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You may have heard me mention the “kleptomatic” before. Poor woman, bless her heart, has cancer and goes to the Cancer center for her radiation treatments, same as Dad. Poor gal has been seen by me, filling a bright red tote bag with the treats that are left in the kitchenette part of the Cancer center…Literally filling her tote with twinkies, ho ho’s, granola bars, cookies…you name it!
Two weeks ago, I heard her mention that she had only 1 week left of radiation, that she would have one week off…then resume treatments the next week. That means she will be done this Friday.
Today, as I was getting coffee for Dad the Klepto (also affectionately called “one eye” by me) and who was looking at her lap, ordered me to “Take this paper (waved a scrap of paper around in air )and put it into my red bag!!”, I glanced around and then realized she meant moi, as no one else was in the room. Okay, I say and get the paper and then casually…You mean this red tote bag here on your walker?? I act all innocent like and stuff. She nods and I open the bag, thrust in the paper and say, All Done! She says nothing. I smile as I leave because the damn bag is filled to bursting with goodies…again.

PS…Dad is doing well. He had bloodwork today(hgb…13.3…WBC…8…platelets…good…in fact most everything looked good) and a CT scan (no results yet) to see if the tumor is getting smaller yet. He had treatment 22 today out of 33 and the only concern I have is that he has an increased cough. But he had that before, about a week after his first chemo treatment…and then it subsided on about 2 weeks afterwards. We are on week one after his second chemo treatment so I am hoping for the same scenario.


Dad has been feeling soo good since his chemo. I think it must be the steroids. He still has a fringe of hair around the back of his head…but he’s shedding so I think he’ll lose that too…especially after this last chemo. We had a nice birthday celebration on Wednesday when we got back from Kearney with family…and MORE cake…and a few microbeers. Dad didn’t have any beer…but you can bet your bippy we all did! And man did I need one! We held a “card shower” for him and he had about 50 cards to open when we got back home. That was cool and he enjoyed that.
Yesterday, Dad woke up with a headache so I suppose the weekend he will be tired and feel “flu-like” again.

4 treatments left and about 15 zaps to go.
Then what?

Chemo day dawned red, pink and too damn early. We took off around 7am. I happened to think we were leaving at 6:30 so…I got up around 5…my usual time…and waited and waited and then…fell back to sleep.
Dad had radiation at 8:30…we just go there and off he went. We saw his radiologist and that was a 30 second I don’t know how much office call because we had no questions or problems. Then off we went for a blood draw and chemo at the oncologists office.
Again, Dad had a reaction to the Taxol. Mom and I stayed while he got his pre op meds and then…the dreaded Taxol. Almost instantly Dad looked bug eyed and his face was bright red. He coughed and sputtered. I asked him about three times…”Dad, are you feeling okay?” Each time he would say…”Yeahhhh so far”. In reality he was about to pass out. He never did say he felt bad. The nurse turned off his med, gave him Solu Medrol and then had to wait about 1/2 hour to restart his chemo. Eventually Dad got back to his self but we hated it that he’d had another reaction. For his next chemo they will pre medicate him with Prednisone and Benedry. I asked if this type of reaction was very common and the nurse said simply, “No.” and then I asked if there was a better or different chemo drug he should try and she replied that this was the best for Dad’s type of cancer. So…after Mom and I were satisfied that Dad would live through his chemo we ran over to Walmart and she picked up some groceries and I got stuff for the coffee shop and then we got lunch for Dad and took it back to him. He ate some and soon he was done with his meds.
His bloodwork had checked out good, his weight stable and his vital signs stable except for when he reacted to the Taxol.
I’d brought a chocolate cake and he’s eaten a piece of that and so had several of the nurses, patients and other staff. They even came over and sang Happy Birthday! That was nice.
After we got home, I took another chocolate cake to their house and we had a bit of a birthday party with family.
4 chemo left and 17 more radiation treatments…(we hope)

Interesting note…the cancer center sent some copies of reports to Mom and Dad…and the cancer was a grade 2 there…not a grade III as reported to us.

weird…and interesting and possibly very very good news.

Katie cried and she cried and she cried about her Grandpas cancer tonight. It finally just hit her she said.
Today all the kids at school kept asking her and asking her and asking her why her Dad had shaved his head and she kept having to explain and explain and explain that her Grandpa’s hair was falling out and her Dad did it because of that.
I felt so bad for her.
I feel bad now and I can’t write much.
Tomorrow we go for the second chemo treatment.
Dad seems like his old self these past two days and now…chemo…square one probably. God I dread it.

I took Dad to radiation this morning. We yacked the whole way. Dad is deaf in his left ear and as I was driving (speaking toward his left ear) it made for some unusual conversations. At once point we just broke down laughing at the sheer idiocy of our statements.
He seemed his old self really…finally.
Most of his hair is gone…except the fringe around the back and sides of his head. He wears a ballcap and you can’t really tell he’s just sporting peach fuzz. It is NOT that way for Mark I can tell you…he’s as smooth as a billiard ball.
In two days is Dad’s 71st birthday AND his second round of chemo. I dread it really as he had such a horrific reaction last time. I think we are all a little concerned about how he will react. Seems he just now is back to where he is “himself” and here we go again.
I ordered a couple of chocolate cakes with chocolate icing, one to take to the cancer center and one for home.
Dad isn’t coughing as much, his edema is less and he even has pink in his cheeks.
How long will that last?
I wonder…

some Dadisms(words that Dad made up)

SCOPALOTOME pronounced…scope a lot o me…meaning…generic term for any type of invasive procedure

KLEPTOMATIC…prounounced…kleptomatic…meaning…woman with one eye who takes all the cancer center’s “goodies” from the goodie tray such as twinkies, granola, hard candies etc and places them into a large tote bag attached to her walker before she leaves the building

ADDADICKTOME…pronounced…add a dick to me…meaning…prodedure to…well…you get the picture!

Mark shaved his head tonight because my Dad’s hair started falling out. I bought the first add for Shirley K’s! I’m thinking we should turn this into a money raising project for cancer research…or…maybe just draw a big ass circle on, have a dart tournament and use the cash for beer money…not sure yet…still under heavy debate.

Tonight I combed Dad’s hair to dislodge some of the looser strands and it just kept falling out. I felt so bad because he has always had such pretty silver hair…Combed over on top of course and sprayed into place but still…Hair just the same. After that it was like we had to finish the deed.
Shave it off.
Be done with it.
Move on to the next big event.
Mom put the next to the last edge on the shaver and buzzed him. He was left with a fine fuzz all over his pate. This too shall probably fall out but it was all Mom could muster the nerve to do right now. Dad didn’t look into the mirror. He just tightened up and then put on the fish hat I’d bought him years and years ago. The hat used to have a fish head poking out of the brim but he pried that off with a screwdriver earlier this morning. He just sat there with his hat on and looked sad and resigned. Resigned to life with cancer, chemo, fluid retention, coughing, weakness, poor appetite, people asking him how he is every day and every time they see him and the looks of pity he or his family may get.

I’ve decided that cancer is like a 3 ring circus with all kinds of acts playing at the same time eventually leading up to the big finish.
There are many big events in cancer. First of all the thought that one might have cancer. Then, awaiting the diagnosis, which involved all kinds of tests, some painful and most certainly invasive.
Each new “event” you achieve leads to some sort of a resolution and then you move on until the next event and so on and so on and so on.

You’ve got cancer
You must have biopsies
You have stage IIIa non small cell cancer of the lung
You aren’t able to stand surgery
You must take radiation five days a week for 33 doses
You must take chemo
You must take chemo every 3 weeks for 6 doses
You must drive 1 1/2 hours every day for your treatments as no other place is closer.
You may have side effects from the chemo
You may have to take medications for the side effects from the chemo
You will lose your hair.

You Will Lose Your Hair…and so it goes.

After getting back from radiation and bloodwork in Kearney I cleaned my fish pond. It smelled like an orangutan ass or a 1970’s home perm. There was definitely a chemical reaction going on and it wasn’t a good one. I spotted a lone bloated goldfish carcass (and who could blame him) and I couldn’t see any more. Of course, the heater wasn’t on so, at one time they were all probably frozen goldfishcicles. Hopes of survivors weren’t too high. I set up the filter and and got it to going. My heater is toast and I don’t really care. What would be the point of heating a pool of rank bubbling fishless water? I’ve decided to name my pond. It just came upon me as I was typing this. Ready? Okay, from now on my backyard area itself will forever be called…

Ass Gas Pond

We came home from Dad’s radiation treatment through Lexington. We went to Kearney via the Holdridge way and thought we wanted new scenery. Just after Johnson Lake we saw police lights flashing and cars stacked to the nines. There was hay scattered about the road and I thought there was a big accident up ahead. Instead we noticed good old cowboys on horses driving cattle across the road. They were being moved from one field to another. Better than an accident any day.
Dad is feeling better today. Not so many aches and pains. I encouraged him to get up more and get fresh air as the day was beautiful.
Mom stayed home and put in the coffee shop grocery order for me. Damn freight early tomorrow. Back to the grindstone I guess. Having 3 days off has been habit forming for me. It will be hard to face getting up at 5 let alone trying to get ready again.
When we got back from Kearney I took Mom and Dads outdoor decorations down and then went home to take mine down. I still have a couple of strands of lights left on my upstairs but most is done.
I had a lot of crap to do at the shop to get ready for tomorrow. Several orders to get ready and wash to do and dishes to do and trash to take out and blah blah blah blah.
Dad called me up tonight and told me about the most expensive coffee bean in the world…Kopi Luwak. It’s a bean that is eaten by a palm civet, a dark brown tree-dwelling cat-like creature (while in cherry form) and then after it’s shit out, is gathered up and then…whatever it takes to clean that up…readied for resale. $175-300 dollars a pound for that coffee.
Can you imagine the aroma that bean would have? Do any of you own cats? Litter boxes? If so…you can imagine the nostril effect that particular bean might have.
Could be the new trend at Shirley K’s…Cat Shit Coffee Beans…Cat Shit Cappuccino’s…Cat Shit Shakes…Kitty Litter Lattes!

god…the possibilities…

I’ll end up with a little music again.

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Well, Dad felt sickish today. Flu like symptoms…headachy, muscle and bone pain, common for the meds he got. Also he is retaining fluid. I think it is probably because of the steroid he received because of his chemo reaction. I told him it was time for the “pee pill” again…lasix. He agreed and actually took one.
Mom is going stir crazy. She needs to get out a bit.
I am just plain tired. I feel exhausted in fact.
I didn’t open the coffee shop today though I should have.
I didn’t get my house clean or my Christmas decorations down.
Lucky I got my dishes from yesterday done.
I hate New Years Eve. Always have. For some reason it makes me blue. I took Mom to Walmart in McCook today because she needed to get hair dye…like mother like daughter…hee hee
Actually she needed to see the eye Dr. and get her broken glasses taken in to be fixed.
Since it was New Years Eve…we missed the office hours and therefore went to the stupid Walmart instead.
I bought 3 DVDs…FRENCH KISS…which I LOVE!! A MIGHTY WIND which Mark and I have watched many a time and loved for it’s hokey ness. And last but not least…Standing in the Shadows…MOTOWN which we just watched MOTOWN and liked it very much.
The boys are at Moms and Katie has several friends over and here Mark and I sit like old farts.
He keeps getting called out…just now in fact…out the door he goes.
crap into my “decoration cupboards” in the sunroom.
Today was also inventory day at the pharmacy and the coffee shop. The kids and Mark did most of that while I was working here at home.

It’s misting a bit here and it smells so good. I should go walking because I feel like a total LARD ASS.
I may go get on my trainer and ride a few miles.

Dad has quite a bit of edema going on in his lower legs. I can’t hear much air movement in his lungs either. He started back on his “fluid pill” yesterday as I thought he was retaining quite a bit of fluid. He didn’t cough much today but he didn’t walk around very much at all…nor did he change out of his pj’s. He says he felt pings and pangs all over. No nausea though. I took him a soft stocking cap to wear in case of hair loss. I guess one usually starts losing hair on day 10 or so. We’ll see in a few days if that will be his case.

Mom came over for a while this afternoon…right after I got done putting up the Christmas decorations. We watched a show about obese children and gastric bypass surgery. We are MANIACS!

Tomorrow Dad has radiation so I will leave about 8:30 and we will probably get back around 12:30 or so…and then, since the shop is closed, I’ll go and take down all the outside decorations. I hate to because it’ll look bleak and naked.

That said I think I’ll end this bleak little post up with some good blues.

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Dad isn’t sick from the chemo yet.
I say yet because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We went to Kearney quick like the wind today.
First Radiation…we got in and out fast.
Then…to the hopsital for yet another X-Ray…this one of his left shoulder. The PET and bone scans showed probable degenerative changes but they still gotta check it for cancer.
I hate that.
After this…Perkins, YET AGAIN, for another plate of break the fast. Dad loves it there. I think because they still have a smoking room there and he can dream can’t he.
Tonight is our Christmas Party for the pharmacy and the coffee shop.
I’m ready for a nice drinky poo but I’m afraid I will be too tired.
I’m letting the kids have a party at our house.

I know…what the hell was I thinking…sigh
Dad’s first chemo treatment was today. We left at 7 am to get to his 8:45 radiation first. We also saw the radiologist(to be forever referred to as Dr. Gaydar) and wasn’t that fun. He asks dad, “How are you?” dad says “alright as far as I know”. . . the Dr. says “Fine, see you in a week”. Dad gets radiated…we are off to chemo at another office.
We get there and check in. Dad is on a Taxol and Carboplatinum regime receiving chemo every 3 weeks. He is pre-medicated with Zofran and Benadryl to alleviate any nausea or reaction to the meds. This will take about an hour and the other meds will take around 4-5 hours to infuse. Mom and I decide, after Dad is hooked up to the IV and in a comfortable recliner, to go and quickly shop and then we will bring dad a hamburger for lunch. Off we go. We buy a few things at a Hobby Lobby and then go for lunch. When we get back to the office Dad is sleeping. He wakes up when we go in and tells us that his “head almost blew off” and he had a reaction to the chemo and his IV rate was now slower. The chemo nurse tells us she medicated him with Solu Medrol, Benedryl and maybe something else. She says this sometimes happens and that the medications will be running in at a slower rate. We will be here longer that the 4-5 hours we were initially told.
We saw sooo many people with cancer today. The chemo room is just that…one big room and all the chemo patients sit side by side in recliners while the nurses adjust rates, draw blood, flush ports and start IV’s. There are no secrets in this room. “Let us know if you have blood in your urine” tells a nurse to a bald big eyed woman. She nods and says she will. Quietly she vomits into a plastic bag much like an airplane barf bag and then cleans herself up. There is a man who looks robust and healthy hooked up to an IV of some type of chemo. He tells me he is an experiment. There is no cure for what he has. He just takes treatments until he croaks or… is cured. His daughter just had her first baby last night. Another woman twists and turns and moves her legs restlessly while her medication runs in. Her husband and 2 older children visit quietly in Spanish while her youngest boy, about 4, plays with plastic animals and leaps them across bedside tables and across the arm of the recliner. He grins and gives his mama a kiss on the cheek when she opens her weary eyes. Her bright bandana slips and she tugs it back in place. A 6 year old boy leaps into the room, sidles up to the bowl of hard candies, shovels many into his gap toothed mouth and proceeds to leave. The nurse shouts, “Hey…where do you think you’re going?” and then he grins, caught in the act, sits in the chair and gets his cancer fighting drug infusion. He looks and acts like any other 6 year old except he is bald and has an infusaport implanted beneath his skin. One lady is as white as a bedsheet. Transparent almost. Her husband and daughter pretend they are enthralled with the beautiful pictures in a big coffee table book about Nebraska but in reality they are just looking away, at anything anywhere else but the sickness of their loved one.

It is quite something this disease.
In lieu of a card…ta daa you get an e-mail. In short…a cliff note on each of us.

Mark…busy as a one armed paper hanger best describes this man as most of the waking hours are devoted to scheduling work around attending sporting and school related events. Luckily he has a good harem of pharmacy workers to fill in when necessary. He’s also done a lot of Medicare speeches throughout every little town, village and street block that wants him to. Hobbies are taking a backseat lately…unless you call the above…a hobby.

Sheryl…making coffee, tea and swirlies by the gallon keeps this chick busy…as well as attending sports and school events. There is always something to do at the shop or at home or at school or at … you get the picture.

Katie…busier than the busiest one armed paper hanger says it all. Katie is in volleyball, basketball, one act, speech, FCCLA, Cheerleader, Swing Choir, Band and yadda yadda yadda ya. When she’s not busy with any of those things she is cruising with her buds and when she isn’t busy with that…she just LOVES to help me out by working at the shop.

Andrew…Junior high years…sigh…just the best don’t you agree?? Andrew is participating in football, basketball and track. He is in FPS and Quiz bowl for extra activities. He even managed to squeeze in a girl friend (for a week or two) much to our surprise….aghhhhhh! He has a crew he hangs with and boy oh boy I can’t wait until they start to drive! wheeeeee

Alec…Yet another busy body. Alec is in 6th grade and aren’t they the kings of the school yard now. He is busy with FPS, Quiz bowl, being the high school boy’s basketball manager, playing 6th grade basketball and is involved in the Sing Around Nebraska program. We are excitedly awaiting his entrance into the pre teen years…actually we are teetering on the edge if ya know what I mean. Oh Boy!

Petie our dog and Pickles the cat still remain active members of our home. Petie’s favorite hobby is sneaking into the cat litter and strewing about special sculptures for us to find. Pickles enjoys only food and sleep. I envy her.

In other news my dad has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He starts chemo and radiation therapy on Tuesday. We’ve been dealing with this since Thanksgiving and so it feels good to be starting something. Much time will be spent on the road as he is to receive his treatments in Kearney which is 1 and 1/2 hours away. The radiation is Monday through Friday for 33 does and his Chemo every 3 weeks for 6 doses. They are not thinking they would be able to do surgery at this time. My mom is doing okay but it is a difficult time for her and all of us. I’m sure it brings up some memories for you all as well.

Anyway, we miss you and wish we could see you soon but it seems impossible with all that is going on and will be going on this winter. Until we do…e-mail will have to suffice.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The McCurdy Clan
It’s almost Christmas.
Though, not cold winter mitten time that I long for.
No need for sleds or long johns now…the Chinook wind is blowing tonight…the snow is still melting atop our deck.
dripping dripping dripping yet.
Ugly brown and naked branches are showing.
ack…I h a t e the ugliness of this time of year.

Am I ready for Christmas?
Gifts are not my priority this year…maybe tomorrow they will be.
I wrapped and be-ribboned the few packages I had hidden in the trunk of my car.

We will have soup and sandwiches at my house tomorrow…Mom, Dad and the McCurdy 5! Then on Christmas day we will go to Mom and Dads…for prime rib and other goodies.

Already the kids are tired and bored with Christmas vacation. Only… 12 days more to go!!

How many chores can I create?

I also wanted to thank those who have supported and encouraged me during this time of uncertainty with my Dads cancer.
Thank you all…you are my support group.
The day turned out differently than I expected.
No gloom and doom. No waving of the finger saying, “You idiot, why did you smoke!”, or “You get what you deserve when you smoke.” No such comments were made at all. No life expectancies were brought up. No talk of death or dying…nothing except talk of living with cancer and the treatment of cancer.
The office smelled of new carpet and paint,was calmly decorated and relaxing. The chemo room itself was beautiful and the nurses, the ones we met anyway, were very nice. The oncologist is almost an exact replica of Mark’s older sister, Teresa (she’s the one who is going to be opening a coffee shop in Iowa). It was very bizarre to see and hear her. She was easy to visit with, open, friendly, and Dad liked her. The main reason he liked her is that when he mentioned cigs the Dr. did not freak out. She said, matter of factually, “The damage is done, if smoking helps you to cope, is something that you feel you must do, than do it”. My dad instantly thought he would send her a Christmas card, invite her to lunch, buy her a gift…
We go back to Kearney on Thursday for an introduction to the radiologist and perhaps a simulation of his treatment. We start next Wednesday with his chemo regime…again…in Kearney. The two meds he gets will be given per infusion, but no port will be placed! They will just start an IV each time. He will receive chemo every 3 weeks for 6 doses and radiation every day (Monday through Friday) for 6 weeks.
Dr. Lewis does not travel closer to Cambridge and we will have to make the 1 1/2 hour trip there and then 1 1/2 hours back Monday through Friday. The longest days will be his chemo days when the meds take around 4-5 hours to infuse. I think we will have helpers when I can’t go or mom can’t go.
Surgery did not appear to be an option. Dad did not mind that. He preferred this route.
It feels good to be starting something.
So, let the roller coaster begin.
My mom told me that she told my dad, “People don’t die from cancer…they die from not eating!” Therefore she justifies the 3 squares and 3 snacks a day plus 3 glasses of liquids per meal and a daily vitamin smoothie that appear magically in front of dad at every strike of the clock. I thought to myself…By God I’m not going to die skinny! I might die…but I’ll be buried in a piano case!
I saw the PET and bone scan reports today.
No mets.
We must be thankful for small victories.
Still there is cancer.
Still cancer is deadly.
But it felt like such a relief that the cancer was not all through the body as I earlier suspected.
It sure felt different going and telling mom and dad that, so far anyway, according to the recent tests, the cancer is confined to the lung.
Still we will probably be doing chemo, radiation and perhaps surgery.
Funny how your priorities change.
First the word cancer sent us into a downward spiral.
Now we hear “no mets” and that sends us into positive orbit even though we know there is still cancer to deal with.
Mom is running around, wrapping presents, getting out more decorations. Dad is animated. He got out and drove around in his pickup today. Went to his old haunts.
Tomorrow we go back to Kearney. It won’t be roses I know that. We will probably hear about life expectancies and chemo and mortality and radiation and nausea and vomiting and minor surgery for insertion of a port and God knows what else.
I’m glad though, to see mom and dad less anxious. That’s worth a great deal to me.
Yes my dad smoked but…
What About All The Other People Who Live(d) Beside And Around That Area of Town?

Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in the West, its greatest anamoly being that it is primarily self-inflicted: over 80% of lung cancers are caused by smoking; next is residential radon, a by-product of naturally-occurring breakdown of radium, which comes from decaying uranium. (hmmmm….uranium…where have I heard that before???? Oh YAH…IT’S IN OUR WATER THAT’S WHERE I HEARD IT!!!! )

One in fifteen homes has been calculated to have ambient radon levels exceeding safe levels. Lastly, comes work-related carcinogens – again, self-infliction.

Self inflicted…kind of like saying I’m Thirsty, My Body Needs Fluids…I’M GOING TO DRINK THE WATER HERE EVEN IF IT KILLS ME!!
Some days I don’t feel quite so bad about Dad’s cancer…for a moment. And then, I remember how thin his shoulders looked when I helped him put his shirt on, or I see the back of his neck as we were driving up to Kearney for his bone scan and I feel so very very bad. I remeber seeing that little patch of neck skin and feeling so goddamn helpless. Just that tiny bit of skin exposed to the elements. Unprotected. So much like riding a rocket that’s out of control.
Actually this feels like having a baby…it’s coming and there is nothing you can fucking do to stop it. It’s not under your control anymore.
The strangest things double me over. Like seeing Dads hands drumming along his knee as we were heading up to Kearney…I wonder…is he thinking…this is it…I’m going to die soon…my day’s are numbered…will I suffer…how much pain will I have…is this my last Christmas…I can’t hardly take it.
I think of holiday music and warm homes and everybody getting together for their family meals, I think of Christmas Eve and how we always go to Mom and Dads for soup and and I wonder what we are going to be doing then.
Getting a subclavian for Dad’s chemo to start? Taking radiation? Both? Worse?
I don’t want Tuesday to come. I don’t know if I can take it.
Every day that passes by and we don’t go to the Dr. or talk about going to the Dr. makes it seem less like we are dealing with cancer. Seems we are just biding time until…something bad happens.
Tuesday will be the start of…something.
The results of the scan I’m afraid will be devastating.
Mom want to postpone the appointment until after Christmas.
I don’t know what to do right now.

except cry
I found myself pacing pacing pacing tonight and for some reason I wanted to go jogging. However, the thought of feeling my fat gut bulging and swaying in the breeze not to mention the slap of a couple of jugs in the face made me reconsider. I walked and left the running up to my nose.
Tomorrow we take Dad up to Kearney for a bone scan. Today we had the PET scan. Next Tuesday, we go up and talk to the oncologist who will tell us if the cancer can be treated with chemo, radiation, surgery or… nothing. I fear the worst.

Merry Fucking Christmas.
Jingle Fucking Bells.
Deck the Fucking Halls.

In other news:

I recently found out that the Bike Ride Across Nebraska(BRAN) ride will be coming to Cambridge next year. On Day three the riders will be camping here!

Jo Jo Dancing Bear is still alive and kicking although after her latest bout of illness I had my doubts. She was sputtering and spewing, pale blue and laughing at…of all things…my Christmas Stick Tree the last time she was at my house. I saw her today at Duckballs where she was picking up a discounted egg peeler… a perfect holiday gift for that special someone…(??) Hopefully not me.

Petie has a new name. Yes, it’s Petie Rat BasTurdburgler. When we got home from Kearney, I hurridly threw down the few presents I have gotten around to buying on the “piano room” floor and tried to wrap them as I had a spare hour. As I knelt down on the floor I noticed a lovely dried litter encrusted cat turd staring up at me as sweetly as a dried litter encrusted cat turd can stare. I knew something wasn’t right. Yes, I was that sharp. Petie was standing at the open door with a shit eating grin on his face. When I narrowed my right eye and lifted my lip in disgust, he slunk down and fell on his back like he’d been harpooned.
When you find yourself delivering very good, hot Colombian coffee (from a reputable coffee shop) and Xanax to your parents home and wishing you had a vat of whiskey as well you know things are going downhill. One minute you may find yourself making homemade apple fritters, the next…telling your Dad that the Dr called and he has non small cell squamous cancer of the lung. You may find yourself setting up PET scans and bone scans and buying groceries for your folks. You may find yourself crying when you least suspect it. You might wonder how you can smile and wish anyone happy holidays when your own are tainted by the appearance of those bastard cancer cells.
We are now in the process of staging.

You can’t know how awful it was to take the phone call from the Dr in the early evening hours, decide to wait overnight to talk to your folks so they won’t have a sleepless night, go in the morning and see them turn to you with fearful eyes and then say “Dad, it’s cancer”.

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
We wait for reports and I feel myself growing older and grayer. It’s only been 2 days, yet it feels like eternity. My Mom and Dad are hibernating in their home. Locking themselves inside a protective bubble. Forgetting everything the Dr. already told them, they are waiting for a miracle. I am so not ready for this thing to get rolling. Let them remain in hiding I want to scream! I imagine I will call the Dr’s office in Lincoln tomorrow or early early Monday and ask them for results, explain that I would like to know before they dial up my folks. Somehow, I don’t know if they will tell me anything. HIPPA violations are something to behold. I dread for Mom or Dad to answer the phone and take in the news like sponges…only to deflate, curl up inside themselves and implode.
I’m expecting the worst.
My stomach is in knots.
My Mom is in some kind of world I cannot fathom.
It’s almost unbearable.
I find myself feeling guilty if I forget for a second that my Dad is sick, my Mom floundering. What I could have should have need to do is flogging me with every breathe.
I wish I could do anything to make things better.

Sitting In Limbo

Posted by dashblog on 2005-12-10 22:15:12 PDT | Permalink

Filename: john_cruz_sitting_in_limbo.mp3 | Tags: by John Cruz
Got back from Lincoln around 5 pm today.
Dad had his, as he called it, scopealottome, or otherwise known, bronchoscopy and biopsies this morning. Mark asked him if he also got an addadicktome while he was at it.
Dad tolerated the procedure well. Better than us in fact. Me, Mom and Mark sat in the waiting room and waited.
Waiting sucks bad.
The Dr. talked to us, showed us pictures of the bronchial airways (right side perfect…left side…not)…the good news(which I don’t think there was)…the bad news(probably cancer)…and now we await the biopsy results.
Early next week.
We will know for certain sure what we are dealing with and then we can plan what to do or not to do.
I’m so tired right now. I can’t imagine how my Mom is feeling let alone my Dad.
This SUCKS in a big big big way.
One day down.
We got here(Lincoln) last night, checked into a motel, slept zero, got ready, had a massive breakfast, and then, went to Bryan Medical Plaza. There we met Dr. Johnson, pulmonologist. Dad’s x-ray looked worse today then when he got out of the hospital 2 weeks ago. More fluid around the base of the left lung. The lower left lobe was not expanding at all.
Probable cause…cancer.
No surprise there really but to hear the Dr say it out loud was almost a relief. At least it was out in the open. Dr. Johnson also said that the haziness could be caused by a severe pneumonia.
He gave us that glimmer of hope. He isn’t abrupt and cold. I mean even if there is 1 chance in a zillion it is just a severe pneumonia it’s nice to hear that there “is a chance”.
I like him. He is a non threatening and non judgmental Dr…so far. We found out he grew up around Alma. He knows some of the Cambridge folks too. That was kind of a neat plus.
Dad was then scheduled for a pulmonary function test and after that and an arterial blood gas draw, he had a thoracentesis done. This is when a needle is passed between 2 ribs and into the space between the lung and the rib and fluid is drawn off. In dads case…2 liters of beer looking fluid. Dad teased Dr. Johnson and said his distillery had been found out. His lung did not immediately expand after the fluid was drawn out. It might yet, or not. We don’t know yet. Tomorrow, we go into Bryan at 5:30 am and dad will have a bronchoscopy done. There Dr. Johnson will take biopsies. Then, we go home. We will have the results of the biopsies early next week. Once we receive those we will form our plan of action or non action. Right now, we don’t know for certain sure what we are dealing with.
Mom is doing okay…as good as she can. Dad seems good. He doesn’t say too much. I almost felt like he was relieved that the word cancer was out in the open. I don’t know.
It’s been a day.
If the weather doesn’t get a lot worse (been snowing off and on all day) and dad tolerates the scope, we will be home tomorrow late afternoon.
Thank God for Mark. He has been toting us all everywhere, getting our rooms, getting baggage here and there. This trip would have been HELL without him!!
Due to the weather we are leaving today.
That means we won’t see the kids’ Christmas programs (silver lining?) ha ha ha. I am sad though, because I hate to miss anything the kids are in.
I soaked Dad’s feet and trimmed his nails last night…slowly slowly slowly…cuz that’s my way and Mom veered in with a sidecutter and practically wedged off a toe.
Good Lord!
No wonder I love gore, sores and weeping pustules! It was born right in me!
Cindy Sue called me late afternoon, from Kearney, from the mall, to inform me
OMG! Call 911! The stores will never be the same! I think she and her mom were going to buy sleeping bags and camp out in Herbergers or something like that.
What A Terrible Tragedy!!
Snowed in at the MALL!!
Academic All American …that’s our girl! If you haven’t been keeping up with Nebraska volleyball (and WHY NOT!!) then you wouldn’t know about Christina, who hails from our sweet town of Cambridge. Regionals are Dec 9-10 and should be awesome.
I hope we are all home and watching on our own TV set not in a Lincoln hospital bed. Dad is quite the Husker fan…he always watches, listens to the games. It would be cool to take him to a game one day.
Dad looks good, says he feels good, is not coughing, is eating and NOT SMOKING!! The not smoking part is amazing. It’s probably good I chew my fingernails cause if I didn’t, I would probably be a smoking machine like Dad was.
Dad is quiet, Mom is exhausted and this wait is almost unbearable. I dread what is coming yet, we need to know and take some type of action. We may leave tomorrow, depending on the weather. Wednesday at 11:30 is the appointment.
Other news, I made raspberry walnut cream cheese biscotti tipped with holiday almond bark last night.
baking…and no fire.
They don’t taste half bad either.
Today, I spent in a flurry of activities trying to organize my leaving for a few days. The shop is in good hands, but there are all kind of bizarre things I need to do to leave.
Well, gotta put an order in for goodies so more later.
One week we go to Lincoln.
One long week of waiting.
It’s hard, very hard.
You know what you will probably hear and you don’t want to hear it but maybe hearing it will ease some of the strain.
Actually, it will probably just put the strain somewhere else.
Funny, this afternoon I thought, I’m going to put up my Christmas decorations. I’d come to the conclusion…We should be living life one day at a time and we should enjoy what we have together…now…and now meant decorating for Christmas. I called Mom and we talked about that and she felt the same. I had a moment of relief.
Then, tonight, I felt like shit…bawly and morose again.
I just feel so damn sad and I hope and pray that if we hear bad news, that Dad won’t have to go through a bunch of painful medical procedures. I just dread that. I just can’t hardly stand the thought of it in fact. I may have to rearrange my furniture again.
I do that when I’m nervous.
Feng Shui Furniture Therapy I guess.
Maybe I could start a Feng Shui Furniture Moving Group. We could meet at each others homes, wearing kimonos and thick canvas work gloves. Our steel toed boots would protect us from any injuries we might possibly receive from taking oak buffet tables from one corner of the room to the other. Baby Grand Pianos wouldn’t slow us down either.
In other news, I picked up several branches that blew down from our “blizzard”, stuffed them into “Petie’s Pickle Crock”, threw lights on them, our Christmas decorations and taaa daaaaaa….our Christmas Tree!!
RedNeck Style…except I haven’t hung any beer bottles on the ends…yet.
It’s a blizzard here like we haven’t seen in awhile.
The wind gusts are up to 50 mph or more at times.
With snow.
Mark and I headed up to the shop around 6 am(ish) and while he shoveled I planned what meal to feature, made rolls and lined up the coffee shop stuff. I decided I would just shower there after I was done with the morning stuff.
I thought I’d probably end up with a shower partner but Mark ended up taking an elderly man to the hospital instead. The man was out walking into a restaurant down the street (not even open) and he fell on his arm…breaking his shoulder. Poor guy. Luckily I got my shower done quickly unluckily after dressing I made a decidedly bad discovery.
I hadn’t brought my make up with me!
I was due to open up in 5 minutes, Mark was gone, I had no car…my face looked like, ass. I thought…oh surly no one will come in.
Oddly, even though it was blizzarding, people did come in to get coffee and hot chocolate, cappuccinos and lattes…and I made chili and cinnamon rolls for our “daily special” and Thank God that Katie walked in and I made her work and new girl Amber trained our front today and she caught on AWESOMELY and it worked out okay. I had to stay all day and close just like the old days and I am tired.
Ran out to take some groceries to Mom and Dad as they are trapped inside of their house due to the blowing snow. Dad doesn’t feel real well today…not sleeping well, slightly nauseated and in his words felt like he had a hangover. We don’t have our Lincoln appointment yet. It’s a worry.
Funny, as a nurse I dealt with this all the time…while at the hospital or doing home health and hospice…but now…it feels different.
I hate it very much.
Everything seems to be spinning inside my head. Much like a snow globe.
Just waiting for everything to settle down so I can see what’s really going on. 11/27/05
Dad’s home and we will probably be going to Lincoln sometime this next week.
For now we wonder if the rattle is an infusion from the pneumonia or, as he says, “My leetle buddies”, making an imaginary ciggarette with his fingers.
We can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
In other news, I tore the coffee shop appart yesterday and attempted to decorate and move the tables and chairs around so some people can sit as long as they wish and others, who wish to shop, could actually shop.
It was a nightmare from hell.
I moved every table, every chair, almost every counter, every book, coffee bean and more.
I always regret it when I get the place torn from stem to stern, because it takes FOREVER to put things away.
In the end, I got things put back somewhat in order, but I didn’t get all my decorating done.
Today I suppose, I’ll finish.
The thought of decorating my house makes me shudder.
I have no desire to do it.
At all.
We should have put up our outdoor lights yesterday when it was nice out.
Today is cold, windy and possible it will snow and rain later.
At least some of my Christmas shopping is done.
Boxes have been arriving lately.
Filled with things I ordered.

If only I could remember who I ordered that monkey for.
For now…

Not much new.
Dad still in our local hospital with “inconclusive CAT scan results” leading to a check up in 2 weeks with a pulmonologist in Lincoln.
He is being treated for Pneumonia now and for the next 2 or 3 days…Even though he has been smoking since he was 11-12 years of age…and the inevitable is looming on the horizon.
He has lost 20 or so pounds.
He has a chronic cough.
His RBC is 12…not 14 like a man should be.
He occasionally coughs up bright red sputum.
You do the math.

It’s been a hard 2 days and it feels like a month has went by.

It might be miller time soon…
My Dad’s in the hospital.
Not great news.
We may be heading for Lincoln, pulmonologists, biopsies etc.
I’ll know more today…probably more than I want to know I’m sure.

January 2006
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