Friday, January 12, 2007

Our Word, Our Legacy

A thought has reverberated in my mind for a few days. I keep thinking that one of the most important assets we have as human beings is our "word," the sometimes elusive concept of personal commitment to complete what we say we will do in the best possible way. Most adults will agree that the importance of keeping our word is extremely high, yet they will also tell you that there are more and more examples of people not keeping their word on important matters. For example, I feel the computer industry has failed to maintain proper quality control on their products, failing to keep their word on what they sell. Computer users should not have to be concerned with the security of their systems because of lax quality assurance. To me, that is a broken implied promise by the computer industry. From WiFi chips to major software packages, all have been sold with security flaws that have caused all of us greatly in terms of confidence and the effort to "patch" ad infinitum to correct problems that should not have been there in the first place. Let us remember to keep our word and deliver only outstanding products and results. That is what others will remember us by.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tracey's Update: January 4-January 10

January 4, 2007, was family portrait day. Tracey had radiation treatment in the morning and we had a great session of family pictures in the afternoon. Again, Tracey packed as much time with her Mom and Jenny as humanly possible.

January 5 saw Tracey's Mom and Jenny leave to go back home. They departed very early and arrived safely many hours later. Tracey and I went to radiation in the morning and ran some errands in the afternoon.

January 6 - 7 were fairly uneventful days with a couple of exceptions:

• Tracey's hair began to fall and
• her blood pressure began to rise again.

She is not in pain thanks to a pain patch. Her energy is beginning to return but not enough to be at normal levels. On Sunday I trimmed Tracey's hair to about 3/8" long.

January 8: This morning I took Tracey to radiation -- one more to go. At night she asked me to trim her hair even shorter because it was falling a lot more now.

January 9: Tracey had her last radiation treatment and we met with Dr. Ezekiel (Radiation Oncologist). We learned a lot of things:

• Tracey's tumors were larger than we had been told before; one is 3 x 4 cm and the other 1 x 2 cm
• Both tumors are on the left side of her head.
• The "normal" long-term side effects of this type of tumor are minimal.
• The radiation treatment she just finished was whole brain to eliminate stray cells and to shrink the tumors present now. If they do not shrink enough or if they should regrow, then Tracey will need spot radiation to kill the tumor cells.
• She may or may not get her hair back -- Tracey thinks it will return.
• Dr. Ezekiel reduced the steroid medication in half until next visit. Tracey was happy about that because she is concerned with increased appetite and weight gain.
• Her next appointment with Dr. Ezekiel is January 16 at 3 PM.

We then went to see the wigs at Becky's Place at Lexington Medical Center; Tracey saw some that she liked and we made an appointment for fitting a wig. Tracey is looking for something different. I will not spoil the surprise. We originally set the appointment for 1 PM but then had to move it to 9 AM because of a new appointment with Dr. Madden's office.

We then proceeded to Dr. Madden's office to report the increased blood pressure Tracey has experienced in the last two days. Shannon increased Tracey's BP medication and asked us to come back on January 16 at 1:45 PM.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lessons Learned

I have learned many lessons in the last few weeks. Two of the most important things I can share with you is that it is critical to be proactive and prepared -- you never know when your world will be turned upside down. But if you are proactive and have made some contingency plans for "what if" situations, then you will be able to act (not react) when the unexpected happens. The second thing I want to share with you is to have routines (or procedures) that you use for all important tasks -- when those life-changing events occur, having established routines will help you to stay on track with life -- or easily delegate those tasks to others.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tracey's Update: January 3, 2007

Tracey spent her first day fitting as many events as possible. She tried to make up for the time she spent in the hospital. After radiation, she came home, rested a bit, and then spent the rest of the afternoon with her Mom and the girls. She even set up an appointment for a family portrait tomorrow (January 4) at 4:30 PM; we have been waiting more than four years for this!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tracey's Update: January 2, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

Tracey was finally released to come home on January 2. She had a radiation treatment and then we picked her up to bring her home. We just had to make a quick stop at Quizno's for some real food to go.

Tracey is suffering from muscle atrophy and major back pains. We are not sure why her legs do not work properly, but she is having a difficult time walking. We hope increased use of all these muscles will bring them back to their normal state.

Tracey will be going back to the hospital for radiation treatment for five more sessions. Then she has an appointment with Dr. Madden on January 16.

Thank you to everyone that has called, emailed, thought about or prayed for Tracey -- we really appreciate your love and friendship throughout these very difficult days! Of course, things would have been much harder without Tracey's Mom, Kayla, and Jenny -- they are real life savers!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tracey's Update: January 1, 2007

The New Year started with a small set back -- the doctor had to up Tracey's pain medicine and would not release her until all medications were stable.

However, Tracey's spirits were good and she felt stronger and walked more around the floor. Things are starting to work properly with various body parts and we are hoping that she can finally come home on Tuesday (perhaps after getting her radiation treatment). Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Tracey's appetite is very good and she revolted against hospital food -- we brought her home-cooked meals for lunch and dinner and she ate almost every bite of both.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Tracey's Update: December 31, 2006

Sunday was a very good day for Tracey despite the fact that she was not released to come home. However, she is now free of all tubing and walking basically on her own power. In the morning I took her for a short walk and a wheel chair drive to the cafeteria for some "normal" food. She is still experiencing dizziness but it is a lot more manageable, and she is pushing through as much of it as possible. She has lots of back and leg pain -- but it is getting better with increased activity.

Jenny and I spent the evening with Tracey and took her for an even longer walk. She is in great spirits and all the medications seem to be working properly. As the evening progressed she did complain of a mild headache.

I am keeping my fingers crossed so that tomorrow will be the day she comes home.

Happy New Year everyone!