Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prayers Needed

Today was a pretty crappy day with bad news coming from every direction. Please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers:

1. My mother-in-law Marge....she had a full body scan and a mammogram done yesterday and today to determine if she has cancer and if so, where it is located. She was supposed to get the results on Monday but the oncologist's nurse called and rescheduled it for Thursday (in two days). Of course, this doesn't sound good!! Please also pray for Keith - with him being an only child, this all falls on him with not many people to help him. It's a lot to take on, but he is trying to be strong.

2. My friend Holly Smith and her family....Holly's dad, Hubie Register, died yesterday. He was 67 years old. He died of cancer that came on very suddenly. I did not know Hubie very well but the times I did spend with him, I could tell he was a very genuine and caring person. He was very outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He and Holly were very close and I am extremely sad for my good friend.

3. Wyatt Pickwell.....he is the 10 month old son of Jeremy & Jennifer who are friends of my sister Karen. (Jeremy sang in her wedding, for those of you who were there.) According to what Karen knows, little Wyatt was med-flighted to a hospital in Fairfax, VA yesterday because he was having seizures. Apparently, the doctors were able to get the seizures under control but he is going to remain in the hospital for observation and testing so they can find out what is causing the seizures. Wyatt is a very cute and special child and his parents are wonderful people. I hope that he is going to be alright.


As long as I can remember, my mom has been an excellent gardener and landscaper. When we lived in our house in NY, she loved to mow the acre of land that we lived on and the gardens in the front of our house were always beautiful. These days, the lawn and gardens at their house in Mechanicsville, VA could truly be featured in a popular magazine like Better Homes & Gardens!

I do believe that I have learned a lot from my wonderful mother over the years. Unfortunately, I do not believe that I inherited her green thumb! I have always had a hard time keeping house plants alive, much less the ones that grow outside. I think the main problem is that I forget to water them and of course, with no water, they die.

I do love the season of Spring and I love the beautiful colored flowers that are around this time of year. And, the townhouse that we are currently renting has two flower beds in the front that could really use some color. So...this past Sunday, I ventured to Lowe's in search of some flowers that were easy to plant and easy to take care of. I didn't want to spend too much money, seeing that we are only renting this place - and we are hoping to be moving into a new house sometime soon.

I ended up getting a few different kinds of plants - marigolds, carnations, wave petunias, and another orange-colored flowering plant that I can't remember the name of. I also got two big bags of mulch in the hopes that it would help the flowerbeds look nicer.

Keith took some pictures of me in the "planting process" and I took some pictures of the finished product. Of course, the flowers are not in bloom yet so they don't look at nice as I am hoping they are going to look once they fully bloom. The one problem is that I thought I had bought a lot of flowers but once I got them in the ground, they really seemed to be spread out. Hopefully they will grow pretty big so that it doesn't look so barren. Hey, at this point if any of them survive I will be happy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

WW Update

By some miracle, I weighed in 1.6 lbs less tonight, for a total of 15.6 lbs lost. I was not very good this past week so I don't know exactly how I ended up losing weight.

We'll see how this next week goes. Right now, I am just trying to take one day at a time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Best Concert I've Ever Seen

I am a little late in posting about this, but with all that has been going on, I didn't want to forget to tell you all about it.

On Thursday, April 10th (after a very few hours of sleep the night before due to Sierra's arrival), Katie and I went to see Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban in concert at the John Paul Jones arena here in Charlottesville. JPJ, as it is often called by us locals, is located just across the street from my office building. I have attended two other concerts there and quite a few UVA basketball games and other events. Katie, however, had never been and this was going to be her first time. I think she would agree when I say that this was an awesome introduction to the arena and what it has to offer!

The concert tickets were a present from my wonderful husband to me for Christmas. He had to work late that night (and isn't a big fan of country music anyway), so I asked Katie if she wanted to go. She was so excited and was happy to be my "date".

The concert was - as I said in the title of this post - the BEST concert I have ever seen! Carrie Underwood (of American Idol fame) opened and sang for about 45 minutes. Her voice is amazingly strong and beautiful. Hearing here perform live was a real treat! Then, Keith Urban performed for an astounding 2 hours!! Katie and I were really enjoying it but also trying to stay awake since we hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.

Keith Urban's performance was better than anyone I have ever seen. He interacted with the crowd very well - even calling three teenage girls up on stage in the beginning (they had a sign that read "3 Teens want a Hug from Keith Urban"). He had them come down onto the stage from the top of the lower level and he talked to them and gave them all a hug. It was really sweet. Later in the night, he signed a girl's cast and he also went into the crowd during one of his songs. After he was done singing that particular song, he autographed his guitar and gave it to a guy in the audience. Unfortunately, Katie and I were sitting in the upper level so we didn't get too close to him. In my opinion, he acted like this was the only concert he has ever done and his energy level and enthusiasm were incredible. It was astonishing to hear the number of recognizable "hit songs" that he sang. He is truly an incredibly gifted and talented artist!

These pictures certainly don't show you the awesomeness of the concert, but here are a few that I snapped during the event:

Me and Katie during at the concert. Don't we look just a bit tired?!?!

This is Carrie Underwood on stage. We were pretty far back, but her vocals were amazing!

Here is Keith Urban on stage. The video set-up that he had was awesome.
The videos of him on the screen behind him were so huge and clear!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weight Watchers Update

I missed my WW meeting last Monday night because we were in Pennsylvania. So when I went to weigh in tonight it had been 2 weeks since I had last weighed in. My last weigh in was a huge loss (4 lbs) and tonight I basically gained all of that weight back (3.4 lb gain!). I am not surprised at all by this though. While we were "on the road" for Sierra's arrival and Marge's surgery, I was not at all good with my eating - and of course, I didn't exercise one bit! So.....I'm back on track starting NOW.....going to eat better foods, going to eat less than I have been eating lately and definitely going to work out at the gym at least 3 times this week! We'll see what the scale says next week at this time.......

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is there Cancer?

That is the question we are asking about Keith's mom, Marge. Keith talked to her yesterday after she had been to see her oncologist. They gave her results from a blood test that she had done a week ago (before her recent surgery). Unfortunately, the news was not good. Or at least it doesn't sound good!

Her blood level count that can show if cancer is present was up! It was 23 a month ago and now it is 31. What does that mean? Well, we are not really sure to be honest. The doctor has told her in the past that this rise in her blood level count could mean that there is cancer somewhere in her body or it could mean nothing - just a residual count from the colon cancer she had removed last year.

So...what now? Well the doctor has scheduled her to have a full body scan and a mammogram done on April 28th & 29th. I was under the impression that they had ruled out breast cancer (because that is what Marge told us), but apparently since they have ordered her to have a mammogram, that is not necessarily the case.

She has been told that she will receive the results of the tests on May 5th. To me, that seems like a long time to wait to find out if she has cancer or not, but I guess the doctors know what they are doing. At least, we hope!

Keith has been very matter-of-fact about all of this in the past, but yesterday he admitted that he is scared and worried about his mom and what all of this might mean. I am trying to be supportive without sounding "preachy". And, we can both only hope that it's a false alarm and that there really isn't any major medical problem.

I ask you all for continued prayers for both Marge and Keith. We are praying for God's mercy and grace through all of this and hoping that good news will be forthcoming soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We are home

We are back in sunny VA. We drove back yesterday - left Marge's house around 4pm and got to our house around 9:30pm. We made a stop in Winchester, VA to get some dinner and all in all it was an uneventful ride home.

Marge was released from the hospital around noon yesterday. She was sent home with a few instructions such as no heavy lifting, don't get her bandages wet, eat a full liquid diet for a few days (that means things like pudding, soup, oatmeal, etc.) She was also given a prescription for pain killers (which she didn't want us to get filled because she said that she was going to need it but when Keith talked to her this morning she thanked him for getting it because she ended up using it last night when she felt some pain).

We were debating whether or not we should stay over one more night just to make sure she was ok, but then we decided to leave. We really weren't doing anything for her and we thought maybe she would "relax" a little and rest more if we were gone. She and Keith sometimes butt heads because he is trying to help her and she is resisting the help. I felt like maybe it would be better if we left since she was insistent that she didn't need our help.

Like I said, Keith talked to her this morning and she seems to be doing ok. She did have some pain last night so she took the pain meds and she said that she slept good for the most part. I know she was probably just happy to be home and in her own bed (I know Keith and I were thankful for that after spending 3 nights separated - me on the couch and him on the floor!)

Marge has a follow-up appointment tomorrow morning with her oncologist to get the results of a blood test that she had last Friday. Hopefully he will tell her that her "cancer blood levels" have gone down and are not continuing to go up. We are unsure what the next step is if the levels are still going up, but I am sure that more tests will be involved.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sierra/Karen update

Karen and Sierra are doing great! They left the hospital yesterday and are enjoying time at home. Click here - Karen's blog - to see updated pictures and keep up with the happenings at the Miller household.

Thank you for all of your continued well-wishes. I know Karen and Brian appreciate it.

Good News!

Marge is out of surgery and doing well. We are in her room right now and she is awake and feeling pretty good. She is having some pain in her abdomen area, where they cut her for the surgery. She is on pain medicine and can click a button when she wants the medicine administer (every 15 minutes at the most). She is also very thirsty and has dry mouth, as she hasn't been able to drink anything since yesterday at noon. We have asked the nurse to bring something to wet her lips and hopefully she will get that soon.

The surgeon told Keith that the procedure went well. They repaired the hernia and she now has some mesh in her abdomen to keep her intestines from protruding through her muscle wall. It sounds weird but apparently that is the standard procedure. Thankfully, they did not find a tumor or spot any cancer in the area that they repaired.

We are not sure if she will go home tomorrow or will need to stay longer. The doctor told Keith we will have to wait and see how she does. I am guessing they will want to monitor her pain and see how she responds to food and drink. Right now it looks like we will stay here until Wednesday, but like the doctor said, we will know more tomorrow.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. I will post more tomorrow when we see how she is progressing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

On the Road Again.....

Keith and I are packing up to head out again. This time we are headed north to Western PA to be with him mom while she is having surgery tomorrow. The surgery is to repair a hernia that she has had for a few months now. That procedure alone is not necessarily a risky one, but the doctors have told her that there might be a chance that she has a tumor "hidden" near the spot of the hernia.

The reason that they think this is because her "cancer blood level" has been elevated the past two times she has gone in to have it checked. The doctors are not sure if the elevated levels are just a residual effect of her colon cancer from last May or if it is a sign of new cancer.

They did a colonoscopy last month and determined that there was no cancer in her colon. Thank God! But, now they are unsure if it is somewhere else in her body or not.

Keith and I are leaving today to head up there. She has to report to the hospital at 11am tomorrow and thankfully she lives right down the street from the hospital. This way, Keith and I can walk back and forth between the hospital and her apartment. We'll be staying there until Tuesday definitely and possibly Wednesday depending on the outcome of the surgery.

She has a friend that lives in her building that has offered to help her out after the surgery - which is nice. But, she is not one to take help from many people, so we will have to see what the doctor says about her post-surgery care. At this point, we don't even know how long she will be in the hospital after the surgery. She might be released on Tuesday or if may be longer. Obviously, we will know more tomorrow when the procedure is done.

Please keep Marge in your prayers. She has been through a lot medically over the past year but she seems to be doing well for the most part. I will post an update when I know more (thankfully the hospital has wireless internet access so we can use our computers while we are there).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great news!

Today was a great day for Baby Sierra and her parents! She was taken off of the oxygen last night and today Karen was able to breastfeed her. She is now staying in the room with Karen too. Hopefully they will both be leaving the hospital and heading home tomorrow. We are very happy that everything is going well for them! We thank God for all that he has done in the creation of Sierra and her safe delivery into this world.

Keith and I are hopefully going to get to see her in person sometime in the next few weeks. Until then, here are two pictures (isn't she just adorable!):

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baby Sierra has arrived

I am back at work today so I cannot give you a long update. The AWESOME news is that Sierra Rein Miller arrived around 1am this morning. Click HERE to read my sister Katie's blog for more information.

Once I hear more from my family - and I get a bit more rest - I will post more updates (and hopefully pictures!)

Thank you all for you continued thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Karen/Sierra Update

We don't have much information but this is what we know so far:

Karen and Brian went back to the Birthing Center at 5pm because Karen was contracting every 1-2 minutes for about 2.5 hours - my mom went with them for support.

Mom just called and said that she is only 2 cm dialated.

They have transferred her from the Birthing Center to the Labor & Deliver floor of the hospital because she is not dialating.

They are now going to break her water and see what happens in the next 2 hours.

We'll know more at that time. Katie, Pierce and I are heading over to the hospital now. I am taking my computer with me so I will try and update when I can.

Thank you for all of your continued loving thoughts and prayers.

No baby yet....

We are still awaiting the arrival of Sierra. Karen was seen by the midwife at the birthing center this morning around 9am and unfortunately they were sent back home! :( Karen had an exam and this did some monitoring of her contractions and also of the baby. She was told at that time that she was only 1 cm dialated!! (Which is unbelievable since she has been having contractions for OVER 24 hours and they were around 5-6 minutes apart!)

So....back home they came and she was told to rest. They gave her something to help her sleep and hoped that she could get 4-6 hours of sleep. The ultimate hope is that her body would speed up her contractions, cause her to dialate more and she would "officially" start labor once she got some rest.

Katie, Pierce, Mom and I went to the mall for a little while this morning when Brian and Karen went up to bed. Pierce played in the mall indoor play area, us girls did a little shopping and we ate lunch. We arrived back here to Karen and Brian's house about 30 minutes ago and Brian told us that Karen had woken up about 1:30pm. That means that she got about 3 1/2 hours of very much needed sleep! He said that she was having contractions and they seemed to be getting closer together. Of course, none of us are getting our hopes up because who knows what is going to happen! Only God knows!!!

We will continue to update you as things change or progress. Katie and I are taking it one hour at a time now and aren't quite sure what our plans are for a return trip to C'ville. I am supposed to be back at work tomorrow since I have been out since yesterday. But we really don't want to leave until Sierra is here! We'll see what happens....

Still Waiting...

It is currently 6:19am and we are still waiting for Baby Sierra to arrive. Karen has been in labor since 4:30 yesterday morning! She has been having contractions now for over 24 hours and she is extremely tired! Katie, Pierce and I left C'ville yesterday around 11am thinking that Sierra would make her entrance into this world in the afternoon or evening. We made a stop in Richmond and then headed to VA Beach around 4pm with my parents. From the time we got here until we all headed to bed around midnight, Karen continued to have contractions that were pretty strong, lasting about one minute and occuring every 5-10 minutes. Unfortunately at times, they were more like 15 minutes apart. It didn't seem like she was really making any progress. She decided to go up to bed and see if she could get some rest.

Around 4:30 this morning, I woke up (I had been waking up every 30 minutes or so) and heard some talking. Brian came out of their bedroom to get Karen something to drink and he said that they had just talked to their midwife. He said Karen has continued to have strong contractions all night and unfortunately they are not getting closer together, but they are getting stronger, more painful, and lasting longer - like 2 minutes. The midwife said that she would like them to come into the birthing center at 8am for a checkup. Hopefully she will get there and they will tell her she is 8 cm dialated and that there is not much longer to go!!! That is her hope!

I will continue to keep you updated. It has been a REALLY long night for Karen and Brian. She hasn't had any real quality sleep for over 24 hours now and she is really exhausted. Please continue to pray that this process will speed up and that everything will go well for Karen and Sierra.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weight Watchers Update

I neglected to post after my WW meeting last Monday night. To be honest, it wasn't necessarily an oversight on my part. I have not been as faithful to my eating and exercising plan as I should be so last Monday I was not surprised that I gained 1.2 lbs. I was upset with myself and vowed to do better this week, although I can't say that I was 100% perfect.

But, apparently I was pretty good because tonight when I weighed in I was down 4 lbs!! That means in 12 weeks I have lost 17.4 lbs! I am so happy with my progress so far and I am happy that I hit a small personal milestone (under a certain weight) this week!

Now this gives me the motivation to do well in the upcoming week. In addition, I had two people at work today tell me that I looked good and that they could tell I was losing weight. That always makes a person feel good! :-)

"Patiently" waiting....

We are all patiently (ok, really more like impatiently!) waiting for Sierra Miller to make her grand entrance in this world. Apparently the girl is wise beyond her years already and she knows that staying in the warmth of her mommy's tummy is better than being in this cold, damp almost-Spring weather that we are having here in Virginia!! :-)

Yesterday we woke up to a text message from Karen saying that she was having cramping and some blood and she thought the baby might be coming sometime during the day. Yippee! I was so excited to finally meet our family's newest addition!

Keith left to go to a library conference in DC in the morning so I finished up some house cleaning, took a shower, packed a bag and headed to Katie and Shaun's house. Since Keith was going to be away I had planned on spending some time yesterday with them and Katie agreed to go to some Open Houses with me. The whole time we were looking at the houses, I think both of us were thinking, "When is the call from Karen going to come?!" We were all packed a ready and being very impatient!

I sent Karen a text message in the late afternoon when we got back from our house expedition and she said "Still nothing". I feel really bad for her and Brian because I know that they are SO ready to have little Sierra arrive. I know that as much as we are all anticipating her arrival, Karen is hoping for it 100 times more! (And she also has the cramping and all to deal with!!)

I want to take this time to say how proud I am of Karen and all that she has gone through with this pregnancy. She has been a trouper through all the sickness and such that has occurred. I know that she and Brian are going to be great parents!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to my dear sister

Happy 28th Birthday to my dear sister Karen. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family and we can't wait for her little bundle of joy to arrive.

We pray that this year is filled with many blessings and much happiness for her. She certainly deserves it!

We love you, Karen!