Archive for April 2013

To each their own

April 30, 2013

Today we’ll take a break from the Nana updates (she’s still progressing very well).

At the end of last year, we knew it was getting to be time for the kids to have their own rooms.  Since it made more sense for A to share a bathroom with Nana, that meant she moved out and J remained in their current room.

We wanted the kids to apply their personalities to their own rooms. Since we wanted to paint her room before she moved in, we worked on A’s room first.  There was no doubt what color it would be.

A painting her new room color.

A painting her new room color.

Yes, it is pretty much Pepto-pink

Yes, it is pretty much Pepto-pink

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K painted on some flowers

A added a flower or two.

A added a flower or two of her own.

She also picked out the comforter and trundle bed (to accommodate all the sleep-overs she's planning).

She also picked out the comforter and trundle bed (to accommodate all the sleep-overs she’s planning).

And add a couple of giant leaves for effect.

Add a couple of giant leaves for effect.

And what girl's bedroom is complete without an updated closet organizer?

And what girl’s bedroom is complete without an updated closet organizer?

As for J, about 4 years ago, I posted about a Star Wars bed that somebody had made for their son.  My line in that post was “Please, oh please, let one of my kids love Star Wars so much that I can build something like this.”  Well, turns out J takes after his old man regarding Star Wars.  So when it was time to repaint his room, I started planning.

When we found out we were expecting boy-girl twins, we knew the nursery had to have a fairly gender-neutral color palate.  Since K was on bed-rest most of the pregnancy, it was up to me to paint.  Being the engineering geek that I am, I came up with a scheme to paint individual panels on each wall, with shades of pink, green, blue and yellow alternating in the panels.

The old panel color scheme.

The old panel color scheme.

Since J still thought these panels were cool, when it came time to re-paint, we didn’t want to deviate from this pattern.  After re-painting each panel a blue J picked out, I started to plan.  I worked with J to pick out some Star Wars images and quotes.  I created a mock up of each panel on the computer so he could see what it would look like when finished. Then the real fun began.

I took each computer graphic and projected it using a small projector attached to my laptop.

I took each computer graphic and projected it using a small projector attached to my laptop.

After getting the image projected just right, I then painted in (by hand) the dark areas.  Each image probably took a hour or so to paint.

After getting the image projected just right, I then painted in (by hand) the dark areas. Each image probably took a hour or so to paint.

After all 8 images were painted, I starting thinking about the best way to do the quotes on the wall.  Since hand painting the lettering would be much less forgiving than the pictures, I decided to use adhesive vinyl lettering, cut using one of those computerized craft cutting systems called the Silhouette Cameo.  This is a very cool machine that allows you to cut out just about any shape that you can create on a computer.

Creating the text on the laptop

Create the text on the laptop

The Silhouette does its magic

Let the Silhouette do its magic

Peel off the excess vinyl

Peel off the excess vinyl

Apply to the wall

Apply to the wall

One down, seven more to go.

One down, seven more to go.

After all was said and done, here are the eight panels.  Click on each to see it bigger.

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I can’t really tell you how much time I invested in getting his room to this point.  Let’s just say he’d better not start liking The Lord of the Rings any time soon.

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Nana’s home

April 26, 2013

Nana came home yesterday. She’s all settled in to her room and making good progress. We’ve got to give her some blood-thinner medication shots for the next two weeks. But that’s about it since she’s already doing well without pain meds.

Hopefully we’ll get some pathology results in the next couple of days. Those will determine the type and timing if the next course of action.

And thanks for all the notes and prayers!

Nana surgery day

April 24, 2013

Nana and K left for the hospital at 5:45 this morning. I’m dropping off the kids at school then heading to the hospital. I’ll update this entry as we get information throughout the day. Thanks for your prayers.

Update 8:04 am: They just took Nana to the back to start the surgery. Thanks to the two ministers from our church who were there to pray with her.

Update 9:00 am: No real status update, but some fun facts about the surgery. One reason we’re a half hour from home at the area’s biggest hospital (instead of the one a mile from our house) is that the doctor is using the DaVinci surgical robot to perform a lot of the procedure. Here’s what the setup looks like:

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K thinks it looks as if the doctor is playing a video game. K’s brother hopes the doctor gets the high score.

Update 10:00 am: Nana is out of surgery. Everything went well. The surgeon said he did remove a couple of lymph nodes that were swollen. And there was a spot on one of her ovaries. He also said, based on the biopsy and what he saw in surgery, that this type of cancer does have a “high rate of return and a high rate of metastasis,” but they really won’t know for sure until the post surgery pathology comes back. Also, he confirmed that they do want to put her through a course of chemo as a precaution. So more fun to come.

Update 1 pm: K went back to see Nana for a bit. Still really groggy, but otherwise seems to be doing ok. Just waiting for a room to open up.

In unrelated news, we just realized that we are sitting in the exact same spot where we waited during J’s open heart surgery.

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Update 2:15pm: Nana is in a room. On the way up, we made a stop in the High Risk Pregnancy unit where K spent almost a month at the end of our pregnancy, some 8 years ago (ironically, in the same room our good friend CPQ spent time in almost 14 years ago)

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Having flashbacks

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Update 4:15pm: Nana’s doing well. She’s not quite as loopy as she was several hours ago, so the entertainment value has dropped a bit. It really hurts for her to laugh, so of course the first thing I did was show her my new badge:

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After she stopped suppressing laughter and writhing in pain, I explained that it’s one if the perks of the job. And it saves us $5 in parking.

We can tell she’s feeling better because she’s telling us we don’t need to stay, that we’ve got more important things to do, asking us if we we’re eating enough, etc. And when K mentioned a cute item in the hospital gift shop, Nana immediately said “Oh, take my credit card and go get something nice for yourself.”

Update 6:15pm: They’ve already got Nana up and about. She just finished two laps around the nurses’ station. Next event up is the javelin throw.

Update 9:15pm. Nana is tucked in for the evening. She ate a whole bowl of soup, which is good progress. We’re still hopeful that she’ll come home tomorrow.

This week’s Nana update

April 18, 2013

Nana saw the surgeon this morning.  After looking at her CT scan from last Friday, he’s confident that this thing has not spread very far.  Therefore he’s going to perform the surgery laparoscopically, which is a whole lot better from a recovery standpoint.  There’s a chance that once he gets in there, he could see additional places that may require a more invasive surgery.  But at least based on what he knows right now, we may have caught this thing before it had spread too far.

Still on for surgery next Wednesday, April 24th, first thing in the morning. If all goes as planned, she’ll spend one night in the hospital and come home on the 25th.  Thanks for your continued prayers.

Play Ball

April 8, 2013

This weekend provided a good distraction … opening day of the kids’ baseball season.  It started bright and early on Saturday (too early, in my opinion) with the opening day parade and ceremony.  It’s a really neat time when all the Little League teams gather and walk down a closed-off portion of a major thoroughfare. While it was a little chilly (as in the low 40s), the kids had a ball.

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The thundering herds start to gather

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J is ready

They all took turns holding the team banner

They all took turns holding the team banner

Parading past the throngs of well-wishers gather along the parade route.

Parading past the throngs of well-wishers gathered along the parade route.

J perfected the tipping of his hat towards the spectators

J perfected the tipping of his hat towards the spectators

Once the parade was over, all the teams gathered on a field for opening ceremonies

Once the parade was over, all the teams gathered on a field for opening ceremonies

And what respectable ceremony doesn't include snacks?

And what respectable ceremony doesn’t include snacks?

Coach K was appropriately dressed for the weather

Coach K was appropriately dressed for the weather

Skreetch, the Washington Nationals' mascot, made an appearance.

Screetch, the Washington Nationals’ mascot, made an appearance.

Not long after the ceremonies finished, it was time for the kids’ first game.  I wasn’t able to take many pictures of the game itself, since both K and I are assisting with coaching the team this year.  For this game, I was running the mechanical pitching machine while K was umpiring at second base.

A (begrudgingly) read the players' oath.

A (begrudgingly) read the players’ oath

J geared up to play catcher for an inning.

J geared up to play catcher for an inning.

One game down, 3,246 to go this season.

Surgery Date

April 4, 2013

Nana will have surgery on April 24th at 8am.

After a little more blood work, they’ll schedule her for a chest x-ray and CT-scan for sometime next week.  These tests will help them determine if the cancer has spread.  If they don’t see any signs that it has, they’ll do laparoscopic, robot-assisted surgery.  If the tests show any spread, then she’ll have a more traditional, larger incision surgery.

Obviously, our prayer is that it’s very contained, since this carries a much better prognosis and makes the surgical recovery much easier.

Help Nana beat this thing

April 2, 2013

Last week, K’s mom, aka Nana, aka The-Engine-That-Keep-Our-Family-Moving-Forward, had a minor biopsy procedure.  Simple, out-patient.  Afterward, the doctor even said everything looked good.

Then she got a phone call on Monday asking her to come in for an appointment with the doctor.

To say this is never a good sign would be an understatement.

So, long story short, after her appointment with the doctor this morning, we’re now doing all sorts of fun reading of articles with titles like “Uterine Cancer and You!” and “You Can Put the ‘Hysterical’ Back Into ‘Hysterectomy!’

OK, there really aren’t articles named that.  But there should be. But I digress.

So yeah, Nana has uterine cancer.  She goes on Thursday for a surgery consult, where they’ll discuss the various possibilities and probabilities.  We won’t really know a prognosis until they get in there, take out what they can and test it to see how far things have spread.

So right now, the troops are mobilizing.  Lots of folks are asking what they can do to help.  The biggest help is for people to pray that this stuff hasn’t spread very far.  If that’s the case, prognosis is extremely good.

More to come.