Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Friday, December 28, 2012

ZeldaPrincess In Trouble

December 24, 2012 we took ZeldaPrincess to the hospital up north. She was having pain, and had a fever of 102. She called her doctor, and he advised this hospital. We had been there when LadyBug had breast cancer, and have always been impressed with the nursing staff. And Dr. Colon was the one who diagnosed LadyBug's gastroparesis, so we know him as well.

They started her on a steroid treatment, but she didn't seem to be responding to that. They were going to do a CT scan, but couldn't find a vein big enough for the contrast. They eventually put in a picc line, which is better for her all around. The CT showed that her heart is slightly enlarged, probably due to the steroids (we hope).

Our boys brought us dinner on Christmas night, and StarGazer and his girlfriend, ArialDancer took us out for dinner the next night. It was nice to have the food, and better to visit with them. StarGazer and ArialDancer also drove to our house (200 mile trip) and grabbed almost all our Christmas presents, so we still got to open gifts on Christmas! With ZeldaPrincess in the bed, with tubes sticking out of her, it wasn't the most joyous occasion ever, but we had the family around, and that is really all that matters.

Last night, they gave ZP a drug to clean her out for the colonoscopy. She was not handling it very well, as it made her nauseous. So they put in a feeding tube through her nose to pump the nasty stuff directly to her stomach. This made her nose bleed profusely, which in turn made her sick. In a trip to the restroom, she threw up all the medication. This made it necessary for them to administer an enema to take care of matters.

After the procedure, the doctor said this is one of the worst cases of UC he has ever seen. He said that if she didn't start Remicade treatments immediately, she could lose her colon. he also said that if she doesn't respond to the treatment, they may have to operate to remove all or a portion of it anyway. Kissa and I will head home tonight, while LadyBug stays with ZP. Then we will come back on Monday after I get my paychecks and see what the situation is. We really don't know what will happen, when it will happen, or anything else for that matter, but we are praying that this will work out somehow. Quickly. Easily.

For all of our family and friends who have been so supportive during this, thank you, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may God bless you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Hospital Christmas

'Tis the night before Christmas,
And all through the wing
All the patients are sleeping,
So don't say a thing.
The stockings are fuzzy,
With nice rubber treads,
But we have to make do
With big chairs for our beds.
Mom in the lounge chair,
And me on the floor,
Are hoping the doctor
Will walk in through the door.
The nurses all chatter
Outside in the hall,
Coming into the rooms
For the patients who call.
We stay near the room,
Just in case there's a need,
And keep Christmas inside,
Where it's most needed, indeed.
For St. Nick will have missed us,
When he went to our house,
Finding only our puppy,
About the size of a mouse
Our present were wrapped
By the white Christmas tree,
And are waiting us still,
So tomorrow, we'll see.
Perhaps Christmas Day
We will be on our way.
Or it may be the next,
We really can't say.
But you'll hear us exclaim,
If you're close enough to hear,
That Christmas is Merry,
With the ones you hold dear.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Troubles for Number Four

Sme already know, but our youngest, ZeldaPrincess, spent the better part of a week in the hospital. Not to go into all the wonderful details, but needless to say, she couldn't keep anything in her stomach. It either came back up or rushed straight through.

After several days of this, she was admitted to the hospital for dehydration. They gave her an IV, and released her when it was done. By the next night, she was right back in the hospital, this time for an extended stay, which included the IV, nausea medication, morphine, and colonoscopy.

After several days, our insurance company CALLED THE HOSPITAL TO TELL THEM TO RELEASE HER! They said they didn't think she needed to be there any longer! I am so glad our insurance company has medical degrees so they know what patients need! The nurses started getting soft foods into her the next day, and let her go home only after confirming that she could keep it down. The doctors said if she couldn't, they would fight to keep her in!

The diagnosis was not what we hoped. She has Ulcerative Colitis, which is a condition that affects people her age, and she will deal with for the rest of her life. For those who may have never heard of colitis, you are not alone. We are finding out so much about it, including just how common it is!

Basically, colitis is inflammation of the intestine, and can limit itself to the colon, or can be randomly spread anywhere in the digestive tract, as in Crohn's Disease. It can flare up for no reason, or can be brought on by eating the wrong food.

What's the wrong food? Who knows? It differs from person to person, and case to case. Some can only eat meat and potatoes, some have to avoid anything acidic. She is supposed to stay away from anything highly fibrous, much like her mother. LadyBug's issue is gastro-paresis, combined with IBS, and is similar to what ZeldaPrincess is goung through.

There are medications you can take, although our insurance company thinks she doesn't need one of them! another new medication is out and making huge strides for patients. But some insurance companies reject it. Another treatment must be done at the cancer clinic, and runs $9,000 per treatment! Copays vary. We haven't heard yet which ones our insurance likes, but they haven't proven to be the brightest lights on the tree yet, so who kows?

And then there is also the fact that Z.P. had to withdraw from some of her classes in college. A few classes are giving her credit, and some of the professors agreed to give her "Incompletes" so she could make up the work later and get the credit still. But she plans to not return next semester, to focus on figuring all this out and getting her health settled. After that, it will be taking things one day at a time.

Take care!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Breathing Room

With our school musical, The Music Man, done, I have not yet had time to recover. Until this holiday, that is. And barely now.

I had to rearrange my voice students this week, because of everything going on. My last student for the week was Tuesday. Time to relax? Not hardly.

Wednesday, we drove north to visit StarGazer and Skitl at their place. We took Kissa and ZeldaPrincess with us (picking up Z.P.'s boyfriend on the way). The boys have recently moved into a new apartment, and wanted to "host" a Thanksgiving dinner. Since S.G. had to work Thursday, it had to be a day early. Skitl didn't have to work, but as soon as official holidays are over, he does need to start finding a new job, while also consulting attorneys to see if he was denied his contractual rights in his dismissal. Despite the dark cloud, the dinner was very nice, and we left stuffed to the gills!

Thursday, we went south to my sister Inklings home, where we met her, Dee Ice, our brother Stick, our parents, and one of Inkling's sons with his family. We enjoyed the visit, and again stuffed ourselves senseless. But that was not the end! From there, we drove to Ladybug's brother's place, where we me several of LadyBug's siblings, mother, and step-father. More stuffing ensued. 

Needless to say, I think I gained about 5 pounds in two days!

Yesterday, we spent some time cleaning our house, then cooked up a NON-Thanksgiving dinner as our two local LDS missionaries came to dinner. Once again, we were stuffed, but with a different type of food this time! 

Today, I spent some time working on a wood project ( I am making a case for my Penny Whistle!), and then headed to our new Town Square, for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. My show choir (the ones who were still in town) sang four numbers in the colder and colder evening. 

Tomorrow, I teach Sunday School, go to choir practice, then go to practice for our local production of Handel's Messiah. Then, the next day, it is back to school. Perhaps going back to work will calm things down a bit.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Saturday Project

With cold weather coming in, and scraps-o-plenty around the yard, I decided to make this shelter for our kittens. They seem to like it, and it is sturdier than I thought it would be. After five hours of hammering, sawing, and carrying this thing around, though, I am quite sore today. Now they had better show their gratitude by catching lots of vermin!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Illegal Tenants

Once the leaves started falling, I noticed we had some squatters on our property. I think I will wait until colder weather to evict them. In fact, I may see if our science teacher want to take over their lease! I don't want to just knock down this amazing piece of architecture, though! This is SO cool! I just wish it wasn't wasps! They are the bane of my existence, and have already claimed our deck, and have tried taking over our shed several times.

One friend suggests leaving them, as they will kill other insects. I think I would rather have the other insects.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Life of No Life

I realized how long it has been since I last posted. I thought I would say why. Weekdays, I am up by 6:30 a.m. to get ready for school. I am at our middle school from 7:30 with class starting at 8:10. I have two classes there, then I go to the elementary for an hour. At that point, I go home for lunch on my way to the high school. Luckily all three schools are on the same block as my house! I have two classes each day at the high school, but they are twice as long as they used to be. School ends at 3:10.

Depending on the day, I may see private voice students starting at 3:30 and going until either 4:00 or 4:30. The days they end at 4:00 are better, since Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays I have lessons starting at e college at 5:00. It is a 25 minute drive.

My students on Mondays last from 5:00 until 8:00, Tuesdays from 5:00 to 7:00, and Thursdays from 5:00 until 8:00 again. One of the highlights is seeinng my daughter, ZeldaPrincess during my 6:00 lesson on Mondays, since she is a Music Therapy major. I also have a new private student who will see me as soon as I get home on Tuesdays at 7:30. He is the last new student I will take.

This last week, all my time was spent trying to cope with this flu bug I caught from LadyBug! Yesterday was the worst I have felt, with today pulling a close second. Wednesdays and Fridays, we just try to catch up on the things we couldn't do the rest of the week!

When I told my parents my schedule, mom said, "All work and no play...," to which I replied that I was already dull, so it didn't matter. This has been a typical schedule for me during the school year for some time now, and will be for some time to come, until we can pay off enough bills to hreathe more easily. The crazy thing is, I can make more in a few hours of voice lessons than in a full week of any job except my teaching career. No part time job can compare! Plus, I set my own hours, in a way, and don't really have a boss!

LadyBug continues to improve, but we don't see that she will ever be able to work again, with the combination of lung, heart, memory, and cocentration problems. I worry about my kids thinking that a paycheck is the only thing that matters in life. If I could go back in time, I would tell that younger me a few things about finances that would save me grief now, and I hope we get a president elected in November who won't make things worse for all of us, kind of like the past few have.

Or maybe I just need a million dollar idea to come to me.

Until then, it's just a matter of "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go...."

Friday, July 27, 2012

My ALMOST Century

Well, I finally did my ride. Most of it, anyway. I made it 50 miles feeling very good, but "bonked" soon after. The next 30 miles were purely on willpower alone, but I got picked up by my brother, Stick, and rode in his car the rest of the way. I figure 80 miles isn't too bad for someone who hasn't biked over 30 miles in as many years!

I sent pic messages home the whole way. Here is how my ride went:

 You may have seen this pic already, and only two things have changed, but here is the first image of my completed restoration. Since this picture was taken, I had to replace the saddle with one which does not cause pain, and my front axle was having MAJOR issues, so I ended up replacing the whole front wheel! The new one is a little stiff, but SO much better. And lighter! At this point, there were only minor adjustments left to make, like re-tightening the brakes and setting the gears.

From my text: "First leg in one hour. Feeling good. Still thawing out. Not going to be too hot today!"

My favorite shadow I cast all day. This was still early in the ride, and you can easily see the sun was at my back. I was glad I was on a back road, because I must have looked a little silly riding down the side holding my camera while pedaling so I could get a shot of my shadow down the road...

Don't know if you can really see the horns on this guy. MASSIVE, especially at the base!

And I thought I would never get back there....

"2 1/2 hours. Even stopped to take pics. Still feel good. Officially the longest ride ever. So far. Now just adding on."

This was right before breakfast. I was in the public restroom at the park, and realized I did not have a picture of my full "uniform." Ignore the scratched mirror. This picture shows me how much more weight I still need to lose. though....

"The birthplace of my ride." The very store where I bought my bike.

"3 1/2 hours. Including rest stop!" This is also the town where the bike trail starts.

"4 hours. Feeling tired but still good. Might stop and walk around in a bit." I actually waited awhile longer to stop.

"4 1/2 hours. Almost halfway."

This is a train tunnel that you can see if you are riding the bike trail up the canyon. It has been out of use a looooong time!

"The Cathedral." Can you see the organist? You can see this from the trail, the road, or the river. But only on the trail can you stop and really look at it....

"Almost 6 1/2 hours! The last hour was all climbing! Tired!"

In fact, I was so tired, that I did the math wrong. I think this was only 5 1/2 hours. Pretty mountain. I have passed it MANY times, but have never climbed on it! Still haven't! Even camped there once. Maybe I should have camped there again, and continued the next day! This was my last stop before I bonked!

"Flat tire...." This was the last picture I took on my ride. Two hours later, I was only about twenty miles further up the road, but still had 45 miles of pure climbing ahead of me! Every mile was uphill, it seemed. Even going downhill, I had a headwind, so struggled. 

All in all, this was a great experience, and I am NOT done! I plan to get in better shape and try again next year! I think next time, I will try coming BACK, so I can ride DOWNHILL most of the way and save my legs! Maybe a nice tailwind, too.... If you have bike trails near you, TAKE ADVANTAGE of them! What a fun time! Just make sure you have a light bike, a soft saddle, and provisions!

I want to thank all those who contributed to my 80 miles of successful riding. First, my brother, Stick, for his advice in tweaking the final touches on the bike, and for taking me to the shop where I got some parts. Not to mention throwing my bike in his car and letting me have a ride in air-conditioning the last 45 miles!

Next, my neighbor, Bike Guy for all his advice. Thirdly, my wife, LadyBug, for putting up with my obsession and allowing me my eccentricities. Fourth, my friend, Piano Pythons for all her health, nutrition, and exercise tips.

Lastly, I want to name one group straight out. You may have noticed that I usually do not name names, including my own. Those who have NOT noticed, please do not use our names. I like at least THAT much anonymity. But I want to mention The Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, otherwise known as Utah's Bicycle Lawyers. This firm supplied my jersey. It was a simple matter of helping get their name out to cyclists. If you are unsure of bicycle law in Utah, they have a document you can download on their website. If you do not live in Utah, and will not be riding there, check for laws in your own state. Be aware, be informed, and above all BE SAFE!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ports and Pedals

I realized I have not written A THING in quite some time! This will be short, but LadyBug finally got her port out! She is very excited, as this is one more milestone! She has discovered that she has two mildly bulging discs in her neck, which is what causes her neck pain and at least some of her headaches. We are hoping to ge that under control. I will post some pics later, but I am less than two weeks away from a 125 mile bike ride. I will be biking some highways and some bike trails from my home to my parents' house. The trip is full of beautiful scenery, and I will climb in that dostance a total of 1800 feet! Thankfully most of that eleveation change is gradual, but there are three big hills that I am not relishing. I will post some pics when I get back. I will try to include a pic of my newly restored Schwinn road bike. It is not as light as some of the newer bikes, but I cannot afford any of those! Take care, and get pedalling!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Tunnel

LadyBug saw yet another doctor today. She visited a specialist who deals with carpal tunnel syndrome, and has scheduled a surgery to correct that issue for next week. Yes. Another surgery. I know. But at least this one is minor, and is also a permanent fix. She will also go in for another sleep study in the not-too-distant-future to see how well she is responding to the oxygen, and the will then determine if she should get hooked up with a C-PAP machine, which is the normal treatment for sleep apnea patients. We will see what all comes of that.

All this would have been just a normal week for us if our van hadn't decided it didn't want to make the trip with us! We had to have it towed to our mechanic yesterday, and don't know how soon we will get it back, or what it will take to fix it! We almost brought our truck with us, but ZeldaPrincess' best friend told us we could use her truck, since it gets better gas mileage! We are very grateful for good friends and family!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Clearing the Air

We just heard back today about LadyBug's sleep study. She has SEVERE SLEEP APNEA. We had a machine delivered today to help with her oxygen levels at night. She will be having another study soon to deterimine how the condition is caused, but for now, we hope the machine will help. Sleep apnea can cause fatigue, confusion, memory loss, weight gain, and heart problems, among other things. If things work, this could open up an entire realm of possibilities for LadyBug.

I will try to put a picture of the machine on.... We will see...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lengthening Lists

So, LadyBug may have had a clean PET scan, but that doesn't necessarily mean an ends to her troubles. On top of the heart problem, the scarred lung, the stent in her leg, the brain-fog from the chemo, and the Lymphedema, she has now developed carpal tunnel syndrome! Every night, she has her left arm wrapped up, and now she wears a brace on her right wrist! We don't know if this will fix it, or if she will eventually have to have it surgically corrected. It's just one more thing to add to her list though. It sometimes sounds more like a soap opera than reality. I thought stuff like this only happened to keep audiences tuning back in every day! But no, she is continuing her fight! She still has plenty of fight, though, so we will stay in it!

I have also, for those who did not already know, decided to open up my private vocal training studio this spring and summer. I have two students who have already started lessons, a third who starts this week, and two more who have already expressed interest. I decided to try one summer of not working for someone else for less pay, when I can work for myself and work less hours! We will see how those summer goes, and then perhaps I will make a permanent change in this direction! Who knows, when I reach retirement age, perhaps this could be how I supplement my pension! We will see.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Free at Last....

LadyBug had her PET scan in Monday, and we visited at Dr. Chemo's office today for the results. The scan came back clear!!!! Shendoes have a fatty mass on her liver that she has to have checked by MRI to make sure it is only a fatty mass, but it did not show as cancerous on this scan, so we are confident of the results. This means she does not have to order any more blood thinner shots, as well, so she is VERY happy about that! As anyone can tell you who has been through cancer, this does not mean it is all over. She will have to remain vigilant for the rest of her life, but for now, we can breathe a little easier. We are planning a minor celebration tomorrow night. Most likely dinner and dollar-movies.... I know, we really know how to live!

She does still have issues, however. She gets out of breath easily, she cannot focus or remember things very quickly, and she has developed lymphedema, which causes fluid to build up in her left arm. She has been fitted for a compression sleeve, which she will have to wear, most likely, for the rest of her life, and has to make sure it fits properly, and has to wrap her whole arm at nights.

We just went to a meeting at our church tonight where we heard a presentation by the author of "Solo." She was flying a plane that crashed in the Colorado mountains, and was stranded for four days. It is a very inspiring story, and although it did not mirror our experiences, definitely echoed the feelings we have had this year as the Lord has spared LadyBug's life repeatedly. These things make us appreciate all our friends and family that much more!

Take care!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Advances

I just got an email about this, and thought Imwould pass it along.

You should also check out a recent story from the Osgood files about a 17 year old girl who may have discovered a cure for cancer!

Take care!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LadyBug Update

LadyBug met with her doctor recently to discuss her MRI results. He told her they saw a mass on her liver. They said it does not appear to be a tumor, but looks like a fat deposit, but that he wants her to get a PET scan soon to find out for sure. For those who are unaware of what this is, all I can tell you right now is that it takes two or three hours, and should be able to tell us if there is any cancer anywhere in LadyBug's body.

Herdoctor also want her to see a dermitologist to check because she has so many moles. Ad all of this is on top of the fact thatshe still gets out of breath easily. She does have scarring on her lungs from radiation therapy. Her heaart condition is better, but we don't know if it is cured or just supressed. And the doctor want her to stay on blood thinners until further notice.

Needless to say, we have quite a bit to worry about right now, but we can still be optimistic. Keep her in your prayers. We can always feel the blessings that come from those.

One such blessing is the fact that although I lost three voice students this term, I gained one at the college and one privately. And I may get more at the college this week, still. I won't get paid from the college at the end of January like normal, but will get more money the next three months than I normally would have. This private student will help in the mean time.

For now, keep on keepin' on!

Friday, January 6, 2012

All Washed Up

I just had an adventure. The pump in our washer went out, so I replaced it! I have never done anything like that before, so was a bit nervous but YouTube helped me through it. Here is the link to their video: LINK

If I can, I will try to atually put the video on here, but for now, you can clicknand watch! Of course, if I see water flowing over the laundry room floor, Imam calling a repair man.....