Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween with Nancy

Hank and I took Mom to see Nancy Sunday afternoon. Aaron was there too. Here are some photos.
Nancy has been busy: Yesterday morning, before we visited, she had her kidney stents replaced and today she had a procedure to drain the fluid (ascites) from her abdomen. She was still a little sore from that this afternoon when I stopped by but was glad to have the ascites gone. Nancy seems to be getting stronger and is now walking laps around Gibson with her IV pole three times a day. You go, Girl!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday evening with Nancy

Just got back from visiting Nancy and thought I would update everyone. She looked good tonight and was comfortable...still on the morphine drip she can control herself. Tomorrow morning she will have minor surgery to replace her kidney stents. They are also giving her medication through her IV to lower her Coumadin level. Once the level is low enough, hopefully on Monday, the doctors plan to drain Nancy's ascites again. Their theory now is that ascites is probably causing the bowel obstruction. So...lots going on.

I had my camera in my purse (had just been to Kristen's Halloween party) so here are a couple of photos from Nancy's room. And yes...that is Halloween candy she has on the bed. Her friend Betsy came in yesterday and decorated Nancy's room for Halloween. She left some "trick or treats" for the nurses...which Nancy and I decided to sample. Nancy was able to eat a little solid food today (she chose Cheerios!) but will have to stop again at midnight due to the surgery in the morning.
Long day so all for tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Update on Nancy

I just got back from the hospital and wanted to update everyone on how Nancy is doing. Aaron spent most of the day with her and her close friend, Betsy, and her daughter-in-law, Erin, were also in for awhile today. I didn't get there until about 5:00 today and when I arrived she was in quite a bit of pain. When I left at 7:00, she had been started on a morphone drip that she could control herself and was more comfortable. She was very tired from an uncomfortable day so I shut out the lights and she was hopeful that she could get some sleep with the pain under better control. She is getting wonderful nursing care so I know she is in the right place. I hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Nancy has her laptop with her and I read her all of your comments on the blog...she was really moved that so many people were thinking of her and sending their prayers. Thanks to everyone. It is probably still best to limit the number of visitors and phone calls until she is feeling a little better.

Some people have asked about donating blood. You can't designate a recipient when you give blood (without paying a hefty fee and undergoing tons of red tape) so I would recommend that anyone who wants to donate give blood at their local Red Cross donor center to keep up the general blood supply. It will make you feel good and help insure that there is plenty of blood on hand for Nancy and other patients like her who may need it.

Tonight, Nancy had on some adorable Halloween socks that Erin had brought her...orange with ruffles and black cats with pom pom tails! Nancy's personality always shines through on even the darkest days.

p.s. Nancy's room is very nice but a little DULL. If you would like to send her a card, we'll hang it on the wall for her to look at. The address is Maine Medical Center, Rm. 562 Gibson, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04101.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nancy admitted to MMC tonight

Nancy has had a rough couple of weeks and I haven't really known what to write because on some days she was feeling O.K. and on others she was miserable. She has tried so hard to "not be sick anymore" as she puts it. Tonight, though, she was readmitted to MMC by her oncologist, Dr. Laurie Small, for a combination of anemia, pain,and a bowel obstruction. She is in a private room in the Gibson Unit, room 562. I'll try to bring you up to date since my last post on her condition.

If you've been following the blog, you know that Nancy came home from MMC on September 10th after 12 days. She was so happy to be out and, although still weak and suffering from some fatigue and nausea, managed to do a lot of things she was looking forward to: Uncle Ed's visit, her birthday dinner with the family, "Cousins' Weekend", her 40th KHS class reunion, a foliage trip to Jackson, N.H. with Aaron, and Kristen's annual birthday bash. In the meantime, on September 23rd, October 7th and October 14th she had more infusions of Topotecan as well as blood transfusions for the anemia. She was supposed to have her third Topotecan infusion in this cycle this week but today's blood work showed that she is too anemic for chemo right now.

Aaron brought Nancy to the doctors this morning and I joined them there as the Maine Women's Cancer Center is very close to my school. Aaron had insisted that she go as she has been in a lot of pain with vomiting and intense fatigue. Yesterday was especially difficult. She was going to try to wait to see Dr. Small until her regular appointment on Wednesday but I am so glad that Aaron stepped in and called for the appointment today instead. (Nancy is tough...we all know that...she would have waited). The doctor prescribed some medication but apparently, when this morning's blood work results came back, the doctor called Nancy and told her she needed to come to the hospital. Once Aaron brought her in, she received two more units of blood. So...as much as we all want to see Nancy at home, the hospital appears to be where she needs to be right now while she regains her strength.

Nancy continues to fight this thing so hard that sometimes it breaks my heart. She is the strongest, bravest person I know and the best sister in the world. I know that everyone reading this loves Nancy too so, Nancy, if you're reading this on your laptop at MMC, hang in there...we all love you and can't wait for you to get home!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Columbus Day Weekend

We spent the long Columbus Day weekend camping in the new Casita with Rob, Taka and Toshi at Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, NH. The weather was beautiful and we had a site right by the lake. Rob brought his tent so there was plenty of room for all five of us. Taka had camped with us last Columbus Day weekend, but this was Toshi's first camping experience and he got right into it! On Sunday, we took the boys to a pumpkin farm where they got to go on a hayride and choose their own pumpkins to take back to Brooklyn.

We were pretty hungry after all that Pumpkin-hunting, so in the afternoon it was back to camp for a "weiner" cook-out. Toshi was a fast learner!

After lunch, Grampy helped the boys carve their pumpkins. Taka thought the seeds were pretty gross...here they are:

And Toshi thought the pumpkin top made a pretty cool hat!



After a busy day, the jack-o-lanterns made perfect night lights while the boys slept soundly in Daddy's tent.
p.s. Our cousin, Lynn Armstrong surprised us with a visit to Pawtuckaway Saturday afternoon. It was great to spend some time with her and her adorable dog, Lily, around the campfire. (Yes...Lily is named after Grammy Boocock!)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Return of the Pumpkin People

Yesterday Aaron had the day off as one of his last vacation days. Since it happened on such short notice, we decided to take a leaf-peeping ride to one of our favorite towns Jackson, N.H. If you've never been there, it's in the White Mountains, near North Conway (outlet malls!) and is just beautiful at any time of year. We went to see the pumpkin people. This is a great project held every October and sponsored by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Businesses, restaurants and inns around the Jackson area make these elaborate displays using pumpkins or gourds and the Chamber gives you a map and ballot to ride around looking at the pumpkin people and then you vote on your favorite. We discovered it last year when we spent a long weekend at the Christmas Farm Inn, a great B&B with our good friends Mickey and Debie Chabot. So much fun! Here are some pictures of some of our favorites!

Waldo, from the Where's Waldo children's book series. Notice the pumpkin head and "gourd" ears!


This Wizard of Oz scene (our personal favorite) was at the Inn at Jackson-it won the judges choice as they did last fall when they did the Blue Man Group...notice how detailed the painting of the faces is!



Next is Black Mountain Ski Area's person--it looks like Kit on a day he's working ski patrol only he carries around 40 pounds of supplies around his waist!



And finally, here are Aaron and I in Fred Flintstone's car (a golf cart) at the Eagle Mountain House-notice again the details--the gang's all here including Pebbles and Bam Bam and Dino, whose bright pink head is a gourd! Yubba Dubba Do!



Note to Joanne--one business even had a flock of pink flamingos--maybe you'd like to "borrow " this idea for fall camping trips in the Tab!



Enough of the Pumpkin People--here are some shots of the beautiful foliage in the Mountains and the Black Mountain Ski Area without snow!

















And finally...here are some pictures of Kit's dream mountain get away cabin--it's for sale and he'd love it-it's walking distance to Black Mountain, babbling brook running behind the property--I think it's about $100,000-a steal right? Only a few problems--no heat,no electric, no plumbing--any ambitious family members or friends want to go in on a "fixer upper" with Kit? He'd love it!!