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)