Friday, February 25, 2011

Crazy Winter 2011!!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to take a minute to document the Crazy Winter Storm of 2011, because I know that 10 years from now, people won't believe that the entire DFW area shut down for 4 days!! And I took some hilarious pictures of Preston that I wanted to post!

So it started in the EARLY morning hours of Tuesday February 1st: it sleeted for around 3 hours straight! We awoke that morning to 1.5-2.0 inches of ice on ALL of the roads in the area! Schools were cancelled throughout the metroplex (which means no work for me) and most business shut dow. I was somewhat excited about the idea of having a day off of work. I had no idea that it was the beginning of being locked in my house for almost 4 straight days!

On Wednesday, schools were still cancelled and David's office was still closed so he worked from home for the second day in a row. We did venture out Wednesday night to meet some friends for dinner because I was already going stir-crazy!

On Thursday, schools were still closed (which meant a one-day work week for me), but David did pack up and head to work on Thursday. I guess I should make a point of saying that even though there had been no precipitation since Tuesday morning, nothing was melting because it didn't get above 20 degrees until Saturday!

So overnight Thursday to Friday, DFW was blessed with 6-8 inches of snow ON TOP of the ice that was still covering the roads. So again, schools were cancelled! BUT, I had a continuing education course down in the Medical District at UTSW, so I left the house a little before 6 Friday morning to make it down there at 6:55 (the course was supposed to start at 7). A coworker of mine had called all morning to find out if it was cancelled--because EVERYTHING was shut down again--but no one answered. I checked my email after pulling into the parking lot, only to find an email sent at 6:57 saying that the 7:00 course was cancelled for the day. I was NOT happy. It took me another hour to drive back home and when I got home, there was another email saying that they were actually going to start at 11:00 that day. Needless to say, I didn't make another trip down there. So Friday was a beautiful day of peace, quiet, and snow in the metroplex. By Saturday afternoon, the temperatures had risen to the mid-40's and the sun was out so everything was much better by that afternoon!

It was a crazy, fun, adventurous week and other than exhausting my PTO supply, it was kind of fun! I'll leave you with some pictures:
A cute little bird in the tree:
Snow Ice Cream on Friday--YUMM!!
Snow the berries in the backyard:
Preston couldn't hold back the terrier in himself so he kept sniffing the snow which meant a face that often looked like this:
Super Preston!!!
Mom, it's in my eyes!!!
Preston The Ferocious LOVES the snow!!

Thanks for reading everyone!! Hope you all had some adventures during the crazy winter storm!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Change of plans for dad....

Alright guys--thank you for sticking with me as we navigate this uncharted territory as far as dad's status goes. There is more to update as of this morning! I would have posted earlier, but I just sat down for the day--lots of little errands and things to do after work today. But you don't want to hear about that, so on to dad:
Dad does NOT have spend the week in the hospital after all. He found that out this morning. He will go to an infusion center monday-thursday of this week to receive 2 of the 4 chemo drugs. The other 2 will be administered through a computerized syringe that he can be hooked up to at home!! So he's still getting the same "treatment", he just doesn't have to be stuck at a hospital to do it. Another bonus to this set-up is that it allows dad to continue the radiation of his elbow with the same people that were doing it before. Now, regarding the chemo drugs he will be on: they are the same protocol treatment that would be done for any soft tissue cancer of the GI-ish systems (ie. pancreatic, stomach, liver, esophagus, etc). That's what I understand at least. He will then have approx. 2 weeks off before repeating the cycle (if all goes as they are planning). I don't want to share certain details because dad hasn't necessarily wanted to divulge everything (and I definitely want to respect that), but his doctor gave him some insight into the odds of dad responding well to this treatment. While, we would love for them to say there is a 100% or even a 95% chance of this taking care of what's going on, that's just not realistic. But dad did say that he felt encouraged by the odds, and felt more positive and uplifted than he had in a while. So that's great--I love to hear dad say he is feeling "good" or "better" about ANYTHING these days!
Another thing contributing to dad feeling better today is the new anti-nausea meds that they started him on today. They wanted to get him started on something as he was beginning a new chemo cocktail, and so far it has made him feel SO MUCH BETTER today than he had been for weeks. In fact, he ate smoked turkey from Rudy's BBQ and cobbler for lunch, ANNNNND (drumroll please), when I talked to him tonight, he was eating chicken fried steak from Home Plate Diner with green beans and mom was making him a Coconut Cream Pie at his request! We'll see if he regrets these decisions tomorrow! I'm just glad he has an appetite for SOMETHING! Please pray in complete faith that the Lord will use these new drugs in a mighty mighty way to obliterate the cancer! Thank you all SO SO SO SO SO SO much for continuing to check-up on us and pray for our family! We feel tremendously blessed to be surrounded by such a faithful and God-trusting community! Much love to each of you from all of the Hyde/Forbess clan!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

24 Weeks!

So, I'm going to give a 24 week update a couple of weeks late: because that's the way I roll. If you know me, you know that already! I also don't have a belly picture for this update, so I'm sorry. But it was definitely bigger than the previous picture so use your imagination: just please don't add a lot of weight to my face--that's rude. Our 24 week visit took place on Friday, January 28th. So where were at 24 weeks?

Baby's Stats: He measured 9 inches from crown to rump (but let's be honest, our kid is probably a little behind on the height chart) and weighed somewhere around 1.5 pounds. HE WAS AN EGGPLANT!!

Baby's Development: This week was all about circulation and breathing! He's developing more and more blood vessels under his skin and in his lungs. He's also beginning to develop surfactant in his lungs which will keep them from collapsing once he enters the world! His nostrils are also no longer plugged up so he can practice breathing through his nose (even though right now he's just sucking goo up that nose).

Weight Gain: UGH!! At my 24 week visit I had gained 14 pounds, I think. I don't exactly remember, I just know it has gotten out of control since then, so I'll have to pray about disclosing that info after my 28 week visit.

Pregnancy Symptoms: OUCH! I have been having a lot of back pain lately! It happens mostly when I have to sit down for a prolonged period of time (ie. more than 20-30 minutes). If i'm up and moving, I'm usually feeling pretty well! I'm also starting to have some heartburn here and there--it has actually woken me up a few times lately. The worst part about being woken up by heartburn, is that I'm having a really hard falling asleep in general. I usually have to take a Benadryl to fall asleep at night. I will just lay there and my mind will race thinking about the most random things!!

Cravings: All I want for breakfast is blueberries and vanilla yogurt--yay healthy!!! I also usually want a big glass of cold milk at night before I go to sleep--yay, still pretty healthy!! I also have eaten a lot of Brach's Conversation Hearts--Whoopsies! But if you know me at all, you know that I can't resist them--don't judge me.

Maternity Clothes: I finally found a pair of maternity jeans that earn at least an "acceptable" in the cute department and a "YES MA'AM!" in the comfort department. They're awesome--I'm a huge fan of the full belly panel and I may never go back to those muffin-top creating squeezers. I am still squeezing into my swimsuit at work when I do pool therapy, but I'm not sure how much longer that's going to last. I also continue to learn that tighter is better when it comes to maternity tops: if it doesn't hug you, you look like "Big Bertha Under the Big Top"--getting a mental picture??

Nursery and Name: WE ORDERED BEDDING!!!! Thank goodness. It only took months of looking at hundreds of pictures (literally) and many nights staying up late trying to envision the perfect nursery to realize that I needed to chill out-lol. So we ended up choosing a set from Land of Nod that's not anything like what we had originally pictured. But I'm growing to love it, and I'm excited for it to all get here. We also got our crib, dresser and hutch in a few weeks ago--but most of it is still in boxes because the nursery still isn't cleaned out. In the name department, we've narrowed it down to 3. And his middle name will be Porter. That's all we can confirm at this point.

Belly Button: It's ginormous and it's starting to poke out. There's no hope of it staying in anymore. Oh well!!

Since I have no belly picture, I tried to upload our sonogram video from 24 weeks. After waiting for 25 minutes for it to finish, I gave up. Maybe next time??

Waging the War...

I want to start by saying a huge THANK YOU and sending hugs to everyone who has sent me an encouraging message over the past few days. I also want to thank EVERYONE who has been and continues to keep my family in your prayers!! I have not responded to any of the messages yet and I didn't want anyone to think that your encouragement has gone unappreciated--I have loved reading all of them and could not be more grateful for all of your support. We've just had a rough week, and the hits keep coming. That being said, there's more to update about on dad.
I'll start by telling you what the plan was as of this past Thursday. They had decided to hit the spots in dad's elbow with radiation 5 days a week; so, a special "brace" was made so that it could be taken on and off for easy access to the elbow. They also decided that dad would have gallbladder surgery this Monday (tomorow) because of some large gallstones that had been found: the hope being that this would alleviate some of dad's GI issues and let him eat and digest with a little less trouble. He would rest Tuesday, and have a scope (EGD) done on Wednesday to look at the spot in the esophagus. They wanted to see if the spot in the esophagus was healing (this would be a huge YAY) or if it was growing or not changing at all. Then they would make a plan based on those results. So it was going to be a rough upcoming week, but there was a plan.
THEN, the insurance finally approved another PET scan, after denying it initially, so we could get a global picture of what was going on in dad's body. The scan took place on Thursday. We got results on Friday, and they weren't good. Not only was the spot in the esophagus NOT healing, but there were more lesions there. They also found metasteses on dad's liver. So it's continuing to attack his body and it's not limiting itself to anywhere in particular. They still don't really know where the primary lesion is which is more frustrating than any of us can put into words. So all of the plans changed. Everything is being put on hold and dad is being admitted to the hospital tomorrow morning. He will stay there through Thursday or Friday and have continuous chemo using 4 drugs instead of just the 1 they were using.
It was a huge blow to everyone, especially dad, and it was compounded by dad having a not so great week at work. Without going into details, some things happened at work and the higher-ups weren't overly understanding or supportive. And there's a lot of unknowns about how much dad will be able to work over the next few weeks/months and this is creating a MASSIVE financial strain on mom and dad.
So, David and I decided about 5:30 on Friday to drive to lubbock for a quick trip. Dad had the weekend off (after working overnight at the ER at Lubbock's Heart Hospital on Friday) and Mary Kate was also off. So we were able to spend some time just hanging out. Dad was in good spirits, but I can tell this is all starting to wear on him. His silly, joking nature was still there, but it was interrupted by moments of weariness and fatigue. (One of my favorite one-liners from dad this weekend: Me:"One of my friends is just really freaked out about the whole process of giving birth." Dad: "Yeah, me too. That's why I made mom do it.")
So right now, as everything stands, there are a lot of unknowns. In fact, almost everything is unknown except what is happening this week. I'm sure it will be a hard week on dad: physically draining, emotionally exhausting, and just overall not feeling well. It will also be hard on mom because I know her, and she will take it all on herself too and she won't leave dad's side. We need this treatment to ravage the cancer growing in dad's body. We know and believe that our God is mighty to heal and we are anticipating a cancer-free dad. Please continue to cover mom and dad in prayer. Pray for healing, strength, and for the extraneous stress of the future (especially financially) to be lifted off of them. Thank you so much!! In the words of dad, "the ante has been upped" and we are preparing for battle.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update on Dad

Hey everyone who might be reading this, I just wanted to give you all an update on how dad's doing. I don't remember exactly what I posted in the last update (I know it's been a while) and I don't want to go back and read it (because I don't like to re-read about this). I will try not to repeat things and also not leave any major gaps in the timeline.
Dad was having radiation and chemo done for a second round: this time they were radiating all of the areas that were originally of concern (the skull, the tibia, the ischium, the rib and the vertebra). They did a bone scan and all of the areas were showing improvement (the tibia and the spinous process were pretty much completely gone)!! But dad was having some GI issues so he underwent some extra testing just to see what was going on, and a spot was found at the base of his esophagus. They took tissue from 8 different spots and 1 of the 8 spots came back positive for cancer cells. So, they found more cancer, but it wasn't huge. The debate on whether or not to radiate that area began (one of the big cons being the high risk of strictures) and continues to go on today. Meanwhile, dad had been experiencing right elbow pain that had been getting worse over time. It had been bothering him for several weeks, so they took a look at it, and again the answer came back positive for cancer. Another new area--ugh! That was where we were last week.
That brings us to today. It's been a rough week. Dad has lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. He is having a really hard time eating anything. Not for lack of appetite, but because everything tastes and smells wrong and it makes him sick. So he and mom have been searching for the things that he enjoys eating and can keep down so he won't continue to lose weight at such a fast rate. It has been a frustrating and saddening experience for both of them. Then this morning happened: dad's elbow fractured due to the weakened bone surrounding the two small areas of cancer cells. It might not have been such a deflating and heart-sickening event except that he fractured it trying to open a protein shake (one of the few things he can keep down). My dad is not a weakling, he's the strongest man I know. And he broke his elbow opening a bottle.
So, they are going to radiate that area while he wears a brace to try and keep everything in place so it can grow back together. He goes in tomorrow and they will decide whether or not to start chemo again. We are all a little beaten down right now. Dad is frustrated and his frustration is multiplied by the fact that it's his right elbow-the one he uses for everything. He doesn't tolerate being "handicapped" well at all. He is a go-go-goer, NOT one to take a lot of rest. I, personally, feel like there's something they're missing. I'm sick of hearing that the doctors "aren't impressed" with that new spot, or "aren't too concerned" about this area. I AM IMPRESSED with it--it's not going away and new spots are showing up. To me that means there is OBVIOUSLY something we need to "concern" ourselves with. I wish I could make my dad's health and his life mean as much to the doctor's as it does to us--but it's humanly impossible. And that's ok...I just want them to keep looking and keep pushing and keep making my dad better!! Sorry for the rant, it's just been a hard day.
Please pray for my dad: for healing, for physical and emotional strength, for peace, for him to be able to keep food down, and for him to be strong for my mom. For my mom: peace, understanding, patience, and for her to be strong for my dad. For the rest of the family: for peace and that we will know how to best serve my mom and dad right now. Thanks for reading-I feel blessed to have each of you in my life. Baby post coming soon!