Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week 2

This week has been better in many ways, especially the cooler weather.  Monday night we got to play baseball with Wesley at a nearby park.  Tuesday was "field trip" day to the Monroe County Fair.  Lexi wanted to see the horse show so she could pick out which color horse she wants to get.  I was explaining everything that goes into showing animals at a fair, but then I realized she has no interest in showing, and was just there to pick one out.  We watched a bit of the dairy show and then the kids got to hold chickens in the poultry barn.  After my treatment we went back in the evening for the kids to go on the rides.  Wesley loved the bumper cars, Whitley's worst part was when the ride ended (major fit).  Wednesday was packing day as we have to switch apartments this weekend and be out totally till Monday.  Nancy, the concierge at the treatment center, has been very helpful and let us put our stuff in the garage at the house she uses for her office.

My headaches have not been as bad this week.  The Mayo's nurse had followed up with me and suggested that I could be getting "rebound" headaches from taking Tylenol long term.  She suggested a few days of tylenol, then a few of Ibuprofen.  I think that has helped as they have generally been better.

Late last week I noticed a hint of nausea and wondered if it was from the radiation.  By Sunday/Monday it was pretty much gone, then was back a little and growing each day after Tuesday.  Nausea is one of the possible side effects, but I thought it would come later or maybe not at all.  I got some medication for it today which seems to be helping tonight, but guess what the side effect is:  headaches - now I have one again.  So my spirits have not been as great this week, although in the scheme of things this is a minor trial.  The main thing is that no food really looks that great to me and I could go a long time without eating except I know I need to.

The Indianapolis church has overwhelmed us (like everyone back home) with love and support.  They have a meal list going to give us a couple frozen meals each Sunday.  We've been invited over to homes on Sunday afternoons.  So we are thankful to have a new church family here to make us feel at home and to pray.

Derek & Leann

Friday, July 22, 2011

first week down

Well, the first week of radiation is almost over.  The treatments have been going fine, and yesterday’s was down to 25 minutes, less than 1 hour from time I left till time I got back home.  I come out with a mesh imprint in my face from the mask that last 5 or 10 minutes.  It scared Leann the first time she saw it.  The treatment center is on time or early usually.  Sometimes they call and say to come in sooner.  I walk into the room, lay down on the table and they strap me down.  Then the table which is on a robotic arm moves up into position in the gantry.  Then an xray machine takes a shot of my head so they can cofirm my exact location.  After that I feel the table move a little as they correct my location.  Then all the techs leave the room and I hear a doorbell dinging sound.  I can tell when the beam is coming because something in the lens contraption makes a clicking noise.  Once that stops they come back in and switch the lens & aperture around and move the snout to the next angle.  Between the second and third shot they take another xray.  I almost feel like I am about to fall asleep during these treatments, but I don’t think I really have yet.  If you are claustrophobic you would not be able to survive these things.  The mask feels pretty snug and you can’t move much.
As for the treatment schedule, mine will always be in the afternoon.  There are two sizes of snout, a 10 cm and 20 cm.  They group them together so they don’t have to switch it as often and do the 20 cm in the afternoon.  I was hoping for early morning treatments but that isn’t going to be the case.  Right now we are sleeping in (I don’t get up till 7 usually) and then we are trying to do school right after breakfast.
As for the family, things are going better the last few days.  The first couple days there were lots of little things bothering everyone, but they are getting used to it now.  We are not looking forward to the college kids coming back because with the construction, roads are pretty much jammed already.  The last few days it has been too hot for the pool during the day.  Yesterday we went fishing and had a couple bass on the line but failed to get them landed.  There are quite a few turtles in this pond here and Wesley is aiming to catch one.  One is a huge guy, I think he’s a snapper.
School is going good.  Wesley is starting to sound out words in his reader.  Lexi is keeping her nose in books.  We went to the library.  Wesley’s picks were either about killer whales, moose, construction, or airplanes.  Mommy picked the books for Lexi off of a list of “good character building” books.  She hasn’t been as excited about reading them, but last night we started reading one as a family and then I caught her in bed with her own bookmark in it.
Whitley has been learning to go in the big girl potty.  We are just on our second day but making progress already.
Wesley and Daddy played catch last night with the new softball and glove we got for Wesley.  When it cools down we’ll find a park and let him use his new aluminum bat.  It’s too crowded around the apartment to be hitting balls around.
We are thankful for air conditioning, our vehicle, a safe place to stay, and being together as a family.
 Have a blessed weekend!  Thank you for keeping us lifted up to our Heavenly Father.  He loves and cares for us. 
Derek, Leann, Lexi, Wesley, and Whitley

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Different address

1333 S. Fenbrook Ln.
Bloomington, IN  47401

Because of the switcharoo on our condo, this address is the best to use for us in Indiana.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Home

We are thankful to be somewhat "settled" with a place to stay.  Yesterday morning we got a call that there was a "maintenance emergency" in our apartment and we wouldn't be able to get in until mid August!  They decided to redo some wallpaper, which ruined the drywall, and then they found mold, etc.  So after a few phone calls they figured out we could take a different unit (in the same complex) for a couple weeks and then we may have to move again to a different unit.  At least we are not in a motel, and the setup is the same as far as the room layout.  We arrived today and no additional surprises.  Mom & Dad Stoller came out with us (we couldn't fit everything in our van) to help us unload (since I still can't lift anything over 10 lbs).

I think getting up at 5 so we could leave early was rougher on the kids than we thought it would be.  Lot's of grumbling today, too hot, too long a bike ride, not enough floaties for the pool, wish we didn't have to come here, wrong restaurant, etc.  I think everyone will feel better tomorrow when we have more sleep.

This afternoon was rough for me headache wise.  I took an hour or two nap and woke up with a headache, a lot like happens in the morning.  It will be interesting to see if taking it more easy here helps them to go away, or if this is something that continues to happen when I first get up from sleeping or napping.  Other than the headaches, I really feel good.  No other pain, and my facial paralysis is 95% recovered.

Monday we go to the Proton Therapy center at 11am to meet with the doctor, then sometime later in the day I'll have the "dry run" that verifies all the equipment is working out properly.  Tuesday will be the first actual radiation treatment.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support,
Derek & Leann (and family)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Packing Up!

Just 2 more days till we head for Indiana on Saturday morning.  Today we plan to start packing some things up.  The apartment is furnished, so we are just taking clothes, school books, fishing and activity things, and office things like the computer and printer.

I continue to notice improvement each week in my abilities to move around and in my facial movement.  It's almost entirely back to normal now.  The past week has been a bit discouraging though as the headaches are not really improving yet.  It seems related to motion of my head, and somewhat how much activity I've been up to in the past day.

We continue to be overwhelmed by the love shown to us and everyone who has helped us in some way. I made the comment yesterday that we could do something every day for someone else and we'll never be able in our lifetimes to repay what has been done for us.  I was told that we don't have to, but we just do what we can for others.  I had the thought of how similar this is to salvation.  We can never repay our Lord for what he has done for us.  But we desire to, so we just do everything we can to show love to those around us and help others along the way, knowing that we will never do as much for them as has been done for us.

Some have asked, so our address in Indiana will be 1321 S Fenbrook Lane, Bloomington IN 47401.

Thanks again for your prayers.  My primary request at this time is that my headaches would subside.
Derek & Leann

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Answered Prayers

Sorry it's been a while since a post, but we had a busy Fourth of July weekend camping with the Sauder family and going to the Rassi reunion.

I'm very excited to report that many prayers have been answered in the last week as the paralysis of my face is improving greatly.  It was a sudden improvement the second half of last week.  I can now close my right eye, and can chew on the right side of my mouth.  If I make small smiles, you can't tell the difference between right and left side, but if I smile real big or laugh, you can still tell.  I'm thankful to not have to use the eye tent at night anymore.  It's been a very exciting week.

I'm able to get around better this week than last.  Walking is going a lot better, but I found out camping that it is a lot harder at night on rough ground.  The main thing holding me back now is headaches.  If I move fast, bend over, stand up fast, then they hit me.  It's not unbearable, and probably a good thing to keep me moving slower and keep me from over-exerting myself.

This week and next we are focused on getting ready to head to Indiana, and I"m working a few hours each day.  We are finding that as life starts to return to normal, we have the same challenges we had before.  It seems the kids are feeling the effects of being away from us in the last few weeks.  Leann and I need patience as we work through details of finishing the house.

As you pray for us, please pray that I would continue to heal and the headaches would subside.  Please also say a prayer that we can work well together as a couple and we can have wisdom in training and rebuilding our relationship with our children.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support,
Derek & Leann