Happy Thanksgiving!!!

When Patty and I were first married (Wow!  16 years ago) we found Thanksgiving to be a crazy day.  We never had dinner at our house, so we’d get  up early and make whatever it was we were taking to our destination dinners.   Notice the word “dinners” is in the plural!  We’d generally drive from Lakeside down to Chula Vista to have the early Thanksgiving dinner with my family who generally ate around noon.  We’d finish at my parents home, then drive all the way up to Temecula to have Thanksgiving dinner with Patty’s family.  By the time the day was over, we’d put on about 130 miles roundtrip and have consumed two full Thanksgiving meals!  After doing this for a few years we finally decided we’d change the ritual and have Thanksgiving dinner at our house for both families.  This totaled anywhere from 25 to 30 people but what a great time we’d have.  The cooking generally started a couple of days ahead, doing the small time-consuming things that you could safely store in the fridge.  Then the day of, we’d put thing in high gear and really knock out the food.  Of course, the bloody mary’s started around 9 a.m.   The problem with starting the BM’s so early is that once you start, you can’t stop!  That always made for an interesting day!  One thing I was insistent about was everyone sitting at the table.  I don’t know many people who have tables, chairs and table settings for 30 because I know we didn’t, so we’d rent everything.  3 eight foot tables set up end to end stretched from our dining room way out into the living room.  But it worked!  I remember each year, when the food was served, I’d always sit at one end of the table and look down the line of people and see everyone I loved in the same room, at the same table, all having a great time.  There were my parents, Patty’s parents, her sisters, my sister, our kids, our aunts and uncles, grandma, cousins and a few friends.  And loud?  Oh man!  It was loud!  But that was ok… everyone was having fun!  What a party!

Each year there was always at least one disaster.  This one is in the top three of Thanksgiving disasters.  I remember one year, everyone was packed inside the house and even flowed out to the backyard.  Patty and I were in the kitchen.  Patty needed the pepper for something.  She found  the full pepper shaker sitting on the hot stove.  She picked it up and didn’t realize the plastic stopper in the bottom of the shaker had stuck to the stove top.  When she lifted it, the pepper flowed out the bottom of the shaker.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the fan was on above the stove.  I watched as the ball of pepper got caught in the air flow from the fan.  The ball swirled and rose, then made its way across the kitchen.  As the ball of pepper blew across the kitchen like a swarm of bees, I watched as it took out anyone and everyone in its path!  This ball of pepper wiped out at least 10 people, maybe more!  There was coughing and sneezing like I’ve never witnessed.  Patty and I were the first victims, followed by grandma, Patty’s aunt and anyone else breathing in the area.  It’s wasn’t that funny at the time, but looking back, it was pretty comical!!!

Today we’re planning on spending our day at Nicole’s house.  We offered to host the dinner in our condo clubhouse, but Nicole insisted that she and Joey can handle it at their house.  It’ s probably a good thing since we’re not sure how long Patty will last today.  This will be another Thanksgiving with the entire family!  We’re looking forward to the day!

So, what am I thankful for today?  I could say the traditional politically correct things by just saying I’m thankful for our health and family.  That’s too easy.  I look back over the past year and I’m thankful for a number of things… I’m thankful for the relationship I have with Patty!  I’m thankful of that because of the trials we’ve endured this year.  As tough as they’ve been, we’ve grown so much closer and stronger than I could have ever imagined.  I’m thankful that she is doing so well and we only have one more chemo to go!  I’m thankful that we were blessed with our second grandchild,  7 week old Avery.  She’s such a doll.  I’m thankful that our 1st grandchild, Mia, is with us on this holiday.  She is such a cutie and so smart!  I’m thankful that my daughter, Kristi, is pregnant with our 3rd grandchild!  We’re counting the days until he, or she, will come into this world.  I’m thankful to be living in San Diego again to be close to our family and friends, not just for today but everyday.  In that same note, I’m really really thankful that I don’t have to shovel snow or clear the driveway this Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for the geek that invented the internet.  Without it I would have never been able to start this blog and be able to share our journey with all our friends and family.  I’m thankful that we’re starting to look for a new house!  (Living in 708 square feet is killing us!)   And last but not least, I’m thankful that I have a pair of pants to wear today that are a little big that will allow me to have that 2nd helping of food and grow into them! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Today was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in San Diego.  Patty had registered herself and I on the website and planned to attend.  However, after the turn of events the last couple of days, plus Patty was is pretty fatigued today, we felt it best to stay home.  My daughter, Kristi, and her friend were going to meet us there as well as Patty’s sister, Dottie.  A few friends from work were also going.  They all went to represent  and support Patty. 

We watched part of the event on TV which was pretty moving.  There were over 18,000 people in attendance which is an incredible turnout!  Patty’s sister Dottie was funny… she emailed us pictures to us as the event progressed.  It was almost like we were there! 

This is the first email she sent:

 

Everyone was invited!

Pink was definitely the theme!

Pink everywhere!

 

The race started.

They’re going through Balboa Park.

Encouragement along the way!

Big hill at the end… looks like a lot of people are getting tired!

They finished!!!

We’re sorry we didn’t make it today as it was an event we’d planned for months!  But the :Adventures in Chemo”  had other plans.  Patty is wearing her “Race” shirt today!  It’s a “survivor” shirt!

We’ve already decided we’re doing it next year!  Patty says she’s going to run it!  Me… we’ll see.

El Dorado County ladies (and a couple guys) ROCK!!!

There are few times in your life when something or someone really touches your heart from a kind act where you’re absolutely speechless.  The only “speech”, per se, is to cry tears of humbling emotion. 

Patty and I moved from San Diego to Northern California in April of 2000.  She immediately went to work for the El Dorado County of Child Support Services in Placerville.  She had a great career with that department, quickly climbing the ladder from a supervisor position, to manager and finishing her career as the department’s program manager.  During that 10 year run, Patty, at one time or another, supervised pretty much everyone in the Placerville and South Lake Tahoe offices.  When I say “supervised” I really should say “touched” every person in those offices.  Just how much Patty “touched” those people was very evident when we opened yesterday’s mail…

I picked up yesterday’s mail like any other day.  I noticed a card mixed amongst the other mail, like bills and flyers from the local grocery stores.  There was nothing unusual about the card from the outside.  It was addressed to Patty with a return address from the El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services in Placerville.  I brought the mail in and divided the “Ed vs. Patty” mail, not  paying much attention to Patty as she went through her stack of mail while sitting on the couch.  Suddenly I heard her crying softly!  I asked if she was alright and she couldn’t talk as her eyes were focused on the card.  I walked over to comfort her but realized that she didn’t need comforting… all the comfort she needed was in that card!

The outside of the card was really cute!  It was shaped like a bra.  It read: 

Girlfriends are like a good bra –

always there to lift you up!

And this card indeed lifted her up!!!  It was signed by everyone from her old office, each person writing a small message to lift her spirits!  I’ll admit, when I saw the card and read what people wrote, I fought back tears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that wasn’t all… there were papers folded inside the card.  The office had a “Pink Party Day” as a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure which raises money for breast cancer education and research.

Below was the announcement that circulated the office:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people from the  El Dorado County Department of Child Support Services raised over $600.00 in Patty’s name to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty and I were so touched and humbled by the amazing effort this group went through to do this in Patty’s name!  You know how you may work at a place for a number of years, then you leave.  Maybe once in a great while after you’ve left, someone will ask: “Do you ever hear from so-and-so?” or:  “I wonder what ever happened to so-and-so?”  Or even once the person has left, that’s it.  Gone!  Not this office.  These people truly care about Patty and truly care about how she’s doing.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much this gesture means to Patty!  It’s all she talked about last night.  Some friends stopped by today and that card was the first thing she showed them!  I even heard her on the phone with Nicole and another call from her sister, Dottie, talking about how much this meant to her! 

The timing for this gift couldn’t have been any better!  As I’m sure you’re aware, Patty had her last chemo infusion this past Tuesday.  The side effects from this treatment came earlier and much stronger than usual.  The side effects knocked her down pretty hard yesterday.   Knowing that all her friends from the office did this for her really lifted her spirits and gave her some strength to get through the day!

Words can’t express what Patty, as well as I, feel.  (that’s unusual for me, since I’m rarely at a loss for words!)  For now, all I can say is YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

Thank you so much!!!

T.G.I.F.!!!

Patty and Nicole… Notice the “baby bump!”  She’s due any day now… the tummy is much bigger!

 

 

 

Thank God it’s Friday!  It’s been quite a week.   If someone would have told me six months ago that our life would be so upside-down right now, I’d tell them they were crazy!  Everything was going so well.  Patty retired.   We moved back to San Diego.  I found a great job.  The girls were both pregnant!  Wow… everything was falling into place.  Just when we were settling in and getting comfortable… God noticed and decided to wake us up and give us a challenge!  Challenges are good… keeps you on your toes!  Right? 

Monday was my last post.  In that post I was boasting how well Patty was doing from the last chemo infusion.  Last Saturday she was down for the count with fatigue.  Sunday, she was up and doing great.  But… Monday came here and the fatigue decided Patty wasn’t tired enough so he had his way with her.  She was down again for all of Monday and most of Tuesday.  She started getting her strength back on Wednesday and by the end of Thursday she was tired, but almost back to normal.  She’s been having little bouts with nausea but anti-nausea med’s seem to help quickly.  Today she seems to be doing great. 

Patty had an appointment with the Reconstruction Surgeon this past Tuesday.  He said everything was looking great other than the fact that the incision hasn’t healed 100%.  (it seems to be taking forever!)  The good thing is that he cleared her to start Jazzercise again, but low impact.  She’s ok with that.  But, since the incision isn’t 100% healed, he won’t let her use the pool!  Too bad since this week the weather has been in the mid to high 90’s with high humidity. 

We met with another Radiologist Oncologist yesterday.  He was very very thorough with us.  He used the paper that covers the exam table in the room as his drawing pad and gave us a Cancer 101 crash course!  He explained in layman’s terms everything one needed to know about breast cancer.  From how they find it, ultra-sound it, diagnose it, grade it, stage it, chemo it, radiate it… etc.  The bottom line in this appointment came at the end when he said: “In my opinion, you don’t need radiation therapy!”  That was great news and we’re happy Patty doesn’t need to extend her treatment any more than necessary.  If everything goes according to plan, December 14th will come around with her last chemo infusion then it’s back to healing and taking our lives off hold!  We pray that it stays that way! 

So, since Patty’s feeling pretty good today, and you know Patty, she jumped at the chance to go back to her love, Jazzercise!  She took a low impact class and absolutely loved it.  Everyone was really happy to see her back!  She then flew home, showered and met Nicole at the movies (some chick flick!)  She ran over to Kohl’s after the movie and bought a new pair of jeans (since she’s swimming in all her old jeans because she’s lost so much weight) and came home.

Speaking of weight… Patty’s probably lost about 20+ pounds over this whole ordeal.  She lost weight going through the initial diagnosis phase due to stress and anxiety.  Now she’s losing weight because her “taster” is all out of whack and food doesn’t taste good to her.  You’d think she’d stop losing weight with all the root beer floats and smoothies she’s consuming!  But, nope! 

Overall, the chemo is taking its toll on her, but once we’re at about 10 to 12 days into it following the infusion, she does great.  Her taster should start coming back by Sunday or Monday, then I’m going to do some serious cooking for her!