Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lauren Meets The Browns and A Day At Chemo

Mark was offered to let four people go to the Cleveland Browns training camp on Sunday by his work. There would be a hospitality tent and the four would get special passes to go on the side of the field where they could meet the players, take pictures, and get autographs. Mark was happy to share these with Lauren and whoever she wanted to take. So she chose the two biggest Browns fans she knows, besides herself, and that is Giovanni and their friend, Emmed. She also asked her brother, Ryan because she loves spending time with him. He likes football but isn't crazy for the Browns like Wo, Gio, and Emmed. Thanks so much to Klaben Ford and especially Rich Klaben for making this possible. Lauren was so excited and they all had the best time meeting their favorite players. Lauren got pictures with a lot of the players, but I'm just posting her favorite.

Wo and Gio

Wo and Ryan

Wo and Emmed

Wo and her favorite player, Josh Cribbs.

I bet you wonder what it looks like when we go to Michigan. I always picture in my head what places might look like, and I am usually so wrong. So Lauren and I thought it would be fun to take pictures of our day at U of M Cancer Center so that you might get a glimpse of what her day of chemo entails. We also included some pictures of our favorite people we see there every time we go.

We always park in a deck that is just for cancer patients. It is a good thing they have this deck because any other deck we have ever tried to get a space in is nearly impossible. This place is so huge and employs so many people that some employees have to park far away and ride a shuttle bus to the hospital.

Lauren walking to the Cancer Center from the parking deck.
They only charge cancer patients fifty cents to park for the whole day on the days they get chemo. All we have to do is have our ticket stamped at the infusion reception area. Nobody else gets that deal!!!

Outside the Cancer Center. The windows up above where Wo is standing is the big room where a lot of patients get chemo. There are other areas in the hospital as well.

Getting closer.

This is the first floor lobby. Straight ahead is the lab. It looks like a ghost town today because the whole hospital just started a new computer system and they scheduled very light for a while until everyone is comfortable with it. Otherwise, they said there would be mass chaos and huge delays with the normal amount of patients. Everyone is really slow with figuring things out.
This is the first time I went back with Wo to get her port accessed. I always wondered why it took so long and now I understand. They are very careful and create a very sterile environment so Lauren doesn't get an infection through her port. I am very thankful they are so careful.

Wo getting her port area cleaned with Betadine because she is allergic to the normal stuff they use called Chlorhexadene.

These are all the supplies they use when they access her port. The little yellow thing  in the tray is the needle. It has the yellow thing on it because the nurse pinches it together to pull the needle out of Wo's port. It looks like a butterfly. It has a tube hooked to it and that is where they can take blood out or put meds in. The pink and yellow tubes are for Wo's blood. The clear syringe is saline that they flush her port with and the blue syringe is heparin. The heparin is so she doesn't get blood clots in her port. The fatter tube is what they put in her port tube to collect her blood and the syringe above the tray is more saline. I used the saline and heparin when I used to disconnect Wo's pump at home. She puts lidocaine around her port area when we are about 45 minutes away from the hospital so she is numb and doesn't feel the big, thick needle when they stick it through her skin into the port. She covers it with Glad Press 'n Seal to keep it from getting all over.

Putting the needle in her port.

Happy it's in and getting it flushed. Ports have to be flushed every 3-4 weeks, even if they aren't being used.

Lauren asked her favorite lab tech, Lori if she would get a pic with her. She usually gets her, but not today. The tech she had today was really nice too and did a great job. Lauren likes Lori because she has a personality like my sister, Linda and Wo loves Linda.

After the lab, we get in the elevator and go to Floor B1. This is where Dr. Zalupski's office is and the infusion area where Lauren gets chemo.

At the end of this hallway is the infusion area. We are near Dr. Zalupski's waiting area.

Wo in Dr. Z's waiting area. Always tons of paperwork. Even more this time with the new computer system. They usually call her to an area where she gets weighed, blood pressure, and temp and then she comes back to the waiting area. Today after she had all that done, they had a room ready for her.

Waiting for Dr. Z in the exam room.

This is looking outside Wo's exam room. We are more than halfway down the hall. There are this many rooms down the other way. If you have the door open, you will see Dr. Z whizzing up and down this huge hallway.

Wo wanted a pic with me, but unfortunately, I did not inherit the photogenic gene!! Yuck.

Wo and her dear, sweet oncologist Dr. Zalupski. He cares so much for Lauren and does everything in his power to help her.

Sis got off work and found us in the exam room. So happy to see her!!

After Wo sees Dr. Z, she has to see a scheduler that makes her appointments for next time and schedules her scans. This is also where she pays her co-pay. This is our favorite scheduler because she is always so nice and friendly and gets us good appointment times. Her name is Amanda and we think she is beautiful and just a cool person.

Wo in her chair in the infusion area. I would've taken a pic of the whole area, but I didn't want to invade the privacy of the other chemo patients. We had a nice nurse that let Sis and I both go back with Wo. The rule is one visitor with each patient.

This is the chemo Lauren gets called Oxaliplatin. She gets fluids before and after. This chemo runs for 120 minutes. As soon as she starts getting it, neuropathy sets in. She can't drink anything cold or touch anything cold or it really hurts. She also starts taking her Xeloda pills tonight. Three after breakfast and four after dinner. They make her feet turn red and hurt. She never complains, though. She is very, very tough.

Bruce got off work and came to visit for a few. He left to go pump some steel and we met him at Applebee's for dinner. Wo has so many people that love her.
I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and get a little more of a feel for what Lauren goes through. She was so tired, that as soon as we got to Bruce and Sis's house, she went to bed. We got home today around 4pm.   Wo,Gio, Ryan, and I are going somewhere tomorrow night that we are so excited for. I will let you know all about it. We are sorry only four of us can go, but Mark insisted we all go. So, thanks Mark. We love you and wish you were coming too. Thanks again for reading this blog and for all of your support. Love to all.  -Pam


  1. Thanks for sharing! Lauren looks so good and so happy. Hugs to all! Lori Vogt

  2. Wow! Lauren looks amazing. Thanks for the pics. They do help the visual aspect of wondering what places look like. She sure seems like she is in a good place. You have such a beautiful family. Remember, I love you guys and ALWAYS think and pray for you all. God bless you. Huggies and kissies...

  3. That definitely helps when trying to picture what you guys are doing. I do the same thing Pam...try to picture in my mind...and it never works!!! And you are just gorgeous so hush about not being photogenic!! Where do you think your beautiful daughter gets those looks of hers!!!

    The love and support you all have for each other really hits close to my heart. It really shouldnt' be any other way when a loved one is going thru this. Especially your sweet daughter!

    Have fun at your ballgame!!! It sounds awesome. Love that football season is here...going to a little fantasy football draft myself tonight :0)

    Love as always - Teresa from Kansas :0)

  4. Pam, thanks for this blog. I've been feeling down and this truly lifted my spirits. I'm going to keep fighting!