Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanksgiving

Working for their meals

Working for their meals

Brenden and his cousin Caden decided to get some work done before they ate their Thanksgiving dinners.  We, along with Mom and Rick, went to Dave and Jill’s for Thanksgiving.  The four boys had a good time and all of us adults, of course, ate too much.

Even though it has been a tough year, I am still thankful for so much.  The list could go on and on about everything I am thankful for, but instead I will just give you a small sample.

  • I am thankful for the stomach ache I got from eating too much on Thanksgiving day.  It meant that my body was well enough to eat all kinds of food and lots of them.
  • I am thankful for the back ache I had the next day.  That meant that I was well enough to join in with wrestling all 4 Baty boys (Caden, Jaxson, Brenden and Zane).
  • I am thankful for my arms aching the next day.  That meant that I was strong enough to throw the 1 1/2 year old(Zane) up in the air and catch him, causing him to laugh.
  • Beyond all the aches and pains I am so thankful and blessed with a beautiful wife and two beautiful boys whom I love very much.
  • I am so thankful for all the family and friends who have rallied around me in my time of need.
  • I am thankful that when you are staring at 4 hospital walls and it has been two tough weeks with no end in sight that there is One who is always waiting to hear your cares.  One who is willing to listen to all your hopes and dreams.  And One who is waiting for you at 3 a.m. on your 4th straight day of very little sleep to calm your fears and reassure you that you need to let go of all your worries because He is in control, not you.

I hope all your Thanksgivings were awesome and that you all over ate and enjoyed yourselves.

God Bless,

Chris

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Surviving #5

I am surviving chemo. round #5.  The effects are pretty similar to the last one.  Basically I have learned from Wed. night of chemo week through Sun. morning of chemo week, just sleep alot.  Laying down seems to be the cure all for all the side-effects.  When you sleep it is not always the most restful, but I it is amazing how time just seems to slip by.  I will lay down at 10 a.m. and at 3 p.m. I get up only to get back in bed around 8 p.m. and then stay in bed till 7 a.m. the next day.  I usually wake up every hour and think about getting up, just to fall asleep again and wake up another hour later with the same thought.

I started this week off with another visit to my cancer support group at my church.  The group is called Pray for the Cure.  The group is open to anyone who wants to attend, not just people who attend our church.  In fact it seems like half the people come from other churches.  The meeting begins with a message from the person who created the group eight years ago-Mary Nelson.  Mary is a Breast Cancer survivor who has written a couple books on the subject.  After she introduces herself we then go around the circle and introduce ourselves and tell everyone why we are there.  Half of the group is usually made up of cancer patients and the other half are people there to support and pray for the patients.  Usually the introductions take 30-45 minutes as everyone’s story is unique and everyone has something to share.  After the introductions we then have a 10-15 minute devotional about prayer and faith.  Lastly each cancer patient is put in the middle of the circle and anointed with oil.  After you are anointed, then everyone lays hands on you and Mary, along with some of the other attendees, take turns praying for you and your family.  The whole event is very powerful.  Many of the people hardly know you but their prayers seem to touch your soul.  Afterward I feel fantastic but also like collapsing-it is a real emotional roller coaster.  If you or anyone else you know would like to attend, the meetings are held from 7-9, the 3rd Monday of every month at Hosanna Lutheran Church.  The link to the church is on the right-hand side of my web page.  I am sure that one day there will be a cure for cancer, but until then we continue to pray for healing for all those afflicted.

Thanks for stopping by the site and reading.  Thank you for all your prayers for me and my family.

Chris

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Backus

Well I guess this proves the chemo. is destroying my brain cells.  I did the exact opposite of what I professed in my last blog entry.  Instead of going South to avoid the cold, I went North to embrace it.  I decided to join my deer hunting party over last weekend in Backus, MN.  For those of you unprivileged to know, Backus is about 150 miles North of the Twin Cities in pretty much the middle of no where.  My dad’s first job out of college was teaching school in Backus, MN.  That is when and where my Dad met Larry Glassman.  Glassman invited my Dad to go hunting with him back then and now nearly 40 years later he can’t get rid of us, we just keep showing up every Nov.  So even though I am hating the cold this year, I knew I had to make it back up there to visit Larry and Carol and the rest of the group.  My Mom, Dad and Karen all loaded me up with extra clothes and handwarmers for the excursion, but I have to tell the truth-I still froze.  The truth is I didn’t hunt that long or hard.  When it was 15-20 degrees with the wind chill, it was tough to keep my hands warm no matter what I did.  As soon as my hands got a little cold they started to sting and hurt which made it hard to hold a gun or even appreciate all the beautiful nature.  I only saw a couple of deer,  and due to circumstances, didn’t shoot at either.  My brother, though, got one on the last day so we as a family didn’t go away empty handed.  All in all it was a fun trip to visit with everyone and be apart of the annual sojourn to Backus-see I told you the chemo is affecting my brain.  After this weeks chemo, I will probably being doing snow angels in my front yard wearing just my bathing suit.

Thanks for all the continued good thoughts and prayers.  I will need them as always as I head into chemo treatment #5 this Wednesday.

Chris

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Arizona here I come!

This is the one and only time I will ever be interested in moving South.  Right now I am still suffering from the chemo. side effects and they don’t look to end anytime soon.  The two worst side effects are the damage that the chemicals do to the throat and the pain I feel when my hands get cold.  Basically the chemicals burn out the top layer of skin in the throat so you have a very tender and sore throat.  My hands don’t have the best circulation in the world and the minute they get slightly cold, they start to sting and get very painful.  Both of these get exaggerated with the weather being so cold right now.  Usually the side effects wear off by now, but these two are still hanging around.  Mark it down you heard it first, I am guessing with my luck this is going to be one old fashioned cold and snowy Winter.  So I am ready to move to Tampa or maybe Las Vegas.  Overall the side effects were tougher this time.  In one 24 hour period I was in bed 17 of the 24 hours.  The good news is that the fatigue wore off by Sunday so I was able to go to church and then get right back to work on Monday.

Speaking of work, have I mentioned how awesome Pictura is to me?  I know I have, but it is worth mentioning again.  I basically work 60 hours every two weeks, and the rest of my 80 hours is made up of benefit hours.  On my own I would have ran out of benefit hours back in August.  But my fellow employees anonymously gifted me their hours and that helps me maintain a full paycheck.  Keep in mind these are their personal hours that they earned, but have now gifted to me so my family and I can keep a roof over our heads.  How will I ever repay them(even if I knew who they were)?  All of it was made possible by the Owner and General Manager quickly putting a policy in place the day before I went into the hospital-the 1st time.  Thank you Pictura!!!  -It just doesn’t say enough.  I can tell you this much, if anyone needs some coffee, their car started or a favor at work, I’m not saying “no”.

We also got a nice visit from 1 of the 10 pastors from my church last night.  It was a great surprise as she tracked me down after losing my phone number and not knowing my address.  The church I attend is huge, the sanctuary seats 2500 people so it is not like we know everyone on a real personal level.  Somehow she found us and delivered an awesome home-made meal of roast beef, carrots and potatoes(seriously one of my favorite meals).  She also brought over some pudding and glorified rice.  Lastly she again prayed over Karen and I.  This is someone who knows a little bit about cancer as she has beaten stage 4 twice!

Sooner than later I will get some photos on the “Photo” page of this website Sarah set up for me.  We seriously have hundreds of them but the boss needs to bring her SD card reader home so we can start uploading.

One last election note-DaKato County (where we live) had a 93% voter turnout!  That is to say that 372,000 of us 400,000 residents made it to the polls last week-Amazing!

Lastly thanks for taking the time to read and especially all the prayers you and your families are saying for me.  I can’t believe how many children are at home reminding their parents to say a prayer for me each night-it is truly humbling.

Dreaming of warmer days in Lakeville,

Chris

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Four!

Today was chemo session #4.  At this appointment I met with Dr. Duane, my Oncologist, and he laid out the game plan going forward. I will have two more chemo sessions (#5 and #6) and then will have a CT scan.  The results of the scan will then be shared with Dr. Sielaff, my Liver Surgeon.   If Dr. Sielaff sees a lot of improvement he may recommend surgery sooner than later.  That would mean a Liver surgery sometime in early January.  For me to be surgery eligible the tumors would have had to be reduced in number.  I currently have 12 surrounding the entire Liver.  If the number was miraculously reduced to 4 or 5 and they were mainly based on one side of the liver, then he would elect to do a Liver Resection (i.e. cut off all the tumors and the affected areas of the Liver).  If the tumors reduce in size but not in number; this is still a good thing but then they won’t be able to do surgery and I would continue with chemo.  From what I remember there were 2-3 bigger tumors, 5-6 medium size tumors and 2-3 really little tumors.  After I have Liver surgery, I then will have 6 more rounds of chemo to continue to clean my system.  Any way you slice it, there is still a long road ahead for me and I am just so thankful to have all of you along for the ride.

I am just happy to be alive and witness the historic election last night.  Whether you were for McCain or Obama, there is no denying the historical significance of what happened.  I am much prouder to be alive during this time period vs. 60 years ago when we as a country had to be ordered by Congress, the Supreme Court and the President to treat all human beings the same regardless of skin color.  I can’t believe the voter turnout-maybe 80% of us in MN alone!  We all need to pray that the right choice was made last night as challenges abound for this country.

One very funny election night note:    I was telling Karen that I just heard on TV that Barak was favored by a 3 to 1 ratio in over 70 countries across the world.  Upon hearing Obama’s name, Brenden who was sitting at the dinner table piped up, “Dad who did you vote for?”  This, in itself,  Karen and I found hilarious because we never talk politics and he is in Kindergarten.  So I told him I voted for Barak Obama.  He gave me a disappointed look, shook his head and told us in a loud voice he voted for John McCain.  At this point Karen and I were rolling in laughter as we didn’t know he knew what a President was, what it meant to vote, much less the candidates names.  So we pressed the young politician further.  “Why did you vote for John McCain”.  He very proudly answered, “Because he has a cool name.”  He then said, “I just like his name as it sounds like a race car driver”.  Sarah and Pete got him into Nascar so he is into race car drivers and their names.  Karen and I then took the opportunity to teach Brenden about how great it is for him to grow up in the United Sates where every person has the right to vote and let their voices be heard.  We explained that people around the world in other countries were not as lucky or as privileged as we were to have this honor.  Throughout the rest of the night I needed to get him election updates to see if his candidate was winning.  Can we say Brenden Baty for President in 2048?

Now it is time for me just to rest and deal with the chemo side effects.  They feel like they are kicking in a little harder compared to the last round.  My throat felt weird by the time I got to my car today.  One of the side effects is sensitivity to cold drinks.  I believe that is because the chemo drugs kill off all fast growing cells.  Your mouth, skin, hair and cancer cells are some of the fastest growing in your body so they are the first to get knocked out by the drugs.  Also I lose some feeling in my finger tips and touching anything cold hurts.  Eating some things, even if they are soft, actually hurt my jaw when I bite down.  I usually get a little bit of a runny nose for the first day.  Fatigue and nausea settle in on day 2.  The beautiful thing is that by day 4 a lot of these side effects begin to wear off or go away.  All of them are tolerable but I look forward to day 7 or 8 of each cycle because by then most of them are gone.

Again thanks to all of you for taking the time to read, comment, send well wishes and pray for me and my family during this long journey. We are all doing well.

Still standing strong in Lakeville,

Chris

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