Nov 21, 2011

Matt Gets His Port Out

Disclaimer here- there is a video. The video is a SURGICAL PROCEDURE. There is blood (not a lot), and an incision (a small one), and sutures.... Fair warning not to watch if your little tummy can't handle it.

I'm about a month & a half late on writing this, but I have good reason. Matt had the video downloaded onto his puter (short for computer but pronounced pooter), but I could NOT find it for the life of me. I searched high & low in all the files & hidden files & top secret files & everywhere, but I couldn't find it. So finally, two days ago, he uploaded it to the internet, or interweb as we like to call it, so I could then download it to my puter, since he hogs his nice one, & then upload it to this here blog. Phew! The things I do to keep you people updated about us. Hahaha.

He had his port removed on October 5- YAY! It was an exciting day. One year and twelve days after his diagnosis, and five days short of a year from his surgery to remove the tumor. It was kind of a big day for us :) He worked until about 3:30, and then we went to a vascular surgeon's office to have it removed. And then Matt got a big huge burger from McDonald's, because he thinks that cures all things. He's such a trooper, though. I can't say enough how amazed/impressed/in awe I am at his strength & awesomeness through all of this. He is pretty amazing, you know?

So here's the promised video- like I said before, watch at your own risk :) It's really not that bad, I just don't want to be responsible for someone passing out at their puter. Probably you'll be laughing at the commentary throughout, as it is pretty lame. And you'll be mildly interested in the actual procedure. Or vice versa, whatever you want. Oh yeah, and grab your popcorn, it's 10 minutes long.

Do you people know that a 10 minute video takes like more than an hour to upload to the interweb? Ridiculous. And you're welcome.

Sep 16, 2011

Rather Excellent News

Matt had another CT scan last week & we got the results Tuesday. It was the first appointment I've missed since the initial diagnosis, which was kind of heartbreaking, but nothing I could do about it. Having to miss it reminded me of the day he was diagnosed. I don't know if many people know this, but I was working on 5th floor at SMC that day, and I couldn't be with Matt for the appointment. It was my awesome 5th floor girls that held me together when I got the news. Thank you, ladies, for your comfort and support that day and the many months that were to come! Anyways, great news today! No surgery!!! The one slightly enlarged lymph node is still about the same size, but Dr. Ansari says that unless we see drastic changes to it or the tumor markers, then we're golden! Surgery to remove the node is out of the question, and we'll continue with routine monitoring. And, Matt gets to have his port removed in October!! Yay!!! I know he's excited. Pride is also excited, as this means he can jump and play as rough as he wants with Matt again.

In other news- I have a job! I spent all week in orientation... blah blah blah. It was painful. I've never in my life had to work 5 days in a week, and it sucked. I vow to never do it again. I start real job stuff Monday, so that should be better. I'm working at Elkhart General Hospital as a Float Nurse- that means I don't have a home in the hospital, which also means I don't have to deal with all the political junk that happens on the different floors. I essentially get to fly under (or above, depending on how you look at it) the radar when it comes to snotty, haughty, prissy, back-stabbing people who work in a hospital! Yay! Also, I'll eventually get to work on the mother-baby unit, which is a great perk!

We moved into the house this past Friday/Saturday, thanks to a bunch of people from our church who helped. It took much longer than I thought it would, but regardless, we're in and sleeping so amazingly well in our *not air-up mattress* bed!! We've painted a couple of spaces, but no room is finished yet, so I'll wait to post pictures when they're done- this way you'll have the full effect of before & after! And I know you're wondering... Pride loves his new backyard! He goes out and runs and rolls and pees on all the bushes and just loves it! We played a little fetch today when I got home... it's so fun watching him enjoy the space and freedom to run again.

Sorry for no pictures today. Just a boring ol' post. 

Sep 1, 2011

Farmers Market Fun

I went to the South Bend Farmers Market today with some friends! You can check it out here. It was awesome!! Best FM I've ever been to! I bought all kinds of goodies & wanted to share....

Naturally, I got some yummy fruit & veggies... I can't wait to try the onions! The guy selling them had some samples & they were OH SO GOOD!

I also split a basil plant with a friend- I don't know the first thing about growing things, but she split it for us and then told me to take it home a plant it. And because I'm not a grower of things, I had to stop and buy a pot. I found this one at the dollar store- score!! I planted it, then sent her the above picture to which she quickly replied.... Looks great! Buuut, I was supposed to separate the plants more before planting, so then I dumped it all out and replanted. It looks like this now:
Pretty, huh? The lovely fragrance reminds me of The Wedge Pizzeria in OKC, and their delicious pizza with fresh basil. Mmmm!

So the mosquitoes are nasty in SB. I had been wanting to purchase some oil and make a spray to ward them off, but hadn't lucked into any yet. Until I went to the farmers market! A sweet lady, who I talked to for awhile while my friends so graciously waited, sold me some lemon eucalyptus oil. I was so excited!!! Just what I'd been looking for but didn't want to pay the outrageous price at the health food store. I found the recipe I had looked up awhile back and went to work- it smells awesome in our apartment right now!! The spray is made of oils and witch hazel and water, and I can't wait to try it out. Of course, it needs to be shaken before spraying, but you get the idea. Now if only I had outdoor plans this evening.....

Aug 24, 2011

Time for an Update

It's been awhile. I feel like not too much has changed. I've been spending my time calling a thousand seven hundred and eighty-two companies to change our address, and then call them all back about a week later to change our bank account with them. It's amazing how many customer service people make assumptions when a customer calls. I spoke with some rude, some too quiet to really hear, some friendly, some overly friendly, and some just plain obnoxious. But, I think my phone calls are finished.

Matt has been on the new job for a few weeks now, and it's going as well as a new job can. He's really enjoying his co-workers, and I'm enjoying meeting them, too. I have been waiting the entire time we've been here (which feels like much longer than it actually has been) for my nursing license to be transferred from Oklahoma to Indiana. And I'm proud to say... I received it yesterday! So today my time, except for now of course, is full of filling out applications for a job. I've really enjoyed most of my time off, but I've also come to truly appreciate the friendships a job offers. It's been hard not to have people to talk to a few days a week... all this to say, I miss you, McBride. 

Pride has been getting a bit restless in the apartment (see pic below). So I found a nice park for walking him, and it's solved the problem quite nicely! The park has a trail that goes forever and ever. We usually spend about an hour walking, and then head home smelling a little like fish from the river the trail follows. Pride loves it. Also, he loves pooping in the river.... ew! 

We have found a church that we love! It's called Michiana Covenant Presbyterian Church. Here's the link: The people have been so welcoming- more than we ever imagined. We haven't actually heard the pastor speak yet, but there are a few sermons on the website. We're really excited about getting involved in this community. 

We're getting close to owning a home! September 9 couldn't come any slower... We followed the inspector around a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to grab a few indoor pictures to share. I didn't get a picture of it...not sure why not...but there is a big "family room" downstairs with a pool table!  

Entry Way (sorry for the blur here)

Dining Room & Outdoor Deck

Master Bedroom (has master bath, which is unusual for the age of the home)

Part of the Kitchen

Anyhow, hope all my faithful readers enjoy the partial home tour :) I'm excited to post before & after photos when we're moving in. 

Quick update on Matt: we met the new oncologist & I'm a huge fan! Matt is a bit skeptical, but more on that later... Next CT scan is September 7, and then we will see Dr. Ansari on September 13 for the results. Please pray. We NEED to see a normal lymph node at this appointment. If it's not normal, then it's another (big & bad) surgery for Matt in the future. 

Jul 31, 2011

Not much new. Actually, a lot new.

Hello world! Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of weeks. We've been oh-so-busy!

So we're in a contract to buy a house! We offered, they accepted, and the inspections are under way. Exciting!!! We will close on Sept. 9, and until then we're in a short-term apartment above a garage. It's kinda fun living so simply. We have one big room, complete with a closet, full-size bathroom, and tiny kitchen. I'd like to say it's a little like living in NYC, but without furniture, ha! We do have a TV up here, which it kinda nice. Pride thinks it's pretty cool because he gets to play with the owner's dog, Shadow, in their backyard. Pride & Shadow are bff's. It's cute. I wish I had a picture of the two of them to show you! So sorry!!

Matt starts official work tomorrow! Yay! He's been doing freelance work for ND for the past week, but he's had a little more freedom with that as far as he would work whenever he wanted, instead of the traditional 8-5. Tomorrow starts that schedule, so Pride & I will have to find entertainment on our own now. I'm sure we'll make do.

Anyhow, tonight is short & sweet. Hope everyone is well. And might I say- we miss y'all! It's kinda starting to set in...

Jul 19, 2011

Bob Evans & Jason Street

As I mentioned in the previous post, my parents came to SB to help us move our stuff. They were able to stay an extra day to see the town, and we had a great time!

First we had breakfast at Bob Evans, and I'm sad to say that I don't have any pictures of it. But, interesting information for all of you... my dad once was on a business trip with a co-worker who managed to have the two of them eat at Bob Evans three, yes 3, different times in three days. It was a good breakfast story. And my dad admittedly said he still likes the food, haha.

We drove around town for awhile and got out of the car every now and then to see a park or the river and whathaveyou. We walked around the College Football Hall of Fame (yes, that's in South Bend, but only for about another year since it will be relocating to Atlanta). This is where we found the Jason Street sign.

Pride enjoyed the river, but only after Matt & my dad forced him off the dock to get down to it. Notice the ultimate struggle between Matt & dog. It was quite humerous.

In the evening we had delicious burgers & fries at Five Guys. If you haven't tried it, please do! SO good!! My mom & I split a cheeseburger that was quite possibly the best burger I've ever had. And the cajun fries! Oh, the cajun fries. Yumm!
After dinner, we found ourselves at a "classic" Irish pub in downtown SB called Fiddlers Hearth. It's filled with huge tables and unmatched chairs (or couches like where Matt & I sat), at which you are probably going to be sitting next to strangers. We had drinks & bread pudding while playing board games. There was a group of people sitting around the fireplace playing Irish music the whole time. It was great, because the later the night went, the louder the music became. I assume this was a direct relation of the amount of alcohol which was being consumed by the musicians :) It was a great night!

South Bend Bound

First, I'd like to say a million thank yous to all the people who have shown us how much you all care! We have been surprised and so thankful for all the support and love from our going-away parties. Our first was a family event in Owasso, thanks to Matt's parents. We were able to see many family members another time before the big move. Then our good (and long-term) friends, aka "the girls," threw the party of the year and sent us off well. The beer was aflowin! Our Care Group at church was great to have a celebration in our honor, where we learned many useful facts about Indiana (thanks Bill) and were showered with prayer before our leave. And lastly, my wonderful co-workers at McBride gave us a great get-together at Louie's on the night of our departure. It was so good to see everybody one last time. The parties were awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

So we've made the move! Finally!! We left OKC Friday and arrived in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday night (with a sleep in Owasso first).

The road to SB was long and not without difficulty, but thankfully it was without harm. My parents were gracious to come along for the ride, and my dad pulled our 40' trailer with our home packed inside (for those of you, like me, who aren't all too savvy about trailers, this is as long as a standard semi-truck trailer!). During the supposed to be 12 hour drive, we changed not one, but two busted tires on the trailer, without a jack! Cause my dad knows what he's doin. And between tire changes, we had to stop at multiple Walmarts to purchase replacement spares. Now, as it would be, these stops didn't seem to happen when we were ready for a meal or in need of a bathroom break, or even in need of fuel, so with all the normal stops and not-so-normal stops, and pulling an outrageously heavy trailer the 750+ miles, we finally arrived to SB after 17 hours. Matt, who travelled ahead in case his questionable vehicle had troubles, arrived in SB (with a detour to see the University of Illinois on the way) in the expected 12.5 hours. We were all jealous as we continued to drive, and drive, and drive.... But we made it!

The next day was full of unloading that monstrosity of a trailer into our storage unit. It all fit! And all our stuff to take to the hotel managed to fit into our extended-stay room that is tinier than our bedroom in our house in OKC. It's ok, though. It's a temporary thing. And Pride seems to enjoy it because he's getting to go outside with his people way more often than ever before! Potty time has become quite the adventure for him.

Jun 24, 2011

Then We're Happy (beware, this is long)

As some of you know, Matt went through treatment this winter for testicular cancer. It sucked. Bad. But, he was a trooper and all is well at this point! We just got home from a visit with the oncologist (which will happen for the rest of our lives) and I wanted to share the good news!

Last week we spent a day at Mercy for testing. It was a long day, but we've pretty much got the routine down by now. We show up and Matt gets a bracelet, then we go to X-ray, then we sit while Matt drinks this nasty-looking, berry-flavored contrast dye (it makes me almost gag just looking at it), and he has to drink two of those bottles!!!

...then we go have a pulmonary function test (PFT) done, then Matt goes to CT for his abdominal scan, then we go to the doctor's office for blood to be drawn from his port...

...then we get to leave! And it only takes about 4 hours! Whew!

Today we got the results of all the tests, and we're happy! The doctor told us Matt's blood work is perfect! He said he wouldn't have known Matt had ever had chemo just by looking at the labs.. great! Matt's PFT has shown a little bit of lung damage from one of the chemo drugs, but Dr. Reitz is beginning to wonder if he maybe has asthma-lite since his lungs should have healed from the drug by this point. It's nothing to worry about, though- thank the Lord!! The chest X-ray is pristine :) No problems there. And for the big dog: Matt's CT scan has shown (since after treatment) one enlarged lymph node. Now this one lymph node was the entire reason for having chemo in the first place; if it hadn't been enlarged at all, then we wouldn't have had to go through chemo. So since treatment ended in February, the lymph node has been shrinking, but it's still not down to "normal" size yet. Basically, there's something that can happen called a teratoma tumor that can be left-over from any type of cancer. So Dr. Rietz is saying that if the lymph node continues to shrink, then we're in the clear... But, if it always stays enlarged, then it's more surgery in the future to get that out of there (a teratoma tumor isn't cancer when it's young, but it will turn into cancer if left alone). Matt has had two rounds of CT scans since treatment, and both have shown shrinkage. The node used to be 3 times the size of normal, and now it's 2 times normal. We're showing improvement, we're just not perfect yet.

Anyhow.... the plan is to keep an eye on my boo. The tests will be repeated in three month (instead of 6) because of the lymph node. And that's ok! If all we have to do is watch that booger shrink every three months, then we're happy!!

Jun 5, 2011

A First Attempt

So I'm joining the blog world. Woohoo! I'm terribly new at this, and thus have no idea how to change the font (which I currently don't like), or how to make a cutesy background other than the stock ones I got to choose from. It'll get better with time, but for now, it is what it is.

I don't have anything super pressing to share via my blog, but I wanted a way to share the fun times of being married & having a dog (outside of Facebook, of which I'm becoming a not-so-enthused user). And so you have it. A blog is created for you to read about the adventures of... us! Assuming I'll keep it up to date, and assuming that there are people out there who will want to read it. We shall find out together. So here's to the blog world! I'll see you again soon.