Friday, January 30, 2009

A Date with Dr Sheehan

It's been a cold winter and we had to wimp out a couple of days, put our snowshoes down, and go to the gym. Sabine is seen here doing the "strider." I'm usually on the exercise bike in a fantasy world of CNN news and thinking about the Tour de France.

We met with Dr Sheehan this week and went over the "numbers" -- free lambda light chains -- that are the cancer markers. Every 6 week period since spring they have gone up about 50% -- we started with 10,800 of those buggers and after four rounds of chemotherapy they went down to around 100... then 200... then 400 and now we are at 600 and it looks like time for chemotherapy again.

Instead of the Velcade/Dexamethasone combination we probably will be prescribing a Thalidomide/Dex combination. They are both oral drugs and we will know better after the next four week period (in which we get a reprise to find some warm weather)!

Also during this reprise we will be consulting with the Access Clinic in a couple of weeks to schedule Sabine's arm surgery that will bring her connected veins closer to the surface of her arm so that can be a workable dialysis site (a fistula). This surgical procedure will be more complex than the past attempts. The surgical incision will be a lot larger in order to pull this vein-artery connection closer to the surface of her arm. It will also require a general anesthesis and an overnight stay in the hospital. We will let you all know of those dates when we get them.

In the meantime, Sabine has been doing very well. We knew one of these months she would be back on chemo and are thankful for the chemo-free months we have had since last spring!

We are also scheduled to teach the Marriage Course at the Lutheran Church in Mazomanie beginning Thursday, February 19th and for the following six Thursdays. We enjoy teaching the course and are looking forward to passing it on to some young couples in the area who then can continue to offer the course. After all, one very positive (and Christian) thing churches could do would be to help couples strengthen their marriages!

Peace and love to all of you. Keep warm. And remember to "pay it forward!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter, winter, winter...

We have had a lot of snow this year -- great for our snowshoeing and skiing pursuits!

We also had a minus 27 a week or so ago -- that's cold!

We are approaching the 6 week intermission between visits with our cancer doc and are anxiously awaiting the "numbers." We meet with Dr Sheehan next Wednesday.

Sabine's arm, though large, is showing good signs. If all is going well she will have another surgery sometime in March to bring the vein up for "button-holing" the fistula site.

All in all, Sabine has been feeling pretty perky.... exercising everyday... as we both try to set the cancer aside for a while and enjoy this wonderful life we have been given.

As you might imagine, the inauguration this week was pretty heady for both of us. America -- ain't it great?

Our fried George of Pavliscak Studios in nearby Blue Mounds created a wonderful and beautiful stained glass window for the cottage. We can now say that the cottage is 100 percent finished!

I will have a report to you on the doctor visit next Wednesday.

In the meantime, we are planning a short trip south again... seeking warm weather.

Love to all of you,

David and Sabine
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Monday, January 12, 2009

We are beginning to settle in to winter. We have passed through Christmas and into the New Year. The Epiphany (Jan. 6) again reminds me of hope and the Light that came into the world to enlighten us.

This past year has been progressively better with few, if any, real setbacks. Last year at this time I was a wreck. I didn't know if Sabine and I would see the end of the year together. Thanks to God and your prayers and love we are here together and planning for this new year: farm projects, travel ventures and our personal exercise goals along with working on our overall physical, mental and spiritual health.

My bicycle sits on the porch -- resting -- we did a lot of miles together. Our snowshoes have had a lot of use as we have packed down a solid trail through our woodland hiking trail.

Last Friday we had an appointment at UW Hospital to check out the swelling in Sabine's upper arm and shoulder. Was this just good vascular development or was it trouble looming? Fortunately, it was the former. The surgical venous connection was working well and had a strong "bruie" (pulse) and also a "thrill" (a humming in the connected veins that can be felt by fingertip).

Our next step is to set a date for another surgery. We knew this would be a two-step affair as the surgeon had to go deep into Sabine's arm to make a connection. Now Dr Becker has to pull that vein up and closer to the surface so that a fistula for dialysis can be made. This will involve general anesthesia and an overnight stay at the hospital; probably sometime in March. I am sure it will revive for both of us those fearful memories of our last hospital stay. But -- "we can do it!"

Sabine and I are preparing to teach the seven-week Marriage Course again. Starting February 19th it will be at New Heights Lutheran Parish in Mazomanie. Ya'll come, now!

I continue to hammer away at my book on the police. It's something I need to do before I depart this life. I plan on answering one of my perplexing questions (and, hopefully, yours, too) -- Why don't the police improve? One way or another I will get this treatise into circulation -- even if I have to publish it myself!

In the meantime, we have our hopes and dreams for 2009 -- to embrace the journey always with a spirit of thankfulness!

Love to all of you and thankfully embrace the year to come no matter what happens!