Sunday, November 11, 2007

Normal Life??

So what is "normal"? Busy with work, church, family, holiday preparations, planning for future, even retirement? Well, we're trying to have a "normal" life even day to day. But normal has become more intense with every effort to maximize each hour. Life is short for us all and we all need to value our time here on this earth, even if today or this month or this year is our last. What would we say different? What would we include in our routine?

Of course, we have had much cause to reconsider our priorities and to count our blessings. One is the blessing for the ability to work. Every day Jon expresses his gratitude to be able to work and actually get his hands dirty. He is anxious to get up early in the morning and get going while he has the energy. We are blessed to still have a working business.

We have enjoyed the blessing of friendship and service. We have received love and support from friends and loved ones near and far. Through the years of raising families, working and becoming so busy with our daily routines, there were so many we grew distant from and who somehow slipped away. How precious our relationships are! And how fortunate to be able to still enjoy those associations!

The blessing of our beautiful world. Just out our back gate we have the blessing of the beautiful trails of Mt. Diablo, and the peace and serenity enjoyed there. A few months ago, Jon didn't think he would be able to hike those trails again and it brought tears to his eyes. He makes every effort to walk in those hills 3-4 times a week as he regains his strength.

Just a few words about improvements. Each step seems so small and insignificant but when viewed as a whole over a period of weeks, they are notable improvements nonetheless. I mentioned he is walking several miles a week. He eats very well, enough where most of us would be gaining weight. But he has stayed the same weight over the last month. His diet doesn't allow for the normal weight gain with sugars, high carbs and fats.

Last week Jon had an Octreotide scan. The day before the scan, he was injected with a radioactive solution to illuminate parts of his body. This radioactive material will be in his body for at least a month and cannot even get through airline security without a doctor's medical note. The Octreotide scan which takes two different visits on two separate days, did not show any signs of cancer anywhere else in his body! Darn. We still can't locate the source of the cancer. This scan also shows other markers as to where the cancer may or may not be lurking. If it shows positive in any perspective then they would want to treat with further Octreotide. If it was negative the treatment would be further chemo. Fortunately these markers were right in the middle so there are no further things they want to prescribe at this time

Next week Jon will have an EchoCardiogram. They want to see if there is any stress on his heart from the round of Chemo or all the other things he has been subjected to. Midst all of this his oncologist called and suggested another CT scan. Jon is worried about all the radiation he has been subjected to and opted to wait until January. This will also give him time to really see if all the other things he is doing will have any affect.

We are sorry but no pictures at this time. Jon says he doesn't want to subject all his friends to so much ugly all at once and they will have to wait until his hair is long enough to see. It's growing but he's not combing it yet. Last week was his three-month mark. The doctor only gave him three months to live if he didn't do chemotherapy. Well, he feels better now than he did three months ago and we enjoy each day that we have together.