Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Toronto Again

We're back in Toronto. It was a fairly uneventful day of travelling. The flight slightly behind schedule. We used our subway tokens from last trip. We walked a little way to get to the Princess Margaret Hospital Lodge. It is cold. I think it's a bad sign that I want to go back to Winnipeg for the nice weather. Anyway, we've been curious for a while what the PMH Lodge would be like. The picture I posted the other day was correct. That is the Lodge. So you know what the outside looks like. We had to buzz the front door to let us in. We walked to the security desk since there was no one at the reception desk. The security guard made us wait for the nurses. The nurse came and asked Mony many medical questions and showed us around the place. It feels very much like a personal care home here. We had to sign out of here to go have Gyros on the harbourfront with Joanna. So we have our two single beds in our little room here. Which is probably better anyway, since the nurse will be checking up on us. I realize how grateful I am that Mony is feeling well enough that after traveling and everything we can be out in the city until 11:30. We're a little tempted to mock the hospital feel of our 'hotel', but incredibly thankful that Mony doesn't need daily nurse care now. Speaking of which, a concern we have is that Mony is feeling more out of breath in the last few days. It needn't be anything, but alarm bells start ringing in our heads and it's something we definitely want the doctors to check out tomorrow. Ramona and I spent alot of time dreaming in the last little while of how we can serve God. These surgeries/radiation and being out of breath are constant reminders to live each day to the fullest.
Quite sincerely,
Earl and Ramona

Friday, January 26, 2007

On the left you will notice the picture that we tried to publish earlier...I have since tried not to talk about our hair race...Ramona's hair has grown significantly since this picture and this pace I'll probably be going bald before i need another hair cut...and the picture above...I'm pretty sure that is the Princess Margaret Hospital Lodge where we will be staying the night of January 31...but we'll see, that may have just been a random picture on the hospital site...maybe if someone is familiar with Toronto they could let us know...anyway...i'm almost attempting to laugh at myself as i think of letting everyone know what Ramona's treatment schedule will be...this entire week we have been waiting to hear from Dr. Ferguson's office to see when surgery will be...assuming that next week we will be heading to Toronto for after day the secretary was telling us to call back because she was sure Dr. Ferguson had the appointment scheduled he just hadn't told her about it turns our phone calls today we realize that radiation will be happening before surgery and the scheduling is in the hands of Dr. Catton...who somehow miscommunicated somewhere and today after I called Elaina, his very nice secretary, did we get told about this. It's an emotional change since we left Toronto with the assumption of surgery happening first...I guess this was an optomistic approach...the MRI results confirmed that these tumors, especially the auxilla tumor, will be difficult to remove.
This will be interesting to look back later once we see what actually happens, but this is the schedule as we see it now.
Jan. 31- Fly to Toronto.
Feb. 1- 1:30-3:00 Do CT Scan with Dr. Catton
Feb. 1- 7:45 Fly to Winnipeg
3-7 Working days- Plan radiation and build radiation device for Ramona
Then...-do radiation for 5 ish weeks, depending on Ramona's response to radiation
Then...-do MRI to plan surgery
Next...- surgery probably 4-6 weeks after radiation
Don't hold your breath about any of these predictions....I talked to Dr. Catton today and told him that Ramona and I felt like we didn't know what was all going which he responded with a chuckle saying he didn't know what was going on either...this is a lesson in flexibility...
If you're looking for specific ways to pray for us...we realize once again that there is no guarantee that everything will "go smoothly" provides such an emotional lift to have a hopeful doctor...but it's also crushing when doctors say that the tumors will be hard to remove...we need little reminders that our hope comes from God, not doctors

Saturday, January 20, 2007


We're finally home and I'm more than ready to climb into my own bed under my warm, thick, wool blanket.
Oh by the way, thanks to all our amazing friends who met us at the airport. You guys are awesome and we appreciate you like crazy. Thanks also to all of you who are covering us in prayers. That's the most important and best thing you guys can be doing.
Good night

Friday, January 19, 2007

Coming Home

Okay, here's the deal. Ramona has the second MRI this afternoon at's probably better not to ask too many questions...for some reason someone miscommunicated about Ramona needing two and so they are scanning the armpit tumor today....anyway...right now...we're at Joanna's house and I'm watching her and Ramona make lunch...smells pretty good from where I'm sitting...they're asking me to do stuff...I'll have to write for a long time...anyway...back to the title 'Coming Home'...I talked to Dr. Ferguson yesterday...and he said that surgery would likely not be next week, but the week after...either way he will only look at the MRI's after the we booked a flight home for this evening...we'll arriving in Winnipeg at 12:30 is reading in Manitoba...we'll see you soon...earl

p.s. The MRI will determine whether the surgeries will take 3 or 10 hours...that is the estimated range Dr. Ferguson gave us...which makes sense why he needs to see the MRI's before he books surgery...the shorter the surgery the sooner he can find room in his schedule...we really appreciate how serious he is about getting things done fast.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Hospital

This is a picture of the Princess Margaret Hospital as well as Mt. Sinai. Princess Margaret is the tall building to the left of the glass building. Mt. Sinai is much smaller to the left of Princess Margaret. My MRI will be in Mt. Sinai, while my doctor's appointments have been in Princess Margaret.
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Toronto: Day 2 (sort of)

This morning we saw Dr. Tom Waddell, the lung surgeon. He was a really friendly man, with very little new information. He actually didn't even have the latest CT Scans (Dec. 7) in front of him so we needed to tell him that there was no visible tumors in the lungs. Although technology has advanced significantly in the last several years, if there is microscopic cancer residue in the lungs chemo is the only conventional way to hit that. To surgically remove something you would need to see it. Radiation can be used on visible nodules, but to hit the lungs with widespread radiation to make sure all the cancer is gone would kill you. So, the plan is to keep an eye on Ramona's lungs and pray that the cancer never returns.
Ramona has a MRI scheduled this afternoon at 2:45. Dr. Ferguson will review the results later today or tomorrow tomorrow morning they should have a surgical plan in place.
After the MRI we are hoping to meet with Sam I'm writing this I forget his exact title but I think it is something like "Canadian Director of Africa Inland Mission".
It's exciting for us to dream.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


From the title you can probably tell that we are pretty let me drag out this story...
This morning at 8 oclock my cell phone alarm went...i climbed over mony and shut it off...a few seconds later the alarm clock went off so i climbed over her again to shut that one off...a little later the wake up call went and i quickly clinked down the 8:09 we were only mildly startled with the snooze from the second alarm....We are in the Days Inn right beside the old Maple Leaf Gardens...several blocks from the Mount Sinai hospital...not knowing in which room our 9:15 appointment was we took the street car to the hospital a little early...We heard where Dr. Swallow's office was so Ramona had to get a Mount Sinai ID card and we scurried up to the office by 8:55....we waited and looked around wondering why there was so little life...we talked to some nurses and they were somewhat helpful and offering to page Dr. Swallow if we were waiting too long...finally by 9:22 ish we had figured out the Dr. Swallow was in the Princess Margaret Hospital...we got there and waited until about 10:30 to be let into Dr. Swallow's examination room...during this Ramona was actually somewhat anxious...this may be the only time in medical history that i was more relaxed than her...11:00...every joke we know is getting old...11:20 playing eye spy is getting kinda boring 11:40 i get told for the hundredth time that it is not good to play with doctor's tools...12:00 News!!!...We talked to a general surgeon she felt the tumors and asked Mony about her smoking and drinking habits and said that surgery was likely...what we heard from this surgeon is that the removal of the auxilla tumor may include removing one or two ribs...this seemed like a huge wouldn't really affect bodily function...but surgery would be very painful...(tommorow we are talking to the thoracic (lung) surgeon who will have a better idea about whether or not the ribs can stay.....anyway...then we got to see Dr. Swallow herself...she seems to be the important one...she may not actually do any surgeries...she was the connecting point between Dr. Wong and Toronto...she assured us that all was going to be taken care of and that we would need to deal with a whole team of people and stuff...we didn't deal with medical specifics alot...then the radiation oncologist came and ramona told him that she didn't smoke or drink, told him her family history, and ansered all those medical questions...the radiologist was good at explaining all the potential options....radiation can be done before surgery or after surgery...and there are quite a few factors that they use to decide which tumors need radiation and when it needs to be done...if it is complicated it will need to be done in takes 5 to 6.5's probably just easiest to explain once they just tell us what is happening...then we talked to the orthopedic surgeon...Ramona told him that she didn't smoke or drink...he felt the tumors and then we talked with him for a while...very optomistic guy...imagine Larry Payne as a surgeon and you have a good picture...he will be the surgeon who removes the auxilla and hip tumors...he predicted surgery for next week or the week after at the latest...this will also depend on when they do radiation...also said Ramona should be able to walk after the hip surgery which is much more than we expected......(right now Ramona and I are discussing what he actually meant on the timeline of when she could walk after surgery)...he also needs to have MRI's done before he knows specifics of how complicated the surgery will be...they should be scheduled here anytime...on to the lungs...this is the most amazing part...before we left home Ramona said that she would be more suprised if she had to have lung surgery than if she didn' this point they can't find anything on the lungs...which means that they can't find anything bigger than one or two mm big....this is absolutely amazing since there was a lump atleast 2 cm big and dr. wong as good as guaranteed there would be lung surgery...but...for long as there is nothing to cut out...the surgeons won't open up they lungs...WOW! talk about an amazing God doing what he does best....we feel incredibly supported in the last few days...some very timely phone calls and encouragements...thanks so incredibly much for praying for us..
Serving the God of Hope and Miracles,
Earl and Ramona

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

And...the race is on...although Ramona has an unfair start (her hair officially measured 1/2 inch while mine measured a mere 1/4 inch) the hair race began Sunday afternoon. To make up for this unfair advantage I have decided to massage my head with raw eggs every night (just kidding)...anyway...we have no stakes yet and I really hope the race ends before I have shoulder length hair...and those concerned about my mohawk...i did trim it down (although i did think it looked quite splendid)...there isn't really anything new to report about Toronto...we are simply looking forward to seeing how God works out all the big things coming up in the next little while...for now...earl

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I finally talked to Dr. Swallow's secretary today. She basically told me that the appointment was just a consultation. No surgery is confirmed or booked and so we really still have no idea how long we'll be in Toronto. However, she suggested that we stay for the rest of the week because my surgeon wants me to also see another doctor in the area. I guess that's about all we'll know until we actually get to Toronto.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The flights are booked! We're heading to the center of the universe on January 16th. Ramona's appointment is for the 17th at 9:15 a.m. ....the part that is frustrating for curious people, is we don't know any more than that. I talked to Dr. Wong's nurse this afternoon and she told me to call Toronto to confirm everything. Unfortunately, our Toronto secretary was having supper already and so...ya...stay curious I guess. Tomorrow we should know more timeline details etc...etc...
Keep up the good fight,