The journey of my family's struggle with a Brain Tumor. Cancer Sucks but the days continue so we must continue on as well... with a fight!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Organ Donation and Update

I received a call last week from Tennessee Donor Services... apparently a few weeks ago, I called them. The lady asked if I was interested in knowing what happened to Todd's cornea's and retina's. I was definitely caught off guard and I needed a few minutes to digest the info. After processing for a few minutes, I called the lady back and told her that I definitely wanted to know about Todd's donation.

Well... Both cornea's and retina's were SUCCESSFULLY transplanted to someone. The first person was an 83 yo grandparent and the other was a 33 yo man. Both live here in East Tennessee. That's all I know but I am very thankful that I was able to make that decision to give the 'gift of sight' to someone on behalf of Todd.

I had never really thought too much about organ donation but after this I think it is a wonderful idea... I know it's not for everyone but please consider because it truly is important in helping out others. :)  Here's the TN link.

As far as whats going on with the Bloomfields.... Ty started 7th grade almost 3 weeks ago and the routine has been a huge blessing to us. He's still actively in Boy Scouts and playing guitar. Since it's just me and all the running around, I have limited his activities to those 2 things. Other than that, all is good. I've learned that in 7th grade the girls are starting to get a little boy crazy and Tyler has numerous texts throughout the night. He's not quite 'there' yet but I know it's right around the corner.

Me... I'm juggling life. I am learning to appreciate those who are single mothers who work full time. It's super hard. In addition to that, I am struggling with the daily household stuff. I never thought our house was big but it's alot of work for 1. It's ok though, I have no plans to go anywhere. I make a goal of cleaning 'something' every day. :) I'm thankful for my friends who are having me over for dinner and entertaining me. Ty's been going to both Knoxville grandparents 1x a month for the weekend. During this time, I'm either going out with friends or doing stuff around the house... My mom told me last night how much she appreciates having him because they see him more now than they every did and he's so much fun now that he's grown up. I know the Bloomfield's feel the same way... Ty and I are truly blessed to have both sets of parents around who want to be active in his life!

We have an action packed fall planned. I have purchased season UT tickets and we have a trip for fall break planned. Between boy scout camping, UT football and just living life, we will stay busy!!! This Friday we are off to Atlanta to see UT play and then on Saturday we are doing Six Flags (weather pending).

I think that's the scoop... I will post when I can give another Bloomfield update. Continued thanks to those who have supported us. I'm learning that I can't please everyone so instead I will focus on pleasing me and Ty!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So... Yes, its been along time!

I've started to blog week after week and I just push it off to the side. I feel like I don't really have a whole lot to say but Ty and I have been so busy this summer.

We are learning to live a new life... life without Todd has definitely been difficult. It's what we both knew and know. I struggle with the day to day operations as for the last few months, we had so much help and my household was busy. I struggle with 'planning' as our life has been planned down to the hours over the last few months. I struggle with figuring this crazy life out...

Ty and I took a few weeks to 'chill' and just go with the flow. We stop and 'see' Todd a few times a week (when we are home) and we are always telling jokes and crazy stories. I struggled on the 4th of July because it is one of my favorite holiday's and Todd would let me 'act a fool' by making sure we had party favors, dressed alike and bounced around the neighborhood. I am blessed to say that the neighbors filled in very well... We had an excellent 4th of July!

Afterwards, Ty and I went on our annual beach trip with Amy and her mom, Sandy. I love this trip and I try not to pass on it... We are so thankful that they like us enough to invite us year after year. I went down with the mindset of relaxing and thinking... I did just that. I rocked of the back porch many afternoon/nights, watched the sunrise/sunset and sat for hours with my feet in the water. I think I had an AHH HAA moment. Todd wouldn't want us to be moping around crying as he would tell me over and over during the last few months. He would want us to be happy and moving forward...

With that being said, I came home and told Ty that we were moving forward...what does that mean?? Who really knows, lol... I told him that we would never forget the past and memories and we would NEVER forget Todd but that we were going to search for happiness. Happiness for all... I went by the cemetery that next day and I told Todd about my new 'plan.' I talked to him for about 5 min and while there a older lady came by and saw me crying... We exchanged a hello and then started to talk (yes, I make friends in a cemetery) She asked if I was here to see a parent and I told her it was my husband. She said, no one should ever lose a husband/wife at a young age.. which I agreed. She then told me to make the best I could out of my life. I'm not sure if it was a crazy sign or not but I truly felt like God had placed her there to confirm my new 'plan.'

Our new 'plan'... we are making new memories and new traditions. We are remembering Todd for all that he did for us and all the fun we had. No one can take that away from us but we are now on a mission to make new... new everything!

I have continued to work and Ty has been a summer rug rat. We have been very fortunate to have 'kid' sitter who watches over Ty 3 days a week. We love Luke... The 2 of them are 2 peas in a pod. They both could play video games all day and night! Ty also starts school next week in which I NEED very badly. We are so out of routine and I need structure.

I am asked every day how Ty and I are doing.... My answer: We are doing well and making adjustments.  Every day is a new day. No major decisions and we are just going with the flow...

Sorry it has taken so long but THANKS to everyone who has supported the Bloomfields over the last year! Love ya all...

The Clan...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Last Days

I've started this post a thousand times in my head... I just didn't have the energy or emotional strength to write it.

Todd woke up on Saturday acting a bit 'off.' I texted Greg (brother) to make sure he was going to be home most of the day (just in case of emergency) and I also texted Bonnie. I can't really remember today why he was 'off' but something just wasn't right. All the family came over to visit.

That evening I had a visit with my neighbors who strongly encouraged me to have a 'talk' with Ty. I waited until he was settled and I asked if he knew what was going on... He said he knew daddy was 'slipping' and I asked what that really meant in his head. He was still convinced that Todd was going to be getting better soon. I told him that Daddy was dying.. I didn't know when but that the outlook on his cancer wasn't good. He cried and cried in my arms as this was a pure shock to him... Nothing like telling your child that his father is dying..sheesh! After some time alone, Ty came down to be with us. Todd was already sleeping. We curled up in my bed and watched some tv... He asked if he could sleep on the couch to be closer to us. (remember, we were all 'living' downstairs).  We said some extra special prayers and off to sleep we went.

Right at 4am, I heard something going on with Todd. I turned the light on and I found him vomiting and not able to turn his head... I quickly tried to clear his mouth so he wouldn't choke. I'm pretty sure I went into panic mode. I raised the bed in hopes he wouldn't vomit again but sure enough he did. I started to call Greg, I started to call 911, I started to call whoever... I tell you, I didn't know what to do. I actually called our neighbor/nurse friend Kim because she's a nurse and should know what to do... I remember saying to her 'I think I need you... please hurry.' She was to the house by 4:10 and she was so calm, cool and collected. She tried to talk to Todd and he told her that his head was really hurting but he wasn't ready to go to the hospital. She was gently stroking the top of his head and said 'I really think we need to go...he said OK.' I called 911 and the ambulance came. I say he was still responsive at this time because he told the ambulance that he wanted to go to Tennova on Broadway.  Our family friend, Renee, came and swept a dazed and confused Tyler away....

Kim and I went to the hospital and she stayed with me until things were settled. I waited to 'know' something before sending the family into panic mode. Kim was by Todd's side the entire time making sure he was comfortable. She helped me decipher all the medical lingo and she made me realize that this was possibly 'the end.' The Drs asked if I had all my paperwork in order and I remember looking at Kim and her saying 'it's ok, calm down.'  Todd was now on a nausea drip and morphine. I know he heard us talking because when we asked him a few questions, he would smile. By 5:45am, my parents arrived (told them to wait but they couldn't wait by phone) and Janice our neighbor had brought me sweet tea. :)  All of us just sat around waiting to find out what was next...

I called Bonnie and Ted and told them what was going on and they called Greg... Todd was in a room by 8:30/9am and he was surrounded by all of us yapping. By this point I truly believe that Todd was unresponsive. The rattling in his chest was just starting and the dr's were talking to me about getting him into hospice. So... I was off to making hospice plans. I also ran home to take a shower, eat and bring Tyler back. Ty stayed about an hour and then the Rupekas picked him up for an afternoon of celebrating Mothers Day with their family. By afternoon we had lots of visitors showing their love and support. I kept writing Todd's unresponsiveness to the morphine but I now know he had slipped into a coma. The rattling in his chest was getting a lot worse... I think they call it chain stokes breathing. We are now going on to late afternoon and I forgot a change of clothes. I ran home again, asked Ty if he wanted to come back up and his response was 'is daddy awake?' I said 'no' and he said 'pick me up after school tomorrow and I will come up.' By the time I got back to the hospital, Bonnie told me that the nurse told her that she would be surprised if he made it through the night. WHAT????? Ok breathe...

Everyone left and Amy came to hang out with me. Once she heard that things weren't going well, she made plans to stay the night. I told the nurses that I wanted to be prepared and please don't sugar coat it. She said 'ok.'  I had her take his vitals every 45 mins and she told me the same thing.. it could be tonight or it could go on for days. By 730pm, I had a roomful of my friends and we just gabbed to pass the time. My one friend, Alicia asked if she could pray before she left and I don't remember what she said but I remember crying and thinking to myself how blessed I was to have friends who are there no matter what...remember, it was Mothers Day and they took the time to come be with us. There left was Amy and Lora and I had multiple texts come through checking on Todd. I had 2 texts that came back to back and they said to have the 'it's ok talk' with Todd. I sat there for a second thinking there was no way I could do it and then I thought I needed to do it. I excused the girls and I sat with Todd on the bed... I held his hand and told him everything I have told him in the past. Tyler and I loved him, we were thankful for everything he provided for us, we were thankful for him loving us, we were going to be ok and that it was ok to let go... Not sure what else I said... I know it was the hardest talk I have ever had to say. I kissed and hugged him and then went and cried in the bathroom. This was at 11pm. Nurse came in and said his blood pressure was 67/30 and he was running a temp of 103. She said his body looked like it was modeling-blood moving from body to keep heart pumping.

It was time for Lora to leave. I walked her down to her car and came back up to get ready for bed... Amy and I shuffled around and got half way settled. The nurse came back in and tried to get his blood pressure again...there was none. I looked at Amy and nurse and he said 'I believe he just passed'... I sat there for a second in disbelief and started to cry... Amy hugged me and I went and sat by Todd.  I told him again that Ty and I loved him and we would miss him tremendously. This was 11:45pm.

I called Renee Rupeka who had Tyler and told her to bring him up... I needed him to be here before the family got here. My parents and the Bloomfields were next.... Waiting for Tyler to come was the longest 30 min. I waited for him at the elevator and he looked puzzled when he saw me crying. I told him Daddy had died... He had a full breakdown, as expected. I walked with him back to the room where he fell to pieces. He hugged and kissed Todd and told him how much he loved him. He didn't leave his side for the next 3 hours. The Pastors arrived and so did all the family. In the meantime, Tennessee Donor Services called and asked about cornea donation. She explained there were 2 people in the East Tennessee area that would benefit from his corneas... She told me that it helps people with Macular Degeneration and I immediately thought of Todd's good buddy Jay! Yes it took me a few minutes to make that decision but after hearing that I knew it would be a good thing. Family and friends reminded me that even if his eyes aren't perfect they still give HOPE to someone else. Now I wish I knew who received them!

Ty and I took 10 mins after the room cleared out and we said goodbye. I will never forget that moment... I will never forget the look on my sons face... I will never forget walking out of that room.

On Wednesday before Todd died, Amiee Gilleran from Blink by Aimme came by and took our photos. I truly treasure this last family picture and I thank Aimee with all my heart!!!

I will post more later... I still can't adequately thank all that were involved in that day! The love and support that was shown was amazing.

The Clan...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wrapping up another week...

After a dreadful last week, this week was pretty good...

The week started with a visit from 3 'big wigs' from Todd's old employer-VF Corporation. The flew in from PA just to see Todd... we were more than moved that they thought highly enough of Todd to make the special trip. They stood around Todd's bed and told stories of the past and talked to him about the last year and the last few weeks. Todd got emotional several times which in turn made me cry... This was one of the first times that Todd showed any type of emotion regarding the 'situation.' In addition, they presented us with a donation check. WOW... it was so gracious. Apparently, all the outlet stores did a money drive collection for a few weeks and then the corporate office did a sample sale. I can't thank them enough for taking the time to come and visit AND that someone thought that highly of Todd to do a money drive! VF has been more than gracious to Todd and our family over the last 13 years... I appreciate the support and love they have consistently shown!

Also on Monday, we had a visit from one of the Pastors from Fountain City United Methodist Church... She stopped by with a picture frame that had been signed by everyone in the Journey service who said they would add us to their prayers... It was neat because there were so many people that knew us as a family, me, Tyler or knew who the Bloomfields were. A little back story on this church for us. Ty and I started to go. Todd joined us a few times. We visited other churches... then we decided to go back and give FCUMC another try. About that time, Todd was diagnosed with another tumor and we put going to church on HOLD. I was happy to hear that FCUMC reached out to us! Since Todd's been sick, Bonnie and Ted's pastor has been coming by 1x per week. Thanks Pastor Ed... We love that you all have taken us on too! Lots of love given to us on Monday.

Tuesday rolled around and I went to Greeneville to the main campus. While I was there I received a call that an Edible Arrangement was being delivered... Woohoo. I've seen them before but have never been given one. I started talking with my coworkers from up there and no one said anything... A few hours later, I was given 4 cards signed by most departments, 3 vases of beautiful flowers freshly cut from a yard (yes, vases will be given back, Kathy) and they were the group that sent the Edible Arrangement. Its great to have the love and support of all my coworkers!

Wednesday we enjoyed dinner with family and Thursday was a quiet day... I did receive more flowers and a card/gift from a previous coworker. Lots of stuff has been done around the house by others and we have truly been blessed with lots of love and support this week! I need you to know that we appreciate it!!!

As far as Todd goes, I think he came down with my cold so we got him on an antibiotic and he seems to be feeling better. He tells me he feels "OK" but he says he has electric shock feelings in his hands and legs...not sure what that is from. He is now telling me he feels woozy or loopy.  I can tell when he is off however he is still trucking along. :) I called on his chemo and it is to be delivered on Monday. He still gets up during the night at least 3 times so the nights are long... I am very thankful that he has not shown ANY aggression over the last few days/weeks. He seems to hallucinate after a long action packed day and when the day settles down. My theory is that he is stimulated throughout the day and when it all settles, his mind is still moving... My theory only, LOL

I won't disagree that I feel like I need a few minutes to myself... however I quickly remind myself to cherish every moment we have right now! If you haven't loved on your loved ones today then I highly recommend it. Tomorrow is never promised!!!

I calculated that I have been using volunteers for 12 weeks now... I/we appreciate everyone who helps with Todd during the day and helps me and Ty. I say it over and over but without you all, I am not sure where we would be today. Thanks to everyone who is helping to keep us afloat!!!

That's it for now... I will update more next week or when I know something else. Keep praying... we need it!

The Clan....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another Sad Update

I'm all over the place with emotions so buckle in for a long drama filled post. I came down with the 'bug' on Sunday night and I thought it was just a cold but I wound up with a fever and all the junk that comes with it... With that being said, I haven't felt the best and emotionally I feel like I have been hit with a baseball bat!

Scan was Wednesday.. we got to the hospital where we were seeing Tiffany/Dr. Avery, doing blood work and having a scan. As usual, Todd was super uncomfortable in the wheelchair and the nurses found him a recliner while he was waiting for his scan. I can't say enough about the infusion nurses and Dr. Avery's team as they have ALWAYS gone way above to make sure "ERIC" is taken care of. (Eric is his first name.)  Almost all his veins are shot so they poked and prodded to find a place to put in an IV and to draw blood... after numerous pokes, they finally found a spot. Blood work drawn and off for the MRI.

I ran out and grabbed a bite with Amy... when I got back to hospital, Tiffany chimed me to tell me she had my husband. I joined them and Tiffany didn't waste any time. She looked at me with that 'look,' shook her head, put her hand on my knee and started to tell us the MRI results. She explained that the paper works showed 'significant growth' in both the cerebellum and brain stem and that the 4th ventricle was in jeopardy (not sure that's what she said.)  She held his hand and told him she wasn't going to give up and that we would wait to talk to Duke.... She tried to talk to him about talking to us about his wishes, filling out a DNR and talking to us. He got weepy and said OK but that was really it. Meanwhile, I can barely breathe...I've heard much of this before but yesterday was so real and I knew we are truly running out of options. Dr. Avery came by to check Todd out and he gave me a little hug... Ultimately, you know that it is part of their job but I'm sure it's a sucky part! We stuck around for a bit longer to talk about a few other things and off we went. Again... Dr. Avery and his team have been more than wonderful and compassionate. The hugs and pats from the nurses when we left were more than appreciated! From there I overnighted the disk to Duke.

We got home where I fell to pieces again and Todd yelled at me... He said "I'm not dying and when I am, I will let you know-that's when you can cry." I called the moms and settled down. I knew the rest of the week wasn't going to be easy.

I slept probably 3-4 hours Wednesday night... I couldn't sleep due to coughing and when I did finally fall asleep, Todd woke me up. He's pretty restless at night and some nights, he's up 3-4 times. Sometimes we are even changing sheets in the middle of the night... so needless to say, it's not a quick and easy 3-4 times. I was pretty hateful at work today however they continue to come back to my office so they must still love me. :) I snapped a few times over the most ridiculous stuff however I finally realized that when I wasn't being ugly, I was on the verge of a full breakdown. I cried a few times over the 'just because'....which really isn't me.  I cried on my way home, I was hateful to Greg, I was hateful coworkers... I was just plain mad at the world. (I think I am a bit sensitive... lol)

In the midst of all of that commotion, I missed a call from Dr. D at Duke. I finally got ahold of her where she confirmed what Tiffany had told us... she even told us the uglier side of it! According to Dr. D, his brain is virtually consumed...The cerebellum is filled, the brainstem is now filled and there is a new tumor in the midbrain. All of them are aggressively moving. In addition, she said that the 4th is virtually closed. Last scan it was 1/3 or 1/4 closed.... Once it becomes closed, the fluid will not be able to leave the brain. Dr. D said we were at an 'any' week time frame now and things could go pretty fast once we got to that point. She again went over all the things to look for and told me she would talk to Tiffany tomorrow. She knows that Todd is not mentally ready to give us so she is going to give him a low does chemo pill... We discussed hospice and the next steps. She recommended skilled nursing to help him gain strength and fight more vs. the rehab center. All and all, she said she would support whatever decision we went with. I came back in tears and tried to talk to Todd... he told me he didn't want to know what was said but he wanted to know if Dr. D was giving up on him. I told him NO and he said OK... he went on as if life was going to be ok.... Again, I've cried all night. Tyler disappeared like the plague and when I tried to talk to him he said he was tired and needed to go to bed. GREAT, both boys are in lala land!

Not sure when reality is suppose to hit the Bloomfield house... I think I am realistic because I have to be. When it's all said and done, I am left to clean up the pieces of a broken me and broken child. I am not sure what is next but to live each day the best we can and provide lots of love and support to everyone. I don't wish watching a loved one die of cancer to anyone. When I grew up and visioned life, this definitely isn't what I dreamed about!!! I've been put in this situation for a reason and someday it will be made clear to me... right now I'm just pretty darn mad about all of it!

So... with all that being said... I'm close to being mentally drained and I'm not a very pleasant person these days. If it weren't for Amy who sets me straight, I would be in a different place. She's been a great sounding board and in addition she has learned to be a caretaker for Todd. I hope everyone has an AMY in their life. I can't leave out work... They deal with me 9 hours a day... my supervisor and coworkers have been flexible and super compassionate. I am so tired of talking about 'my' problems. I can't wait to work on solving theirs... Love you guys!

Well... if you made it to the end then you have gotten the complete story... I will update when I know more. Continue to pray for us... pray for comfort and peace... pray for Tyler... pray for me... pray for everyone involved..

Continued Thanks to my helpers... I feel like we have become a burden on you all but I truly appreciate everyone who has been helping!

The Clan...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big day tomorrow... Scan

Well tomorrow is a big day around the Bloomfield house... the SCAN. I am hopeful but very realistic as to what I will probably hear on Friday. Please say extra prayers for us tomorrow as his scan is at 12. In addition, we will see our favorite oncology group. (Seriously, I think we talk to them more so then some of our family members.)

This week has been pretty low keyed... which is what I really like. His aggression has been nonexistent and he's been pretty with it. The other night after bed, he told a funny story of him and his brother Greg. Apparently Greg was in the house and causing trouble... it was so funny that even Todd was laughing but in all seriousness, he thought Greg was in the house. I can handle the funny hallucinations its the out of character mean ones that scare me.

We are learning to appreciate the super small things in life and I challenge all of you to look around... I am sure there is something you take for granted or I am sure that you don't take 30 seconds to tell someone Thank you or I love you... I've said it before, I am no longer a wife... I am a caretaker. We are a broken family trying to survive and I'm doing the best that I know how to make it through the day without cracking---I don't have time to cry a pity party because I am too busy juggling everything that needs to get done. I'm sure the day will come when I can have a pity party but unfortunately today isn't the day so I will put my big girl pants on and mosey along. :)  After all that blah blah blah, I meant to tell you that I look forward to dinner with Todd every night. I usually make one plate, climb into bed with him and we share a meal. This is a great time for me to tell him about my day and for him to listen to me ramble, like he has done for the past 20 years (actually this May will be 21 years.) See... it's the little things.

On a brighter note, the people from Patricia Neal rehab center called yesterday and they are waiting on insurance approval. Once that is done he will be able to transition to their full time rehab facility. He will receive OT, PT and speech. Like I said in a previous post, PT thinks he can at least stand on his legs unassisted with more consistent work. Big goal is to walk with walker. Yes a lofty goal but he seems to be willing to fight as long as these darn brain tumors allow!

No long drawn out post today... Just lots of prayers for us tomorrow! Please pass the blog along to everyone you know.

I will post when I know results of the scan.

Thanks to everyone who has been helping us!!! We couldn't do it with out you all!

The Clan

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another week...

Well... We have made it though another week. The end of last week and the beginning of this week was somewhat of a roller coaster.

Last week Todd was hallucinating way more than normal and he was having very aggressive behavior at night. At first it was directed at Tyler and towards the later of the week, it was towards me to. The final straw for me was last Thursday night when all 3 of us were watching tv in bed and out of the blue, Todd punched Ty 3 times on the back. I quickly stopped him and made sure Ty was OK... Got Ty out of the room and tried to talk to Todd, realizing I'm not really sure what he understands in that mindset. While I was helping him get ready for bed, he punched me. I was furious over the situation but truly understood that he wasn't in his right mind. Ty and I went and slept on the couch and in the morning he barely remembered it. I say that night was my final straw because for a week or so Todd has been biting, hitting or verbally being ugly. My heart would break for Ty when I would hear Todd say things to Ty. I would just reassure Ty that Todd didn't mean it and its all because of his brain not working right. In addition, we knew when Todd would get wonky because he would start talking in a crazy voice.. It was just so bizarre.

I called my trusty NP, Tiffany, who talked to me about realitiy and that if things didn't stop we would have to remove him from the home, for our safety and sanity. She mentioned the words Residential Hospice... ick... I was realistic that it was potentially going down that path. We gave him an anti-psychotic prescription and off we went. Well, the prescription turned him into a complete zombie. He could barely stay awake and form sentences. After a few days of playing with the dose and talking to Duke, we pulled him from it. I am super happy to say that he has been on 'good behavior' all week and we have had NO aggressive outbreaks since Sunday. In addition to no aggression, he's been pretty 'normal' on the stories he is telling. Fingers crossed...
The brain is truly a funny thing!

So fast forward... Our Physical Therapist talked to me on Wednesday about the fact that he's gained at least 50% more strength in his legs and with continued work, he might be able to stand on his own, help transfer better or even walk assisted with a walker. Somehow I started talking to her about how I wished we could see her M-F and then the topic of a rehabilitation center came up. Given his terminal diagnosis, we weren't sure if this was even an option. As of Friday afternoon, we are still waiting to hear of options for facilities he might be able to go to... We are hoping for a facility that will be able to provide around the clock care and help him in OT, PT and speech. This is encouraging for Todd in the thought he might be able to assist in transferring, walking, etc... I would much rather him die fighting and trying then to give up and have no HOPE. To be continued...

So you see that last week we were talking about residential hospice and this week we are talking about rehab... no wonder sometimes my mind is all over the place!

I am very realistic about what might come but I will fight with him as long as he is God willing!

So, keep us in your prayers for continued success in his mobility and that he stays away from being wonky and aggressive... He has a scan on next Wednesday and I hope to hear the results by Friday... Busy busy week

A quick shout out to a few people..
  • Paul and Helen Cramer for the gift they sent last week
  • Jenny Wlas for the care package
  • The Armstrongs for the gift card
  • Ina Stanland and Pastor Ed who send a card every week

Not sure what we would do without the continued support and prayers from our family, friends and complete strangers!

Thanks all...

The Clan

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wow... a few days behind

So I didn't realize that I was over a week behind on updating... Sorry. Prepare for a long winded post. :)

Todd is still in the same ole same ole situation... sucky! This week was week 4 of his CCNU treatment and there has been no major decline but at the same time, there has been no improvements.

Today we celebrate his 40th Birthday... I had big plans in my head a few months ago. We were originally going to take an Adults only cruise then I had an opportunity to go to Las Vegas and was going to incorporate the big day into the trip... All that was brought to a halt. :( So instead we had a family day on Sunday and I am having our neighbors over tonight for cake. Nothing thrilling and grand however it will be spend with those we love!

Sunday for Easter, Ty and I managed to sneak out of the house for church... We went to the church where we began going until Todd's health declined. We never made a commitment or decided that this church was the one. The Pastor did the traditional Easter message and at the end said the word HOPE... Saying to never give up Hope. I felt like she was talking to me. I left there with a heavy and happy heart. Ty knew I was sad and at one point reached over and held my hand..we squeezed each others, smiled and carried on. When the service was over, the Pastor was greeting everyone at the door and she stopped and hugged me. Not sure what she knows or doesn't know but I really appreciated the gesture.

In addition to church, we had a family dinner. Everyone that we call family came by for a cookout and to celebrate the April B-days. It was nice to have everyone together and it was nice to have some help with Todd. I think he enjoyed the family being there...

Here are some pics of the day and forgive me that I don't have Ty with Todd's parents (he was out playing in the neighborhood.)

As you can see, I am going in reverse but I am getting to Todd's doctor appointment next. :)

On Wednesday, Todd was scheduled for his Avastin and to see Tiffany. I now have to juggle how we get him places since I struggle transferring him in and out of the car. I found a place here in Knoxville that I can rent a handicap accessible van. I thought I would try this out... It was a bit pricey however it was worth its weight in gold! I got Todd into the big wheel chair, hit the button, wheeled him up into the van and strapped him in. Off to the Dr we went...

Once we got to the hospital, things seemed to go downhill pretty quick, relativity speaking . I went back with him to get his blood work done and they couldn't find a vein... She prodded for a few mins and finally found a vein in one of his finger/knuckles area-ouch. I then took him to the waiting area to wait for his infusion. While there I had to give them my new insurance info and go through that rig-a-ma-roo... Todd decided he had to go to the bathroom while waiting and I knew that wasn't going to go well... I took him into the bathroom where he couldn't get his legs underneath him and he started to slip from me... I called for help-no one was around, looked for phone to call Tiffany-phone had fallen from chair and across the floor. Todd and I started to fuss at each other as I was close to panic and then I started calling for help again. Finally, a few of the infusion nurses came to my rescue... I was pissed and hurt all in one because I can't believe this is what our lives have come to. One of the infusion nurses who has been treating Todd from the beginning came and hugged me and told me how badly it hurts her every time she sees Todd. I pretty much lost it from there... I grabbed a soda, regained my composure and went outside to sit on a bench. While on the bench, I cried...

No need to keep on crying... Tiffany, the NP, summons me to her office where I learned 2 things: 1. didn't have new insurance approval so they were working on that and 2. his blood pressure was so high that they couldn't start the infusion (well we just had a bathroom episode so..) So a waiting we will go....Finally after 2 hours, I was called back to where Todd was so I could sit in the infusion room with him. Tiffany came back as she is apparently a IV ninja and she tried to find a vein for them to start. After 30 min and 2 nurses, they opted to call it quits and forgo the Avastin for the day.

In addition to his blood pressure being high, his other counts were a bit low and we were told to go home... I felt like I had been run over. All is well now and we will try things again on another day.

Avastin has been officially called off for the time being until we see the next scan which is on April 26.

So I think you all are all caught up on our lives. Ty is doing ok and still continuing to be a big help around the house. I continue to sing praises about all the people who are helping us... I truly worry what happens when the day comes that I am trying to do this all by myself! One day reality will hit and it sure won't be fun.

I think we have been a full 6 weeks now where Todd needs consistent 'watching' and is fully bed bound. I have no choice but to continue to stay strong and composed for my family...even when I get sad over the silly stuff. It's amazing how much we take for granted in life... when you have a crappy day, who is the first person you call-your spouse, when you have something funny to say, who do you call-your spouse, when you have a parenting issue, who do you call-your spouse. Who do I call? All of you all now... I would really like for life to go back to 'normal,' whatever that may be!

Ohhh, didn't mean to go on my ramble above.

Here's my prayer list for the week....

Please continue to pray for my friend Sheri Slusser as her and her family are struggling to figure out what is going on with Josh. Last I heard, they think his cancer has spread to his spinal fluid and he might have meningitis. They have an almost 3 year old. She's been a GREAT cancer texting partner with me. We have never met but I feel like we could conquer the world together!

In addition, a long time family friend of Todd, Lynsey Newton lost her husband last week to cancer. I texted with her hours before and although she knew the end was near and she had made peace with it, it still is never easy. Her and Tim had a 5 year old daughter... they were in their early 30's.

Lastly.. a prayer for a high school friend who prays for us consistently... Jenna Sanders. I have linked her blog here. Her brother in law was killed on Easter Sunday in a freak accident.

No one ever said life was easy or given to us... Hug those around you... Tell those around you that you love them.. Smile at strangers. :)

As always, Thanks for everything that you all have been giving/doing for us. We appreciate every ounce!

Keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks!

Food site...

The Clan...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy to post...

Nothing is really new at our house. Todd is still pretty much bed confined and we should be getting a new hospital bed this week... The new one will be a better mattress and have better controls. In addition, PT ordered him a hoyer lift and a sliding board. Hopefully this will help ALL of us in transferring.

I think all of our volunteers are doing a fabulous job and we GREATLY appreciate them. The 'sitters' have more than kept us afloat. I know its not a glorious job but it is so important to us... I am comfortable leaving him for 30 mins or so but really no much longer so it makes it difficult to do any type of errands. I say this over and over how fortunate we are for our neighbors and Greg living down the street-they are the first ones to run over in a last minute pinch. :)

I set the meal website up... Here it is again: You will have to set up a login but it is so easy to use. I'm loving it!!! In addition, I've had people call last minute as ask to bring fast food... Everything has been perfect and I can't wait to eat the delicious food!!! Tonight is Pot Pie from Linda Noyes...yummo!

I am still thanking people everyday for their kindness and generosity... We receive cards, gifts and nice gestures everyday! People have truly come out of the woodwork... This weeks HUGE Thank you goes to my neighbor Angie and George Moore who George pressured washed the house and Angie is doing our garden which is BIG job!! Thanks guys!!!

I can ramble on all day long so since nothing is new, I will end. Keep the prayers coming. I will post when I know more. :)

The Clan...

Monday, March 19, 2012

A few Thank You's

Hey guys!!!

Nothing really new around the Bloomfield house, just continuing to 'truck' along. I have a few Thank you's that I don't have email info on so I thought I would do a quick shout out now for last weeks cards/gifts.
  • Ray Puente with VFC... I've emailed what I thought was his email addy but it keeps bouncing. :(
  • Souderton, PA store... Not sure who the contact person is now.
  • The Hammonds
  • Aunt Bea
  • The Gap Group
  • The "Mystery" card person... humm... who are you??
  • Danielle Matthews and her mom... (not sure if there was anyone else involved in the gift)
  • April Blair, Amy, Sandy Meyer and Angela Lemmons for delish dinners last week.

I am so sure that I have left someone off... I try to keep a running list of who to Thank but if you know me well enough, my lists are up in my 'head.' I need to get more organized. :)

Quick update: Nothing new, hospital bed has made a HUGE difference. He is still a bit loopy but all an all nothing has changed. Currently we are each laying in our beds while he watches or attempts to watch UT basketball. Ty is playing outside as it is spring break and it feels like summer!

Off to enjoy a few more minutes of 'me' time... Thanks to everyone who is supporting us!!

The Clan