Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good News/Bad News

On Tuesday evening, Keith called his mom to see how her second chemo treatment was (she is having them every other Tuesday). She told him that it went well and that she had some good news from the doctor......they did a blood test and her "cancer marker" went down from 38 to 14! Praise God! The chemo seems to be working, or at least it seems to be helping! We were so happy that she was feeling good, hadn't had any real bad side effects and also that the blood test came back as good news!!

Well, then last night Keith called her while I was making dinner, and she sounded awful! She sounded very weak and very tired. She told him that she had had a horrible night on Tuesday night - she didn't get a wink of sleep and she had really bad nausea and diarrhea all night and most of yesterday. She said that she took some of the anti-nausea medicine that the doctor gave her, but that didn't help. We felt really bad for her!!!! She said that she did drink 1/2 of a Boost protein shake and was going to try to drink the other 1/2 last night. I reminded her to keep drinking water throughout all of this so that she doesn't get dehydrated. My fear is that she will be so weak and tired that she won't get enough fluids and will end up really dehydrated. We all know how crappy it is to be sick and it's even worse when you are alone and have no one to take care of you or get you what you need.

Thankfully, Keith's aunt Kay is going to go and visit Marge today. Kay will be able to see how she is doing and help her out with anything that she needs. Hopefully the sickness will subside and she will start to feel better soon. Please keep her in your prayers and I will post updates when I have them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend in PA

WARNING - this is a LONG post (Sorry!!)

As I said in my previous post, Keith and I left Cville on Friday after work and got to his mom's apartment around midnight.

On Saturday, we slept in a little bit and then got up and went to breakfast at one of our favorite "northern" restaurants - Perkins. I love it because they have breakfast all day so even though we didn't get to the restaurant until 11:30am, we were all still able to get breakfast (which, by the way, is my favorite meal to eat out!). After we had our meal, we went to a nearby mall and did a little bit of shopping. It was good for Marge to get out - and it was a beautiful sunny day. I think she was really happy to get a new book and some handsoaps from Bath & Body Works. (If she is anything like me, shopping makes her happy!)

After we left the mall, we decided to go to the Flight 93 Memorial (the spot where the United Flight 93 went down on September 11th, 2001). The Memorial is located about 10 miles from Marge's apartment, in Somerset County (the same county she lives in). I was bummed because I left my camera at her house and therefore I wasn't able to get any pictures of the Memorial area. The actual crash site is about 100 yards off of the road and it is fenced off. No one but family members of the victims can go out there. But right off of the road, there is an area where many memorial stones and such are placed. The benches have all of the victims' names listed on them and there is an angel for each of the victims with their name on it. There are also many things that people have left in memory of the victims. Let me tell you - it was very emotional for me to see the things that are there. It was very sad to read the memorial stones and things that people wrote and to think about the awful way that those innocent people died on that day! What a tragedy. I am hoping that we can go back by there when we go up to PA again soon so that I can get some pictures and post them for you all to see. It's truly something to see.

On Sunday, we got up and went to church (Marge even went with us which is a blessing because she hasn't been to church in a long time). After church, we went to Keith's aunt's house for a picnic and some fun time with family. Keith's cousin and her family were there too so we had a great time catching up with them and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. After we ate the ton of food that (Aunt) Kay had prepared, we played the outdoor yard game "Washer Toss" - which is a family favorite! It was a fun day and so good to see everyone. We ended up staying pretty late and chatting with Keith's aunt and uncle. Good thing Keith was driving, because I fell asleep (big surprise!) on the way back to her mom's apartment. :-)

On Monday, we lounged around a bit before getting up and heading out to see a small snippet of the Memorial Day parade that takes place on a street one block from Marge's apartment. I could see some of it happening by standing on her balcony (she lives on the 6th floor or a high-rise apartment building) but we decided to walk down and see it a little closer. We also ran into one of Marge's closest friends and the woman who has been taking her to her chemo treatments. Bobbie, is a woman that also lives in Marge's building. Her husband died 25 years ago and she volunteers at the Somerset Hospital that is near their apartment building. Bobbie has been such a joy to have in Marge's life and they have really formed quite a bond lately. We are very fortunate to have such a caring person to look in on and take care of Marge during this difficult time.

After the parade was over, the four of us (Keith, me, Marge and Bobbie) went to lunch at another one of our favorite "only found in the north" restaurants - Eat 'n Park. Again, this is a restaurant that has breakfast available all day, plus they have a great buffet AND they are very reasonably priced. We eat at least one meal at this restaurant every time we visit Marge - yes, it's THAT good. haha Here is a picture of Keith, Marge and Bobbie standing outside of the "famous" restaurant:



After lunch, we said goodbye to Bobbie (she had plans to go fishing with her daughter and son-in-law....she is always doing something!) and we went back to Marge's apartment to pack up. We left around 2pm so that we could get back to C'ville at a reasonable hour and have some time to unwind before we had to go back to work.


All in all, it was a very pleasant weekend. Keith commented on the way home that if we didn't know that Marge had cancer, it would have been a visit just like usual. She was mostly in a good mood and didn't seem overly tired. She ate pretty well and didn't seem to have a loss of appetite. She did complain a few times about her ankles and knees hurting, but we are all attributing that to arthritis. She even had a bulge on one of her ankles but she didn't seem too overly concerned about it. She still has a hard time walking great distances (or even small distances at times) but that is no different than in the past. We are hoping that things continue to go well and that she doesn't see a whole lot of negative effects from her chemo treatment.


We are heading back up there to visit her for her bday (which is June 8th) so between now and then we will get reports from her via phone and I will post updates as I have them. Please continue to keep Marge and Keith in your prayers.

Lots going on last week

I have been out of the blogging world for over a week now. It certainly hasn't been because I have nothing going on and nothing exciting to talk about. It's mostly because I was super busy the past week at work and in the evenings - something going on almost every night after work.

First, let me complain about the football office.....One of the recruiting admins left in February and they haven't replaced him yet so we are already one person short on the administrative staff (there are five of us when we are fully staffed). Then, last week the other recruiting admin went on a cruise so that left me as the only person who knows how to do most of the recruiting stuff (or at least I know how to do the few things that Roxann showed me before she left). Then, to make matters even worse, Coach Groh's administrative assistant was on vacation Wed-Fri last week. So, basically that left only two of us (and a temp that we have that is incredibly helpful -thank goodness!) to do the work of what five people normally do. Can you say Headache??!!

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I had lots of things planned for after work so I could only stay until 5pm most evenings. Here are a few highlights/information on what I did:

Monday - Bad me!! I skipped my WW meeting to spend time with my husband and then go get my nails done. Keith had originally thought he was done working on Monday nights (during the school year he has to work Monday nights 6-9pm at the Reference desk at the library). He thought the night-shift ended when school ended, but he found out last Monday morning that he actually DID have to work on Monday night. So...our planned evening of dinner and spending time together at home wasn't going to happen. We met for a few minutes between me getting out of work and him having to go back, and then I went to the nail salon and got my nails done. I really should have gone to my WW meeting, but hey, there is always next week (famous last words!!)

Tuesday - I was finally able to get my sister Katie to go to The Melting Pot with me for Ladies Night Out. The Melting Pot, for those of you who don't know, is a fondue restaurant that is pretty pricey (but in my opinion...worth the money!). I had been inviting Katie to go for about 4 months now (one day each month they have a "Ladies Night Out" where ladies can get the regularly priced $40 meal for $25.) Finally Katie was able to go this month so we went on Tuesday night and had a really great time. The food was excellent and we had fun gabbing and catching up. We never seem to run out of things to talk about and we have a great time when we get together. ***Thank you Shaun***


Wednesday - As I have blogged about before, I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to win free concert tickets to shows that come to the JPJ arena here in C'ville. Last week I was lucky AGAIN and won two tickets to see The Eagles in concert. Keith and I went on Wednesday night and had a blast. Unlike the Springsteen concert I was very disappointed with - click HERE for more info on that - I was very pleased at the number of Eagles songs that I recognized and was able to sing along to. The seats we had were great - right near the stage, but not too close - they were $150 per ticket and we got them for FREE!!! I think Keith would agree that it was an awesome concert and we are very blessed to get opportunities like these!!

Thursday - I didn't have anything planned for this evening so I stayed late at work - until 7:45pm so I could help the Recruiting Coordinator Coach get things ready for their 6:30am Friday meeting. Thankfully I didn't need to be there that early, so I was more than happy to stay late and help him out (I am much more of a night owl than an early bird so I would always prefer to stay late rather than come in early!!)

Friday - Keith and I left on Friday after work and headed north to southwest PA to spend the holiday weekend with his mom. We made a stop in Winchester, VA on the way up to get some dinner, dessert and do a little window shopping (Keith - books, Me - clothes). We didn't buy much but we spent a good amount of time there and so we didn't end up getting to his mom's apartment until after midnight. I had the luxury of being able to sleep on the way up but Keith did all of the driving. Needless to say, we were pretty tired when our heads hit the pillows sometime after 1am that night.

Saturday through Monday - see next post! :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The cutest Niece & Nephew

This weekend Keith and I traveled to Richmond to spend time with my family. The "real" purpose of the trip was to attend a surprise 30th birthday party for my brother-in-law Shaun. We had a great time at the party and enjoyed seeing everyone, especially our two favorite kids - Pierce & Sierra!!

I didn't take any pictures of the party festivities, but snapped a few on Friday night. I also taped a video of Pierce giving Sierra some kisses and hugs. I know I am biased, but they are just the cutest niece and nephew ever!!

Mimi & her grandbabies
Me & Sierra
Uncle Keith & Sierra
Pierce & Papa hanging out
Pierce visiting Uncle Daniel in the garden
video

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One step closer.....

Keith and I are one step closer to being home owners! Yippee!!

We had the home inspection this afternoon. We met our realtor and the home inspector, John, at the house at 3pm. We had just stepped out of the car when John said, "I have been here a little while now and I have already found a few things that concern me." This, of course, didn't make me feel very good and I was really scared that he was talking about some major repairs or problems with the house. Luckily, he wasn't.
There were two "major" things that he found wrong with the house:

1. There are landscaping issues in a few spots of the house. One area, in particular, near the garage is an area that needs to be built up and have some better drainage. Due to the fact that the areas he identified are somewhat low, there are some water stains on the wall in the crawl space. Fortunately there is no mold or major water damage, but there is the potential for it. Our realtor thinks this is something we can do on our own over time.

2. There is a tree in the back yard that is leaning a bit towards the garage and John thinks we should have it removed. It is not a huge tree, but it could cause some major damage to the garage if it were to fall. Again, this is something that we need to take care of but it is not something that needs to be done immediately.

There were a few other "cosmetic" things that John discovered such as a cable wire in the crawl space that needs to be tacked up, light fixtures on the garage and front porch that need to be attached a little better, a broken door stop in the dining room, and a door in the master bathroom that rubbed against the window when it was opened all the way.

He said that all in all, this was a very good inspection. He was expecting to find major water damage in the crawl space (and Keith and I both felt like he was disappointed when he didn't). He said that the structure, roof, siding and major components of the house were great! The appliances, electric, HVAC, and water all worked great. There were no leaks or major problems that he found.

He left a radon test running and we should get the results of that in a few days. If it comes out OK, we'll be home owners on June 19th! WOOHOO!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So much to tell....

So much has been going on lately but I haven't had the time to post. So, here is a quick run-down of the happenings. (I'll elaborate on some of them later in the week when I have more time):

1. Keith's mom got the results of her bone scan on Friday and the doctors told her that she has cancer in both of her femur (thigh) bones and in one of her ribs. We believe they are going to do radiation now in addition to the chemo, but we are not completely sure what the treatment program will be. She has a meeting with her oncologist today so I'll have more info to report tomorrow.

2. Keith and I signed a contract on a house on Thursday!! So...pending a positive house inspection tomorrow, we will be home owners on June 19th!! We are really excited about finally owning our own home (and being closer to Katie, Shaun & Pierce)! The house is a 1500 ft. ranch with a full country porch and a two-car garage. It is located in Palmyra, VA in the Lake Monticello subdivision. I will post pictures of it at a later date.

3. Mom, Dad, Mike, Blakely, Keith and I made a whirlwind trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL this weekend to celebrate my aunt Helen's 50th birthday party. Keith and I left C'ville on Thursday after work, drove to Richmond, met up with my parents and we all drove to Raleigh to meet up with Mike & Blakley. The six of us then flew from Raleigh to Florida on Friday morning and flew back on Sunday. It was a crazy couple of days, but we had SO much fun. It was so nice to see members of my dad's family that we don't see very often! The weather was HOT (in the upper 90s everyday) and we got to spend some time on the beach which was awesome. I will post pictures from the trip as soon as I can.

4. Unfortunately due to all of the above things, I have not been very good about my eating and exercising the past couple of weeks. Therefore, when I weighed in at Weight Watchers last night, I was up 4 lbs!! Eeek! Back to basics and trying to be better this week!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Correction

I was told this weekend that I am incorrect in stating that Marge has liver cancer. It's actually colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver. Apparently there is a difference and colon cancer cells grow slower so hopefully she'll be able to get through this.

She has her bone scan tomorrow and will get the results on Thursday. I will post an update once I know more. Thank you for your continued prayers. They are very much appreciated.

Weight Watchers Update

Long story short....I am very lucky!! :-)

I ate like a pig on Thursday (stress!!), Friday (party!!) & Saturday (another party!!), and I still managed to not gain a single ounce. My weigh in last night revealed the exact same weight as the week before. So....no loss, no gain. And, my only hope is that it doesn't catch up to me next week.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Not-so-good news

We received the news from Marge's oncologist yesterday - she has been diagnosed with liver cancer. It is also in her blood. There are a few spots on her bones that they are concerned about, so they are going to do a bone scan next week to see if it has spread to her bones. They are also going to insert a surgical port so that medicine can be administered that way.

The doctors are going to start her on Chemotherapy and also on Avastin, which is another type of cancer-killing medicine. The doctor told Keith and Marge that they are going to fight it aggressively, which is good. Of course, the not-so-good part is what these medicines can do to someone's body. The doctor told her that everyone reacts differently to Chemo so she may or may not experience the typical side-effects.

We are hopeful that the treatment plan that they have for her will be successful. We appreciate everyone's concern and ask for your continued prayers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lucky Me....or Maybe Not

Working for the UVA Athletics department definitely has its perks! One such perk is that all Athletics department staff members get a chance to win free tickets to the events (mostly concerts) that are held at the John Paul Jones arena.

Lucky for me, I have been able to win three sets of tickets - first, to see Maroon 5 (which was great because Keith really likes them and he really wanted to go to that concert), second was tickets to see The Police perform (which I didn't go to - Keith went with one of our neighbors. I didn't think that was something I would enjoy, but they ended up having a great time). Then, this past Monday, I got an email saying "Congratulations! You have been selected to receive two free tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in concert on April 30th".

I must admit that I put my name in the raffle to win mostly because Springsteen is such an icon and I thought it would be cool for Keith and me to see him in concert. Unfortunately, due to Keith's mom's illness, he had to leave yesterday to go to Pennsylvania so he couldn't go with me. I decided to take our neighbor Barb (who was also the person that went to The Police with Keith. She told me last night that she REALLY likes the perks that I get because she has been able to benefit from them so many times, including free football and basketball tickets!)

I wouldn't really call myself a "Bruce Springsteen fan", although I figured I would probably be able to recognize a few of the songs he sang. Well....I was wrong! We sat through almost 2 hours of him performing and I didn't recognize one song! (Apparently he did "Born to Run" towards the end of his encore set, but we left before that). I have never been to a concert where I didn't know at least ONE of the songs. To me the best part of seeing someone perform live is when you can sing along with the artist as loud as you want. I can now attest - from last night's experience - that going to a concert without knowing the songs that the artist sings is not very fun and I would not recommend it. At least now I can say that I saw "The Boss" in concert, but unfortunately, all in all, it wasn't a very good experience! (And, apparently I wasn't the only one that didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped - click HERE to see a review of the concert.)