31 March 2009

Today was blood draw day. The numbers were predictably down for Ford's WBC count. In fact, it was a bit startling for me how much they had dropped from last week. Of course, we picked up the results after he had been to work again for a couple of hours. I have been worried about the exposure to anything that could infect him.

The twist of irony is that I have come down with some kind of infection, hopefully nothing worse than a cold. I am more than a little frustrated. Ford cannot get what I have. It would be very serious for him at this point.
My uncle gave him a blessing tonight. I have been attacking whatever it is that I have with several different remedies. I need to get well and stay well to help care for Ford.

We have managed to complete one week without going to the ER. I would like to keep that record going. I know that our collective prayers can help protect Ford.

We both will be staying in for the next few days. The next round of chemo is next Tuesday.

29 March 2009

"Please, sir. May I have more?"

Yesterday, Saturday, before the sun came up, I heard these words from out of the darkness (it was something like 6 am):

"I am hungry."

"Huh?" was my first thought. "Woohoo!" was my second thought. Hunger is a good sign, I believe, for someone going through chemo treatments. Lack of hunger is a big topic in most of the literature we have been given. And, for Ford to be hungry after me trying to stuff him every couple of hours so that he can retain and regain weight is a fantastic thing. I believe that is one more blessing coming from the prayers being offered. Thank you for those prayers!!

I've read that malnutrition in cancer patients is something to watch out for so we have been eating a lot of veggies, fruits, plant protein, and grains. Ford has eaten the same thing for breakfast almost every single day since I have known him (almost 27 years), shredded wheat cereal & milk. For the last 6 or 7 years, his lunch has been the same during the week, a 6-inch Veggie sandwich on wheat from Subway. Pretty healthy and very consistent. Dinners have varied from very healthy to whatever is convenient. It is those types of foods that Ford has missed. so this week we have had some "comfort food" at his request. He seems to be doing okay. It is a challenge finding a middle ground. We still are watching the sugar very carefully. It is difficult to find food and drink items that do not have high fructose corn syrup or a high amount of sugar in them or that are not coated in glucose. Sometime I might take the time to explain the "sugar thing," but not right now.

Ford has been able to do some work for BYU the last several days. It seems to energize him a bit to be working on the programs and debugging that are needed.

Our second daughter and husband (and bebe' to be) came over for a little while yesterday. Ford asked if he and said husband could go out on the front lawn and throw a Frisbee for a little while. His energy was spent pretty quickly and I think he came back in less than five minutes. We were betting that with the blood thinners, his would bruise from catching the frisbees, but last night he couldn't find any. (They are all on his tummy where the shots are given. Uck!)

His second hat also arrived yesterday. He wore it most of the afternoon/evening, but it was a bit annoying because it is a semi-tight fitting cap that keeps slipping its way off his head. Today he is back to wearing the beret.

Ford is also being able to get several hours of sleep. What another blessing!

While we are looking at blessings, I will have to admit that the cold, blustery, snowy, prolonged winter weather we are experiencing is a blessing because it is helping to keep Ford from going absolutely loony with cabin fever. I have a ton of stuff I need to get done inside the house (especially before daughter #3 comes home for the summer in two weeks) and I don't feel as torn between what needs doing outside with this kind of weather.

Today being Sunday, we expect to be very quiet and low key. We both are more appreciative of quiet and low key. His WBC count should be on the rise after today.

27 March 2009

Halfway to Next Round



The picture and text that was included in this blog evidently is not showing up on all computers. This was sent to me by my cousin in Houston and I thought we could all relate on one level or another. It has become a favorite.
The picture shows two elderly men (guessing somewhere in their eighties) sitting on a park bench near a lake. One says to the other:

"My wife said, 'Whatcha doin' today?'
I said, 'Nothing.'
She said, 'You did that yesterday.'
I said, 'I wasn't finished.' "

Today has been fairly uneventful. Ford was able to get to sleep pretty easily last night and slept for several hours.

By noon today he had weighed in, had his Lovenox shot, eaten breakfast, had a visit from our oldest daughter and our granddaughter (always a delight), and programmed for a couple of hours. Although tired, he felt like he had accomplished something.

This afternoon I had an appointment in Lindon so Ford spent a little over an hour with the granddaughter. She showed him her toys, he read her a story, then settled down on the couch to watch Pinocchio and Grandpa had a short nap. Pretty low key all-in-all.

Ford's first hat has arrived to help protect his head.
It is definitely a new look for him, a blue beret style. It will take some getting used to. We'll see how the other one looks on him when it arrives. It is a black cap. The only two hats that I have ever seen Ford wear regularly is his bike helmet and his BYU baseball-style cap. These don't look anything like those.

We continue to receive a LOT of blessings, both big and small. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are grateful for family and friends and for capable medical support. We are also grateful for
the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being able to be a part of the Plan of Salvation. Next week will be a welcome opportunity to listen to President Monson and other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We will also be appreciative of warmer weather.




26 March 2009

Ode to Spring

One of Ford's common Spring sayings is: "Spring has sprung; the grass is riz. I wonder what this white stuff is?"

More snow. I suppose it is April Conference next weekend and the weather usually is fairly blustery at this time of year.

Ford was able to get a fairly good amount of sleep last night. He did have a few painful spot, but we tested to see if it was due to lack of hydration. After drinking some more liquid, most of the pain subsided. Then we tried some good, old-fashioned hot chocolate. It wasn't long before he dropped off.

Something dawned on me last night. If I remember going to sleep on Tuesday night and the next thing I know I am waking up on Saturday, I might be a little anxious about going to sleep. Ford has no recall of the seizure, ambulance ride, the ER, the time in ICU, or the transfer to the 7th floor at UVRMC. That is about an 80-hour gap. No wonder he might feel a little anxious.

Today is the most tired and pep-less that I have seen Ford since before he started chemo. He is trying to maintain a routine, but tires very quickly. His weight has dropped a few pounds in the last three days. He is headed into the period where his WBC count and his immunity will be the lowest, typically, for someone in chemo treatment.

We did make it into the Outpatient Lab at UVRMC to have the special test run that Dr. Alward ordered. The phlebotomist Ford had is good. This is the second time she has done the blood draw. She is pleasant, quick, and empathetic. Now we wait to see what the results are.

Ford asked if he could go in to work for an hour today. With the cold weather and wind, the amount of flu and other sickness that is going around, and his total lack of energy, I am the meany and said no. Hopefully staying home now will mean more time he can spend in the coming weeks. He has managed to work a couple of hours a day. He is finding the smaller size of screen and keyboard on the laptop difficult to work with and a bit of a strain. His supervisors at BYU have been great at accommodating him while he has been out with this illness so we are glad for what they have given him to work with and on. We are researching other options with the resources we have. If only the programs were
http://www.maclife.com/files/u57/apple-logo1.jpg compatible... sigh.

25 March 2009

Cannot Stay Away

At nearly 10 pm last night Ford told me that he was having chest pains again. We went to the ER to get him check over. We spent a little over four hours there. He had a CT scan of the chest again to check for blood clots or changes. There was no significant change from the last one that was taken a week ago. The ER doctor and the on-call doctor from the pulmonolgist group decided to increase his dose of Lovenox (blood thinner). They gave him a shot before we left the ER and told us to check in with Dr. Alward in the morning to verify if that is what he wanted to have happen.

Ford was able to take a couple of short naps in the ER (no small miracle) but by the time he arrived home, he could not get to sleep. He finally dropped off around 4 am after another dose of Melatonin.

This morning was filled with coordinating information between the HCI doctors and Dr. Alward's office. Dr. Alward does not want to have the dosage of blood thinner increased. He has another course he wants to take. He is working on why Ford is having clots.

Because Ford had been given a shot this morning, I did not have to give him one today. Ford gave me a big compliment when he told me that I had learned to give a shot a lot easier to receive than the one the nurse gave in the ER .

We are just puttering around today. Ford is getting some programming time in each day. Most of his team at work are at a conference in Colorado this week. It would have been a good week to go in to the office and get things done without to many people around. Alas, he is homebound for a little while longer.

24 March 2009

Finding a Routine

Last night Ford had a difficult time settling down to sleep. We are assuming that it is the Prednisone that gives him an added side effect of energy and appetite. He takes it in the early morning in hopes it will be less of factor at bedtime. It is a four-day-after-chemo dosage, so yesterday was the last dose for this round. We will see if it makes any difference tonight. Around 1 am, he finally asked for the Melatonin that we got approved by the HCI doctors (thanks Dr. Jeff for the suggestion). Within an hour he was asleep. He was able to sleep several hours until a little past 8 am.

So far this morning he has been able to get his first breakfast of shredded wheat and milk eaten and, also, his second breakfast of eggs, potatoes, & plant protein sausage. We've given him his daily Lovenox (he says I'm getting better each day). Then it was our first time at the new Outpatient Center at UVRMC for his weekly blood draw. That is really a nice facility. We like the ample parking that is close to the building and more specialized areas.

We ran a couple of errands and then back home for his lunch. We are both exhausted so it looks like a great time for a nap.

23 March 2009

Good times

Yesterday and today have been good days. Ford had one bout of nausea yesterday and none, so far, today. He is maintaining his weight within a pound or two. He does not have much strength or stamina. His appetite is fair. He has been able to sleep somewhat better than average.

He may feel well enough to work some of the days this week, however, it seems that the flu is spreading around and we will not chance his getting exposed.

We had tickets to attend the Draper Temple dedication but because of his lack of stamina and the chance of being exposed to something in the very large crowd that was expected to attend at our Stake Center, we chose to stay home.

It would be really nice to be able to attend Sacrament meeting, but there again, we cannot risk the exposure. For some reason, we have been missed the past two weeks by the young Priesthood men that bring the Sacrament to those who cannot attend. Maybe next week.

We enjoyed having daughter # 3 home for a visit this weekend. She will be finishing up her freshman year in just a few weeks. It was also nice having daughter # 2 and her husband visit us at the University Guest House on Friday. It was fun to play a rousing game of Robo Rally and share a pizza! We also were able to see our daughter # 1 for a few minutes late Saturday night. It has been a good weekend.


21 March 2009

We are happy that the University Guest House exists. It has been a good place to rest and wait to see how Ford would react to the second chemo treatment. We received a pleasant surprise when we checked out this morning. They gave us a medical discount. That helps. We made reservations for the next treatment date in April.

Ford is experiencing a little more nausea today. It began very early this morning. The medication they gave us to counteract the nausea is much better for Ford than the two we had after the first treatment. This one doesn't knock him out or make him groggy. We are also using ginger and ginger products to help ease the nausea.

He still has an appetite, for which I am grateful. He is a little more selective on what he is willing to eat. I guess the side effect that messes with taste is inevitably creeping in.

Ford is more tired. I keep wanting to say, "This time around" as if we had any kind of situation with which to compare from the first round of chemo. But, no. It is very different from the first round. At day three of the last round, he was in the ICU at UVRMC, heavily sedated with Ativan, tethered to the bed, with all kinds of wires, machines, and IV's. And I was wondering if he would wake up and be able to have any type of normal life. He has come a long way and has received many blessings.

We received the bill from IHC for those six days of service including the ER, the ICU, and the time on the 7th floor with all the meds, labs, tests, nursing care, and all. Any guesses on the total? We could open up a guestimate pool, charge for each guess, and the winner could receive some souvenir from the hospital. (-: (Would that even be legal? ethical? moral?)

Ford's hair is thinning and his beard has grown very slow (but it is very soft, not prickly.) We have gotten him the satin pillow case suggested to ease the irritation. This week we will be shopping for hats and caps to protect him from the sun. YES! There is actually sun to be protected from!! Woo Hoo! (There are crocus and daffodils blooming in our garden. And pretty green patches of grass. I LOVE SPRING!)

And, for those of you who may know our family and would enjoy the great news we received last week, daughter #2 and hubby announced that they are expecting a baby in the fall. They were married on 07/07/07 and have mentioned how cool it would be to have said baby arrive on 09/09/09. For this reason, Ford has dubbed baby-to-be, "Niner." (This daughter has sometimes been called Boo by him, while she was growing up, so he also considered the prenatal name: "BooTwo." However, with those to follow, would you call them B3, B4, etc.? "Then would B4 come before B3?" Ford queries.) He still has his sense of humor.



20 March 2009

Clear Skies

Last night went fairly smoothly. Ford was exhausted, as can be expected. He watched a bit of the NCAA tournament, read a bit, and went to bed. He slept well from about 11:00 pm until around 4:00 am. Then he tossed and turned and napped.

We were due back at the HCI at 7 am for lab work and to pick up our new schedule. It was a much easier commute this morning than it was yesterday.

Ford has not had a headache yet today. He is having recognizable discomfort from the lack of his normal amount of fluid intake. (He is a good patient. Whatever the doctor tells him, he tries to follow.) He said he didn't have any nausea until we arrived at the HCI and were done with the blood draw. I, of course, had left the anti-nausea meds in the room at the Guest House. We went upstairs to the Point to get some breakfast. It is on the sixth floor. The view is awesome. We are up so high that when I brought the breakfast tray over to the table and looked out the window, I got nauseated. We worked through breakfast. Ford did admirably.

The nurse (Debbie is an awesome nurse) said that the lab results look good (sodium =141).

While we were sitting waiting for the results and the new schedule, our next door neighbors, Marv and Doris, walk in to the clinic area. He is having a procedure done today. We wish them the best possible outcome. Wow, there are many of our neighbors and Ward members that are going through tough challenges of their own. This is sure a good time to pull together.

We are back at the Guest House where Ford was able to take the meds he needed. He has been able to sleep a bit more. We will be taking it very easy today. We are thankful that these facilities are available and so close to help if we need it.

We will see how quiet it is this evening when the Utes play their first round game.

If all goes without incident and Ford is doing well, we will be back to Provo tomorrow.

Thank you for continued prayers and for expressions of love and encouragement that you are so willing to share with us. When we take time to consider the magnitude of it all, it is certainly humbling.

19 March 2009

Round 2 Day 1

Sorry this didn't post last night. I wrote it and assumed that it had posted, but it wasn't posted when I checked this morning. Here is the update:



We made it through Ford's second round of chemo today without major incident!!

This experience is obviously not my first choice of things to do if we could choose, but since we have to go through this, the HCI is a great place to be. I love the staff of nurses, doctors, and care personnel, especially in the infusion room. They take wonderful care of everyone that comes in for treatment as well as the family that comes along. They do a lot to make the patients comfortable and in helping them through this tough time. And when there is a problem, they do whatever is necessary to see that it is resolved in a timely manner. They are very hands-on and personable. If ever there is a question about treatment, there is no guessing or assuming. They work at a team with all involved. Everyone is very cheerful and upbeat.



We checked in at the infusion room and had blood drawn. Then we went back down the hall (a very long hall) to the clinic where we checked in to see the doctor. (Going to the infusion room first got us in line. It is a very busy place and sometimes there may be a wait of a half to full hour wait, depending on how many need treatments on a given day.) We spent more than normal time with the doctors reviewing what has happened and discussing what to do next, i.e. what we learned and what we will be doing differently. The decision was to change the pre-dose but leave the dose the same as regularly planned. The doctors seemed very happy that we were staying close and could come back early in the morning to be checked. They also put a BIG limit on his fluid intake. This is not going to be an easy adjustment.

Back at the infusion room, we were ushered right in to our seats. There was a little bit of a wait because the orders with the change of the pre-dosing had not made it through the system. Once the regular chemo drip started, Ford sailed right through. No reactions, no problems.

Today was the first day for me to give Ford his Lovenox injection. These have to be given at the same time each day and are given in the abdomen. The nurse in the infusion room that was attending to Ford today walked me right through it. She was great. This is another one of those things that wouldn't be at the top of my choice list, but we have many months ahead that Ford will need this done and today we got a good start.

The biggest pain that Ford felt today was in BYU's loss in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. He was very disgruntled, but found a comfortable position and fell asleep for a while. The pre-dose meds made that a bit easier. A lot of the staff are keeping up with March Madness and several of them and some patients were cheering for the Cougs. We are in the heart of Ute Country, so this was a little interesting. Tomorrow all eyes here will be on the Ute game.

The regular chemo took about 5 hours. We were told that since he did so well, the next round would only take about 3-3 1/2. They speed up the rate of the drip once they know it can be tolerated. From listening to what was going on around me, I gather that one drawback of the speeding up is that it has a potential of increasing side effects.

On the way out, Ford need to take a pit stop. The men's and women's bathrooms are side-by-side. All of a sudden there was a loud crash. It took everything I had not to open the door to the men's room and see if he was all right. I called Ford's name through the big, thick door, but there was not response. One of the nurses from the infusion room had been going down the hall and she came hurrying back asking if Ford had fallen. We both heard a bit of noise coming from the women's bathroom so she opened the door and asked if everything was okay. There was a woman with several children in there. One of the children had knocked a paper towel dispenser off the wall. WHEW! Ford came out oblivious to the activity. He knows how hypersensitive and hypervigilant I am and helped in reassuring me. Lots of deep breaths.

We've checked into the University Guest House on the U of U campus just around the corner from the hospital and we will see how everything goes tonight.

18 March 2009

Home Today, Gone Tomorrow

Ford figuratively was sitting on pins and needles today waiting for Dr. Alward to come in. Dr. Alward arrived fairly early and talked with us for a few minutes giving some instruction and some education. Then he released Ford.

We are home.

Now we make preparations for tomorrow's chemo treatment at the HCI. We are to check in at 7 am, Ford gets blood work done, sees the doctor, and then back to the infusion room.

This round should take about 5 hours once the drip starts.

We are due back the next day for follow-up blood work to check on critical levels.

Most of those caring for Ford have acknowledged that he is unusual. (Dare I even make an editorial comment?) (-: They have been good at going beyond the normal explanations and at giving us how's, why's, what's the norm, and what may be the procedure if things don't go the norm.

Throughout it all Ford's sense of humor has remained intact. He has been upbeat, cooperative, and courteous. A lot of the nursing staff have commented on it and in return have thanked us and treated both of us very well.

Middle-of-the-night experience: It is very late and I wake up to the sound of Ford's voice, in the best Irish accent he can muster, telling the nurses over the intercom that "wee leprechauns have made a visit and left a bit of gold
treasure in the little room." This evidently caused quite a bit of response at the nurses' station. BOTH the RN & the PCA showed up at the door still laughing and brought two cookies. On each cookie was one decorated letter in icing. Evidently some of the staff had brought goodies to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and we received a double portion of the "Happy." Hey! It was REALLY late at night.

17 March 2009

There has been a constant flow of traffic in and out of Room 588 today. With tests, scans, labs, techs, PA's, PCA's, RN's, doctors, and family & friends things have been busy.



Ford is looking and feeling much better this evening. In fact, he is hyper with all the food that he has been eating today. I'm still going for a better weight gain with this extra time before the next chemo.



First I learned that the plural of embolism is emboli. Who knew.



Next, as much as Dr. Alward has tried to get rid of us, we are not getting rid of him. He is back on Ford's case and is looking to discharging him tomorrow, if nothing new develops. Dr. Alward had a consultation with Dr. Glenn today and if Ford is released tomorrow, then we are scheduled for the next chemo treatment at 7:00 am on Thursday, 3/19.

Ford will be taking injections of Lovenox throughout the rest of chemo treatment and for some months after. Then he will be on some sort of blood thinners for the rest of his life.

We will see what the next few days bring.

Note: There are at least three members of our Ward here at UVRMC and a family member of one of our Ward members. Our prayers are with all of them also.

In every instance, things could have been worse and yet are not. We are grateful for the blessings.





It's Twins!

Ladies & gentleman, boys & girls: We have a matching set of pulmonary embolisms, one in each lung.

Ford is officially back on Coumadin (orally) with a Lovenox chaser by injection. No more vitamin K and no more spinach.

The stress test scheduled for the early morning has now been replaced by bi-lateral ultrasound to determine if there are any clots in his legs.

We did just check this last week at the U of U, but only on one leg. Seems something developed since then.

No time frame yet on the length of stay in the hospital this time. Ford is hoping for an early release.

16 March 2009

Never a Dull Moment

Surprise of surprises. Tonight about 7:30 pm Ford came into the room where I was and (as he would say) "fessed" up. He looked a little pale and I asked if he was okay. This has become a routine question for me to ask and I ask about 10-15 times a day. He said that he had a pain in his chest. I queried him on the type of pain, the degree, etc. then took his temperature. It was normal. I called the HCI oncologist that was on call. It was one we had spoken with before who is super nice. He said that we really needed to go to the ER and have him checked out. I cringed. After the last ER visit I really did not relish the idea of going back. But we did. Funny thing, I have been trying to figure out how to make amends for getting off on the wrong foot last time we were there and tonight gave me an opportunity. Most of the same people were on duty tonight. I took a box of chocolate truffles and gave my sincere apologies. Everyone was so very nice! And I feel a lot better.

Anyway, back to Ford. His EKG showed enough abnormalities that the cardiologist wanted him admitted to due further tests. This time we are on the fifth floor in room 588. No chemo tomorrow. Good news is that his sodium levels are up to 140. His white blood cell count is up also.

I will update the situation when I am able to access a computer. Until then...

15 March 2009

Round 1 Day 20

It appears that Ford might have overdone a little on Friday. He woke up Saturday morning feeling less than 100% (of what he has currently been feeling). So we hunkered down and kept things pretty low key for the day.

His weight made a tremendous jump. My first guess was fluid retention but Ford pointed out that he did not have as much intake as he normally does. He can tell because he gets a headache and that is what he woke up with.

I think that the pattern may be that he has a great gain one day and then a loss the next. However, it totals out to be a small gain overall. So we are seeing a bit of progress.

We have kept him guarded from the general public a little longer than we might have this week. Although according to what we have been told that his white blood cell count should be on the rise this week, he was on antibiotics until last Tuesday. When the children were little, the doctor told me that the third day after finishing an antibiotic was a day that they were most susceptible to catch something new. Going on that assumption, he has tried to be careful. At this point, we don't want to take any chances.

Ford continues to be pleasant and upbeat. He is noticing that he is beginning to shed his hair. He is yet undecided how he is going to handle the total fallout.




13 March 2009

The past two days have been fairly uneventful. We like uneventful.

Ford has been looking well. He has had a bit more energy. His nights have been a little restless, yet he has gotten several hours sleep (he has gotten to sleep, woken up, stayed awake, then fallen back to sleep). Some is much better than none.

He weight yesterday was up a few pounds. Today he was down a little. I guess that this may be normal for the situation. I would like several more pounds to stay before the next chemo treatment.

Ford went to work for a few hours at BYU on Wednesday. Then Thursday was an at-home day. Today he worked from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. He was glad to be working and accomplishing something. But he was very tired and glad to come home.

The Mtn. West tourney is his focus tonight and tomorrow night. Go Cougars!

11 March 2009

The Weighting Game

Today was good.

Ford was able to fall asleep quickly and slept all through the night, probably the first time in quite a while. When he woke up he said that he felt better than he had in a long time.

He was able to go in to work at BYU for a few hours today and said he felt he had been able to accomplish some good things.

His weight was down just a little this morning, yet I think it will be back up tomorrow. He had a better appetite today and felt hungry this evening.

I am cautiously relieved.

As for me, I am bottoming out today. I think it is the let down from all that has gone on the past several weeks. Yet life doesn't stop and tomorrow is another day. Another blessed day, how privileged we are to have so much.

10 March 2009

Time Flies...no matter what

Ford remarked today that we are now 1/3 through the month of March. Whoa!! Where is the time going?

Each day Ford is looking better. His color is good. His eyes look brighter. His head (thinking) appears to be less foggy. He seems to have a bit more energy.

I held my breath as he stood on the scales yesterday until the number came up. He not only stabilized, he gained two pounds! He may have been as relieved and happy as I was. He has been so good to eat everything I have put in front of him even though he might not be hungry.

He was able to work a bit on his BYU projects. He exercised on the "trike" as he calls the recumbent exercise bike.

He has established a nighttime routine to see if he can get to sleep.

Last night he went to sleep on his own and slept until 4:00 am. Hurray! Then he laid back down at 6:00 am and slept until about 8:30 am.

Today was the last day of the antibiotics he was taking for the aspiration pneumonia and he has just two more days of the tapering off of Prednisone.

When he got on the scale this morning, I cheered. He has gained three more pounds!

I am sure we will not keep up this pace of weight gain but if we should, he will weigh more than he has EVER. (-:

That may at least give us a head start on the next round of chemo, 17 March 2009. May the luck of the Irish be with us. Or better yet, may all of your and our prayers continue to be answered.

08 March 2009

Today All Is Well

If there is a happy medium between While You Were Sleeping and Sleepless in Seattle, I'll take it.

Last week in the ICU Ford was sleeping and now has no recall of that time. The last few nights he has been sleepless. Friday night after trying to relax, laying with his eyes closed, reading, and walking, he finally dozed off at 6:00 am (Saturday). The phone rang around 7:30 am with someone calling about not being able to make their shift at the Temple. I forwarded him on to Brother Harlow. Ford was able to continue to sleep until about 10:00 am.

It was past meds time, so I had to wake him up. I was afraid that if he took the Prednisone too late, we would have another restless night.

Although it is frustrating and he gets a bit anxious about not being able to sleep, he has continued to keep his cheerful demeanor.

The scales showed another pound lost. Arghhhh. The fight is on! It is fairly easy to prepare things for Ford to eat, and he is very good about trying to get everything down, but in reality you can only eat so much a day. I have tried to keep high calorie and protein foods handy so he can keep snacking when he feels he can (he even tries when he feels he cannot).

There was a lot of activity going on at the house yesterday, most of which I shooed him off into the bedroom for until it had settled down.

My brother and sister-in-law stopped in for a brief visit. That was very good. When Ford got tired, he simply went off to the other room.

Later in the evening a neighbor (who is also the High Priest Group Leader) stopped in and visited. Both these visits seemed to boost Ford's spirits.

He loves it when our daughters call to check in. He also has appreciated knowing when his mother and his siblings have called. He is grateful for the love and support from all.

Last night was a little better. Ford was able to get to sleep around 3:30 am. The doctor at HCI gave us permission to use something a lot milder than the Ativan to help him doze off. He took one tablet. Tonight it will probably be two. We'll see.

Ford continually expresses his gratitude to those who help. Together we have begun a Gratitude Journal for just this experience. To voice and then to record is a humbling experience.

Two more people that have been faithful and supportive above and beyond what is normal are my dear mother Laurel and my sister Melanie. They have run errands, stayed up nights in the ER and hospital, cleaned, calmed, and worked. It won't be long before Melanie will be moving on to bigger and better things. I will miss her tremendously.

Many of you have offered to travel to be here, be at the HCI with us, bring food, do house chores and yard work, send care packages, move heavy exercise equipment to make it more convenient for Ford, spell me off so I can do what ever might need be done. We know that many of you would come in a split second if we were to ask. A lot of you are unable to come and do, yet have offered whatever you could. All of you have offered love, concern, support, and most of all, your prayers. With your prayers, all of you are here all of the time. I know this because they are being answered each and every day. We love you and are so grateful to you all.

If I could be so bold, there are a few things that we need asked for specifically at this time. Would you please, in your own way and words and inspiration, consider asking:

- that Ford's body be able to absorb and retain the nutrients needed to maintain and gain weight

-that with the chemo treatments the healthy parts of his body be protected from the damaging and harsh effect of the chemicals used while targeting the cancers that need to be killed

-that his mind and spirit and body might be able to relax and get the rest necessary for his well-being

-that those who treat and care for him may receive the revelation and inspiration needed to understand what has happened, why it happened that way, and what can be done for better results for the best outcome in the coming months

-and that our faith will increase as we seek to do whatever is the will of the Father and as we recognize and acknowledge His hand in all things.

Thank you~


06 March 2009

Relaxing at Home

"Do we have anywhere we need to go today?" Ford asked me this morning.

"No," I answered.

"That's good. That will be very nice," he replied.

And that is how is was today. Sound boring? Sometimes boring is just right.

Things seem to be normalizing somewhat. Ford has trouble getting to sleep and then if he wakes up, he has trouble getting back to sleep. I estimate he probably got 4 1/2 sleep added all together last night and early this morning. What does he do when he can't sleep? We walk.

His system seems to be regulating a bit now (Yeah! for flax oil and warm almond milk).

The pain in his stomach is lessening. We hope that we can determine the source and get it resolved. The doctors think it might be the constipation, or the Prednisone which can be hard on stomachs, or the ulcer found when the endoscopy was done, or it just may be the cancer. Eenie, meenie, (how do you spell miney?), moe.

In my opinion, he looks great! He has lost weight, about 5.5 lbs through the ordeals of this past week. His color is good. He looks much happier. His thinking is still a bit muddled and slow due to the hyponatremia. That should improve as he gets back into a regular routine. Also, I heard recently that to improve brain function we should try switching things up. Get out of our comfort zone with simple things. For example, if we usually brush our teeth with our right hand, try using the left instead. If we eat with our left hand, try using our right, and so on. Social connections help also, so we are grateful for the cards, emails, phone calls, and short visits. These and other things are on my list for us to work on together.

Ford was glad to be able to sit and watch it snow and not have to go out in it.

Today I feel like I may have gotten a bit ahead of the bus instead of being run over by it. I've gotten some dishes washed, some laundry washed, the taxes done, and some bills paid. We even got to enjoy a limited visit from Lalani (daughter #1) and granddaughter (I started to type grandbaby, but she is growing up so fast, she's not a baby anymore). She is a lot fun to watch and it did Grandpa some good.

Tomorrow we are hoping for another uneventful day. I am now focusing on what is necessary to help Ford gain some much needed weight. I've had many people say that they wish they could donate some of what they have. Hey, if they could find a way, everyone would have to stand in line behind me. {-:

05 March 2009

Positive Outcomes

In the very early hours of this morning, Ford's system began to clear out. He has been struggling for a week with pain and being backlogged.

Also, he told me that he was having intermittent shooting pains in his right leg for the last day and a half.

We had a fast, but beautiful ride up to the U of U Med Ctr for an ultrasound. The very old clot was the only thing found. Yippee! We won one this week!

He is back home and resting.

I was reminded of the advice to young mothers, "When the baby sleeps, you sleep."

That sound like great advice to me. So since the patient is sleeping....

04 March 2009

Home Sweet Home, Part 2

Ford was released from the hospital around noon today. He is, again, happy to be home. I am too.

I also want to repeat again that the staff on the seventh floor is awesome. We even got to see Cameron Shumway at work as a PCT (it was explained to us that a PCT is one step above a CNA and is unique to the IHC system. Most of the PCT's that helped us were working on their nursing degrees and some were close to graduating either from UVU or BYU). Although he wasn't assigned to Ford, he always was kind and asked if we needed anything. (Thanks, Cam.)

Ford is really diligent. In order to help his lung situation, he was given an apparatus that he has to use. Even though it was a challenge, every hour on the hour he would do his little exercise. We also started walking laps around the floor. Every couple of hours we would make two laps around the floor. This morning, very early, when Ford couldn't sleep, we increased that to three laps, and then before he was dismissed, we made it up to four. (If he had needed to stay longer, I may have lost a little weight.)

The chest x-ray from this morning showed clear lungs.

His white blood cell count is lowering, but not
as much as first thought it might.

There are signs that the chemo is starting to set in one of which the palms of his hands are turning red. We were told that he might begin to lose his hair at about week 2 -3.

He is limited on the amount of plain water he can drink. He now has to switch off with juices, Gatorade, or a drink that can help keep his electrolytes in balance. Besides the unusual problem with his sodium, there seemed to be a bit of a drop in his potassium. Even though it was somewhat of a fluke, the doctors are being careful because his normal daily intake was about 2 liters and they think that amount might create another drop.

We were told that one of the doctors in the ICU made the comment that he was glad to finally see someone that actually drank the recommended amount of water and exercised regularly. That may be why he was always quite positive of Ford's recovery rate would be.

There was an incident that was dejavu of one of the offenses I committed while in the ER. Early this morning while Ford was gone to get his chest x-ray, I heard this terrible hacking cough coming from out in the hall. As it got closer to our room, I also heard "sniff, sniff, sniff." Then one of the crew from housekeeping came in to empty the wastebaskets. Mind you, we are on a medical/ oncology floor where most have cancer of some type and some of the patients have been transferred to this floor from ICU, because they are less critical than those coming into ICU and ICU needed the room.

The rule, as it was explained to me, is to wear a mask. She was not wearing a mask, but was faithfully fulfilling her duties entering each patient's room.

I thought about it for a minute or two, then I approached someone about it. This person turned around and, while I didn't hear the whole conversation, I believe explained to her that when she was in Room # (our room #) she would need to wear a mask. hmmmm. Let me think about this. Emptying trash from every room and Ford is not the only patient on the floor that is walking laps. A few have physical therapists that take them walking. One other was walking on his own.

I mentioned it again to the lead nurse that was helping Ford and she immediately said that the staff needed to be more aware and be more diligent about masking up.

When we went for our next walk, the housekeeper that was cleaning the rooms was wearing a mask, but the original person about whom I was concerned still was not wearing a mask. I carefully steered Ford away from her when we got near where she was. (She glared at me every time.) Finally, she turned a corner just as we were coming down the hall. I stood between her and Ford. I mustered up all the niceness that I could and told her that I thought I had heard her coughing earlier this morning and asked her if she was ill. She looked at me and said that she had been earlier, but she was better now and all she had was a cough. I
tried gently to tell her that what she had could be deadly to some of the patients with low immunity. She sort of sniffed at me, flipped her blond braided head around, and walked away.

When Dr. Alward walked into Ford's room, his first statement was: "How about us letting you go home before you catch something from here" (or something close to that).

When we getting the papers we needed to check out, I noticed that she finally had a mask on. I also saw that a few more of the regular staff were wearing masks. Come to think of it, Dr. Alward was sitting at the computer just around the corner and a few feet away from where we had encountered the housekeeper.

03 March 2009

Round 1 Day 8

Got my days mixed up in the title. Yesterday was actually day 7. At this point, most of the days have run together.

Ford's temperature rose last night and he said that he was having a hard time breathing. That, along with a headache and constant stomach pain, made us think it would be a good time to go into the ER to get checked over. Won't make that mistake again, at least not at UVRMC, unless we go by ambulance.

The room that he left yesterday on the 7th floor hadn't been occupied yet, so, yep, we are back up there, probably at least until tomorrow (Wednesday). Dr. Alward was not particularly happy about the events of last night and the decisions made. (Details provided to the absolutely curious. And, of course, most was due to my charming personality.)

Ford continues to be absolutely terrific. (-:

I have been taught that it might be best to say that I am doing incredible.

Anyway, we are almost half way through Round 1. I simply cannot wait to see what the next weeks and months hold in the way of learning. My learning curve changed to a 90 degree angle a while back.

02 March 2009

Round 1, Day 6

New challenges are ahead for Ford. He is glad to be home, however, now there are other battles to be fought.

His taste buds are now changing as they do with chemo. Nothing tastes good. He needs to eat and build up strength. He needs to maintain or even gain weight.

He lost about 2 1/2 pounds over this bout in the hospital.

He has an ache in his stomach that cannot seem to be identified.

He feels lousy but is trying to do what needs to be done. He is a fighter and is giving it his best.

Please continue to remember him in your prayers.

Home Sweet Home

Ford is home and very glad to be here! I have never seen him so anxious as when we were waiting for the doctor to make his rounds to us and say those magical words. Ford is resting peacefully after having some food and a shower.

We continue to count our many blessings. Our undying thanks goes to all those that have helped us in the past few days, from the emergency responders to the doctors and medical staff at UVRMC and at HCI. Never have I seen such wonderful nurses and PCC's.

Thank you for your prayers. Every time I see things fall into place nicely, or hear how events happened just right, or a nicety is shown I know that it is all the prayers at work. I am truly amazed. And grateful.

01 March 2009

Improves

Ford continues to improve, it looks like he may be coming home tomorrow.