Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lets all gain weight!

What a week, full of rebuilding, BYU basketball excitement, going to Park City, going to Jazz game, and getting stronger. 

Earlier in the week, Craig was struggling with the feeding tube with soy based nutrition.  The soy wasn’t going well with his stomach.  On Wednesday we received a different kind of nutrition that his system has done much better on.  He feels like he is getting more energy every day, and is continuing to eat as much as possible during the day, which is not very much, but he is trying.  Before he was losing weight and I was gaining.  Now he is gaining, and I am gaining, but trying to lose.  I will at least keep you posted on how much he gains, just keep telling me that I look GREAT! No matter what happens.

On Friday he was feeling well enough to make a trip to Park City to work.  I drove him up in a snow storm.  I kept thinking that I needed to bring the snowmobiles to enjoy the fresh snow.  As we were getting off the freeway Craig said that he felt like a child on Christmas morning, he was so excited to be going to work. Upon arrival he realized that he didn’t even know the key pad number to get into the office building.  It was November 9th   the last time he was at work.  The friends at work were so excited to see him, they said that the office was buzzing with excitement that he was coming.  It was so fun; we were just as excited to be there, as they were to see us.  Craig has a lot of girl friends at work that really love him, the guys are great also.   I left him there for a few hours in very capable hands, I counted 7 nurses.  We had a pizza party with root beer floats for lunch, in Craig’s honor.  One of the guys told Craig, “thanks for coming up so that we could have a party.”  It was a very nice day, for him to meet with a few people and have some meetings, and for me to visit with great people.  The people at Nutraceutical are great people, there are no better.  As we were leaving Craig had a big smile on his face, he had really enjoyed his time there, and it was a great lift for him.

Saturday continued to be enjoying for us.  Craig received tickets for our family to go to the Jazz game and sit in the Nutraceutical suite.  The Jazz have been struggling but it was great company, food, we were being a regular family just loving being together.  One of the ladies said she enjoyed watching us laugh together and enjoy just being together as a family.

Tomorrow is chemo, which we really try not to say out loud. We were able to take off an extra week to get a little stronger.  It should really help him.  It’s so amazing what taking a week off can do for all of us, the chemo does such a number on Craig.  I guess it is doing what it is supposed to but, HOLY COW, can we find another way to fight the cancer without making the patient so sick.  Oh well, life goes on!

I was driving into the neighborhood and there were few kids outside playing.  As I drove by, they were all looking in the car with big eyes.  I stopped the car and rolled down the window, they peered inside and looked a little disappointed that it was just me.  The passenger seat was leaned back and I think they thought that Craig was lying down.  When we come home from chemo or fluids and the kids see him they get so excited.  We know many of them are praying for us and that is the greatest thing in the world.  Thoughts and prayers from little children are the best.

Thank you to all of our neighborhood friends and family, both young and old, who are thinking and praying for us, it means so much to all of us.        

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's Here To Pump Him UP!

When we found out that the chemo was working, we were very happy, and so was everyone else.  It was very short lived excitement.  Craig has been so sick that it is hard to be happy.  Like people and doctors say, “If you can survive the chemo and side trips, you can probable survive cancer.”  We already have had too many side trips.  

Sunday, March 13, we went to Timpanogos Hospital.  Craig had been going downhill for a few days and Sunday we felt like someone had pulled the plug on his energy.  By that evening he was even throwing up water that he drank.  So I hauled his butt to the ER.  Hate to show up at the ER for fluids but they said that it was good that I brought him in because he was so dehydrated, it wouldn’t have been good at all to wait until morning.

They gave him 2 liters of fluid and two doses of nausea medicine.  We told them of the pain that he was having in his stomach and they said that we needed to tell his GI doctor that we needed to be seen ASAP.  That was the start of a long week.

The GI doctor was able to see us on Tues, March 15th.  When the doctor saw that Craig had lost another 7 lbs. since his appointment on March 2nd, he wanted to do an upper GI scoping to see what was going on.  We met him at the hospital that evening for the procedure.  Craig really wanted them to find something to treat so that all he had to deal with was the cancer.  We feel like we can beat cancer, it’s all of the side trips that he is taking that have us worried.  When they brought him back the nurse said, “Your husband is pretty chewed up inside.”  Sad to be happy that he was in such awful shape, but happy that they found something and we can move forward.  The doctor came in and told me he has multiple ulcers down his esophagus and severely inflamed small intestine.  Yea, we see why he has been hurting so much.  Now, more medicine to help calm everything down inside of his body. 

Thursday, March 17th, we again went to get fluids.  I wanted to order the meat and potato kind of fluid but all they had was regular saline.  (just joking grandma)  The nurse was very worried about him and the amount of weight that he had lost again.  He’s down a total of 39 lbs from 189 to 150.  I don’t know if he even weighed that little in Jr. High, he is pretty skinny.  Sorry for those of you men that weigh around 150, you need to put on some weight, especially if you are 6 feet or taller, it just isn’t right.  We women like something to hold on to besides skin and bones.  The nurse wanted us to come back the next day for more fluids and she was going to tell Dr. Breyer the situation and see what she had to say.  Upon arrival the next day they told us that we were set him up to get a feeding tube that afternoon.  “We are here to PUMP you up”.  Bring it on! Bring on the calories!

As we walked out of the office, after getting the feeding tube installed, a little girl started staring at him.  Craig said, “Not just a skinny bad man, but a skinny bad man with a tube hanging out of his nose.  When we got home Dallin was out in the driveway and caught a look at Craig, “Dad there is something hanging out of your nose”, Craig’s response was, “Oh shoot I need a tissue, I just sneezed”.

 Craig is now sleeping with a pump that feeds 1500 calories into his body during a 12 hour period during the night.  He needs to sleep on a little bit of an incline so that the fluids don’t back up during the night.  What a night! He was up 7 or 8 times with what you would call, “full fluid bowel movements”.  I slept better than he did.  I was only up for 5 or 6 of them.  I will stop there, it is already too graphic and that’s not where it ended.  We are hoping that there is just an adjustment period to the feeding tube; I believe that everything that went in came out.  Craig just walked into the kitchen, I told him he had something hanging out of his nose, hoping that he would get embarrassed and think he needed a tissue, he caught on very quickly that it was the feeding tube dangling.

The bright side of things, the chemo is working, the cancer is decreasing.  We did have a wonderful experience on Friday morning.  Timpanogos High School where McKaye and Ashlyn are currently attending came to us a few weeks ago and told us that our family had been chosen to receive money raised from “Penny Wars”.  Yesterday we were able to go to the school and receive a check from the school along with money raised by Costa Vida restaurant.  We live in an amazing area where we have amazing people who love us along with our family.    

We have tried to teach our children to be giving to others and that you will receive blessing for doing so.  I guess now we are receiving those blessing and will continue to pay it forward.

Thank you to family and friends that have sat with us during chemo, sat with us and cried, sat with us and laughed, and have sat with us and listened.   

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Working!

Past due for a blog entry, but I have been a little sick.  Just the stuff that many people have had, sore throat, ear ache, but starting to feel better.

Last week Craig went to see his GI doctor.  He has been having a lot of pain in his stomach wanted to see if there was something else going on.  He is having Craig increase the acid medicine with some additional medicine and come back in 2 weeks.  We decided after that appointment to go right over and get a bag of fluids to help him, it seems that he can always use more fluids, he is not known for drinking to well.  When we got over to the office he started getting sick throwing up.  It was pretty bad and it just happened that the GI doctor called and had decided to get some blood work done and know that we were headed for fluids.  When were finished getting the fluids we headed home and upon arrival at home we found out that the  GI doctor had been trying to a hold of us and have us go straight to the hospital for a CT scan.  Craig’s white blood cells were very high, which are indications that there is an infection going on somewhere in his body and the white blood cells are trying to build up to fight it off.  It kind off gets my shock up when they tell us to go immediately to the hospital, I tend to not like those words. We waited until the doctor had the results before leaving the hospital.  The word was that the scans were stable, showing that the thought of colitis was negative but some other kind of infection was taking place that was not showing up and we were to still start some antibiotics that were prescribed.   We were due for the full body scan the next week for Dr. Breyer so were able to do both at the same time.       

Craig woke up on his birthday and said, “Well, I’m turning 50 today, we better call and get my colonoscopy done.”  OOPS too late.  You see the commercials telling people to get it done while they are still healthy.  Craig was as healthy as he had even been and all of a sudden got sick and our world changed.  All of his siblings have now had theirs done and everyone healthy and we are so grateful.

Some good friends of ours went to Disneyland on vacation and brought back a wonderful hat for Craig.  Apparently they all were on the look out for the perfect gift that they could bring him back.  We thought they did great! 

Thank you to those of you that sent cards, and birthday wishes to Craig.  We had a good day.  He received a few balloon bouquets, one from his work and the other from the Black family in our neighborhood.  A few days later I mentioned to him that he should inhale the helium from the balloon and sing a song.  He said with his luck it would make him blow up.

We went for chemo last Monday.  Our friends from Kaysville, the Bones, showed up at the clinic to be with us for a visit.  It was very nice to see them.  Todd has recently gone through surgery to remove a tumor from his leg.  We hope and pray that it is all gone and he can get back to a “normal life”, or at least what is normal after you have had cancer.  I have said it before and will say it again, “Cancer Sucks.” I hate the word sucks, and get mad at my kids when they say it, but for this situation it is the cleanest word that I can say on the blog. 

The chemo went pretty normal.  He got sick right away so they gave him medicine and he goes right to sleep.  It was about 1:30 pm when we got home, he took some pills and went right to bed and slept until 7:15 pm.  The longer he sleeps during the nausea the better. 

On Wednesday we were on our way over to get the pump off.  Just before we walked out the door I told Craig to grab his special little bag in case he was to get sick.  I guess I was listening to the little voice in my head, because we weren’t very far from the house when he got sick.  He used the bag all the way to the clinic.  He was very chilled when we arrived at the clinic and the nurse asked him if he was running a fever.  We explained that we had just driven from Orem with the windows down a little to get fresh air.  For anyone that pasted us driving probably took a double look to see a bald man with his head leaning against the window rolled down when it was so cold outside.  That’s our life.

We asked the nurse if they had the results back yet from his scan about the cancer.  She came back and I did not want to even look at her.  She smiled Craig and said, “It’s working, the chemo is working,” she high fived Craig.  The levels of the cancer are decreasing; all of the getting sick from the chemo are worth it if it is working.  So we will continue with this same chemo for another 2 months and then another scan with hopefully the same results.  

It has been a rough couple of weeks but Craig now has the pump off and is feeling a little better.  Yesterday he was able to put in a long days work from his recliner. He works very hard and even Saturdays; he puts in extra hours to make up for the not so good days.

This morning I asked him what he wanted for breakfast.  He just laid there and looked up at the ceiling of our bedroom.  He got a really discussed look on his face and said, “Did you just say the F word?”  Oops!  I didn’t really say the word Food, but that was what I was meaning, and he knew it.   Just one of our challenges in live right now.

We continue to pray for all of our friends and family that may need any special blessings.  We know that we are not the only ones going through rough times.  Others trials may be different from ours but are still trials.  We are all in need of special blessings at some time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Craig!

Can’t believe it is March, it seems almost like yesterday it was Halloween.  I sat on the porch giving out candy, wondering what might be wrong with Craig.  At that time we were going in for the colonoscopy in a few days.  As I have said before, “time flies when you’re having fun”, or even when you’re not.

The last chemo has not gone well.  I guess we don’t know if it is really the chemo. He just has not felt well since last Thursday when we got the pump off.  Very weak, pain in his stomach, and not eating much at all.  Last night he was throwing up in the middle of the night and I didn’t even know it.  I had gone to sleep on the couch as my bed on the floor wasn’t feeling very good.  Craig called the doctor this morning and explained how he had been feeling.  They want him to go and see a GI Doctor, so Wednesday afternoon that’s where we will be. I think the thoughts of turning 50 are really getting to him and making him sick to his stomach.  His birthday is Saturday, March 5th. I told him that back in September I was making big plans for a party for this BIG birthday.  He said we might have to wait and do something big for his 80th.  For those of you that know Craig well, you know that big celebrations are not his thing.  I can’t believe what he will do to get out of a party. 

McKaye is taking her State Radiology test today for her Dental Assisting class.  She has really been working hard and is doing very well in the class.  She took a bench mark test last week and received 94 % on it. Currently she is looking for a Dentist office, and or an Orthodontist office to do a internship in. 

Ashlyn is working hard on getting homework done fast during the afternoon so that she can go driving.  She just needs 48 more hours out of 50.  I know, we haven’t been very good about getting her out driving.  We have been a little distracted, but we are working on it.

Dallin’s hair is growing very fast.  I think he is almost to the point where he doesn’t feel like he needs to wear a snow hat everywhere.  He was really amazed how cold it made him to not have any hair.  He is coming up with some very good ideas for an Eagle Scout Project, and hopefully will be starting soon. 

Corinne will find out around the end of March if she made it into the nursing program at Weber State University.  We are all keeping our fingers crossed for her.  This is her second time applying, if not maybe the 3rd time will be the charm.  She is having a lot of fun with her singles ward and the institute choir.

This morning I was getting ready for the day when I saw a bug crawling on the sheets of our bed. It totally freaked me out.  I got a tissue paper and picked it up and took it to Craig.  I made him look up bed bugs on Google to see if looked like one or not.  It really didn’t look like one but I pulled everything off of the bed and it is now in the washing machine.  I vacuumed under the bed and all around the edges.  Holy Cow, there was a lot of hair everywhere on the mattress.  I should have sent it into “Locks of Love” as a hair donation for them to make a hair piece for some man.  I use to call Craig my “Man Cub”, because he was so hairy.  Besides his new nick name of “Chemo”, I could call him my “Naked Rat”.  Not because he runs around the house naked …but…anyway, you get the idea. 

I want to wish Craig a Happy Birthday.  I hope to make a toast on Saturday, him with his Miralax cocktail, and me with a glass of water, to many more birthdays in the future.  Maybe next year’s can be more of a regular day, where he goes to work, comes home to a fun birthday cake, we go out to dinner and maybe a movie.  I think this year we will get a red box movie to watch with the kids, relax with his pink blanket that he loves, and eat a few pretzels.

Happy 50th Birthday to my Sweetheart!!!!!