Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Isn't Easy Getting Green!

Conner Jorgensen chose to paint our house for his Eagle Scout project!  I'm just going to give you what I have now and add to it when I get Darrell's photos and the project is complete.  The house was in bad shape and had required much prep work, but after two full Saturday work 'parties' and many hours of work during the last two weeks, it's almost finished and it's beautiful.  Better than ever before, even when it was new!
              Randy, Connor, Arnie and Brett setting up the scaffolding     

Brett, father of famous twins and triplets, putting his back into it.  This photo can't even begin to show how hard he was working.  The whole house had to be wire brushed and scraped!  All the guys worked hard at that!

Arnie, the dare devil, and Conner the Eagle working hard!
Randy, Conner's dad power washing and taking a shower!
Mark putting the first two coats of red paint on the door.  The easiest of the many jobs he performed on our home, including putting up new trim, painting and building shutters, caulking every nook and cranny of the entire house and removing the gutters to name a few!  Three solid days and counting!  Thank you Mark!
Hanna and Bailey, Conner's sisters primed the trim around the garage door and painted it the next day among other tasks.  This was how Bailey spent her 10th birthday.  They are both former students in my Primary class.  Adorable!
Jamie, Conner's beautiful mother, going green.  She has been my color adviser and thank heaven for her help.  She saved me from a BIG disaster!
Conner giving some pointers to his sisters!
Saturday August 28th Randy, Conner & Duffy prepping for real paint!
Matt 'out on a limb' being supported by Connor and Tristin!
Doyle, Darrell's boss, thank heaven for him!
Doyle steadying Ron, our resident painting expert whose tools and expertise we could not do without!  My favorite is his painting costume!  On his head he wears a kids t-shirt with his head through a sleeve.  Keeps the sun and paint off! 
John lending a helping hand.  He also got started on the rain gutters, nasty job!  Sorry John, this was the only photo in my camera. 
Viola!  Almost done.  Just some touch ups, trim work, more paint on the gutters and then getting the gutters and shutters back up.  I love the red door!
  Soot the only one of our cats not too shy to hang out with the crew!
We can't thank the Jorgensen family enough.  I've lost track of how many trips they've made to our house.  They will be back again tomorrow for a Family Home Evening of what else?  Painting!  Thank you to our amazing and wonderful ward family and scout troop for all your support and countless hours of service to us.  We are so grateful and so blessed to have you in our lives.  We love you so much.  More later....Dale

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I asked my oncologist about why the fingernails on my thumbs and big toes had a dead  top layer that was growing out.  He said that the chemo 'killed' them and now they're growing out.  He compared it to how the rings inside a tree date it and how they can tell if there was a drought, etc..  This picture was taken about a month ago.  Now, the ridge is on the tips and will be cut off with my trimming next week.  You may ask, as I did, why just the thumbs and big toe nails?  He couldn't say.  The others had white lines and were indented, but not dead.  They were only...mostly dead.  The toe nails grow much slower, so they're only about 1/3 of the way grown out as of this post.  Weird I know, but would you expect anything else from moi?  Speaking of useless information...

As you can see, my hair is coming in again.  I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  It's coming in super curly!  Candice rubbed her hand through it and came up with, "Dad, you've got poodle head".  So that's my new nickname.  Poodle head.  At least it's still soft and not coarse.  My friend Ron Hogeland went through cancer/chemo over a year ago.  He had curly hair before.  His came in straight.  Mine was straight, now it's curly.  I've been told that it will grow out and probably return to its pre-chemo state.  At least it's hair.  Right?  As several of us were talking about it, we also were trying to decide what color it is.  The best description came from Seth Leishman.  It's pewter.  I'm told it's subject to change without notice.

Generally, I'm doing really great.  As of my appointment this past Wednesday, I've gained 12 pounds since my low after starting the daily Revlamid chemo pills.  I'm up to 170 lbs.  Good news.  The bad news?  Apparently either the Revlamid or the monthly super calcium infusion of Zometa is adversely affecting my kidney function.  The Doc adjusted my last Zometa infusion to see if it's that.  We should know by my next appointment at UCSF on Sept. 7th.  At least it hasn't hurt my appetite.  I'll be meeting with my orthopedic surgeon the same day to discuss a plan for fixing my 4 remaining collapsed vertebra.  Oh, and by the way, I found out a couple of weeks ago that I have a cataract in my right eye.  Chemo also causes cataracts to grow very quickly.  The small one in my left eye should be cooked enough to require surgery a few months after I've gotten the right one done.  More on this later.  Remember (now that Hillary's moved to So Cal and I'm on my own with this), when I haven't made a post in a while,  that no news is good news!  I've got more good news to report, but I'm going to keep you in suspense for a few days... To be continued...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


     Not a lot to report as of late, but I did have 2 sets of 3 MRIs on my spine yesterday.  I must admit, it was so much easier than the MRIs I had while in the throws of my cancer and spasms at UCSF.  At my appointment a few weeks ago, Dr. Burch informed me that he wanted an MRI of my thorasic spine where the 4 collapsed vertebra are (T3, T9, T10, T11) because the x-rays we took up there weren't good enough.  When I talked to one of  the technicians about my appointment, she said that Dr. Burch had changed the orders and he now wanted an MRI of the cervical, thorasic and lumbar spine areas.  BUT WAIT, there's more... he also wanted a second set with contrast (dye).  He wanted to see if any damage had happened to my cervical, thorasic and lumbar spine since the surgery on my lumbar and thorasic spine (L1, L4, T12) back on Nov. 20th, which was 3 months prior to my bone marrow and stem cell transplants.  So yesterday I spent most of the morning having all of those done.  I don't know if the machine at UCSF is older or newer, but I do know that it was not nearly as noisy!  The first thing the technician did as we entered the MRI room was he handed me ear plugs.  An hour and 15 minutes of lying still with your head in a brace is not as easy as it sounds.  Thank heaven I'm not claustrephobic.  You can't relax because of the noise and you're afraid that you'll move too much and you'll have to start over.  Plus you're lying on a metal slab. Of course it was just after I went back into the tube after he injected the dye that I thought about maybe a little support under my neck and in the small of my back.  After the session I mentioned it to him and he apologized.  He said most sessions take 15-20 minutes so he didn't think about it.  Don't know when I'll hear about the results.  They go back to Dr. Burch then he'll call.  I'll let you know.
     I'm doing much better on the Revlamid this time around.  They're thinking that maybe my bad gall bladder was part of the problem the first time.  I am definitely not having the nausea problem I had the first time around.  With our favorite restaurant Lolo's closing (actually closed as of 7/29), we hit it pretty hard the last week.  Yesterday we had a fantastic bbq at our friends the Griffiths.  If Hillary would have been there she would have gotten pictures.   Let me paint one for you.  Picture oak wood bbq'd pork ribs and tri-tip, grilled garlic bread, 7 different kinds of salads, watermelon, fresh corn on the cobb and cheesecake for desert.  I ate it all except for 3 of the salads.  A lot of it.  I took 2 of my "digest assist" pills in stead of 1, and didn't have any real repercussions.  I think I'm on my way to finally gaining a little weight.
     The worst side effects now are the muscle and body/bone aches.  The worst of it starts happening about 1/2 an hour after taking my pill in the evening.  By morning it's lessened.  By the afternoon it's not too bad, but then my back usually has taken over as the primary pain center and stays that way until I take the next days pill.  BUT, I'm not having the headaches, nausea and night sweats, so it's a very good trade off, and we're hoping that they will diminish over time as well. 
     So all in all, I'm doing great!  I was even able to drive the car and trailer down to So Cal and back this past Fri. and Sat. to move Hillary (twice, but I'll let her tell that story).  I couldn't lift the heavy stuff, but I made a few trips with the lighter things.  We had a great visit with our friends Gerg & Terrylynn Fisher too.
     Thank you all for your continuing prayers and good thoughts on our behalf.  Now that Hillary's gone, both Dale and I are REALLY going to need them more than ever.  Love.  Kevin