Saturday, November 26, 2011

mike and scotty made the paper.

The Omaha World Herald ran an article today about "good Samaritans" which featured the story of Mike and friend Scotty Gatewood from the blog.  Margaret Buswell faithfully reads Mike's blog and especially liked the story about Scott because of her long history knowing him.  After reading our post about how Scott ran a mile "for Mike" every day for six weeks during his radiation treatments, she told us about a blurb in the World Herald that asked readers "to share stories of benefiting from the generosity of another or how they performed an act of kindness for someone else"... and encouraged us to send in their story.

It showed up in the paper today. Read it for yourself if you like:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to say "thanks" for the person who was your lifesaver.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This was Mike's weight when he was a Freshman in high school.  (When I dated him as a Senior he weighed about 174 and wrestled at 167.)  159 is also his weight this week.  Yes, he lost another 6 pounds.  Almost 30 pounds total.  (He has been going to the attic to find Baker's clothes that fit better than his!)

How does this happen now that he has started on real food, you ask? Answer: Now that he does feel better he has started putting in regular work hours and doing his regular (hard) work.  Since it is still very painful to eat and move anything down his throat, he has not been able to keep his calorie intake higher than his calorie output.

He was shocked when he stepped on a scale at work two days ago and saw the low number.  I wasn't surprised when he told me because I saw it coming.  There was marital stress in this equation because I spent considerable time & energy encouraging Mike to "snack" and "eat something now" which all sounded like nagging to him.  I saw him working long hours on oatmeal for breakfast and bird-sized portions at meals - since I am guessing that his stomach was the size of a walnut.

I am thankful to write on this Thanksgiving Day that Mike has been able to increase his portions and also eat more regularly around the clock.   I am also thankful to say that when I suggest a snack he respects the suggestion and usually says yes.  He has a true respect for the importance of caloric intake.

I am mostly thankful for him... and that I still have him around to blog about.    Thank You Lord for your loving care and provision for such excellent care for Mike... and for all the loving friends and family who are journeying with us. Amen

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

we turned a corner.

At dinner last night I looked at Mike and announced "Your color is coming back".  This replaces what I call the POW grey.  I think we can finally say we have turned the corner!  Mike's ability to swallow has greatly improved.  He still cannot eat because of the large burn / sore on the side of his tongue and the pain that results from anything touching it, but the Orgain Protein drinks are going down easier.  We are bumping the intake to 6 per day.

Mike gets an effort medal for "trying" some real food every day this week.  Last night I made a 12 Bean Soup thinking that the broth would be comforting (and nutritious.)  With every bite Mike's whole body contorted in pain until I said "Stop! Not worth it. Your mouth isn't ready!"

I would say we peaked on the pain and discomfort scale this past weekend - and I could not post the photo of Mike's neck burn then. The Blogger police would report the gore and creepy factor.  But by today his outer "wound" looks tamer and it would reason that the inside injuries are turning toward healing now too. 

Mike is trying to put in his normal hours at work already.  I know that he is so very appreciative of all the support he has gotten from everybody at work.

The eleven days from Friday October 28th (his last radiation treatment) to November 8th went slowly.  We were told he could get worse, and he did... but it seems like we are rounding a corner.  Finally. Halleujah.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

new mantra.

Jennifer Henson,  from Virginia just sent me this perfect Marine chant for Mike:
(Said in your best rah-rah voice...)
4 & 3 that's all you need
To get you outta those skinny jeans!
Go Mike!!
(A reference to Mike's daily need for a minimum of 4 protein drinks and 3 bottles of water!)
One of the best perks of my wonderful job with Creative Memories is all the friends we have made around the country.  David & Jennifer Henson and their sweet kids have prayed for us regularly and kept us encouraged in cyberspace.  We got to meet their whole family at DisneyWorld in 2010.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

new marching orders.

Mike agreed to go up to the Oakland Medical Clinic today to have his vitals taken.  (He has dropped down to 165.5 pounds which by the way is less than he weighed when I dated him in high school - and his blood pressure was a little off.)  I was concerned when I realized how little Mike ate and drank yesterday, and as a result how rotten he felt. Dehydration is a huge issue at times like this.  Without a plan, it is easy to eat and drink too little especially when it hurts to do it.

Dr. Martin gave us a realistic goal for baseline survival for the next 5 days while Mike will still be in the "burned throat and mouth condition".  She explained that the MINIMUM number of calories he can input is 1000 - because any lower and your body will start feeding on itself. (Not good.)  We also learned that the MINIMUM fluid intake is 2000ml (or 66 ounces) before dehydration and all its nasty effects kick in.

Our goal for SURVIVAL MODE is 4 protein drinks and 3 bottles of water per day until Mike's mouth and throat are healed enough to eat more.  This is a great plan for the next week or so to "get out of radiation without being in too deep a hole."
Later: Our goal for OPTIMAL HEALING MODE will be 2500 calories per day when the effects of radiation stop taking their toll.

Mike already feels better later today after focusing on his fluid intake.  And I already feel better knowing we can make a calorie chart and focus on getting 1000 per day for now.  It might sound dumb but I have been worried that too little food / calorie intake could take its toll in other nasty ways.

For the umpteenth time, Dr. Tracie Martin has brought sound medical advice to the table - and we are so thankful for her.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a picture of true friendship.

When Scotty Gatewood found out that Mike had to do a radiation treatment every day for six weeks, he decided he would do something he hated everyday for six weeks.  Scotty hates running.  But every single day since September 19th Scotty has run one mile "for Mike".  People who know Scott know what a big deal this is because he really hates to run.  Scotty even said that at the beginning he prayed that God would transfer Mike's pain to his calves, but it got so painful he had to quit praying that.  Smile. Scotty has taken Mike's weekend chores for him and been a super sweet support during this whole treatment period. And people who know Scott know this is a big deal too!

On Mike's last day of treatment they had their own little celebration.  Mike told me he was going to run Scotty's "last mile" with him - to which I said "no, you're not".  Duh.  But I did say he could ride his bike along side of Scotty while he ran which would fit the MikesLongRide theme and hopefully not deplete more energy than he had.

This little ceremony was what Mike looked forward to more than anything.

good things.

What would we do without friends?  One friend said it well this morning "When you don't have hope, you let the hope of friends carry you."  Nancy gave a good analogy that tied right in with Melinda's wonderful Cancer Clde poetry :  It is like you were in a huge boxing match in which you max-ed out all your energy & resources.  YOU WON the match, but you are still going to be sore and achey for maybe months after.  Good analogy. She also said (about the two more weeks of cell death):  It is like you are pregnant and expecting your baby to come two weeks early.  Mark your calendar for two more weeks so you have realistic expectations.  (I don't want to... but I will.    November 11 - Veterans Day.)

The House.
Did I already tell you that the painters finished the exterior painting of the Thomas house just as Mike was finishing his last treatment?  We started these "projects" toegther and ended up finishing them together.  Abby and I added the pumpkins yesterday for our first official decoration!

The Surprise.
As previously stated, this past weekend was rough.  An amazing boost was having Abby bound into the house on Saturday afternoon! She drove from Minneapolis to surprise us and to spend my birthday weekend with me. (I almost cry writing this it was such a huge blessing.)  She even took Monday off work to be with me... I soaked up every minute.  She brought a care package of my favorite snacks foods, my favorite Dr. L reisling and movies.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Much to be thankful for...