Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cancer Be Gong

Today we met with the oncologist and she told us again about there being no evidence of cancer.  Such happy news!  She also gave Roland the option of a tablet form of blood thining medicine that does not require regular blood draws.  He welcomed elimination the twice daily injections. 
He sounded the gong in the lobby signifying completing treatments and successfully beating cancer. A little sign next to the gong reads in part the following:
Gongs have been in existence for 1000s of years. Since the time of Buddha in 600 BC, all sacred Chinese gongs have been inscribed with the two Chinese characters "Tai Loi" which means "happiness has arrived."  
This concludes Roland's adventure.  Thank you for all your support, love, prayers and well wishing.  Now that our world has been turned upside down, we are going to begin our new normal life--whatever that may be.  No matter what lies ahead, happiness has arrived.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Initial Scan Results Are In: Peachy

We just got off the phone with the receptionist at the cancer center.  She said the oncologist looked at the scan and she didn't find anything to suggest further signs of cancer.  She will still meet with him on Wednesday, but at least we don't have to wonder all weekend. We gave each other a smiling kiss and then Roland immediately went out the back door to the yard.  He came back in with a perfect peach from our tree.  He has been nurturing the two fruits the little tree produced this year carefully and daily (Farmer Brown?).  He said it is not quite soft enough to eat, but he will let it finish ripening inside, safe from predators and we will eat it together in celebration of his new life.

Bonus: He feels like his leg swelling is subsiding a little.

Yesterday we had a scripture delivered to our house accompanied by a delicious casserole:  Doctrine and Covenants 86:88  We were really trying our hardest to be patient with not knowing the news of the scan, so both were much appreciated.

"I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." 

We are feeling so happy right now.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

PET Scan Day: Not an Update

Yesterday Roland ate only meat and veggies--no sugars or starches.  He wasn't supposed to exercise at all-- not even typing or other repetitive movements.  I put him in bed where he watched a few movies, ate, and rested all day.  That night he didn't sleep well.  He occasionally has bouts of restless leg syndrome.  Last night was especially grueling.  I fell in and out of sleep not knowing if I was dreaming or awake.  Sometimes he would be beside me and awake; sometimes he was gone--trying to be more comfortable on the couch?  I just kept thinking, "He needs to be still and not exert himself for the scan to be accurate."  I also felt helpless, not knowing how I could help him sleep.  I rubbed lavender oil on his feet.  It helped a little.

So this morning he was in a serious mood.  We left early.  We arrived early.  The scan came and went without trumpeting or celebration. I was not allowed to go with him because of the radioactive contamination possibilities.  He was "hot." So I waited.  He said we wouldn't know the results for a few days.  WHAT???!  I think inwardly.  I said nothing.  He had an appointment with the radiation doctor immediately afterwards, so we went to the cancer center where we were greeted by a half-completed puzzle of an albino peacock in full splendor.  It felt too familiar walking in and seeing all the nurses and the receptionist who feel like close friends.  It was a mini reunion. I wondered why we were all so happy?  I realize now it is because Roland seems fine. He isn't in a wheel chair.  His hair is back--somewhat.  And most importantly, he was not there for chemo.  He fasted for the scan and so I packed snacks for him, but he said he felt nauseous.  I suspect it was because of his associations with the center.  He ate a few crackers.  The radiation doctor looked him over listened to his breathing and asked some questions.  I suggest that Roland tell him about his new trick to see if it was serious.  (His esophagus makes a slight crackly/gurgly sound some nights after a deliberate exhale). When Roland explained it to the doctor, he said, "How's the swelling in your calf?"  I was perplexed and returned the subject to the throat sound.  The doctor smiled and said he had no idea why that is happening nor what to do to stop it.  The whole situation of moving on so quickly was very funny to me.  I guess it's not too serious.

His next appointment with the oncologist is on Aug 7.  I asked if it would be necessary to wait until then to know the scan results.  The nurses seemed to think they could find out before then.  YAY!!  So we wait.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Not Make Some Memories?

Sometimes we just need a distraction from the seriousness of medical procedures--something to take our minds off the waiting to know whether all is well next week.  So, we have seen a few Shakespeare Festival productions and a Neil Simon play and Mary Poppins at Tuacahn for Tikla's birthday.

Roland volunteered to do the make up for the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast production Aug. 8, 9,10 and 12.  He got to practice his skills a little for the Pioneer Day parade this week.

Tonight we decided to have a little drama fun right at home.  We held a murder mystery dinner with a Caribbean theme.  We decorated the dining room for a tropical feel, took on the roles of the characters, and even dressed the parts. We invited some friends and gave them their character descriptions.  Roland was the part of Boz--a rock and roll star from the "Limping Doughnuts."  Sorry, I have no pictures of the people dressed up; I was busy serving the meal.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We Miss Them When They're Gone

One of the blessings of this adventure has been being with our adult children on many occasions. We love it when they visit us and it is always sad when they have to leave. We all seem to behave better and feel better when we are together.  This often presents itself in musical form.  Here is a little number they put together yesterday.  This is just one reason we miss them when they're gone.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


In some sense of the word we can celebrate every day, but there are days that need a little extra something to make an indelible memory--like 25 years of marriage.  I love our marriage and I like to plan things, so I planned our anniversary date.  I ran all my ideas by Roland who is not very particular about the details of what we do to celebrate--he did say he wanted to have some fruit to eat.  This is not to say he doesn't care.  He does, but he really can have a great time in most any setting, so he would rather yield to my preferences to bring me joy.  It has taken years to understand this about him.

Our honeymoon was amazing.  We flew to NYC and saw Les Miserables and took a train through picturesque upstate New York to Quebec.  Roland planned it all and everything was a complete surprise to me.  I loved it.  I think it was expensive.  Usually newlyweds have a tiny budget and after 25 years of marriage there is a little extra, but this year we had a very small budget and I had big ideas--like a trip to France.

Here is what we did.  The day before required a lot of preparations (this is how we stayed within our budget), but any significant trip requires advance preparations such as ticketing, reservations, packing, arranging for mail to be picked up, plants and yard to be tended and children to be supervised.  Roland's assignments were to get the show tickets (we volunteer at the Shakespeare Festival so we have a few complimentary tickets available to us), research our petrogyph outing, and serve as the tour guide.  I would transform our bedroom into a French hotel room and our dining room into a romantic restaurant table for two.  I also arranged for the children to serve as our "room service" hotel staff and "restaurant" waitstaff.  They seemed happy to help and even put a bell in our room to be rung for service.  I thought about what services I would love my hotel to provide and made them happen.  The day before our special day, I did some grocery shopping and some magic.

There was a welcoming fruit basket and fresh flowers in our room.

 I spent the day cleaning, changing the linens and decluttering our room for a fresh feel.  I put in a little card table (Thanks Belshaws) with a table cloth and two chairs for breakfast in our room.

I tossed pink rose petals and white feathers on the bed and put a fresh strawberry on each pillow.

 I found some cute printables on The Dating Diva's website.  They also had some fun couples game ideas, so I prepared those and put them in the basket with the show tickets.

I had some help removing a leaf from our dinner table and decorated the "restaurant" to look like this.  It felt French to me.

Then I prepared the meals.  Even though the children were helping out, I wanted it to be fun for them and not too stressful.  I made a list of things for them to do and which dishes to use beginning with breakfast.  For lunch wouldn't it be great if the hotel provided picnic baskets for their guests to grab on their way out on day excursions?  Ours would, so I prepared a picnic basket with a table cloth and glasses and stored it in the hotel refrigerator. Sterling wanted to make the sandwiches for us just before we left so they would be fresh.  What a thoughtful suggestion.  I let him do that for us.

 Then I made the main dish for the restaurant dinner and gave baking instructions for the waitstaff.  They had all the ingredients for the the side dishes and dessert.

 The evening before our anniversary all we needed to do was to "pack our bags" for the trip, kiss our children goodbye, enter our French hotel room, and put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.  I have never recovered from jet lag so quickly!  Roland was happy to have avoided TSA entirely. We each had secretly found/made gifts for each other.  I found a second hand BYU hat for him and he made me a candle.  He bought an empty, tarnished silver candle holder second hand for 25 cents, polished it with a homemade silver cleaner and melted old candles and reused a wick to make it for me. What a treasure he is!

We had a fun time that night and in the morning ordered "room service".  This is what arrived.  French toast, strawberries and whipped cream.  Yum.  

We leisurely got ready for our excursion, nabbed our prepared picnic with fresh sandwiches and used the "hotel van" for our trip to see the petroglyphs in the "South of France".  From the New World Encyclopedia,  "The word petroglyph comes from the Greek words petros meaning "stone" and glyphein meaning "to carve" (it was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe)."   Here is a picture of a petroglyph in the Vallée des Merveilles.

File:Vallée des Merveilles 103.jpg

 Here we are on Roland's guided tour.

Roland explained this calendar.

Local Fauna

There was not a great picnic area near the petroglyphs, so we drove through the area until we found a suitable grassy area in the shade.  We stopped and picked some roadside flowers.

Our French Picnic
We talked a lot about our adventures over the last 25 years, did some more sight seeing including the "Eiffel Tower", and when we returned, the "hotel staff" had freshened up our room with strawberries and a heart-shaped rose petal display.

We decided to send a letter home to our kids.  Fortunately, the hotel had stationery and we left our letter with them for delivery.

Roland embellished the envelope

The postal service was fast!
We enjoyed our dinner at "Couple's Cafe" with Michael Buble music in the background.  Tikla called.  I don't know how she found the number for our restaurant. Then we took a 35 minute hovercraft to England and watched the Greenshow the message of which was perfect: "Make Someone Happy."  An anonymous person bought us a raspberrry tart and some pretty girls brought us glasses of water and souvenirs from the Shakespeare Festival.  Then we went to see the show Anything Goes.  When we returned we had the entire hotel to ourselves because someone had treated the hotel staff to a night off.  Our return flight in the morning was as effortless as our arrival.  

It is great to be home.
Roland is still feeling the blood clot in his leg, but nausea is gone except when he hears the word "chemo."  He is doing some education consulting part time and preparing for a possible medical illustrating contract.  The scan is slated for July 30 and we are hopeful that there is no evidence of the lung cancer and that he is completely well.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tennis Anyone?

Tonight the whole family went to the tennis courts to try to play.  I say try because we are not really tennis players.  Roland and I explained the rules and scoring.  Reece was getting intense and after he felt confident, he organized a double elimination singles tournament.  I checked in with Roland often to see how his leg with clots was feeling.  He wasn't exactly running all over the courts, but he did take first place in the competition.