Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hi from 3Y at Mac!

3Y Room 5 is isolation.  Reserved for patients who are at risk of infection - in this case, due to very low white blood cell counts.   We were forced to wear this Darth Vader gear and I obliged for the first ten minutes.  Then I had to make a choice.  Throw caution to the wind or suffocate during the line of duty.  
I had Susie capture my ten minute submission to the rules for the sake of posterity - 
besides, we were laughing so hard and gasping for air - McMaster would have had to supply us two more beds if we kept it up!
You've waited inordinately long to hear about Mom's progress.  So here at last is the visual to demonstrate her improved state of mind and spirit... 
She's some kind of cool great grandma - watching movies and playing solitaire on an ipad.  Today I found her wearing headphones under a baseball cap and fixated on the screen with Sense & Sensibility.  
Suddenly, she looked more 17 than 71.  LOL.    
But should you doubt me at all, here's the visual that should clinch it for everyone:
She's hounding us for six dice again - 
AND she's womping us everytime!

Dear friends and family:
Whew!  The past ten days have been 'challenging' to say the least and I am quite sure that I  speak for all my siblings (and mom!) when I say we are VERY thankful to be on the other side of it.  As you know, Mom had cycle two of chemo at the Juravinski Centre on Monday, July 19.
Dr. Ellis (Mom's Canadian oncologist) was very accommodating to our requests for more steroids and lining up home care for intravenous hydration based on our experience in Germany.  A different steroid was used and a slower schedule of being weaned off them - she also had a different anti-nausea drug to take home (Granesitron for those who just have to know) but after about four or five days - very little by way of food or drink was staying down and we had to face that same demon of pending dehydration.  The home-care nurse ordered her into hospital so that she could also get her heart meds thru intravenous.  *sigh*  
Mom spent about two and a half days in emerg and was eventually placed in isolation at 3Y room 5 at McMaster because of her low white blood cell count.  Chemo recipients always face a short lived 'danger' zone when the white blood cell count dips but it generally corrects itself IF you are eating and drinking reasonable amounts.  Hospitals are not generally where you want to be in that particular moment in time - however, by God's provision, Mom plowed thru cycle two and is once again smiling despite her circumstances.  
She is also now sporting some funky new hat-wear and bandanna's, one of them gives her the appearance of the flying nun :) ....but seriously?  I am so humbled watching Mom calmly shoulder some of these chemotherapy indignities!   I think if someone shaved MY hair off, I'd burst into some blubbering bawl-baby fit  and put everyone for miles around on edge.  
There was however, that same gut-wrenching moment of time where Mom wanted to give up and....well, just die.  This is where rubber hits the road and now that Mom is feeling decent again, we have some serious issues to consider and decisions to make - particularly since a CT scan is scheduled for next Tuesday.  Future course of action depends so much on what those test results show.  

So, dear friends and family and all who pray regularly for Mom, we have three very specific requests to make:

1.  Pray for her courage to see those results.
2.  Pray for peace of mind and the mind of Christ to make good decisions based on those results.
3.  Pray that in all respects, Mom (and everyone who surrounds her) will acknowledge and submit to the plan of our loving, gracious, Sovereign God and that we will live out our days in JOY.
He isn't 'safe' but He sure is Good.  (Hit the link and find out what this really means).
With Love,
Joanne

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bring Them Home


Praying for your safe return to Canadian soil Mom and Cathy!
Thanks for the pictorial tour of your final day in Munich.
We're glad you could enjoy it.
video
Classical music street side - grand piano and all! 

'Home' for the last few days in Germany
Oh no!  Another one of those statutes come to life!



Mother and daughter enjoy a final beautiful day outside in Munich - 
then it's home at the hotel to pack for the flight home.  
There have been so many fascinating facets to our journey - not the least of which is a wealth of information on simple & easy ways to be more conscious about fighting cancer.  
Gleanings about Green Tea for instance:
"Green Tea Blocks Tissue Invasion and Angiogenesis:

Green tea, for example, which grows in particularly humid climates, contains numerous polyphenols called catechins.  One of these, epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, is one the most powerful nutritional molecules against the formation of new blood vessels by cancerous cells.  After two or three cups of green tea, EGCG is plentiful in the blood.  It spreads throughout the body by means of capillary vessels.  They surround and feed every cell in the body.  EGCG settles on the surface of each cell and blocks the switches (the "receptors") whose function is to set off the signal that allows the penetration of neighboring tissue by foreign cells, such as cancer cells. EGCG is also capable of blocking receptors that issue commands for the creation of new vessels. Once the receptors are blocked by EGCG molecules, they no longer respond to the orders that cancer cells send through inflammation factors to invade tissue and to make the new vessels needed for tumor growth.

Green tea also acts as a detoxifer for the body.  It activates mechanisms in the liver that can then eliminate cancerous toxins from the body more rapidly.  In mice, it has been shown to block the effects of chemical carcinogens responsible for breast, lung, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer."

"Anticancer: A New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.

..... and the NEXT time we visit Germany.....
 perhaps we can explore another C world together!  :)

The Move to Munich

Sister Cath sent me these photos from her iphone.  It seems Mom has recovered enough to amble through the downtown.  It's a bustling - lovely place as the following visuals will attest....
Lunch today at Hotel Exquisit in Munich...
Aww, Mom?  ( & Cath too:) --- you're looking so good!
Green Tea on Tap!
The window sill box that stopped Mom in her tracks on the way back to the hotel room
Mom and I saw a store front window full of these traditional outfits in Penzberg.  It was a little side excursion to that knitting store with Victor the cab-driver.  He saw us admiring them and asked somewhat incredulously if I would actually wear such a thing in public.... :)
I think it would be FUN.  Can't you picture it now?  Running wildly in the backyard with the grandkids singing the Cuckoo song??
I'll bet any one of Mom's 33 grandkids could busk in Munich and make a killing. 

video

It's a fun time to be in the city centre (or anywhere in Germany) during their run for the top in World Cup Soccer.  Cathy had this to say about the celebratory state of the downtown:

Listen to the Mozart Cafe below our hotel window. There was a large 

crowd watching the game and it was fun hearing them erupt with each 
goal. The streets were loaded with cheering and cars honking and 
partying until the wee hours of the night. Felix, our waitor here at 
the hotel was noticeably red eyed and tired from all his partying last 
night.  When we exchanged good morning greeting we had a good laugh 
about him being up to late Partying. He said a particular street here 
in Munich was loaded with people celebrating!