Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back to work

Yesterday, Derek went back to work with vigor.  He's excited about stuff again, which is wonderful to see.  The Hemoglobin was back up to 10 on Monday, so we restarted the chemo.  He was off of the chemo a total of 10 days because of the aspiration pneumonia.  While he was in the hospital, he was put on a "stress-dose" of steroids which was 10x the amount he was on at home.  I'm questioning whether this was needful, as it is VERY hard coming off.  TONS of pain!  He has had to go back on the narcotic pain meds which in turn make other (pee/poo) problems.  It just doesn't seem like it was worth whatever the benefit they expected him to get from it while at the hospital.  Each day is getting a little better though.

Derek doesn't want me to say much about this, but I want to spare any of my friends any difficulty I can.  He plans to go through the proper channels to notify OSF of the mistaken advertising, but I will tell you the bottom line:  OSF is not "working with" Mayo Clinic, even though their billboard, elevator signs, and on-hold voice messages say so.  I have so much trouble getting test results between OSF and Mayo's.  It is probably their goal to make this happen seamlessly in the near future, but as the patient/caregiver, we still have to be the ones to get the results ordered, pick them up ourselves, and mail them at the post office to the right person.  When the doctors say they will be in contact with our Mayo doctors, it doesn't happen for days.  However, I will also emphasize that we greatly appreciate the experience we had at the ER at OSF:  Immediate, efficient help for our needs.

On to the kiddos... we have decided to have them attend a private school about 15 minutes drive south of us.  Today was their second day, and although they were quite nervous the first day, it went well.  I still may have some teaching in the afternoons if there is any catching up to do.  They will be on a half-day schedule for awhile to see how the transition goes, so I drop them off at 8:30am and pick up at noon.  I have some mixed feelings about it, but mostly feel relieved that I have less responsibility in 2014.

On another note, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for all of you who helped out in the many, many ways we needed you in 2013.  Early in the year, we had Derek's lung collapses and many filled in with teaching responsibilities and household chores.  Some drove us to appts or sat with us in hospital rooms.  In July, we had the lung surgery.  We appreciated the many visitors and babysitters.  I even had a few that stayed nights at our house from time to time over the year.  Never knowing what our needs may be, it's often difficult to communicate them, especially in advance.  Our church has been a wonderful and uplifting source of comfort, and finally and most of all, our Jesus and our Father in Heaven who has sustained us and been the lifter up of our heads.  Praise be to Him!  We keep trusting his almighty Presence for each new day and are thankful for His mercy and grace to help us through the suffering we have been called to walk.  Many times, it is joy just turned sideways a little.  I've thoroughly enjoyed many long hours with Derek, at his bedside or sitting in front of the fire, serving him while he encourages me.  It's beautiful.  We love you and pray for the many others who are grieving, broken-hearted, missing loved ones, or enduring hardships.  There are a lot of troubles worse than living with cancer.

Leann & Derek


  1. I appreciate your comment about suffering being pure joy, just a little sideways. I think perhaps that only a true believer can understand that concept. thanks for the encouragement your posts often bring me. will continue praying.

  2. Leann and Derek,
    I'm sorry that I haven't responded for weeks... my failing (one of many, but I get busy and forget what's important some times). I really appreciate your note above for many reasons -

    Regarding the meds, oh my goodness did you bring back painful memories...steroids and narcotics!!! For me, steroids to remove blood from my clot, and narcotics to kill the pain... then headaches, sores in my mouth, no P or P without my wife helping me (what a humbling school), insomnia.... ok, enough of those memories -

    communication in hospitals... hmm - I just had three groups all within St Francis, and even then it was tough to get them to talk - Karen tried (of course I just laid around and didn't contribute much, except to give them something to talk about)... it is a big problem in all large organizations - I live it in my current job -

    Regarding your thanks - I'm sure I can speak for each one who has helped you out a little, that it is our privilege. Encouraging notes are great, but if one has the time to actually help people with physical tasks that's even better some times... which has not been a strong point of mine due to my extensive travel over the past several years.... only three more weeks to go!!

    I will close with my repeated comment that you and Derek, and your kids are a Bible story to me every time I see you "in action" in church or where ever... I appreciate your struggles, appreciate your faithfulness and patience, and look very much forward to spending a little more time with Derek as I retire and may be able to help around the community a little more....

    To God be the Glory for Great Things He has done! We will continue to pray for physical healing, for mental strength, for spiritual faith, and that joy unspeakable can continue to abound in your hearts!!

    Love Dean