Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Radiation Graduation!

Who knew that when you get finished with radiation therapy that they give you a "diploma":) which says, "Having attained high marks in the areas of CONGENIALITY, PERSEVERANCE, & COURAGE", Vince Capaldi has completed the course of Radiation Therapy at UCLA, and guess who signed it...yep...that's right JESUS!  LOL!  Actually it's Jesus (a radiation technician), Kristina, Maria and Bob!  But, I love the idea that it says Jesus...he is everywhere, even at radiation!  Makes a mom feel good!  Thank you, Jesus!

Vince will see the surgeon a week from tomorrow and he will have scans done that same day. This will allow the doctor to evaluate and prepare for the upcoming bone replacement surgery, which will be replaced with a titanium rod.  We don't really know any details yet, so next week will bring us some new information regarding the upcoming surgery.
Here is a photo of Vince in the radiation machine.  I took this on his 24th visit and it was the first time that I went into the room.  It was so interesting to see it in person! This is the machine that broke down 4 times, and once while he was in the middle of his treatment! Nothing is perfect, even if it costs millions of dollars, or somewhere close, I assume! LOL!
Vince and Mikemo will be starting a basketball league soon and I will bring you some photos of them playing and maybe a video or two!  I am just so glad that he is able to have no pain and really enjoy these next 5 or 6 weeks, just to recover and do what he wants to do without any scheduled doctor appointments....AND we won't be driving back and forth every day on the 405!  Whew!!!  I can't believe he had 25 treatments and it's all over!  This will be the first time in 5 mths. that we can actually be somewhat "normal" for a short time!  Maybe it's time to treat myself to that massage that my dear friends got me for my birthday back in September!  LOL!

Definitions of those 3 words on the Diploma:)  I thought they were interesting to read.  Vince is my hero!

congenial |kənˈjēnyəl|adjective
(of a person) pleasant because of a personality, qualities, or intereststhat are similar to one’s own his needfor some congenial company. 
perseverance |ˌpərsəˈvi(ə)rəns|noun steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success his perseverance
with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness medicine is a field which requires dedication and perseverance.
courage |ˈkərij; ˈkə-rij|nounthe ability to do something that frightens one he called on all his courage to face the ordeal.strength in the face of pain or grief he fought his illness with great courage.
Courage is what makes someone capable of facing extreme danger and difficulty without retreating, (the courage to confront the enemy head-on). It implies not only bravery and a dauntless spirit but the ability to endure in times of adversity.Someone who has guts, a slang word indicating an admirable display of courage when it really counts (having the guts to stand up to one's boss), might also be described as having “intestinal fortitude,” cliché that is more formal and means the same thing.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 

1 Corinthians 16:13 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

 Radiation Burns
Vince and I went to his 21st radiation today!  Only 4 more to go!  Here are two pictures of his armpit.  The first one is treatment #15 and the second one is treatment #21.  I would say the difference between the two is pretty intense, wouldn't you?  Vince reminded me today that since his treatment is only 2 mins. per session that the total "burn time" is only 42 mins. at this point. The doctor said, "it's like having a bad sunburn."  Wow!  Can you image spending 42 mins. in a tanning bed and coming out in this condition!  I don't think we would have too many sun worshippers!  Although, I have been burned pretty bad and looked like a lobster quite a few times in my own life!  LOL!  But, somehow it just doesn't compare!  Oddly enough, he said it doesn't really hurt that much.  He has been using aloe vera and some cream that looks like paste to help ease the burn, so it must be working. 

My mom is doing fantastic!  She goes to the doctor tomorrow for her check up, and she will see if she gets a green light to be able to travel and go home.  I know that she and my dad would love to be in there own comfy bed!  There's no place like home!

Today at radiation, an older woman in her early 70's has been having treatments even before Vince started (35 treatments and today was her last one), and each day her husband pushes her in her wheelchair and sits next to her until she goes in and the waits ever so patiently for her to finish.  

A neighbor of theirs drives them each day to help relieve the burden and stress. The woman in the wheelchair has a tumor in the side of her face and it's the size of a softball, so you can imagine how painful it must be for her.  She is also undergoing chemo at the same time.  She hasn't had solid food in 3 yrs!  I can't even imagine what that poor woman has had to go through.

Today was supposed to be her last day, until they saw the doctor a few mins. before he sat down.  After he pushed her into the radiation room and then came and sat back down, he started crying.  My heart was broken for him.  He said that his wife needed more treatments.  He got up and walked around, trying to hold in his tears.  At this point I am crying with him and his neighbor tried to distract him with small talk, but it wasn't working too well.  At that point, Vince came out of his treatment and we were ushered into see the dr., which we do weekly, and knowing that I might not see these people again, I asked what his wife's name was so that I can keep her in my prayers.  He looked up at me with a surprised look  and said, "Marlene"....and just then he put his hands up to his face with a handkerchief and began to sob.  His neighbor said, "thank you so much and we will do the same for your son."  That was a heart wrenching moment right there for me, to see a grown man cry, because of the suffering that his precious wife has to endure! I shared this story a few times today and each time, I cry.  

I can't help think about when Jesus was crucified and how brutally beaten he was, and hung on that cross to die....the unimaginable heart-wrenching pain that he suffered and to add to it, his mother watching him suffer!   Man...that's heavy stuff.  

I am never surprised at the way God reveals himself to me on a daily basis.  This was certainly a big one today.

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:11

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Motor- Home Sweet Home

Yesterday my mom came home from the hospital.  She and my dad are staying in their motor home for her recovery for the next week or so.  She had a pacemaker/defibulator put in her heart 2 days ago and she is doing GREAT!  She looks so good and she is up and walking around the motor home.  She will have her stitches taken out in about a week and the doctor will hopefully let them go home after that. The drive back to their house is about 8 hrs. travel time, so my sister, Melinda and her daughter, Tabatha will fly down and drive back with them, so that she can be watched while my dad drives.  Please pray that she would feel 100% compelled to quit smoking for good.  It's only because of cigarettes that she has had so many health issues and even though it's a hard habit to break, maybe this scared her enough to say "no more"!  She did say that she never wants to go through this again....so hopefully as time goes by,  she will still remember the pain and suffering that she has gone through, as well as the pain and suffering we've gone through having to see her like that.  We love her very much and want her to be around for a long time to come!

Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

1 Samuel 25:6 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blessings Among Us!

This is a praise report!  My mom came off of the ventilator today at 4 pm!  She was on it for 6 days!  We are so thrilled at how well she is doing in just 4 hrs!  Oh my gosh!  She is laughing (quietly) and is eating jello and liquids, but she is hungry!  She looks amazing having gone through this for the last week!  She can't wait to put on her makeup! For all that know her, that means she is completely normal! LOL! What a fighter she is!  My dad called me about 40 mins. after they took her off and he was so excited and I could tell he was calling with good news just by his "Hey, hun! They took her off the machine and all the tubes are out!"  Such sweet words!  

What a roller coaster ride of emotions we have been through these last 5 months, with everything that we've experienced with Vince and now my mom and a few other health related issues in my family.  But, through it all, God has given us a peace that we know only comes from him.  We have the joy of the Lord, and he is our strength!

This is a picture of my mom a few days before she was admitted to the hospital. Our friend, Tiffanie treated her to a new hair cut and color!  Thanks Tiff!  

Top Five Things We Learned This Week

1. You can get a person to crack a smile while on a ventilator, if you are a klutz and knock something over in their ICU room (yes, it was me:)

2. Coyotes will run into the side of your car while they running across a busy road while you are traveling at 50 mph and leaving a crack in your fender with coyote hairs as evidence (it was Mindy, my daughter:)

3. You can hit the same curb multiple times in your car when traveling the exact same routine every day going to and from radiation.

4. That the radiation machine is not the most reliable piece of equipment ever made (it broke down again yesterday, for the 4th time:(

5. That no matter what...God is still in charge.

For all the promises of God find their fulfillment in
him. That is why it is through him we say Amen
when we give praise to God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mom Update

My mom had to be intubated, which is basically hooked up to a breathing machine.  She is heavily sedated and resting comfortably.  She wasn't able to breathe on her own, so they had no choice but to put her on it.  She has responded a few times to my dad, Mindy and my brothers and that is very encouraging.  They only allow us a few minutes per day to even see her.  I have not been in the room since Sat. because I am also taking Vince to his radiation treatments everyday and that take us about 2 1/2 hrs. per day and I keep missing the visits.  I will hopefully get to see her tomorrow.  They don't want her to get too excited because she needs to rest so that her body can heal.  At this point, she will not be having the defibulator put in.  They are going to try to wean her off of the machine and we are very hopeful that it will happen soon.  I am so grateful to all my prayer warriors out there!  I hope we are not wearing you out!  I am praying for so many of you as well!

My dad is staying in his motor home in the parking lot so that he can be near her at all times. As you can imagine, he is extremely exhausted.  We are taking turns hanging out with him as much as possible.  

My dear friend Cathy (we have been friends for 34 yrs), her mom, Verna, had surgery today at the same hospital and she will be there  for the next few days as well and she is doing so great! How amazing God is, that he would put both of our mom's in the same hospital at the same time!  Thank you, Cathy for hanging out with us last night and taking us to dinner!  You are a blessing to us!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7