Jun 27, 2006

Still Wet!

It sure has been wet here. I’m sure you have been hearing in the news how the Washington DC area has been getting dumped on for several days now. I understand that we have gotten over nine inches of rain since Sunday. But the end is in sight… they are saying that the rain should end Wednesday for the most part. The rain really has been wreaking havoc everywhere and affecting many of those around us. We woke up Monday morning with no Internet, but the TV worked. We normally don’t watch TV and we figured all was well in commuting land. Holly headed down to the metro at about 0830 and I was getting ready to metro over to NRH for my 1000 follow-up appointment with Dr. Milani. Just minutes after Holly left, she walked back in and told me that she went in to the metro station and that the platform was packed with people and the next trains were well over 10 minutes away – and most likely packed. She decided she should drive to work and came up to warn me. I was planning to metro but one of the stations on my route was closed due to water over the tracks in a tunnel, and delays were over an hour since passengers had to exit, take a shuttle bus around the closed station and go back down to a train. I needed to make my appointment, so I called our always reliable friend, Kezia. She made it over as soon as she could and we set out. We left around 0915 but immediately hit traffic crossing the bridge across the Potomac River. Holly acted as our eyes and scouted out the traffic jams for us at a very cool free traffic website called TrafficLand.com. She was able to tell us what roads were running smoothly and where stalled cars were in the roadway. It was awesome and she got us around the bottlenecks. But the delays took their toll and we didn’t get to NRH until about 1050. Luckily, they were able to get me in quickly. Dr. Milani was happy with my progress and prescribed another four weeks of PT, but only two days per week instead of three. She also advised me to rest again this week, which I wasn’t planning to do. I had a chance to see Kate and Missy and many other folks there again; it was great to see everyone. And I know it definitely helps them know that they are making a difference. The day was a complete mess for most of the region. I heard many stories of people getting to work three hours late, several government building were closed due to flooding, and many people suffered water damage in their homes and cars.

Monday was so long, I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday! I had PT this morning and learned that Laura’s (one of my PTs) basement was flooding slightly. They had carpet down there and it was a big mess that they are continuing to clean up. Then today at lunch with a few friends, I learned that our friend, Jennifer, had a horrible mishap with her car Sunday night. She was driving home and followed traffic through a water covered road. Her car stalled, started but stalled again and would not start. As she was trying to figure out what to do next, she realized that the water was rising quickly. She called a friend but it was too late, her car was starting to float a little. She opened the door and water gushed in, filling the car. She waded to safety and her car was eventually washed into a pole on the other side of the street. Unfortunately, her apartment was flooded a few weeks ago by a bad pipe – so this was a double whammy for her. Please keep her in your prayers, if you could.

I tried to make an appointment to see a neurologist today but they told me that they have no openings for new patients until August. That really stinks for me since I am not really a new patient. My neurologist is leaving the military and I get screwed. I made a quick phone call to Dr. Duelge at NNMC and he is going to see if they can get me in quicker somehow for continued care – as I am not a new patient. I’ll let you know how that goes. I have not posted the pictures from this past weekend yet. Tomorrow is my first day in a while where I don’t have to be at some doctor appt, treatment or therapy – so I am sleeping in.

Jun 25, 2006

Wet Weekend and a Surprise

It has been a fun but wet weekend. We started off Friday by having dinner at Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon for Holly's half-birthday. As always, it was delicious and we had a great time. Saturday morning, Holly was up early, but I slept in until 1230. It is a good thing she finally woke me up – we went to bed a little after midnight the night before. Who knows how much longer I could have slept! I guess I was pretty tired.

We had to go shopping for a few things at the PX and Commissary again and while we were there we saw our friend Ruben. We know Ruben from church and he is in the Old Guard at Fort Myer. He recently completed training and is now working in the caisson platoon. A very prestigious job, in my opinion. We talked for a while and he agreed to pick us up and give us a ride later in the afternoon since there was a threat for rain and the truck can’t get wet until Monday. We went back home and prepared a salad and Ruben picked us up so that we could head out to a farewell picnic for our dear friends Su and Dan. Dan recently accepted a job in NYC and has been living there for a month or two now. Su finally finished up at work and their condo is under contract – so she is set to head up there to be with Dan next week. The rain held off and we had a great time in DC at a nice shady park next to the Potomac River.

We came back home to prepare for another event. Luckily for us, it was in the club room of our own building. Our friend Jonathan threw a surprise half-birthday party for his girlfriend of five years, Ericah. You see, Ericah is a Christmas Eve baby, just like Holly, and has never had a birthday party of her own. So, Jonathan threw her one. He enlisted the help of some of her best friends to take her out to dinner. Then they lured her up to the club room by telling her that a friend they all had in common was having a get-together in the room. Anyway, they were successful in getting her up to the room, we all hid around the corner and when she walked in we all yelled surprise. But Jonathan had another surprise for us all, he then said there was another surprise coming and asked her to cover her eyes. Then he dropped to one knee and when she looked he had a beautiful diamond engagement ring at the ready. He proposed, and of course, she said yes! It was a shocker for all of us, but we enjoyed every minute of it. I was going to take some pictures, but I was so far away, I decided to take video instead. So, I got it all on my camera. Check it out below!

Oh yeah… I shaved my head again on Saturday. But not with just the clippers, this time we went all the way – Gillette baby! Holly did the honors the first time just so we could check out the results and so that I wouldn’t maim myself. It looks pretty good and feels… interesting. I’m going to have to shave it everyday if I want to keep that slick look. I do have hair growing on the back of my head, so I’m going to need to maintain it to have an even look until the hair everywhere else starts growing again and then I’ll let it grow. I’ll take some pics and let you know how it goes.

Okay – so it has been raining pretty much all night. Our cable was knocked out by the storm, which also took out our internet. So, I hooked up my cell phone to my laptop, installed some software, changed some settings, and viola!.. I’m back online. I’d love to share the pics from both parties this weekend and of my new shiny head, but he speed is limited and all I can do it post. I’ll get those up later this week. Have a great Monday!

Jun 23, 2006

Stormy Friday

We had a heck of a thunderstorm last night. At about 2230 I could start seeing lightning in the distance. I think I fell asleep until I was awakened by thunderous booming and constant flashing of lightning. It was quite the show. Holly and I both woke up and I kept checking to make sure that the window that leaked earlier this week wasn’t leaking again… it didn’t. Anyway, after not being able to go to sleep for a while, I thought I should make the best of it and take some video. Check it out below (make sure to turn up the sound for the full effect):

Very busy day today. I had PT at 0930 and they ran me through various endurance, strength and coordination exercises. They would give me about five things to do and I would have to run through them in quick succession. One would be upper body, then lower, body and upper body again. They gave me a chance to rest and then we moved on to another group of exercises. It was hard, but a good workout. I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow.

After PT I had to meet up with two different companies that had to do stuff with the truck. When I was in the hospital, one day Holly and Cassie were driving to NNMC and a rock hit the windshield. That day the crack grew about a foot across the windshield. Ever since then it has been creeping across to the middle of the shield. I finally entered claim with Geico Wed and they sent someone out from Safelite to replace it. He was fast and quick. It is amazing to me that they can replace the window and even transfer DoD tags and state registration stickers. He did a thorough job and was very polite too.

After that an inspector from Magoo’s came out to take a look at my truck. When I bought the truck back at the end of 2002, I purchased an extended warranty at the advice of the website Carbuyingtips.com. I used this website to learn how to negotiate the purchase of my new truck. I got it for a great price and thought I should take the advice of the site and get a warranty as I planned to keep the truck for a long time. I learned a few months ago that the warranty company went bankrupt and I’m no longer covered. So, I decided that since we just hit 50,000 miles this week, and the truck is doing great, we should get another warranty. Unfortunately, the warranty will be twice as much now since it is older, but after the first major failure we have, it will pay for itself. Check out Warranty Direct’s website for details. Anyway, the inspector just had to take a look at the truck, take pictures and drive it. He said it was in great shape.

Tonight Holly and are going to have dinner at a restaurant in Clarendon called Harry’s Tap Room. Harry’s is one of my favorite restaurants in this area. It should be a great dinner and a wonderful way to mark Holly’s half-birthday. Have a great weekend!

Jun 22, 2006

Helpful Doctor

Pretty successful morning… (other than not being able to go back to sleep this morning) I went to my appointment and saw the same doctor at the Pentagon that was pretty terse with me last time. This time she was very pleasant and did everything she could to help me. She put in a referral for a new Neurologist at NNMC and she also put in a referral so that I can see Dr. Milani at NRH again on Monday. Unfortunately, she said that a specialist will have to start the MRB, so I am going to talk to the Neurologist about that. And finally, she wrote up a new temporary profile to limit my physical activity and it also states that I am not deployable to a war zone – just in case…

So when I got home I tried to make an appt with neuro – but alas… I have to wait 48 hours to make it – so I’ll have to call back Monday afternoon. Then I called HealthNet, who takes care of insurance and medical issues outside the military, and what do you know? I didn’t need a referral after all. The last one I had authorized five visits. So she gave me the auth number that I can give NRH and that’s that. So, all in all, it was a good morning. I think I’m going to grab a bite to eat and then try to take a nap or something.

PCM Appt

So much for sleeping in on my “day off.” I got up at 0555 to try to score an appt with my PCM. I called at 0600, like their website says to do, but I wasn’t able to get thru until they "officially" opened at 0610. My PCM wasn’t available, so I have an appt with another doctor at 0900. I’ll let you know how it goes - I’m going back to sleep.

Jun 21, 2006

I need a new Neurologist

This has been a different week for me. Yesterday (Tue) and today (Wed) my therapists in physical therapy have been working me hard.  We have moved from strength to agility exercises and boy do they wear me out. They don’t necessarily tire my legs out, but since I have to move so fast, my lungs have a hard time keeping up! We move at a pretty rapid clip as we only have two hours to get everything done. Moving to this agility stuff shows me that I still have a very long way to go. Sometimes I feel kinda’ gimpy doing the stuff they ask of me. My right leg just moves slower, and even though I want my foot to end up in a certain place when I jump, it only does it about 25% of the time. This is pretty frustrating for me since I’m supposed to do the exercise a certain way, but I can’t move right. By the end of the session today, my right leg was just trembling with every movement – I think we asked too much of it or something. So, I went home, showered and just rested. Even after all that rest I was completely pooped when Holly and I had to run to the PX. In fact, I was getting so tired that I just wanted to get done and get back home. I guess the radiation is still working on me – the doctors said it would take some time for the effects to wear off.

I got some interesting news from Dr. Smart, my Rad/Onc over at NNMC. Apparently, the doctor that diagnosed me over at Andrews AFB, is on terminal leave and is leaving the military. So, he cannot begin my Medical Review Board (MRB) process. Now I have to talk to my new Primary Care Manager (PCM) at the Pentagon (who has no idea what’s up with me) and have them refer me to a Neurologist back at NNMC for follow-up care. And my new PCM will also have to start the MRB. I have not been able to score an appt with him though, so I’m going to have to wake up really early now and call at like 7am  to schedule one. It is good to know that I can stop trying to get answers from Andrews, at least. Now I can focus on moving forward.  Thanks to Dr. Smart for finally getting some answers for me… she’s awesome!

Jun 19, 2006

Radiation Complete!!!

2006-06-19, Last Day of Radiation 003
Today was my last day of radiation. It felt great knowing that I was not going to have to make the daily trek up to Bethesda every day anymore. I got to meet with Doctors Duelge and Smart for the last time and then I had my last treatment. As the machine was doing its thing I was just praying to God thanking Him for getting me through this and just asking for continued healing. As the machine moved to the left and final side, a feeling of relief and excitement came over me as I realized that I was closing a chapter in this battle against my brain cancer. It has taken me some time to come to the realization that I did have cancer in my brain. And now, we hope and pray that it is gone. I'll have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Duelge in a month and we'll take another MRI in August to see what things look like. If all is clear, we'll have another MRI in six months and then yearly for a few years. By then, we'll be back in Texas. They gave me the mask that you see in the pictures that was used to keep my head in place. That should be a cool conversation piece.

We still need to figure out exactly what is going to happen next with my military career - will they medically retire me? If not, will the military keep taking care of me after we get back to Texas? Doctors Smart and Duelge are working that for me and I'll have more info soon. For now, I just need to rest this week as the residual effects of the radiation will continue to make me feel fatigued. In fact, today I woke up at 1000, but I was in dire need of a nap by 1500. It probably didn't help that I had a dental cleaning appt at 1330 and then we had to stop by the commissary to get a few items. Unfortunately, when we got home, the skies opened and a torrential downpour came upon us. The rain came so hard and fast that water leaked in around one of our windows in the bedroom and we had to dry it up and call maintenance. Nothing was damaged, but they are going to have to fix the window from the outside. That should be interesting as we live on the 12th floor! I finally snuck in an hour nap at 1700. Oh yeah.. one more cool thing that happened today: I began my final taper of my anti-seizure medication. I'll be taking 250mg for the next three weeks and then nothing after that. Please please pray that the seizures stay away!

Tomorrow, Wed and Fri I just have PT and that's it. Thu will be my first day of nothing. I'm looking forward to getting back to work next week. Here's a link to the rest of the pics we took at NNMC today. I'm glad the radiation is behind me - I'm still alive and am beating this cancer down. I'm proud to be able to call myself a cancer survivor.
That has a nice ring to it: Roger J. Mommaerts, Jr., Cancer Survivor.

Jun 18, 2006

One treatment left!!

Tomorrow (Monday) is my last radiation therapy appointment. This will be treatment number 33. I’m pretty excited about it! This is a big milestone for me against this tumor. Holly and I are planning to go together so that we can talk to the doctors together and snap a few photos – and thank the staff too. It’s not like we won’t see them again in the future, because we’ll probably see them in a month, but it’s a milestone dang it!

The weekend was fun for the most part. Friday night was our friend Jana’s birthday party. There was a good turnout and it was pretty fun. I got a really bad suit at Goodwill and a wig – it was terrific. Click here to see the pictures I have posted for your viewing pleasure. Compliments are welcome.

Saturday was not so great; for Holly, at least. She started to come down with a cold late in the week and it really hit her Saturday morning. I went to a church board meeting at 10am and then met with Pastor John and a few other folks and then we went to lunch. I called Holly and brought her lunch and we just chilled out all afternoon. Then we ordered some bad Chinese delivery (the food had no flavor – they claim to not use MSG, they must not use salt either.) We watched Madagascar on HBO (cute movie) and went to bed. This morning we got up in time for church, but Holly was coughing and had a really runny nose and we agreed it would be best if she stayed home to rest more and prevent spreading her cold to anyone. I came home right after church and we went to the Commissary for some items and came home again. She got a nap and I watched some cycling on TV and worked on fixing the laptop. We just got back from Silver Diner for a late dinner and boy did it hit the spot!

I have been a software beta monkey lately. I got a hold of Windows Vista and Office 2007. Windows Vista is the new version of Windows that is coming out next year. It is very pretty and looks like a souped up version of Windows XP. But it just didn’t run very well on my laptop and I had to put Windows XP back on it. I also have installed Office 2007 which has a whole new interface. It looks pretty good and well thought out. And to round out the beta train, I installed Internet Explorer 7 and Media Player 11 on the laptop too. I’m not going to go on about all that, because I know it will put you to sleep. But it is cool to me. Oh… and Google finally decided they would provide picture hosting of some type. I am all over that one and the pictures above are on their new system. Okay – now that you are asleep, I’m going to sleep too.

Jun 15, 2006

Two treatments left!

I woke up this morning at 6am, not because I wanted though. I guess I was having a dream or something. Lately Holly and I have been having pretty restless sleep with weird nightmares and the like. I’m not sure if I was still dreaming right before I woke up, but I remember realizing that I was breathing very heavy, not like I was out of breath, but like I was scared or nervous and just rapidly breathing. Finally, I awoke and I had a very full breath of air in my lungs. My eyes were open and I blew it out and immediately then sat up. I wasn’t sleepy or tired; I was wide awake and a little bit dazed at what just happened. I looked over and Holly and she was still asleep. Good, I thought, I put on my slippers and left the room to avoid waking her, closing the door behind me.

After a pit stop I sat at the computer for a while and checked my email and such. At about 7am, I heard that Holly was up – she was feeling pretty bad with a sore throat, so she sent of a few emails to work and I urged her to get back in bed. I went back to work catching up on the news and such and I finally decided to just sit down for a few minutes at about 10am to rest. My phone suddenly rang and it was 11am! Kezia was calling to see if I was ready for her to pick me up. I had fallen asleep – I should have known better. At about the same time, Holly got up again and was feeling better. She decided to head out to work to get a few things done. She definitely sounded better to me. We both got ready and Kezia came to pick me up at about 11:45. She was once again kind enough to give me a ride up to Bethesda. On the way I got a call from Matt, the young man who was involved in the construction accident that I met at NRH. He told me last week that he was having surgery this coming weekend to put his skull back on, but they moved it up to yesterday (Wed). He was in the ICU at George Washington University Hospital, the same ICU that Kezia works in! I told him we would come by after radiation. When we got to NNMC, I talked Kezia into eating at the cafeteria. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing – “hardy” was the word she used to describe it. We both ate and were full for just over $7. Radiation was quick and off we were to GW.

Matt was doing great and was relatively comfortable for just having gone through brain surgery again. His recovery has been remarkable and inspiring to me. He can walk with a cane now and is working to get movement back in his wrist and below. He was telling me about a prom that he went to in May that his friends and family made him go to since he didn’t go to his senior prom. Apparently, he and his date were picked up in a helicopter and flew to the prom! How cool is that? Then they left in a ten seat limo, just him and his date. How is that for an entrance and exit?? Anyway, Kezia took a picture of us, I’ll post it soon.

Lastly, we headed over to Fort Myer so that Kezia could take advantage of the cheap and tax-free items there. Holly was driving by the post as we were finishing up, so she pulled in and I left with her so that Kezia could tend to some other errands. We came home, ate, chilled and I ate again. Today has been another day where my energy level has been pretty normal. But I am cautious to not overdo it. I might have all this energy now, but might tank tomorrow. So, I look for a stopping point and rest when I get the chance to conserve energy.

Tomorrow is going to be another long day. PT at 0800 for about two hours. RT at 1300 and then our friend Janรก is having a big birthday bash in the party room on the top floor of our building. So, I’m going to make sure I rest after RT so that I can help when I can for the party. It should be a fun day. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow for another reason though… after RT, I will have only one treatment left. Life is good!

Jun 14, 2006

Three treatments left

Today has been a pretty good day for me considering how long it has been. I got up at 0730 and have been going ever since. I went to PT and did a whole bunch of new exercises that target my trunk, abs and upper body. It was a good workout and shows me that I still have a long way to go, but I’ll get there. RT was uneventful. Holly and I had dinner with our neighbors down the hall at a place in Clarendon called Clare and Don’s… get it?!? It was good – beach type food with the same atmosphere. But it was not as good as I had hoped. Not a whole lot to report here, but there are just three more radiation treatments left!!

2005 AFNG Airman of the Year 098
A quick side note: A good friend of ours recently invited me to a ceremony where she was to be presented with an award. Our dear friend, Erika Johnson, was selected as the National Guard Airman of the Year (Junior NCO) for 2005. She won this out over every other airman in the country! This was a national award for her and quite an accomplishment. I understand that she is getting a direct commission and will be going to officer school later this year. Way to go Erika! Here is a link to some pictures from the ceremony.

Jun 13, 2006

Four treatments left

Sorry for not posting sooner this week – I have been pretty tired and just don’t have the energy to sit in front of the computer. For those of you that really know me, that means there really must be something wrong. :-s I’m just fatigued, that’s all. I’m doing well. Today the radiation field was made smaller – I thought it was going to be cut in half, but they only cut it down by 1cm in diameter. I’m not too worried about it now – I just want to get through this week and then next Monday is my last treatment. Then all I have to do is physical therapy and eventually get back to work. My days are so long now on the days that I have PT and RT, so long that I don’t really look forward to them. They just tire me out – so I’m going to get to bed.

Please Pray For Us

We need a lot of prayer this week. Roger and I are both not sleeping well. I've been up since 4:00 a.m. I can't go back to sleep and I'm tired. This is Roger's last week (plus next Monday) of radiation. It's supposed to be the worst week in terms of fatigue and exhaustion and the chance of necrosis. He is scared and worried about that. We finally were able to talk Saturday morning about our fears and worries. It was an emotional few hours but we needed to get it out of our systems, shed many needed tears and cry out to our Father in heaven. I'm not worried about the necrosis, but I am worried that he's worried about it.

Please pray that God wrap his arms around Roger this week and protect his brain cells from the radiation and only the cancer cells are annihilated. Please pray that the Lord wrap his arms around us and fill us with his everlasting peace and glorious joy. Please pray that He gives us rest and patience for each other.

Thank you for praying for us and loving us. We love you all dearly and pray that our heavenly Father bless you and your families.

Thank you, Holly

Jun 8, 2006

Good Days

After my bad day, I realized and friends reminded me that all that crappiness took place on 06.06.06. Yes, I’m sure that devilish devil was all over me that day. The next day went better. Actually, as I was leaving Bethesda Wednesday, I saw a slew of news vehicles setting up shop just inside the entrance. I figured that it was the media covering Kimberly Dozier’s return to the US after the roadside bomb incident in Iraq that killed two of her colleagues and one soldier. When I got home an hour later, I turned on the news and there she was at Bethesda. You know, she could pretty much be treated anywhere she wants. But she is sticking with Bethesda – they are a darn good hospital.

Today was good too. Nice hard PT and easy RT. I don’t have PT tomorrow… I’m going to try to get to RT early so that I can get to work to take care of some paperwork. And get home to rest ASAP. I’m looking forward to resting this weekend to prepare for next week – the most intense week of my radiation yet.

Jun 6, 2006

Bad Day

Today has been the worst in a while…

The first part of the day went okay. I went out to NNMC for my daily Radiation blasting. It appears that phase two of the hair falling out has begun. I now have circles on the sides and back of my head where the radiation enters my body. In the circles the hair has stopped growing and it is also falling out. When I woke up this morning, my pillow was covered with hair from top to bottom. I also have a very dark and tender spot on the top of my head. Dr. Smart gave me some more ointment to try to make it feel better. After today I only have eight more treatments left. The last five are going to be doozies… they are going to make the field smaller to concentrate the radiation to a smaller area. This will deliver more radiation to the tumor site, increasing the chances that the tumor will be killed, but it also increases the risk that damage may occur to my brain tissue. Yes, there is a chance, but it is a small chance. I have to admit – I am very impressed with how I have come through this thus far. My muscle strength is still improving and my motor function is getting faster and more accurate. I was afraid that I would backslide, but to date everything has gotten better. I think that continuing my physical therapy early in the mornings and getting rest has been key to that. I have not plateaued like I thought I might – I am still getting better – praise God! I am going to keep pushing forward over the next few weeks, but will take the time to make sure I am well fed and rested. All of the commuting and appointments are wearing on me, but I am going to get through this. I am going to get back to how I was before – I will not give up.

So after RT, I grabbed a quick sandwich and headed to my Urology appointment. I was so short for time that I had to scarf down my sandwich while I waited for them to call me back. The doctor inspected the goods and everything is in good order. Dr. Williams ordered an ultrasound just to be sure, but it looks like all is well in the nether regions. My ultrasound is scheduled for mid-July.

After that I headed down for the follow-up hip x-ray. It was quick and painless and I just love the new x-ray technologies that are all electronic and do not require x-ray film. They have the results immediately, I love that. I understand I won’t be able to see an Orthopedist until mid-July. But I’m sure everything is okay in my hip too.

I finished up at NNMC around 1545 and metroed over to the AIM access studio to meet a friend to work on a DVD project. This is where the day started to go downhill. We began editing it at 1700 and by 1840 we had lost the project once and I managed to screw it up several times since I have not worked with the system in months. She had to leave to go to a church event, but that was cool since the editing was done. I just needed to burn the project to a DVD. I was hoping to get out of the studio soon enough to also make it to the church event down the street that started at 1900, but after trying to burn the DVD three times at 20 minutes a pop and failing, I was ready to pull my hair out (ha!) It turns out that the software doesn’t like only one audio track, known as mono. I should have copied the one audio track to the other track to make it stereo… duh! It would have been helpful to know that sooner. Dang, I guess it would have been even more helpful if I had asked for help sooner. One of the guys at the studio, Austin, came to the rescue and saved the day. Finally, at 2045, I headed over to the church fiesta with DVD in hand. When I got there, I discovered that the person that needed it had left, but I was able to pass it to a neighbor of theirs for delivery.

I was feeling quite famished and thirsty and was planning to eat at the event, but when I got there, I just didn’t feel myself. I was tired, a bit cranky, hungry and I really just wanted to go home. I talked to a few people and was trying to scope out a ride home. I sat for a while and surveyed the crowd, but in the end, I decided to suck it up and just get home to Holly as quickly as possible. I decided to just walk home. Walking home was a stupid idea, I should have called Holly to pick me up, but she had a long day herself and I didn’t want to bother her. When I finally got home, I was feeling dejected, famished, lonely and I melted into her arms, finally sobbing as the realization of the days events caught up with me. She scolded me for not calling her and I guess it was stupid of me not to. I guess I feel as if I am too much of a burden on her sometimes.

The final blow of the evening came quickly. I was supposed to bid and purchase something for her on eBay. I even went to the item earlier in the afternoon to check on its status, but in the confusion of my disaster at the studio, it slipped my mind. She was very disappointed and I felt horrible that I forgot. We spent so much time keeping an eye on this item and I forgot. She was frustrated and was feeling very pessimistic about the event that she was going to wear this item to. Our long days had worn on us and she went off to bed, I longed to hug her but it didn’t happen.

You know, this brain tumor is really tearing at us both. We have never felt God’s peace like we have in the past few months (Incidentally, the three month anniversary of my surgery passed with little fanfare on Saturday, June 3.) But, we have also had some fights and disagreements like never before. This thing that we are going through is wearing on us slowly. I feel like I should be doing more, but most days I feel I’m at my limit. I feel guilty for not being able to go to work. Things around the apartment that I take care of are falling behind. Some days I don’t want to do anything at all. I’m not sure how to handle all of this – all I know is that I want to get past all this soon. I keep looking at this and I think that it’s not that big of a deal, but it is. Slowly, over time, this is wearing on us. The stress, uncertainty, time, questions, it’s all adding up. I can feel the pressures of all these things welling up in me tonight. Maybe it is because I had a bad day. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe it is time for me to take a look at this situation, prioritize things and take care of what’s important. First and foremost is my wife. She’s the love of my life and I hate to see her upset or disappointed. It has been hard for us to readjust to this new lifestyle, but we need to work better at it. Most of all though, we need to pray together about it more. Holly mentioned to me a few days ago that we are not praying together about all this enough. She’s right. That’s one of the first things that needs to change. Please pray that we can work to change that.

Jun 5, 2006

Simple Day and IMPLOSION!!

Today was a simple day. I had two hours of PT early this morning. PT is getting so physically demanding, and it is getting so warm, that I have to come home to shower before I head out for RT. This makes the time between appointments longer, but it have to do it. I have been struggling with trying to get in everything that needs to be done as quickly as possible... PT, RT and work. I have come to the conclusion that I just can't do it. I can't keep forcing myself to go faster just to get everywhere. My body is not going to tolerate it these next few weeks and I need to take it easy and rest as much as possible. I'll go to work if there is enough time to be there for a few hours, but I'm not going to "make an appearance" for a just a couple of hours. The days I only have RT I might be able to squeeze in a few hours of work, but we'll see. I'm having a hard time letting go - I could really use some prayer in this area of my life right now. After today I only have ten radiation treatments left - woo hoo! I hope to be done with PT at the end of June.

I have an appointment with a Urologist tomorrow (Tue) just to rule out anything down there. I'm confident that everything is fine, but please also pray about that for me.

Here's the implosion video from Sunday that I promised. Click here to see it in a bigger window or watch it below. I'd personally watch it in a bigger window and crank up the sound too. Enjoy!

Jun 4, 2006

Very Long Busy Weekend

What a busy weekend. We had to get up early to go to Radiation Therapy on Saturday morning. We left there, came home and took a nap. Then we headed over to Clarendon to watch the CSC Invitational bike race where we met up with Geoff and his girlfriend Jen. It was cool – I’ll have some pics up soon. We came back home, I had another nap, and then we headed over the Tyson’s Corner shopping centers. I met up with my friends Glenn and Mike and we hung out for a while. Then we came back home and went over to Cassatt’s to enjoy some good ole jazz courtesy of Rex Bauer and his awesome band. After that, we stopped by Geoff’s house to wish him a happy birthday. Yeah – Saturday was a long day – I was able to get through it thanks to those naps. Sorry for not going into much detail, but I’m not in a writing mood.

I will tell you about Sunday though… Holly and I got up at 5am to watch the military implode a building on Ft Myer – and let me tell you… it was so worth it! We were about 200-300 yards from the building – and I got some great video. It should be up tomorrow too. We came home and went back to sleep and then headed to church and I taped the service again – I enjoy doing that. Then lunch, another nap and then off to the grocery store… we cooked dinner… prepared food for community group at our place tomorrow and now I’m sitting here typing. So, yeah – it has been a busy weekend.

I’m going to leave you with this… Holly came with me to Radiation Therapy a few weeks ago and they allowed her to observe the process. She took some video from outside the room from the control booth and I put it together with some narration so that you’d know what’s going on. Click here to watch it in another bigger window or watch it below.

Jun 1, 2006

Square Radiation

What a nutty day! I went to PT and that went well. I got home and called the Radiation clinic to see if the machine was working yet – they said it wasn’t, but to call back after 1pm. I figured this would be a good opportunity to have lunch with my friend Ryan, who works right by the Metro Center metro station. And I figured it would be good to be half way to the hospital since I transfer at that station anyway. I called him up and he was all for meeting up as he was already planning to have lunch with good ole Lyon anyway. So, I headed downtown and we had lunch. It was actually nice to go downtown and walk around a bit since I never really go there... I have no reason to and it is crazy down there!

During lunch, I called the hospital and they said I should plan on being there around 1330. Lyon headed back to work and I walked with Ryan to his office and then headed back to the station to go to the hospital. I got there shortly after 1330 and learned that it was not fixed yet. Dr. Duelge, my attending, said that their machine was experiencing issues that the techs were having trouble fixing. He said the machine had been working pretty well for about two years and this is the longest it has been down that he can remember. He gave me the option of being treated on another older lower power machine with a rectangular field, not a field conformed to the circular shape that spares my brain from excessive radiation. He stressed that this one treatment will not harm me and that tomorrow they will have created plates that will shape the radiation correctly. I had to skip yesterday, so I opted to go ahead and take his advice and do it. Back to the waiting room at 1400. I sat and 1500 passed. Then 1600… finally 1700. During this time I had a nice conversation with two retired officers, one was a Navy General and one was in the Air Force. Both were being treated for prostate cancer. They both shared stories with me about the work they did with the nuclear program and such, way back when. It was really interesting. Around 1705 I finally had to break down and cancel some plans I had made to help a friend out with something technical. Then they finally called me back. The treatment took a little longer, but they got me in and out and they apologized profusely for the delays. They really worked hard to make things happen right. Apparently, the delay was due to the fact that they had to recalculate all the numbers for my treatment. They did it once and twice to make sure they had it exactly right – which is fine with me! Anyway, that was my day. I got home at 1830 and vegged.

Before I went into the hospital, I was working on editing together our church’s Christmas play. I pretty much finished it but never finalized it and then I could not get it to burn to DVD. I knew that the folks that were in it wanted to see it, and I felt bad, so I thought… why just not post it on the internet? So, here it is… The Grace Community Church All-Stars Children and Youth Ministry present "Outside the Inn." Performed at Grace Community Church in December 2005. Click here to watch it in a bigger window or just watch it below!