Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays Everyone

Adrienne is doing great after her surgery. She spent just one night in the hospital and has even stopped taking the pain meds because they were making her too dizzy. She is slow getting around on crutches but otherwise feels well. We even got out last night to see Memoirs of a Geisha. We both read and loved the book and so we were excited to see the movie. While a movie can never capture a great book, we thought they did a good job and enjoyed seeing our own Hakone Gardens in quite a few scenes.

2005 has definitely been a difficult year for our family but we are hopeful for better things in 2006. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to everyone. When you're feeling rushed or having trouble setting priorities, think about this little story.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. So pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Surgery is Done!

Today was an incredibly long day but Adrienne's surgery went smoothly. She was scheduled for 12:20, with arrival at 10:20 am. They didn't take her in until 5:30 pm, no food, no drink, no nothing. Needless to say, none of us were happy campers.

Tonight, Adrienne isn't feeling as bad as she expected and was able to get up and around with a walker. The doctor said the outside of the bone was soft, as normal, while the inside was hard as rock, indicative of necrosis. Hopefully this surgery will do the trick and Adrienne will be able to get back to her normal activity and exercise after 6 weeks.

Adrienne is supposed to be in the hospital overnight and home tomorrow, assuming no problems. I'm sure she's the youngest one on the unit! She has tight stockings on her legs and a funny machine that fills with air and then deflates, all to make sure she doesn't get any blood clots. All in all, she is handling things very well. Her doctor said she's delightful.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Not Much News

Adrienne is doing well finishing up her exams. She'll be home on Thursday and back to the doctors' for her preop on Friday, with surgery on Monday. Naturally, she's getting pretty nervous about the whole thing. She's moving to a dorm with an elevator because she won't be able to manage a lot of steps on crutches when she goes back in January. If all goes as planned, she'll be back to normal in 6 weeks.

A GI doc finally looked at Adrienne's CT and said that nothing needs to be done now. Her liver function tests have been normal indicating good blood flow through her liver. If that changes, then they'll do a biopsy. It's possible that all the drugs she's received have done some damage or that one of her current medications is causing a problem. In any case, we can forget it about for now.

Adrienne will be pretty much homebound for a month recuperating. If you have time, she'd love to have a visitor or two.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

L is for "Lil" Miracles

We met a family earlier this year who are now at St. Judes Children's Hospital in Memphis while their 6 year son undergoes his third bone marrow transplant for acute myelogenous leukemia. In the hallway outside of the cafeteria is the "alphabet of cancer" written by children affected by cancer. The family has been posting images of each letter. Today is the letter L for "Lil" Miracles, and it is very true for our family. We are very fortunate and thankful that Adrienne is in remission. We live each day fearful that her cancer will return once again but we appreciate each day that she is healthy and able to live out her dreams. Enjoy!

"Lil" Miracles by CH

Small things that happen everyday when you live with cancer. Something to look forward to. The smallest or BIGGEST thing that happened this week.

"Lil" miracles are things like...a friend finishing chemo. Finding out your scan was clear! Getting out of ICU.

Or they can be the tiniest thing like...a friend from school calling to say "Hey, I miss you!" A nurse remembering you love chocolate and bringing you 2 candy bars.

Or they can be so BIG you want to tell the whole world. Miracles like a tumor disappearing without chemotherapy or radiation. Those are the best kind of miracles. The ones the world knows about. So watch for "lil" miracles and big ones too!

Update: The GI doc looked at Adrienne's scans and said we don't need to do anything right now. As long as her liver function tests are normal, which they are, they'll just keep an eye on things.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quiet Week

A quiet week is good for us. We've been basking in the glow of the good news of Adrienne's remission after so much bad news this year. No word on the liver issue since I asked for a GI doctor to look at the scans. We should know more early next week. We're always amazed at how long some things seem to take.

Adrienne has had a very busy week at school with tests and presentations. After an exam in her Psychology class on Thursday, her prof told her about another student who relapsed and wondered if she could give the person Adrienne's name. Adrienne naturally agreed. She doesn't know who it is yet but we know all too well how devastating a relapse is, and hopefully Adrienne can provide some support.

Adrienne wants everyone to know that she really appreciates the comments, as well as the support and love she gets from so many of you. Thank you from mom too.