Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good News

Excuse my non-medical-terminology update regarding the results of Richard's bone marrow biopsy.

It looks like the first round of chemo 'got it all'. He has the bone marrow of a normal person. YAY!

That being said, he still gets another bone marrow biopsy in a couple of days. And they will assume there's still bad stuff floating around.

However, by the looks of things, he could be home in a couple of days (provided AJ's fever is gone - more on that later) and continuing with chemo on an out-patient bases.

For more detail and scientific facts (perhaps), click on the link to the top right for Richard's blog. I'm sure he'll update soon.

YAY!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More of Erica's Gifts..

I can't remember if I wrote what Richard's Monday and Tuesday gift had been when I was here on Tuesday. One was a little canister of 'happy thoughts' for when Richard might need one. He hasn't needed one yet thank goodness, but they're cute. One example.... "Costco samples, especially fried up sausage".lol.

For the life of me I can't remember what the other one was. Hopefully it will come to me.

On this visit, there were five more to see....
Day 10 - magnets with drawings of me, AJ, Dexter, and 'the cats'. "4 reasons to keep going". Very cute. Evidently the white board in here is not magnetic, so I've had to attach them to the light switch.
Day 11 - A CD of Cancer Fighting Tunes such as...
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python
Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
Survivor - Destiny's Child
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
Beautiful Day - U2
Day 12 - A CD of songs full of other people who are encountering stuff that sucks.
Titled - The World Sucks
Subtitled - Other people are having a rough day too.
Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Piece of Crap - Neil Young
Down in the Hole - Alice in Chains
Yesterday - The Beatles
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
just to name a few
Day 13 - A story by Jack. It involved Richard fishing and on the cover was Chewbacka on the waterslides. Nice.
Day 14 - Bubble Wrap. Not wrapped around something. Just bubble wrap because, as the card states... "Everyone loves popping bubble wrap." Isn't that the truth? This one really made Richard laugh. And, of course, he immediately started, and is still, popping bubble wrap.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sorry I took so long....

This will be a mixture of an update on Richard, me, and the boys, even though I don't have my calendar of notes of what to write about the boys. I'll go from memory.

The good thing about me not writing for the past few days is that you get the condensed version of what I would have written each day.

Yes.

Believe or not.

This IS the condensed version.

I left Richard on Tuesday. Well, I didn't 'leave' him. I mean I left him at the hospital for my 'busy week', knowing that I wouldn't be seeing him until Saturday or Sunday, but his mommy would be arriving soon. If you've been reading Richard's blog http://www.bitemefriday.blogspot.com then you already know all about this.

Tuesday - Came home pretty late after moving Richard to his new room. My sister had met Erica at the house to take care of the boys until I arrived. She stayed for dinner, hung out and then went home. Thank so much Kim. You saved me that day and enabled me to stay late with Richard.

Wednesday - This was the boys' daycare day. Since Richard being in the hospital, the boys have changed their tone about daycare. When Richard takes the boys to daycare, Dexter usually cries and AJ's fine. Now that I've been dropping them off, AJ's in tears, and Dexter's beaming and leaping out of my arms into Leah's house. Actually, since Dexter's eye teeth have come in, he's just been an absolute delight. A cheeky delight, a climbing delight, an adventurous delight, but a delight nonetheless. I used this day to clean up the house a bit. I didn't get done, but I sure enjoyed the cleaning. No kids riding the vacuum. No Dexter chewing the cord or retracting it back into the vacuum. No kids taking out toys after I just cleaned them up. I picked up the boys later, and to tell you the truth, I can't even remember what the rest of the day entailed.
Richard's counts were white cells: .6, heamoglobin: 83, platelets: 18 (he had a transfusion the day before).

Thursday - I had Erica's kids today, Jack and Rya. Erica's friend (and mine) Kim A., had offered to take the 'babies' while I took AJ and Jack to AJ's last gymnastics class. That worked out wonderfully. The day was great, and the boys had an exciting day doing obstacle courses and mazes at gymnastics and later, playing "Rescue Heroes". At around 4pm, I headed off with the 4 kids to the photo shoot location where Erica was taking the grad pics for my sister and her friends. Check these awesome pictures....
http://www.facebook.com/ms.apple.sass?v=feed&story_fbid=95121798619#/album.php?aid=133135&id=743910224&ref=mf
My brother, Paul, hung out in the car with the 4 kids while I watched the last of the photoshoot. Afterwards, Erica took her twoback home with her, and Paul and I, and AJ and Dex headed home for some dinner and hanging out. Paul was crashing at my place to help me move my classroom the next day. We let AJ stay up WAY too late AND let him have a slurpee.
Richard's counts were - white cells: .7, haemoglobin: 81, platelets:12
On this day, Norma (Richard's mom) arrived at the hospital to see her baby son, Richard. I'm pretty sure they both had a great visit. She spent the night there on the fold out and they had lots of good talk. To read more about that visit, check Richard's blog.

Friday - Paul and I dropped of the boys at daycare and headed off to my school in "The Big Blue Truck" to go pack up the last of my stuff from my classroom to move to my new school. That went quickly and efficiently and Paul was a BIG help. We ate lunch, headed to my new school, unpacked, and headed back home. We were way ahead of schedule. This was awesome because it meant I didn't have to take the boys to Chilliwack. We got my house, switched vehicles, headed to the store where they would be fixing my stroller ( a mom cannot live without her stroller), and met my mom at the Timmy's for a quick visit. I gave her my brother back (Thanks sooo much Paul! I would've been way sore the next day, had I moved all that myself). A big thanks to my new job share partner Andrea for being so welcoming and accomodating and helping me move my stuff into the classroom. A big thanks to my old job share partner Erica (who will now be job sharing with my friend Jen) for a great partnership. You were wonderful to work with. I picked up the boys from daycare. AJ wouldn't come out of bed from his nap "until my mom comes". This gives you an idea of how he's being a little odd right now. I think, on Tuesday, I'm going to bring him to visit Daddy without Dexter. Thanks ahead of time to Norma who will hopefully be watching Dexy on Tuesday. I took the boys to playground to meet Jen and her kids. I think that was really good for AJ. It's been a while since he's played at the park with Makenna. The babies are all getting so old now!
Now, amidst all this, Norma arrived at the house. Luckily, she does not mind making herself comfy. She's having to learn all about my (undiagnosed) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder issues that will take away slightly from the pleasure of her trip...lol... as I've already told her not to put away dishes from the sink! (Don't worry Norma... my mom gets told that too).
So, I'll fess up, not that it's a surprise, that as it got closer to this day of having a 'house guest', I was getting a little bit on edge. As I mentioned, my OCD, and just wanting to make things comfy and 'just right' for a house guest.
But man.... when Norma arrived, and I'll tear up as I write this, as soon as I saw her I remember how much I love that woman. She right away, came in, hugs, and started playing with the boys and keeping them 'out of my hair' while I prepared dinner. She's just a wonderful lady. I don't know why I was worrying about having a house guest. She's the perfect guest! Thank you so much, Norma, for coming! We're going to have big fun!!!!
Richard's counts - white: .5, haemoglobin: 81, platelets: 12

Saturday - Packed up the boys this morning and myself. Norma and I headed to get our coffees (hers - Timmy's and mine - Starbucks), and then met my mom at the 'yellow barn' to give her the boys. My mom is taking them overnight so I can visit with Richard at the hospital tonight. After dropping off the boys with my mom (thanks mom!!!! soooo much!!! Richard and I are both so lucky to have the best moms), Norma and I went for a little retail-therapy where she treated me to some much needed new summer shorts (I told you she was awesome. It's like she can read your mind). That was a quick trip, I dropped her back at the house, and I headed to Richmond to park my car at my dad's so he could drive me to the hospital. But, first, of course, he took me to lunch (because that's what my dad does... thanks dad!!!! I had oddly 'forgotten' to eat yet at that point). Dad took me up to Richard's floor, carrying my bag up many stairs of the parkade.
And.....
I finally got to see Richard. How is he?
He was very tired. His counts had been way low. He had a minor reaction to the platelets which gave him hives..... correction..... A hive. But it was a very itchy one indeed. He will now gets Benadryl when he gets platelets, and he'll get steroids too. My man will be buff, and as my dad says, he can join major league baseball as soon as he gets out. We had woken him upon entering the room. He looked pretty worn out, but he looked good. Richard always looks handsome. My guy. Little visit, little catch up, then my dad left, and the 'festivities began'. Okay, really there was just a lot of hugging. I had a lot of hugs and kisses to give him from a lot of people. And then mine too. I've missed him a lot. Smelling his dirty shirt that his mom brought me to wash made me miss him more.
He's perked up since I've arrived now though.
Richard's counts this morning before his blood transfusion : white: .5, haemo: 73, platelets: 6, and the platelets are now 35



Now.... you may be wondering.... where's Sonja's vent? Usually she has some emotion to vent on here and needs to let loose. Yup. I have one. I've titled it

Momma's Boy
-Every time I visit Richard, I take dirty clothes home and bring him nice clean clothes, and ask him if there's anything else I can bring him.
-But - When his mom came (Who is Norma, but for the sake of my vent, she'll be known as 'his mom')...lol..., I got a phone call from Richard, "I have no clean shirts. You took all my shirts. I have no clean clothes."

What a whiner. As soon as his mommy arrives, he gets all 'boo hoo', my wife doesn't clean my clothes. He joked that he told his mom he's ben wearing the same shirt for three days. Good grief!!!

Luckily, he hasn't kept up this charade since I've arrived.

My apologies to my future daughter in law for all the times I'm 'in town' and my son will turn into a momma's boy, because he surely will.

He surely will.

I conclude that section by saying, in all honesty, that Richard and I are both VERY happy to see Norma. We're so glad she could come all the way from Nova Scotia and I'm sure there's other people to thank for that happening as well, including her husband Bud who's having to do without Norma at their home in NS. Thanks for lending her to us Bud.

Norma... we love you so much, and we're so happy you're here. The boys too!




The Boys:

Nope. I'm too tired of writing right now to update on the boys. Next time, I'll let you know all about AJ's favourite radio songs, Dexter's new signs and new words, and some funny stuff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Read Richard's Blog

I didn't update when I got home last night. I was beat. My sister saved the day (again) and after her exam came to my place to meet Erica, so Erica could hand over AJ and Dexter to her and let her into my house.

I was supposed to be home to pick them up from Erica and was going to offer to take Jack and Rya because Erica had some 'new house' paper work to do. Alas, I couldn't make it.

However, on the up side, I got to spend A LOT of time with Richard while we waited for him to get the new room.

It's BIGGER. It's a private room!! YAY, maybe I can bring the kids and not have to worry about Dexter leaving.

Richard was feeling pretty good, and today has felt even better.

I spent today cleaning the house while the boys were at daycare. It's a busy rest of the week to come, so I'll just sign off by saying, "If you want to see how Richard's day was today, just read his blog."

http://www.bitemefriday.blogspot.com



Oh yah, and some extra thanks...
1. Jen for her Costco pick up!
2. Jill for her pasta-makins drop off!
3. Kim A. - For tomorrow when she'll watch the babies, so I can take Jack and AJ to gymnastics.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This just in!!!!

No, the Leukemia isn't cured yet, but it's the next best thing...

Not only did the hiccuping, vomitting neighbour go home today, but Richard's getting moved into the single room next door!!!!

Woot woot!!

ps - thanks Auntie Brenda for the Timmy's card!!

The Latest From Room 810

Well, after not eating almost all day yesterday and getting very desperate for something tasty enough to overpower the taste of chemo drugs, Richard bit the bullet and called my dad last night and asked for a burger and a coke from Wendy's.

Dad delivered, much to Richard's delight. Finally, some calories!!

The next morning (this morning), Richard was feeling pretty darned good, but overdid it a bit. He started getting trigger happy with his toothbrush and went to brush his tongue and that just put him over the edge.

But, he's been good since. When I arrived, Richard was sitting at his 'office' by the window looking so handsome, as always. Shortly, the last of the 7 days of Cytarbine drained. Richard even got to take a shower! He was stoked. That drained a lot of energy got his dressings changed for the Hickman Line, and our favourite nurse brought him some lovely Lorazepam to help him calm down from some consecutive stomach muscle spasms he was having.

Here arehis counts since he arrived...

Tuesday 16th - Tuesday 23rd
White Blood count : 5.7, 3.8, ?, 1.9, 2.0, 1.2, .7, .5
normal is 4-11
Haemoglobin: 88, 84, 82, 73, 92, 82, 79
normal is 130, and they transfuse at <80
Platelets: 23, 19, 13, 10, 16, 11, 11, 7
normal is 150-400, and they tranfuse <10

Right now, they just finished giving him some platelets and he's now getting some red/haemoglobin.

Now he just stays here and they try to keep him healthy and getting healthier. They've been giving him anti-viral and anti-fungal stuff today. Anything to keep him safe while his immune system is low to non-existent.

My drive was pretty good. A little delay, but nothing to complain about.

Wes came for a visit today (my girlfriend, Ryan's husband who works in North Van, I think...lol). He really caught Richard on a good day.

I was able to get Richard some onion rings from the cafeteria. It was really hard for him to figure out what he wanted to eat. Too bland means he'll only taste chemicals, and lots of flavour is the best bet, but he really needs to have a craving for it. Onion rings it was. He was able to choke down a bit of the egg salad sandwich for his hospital lunch, but that was it.

Soon, I'll leave to go get the boys from Erica. If I'm lucky, I'll make it back in time to pick up a hose and sprinkler from Home Depot that I meant to buy last week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Boys One Year Ago in June 2008






Richard on Monday

*****They've hooked up Richard's last bag of Cytarabine. He should be finished sometime tomorrow morning!
Once that's done, then it's about a 7 day wait in the hospital while he goes "nutrapenic" (sp?) - too tired to look that word up. Basically, his counts will get so low that he'll have almost no immune system, and they'll keep him in the hospital until he's well enough to enter the world again. Anyhow, 7 days or so from Tuesday, he'll get another bone marrow biopsy to check whether or not the chemo seemed to have killed off the Leukemia or the 'bad cells' anyhow. It's possible, believe it or not. We'll keep our fingers crossed. Another 5 days or so later, they'll do another bone marrow biospy, ouch, to see what it's looking like then. Based on those, they'll be deciding whether he'll be going through another round of chemo or if not needed, whatever it is they do when the first round of chemo apparently 'gets it all'.



Richard is doing 'not too bad' today. He's losing weight and has asked for his 'next size down' jean shorts from the closet. Crikies! I'll be visiting him again tomorrow while Erica has the kids (thanks Erica). I think he's looking forward to that, if I may say so myself.

Erica and I took AJ and Jack to their preschool field trip to the zoo today while Kim watched Dex and Rya at our house (thanks Kim). It was really nice to be out without a stroller and diapers and extra food and bottles. We did bail early on the trip to take the boys to the McD's playplace.

More thanks to give:
1. Erica for taking the boys Tuesday this week instead of Monday so I could go on the field trip.
2. Kim for watching 'the babies' today so we could have a stress free zoo trip.
3. Melissa, Grace, and Loren for the awesome care package for our family filled with geeky books and magazines and stuff the boys AND snacks for Daddy and the boys!!
4. Again, another thanks to everyone for everything they've been sending and ways they've been offering to help.
5. Tarrie for lending me his old cell to put my sim card into until I can find out whether or not the drool can dry out of my broken one.
6. Jen for offering to sign up and take AJ to swim lessons for two weeks straight once school's over.

You all overwhelm me. I only hope that I can repay all of you for your kindness, ....... hopefully not under similar circumstances though.

Erica and I were talking lots on the way to and from the zoo and I was saying how much I've been just loving the Starbucks cards. Even before all of this, I've never taken my daily coffee for granted. I've always seen it as a 'special treat' I allow myself every morning. I used to only go about 3 times a week, but once I was back to work in January, I started making my way up to daily. The Starbucks cards that everyone's sent have allowed me to continue to 'treat myself' every morning to my much needed coffee and a little piece of normalcy in my life right now. Thanks to all of you who have 'supplied me' with my daily coffee for the next 5 or 6 weeks! Every morning that I get my coffee, I think, "and this one's from ____________."

Thanks everybody!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seriously Bagged - point form only

- Richard calls and says he does in fact feel up to seeing the boys and could tolerate, and maybe even enjoy visitors
-I head out the door with the boys around 8:45am and head to Starbucks
-Yum
-on the highway by 9am
-no traffic, way ahead of schedule, let my dad know that I'm going to be early, as he's meeting me there
-Arrive at 9:45am. nice. Dex slept a perfect 30 minute morning nap and AJ took one too
-stroller held up good enough to get us up there, but clicking the whole way, will have to get that looked into
-Richard says the visit was only about 15 minutes, but I would say more like 30-40. I was quite impressed. Dexter held up pretty well. It was great timing to come just when he'd woken from his nap.
-gave Richard his Father's day cards and AJ's preschool card and the t-shirt we made for Richard
-Richard opened the next gift from Erica, a geeky magazine
-I left with the boys and my dad took us for lunch at Denny's.
-plan was to go to a playground too, but Dexter was beat and it was time for both of their afternoon naps, actually overtime, so we headed home
-Dexter played with my phone so much at Denny's that he slobbered into it and short circuited it
-got to the mall in Abbotsford to see what they could do at the kiosk and they wanted me to buy a new phone
-called Richard, and eventually found out Tarrie could lend me an old one to stick my sim card into until we know if mine will dry
-my phone is currently sitting in a Gladware container of rice to dry out - ARG.
-had promised a trip to the playgorund to AJ, so off we headed in the rain to Eagle Mountain Park. It was nice
-In the meantime, when we had left the hospital, Auntie Brenda and Uncle Al visited Richard and brought him a nice gift basket full of goodies
-When they left, my parents arrived with some stuff too I think, but I can't remember
-it's a good thing we didn't all come at the same time, the room is not conducive to visitors which boggles my mind... Richard should be able to see his kids, but it's like they make it so that he can't. Sure they carry loads of germs, but lots of love too.

-back home... lazy dinner... muffins and bananas
-hanging out with the boys
-bath time for Dex, he poops twice in the tub - all the poops he held in all day
-the boys play
-now bottle time for Dex

I'm bagged. Loved getting to see Richard for Father's day though. Happy Father's Day Richard, Bud, Dad, and Ken.

Thanks again to Richard's visitors for visiting!
Thanks again to Dad for lunch and help at the hospital to make the visit with the boys a success
Thanks again to Ruth C because her muffins were my lazy dinner.

Richard updated his blog with today's events -

http://www.bitemefriday.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Rest of Saturday

So, not much more to say, although I'm sure I'll somehow still write paragraphs and paragraphs about nothing as I get going here.

I left Richard around 2:00pm, as I still needed to make it to Mom and Ken's for dinner to pick up the boys. Dad picked me up from the hospital and brought me back to his place where I had parked my car. I guess another added bonus to this whole Leukemia thing is getting to spend extra time with my dad and have some really great conversations with him. I usually only see my dad maybe once a month or so. Now, it's a couple times a week! Thanks for the drive, Dad, and your others helpful offers to bring Richard things he may need.

I headed home, but had to stop for my coffee. I don't know if it's from not getting my coffee, but I started to get a visual migraine at the hospital. I've had about 4 of those in the past month and a half. I should start to take note of when they happen. I tend to associate them with stress. Hmmmmm. May have to get a prescription for some good 'calm me down' pills. It's been a long time since I've had anything like that! Maybe Richard and I can split some Lorazepam. Mmmmmm, Lorazepam. (not that all of you will know what Lorazepam is, but some of you will (Aili) and for those people, "You know what I'm talking about!").

Got to my mom's place around 4:40pm. Had a really nice visit. Nice dinner. Nice tea. Nice hugs and love. Thank you so much, Mom, for taking the boys overnight. It was great to get to stay with Richard. Mom said, "Wish you could come stay here with us." That was a really nice hug. I said, "Thanks."
......

And then I said, "No thanks." LOL. Who wants to move back home?

But, it's nice to know that I always have somewhere to go. Love you Mom.

Oh yeah. When I was at mom's we were talking about perspectives changing and seeing things in a different way. I was talking about really looking at my Grandma's time with my Grandpa when he had Cancer in a very different way. I was only about 10, but I definitely remember driving with my mom after school and after she got off work every day to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. I remember doing my homework in the hospital room many many times. But what I really didn't realize at the time, was what it must've been like for my Grandma, or my mom for that matter. I remember my Grandma saying that she felt so 'angry' sometimes. I figure that phase is going to hit, but I'm not looking forward to it.
Whoa... I totally went off on a tangent. That wasn't what I meant to talk about, but it's out there now.
What I was saying to my mom was that I saw a mom and her son getting ice cream from Dairy Queen and it was really weird to see them (to see everyone) just living life as though nothing's wrong and they have 'no worries'. Even though we all think (and I thought before this happened) that there were worries. It's like you want to yell to them all, "Hello? Don't you know what's going on? Don't you care? And you're just eating ice cream as if everything's normal!!" Weird.

**Baby Book**
AJ wanted me to play with some of Paul's old Lego. He had out one of the instruction books that had a picture of a motorcycle. He pointed to the words and said, "This says, 'please build a motorcycle'." I thought that was cute.
Dexter slept well for mom, and when he woke early at around 5:20am, mom successfully got him to go back to sleep. YAY.
*AJ is finally going to sleep in underwear tonight. I think the bad part about potty training early, was that it gets drawn out instead of done all at once. So nights have taken a long time. I have sweated it or pushed it, but the reward has always been there if he was interested. He gets a treat after 6 dry nights. Not even in a row, just at all. After about 4 of these stints, he now did a week of dry nights. I asked him if he wanted to sleep in underwear tonight. He said "Yes." So, we'll see how that goes.
Tomorrow, if Richard doesn't change his mind about me bringing the boys out, I'm going to take them to Home Depot in the morning to get a hose and a sprinkler for the backyard. Very needed. VERY NEEDED.

I definitely got heading home way later than planned. Dexter should've been asleep by 7pm, and I didn't pack him in the car until about 8:15pm I think. I popped by Jen's house on the way home as she had a little 'package' for me from my colleagues at Betty Huff where I used to work. It was a beautiful card filled with very helpful gift certificates for dinners, GAS, starbucks, groceries, and videos. Thank you thank you Huffers! Much appreciated.

Once again, I love you all.

Before I sign off, if you could allow me just one more vent of emotion. When Richard woke vomitting at 4am. I woke, stood up, and watched. I didn't know how to help. I know when I'm throwing up, I don't like back rubs and just need my space. I didn't want to be annoying. I just kind of watched and stayed close, waiting for him to tell me or ask me to do something. But then, the awesome nurse guy came in. Immediately, he looked caring, put his hand on Richard's shoulder, and grabbed the box of tissue. Ouch. That hurt my ego a little. I wanted to say, "Hey! I could've done that! I was just being careful." I have a feeling, I'm in for a lot more of those feelings. Helplessness. I'm sure going to have to learn to 'suck it up'. I'm a fixer. I like control. I like things my way. I like to know what I'm doing and have a plan. Leukemia really doesn't allow for that. Leukemia sucks.

And one last bit before I'm gone, knowing that Richard will read this...

Love you so much. Just tell me what you need, or for that matter what you don't need. I enjoyed the cuddles, and no, you weren't a 'kill joy'.

Thanks everyone for helping us to get through this time with as little stress as possible. You're all amazing.

Richard did get around to updating his blog. The link is at the top right of my blog.

Just a Little More Update

Richard and I had our 'sleepover'. He seemed to have an okay sleep aside from being 'sick' at about 4am. He really can't eat much right now and not much is appetizing to him. He says he can just taste the chemicals all the time.

They're still watching his heart. There was only that one instance the other morning, but they are keeping their eye on the situation.

Erica's Mystery Box:
On day 4, it was a necklace for Dexter. He loves to put anything and everything around his neck (not a good habit for a baby). He'll have fun with that when he gets to finally visit Daddy.
On day 5, it was some Crayola Clingers. He gets to colour some window clings and put them up. Again, a great little thing to keep him busy when he gets to visit Daddy.
On day 6, which was assumed to be Father's Day, but ended up being this morning, the day before, it was a cute Father's Day card Erica made with a picture of the boys and a heartwarming message for Richard.

His bulletin board is getting full, especially thanks to Erica's mystery box and the daily quotes.

Richard's feeling better today than yesterday, but it still really tired. He was too tired to come on the computer yesterday, and today, so far, he still isn't feeling witty enough to update his blog for you.

Medically speaking, his white count went up from 1.9 to 2.0. We were both under the impression that the numbers were supposed to go down. The nurse didn't seem concerned, but I think we'll still ask someone else to be sure. Richard's thinking someone may have just been rounding and it actually stayed the same.

On this visit, he didn't have his office all set up. When I arrived yesterday it was just Richard, resting. Still wearing his 'daytime clothes', but looking very exhausted.

As I mentioned, he's done the 3 days of Daunorubicin, and just has until partway into Tuesday left on the Cytarabine. And then we wait.

You know, the fact that Richard is going into this over weight seems to be something that will work to his advantage. The 'fellow' who did the bone marrow biopsy inferred that, as well as I overheard the doctor with the patient across from us mentioning him being so sick and expecting that because he was so thin.

Interesting.

I don't know if Father's Day plans are going to go as planned. I was going to bring AJ and Dexter to see Richard and my mom, Ken, and the kids were going to come too. But Richard thinks that if he's feeling how he's been feeling, we may need to nix that. Maybe, I'll leave Dexter behind and just bring AJ. On his own, he's pretty low key.

We'll see.

Looks like Richard's taking another nap beside me. I've been giving him all the hugs and kisses you've all been sending and then some more!!! It's so nice to be here with him.


I can't remember what else I was going to write, so I guess I'll sign off.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Update for the Day

Today was nice. I had Jack and Rya today so the kids were busy and having fun.

Did I mention in my last update that Christine watched the babies for me at my house so I could go to AJ and Jack's preschool show and graduation? They're not actually graduating (going into kindergarten), but the whole class wears little grad hats and throws them into the air. They sang 5 songs for us. Finally I understand what he's been singing around the house! That ABC song took me a while to decode. I've got it now...

Sammy Snake says SSSS in words. SSSSS in words. SSSSS in words.

I thought he was just making up random words to his own tune.

Kevin was able to come for a little bit to record it all, so I'm sure at some point, Erica will be putting that up on her blog and I'll link you to it. Thanks so much Kevin!

Kevin popped by a little early to pick up Jack and Rya which was really handy for today since I was heading to the hospital for the evening. Shortly after he came, Kim arrived with a bag of my favourite popcorn to snack on at the hospital (thanks Kim), and to take the boys to Mom's house overnight. Today really couldn't have worked out more perfectly, except for the traffic, but I won't bother getting into that. It's becoming a norm, so there's no point in discussing it every time I drive to the hospital.

I drove to Richmond to park at Dad's place, and he drove me to the hospital. He'll pick me up tomorrow too.
Dad got to come up to check out Richard's diggs and say a little 'hello'.

Richard's having a better day than yesterday, but he's still REALLY tired and not feeling well. I don't even really know if he's going to be up for a visit with the boys on Father's Day. I've just asked him to stay really upfront about visiting. To make sure that he tells anyone (even me) if he's not in the mood for a visit.

I brought him all the cards that have been coming to the house. He was really overwhelmed. I don't get to see Richard choking up very often, almost never. He is just so grateful (as am I) for everyone's generosity and understanding during his illness.

Thank you so much everyone.

His haemoglobin was really low today like 74 (which I'm sure is only low to me right now and could possibly go lower), so he was given another transfusion today.

Details about that and Richard's perspective will hopefully get posted on his blog later when he wakes up. I'll scribed for him because he's too tired to come to the computer.

In case he doesn't come over here, I'll type what I know.
*He's not enjoying the hospital food as of late.
*He's really tired.
*There's a few little things that he doesn't remember, like he's been so ill and tired feeling that he can't remember if he pulled down his blind or one of the nurses did. The counts I can see on his calendar say 1.9, 73, 10, but I don't know what they all mean.
*He's done his Daunorubicin. Yesterday was the thrid and last day.
*He is on day 4 of the Cytarabine. 3 days left of that.
*In about 10 days from now, they'll do a bone marrow biopsy again to see how things are looking.

If he were awake right now, I think he'd just want to say how thankful he is for everyone's love and generosity.

He got to talk to AJ and Dexter on the phone at my mom's tonight.
AJ asks every morning where Daddy is when he first stumbles out of bed. But he does know these facts
1. Daddy is very sick.
2. Daddy is getting lots and lots of medicine from the doctor.
3. Daddy has Lakeenya (Leukemia).
4. We will hopefully see daddy on Father's Day.

When Kevin arrived to pick up Jack and Rya and I yelled up to Jack "Your daddy's here, Jack", Dexter climbed up dangerously on the back of the couch to look over the stair ledge and said, "Dada! Dada? Dada?". But to his dismay, it was only Kevin. :(

Baby Book
-Dexter is frustrating me to no end as his climbing has reached a new level, literally. He climbs up onto his change table now and clears off his shelf. ARG.
-AJ, over at my mom's tonight, who is recently, and yet again, extra facinated with 'who is who'. He knows Kim's my sister, Paul's my brother, Gram's my mom, Granny is Richard's mom, etc. I thought he had it all figured out until he suggested tonight that Papa is Gram's dad, or that they are brother and sister.
-AJ did great singing and actions at the performance today. I was surprised at how non-shy he was. He was really excited to see me there watching and was waving and smiling. Near the beginning, he yelled out, "Hi mom. Watch me!"

More Thanks

Thanks to Christine who came to my place to watch the babies so I could watch Jack and AJ at their 'preschool graduation' party. Very special.

According to Miss. Tonya, when Jack grows up, he'd like to be a man.

When AJ grows up, he'd like to be a 'big kid' (no doubt like-uncle-paul).

I, of course, forgot my camera, so I took pictures on my phone (I think), and I sent them to Richard on his phone (I think). I'm hoping maybe he can post them. They had little graduation hats.

Thanks to Kim (Erica's friend, and therefore, mine too, by proxy) - For bringing by some special stuff for the boys (books and cool straw cups), Starbucks for me, a beautiful card, a rotisserie chicken for me to divvy up and freeze for the boys, and the offer to watch the babies next week when I have Jack and Rya on AJ's gymnastics day. It will be really fun because it's parent participation day, so Jack will get to do gymnastics with AJ that day. I'm anticipating crazy excitement!! I think I'm forgetting something in that nice gift package.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh and Thanks to Leah


Leah, AJ and Dexter's daycare mom, posted up these pics of her son and AJ.

They look like they're up to no good. Hey! What's that bulge in their shirts? Are there babies in there?

AJ likes to pretend he's wearing a sling to carry a baby.













Yup. Babies in their shirts. Nice.












These pictures helped brighten my day. And hopefully Richard's when he wakes and sees them.

Sigh

I wasn't at the hospital today, so I don't have much to update about Richard except that he had a crappy day today and was feeling ill and tired all day. He has more details....

http://www.bitemefriday.blogspot.com

Missed him a lot today. I'm looking forward to our 'sleepover' tomorrow.

Me?
-I had a horrible day. I won't get into details. It involved entertaining Dexter at AJ's gymnastics class and having a major stroller issue at Walmart.
-Suffice to say, I can officially say that I had my first major meltdown. It's been a long time coming. There was some sobbing, and weeping if you will. I venture to say there's more to come.

However...
As our wedding song states "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life":
I have more thank yous for today.

1. Ruth C - Delicious muffins. Thank you. Even AJ devoured one!
2. All of my lovely coworkers at Fleetwood Elementary - Starbucks, monetary helpfulness, gift certificates, and words of love and encouragement. I'm just so touched. I just finished reading all the lovely things everyone wrote. Thank you thank you thank you. I want to say 'it's too much'. Wow.
3. Grandma Carol and Grandpa John (Erica's parents) - Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful card and gift certificates. They will come in handy. I'm hoping to use the White Spot one for a dinner out with Erica and Kevin when Richard's home.
4. Dione (Erica's sister in law) - For your really great little Facebook message. It really brightened my day.
5. Jen - Thanks for the phone call. I needed that.
6. Erica - For letting me meltdown a bit more in my driveway.
7. Tarrie - For fixing my stroller and being the first one to literally be my shoulder to cry on, or rather, 'meltdown' on. Hope there's no snot on your shirt.
8. More friends sending well wishes on Facebook.
9. Kim - Who's probably still waiting for me to respond on our chat about my crappy day.
10. Gail - Your wise wise words.
11. My babywhisperer - birthclub - moms - Who are there for me every day.
12. Dad - For driving me back and forth to the hospital from your place the next two days.

But, in the words of one of my co-workers from Betty Huff, Gail, who has been through something like this with her husband:

"Here - Now - This"

I love it. This mantra is a well worded statement of the motto I have been attempting to tell myself in order to get through this. Now, I have it. I will say it every day.


Thanks so much everyone. Love you all.

Have a lot to do now.
Shower
Make a list for packing the boys for my mom's place.
Packing my stuff for staying at the hospital.

Oh wait.
The whole day wasn't bad. I got some serious playtime in with the boys today, some huge hugs, built Dexter's actual toddler bed so he's not just on a mattress on the floor, talked to Richard on the phone a few times, AND did craft time with AJ so he could make some cards for teachers and Father's Day.

Signing out now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home From Seeing My Sweetie

Well, upon reading over this entry to myself, I've realized this isn't really a Richard update. Instead, it's more of a Sonja-gets-home-from-a-long-day-and-needs-to-journal-and-talk-and-let-Richard-know-how-much-she-misses-him kind of entry. So feel free to just skip this one.



I'm so glad that Erica took the kids today so I could visit Richard alone. We got some much needed cuddle time and just nice time to talk.

I have so many thanks....
1. hee hee - Erica. I'm soooo glad that Richard mentioned all about your mystery box. I wanted to write all about it, but was holding back. It was so awesome. Something to look forward to every day.
2. Ryan, Wes, and Charlie - Thank you so much for your card and gift card! Much appreciated.
3. Naomi and Murray - Thank you so much for your thoughtful card.
4. Tara - Thank you so much for your thoughtful card and Starbucks.
5. Erica and Mom - For taking care of the boys again. They love you, and I do too.
6. Jill, Jennifer, Chrissy, Pauline, and Niki - It was so nice to see all of you girls. I miss you terribly!
7. Auntie Brenda, Mike, Uncle Al, Michelle, Theresa - Thanks for all of your extra hugs, words of encouragement, and love at Kim's graduation/birthday party.
8. Everyone who's emailing me and Facebooking me with wonderful love and words. It's so nice to come home to all these positive thoughts and friends. It makes it really easy to fall asleep at night, even without my favourite person beside me.
9. Everyone who leaves comments on here or replies to my gmail from here - Again, I love to read your messages and support!
10. My dad - for dinner at "The Spot" and being a great listener to my ramblings.

Speaking of Starbucks.....

lol - This has been the funniest part for me about all of this. Everyone is very concerned about making sure I continue to receive my morning coffee. I REALLY appreciate that. On the mornings where I've tried to hold off and 'save the money', I get a wicked caffeine-withdrawal-headache. The Starbucks cards are really putting a smile on my face. It feels weird to get a 'gift' because Richard is sick, but at the same time, I can guarantee you that I am a better mom and wife when I've had my morning coffee, that's for sure.

Today
Normally, Wednesdays are the boys' daycare day, but with needing to pack up my classroom next Friday and also wanting to bring the boys to see Richard today, I thought I'd have them go to daycare twice next week and not at all this week.
With Richard being nauseous yesterday AND knowing how difficult it would be to really visit him in a shared room that Dexter would be constantly toddling all around, I realized it would be best to take Erica up on her offer to take the kids. My mom was going to be able to come over after work and Erica would drop them off with my mom.
I actually got to sleep in this morning!!! Dexter woke a few times between 4:45am and 6:15am, but kept giving up on banging on his door and just got back in bed. I had to go wake him up at 7:10am!!! Wow. I'll be trying that again tomorrow. Looks like I might get him onto one nap after all!
I dropped off the boys and on my way to the hospital, but not yet out of Abbotsford, I remembered that Wednesday morning was supposed to be breakfast with my sorority sisters. I had planned on taking the boys, and now that I didn't have them, I had forgotten. I hmmm'd and hawww'd and remembered one of the "Taking Care of the Caregiver" type brochures I was reading. It said to make sure you get some 'me time' by going out with friends and trying to do the things you would normally do.
So, I thought, what the heck. I turned around and headed to the Pantry. And lo and behold, it was one of those special days when all 6 of us could actually make it!! I was so happy I went.
I didn't stay too long though. I really wanted to get to Richard. I needed a hug !!!
Once into Vancouver, I was a good girl, and refrained from stopping at the Roots Outlet store on the way. It was tough. I almost turned, but I controlled myself. You know what really stopped me? The Seinfeld episode where Elaine, after finding out her boyfriend has been in a car accident, doesn't leave the movie theatre right away and instead, stops at the candy counter for some Jujy Fruit. The boyfriend was none-too-impressed. I figured if I walked into the hospital with a story about the great deals at Roots as well as an "I went out for breakfast" story, Richard may be none-too-impressed himself.
When I walked into the hpspital room.... whoa!!!... wait!!!... back the truck up here....
**** I didn't just get to walk into the hospital room. I had to lug my giant black wheeled duffle bag filled with all the things Richard had on his wish list for me. Just a few of these items were... his very heavy pillow, and dumbells. Manoevring this and Erica's Mystery Box, from the parkade, across the street, and up to the 15th floor, are in and of itself, a true testament of my love. Don't forget, I also had my purse AND my coffee. Phew.
Okay.. so I walked into his room. Actually, I peeked at him a bit. He was so adorable. Can I say that? Does that embarass him? I just loved how he was all dressed in civilian clothing (which they encourage), at his make shift workstation, typing and talking on the phone. He is using the hospital tray L-shaped against the large window sill as his workstation. It's like he has this awesome corner office. But with about 6 bags of fluids being pumped into him. One of which is bright Kool Aid red, as he mentioned. That's some scary looking stuff.
Anyhow, I digress (what else is new). When I peeked in and saw him 'working', I think I just fell in love all over again. If you know Richard well, then you know how great he is. It's so surreal to think that all this is going on because in some ways, everything's still so normal.
We hung out, we chatted. We chatted some more. We chatted so much. It's amazing how much we had to talk about. I've gotten so used to talking around the kids often interrupted. It's been so nice to just sit and talk with Richard. For goodness sake, I learned something new about him on Sunday in one of our conversations.


At about 5:00pm, I left the hospital. Richard was dozing off and I was going to meet my dad in Richmond for dinner before heading home to see my mom who had the boys at our house. I learned something new about my dad today too; He used to work at White Spot. That was his first job when he was 15 or 16. He used to ride his bike from his house in Richmond all the way to Robson street or something. Wow.

Came home and got to visit with my wonderful mom. AJ was in a great mood. I got to squeeze in a game of Cariboo with him. It was just really nice.

And here I am. It's 11:30pm. I've done the cat-litter which is my newest job now that Richard's away. I'm about to jump in the shower and then head to sleep.

Thanks again to everyone for everything. I'm just overwhelmed by the love. I'm taking all the cards to Richard on Friday. I'll put them on his bulletin board.

And for all of you who read this all the way to the end... wow... that's impressive.

THANK YOU ERICA !!

Sonja brought over a "Mystery Box" today from the Tjarts today, though I am guessing Erica probably deserves most of the credit

There appears to be my stay worth of "Mystery" gift bags - one for each day, each with a little quote. Some are for Sonja, Dexter, or AJ, but mostly for me. Like I am special or something !

The first "Mystery Bag" was this rocking awesome T-shirt that Erica had to make by hand because the T-Shirt people wouldn't print it because of the X-Box. They were too scared of the "Man".

A true Homebrew Hacked T-Shirt - Even better !

There is not much that makes me loose it, and not keep it together, but this is just super special, and I had a hard time keeping my Toxic Eye Fluids in my eyes.

Thank you soo much !

And thank you to everyone who is helping us out. Be it just words of support, chores, food, gift cards, errands, etc. so much, and so much more then we ever expected. Sonja is the one that needs your help and support the most - She can't cook or clean remember - LOL !

Clarification on his Drugs

The "7 and 3" is happening simultaneously.

He is receiving a continuous infusion of Cytarabine (7) and getting short infusions (like little bursts of it) of the Daunorubicin, for those of you who like to be up to date on the drug intake and then go furiously google and wiki the information.

I'm at VGH with Richard

I gave him a big huge hug. I thought it might be a silly question to ask whether or not I'm allowed to kiss him (like 'really' kiss him if you know what I mean), but it turns out it's not a silly question. He's cytotoxic. No kissing. For goodness sake, his tears are cytotoxic!!! I'll have to get some clarification if I'm allowed to kiss him on the mouth at all.

For those who would like to visit Richard, he's located at

VGH
Jim Pattison Pavillion
T15 B - Room - 810 - 1.

Just give him a call first on his cell. If you don't have his cell number, just ask me. He looks forward to visitors, especially since I don't come every day.

That's all I'll say for now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Packing His Bag

Well, I'm spending this evening packing Richard's bag o' stuff he forgot he wanted. I'm heading downstairs now to grab THE BIG WHEELED DUFFLE BAG. Yikes. I hope I can carry everything up there. Suddenly, I'm extra glad to not be taking the boys with me tomorrow. I can't imagine how I would've handled that.

Remember, if you'd like Richard's perspective and/or more detail, go to his blog:

http://www.bitemefriday.blogspot.com

Otherwise, not much to tell today. I was home with the boys today and my sister was here too and helping out. I'm really starting to see the effects of this new chapter of our lives in AJ's behaviour. Or perhaps it's just his age. He is really getting sassy and defiant. He's not liking the 'choices' I'm giving him and instead of feeling compelled to choose one, he instead is letting me know not only that he doesn't like either choice, but also what he would like instead.

Like I said, I have some packing to do. For Richard and the boys too.

Thanks still to Erica and Mom and Kim.
Thanks to Erica's in-laws (Ruth and Henry) for their kind and generous card and to Jen's in-laws for their kindness and generosity as well.
Thank you all.

Room with a View

Here is the View from the 15th Floor. Not too shabby.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Richard Has Been Admitted

I am sitting here with Richard at VGH. He has been admitted.

It was a very nice drive. No rush hour to contend with. Nice and quiet. Really nice nurse. Really nice doctor (resident). Everything was really nice. Beautiful view of False Creek and the Bowmac sign. Richard's up on the 15th floor.

He apparently had a slight low grade fever, so they're giving him some antibiotics. Personally, we think their thermometer is off, as Richard's personal thermometer which read the same as the ones on the daycare ward had him reading lower. But whatever.

They've also got him hooked up to a big bag of sugar water. Mmmmmm. It's huge. He'll be peeing all night.

We discovered another possible bonus to the Leukemia... 'free dental'. lol. Richard's had some pressing dental work that's needed to be done that we had to put off a bit and then with his recent diagnosis, it got totally ignored. With him undergoing the chemo and having this cracked crown that was absessed, they'll have the on site dentist checking over him to make sure he's okay.

Richard and I were talking about the new commercial we'd make inspired by the mastercard commercial....

Downtown Vancouver Waterfront View - Free
Dental - Free
Quick Weightloss - Free

The cost? - Leukemia

Bummer.

The resident doctor up on this floor gave us the run down of the schedule and what to expect with the chemo.

7 and 3 - 7 days of Cytarabin and then 3 days of Daunorubicin

on about the 14th day they're going to check him (another bone marrow biopsy). They figure that the first bout of chemo should kill it all, but even if it shows up as all gone, they still have to assume there's some still floating around and then he gets a different drug (unlike cancer, when you're removing a tumor, this is cells, so you are only seeing a sampling of them). Altogether it seems like 30 days, but the doctor wouldn't be surprised if Richard got to come home as an outpatient after only about 21. If the chemo doesn't get it all, then he'll start another round.

I politely inquired again about the Abbotsford Cancer Clinic, reiterating that, of course, we want the best care, BUT... if and when he becomes an outpatient, it would be great if Richard didn't have to travel to and from VGH every day. This doctor said they'd look into it. YAY.

But for now, we'll focus on Richard getting the best care he can at VGH. Really nice people here. Very nice.

It's about 9:00pm. I don't want to walk to the parkade by myself in the dark, so I'll probably head home soon. Hopefully, Richard will read this and post some more details on his blog later for those who are interested in more details, such as the timing and the side effects.

Oh yah, and after working on packing this hospital bag for almost a week, he forgot his toiletries bag and his favourite comfy shorts. So, he has no where to store his contacts...lol.

I'll bring it all to him on Wednesday when I'm back.

Thanks again Erica, Kim, Mom, Paul, and Jill for today.
Thanks again to everyone who's been giving their well wishes.

Admitting.

Oh Crikies!
Finally my tears start to flow. Reality has hit. He's being admitted.

I'm dropping the boys over at Erica's and then taking Richard into the hospital.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our Sunday

What a nice day. Ahhhhh.

It was a party for my sister. It's her 18th birthday today and she just graduated from grade 12. Not to mention, not too long ago, received her black belt in Karate. It's been a year of accomplishments for Kimberley.

It was so nice to have a reasonably relaxing day surrounded by family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. Fabulous food and lots of fun too.

I think Richard and I both loved just sitting back and taking in all that we have to be thankful for.

Whoa, my internet just crashed. Thank goodness this site autosaves!

Tomorrow, Monday, we should be home, unless the hospital calls us to admit Richard. If so, then I'll give a quick call to Erica to please take the boys. Otherwise, just a nice day at home mixed with running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to tie up the rest of the loose ends. AJ has preschool tomorrow too.

I'll keep you all updated.

As for how Richard's feeling - He's still walking pretty stiff. This whole tubes-coming-out-of-his-chest thing is just really weird still for him. It's still a little painful there for him too. But he did drive to and from my parents today. So, either he's not feeling too badly or he really didn't want to be in the passenger seat.

Congratulations, Kimberley!!! We're proud of you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Better Than Yesterday

Today was better than yesterday, but still some frustration, for me at least.

May I start with some bad humour?
As a wife, so far, I've realized what really sucks about this Leukemia thing is the role reversal in the car. I'm driving everywhere including downtown. Richard is in the passenger seat. Need I say more? I'll let you figure out how much I'm enjoying that.
As for Richard, I'm pretty sure he still thinks that Leukemia is the worst part about Leukemia, not being in the passenger seat. But, I could be wrong.

So, this morning, we didn't have to wake early. It was nice Richard got to sleep in a little bit, and nice that Dexter didn't do his 'early waking' that he's been doing.

I'll go off on a little tangent for the 'blog baby book' here for a second...
Dexter is a few weeks overdue for being switched over to one nap. But it's really hard to do right now, obviously. I can't always be home to help him with this transition and he really loves his morning nap.
AJ said something adorable in the car today: "Mommy, you're letting the sun race with you!". He was noticing how the sun looks like it's following beside a person when they're driving.
Another funny thing was when I heard what sounded like AJ smacking the DVD player in the car.
Me - "What was that noise?"
AJ - "Nothing."
Me - "No seriously. What was that? Tell me the truth? Did you hit the DVD player?"
AJ - "I said nothing!"
Me - "Who hit the DVD player?"
AJ - "Oh, it was Dexy."
Me - "Yah, no. Dexy's asleep dude. Nice try. Did somebody hit the DVD player because that's what it sounded like."
AJ - "Oh, yah. It was Jack. He left his house and did it."
Me - "Jack is at his house and is probably in bed already since it's way past your bed time."
AJ - "Oh. Yah. It was me."

Rest assured, Erica, if you're reading this, Jack does not spend the whole day being prosecuted for another boy's crimes when he's at my house.

I digress. Back to the story.

We packed the boys with us this time. I wanted AJ to see the hospital we've been talking about so much. And, I really just wanted to see the boys. We were away from them about 4 or 5 days the past week. It's been tough.

Jen (thank you thank you) had already dropped me off a coffee, picked up AJ to take him to swimming, bought him a doughnut for putting his face in the water, brought him back, and brought Richard and I some handy meal stuff from M&M. I also didn't mention yet that last night, when she called, I was just about to head to Superstore to get the cat litter we so desperately needed. Jen picked that up for us. So heavy too. And she hates cats! That's friendship.

We left a little before 1:00pm. The appointment was for 2:30pm. Based on the other trips to the hospital, we had more than enough time.

But. Ooooh, how I hate the Port Mann. There was an accident just before the Port Mann, an accident just after the Port Mann near Gaglardi, and horrendous construction at Cambie. I was just about to burst into tears I was so hot and getting so claustrophobic. It was yucky. AJ slept the whole way. Dexter, of course, woke as soon as the traffic started before we even reached the Port Mann, which put a bit of a wrench in my 'shape of the day' so to speak.

We didn't pull into the parking lot until about 2:40pm. As we're unloading the car, Richard's cell rings. It's the hospital. They'd like to admit him today. Yah.... no. That's not going to happen. Richard learned the lesson yesterday that he definitely doesn't want to be doing anything of importance at the hopital when it's not normal operating hours and his doctor isn't there. Not to mention, we just have a lot of 'loose ends' that MUST be tied before Richard goes in the hospital. AND... we just weren't prepared. Everyone kept saying that we wouldn't be admitted until Monday or Tuesday. I could go on and on.

Anyhow, we walk over to the elevator in the parkade with the boys in the stroller and our bags and stuff and......
The elevator is only in use mon-fri. Are you kidding me? This is the same place we've parked ont the same floor for our past 4 visits. So, we had to walk up the 3 floors of the parkade ramps. We couldn't take the stairs with the stroller.

We got up there. Of course, the nurses were just all over AJ and Dexter absorbing their cuteness and loving every minute of it. I had brought AJ and Dexter their fold out Matchbox Cars play sets. We had a nice big roomy room. It was all good.

We had been told on Friday, by someone who will remain nameless that if they did end up having a bed available and admitting Richard on the weekend (which really just 'wasn't good for us'...lol), we could probably be admitted and then ask for a day pass to come in on Monday.

Richard inquired. Now, you remember how steamed I was about yesterday? I really wanted to vent to someone. Richard just really wanted me to be pleasant. I started to speak, but I was given the 'zip it' eye from Richard which, I have to say, I've never been given before. Well, maybe once. But, I got the hint. This was not the appropriate time for me to 'go off' about how frustrated I am, when essentially, we're about to ask for a favour.

They had to call the doctor (I think - Richard will fill you in more on his blog later with extra detail if you want, as I was not privy to these conversations, as I was watching the boys). Basically, the person he was explaining the situation to just really couldn't fathom why Richard would not want to be admitted as soon as possible.

Long story short on that - Technically, we 'gave up' Richard's spot. But, he's top priority for a new bed, and should be in on Tuesday or Wednesday. I was going to get Richard to just hop on here and type about this part, but alas, he's crashed on the couch beside me. Poor guy. I can't imagine what all is running through his head. In fact, I'm kind of wondering how he sleeps at all.

So, our appointment to change the dressings and get instructions on care for his Hickman Line, were not that. It was just a dressing change. That's right. 24 degrees in a car with two kids, no A/C, a back seat driver sitting in the passenger seat beside me who's in pain and a little grumpy (albeit justifiably), with a claustrophobic wife, with two car accidents and construction, who live down the road from a Cancer Clinic, for a 1.5 hour drive, JUST TO GET A BANDAGE CHANGED. But for good measure, she drew some blood too. I'm glad, because while all 'zipped up' over in the corner with the kids justa holdin back for venting everything I'm feeling, I was thinking that I was about to draw some blood!!!!! Oh, and a good thing too, was that the nurse gave Richard a necklace with three clips to hold up the tubes that are hanging out of his chest. This was wonderful for Richard. He's really squirmish, I think, or maybe just cautious about these 'creepy' tubes. It's obviously, a weird new thing for him. It's hard to say if his neck is so sore because of the pain from the long drawn out procedure or from his rigidness as he tries not to disrupt the tubes and such and worries about them. Know what I mean? He was really uncomfortable last night and into this morning.

The boys were okay. Not great. Obviously, Dexter had not had his full nap, and AJ is showing the effects of being away from us so much lately, and no doubt sensing how preoccupied we are. He's been a little defiant and sassy. (No idea where he gets that from). That all didn't stop the nurses from loving them though. They were calling other nurses from down the hall to come see them. I think we were the only people in the Leukemia (BMT) daycare ward that day, but there were 5 nurses in our room at one point.

Do I want to bring the boys there in the future? I'm not looking forward to it, no matter how much a mom loves to hear how cute her kids are.

So, all in all, maybe 30 minutes. Then back in the car. We had already been keeping in touch with my dad who didn't get to meet up with us on Friday. So, we made sure that we got to see him today while we had the boys with us. I wanted to boys to get a chance to run around before taking them to dinner, so I called a friend to hear of any great playgrounds in Richmond (thanks Nomi!!! The boys loved the water feature, those crazy swing saucers, and that really long slide). After about 30 minutes at the park with Grand-Dan, we all headed to Spaghetti Factory. The boys were pretty good. They weren't angels, but they were two pretty good toddlers at a restaurant. (Thanks Dad!)

We put Dexter in his PJ's while Dad tossed AJ in the air about 50 times and we left for home! We stopped at our 24 Hour Shoppers Drug Mart for Richard's Tylenol Threes and got some gas for probably the 4th time this week, ugg, and got in the door about 10pm. Dexter transferred into bed wonderfully and had slept the whole way home.

More thanks -
Dad - Dinners, lunches, probably more dinners and lunches to come. Your hospitality (he lives in Richmond and has a fold out if we ever need it), and the many more times you'll probably be getting to have your share of babysitting the boys!!!
Mom - Everything you've been doing to help which is more than I can even write.
Erica - Everything you've been doing to help and for the Franklin Goes to the Hospital book that you dropped off today and we read today too. It was such a sweet thought.
Norma - Who's going to be coming to stay with us for a while in about a week! It will be so wonderfuly to see you. AJ's really excited.
Nomi - For suggesting a great park.
Michelle R. - For your phone call that I didn't hear until 10pm. I'll try to get back to you soon!
Everyone who's been constantly offering help! - I do love to hear from you all! Thank you for all your offers. I am keeping you in mind! Trust me! It's not that I'm not willing to ask for help! It's just that I'm surrounded by so many wonderful and close friends and family that I just haven't needed to reach out further yet! Thank you thank you!

Too lazy to edit, as usual. Sorry.

Sincerely,
Sonja,
wife of a recently diagnosed 'back seat driver',
oh,
I mean wonderful husband.

Love you so much, Richard.

Richard's Blog

I have activated my blog at
http://bitemefriday.blogspot.com/

Sonja, and now I, will keep the general updates here, but once I am in I will be posting more detailed accounts of my crap at the other blog.

Songs That Make Us Smile

I've added a new feature... Songs That Make Us Smile.

Darling Boy is a John Lennon song that I LOVE and used to be my background music for this site until I messed that up.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life was Richard and I's wedding song for our first dance (props to Erica for finding us that song).

Side by Side is a special song that Erica's grandma loved and Erica is passing it along for our enjoyment. Thanks Erica.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ugggg..... Another Update.

Today was Richard's worst day yet. Although I have a feeling that we'll look back at this and laugh that we thought THIS was a bad day.

Let me preface this post with the fact that I, personally, am so frustrated that all this cannot be done at the Cancer Clinic here in Abbotsford. I understand that VGH is "The Place" for the best Leukemia care, but there's a whole whack of stuff that could easily be done in Abbotsford, in my humble, non-medical, unresearched, sassy opinion.

What I need to keep in mind is that there are people who have to drive further than we do. There are other people going through this that have kids too just like us. And there are other people going through this that don't have the fabulous support system that we do. AND there are people that have diagnoses that are not as promising as ours.

He says it's the first day that he's actually come back from the hospital feeling worse than when he arrived.

Once again, we left the house by about 6am.
This was the point in time that he was supposed to stop all eating and drinking because of his Hickman Line operation at 11am.

We made good time. Richard was supposed to go for a heart scan to make sure his heart is able to handle the impending chemotherapy. That happened. That part went off without a hitch. His heart is fine. All is good.

Aili arrived at this time. Aili is a very good close friend of mine who just happens to have already been through this with her then husband in 2002. She had lots of encouraging words for us, and lots of information.

Now, Richard was scheduled for his Hickman Line for 11am. 11am passed. They said they were running late and it was looking more like 12pm. Then they said 2:00pm. At some time before 2pm (Richard is starving and thirsty), they say that they've had the call for Richard to come to the OR. So, they start the antibiotics.

And we wait. Richard is soooo tired. Richard is soooo hungry. Richard is soooo thirsty. Thank goodness we had Aili there to chat with, laugh with, and well, be sad with.

Then 3:00pm. Seriously? 3:00pm? Yup. Then, they come in and say 4:00pm. All the while, they're telling us that we need to come in the next day for a ....

get this.....

15 MINUTE APPOINTMENT !!! Where they will change the gauze and tell us how to care for the Hickman Line.

Seriously? Seriously? Two kids. Abbotsford. Guy with Leukemia. Come in for 15 minutes. "Please waste 3 hours of your Saturday so that we can call you in again to be admitted on Monday in all likelihood."

Can you tell I'm soo angry? I'm soooo angry. I'm trying to be pleasant. I'm trying to be understanding. I'm tryign to reason it all with myself. "Okay, sure. They need to talk to him about more stuff." I just don't get why they couldn't do the Hickman Line when he was going to be admitted to start chemo.

Now, during all of this waiting, Richard also had to decide whether to give his consent to be part of a research study for a drug that they want to use in Canada that helps increase your chance of going into remission. After extra reading, asking lots of questions, and pondering, Richard decided that he would take part. Only to find out that we would be part of the random sample that doesn't get the drug. At least not for the first round of chemo.

4:00pm. We're told we've been called to the OR.

No one comes.

No one comes.

Richard and I fall asleep on his bed.

Richard's about to go to the front desk to say "I'm outta here."

And finally, at a little before 5:00pm, they come in to get him. Meanwhile, our section is closing, so they're going to take us to the OR and then dismiss us from there. Even our nurses from the past 3 days prior said how ridiculous it was that he was made to wait this long.

I would say he finally went in at about 5:10pm. It was supposed to be a 20 minute procedure. The doctor performing the procedure was having difficulties. Another guy had to be called in. at 5:35pm they told me he was about half way through. He got out at about 6:15pm.

He just looked wiped.

I'm new at this whole Leukemia thing... but so far... this really sucks. And I'm only the wife! Not the patient.

What a day.

Now we're supposed to go in tomorrow, smack dab in the middle of the day at 2:30pm. I'm bringing the kids. I'm hoping it will hurry things along when they see we have toddlers with us. We'll see. I'm probably just so naive.

This is only the beginning!

Was there some good news today? Uh... well, yah. It really sounds promising that Richard's going to get through this just fine. It was confirmed that he has AML with inversion 16, but we are still waiting for the 'subtype'.

Tomorrow:
Driving for 1.25 hours to VGH, having a dressing changed, learning how to care for the Hickman Line, and driving 1.25 hours home. With the boys. And of course, the DVD player for the ride home.

Wish us luck. Wish us speed. Wish us patience. Oh please. Wish us some patience.

This was not a fun day (except for hanging out with Aili!!! Thanks Aili!!!). The nurses and doctors are all really nice though. I should make sure to mention that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday for Richard

VGH called to confirm today that Richard will come in for 8am on Friday. He will have his heart scan/ultrasound and then the Hickman Line is scheduled for 11am, and then we come home.

I'm guessing we're coming home unless a bed opens up.

Nonetheless, I'm happy to have the weekend together as a family and to celebrate my sister's birthday and graduation on Sunday.

Wish us more luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do you want to see more pics of the boys?

If you go down about 4 or 5 posts, you'll see that I updated the 'boys' portion of the blog with pictures and captions. I guess since I started uploading the pictures a couple of days ago, it doesn't post as the most recent post.

More News From Today

Okay, so we were given more information today later on.

In patients with Leukemia, there is usually (almost always) an abnormal chromosome somewhere, but not necessarily everywhere in their body. (bear with me, I'm going on memory here, not proper research).

It looks like Richard has the kind where it's an inverted 16th chromosome which is a good kind to have because it responds well to chemotherapy.

That was our good news today. Also, that Richard gets to be home tomorrow. I'll take him in again on Friday for his heart ultrasound (probably) and his Hickman Line. He's supposed to come home again for the weekend, but if a bed opens, then he may be getting admitted.

Part of me wants them to start treatment ASAP and another part of me just wants him at home for as long as possible.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

We're sitting here at VGH while Richard is getting his blood tranfusion. The doctor that did the bone marrow biopsy came in early on.

The Ugly
-It's Leukemia. He'll be starting chemo soon (which I guess is kind of good in a way too).

The Bad
-They are still finding out more specifics. He said that the reason for the dry tap was that there were a lot of bad cells. The question is is that just a certain area where it's full of bad cells or are there bad cells in many places.

The Good (kind of)
-It's AML Acute Myeloid Leukemia which is the more common one that something like 80% of adults with Leukemia have. It brings us even more hope that Richard will pull through very well. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

It looks like we get to go home today. Richard's transfusion will take us until about 3pm, I figure. We're just waiting to hear when we come back for him to get his Hickman Line, his heart ultrasound, and for him to start the chemo.

And we wait.

Thanks again for all your love.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What's Going On for Wednesday?


My plan was to actually update 'the boys' blog today. I've been trying to catch up on pictures. I must have 50 for this next post at least, and I haven't finished loading them into my post!!!

So, I'm just going to put up this picture I took of Richard reading Dexter's bedtime story in his next little bed (a mattress on the floor).

You already know that Richard is the most wonderful husband and father. I don't have to tell you. I don't have to tell you that even while he's stressed out about all this, and I'm getting ready to pack the boys for daycare and for a possible extra day without me, he still asked, "Do you need me to do anything?" Of course, my answer should be, "Oh of course not. You go sit down and relax." But instead, I said, "Sure, you can load the diaper bag that you take to gymnastics for AJ on Thursdays."

We will get up bright early at around 4:45am this time (each time a little earlier). We will wake the boys for around 5:45am, slap some clothes on them, give a bottle to Dexter and a smoothie to AJ, pack two pop tarts (lol) for Leah to give them at daycare (thanks for taking them early, Leah, and maybe late too), and heading to the hospital.

Richard is just supposed to be going there for another blood transfusion. However, we're hoping he'll get some results, and hopefully they will be good results in some way. It's possible, that if we get some results AND a bed has opened up, that he MAY get admitted to start chemo. We're hoping not. We'd love to have just one more weekend to gather our thoughts, think things out, cuddle, talk, laugh, and maybe have Richard's mom soon arrive to stay with us (thanks Norma), before he's in the hospital for a whole 4 weeks.

Keep your fingers crossed.

A big shout out to:
EVERYONE who has offered love, good vibes, prayers, good wishes, good thoughts, hugs, babysitting, playdates, food, driving, homestay, and the list goes on.
MY MOM for the two dinners she left with us when she was here last. You can bet we've used them and enjoyed.
ERICA who just dropped off a whole bunch of little 'leftover' meals for the kids. They're just perfect meal size and a big variety. I'm sure the boys will love them and they won't be living off of Bachelor Chow for a whole week!
LEAH who has offered to help out in the way of extra hours.
NORMA who may be flying out from Nova Scotia to come stay with us.

Love you all so much. Love Richard so much. Hope we get some sort of good news tomorrow.

Some April and May Shots of the Boys

These two boys of mine are so very very different. I may dress them the same, but they are not the same at all.

AJ is still very serious. Dexter is beaming all the time (unless he's teething). AJ was always so cautious when he was a baby, but Dexter is daring. AJ had a very large vocabulary when he was this age. Dexter is physically strong and agile.

I have two boys. Two boys who have a love-hate relationship. Best friends and loving brothers and then mortal enemies who only get in each other's way. Both of them can 'dish it out', but only one of them can 'take it'. Do you know who is who?

Having two boys is wonderful. They are both so sweet, but they're still mischeivous. Together, they can get into some trouble.

AJ knows darn well that he is only supposed to write on paper, but if you let him loose with Dexter in Dexter's room, somehow, he forgets the rules and the two of them write on Dexter's play table. The reason? "Well, Dexter was doing it!"

AJ is learning the blame game too.
AJ - "Dexter did it."
Me - "But Dexter can't get downstairs with the gate closed."
AJ - "Oh, he opened it."
Hmmmmmm. Or, my new recent favourite....
AJ - "Jack did it."
Me - "But Jack went home a long time ago."
AJ - "Oh! He got in his car and left Auntie Erica's house to come over here and do that."

So, I've been working on putting up all these pics over the course of a week and now that I've finally done it, there's already more pics on the camera that need to go up on the picture site to bring over to here.

I'll have to remember to update the 'milestones' in a few days. Dexter has added more signs like 'apple' and 'orange' and I need to write about how well he's done for 4 days without his crib. I thought it would get tricky on those rare nights that he wakes in the middle of the night, but so far, it turns out to be even easier. I come in, I give him a hug, I lay him down and say, "It's still bedtime", he starts to get up and cry, and I walk out and close the door. No more than 45 seconds later, he gives up and is bright enough to hop back into bed and go to sleep! This boy hasn't fallen asleep on the floor unlike his big brother on one of his first nights.

Okay, so the picture update. These are grouped according to events and such, not placed in any date order. Some pictures could be 2 weeks old and followed by some that are almost 2 months old.

Here we go...
Since fencing in the front upper yard, it means I have a safe place for the kids to play all while getting some gardening done. Richard and I lugged one of the backyard playstructures to the front side of the house and Dexter just loves it, as you can see!

I gave Rya a 'side pony' this day. What a cutie! And she knows it!

Here's Dexter serenading to Rya before we head to pick up AJ and Jack at preschool.

I just loved this picture of Rya.


These next three are Dexter and Rya on a different Friday as I had just put their shoes on so we could go pick up AJ and Jack from preschool.




Here are AJ and Dexter taking a ride on the vacuum. This is why I don't vacuum as often as I should. Yah, that's it. That's why.



Brothers shooting hoops before we head out for the day.



Brothers playing hand held video games in their jammies.


We have a really great path up behind our house. I love going for a walk here. I can let Dexter 'off leash' you could say....lol... and not worry about him running into traffic. In fact, on this path, AJ usually asks part way through to go in the stroller and Dexter likes to help me push him.

Here's AJ running at 3 year old speed.


Here's Dexter trying to catch up.


AJ makes the 'good choice' to wait up for Dexter for a bit.



Please mommy. I don't want to have my nap today.



Here's one of the Fridays that I had all the kids. There was a 'shirt incident' that caused me to put one of Dexter's shirts on Rya, so I tried to 'girl it up' with some big bows in her hair.



My boys. Hanging out together.


Well, jeepers. Under the circumstances, I don't want to get on Richard's case about not mowing the lawn, but.....

In this picture, Dexter is saying, "Seriously. Are you going to mow this?"


And in this picture, he's saying, "Fine, I'll do it myself."




Around Mother's Day, my mom came over with some flowers and plants from her garden to help me put into mine. It was a really nice day. The boys had fun too and took out about every outdoor toy we own and it was scattered on the the upper lawn.

Here, AJ is helping to water the ivy and the hydrangeas.


Mmmm. Gram hugs.


Gram is big fun. The boys do get to see her about once a week, and I so often forget to take out the camera.


Look at that lovely mess of fun!



This is a card that AJ made for his friend Grace who lives in Puyallup, WA for her birthday. We have wrapped the gift and made the cards, but man, I just can't seem to remember to mail it! Sorry Melissa!! He cut out paper and glued it down to make a dinosaur.

And for this part, he was trying to copy the picture on the front of the Crayola Wonders book.

Pretty good, huh?


Here are the boys getting into trouble together. No doubt it was Dexy's idea to put the stool up there on Dexter's table and then AJ came along and said, "Oh, Dexter, I'll help you get the blinds down."


Usually, on Friday afternoons, after the babies' nap and bottles, we head out to the front yard to play until Kevin comes to pick up Jack and Rya. The kids just have a blast with this crane and the sand.

Once Jack and Rya go home, the boys usually stay out here to play more, and when Daddy gets home, we all go out for a picnic dinner.






I wanted a picture of the two of them on the chair. AJ tries desperately to help me attain this, but to no avail.


Here's Dexter facinated by something in the front yard. In the background you'll see some of the little fence I put up to keep him from getting to the stairs.


He really doesn't like this fence.
He REALLY doesn't like it.








Okay, so this next picture, I simply call, "Fame." AJ had found his "baby legs" in his sock drawer. He wasn't quite into his jammies yet, kind of half changed. He was dancing and 'kung fuing' all down the hall.



AJ's wanted a stroller for a while. I told him that when I find one that isn't pink, I'll pick it up. Here it is. Both boys love love love to push each other down the hall in it.



I loved this. I walked into AJ's room to find Dexter all alone, sitting at AJ's table. He had obviously climbed up beside AJ's dresser, taken a paint brush out of the art basket, gotten the paint water cup off of the dresser, and put them on the table. And there he sat waiting. Waiting for someone to come along and get out a paint with water book, so he could get to work. Luckily, AJ and I noticed Dexter all by his lonesome and got him started. My boys.




Awww. They like each other here. Hugs.


Awwww. Reading a book together. Nice.


Awwww. Painting together. Sweet.



AJ prefers his water from his thermos. Cool, clean, and crisp...

Dexter prefer his from a plastic golf club handle that has been dunked into a bucket filled with water and sand and goodness knows what else.






Here's Dexter enjoying that slide a little more.

Do you see how delicously chunky these legs are?

This golf club is obviously pretty awesome.


I think they're conspiring with those water toys.


"Hey Dexter, you go squirt mom and I'll go dump this bucket of cold water on her."
"Okay, AJ."









We have a playground that we call "The Boat Park". The playstructure has a nautical theme and is somewhat shaped like a boat. This is the playground that's closest to the bridge at Mill Lake where we look at ducks and search for spiders.



AJ kept going down the slide on his feet and then walking up the slide backwards.


Poor Dexter trying to catch up to AJ again. He's probably yelling, "Da-Ja" which is what he seems to prefer to call AJ.









A couple weekends ago, after AJ asking lots to go to a farm, we decided to take the boys to Birchwood Dairy for some awesome ice cream, to play at the playground, and to see the cows and horses.

Dexter's trying to escape here, and Richard's trying to keep him corralled.




I think Chunky-D is so stinkin' cute in this pic.

Silent, but sneaky.


Daddy and Dex.



AJ by the wagon.
Chasing around the tree.

Looking at motorcycles.

Whoa, are you kicking him, AJ?





Get up you lazy bum.


Wrestling.







AJ really wants a scooter of his own. After many make-shift-scooter-wagon accidents, I finally decided it was probably a good idea to get a real one.



Up and down the hall they go back and forth. Back and forth.



My boys.




Yay, Dexter has finally decided he likes broccoli!!!!



My pretend twins.