Sunday, July 22, 2012

Don't count your chickens...

It's about three o'clock in the afternoon and it's already been a long day!  Started out with a trip to the emergency room early this morning after Ken felt like he couldn't quite catch his breath. He also had a whole lot of pain from the right side of his chest wrapping around to his back. Initially, Ken thought he had a collapsed lung, but I checked him out and that didn't seem to be the case. It just seemed to be another round of pneumonia, which is nothing to mess around with at this point! Off to the ER we went, where excellent and immediate care were given by the boatload. You'll be happy to know that the I.V. went in on the first try, and when the x-ray didn't really give a clear picture, the CT scan did a much better job. The doctor wanted to rule out a blood clot in Ken's lung, and she was able to do that while diagnosing pneumonia (again). We were able to head for home a little while ago, with an arm load of new medications and instructions for Ken to rest a few days. (Sidestepped hospitalization. Yay!)

Ken has been back at work full-time, and loving every minute of it. However, he has been extremely fatigued the last couple days, and I have been trying to get him to understand that working full-time hours at this point may not be the same thing as working the normal schedule!  Working eight hours at a time is really pushing the envelope, and working ten hours plus is just too much for someone in recovery (or so we're told by the medical personnel at the hospital). So, Ken may have to be a little more honest and open as to when he's in need of a sit-down to avoid a fall-down! Ha! He really is soooo much better, but it hasn't been that long since treatment completion. Back to normal doesn't happen within weeks...think months, and then some! The last thing he told the doctor was, "I have to be back to work Thursday! Not an option!" So, he will be back to work Thursday. But, until then...he's all mine!

Hope your weekend is full of fun stuff,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good things come to them that wait...

Happy belated July 4th! We hope that your holiday was most splendid!

While I am attempting to contain myself so as not to frighten anyone by my KEYBOARD SCREAMING...
Oh, I just can't do this quietly:
KEN'S PET SCAN CAME BACK CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He is now on "surveillance" mode, per Dr. Wu. There will continue to be appointments for check-ups, blood work, and the occasional CT, but the further spacing of these appointments begins NOW!!!! Don't misunderstand me, Ken isn't 100% back to normal yet, but he is a far-sight better off now than he was prior to Thanksgiving of last year. There are still a myriad of hurdles to overcome, but the fact that he has earned the title of Cancer Survivor, well, that's pretty awe inspiring to me!

Ken's "homework" is to work towards eating enough to warrant the removal of the feeding tube within the next few months. (Again, Dr. Wu's hearty suggestion.) Everyone was so very amazed by how much improved his appearance was today, and his weight...well, let's just say that he is almost back to normal!

So, we thank you all for standing by us through this quagmire of cancer treatment and the accompanying recovery period still ahead. We look forward to the day when we can have the privilege of helping someone else that may have to deal with this nasty situation, and give some hope and insight into how best to proceed with this fight of a lifetime.

We are hugging all of you right now...can you feel it? (Geez, who had the garlic for lunch??)

Paula & Ken

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The little things that count...

You are right! I have been remiss in not keeping you up-to-date with regards to Ken's PET scan, etc. The reason nothing was posted is because...wait for was POSTPONED! The insurance company decided that we had to wait an additional week before the PET would be covered, so the test has been rescheduled for July 5th!!  Let's just hope that we have more to celebrate than Independence Day that weekend, right?

Ken has been going to work in the mornings and attending special meetings as needed. He feels that if he could simply handle the feeding at lunchtime, he would be able to try a full schedule again. The feeding is still a problem in that his ability to swallow is not yet to a point where he is able to take enough calories by mouth to eliminate the Jevity/Ensure concoction. While he is continuing to progress, the speed with which it is occurring is not optimal according to the "Ken Schedule".

While many of you are now seeing Ken's furry face more frequently, (oh yeah, his chin is sprouting hairs once again!!) those of you that are checking in from a distance may enjoy this picture of Ken getting ready to head in to work.
As you can see, Ken is beginning to look more like "Ken" again. We can't complain that he looks like a stick figure anymore...Yay!!!!

We wish you all a wonderful Fourth of July (holiday or not),

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summertime and the livin' is easy...

The slowdown on this blog's postings seem to coincide with the rhythms of Ken's recovery. As he battles back to what we consider our "new reality", he must also continue to partake of the medical tests and examinations required of any cancer patient. So, tomorrow he has more blood work, something that is becoming more problematic as his veins really don't want to cooperate anymore.

Now, the GREAT NEWS: Ken is driving himself to work again! He is very happy to have the keys back in his possession. All that's left is the feeding (without a tube), and he'll be back...

A special shout out to my brother, Phil on his birthday! "Many happy returns on the day of your birth, may sunshine and gladness be given..." Phil had his own little life-altering event a while ago, involving a brain tumor. My brother and his family did their time in the "scared silly zone", and have come out the other side. We look to them for inspiration...

Jess continues his assimilation into the New York state of mind as he now has a new driver's license and state of residence. The grass is NOT growing under that boy's feet, right?

Well, y'all, next Monday is Ken's PET scan. Keep a good thought, okay? 

We hope you don't take a moment for granted...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ease on down the road...

While doctor visits, in general, tend to be time-consuming and oftentimes frustrating, yesterday's appointment went quite well. The surgeon felt that Ken had made a most stunning recovery since his last visit six weeks ago. While everything is not yet healed, the vocal chords seem to be doing what they can to overcome the nerve damage and irradiation they have endured. Actually, the doc seemed somewhat amazed that Ken's voice was as intact as it is, and so soon. Yippee!!

Ken has been attempting a modified work schedule which allows him to be on site and extend days/hours as he is able, without total exhaustion (and working in feeding with his tube), and enjoying every minute of it. He is now able to be understood when he speaks, and really feels that he is able to contribute again. Maybe he isn't back to normal, but, what is normal anymore? We continue to be strong in our resolve that this will soon fade into a dark memory to be overshadowed by a brighter future!! Right? Right!

As for Joey and his apparent misunderstanding regarding the disappearance of Jess, well, Ken had to sit him down and really lay it out once and for all. After the "discussion", Joey decided to find his play-time bone (aka the Pacifier), and really go to town. We all find comfort where we can...

Today I will be packing up the first of what I imagine will be many, many care packages for Jess. It appears that the boy may have found an apartment near campus...but, still needs to secure gainful employment. Ah, to be young and have so many less fears about striking out on your own. Godspeed my son...we have confidence that you will succeed in reaching your distant horizon with style and grace.

So, we bid you all adieu for now. Enjoy the sunshine and all of your many blessings,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Better every day...

So, how are you doing today? Did you get out of bed with a bounce? We can only hope...

Ken's appointment with the medical oncologist went well. He seems to be on par with the healing process for the type of treatment he's endured. Actually, taking into account the setbacks (pneumonia, infections, and dehydration), he's doing quite well indeed! We are attempting to map out a schedule to allow him more time at work without total exhaustion. Really, everyone has been beyond kind and understanding. This whole cancer thing involves a recovery curve that can be very slooowww. Ken doesn't handle slooowww very well. But, his voice seems to be better this morning (as he seems to have coughed up some sort of bloody tissue last night), and we'll just see how long it lasts today. (Yeah, graphic again. Y'all have been with us through the nasty. At least now it brings positive result, right?)

Personally, I felt that Ken looked exceptionally dapper and "healthy" yesterday. As he is now up about ten pounds, the overall look is much, much better. That being said, here's a picture snapped in the elevator on the way to the appointment. What's your opinion?
Thanks for all the support. We would never be able to handle all of this without y'all!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oatmeal, not so good...

Since these blogs seem to be getting farther and farther apart, it must be assumed that Ken is doing better. Our patience is wearing a bit thin as we really want to get back to normal (or some facsimile thereof). We miss the simple act of eating a meal together, or going for a walk outside, or taking a long drive to some outlet malls where the afternoon can be spent wandering around aimlessly. Ah, someday...

Ken is doing fairly well with his pudding, jello, peaches, and bananas...but, don't ask about the oatmeal incident. Ewwww. (I had a graphic description to share, but I better not. Just suffice it to say that the little oats decided not participate in the swallowing process.)

The next doctor appointment is Wednesday. (Just a one month follow-up with blood work.) Then there is another doctor to visit the next Tuesday. Too much fun, right?

Okay. The humor we scraped together for y'all is actually an adorable photo of Ken explaining to Joey that "his boy" wouldn't be coming home from work. Poor Joey. He's truly bummed. We can only hope he'll rebound soon.

We hope your week is wonderful.