Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's and First New Chemo

Well, I am finally back. Sorry that I left you all hanging. I had to find my strength and I think I got it back. You have all been so wonderful to us and I need to keep posting to keep you informed. So here goes.

Lauren wanted everyone to get together at my Mom and Dad's house for the weekend last week. They used to live in Wadsworth, Ohio, which was about half an hour away from our house. They had a condo up on Lake Erie. They decided to buy a house up there and found a gorgeous, huge home with a ton of land up in Oak Harbor. They have a big pond as do most that live on their road. Here is a picture of the "mansion" as I call it.

Lauren, Gio, Ryan, Stephanie, my sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Wayne, and my nephew, Michael, along with Mark and I went up there Friday. Kristen came from Michigan in the afternoon and left that evening. Bruce had to work. My other nephew, Matt, and his fiancee, Katie came after work on Saturday afternoon. We also had to bring our three dogs, Peanut, Penny, and Frank. Peanut and Penny are no trouble, but Frank is a huge, drooling, hairy Husky-Rottweiler mix that is a pain in the butt. He is 11 and still as hyper as he was as a puppy. Last time we took him up there we put him in the dog kennel at the house and he barked all night and kept everyone awake. This time, Mark and I went to sleep at my Mom and Dad's condo, which is only a few miles away, and he acted up all night in the house, keeping everyone awake. Grrrr. He does like the pond though. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it was over 100 degrees outside when we were there, so even the pond felt like a hot tub! Here are a few randoms of the pond and grounds.

Frank heading for the water. Wayne is in the shallow end on the left and I think Linda is with the noodle. The river is in the background. So pretty.

Linda is on the dock. Michael is in the water I think that is Ryan on the float.

Lauren does not like to swim in lakes or ponds. She only likes pools. Everyone finally coaxed her in on a raft. She even had her little buddy, Penny with her. She was kind of ok until a frog poked his head out of the water in the middle of the pond. Then she hightailed it out of there so fast and would not get back in. She is afraid of frogs, snakes, fish, butterflies, birds, dragonflies.....she has been this way since she was a tiny kid.

The picture above is of Lauren and her best pal, Penny before seeing the frog. Lauren did get to go to the condo and swim in the pool that evening. After swimming and playing outside all day, we had a big picnic indoors because it was so hot outside. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni and potato salad, and fruit salad. Yum!
Here is a picture of Sis and Wo.

And not to leave Ryan out, he can comb through his hair and make it super puffy. It is so thick and it was really humid that day. Haha.

The next morning I heard all about how bad Frank was the night before. Michael was about ready to strangle him and he is a huge dog lover. I guess when Frank barked and cried that made the little dogs bark too!! I said I would sleep on a blow up mattress in the kitchen with the dogs so they would be quiet. My Dad, Mark, and all the kids went out on the boat. Linda, my Mom, and myself stayed home to watch the dogs and swim in the pond. We had a nice quiet time. That night we had a fish fry. My Dad was excited to try out his double deep fryer he won in the silent auction at Lauren's benefit back in Feb. We had perch, homemade fries, coleslaw, and brownies for dinner. I don't really like fish, but it was good. Everyone that likes fish, really like it. My Dad used peanut oil and it was very light. Not greasy at all. Matt and Katie got there before dinner. It was nice to see them. Everyone got a little crazy that night, drinking and lighting off a few fireworks and sparklers. Everyone except Lauren and I. She's not allowed to drink and I don't really like it. I had a few margaritas the day before. Oh, and Steph doesn't drink because she is too young. When we went to bed, Frank started up again. So I told Lauren to give me one of her Ativans. I gave Frank the Ativan and he slept like a baby the whole night. You might think that is mean, but you weren't there and he is perfectly fine. I think he probably  liked being calm.

We had a huge breakfast on Sunday. Egg casseroles, two different kinds, and cinnamon rolls. My poor Mom really works so hard when we are all together. We try and help, but it seems like she never stops. Same with my Dad. He is 80 and still go, go, go!! Mark and I left for home shortly after breakfast, and the kids stayed to go shopping in Port Clinton. We took all the dogs home with us. The kids got home that evening. What a fun time!!

Now, on to Lauren's chemo. We left Wed. morning at around 7 am. Lauren had labs at 11:15. She saw the doctor at 12:15. They said the MRI was still interpreted as Lauren having a new tumor. But, it is still not for sure. That is what it looks like. So, hopefully, this new chemo will kick its butt. Dr. Z told Lauren all about the two chemos. Oxaliplatin, which is the chemo she gets through infusion, can cause neuropathy, which is tingling in hands and feet. You cannot eat or touch anything cold. It is extremely painful if you do. Lauren has to drink all of her liquids at room temp. or it will feel like she is choking and like she is swallowing shards of glass. Her voice sounded weird after she got her chemo, so it must affect vocal chords too. She sounds better today. Hot stuff doesn't affect her at all. She said she washed her hands and forgot she was to use warm water. She said the cold felt like when you put your tongue on a battery. Kind of shocking and painful. I don't think it lasts the whole time. Just a few days. Her doctor said he is giving her an aggressive dose of Oxaliplatin because Lauren has handled her chemo very well in the past. She will also take a pill called Xeloda. It is pronounced Zeloda. This can cause red, peeling hands and feet and mouth sores. It is the pill form of 5FU, which she was previously on and had no problems. We will only have to go back every three weeks instead of every two weeks which is good. So, she gets chemo, takes the Xeloda for 14 days, 3 in the morning after breakfast, and 4 in the evening after dinner. Then she has a week off. Dr. Z said if she was on 5FU instead of Xeloda, she would have to be treated every two weeks. So this is better!! We are still so pleased with Lauren's doctors and her treatment at U of M. They are doing everything humanly possible to help her and we are so grateful. After chemo, we went to Denny's for dinner. Kristen and Bruce met us there and ate with us. Then, the long ride home. We didn't get home until 11. Lauren feels pretty good today.

I will post a few more pics of our time at my Mom and Dad's. Thanks again for all of your support. I will try and write more often to keep you updated. Love and hugs to all,   -Pam

Ryan and Stephanie on the dock.
Lauren, Penny, and Grandma Tommie on the beach.

Linda and Ryan on the dock.

Frank after cooling off.

Frank, Michael, and Wayne.

My chunky munk, Peanut, resting in the shade.

Frank, Grandma Tommie, Lauren, Linda, and Gio.

Grandma and Gio.

Grandpa and Mark.


  1. Those pictures are priceless!!! And do not feel bad about giving poor Frank an Ativan...he probably appreciated it more than you know!!!! Being a dog lover myself...I love the doggie pictures too :0)

    Your parents place looks absolutely awesome. Nice getaway!!!

    It sounds like Lauren's chemo regimen is exactly teh same as my Shirley's. Her feet did peel a little but nothing she couldn't handle. I'm glad Lauren handles her chemo so well. That makes things a little easier.

    Looks like you guys had a great time and made some more wonderful memories :)

    Love, Teresa

  2. Hi Pam, Great pictures! What a wonderful place to get together for a get-a-way! Lauren looks so awesome! Well in fact, everyone looks awesome! Frank sounds like quite the character. You probably love him so much it's hard to get mad - lol! Love Nancy from Revelstoke (cc board)

  3. Pam,

    What wonderful pictures, it looks like an amazing place. Family get togethers are the best for all of you. Remember to take care of yourself as well as Lauren. My saying was one day at a time and some days it was on hour at a time. Send positive thoughts and prayers your way.


  4. Thanks for all the nice comments, ladies!!