Monday, November 16, 2009

Not to be out done

There's absolutely no competition going on in this household. ha ha. Riley's poem was from when we were waiting to leave for the dr appt to get the antibiotic for her ear infection. I took her to school after the appt, getting script filled, and grabbing a bite to eat. Then she went to hippo therapy in the evening. Sidney is so lucky to get to ride a horse also (Thanks to Aunt Rachel and family). We spent the whole time after Sidney's riding lesson and waiting for Shelly and Riley to get home by writing the "letter" below. I knew that someone may say something about Riley's poem and Sidney hear about it and wonder why she didn't get something on the blog. So, these are just two little snapshots in time before they turn 6.

Here is Sidney's letter:
dear mommy,

i love you. i like horses. i like everything in the whole wide world. i love my whole family. i am losing a tooth.

sincerely,
sidney

Riley's Poem

I couldn't understand whether Riley made this up or heard it from somewhere...

Sing sing what shall I sing.
Do do what shall I do.
The cat's run away with the pudding too.

At first she had as the last word a word that rhymed with 'sing' and then she said the whole poem again (that's more impressive than the poem itself) and changed it to 'too'.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What an argument

After a late night last night, the girls were a little grumpy today. At one point Sidney was upset about.....her clothes, the plans for the day, the universe aligning - you name it - it could've been anything. But the line that got me was she said "Riley is trying to be prettier than me because she is smiling." It was incredibly hard not to burst out laughing and calmly say "Yes, when you smile, you do look prettier." I didn't realize they were having a contest. I think Riley was just grinning mischievously because Sidney was upset. Maybe a good night rest will make tomorrow smoother or maybe they'll just have more energy to argue!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I may be new to this....

Yesterday the girls got off the bus and told me about their day. Riley said she was punched in the chest by a little girl. I asked Riley why the other little girl was mad. Riley said I was looking at her and she didn't like it. Sidney witnessed the incident and together they went and told the teacher. The offender received 10 minutes on the sidewalk during recess. Sidney said a little boy in her class grabbed her around her stomach with one hand and then put his other hand over her mouth. This isn't the first time this little boy has done things to Sidney. Sidney won't tell her teacher because that would be tattling. So we had a discussion that if any one puts their hands on you - you can tell but not just for a dirty look or name calling. So I called Sidney's teacher this morning. She wasn't aware of the situation but did share this particular child has already had a lot of issues. She said she would "handle it" - whatever that entails. It's different being on this side of the fence - usually I'm the one dealing with the difficult student and talking with parents. Now I have to protect my children and give them the tools to deal with difficult people. I think "all I really need to know I learned in kindergarten" is so true. I just didn't expect our learning curve to be so sharp.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Big relief - not cancer

Okay, that's the good news. But...what is going on with my leg? I'll soon be going to an orthopedic specialist to find out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sidney has lost two more teeth

Yep, we're terrible bloggers. The second of the three was before the "Riding The Bus" post, so as Shelly is looking over my shoulder and saying "we're bad bloggers"? I just keep on typing. I thought I would at least get some fun information out of the way before starting back to mundane I-don't-want-to-hear-that topics.

The girls are doing awesome in school. We got to go visit the teachers and sit in their classrooms (with the girls home in bed) while we learned what and how they are being taught. Lucky we both got to go so that we could each visit a classroom and compare notes afterward. Uhm...well, Shelly got to see my notes at least because she didn't take any. I observed Sidney's teacher. She has been at it for 34 years and said that kids today are coming out of kindergarten with more knowledge than we did coming out of first grade. And thank goodness we live in "backwards" Boone county. The school system Shelly works for has only one short recess per day. I beg to differ that that is better -- kids need the free-range play time to build social skills and get some much needed exercise. (Think how much better free-range chicken is!)

My cousin Monica is on her way here from (North Carolina?) with her mom from Virginia. We're going to be celebrating our 40th birthdays together with my two other cousins, Beth and Tom, born that same year.

I'm sorry if you already know this but for the sake of what is to be said below it is worth mentioning that after my RAI therapy I was given a 99% chance of being alive in 20 years. Lies, d**** lies, and statistics.

I've been going to physical therapy for 6 weeks for weakness and pain in my right leg. I had wondered from the beginning why only one leg suffered muscle atrophy so much more than the other. Now that 6 weeks have passed and the pain persists even though the muscles are stronger, we're looking into other causes. Without beating around the bush, my doc says the most likely cause is bone cancer. I drink some fire-whiskey at 9:45 AM tomorrow and then get lit up at 2PM. Actually the simple term is a bone scan. I just know I have to go in twice with 4 hours in-between.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Bus ride

Yesterday the girls rode the bus home for the first time. Sidney was a little scared but she said she liked it. Riley said it was the best thing about school. I changed their transportation sheet at school and they are officially bus riders (afternoon only right now). Sidney has a cold so she said she didn't want to go to school today but I just think she's tired. She keeps saying she misses me. We really don't have as much time together. I think they're enjoying themselves at school. I know it's good for them to separate from me. It helps them become independent and self responsible. It's a little hard for me - I wonder what they're doing at school, are they having a good time, are they making friends? Then I come back to reality, kick up my feet and then pick up another bon bon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kindergarten!

The girls started KG last Wednesday. They were so excited. So far they love it. On Sunday there was a little whinniness but on Monday everything was fine. They are in different classes so there has been some adjusting to that. They still see each other at recess and lunch. Riley seems to really like being by herself. I think Sidney is ok with it but she says a lot of "it's not fair" stuff because each class does things differently. You would think they would be excited to be together when they got home - But NO! That would be too easy. I'm going to think positively and say it will get better with time as they adjust to their all day schedule.

As for me......I love KG also!!!!! I'll have to say - their first day I really didn't know what to do. There were so many things going through my head - I could mop the floors, do some laundry, tackle a organization project...the list is endless. Sidney even seemed concerned about me being ALL BY MYSELF! I said "don't worry, I'll be just fine!" I still work two days a week so I don't have every day to myself but I do hope to get some things accomplished. I will admit I felt a little sad last week. This is the beginning of their school career. Life revolves around their school schedule now. I can't believe how far we've come from little babies to big girls. They run to their KG class without looking back or saying goodbye because they love school so much. I don't think I would have it any other way. Hopefully pictures will come later!

Emory edit...
Here is a link of photos. We still have to rotate and delete some duplicates but you can weed through them. I think there is a vote option. If so, you can do some of the work for us :).
http://s971.photobucket.com/albums/ae191/EDBdPhotography/

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sidney's First Tooth

Sidney lost her first tooth a couple weeks ago.
sidney milestone

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Shelly

I'm no longer "2 years older" than Shelly. She gets to enjoy that saying for a whole week.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sometime earlier today...

I completed my 40th voyage around the sun. The journey has taken 14,610 days, of which the last 90 or so have been a blur.

Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers. I will be making corrections and clarifications to Shelly's posts soon. I guess she had quite a laugh at my expense. What is the big deal about it taking a half hour to kill a fly? Was I hurting anyone while standing on the porch with a pail of garbage thinking about the effort involved in changing my shoes to keep the current ones from getting wet?

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's been how long?

I can't believe the month is about to end. I have been waiting for Emory to post but THAT hasn't happened so here I go. Emory went back to work this week. He hasn't been one to complain so he hasn't said much but I know it has probably been a loooong week for him. He still is running tired although I think today was a better day. I think we both need to do better at getting more than the 6.5-7 hours sleep a night. We're getting older you know (actually Emory will be 40 a week from today!)

The girls graduated from preschool the 19th. They were so excited. Riley wasn't so much as she cried going down the aisle but was able to get it together and announce one of her teachers and say she wanted to be a "plain person" when she grew up. Sidney said she wanted to be a pet doctor. We have 10 weeks until Kindergarten! It's hard to believe. Time has just flown.


The new thing the girls are doing is taking riding lessons. Sidney FINALLY gets to ride a horse "all by herself". She is loving it. I think Riley likes it but then again she's been riding for 3 years already (in therapy) so she is a little leery because it may seem more like work. It's amazing that they are riding all by themselves. They guide the horse around cones and even "jump". The horse just walks over the boards but their instructor says they will actually be jumping. That's a little scary for me. We got them riding helmets!


I started my summer break yesterday. We (mainly Sidney and I) had to get a few issues ironed out (with her spending some "thinking time" in her room). ((I'm getting grammar help from someone NOT!)) Anyways...we got along better today. I think she realized Mommy is the boss and she doesn't particularly enjoy extended periods of time in her room.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Now I know a little about what it's like.......

To live with someone with dementia or Alzheimer's. (not to belittle either condition) After supper, Emory was going to take some garbage out to the field. I turn around from doing the dishes and I find him on the porch - just standing there. I yell real loud "You were going to take the garbage out to the field!" He just looks at me (with a blank look on his face) and then comes back in. I asked, "Did you forget what you were doing?" He just looks at me and we both sorta chuckle. Seriously?!? Turns out he was thinking about changing his shoes - so the ones he had on wouldn't get muddy. In his mind - this was a much shorter period of time than it actually was! I have never seen anyone in such slow motion. If I didn't know better - I'd think he was on drugs! (Actually ...... he needs to be on more!)

This is much better functioning than a couple of days ago. He was very nauseated and wasn't able to eat. He called the doctor who changed and increased his medication. So at least he is able to eat. He still walks around like a zombie. The doctor is to call tomorrow to check on his condition. I think they need to bump up his synthyroid medication - maybe he wouldn't be so tired. In the meantime - I will continue to have fun at his expense. He probably won't remember it anyway.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Lit Up"

Today has been a long day. We spent 3 hours at the hospital, not including driving time. We received a lot of information today. Dr. Estrada, the nuclear medicine physician, thought Emory's cancer was "interesting". So far we have "oddball" and "interesting". I don't think it's the right kind of interesting though. One thing that hit me was he said "A cancer diagnosis is for the rest of your life." Emory will continue to have follow up treatment. We'll always be on the look out for it. I really don't like it hanging over our heads. But we have faith that if we stay the course the doctors set- things will work out.

Emory didn't feel well during the scan. He had to lie very still for a half hour while they scanned and took pictures. He only "lit up" where his thyroid was so that means the cancer hasn't spread at this time. This isn't a guarantee it won't in the future but hopefully with the RAI - it will be wiped out. We met with Bob Anger (no joke on the name) who was the radiation safety specialist to go over all the precautions. After that it was time for the radioactive iodine. We all walked into the "Hot room" as they called it. Gerald, the nuclear medicine lab technician (aka Jerry Lewis from yesterday) brought the RAI out in a lead container (to protect us) with a tube in it of the RAI. Emory had to drink the poison up through a straw. It was all surreal and fast. As we stood up to go - he set off the radioactive alarm. They said "yup - you're putting off radiation."

Finally Emory is able to eat regular food! He was so excited to have some milk. It will be tons easier to fix food now. He goes back for a scan next Friday. And then in a year he has to do this all over again. In the meantime he will be seeing Dr. Meacham - the endocrinologist - regularly for blood work and check ups - about every 6 to 8 weeks. We also learned it will take 6 to 8 weeks for the thyroid replacement medication to be at an optimal level - so it will be awhile before he feels better. He is now in his 3 day seclusion from everyone. He then still has 4 more days after that to stay out of the public. He has to be careful in the next 40 days. If he went to the airport - he could set off the radioactive alarms there or they told us to carry a paper about his treatment because some police have radiation detectors in their cars and have pulled over people who have gone through treatment. Now that would be something to explain!

The girls are sad and miss their daddy. This morning they cried when we left because they knew they wouldn't get to see Emory for at least 3 or more days. They are staying with my family until they can come home. The good news it is only for a short time. I think this is enough info for now. I think I could go to sleep.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Glow little glow worm, Glimmer,Glimmer

Today was the first day for Emory's RAI (radioactive iodine) treatment. Now before I go into today .....let me tell you a little about the last 3 weeks. It has been a whirlwind for us. We just got through my dad's funeral and all the emotionality of it - then BAM! Here is the next month or so of your life and a list of all the things you need to do. We knew Emory needed treatment. We just didn't know how BAD he was going to feel. He had to become hypothyroid (I know - he doesn't even have a thyroid). The point of it - he was going to feel so tired and so foggy - but this would be great for the treatment. His diet was key to making the treatment a success. He needed to deprive his body of iodine so when he gets the RAI - any cancer or thyroid tissue left would gobble up the RAI - in hopes of killing any cancer left. We know the end of treatment is worth it and compared to so many other conditions and cancers - this will just be a small blip in our life (as quoted to us by the surgeon). We are grateful. So having said that - it still has been a lot for Emory to go through. Actually we all have gone through. The girls have just lost their grandpa and now they see their daddy really sick. And starting tomorrow they can't see him for several days.

Back to Emory's diet because it has consumed so much of my time. His diet requires no processed foods. Pretty easy you think. I think I cook from "scratch" - but in reality I don't. Anything that has an ingredient with salt - can't be used - not even chili powder! It's weird - Emory can have salt without iodine but not anything processed because it may contain salt with iodine so everything has to be made from scratch - the real way. I will say I have learned a lot - but much of it from the mistakes I made. Emory hasn't staved to death. He could have all the fresh vegetables and fruit he wanted. But he couldn't have dairy or soy. I made him homemade bread - it was actually good. The salsa was decent but I melted a spatula in hot oil making tortilla chips and ruined a whole crockpot of beans by oversalting it. We've had a lot of laughs in the midst of all this. We always like to see the dark, funny side of it. Like today - Emory said he should've walked around the airport setting off the alarms because of his RAI. Emory has felt so bad that he hasn't blogged or even sat and watched much of any TV! I joked with him he definitely doesn't over think things because he doesn't think much. Ha! This is how exhausted and foggy he is - he said I could drive to the hospital today. Emory DETESTS my driving! So you know how low things have sunk. One funny thing that happened last week - at least it's funny now because he's alive - is one morning I woke up and took my arm to hug him and his skin was COLD to the touch! I will say it really scared me but when I saw he was breathing I felt a little better but definitely creeped out. I knew he would feel cold but not actually cold to the touch. He has been sleeping in long johns, 2 shirts and wool socks. Plus he puts a fleece blanket close to his body and THEN all the covers on top! If you want to know something funny - ask Emory about the fly incident.

Back to today. We get escorted back to radiology by a man in a white lab coat. He reminded me of Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor. Anyways he was a little kooky but he made me laugh. Emory was sitting in a position where he couldn't see them get the RAI but I could. The workers were careful to stand behind the special shield so they would't be exposed to radation. They bring out a vial of the pills, carefully open it and then pour the pills into Emory's hand because they don't want to touch it. The pills looked like something out of a movie - they were bright blue and red. Emory took a sip of water and down they went. Now todays dose only has a half life of 13 hours so he can still be around us. Tomorrow is the BIGGY.

This is just a snipet of what's been going on. We've been joking if the cancer doesn't kill him the treatment will. It's been rough and he still has a ways to go. The doctor said that he might be feeling better by Memorial Day. We'll know more tomorrow - if he "Lights Up" on his scan- it will tell us whether he has any more cancer and the posibility of additional surgery.

To be continued............

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's Official!

Today we met with the endocrinologist. When Dr. Meacham walked in he said to Emory, "You're an Oddball." So it's official. He has an official diagnosis by a medical doctor. I know - we're all thinking the same thing - this isn't new information. But unfortunately he isn't referring to Emory's personality but to his pathology report. The good news is that he still has a really high cure rate. The bad news is he has to go through a bunch of gunk so it stays that way. We left the doctor's office with a list of all the steps and tests that will be happening over the next month. It was just a tad overwhelming (especially with all the other things that have been happening in our lives!) And the doctor kindly told Emory that he will feel pretty horrible going off his temporary replacement thyroid medication to prepare for the RAI (Radioactive Iodine) treatment. Plus he has to be on a low iodine diet for at least the next 2 weeks. So basically he gets to eat like a rabbit. So there you have it - in a nutshell. Maybe Emory will post later about all the steps and tests that will be happening.

Shelly

Friday, March 13, 2009

My brother's results are back

Loren had the FNA biopsy on his thyroid and his nodule was determined to be benign. Thank goodness. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers on his behalf. His FNA was Wednesday, not Monday, so I was only a little bit delayed.

My scar is healing fine and in a matter of months it may be undetectable. Good thing -- I may get to keep my modeling job after all. (ha ha).

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Sorry...

A simple note here when we got home from the surgeon followup would have been nice, right? Sorry.

The doc believes I have a 95% chance of no remaining cancer, so I have to do the radioactive iodine treatment sometime in the next 5 to 7 weeks to push this percentage up to 99%. This is the information we get from Dr. Goldenberg and he refers me back to the specialist, Dr Meacham. I think he doesn't want to have anything to do with me after my stupid joke on him. If I get enough comments requesting it, I tell what I did. But you are warned that it was quite dumb. It was Shelly's idea but she quickly realized I was crazy enough to do it and wished she hadn't mentioned it.

---Timeout---
I just remembered that by failing to post anything for several days, I also lost the opportunity to request prayer on my brother's behalf. Loren had his FNA today. Just pray that the results are negative so he doesn't have to go through this too.
It's too late to call him now, at 11 PM. I feel awful for not checking up on him today.
---End of Timeout---

Okay, so today Shelly goes to our family physician (Dr. Watt) to get confirmation on what her mom assumed was an ulcer. It was. Can anyone guess why? While with Dr. Watt, he pulls up my chart with the surgeon's notes along with the full thyroid pathology report -- you know, the one they can do when it is outside my body. I was labeled stage 3 papillary. You are reading this correctly...Shelly's Dr visit yielded more information about me than the visit with the surgeon who just gave the best case scenario and then differed me back to the specialist. This specialist visit is three weeks away. Just before the timeout above, I brushed up on the stages of cancer on the thyca.org website. (If you go there, note that I'm not over 45!!!) I just don't know what to expect if the doctors don't seem to be on the same page! If I'm labeled stage 3 and yet 5+ years shy of that dreadfully old age, has it spread? Who's right? Who knows?

The peace I had all weekend has evaporated. To those updated only by this blog, I'm sorry you didn't get to ride the roller coaster to the top (i.e., the way I felt all weekend and most of Monday) and are just stuck with me in the valley of doubt (i.e., how I am feeling at this precise moment).

On a positive note, my dad is up here for this evening (Grandma Donna is sick) and going with us to gymnastics, Olive Garden, and Children's Museum tomorrow. This will be building good memories for Riley and Sidney, and my bad memories are being diluted.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers,
Emory

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We've been waiting for this day for a long time

A long time ago, just before we had 2 little money and time suckers dropped on our door, I bought Shelly the whole 9 seasons of LHOP (Little House on the Prairie) and even a special edition set with some of the movies and other info about the show. We never got around to watching them.

So at some point we decided that we would make it a goal to have the girls watch every episode. That started this morning. Guess who cried?

On to other news.

I go get the STEREO-strips removed tomorrow at a 3:50 PM appointment with Dr. Goldenberg. I say STEREO-strips because I thought that is what they were called. I know the root of the word would have something to do with the word "sterile" but I was sure they weren't called sterile-strips. Are they STERI-strips? Who cares? Well, the person who had me repeat it 3 times seemed to care...and then burst out laughing at me.

Here is the picture of them:



















I did want to photoshop in the same STERI-strips in on the right and left to make it look much bigger but my PC crashes when I try to do too much in photoshop. My PC is in desperate need of a cleanup.

Sidney gets it honest: She was describing how boys bow after a performance (along with a demonstration) and then went on demonstrate how girls do a tootsie (and then mumbled the word "roll"). I think at this point she knew what she said didn't make sense but Riley corrected her before she got a chance to correct herself. I did not make her repeat it 3 times...just once.

The girls were playing in the living room while I was in the kitchen talking to my cousin Monica. They were playing so good that, after I got off the phone, I just let them continue. [About 10 minutes go by, during which Shelly and I are doing our own thing.] I sure wish I knew the entire context of this bit that I heard coming out of Sidney's mouth: "Be careful not to fall down. You will get cancer." Obviously they still don't get it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm home

I guess I've been home for about 26 hours. Sort of lost track of time. Shelly just made another one of her very fine lasagna's. Memaw and Pepaw took the girls last evening as I was checking out of the hospital. They just dropped them back off. Also, Tammy and her daughter Michaela (and a friend) stopped by too. Anyway, I'm more out of it today than yesterday. In case I don't update again until Monday, I go get the stitches out this Friday and at the same time will go over the full pathology report. More later...

Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm awake

I tell you. The hardest part is coming out of anesthesia. I guess I kept wiggling so much I about fell out of bed. I just kept hearng them say, "Now stop it. You're only making the pain worse."

I'm thankful for those who were here. I knew I wouldn't be much company but didn't know I would be barely possible to even acknowledge your presence.

Calcium levels are fine so I should be going home this afternoon. This just a guess as the doctor hasn't been in yet.

Clarion North is the best hospital in the world. Lisa Miller said I wasn't going to a hospital but rather a hotel. She's about right.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friends and Family

Things happened really fast when we got to the hospital. We were there only 45 minutes before they were wheeling him into surgery. That's when things slowed down - at least for all of us waiting. Dr. Goldenberg said the surgery went well. We will know more when we return to him in a little over a week with the pathology report. Emory is really tired so we didn't get to see him until 5:00pm or later. We then went and fed the girls and then came back to the hospital to say goodnight. He just wanted to sleep. We'll know tomorrow if he is able to come home or needs to stay another night.

As Emory and I go through our journey of life - we continue to grow and learn - especially about how to be a better friend. We are taught this by how our friends treat us. We know it's not always easy to know what to say or do. We've been in the same situations with others - we didn't know what to say or do. We have been so blessed and amazed at how you all have comforted and encouraged us. A kind word, a card, a phone call, a hug, a prayer - these things have helped so much.

Thank you from all of us.

Testing.....Testing......

I just wanted to make sure I knew how to post. It will probaby be late evening before we get home from the hospital and I can post.

Shelly

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All the kids from Shelly's side...


We have this pyramid picture from when the girls were 16 months old and one taken last week.

The surgery time is set: 2:30 PM on Thursday

Hmmm. That arbitrary rule to not eat after midnight the day before surgery is a little more significant now that I learned my surgery time is in the afternoon. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like my breakfast and how I don't normally eat past 8PM. Oh well, I guess I can skip a few meals.

The surgery can take up to 2 hours. My guess was that it would take no more than 30 minutes since it is such an "easy" surgery. See the post from 2/5 if that didn't make you chuckle.

So, I have to be there at 12:30 for the 2 hours of prep before I get the laughing gas. Then 2 hours in surgery. Then 2 hours to wake up. I'll be alert in time to tell the girls good night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm not ready for this!

These are old pictures. I am posting them here to show my niece Brittany what they look like to see if they will be suitable for her wedding. Brittany was in our wedding in 1995 and she is returning the favor by asking our girls to be a part of her wedding.
Edit: Anyone seeing this and then subsequently talking to the girls, please do not say anything about them being in a wedding. The result would be a constant hounding of "When is the day coming?" or one of a 100 different ways they would annoy us for the next several months. Thanks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The platform swing in action

(I've learned my lesson: Don't post about something you are going to do. Wait until it is over. I never made it to the library with either one of the girls.)

I had a most wonder piece of cheesecake this weekend. Okay, okay. It was more than one piece and less than four. The Cheesecake Factory's cheesecake is almost as good as what Shelly procured for me from her good friend at the school where she works.

It is AMAZING what a few minutes on this swing does for Riley. Amazing. Sidney loves it too, but Riley needs it. I feel so bad that it took a year to get it.


video

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The first of a few make-up postings

What a week? It went fast.

Tuesday evening was spent responding to an email from a friend (Pam; her link is to the right). She did some research on thyroid cancer and radiation exposure in the military and found this organization: National Association of Atomic Verterans. www.naav.com

I then spent some time in research and joining this group. It is mainly for the unfortunate souls involved with nuclear weapons testing, but they recognize the risks involved for those of us in the nuclear power program. Since I have thyroid cancer and since 85% of the cases of thyroid cancer are linked with radiation exposure, I thought it was worth the effort to learn more.

Well, I'm off to take the girls to the library one at a time here soon. It's a lot of extra driving, but so worth it to get them separated. We really haven't separated them as much as we should for one-on-one time with me, but when we do the effects are amazing. They do frequently get separated when Riley is off to therapy, but that's when I'm at work and it is always the same scenario: Riley is at therapy and Sidney is with Aunt Kim or Aunt Rachel. When they are together they are constantly in competition for attention. Anyone with more than one kid can relate to this but when with twins it is downright maddening.

That reminds me of this recent example: Several weeks ago Riley had a cold and Sidney didn't. After our normal night time routine (brush teeth, floss, read one story apiece, and prayer) Sidney remained sprawled out on the bed crying. Once we finally realized why she was upset we didn't know whether to laugh or cry with her (out of exasperation on our part). Turns out I didn't pray for her to feel better. What?! Being the sarcastic person that I am, I prayed for her to get sick soon and then said, "There I prayed for you. Now get to bed!" (Lest you think I'm horrible, it always happens anyway after one or the other gets sick, so does the other. I only asked for it to happen soon.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feeling better; now in wait mode

Did I tell you I have to wait an extra week (or is it two?) because my surgeon is going on vacation? I didn't have a choice anyway but I guess it is good that I'm not his last surgery before vacation. You know how you get at work during the last few hours or days before a retreat? I'm glad I'm not that final patient. I use the same logic when I get my car worked on, even if it is just an oil change. Never a Monday or Friday.

Likewise, I didn't want to be the first patient after his return, so I chose Thursday. The surgeon does surgies on Wednesday and Thursday only so I elected to wait the extra day. Plus, Shelly works Wednesday's and is off on Thursday's. See how thoughtful I am?

16 days and counting.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Should have done this a year ago


I made mention of finally getting the platform swing up last weekend. It's a lot of fun, and yes, it holds me!

Here are just a few photos I took yesterday. I had the camera set up to take a picture every second and then later increased it to two seconds. No flash could keep up with that so I increased the ISO to 800. The results are quit grainy photos. Also, the focusing couldn't keep up as I had it set, but I think there is a better auto focus setting I can use. I will try again soon.



Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Talk

I have to say, writing here has been cathardic. (Shelly has been wanting me to use that word in a sentence.)

Immediately after publishing yesterday's post, Dr. Meacham called. 7AM. It took me off guard and I forgot to ask about the 5 - 10% chance of these procedures not curing me - at least not directly. I told him about my biggest fear was that this isn't the only cancer; that if the radiation from the nuclear reactor was the cause then why would it only affect my thyroid. He told me I couldn't live with the what-ifs and that we would know more during and soon after the surgery. Then, in the years to come I will be monitored more closely than average. He took special note of my radiation exposure, stating that he hadn't realized that bit of history from my one (and only) office visit on 12/31/2008. It was very nice of him to have called.

Then, I get to work and before I even set all my stuff down my cubicle neighbor comes to tell me of her experience dealing with thyroid cancer from a couple years ago. The most encouraging part was her description of how much better she feels. It will take several months to get to that point, but that day is coming! I put in a good days work but it takes nearly a whole week for that one day.

Okay, the title of this post was The Talk so what does that mean?

Here's the conversation:
Emory: If the worst happens, do you think you would remarry?
Shelly: I don't want to talk about it.

Emory: But I want to.
Shelly: Okay.

Emory: {waiting}
Shelly: Yes, I suppose.

Emory: Would you stay here, in this house?
Shelly: We just put a lot of effort into getting the house to get it remodeled and I like the location, so yes, I think so.

Emory: Would he drive my car and keep it in good working order so it could be the girls' first car as we have discussed?
Shelly: That sounds like a good idea.

Emory: Would he use my golf clubs?
Shelly: No, he's left handed.

(This conversation never took place. It is a re-write of a joke I read in a popular magazine with the initials R. D.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's sinking in

Yesterday was a rough day. It's hard to focus on anything. The lack of being able to think straight was one of the reason's I sought medical help in the first place. Now it's at least twice as hard to focus.

Riley and Sidney are having a difficult time too. Riley is constantly talking about me and the cancer and Sidney is in denial. After building the snowman on Sunday and then (finally) finishing the platform swing a few hours later, she said "You don't look like you have cancer. You just played outside and finished the swing, so how can you?" It was a well thought out argument and was humorous at the time. However, after 4 more days she is sticking with it. She's praying that I won't go to the hospital. Riley's prayer is that I don't get cancer twice. Well -- isn't that great? One is praying that it will cure itself and I don't go to the hospital. The other is praying that if I have it now then at least don't get it again.

Shelly had a hard time yesterday as well, but I leave it up to her to share her thoughts.

Here's some specific things to pray for:
  • That I can do a decent job at work during this waiting period before surgery.
  • That I recover quickly since I have just enough vacation/sick time built up to see me through the typical recovery period.
  • That I don't get cancer twice (for Riley).
  • For the right things to say to comfort the girls.
  • For Shelly's continued strength.
  • That it isn't any worse than what they think.
That last one is my biggest fear. If my exposure to radiation from the nuclear reactor on the submarine is the cause, then did it only affect the cells of my thyroid? I find that hard to believe. How will I know one way or the other, or is that too much to ask?

If you took the time to read this far then I love you. If not then I like you but you'll not know it.

- Emory

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday's visit with the surgeon

The visit went well with Dr. Goldenberg, the surgeon who will be performing the thyroidectomy. Shelly went with me to ensure all the right questions were asked. One such question put the surgeon on the defense: "So, this is an easy surgery then?" to which he replied, "Yep, any old lay person could do it." It was a tense couple of minutes as we were trying to decide if it really offended him. It was a weird and different place for me since it is me who normally has the foot-in-mouth disease. Of course any old lay person would realize the real intent of the question was to find out how comfortable he was with the surgery. In the end, we left with these main two comforting thoughts:
  1. Dr. Goldenberg does 3 or 4 of these per week and has been doing it for 20 years.
  2. The pain and recovery will be a breeze compared to the tonsillectomy and UPPP surgery that I had in September, 2006.

The hospital will be Clarion North and the date is set for 2/26. The time of day is unknown until 2/24. Assuming everything goes as planned, I will be in for one night and two days. The recovery period is up to two weeks, or less if I feel fine after a week.

The complete cure rate is 90 to 95%. We failed to ask what happens to the other 5 to 10%. Does it mean there's a chance it has spread and therefore this is only a partial cure? I will be calling Dr. Meacham to get a better idea of this and a few other questions. He is the one who decided the bloodwork, ultrasound, and FNA tests were needed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Taking time to stop and smell the --- snow.


Here's the first problem with a blog. How do you travel back in time?

On Sunday (2/1) the girls went out with me to feed and water Oscar. An hour or two later (time means nothing when you're having this much fun) we had "Frosty." I know - what an original name.

(That's lens flare between the mouth and nose, and near the hat. Oops.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Getting Up To Speed

Where to start?

I'll cut to the chase and tell you I have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is a highly praised cancer. Among it's wonderful attributes are the following:
  • If you've got to get cancer, this is the one to get!
  • The chances are extremely high for full recovery.
  • There's no physical side effects to the treatment. E.g., no (additional) hair loss, etc.
Actually, I guess the list stops there. And - I know - according the theory of relativity I do have it good. But it's still cancer and it's a bit hard to see just the positives when you are right in the middle of it. It is extremely hard for the girls to see that anything is wrong. Shelly is staying strong and positive, which helps a lot.

Here is the time line of events leading up to this point. I always wanted to create a blog for the family, but really, did it have to come to this? To be sure, this blog will continue after this little ordeal is behind us. I love reading other people's blogs, so now I will return the favor.

I was extremely tired after running the mini marathon in 2008. Actually the tiredness started right after construction on the house ended and training began. But, I pushed through the training and ran/walked it in the decent time of 2:23 and some odd seconds. After the race I ran out of motivation to keep exercising. I then realized how tired I was. I went to the doctor and some blood work revealed that I had very low testosterone. Fine. More medicine and the problem is solved, right? Wrong. The meds worked to a certain degree but the medicine was not responding as expected, prompting Dr. Watt to send me to a specialist. The time now is around September/October. After several weeks, the specialist called to set an appointment for the beginning of December, I believe. A few days before the appointment the office called to say my appointment was postponed indefinitely. (I don't know the details but it turns out the specialist was dealing with his own serious situation.) With a last moments notice, I was scheduled to see a different specialist in the same office on 12/31/2008. Finally, I'm in.

During that visit which I thought would only take about an hour out of my day, I had so much blood drawn for tests that it altered my donation availability. For another test that day, I went to another location and had an ultrasound on my throat. I didn't know they could do that. Those results came back to the specialist and they called me to schedule a FNA biopsy for 1/23/2009. The FNA stands for Fine Needle Asperation, and let me tell you, there's nothing Fine about it. Okay, it's not that bad unless you're scared of needles. Luckily I'm not, but it did hurt for a couple days.

I must admit that I'm pretty naive. None of that that I just described clued me in to the possibility of them doing this for anything other that just ruling out a malignant tumor. The doctor who performed the FNA came back in to the room to describe the preliminary results. I recall hearing the word "suspicious" but, hey, that's just the preliminary results. And "suspicious" isn't a real medical term is it? Yep, it is. I had a feeling something wasn't right by her tone but I did the manly thing and put that box right back on the shelf and got down the get-on-with-my-day box. We had our friend Tammy and her daughter coming to visit and I had to get Riley's swing built. It's been a year and I need to get it done already.

Last Monday, the first day the official results could come in, came and went. Tuesday I woke up to a horrible cold and ended up staying home from work. I later decided that turned out to be a blessing when we got "the call to change our lives."

I will be focusing on how I feel, without the constant apology to those who have it worse - it is to be understood. But please let it be known that I sincerely understand that others suffer a worse fate and suffer more on a daily basis as they receive treatments. I will be linking to some of these blogs of which I am aware. Funny thing is is that they in turn realize that they have it good compared to others. It is life's theory of relativity in action.

The journey down this fork in the road begins, and you are welcome to travel it with me and my family.

Thank you and God Bless You for your prayers on our behalf.