Friday, December 21, 2007

Ramona is sleeping upstairs in her room up in the 5th floor of St. B right now. I'm at this lovely kiosk so I'll keep it brief but when I've got more time, we have some nice pictures from this week. Anyway, in summary. Round 6 is almost done. A CT scan was done this week. It shows that there is only one tumore remaining in her lungs, and it has shrunk. It is now 8mm in diameter. The meaning of this is that Dr. Wong would like to do more chemo.....still going on indefinitely at this point.
Everything here at the hospital looks good to get out of here as scheduled and enjoy Christmas.
This blog looks incredibly boring compared to how the week has been.....I'll do better later...
We're incredibly thankful for the care we get in here. The nurses are amazing and came to wake us up this morning with a huge gift.
Thanks to those of you who continually pray for us,

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ramona is watching the Packers vs Raiders right now (aka. sleeping) (apparently she doesn't care much for the NFL) so I thought I'd keep everyone up to date with what is going on here. On Friday night Ramona was feeling pretty lousy and by the evening her temperature reached 38 degrees, meaning we headed in the direction of the St. Boniface emergency room. I promised Ramona that if her temperature was below 38 when we got to the hospital we wouldn't go in. A huge answer to prayer! Her temp showed at or near 38 until we got to the hospital. There her temperature showed 37.4 we went to McDonald's to kill a bit of time and check her temperature again to make sure this wasn't just a thermometer error. Sure enough, at McDonald's her temp. was 36 point ...something...degrees. So...we went to Kev and Jay's for the night. Although we're not in emerge, Ramona is still not feeling super good. Chemotherapy really destroys her digestive tract causing huge discomfort. It's hard for me not to get angry at the doctors or the pharmaceutical companies or find someone to blame for all the pain.
We spend alot of time thinking of how best to strengthen Ramona's body after the chemo is done. Please pray for the decision making process as well as Ramona's discomfort now.
(I reread this blog and it looks pretty vague...I'll try not to be as vague when you talk to me in person).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Yes, it definitely was our anniversary. Two years and counting. It's like our wedding day, but with a PICC, a wig and many pounds (for the groom).
-Earl and Ramona
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Monday, December 03, 2007

I'm finally home! Yes I did have a transfusion yesterday because of my low hemoglobin, so we only got out of the hospital around 3:30. It was great to sleep in my own bed again with my own blanket and pillow-way more comfy. Considering everything, I'm feeling quite good today. It's Earl & my 2nd anniversary today, so I'm hoping I'll have enough energy to make supper together when he comes home from work. Most couples would probably find it special to go out for supper, we on the other hand, much prefer being home and not eating restaurant food. I think we've had a bit too much of that in the last while.
Thanks for your prayers,

Friday, November 30, 2007

It is cold. Anyone here in Manitoba already knows this. Actually, at the time of this picture it was only about -25 C. Anyway, Ramona loves to go for a walk anytime they let her out. The pump freezes in the cold weather and needs to be reset when we get inside. Today was good news day. A MUGA scan was done on Tuesday morning, and we were only given the results today. Dr. Wong told us that her heart was 62%. Once again, to put this in context, 62% is the difference between the expanded and contracted heart muscle. 50% is considered the bottom of the normal range and the point at which a new chemo would need to be found. I'm just going by memory, but I believe that the previous MUGA showed 55ish %. This may just be a blip in the numbers from this scan......but atleast the numbers went up. Instead of crediting this to chance let me just thank you for continuing to pray.
Ramona and I have been reading a bit about the long term heart damage that doxyrubicin's not too pretty. The safety of Ramona's heart is a good thing to pray about.
...oh ya...Dr. Wong made no mention of Ramona's hemoglobin this morning, but yesterday it was 90...meaning that unless it improves Ramona will likely need a transfusion before heading home...
shower time....
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's obvious from this picture that Ramona's family loves her....anyway....we'll watch the Bombers win today...and then tomorrow we'll head to Winnipeg for chemo round number all seriousness....Ramona is still constantly tired...often making it hard to enjoy the regular activities of the day...thanks for praying....earl
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Monday, November 19, 2007

I am sitting here at Jay and Kev's house. As I was writing this first sentence here Dr. Gingerich called me from St. B to make sure that Ramona is doing fine. I am very impressed that the doctor himself calls me to make sure that everything is good. So...back to what is actually going on. Yesterday morning we thought that Ramona would be released from the hospital in the morning and then we would go on and try to live life 'normally'. When the doctor came in in the morning he told us that Ramona's Neutrophils were 0.1 and that she would have to be in the hospital longer. So...realizing that we would need to make the most of the day stuck in the hospital, I left to go buy a Tim Horton's chicken salad sandwich for Ramona. Forty minutes later, when I returned to St. B with a Beef Barley soaked chicken salad sandwich Ramona told me that she was released from the hospital.....on the condition that we stay in Winnipeg overnight. So...we got out of the hospital just in time to see the replay of Stegall's touchdown. That was a new deal to me. I guess that doctor didn't think it was safe to be 2 hours away from the hospital if Ramona's fever were to return. The way the roads are, I think he made a good call. Anyway, we watched football and movies and relaxed away the day yesterday. Although Ramona didn't feel energetic, her fever still hasn't return, which we are super thankful for. As we speak, I was planning to wait a few more minutes before waking Ramona up to go home. Now that the doctor called to check on her and order a blood test, I guess I'll wait until I have this blood test thing figured out so she can get a little more sleep. Ray, if you're reading this, I'll be at is a plug for all the great people at Countryside Lumber, thanks for understanding)
Thanks everyone for caring and praying,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another note: This afternoon Ramona's temperature hit 38.4 degrees. So...we left for Winnipeg around 3 p.m. On the way, Ramona's temperature hit 39.0 degrees. I broke the speed limit. In Winnipeg, all the streets were blocked downtown and it took us and hour to get from the north perimeter to St. B. This is a horrible feeling when trying to get to the hospital ASAP. We sat in the waiting room 1.75 hours before Ramona got a room. Things seem to be stable now. Ramona's white blood count is 0.5 and her platelets are low as well, but since she feels okay, the doctor was going to let her out tonight. He phoned the oncologist on call for a second opinion. This second opinion leaves Ramona in the hospital for the night. I am at Jay and Kev's for night now and will head to the hospital in the morning. She should be out sometime in the morning. At 12:25 when I left the hospital, they still hadn't given her antibiotics.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

After that last post, I came to the hospital in the morning to find out that Ramona's hemoglobin was low...meaning she spent the next day receiving 3 units of blood. Almost the worst part of that is that the chemo schedule is thrown off. Ramona had the option of postponing the chemo for a day but chose not to. We had big plans for Sunday. Anyway, by the time Sunday came around, Ramona was back on schedule and we went to Soul Sanctuary for the morning service. Then we hung out with friends all afternoon, and by the time we were both exhausted we headed to the MTS Centre for the Newsboys show. It was definitely an awesome show. Thanks to Rick and Elaine for the tickets.
This is the weekend of potential emergency room time. Yesterday, Ramona wasn't feeling good and by the evening her temperature got to 38.1 by around 8 o'clock. 38.0 is the magic number to head to emergency, so we went home to pack up to head to the city. At home, we checked again and her temp. was just hung around and kept checking...37.8 and 37.9 for most of the evening...I fell asleep and Ramona told me that she woke up often in the night and her temp. was usually 37.9. And so far today she has mostly been in bed and either she is sleeping right now or just pretending to...but last temp check half an hour ago was still 37.7...her body has little strength to fight with right now and any 'little' pains become much bigger...her teeth and ear are giving her problems.
So....that's life right now,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hey there, I've been trying to post a video clip of Ramona's birthday party for the last few days but it hasn't worked. Anyway, Ramona was in admitted into St. B last night and chemo will begin this morning. I'm not sure who has all been praying hard last night, but it was probably one of the most fun times we've had going into the hospital....nothing very special special happened we just hung out and watched an episode of Prison Break...Ramona has a private room. It's not the 'comfy' room, but atleast it's private.....
for now,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here's a picture of Earl & I at Donny & Cathy's wedding. Earl's all dressed up cause he was in the wedding party.
I'm doing really well considering all the chemo I've had. My biggest physical struggle is my fatigue. I usually feel like I wake up tired and go to bed tired. I'm heading in for my 4th round of chemo on Monday.
Thank you so much for your prayers, comments, emails, etc. We need you and appreciate you.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

What an encouraging bunch of comments you guys. Thanks so much. I'm not sure how to sum up three weeks of time here, but let me start with the news we heard this morning.

Ramona had her mugga and ct scans on Tuesday and we got the CT results today. This Morning Dr. Wong and Bonnie came into the room, flipped the lights on and smiling from ear to ear they asked if we were ready for the results...well to sum it all up the lung tumors have shrunk by 50% and there is no sign of tumor returning in the hip and auxilla. Dr. Wong gave Mony a big hug and one nurse told me she got goose bumps when she heard the news. I did the only thing I knew how to do and got a cheese cake from Double D's for breakfast to celebrate. This is the first really good news we've had in a while.

Also, the Mugga scan showed that Ramona's heart has remained stable which means we can keep on with the treatments. That is in fact all we really know right now. Ramona on Day 3 of the third round of chemo and we know another round of chemo is scheduled to begin on Nov. 5. After that we once again don't have much of a plan.

Speaking of plans, the doctors are once again making sure that our faith is on God and not in medicine. We had the Telehealth (webcam) appointment with Dr. Waddell in Toronto (although we were in Ashern of all places). This was merely a followup appointment to make sure there were no problems with the last lung surgery. We also asked about the RFA of the lungs. I really put put a bit of pressure on him to make sure he was doing everything he could do to have a long term plan for Ramona. I don't know how to describe his attitude except that it was obvious that in the long term this disease usually wins.

I talked with Dr. Wong about long term stuff as well. And I want to thank everyone who is praying. From his responses it seems that from the way he sees it, every day that Ramona has is already a gift, and because she keeps responding to everything, we'll just keep going and plan day by day almost.

Ramona has the good room again. Which we are incredibly thankful for

........For now,


Sunday, September 30, 2007

You know, once again this is an exciting feeling. I'm sitting in our bedroom writing this blog and Mony is out in the kitchen making supper...that is awesome if you ask me. All things considered we have much to be thankful for from this week. As previously mentioned the room was a huge blessing. Also, the St. B. nurses fight for us. They were doing anything from bringing us junk food from the staff room, to talking the charge nurse out of having a student nurse with Ramona. It was also pretty sobering talking with Bonnie...and I need to interrupt this sentence to explain who Bonnie is in case I haven't in the previous posts.
Bonnie Johnson: Bonnie is the chemo nurse. Again, I forget her technical title, but she is in charge of the chemo on the wards. She is the one who occasionally gives the chemo and has taught pretty much every nurse on the ward how to give chemo. Also, she is the person I would phone if I had medical questions or concerns from home. Last time, when Ramona was in emergency Bonnie is the one who called us from her house at 11:30 p.m. to make sure everything was okay.
Anyway, about the talk with Bonnie. Ramona asked Bonnie about Dr. Wong's other patients. How many patients survived? The answer, I think, shocked both of us. (in this case, a survivor is someone who is "cancer-free" five years after their treatment) Bonnie told us that he has only one patient who is considered a survivor and he just recently noticed lung metasteses. That's pretty sobering. We're, of course, determined that Ramona will be survivor #2...we knew that odds weren't very good...but this is worse than we expected here.
I'm simply going to leave that thought there because there is really no good segway out of it. Ramona and I were talking about the purpose of our lives this afternoon.There is the traditional Christian answer of "to glorify God", but we're quite tired of cliches. For me, a large part of my purpose at this point is to take care of my wife...but for Ramona you would think it would be something like "getting better". Here's the problem, when your purpose is something that you have very little control of. That doesn't make for that great of a life. There is something defeating about having your purpose focused on yourself....
We think about these kinds of things, again, apart from the immediate health concerns, we think about purpose.
I guess I haven't mentioned yet that Ramona was released from the hospital on Saturday morning. Which was perfect, we got to attend Evan and Renita's wedding.
Ramona has a Telehealth(webcam) appointment with Dr. Waddell in Toronto on October 12 at 9 a.m. Central. Among other things, I hope we can talk about what surgical procedures need to happen after chemo. Also, at the beginning of next round (Oct. 15) they will do a CT Scan and a Mugga Scan. This determines whether the tumors are actually shrinking and whether Ramona's heart is handling this.
Thanks again,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm at my brother's house showering and then quickly getting breakfast to bring back to the hospital because Ramona is getting hungry. And then I found Jay's I'm writing....quite quickly, I might add. Admitting into the hospital Sunday night had no major issues. Monday morning around 8 a.m. they told us that Ramona's hemoglobin was low (84). This would make perfect sense why she had no energy all week. Due to this...from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. it was a process of getting blood. All the procedures from taking blood to do a group and match to actually receiving the two units of blood. This always feels like a long process. Ramona's family was here with her all day, while I went back to Arborg in the morning for a day of work. Ramona slept fairly well this night, although last evening some of the medication made her pretty anxious. We're also incredibly privileged. Last Saturday I called the hospital to see if Ramona could have a quieter room at the far end of the hall. So, they surprised her and gave her the newly renovated 'comfy room'. Private bathroom, free tv and phone, new flooring etc.
For now,

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Goodmorning to everyone who everyone who is awake before 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. Lately, again, for some reason, I've had many people tell me that the blog encourages them to pray. We appreciate that a lot. Medically speaking, the last few days haven't been very noteworthy. We were almost 'normal' for the last few days. I would come from work at supper time and Ramona would be making supper. That is a huge treat for me. During the day Ramona canned things with her mom a few days this week. This would also be a good time to thank the people who chipped in and tended our garden when we couldn't this year. All things considered, the garden did really well (I might also be writing now to procrastinate digging potatoes today). Ramona is incredibly tired though. She fell asleep yesterday evening at about 7 p.m. She woke up for about 45 minutes around 10 o'clock. Now, as I'm writing, she is still sleeping. There is no question that her body needs all the energy it can get.
We have been praying for peace. It's pretty easy for us to get scared that the cancer might win the battle. Worrying does not help the healing process.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Earl & I participated in the Terry Fox Run today. I was asked to say something and so shared my story and shared with everyone why this event means so much to me. It was really neat to have this opportunity but also kind of terrifying!
It was a super gorgeous day and so Earl pushed me on the wheelchair while he rollerbladed. We had some family and friends also participate so they took turns pushing me.

This picture is taken moments before we go bald. (Due to my experience a year ago, I expected my hair to start to fall out today. This morning it wasn't really, but by the afternoon I was starting to lose it. It was so much easier to have my hair shaved seeing that it was starting to come out. I'm so grateful for that perfect timing!

There were 7 of us that shaved our heads to bring in more money. Four young girls also had their ponytails cut off. What a neat event with the community chearing you on. My brother Randy also decided to get his head shaved.

And this is us after.

I really enjoyed the event today. I felt such community support by hundreds that I don't even know. Arborg has an amazing reputation with bringing in lots of money. Today I know that over $10,000 was donated!!Wow.

Because Terry Fox and I both fought/are fighting sarcoma I know that I want to a part of this event as many years as possible.
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thursday night when I wrote Ramona was pretty tired. I guess she fell asleep around 8:15. That night she didn't have a fever but she was slightly warmer than what would be normal. Although I knew this was the time when she could get a fever I went to work friday morning anyway. Ramona called me at 8:30 telling me she temperature was in the upper 37's. This is still okay, but the magic number they gave us was 38. Then we need to head to emergency to make sure everything is okay. At 11:30 she called me to say her temperature was 38.2. To make a long story short I came home and pretty much had to force Ramona to go to St. B. At that point she wasn't feeling too sick, but her temperature showed a fever. By 3:30 when we got to Winnipeg, we were pretty glad to be there. Ramona was feeling much more sick.......I need to speed my story up since we're heading to my parents right away.......the fact that we're home is pretty amazing...last night the doctors told Ramona she would probably be stuck in the hospital for a few days. Her white blood count is currently 0.4. In the hospital they require you to be in isolation if you're under 1.0. Anyway, Ramona's doctor this morning decided she could go home. She is on antibiotics and she can drink water. This is all they would be doing for her in the hospital now anyway. Keep her hydrated and on antibiotics. This doctor encouraged us to still do the Terry Fox Run tomorrow, so we're excited about that.
The effects of chemo are bothersome for Ramona now. The lining of her digestive tract (throat, large intestine, etc...) are affected. Not fun.
Thanks for caring,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We're relaxing at home again tonight. Ramona fell asleep right beside me here. She's been resting/sleeping for a while already. This is the weekend where her white blood cell count will drop almost to zero. Dr. Wong didn't warn us as profusely as last summer, mainly because we've done this all before, but if Ramona gets a fever we need to head to emergency immediately. A body without blood cells doesn't fight very well.
This is just a note so that you know how to pray,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ramona and I are sitting around enjoying an evening at home. Like Joanna mentioned in one of her comments. No news is probably good news. Our version of a normal day does not include much internet time. Anyway, I've confessed that many times before.
We had a bit of a scary incident last night. Ramona and I were laying in bed and I was reading a book. It was windy and raining out side and things were blowing around. We heard the sound of what seemed like people coming to our house and making noise on our deck. We had our lights all off. And so it all felt a little weird to me. I went to the door to see what was going on. About 12 feet in front of me, a bear ran in front of my deck and into the bush. I shone my flashlight at the bush. I had no gun. End of story.
I'm incredibly thankful that I can be writing about bears. Ramona has handled chemo incredibly well. In fact, if we hadn't spent last week in Winnipeg, we might not even know that Ramona had had chemo. Not quite, she is weaker and more tired....and yes, her hair will probably begin to fall out this next week.
Speaking of which, we are hoping to be part of the Terry Fox Run in Arborg this weekend. It sounds like a good event with the 10km run and head shaving. I guess I could push Ramona on the wheelchair with my rollerblades or something. Depending how everything works, I guess Ramona might shave her head there too, since that will happen shortly anyway.
Completely changing the topic, one of my friends had a good reminder for me about something to be thankful for. We were talking about how Ramona is in a life and death battle with cancer. There was something incredibly basic, yet noteworthy that he mentioned. Ramona is a Christian, and therefore the life and death battle is only on earth. After earth we will be in heaven. Imagine how frightening it would be if the battle was between life and eternal 'death' in hell. People all around us are battling with cancer and for many of them the battle ends in an eternity in hell. Ramona and I both often feel pretty hopeless and this was a much needed reminder that we do have hope.
Thanks for caring,

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hey...just a note that the last few days have gone amazingly well. Ramona has hardly even felt nauseous. She is on her last bag of ifosfamide right now. Everything is on pace to be out of here by tomorrow morning... I hate the pressure of these kiosk machines...i'm almost out of time....have an awesome day.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I guess it's high time to update this blog...and as usual no one likes to hear about good intentions. Anyway, Ramona is now beginning day 2 of chemo. When I left the room 10 minutes ago we were joking around with the nurses and Ramona was feeling fine. The drug dexoroxane (the heart protectant that was supposed to be super nauseating) has had no negative side effects so far. This is really awesome. Dr. Wong told Ramona this morning that if it causes nausea the effects are supposed to appear almost immediately after they inject the drug.
I sometimes get asked what people can do to help us/Ramona. This is a really tough question to answer.....we're just like everyone else in the world who absolutely love it when people show that they truly care. And most people have different ways of showing they care, so it's not a question that can be answered simply like. "we need food" or "if Ramona was given......something...then she would be happy"
One thing we wonder about is how much to dabble with alternative medicine. The complexities of the question are not something I want to discuss on the blog right now. I often almost go crazy trying to figure out what is wise and what is not wise. I think and stress out about this as if I actually have something to do with how Ramona will get better. If you could pray for peace as we battle through those decisions would be much appreciated too. God can as easily heal Ramona with a glass of water as with a bag of doxorubicin or anything else. I often forget that.
Anyway, I'll go bring the computer to Ramona so she can read previous comments (no Internet access in the room unfortunately)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We spoke with Dr. Wong the other day. It sounds like chemo will begin on September 3. The chemo drugs will be like last summer with the addition of the drug dexoroxane. This is a heart protectant that will increase nausea and vomiting. The adriamyacin has already permanently weakened Ramona's heart (although it is still in the 'normal' range) and Dr. Wong is not going to take the chance that it could be damaged all the preparation begins...we are heading back to Winnipeg for a Friday 8:15 a.m. appointment to put Ramona's PICC line in....
When I'm not so lazy, I'll post some pictures of us painting our house...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Just a note to say that we haven't fallen off the face of the earth. On monday at lunch they released Ramona from the hospital. We stayed at the Days Inn Monday night and flew home Tuesday afternoon. I apologize that we couldn't get our internet working at the Days Inn. Anyway, we're living life at home. We're trying to do some work on our house (hopefully the "red" paint on our walls quits looking pink soon). We're waiting to talk to Dr. Wong in three days. Dr. Wong has talked to Dr. Waddell about chemo stuff. We will strategize with him to see if and when chemo will happen. This is a pretty tough thought.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fortunately for myself I don't believe in luck or superstition or any of that kind of stuff. If I did I wouldn't be writing a blog today. I'm tempted to look back and check how many times I've written like I was care-free and expecting good results from a certain test and then the results were worse than I expected. Anyway, yesterday the second x-ray that we were waiting for showed that the lung drooped a little bit again. Nothing to worry about, unless it gets worse instead of better. So, again this morning, they did an x-ray. As long as the lung stayed slightly drooped like yesterday or got any better, we're out of here. So, I'm writing here again, because I'm looking for something to do while I'm waiting for the doctors to tell us to get out of the hospital.
Ramona slept really well this night. I guess the worst part of her night is that some of her medication makes her dreams pretty intense. I tried really hard to be sympathetic and listen to what her dreams were about at 2 a.m.
Ramona is sleeping again. It's sometimes hard to make comparisons to last lung surgery, but I think her breathing is still more shallow and laboured than last time. We're both very fine to stay in this hospital until we're sure everything is functioning well.
Last night ended up being encouraging for both of us. A nurse and doctor together decided it was okay for Ramona and I to leave the hospital for supper. I'm not sure if they forgot that the epidural catheter was still in her back. (Don't worry, the line was disconnected, but the little plastic needle was still in her back) Anyway, when we got back, the charge nurse told Ramona she shouldn't have left. We really enjoyed supper. We went to the Hardrock Cafe on Yonge Street and Dundas. There was also an African Dance Festival going on right outside the restaurant. We did very little dancing, but had a splendid time regardless.
Our flight is booked for tomorrow, hopefully we're on it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ramona just finished her second x-ray of the day. She is too busy reading her own chart to chat with me I figured I would just come and write. At this point news seems to be good. Earlier this afternoon, Ramona's x-ray showed that her lungs were good enough to remove the chest tube. They removed the chest tube a few hours ago and now they are doing another x-ray to make sure the lungs are still fine. We don't suspect any problems. Ramona's epidural was disconnected, but it takes 24-48 hours for the drugs to leave her body. The nurses want to make sure she is fine as she transitions from the epidural to only percocet for pain management. We expect Ramona will be out of the hospital early tomorrow but we still haven't heard when the doctors will let her fly. We don't really expect to spend much extra time here in Toronto. So that's our Sunday afternoon. We had quite an amazing date last night. I ran to the corner of Spadina and Queen to go rent a DVD...we made some popcorn...we watched half the movie...and then due to our old age we decided to go to bed...Ramona slept really well...anyway...our neighbors marriage issues on the other side of the room are too loud for us to finish our movie now...
Finally more relaxed,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Carol is flying out of Toronto at 8:55 tonight.
Ramona will be out of hospital Sunday night at the earliest.
Ramona has walked 2.5 laps around the floor today
Ramona has eaten 1 cherry 1 grape and 1 chicken burger today.
I was dumb and paid over 8 dollars for her chicken burger.
Ramona's lung is inflated again.
Pray for energy for everyone

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hey Jay, thanks for posting that prayer request for us. I don't know why that seems to happen so often. I just finished a blog where I was joking around about bird poop and then I go to Ramona's room and find out she has a fever of 38.9. And then while I was phoning my family to chat with them and tell them about Ramona's fever the nurse came back and checked Ramona's temperature. She was back down to 37.1. I chose not to immediately post anything, I thought it would be okay to have people praying anyway. Ramona's body sure has taken a beating. We're still not exactly sure what is up with this vomiting and fever stuff, but Ramona is pretty weak and exhausted and I guess this might just be the result.
The picture on the right is there so you guys who sent Ramona flowers can see what they look like. (I hope you appreciate all the effort I put into cleaning up before I took this picture) (Also note that I printed out the blog for Ramona to read sometime when she has the energy) . Thank you very much for the flowers. Also, thanks to Erin for bringing the food. I finished the banana bread today.
At this point Ramona's mom is planning to leave Toronto tomorrow afternoon. Since this is her last night here she'll stay with Ramona tonight again. Pray for both of them that they get lots of sleep tonight.
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Today has been a day of set backs so far. Yesterday, just before I went to the hotel for night (Ramona's mom stayed with her) I went for a lap around the floor with Ramona. After walking, she seemed to have more trouble breathing than we thought she should. It probably took half an hour until things started feeling okay again. When I left the hospital I thought things were going fairly well and it turns out that Ramona actually did have a pretty good night. At 10:45 this morning, when I arrived at the hospital Ramona was again in her bed trying to catch her breath. (It's pretty frightening to feel like you can't breath). The nurses didn't quite know what was going on but all her vital signs were still good, so we got things settled down enough that Ramona could be taken down for her x-ray. By this time Ramona was feeling extremely cold. We made it down to X-ray and about half a minute later Ramona threw up...we got her some water and more warm blankets, but after she threw up she still went for the x-ray. She came back upstairs and it was probably 12:30 before she was warmed up and relaxed enough to sleep. She slept fairly well, off and on between 12:30 and 3:00. During this time they told us that the x-ray showed that Ramona's left lung hadn't fully inflated yet. This was causing some of the problems. Because of this, they once again have the suction on in her chest tube. Also, one thing we noticed last night is that there are air pockets in her shoulder and neck. There is a big technical name for this. Apparently, it won't cause any problems except discomfort for Ramona (Please pray about Ramona's pain). At about three o'clock now, Ramona got up to walk again (the doctor recommended more walking to help her lungs inflate). After this walk she seemed to being doing a little better than previously. Ramona's mom was back in the hospital so after her walk now I decided to get out of the hospital for a bit. This ironically isn't usually much fun for me. I don't really like hanging out with myself and for some reason i don't feel like putting in the effort it takes to meet and connect with new people right today I called my good buddy Curt (sorry man, I didn't hang up on you, my phone battery died)...i was in the middle of sitting under a tree and telling him what you just read when, to add emphasis to how I was feeling I felt a dollop of warm, green and white, gooey goodness land on my right shoulder. I looked up and realized there were about 25 pigeons sitting above my head. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I' m not sure if any of the above information affects when we are coming home. As usual, we just wait and see.
Thanks again to the prayer warriors,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Breakfast in the Step down Unit: The first thing you will notice about this picture is my beautiful wife. She is smiling and eating breakfast with us. What you don't see is that she was up much of the night. The reason is because she was so itchy. Her morphine dosage was a little to high. She had relatively little pain, but as previously mentioned, she was so itchy she would wake up every few minutes and scratch herself. Also the stepdown unit was quite noisy as most of her roommates were coughing and gagging throughout the night. In the morning hours she got more sleep (they lowered morphine dosage, and now later they changed her medication, also, it got quieter), and I really hope she is sleeping now. One thing that also makes the night hard for sleeping is that her blood pressure was alarmingly low, we're not sure why it happened, but it's a repeat of the night following her previous lung surgery. Possibly just with time or because the morphine dosage was lowered Ramona's blood pressure is back to normal.
The second thing you will notice about this picture is that I am drinking the superior coffee.
The third thing you keeners will try to figure out is how many lines and hoses Ramona is attached to (today and tomorrow are almost a constant process of removing medical devices from her) (go ahead, zoom in on the correct apparatus and try to figure out if Ramona still has airleaks in her lungs)
We talked to the resident doctor this morning. He said that optimistically Ramona is out of the hospital tomorrow, but more realistically she is out on Saturday. Also, the tumor that they could not find in her lung was only 2mm in diameter. Since Ramona is likely doing chemo now, this isn't something to worry about at the moment.

This is Nhung. She is one of the amazing nurses in the Stepdown Unit. For those of you trying to picture this room, it has four patients in the room with two nurses assigned to these four patients. On the above picture you see Ramona on the left side of her bed, she is sitting two feet and one curtain width away from her neighbor. The desk that Nhung is sitting at is 4.5 feet away from the right side of her bed.
Thankyou for reminding us that you are praying. Ramona will be exhausted trying to recover from this surgery. The challenge will be to build emotional stamina for chemo in the middle of the recovery now.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Surgery is done. Ramona is in the recovery room now. They estimate that she should be up in the room in about an hour. Dr. Waddell said the surgery went fine. The CT Scan showed 9 spots and the doctors removed 11 spots. It's good they got 11 spots, but it's a bad sign that there are more tiny spots coming. Also, Dr. Waddell said that there was one spot on the lungs that they could see on the CT Scan, but they could not feel on the lungs, so they didn't remove it. I don't know the size of that spot. Dr. Waddell again talked about chemotherapy. If he had his way Ramona would be doing chemo in 3 or 4 weeks. This is, of course, to be determined yet. Chemo seems to be more important all the time as small spots in the lungs are becoming more numerous. The procedure to 'burn' the small spots in the right is up in the air right now. Dr. Waddell figured there was probably only one or two people in the country with experience to do this, we'll have to see when these people are available and what happens with chemo etc....etc...
The next day or two will not be much fun for Ramona so please don't stop praying yet.
Those of you who were praying yesterday, please keep praying. The surgery started just over an hour ago. We were told that everything was "going fine so far".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Another quick update before bed time. Ramona's surgery did not happen today. We waited around until around 9:30 p.m. before they finally told us that the surgery would happen tomorrow. So...after spending the day lounging around together and eating very little we all left the hospital and took the taxi down Younge street and found a good place to eat. At 11:30 we left Ramona at the hospital. We don't know when the surgery will happen tomorrow. I'll call the 10th floor nurses desk at 6 a.m. tomorrow to find out if they know when Dr. Waddell will do the surgery. Ramona had a CT Scan today that had some good and some bad news. The bad news: The tumors are still growing fast. The right lung now has two visible tumors and two suspicious spots. Dr. Waddell highly recommends chemo as soon as possible after the surgery. The good news: The tumors are at a size that surgery is still possible. They can remove all the visible lumps.
I'm very tired,
We're kind of bored. The surgery that was supposed to happen at 11 a.m. still hasn't happened. Ramona has been and is still waiting on the 10th floor. One of the resident doctors just told us that Dr. Waddell's previous surgery took much longer than expected. We were told that Ramona is second on the 'emergency list'..whatever that means. He said that it would probably be after six o'clock that they took Ramona down. If for some reason they can't get her in today (before 8 o'clock) then they will have to do the surgery tomorrow. We thought we would be nice to Ramona and since she isn't allowed to eat before surgery we decided we wouldn't eat at the hospital either.......on a long day like this it's rough news for a stress eater like myself...anyway...thank you so much for praying everyone...
(Prayers for peace must have been answered, Ramona fell asleep in the afternoon and when I left the floor a few minutes ago, she was going to go sleep again)

Monday, August 06, 2007

This is the picture I was trying to post before
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Well......another day spent being admitted into a hospital. This morning we all slept the time we were all awake it was nearly 11:30 a.m. (I won't say who)...anyway...I was glad Ramona could get a lot of sleep...we headed out to Pizza Hut for lunch and by the time we had lunch and had taken the subway downtown it was almost 3 o'clock and time to be admitted. I took a picture of Ramona in her room, ya....i didn't think it was that exciting of a room the time she is admitted and done x-rays and swabs and had blood taken and talked to the anasthesiologist and the doctor is was about 8 o'clock...again, nothing very significant to report. Her surgery is the second one of the day for Dr. Waddell and therefore the starting time of her surgery is dependant on when his first surgery ends....the doctor estimated that Ramona's surgery will begin around 11 a.m. The estimated duration of surgery is about 2 hours. Before I explain more about that i'll just explain the other two pictures. The cars with the cranes in the background is what we watched to kill time in the evening. The cranes had spot lights or fire hoses making 'rain' for the filming of a short scene from a movie that is supposed to come out next year....i forget the name now...the last picture is of Ramona and I with our Quizno's subs at the Second Cup on the Harbour...(from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. we were hanging around outside). I really appreciate everyone who is praying for peace for all of us out here. There are no words to express feelings leading up to something with such huge implications. Tomorrow we could hear anything from, "Your cancer is completely gone" to "I'm sorry, surgery isn't possible anymore" This question becomes scarier when we have recently heard that the cancer is growing fast. My mind keeps going back to a verse in Phillipian that I underlined in my Bible when I was 16 years old. I don't have my Bible right here but the verse talks about having peace beyond our understanding. And I remeber back then I penciled in something to the effect of 'it's a good thing God understands more than we do'. We were challenged lately with the question, "Even if you received bad news would you still trust God?"...and that is a huge question...i sure hope we don't have to anwer that tomorrow...I truly believe God knows what He's doing here.....I don't really want to write any more tonight...Those of you who believe in peace, pray for peace. Those of you who believe in miracles, pray for miracles.
A follower of Jesus Christ,
Earl Reimer

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

We're in Toronto again. The flight was very uneventful and now we're all hanging out in the AIM apartment....trying to figure out how we're going to fall asleep. I think we're all just a little too wound up. Ramona is going to be admitted into the Toronto General Hospital tomorrow at 3 p.m. That gives us time to sleep in and go out for a nice lunch before that. When we flew out of Winnipeg a bunch of friends came out to play arcade games in the airport and pray with us. That was pretty awesome.
For now,
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Before I say anything else, I'd like to say thanks to all of you who encourage us. What an incredible feeling to know that hundreds are praying and begging God to show His glory!
Yes, I had an appointment this last week with my oncologist in Winnipeg, Dr. Wong. He confirmed that I will be having surgery on my left lung on August 7th. He wasn't comfortable with doing more chemo unless we absolutely have to. All chemo would really do is buy me more time. We were really excited about not doing more chemo now, but the reality still is that my cancer is growing rapidly.
Earl & I were at camp most of this last week. We came home Tuesday night and rested at home and then I went to Physio on Wednesday. Physio doesn't seem to be doing a lot yet. The stretches that I do are pretty hard on the rest of my body, so it's hard to be disciplined.
Today begins the last week of camp. I still believe that God wants us there, but it has been incredibly hard. One of my big struggles has been not being able to physically do all the things that I would love to do. I've taken it pretty easy and haven't been very involved. Being such a 'doing' person, this has been quite stretching. I was able to share my testimony on the anniversary of my diagnosis. I was able to share with the campers how God can use the scariest thing in our lives for something beautiful. I can honestly say that I have become a better person due to my journey through cancer. There are things that I have learned that I never would have had I not gone through this. I shared with the campers my dream of using my experience to encourage others, especially children, who are going through cancer or other similar trials.
This has so far, been my highlight of camp.
I have to admit that the future is pretty scary. Knowing that medically speaking there isn't much hope, forces you to think about life and the gift that it is. Some days I get so tired of fighting and wonder when it will ever be over. I still believe God has a much bigger plan than I can even imagine, but the truth is-there is no guarantee that that will involve me living until I'm 70 or 80. He might be glorified more by my death than by my life.
And so these are some of my thoughts. Thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming. It's my desire that one day soon, we can announce that I'm cancer free, however, that is not best for me right now.
Those of you who are living not too far away....
Feel free to come visit us at camp on Wednesday night

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 to cover two weeks of life in one short blog??...let me first write about the last Toronto appointment before I mention camp. On monday afternoon we flew into Toronto...we took the subway to the hospital and made it there an hour before Ramona's CT scan. The 8:40 p.m. CT Scan was uneventful except for the fact that it was a little late. And I appreciate the offer Marion to use the AIM appartment, but Ramona and I knew we would be tired and only around for one we stayed downtown...Ramona's appointment at 9 a.m. the next morning with Dr. Waddell gave us some pretty discouraging and scary news. Ramona's lungs are not clear. The left lung has atleast 6 tumors the size of loonies and the right lung, the one they cleared out 4 weeks ago already has one more tumor about the size of a loonie. This means the cancer is once again growing fast....if no more tumors grow, Dr. Waddell said that these would be easy to remove...the problem is that we don't know how many more will grow. Surgery for the left lung is booked for August 7th.....i don't know how describe the doctor's expression...he was hinting that they may need to do chemo if the lungs look too bad...this part is up in the air right now. We have an appointment with Dr. Wong (Winnipeg) where we will, I'm sure, talk about this. Please pray hard. This is pretty scary news we're hearing. There is no proper segway to change topics now, but I wanted to end this blog on an encouraging note. While we were at camp (and I'm sure now too) a lot of good things were happening. Kids were not only having fun and getting hit with paintballs, but were becoming Christians as well. It was powerful for everyone to hear Ramona's testimony last week. Ramona is taking a break from camp this week and resting. I plan to return to camp for Thursday and Friday of this week and depending how things go, we'll probably both be at camp the last two weeks.

For now,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In the last week our lives have changed drastically. Last Monday, as Earl & I were sitting by the table and I was swallowing my herbs and eating a nectarine, I was reminded of Beaver Creek Bible Camp. I've volunteered there for 7 years and it's a well known fact that nectarines are served a lot. I asked Earl what he thought about BCBC and immediately he asked, "You mean being assistant directors?" Just that Sunday, Evan, the director of Beaver Creek mentioned the need for assistant directors. However, it never once crossed our minds that we could fill that role. When Earl mentioned assistant directors, we were both shocked. He hadn't been serious, but after the words popped out, we both realized that it would indeed be a possibility.
All day Monday, Earl & I had been amazed at how well I was feeling. We never, ever thought that a week after lung surgery we would be considering going to camp for 5 weeks. We both thought I'd be way too sick. Well God is a God of surprises and we definitely felt his direct leading that we head to camp. As soon as we realized the possibility, Earl & I were both filled with peace and a gut feeling that in a few days we would be at camp. There was no question in our hearts that God was leading us there.
So Earl & I arrived at Beaver Creek Bible Camp Sunday afternoon, knowing we should be there but not at all feeling prepared or adequate. The week has been going incredibly well. Earl & I have been so incredibly encouraged. Earl especially has had many opportunities to encourage campers and cousellers. I long to do many things, but my physical restrictions limit me. I have been involved in a lot of organizational things. God has also been drawing me closer to Him through some incredible staff members. I believe God wants us at camp, not just to encourage others but also to challenge us to draw closer to Him.
Today Earl & I are leaving for a wedding in Saskatoon. We'll be coming home on Sunday and heading back to camp. I have an appointment in Toronto with my lung surgeon & a CT scan to see what is going on in my left lung. This appointment is on the 17th of July. We will be at camp when we can but obviously work around my medical appointments.
Thanks so much for your continuing prayer.
A year ago today, the word 'cancer' was mentioned for the first time. My needlepoint biopsy was done, my first CT scan and my first IV. Hopefully this journey is almost over.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A week ago at this moment I had still not seen Earl since surgery.
A week later, I am amazed at how well I am doing. I'm still on heavy pain medication but have already started to lessen the amount by about a third. I'm starting to slowly do things like washing dishes, sweeping the floor, laundry and other household chores. I never expected that I'd be able to do all that this soon. Yes, I still have constant pain but it doesn't limit me as much as I expected.
I have also started a new kind of herb products that I am really excited about. I really feel that God directed Earl & I to meet Daryl Robinson when we did.
We're praising God that I'm doing so well and praising Him for another miracle.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Surprise! On Thursday evening when we talked to Dr. Waddell we asked him if there was any possibility we could fly home Saturday morning to be home for Randy's graduation. He told us it would probably work since the airleak in her lungs had closed up 12 hours after surgery. So...obviously that was pretty exciting for us since we hadn't let ourselves believe we could be home for grad. We decided it would be fun to surprise Randy and the rest of our families and our friends. So....if you look back at Thursday's and Friday's blogs it doesn't say much about when we would be coming home. Anyway, at 6:30 Saturday morning we picked up Ramona at the 10 a.m. we were in Winnipeg having just enjoyed a nice turbulent 1 p.m. we were in church saying 'hi' to was definitely an exciting adrenaline filled day for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the grad and afterward we sat around with Petkau family for a few hours and then tried to write a blog for a long time....we are not thankful for viruses, but we sure are thankful that God allowed us to come home yesterday. We still appreciate prayer immensely, the next weeks when the adrenaline is gone, will will be much tougher than exciting, adrenaline filled days.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Last night as I was winding down for bed in the lounge of the 10th floor of the Eaton wing of the Toronto General Hospital I put on the TV for a bit. Out of the blue a guy walks into my 'bedroom' and asks me if I play hockey. It turns out from our conversation that he was sure he recognized from his ball hockey league. He spent the night in emergency in St. B. after one of his ball hockey games in Winnipeg in the beginning of August of last summer, but I don't think that was a connection either......whatever the case we chatted for quite a while...and Daryl's story is truly quite 29, was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer at 18...he underwent the usual then the doctors just sent him home...they didn't know what they would do if his cancer kept growing...he wasn't satisfied...he 'randomly' researched on the a hold of some herbs...his tumors shrunk...doctors were amazed...being a young zealous guy he told everyone he knew about this product that was healing make a long story short he now owns a nutrition supplement business with 30,000 clients....anyway...i noticed earlier that whenever he walked around the hospital he walked pretty fast...i thought he must be doing pretty turns out that on June 12 he had his chest opened 'like a suitcase' and benign tumors (formerly malignant) removed from his lungs and belly area...we could hardly argue about nutritional supplements with someone who is obviously doing so well. The doctors told him he would be in hospital atleast six weeks...he's flying home on Monday...he is such an encouraging guy to talk i had spent alot of time thinking about what kind of 'supplements' i would get for Ramona from now on. Those decisions have always felt huge to me...this seemed divinely inspired that Daryl and I talked last night....anyway...the day at the hospital wasn't incredibly eventful. Mony is now taking 1 percocet every two hours and two advil every 6 hours. That seems to sort of take care of the pain although she is never actually pain free. There are parts of wounds of the surgery that pain medication simply doesn't touch. I just mentioned to Ramona this evening that sometimes I don't get so excited about this blogging which she replied that the blog reminds people to pray...i appreciated that reminder from her...Thanks so much for continuing to pray for us.

'Til we meet again,

P.S. I can't remember if I blogged this earlier or not, but Dr. Waddell told Ramona that she wouldn't start feeling any better for about 3 weeks. That's kinda discouraging. 3 weeks is short relative to a lifetime, but in the moment....well you know

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Toronto: the saga continues

hey everyone, this is Jason here...earl's staying the night at the hospital, so i get the honours of addressing the free world via this blog...i feel so powerful....anyways, i think what i was supposed to say was that things are (still) going basically as good as can be expected...apparently there was a bit of a hitch this morning when ramona was given a little too much pain medication (i think it was called Perkicet... Perceset? Perkeset? what am i, a doctor?)...i guess that happened cuz they took out her epidural, and were trying to compensate for the lack of pain relief (i hope there are no highly educated medical people reading this)...other than that, things seem okay...they took all the tubes out of her, which is obviously a praise item...i guess that's it...i think if there's a hidden message here it's that if there were more super-serious news or setbacks to share, i would not have been chosen to write this blog...if this has been too vague or the spelling too un-good, not to worry, i'm sure earl will write something much more coherent tomorrow sometime...

stay classy,

Jason Reimer

p.s. will somebody please tell my girlfriend she looks beautiful? thanks

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

For those of you who wonder why I don't blog as often as I did last surgery, my excuse is that we don't have proper internet access on the tenth floor. This is my bro Jay trying to get some sort of wireless connection from all the surrounding buildings. By the way it's nice for Ramona and I that my brother and mom are with us now. (My mom is currently sleeping in the lounge in the hospital. Like I said, the strict rules in Toronto General don't allow any 'visitor' to stay the night in a room that isn't private)

This is Mony openning a gift that her mom sent along with us (On the privacy of the blog, Mony was very thankful for the comfy pants and I forgot to tell you on the phone mom...oops) In the background you see her neighbor, she mostly sleeps, Ramona has had good people in the different rooms she's been in )

Part of the recovery process is this breathing incentive....thing...pretty much you have to inhale in this tube and it shows you how powerful you suck and it has this little blue thing that floats when you inhale...and....i give up...go to a hospital and ask to look at one of these breathing incentive devices...

This picture is merely to show you how good my wife looks with her new hat and glasses. The picture was taken the night before surgery

Now...trying to catch up on all the technical information and the thoughts and feelings attached to that. Ramona's pain is largely under control. When I got to the hospital at 11 this morning. Ramona began to have more pain. Coincidence I was told. With a few boosts of Morphine in her epidural and an ant-inflammatory plus two tylenol she began to feel better. Pain-wise the rest of the day was very bearable. She is beginning to be itchy from Morphine use.
Ever since Mony got to her room on the tenth floor yesterday there have been no airleaks in her lung or chest cavity (I'm forgetting all my technical terms in my sleep here). This is a good sign and they will likely take the tubes from her chest in the morning. I'm getting the impression that if possible they remove most of tubes all at once. If they remove the IV, catheter, epidural, and drainage tubes in the morning she'll be almost a free woman.
The physiotherapists in the TGH are concerned that Ramona isn't walking better. They are researching precisely what was cut and what was reattached in the hip surgery by Dr. Ferguson. To be continued. Hopefully physio has a better idea what is going on tomorrow.
Speaking of walking, Ramona walked out in the hallways three times today. I'm impressed. I don't know how to describe this and Ramona may look at me funny later when she reads this but I continue to be amazed at how flexible her upper body is after how damaged her rib cage must be. Modern pain relief techniques are amazing.
We continue to be concerned what the left lung (theoretically the good lung). If six or seven 'new' spots appeared on the right lung since the last CT, it's pretty hard to have faith that the left lung will show clear when they do a CT now in a few days. Much faith needed.
Concerning the scare last evening with Ramona's arm being immobile and potential blood clots and all that stuff. I'm incredible thankful that all seems to be well. Her left arm has as much mobility by now as it did before surgery. Conclusion is that the epidural probably wasn't placed perfectly and they slightly overdosed the amount of morphine through there.
So.....having said all this....Ramona will hopefully be out of the hospital by Friday and likely fly home a few days later. There are plenty of reasons they may want us there longer, but that was the nurses prediction today.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

When I wrote last time, I stopped at a computer lab between the surgical waiting room and the tenth floor to go wait for them to bring Ramona up to her room. I expected them to have her up by about 3:30. Finally at 4 o'clock I asked the nurses what was going on. They told me Ramona needed to have a CT Scan. This was all they told me right then. I found out the details slowly, but what happened over the next couple of hours scared us a lot. When Ramona woke up from surgery she had a severe headache and absolutely no movement in her right arm. This has potential to be a severe problem. The doctors quickly went to work to prove that Ramona did not have a blood clot in her spinal column from the epidural. Had there been a blood clot neurosurgeons would have had to do emergency surgery to remove the clot. (I'm not sure I want to ask what all the possibilities could have been)...anyway they did the CT Scan which was inconclusive so they needed to do an MRI. The doctors did not know whether or not they could do an MRI since they couldn't decide if the whole epidural system contained any metal. So Ramona had much time downstairs to be with the nurses. And Ramona had many good things to say about the nurses. By the time, I saw Ramona it was about 8:30. I was incredibly glad to see her, obviously. I am leaving out incredible amounts of information, but all I want to do is sleep right now. Ramona is by herself in the hospital, TGH is quite strict about visiting hours (although they did let us stay later since Ramona only got up half an hour before the end of visiting hours) Ramona talked about how much peace she had throughout the day. Pretty amazing for a day that had moments of wondering whether or not she would survive the complications of the surgery)

Ramona is out of surgery. I just finished talking to the resident doctor he said that they took ten spots out of the lungs. He said they got everything. This begs questions. Two months ago on the CT Scan they could only see three spots. I'll wait to talk to Dr. Waddell later to see what this means. The biggest spot wasn't attached to anything. That is good news. Ramona was incredibly relaxed before the surgery. We sat around in the pre-op holding room chatting and realizing the peace we had was because of all the people praying. Pretty neat feeling. Ramona should be getting up to the room in an hour or two.
Thanks for praying,
This is Ramona in her first room of the day. She is with the resident doctor signing the surgery consent form. Actually, I think it is the form that allows them to use what they take from her to do research

In the evening after we had rested all afternoon we headed out to Nathan Philips Square (I hope that is spelled correctly).

This is where we bought our supper. What could be better than a big juicy German hot dog. To be honest we both couldn't think of anything we wanted to eat. Restaurant food is not exactly very entertaining. In all seriousness, the lung surgery is now eleven hours away. Ramona is in the hospital and Jay, myself and my mom are in the AIM apartment. We want everyone to be praying for a miracle. At the same time Ramona and I have been talking alot about how to accept it if this surgery isn't the final end to this cancer battle. It seems almost to good to be true that with this surgery the cancer could be gone forever. The surgery is scheduled for 11:55 a.m. Please pray hard. Everything that the doctors and nurses have told us is that the recovery from this surgery is incredibly painful. Ramona is think of getting an epidural for the first few days. I'm gonna go sleep.
For now,
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hey there... I found a few pictures to show what we've been doing instead of blogging. This first picture is kinda momentous actually. When we first came back from Toronto Ramona was having a hard time walking with her crutches. Here, five days before lung surgery she is cutting some grass. In all honesty it's been pretty frustrating. Ramona has only been off her pain medication for a few days and the limp is much worse than we expected it to be at this point.
This is me on my birthday. Ramona bought me some steaks to make on our new BBQ. I felt very full after my two T-bone steaks.
Yesterday we were camping out in Clear Lake with Ray and LaVissa and Elsie. This is our transportation. Ramona helped peddle occasionally, but made sure that any uphill cycling was on my own.

Today we're sitting back in our room back at the AIM Head Office in Scarborough, Ontario. It was about 10:30 by the time we got out of the airport (Thanks to Tim Brown for the ride) and we're getting settled in here as we write. Tomorrow at about quarter after ten Andrew is coming to pick us up to take us to the Toronto General Hospital (Thanks to Andrew and Eva for letting us use their car again). Ramona will be admitted then and the Hospital stay will begin. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Thanks for praying ya'll.
For now,

P.S. Ramona has had quite a bit of trouble sleeping. That is definitely something to pray about.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Surgery Date Changed

Here's a little update...
This week I got a phone call from Dr. Wadell's (lung surgeon)secretary telling me that the date for my lung surgery had changed. For some reason Dr. Wadell would not be able to do my surgery on the 21st so instead of postponing it, they pushed the date forward 2 days. As of now, my surgery is scheduled for the 19th of June at 10:00 in the morning. As much as this is exciting-every day sooner towards getting me healthy-it's also a little frustrating as we had just barely booked all our flights. We still are working on getting all the flights changed.
I'm trying to remember when the last time is that I used my crutches. I believe it was on Saturday. Out of curiousity I tried to do stairs on my own with Earl right by my side and sure enough I was able to do it. Since then my crutches haven't been used. My walking still is quite unique. I have quite a severe limp and so my right hip ends up aching due to all the compensating. However, it's definitely improving. Earl & I played catch on Sunday trying to get my left arm to 'work properly'. Even though my arm is still far from where I wish it was, I was able to catch almost everything. (Yes they were slow throws).
I'm still using narcotic pain medication around the clock. However, I've been feeling that I need to slowly start getting off of it. That's been pretty tough. It's been hard to know if my body still needs the drugs or not. I find I'm way more tired and groggy when the effects of the pain meds have worn off. I guess we'll slowly keep expermenting.
Well that's what is going on these days. I'm hoping to go to the greenhouse with my mom today and buy some flowers.
For now

Friday, May 25, 2007

So today I'm at my parent's again in the afternoon. Basically just like every other day for the past few weeks.
Yes, I am slowly improving and healing. The progress seems super, super slow. However, on Tuesday I stayed home alone while Earl went to work in the morning. I was able to get myself up and dressed and drove myself to my parent's for lunch. That was a pretty huge accomplishment. Since then the roads have been so awful so I haven't done much driving.
Another big accomplishment was washing dishes for the first time in a month! Earl had a bit of a misfortune the other day and ripped off his fingernail. So after supper I realized that there was no way Earl could do the dishes- it was up to me. I thought I'd give it a try knowing that every dish I got done was better than nothing. Well they all got washed.
I'm not really using crutches in the house anymore. I'm able to hobble around the house and do little things. Earl & I go for a walk every night. Each day we go about 100 feet farther than the day before. Earl has this goal that I should be walking half a mile one way by the time I go for lung surgery. I'm not sure if that's possible, but I'm trying to keep on pace for that. About half of the walk I use my crutches the way they're meant to be used and on the way back I either use them as canes or put my arm through Earl's and walk without crutches. I want to increase my ability to walk without crutches but my 'good' side gets affected because of how much it compensates for the other side.
That's pretty much an update on some of my accomplishments. Pain varies from day to day. When I lie down I usually don't have pain and when I'm sitting or walking there is usually just a dull ache. Sometimes I'm hit with severe muscle cramps. My pain meds keep most of the pain under control.
That's all for now,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pathology Report

Well, we got the pathology report back this week.....and....the news was absolutely as good as could be expected. Dr. Ferguson said that all the margins were clear in the hip and in the auxilla, the entire tumor was already dead before the surgery....(they removed what was dead anyway)...the bone pathology is not back yet, Dr. Ferguson told us that it takes longer to get that report back. We have no reason to expect bad news there. This news is a pretty big relief to us. Although the doctor told us he had taken out everything he could see, there was something about his choice of words that made us a little uneasy...and I remember talking about it with Ramona's parents after Dr. Ferguson talked to us after the surgery...we were all uneasy after talking to news is all good...we know for sure that God has his hand right in the middle of this....the lung surgery is currently scheduled for June much as this is slightly frustrating that it once again takes about twice as long as the doctors were hoping...this also means that they don't consider Ramona an emergency (they told me a little about the people that are getting priority over her, I'm glad Mony's lungs only have 3 spots)...I was really wondering if I should fight for some other surgeon to do this immediately in case her cancer spreads....but I don't exactly want the Mt. Sinai janitorial staff doing the surgery...We trust God knows what He's doing here and we took Dr. Ferguson's advice and are just waiting for Dr. Waddell to do the surgery...having said that...Dr. Waddell did put Ramona on the cancellation list of another surgeon general in the last two weeks since we've been home...Ramona and I are at home until lunch time....and then I work in the afternoon and she goes to her parents place...Pain was something Ramona was really struggling with...she was hoping to get off meds almost right away...but it seems wiser to be on pain meds all the's harder to rehab when the pain is too excruciating...the staples came out last Monday...the wound looks very good....considering everything, the scars shouldn't be too bad (an incredibly relief that it isn't infected...that was no fun last time)....Mony still uses crutches...she's getting pretty first she had trouble lifting her left leg into bed or into the car or anything like that...she's getting a little stronger and also better at compensating...I made her drive the car the other day...and she's first it looked a little awkward with her gimpy left arm...but she's got the hang of driving again...the arm is still slowly healing...I know it often feels useless to her....but she has regained some control...not power....but control....the left shoulder is starting to stiffen up a bit...we need to move it many ways this has been a refreshing week...we spent every evening with close friends or our families...anyway...i keep writing to procrastinate planting that garden...maybe if I wear my scarf and mittens and long red underwear I'll be fine...for now...earl

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The flights are booked and we're coming home!!!!!
The lung surgeon came and spoke with Earl & I sometime after 6:00 this evening. He says that he's willing to do my lung surgery. It'll probably take 3-4 weeks until he's got an opening. That should give me some time to keep on recuperating after this surgery. Although the doctors are optimistic, they do acknowledge the fact that there's quite a big chance that the tumors will come back. Therefore, Dr. Waddell, the lung surgeon, is going to try to do the surgery in such a way that future surgeries, if necessary, will be possible. As of the last CT, I have 3 nodules on my right lung. It sounds like they will trust the CT and just operate on the right lung as opposed to both of them.
Right now Earl is at the AIM apartment packing up our stuff. Our flight leaves here at 12:55 tomorrow afternoon. We arrive in Winnipeg at 2:28.
Today I experienced quite a bit more pain than usual. Yesterday was quite an intense day for me physically. I walked a lot more than I had until that point. I also took a bit of a tumble yesterday so my knee is feeling sore due to that. Therefore today I lay around quite a bit and am resting up for a lot of movement tomorrow.
Thanks for your prayers
Definitely looking forward to coming home tomorrow

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'll try to word this properly, but I'm actually lying beside my wife right now. The doctor gave us another day pass, so we decided to go to the place that most resembles home, the AIM apartment. I brought the laundry downstairs, and by the time I was back upstairs, Mony was sleeping. It's pretty hard work climbing two flights of stairs after hip surgery. As far as the hip drainage is concerned, it wasn't draining anymore. Ramona must have accidently pulled the draining tube out a little bit, so any drainage that came out was soaked up by her bandage, her leg, the floor, or her sandals. They took the hemovac out at lunch time today. Apparently it is very normal for the hemovac hose to accidently be pulled out a little too far. Anyway, the only thing we are really waiting for is to talk to the lung surgeon. We don't know which day that will be. Please keep praying, it is harder for Ramona to be in the hospital when she feels healthy than when she feels sick.

Waiting to see all the people in MB,

PS. When bone is removed it takes to 2-3 weeks to get the pathology report

Monday, April 30, 2007

It's a bit of a lazy Monday afternoon in the Mount Sinai hospital. We're gearing up to head out. Ramona learned how to use crutches today. That is the final physio step to be able to go home. We purchased the new crutches, so that's done too. The nurse's chart says that we leave tomorrow, from talking to the doctor's we don't believe that it is guaranteed yet. This morning the nurse told us the hip wound had drained over 150 cc in the previous 24 hours (sorry I think my previous statistics were skewed). The 'normal' amount of drainage before the hemovac is removed is 30 cc in 24 hours. They may just remove the hemovac anyway, we don't know. Also, the lung surgeon just returned from somewhere today, Dr. Wang (Dr. Ferguson's little helper) had no idea how many messages this surgeon would have on his machine and when we would be able to talk to him. They don't want us to go home until we have talked to the lung surgeon. Dr. Ferguson has 3 surgeries booked today. Once those surgeries are done, He will come do his rounds up here. We sort of need to wait around the hospital for whenever he comes. Also, Ramona's parent's flew home today. Whoever meets them today, give them each a big hug.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mony is gaining back those nutrients. If you see the bruises on her arm, i promise it was not me. The needles that prevent blood clots are painful and cause bruising.

Lori is one of the answers to prayer, as far as nurses are concerned. She is a Mennonite from Winnipeg who has also ironically worked up in 5B in the St. Boniface Hospital. (This is them waiting for the taxi to pick us up)

The last few days has been a very refreshing mix of nurses. Anything from the loud, funny night nurse to Lori, who is more quiet and caring.

The taxi took us to the Blue Jays game.

Mony looks quite hot wearing all my clothes. We're really looking forward to being home and (like Tara said) sitting around campfires and being 'normal'. Thank you for praying about the drainage from the hip wound. It is improving. (If you look very carefully in the picture you can see her 'blood purse' hanging by her left leg)

After the game we bounced Ramona on a wheelchair from the Roger's Centre to the Hospital. It was good to get out.
Have a peaceful Sunday afternoon everyone,
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This last week here in Toronto was something John & I did not ever think we would experience. It has been very difficult to see Ramona in pain and discomfort and to see Earl and Ramona struggle with questions that we have no answers for. But God has always given us new strength for each day.
I want to thank all of you out there who have been praying for them and for us as a family. We appreciate that so much. Please keep on praying.
A big thank you to those of you who are commmenting on the blog. We definitely are encouraged by that. Just keep it up! We all read them here.
Here is a picture of Ramona reading the blog comments.
Carol (Ramona's Mom)
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

i just walked!!!!I was walking with my walker a bit with my mom and then decided that I wanted to see what I could do. It started with standing on one foot, standing without holding onto my walker and then taking a few baby steps without the walker. Soon after Earl came in the room and I proudly showed him my progress and soon I was walking all alone to the bathroom. Yes someone is always close by and I have quite a severe limp-but I'm walking!!!! I can't go for long distances but it's an exciting start.
We went for a ride today. It lasted about 1.5 hours (Who would have thought that the tunnel under the road had no access to Tim Horton's.....who would have thought that all but farthest door in the Hospital for Sick Children would be locked...etc.etc..). That's pretty amazing. The top two pictures show the Mt. Sinai Hospital in the background. The bottom picture is us at Tim Horton's in the Hospital for Sick Children. When we got to the Hospital (Ramona's mom was with her for the night) Ramona was saying that she is becoming bored......what an incredible problem...I've been waiting for that...anyway...she was exhausted after her ride...but i think she's awake again...for now...earl

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