A friend of mine sent me that title/note a couple weeks ago. When one of their young sons gets hurt they ask the question, “Who’s tougher than you?” and their sons respond, “Nobody!” I have to tell you-I didn’t feel so tough this week. I jumped right back into work and it physically beat me down for a few days. I am feeling a lot better now. The first 3 days I would work, come home, then head straight for bed. I would generally rally for a couple hours during each evening but overall I was destroyed. I should have worked just 8 hours and then headed home, but instead I worked 9-9.5(Dumb, dumb, dumb). The other problem was lack of sleep. I was getting about 6.5 hours sleep each night. The chemo tends to mess with your sleep, so I wasn’t getting near the rest I needed. Work was a bit stressful, but my fellow employees and clients were great! I truly enjoy working and the work I do, so on some levels it was therapeutic to be back. Oh yeah-I have officially bounced back today and feel great.
A friend of mine passed away yesterday so that made the week that much tougher. Sharon Shovan died yesterday evening at 6 p.m. Sharon is my brother’s mother-in-law(Jill’s mom). Sharon was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma last year around this time. The lung cancer never actually showed up in her lungs but rather in her colon andliver. She had been having lots of stomach pains for a long time. The doctors thought it was an ulcer or diet related. When they finally correctly diagnosed things, they gave her dire news. The tumor in the colon was big and the liver was “infused” with disease. They removed the colon tumor and started her on chemo therapy. The doctor said that she would live up to 2 years. She was in constant pain this past year as her liver continued to swell with disease. The chemo initially worked and her liver shrank a little bit, but then it quickly went the other way. They finally stopped giving her chemo just under 5 weeks ago and sent her home. Dave, Jill, Caden, Zane and Trae drove or flew to Chicago several times over the past 2 months to spend time with her. She had hoped to make it to Christmas and then my nephew, Trae’s, 1st birthday in January. I believe she was 58 years old. The news took a toll on Karen and I. Please pray for my brother Dave, Jill, Jill’s Sister and Dad as they move forward this weekend.
I literally stumbled on to this song(below) for the first time yesterday. It seemed to really hit home with me when I think about Sharon’s struggle and passing.
Tomorrow I head back to work after my 6 week break. It’s going to be fun to get back into the swing of things. That also means Jaxson, Brenden and Karen have to get back into it too. All of us have been spoiled to a certain degree. Since Jaxson is only in afternoon Kindergarten it has been lots of one on one time with Dad, until I drop him off at the bus stop. Tomorrow reality check-I’m glad I will be out of the house early…
I made it through the last round of chemo. It went about the same as last time, maybe slightly better. My blood work is still coming back pretty good, with my Bilirubin (Liver#) actually getting even a little better. For some weird reason I still have hair, but I am guessing that things could change tomorrow. Usually on the 7th or 8th day after your last round, the hair seems to fall out.
On family health watch, Karen just keeps coughing, Jaxson is just congested and coughing a little and Brenden keeps running low temp fevers on and off-very weird. I just have my chemo hangover which usually lasts until about day 8 of each round.
Tonight I am wiped out so I better get to bed soon-5:30 a.m. will come soon enough. Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and encouraging words. You don’t realize how much it always helps-thanks!
I am doing chemo as I write. Round #3 of this group. The plan is for Round #4 on Nov. 4th, a scan on Nov. 16th and then Round#5 if needed on Nov. 18th.
Pray for the cure was awesome last night. Karen’s sister, Sarah, came with as well as an old friend and co-worker from Bemidji, Gina. Gina now lives down here in the Burnsville/Savage area. The meeting was emotional but very uplifting. Everyone prays for Karen and the guys as well as me. I woke up this morning ready to take on the world-or at least this next round of chemo.
Karen and the guys continue to struggle with their colds. All of them have had their ups and downs. On Sunday I was the only one “healthy” enough to go to church-I find that very ironic. Still haven’t been with sick with the flu or a cold in 18 months, the problem is I have been sick now 18 times over from the chemo drugs.
I am doing well and I know it is just thanks to all your prayers and God’s good grace. Whatever challenge, you are facing in your life right now-keep getting up, face it and beat it!
Today it was a contest of which could fall quicker, snowflakes or my hair follicles. Today the snow won, but not by much. I am guessing I will be completely bald within a week or so. As I type this I can’t seem to keep all the hair off of my keyboard. All in all I survived my last round pretty well. Day 1 was not good, Day 2 was better, Day 3 was worse and Day 4 I started to feel a little better. My latest thought is it takes me about 80 hours to get out of the really yucky stuff. Even while I am in the “yucky” stuff, I still manage to do a few things. Last week I went to Brenden’s soccer game in the cold and dark and was rewarded by getting to see him score his first goal of the year. I was a little too proud and I stormed the field to give him a high five. He didn’t seem to mind too much as it was already after dark and I think there were about 10-12 people left watching due to the cold. My blood work continues to look pretty good, so chemo is no problem. My liver numbers are actually in the normal range just like everyone else who is not on chemo or had 70% of their liver removed. I think that is a mini-miracle in and of itself. Th plan is 2 more treatments and then a scan on Nov. 16th.
On the health front, not including me, Karen and the boys all seemed to get colds. Karen and Brenden got it the worst, with both of them having light fevers. Karen is up coughing part of the nights, so she is struggling to get all her rest. Jaxson just seemed to get a mild cough-at least so far. Brenden is already on the upswing. I am holding my own with no signs of any of it so far…
Right now I am just enjoying my time off from work and trying to get my rest. It felt pretty good to not have to go outside in the snow this morning. Next Monday night is Pray for the Cure(7 p.m.-9 p.m.) if anyone is in the area and wants to attend at Hosanna Lutheran Church. On Sunday’s you will no longer find me in the regular sermons as I decided to take on a Sunday school class of Kindergartners and 1st Graders-so far, so good.
Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and gifts-we really appreciate them!
I had a great birthday, just hanging out with the family yesterday. Thank you for all the well wishes-including the obligatory “older” jokes I received. I got a cool phone call from my grandmother’s sister-those Finish roots run deep. Since Grandma Koskela passed away last Dec., Great Aunt Helmi decided to pick up the torch and call and wish me happy birthday(which my grandmother did every year). We went to church and then spent some time in the prayer chapel. Some of the prayer ministers were nice enough to suggest getting together since I missed the last Pray for the Cure meeting. Some of the passages that they quoted where: Isaiah 61:7 and 3 John verse 2. As one of the prayer ministers felt and then said, “It is done.”-meaning I have been healed. Incidentally the next Pray for the Cure meeting is Monday Oct. 19th at 7 p.m. at Hosanna. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Saturday was a play date for the guys. Karen was working so it was just Brenden, Jaxson, Andrew and I for about 8 hours. Andrew is someone from Brenden and Jaxson’s school and daycare. They all had a great time and lucky for me, injuries were minimal.
I have been trying to stay busy on my off chemo weeks, since I am not working right now. Last week my Dad and I and headed back to Backus to checking out the hunting land and visit with Keith and the Glassman’s. I spent a couple days helping our Sunday School dept. at church. I spent part of another day visiting with Jill and Zane in the emergency room. My nephew fell off of a bed and hit a table and got 9 stitches out of it. He recovered nicely and is doing well. For some reason he and I really connect and now he is even trying to look like me. But I think I still got him by about 60+ stitches.
Tomorrow is round 2 of this regiment. I am feeling great right now. I bounced back nicely and almost feel as good as did before the last one. I have been running around playing soccer with the guys and even ran a little with the dog today-so life is good. Next time you see me, I will probably have a lot less hair-chemo starts to really work its magic on the hair this round. I should really be a hair model for beginning hair stylists. Think if they screw up it wouldn’t matter, eventually all their mistakes would just fall out. I will post again once I get through this next round. Hopefully both the Twins and Vikes keep up their winning ways. It just gives me that much more to watch as I am laying around.
Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, cards and well wishes. Karen, I and the boys really need it and appreciate it!
p.s. The following picture is of 3 guys who’s wives actually commented on the blog last week. Karen was wondering where these 3 had gone. The quality is rather poor to protect the not so innocent, but their wives I’m sure will recognize these handsome devils.
Missing in Action?