Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Day at the Park

We're having a really good time up here at Deep Creek. Today we went to a local state park. We've been going to this state park every year since we have been coming up here. Chris absolutely loves coming here. This park has 2 very exciting water falls. The first is Swallow Falls which actually is small enough that the kids can flow down the river and over it's edge as there is a big smooth rock beneath it. Muddy Creek Falls is the other water fall. A much taller one. The kids actually were able to go under the waterfall behind the falling water. They loved it.

The forest is the exciting part of the park. There are huge sycamore trees throughout. Unfortunately, Chris did not make the trip down to Swallow falls as it was a bit too far. She did make the shorter walk to Muddy Creek though. She made it there but the trip back up the tall stairs was very, very tiring to her. She loses her breath very quickly and we had to stop a couple times on the way up. She was very determined and made it! We then took the boys up the river a few hundred feet to catch crayfish.

Tomorrow.... Supposed to rent a boat and tool around. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Greetings from Deep Creek

Well we made it!

We left Saturday morning for Deep Creek Lake, MD. Everyone is here and we're having a good time so far. Haven't done much and just relaxing! I took Chris and the kids to the movies today as there was rain in the area. I came back to the house and spent 3 1/2 hours of quiet. Just read the paper and relaxed. That's vacation.

Chris is doing pretty well. She's not going to be able to do all the things that we're used to doing, like hiking and walking in the swamp, but we'll make do for sure.

Yes the time is 4:21AM... I've been up for about an hour. Chris woke up and got something to eat and I woke up and just could not go back to sleep. Only 1 1/2 hours until the coffee shop opens!

Yeah we miss the dog but we'll get over it. Our neighbor Sarah is taking good care of her.

I'll keep you posted throughout the week but for now we are enjoying the time here together.

Talk to you all soon!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Running a Fever

The past 2 days Chris has been doing really well. She has been up and about most of the day. She's been eating pretty well although her taste buds are shot. Today she woke up with a craving for McDonald's Fries of all things! For lunch we ran out to get some. 1st time out of the house in 7 days! We then went to the grocery store for a couple of items. It was great to see her up and moving. She also has been working some as well. We have a workstation set up in my office in the basement where she has complete access to all the stuff at her office. She's been keeping up with lots of email.

This evening however she was starting to feel a bit chilled and sure enough her temperature was 99.5. She had a heck of a time last time keep it below 101 so hopefully this won't be as bad.

Tomorrow night Miguel Tejada is playing shortstop for the Frederick Keys. We have tickets and hopefully Chris will be well enough to go. Miguel is the shortstop for the Orioles but has been injured for a couple of weeks.

We are still on track for going to the lake next week. All things depend on Chris but I think it will work out. Keep you fingers crossed.

Chris spoke with her brother today and they are sending him home from the hospital tomorrow. He is doing pretty well after quadruple bypass surgery last Friday. We were not able to go down and visit with him because of Chris's treatment, but she's been in contact with her parents and with John.

And today Marianne's dad had surgery to remove a brain tumor. From what I've heard everything went pretty well for him. Marianne has been a huge part of our treatment the past 3 years so I'm sure her dad is in good hands!

We did get the next Hopkins appointment today. September 26 is the MRI follow up to see how this all worked out. We'll meet with the Doctor after that. Until then we will just plugging along. There's a lot of summer left to enjoy and we're going to do our best!!!

Oh and one last thing..... Yesterday was Chloe's birthday!!! 1year old. We looked it up today and realized we missed it. Oh well, she's still a dog...

Thanks for the cards, flowers, emails, dinners, and all that. We cannot begin to thank you all.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Up and about!

Hi all. Today is a much better day for Chris as she is finally up and about the house. She's not sleeping correctly. She was up most of the evening and then took a nap earlier this morning. She's trying to get back on schedule. She is really feeling much better.

She was on her computer that is set up in my office several times today keeping up with folks at work. So that is a very good sign. We are shooting for Friday to go to Deep Creek lake still so our fingers are crossed.

Today, Bonnie Borsa brought dinner over to us. Bonnie is one of the members of the Frederick County Board of Education and took the time out of her very busy schedule to prepare and deliver a wonderful meal. Her husband, Bill, was Michael's soccer coach about 4 or 5 years ago. Thanks Bonnie.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Doing Better

Chris is still in bed but is really doing better. She's pretty much slept for the last 3 days which is good. She woke up this morning and was feeling well enough for tea, milk, and some eggs. Hopefully soon she will be up and about.

Alex took the boys to NJ for their lacrosse tournament. She spent the night in a hotel with them and took them there first thing this morning. We were really unsure about sending her but they've done fine. They have 4 games today and should be back home around 8pm.

My highschool friend, roommate from college and best man from my wedding stopped by last night on his way to NC. They have 4 kids and are all doing great. They live in Utica, NY not far from where we grew up in upstate NY. It was great seeing them again even for just the over night stay. Thanks Film and Barb! Have fun at the beach.

The rest of today will be........ Nothing. Just quiet with Chris.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Day After...

After a very, very long day yesterday and an equally long night for Chris today is finally wrapping up and all indications are good so far for a quick recovery.

We got home late last night and chris immediately became nauseous. Luckily only one time though. Sorry Ray. She tried to eat some soup and crackers but was still in a great deal of pain. I went to bed around 11 and she was still tossing and turning and she decided to go and lie on the couch. She slept some and then finally took 2 of her pain pills. That seemed to do the trick as the pain subsided and she came to bed.

That's where she has been all day and has slept most of the day. This is great. She is eating some and is keeping food down without any problems. Her pain is staying away and she even took a shower this evening. Her incision is very small and doing well. After the shower I asked her how she was feeling and she said "blah". Compared to last time, blah on the day after is just great. She wasn't blah until 1 week last time!

Chris has a young intern working for her this summer and she and her mom made us a lasagna for dinner. It was just perfect timing. Our good friend Cheryl came by with Crab Soup for tomorrow and had a chance to talk with Chris. Jonneita's (someone that Chris works with) parents sent Chris some lovely flowers. I've spoken to many people and have email numerous others. THANK YOU for all the help and support. Chris and I cannot do it without you!

I'll be here with her all weekend so keep checking and I'll keep posting!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Procedure Day at the Hospital

I'm typing this while sitting right next to Chris in the recovery room at Johns Hopkins. It has been a very long day as expected. The good news is that she should be coming home with me tonight! She was in recovery around 1:30 and when I spoke with Dr. G he indicated that everything went well and that she should be good to go around 6 or so.

She is feeling really well except for some severe pain in her back (not from me). The pain meds are starting to work for her and as long as that keeps working she'll go home. Her parents went over to the house for awhile with the boys and Alex came home early to relieve them. Alex is taking the boys out to dinner tonight and a little shopping. This is a huge help having her home for us while this is going on.

In fact this Friday she is taking both of them to NJ for a lacrosse tournament on her own. I just can't get away to go up there so she's going to do it.

I'll post more later or tomorrow but for now Chris will be home recovering soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Day before the procedure...

This picture was taken on Sunday morning in Chris's bird bath by the patio. It seemed as if the dove was looking at us and telling us to keep the faith!

Today is the day before Chris goes into the hospital again for another chemoembolization. A somewhat complicated procedure to kill the tumors directly. The procedure starts around 11 and goes for about 1 to 2 hours. I'll be there all day for sure.

Today we went to Hopkin's so Chris could be given a MUGA exam of her heart. This is an exam that has to be given to her after she leaves the clinical trial. That has been so hard for her and I but we know that there is a direction and a plan ahead for now. That plan is to keep working as hard as we can to beat this no matter what the time and effort involved!

This weekend I was supposed to go to a charity golf tournament to raise funds for Camp Good Days in Rochester NY. This wonderful place was so helpful to a family that is very close to us. I mentioned their son a few posts back, his name is Ryan. He too was a courageous fighter and will always be a part of our lives. Unfortunately, with Chris's procedure I won't be able to attend but I will be there in Spirit, so Rich and Jill please know that I'm thinking of you and hope that everyone raises a lot of money for the camp.

On top of all that is going on, Chris's 39 year old brother John, is going into the hospital on Friday for triple bypass surgery! The same procedure her dad had last year. He's doing pretty well and very lucky they found it so early. Her mom and dad are going to the Univ. of Virginia where he's having the surgery to be with him and his wife.

Chloe continues to do well and keep us all laughing...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Off the trial and into the hospital!

Dear Friends and Family,

Well the last month was a very busy month for us. Chris made it through
the first month of the trial with little complications. 2 weeks ago
she went for a follow-up MRI from the chemoembolization procedure she
had done about 3 months ago. The news was not what we wanted to hear.
The tumors that were killed off from the last procedure were still gone
but there are now new tumors that are coming in. The old one step
forward 2 steps back approach. We were disappointed but not surprised.
News like this has been coming our way off and on for 3 years now and we
just take a deep breath, hug the kids, and move forward and fight some

Chris's oncologist initially said that this is not a surprise, as
sometimes it takes up to 3 months for the drugs/treatment to start
showing results and that a progression of the disease is not uncommon.
That was good to hear, but bloodwork done on Wednesday this week
indicated that her liver functions have deteriorated. Not
dramatically, but these functions are just below the level required to
remain in the clinical study trial. So, the bad news is that she no
longer is eligible for the trial that she has worked so very hard to get
into. That is very upsetting to us, as well as the clinical nurses and
doctors that we've grown close with over the last several months.

So right now, it is Friday and I'm sitting in the waiting room at Johns
Hopkins Hospital. Chris has had a CT scan and is getting a Bone Scan
right now. Next Tuesday she will receive a MUGA scan of her heart.
These are preliminary tests for her as she will be going back into the
hospital on Wednesday morning for another chemoembolization surgery.
This again will inject undiluted chemo drugs into her liver in hopes
that it will kill off the tumors that are growing and give the other
drugs that she's taking a chance to work. We are hoping that she
recovers from the procedure a little better than she did last time.
After this procedure, she'll be given periodic MRIs to monitor the
tumors in her liver. The results were very good before and the Dr. is
very optimistic about doing it again.

Needless to say this has thrown another monkey wrench into any plans
that we had had for the summer. But, with a little help we'll get by.
We've learned to not make plans more than a couple weeks out. I'll be
in touch with some of you directly about specific changes. We were
hoping to be able to go to Chris's favorite vacation spot in MD, Deep
Creek Lake. We're scheduled to go at the end of July and are really
hoping that she is recovered enough that we can go and spend a week with
the kids and just relax. We did this last year after 3 years away from
it and it was very beneficial to making her more comfortable and
bringing our family closer.

Again, please know that your prayers and kind wishes are heard loud and
clear! Our entire family is dedicated to helping Chris with this
disease and we appreciate so much the flowers, cards, meals, cleanings,
phone calls, emails, and all the love and support that has come our way.
I must say that I am forever grateful to everyone.

Don't hesitate to drop any of us a line and check the blog often for
more detailed updates.

May God bless all of you and especially may God bless Chrissy.

Thank you,

Frederick, MD
cell phone

Monday, July 9, 2007

COMSTAR Night @ The Keys

Saturday was a special evening at the Frederick Keys game. Chris does a great deal of promotions with the team and this year sponsored the card set giveaway night. It was a great night with lots of COMSTAR employees there to watch the game. This year was extra special as the NEW COMSTAR mascot made it's appearance for the 1st time. Her name is Stella. Since she arrived on Friday and the game was Saturday there was little time to find a person to where the costume. Tyler stepped up to do it and we must say he did a great job. Check out the pictures from the game. They are quite funny.

Alex's boyfriend, Jon, came to visit and was selected to throw out the 1st pitch. He's left handed but that was okay. He still made it.

Sunday Chrissy wasn't feeling very well so she pretty much just stayed inside and rested. I took Tyler to lacrosse camp at Mt. Saint Mary's University. He's spending 4 days away from home! So last night Chris, Michael, and I went out for dinner. Quiet and nice. Wednesday this week we meet with Dr. Emens. Expect an update after that.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Back from the beach.

First here are a bunch of pictures from the beach. Lot's of wather pictures but plenty of others in there too. Please feel free to look through them all when you have time.

We had a nice time. The weather was pretty good as well. The kids all played in the water the whole time while Chris and I just sat on the beach and watched. I got out there really late on Monday after flying back from Ohio and then we drove back on Thursday so that the boys could get to lacrosse practice. They weren't too happy about that but too bad for them!

We went and picked up the dog at the kennel in the afternoon. She was really good while there but freaked out when she saw us! Her little heart was pounding really fast.

Chris went back to work today as did I. She's been gone for awhile and has a lot of catching up to do. Alex's boyfriend is coming to visit on Saturday. Her 19'th birthday is Monday. Yeah 19! Tyler leaves for lacrosse camp on Sunday.

We did get some unsettling news as well. Chris's 39-year old brother, John, has to go into the hospital for a triple-bypass surgery on his heart! All indications are that this should be a very successful operation. We're all a little worried about it and are doing everything we can to help them out.

Next week we meet with Dr. Emens on Wednesday and Chris will get another series of Skin tests. We'll go back on Friday and if all is well she will start the 2nd round of the trial next Monday. That will be another long week as we have to go 6 days in a row. We'll do it though, we did it before and will keep doing it. As you can see from the photos Chris looks just marvelous!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Off to the ocean

Chrissy got home really late Thursday night. It was really great to have her home. The kids and I did just fine while she was away but missed her dearly. Saturday Chrissy and the kids left for Ocean City, MD. I didn't go as I'm now in Akron,OH. I have a business meeting at Firestone Country Club with a bunch of clients! It's a beautiful day and we're playing golf. I fly back late tonight and will drive out to OC and hook up with them.

Saturday I piddled around the house and did some things. Then I took the dog to the kennel for a few days. It was sad as she's never been away from us and yes we're all a little attached to the furball... Saturday night was weird. I was home in the house all by myself. Quiet and somewhat lonely. I was tired so I just went to bed.

Chris's oncologist called on Friday. I spoke with her as Chris was at the grocery store. She told us that we should continue the course we are on, clinical trial. The new tumors are not uncommon when you get on a new treatment. She's on Tamoxifin in addition to the trial. It can take up to 3 months before the drugs starts to work so you can see a spike in activity. As for the trial, that is fine for now and she will get regular scans with it and if they see continued progression then they can stop and perhaps do another chemoembolization. Also, the bloodwork that is done will show if in fact the regiment is not working by simply looking at the bloodcounts. She told us not to be overly worried about it. We trust her judgement.

That was a very big burden lifted from our shoulders. It took a week to get to us though, only because Chris was away and they said they'd call when she returned. Next meeting is July 11th with Dr. Emens. Bloodwork in OC on Tuesday.