Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Encouraging news

Jeanine went to her urologist today and asked some of the questions that came up after her visit to the oncologist. The urologist told her that it is not unusual for the tumors to take a little while to start shrinking after the treatments are finished. This is what we are praying for.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jeanine talks to the Oncologist

Jeanine returned to her oncologist to find out the results of her 2 treatments in the hospital. It was a mixed review. He said that it looks like nothing has changed since the first visit, but he does think that the cancer has stopped growing for the present time.

Thankfully, he has suggested that we let things sit as they are. Jeanine can return to normal activities as she feels capable of doing so and live life. He says that she should get tested again in May and return to see him to see what has happened in those 2 months.

She was not happy to hear the news, but very grateful to be able to recoup for another 2 months before having to decide where to go from here. There is a possibility that the tumors will start to shrink in that time. There is a possibility that it will stay the same. There is a possibility that the cancer will begin spreading again and she'll need to undergo the treatment again or she may need to try another treatment.

We'll see what happens, but until then she'll continue working and enjoying family, church and friends.

More bunnies

My two oldest grandchildren living by us came over for piano lessons on Wednesday. Afterward they were allowed to make a bunny of their own. These are what they did...

My 3 year-old grandson did this one when the family came to dinner.

I have decided to give some of the sock bunnies away, so I have experimented a little with designing them. It was fun... some look really good, others are just ok. With this one, I took the time to sew the pink felt in with a blanket stitch. The ears look better sewn rather than glued, but it takes lots more time.

I've decided I don't like googly eyes all that well.

The bow was already on the sock, so I just left it as another embellishment.

I must like flowers and a little bling, cause I think I like this one the best of all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Party

Today was Primary Girl's Activity Day and we decided to have an Easter party for the 8-11 year-old girls.

We started with tangrams that were in the shape of bunnies as we waited for everyone to get there. I found it here. After our opening exercises, we sat down and made sock bunnies. This is my sample.

I got the idea here. Here are the ones that the girls made from the same basic supplies.

I thought they did a great job!

We bought some cascarones from Walmart and played different egg games before smashing the eggs on each others heads. The girls had a great time.

We ended with this dessert that I found here. It was very cute and here is how mine turned out.

The nest is so sweet and yummy and who can resist Twinkies?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crafting with my sisters

It is the tradition in my family to have a very select birthday celebration with my sisters in March. The only ones ever invited were my sisters and our Mom. The guest list has been reduced to 3 after the passing of my mom and older sister. We have done lots of things together and suited them to the health of the participants. Many parties have involved staying close to home as we dealt with those health issues. It has become a tradition for me to provide a fairly simple craft for my siblings to make and take home. As is quite often the case, our craft centers around Easter.

I found this on line and decided it fit the bill. Here are the results of our crafting time...

The bunnies turned out to be adorable! One of my sisters has a love/hate relationship with crafts because she wants it to be perfect and it rarely is. She liked hers pretty well this time and with good reason.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Primary Singing Time

Last week was a time of rain and so I chose to make a rainy day visual aid. It was to encourage the children to sing louder. The flower was made with a ribbon stem which allowed the flower to grow and grow.

The children were told that rain makes the flowers grow. I then told them that their singing was going to provide that rain. I then got our Primary President to tell me how well they were singing. 20 Raindrops? 10? 30?

The children thoroughly enjoyed it and so I was going to use this visual aid again this week. No prep time was going to be needed this week. At 10:30 this morning I realized that this visual aide was not going to be enough to fill our singing time and I needed something. Inspiration came. The only problem was Church began at 11:00. I had to hurry. I did, but still managed to be 10 minutes late to Church. These little guys were adapted with a glue gun. I had made the soft sculpture shamrocks many years ago, but now I made them into a boy and girl.

I found a pot of gold and the requisite rainbow on-line and printed it off to show the finish line and punched out yellow circles to represent pieces of gold (though I don't think I ever told the kids that's what they were supposed to represent.) I now had a game... boys against the girls. I had the boys or girls sing and depending on how well they sang they grew the flower up to 4 coins. The shamrock was moved as many coins as was represented by how they sang.

This picture shows the boys had sung as well as they could and moved the flower up four coins. This means that their game piece moved up 4 pieces of gold.

This activity was wonderful. The Primary President and Pianist were crying by the end of singing time because the children were singing with such fervor and feeling. This is the type of activity that I love because it encourages the children to sing and by singing, the words of the songs are reinforced. It was well worth the craziness to get it ready.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tea Towels

In the summer of 09, I decided I needed some type of handsewing project to keep my sanity on those days when I couldn't find anything to do. I contemplated several but settled on embroidery since I have done it most of my life. I had about 6 of this specific pattern that my mother-in-law had acquired at some point, so that made my selection easy. I bought the flour sacks at Walmart. The quality isn't great, but I didn't want to spend a lot either.

I started with Monday and finished Sunday just the other day. I worked on several while Jeanine was in the hospital. It helped to keep my sanity on those hard days while I watched her suffer and felt pretty helpless and very tied to her room.

I would like to think that my embroidery skills improved with each tea towel I did. I had become quite rusty and there were some stitches I had to relearn.

Here they are side by side. I really enjoyed doing these and I'm preparing to make a redwork pillow for my craft/guest room bed. I'm still looking for the perfect pattern. I'll post it when I get it finished (whenever that may be.)

BTW, my husband says the day's chores are a misnomer. I can shop any day, never do these chores on the days assigned and when was the last time I ironed or sewed?

Jeanine's Dr's Appointment

Jeanine went to see her oncologist today. We discussed what he might say as we traveled to the doctor's office. There were many possibilities, but the one we thought sounded the best was a respite and then tests. Thankfully that is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Jeanine is free to return to work when she has regained her strength. She is still very weak. She has yet to drive or leave her house except for dinner at my house and her doctor's appointment. She is hoping that she will be able to build up her strength and be ready to return to work on the 22nd of March.

She was also told that by the 23rd of March, the CAT scans should be able to show if the chemo has had any effect on her cancer. So she has those tests scheduled for that day. She will then return to the doctor on the 26th to see what the results are and the best options for what they have found.

She has truly appreciated all your visits, prayers, good wishes, flowers, cards, and other assorted things that you have done for her. The yard work and other services that have been performed on her behalf have fed her soul as well as helped her out physically. Thanks to each of you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She's home!

After 9 days in the hospital, Jeanine is home and she couldn't be happier, at least at the moment. It was touch and go this morning as the PA insisted on a blood test. Jeanine's red blood cell count was off and that could signal an infection also. Thankfully, the new blood test showed that the previous one was an anomaly so there was no problem. She knows that she has to deal with her edema, her tiredness, her skin peeling, her itching, her mouth pain, but life is good. She's home.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The release

When I got to the hospital today, all Jeanine could talk about was how she wanted to be released today. When the PA came in and talked to her, Jeanine was very, very disappointed to hear that she was not going home today. She is so past ready to leave the hospital. After the initial disappointment, she rebounded and accepted the decision especially when the PA promised to look at all her paperwork first thing tomorrow and sign her release ASAP.

The doctor came in later and said that she will be released tomorrow. This is all dependent on a test that was taken two days ago. It was a test to check and see if she had an infection running rampant in her body. She has no temperature to back up this premise, but she does have an increased white blood cell count. No one expects the report to show anything, but they don't want to release her until they get the final results. Here's hoping she can come home tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good news!

Jeanine is out of ICU. She spent the night and much of today there. The doctor came in this morning with the good news that all her numbers were moving back to normal. She came back to the oncology ward and is hoping to get a lot of sleep tonight. Last night was spent getting 2 chest x-rays, an ultrasound of her kidney, multiple blood tests, listening to multitudes of machines clicking and the blood pressure cuff inflating every few minutes.

She is now able to move much easier and her swelling is receding. She is hungry and has been able to down some of the infamous hospital food.

This round of treatments has seemed to be much more difficult than her last set. As we know now, at least part of that was due to her kidney issues. I did get one thing wrong in my last post, I said that she had started kidney failure 5 days earlier, this is wrong. It had been going on for at least 30 hours. Thankfully her kidney is functioning much better than it was yesterday. It never did completely shut down.

It looks like Jeanine might be heading home in a couple of days. Good news!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Uh Oh!

I left the hospital this morning for a few hours of much needed sleep. Jeanine's friend was going to be there for enough time that she would have someone with her for 8 hours after her treatment. Enough, I thought. So much for my thought processes. I got a call about 3:30 pm saying that Jeanine was heading for the ICU. I finished up at my twice a month job and headed to the hospital.

It seems that her kidneys have been slowly shutting down for the last 5 days. It came to a head today. Her blood pressure took a nose dive to the 70s for the systolic and that was very worrisome to everyone. She has lost any ability to move more than just her extremities. She is swelling up, as was expected. Her mouth sores are back. So she is laying in bed in the ICU with tons of machines hooked up to her as they take her vitals, a catheter, and oxygen.

Now to the good part. Her blood pressure is moving up. Her kidneys are working somewhat. She is hungry and hopefully the "Miracle Mouthwash" will do it's work and heal her mouth sores so she can eat. They are keeping much, much closer track of her now. It had gotten to the point that they were only taking her vitals once a shift in the oncology ward. I wondered how they even figured out that she was having troubles. I have left her in the capable hands of the ICU nurse and will get a good night's sleep so I can be there with her tomorrow. More as I find out about it.

Treatment #14

She did it! Treatment #14 was at 4:00 this morning. She had a rough and restless night and was so very glad to get her last treatment and be done with it.

Whenever I have been to a hospital before, the nurses and doctors are always urging their patients to exercise. That has never been mentioned since she got in. It's a good thing too. She is absolutely weak. Her trips to the bathroom are absolutely an example of mind over matter. She has no energy at all and has to talk herself into getting up and moving even a few inches.

Her thirst and hunger are also gone. Food has no appeal and fluids are hard for her too especially since she basically throws up any time she eats or drinks anything. She has not complained of mouth sores this go round.

But... All of these symptoms are specifically caused by the chemo and she will bounce back fairly quickly now that the chemo is over.

I don't know when she will be going home. I should know tomorrow.