our family.

We had a home study of our family tonight. I can’t remember if I have mentioned that we are going through the process of Jake adopting Katelyn. The home study is a formality, but we were still a little nervous about it. It went great by the way, but I wanted to tell you one funny thing that was said. Diane, the women conducting the interview, asked Katelyn what she liked to do for fun at home. Katelyn said she liked to play on the computer. Diane asked what she did on the computer. Katelyn said that she likes to watch You Tube. After Diane asked what You Tube was, Katelyn explained it was funny videos people submit on the internet. Diane asked if we monitor the computer use. Katelyn said, "Oh yeah, my Dad watches it with me!" After laughing, we corrected her that her dad checks it out before she sees it! I am sure Diane got an image of the family gathered around the computer watching all that bad stuff...but together!

My grandpa has a stint put in yesterday for his aneurism. The surgeon said it was a success, and he went home today. My aunt Janette in New York had outpatient surgery on her ankle today. I will let you know an update...or she can comment herself!

We pray for all our family to be covered with a hedge of protection.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tickle Bugs

Well, I have a pretty sweet husband. He spent 30 minutes this morning unclogging my drain from my arm. Today was his early day as he sponsors a great club at his school, Eagles for Christ, that meet on Thursday mornings.

When I called my nurse at Dr. Euhus' office yesterday, one of the things she told me was the drain needed to be cleared twice a day from the top to the bottom. I was just pulling it clear about half way (as they were doing in the hospital!). Because of that, some fluid at the top was thicker and had to be pushed down with painstaking ease. I was flinching every few minutes, scared the whole tube would fall out, and feeling sharp pain at the site.

Jake was so patient. Even though he was almost late, he would stop until I felt comfortable enough to continue...We finally got the entire drain clear. I'm sure it will be easier tonight.

I am now tired from holding my arm up even half way. It is amazing how quickly you lose strength. I feel like I have done 30 pull-ups. I just wish I had the toned reward that comes after 30 pull-ups!

Jadyn and Bryn have inherited my fear of bugs. When I see one, I yell to Jake to get it. I don't necessarily want it dead, just out of the house. If this is on a shoe or in a cup, I don't care; I just want it out of sight! Well, the yikes are the same way. Until, Jake got a hold of them for a few days by himself. There have been an inordinate number of these little thin, moth like hoppers that are all over the place lately. Just walking through the grass will bring up dozens. The girls have been running from these bugs like they were a hornet, and I guess Jake was growing weary of the drama (remember, the bugs are everywhere!). He told the girls they were tickle bugs and if they catch them in their hands, they would tickle them a little. I guess that is all they needed, because now, the girls can't wait to get outside to catch tickle bugs, laughing all over the yard. They now want to bring them IN THE HOUSE! And, IN THE CAR! Enough of the tickle bugs!! I am trying not to overreact, but it is getting hard. Now, they think it is funny that I run into the house and they gallivant outside, laughing as they catch the tickle bugs right in their hands.

I have an early doctor's appointment tomorrow, a post-op with Dr. Euhus. I am hoping he will release me to drive and remove my drain. If I get my wish, I will even hold a tickle bug!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Hi there!

I am feeling better each day, gaining more control of my arm's mobility. As you might be able to tell from a) my even posting and b) my using capital and lowercase letters thus needing both hands!

I have been staying the days with my grandmother and the nights at home. It has been a good situation all around. I can't drive yet, and grandma helps with shuttling the kids around. She is also able to help me rest better than if I would be at home (probably trying to do more than I should). Plus--I love spending time over at her house. It's also good to be home in the morning for the kids and Jake. It is then that they feel life is somewhat normal! We'll keep this up for a few more days. Then, my grandpa is having surgery himself. My grandma is a regular home nurse!

My grandpa goes to Costco every few days and always picks up a little something extra. I can't say anything as when I shop at Target (weekly) I usually pick up something extra (Jake--It is always something we need!!). Anyway, yesterday, grandpa picked up a kite for Bryn. It was really for Bryn and Jadyn. However, Jadyn was off at school, and Bryn latched onto the kite like it was a baby doll, dragging it all over the house all day long. Did I mention the kite was so big that the tube shaped box was bigger than Bryn!? She asked incessantly when Jake was going to be home to show it to him and ask when we could fly it. She and Jake worked out a tentative date to fly the kite, however our weather forecast shows day after day of rain. I will try to post a picture when it gets off the ground. Bryn will certainly be on our case until it does!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Maid Clean

As expected Jess came home early yesterday morning. She was able to use her arm for the first time yesterday which was a big confidence booster-- I think she was beginning to think it was going to be a long time before she could use it again. She still can't drive yet and won't be able to for awhile. Right now she has no need to go anywhere though as she is resting in comfort (i.e. being royally spoiled) at her grandmother's house. This morning Jessa's mother is going to take the kids in the morning for some spoiling of their own. They have been doing really well this week with one exception. Jessa's grandmother paid for our house to be clean on Wednesday so that Jess would come home to a clean house. Well there are two types of clean "picked up clean" and "maid clean." You can imagine as we are on our fourth day now with Jess not actually coming home to a clean house yet that it has been a bit of a struggle to keep the house "maid clean." You might say that once the house was made clean it has been hard to keep it "maid clean" (groan, groan). I don't have a funny story this morning just a sweet one. Bryn slept in my bed last night since Jess wasn't here. When she woke up this morning she very sleepily said, "Daddy..." "Yes, honey" I asked her. "I love you," she said. Now, that's starting the morning off right.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jess to stay another night

Jess is staying another night at the lovely Hilton de Zale Lipshy. There she will be able to take in a scenic view of downtown Dallas and be waited on hand and foot. She'll enjoy room service for every meal and be waited on by a staff whose only concern is her well being. Her arm is still painful enough for her not to be ready to deal with three kids just yet. Instead she will be coming home tomorrow morning from the hospital.

All three of our kids react to bugs as if they were deadly axe murders. You have may have heard their screams the last couple of nights as bugs have started coming out with the warm weather. Well Jadyn and Bryn were playing outside when they came across a gecko. Geckos are small lizards that are very plentiful where we live. Most of them are only an inch or two, but they found one that was about three inches. Well much to my surprise Jadyn got a net and caught it. Even more surprising is what Bryn called it. She called it an "Icko." For those of you who don't like creepy crawly things that name should sound just perfect.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Surgery Succesful

Jessa's surgery went very well and was done in about an hour today. I finally got to meet her surgeon, the flamboyant Dr. Euhus (Oy-hues). It might be good to have a surgeon who wasn't a people person because that means they are more likely to spend Friday night at home studying a medical book, but I like it the way Jess has it a guy that is has fabulous surgeon hands plus a personable personality. He took out the lymph nodes under her arm which he said looked "suspicious" (doctor speak for looks like they're malignant/cancerous). No surprise there. That's what the PET scan showed and that's what they were expecting. He stictched her back up and put a little baglike container under her armpit to catch the drainage. It looks like a clear grenade. If I had something under my armpit that looks suspicioulsy like a grenade it would make me nervous, but not Jess. I guess "plastic explosives" don't bother her.

We had two visits from pastors at our church today. Both of them made me realize how much our pastors are less like church staff and more like family. You can't pay someone to love your family like they love ours. Thank you Don Beach and David George from LABC. Mom (Judy) would when The Thoughtful Person of the Day award if they had it. Jess saw some really nice flowers in the gift shop that she would have liked to give Mandy (who is the brand new mother of Jace). Well guess what flowers mom bought for Jess?

When I left for the night, Jess was pretty peaceful. She was sleepily watching American Idol. Her arm was very sore and painful, but with the pain meds she will probably sleep through the night just fine.

Let me leave you with a non-surgery story. While Jess was enjoying the cold weather in NY (which they call practically summer), we were experiencing truly warm weather in Texas . Because of that I shaved off more of my beard. When I asked the Yikes (Jadyn and Bryn) if they liked it they chorused "Who are you?"

Surgery Day

I am off today for surgery. I am loving the fact that I do not have the earliest surgery time. I have to be there at 11:00 for a 1:00 surgery. I think that Dr. Euhus will have the bugs worked out by the time he gets to me! Actually, he is a wonderful doctor and I have such complete confidence in him. I am so thankful for the manner in which I found his practice and the university hospital. I am just glad that I did not have to get up at 4 in the morning to make it into Dallas on time!

I am expected to come home tomorrow, praying all goes exactly as planned. I am praying for great wisdom for the doctors. My great friend Julie told me the difference between knowledge and wisdom from a BSF (Bible study) lesson I missed recently. Knowledge is gained from training and education, life experience... and wisdom comes from God. That is the kind I am praying specifically for today.

Love to you all!

Monday, March 12, 2007


We are here in New York having a fabulous time. It is wonderful to visit my aunt Janette and her great family.

In some ways, it feels just like home with ball games, church, family dinners...and then I look outside to see a winter, snowy mountainous wonderland that feels like a picture!! We visited a winery up north yesterday and had a great time together. I will post more when we return.

Much love,

Also...we just received word that my cousin Mandy delivered a healthy baby boy, Jace Michael, this morning!!!! 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 20 in. Mom, Dad and Baby Jace are all doing fine. I will post pictures when I get back :)

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ready for NY

Hi there!

We have had a good week. Last night was open house at the kid’s schools (Jadyn and Katelyn). They were both excited to show us the things they had been working on lately.

I am going to New York today with my mom to visit my aunt Janette (the one who always leaves a comment on this blog...see, leave comments...get a visit!) Actually, I have not been up to NY since her wedding!! (Her oldest child is 12!!) She and her family have come down to Texas often, and I am SO looking forward to seeing her. I have dug out some cooler clothes and my big coat I thought that I had put away for a while...the weather is in the 20's, with a warm front blowing in this weekend (40's!). I actually prefer a little cooler weather; I just don't much care for the wind that typically comes with it.

My hip has been acting up again, making me walk funny, and slow. I have started back on my pain medicine and that has helped. I am anxious to start back on chemo after my surgery as I think that is what was helping. Could just be in my head. Usually, when I take any medicine, I feel the effects right away, which I know, is not likely!

I will have my surgery to remove lymph nodes on Wednesday the 14th. I am glad I have spoken with some people who have had it. When they told me I would have a drain, I was picturing a huge, protruding object hanging from my arm. Then someone said it looked like a little grenade and I was imagining a huge potato on my arm. Finally, someone told me the grenade was very small, just a few inches long. Okay, now I am a little calmer!! I will let you know the actual dimensions soon, which I am sure you are now dying to know.

Take care,
Those who have spring break next week as we do...enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Well, hello there!

I have been super busy with my Dad in town last weekend and then the first part of the week racing like a mad woman trying to put together the program for Katelyn's 6th grade musical at school. You might think, it is just a program, what is the big deal. However, this is Wood Elementary. And, everything is bigger at Wood. For example a normal program might consist of a list of the cast and an order of acts and scenes. This was the Wood program five years ago. That said, each year has gotten bigger and more elaborate. This year, we have 18 pages of ads from local businesses or parents wishing their kids to "Break a Leg!" along with photos, and the normal order of events... This year, as to keep the bigger and more elaborate tradition, I added a full color cover page! I bet when Jadyn and Bryn are in 6th grade, the program will consist of a full color spiral bound keepsake journal and program guide!

That said, it is fun to be a part of something so special for the kids. They are all making memories to last a lifetime. The kids did another dress rehearsal today and will again tomorrow for the school kiddos. The real performances are Friday and Saturday nights.

Well, as I was saying ealier, my Dad was in from Portland Oregon. He left on Monday. We all had a great time. When he comes down, it is like he has always been here. I love seeing Dad and Cindy more often. We went to all the kids events. He got to see Jadyn almost blown away playing soccer in one of the windiest days we have ever had!!

Then, he got to go with me to take Katelyn to cotillion (dance) where this month was a country western theme. She had a blast, and Dad and I enjoyed taking her to dance and then out to a restaurant that had a big dance floor for Katie and her friends to dance and play for several more hours!

We went to go see a great movie, Bridge to Terabithia. I liked it a lot. Dad and I had to keep telling the little ones, "it is all in their imagination" on the scary parts, and "aren't we having fun!!" on all the other parts! Yet, they are still talking about the movie and how much fun they had! Monday, Dad spent some time with the little ones at the mall carousel and out for one last lunch before he had to head back home.

I got word from Dr. Euhus this week. He called to tell me that my MRI was clear, yet he wanted to consider surgery to remove the lymph nodes on my right arm. He met with the other doctors on his team and with Dr. Haley and they all had the same consensus. I am going to go in to the hospital in a few weeks for a minor surgery to remove the nodes. I will spend the night in the hospital, and then spend two weeks taking it easy on my arm in general. Tell that to three little girls! Actually, they have adapted to my not being able to lift them lately due to weakness in my back and hip. I am thankful they are a little bigger now and as a friend mentioned not in a body cast (re: Jadyn one year ago in March!) I have to be off chemo for a month before the surgery as chemo lowers your immune system. I also have to be off another drug I am on (Avastin) that had a side effect of slow healing. So, I got to skip treatment today, as I will for the next few weeks, in preparation for the surgery.

I will keep you better updated as the week goes on.
Take care,