Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Nov 7, 2011 A Day at a Time....

 Boyce is getting a little stronger each day, but not as quickly as he would like.  He worked 2 half days last week, and worked almost a full day today.  He came home feeling extremely tired and had a horrible headache.  His doctor called him last Tuesday while he was at work, and was not happy that he wasn't at home.  It's been a tad confusing, as he is the one who told us that he would be fine to go home the day after surgery, and back to normal activities within 2 weeks.  He told Boyce over the phone that it will be 4-6 weeks before he'll be feeling back to normal, and preferred that he stay home until around the 14th of November, but that it was up to him to make the final decision.  Good thing since he'd already made the decision and was back at work.  I'm hoping that he will work shorter days the rest of this week, and maybe try full time next week.  His first scan, chest xray, and blood work will be at the end of January, and then every 3 months for at least a year.  We have to remind ourselves regularly to live in today, and not think about tomorrow, or 3 months from now.  Most of you know that I'm back at Elevate, baking for them on a contract basis.  I'm grateful to be able to do what I love, and get paid for it.  I set my own hours, and can do some of the baking at home since Arizona passed the new law allowing commercial baking at home without having an actual commercial kitchen.  It keeps me very busy (I keep wondering how I can be busier now as a contractor than I was when I was an employee of Elevate), and I'll be catering for 250 people for the play "A Christmas Carol" that Hope is sponsoring on Dec 10 at Peoria Theater Works,  just as I did last year for Elevate and Hope for the "Miracle on 34th Street".  So there is no time for cancer, or hospitals, or sickness of any kind until next year.  Or maybe the year after.  Or how about never.  And that also goes for my parents, particularly my dad, when they fly down on Dec 10 for the winter/spring.  I've put my time in at Mayo, and so has Boyce, so I've made it clear to my dad that if he's going to get sick, or drop dead, he needs to do it in Washington.  If he chooses to do it here, I will put him on the bus that passes right by their house, and goes straight to Mayo.  I'll even spring for bus fare.  Of course I do reserve the right to change my mind depending on what is being served at the "Creative Corner" in the Mayo cafeteria.  They have the BEST salads!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Oct 23 He's Home!!

He's home...He actually got home yesterday afternoon, but I didn't think about posting until late last night, and I was exhausted so I put it off until today.  We had some difficulty managing his pain at home.  They put him on a different oral pain killer than what he was on at the hospital, and it didn't work nearly as well.  We ended up contacting the on call Dr., and got a prescription for what he was taking before.  It works much better.  So now it's just taking it as slow as Boyce will allow, and getting a little stronger every day.  It's hard, practically impossible, for me to believe that they actually send people home the day after they remove a kidney.  If he had gone home the next day, we would have been in serious trouble.  I can honestly say that those 4 days in the hospital felt more like 4 weeks.  We will be setting up the post-op appt with the surgeon for sometime this week, and setting up an appt with a Mayo oncologist as well.  Thanks again for all the prayers and love you have shown us.  We are thanking God, and celebrating Boyce being cancer free!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Night Oct 21 What a Day...

Boyce's fever is gone, the bleeding has stopped, and his lungs are sounding much better.  He should be coming home tomorrow.  It's been quite a 24 hours...but I think we made it through the tough stuff.  The pathology report came back, and the good news is that the margins are clear.  The not as good news is that it is an aggressive, fast growing cancer.  The Dr. said it most likely had not been there very long, and that we are so fortunate to have found it in this early stage.  That is the grace of God.  He will have to be scanned every 3 months for the first year at least, then maybe every 6 months.  Obviously we had hoped for a slow growing, non-aggressive cancer, but no matter what the circumstances, we are trusting in God, and believing that he is completely healed.  Again...thank you so much for all your prayers and support.  We are so grateful for all of you!!

Friday Oct 21 Having Some Complications

Boyce saw the doctors earlier this morning, and he has a partially collapsed lung, pneumonia, and some internal bleeding that they are hoping has stopped, but will be watching closely.  If it hasn't stopped, they will have to go back in.  He won't be going home anytime soon.  The good new is, he actually had a pretty good night sleep even with all that going on.  Please continue praying earnestly for him...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Oct 20 Day after Surgery at Hotel Mayo

Boyce had a really rough night last night.  No sleep and lots of pain.  One of the bright and cheery interns came in his room at 6:00 am this morning and asked him "so are you ready to go home?".  He said he wanted to kick him.  I said he should have kicked him and blamed it on jitters from the anesthesia still in his body.  He slept most of the day.  We didn't even know if he was going to stay, or go home, until about 4:30 pm when his urologist, who assisted with the surgery, came in and said he didn't look any better this afternoon than he did this morning.  We did get him up and walking a little this evening...after the nurse gave him morphine AND tylenol with codeine.  I've had morphine before when I had kidney stones, and I'm pretty sure I could've run a marathon, given birth to twins, and written a best seller while under its influence, so I'm not sure how much credit I can actually give Boyce for walking around the nurses station 3 times.  Anyway...when I left tonite at about 9:00 pm, he was running a fever and he had one of his migraines coming on.  They gave him meds for the migraine, and the fever.  He called me at about 10:15 and said his fever is even higher now, and they are going to take blood, urine sample, and take an xray of his lungs.  They're looking for pneumonia, infection, or internal bleeding.  I know I'm posting this really late (I haven't been able to post from my phone at the hospital), but please pray that his fever will come down, and that there will not be any complications. I may end up going back to the hospital tonite. I will find a way to update everyone earlier tomorrow from the hospital.  Thank you so much for all your prayers, visits, emails, texts, and phone calls...we love all of you!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wed Oct 19 Day of Surgery

Boyce's surgery went very well.  It took them a little less time then they thought, and everything went as planned...thank you God! They removed the entire left kidney. The tumor is renal cell cancer, and we will find out more about the staging, or aggressiveness of the cancer on Friday when pathology comes back.  They did not have to take out the ureter, which is a big blessing.  Not sure how long he will be there, it could be as early as tomorrow evening, but we're pushing for Friday so he can have that great Mayo care for one more day.  Boyce and I cannot describe how grateful, how overwhelmed we are by all of the love our Hope family, and our new Tres Dias family, have shown us.  All of you who came to the hospital today...thank you!!  The beautiful meals Chef Michael and Janine dropped off at our home, and fed our kids while we were at the hospital...thank you!!  All the loving texts and emails we received from family and friends...thank you!!  And most of all....all of the prayers that we felt, and were answered today...thank you!!  We feel so very very blessed....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Oct 18 2011 Surgery time changed tomorrow

Boyce spoke with the nurse in charge of scheduling for urology at Mayo, and it looks like his surgery will now be in the afternoon tomorrow around 12:00pm.   The surgery takes around 2 1/2 hours, then he's in recovery for another couple hours.  I won't get to see him until they take him up to his room, so it will be about 5 hours from the time I say goodbye, until I see him in his room. I will be posting tomorrow from the hospital with any and all updates.  Please pray earnestly for Boyce...we are confident that he is in God's most capable arms.  I am also praying they will have a good dinner option at the famous Mayo Hospital cafeteria, and not the usual vegetable lasagna they serve on Wednesdays (yeah, that's how much time I've spent at the Mayo Hospital with my dad).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Oct 17, 2011 I'm the new girl!

I really don't have any words to express my Tres Dias weekend.  I know this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who has experienced it.  There is the perception that the cloistered retreat is a highly guarded secret... not to be shared with anyone who has never been.  It isn't that it's secretive.  It's because if you knew beforehand all of the beautiful surprises you were going to experience, you would miss out on some of the blessings of those experiences.  It is a life changing weekend....for me, for Boyce, for our children.

 I will, however, discuss my accomodations.  We got in late Thursday night, and were lead to our room by our dorm monitor (for lack of a better description).  It was a small, dingy room with 5 sets of bunkbeds, one closet with one toilet in it, a half closet with a small drinking fountain type device attached to the wall called a "shower", and one sink with a tiny mirror that must have fallen out of some woman's compact, above the sink.  There were 6 women sharing this room...SIX.  Six women who didn't know each other from Adam, some of whom weren't overly excited about being there (I won't mention names).  Then our dorm monitor told us that when we were awakened, we would have 30 minutes to spend leisurely getting ready for the day.  Let's see....6 women divided by 30 minutes.  Five minutes to brush my teeth (my electric toothbrush takes 2 minutes alone), shower, dress, dry my hair, flat iron my hair, and put my makeup on.  I quietly told her that it takes me at least 45 minutes to get ready in an actual bathroom, so how was this going to work??  She apologized and said she would try to find us another bathroom where some of us could go and get ready in the morning (most other rooms had one sink, shower, and toilet per 2 people...AND they had been remodeled).  I said (in what may have been a slightly whiny voice) "No, it's just hard".  She gently replied "I know it's hard".  I don't think I slept at all that night.  Friday was an exhausting day, mentally and physically.  We weren't allowed to have watches, and there were no clocks, so you never knew what time it was.  I'm not sure what time it was when we finally went to bed, but I was determined to get some sleep.  I woke up shortly after falling asleep to the sound of voices, and a horrible smell.  I couldn't believe it was time to get up already.  I was relieved when I found out that it actually wasn't time to get up.  It was just a living, breathing skunk that had somehow found it's way into our room, and under my roommate's bunk.  I could go on and on...about how the skunk finally walked out of our room, about how the toilet leaked all over the floor, the sink backed up that same morning, and other fun things that happen at
 C A M  P, but I won't.  We are made in God's image, and I've been told I have a good sense of humour.  I obviously got that trait from my heavenly father (and my earthly father too).  He knows how I feel about roughing it.  He knows that it's kept me from experiencing other events in my life because I didn't want to be physically uncomfortable.  And he knew that I was going to have to choose to overcome that,  to decide that nothing, not even horrible living quarters, was going to keep me from experiencing God's love....God's incredible grace....that he poured out on me all weekend long.  I made up my mind....and I had the most love filled, grace filled, three days in my life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Oct 13, 2011 Met with Boyce's surgeon

We met with the surgeon at Mayo Clinic yesterday.  We both really liked him..he has a great sense of humour, and of course that is the most important thing when looking for a good surgeon.  His surgery is scheduled for next Wed Oct 19th at around 10:00 am, and they will be taking the entire kidney.  There was some discussion about leaving part of it, but because of where the tumour is located, it's best to remove the whole thing.  There are 2 types of cancer that it may be--renal, which will be limited to the kidney, or transitional, which could possibly  travel into the ureter.  If it is transitional, they will remove the left ureter along with the kidney as a precautionary measure.  Boyce won't notice any difference if the ureter is removed, as the body will automatically use the right ureter.  At this point, there is no follow up radiation or chemotherapy (thank you God!) no matter which of the two types of cancer it is.  The surgery should last around 2 hours, and he will be in the hospital only one, maybe two nights!  I suggested that maybe they should keep him longer, then my shift wouldn't start so soon, but no go.  And now I'm getting ready to leave on my Tres Dias weekend.  I am a big homesick baby before I even reach the door.  And I can't understand why a women's christian retreat would be at a place with a four letter word in the name of it...C A M P.  I know for a fact that God also goes to the Hilton, AND the Hilton Express, if you really feel like roughing it for a couple days (there aren't ANY hot food items on the breakfast bar at the Hilton Express). So I will be out of touch with everyone and everything for the next 3-4 days....hope I make it back!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Oct 10, 2011 So Who's the New Guy?

Boyce and his kidney got home last night around 9:30.  Geez...they shouldn't call it "Tres Dias" they should call it "Casi cuatros dias".  "Almost 4 days".  Only now it's not Boyce and his kidney, because he hardly thought about his predicament all 3 (3 1/2) days.  He had an amazing weekend, he said.  He came home knowing, absolutely sure of, not a doubt in his mind, that this diagnosis, and this season in our lives, will be behind us very soon.  I am so grateful!!  I am so grateful for all the prayers...we found out people have been praying for him, people who didn't even know him, for weeks and weeks.  Those prayers were happening before the cancer was even diagnosed.  He was being covered from head to foot in prayer from the moment we were contemplating going to Tres Dias.  It is so humbling.  And the friendships that were forged this past weekend...Boyce has never been a guy that has a lot of close guy friends.  Not anymore.  He now has brothers.  Brothers who are his friends.  Three different guys he had just met this weekend called him this morning to tell him they love him, and they are there for him.  Wow.  God is so good.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oct 6, 2011 They took him away in an unmarked van...

Okay, so it's our church van.  But it is unmarked, and "they" are TL and De.  It was very weird watching him ride away without his cell phone, knowing we wouldn't be talking or texting, let alone hugging and stuff, for the next 3 days.  But here is the simply amazing thing....a year ago now, we had just separated, and would remain separated for about 2 months.  We didn't even know if our marriage was going to make it.  I know I could never have made it through that dark time without the support of my family, friends, and Hope family, and I'm confident in saying that Boyce feels the same way.  God worked a miracle through the marital counseling of Tommy and Bobbie Merrill.  This last year has been a very difficult one for us, and now we're facing cancer.  But we're facing it together.  We are side by side, and stronger in our commitment to each other, and more importantly, to God, than ever before.  And you know what??  I would choose this...choose this kidney cancer and our relationship today...any day of the week, over the cancer that was destroying our marriage a year ago.  And I don't believe that God would heal our marriage, and then let this illness take Boyce away from me.  This is just one more bump in the road.  God will heal Boyce, just like he healed our marriage.  What a crazy good testimony we're going to have!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wed Oct 5, 2011 Still waiting.....

We're still on the surgery schedule for Oct 19th, but he's on a cancellation list so it's possible they may move him up.  Kind of a bummer, because we had hoped for surgery today.  Instead we have 2 more weeks to sit with it.  And Boyce is leaving Thursday for Tres Dias, where he can have absolutely no contact with the outside world until he gets home Sunday night.  I feel very clingy because of all this, so it's going to be extra hard being away from him.  As soon as I told my mom that, she gently reminded me that maybe God wants me to cling to Him.  Maybe. :)  Okay, most likely.  Thank you everyone for all your prayers, calls, texts, emails, and singing telegrams (a little over the top Sandi and Chris).  And yes Keith, we will be selling Boyce's kidney on Ebay, and there will be a reserve price.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Oct 3, 2011 Boyce's surgery date postponed

Since I am a "non-facebooker" (I've never understood the attraction of having a 1000 friends whom I've never met), I decided the best way to keep friends and family updated on Boyce is to blog.  Most of you know, but for those of you who are just finding out, Boyce was diagnosed with kidney cancer last Wed Sept 28, 2011 at about 2:00 pm.  That date and time will forever be etched in our minds.  He had had some blood in his urine on a couple seperate occasions over the last 2 months, and was having several tests run at the Mayo Clinic just "to rule things out".  Everything was coming back normal until the results from the CT scan he had earlier that day.  It seemed unreal to me that a Dr would call and say "You have kidney cancer" over the phone (Boyce was home when we got the call and put the Dr on speaker phone).  I thought they were supposed to call, tell us we needed to come in for the results, and that the Dr wasn't available to talk with us over the phone regarding the results.  Then I could push them to tell me over the phone, beg and plead with them to just tell us, make up all kinds of reasons why we couldn't make it in his office for at least 2 weeks due to scheduling conflicts, and then use my imagination to come up with all kinds of horrible diagnosis',  look them up on WebMD or the Mayo Clinic website,  print all the information up (in case I learned more on the web than the Drs knew), laminate it, put it into a binder with different sections according to disease, and pay Brenna to create a powerpoint presentation that I could give at the test results appt with his Dr.  Nope. Just "You have kidney cancer".  It suddenly occured to me that I should be writing things down.  My mom taught me to always write things down when meeting with a Dr so that you don't forget.  Especially when it's something earth shattering.  So I jump up and start looking for a pen and paper.  I could only find a red pen.  I really hate writing with a red pen.  Nothing good ever comes out of a red pen.  Negative account balances, wrong answers on tests, red lining civil designs (I'm married to an engineer for heaven's sake).  Whenever my kids bring me something to sign and a red pen to sign it with, I refuse to sign it.  I'de rather sign with a big jumbo piece of chalk.  So I guess it makes sense that all I could find was a crappy red pen....I didn't have time to go look for jumbo chalk in the garage.  Anyway, a lot has happened between then and now, but I think I'm done writing for today.  We were hoping that his surgery would be this Wed, but the surgeon doesn't have time until Oct 19th.  I know that a LOT of you have been praying about the timing of this surgery, because Boyce is supposed to go to Tres Dias this weekend, and I am supposed to go next weekend.  So I believe this is absolutely God's timing (isn't it always?), and that MIRACULOUS things are going to happen this weekend for Boyce, and all of you going up to serve at Tres Dias!  Everything was happening so fast...the tests, the results, the surgery scheduled tentatively for this Wed...I think God wants us to SLOW DOWN, be still, and know that he is God.  He is such an awesome God.