Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"His eye is on the sparrow...

...and I know He watches me!" It was a warm Spring day here in Middle Tennessee. When I looked out the front door around noon, I saw this little sparrow enjoying lunch in our front yard (see the seed in his beak?). Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch (no comment!), worked some more, and came home to rest and relax. His shoulder pain has been bothering him quite a bit the last couple of days. It has been quiet around here workmen. I'm working on Esther's jumper. I am enjoying getting back to my sewing of garments, but I must get busy around here and get rid of the thin layer of dust that has come to rest on just about everything due to the painting (well, really due to preparation for painting). I told the painter that he was forcing me to Spring clean! We got word today that the carpet has been ordered. Melany called this morning to see if I still had the medical card that she left with us in case of an emergency. I had given it to it wasn't here. The reason that she needed it was that she had gotten a call from Alex's middle school saying that he had hurt his ankle in PE. So she had to leave her school to pick him up and take him to the doctor for x-rays. The doctor said that wasn't broken...but a bad sprain. I think that he got a boot and crutches. Always something!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I keep forgetting to add to the nightly blog that we have been having some computer problems. So...if I happen not to blog one night, you can figure that my computer wouldn't let me post. COMPUTERS! Love 'em when they work...not so fond of 'em when they don't! So far, when the computer wouldn't let me do other things on the internet, it has let me blog. Just didn't want anyone to jump to the conclusion that we were having health problems...well, let me restate that...any emergency-type health problems!

Respite Day 29

We saw these anemones on our walk on Sunday...they were really large. Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch (tsk! tsk!), worked some more, came home to rest and relax. The painter finished inside today...and managed to get the new ceiling fan working. Someone came to measure for the carpet. And, the two siding men worked on getting more siding up...what a job! I walked outside this evening and one of them was waaaaaaaaaay up in the point of our very steep roof on the side of our house...I don't see how he can do what he is doing up sooooo high! The painter moved outside and put on a different hat and worked on fixing our front steps. So things are coming along. I'll be glad when they are complete! I did manage to sew today...Joy's jumper is complete except for buttons and buttonholes. The friendly appointment reminder voice called a few minutes ago to confirm Woody's Friday appointment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is popping out all over!

This is one of the pictures that Woody and I walked around the corner to take on Sunday. Spring is definitely in the air! Woody and I both got up early this morning. He headed to work and I got busy getting the rest of the way ready for the painter. Woody did walk at lunch...tsk! tsk! I will be glad to talk to Dr. Sosman on Friday. I'm not sure that I reported that the research nurse emailed us yesterday (Sunday) saying that Dr. Sosman was having a make-up clinic day on Friday and would that work out for us. We said that we would be there...and she emailed back "or be square." This research nurse is quite a character and definitely johnny on the spot with responding to our emails, phone calls, etc. We will go in Friday to discuss the options open to Woody for another drug study...or whatever. We will also ask Dr. Sosman a bit more about what he sees on the x-rays that were taken last Thursday.

Erin and Alex got picked up late last night and got safely home. All four made it to work and school this morning. I had a "fairly" quiet children in the house...but did have a painter in the house for most of the day. He said that he would be finished with all his work inside tomorrow. He will then do some mortaring of brick on our front steps and on Nathan's front porch and raise a place at the base of the steps to be level with the sidewalk...and then eventually put in handrails on either side of our front steps. I was really surprised that the siding men didn't come today, since it was such a pretty day...but then it was a bit windy and they are now working up high on the sides of our house. Now to wonder when the carpet will be put in the family room. Things are looking rather fresh around here. I told the painter today that he was forcing me to spring clean since I was having to move so much furniture, etc. I did get to do some sewing today...until the paint smell got the best of me and I headed down to get away from it. We had a New England Boiled Dinner tonight = corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and onions. I am planning Cream of Reuben Soup with some of the corned beef...yummy...a favorite of mine...and don't have it very often. Well, I'm off to watch Dancing With the Stars!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Respite Day 27

Woody, Erin, Alex and I all went to Sunday School this morning. Woody and I both taught our respective classes. Erin helped me make lunch. After lunch, Woody and I took a short walk to take a couple of pictures of flowering trees and bushes close to our house. Woody and Alex watched basketball. Erin and I napped this afternoon. Erin hasn't felt the greatest today...and me...well, just plain tired! Erin and Alex packed up to get ready for their parents' arrival later this evening. The last we talked to them, they were still four hours it won't be till 11pm or after till they get here...and then they have a 45min. drive to get home. And, they have work and school tomorrow...ahhhhhhhhh to be young! After Erin and Alex got all their things gathered up, I started to get ready for the painter. He will be doing a bit of painting in three rooms upstairs and installing a ceiling fan tomorrow. Fun and games!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Compost GIRL to the Rescue!

Compost Boy was out of Compost Girl substituted for him. She did a great job! Woody got up early. When Alex got up, Woody made French toast for the two of them. We girls slept in a bit later...tea and toast was fine with me for a little extra sleep and Erin ate some waffles that we froze yesterday. Woody took Alex to the library and then later he took Erin and Alex to a video game store. After lunch, Woody and Alex did yard work. Erin and I stayed inside. She made cookies. Joy came over and helped Erin with the last step of the cookies. Now...Woody, Erin, and Alex are playing Monopoly. Well, right now they are visiting with Nathan, Kathy, Graham, Abigail, Joy, Esther, and Elijah...they just rang our doorbell. Graham is anxious to show me that he can now I'd best head downstairs. Erin and Alex will head home tomorrow (we think).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Whoooo knows...

Who knows what we will be doing...still not very clear. The research nurse did call Woody last night, when I was next door, and she told him that his leg bone hadn't already fractured, but that he was still to be very careful and not do any strenuous walking. We haven't heard anything after Dr. Sosman reviewed the x-rays. The research nurse is hunting out all sorts of options, as to what Woody may do next, as far as a drug study...she has mentioned some that aren't done at Vanderbilt. So it could mean that we have to go farther a field (one that has been mentioned is in Bethesda, MD and the other in Knoxville). We don't have enough information to make any decisions yet. But, the bloodwork done yesterday on Woody's quick and unexpected trip to Vanderbilt was for the study in Maryland. And, as Woody says, we need to find out what, if anything, has to be done to or for the bone in what we think is his left leg. There is also a minute tumor in his other leg (which we are assuming is his right leg!).

We continue to be in quite an upheaval here at the house...siding still underway on the outside and the painting is well underway on the inside. The family room and bathroom are all painted. On Monday the painter is supposed to do some touch-up paint upstairs. Then the painter will put on another hat and install a ceiling fan and then work on weather stripping some doors and also raising the threshold on one door. I think that will complete the inside work...then he has several jobs to do outside. At some point there is supposed to be new carpet installed in the family room and downstairs bathroom. So things are going right along...but still quite a bit to go before completion.

Erin and Alex are downstairs with Goosey (Woody) playing Monopoly. Woody still usually manages to win...but Erin did defeat them both once this week (Woody claims due to a poor trade on Alex's part...Alex claims to have wanted to see Goosey lose once...Erin just claims the win!). They are watching basketball while playing games. I'm sure that I will be roped into playing a game of "Sorry" before the evening is over.

I managed to cut out jumpers for Abigail and Esther today...not sure how...guess determination! Woody had a normal Friday at work...except for not walking at lunch. He has been challenging Erin and Alex to be able to see 3-D stereograms. The pictured owl model was put together by Alex and Graham with help from Kathy earlier this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unexpected trip!

I received a call from Dr. Sosman this morning a little after 8am. He needed to talk to Woody. He did tell me what was going on before he called Woody at work. The PET scan shows that Woody has a tumor in the femur of one of his legs (not sure which one at the moment). That makes him ineligible for the drug study that he was having the tests next step...get the bone in his leg x-rayed. So the research nurse called us to set up the appointment. Woody ended up going to Vanderbilt today for the x-rays and blood work for another possible study...more on that another time. At the moment I have run over from Nathan and Kathy's with Elijah...Erin and Alex and I are taking care of the children while Mom and Dad have a night out. So quick blog for picture...just wanted to let it be known that we are heading in another direction. The reason for the quickness for the x-rays is that it looks like he could have a fracture in that leg already...if it is bad enough he will have to have surgery on it...much like he had on his upper arm (or so we are assuming at the moment.). He isn't to do his daily walk at work or any 8 mile walks over the weekend. Well, Elijah is trying to help me type...more in the next installment!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Respite Day 23

May be a respite day for Woody, but didn't feel much like respite around here today to me! Workmen everywhere...well, at least workmen inside and out. The inside painting got underway...patching room ceiling painted...more to be done tomorrow. The painter used my needlework light to help him see in the dark corners...he liked the way it could be angled in different directions. He will be buying the paint colors that I requested and get underway with walls and woodwork tomorrow morning. Gulp...hope that I have chosen the right blue. Tomorrow I'll know!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked his two miles at lunch, worked some more, and came home to direct Alex in some mowing! While Alex mowed, Erin and I fixed our supper...lasagna and a salad...and then much to Alex's delight...Moosetracks ice cream for dessert.

Woody, Erin, and Alex are downstairs playing Monopoly. They tried to talk me into playing...but it is just too long a game for a very tired grammy! I told them that I would play "Sorry" a little later.

We got no news about any more of Woody's tests/scans today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brain MRI reveals NOTHING! should we interpret the title of tonight's blog? We can laugh and say that there is nothing inside Woody's head...but really we are laughing because that is good news...very good that there is no melanoma in his brain. hurdle cleared for the drug study. No other reports were in, when the research nurse emailed us.

Woody got up early, as usual, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home. He didn't really start relaxing till he got Alex doing some of the jobs that he wanted spraying off the shutters that are now off the house, gathering up the down spouts to and washing them off, and start mowing the yard! Erin and I stayed in and cooked supper. Woody worked around in the yard too. It seemed like it took forever to get tonight's dinner...I have forgotten what it is like to feed two teenagers (well, one isn't quite a teen...but eats enough to be one...that is...if he likes what we are having! Goosey, Erin, and Alex are now playing Monopoly. Alex is still trying to figure out Goosey's strategy...Goosey has won all the games they have played so far. Erin is playing her first game with we don't know her record yet!

Alex made waffles for our breakfast this morning. I had a hair appointment. Erin and Alex had our lunch started when I got back from getting my hair cut. Nathan joined us for lunch, as the rest of his family were at their homeschool co-op. After lunch, I headed out for my 6-month check-in with my neurologist. Report on me is "status quo." After the appointment, I went to the grocery store to fill in some of the chinks that we have already emptied in the fridge, cupboards, etc. I don't know about anyone else...but I'm tired!

The siding is well underway on the house. And, we had a message when we got back from Vanderbilt last night that the rest of the work is supposed to commence there will be more workers in and out! As if I'm not confused enough!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Anniversary Trip!

Isn't a trip to Vanderbilt what everyone would choose to make on their 41st anniversary?! Not exactly our choice of trips...but one that had to be made no matter what the day! We left here around 10:30am and checked in at Vandy at 12:15pm. Things got underway right away...we saw the research nurse, signed papers, and then went to wait for the lab to call Woody. Well, things bogged a bit when he was in the lab...they needed lots of blood as they were taking blood for the screening for the new drug study AND also for the ending of the last study (thought that they had already done that!). Anyway, it took four sticks to get enough blood from him! Before he got out of the lab, they were calling him back to see the doctor. It was decided that he could see another doctor instead of Dr. we did that. After seeing the doctor, the research nurse came into the room and took a picture of the melanoma places that are raised enough under the skin to make a bump...four pictures in all. Then he went to get an EKG...that didn't take any time at all. Then he went on to get the CT Scan and the MRI of his brain. They tried to get him to drink the contrast for the CT...but we had been told that he wasn't to take contrast this we stopped that and they checked...and we were right. The CT scan was done first...again took only a short time. Then he was called back for the MRI...he had to have an IV for the dyes that they use for that. The MRI took about an hour. Then we headed off for his PET scan. He was given radioactive dye for that (they did leave the line in from the MRI so he didn't have to be stuck again!) and then he had to sit in a room for an hour. The actual PET scan took a little over thirty minutes. He came out from the PET scan at we did very well on time at Vandy today...a total of 6 hours there. We headed home at that point. We stopped along the way for our anniversary dinner (McDonald's!) and then got on the road again. Woody was anxious to get home. We got home a little after a total of almost 10 hours either on the road or at Vanderbilt today. Glad to be home. I didn't blog immediately as I "had" to watch the rest of "Dancing With the Stars!" And, then I couldn't get a picture to load tonight...I tried for about 20 min. to get a picture on the blog. Woody has gone to bed. His main complaint about today was that he had a headache...probably caused by having to fast for so long and then all the dyes, etc. I have a headache reasons for mine! Erin and Alex spent most of the day over at Nathan and Kathy's. Now the wait is on to see if Woody qualifies for this new drug study...the nurse said that we would hear about the scans, etc. in the next day or so, but that it would be around 15 days before we would hear if the drug company accepts him.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh...I rebooted and the picture finally loaded at hour after I first started trying to load it...COMPUTERS!!!! By the way, we started out our trip in sleet/snow...but spring must be on the way...note the green grass in the picture...we saw lots of green grass, daffodils, and weeping willows...definitely signs of SPRING...but rather chilly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Night of Wonders!

A bit late tonight in blogging, as Erin and I have been at First Baptist, Tullahoma watching a Night of Wonders...juggling and illusions featuring the Dazzling Dorrells and David and Teesha Laflin. Nathan and family juggled holidays with a special emphasis on Easter. That's Graham, our 8-year-old grandson, on stilts celebrating July 4th. Both performances were great and both shared the Resurrection Story in two very unique ways.

Woody, Erin, Alex, and I went to Sunday School this morning. After getting home, Erin helped me get lunch and Alex and Goosey played Monopoly. Mid-afternoon Erin and Alex went with Nathan and family to help them set up for tonight's performance. Erin and I went to the performance and Alex stayed home to play games with Goosey.

Tomorrow is the "big day!" There is no telling what time I will be able to blog tomorrow night, as I am expecting that we won't get home from Vanderbilt till quite late. This afternoon we got an email from the research nurse. She was telling us that Dr. Sosman has been delayed in Los Angeles and that he won't be there tomorrow. So we will proceed with everything except for his we won't be able to get all the preliminary things done tomorrow...we will have to go another day to finish. Of course not having to work in the doctor time may move the scans, etc. along a bit quicker...time will tell!
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring Break!

Alex and Erin arrived mid-morning. After Melany and Wade left, Goosey (Woody) took Erin and Alex to the library. After they returned, he got Alex busy on all the jobs that he had for him to do. Alex washed two cars, painted four shutters, transplanted one butterfly bush, and then he and Goosey watched basketball. Funny thing is that after all the work that Alex did...Woody took a nap! Erin hung out with her little one point she put a DVD in her computer and they found her and settled in to watch too! It was a beautiful day...and Woody took advantage of the sun shining and having willing preteen labor! Woody kept me busy taking pictures. Now Alex and Goosey are watching a DVD. I'm supposed to join them when I finish blogging. Erin is in her room working on her computer. That pretty much summarizes our first day of Spring Break.

With all the excitement of Spring Break starting, I forgot to say that Woody got up early and took an eight mile walk.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Respite Day 18

I just pulled a heavy ham out of the oven (usually Woody's job...but I managed to get it out and only slightly burned myself!). I am guessing that Woody has taken his pain medicine as he was oblivious to any of the banging around in the kitchen...or the loud "ouch!"

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home to rest and relax. He has been watching basketball this evening. The four oldest neighbor grandchildren cycled through this morning to have some school lessons or to read to me. Then I headed to the grocery store to get ready for an almost teenage boy and a teenage girl to descend upon us tomorrow! Hopefully I have enough food for at least a couple of days!

While I was away someone from radiology at Vanderbilt called to give Woody instructions for one of his scans. By the time that I got the message and returned her call, she had gone we can't reach her till Monday morning. I'm sure that it is to tell him the number of hours that he has to fast prior to the test and we have been told that. I did message the research nurse and she thought that was that only thing that they would be telling us. I guess we will find out for sure, when I call early Monday morning. We don't have to leave as early as usual on Monday because the tests and appointments don't start till the afternoon. It is really going to be interesting to see how all these appointments work out...guess it isn't our problem to make them work out...we only have to show up and let them do the rest! Now I'm off to finish a couple more things that I want to get done before Erin and Alex's arrival in the morning. Can't you see us now...7 little and big grandchildren in and out of the house for the next nine days!? Fun and games are just about to begin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It must be tomorrow!

Last night the weatherman said that "the sun would come out tomorrow" (just like the song from Annie!). And, we did see the sun so it must be tomorrow! As Woody went to work, it was a bit foggy...but as the day wore on the fog wore off and then the clouds started to part and finally we had some bright sunshine come in the windows and then a pretty sunset at day's end. After driving in the fog to get to work, Woody worked, walked at lunch, worked some more and then came home. Not long after he got home he went out and sprayed off the rest of the shutters with the hose...he said much easier than wiping them off with a cloth! I guess that they are ready to paint...hmmmmmmmm maybe a job for Alex (our 12 year old grandson) next week! We don't want him to get bored! After washing off the shutters, Woody came in to rest and relax. I waited once again for the inside workers! And, while I waited, I cleaned some more...our room this time...and the workers never showed up. This afternoon I started to work on getting patterns ready to cut out jumpers for the three little girls. Four of the five neighbor grandchildren came over and played for a while this afternoon. It was another busy day around here!
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Woody got up early, headed to work, worked, walked in the drizzle at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He has been in quite a bit of pain this evening. I have had a busy day again today trying to get ready for Erin and Alex's visit and also for the painters, etc. No sign of the inside workers today...and am I surprised?! Not really! But by me sticking close to home today (in case the workers showed up) Erin and Alex have clean beds and clean rooms in which to sleep. I also started getting things ready to cut out jumpers for Abigail, Joy, and Esther. I went to church late this afternoon to work for a little while in the library...checked books in and out and shelved books. After I got home, we received the automated call from Vanderbilt reminding us of Woody's Monday appointments. I had emailed the research nurse with a couple of questions this morning and she emailed back the answers. I asked her if Woody had to fast prior to any of the tests...and, of all the is the last one (scheduled for 5:30pm (which will probably be much later than that) that he has to fast 6 hours prior to guess he will eat a big breakfast and then...nothing till after he is finished with the PET scan. I predict that we will be home very, very late on Monday. Here's his appointment schedule: 1pm sign consent forms and talk to research nurse; 2pm labwork; 2:30EKG; 3:20 Dr. Sosman; 4pm MRI of brain; 5pm CT scans; 5:30pm PET scan. And, she says that somewhere in there she has to take pictures and measurements. Now...tell me what you think about the there any way that all those tests, etc. can get completed in the allotted times???? Time will tell...but... when you have to drink contrast 45 min. to an hour prior to a test and you are in another test...just not sure how this will all work out! I'm sure that it WILL work out...just don't think that it will work out in the times stated!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We count!

We got our census form today...Woody filled it out and put it in the mail box. Woody got up early as usual, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He did take on the job of washing off one of the shutters that goes on the front porch after he got home. He is still having pain. I headed to the paint store this morning to make the final (?) decision on the paint colors for the family room walls and went back to look at my carpet selection. The siding on the outside is coming along and any day now the inside work "may" begin. I spent the day doing things that need to be done inside prior to the inside work...also getting ready to have our two oldest grandchildren spend a week with us starting Saturday. Busy! Busy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Respite two-week point

These daffodils are trying to tell us that Spring is only a few days away...but brrrrrrrrrrrrr! The high today was only 46 deg. F. We got spoiled with the warmer temperatures last week! Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. I just asked him about his pain and said that he had pain and that it was sharp. I had school with four this morning and then this afternoon I have been changing beds, vacuuming, washing, etc. I would have rather spent the afternoon sewing, reading, or cooking!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Time change victims

We feel that we are the victims of the time change. We did remember to change our clocks...the "victim" part comes with the way the time change makes us feel. We both went to Sunday School this morning. Woody taught his 6th grade boys' class and I last minute "lead" my Sunday School class. We came home and I decided to make a couple of we snacked a little upon arriving home and then ate a late lunch. It has been a dreary, drizzly, damp, drop-in-temperature kind of day. A good day to take a nap or two! Woody watched basketball between times of resting his eyes. Then later this afternoon, he did a bit more resting of his eyes. Abigail, Joy, and Esther came over for a while this afternoon. Since Goosey (Woody) was resting in the family room, the four of us read and played in the living room. Tonight's picture is one of the pansy plants that Graham gave me for my birthday...a reminder that Spring really is just around the corner!?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Respite Day 12

What a day! Woody got up very early and walked his eight miles. Then later in the morning he went to the library. He has read and watched basketball and DVDs the rest of the day. This morning I made a new soup recipe: Mushroom-Potato Chowder. We have so many "tried and true" soup recipes that we don't try a new one all that often. This one is a keeper and will get put into our "cycle" of soup recipes. Then this afternoon I had to make home improvement decisions. Woody didn't feel up to coming with off I set on my own to pick out a ceiling fan and carpet. It took a while but I finally made my decisions...bought the fan and got the information about the carpet that I need to give to our contractor. Things are supposed to get into full swing next week on our inside home improvement projects. The siding is looking great so far. And, so far I am very pleased with the work that has been done. I also made the decision on what colors of paint I want them to use in the family room. So decisions are made and I'm going to quit thinking about them...on to other things! After spending all too much time at Lowes, I went WalMarting...enough said! I'm tired and ready to put my feet up and read a good book.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stormy beginning/blue sky ending

I was awakened by the rain and a few distant rumbles this morning. We had quite a lot of rain...the stepping stones were really appreciated for keeping feet clean and dry on trips to and from Grammy's school this morning. Mid-afternoon the clouds started breaking up into big puffy clouds of cotton...the sky was just beautiful. I went grocery shopping right after lunch and then came home and headed to the church, as Nathan and Kathy were trying to get some pictures for some promotional material. Kathy and I were both snapping left and right trying to stop motion, etc. I took over a thousand pictures (It is easy to take that many when I set the camera so it will take pictures as long as I hold the shutter button way to capture what is going on in action shots...and hopefully catch a few good shots along with a lot of not so good.)! Most will head to the trash bin in the computer...but some turned out pretty well and hopefully Nathan will be able to use a couple of them. I snapped the above picture from the car window right after our "photo shoot" just before heading home. The sky and the clouds were both beautiful.

Woody got up early, headed to work in the rain, worked, didn't walk at lunch due to the weather, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He has been watching basketball this evening...I guess we are approaching March Madness. He is still having quite a bit of pain. Hopefully he can have a restful Saturday and Sunday.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Skeleton discovered in Dorrell Digs!

...a leaf skeleton, that is! Nathan was sinking the new stepping stones today with the help of several of the children. The children were helping to transfer the dirt removed for the stones into their wheelbarrow and Graham pulled this "leaf skeleton" out of one of the clumps of dirt. So I took on the challenge to photograph it. I ended up using one of the new stepping stones as the background. Things have been hopping around here for me today...stepping stones being sunk, getting back into a school groove after a bit of a "Spring Break," and work got underway to put siding on our house. My head's spinning!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home to rest and relax. His allergies are still bothering him and he has had quite a bit of pain today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Respite Day 9

It has been a pretty day here in Middle TN. As these little Dutch iris show...spring is popping out all over! Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. I think that I spoke too soon when I mentioned last night that his pain was some better. Anyway, he has been in quite a bit of pain this evening. He took a stronger pain pill a while ago and it seems to be helping...or so it seemed as I left him downstairs to come up here and blog. He's also not feeling all that great due to allergies.

My day started out very nicely...the neighbors (Nathan and family) invited me over for breakfast...a traditional birthday celebration for their family...waffles and ice cream! Yum...good start to my birthday. I walked out the door to head to their house for breakfast and found stepping stones connecting our front walk and theirs (their present to me). We had talked about putting in stepping stones since there is a "beaten path" between our house and theirs! I have had a nice, email, phone calls, presents, flowers...I'm thankful for family and friends.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I thought that I had better post a picture of the finished quilt so you could see what I have been telling you that I have been working on for so many months. At last, Esther-Noel will be getting her Christmas present! I plan to give it to her tomorrow. One of my accomplishments today was to take pictures of it. I try to take pictures of everything that I make...that comprises quite a large folder of pictures on my laptop. This quilt is all machine done (except for attaching the binding to the back of the quilt which I did by hand)...the designs and many of the quilting motifs are machine embroidery...the animal designs were downloaded off the internet onto my laptop and then transferred to my sewing machine. The quilting designs are part of the designs that are "in" my sewing machine...but I manipulated those with software on my laptop to make them go around the blocks the way I wanted them to go. Quilting methods have definitely changed over the years...I'm sure that, when our mothers and grandmothers lovingly handstitched every stitch on a quilt...both in the piecing and in the quilting, they would never have dreamed that a quilt would eventually be made the way I just made this one. It is amazing what today's computerized sewing machines can do. But...Woody suggests that be my last quilt...and I think that may be a very good idea! Quilting just isn't "my thing!" I want to get back to making garments...they don't take as long! Esther's E-I-E-I-O quilt will cover the top of a twin mattress and drop over the sides about six inches. She sleeps in the trundle drawer of a bunk this will cover the mattress and tuck down inside the drawer.'s done. I will be glad to hand it to a curly headed, smiling girl tomorrow. When she saw it over the weekend, she said, "that's mine" and reached out to touch it.

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home to rest and relax. We got an email yesterday evening from Woody's research nurse with times for the screening tests on March 22nd. It looks like it will be a very long day since she wasn't able to schedule any of the tests till afternoon. She has them scheduled anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour apart. Now...I'm sure that all will be on schedule...ha! ha! His last scheduled scan is for 5:30pm. I'll bet we will be coming home VERY late that night...but we will see. Woody did tell me a couple of days ago that the Aleve is starting to help control his least the pain isn't as strong as it had been now that he is taking Aleve over a 24-hour time period.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Going on a crocus hunt... my camera. Woody and I went on a walk this afternoon after he got home from work. The mission was to find and photograph crocus. The only ones we found were the ones we knew our yard and in another yard in the subdivision next to ours. Either there aren't a lot out there...or they just aren't that easy to see. But we did find several different colors and sizes...the yellow ones either were a bit gone-by or they were closing for the evening. But here you have a taste of spring being around the corner. We had an absolutely gorgeous day here in Middle Tennessee. Woody said it was the prettiest day this year.

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, and worked some more. He did some yard work after he got home. Then we went on our crocus hunt.

I completed Esther's quilt in the wee hours this morning. Hip-hip-hooray!
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Respite Day 6 = Day of Rest

Woody and I went to Sunday School this morning. He taught his 6th grade boy's class. We came home and ate lunch. Then Woody has relaxed and rested most of the day with basketball games, books, and DVD's. And, I worked on sewing the binding on the quilt...long long side is completed and I'm now working on the other long side...then there are two short sides...long way around this quilt! But the goal of finishing is in sight!

We saw this cardinal waaaaaaaaaay up in a tree yesterday on our walk on the Tullahoma Greenway. He stayed in the same tree, but just kept going higher. I finally found a spot, with Woody's help, where I could get his picture without too many foreground tree branches in the way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Respite Day 5 = The game is underway!

The speed of last night's rolling ball seems to have picked up! And, I think that our new research nurse works round the clock...even on Saturday. We have received two emails from her today. The first one was to say that it looks like the earliest day that the screening can take place is Monday, March 22. The problem with that is that he will have to have the CT scans repeated as the scans he had last week won't be under the 28 days prior to starting the drug study. When I emailed her back, I told her that it seemed like a wonderful way to spend our 41st anniversary...but to go for that date. She has since emailed me back to say that she had set up an appointment with Dr. Sosman for 3:20pm that day and has asked for all the tests to be scheduled prior to that appointment. I just checked the Vanderbilt site and the appointment with Dr. Sosman is already listed. So the first pitch has been thrown!

Woody has had a busy day. He got up early and went for an 8 mile walk...our house to Kroger and back. A little later in the morning he went grocery shopping and ran an errand or two. Then after lunch we went to the library together. After the library, we walked part of the Tullahoma Greenway--from the library to Grider Stadium (Tullahoma High School's baseball stadium). There was a game underway, so we stopped to watch for a while and let me try out the sports mode on my camera. We watched a couple of innings and then headed back to the car. He rested in his recliner between some of the above activities. He is now watching a DVD that he got at the library. It has been a beautiful day here in almost made it into the upper 50's today. Good to have a spring-like day for a change. I enjoyed taking a walk again (I am a fair weather walker!). After I blog, I'm going to work on the quilt...getting to the final phases on it...looking forward to it being finished!

A year ago this date, Woody checked in for his second round of IL-2. Glad that is behind us! Now we head in another direction...a new game plan...ever hopeful!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Respite day 4 = Getting the ball rolling!

I was already up when Woody got up this morning and he asked what the next step was for the Vanderbilt study. I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to do this study and he said "yes." So the next step was to email the research nurse. I emailed her at 6:10am that he wanted to sign the consent form and proceed with the drug study. She emailed me back at 6:20am to say that she would start setting up the screening tests. I emailed her that we would like to sign the papers and have the tests on the same day if possible. Her comment was that it would be possible, but that it would make for a long day. Ummmmmm...been there done those long days at Vandy...what's one more, especially when it makes for one less trip?! She later emailed back and said that she was checking to see if last week's scan could be used for the new study. She emailed me a short while ago and said that the scan could be used as long as it fell within 28 days of starting the study (all scans, lab work, etc. have to be done no more than 28 days prior to starting). So if they are going to use last week's scans, then we will be underway in less than three weeks (that is if he passes the screening tests). She is to get back with us on Monday. She is thrilled that I communicate with email...she says that it makes it so much easier. One of the questions that I asked her was whether Dr. Sosman would still be Woody's doctor during this study and he will be. The reason that I asked is that this study is Dr. Pusanov's "baby." There will be about 430 people taking part in this study...about 15 at Vanderbilt. The drug company sponsoring this study is BioVex Inc.

This study is an unblind study. Two drugs are being compared to each other. Two-thirds of the patients will receive the study drug and 1/3 will receive the comparison drug. So this time we will know what Woody is getting. It's like a flip of the coin as to which he will get. The research nurse said that the computer will decide. The study drug is Oncovex (Dr. Sosman said to think of it as standing for: Oncology Vaccine). It is a virus that will be injected directly into subcutaneous melanoma spots. The other is GMC-SF and that drug is administered with shots into the stomach (which either Woody or I will be giving after the research nurse administers the first injection). Here is a funny aside about the latter...I told Woody that I couldn't give him the shots...and he said "but you know that I have to close my eyes when I get a shot!" We won't worry about who is giving the shots till he gets that side of the coin! I'm sure that I can give them...BUT...I guess he doesn't realize that if someone else is getting a shot...that I shut my eyes! A case of the blind leading the blind!
I have read quite a bit today about Oncovex and this study...and it looks very promising in treating Melanoma. I "want" to say to pray for him to get picked for that option...but I won't be that only God knows which of the treatments Woody needs. Please be praying for God's Will as we step into this next phase of Woody's treatments.
Woody got up early, headed to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then has come home to rest and relax. I quilted most of the day (and emailed with the research nurse!).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Respite Day 3 = 3 S's = Study, Sew, Soup

Woody got up early and headed to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He said that he felt pretty good, although he is in quite a bit of pain. He hasn't taken any pain medication since coming home. The research nurse called around 8:30am to say that Woody could consider the drug study for which we brought the information/consent form home. The reason, that we didn't know if he would even be considered for this study, was that one of the criteria was that there be no melanoma in the bone. The nurse had to check to see if he would qualify since he had it in a bone at one time (but removed surgically). As long as the melanoma isn't active in the bone at the start of the study, he can participate...that is if he chooses to and then passes all the other tests, scans, labs, etc. that he will face to see if he is eligible for the drug study. I will explain more about the drug study, if he chooses to go this route. We have both read the multitude of pages pictured above. If he decides to proceed, we will contact the research nurse and she will schedule the preliminary appointments for signing papers, labs, tests, etc. that are required. The study would have to start within 28 days of the preliminary labs, scans, etc.

I sewed most of the morning...working on Esther's quilt. Then this afternoon I made Spicy Vegetable Beef Soup. So there you have our "3 S's" for Woody's respite day 3.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Respite Day 2

Woody got up early and headed to work. He walked at lunch. He said that it was cold and spitting "something" while he walked. He worked some more and then came home to rest and relax. Other than having pain, Woody said that he has felt pretty good today.

I spent some time this morning doing a bit of research on several of the options that Dr. Sosman literally threw at us yesterday. I was hoping that I came close to spelling some of the treatment options...and I guess that I did as I was able to find something on just about everything that I made notes on yesterday. We are still waiting to hear from the research nurse to see if Woody qualifies for the one study that we are leaning towards (the one Dr. Pusanov mentioned last month). I will email her tomorrow, if I don't hear from her by a reasonable hour. We want to get the next show on the road as soon as possible and no decisions can be made one way or the other till we hear from her. I will say, that yesterday was a bit daunting when Dr. Sosman started spewing forth this treatment and that treatment...and since I was the one taking notes, he was talking directly to me. was only understanding a very small amount of what he said! Woody and I laughed later and said that Dr. Sosman had put on his research hat for a while...and that we...peons that we are...had not a clue as to what he said part of the time! (Sort of fun to watch him get excited about his work, though!) But I was able to guess at the spelling of the treatments he proposed and Google did the rest for me this morning! So we will have information at hand if we have to lean in another direction. I haven't even looked at most of it yet...just waiting to see what information we might need! We will only look at the drug study information/consent papers that we were given yesterday, if we are told that Woody is eligible for entering the program.

When Dr. Sosman mentioned one of the treatments that Woody isn't qualified for, I was able to say that I had read an article in the New York Times about it a few days ago and he said that, yes, there had been a very big article about it...the article explained that this treatment had seemed like a dream come true for melanoma patients...because...when it was taken (it was pill lady was taking up to 22 pills at a you think that Woody could have tolerated that treatment!?) all melanoma symptoms disappeared in a matter of looked like the miracle cure that melanoma researchers had been searching for...but that miracle lasted only about 4 or 5 months and then the melanoma found a way back into the patients' not exactly a miraculous cure after all. To be eligible for this drug study melanoma patients had to have a certain gene mutation in their melanoma...Woody was tested at the start of his treatments with Dr. Sosman and he didn't have that mutation...and I had been rather sad about that since at the time such positive things were being said about the treatment...until I read the article night before last...when the melanoma showed back up in those patients showed up with a vengeance. At the time of the writing of the article, all but one of the initial study patients had died. I am so thankful that Woody had to take other paths.

I haven't ever said anything in the blog about life expectancy of someone diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma...but it isn't a pretty picture...and the numbers vary...let's just say that Woody is now beyond what most doctor's say...some say 6 months, some 9 months, some a year. It is now 15 months since Woody's diagnosis. This is just a reminder that each day is a gift from God.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Show Stopper...

Looooooooooong day at Vanderbilt. We left the house at 8am and we didn't set foot back in our house till 7:30pm. Woody checked into the Vandy clinic at 10am...we got there early so we could get the labs done and have the results by the time we saw Dr. Sosman. We definitely gave them enough time to have results there as we didn't even get called into Dr. Sosman's office till 30 min. after the scheduled appointment time and then it took quite a while for him to come in and we were in his office for a loooooooooong time and then Woody still had to go for his Zometa treatment. We were put in an exam room at 1:45 and didn't leave the exam room till 4:30...which was 2 hours after we were supposed to go to the infusion lab for Zometa. (And, we weren't seeing medical personal for all that time...a lot of the time was down time.) The Zometa treatment went like clock work and we were out in time to merge into Nashville's rush hour traffic.

Bottom line: Woody's melanoma "spots" had grown enough that he won't be continuing on the drug study. Dr. Sosman thinks that Woody had gotten all the "good" that he was going to get out of the drugs that he had been taking. Dr. Sosman told us today that he didn't know for sure...but he didn't think that Woody was getting any of the unknown drug since his counts hadn't done what others' counts had done on the study. He felt that Woody was just getting the Temodar and that it was time to stop the drug study. Then he put a lot of things out on the table. I won't go into any of them tonight as we still don't know what we are going to do. There is a drug study that we might be interested in trying so the research nurse (a new nurse for us) is looking into whether Woody qualifies to participate in it. She is supposed to call in the next day or so to tell us if we need to consider it. We came home with the papers to sign if he is eligible and if he really wants to choose this route.

So it's time to turn another page in the book for Woody's melanoma treatments. Woody was quite pleased not to be handed a new bag of chemo pills! So for the moment...a respite from treatments...till the next path is chosen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1 = end of cycle 8

Woody got up early, went to work, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He has been in quite a bit of pain since he got home. It will be interesting to see how Dr. Sosman and the research nurses decide how to handle his pain. I'm guessing that there will be some changes...we will see! He is definitely hurting more this month than last month...or so it seems to me...seems I'm hearing more moans and groans lately.

The above picture shows that I got back to quilting today. I spent more time trying to get back into the swing of doing it than really getting much accomplished...and that rhythm, that I finally got into a little while ago, will be broken by our trip tomorrow...well, eventually Esther will have her quilt...hopefully before she is grown!

I'm sure that we will be spending a major portion of our day at Vanderbilt tomorrow...that is unless it snows enough to stop us from going. I got a winter weather advisory on my computer from Weather Bug a little while ago (probably the weather change that I was feeling yesterday!). Whatever the weather is doing in the morning (both here and in Nashville) will be the deciding factor as to whether we go to Nashville or not. But...figuring that we are going...I will report in tomorrow night as to decisions made by the research team as to whether Woody will be starting on Cycle 9 of the chemo drug study.