May 5, 2005: Today Maria had her colonoscopy appointment. We went to the appointment with high hopes that they would find out why she still had blood in her stool. The procedure went quickly which gave me hope that everything was okay. The appointment took approximately 15 minutes. While waiting with Maria in recovery the doctor finally came in and gave us the news “he found something while doing the procedure”. He went on to say that in his opinion it was malignant. This was probably the most devastating news I had ever heard in my life. My wife was just basically diagnosed with colon cancer. My first reaction was to cry. This is my best friend, my lover and my world. More tests are scheduled to confirm his diagnosis. On Monday May 9, 2005 she is scheduled for a CT scan and blood tests. They said that the CT scan would give them a better picture of the size and nature of the cancer. The blood tests consist of one for anemia and the other is a cancer test. We should also know for sure today on the results of the biopsy. When we came home I went to the internet to do some research on colon cancer and the blood tests. Maria seems to be taking this rather well, but it is hard to tell as she hides her feelings very well. She tries to be brave and strong. She still insists that I am sicker because of my diabetes than she is. May 6, 2005: Maria went to work despite my asking her to stay home. She said she was fine. I broke down this morning in front of Dave. The overwhelming emotion of the last 24 hours finally hit me. Fortunately Dave is understanding and gave me a lot of support. I spoke with Maria this morning at work and she said that she was emotional early but after talking to Rose and Gayle she said that she felt better. It seems that both of them have had the same thing that she was diagnosed with. This made me feel a little better. At 3:30 I received a phone call from Maria . She was crying uncontrollably and said that she was really sick. Told Dave I had to leave cause Maria was sick. Flew up to MWB and found Maria shaking uncontrollably, having a tough time breathing and unable to walk on her own. Immediately ran her up to the emergency room. We spent about 3 hours in the emergency room where they took blood tests, gave her an IV, monitored her heart rate and breathing. The doctor on duty told me while Maria was having x-rays done that she felt that with everything that was going on that she thought what Merly had was a anxiety attack. She prescribed some sedatives to calm her. The chest x-ray and E.K.G they gave her all came out normal. The blood test revealed what we already knew and that was that she was anemic. The doctor looked at a previous blood test and said that she was no more anemic than she was a month ago. We left the emergency room around 7:15, the medication they gave Maria is really having an effect. She is sleeping in the van and when we got home she went to sleep almost immediately on the couch. We ate and later I put Maria to bed. Tough night for me, I kept waking up to check her breathing. I should say it is not a tough night as I love this woman with all my heart and don’t want to lose her. May 7, 2005: Its 6:18 a.m. and Maria is still sleeping. Thousands of thoughts and questions are running through my head. I need to contact Claire and Inday so they can talk to Maria. Today was a pretty good day for Maria. We went to town around 10:30 for Maria's pedicure appointment. She loved it. The cost was nothing as she got a gift certificate last year after her foot surgery. We will try to have this done at least once a month for her. We then went to Ross Dress for Less and bought some new tops for Maria. She had a pretty good day. Maria has a headache tonight. Tried to get her to take some aspirin but she said she would be okay. Woke up early May 8th and gave her some Tylenol, after a while it had its affect, no more headache. May 8, 2005: Maria woke up around 4:00 this a.m. with a headache. She was in definite pain this morning. Gave her a couple of aspirin to try to ease the pain. She finally fell back to sleep around 5:00 a.m. Went down to parents for coffee. Maria called around 9:30 asking if we were still going to breakfast. Told her that only if she was feeling good. We left around 10:00 for breakfast with mom and dad. Got to restaurant and waited for approximately 20 minutes to get in. The booth was cold, Maria was shivering. Breakfast went pretty good. Maria said that she was feeling good. We left breakfast and went and got gas for the van. First time filling it up since we bought it. Went for a little drive around Foy’s Lake and then went home. Maria took a nap until around 4:00 then got up. She has really been feeling tired lately. I think she is exhausted from the trauma of the situation. Can’t blame her. I barbequed chicken tonight and of course I burned it. Maria said it was okay and ate it but she was probably just trying to be nice. She drank one of her protein shakes and took her vitamins. She thinks that the vitamin E is giving her the headaches. May 12, 2005: Today was okay. We went to the surgeon today and he explained to a point what was going
to happen. We then went to the surgery center to schedule the surgery for Maria. They didn't give us a definite time for the surgery, we will have to call on Tuesday to find out what time. May 13, 2005 Maria went in for an ultrasound today. Her gynecologist recommended it to ensure that her uterus and ovaries were okay. Appointment lasted about an hour and from all reports everything was good. May 15, 2005: Maria's sister called today. Looked for her to give Maria words of encouragement and a positive attitude to face the upcoming surgery. Didn't go as planned though as it made Maria think about her own mortality more. Even though her sister didn't cheer her up the way I would have liked we both know her sister really cares for her. May 16, 2005: Maria said she was feeling okay today but her voice sounded a little hoarse. She may be coming down with a slight cold. She is supposed to start taking the antibiotics tomorrow so maybe that will knock the hell out of it. We should find out tomorrow what time her surgery is. I’ll call. Maria talked to her mom tonight and finally told her. She said her mom cried as I expected that she would. Parents never want to hear about their child being sick. But I am really confident in this surgery and the outcome. I think that they will find that it was contained within the colon wall and hasn’t moved outside of it. This will give Maria the choice to receive Chemo or not. She starts her bowel cleansing again tomorrow, I feel so sorry for her as it really made her weak and sick the last time. She is stronger now though I think. She knows what to expect from it this time. They told her that she couldn’t eat or drink anything 4 hours prior to the surgery. I told her that I thought that she could cheat a little on the purging. I don’t think that it will have any effect on the outcome whatsoever May 17, 2005: Well Maria started her regiment of Phospha Soda cleansing today. Not a good thing. Makes her feel like crap. She is feeling quite a bit weaker today and the hunger is driving her crazy. She is also a little bit dizzy. Can't understand why they don't do this in some other manner but I guess it is for the best. Really tough for me to eat anything in front of her as I feel guilty that I can eat and she can't. May 18, 2005: The big day is here. Surgery is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. this morning. But I already know that if they say 6:30 the surgery will probably be another hour or so after that. 7:45 a.m. they finally wheeled her off to surgery. The surgery is supposed to last about 2 hours. Time is going really slow while she is in surgery. Do I dare leave and go get something to drink or eat? I don't take the chance as I would not want to be absent in case of an emergency. 9:45 a.m. The surgeon came out and said the surgery went very well. He said that the tumor was actually a little higher than they had thought and that was a good thing. He said they removed approximately 7-8" of her colon and the blood supply all the way up to the aorta. He said that he thought they had removed approximately 5 lymph nodes and 2 of them felt a little suspect as they were a little firm. He said he wouldn't know until the pathology report came back in a few days. 12:00 They finally have brought Maria up to her room. Recovery took a little longer than they expected. Mom & Dad are here with me for moral support and to cheer Maria up. Maria is very tired right now. She tells us to go get something to eat while she sleeps the sedatives off. 1:00 I return from lunch. Maria is doing good except for one thing. While she was under they inserted a catheter into her. It is hurting her a lot and driving her mad! She seems to be doing okay, they have her on some strong medication for the pain. They inserted 2 tubes into her stomach to drip pain medication into her abdomen to ease the pain. She is hooked up to an I. V. and another pain medication. Decided to stay with her through the night for support. 4:00 Maria talks to one of the nurses and asks if they can remove the catheter. She said she would speak to her doctor and find out. The nurse came back a few minutes later and said that the doctor said it would be okay. Maria is one tough cookie. Only hours after surgery and she is walking to the bathroom. May 19, 2005: Tough night for me, but a lot easier than for Maria. Maria is doing a little better, but the pain keeps coming back. They have been giving her morphine but is having the side affect of making her itch terribly. The nurse decides to give her something for the itch, Benadryl. Bad idea. The Benadryl has a really bad affect on Maria. She is shaking uncontrollably and has shortness of breath. It takes a couple of hours for the affects of this to wear off. A new nurse comes in and we talk to her about it and she said to inform any future doctors that she is allergic to Morphine and Benadryl. Nice nurse. We talk to her about the pain
medication they had given her the day before and how it had worked better and she said that normally they do not want to give that to anyone for more than 1 day as it could cause kidney damage. She talks to the doctor and he felt that with Maria being in such good health that it wouldn't hurt to give to her again. They administered the pain medication and Maria feels a lot better. May 20, 2005: Maria insisted that I go to work so I did, she tells me that she will be fine. Today they start giving her some real food, okay its not real its pudding. She doesn't like it much. They also give her some orange juice and she likes that even less. Mom and Dad came and visited her again today. They take our daughter home for us as we don't know if we'll be there again tonight. The doctor said that he would come in and let us know if she is good enough to go home. 5:00 the doctor came in and asked Maria if she was ready to go home. I told her that if she wasn't up to it then we would stay another night or however many nights that she felt she needed. She decides that she wants to go home. The doctor also told us that the pathology report came in and up to 5 lymph nodes may have been affected. He starts talking about chemotherapy. We haven't yet decided if we are going that route or not. We left the hospital tonight and went to the pharmacy to pick up some pain medication for Maria. Left her in the car for a few minutes and when I came back she was fast asleep. The drive home was very slow as I was afraid to hit any little bump and cause her pain. Other motorists are mouthing bad phrases and giving me the finger. Oh well, although it is not in my nature to drive slow I'll do anything to protect my wife. Maria didn't have anything to eat tonight but some broth. She was afraid to eat anything and cause damage to the repaired section of her colon. May 21, 2005: Last night was a little bit nerve racking. Maria got a slight fever so I gave her a Tylenol as recommended by the hospital. Her fever was about 99.7 the hospital told me that if it got to 101 then bring her in. To hell with them if it gets anywhere over 100 we are going to the hospital. The Tylenol had its affect a couple of hours later the fever was gone. Scary night. Was awake every hour on the hour checking on my wife. Today was a relatively good day. Maria was feeling okay with a little bit of pain. We removed the drip ball from her stomach as directed by the doctor. I think that makes Maria a little nervous as it has become a kind of a crutch for her. As long as it was there she felt that the pain wouldn't be too intense. Fortunately her pain medication is strong enough to get her through it. Maria ate a little today. Tried some new things. Everything seemed to go down alright. May 25, 2005: Maria is doing good today, her sister arrives today at 2:00 p.m. May 26, 2005: We go back into the surgeons office today for a post op check up at 9:45. 9:45 we arrive at the surgeons office and he checks out her stitches. Said that she is healing fine. He says that they actually removed 10 lymph nodes and that 5 of these were infected with tumors (cancer). He recommends Chemotherapy. Maria told her of another one of his patients and the doctor looks up who the patients oncologist is and tells us his name. He also makes an appointment for us on June 6th to visit the oncologist. Before we leave the office I remembered to ask the doctor what stage Maria is in. He says that she is classified as a Stage 3 C. I told him I understood the Stage 3 but not the "C" part of it. He says that because 4 or more lymph nodes are affected that they now classify them by A (no lymph nodes), B (up to 4 lymph nodes) and C (4 or more lymph nodes). This is rather devastating as when I was talking to him after the surgery he said that he could feel the tumor in the colon but didn't say that it had started to grow outside the colon. Maria is taking it hard too. Talked to Dave when I got back to work and told him that it was worse than we thought. Told him what we were told, what I had researched as far as survivability and my feelings. He said the first mistake was looking at statistics. He said he did the same thing when his son was diagnosed with a blood disorder. After talking to Dave I decided that no matter what we were going to be positive and get through this. I called Maria and told her not to worry, we would take care of it. She said that at first it made her sad but afterwards she started feeling better. May 27, 2005: Good day for Maria today. She is doing well, she's becoming a little stubborn when it comes to the pain medication. She doesn't want to take it. Of course there is a reason she doesn't want to take it, most pain medication has the tendency to constipate you and constipation sounds like a bad idea when you just had a big chunk of your colon cut out and sewed back together. Or to be more precise, stapled back together.
May 29, 2005 Another good day for Maria. We took a little trip to Missoula today. The trip was mainly so her sister could see some friends that she hasn't seen in a while. We got to the mall and despite Maria saying she could walk we went and got her a wheelchair that she could ride around in. Heck its only been about a week since her surgery and we don't want her tearing anything. She liked it but you should have seen the look on people's faces when she popped out of the chair to look at clothes! Trip was good for her to get out and didn't tax her too much. On the way home her sister started talking about some friend of hers that told her that her father had the same condition and that he died from the chemotherapy. Why is it that her family has to constantly talk about her mortality? Seems to me that if you want to make her feel confident and better about the treatment that is coming that you'd be as positive as possible and not talk about dying, but hey that's just me. June 1, 2005 Well Maria's sister went home today to Arizona. Think she was a little homesick and right now Maria is doing good. Pain is subsiding but still a little tender around the bottom half of her stitches. The doctor said that they were internal so they will dissolve over time. The area where the stitches are is a little stiff. Think that this is because of the muscles being cut in that area and sewed back together. They'll probably always be a little sensitive there. Maria plans on going back to work already. I think that sitting at home all this time is driving her crazy. I explained it to her that I thought it was because she had more time to sit around and think about what is happening to her body and what is coming up. She needs the relief of keeping her mind on other things. Don't know if she is ready to go to work yet or not, guess we'll see how the first day goes. Don't want her overdoing it. June 3, 2005 Today was a happy day!!! Okay maybe not at work. Our daughter Madi graduated today!! Quite an accomplishment considering that she is only a Junior! Way to go Madi we are so proud. June 6, 2005 Well today was the day we saw the oncologist, Dr. Bohme. What a cool doctor! He explained everything so well and answered every question we could possibly think of. He said that Maria's CEA number was 2.1 which to him was good. He did say that he doesn't feel that further CEA tests were necessary because once your test is negative the other numbers later don't mean much. Talked to him about a P.E.T. scan which is a test where they inject a radioactive substance in your blood that will attach itself to cancer cells and detect cancers. He said that this test wasn't really necessary because unless the cancer is of a particular size then it would be hard to pinpoint 1 cancer cell that showed the radioactive material. He also said that the tumer was relatively small in size, only 3.3 centimeters. He really showed Maria empathy and tried to boost her spirits by saying (and meaning) that her cancer was completely gone and that the Chemotherapy was to ensure that 1 cancer cell didn't escape before the surgery. He used the term "Adjuvant Chemotherapy" (ad·ju·vant (j-vnt) NOUN: 1. A pharmacological agent added to a drug to increase or aid its effect. 2. An immunological agent that increases the antigenic response.) He said that the treatment they would give her would be a Folfox 6 (FOLFOX: An abbreviation for a type of combination chemotherapy that is used to treat colorectal cancer. It includes fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin.) He talked about the type of chemo drugs she would be taking, but unfortunately I couldn't keep up. He did say that she would receive a smaller dose than most adults considering her height & weight. She'll have to have a port put in during a same day procedure. We expect to have this done within the next week as Maria starts her chemotherapy on June 23. He said that he didn't expect Maria to lose her hair, but that she could lose a little bit or none at all. He said the side-effects of the chemotherapy would be that because she has a dark complexion that she may in fact get darker, not so much browner or black but more of a dark grey. He also said that it could cause diarrhea and mouth sores. He was very good in the fact that he said if it effected her too much in a adverse way that they would change her chemo treatments. I asked Maria a bit ago how she was feeling about all of this and she said she was kind of confused by what he had said and that she hoped I understood. I told her that because I had researched it so much that most everything he said I understood. She'll be taking Fluorouracil and Oxiplatin . You can click on either medication name and go to a website that talks about them. I almost forgot one thing. My sister Shelley was there with us and I thank her for that as I think it helped put Maria more at ease. June 8, 2005 Maria went back to work today. Her surgeon gave her clearance to work so nothing could stand in her way! I think she was getting bored at home anyway. She said that her laying around made
her think about being sick too much and that getting back to work helps her forget about her condition for a while. Picked her up and she said she had a fantastic day. No stress and everyone was so caring and helpful. She said she felt like a little kid whose mom is always checking on them. But don't get me wrong, she likes it."SMILE". June 10, 2005 We go in this morning at 9:00 to see the surgeon for a follow up and to schedule the port for the chemo. I wish Maria didn't have to do chemo but I guess it's the only way to be sure. Even then the oncologist said that a person with stage 3c has a 80% chance of the cancer coming back and that by doing the chemo it would knock that down to about 55%. But still a good chance it will come back regardless. . We just want to be sure. We've looked into alternative treatments but there isn't anything out there that is 100% conclusive that it even works. It's of course less invasive, but I can't find any studies by any medical institutions or colleges that say that with the alternative treatment the cancer was gone forever. We are still looking at other options after the chemo. After we get through this next six months of every two week chemo then we'll begin all of the herbal/alternative stuff to try to keep it from coming back. The last thing we want to see is this happening all over again. Today is my mom's birthday. So if you are reading this mom ---Happy Birthday! WOW! Today was something else. We went in to see the surgeon, it wasn't check-up it was all about the port. He said he had a cancellation for the afternoon, did we want it? Maria said yes. We went to the Northwest Healthcare Surgery Center to check in and do all the normal "Can I see your insurance card?" paperwork. Went back to work for a while. 12:15 I arrived at the surgery center, Maria was already there and surprisingly she was already back in the surgery preparation room. They had already inserted a I. V. into her and had taken all of her clothes again! I'm getting the feeling they like my wife naked---SMILE. They FINALLY came in to get her at 1:15 for the surgery. They wheeled her off and sent me packing. About 1:45 the surgeon came back out and said the insertion of the port went fine. He gave me some instructions as to when she could take the bandage off and the medication Coumadin. The surgeon informed me that she had chosen to be asleep during the procedure but I actually think that they had asked her and she didn't understand the question. Well after another 40 minutes or so the nurse came out to get me and brought me back to the recovery area. Maria seemed to being doing fine except looked quite tired. Imagine that, she was tired after being asleep. DUH! Well a few minutes later the nurse came back and said she was confirming an appointment with the surgeon for a follow-up on June 21st. It turns out that he wants to see her on the 23rd, the same day that chemo starts. We waited for a little while and then she was able to get dressed and we went home. She slept for about an hour as she was still a bit tired from the surgery. I told her that she isn't getting any more surgeries and that I was tired of the surgery center. Of course I was only joking as we'll do whatever it takes to get her better. She joked back by saying "No, I have one more surgery" and I asked for what and she replied "my boob job" and laughed. She seems to be in really good spirits but I think the closer we get to the day she starts chemo the more nervous she'll get. I just read a Yahoo News article about Propolis & Tumeric. The National Cancer Institute said that these two substances have "A very interesting property of these compounds is that they have been shown to cause cell death in tumor cells but not in normal cells" Propolis is a substance that is gathered by bees from the bark of trees and leaves. It has been used in folk medicine for decades. I think we'll take a look at that and may go the health food store to find it. June 11, 2005 Maria is still a little sore today, but is dealing with it. Both her and I can't understand why they would put the port on the right side of a right handed person, especially since the doctor said he was going to put it on the left side?? Maria made an interesting statement today. I told her that I was sorry that she had to endure such pain. Her response was "Our Lord suffered much worse pain for our sins, so this pain I am feeling is nothing". She is absolutely right, but it is still hard to see her suffer through such pain. As I am sitting here I am appreciative of all the support everyone has given to Maria. Many people who do not even know who she is have sent emails of their own experiences and words of encouragement to her, many of those letters are here. There is one person though that confuses me. She claims to be very religious and yet she still hasn't offered any words to Maria. I recently was told that the reason she hasn't said anything is that she is too busy. Yet this person has been to this website and has read many of the things in it. How long does it take to write "get well soon" in an email and click "send"? I sound a little bitter don't I? The Lord teaches us to forgive but at this point in time I find it difficult to forgive this person.June 13, 2005 Maria is one tough cookie I tell ya. At only 4'9" tall and 71 lbs she is tougher than most men 3 times her
size. She went back to work today after getting the port put in on Friday. She was sore and wasn't sure if she would be able to hold out but when I went to see her after work she was doing fantastic! She was moving her arm like nothing happened at all! June 15, 2005 Maria didn't feel well today so I made her stay home. Her shoulder was hurting from the port I think. She seemed okay later in the day. Not sure whether she will be going to work tomorrow or not. Sounded like she would be. Good news though Maria said she is starting to get some of her weight back, she back up to a whopping 75 lbs! Told her only 25 more lbs to go, she always says "that's too much!" Sent an email to the facility that originally misdiagnosed Maria's condition as"hemmoroids", we'll see what happens. June 16, 2005 Sent fax to oncologist about FDA approving Xeloda for use by Stage 3 colon cancer patients. It is an oral drug rather than a intravenous drug used for chemotherapy. We'll see what he thinks about Maria using this instead.June 20, 2005 Received a email back from the facility that misdiagnosed Maria. A Mark D. said that he would be looking into the case and her records. That's at least a first step. June 21, 2005 Received a letter back from the oncologist stating that Xeloda hadn't been approved by the FDA yet. Well once I got home I did some research and went straight to the FDA's website and found a letter where they had approved it for Dukes "C" colon cancer or stage 3 colon cancer. Will print the letter out that shows differently and provide a copy to the oncologist on Thursday (1st day of chemo for Maria).June 23, 2005 Well Maria and I went to her first chemotherapy today, was a long day for Maria. But hey! 1 down, 11 more to go. She started at 9:00 this morning at the surgeons office, he checked her port to make sure that it was okay and told her he wouldn't see her again until after the chemo treatments are done. Then at 10:00 we went to the oncologist, Dr. Bohme's office. Sat in the waiting room for about 25 minutes past her appointment time before they finally took us to a small little examination room where they took her blood pressure and all that. Then the doctor came in and we questioned him about some of the side effects of the medication and he said that the side effect that we talked about was very very rare but the drug company has to put it down to try to protect their butts. We also talked about Xeloda and he was surprisingly all for it. He said that if the insurance company would pay for it then he would have no problem prescribing it for her. Sounded to me like the insurance companies don't want to pay for it. Finally we went into the chemo room where there are about 7 big fluffy recliners there for all the patients receiving chemo. They put some ointment on Maria's port to try to numb it before they inserted the needle. After about 15 minutes the OCN nurse came back and sprayed some really cold stuff on the port so that Maria wouldn't feel the needle going in. I think the cold stuff was worse than the needle if you ask Maria. Then they started giving her the medication, I believe the first one was for nausea before they started the actual chemo drugs. There were about 7 different things they gave her but I forgot the list I made at work so I can't put them down here. Of the 7 only 2 of them were actually chemo drugs, the rest were for nausea and others to help the chemo work better. She told me to go back to work so I left for a little while and felt damn guilty I did the whole time. Like I told Dave at work, I felt guilty leaving work and guilty leaving Maria, kind of a no win situation huh? Oh well, they know how important Maria is to me so they aren't getting mad at me yet. When I came back there were about 4 different IV drugs hanging from her pole. I was shocked at how many things they had to give her. No wonder they say chemotherapy is so expensive. The OCN nurse said that Maria was still anemic and that her numbers were a little low so they gave her a shot of Procrit (spelling?). Her number was like 30 and normal is between 35-50. She said that they only give the drug if it is below 36 cause the insurance companies won't pay for it unless your number is under 36. Afterwards we left the office and went to a place called Home Options. There they hooked Maria up with a pump to give her the 5-FU over a 48 hour period. She has to carry this pump around until Saturday when we have to call the on-call nurse to have it disconnected. Maria will have to do this every two weeks for the next 6 months. Her next appointment for chemo is on July 7th. Well so far so good, if anything changes I'll put it in here tomorrow. June 24, 2005 Maria did good again today, but the chemo is starting to have some affect on her. It is making her tired. Will call the oncologist on Monday and see what they say. We have to go in tomorrow to have the nurse remove her pump so may ask her too. They are used to dealing with cancer patients so she might have some suggestions. We went to the Relay for Life tonight, it is put on by the American Cancer Society for cancer patients past and present. It's a fundraiser for them. They walk around a track all night. Maria stayed
as long as she could but was getting really tired in the end so I brought her home. Here is the list of the medications that they gave her yesterday and continue with the 5FU today: Dolasetron (Anzemet) 100 mg, Dexamethasone (Decadron) 10mg, Magnesium 8 mg, Leucovorin 240 mg, Oxaliplatin 120 mg, Magnesium Solfate 8mg, 5FU (5-Fluorouracil), Lorazepam (Ativan) .5 mg, and Procrit. If you click on any of the links (blue) it will take you to a website that describes the medications and what they are for and their side effects, etc. June 25, 2005 Only a couple more hours until they remove the pump from this 48 hour 5FU infusion. I can't hardly wait. This stuff is really making Maria tired. I took off for a little while to collect rocks for a retaining wall, helped me clear my mind and get rejuvenated. Came back and Madi said that Maria had been crying, I went over to her and her eyes looked like she was still crying. I asked why and she just said that she was just emotional. I reassured her that she was going to be just fine and that I would always be there for her. She said that she couldn't sleep but was really tired. I think there is a lot going on in her mind. This is part of the psychological part of the cancer. I told her that she needed to quit listening to everyone telling her what the side effects, etc of the chemo and the cancer are as they will get into her head and screw up her thoughts. We were going to go stay at my parents house while they were gone, figured it was quieter there, but we decided against that for now. We'll see how Maria feels later. June 26, 2005 Maria is still sick from the chemo. She has absolutely no energy whatsoever. Been trying to get her to eat but she doesn't have much of an appetite. Still she has to eat. Also told her she needs to drink lots of water to flush the chemo out of her system. Told her that if she didn't feel better tomorrow she should stay home. June 27, 2005 Well Maria decided to go to work at the last minute. I tried to get her to stay home but she said she felt okay. She was a little shaky though. At about 9:00 she called me from work asking if I could pick her up at 11:00 and take her home cause she was feeling woozy. I told her she was going home now and I would get her. Took her home and on the way she told me that she was feeling pain when she urinated. Told her I would talk to the oncologist right away. Got back to work and called the oncologist and they wanted to see her immediately. Tried calling everyone and our good friend Julie wanted to but was tied up but she mentioned another friend down the lake, Della, so I called and she took Maria in. I called the oncologist later and they felt she was dehydrated and would be taking some blood and urine samples to see what was going on. Got home around 6:00 and she was feeling a lot better. They had given her some I.V's to try to hydrate her and I think it helped quite a bit. They also gave her some samples of anti-nausea medicine to take home. She said she was talking to a new friend on the phone and felt much better about it, the lady said she would help Maria with her chemo as she was going through it also. Whatever makes her feel better I am all for. Thanks to everyone for their help, it is so much appreciated.June 28, 2005 Well Maria went back to work today again and this time she did okay. She didn't have any problems related to any nausea or wooziness. July 1, 2005 Well another new month. My sister Shelley called me today at work asking when Maria's next chemo appointment was. I said that I had put it in here but she said it wasn't. She needs to look at entry for June 23rd.LOL. Maria is feeling okay today except for a little bit of cramping in her stomach. I called the oncology center and they asked that she call them. She did and they said it may just be some constipation. They didn't think it was anything major. Picked her up and she said that at about 2:00 she started feeling a little sick. But later said that she was really tired and that may have been it. Not quite sure but will watch her anyway. July 6, 2005 Maria is doing okay but is still having some stomach pains. Quite a few people on the Yahoo Colon Cancer Support Group feel that it is her still healing and the affects of the chemotherapy. One lady stated that she isn't quite past the 3 month mark for the healing process and that it takes at least 3 months to fully heal from the surgery and that the chemo is slowing the process. One of them recommended that she get a endoscopy to check for problems. She is also getting a kind of headache at the back of her head. I asked her how long she has had both symptoms and she said that they both started when she had her chemotherapy. She goes back into the oncologist on Thursday for the 2nd of 12 chemo sessions and I made her promise that she would talk to the doctor and ocn nurses and tell them everything that she feels is not right. She said she would. As for me everything is going okay. One of our dearest friends offered to donate
one of his bronze artwork for a fundraiser and Maria's work came back and said yes. We cannot begin to thank the artist, John Pettis, and his wife Jennifer enough. I'll be putting something on the website later on showing the artwork he has donated for Maria's cause. Thank you John & Jen. July 7, 2005 Well today was Maria's 2nd chemo treatment. She went through about 5 hours of IV's again. This time there were other ladies there that she could talk to. They seemed to cheer her up quite a bit. The affects of the chemo were a little quicker to get her today. She said that they gave her another shot of Procrit as she is still showing the signs of anemia, but part of that is the chemo. Then the usual round of drugs (see June23rd). When I got home she said that she had the awful metal taste in her mouth again and she was very tired. She is sleeping now as I write this which is good. This time she'll be drinking Gatorade to help with her electrolytes. Sent an email to Tamara at the local Insty Prints concerning the Stop, Look & Listen program to try to get some information out there about a raffle for Maria and she said they would love to do it. Thank you Tamara! July 9, 2005 Second day after Maria's chemo treatment. She is doing better this time than the first time. We went in around 1:00 to get her pump removed, quick process. Maria said that this time she doesn't feel the wooziness that she did the first time. She is being more careful to drink lots of water and Gatorade to help her keep from getting dehydrated. Been a good day so far. July 12, 2005 Missed a couple of days huh? Maria did okay this weekend, she seemed better than the first time. She went to work on Monday but said that she was really tired for most of the day. This morning she didn't feel well, I think that her going back yesterday was a mistake but she felt obligated as Monday is their busiest day. She stayed home today. She said that for some reason she can't sleep at all. So I picked her up some Tylenol PM to see if that helps. She goes in on Thursday for complete lab work. Not quite sure what they are testing for, but lets hope for the best. July 14, 2005 Maria's had a hard time with this chemo so far. She is not sleeping well at all. We tried sleeping down at the parents house last night thinking maybe a change would do the trick, no such luck. She was so tired and her body hurt so badly from the chemo that she didn't go in until around 10:00 yesterday. She was really beat this morning, you could see it in her face and her mannerism. She went to the oncologist's office this morning around 8:45 for some blood tests. They said that her white blood count was really low so she would have to be careful not to catch any viruses/bacteria. If it remains low I am positive that they won't do the next session of chemo. We just saw the first bill for 1 chemo treatment, it was over $5000.00. Holy crap that's a lot of money and just to think she has 12 of them to do, that is over $60,000.00 for chemo! WOW!!!! So far the insurance has been pretty good, but we'll see as each successive treatment goes on. We received a letter today from the family medical clinic today regarding their misdiagnosing her condition. They, as I expected, would not take any of the responsibility for it. Their answer was that she wasn't in a high risk for colon cancer so there was no reason to recommend other tests. They still maintain that it was diagnosed in December. We'll check our own records and if it is shown wrong? We'll see. May have to contact the insurance company and get records from them. Back to Maria's not sleeping. They said that she could take some of her anxiety medication and that should help her sleep better. Last night she was saying that she was about ready to stop the chemo treatments because of the effects. We talked and I support any decision she decides to make but we decided together that the chemo was one of the few known ways to ensure that the cancer is gone. It doesn't guarantee that it won't come back, but at least we will know for sure it is gone and be able to keep closer tabs from here on out so that if it does come back we can catch it quicker so she doesn't have to go through this same stuff again. July 19, 2005 Not a whole lot going on the past few days. Maria has been feeling okay except for a little pain in the butt and being tired. She goes in tomorrow for her third session of chemo treatments. Seems like the second was just last week. Guess time flies when you are not having fun also. Usually she goes in on Thursday's, not sure why she is going in tomorrow unless the oncologist has something going on Thursday or because she had lab work done last week. Not sure? Oh well at least she'll get the pump removed on Friday so she can relax all day on Saturday instead of worrying about going in. She may feel good enough to go to work on Monday, but that is up to her. I've learned after 18 years of marriage that I cannot stop her
from doing anything she sets her mind to. I'm keeping busy around the house, mainly the parents house sprucing things up a bit. You'll notice that I shrunk down all the dates before July 1st, this was to save space, sorry. July 20, 2005 Maria went in for her 3rd chemo treatment today but they wouldn't give it to her because her white blood cell count was too low. They said it was not uncommon for someone who is getting chemo to have this happen so it is not something to worry too much about. She does have to be careful not to get a cold or come in contact with any bacteria. She gets the next two weeks off to try to get her count back up. She was happy not to have it. From what I understand it is a condition called "Neutropenia" she has to be very careful not to get a fever or infection of any kind cause it could be very dangerous. We'll keep watching her temperature and if it gets to 100 F we'll call the oncologist's office and take her to the emergency room. July 22, 2005 Today I spoke with the gastroenterologist nurse about the pain Maria has been in. I gave them all the details that Maria told me and the nurse spoke with Dr. Tice (he performed the original colonoscopy) and he said Maria should have a cat scan. She is scheduled for the cat scan on Tuesday and then goes to see Dr. Tice to discuss the results of the CT scan then. I won't be going with Maria to the CT scan but will definitely be there for the results. Hopefully it is just some minor irritation that hasn't gone away and he can prescribe something that will help her heal. From what I understand it takes approximately 3 months to heal from the colon resection and with the chemo that is probably slowed a bit. July 25, 2005 Last night was a tough one for Maria. At about 9:00 we took her temperature and it was at 99.9 F. A little scary considering that if it gets to 100.5 F we would probably have to take her to the hospital. Her rear hurt last night, it had been fine for about 3 days but started hurting again so I ran a bath for her to try to help. She sat in the bath for about a half hour and said that she felt better but she can't hide the pain anymore it was still hurting she just didn't want to sound like she was complaining. I told her that she has to tell me absolutely everything. She goes in tomorrow for the cat scan but not sure that it will find anything considering the location of the pain. May speak with the gastroenterologist again today to see if he thinks it is really necessary. I hate to go back to the original misdiagnosis but maybe she just has bad hemi's? Not sure but better to be safe than sorry. Told her last night when we went to bed that she needs to check her temperature when she gets up in the middle of the night. Talked to her this morning and she hadn't checked it. She said she didn't sleep well at all. Told her that if she wanted to she could stay home but she said no. Just checked her temperature again and it was 100.0 F. She is staying home. She really needs to monitor her temperature today and if it gets above 100.5 F she is going in to the doctors office. I called the oncologist's office after I got to work and told them about Maria's temperature and asked whether it was okay for her to take Tylenol. They called me back and said that they would like to see her in their office today. She went in for a CBC (Complete blood count) and her white count was up which is good news. They also tried to get Maria to come in for chemo this Thursday but Maria told them "No, I'm taking this week off!" Their just afraid they'll lose out on their $5000 this week. August 3, 2005 Haven't written much lately. Maria has been doing okay except for being tired all the time. She goes in tomorrow for her 3rd chemo treatment, let's hope it goes well for her. The other two have been really hard on her. I will be going in with her to talk to the oncologist. Personally I think her dosage is too high, but we'll see what he says. August 4, 2005 Maria and I went to her chemo appointment today. 3 down and 9 more to go. We spoke with the oncologist and voiced our concerns with her sleeplessness, low blood counts and hair loss. He recommended that Maria keep taking the anxiety medication to help her sleep. He said that the 2nd chemo definitely took its toll on her blood count. Therefore he was going to lower her dosage by between 20 and 25 percent. He didn't give us an exact figure. He explained that the way that they figure out dosage is really old and that sometimes they have to wait to see what happens after the second time. He said that the chemo drugs basically have a 4-6 week table to work in. There are times where the full effect of the chemo drugs hits the hardest at the end of the 4th week, which would explain why she had such a tough time with the second one. He said he was really surprised that she was losing hair like she was. He said that he did not
expect that but said that with everyone the reaction of the drugs is different. Unfortunately her reaction was to lose a bit of hair. Don't know if it will continue now that they have lowered her dosage. Maria said that they gave her Procrit again and it kind of burned/stinged. Reminded her that she had it on the first chemo treatment too. Got the bill in for the Cat Scan she had last week, $715.00! The cost of technology isn't making anything cheaper that is for sure. Guess they must still be paying for the machine LOL. Maria is carrying around her pump again and will have it removed sometime around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. She is going to bed early tonight as this chemo treatment really gets her. We'll see how she feels tomorrow. She might have to stay home. August 5, 2005 Maria went to work today but was really tired. When I went to pick her up she looked exhausted. These chemo drugs really take it out of her. I think that it is mainly the 5FU that is connected to her via a pump for the 48 hours after the office treatment. She goes in on Saturday to have the pump removed at around 3:00. August 9, 2005 Today we went in to see the gastroenterologist about the results of Maria's Cat Scan. This is the same doctor who diagnosed her cancer so we, or at least I was a little nervous. Maria was nervous I think to cause she kept wringing her hands so I think that was a bit of nervousness coming out and she said she was feeling a little short of breath. The doctor came in and asked a few questions, we asked a few questions and the result was that her rectum from the resection down to her anus had shrunk up a bit and that was causing her the pain. He prescribed some medications that would help her in that area so we'll see how that goes. The doctor said that if the problem persisted he would try something else. It was definitely a breath of fresh air after so many months of one bad thing after another. August 10, 2005 Picked up Maria at work, she said she felt the best she had in a while. So right now things are going pretty good. August 12, 2005 We received the bronze and picture today from John, Jennifer & Gene. I want to personally thank all of them so very very much. There generosity is overwhelming! Both the bronze and the picture are beautiful! August 13, 2005 Today Maria & I are going on a little trip, not really a vacation but a getaway from the house and work and all. It will be nice to be away for at least a few days. We'll leave after work tonight. August 16, 2005 Well we are back from our little vacation. We got home around 10:00 took the long way home. Next time I'll know better. It was a nice couple of days off. We went to the coast, I went fishing (caught only 1 fish) and Maria relaxed. She said she felt really good while she was there, not having to worry about anything at all. August 18, 2005 Maria went in for her 4th chemo treatment today. Again lasted around 5 hours. They gave her the same dosage as last time so hopefully she recovers from it as well this time but the cumulative effects might make that difficult. Well 4 down and only 8 more to go. She really doesn't want to do any more of this but knows that it is the best thing for her right now to ensure that the cancer doesn't return. A good friend of ours at my work (Jon Frost) who is a professional photographer is going to take some pictures of both the bronze and the picture for the website and the posters. Maria is on the couch right now as I write this trying to get a little sleep. The chemo treatments really hit her hard as everyone has ready previously. But one of her favorite shows is on, Big Brother so it'll be hard for her to sleep. August 19, 2005 Maria went back to work today, I think she did so because she didn't think there was anyone there to take over for her. She was really tired as usual from the chemo. But she stuck it through and did okay. August 27, 2005 The chemo treatments are really getting to Maria. She has said on more than one occasion that she doesn't want to do them anymore. She is tired of feeling tired and the neuropathy is driving her crazy. She said that her fingers get tingly and sometimes actually feel numb. She doesn't dare touch anything cold as it really gets her throat. She isn't looking forward to her next treatment which comes this
Wednesday. She says that she thinks her white count is low because of her lack of energy. I try to keep her motivated to keep them going by telling her that while they come and go so quickly that just means there are less and less of them to do. But I also feel for how she feels. I can't imagine everything she is feeling but I too would get tired of feeling bad all the time. I have told her that I support any decision that she makes and if she wants to stop the treatments I would support her, and if she wants to keep them going I would also support her. I cannot possibly make this decision for her as it is too personal. I think she'll stick them out though as she knows they are a means to the end of the cancer. Unfortunately being a realist I know that although they may keep the cancer away for now there is no guarantee that it won't come back in some other form later and honestly that scares me probably more than it scares her. August 29, 2005 Well Maria had a tough night, she wasn't feeling well since about 7:00 Sunday night and it carried through the night and was still affecting her this morning. I urged her to stay home and she did. She didn't want to miss work but her going to work wouldn't make her feel any better. Tonight she is feeling better though so I expect that she'll be back at work tomorrow. August 30, 2005 Well Maria goes in tomorrow for her 5th chemo treatment. She is really starting to talk about quitting the treatments altogether a lot now. And I think she wants me to tell her to quit them. How can I? I cannot possibly make that decision for her. I have done all the research and read everything about chemo and colon cancer that has just about been written and I know the risks and the chances of her cancer returning with or without chemo. I know that in the very beginning I was against chemotherapy but there is absolutely nothing out there in the realm of alternative treatments that give a cancer victim a better fighting chance than the chemo. She doesn't sleep hardly at all and the medication that they have prescribed her isn't working as well as maybe it should. I haven't been going to her regular chemo appointments because she has told me not to but I think that tomorrow I will have to attend this one so I can talk one on one with Dr Bohme about her treatment and her sleeplessness. She says that the 5 hours of infusion isn't so bad but the 48 hours of the pump are driving her nuts. I cannot even begin to understand what she is going through and will never pretend that I do, but I know that it stresses us both out considerably. August 31, 2005 Today is chemo treatment day and Maria is not thrilled with it at all. The more they give her the less she wants to do it anymore. She wants to quit as I said yesterday. We talked to Dr. Bohme about an alternative to the pump and he said we could go with Xeloda but the side effects are much much worse. He also said that she would have to do it for two weeks straight instead of two days and she decided that two days is quite enough. I told the doctor she wanted to quit and he told her that the only reason to do it is to try to give her a better chance of it not coming back again. He said that their concern is always that it will come back. He said that if it did come back it usually will either come back in the same exact spot or in the liver and we don't want either to happen. We went into the infusion room and they started doing the prep for the infusions and the smell makes Maria nauseous so I requested a mask for Maria. That seemed to help a little. The doctor also prescribed a new sleeping medication at our request as the previous one wasn't working very well. After work I met up with Maria and Madi at the store and picked up her prescription and then took her home. Made her dinner and then sent her off to bed. September 1, 2005 Maria didn't sleep very well last night, evidently the new sleeping medication doesn't work very well either. She is going to try taking two per the instructions tonight to see if it helps. She tried going to work today but only lasted a couple of hours before Shelley J sent her home. She is exhausted completely. Made her soup tonight as she doesn't have much of an appetite for anything else. She is very particular in what she eats anymore. She took her two pills and went off to bed. When I got in there at 10:00 she was still awake reading the bible. September 2, 2005 Our good friend Julie took Maria to the Home Options office today to get her pump removed. Seems like immediately after she gets it removed she feels the worse. No energy whatsoever. Fortunately she has 3 days off to recouperate. I hope she starts feeling better soon cause it is tough to see her like this. I would give anything in the world to change places with her right now. September 14, 2005 Well they postponed another one of Maria's chemo treatments. She called me about 10:15 this morning at work and said that she "flunked" I asked her what she flunked and she said that they
drew blood from her twice to check her blood counts and both times they came out low. Too low for another treatment this week. I think they'll try again next week. She was happy about it, but as I reminded her the sooner we get them done the better she'll feel. This would have been the half way point for her so I am sorry it is going to add another week to her schedule, that is if she doesn't "flunk" another CBC. On a lighter note, just thought I'd jump in here and wish my sister Shelley "Happy Birthday!" I think she is like 40 or something, but she doesn't look a day over 45.LOL just kidding she is "I believe" something like 34 or 35. September 18, 2005 Maria had a pretty good weekend. She went to church with our dear friend Julie today and came back from it rejuvinated. We sat down and I read the many posts made concerning her in Yahoo's Colon Cancer Support Group. She was obviously touched by the outpouring of concern by everyone there. Many of them have sent us emails asking for updates as I have been a little bit preoccupied and haven't written in there for a few weeks. September 21, 2005 Well Maria went in for her 6th treatment. She is half way done now. The end of these treatments are in sight! September 22, 2005 Maria felt okay today so she went to work. Did okay but when I picked her up she was starting to feel tired. September 23, 2005 Maria decided to go to work today. She said she felt okay. I think this is the first time she has not stayed home from her treatments. I tried calling her at work to take her to get the pump removed but her good friend Amber took her to get her pump removed today. She was really tired when I came to pick her up. She'll probably sleep in tomorrow. September 24, 2005 Maria took it easy today. She is tired from the chemo. They did lower her dosage though for the pump from 2000 cc's to 1750 cc's. We'll see if that makes any difference in her recovery from the chemo treatment. October 3, 2005 Well Maria went in today for her 7th chemo treatment. Mom & Dad took her in. I thought it would be a good experience for them to see exactly what Maria goes through. According to Maria, Mom almost cried when they put the needle into her port. Later Mom said that she didn't realize what Maria had to go through. I really thought that they would push back this treatment as it hadn't been the standard 14 days between treatments, but according to Maria they said her blood count was perfect. She did alright tonight except being tired. October 4, 2005 Maria stayed home today cause the chemo had done one of its normal things to her, it kept her from being able to sleep. Maria called melater telling me that she was running a fever of 100.3 degrees. I called and spoke to the ocn nurse and she said that she talked to the on-call doctor and they discovered that some patients receiving the Oxylaplatin always get fevers after treatment. They suggested that she take Tylenol to lower the fever. I talked to Maria again and told her to take Tylenol. Her fever started to lower as the night went on. She still couldn't sleep though. She tried her sleeping medication but that didn't seem to work. This treatment really hit her hard this time. I remember some people stating that usually around the 8th treatment that is when you start getting a little worse for wear. Our friend Julie came over for a while and visited with Maria. Maria ate some soup tonight and went to bed. She is really worn out right now. It's highly doubtful that she'll make it into work tomorrow with the way she feels tonight. October 6, 2005 Maria went back to work today. This 7th chemo treatment seemed to really take it out of her this time. She had trouble getting her energy back up. She seemed fine today though, maybe just a little tired still. She goes back in next week for a complete blood work-up and anothercatscan. She said that her oncologist Dr. Bohme called and said that he wanted a catscan. Their concern was that if it does come back it will come back in either the same spot, the kidneys or the liver. I told her not to be nervous about it as this is a normal step in her treatment and that she'll probably have to do this for the forseable future. We would rather find it a lot earlier this time than the way we found it this time.
October 11, 2005 Maria is back at work. She seemed to be doing okay, I brought her lunch cause she said she was starving. Later when I went and picked her up she stated that she was having a little bit of double vision. I think it is from staring at the computer but we'll find out. Things are rolling along. We'll probably be moving into the parents house next week some time. They are headed out of town, don't want to go through another winter I guess. October 17, 2005 Well back to work today. My day was okay, a little bit stressful, but I'm pretty much used to that. Maria did okay until around 4:00 according toher. She said that around 4:00 she started feeling a bit ill. We got home and I started moving some more stuff. Maria wanted to go down to the house and arrange things but she wasn't feeling well so I made her stay at home. Other than that everything seems to be doing okay. We'll go in on Wednesday to find out the results of the catscan and bloodwork. We are always hoping for the best but with something like this you can never tell. October 19, 2005 Today Maria and I went in to see Dr Bohme to get the results of her catscan. He stated that her blood counts from the bloodwork were abnormal but said that it was probably because of the chemotherapy. He said that her liver from everything they could see was working fine and didn't show any signs of cancer or anything else. The results of the blood tests didn't seem to concern him. What concerned him was that they had previously discovered a ovarian cyst and evidently since her last catscan had grown approximately 1 centimeter. He said that it is about 1 to 1 1/2" in size. He expressed his concern over this. I had spoken with him later and he said that until he finds out exactly what itis he considers it serious. At first this really floored me. I was devastated from the news. He didn't feel that it was cancerous though. Evidently from my reading of ovarian cysts they are actually quite normal for a woman to get. We are definately keeping our fingers crossed on this one "again". The last thing we need is for the cancer to have spread to another organ. The doctor said that he was going to contact Maria's gynecologist to have her perform a ultrasound to get a better picture of it. He said that what they'll probably do is insert a needle into the cyst and drain it, as well as remove some cells from it to test to ensure that it is non cancerous. After that Maria went through her normal round of chemotherapy. That was #8, only 4 more to go. We told the doctor that we would like to have the chemo done before January and he stated that if we get to the end of December and there are any remaining chemo treatments we could actually skip them without any complications. October 20, 2005 Well Maria went in for work for a little while today, mainly to get her flu shot. She hasn't been feeling well all day today. The neuropath affected her right away this time and her hips are hurting her. She feels helpless because we are moving but she can't help and I won't let her. I told her that tomorrow night she could sit on the couch at the house and tell me where to put things. That is about as much as I want her to do. She's a fighter, I'll give her that. The daughter hasn't been a whole lot of help, she does more complaining about nothing than Maria does about her illness October 28, 2005 Well we finally got back online today. Our internet has been down since last Thursday night and they finally got it working today. I half expected it not to work today either. Anyway here is what has been going on. Last Tuesday Maria went in to the gynecologist for an ultrasound. It was supposed to be a consultation but they did the ultrasound then and there. I wanted to be there so I could talk with the doctors and see what they see. They also took some blood to check for cancer. I spoke with them today and they told me that they were pretty sure this is not a reaccurance of cancer. They said she has a cyst in her left ovary. Her blood test came back normal. They said and it was a CEA125 test and that normal was 0 to 34 and Maria's came back at 12. They didn't seem too concerned about this. I mentioned that she had some spot bleeding and they said that more than likely the cyst had ruptured and that is what was bleeding. We made an appointment for November 7th for a consultation with a surgeon to talk about them doing a Laproscopy on the cyst. They will from what I understand make 2 small incisions in her stomach, fill her stomach cavity with air to expand it and then go in with a scope to look it over and to remove it if they feel it is necessary. They said it is not a extensive surgery and that she'll be in and out the same day. We are definately keeping our fingers crossed again. Maria has been doing okay, she had her 8th chemo treatment recently on the 19th so she only has 4 more to go. She was again very tired for about 4 days afterwards and did recover during the day. But once she was almost done with her work she would get run down again. All this and we finally moved. It was more of a pain in the butt to move than what I expected. I guess it was
more because of having to move small loads all the time rather than one big move. We are almost settled in here at the new place. It will get some getting used to but will be good for Maria in the end.
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