Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Final

Happy Holidays!

Well we finally have all the pieces put together for our next forever.......what? As the title of my last post said "Moving On" that's what we are doing. SCCA/Hutch contacted Ret and asked her to be part of the clinical trial and as expected she declined. That's OK, she's feeling great all her numbers have come in perfect so she's going to give it a go as they say "bareback". No support.

We met with her primary yesterday and got a great Christmas present and that is we can now start our monthly check ups instead of weekly. In addition her breast biopsy's came back negative so better yet. So from now on it's blood draws once a month and Zometa treatments for her acute Osteoporosis and that should be it. Obviously the monthly blood draws are to monitor her condition to make sure the cancer doesn't return. We don't at this point have plan to institute a long term drug therapy to control her condition but again we'll monitor that monthly to evaluate and determine our options.

So for all you unlucky folks, that truly cared for Ret, you won't have to put up with my babble any longer. NOW THERE'S A CHRISTMAS PRESENT!

Actually as I have said many times, you really can't imagine how much your love and support helped get Ret through this extremely difficult time. There are way to many of you to single out, but safe to say you all played a very critical role in her success and for that we are truly indebted and blessed. May the holidays bring you and your families great joy and the new year great success!

With great admiration and humility-


Ret & Jack

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moving On

Happy Holidays to All:

As mentioned in my last post we've been sprung and we're taking advantage of that. We spent the week before T-Day at the river just hanging out doing a little cleaning but that was about it. Amazing how a house can get dirty even though you're not there, of course the yard is a different story that never ceases to create work for us.

We got back Thursday so we could meet with Ret's primary in Edmonds on Friday and you would have thought she was one of their lost children, hugs, kisses and a great deal of emotions as well. It was good to be back! I will tell you however that I was amazed, I don't know why though, that Eileen Ret's doc knew every detail of our three month odyssey at SCCA. It is so refreshing and meaningful how they track your progress and communicate that to all involved.

We really haven't cut ties completely with SCCA/Hutch we have a few more procedures we need to complete that I'll briefly talk about. But in addition they want Ret to go on a clinical study involving two cancer med's that have been used to help keep Ret's type of cancer at bay for the long term. While they believe these two med's have been effective in doing just that they have not been used in concert and that is what they want to measure. It depends on how you look at these things and certainly everyone involved has an opinion but at this point the comment from Ret was she doesn't want to be a Guinea Pig and I'll leave it at that.

As they do, the SCCA manages your complete health care, meaning if there are any normal types of tests one should have just for general health maintenance you get it. Well Ret's mammogram came back with a couple areas of concern, a cyst in one breast and what they say looks like a possible calcium deposit in the other. She'll have biopsy's done this next week and the obvious diagnosis will me made, however they do say in both cases they are not overly concerned.

As always thanks to all for your continued support you really don't know what it means!!


Ret & Jack

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We're Free.................Kind of!

To All:

Well we were sprung from our little UW prison on Friday last week and I must say it was none too soon!! While the caregivers were able to walk around, go outside, down to the cafe and other places Ret was pretty much confined to the 8th floor and her room. I know now that we are out it was more of a mental drain on her than physical. They sent us home with a new schedule of going back to SCCA/Hutch. In meeting with them on Monday it looks as if we'll have just a couple more weeks there and not everyday thank goodness, then transfer back up to Edmond's and Ret's primary oncologist.

As I may have mentioned in the past Ret's cancer is not one where if there are no recurrences or signs of cancer say within 5yrs you're considered cured or at least cancer free. Hers is one that never really goes away so we'll work with the SCCA/Hutch and her primary to determine a drug therapy that best suits her and her lifestyle to help manage the cancer. She'll continue to have monthly visits to her doc for the first year then every six months there after, in addition to that she'll have monthly zometa shots to help with the acute osteoporosis that the cancer caused. Also if necessary we have a few million stems cells in the U-Store-It should she need another transplant. The little over achiever!

As always thanks to all for the cards, letters and calls. It's truely hard to explain how much it means to Ret!


Ret and Jack

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still Here

To All:

Well we're still here at the UW Med Center, seems as if Ret hasn't been able to get her fluids and nourishment to stay down like they would like. So until she keeps her stuff down we will be here, actually they're trying to spring us this Sat 10/31 just in time for Halloween. If so I have to come up with some sort of costume that will accent that beautifully smooth chrome dome that she covers up with all the cool hats she has, the kids will love it. Anyway we won't push going home too soon though it really is best for her to be here for the time being.

Unfortunately she's also developed a bacteria called C.difficile that we all have and carry with us, but because her immune system can't fight it normally they have to treat it with antibiotics. While it certainly can be dangerous they have a handle on it and aren't overly concerned. They are just as concerned about us passing it along to the other patient population here, so when we're with her we gown up and use latex gloves to prevent the transfer of the bacteria.

Also unfortunately she has pulled a rib muscle because of so much dry heaving and its extremely painful which is no fun what so ever!! Sorry about being graphic but it's all part of the deal.

Take care.


Ret & Jack

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bump in The Road

To All:

As they say "To good to be true"!

As well as everything has gone I guess it was only a matter of time before we reached that bump in the road, which was this last weekend. Unfortunately Ret has developed a condition called Mucositis, not uncommon however, that is basically mouth and throat sores. They are extremely painful and prevent her from ingesting anything, meaning no medications no food taken orally, and that's a bad thing. We had to admit her to the UW Medical Center on Sunday so not only could they monitor the situation but also provide her the necessary medical and nutritional supplements intravenously. In addition to the pain this condition is one where the body creates excess mucus and saliva that settles in the GI tract causing nausea and vomiting, just one more thing to deal with which causes more pain...........vicious circle! So she's pretty well medicated which makes for some funny conversations. All and all they're taking great care of her and as I have said on numerous occasions I'm blown away at the level of care and detail they provide, it's truly amazing...................maybe better said extremely comforting.

This condition should turn around in the next 3-5 days. The issue is because at the moment she's not creating any red or white blood cells, which heal the body, so until that process begins she has to deal with whats happening. They say post transplant the re-generation of cells begins around day 12 and she's at day 9, so we just have to wait but it will happen.

Ret's sister Kath, Kim Christensen and I are rotating nights at the hospital to keep an additional watch on Ret and her condition. Which I can't thank the two of them enough!!! I know it's also a good deal for Ret because that way she doesn't have my overbearing butt lording over her 24/7.

Even though I've done it before Ret wants me to thank everybody for all the cards, calls, prayers and well wishes! So there you go I'm actually doing what she told me to, because I'm actually afraid that one day she'll read all this and if I didn't man I'd be in deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep S---!

Ret & Jack

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Day Has Come

To All:

Well here we sit at the SCCA/Hutch getting Ret reintroduced to her stem cells! They call it her new birthday, unfortunately the gestation period was longer than nine months but we'll take it anyway. The procedure is an all day gig but the actual stem cell infusion takes only about a half an hour. That's partly due to the little "Over Achiever" kicking out so many cells during capture but also there's med's, hydration and general stuff they have to monitor so that adds to the day. After that we head home hunker down and wait for hopefully the re-graftment process to take hold. I say head home and hunker down but really we have to be here everyday for them to monitor Ret's process, so we continue our daily trips to the SCCA.

Some may be asking or saying home, yea home, they are letting us manage this whole thing from home. Actually they say it's better for the patient if you can manage from home and given the fact we're so close that's what we're doing. I really believe it's because Brandstrom, Miller and the Krekows made a large contribution to the SCCA/Hutch so they let us go home instead of us staying with any of them! Oh well their original offer seemed nice anyway.

Gotta go the stem cells just showed up for the Birthday party!!


Ret & Jack

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting Close

To All:

Been a while since my last post and the reason is...........................well I just have to blame Ret! As you know by our recent posts that she's doing so well there's nothing to blog about, which isn't a bad thing now is it?

After her stellar performance during the stem cell capture procedure they said, meaning the SCAA/Hutch, that they didn't want to see us for a week. It was hard but I convinced her to load the truck and head east for the week to spend a little time R&R'ing at the river. There was some R&R but also quite a bit of work getting everything ready for the winter, given the fact that this year we won't be there for at least 3-4 months during her recovery.

With that a little news on the transplant front. We should be headed down to the Hutch the week of 10/12 for her final chemo treatment then 48hrs following that they'll reintroduce her stem cells and hopefully she's on the mend. The time following the reintroduction is the most critical and it's possible that she may be admitted to the hospital for varied reasons, which is quite normal following a transplant. That said some of the larger issues are infections, illnesses, inability to take in food or fluids so they monitor that quite closely, hence the hospital stay. I just told her keep performing as she has and there won't be any problems.....easy for me to say!

All for now.

Ret & Jack