Thursday, October 29, 2009


We got into Portland this morning about 10:15AM after a red-eye flight. It was about as good as it gets flying across country, no delays, no oversize isle-mates, and slept well on the plane. Bill (my brother) took the day off and picked us up at the airport, and on the ride home we stopped to pick up lobsters for dinner and to visit Uncle Deck at the Augusta VA nursing home. Deck is about 9 years older than my Dad, and broke his hip, not for the first time. He also broke his clavicle, and is struggling, so it was really nice to see him.

Then off to camp, where Bill and Carol have things looking fabulous. The propane stove was burning, he has made lots of finish improvements, and Carol had a bouquet of flowers to make things really cheery. The leaves are past prime, but still beautiful. Morgan says they are now the "old ladies" colors of fall, browns, yellows, and lots of shades between. Some sunshine, just enough for a sunset tonight. The gas stove has camp warm, and we got a nap this afternoon. Then surf & turf Bill Pullen style, lobsters shucked and ready for homemade lobster rolls, with grilled steaks. A great apple crisp for desert. We are in a post feast stupor now, just feeling really good.

Mom was really tired today, she rarely gets out in the evening, and I think coming to Bills for dinner was a big effort for her. We left them early to get some sleep and rest this evening. We are really looking forward to the rest of this visit.

Dad has a new F-150 plow truck, so that makes this new truck, his older F-150 truck with the dump body, and the really old bronco plow truck plus the van with drive-on wheel chair access, so there is no shortage of vehicles. We are using the new truck, so getting about in style.

Kay and I got the H1N1 vaccine yesterday, and both feel great. Kay's white blood cell count was normal, and she is only mildly anemic, so we look forward to her feeling stronger every day. Soon I'll get you a photo of her in her new wig. Really stylish.

Pray for continued improvement and strength.


Monday, October 26, 2009

A new trick for an old dog & a concern we are facing.

The H1N1 influenza is in our area in a fairly big way. Lots of school absenteeism, colleges affected, etc. So far Kay and I have avoided this, though I am not sure how I am so fortunate, as I see several cases most days. We are flying to ME on a red-eye Wednesday night, and are a bit nervous about going on a germ filled airliner. Kay’s blood count should be up pretty good by now, but we are not sure. Tonight we decided to have her get a blood count tomorrow so at least we know what level of concern we should have. If her white blood cell count is back to near normal, she at least should be able to mount a normal immune defense against any illness she encounters.

That’s our plan anyway. It feels weird to be germophobes. Kay and I have always loved to travel, and have never thought twice about catching anything on airplanes. Having survived all of this chemo, it makes us feel really vulnerable.

On the other hand we are really excited about seeing the Pullens. We missed our usual visit this summer, and have not been back since Josh and Alison’s wedding last New Year’s Eve. That seems so long ago, and so much has happened since then. I really miss seeing everyone.

On a funny note, today we put in a special doggie door in our sliding glass door onto our back deck. This is where Simon goes to “do his business” several times a day. We thought Simon would really like having the ability to go in and out at his choosing, as he always seems to be on the wrong side of the door. Anyway, so far it seems to be just minimally less of a punishment to him than taking a bath. He just walks away when I try to get him to come back in through the little door flap. Doggie treats have not helped so far. I think he likes having us all come to his bark or scratch to let him in and out. He does have us trained pretty well.

Pray for no illness on the flight, and for an old dog to learn a new trick.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Kay & Ed's Blog

I have to say doing this blog has been very good for me. I have been able to communicate with a remarkable assembly of friends, family, co-workers, and others I had never dreamed would be reading along. In the process I have found a reason to stop and think about our journey through this cancer fight, rather than just race from day to day without much reflection. The posts have been a way to not just communicate our progress through this time, but to see each day, sometimes each hour as worth cherishing. We have also heard encouragement from friends, and been boggled by the number of people who have been praying, cheering, and working for us.

This week we feel like we are almost through this stage of the fight. Everything points to Kay having no detectable cancer at this time. We are 2 1/2 weeks out from the last of 8 courses of chemotherapy, and except for a mild peripheral neuropathy, a really short haircut, and some well healed scars Kay is pretty close to back to normal. We think in 2-3 more weeks she will have more energy, as her blood counts get back to normal. If her hair starts growing at 3 weeks after her last chemo like it did after the 6th course, she should be noticing a new crop starting within a month.

This weekend we plan to do more housework, go to visit Brett for lunch tomorrow, and catch up on more rest. Tonight we hung several paintings we bought from Jim Dahl on our recent trip to CA. We love them, and feel they add nicely to the art in the house.

I take Friday afternoon's off now, and today Kay and I laughed a lot at Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a new animated film out. It is pretty funny, and a spoof on almost everything from fast food to beautiful talking head news people.

Pray for no H1N1 for yourselves and us. (I've been seeing a lot at the office)


Monday, October 19, 2009

More good results

A quick post before bedtime. Kay got her breast MRI results and her last CA-125 results today. Normal MRI and CA-125 of 6. This is really good, and we pray sets the stage for a long healthy future.

Prayers of thanks for such news.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rain cannot drown our parade

Week 2 after Kay's last course of chemotherapy has been rainy, but otherwise uneventful. (excepting of course the traumatic last 5 seconds loss by the Huskies last night) Brett has recovered from his bout with H1N1 influenza, and Kay and I have avoided it so far. Kay had her first breast MRI done Thursday. As you probably recall Kay has the BRCA2 gene, and is a very high risk for breast cancer, so she is going to be getting breast MRI as well as mammography screening. The mammogram came back normal, the MRI we have no interpretation yet.

We really had a pretty full week. Kay and I went out birding for a couple of hours Thursday morning, looking for a rare gull on Commencement Bay (Tacoma) but came up empty on that attempt. Then Friday Kay went to her book club in the evening, and this weekend we have focused on fall cleanup. Yard work when not too rainy, and housework other times, fit in around an Autumnfest party at church last night, watching the Husky debacle with friends afterwards, and now off to see the Seahawks play and check our Clay Sprague's new surround sound system in his "man cave" (today a couples cave) and to try out my first attempt at making cheese cake. If it tastes good, making it was not a hard as I had always thought it must be. The butternut squash soup Kay made for the party last night was much more effort.

Well off to the game.

Pray for good MRI results, and continued health.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


On the way to work today I was day-dreaming about this morning 25 years ago. Kay and I took a run in Central Park to ward off the jitters before our wedding that afternoon. It was a beautiful day and Kay was a beautiful bride. We have been blessed with 25 years of marriage, and feel especially blessed to have so much hope facing the future.

This past 1/2 year has been a roller coaster of emotions, and in many ways may have been the time where the strengths of our relationship have paid dividends. We have had really more time together than most of the prior 49 half-years of marriage gave us, and we have had family and friends rally around us in every conceivable way.

Kay is now 9 days after her 8th and final course of chemotherapy, and seems to be in remission. I want to shout for all to hear thanks be to God for all our blessings, friends, and especially for our love for each other and the time we have had together.

Pray for much more time for Kay and may each of you be blessed in your own ways.

Thanks to all for your support.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The last first weekend after chemo

Kay had her 8th of 8 courses of chemotherapy Monday, so is on day 5 post chemo today. This is a bit frightening with all of the H1N1 influenza going around our area. Kay has been being pretty careful this week to try to avoid crowds and contained spaces. So far so good.

This weekend I am on a birding trip to the WA coast with my birding class, and Kay stayed home to enjoy a weekend on her own. Jean had planned to stay in Seattle this weekend visiting her good friend Ashley, but came home today after Kay went to Seattle and had a visit with Jean and Brett. Tomorrow Jean heads back to Portland on the train, and Kay plans a day around home.

I have had a really nice day, enjoying sunshine at the coast, some pretty good birds, and the company of a group of birding friends.

This week we pray for a week free of infection and then just for Kay to start her recovery and for us to start our post cancer lives. So far the only big problem has been Kay's peripheral neuropathy. Of note this does seem to be a bit worse after this treatment, but we hope that it will stop progressing and improve with time.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Surprise - Chemo #8 today

Kay called Dr. McCroskey's office this morning to figure out what day this week she had her 8th and final chemotherapy scheduled, and found out it was at 2PM this afternoon. After some minor logistic issues, Brett had Kay's car in Seattle and Kay had dropped me off at work this morning, all proceeded smoothly. Ever-helpful Cheryl helped Kay drop the car back for me to get home, and took Kay to and from the appointment. The infusion was uneventful, and so it is done. Now we just try to get through 1 more month of low blood counts without getting sick and the treatment is completed.

As usual Kay feels good tonight. We celebrated by going to Norm and Barb Aune's for a terrific grilled stir fry scallop meal, and to share our Yosemite experience with them before they leave Thursday for their trip there. It was fun to show them our photos, and give them our favorite places to see. Really at Yosemite all you need to do is not have your eyes closed. Everywhere you look is another vista.

Jean and Brett are visiting in Seattle tonight, with Jean's friend Ashley's birthday party as the cause to celebrate.

Pray for one more run through post-chemo low blood counts without complications, and then for this cancer to be cured.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Home today

Kay and I ended our west coast trip this afternoon. We drove from Salem, OR to stop and visit Jean and Marc for a quick cup of tea, and then headed for home. We got in by about 3:30 PM and feel really good in that we are mostly unpacked.

We feel like this trip went better than we had even hoped for, and that after 25 years together we are still in love, enjoy time together, and know how to have fun together. This trip was a combination of a 25th anniversary celebration, a victory lap, a time to get ready to move on with our lives post this huge cancer treatment stage in our lives, and just a great time together.

Here are a few of the photos I took on the trip, though Kay was primarily the photographer, and I don't have her photos online yet.

This week Kay gets her last course of chemotherapy. It has been so out of our mindset that we cannot remember just when, and she is going to call in the AM to find out the appointment time.

On this trip we saw nearly our whole Colmar side of the family as well as several good friends, missing only Ken's son Alex, and Keith's daughter Heather (in NYC now so not available) and yet the trip was really not about visiting. It just came out this way largely due to very obliging friends and relatives who made time for us on our schedule.

Today we tried to figure out our favorite place, day, time etc. We just came to the conclusion that each day, each place, and each experience was a part of a great cumulative experience, and that all together it was a great trip.

Pray for this last course of treatment to go smoothly, and for us to both smoothly move back to our routines.