Sunday, December 27, 2009

We lost a Good Friend and Man

Jessie and I had so much stuff going on this past week that I have not
had a chance to tell you about the loss of our good friend Dan. I may
have written about Dan before, he has been struggling for a long time
with cancer. A while back he got tired of the constant invasive
treatments and decided he wanted to live out the rest of his life on
his terms. As his health deteriorated he entered a home hospice
program where he could remain at home and have a nurse in to check on
him weekly. He remained under this program until his last few days
when he entered a full time hospice. He passed away last Monday morning.

I got to know Dan and his wife Denise when I met Jessica, they were in-
laws from her first marriage. As is the case in many divorces you keep
some of the in-laws as friends. We all remained friends for the 30
years I knew him.

I'll share one interesting habit Dan had - he collected obituaries.
If it was anyone of local or national recognition he would clip their
obit and keep it in a scrapbook. He had volumes and volumes of them.
Looking through his books you might find John Wayne or Ronald
Reagan or you might find Mister Ed. They were all chronicled in his
books. It made for an interesting visit if you grabbed one of his
books off the shelf when you were there.

Dan was only 60 years old. He served our country in Vietnam and was
retired from the MMSD. He had a strong faith in the will of God and
Jesus Christ. And as sick as he was he always showed concern for me
and my health. If you have been following this blog for a while you
may remember me writing last year about the passing of our niece
Angie. Angie was Dan & Denise's daughter.

Denise has lost her daughter and her husband in just over a year. Both
were way too young to leave this world. Please remember to keep Denise
in your prayers. The celebration of Dan's life will be this Saturday.
We will miss him.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Excitement at the Pelt House

Well, just when I thought things had settled in and we were ready for
a comfortable Christmas life throws yet another curveball at us.

Last night Jessica started complaining about a stomach ache in the
early evening. She took the standard Tums which normally works for her
and had a light dinner of soup but the pain persisted. Then it got a
lot worse, she was moaning in agony and I felt helpless because
nothing seemed to make her more comfortable. Finally, a little after
midnight, we decided going to the ER was a prudent idea. Since I still
can't drive I called (and woke up) my sister-in-law Terry and asked if
she would drive us. They live only about a mile from us so she was at
the house within 15 minutes and off we went.

And a darn good thing we made that decision. A couple of quick
examinations by the doctors and a CT scan revealed that Jess had
appendicitis. There was an on-call surgeon at the hospital already so
he made arrangements for an operating room and she had surgery within
a couple hours. Fortunately we came in before her appendix had a
chance to burst so the surgery was straightforward and could be done
lapriscopically. The operation went perfectly and as I write this
Wednesday afternoon she is resting comfortably in her hospital bed.
She should be able to go home by tomorrow morning.

No one can say that we haven't had our share of emergencies and
exciting events this year! Christmas will now be even more low key
than we planned. We will have to see how well Jess is feeling before
we determine how much visiting we can do.

Jessica is doing well but please keep her in your prayers as she goes
through the recovery process. I know she will appreciate every
blessing sent her way.

Be Well - Be Blessed!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pre-Holiday Update

I got lazy last week and didn't update you after my doctor visits.
Sorry about that! By now you know that I am at best inconsistent in
my postings but I do try.

Tuesday we met with my oncologist and talked about a number of things.
First off I told him about my lightheadedness and dizzy spells and
asked to be taken off the blood pressure medication. After checking my
pressure several times in the office he agreed that the med was
keeping it too low and took me off of it for now. We also talked about
going back on Nexavar, which is the cancer med responsible for
shrinking or maintaining my existing tumors. I expressed that I wanted
a little time to recover from the hospital stay, maybe put on a little
weight and gain some strength before subjecting myself to the side
effects again. After all, I was under 150lbs when I left the
hospital! I didn't want to start with diarrhea when I didn't have any
more weight to give. Not to mention dealing with the other side
effects before I had even gotten used to feeding myself through the
tube. The doc agreed with me, although he wants me back on it as soon
as I think I am able. We both thought about a month should be ok.

The one thing he would not agree to is me eating anything at all by
mouth. I was hoping to get his blessing to take liquids or even soft
foods once in a while but he shot me down. Actually he said that of
course he couldn't stop me but just know that I am taking a serious
risk every time I do. The infection they found in me was pretty
serious and they don't want me risk another. I reluctantly had to
agree. We finished up by making sure all my meds were either
available in liquid form or talked to the pharmacist about dissolving
them in water. Everything I'm currently on works one way or the other
so for now I'm all set. When I go back on Nexavar there are a few more
we will have to check out. The Nexavar is fine to dissolve but some of
the meds that control the side effects will have to be checked out.

Friday I saw the surgeon who did my lung surgery. After checking out a
fresh chest X-Ray and removing the stitches from my incisions he
pronounced me fit and said he didn't want to see me anymore unless it
was at a party. I liked that-less doctors to visit.

At home I've got my feeding down to a system. The dietician at the
hospital gave me permission to use some of the other readily available
canned supplements like Ensure or some of the other brands. Some of
these have more calories packed in the same amount of liquid so I can
take less volume and get the same amount of nourishment. That helps
prevent the fullness and bloating which has made the whole process
much easier and more comfortable.

So after all that medical talk - are you ready for the holidays? I've
been sitting on my butt watching Jessie working hers off to get things
ready at our place. Sometimes you have to wonder if all this work is
neccessary. But she always makes our holidays wonderful and
comforting. It looks like Christmas Eve will be just Jessie and Peter
and I so it should be a relaxing evening. That's a good thing since I
don't have the stamina to handle a lot of partying this year.
Christmas day will be a little busier but I should get through that ok.

Thanks for checking in with me again. I wish you all a relaxing and
comforting Christmas! Remember to keep the reason for the season in
your celebrations.

Be Well - Be Blessed!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Highs and Lows at Home

So we made it through a full week at home. I've adjusted somewhat to
the tube feedings. It's still a major pain dragging out the syringes
and stuff 4 times a day to "eat" but I guess it's not that much
different than cooking something that often. It's just that I never
ate 4 major meals in a day. It's also the fact that Jessie is now
cooking only for herself. I think everyone would agree that cooking
only for yourself gets old in a hurry, especially when you are used to
cooking for someone else.

Friday we had the Deacon from our church come out and give us
communion. I had inquired about alternatives to getting communion by
mouth. Turns out he has at least one other parishoner with a feeding
tube and they dissolve a piece of the host in water and take it in
through the tube! I never even thought of that but it worked well. I
just have to flush the tube well to make sure nothing clogs it. He
also gave me a Pyx which is a brass container for transporting
consecrated hosts. Now Jessie can go to mass and ask for a host to
bring home for me in the Pyx. We visited with Deacon Greg for over an
hour and had a nice afternoon.

I had a little scare yesterday. I invited my brother over to watch the
Packer game. When he got here I got up out of my chair, walked the 6ft
to open the door and as soon as I opened it for him my head went
spinning and I went down like a sack of potatoes. Cracked my head
against the door pretty good but survived with no major damage. I
dropped too quick for Jerry to reach and help me so I scared the
bejeebers out of him. Since I have been home I had a few dizzy spells
when I stand up but nothing with a delayed reaction like this. I've
had some medication changes and my blood pressure has been lower than
normal so I'll have to talk to the doc about further changes.

Jessica has been a busy little Christmas elf getting ready for the
holiday. We got behind because of my hospital stay and I told her we
didn't need to do anything this year but she wants to have the house
decorated so she has been busy putting up the tree and setting up
stuff inside the house. I of course did nothing outside but I have not
been real diligent about that in recent years anyway. Our neighbors
all do a bang-up job of putting out lights so we just bask in the
results of their hard work. Thanks again to my awesome group of

I've got a couple follow up appointments this week so if anything new
comes up I'll let you know.

Be Well - Be Blessed.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Settling In at Home

Hi y'all!
I've been settling in here at home with fits and starts. This
adventure has been a little tougher than u thought. The "food" (I
never know what to call it) I have is extremely rich and full of
fiber. The goal they have given me is to get up to 2 cans of it 4
times a day. I was told that I should be able to get there in a few
days but so far it's not happening. Way too rich way too soon - I got
extremely sick the first time I tried it. So I'm learning little by
little what my body can tolerate as I go along. A full "meal" 4 times
a day is more than I ever ate before any of this. But in order to put
weight back on I'm going to have to up my input. I am getting there
little by little. I know it has only been a few days but my patience
has always been short. I want it all and I want it NOW!! I will get
to my goal soon I am sure.

Not much else new to report. For those of you not from the area we got
slammed with a major snow storm here the last couple days. About a
foot of snow and with lots of wind and drifting. Another opportunity
for me to feel useless since I can't assist with snow removal. I feel
like a schmuck watching my wife go out and do the stuff I should be
doing. But on the positive side it also brought out the best in some
of my friends and neighbors who were all over themselves to help us
out snowblowing, plowing, and shoveling. Thank you all so much for
your help! I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

I'll be back in touch soon.

Be Well - Be Blessed!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Checking Out of The Spa

Everybody all together now - ready to yell "WOO HOO". I finally got
released today, actually late this evening. I have to compliment the
doctors and nurses for cooperating and working together to get me out.
I probably should have stayed another night to do more testing of my
feeding tube but sometimes enough is enough, you know what I

When we got home there was a delivery truck waiting with our order of
food and supplies that I will need to get me through about a week.
There was also a nurse waiting to give me more tips and instructions
on using my feeding tube. All at 7:00 on a Saturday night! Now that
is service!

So the next couple days we will try to settle in to a routine and
figure out the best way to handle meds and diet supplements. I can
take nothing in by mouth for fear of aspirating food or water once
again. All meds and food go through the tube; I can't even take a
drink of water! Since I have not had anything in my stomach for 12
days I have to work up to the full amount of food I need.

As far as the future, I'll talk more about that in an upcoming post.
There is hope for change in the near future. But now It's time to get
some rest and get used to my new lifestyle.

God bless each and every one of you for your support, prayers, visits,
and notes. I appreciate them more than you could ever know.

Be Well - Be Blessed!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New development

Well let's cut to the chase. I learned today that the safest way for
me to proceed is to have a stomach feeding tube put in. All of my
nutrition and feeding would come through the tube. All medications as
well would go through the tube.

My swallowing test was a total failure, after just a few attempts they
cancelled the test all together. They were worried about causing more
permanent damage. The theory is that my body was healthy enough up to
this point to free itself of infection but now my body has become
compromised enough that it will not heal itself anymore.

So tomorrow I get the tube put in and then I need to learn how to use
it which might be a day or 2. I am hoping to be home Thursday night.

This is a major lifestyle change for both Jessica and I. So much for
going out to dinner as an event.
In the meantime I willing be working on neck excersises that may allow
me to resume a standard diet over time. That's the theory anyway.

I appreciate the prayers and well-wishes you have all sent my way.
Please say an extra hard prayer for me tonight.

Love U All,