Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
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 day...no 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
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
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
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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
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 done...like 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 them...so 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 tomorrow...so there will be more workers in and out! As if I'm not confused enough!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
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 examination...so 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!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
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 cousins...at 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.
Friday, March 19, 2010
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 home...so 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
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
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.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
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
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 day...cards, email, phone calls, presents, flowers...I'm thankful for family and friends.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
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 pain...at least the pain isn't as strong as it had been now that he is taking Aleve over a 24-hour time period.
Monday, March 8, 2010
...got 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 about...in 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!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
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
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 Tullahoma...it 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
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!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
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.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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. And...me...I 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 form...one lady was taking up to 22 pills at a time...do you think that Woody could have tolerated that treatment!?) all melanoma symptoms disappeared in a matter of weeks...it 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' systems...so 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 bodies...it 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.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
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
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.