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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