Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The anniversary for the first treament

Today is officially 1 year since chemo first entered Denise's body.

A year later, she's still here and still getting better each day.  I think her New Year's day post sums it up the best.

She's my world.  And I'm glad that world is still here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Another birthday

Today we celebrated Denise's birthday.  We could because she's still here.  She fought the battle and won.  I haven't updated the blog in awhile as there hasn't been a whole lot to update.  Denise continues to recover from chemo and its after-effects, but every day she gets stronger both physically and in spirit.  
In the beginning of October, we did have an appointment for a follow-up with her cancer doctor, Doctor M.  It was a typical get up there early, go for a scan and then wait for the office visit.  There's always that tension and anxiety between the cat scan and the meeting, but luckily it was only about an hour or so.  When we went into the office, Doc M and Nurse J came in and right away gave us the awesome news that Denise remains cancer free!  He followed up with an exam and didn't find any problems at all!  So with that said, Denise has one more follow-up visit in February and as long as everything is good with that, we won't have to return to the clinic until the following February and  will continue on the yearly cycle.  That will also mean that Denise will be able to get the port removed from her, which she is very happy about.  Especially with our grandson.  You see, he seems to target that thing all the time when he gets grabby and it hurts.  But it's all good.  
Denise got to spend the day with her inspiration, celebrating another year.  And for that, we are truly thankful and blessed.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The night before her first chemo treatment, we found out that we were going to be grandparents. That gave Denise the power to fight and beat back the cancer to reclaim her life.  It wasn't ever an easy battle, but she did it.  On Monday morning, September 12, 2016 at 3:52 am, 253 days after the news, she was in the labor room and got to witness him coming into this world and into our lives.  I have never witnessed a greater joy in her eyes then we she came out to get us.
Thank you, Gideon, for coming into our lives and giving your grandma hope to fight a sometimes difficult battle.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

That time when we went to Ireland

I have been neglectful of the page as of late because, well, I haven't had a whole lot of news to share.  Well, that it until now.  If you have been following along here, you know that back in May we were told that we were going to be guests of some wonderful people in Ireland.  On July 31st, we started our adventure and what a grand adventure it was.  We spent a week in Northern Ireland seeing all the raw beauty that country has to offer, plus we got to visit where my grandfather was raised.  My biggest fear for Denise during this trip was her ongoing bouts of afib.  Since the chemo treatments, she has had afib on and off and it's been a struggle to find the right combination of medicines for her to keep things in check.  But on our journey over there, not one instance occurred.  Trust me when I say this, this wasn't just a sit back and relax vacation either.  We got out and saw things and walked places that tourists don't normally go along paths and trails that hug the ocean.  It was a beautiful time.  And Denise, she was a champ!  She got to nap in the car every now and again, but wow, I am impressed with her stamina on this trip. 
So if you didn't see my Facebook post thanking you all that were involved, I will say it here too.  Thank you!  Thank you for helping bring the spark back to my wife's eyes. Between our son's wedding, this trip and the soon to be born grandson, my wife is truly a warrior who has fought her way out of the darkness and back to herself.  I've included a link to the images from our trip below.

Ireland 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

A day of celebration

If you follow along here on the blog over the past several months, you may remember a post I wrote back towards the beginning called "Twas the night before chemo".  That was the night before Denise's first treatment and when we learned that we were going to be grandparents.  
But with the bun in the oven, the kids decided to hurry their wedding date along a year and have the wedding this summer.  This past Saturday, July 9th to be exact.  It was a beautiful ceremony and day and was a true reflection of the love that Alex and Laura share with each other and with their soon to be born son, Gideon.  For Denise, the wedding and baby have been nothing but encouragement to get through her treatments and heal up so that she could celebrate the joys that life have given her.  She put a Tweet out the other day that sums it up best:

These events were what she needed to continue her fight and were her glimpses of hope in her times of struggles.  
She got to dance at her son's wedding.  And she couldn't have been more radiant that day, either.

You can view the entire set of images here if you wish.

For now, besides the birth of our grandson to look forward to, there is this!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Where do we go from here?

I know.  Ireland!

If you have been following along on the old blog here you know that a group of some fantastic human beings put something together for Denise and myself. A once in a lifetime trip to Ireland.  But, there was two things holding us back.  We needed to make sure that Denise was done with chemo and also that her cardiologist felt that everything was good with her afib.  But let's rewind to yesterday first.

Since the beginning of this year, Mondays have come to mean two things.  First, Archer reruns on Comedy Central and or course chemo.  But for the past several weeks we hadn't gone to chemo because Denise finished her cycles.  So when we got in the car yesterday and made the trek north to the Cleveland Clinic, it was like getting back into the swing of things.  We had to go early because it was Denise's follow-up CAT scan first thing then meet with her oncologist to go over the results.  As you can imagine, Denise was pretty nervous about the whole thing.  I was too, but, didn't want it to show.  "What if it came back" was the thoughts on our minds.  So after the scan we had breakfast and awaited the doctor at 11.  We decided to go check in with him early in hopes we could get it over with quickly.  We were in luck.  About 10:40 he popped out in the waiting area and called us back.  He took us in a room, sat down and started asking Denise the usual routine questions.  Then he stopped and said, "Oh, by the way, the results of the scan are clean, you're good", then continued on.  He knew we were nervous.  Talk about a weight taken off our shoulders.  When he was done we asked if we are okay for travel and he gave us a thumbs up!  He rushed off to care for another patient and I forgot to ask the most important question, is she cancer free?  J, the nurse practitioner and Doctor M's right-hand/enforcer was also in the room and I asked her, "Can we say the words cancer free".  A huge smile filled her face and she said yes.  My heart lept with joy!  You could just see the expression on Denise's face change to one of peace.  She did it.  She kicked it's ass!  As we were driving away from the clinic, it hit me hard.  I was finally able to step down for a few minutes and let go of everything I was holding back for 8 months.  Boy did that feel good, but not recommended when driving through a major metropolitan area.  I get to keep my wife, my best friend for a while longer.  Cancer was not getting her.  So to celebrate we headed off to one of our favorite restaurants and afterwards take a leisurely drive through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We stopped at Brandywine Falls and went for a little walk.  This picture of us describes it best.

  Our friend Mandi commented "I've missed that smile and light in your eyes, Denise! So glad to have you back!"  You're not the only one, Mandi ;-)

So now that we had the oncologist's blessing, we still needed to talk to the cardiologist.  Luckily, Denise had an appointment at his office today for a follow-up EKG.  But when we got there, we found out he wasn't in the office until the afternoon.  We told the nurse the plan about Ireland, but we were afraid to commit to a schedule until we got his thoughts on going into a pressurized cabin 40,000 feet into the air for several hours.  She promised that she would ask.  Also, her EKG is perfect. 
Well, we got the call a little bit ago and we got his blessing.  So....
We're going to Ireland.
With that news, I sent a note off to the peoples over there to get the ball rolling.  A BRILLiant travel agent needs to be consulted first. Wow.  Holy crap.  We're going to Ireland.
But like these events of the past several months, I want to capture it all somehow.  I want to make sure I have a forum to catalog and list out all the details of this once in a lifetime blessing.  
However will I do that?
Wait.  I have an idea! (<---click there!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Just rolling along

It's been a few weeks since our last update here, so I figured I would dust off the old blog and give the latest.  Well, there really isn't a whole lot.  Denise continues to be on the mend from her chemo.  The biggest problem is still with her legs.  The water is beginning to shed itself off and her feet are returning to normal, but her legs still get sore from time to time leading to discomfort.  The afib is easing as well.  Her cardiologist gave her some different meds and that seems to be having a positive effect on her.  She's been back to work more regularly too the past couple weeks and as she loves her job, that has done a lot for her spirits.   She's also using a technique a former coworker of mine shared with me.  She too had a battle with cancer over this past year and had returned to work before I left.  Her advice to Denise was to nap at lunch.  There's a meeting room where Denise works that is normally not in use so she's been ducking away in there and catching some sleep over lunch.  She's saying it REALLY helps.  Thanks for that tip, Diane!
(Truly, if you need great vet care, drop me a line and I can give you a referral.) 
So with things on the mend and her getting back to life that's the new normal, we can start concentrating on the important things.  Like our sons wedding in July, hopefully the trip to Ireland to follow that and the birth of our grandson in September.  Still seems weird to me to say, "our grandson".  
Our hero seen here baby clothes shopping!
Not that I am opposed to the birth mind you, not one bit, just the fact of I've now gotten old enough to be a grandparent.  When did I get old?  She, of course, is ecstatic over the fact of being a grandmother and wanted to go clothes shopping for him this past weekend. 
Anyways, we are still on track for the June 6th appointment for another scan and follow-up appointment and hopefully then we can start moving past this stage completely and on to the future. 
So that's it for now.  Hopefully will have some good news to share in a couple weeks, but for now we'll just keep rolling along.