Friday, November 30, 2007

Today's Dr. Visit

What a long day. He was just supposed to get some blood drawn to get his counts. But as you know, he hasn't been feeling great lately. Horse, runny nose, etc. It's obvious he's been in pain at night lately because he SCREAMS when he's in bed. We give him some Oxycodone and he settles down. That means he's in pain. So we needed to talk to a doctor.

It turns out he just has a good ol' fashion cold. However, there's a small possibility that he has a sinus infection so they gave him some antibiotics just incase. Normally doctors wouldn't do this, but Andy's obviously a special case.

As for the pain, he's probably having some bone pain from chemo. It happens apparently. This chemo is pretty hard on marrow.

Andy's counts have already dropped and are on their way back up. His white blood cells are at around 6.5, give or take. A little below "normal" but he's on his way back up and in good shape. Nothing to worry about! Yay! This means we'll finally be able to see my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's new house. (they haven't had flu shots, so we've had to avoid contact)

While we were there, the social worker asked me if I want to go to the football game on Sunday, courtesy of Friends of Kids with Cancer. I think my response was something along the lines of, "Hell yeah! Oh wait. I mean yes if his counts are ok." His counts are ok. :)

Weird what some practicing will do. 2 weeks of doing regular guitar exercise (scales, etc.) and I'm already a better guitar player than I've ever been. It just took some real exercises to get me back on track, I kinda picked up where I left off years ago. Strange what 20 minutes a night can do.

Greg likes quiche.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sux

The only thing worse than having to give your baby a shot in the leg every night is having to give your baby a shot in the leg every night after hooking him up to his back of liquid nutrition because he can't eat.

At least there's no more TPN. But I hate having to give him a shot. And I hate that he's used to it and it doesn't really bother him anymore. And I hate that I'm used to giving it to him. I wish I still didn't know how to give sub-q shots. I wish I didn't know what sub-q means. I wish my 4-year-old didn't know what TPN is. I wish I didn't know what TPN is. I wish my baby didn't know to wear stethoscopes around his neck. I wish my 2-year-old didn't know that her little brother gets meds at the same time every night. I wish I didn't know the side effects of morphine on a baby. I wish I didn't know what Neupogin or Bactrim are. I wish I didn't know what a flush is, or heparin, or a hepalock for that matter. I wish I didn't know what a posiflow is. I wish my kids still thought of a hospital as a place for sick people. I wish my baby were still anxious around medical personnel. I wish I didn't know that chlorhydrate now causes a paradoxical reaction in my baby. I wish I didn't know what a paradoxical reaction is. I wish my baby didn't know what it mean to be taken to a treatment room. I wish I were still uncomfortable while walking into a treatment room. I wish I didn't know that my baby requires extra sedatives. I could go on and on.

But I digress.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What a Day, Redux

I think Andy's counts are dropping, despite being 12.3 yesterday. He's had a little runny nose lately, but now he's starting to feel like crap. He didn't eat much today, hasn't had a nap, and has spent a lot of time just crying and screaming.

Emma's been having problems with her hand today as well. She put her hand in a pot of boiling water over the weekend and has some pretty bad burns. Yes, it's the same hand she burnt on the oven a year ago.

The 11th dimension describes an infinite number of universes where infinite possibilities exist. That means that there is one parallel universe, at least, where Greg doesn't suck. Actually, that means there is an infinite number of universes where Greg doesn't suck. Or a better way of looking at it is that there is an infinite number of universes where Greg sux.

There is an infinite number of universes where Andy never had cancer.

Sad, tragic, about Sean Taylor. That's just horrible.

I like cashews.

Monday, November 26, 2007

*sings* I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

And I think it's gonna happen. Christmas eve falls on the first day of the third week of his last chemo cycle. This means his counts should be close to normal and we won't have to worry about them going back down.

We won't be able to make Julie's work's Christmas party or our Christmas party with Greg, Babs, Steve, and Dawn, but I think the rest of our Christmas traditions and family gatherings may stay intact! Andy's doctor seems optimistic as well.

In other news, the lead singer of Quiet Riot was found dead. I guess he won't be feeling the noise anymore. Maybe metal health drove him mad?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So Far So Good!

I think we'll be pretty much back to "normal" next week, unless his counts plummit which is very possible. It was like a light switch. He just flicked a switch and suddenly he's off Zofran (his nausea meds) and he's back to being our Andy.

He's back on Neupogin. That's the drug that attempts to keep his white blood cell counts up. The problem is that it's sub-Q. This means we have to give him a shot every night. It sucks. But it works.

We should be getting Christmas pics soon. We had a $100 gift card to Sears Portrait Studios that we used just before chemo started. I'll scan em and post em when we get em. I hate the word "em".

Through all of this I've heard from a lot of people. Not the least of which are a couple of people who I haven't talked to since high school. Well, a littl while at the reunion, but outside of that, ya know. Anyway, you know who you are, it's great to hear from you all again.

On other fronts, our Christmas tree is up. Not sure if I mentioned that or not. This year Emma is being reasonable but Andy is the one destroying the tree. Of course, the cow and horse are doing their share. (The cow is the mastiff and the horse is the lab / dane mix). Every time they get excited and their tails start wagging, they knock off a few ornaments. *sigh*

Speaking of which, I guess I should hang our garlic (that's Joey-ese for garland). I need to wrap some garlic around our bannister for that last little touch.

Have a good Sunday all!

M-I-Z..... (you fill in the blanks)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving 2007!

I was thinking today. I think this Thanksgiving would have been a lot different if Andy hadn't had his surgery yet. One thing that came up countless times over the last couple days is that I'm most thankful that Andy is now cancer-free. And I'm not the only one who has said it.

Our Thanksgiving was pretty good.

We're very traditional people when it comes to the holidays. It starts just before Halloween. Julie, me, the 3 kids, and Julie's family go to the pumpkin farm out in Chesterfield for our pumpkins, for horse rides, for the haunted maze, for the various playthings, and just for the fun of it. Then Halloween comes and goes.

Next thing ya know it's Thanksgiving. We go to her family's, eat "linner" (halfway between lunch and dinner), play some poker, and watch some football. Sometimes we hit a few golf balls around. But it's always at her mom & dad's.

Then we head to either my mom's or my aunt's (my mom's side). We hang out for a bit. Prior to last year we would then go to my stepdad's family's. Thanksgiving was a busy day.

Things changed a bit last year, but more on that later.

Unfortunately this year it was Thanksgiving at our house. Her mom and dad came over, as did my father. Unfortunately her sister and that dumbass Dweeze couldn't come over because they just got off a plane from their honeymoon. No fault of their own, but Andy's doctor wasn't too thrilled about the idea. You know how dirty airplane air can be.

And we didn't see my mom or my stepdad. Or my mom's family. Or my stepdad's family. I dunno, it's just weird.

Christmas will be pretty much the same. But at least there's next year.

In keeping with tradition, we managed to get the Christmas decorations, tree, and outside lights up today. All this while watching Christmas Vacation. And I listened again to hear that his face is not stapled to the carpet, it's sewn. (My dad and Greg will get it.)

Happy (late) Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Cute Anecdote

Julie came to the hospital yesterday to pick up Andy's puky blanket and clothes. She couldn't come in because Emma has a cold and we don't want her infecting other kids. It was a nice day so I brought Andy outside with me to meet her. Andy and I hung out at the curb and waited for the truck to show up.

When I opened the door to say hi to Joey & Emma, they both said hi to me and immediately started asking for Andy. It went kinda like this:

(open door)
Me: Hi Joey! Hi Emma!
Joey: Daddy! Where's Andy?
Emma: Daddy! Neendy? Neendy?
Joey: Can we see Andy?
Emma: Neendy!

(I go get Andy)
Joey: Hi Andy! Hi baby boy!
Emma: Hi Neendy! Neendy! What hell doin? (the last part is kinda my fault)
Andy: (baby squeal)

My kids love their siblings. I'm enjoying it now because I know in a few years they'll hate each other. :)

An Interesting Hospital Stay

There have been a few unique things about this hospital stay. First and foremost, his attitude has been better. Andy's spirits have generally been pretty high. This is unusual.

Secondly, he's been eating. It's slowing down a bit because of chemo, but for the first time he's actually eating within the walls of this hospital.

He finally puked from chemo. Yeah, that really sucked and was kinda hard to handle, emotionally. But when it happened I paged the nurse and before I could even start to get him cleaned up, they had him and his room completely cleaned up and puke free. They're experts at this kinda thing I guess.

While his spirits are up, he's very very clingy and needy right now. This chemo is being pretty mean to him. Probably because 1) he was actually healty pre-chemo and 2) he's not used to it anymore.

Unfortunately this means I haven't been able to put in any hours at work, but it's ok. I could use the time off anyway. :)

Chemo is 11:30 - 3:30 today, then we should be going home afterward. Yay!

More later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks to be Given

Screw all the bad stuff, here's what I'm most thankful for this year, in no particular order:


  • We have a huge support network in our time of need.
  • I have a close-knit family who cares about me and my kids.
  • I have a close-knit extended yet highly dysfunctional family in Al, Joe, Tom, Ken, Scott, Diane, Dean, Debra, Don, David, Joe, and Kevin. (yes, these are my coworkers)
  • I have health insurance.
  • I have exceptional health insurance.
  • We're at Cardinal Glennon where the service is truly exceptional.
  • I was able to spend so many loving years with my grandfather and learn a lot from him.
  • My dad's face is stapled to the carpet.
  • Joey and Emma have not only been very strong through all of this, they have really stepped it up a notch.
  • My stepdad hasn't crapped in the bathroom in Andy's hospital room.
  • My son is in the hands of doctors, nurses, techs, cooks, greeters, housekeepers, clinical engineers, IT professionals, maintenance workers, CEOs, secretaries, volunteers, med students, nurse practicioners, social workers, managers at all levels, dock workers, and many others who all care about him and want to see him get better.
  • In particular, my son is in the hands of doctors and nurses who see him regularly and treat him as if he were their own son.
  • Julie and I both have jobs and managers that have been extremely flexible through this whole ordeal.
  • Greg quit eating cow patties.
  • We have friends who go out of their way on an almost daily basis to help us during this fiasco even though they have zero obligation.
  • I'm married to Julie.
  • Andy's tumor is OUT!



These are just a few things I could think of off the top of my head.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So This is What It's Like

For 3 months and 10 days I've been seeing kids come into the hospital for their inpatient chemo, post-surgery. The kids are glowing and the parents are happy but exhausted / stressed. They know they are cancer-free and are almost out of the woods.

I now know what it feels like to be one of those parents.

Andy has been great today. Think back a month or two to when Andy had a similar day that started at 6:00am and ended late in the evening with only a 1-hour nap. Remember how bad it was? The screaming? Same thing today, only no screaming. He was generally happy today once we got to the 4th floor. He knew where we were, but things were different. He doesn't know why, but he knows things are different.

Everybody is commenting on his appearance and his attitude, both of which are so much better than even last time we were here. You know how I've mentioned he likes to be pushed around in the little car? How he never smiles but is content? Today he was laughing, giggling, smiling, and just thrilled to be pushed around in that car. He was acting the way a 15-month-old baby should act in that situation.

Speaking of that car, Julie saw it in the paper on sale and asked me if I wanted to get it for him for Christmas. My first thought was "Yes!" My second thought was that I never want to see that car again as long as I live. Yeah it makes him happy, but... the circumstances.

At around 7:30 or so Andy was dead tired but the nurses were giving report. After shift change the new nurse needs to get his vitals, so no point in letting him go to sleep. So I took him out of the room for a bit. A mother stopped me and asked, "Oh no, does he have cancer too?" Her daughter is 8 months old and has brain cancer. It felt good to say, "Yeah. Wait. No! Not anymore!" I felt a bit guilty for having said it, but it was too late, it came out. But yeah, it did feel good to say that he no longer has cancer.

When I take Andy to the Costas Center or bring him to the 4th floor, I notice that I'm one of the few dads. And when there are dads, mom is usually there too. Someone pointed it out to me one time and my response was, "Yeah, I'm here. Mommy gets the difficult job." I said this at a time when Andy was feeling crappy and screaming. But yeah, actually, this is the easy job compared to what Julie's going through at home with Joey, Emma, and running the household all by herself. Hats off to Mommy!

Another random thought. Emma's been having nightmares. 6 months ago I would have been paranoid and begun asking myself, "What am I doing wrong as a parent that's giving her nightmares?" Not anymore. Many nurses and doctors have observed mine and Julie's parenting. I know because I've seen them paying close attention. I get the feeling that they think I may be a bit too hard on Joey, but outside of that, they approve. I no longer worry about mine or Julie's parenting skills. I now know that as long as we keep doing what we're doing, then we're doing a good job.

That too, is a good feeling.

The thing that sucks about it is that in order to be a good parent, I haven't been as good of a friend, son, brother, cousin, godfather, nephew, or grandson as I'd like to be. You win some you lose some.

I'm tired. I'm gonna go lie down and break my back. I sure won't miss sleeping in the hospital, that's for sure!

Nite all.

P.S. Barry you're a jackass. (Barry & Missey, hug those rugrats for me.)

What a Day

We arrived at the hospital at 7:25am for the audiogram. By about 8:15 or so, he finally had the chlorohydrate in him. Even though it was obvious that he was ready to crash, he just wouldn't go to sleep. He cried and thrashed around. He was extremely agitated. He finally fell asleep around 8:45. By 9:30 he woke up and was again extremely agitated. This pretty much put an end to the audiogram.

We then proceeded to get an echocardiogram to get a baseline of his heart's strength. He was too agitated for the echo.

Around 10:30 or so we went to the cafeteria to get him something to eat. He devoured a bananna. That seemed to have helped. Back to get his echo, this time it worked.

Finally at around 2:00 we made it to 4301. He's passed out now and will probably be out for hours. They may try to do another hearing test while he's out.

Cisplatin today, but they're cutting back the dose. In order to be able to do this, they've added a different chemo drug. Yeah, the one that has a small chance of leukemia. It also has a chance of weakening the heart, hence the echo.

We should be home by Wednesday. Andy's counts will probably be up for Thanksgiving, but they will soon drop which means we probably won't be around doing the family thing over Thanksgiving.

Don't forget the rules. If you're sick, stay away. If you've been sick, stay away. If you've been around anyone who's sick, stay away. If your kids have been around anyone who's sick, stay away. IF YOU HAVEN'T HAD A FLU SHOT, STAY AWAY!

This new chemo drug lowers his counts even more than Cisplatin so we're going to be extra vigilant. Yes, family, this means we probably won't see any of you for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Two more chemo cycles (including the one that starts today), then he's done with chemo. He'll be on magnesium gluconate for a few weeks afterward and Bactrim for another 6 months or so. But that's it! He'll get his AFP counts taken once a month and CT scans every 3 months. After a year or so, this will back off and he'll just be coming into the clinic once a year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Rams Won Again!

I'm floored.

Twenty Twenty Twenty Six Hours to Go

I wanna be sedated.

26 hours from now we'll be at the hospital. We'll be in for 3 days of chemo. Thanksgiving is still up in the air. If Andy's counts are okay, we should be able to have Julie's family over to the house. If not, then it's just the Kelleys this Thanksgiving.

A friend of ours gave Andy a couple t-shirts a couple weeks ago. One says, "My Dad Rocks". It is, of course, my favorite shirt.

I've picked up the guitar again. I never really put it down, but I've decided to finally continue my learning after about 15 years of pretty much staying where I was. I picked up the Guitar Grimoire Exercise Book. Been doing the scale thing. I can already feel a difference. The good thing about the guitar is that you can practice anywhere and as long as you're not plugged in, you're not gonna annoy anyone.

Joey seems to really like the drums, Emma seems to really like the guitar. Maybe that means Andy will sing?

Halftime and the Rams are winning. Go figure.

Friday, November 16, 2007

CT Scan Results, Misc Stuff

Andy's doctor was happy with the results of the CT scan. The tumor is gone, as are his lung nodules.

Audiogram Monday at 7:30, followed by admission. He'll get a different type of chemo this time around, with less hearing loss. A possible side effect, unfortunately, is leukemia. Yeah, leukemia. Less than a 5% chance, but still...

Cancer sucks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Answers to your Questions

1) Yes, everyone needs to get the flu shot. Ok, maybe not everyone, but Andy's parents, brother, sister, and grandparents need the flu shot. He has a supressed immune system. I'm not taking any chances this year, so if you haven't had a flu shot, you don't get to see Andy once chemo starts.

2) The biopsy from the surgery was negative.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

(Offtopic) Gift Cards with a Cause

Gift Cards - Just in Time for the Holidays!!!

This is great! Here is a HUGE list of retailers who will donate an average of 4% to SIDS Resources when you purchase a gift card from Lori at SIDS Resources!!! To order a gift card from the retailer of your choice, simply contact Lori or Paul at SIDS Resources at 314-822-2323.

The program will go on as long as there is a demand!!! Share this with your friends! Many are probably already considering purchasing gift cards from these retailers as gifts for the holidays!!! Please allow about 10 days processing time to receive your cards.

Together We’re Better, Inc.
Merchant List

GROCERY STORES
Dierberg’s: $25, $100
Shop ‘n’ Save: $5, $10, $25, $50, $100

MISCELLANEOUS
AMC Theatres: $7
Baskin Robbins: $2
Blockbuster: $10, $25
Exxon / Mobil: $50
Honey Baked Ham: $25
Marriott: $50

RESTAURANTS
Acapulco (El Torito): $25
Annie Gunn: $10
Applebee’s: $20
Bahama Breeze (Red Lobster): $25
Bartolino’s: $25
Bennigan’s (Metromedia Restaurant Group): $10
Bonanza Steakhouse (Metromedia Restaurant Group): $10
Braxton (Houlihan’s Seafood Group): $20
Bristol Bar & Grill (Houlihan’s Seafood Group): $20
Buffalo Wild Wings: $10, $25
Burger King: $5
California Pizza: $25
Cannoli’s: $10
Casa Gallardo (El Torito): $25
Cheesecake Factory: $25
Chequer’s Bar & Grill (Houlihan’s Seafood Group): $20
Chevy’s Tex Mex: $25
Chili’s: $20
Chris’s Pancakes & Dining: $10
Corner Bakery CafĂ© (Chili’s): $25
Cracker Barrel: $10
Devons Bar & Grill (Houlihan’s Seafood Group): $20
El Paso Cantina (El Torito): $25
El Torito: $25
Guadala Harry’s (El Torito): $25
¡Hola! Amigos (El Torito): $25
Houlihan’s: $20
Imo’s Pizza: $20
J. Buck’s Restaurant: $10
KFC: $5
Maggiano’s Little Italy (Chili’s): $20
Metromedia Restaurant Group: $10
O’Charley’s: $25
Old Country Buffet: $25
Olive Garden (Red Lobster): $10
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina (Chili’s): $20
Outback Restaurants: $25
Panera Bread: $10
Papa John's: $25
Pasta House: $10
Pizza Hut: $10
Ponderosa Steakhouse (Metromedia Restaurant Group):$10
Qdoba: $25
Red Lobster: $10
Red Robin: $10
Romano’s Macaroni Grill (Chili’s): $20
Smokehouse Market (Annie Gunn):$10
Smokey Bones (Red Lobster): $10
St. Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread): $10
Starbucks: $10
TGI Fridays: $10
Yacovelli’s: $10

RETAIL STORES
B. Dalton (Barnes & Noble): $10, $25
Babies R Us (Toys R Us): $25
Banana Republic (Gap): $25
Barnes & Noble: $10, $25
Bass Pro: $25
Bath & Body Works: $10, $20
Bed, Bath & Beyond: $25
Borders: $10, $25
Eddie Bauer: $25
Famous Barr (Macy's): $25, $50, $100
Gaffney’s Sporting Goods: $10
Gap: $25
Gart Sports (Sports Authority): $25
Gordman's: $25
Home Depot: $25, $50, $100, $1000
Imaginarium (Sports Authority): $25
JC Penney: $25
Kids R Us (Toys R Us): $25
Kmart: $25
Land’s End: $25
Linens N Things: $25
Lord & Taylor (Famous Barr): $25, $50, $100
Lowe’s: $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $1000
Macy's: $25, $50, $100
Office Depot: $25
Old Navy (Gap): $25
Oshman’s (Sports Authority): $25
Payless Shoes: $10
Pier One: $25
Sears: $25
Sports Authority: $25
Sportsmart (Sports Authority): $25
Toys R Us: $10, $25
Waldenbooks (Borders): $10, $25
Walgreens: $10, $25
White Barn (Bath & Body): $20

Some of these merchants may be offered on a combined card. In these cases, we have listed the merchant followed by the main merchant listed on their card. Please use this name in parentheses when ordering. Thank You!

Chemo Next Week

Andy had his CT scan today. They'll call with the results. We're assuming everything will be negative.

Andy will have an audiogram on Monday. After the audiogram, he'll go on up to the 4th floor to be admitted for 3 days for chemo. This means we'll be out Wednesday, just in time for Thanksgiving.

He'll probably get a different kind of chemo that causes less damage to hearing. Leukemia is a possible side effect of the new chemo drug. Yeah, I know. However, it's a very very slim chance. I told the doctor to do whatever she feels is best.

In either event, he'll get chemo Monday.

Thanksgiving... I dunno. I'm really thinking we should just take it easy and not expose Andy to anyone unless 100% absolutely necessary. It's that time of year, ya know. There will be plenty more Thanksgivings.

Greg, watch out for the Vietnamese LSD they're putting in Munchos. It's heavy stuff, making you think of your life in terms of thumbnails or something like that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back from Baraboo, WI

I've been in good ol' Baraboo, WI the last couple of days. That drive sucks. Speed limit 65 all the way. It was unseasonably warm in WI, which I'm not complaining about of in on.

Andy seems pretty much recovered. CT scan tomorrow, I have a feeling chemo will start this week. I kinda hope not because that's 3 days inpatient and I want to spend some time at home.

So I was thinking. If one year was represented as a grain of sand, my entire life would be as long as my thumb nail. To go back to when the Great Pyramid was built would be about the length of a baseball bat. Heck, all of human history would be less than half the length of a football field. And I'm not talking about Mesopotamia, I'm talking about 200,000 years ago when homo sapiens first appeared.

So if all of humanity can be summed up in less than half the length of a football field, the dinosaurs first appeared about 30 miles away. The continent of Pangea existed about 135 miles away. The earth was formed 570 miles away. So one year is a grain of sand, my life is the length of a thumbnail, and the earths' history is the distance from St. Louis to Chicago and back again!

All of existence as we know it, that is, the universe, was born 1700 miles away. That's almost the distance from St. Louis to LA.

To reiterate, if the entire length of the existence of the universe were 500 years, humans would have existed for 3 days, and my life would last just over a second. What's a second in 500 years of history and possibly thousands more? Heck, what's 3 days in 500 years?

This post brought to you courtesy of 1) Google, and 2) Free Time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

OMFG They Won!

The Rams actually won today. And they looked pretty good doing it. What's worse is that because they're in the crappy NFC West, they actually have a shot at making the playoffs. lol

We just finished eating some excellent stew, courtesy of my aunt. We're getting ready to tear into dessert! Yummy! Thank you for the dinner, it was excellent!

Emma's in a mood this evening. Go figure. Andy, too, is in a mood. We're stopping with the heavy spoiling and he's not liking it.

Don't forget Andy's CT scan is Wednesday. Can't wait to see what it looks like!

My aunt & uncle, Greg's mom & dad, are both very nice, respectable people. They're fun to be around, have a great sense of humor, and are generally good people. Greg's brother? Pretty much the same. So what went wrong with Greg? I have a theory about this.

In the early 1970s the government tested a top secret chemical on a random sampling of kids by spiking Munchos. Greg, unfortunately, was one of the unlucky kids who sampled the spiked Munchos. Greg's foul smell, secret fantasies about Patrick Roy, and general idiocy are no fault of his own. He was the victim of a government experiment that went terribly wrong.

It's true, ask my aunt.

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Picture

I changed Andy's picture. I took the old picture as a "before" and put a new picture as an "after". Maybe it's because I'm dad, but I think it is an extremely powerful picture. The change from innocent baby boy to a baby who knows something is certainly the definition of a picture is worth a thousand words....

Ok, well, here's a larger copy of that pic.

Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car

I really miss the Wiggles. Joey still likes the Wiggles but has outgrown is real hardcore fascination with them. Emma is more into the Backyardigans than the Wiggles. The Wiggles will no longer be touring because Greg has some health issues. I'm depressed. I love the Wiggles, and I'm not afraid to admit it. When I took Joey to see the Wiggles a couple years ago, I was just as excited as he was, and I wasn't the only dad there who was excited to see them.

Now Spongebob, Diego, and Jimmy Neutron are more important than Greg, Murray, Anthony, and Jeff.

I know how to play more than a couple Wiggles songs on the guitar.

My name is Dan and I miss the Wiggles.

It's 9:00am and Andy hasn't had pain Oxycodone since 10:00pm last night. He's very fussy right now but he's still not going to get Oxycodone. I don't think he's in pain right now, I think he's just spoiled fussy baby.

I'm going to go into the office today. There's a few things I need to get done. I really miss my office. I love my job and the people I work with. Sure I work from home but it's not the same without the companionship.

Who knows Strats? I want to dump my bridge and neck position pickups on my Strat Mexico. They're single coil pieces of crap. As far as single coils go, they're not bad, I just don't like singles. I'd like to replace them with humbuckers, stacked or not, it shouldn't matter. Thing is, I don't want to lose that unique Strat sound. Suggestions? Of course this won't happen any time soon, but it's good to dream.

Toot toot chugga chugga big red car,
We'll travel near and we'll travel far.
Toot toot chugga chugga big red car,
We're gonna drive the whole day long!

Yes, I love the Wiggles.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Love Mountain Dew [Updated]

Tomorrow (Friday) is my mom's birthday. Everyone say happy birthday mom!

Monday I'm going to Baraboo, WI for work.

Wednesday Andy has a CT scan. I guess we'll talk about chemo. I would assume he'll either start late next week or sometime the following week.

Audiogram is 11/19.

We're gonna try to get as much Christmas shopping done as possible. We FINALLY received our first bill for all the little $25 copayments. We wanna get Christmas taken care of before we get nickle and dimed to death by the flood of these bills. But that's why we've been keeping money to the side, so we'll come out of this on top, with a lot of help from all you. You all know who you are. THANK YOU!

Speaking of coming out on top, I'm trying to figure out why I'm not feeling better about everything. I know I'm still a little screwey from losing Grandpa, but my son is cancer-free, or at worst almost cancer-free. Why am I not happy? Maybe it will just take him being 100% done before I'm better. Or maybe I'm scarred for life.

Andy's hair is starting to grow back. It's coming in completely blond, so you can't really tell unless you're up close. He will receive enough chemo to make the bulk of it fall back out though.

He ate very well at dinner last night. Not so well tonight, but still better than a couple days ago.

Student loans suck. Damn masters degrees and their lack of scholarships.

Like Joey at her age, Emma's favorite show is the Simpsons. She LOVES it when 6:00 comes around and the Simpsons come on channel 30. Joey too.

What's the difference between Chris Crocker and Greg? A webcam. That's it.

** UPDATE: I just learned that Loogie ate an entire section of fence today. You know the 5' or 6' sections of vinyl fence? Yep!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Nice Evening

Today was a little crazy. It was a rough morning. I'm really lacking in the energy department now. I slept like a log last night. Apparently between Emma and Andy, Julie was up all night. I didn't even know it.

I had a meeting this afternoon at one of the hospitals. I was fortunate enough to have been paged out of the meeting. Unfortunately it was to take Andy to his surgeon's office. However, it turned out to not be a big deal. He was pulling out some stitches. He snipped the stitch and put a steri-strip over it. Problem solved.

I came home to find that one of my neighbors brought us some DELICIOUS food! Thank you! You know who you are. I'll leave you anonymous unless you want to say hello. :) We really appreciate not having to deal with having to prepare dinner with all that's going on. It's that much more energy that can be devoted to Andy.

I got my Nexium tonight! Yay! The acid problem is really contributing to my lack of energy. It's also making it next to impossible to exercise. As I breathe heavy and as I make continus walking or cycling motions, the acid bounces around and goes into my lungs. It REALLY hurts.

My mom & stepdad came by tonight. It was nice to see them.

If you know me you know that I tend to not really spoil my kids much. I leave that to the grandparents. However, I've been spoiling Andy. I noticed tonight that when he makes the slightest move like he wants to be picked up, I pick him up. I didn't do this with Joey or Emma. This ends tomorrow! I swear it ends tomorrow! :)

Hey Dweeze, you tall SOB, I need your help changing the battery in my kitchen smoke alarm. Get yer azz over here! (I have 12' ceilings and no step ladder)

I was thinking about Andy's chemo which should begin either next week or the week after. Considering 'tis the season to get sick, I'm going to be extra cautious once chemo starts. So if you want to see Andy, now's the time.

Greg is still teh sux.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Tale of Two Shitties

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

There was a girl with a loud mouth on the throne of Baby Sister and a boy with a grave sickness on the throne of Baby Brother. What they both had in common was a big stinky brother named Joey.

And that's pretty much where my parallel to the classic novel ends.

Having Irish Twins is tough. It's even more difficult with what's going on with Andy. Emma is in the prime of her terrible twos and Andy is recovering from major surgery. It's absolutely insane around here. When you think about how bad the terrible twos can be on a parent, that's pretty much Emma. Every kid is different. Some are easier at this age than others. Emma just happens to be one of the more difficult at this age. But we love her anyway. :)

52 years ago on November 6, 1955 it was one day after Doc Brown had a nasty fall in his bathroom, only to awaken to an image of the flux capacitor, which is what makes time travel possible. In real life, however, my grandfather was my age and was in a very similar kid situation. Granted his youngest didn't have cancer, but... I don't really know where I'm going other than if he did it I can do it. However, he went on to have two more kids. I won't.... unless we win the lottery and can add some rooms to the house. :)

I had a dream last night that I went back to work part time at Todd Uniform, which was my first real job. I'll leave it at that. It was a weird dream.

Everyone say hi to my cousin Barry, the newest reader. Hi Barry! You're not a Chiefs fan now, are you? If you are, then you're an ass.

Andy needs his meds now and Emma is on the counter. I'd better go.

I expect Andy to sleep almost all the way through the night tonight, by the way.

Recovery Continues

Andy's recovering well. Some hours are better than others. Pain is still an issue, but it's getting better every day. He's still not eating very well. He's just having a rough time right now.

Joey and I have dentist appointments today. Lemme tell ya just how excited I am.

Joey & Emma get their flu shots today. I've been harassing Joey about it for a few days now. :)

Andy is crying for no reason. Now seems like a good time to make Emma mad just for the fun of it.

Greg is teh sux

Monday, November 5, 2007

First Night Home

Andy's first night home was about like his nights in the hospital. He woke up every 4 hours. Fortunately Julie got up with him this time. I guess I'll get up with him tonight.

This morning is going about like any other morning recently. He was awake for a while, got fussy and tired, and went back to bed.

Emma is getting mad because mommy won't let her pick her nose and eat it.

Joey is looking through the Target toy catalog saying what he wants for Christmas. Every page he says, "I want that, that, that, that, that, that, and that." *turn page* "I wnt that, that, that, that that, that, that, and that." repeat ad nauseum.

Andy's appointment is today at 11:00. I'm not sure what it's for, but I'd say there's a 50% chance we won't be coming home. I dunno, we'll see.

I need to go shoot a 2-year-old. More later.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Loogie

We used to have a dog named Louie. At some point his name turned into Loogie. He's half chocolate lab, half american bulldog. Yeah, he's bred to be dumb. He's very dumb. Stupid, stupid dog. It's no fault of his, though, he's just bred that way.

We gave him to my dad. The dog has an eating problem. Not a chewing problem, an eating problem. He eats everything. We couldn't handle him anymore. Here's a short list of things he's eaten since he's lived with my dad: Forks, a pound of butter, a pair of levis (no joke), a bottle of Ritalin, a mole, pot, a bottle of Tylenol PM, a remote control, a phone cord, a MasterCard, a huge chunk of a sofa, a house key, a trash can, the bible, 3 blankets, 2 belts, and one belt buckle.

No, the above is not an exaggeration. And no, he didn't just chew this stuff, he actually ate it, processed it, and passed it. Imagine how that back yard looked after he ate the pound of butter! Wrappers and all. He ate everything.

He's poisoned himself countless times and has had his intestines blocked a couple times.

The dog is dumb.

Every time my dad brings him to the house, Cooper and Gracie pounce on him and just beat the ever loving crap out of him. Poor Loogie.

Probably Going Home

Hard to believe, but we're probably going home today. They've taken him off morphine and put him on oxycodone. Unless he needs more morphine, he'll be discharged this afternoon.

He's still not eating very well and is iffy on the bottles, but that's okay. He's getting a little better every day.

A random neuron just fired. I was just thinking of one time a few weeks ago when I heard some commotion coming from the boys' room around 9:30 or so, long after Andy was in bed. I went upstairs and peeked in. Joey had jumped in Andy's crib. I was about to raise a stink with him then I watched what he was doing. He adjusted his TPN bag so that Andy had more room. He then covered Andy in his blanket, and gave him a kiss on the cheek, followed by, "G'night monster man!" (Monster man is one of Andy's nicknames). All this he did very carefully so as not to wake up his brother.

Tell me that's not mature for a 4-year-old.

Thank you all for the kind comments over the last few days. Now someone comment and tell me how the Lithium show was? Wondering if my baby sister Lauren was there?

I second Greg's prediction in that there is no way the Rams will lose today.

The big game today... Since the chowder heads aren't home, I'm only gonna take them by 3 points instead of 10. I'll take the Patriots to beat the Colts 27-24.

I'm gonna go take a nap while Andy's passed out. Still no energy. I'm really pissed at the insurance company about the Nexium thing. Well, they'll pay for it even more later if I have to have surgery.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Random Thoughts

The president of Iran is a smug terrorist bastard who needs to hang next to Saddam. May he burn in hell for all eternity. They should have waxed him when he was in New York wanting to visit ground zero.

Andy knows something's wrong with him. Of course he knows he's special, but I think it goes beyond that. Some of the knowing looks he's given me over the last few months. He doesn't deserve this. No kid deserves this.

Emma now knows there's something wrong with Andy. I talked to her earlier. She said, "Daddy Andy? Daddy Andy doctor?" She's made references to "Andy doctor" quite a few times over the last couple of weeks.

I don't know what I'd do without Julie. I was so happy to have her here with us last night. Just like when I have to travel for work, I really hate being away from her.

Greg needs to come out of the closet.

Purell kicks ass. So does Germ-X

I want one more Jay & Silent Bob movie. Just one.

The 4th floor nurses rock. They really go out of their way every day. I don't see how they do it. It takes a special kind of person I guess.

Andy smiled today for the first time since before surgery.

Bonemeal is a cool word. So is bonecrusher.

Not a Bad Day

Last night my mom went over to the house and stayed with Joey & Emma. Julie came up to the hospital and stayed with Andy and me. When he woke up during the night Julie told me that she had him and to go back to sleep. That was very nice.

Andy and I slept a lot today. When my GERD acts up, it sucks the energy out of me, and it's acting up. My doctor wrote a prescription for Nexium that the insurance company is refusing to fill. So we have to fight that fiasco. In the meantime I'm in pain and have no energy.

Andy's been more alert today than the last couple of days. He's down to .5mg doses of morphine every 3 hours or so. Not too bad really, considering that on day 1 he was 1mg every hour.

They took him off fluids for a bit to take a wagon ride, which really took a lot out of him. My mom came up and pushed him around for a bit in the wagon. We were at the front entrance when we saw a redhead with two brats walking in. It just happened to be my wife and my brats that were coming in. It was a nice surprise.

I played with Joey & Emma in the play room for a while. They're fun kids.

With any luck we'll be outta here tomorrow. I have a feeling that if we're not out of here tomorrow it will be Monday for sure. That would be great. I'm really looking forward to having a couple weeks without chemo, surgery, cancer, etc. It will be a nice time for a while.

Not a whole lot new going on.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pain, Pain Go Away!

Actually, instead of going away, it would be nice if I could just channel Andy's pain somewhere else, like maybe Brocksmith's left butt cheek. That would be funny. Every time Andy wakes up from a morphine daze Brocksmith's left butt cheek starts hurting like mad.

Pain management is still an issue. His port is being a pain in the butt so sometimes morphine isn't getting to him as fast as we'd like. He's handling it real well though, all things considered.

Andy was running a fever yesterday, which is apparently very common in kids after a major surgery. So far there is nothing to worry about. The chest x-ray was negative, blood cultures are negative thus far.

Andy's post-surgery puffiness is going away slowly but surely. He's starting to look like our Andy again. With any luck we'll be outta here early next week.

Last night was another rough night. He woke up a few times. From 11:00pm until 11:00am I wound up getting in a total of 8 hours. I'm good for the day. I'm gonna take a little catnap after I post this. Andy's generally sleeping when he's not in pain. That's fine, it just means he's healing.

Nurses, doctors, everyone is taking great care of him and doing their best to keep him comfortable.

I'm tired.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thought Process

Funny how things change.

A few weeks ago, you'll recall we were scheduled for a hearing test. The results of that hearing test on Monday coupled with a CT scan on Friday would determine the course of the following few weeks and possibly the course of Andy's life. There were many possible combinations of results and permutations. Someone asked me if I stopped to figure it all out.

Now to back up a bit. Ok, back up a lot. Look at my grandfather. He worked for a certain branch of the DoD and the only way he could have moved higher in the food chain was by presidential appointment and he wanted nothing to do with DC poliics. He was very successful. He made more in retirement than most people do while working. He was very well-respected. He didn't get that way by waiting for things to come to him. When he needed to know something, dammit, he got his answers. When something needed to change, dammit, he made it change. I've adopted this particular attitude. Of course, that attitude carries over to things beyond work.

So six months ago, I would have had to stop and figure out all of this in my head right up front and tried my hardest to grasp for answers along with everything else that was going on at the time. Basically, I would have lost my grip on reality by the end of the first few weeks of this.

At some point over the first few days after Andy's diagnosis, things changed. My thought process changed. I take in news and I no longer try to figure everything out at once.

Drums.

Think back a few posts and you'll realize I came to a realization while banging on the drums. Whether it's playing the drums, riding my bike, or YouTubing, I go into it now with a few general thoughts in my mind. I don't know how, but these thoughts are processed while I'm focusing on trying to get that beat sounding just right, pushing myself that extra mile, or just goofing off looking at others' sick sense of humor.

Rather than force myself to figure things out, I let them figure themselves out.

Guess what? It works. Yeah. I don't know how, but it works.

Going back to a few weeks ago when there was a lot to figure out as to what would result from the combination of the hearing test and the CT scan, I managed to get it all straight in my head after a couple hours of drumming.

The human mind is a very strange thing. It's weird how focusing on making certain connections in the brain can help align other unrelated connections. But yeah, it's weird.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Jason & Amy, how's parenthood treating you? Sleeping yet? Didn't think so.

Out of PICU (deja vu) [Updated]

It seems I've made a post called "Out of PICU" before. :)

Andy's stay in the PICU has come to an end. We're in 4307. We had a pretty rough night. Aside from the non-stop "beep beep beep beep beep beep" of the monitors, he was in pain a lot last night. Sleep for 30 minutes, wake for 30 minutes, sleep for 30 minutes, wake for 30 minutes, etc. Finally around 4:30 we were able to sleep for about 4 hours.

I forgot how in tune a parent can become with a kid under certain situations. At one point at around 3:00am or so, I told his nurse he's in pain. He wasn't showing many signs and she probably didn't realize it, but he was. She gave the knowing smile and started morphine. Doctors and nurses often ask the parents what they think and they never second guess the parents. If I say he's in pain, they go straight to pain meds with 100% trust in my judgement. Strange how that goes.

I'm not quite sure how to feel. I'm thrilled that the tumor is out, but I'm also scared. I'm afraid that if I get too happy about things that I'll get pimp slapped again. That's how things go. I guess I'll wait until this is 100% behind us before I get too happy.

So they took out almost half of Andy's liver and his gall bladder. You should see his belly, how small it is now. It's weird. It's also weird that his liver is functioning normally. It would continue to function normally down to 25%. Yeah, that means they could have removed 3/4 of his liver if necessary. Remember at the beginning when I said that if he has to have cancer, it's good that it's in his liver? This is why.

I'm exhausted. Andy's starting to get fussy. I'm gonna settle him down and take a nap.

4307. Dunno how long we'll be here.

Update: I forgot to mention that all the tubes are out. The two IVs in his ankle are out, the arterial line in his arm is out, the tube in his nose is out, and the catheter is out. He's getting fluids and morphine through his port. He's been running fevers, but they don't seem too concerned with it. They're giving him morphine and Tylenol. I would assume Benadryl will be added to the mix because he's starting to itch from the morphine.