Friday, January 30, 2009

Hard times ahead

Yesterday was a great day. We got dad's first slug of chemo put in and he handled it well, little or no nausea or discomfort. He's looking good and feeling good. We stacked firewood that nephew Travis brought over and moved a little furniture around in the house, put mom's new chair in her usual spot.

It's been really tough with our usual plans all awry. I'm hoping and praying that things will go well and that with the support of friends and family we will be able to get the farm open to sell produce again this year. What will happen with dad will happen, it is in the lord's hands now. We will cherish every day we have together.

But I've been remiss in making better plans for the future so now I've got a lot of catching up to do. It is frankly very overwhelming but I believe the lord will help me find the way and that he won't burden me beyond my ability.

The alternative, if our finances can't be kept in line, will be to sell the farm and buy a small place for mom and dad (and me) to live in. I'm really hoping that the community we have served for 20+ years now will help us keep that from happening but it might be part of the bigger plan so I will accept what comes.

Sorry to be so melancholy so early in the day. I'm still finding my way back into my faith so the peace of heart I see in so many of my aunts, uncles and cousins is something I'm still not familiar with.

Hoping you all find that same peace in your hearts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fragged is the word

Derived from "Fragmented"

Had to cancel breakfast with Del tomorrow because we've got an appointment to view educational material at the oncologists office. The more I look into the chemotherapy they are suggesting for dad ( gemcitabine ) the less I like that option. As options go it's all you've got and the cure is only slightly better than the disease.

I'm heavily leaning towards alternative treatments based on some of the well researched agents which are found in foods and herbs. Things like resveratrol, apagenin (found in celery and parsley), curcmin (from turmeric) and many similar therapeutic agencies. The nice thing is these things are so safe that they can be used concurrently with just about any chemo agent. So this option is open to dad no matter how he feels about his first chemo treatment. That should be happening on Thursday.

Oh yeah, Tracy (a lady I'm doing some website design work for) liked the word "Fragged" so much, she declared it the word for the month. So that makes it official.

Wishing you each and all peace, happiness and hope.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So glad to be home

Got back around 4pm. All Very tired but all feeling good. I got a little wired on some strong coffee I got for free (with 10$+ in gas) at the Sutherlin Shell station. If your travelling along I-5 in Oregon, the people there are really cheerful. And their coffee rocks!

Oops, I gotta go throw a log on the fire. Good evening to all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

unpleasant diagnoses

Well, they got the biopsies back in a hurry and the spots in dad's liver were cancer. So we're gonna pack up Sunday and head back home. We'll do the chemo in Medford.

It's been an exhausting, long day of patience and waiting. I'd like to write more but I just don't have the juice.

Y'all be well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Spent most of the day at OHSU's center for health and healing. Filling out paperwork, reviewing procedures, submitting blood samples. Dad's holding up in good humor. Doc explained a change in plans. Tomorrow will be just the biopsy procedure. For best quality the results should be returned by Monday. Then either the full surgery will be scheduled in the proceeding weeks or we will pack up and take the struggle home again.

So we will maybe be in Portland for another 3 weeks. Fortunately we found our way to this Jantzen Beach RV Park which has been just a super place to stay. Some other people on the net complained about the noise at this place from the airport but the paths are mostly north of here right down the Columbia. I think it's really cool being able to see all those planes coming in. Especially at night. And the sound hasn't kept me up not even once in the last 4 days. Also I've got to say that Joseph, Erica and Marylynne have been very helpful. I also like how close all the essentials like groceries, restaurants & etc. are.

Got a fair amount of the family in the loop on what's up now. 12 brothers and 4 sisters in my dad's family so that's taking a while. Hope nobody who gets info last doesn't feel slighted. I'm usually the last to know anything in our little branch of the family but I suppose ignorance is bliss after all and it's never really bothered me.

The driving in Portland sucks and so do Google maps. Of course I love google maps and earth but their driving instruction don't always match the physical expression. Which is both dangerous and frustrating.

Gotta go sleep. Happiness and health to you all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dad's next surgery

Day after tomorrow. Sorry to my blog-crowd but things got hectic there for a while. I will now proceed to fill you in.

Dad was diagnosed with a tumor on his pancreas about December 8th shortly after his gall-bladder surgery. He was still jaundiced after that and they did 3 endoscope plus 1 interventional procedures to get a stent placed in his bile duct. 7 biopsies later and still no clear-cut designation of "cancer". What they have found is "cell abnormalities". Doctor Billinglsey, who we have complete confidence in, says (after a more state-of-the-art CT scan) that is is almost certainly cancer and that it may have spread to his liver, they'll do another biopsy of that region on Thursday and if it hasn't spread they'll do a modernized version of the Whipple procedure on him shortly after the biopsy. If it has spread then they'll go the chemo/radio route and avoid the surgery due to the physiological expense of the procedure. The surgery will all be happening at the Oregon Health Sciences University hospital. Recovery time is about 10 days and 2 months of recuperation.

That was all determined last week. We got someone to watch the house and farm back home. My big bro asked his good (and wonderful!) friends Jesse and Darcy to loan us their RV and we found a great little park called "Jantzen Beach RV Park" where we could stay. The people here have been great. They even have a wireless router so I can stay virtual.

For the last 6 weeks we've been making sure that dad gets plenty of great cancer fighting foods and as much physical activity as he can take. He has recovered from the procedures so far very well. He is in no pain and only a little discomfort from the stent and gall bladder operations. He's feeling good, looking good and doing good. If it weren't for the diagnoses and CT scans this would just but an awesome RV vacation for us.

If we're lucky and the operation goes well I'll be here long enough to get a chance to visit with an ol' classmate and some other friends.

It's late, I'm rambling and I need to go hit the sack. Up around 5:30 tomorrow morn to go fill out paperwork and to meet the anesthesiologist for some EKG work-up.

Y'all be well, eat well and keep and eye out for beauty.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The tail of an outing

Mom and dad and I went into Grant's Pass yesterday, just to run some errands and get out of the house.

We were having fun until I discovered my wallet had fallen out of my pocket somewhere between Fred Meyer's and Wal-Mart. I was pretty sure I'd had it at Fred Meyer's so I quickly retraced my steps while mom finished checking out at the very busy WalMart.

Went into Fred Meyer's and talked to the lady at the Customer Assistance counter. She asked me my name and when I told her she said "well I didn't pronounce it right then..." Turned out a lady had found it and brought it in. However (!) it wasn't there, they had seen my SOFCU (southern Oregon Federal Credit Union) card and the lady who found it said "Oh! I bank there, I'll just drop it off there on my way by"

With that little reprieve in place and after picking up mom, we went and had lunch with my sister at Dairy Queen on Redwood Highway. What a delightful visit that was.

There are 3 branches of SOFCU in this vicinity, so we went to the nearest one and after considerable wrangling with account numbers and ID the nice young lady, Staci, there found out my wallet was at the north branch. Like I said to her, "You should be able to feel the relief radiating from me." So we went and got my wallet. As I told the manager at Fred Meyer's "Thank God for good Americans" I still don't know who returned it, but I really hope some good stuff comes her way. And I'll be sure to keep my eye open for an opportunity to pay this forward. I'm also gonna sew some velcro into my sweat-pants pockets!

As I always tell mom and dad when they head off for town, "Keep your eye out for beauty" and have a great day.