Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Well, the surgery is scheduled for the 7th of April a week from tomorrow.  They said they could do it Tuesday but Ron wasn't ready for that.  He needs to get himself mentally prepared first and I understand that.  

I think his doctor is a good surgeon but his patient skills are lacking.  Since Ron has confidence in him I feel like I need to keep my concerns to myself.  The biggest concern about the surgery (according to the doctor) is that because the cancer is on the aortic artery they may have to remove a section of the artery and there is a real risk that Ron could bleed to death on the table.  They have a vascular surgeon assisting but he's older than dirt and I'm not that thrilled that he's the one assisting.  The doctor said this could be a 3 hour surgery or it could be 12.  Won't know until they get started.

Sooooooo here we go!  Ron's getting a little agitated so I know he's nervous.  Rightfully so. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The visit to the urologist didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.  First of all we were greeted by the PA instead of the doctor who immediately told us it was above his area of expertise and that we would have to see the doctor.  Duhhhh, thought that was why we were there!  He then said we would have to be worked in and that would probably be an hour to hour 1/2.   Ron just took the opportunity to take a nap on the exam table and I sat quietly fuming. Then when the doctor finally came in he had no idea why we were there.  Then he had no idea what kind of surgery Ron had a year ago.....he thought his kidney was removed laporascopically.  I reminded him "football size tumor"........ring a bell?  Ahhhh the light begins to flicker.  We left with the following information.  Surgery, (not scheduled but expect it in about 2 weeks).  

I have to be so careful not to let me my mouth overload my good sense.  Ron likes this doctor but I have some real concerns.  It is hard to know just how much to express them.  I guess I really can't.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Back to the kidney surgeon.  Ron has an appointment at 2:00 this afternoon.  I'm not sure what he is going to do since he has all the information he needs to just go ahead and schedule surgery.  Sometimes I get the feeling that if there is a fee to be had they will have you come in just so they can tell you they'll get back to you when they have a surgery date.  "Thank you, that will be $1000.00. and your car title."  Do I sound synical?

It is hard not to get a little synical when you are navigating our health care system.  I'm terrified of the deadly hospital aquired infections just waiting for an open wound.  I have a friend whose husband has been in ICU for the past 5 weeks.  Not because of the surgery he had but because of the 3 infections he acquired while being in the hospital.    So, it seems you must first survive the surgery and then the hospital stay itself.  Not the hospital I remember as a kid.  The hospital was where you wanted to be if you were really sick.  Now the hospital is where you can get really sick!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

T-Town Ronny

Well, we saw the oncologist today and she said they can't do a needle biopsy of Ron's lung.  So they are going to proceed with the removal of the cancer at the original kidney site and then in 2 months do another PET scan to see if the lung nodule has grown anymore and if it has they will schedule surgery to remove it.  If the other 4 nodules have grown as well then we will have to re-evaluate what comes next.  So what we know for sure is that we are headed back to the kidney doctor to schedule surgery.  In my mind we are no worse off this afternoon than we were 2 weeks ago and that's good.

During the recent estate sale I came across a characature of my favorite guy that was done when he was in college.  Now, Ron was a very straight laced young man who had never had a drink until he joined a fraternity.  It seems his fraternity brothers decided it was time he be initiated into the world of embibement.  They took Ron to Tulsa where they proceeded to get him his first "drunk" experience.  During the event they had a characture done of Ron in which he was later nicknamed "T-Town Ronny"!

I thought it was hysterical so of all the things in the estate sale I wanted this picture.  It's so funny because it is so out of character for Ron.  It just cracks me up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lovin That Man of Mine!

What a productive weekend!!!!!!  My obsessive compulsive needs were met and we worked like Trojans and got the house put back together.  Ahhhhhhh it feels so good!  Seriously, it feels so good to have some order back in my life.  We managed to get everything we wanted to do accomplished this weekend.  There are some other projects we need to address but we can just tackle them one at a time.  

I need to hire someone to take care of the yard this summer because I think we will be too busy with medical issues to worry about it.  Normally I like taking care of the yard myself but I just don't think I can handle it this summer.  Tomorrow we see the oncologist again and hopefully will have some idea as to when or if surgery is next.  I'm fairly confident that Ron will have surgery soon.  So, the yard is a very low priority.

We've been living together now one month!  It sure doesn't seem like it.  My how time flies when you are having fun and we are having fun in spite of everything.  Mike is doing well right now, Ron isn't getting sick when he eats.  We have a chance to extend Ron's life expectancy.  All in all....things are positive and I'm full of gratitude!

Friday, March 18, 2011

So What's the Scope?

Ron had his stomach scoped yesterday.  It went very well and they found no sign of cancer.  The doctor did say there were 4 nodules where the stomach empties into the bowel but they were more like pre-ulcers.  He did take a biopsy but said he didn't expect it to be anything.  He is treating Ron for excessive acid and prescribed a medication that seemed to do the trick this morning.  Ron was not sick after he ate breakfast and it made his day!!!!

We see the oncologist again on the 22nd and I'm guessing she will tell us how they plan to biopsy Ron's lung.  Everything seems to be in slow motion.  We are hurrying up to wait.......or it seems.  

We had the closing on the house yesterday and the check is in the bank!  Hooray!  I'm so glad that is all done.  Ron needed closure on that as well.  Now it is just full steam ahead.  Here's to a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya!  I was greeted this morning by the world's tallest leprechaun, 6'2" to be exact.  Ron loves holidays.  It doesn't matter what holiday he loves them all.  He sends cards to all his family and friends for every holiday including Ground Hog's Day.  He's just cute that way.  Well, this morning he had made green eggs and had purchased St. Patrick's buttons for everyone he works with and one for me.  Mine says, "World's Cutest Leprechaun", don't you know:)  I also have a green beaded necklace and bracelet to wear. He's so funny!  He's like a little kid when there is fun to be had.  

Most of the time I don't even think about his cancer.  I'm just determined to enjoy our time together...this moment...and think of nothing else.  But, it is times like this morning when he's having so much fun and is so happy that it will slip into my head.  When he hugs me and holds me a second longer than usual, the tears start to well up in my eyes.  It's then that it will hit me.  I start trying to memorize the moment so I won't forget what it feels like to be in his arms.  I feel a pain so deep in my heart I'm not sure I can breathe.

I told myself for years that I never wanted to love anyone again.  I never wanted to feel the pain of loss again.  So I protected my heart and spent more than 30 years alone.  But, now I realize that it is worth the risk to love someone and to know the feeling of being loved in return even for one day!  There will be plenty of time to grieve when the time comes but for now we'll just eat green scrambled eggs and wear silly Irish pins.

May those who love us, love us
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping.

May love and laughter light your days
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons,
bring the best to you and yours.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Man Proofing My Home

     Because I've lived alone for so long and because mine was an all female household I'd say it is a very "girly" house.  Poor Ron is like a bull in a china closet.  He has taken over the guest room as his closet and the guest bath both of which are very "girly".  Everytime I hear him in the bathroom shaving I just hear cabinets slamming and it sounds like he is bouncing off the walls.  I cringe!  I can imagine the cabinet just coming off the wall.
     Yesterday, I had wandered around all day at work before someone finally told me I had something on the back of my slacks.  When I checked it out I couldn't for the life of me figure out HOW I got barbecue sauce on the back of my pants.  I hadn't eaten any barbecue....or at least not for breakfast anyway.  When I got home I sat down in my recliner and hmmmm something sticky?  Ahhhhh yes, barbecue sauce.  Seems my roomie decided to graze in the refrigerator the night before and I believe some barbecue sauce missed his mouth and landed in my chair.  Obviously not realizing it was there I sat in it before leaving for work. 
    I'm thinking that since I never had grand children my house was never baby proofed again after my children left home.  Seems I need to do a little man proofing around my house!  At the very least, look before I sit!  What an adventure! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Now, I'm ready to plan something fun...........a wedding!  I'm anxious to get this show on the road.  I would like to get married BEFORE all the surgeries start which I know will be soon but that may not be practical.  Maybe we can do it as soon as the ole boy is able to stand up unassisted? Ha...just kidding.  I'll be patient and let him at least get his stitches out before hauling him to the alter.  Maybe a wedding is something we can plan while he is convalescing.  I'm one step ahead as I have already purchased a dress.  It is royal blue, not a color I would normally select but it is Ron's favorite color and I like the dress.  I have to have it shortened but that's about the only alteration required. I want something for us to look forward to and to keep our minds focused on something positive.  We can plan where we would like to go on a honeymoon as soon as he is strong enough and feeling good.  I'm sure we will head straight to Durham, North Carolina to see his daughter, especially if they are unable to attend the wedding.  So, we can plan the rest of the trip around that visit.  Much to be excited about!

Monday, March 14, 2011

After a hectic weekend of critter sitting and moving I can see an end in sight.  We have only to run over to Ron's house this evening and quickly clean and then lock the door for the last time.  It is bitter sweet I suppose.  I'm so happy we are together now and I love knowing he will be home every night after work but it is also sad to let go of a home that held so many memories for both of us.  Since I grew up just around the corner from Ron it is the neighborhood of our youth.  But, Ron is ready to be done with all of this so it is good!

The time change is catching up with me this afternoon.  My body says, "What the heck is going on?"   I didn't have any trouble getting up at my usual time but I'm crashing about a 1/2 hour early this afternoon.  


Friday, March 11, 2011

The past is just that......The Past!

During the process of packing Ron's things and moving out of his house he came across a 34 page e-mail from his ex-wife sent to him during the process of their divorce.  Ron handed it to me and said, "Here, you might like to read this in case you have any questions about my former marriage."

I took the paper and started reading it.  I hadn't read more than 4 pages before I started feeling bad.  I felt bad for his ex and I felt bad for Ron.  I also felt disloyal for even reading it so I stopped.  Ron looked a little confused by what he assumed was my lack of interest but I quickly explained that what happened between he and his ex-wife was personal and between them.  It is also in the past and I know from my own experience that it takes two people to make a marriage and two people to break one up.  I said, "This is in the past and I don't want what happened then to have any bearing on where "we" are today." 

In this journey that we are on I am learning so many lessons every day and the biggest one is that yesterday doesn't matter.  I've watched Ron dismantle his life piece by piece as well as the lives of his parents.  It has been both painful and healing.  It has provided an opportunity to talk and share memories as we look through old letters and photos.  I have learned so much about his mom and dad and the love they shared for one another.  A true love story.  I couldn't imagine the pain they endured when their oldest son died at the age of four.  But it was obvious that the experience only strengthened the bond between them.  At times I have felt like a voyeur prying into the privacy of strangers and at other times I feel as close to his parents as if they were sitting beside us.

Ron has made peace with the idea of his life being cut short.  He has accepted whatever is to come but is still willing to fight for his life.  I learned how precious life is when I was with my mother during the final hours of her life.  She was at such peace but life is so precious we cling to it at the final hour.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cancer Vs Crazy...........which one is winning?

         I really liked Ron's oncologist although I have shoes that look older than her.  Her manner was straight-forward but with a lot of compassion.  She told us that his cancer does not respond to chemotherapy or radiation, something I already knew but I don't think Ron had ever accepted.  She said his condition is very serious due to the size of the initial tumor and the fact that it appears to have spread to his left lung.  She did however recommend aggressively treating him with surgery to remove both tumors.  She said although this is a slim chance it is still a chance.  Ron was totally in shock.  I was surprised by his reaction as I thought he already understood most of this but I underestimated the power of denial.

       The first step is a lung biopsy to confirm the malignancy.  She is also concerned about the other 4 nodules that were found.  They are not growing but she can't rule out that they are also cancer.

        Step two is to go down and scope his stomach.  She needs to determine what is causing him to get sick when he eats.

        If the first two steps support the decision to proceed with surgery then the tumor at the kidney site will be removed first.  The lung surgery would be second.  I don't know how far apart the surgeries will take place.  

       After that it would be back to the routine of CAT scans every 3 months.  She said we would continue until or if something were to come back again and then it could mean another surgery.  We would do this for as long as it was feasible and as long as Ron could tolerate it.

       So, we have to wait some more but at least again hope is renewed, no matter how small.

       On the flip side, Mike is struggling again.  Decisions need to be made about long-term care but I don't know where to begin.  I have no energy left. 
        This morning I completely forgot I was supposed to be at an Infection Control meeting at 7am.  I was on the phone with my brother at the time trying to reassure him.  Poor Ron was making the bed and all of a sudden I just jumped up and tore the bed apart and started remaking it.  (not like me at all)  Then I burst into tears and started apologizing profusely for being mean.  I just lost it!  Ron held me and said, "You just don't feel you have any control over anything so you are taking it out on the bed."  Poor Guy-------he has a nut job for a caregiver!  But by gosh, that bed learned a thing or two!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, 'Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great.. I would recommend it very highly.'
The other man said, 'What is the name of the restaurant?'
The first man thought and thought and finally said, 'What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love?
You know..... The one that's red and has thorns.'
'Do you mean a rose?'
'Yes, that's the one,' replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, 'Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?'

Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember ..
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. 'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?' he asks.
'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?'
'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks.
'No, I can remember it.'
'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?'
He says, 'I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries..'
'I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?' she asks.
Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!'
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.. She stares at the plate for a moment.
'Where's my toast ?'

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Lizard

STILL matter how many times I've read this! Enjoy!

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome, including toilet flush burials for dead Goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!
Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet. Here's what happened
Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was 'something wrong' with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room.
He's just lying there looking sick,' he told me. 'I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?
I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.
'Honey,' I called, 'come look at the lizard!'
'Oh, my gosh!' my wife exclaimed. 'She's having Babies..
'What?' my son demanded. 'But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!
I was equally outraged,
'Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce,' I said accusingly to my wife.
'Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?' she inquired (I think she actually said this sarcastically!)
'No, but you were supposed to get two boys!' I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth).
’Yeah, Bert and Ernie!' my son agreed.
'Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know,' she informed me (Again with the sarcasm!).
By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.
'Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience,' I announced. 'We're about to witness the miracle of birth.'
'Oh, gross!' they shrieked.
'Well, isn't THAT just great? What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?' my wife wanted to know.
We peered at the patient ... After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.
'We don't appear to be making much progress,' I noted.
'It's breech,' my wife whispered , horrified.
'Do something, Dad!' my son urged.
'Okay, okay.' Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared I tried several more times with the same results.
'Should I call 911?' my eldest daughter wanted to know.
'Maybe they could talk us through the trauma.' (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)
'Let's get Ernie to the vet,' I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.
'Breathe, Ernie, breathe,' he urged.
'I don't think lizards do Lamaze ,' his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for G~d's sake.).
The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.
'What do you think, Doc, a C-section?' I suggested scientifically.
'Oh, very interesting,' he murmured. 'Mr. And Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?'
I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.
'Is Ernie going to be okay?' my wife asked .
'Oh, perfectly,' the vet assured us. 'This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen. Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um .Masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back.'  He blushed, glancing at my wife.
We were silent, absorbing this.
'So, Ernie's just, just...excited,' my wife offered.
'Exactly,' the vet replied, relieved that we understood.
More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle, and giggle. And then even laugh loudly.
What's so funny?' I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.
Tears were now running down her face. 'It's just that ...I'm picturing you pulling on its...its...teeny little... ' She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.
'That's enough,' I warned. We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.
'I know Ernie's really thankful for what you did, Dad,' he told me.
'Oh, you have NO idea,' my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.
Two lizards: $140.
One cage: $50.
Trip to the vet: $30.

Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie:
Moral of the story: Pay attention in biology class.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'll be so glad when we close on Ron's house.  The closing is set for the 14th but there have been so many odds and ends to take care of we have spent every weekend on the house.  I'm ready to just have it over with so we can spend some time at home relaxing.

Mike's condition is so complicated.  He has one good day followed by a "crazy" day.  There is no consistency what-so-ever.  He is more and more dependent upon me and that is exhausting.  On Friday we picked him up and took him out to dinner.  I realized the moment we got him in the car that he wasn't all there.  His eyes were bugged wide open and he had that wild eyed look in his eyes.  He behaved fine but kept asking me if he was acting alright.  By the time we got him home he said he wanted to go to the hospital.  The first thing I did was check his med. planner and sure enough he had missed his 4:00 medication.  Since it was within the guide-line to give it to him I had him take it.  We waited about an hour and he began to sound more coherent but I had him go home with us to make sure he was OK.  He had started obsessively thinking about an event that took place in 1968 when somone jumped off the towers "dormitory" at the university.  He spends about as much time at my house as he does in his.  We pretty much kept him with us all weekend.  I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. 

I can tell that Ron's patience with Mike is thinning.  We never have any time alone.  If Mike's not with us he is calling us.  To me he is like a 9 year old boy but to Ron he's a grown man who should act like one.  This is hard!  But, I can only deal with one problem at a time and right now it is getting Ron out of his home and settled into "our" home.  Then we start chemotherapy.  I realize that at some point I have to find a better arrangement for Mike but right now I don't have the energy or time to invest in the search or in convincing my brother that it is the best situation for him.

OK.......I've vented enough.  Time for work.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.  Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time.  For the clock may soon be still."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ron sees the oncologist next Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.  I don't know why but this has been one of the appointments I have dreaded the most.  I'm afraid they are going to burst Ron's bubble of hope and that scares me.  This morning he was so upbeat and said he felt it was positive news that the cancer was growing slowly.  I feel that is positive also, in fact very positive.  I just want Ron to remain hopeful and I'm afraid of what we may hear.  

Fear is the enemy or at least it is mine.  I am working so hard to not let it sneak up on me and rob me of time and happiness.  I don't want to waste one moment of joy and happiness with Ron.  When we purchased our wedding rings the other day he said, "We have the rest of our lives together" and he's right.  "All my love, all my life~Ron"  That is what he wants engraved inside my band.  I know I will love him for the rest of my life as well.