Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cucumber Salad Recipe

Since a few people asked (and Tricia told me to post this)...

1 cucumber (I like to slice it not-too-thin)
3 tbs mayo
2 tbs milk
1 tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

The sugar and salt are optional.

I quadrupled the recipe for Thanksgiving, which fed 17 people with a little left over. Even though I found this on the internet with a quick google search, I'll take all the credit if you try it and like it.

I wonder if this is what it feels like to be The Pioneer Woman? ;)

Nate

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Perspective (at 11 months)

Although Gwyneth is growing and developing well, she's still a former preemie, which means she's incredibly small (most people still think she's a new-born when meeting her). Gwyneth has several new friends that have come along in the past few weeks...below is a pic of Gwyneth (pale skin on the right, at just under 11 months old) and L-K (who was born a little over a week ago).

Nate

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

Lots of family...the Lawrensons, Kirchners and Sanchezes...I think 17 of us all together. Everyone was in charge of making a bringing at least one dish. Tricia's mashed potatoes were the best, and my cucumber salad was a hit. Here are a few pics of the day together.










Nate

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope yours was a great as ours!

Nate

Thankful

I started to write a list of all of the things I have to be thankful for, but I quickly realized how impossible that would be because we have so much to be thankful for.

We have learned this year to be thankful for every day that we are given to live this life together...a year ago, it was difficult to imagine that the three of us would be spending this Thanksgiving together with family.

We have also learned to be thankful for the "bad" things that come to us as well as the good things...God has used each moment of this past year to bring us to where we are.

So, we encourage you to take time today to not just be thankful, but to say "thank you" to those who have blessed your life. We pray that you have time today to enjoy family and friends, and that you'll experience God's love, grace and peace in your lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nate

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Paint!

Here's a quick little update on the painting. The two bedrooms pictured below are just about done, except for the trim. The living room still needs a few more coats, especially the red.

Gwyneth's Room


Guest Bedroom



Living Room



Didn't even realize it until after that our paint matches our door
(not for long, as the door is getting a face-lift as well)


Nate

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CF Ignorance

It continues to amaze me how so many people can be so ignorant about the most common, fatal, genetically inherited disease among children in North America...

Raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis might be the biggest reason I started and continue this blog...and, even though stories like the one above are sad, many people up north are being educated about the disease for the first time because of the national publicity this story is receiving. And, for that, I'm thankful.

Nate

Monday, November 24, 2008

More House Pics

Here are a few more pics of the renovations from last week...

The Living Room Ceiling


The Floors, Post-Popcorn


The Kitchen


The Master Closet


The Backyard




Nate

Sunday, November 23, 2008

House Tour (Part 2)

This was filmed last night...hoping to start on the floors this week and have most of the painting done by next weekend!

video

Nate

Saturday, November 22, 2008

House Update

The house is moving along faster than I expected, especially considering that I've been sick...we've had a ton of help from some pro friends and family (painters, drywallers, paper hangers, etc.). I am feeling better today (36 hours seems to be about how long it usually takes for a fever to break for me), and I was able to get in on the painting fun.

We've got most of the house primed now that all of the popcorn ceiling has been removed and replaced with knockdown. Tricia and I purchased most of our paint today, and the living room ceiling is done and the guest bedroom now has it's first coat.

Tomorrow, I'll post the next edition of the video house tour...you should see a remarkable difference.

Gwyneth is also doing better...a little bit of snot and a scratchy throat seem to be all that is remaining.

Thanks!

Nate

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finally...Good News!

OK, this is about to get even more confusing...

It APPEARS (key word here) that the lymphoma is gone from Tricia's body! The last few biopsies have shown no lymphoma, and the x-rays from yesterday show the spots in her lungs and the spot in her chest to be shrinking. The last biopsy of her chest DOES SHOW an infection, which Tricia has been receiving antibiotics for since last week.

The doctors believe that the spot in Tricia's chest (outside of the lungs) that showed up for the first time a month ago never was lymphoma. They also believe that the spots in Tricia's lungs (where the lymphoma had been) are now infection spots as well. It is ASSUMED that the chemo did indeed do it's job, and that the infection is presenting itself in some of the same spots as the lymphoma.

Trust me, after having been told over a month ago that the cancer was still present in her lungs, we were also confused...we have spent the last month assuming that was true, when, in fact, that was only what was assumed to be true by the doctors (see This Post).

To better help us understand, we asked the oncologist to draw out the time-line of events...

June 16 - Tricia is diagnosed with PTLD (Lymphoma) when a biopsy comes back positive.

June 18 - Tricia receives the first of four rounds of Rituximab.

July 22 - Via a CT Scan, it is determined that the Rituximab did not do anything to the lymphoma.

July 23 - Tricia receives the first of six planned rounds of R + CHOP, a more aggressive form of chemotherapy.

October 15 - After four rounds of R + CHOP, a scan shows that some of the spots in Tricia's lungs are gone, while others have grown. A new spot around a lymph node in Tricia's chest outside of the lungs has developed. It is assumed that the spots in her lungs are still the lymphoma, and that the spot in her chest is either lymphoma or an infection. The remaining two rounds of chemo are terminated. A successful biopsy of the area in the chest is performed.

November 10 - We finally learn that the results of the chest biopsy shows that this spot is an infection and not lymphoma. We are still told that the spots in her lungs are assumed to be lymphoma.

November 19 - We are told by the oncologist that, in fact, they now believe the lymphoma was gone by October 15. It is now assumed, due to the biopsies showing no cancer and the x-rays showing a reduction in size of the spots that an infection has taken over some of the spots where the cancer was.

The oncologist explained to us that they can't be positive about knowing if Tricia's body is cancer free until either a more invasive, successful biopsy is performed or until the scans and x-rays show no more spots...he explained, at this point, there are three immediate options:

1) Start an even more aggressive regimen of chemo leading up to a bone marrow transplant.

2) Perform an invasive, surgical biopsy (which includes deflating a lung and inserting a chest tube) to get some samples from the remaining spots of the lungs to determine if the lymphoma is still present.

3) Wait until the end of Tricia's current 30 day anti-biotic treatment (for the infection) and rescan to determine if the spots continue to shrink.

Because the first option would be incredibly risky, especially due to the fact that the doctors now assume the cancer is gone, and the second option might also prove worthless, the obvious choice (of the docs and Tricia) is to wait. It's been too long since her last chemo treatment to restart the remaining two treatments (not completing all six of the chemo rounds could prove to be detrimental in the future), so we'll return to Duke in about a month, hoping for some more good news.

Anyway, I hope all of this info helps to make the turn of events more clear for you. The bottom line is that the doctors are very optimistic that Tricia is now cancer free. It was surprising news to us, and I think it might take longer for this good to set in, especially considering that we will continue to be cautiously optimistic until we know for certain that the lymphoma is gone.

Thank you for your encouragement and prayer, and Thank God for providing some good news! We look forward to enjoying Tricia's health as we prepare to move into the new house and spend lots of time with family over the upcoming holidays!

Nate

BTW, I now have a cold and fever (and have been quarantined), which is why I haven't had a good chance to collect my thoughts and post until now. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sick Baby

Gwyneth has her first cold (which is amazing at 10 months old). Lot's of nose snot and eye boogies and a little bit of drainage and coughing. Fortunately, she was already scheduled for an appointment with her ped today...the doc said it's only in her head and not in her chest, so we'll just keep her nose clear and wait it out and let her build up some antibodies.

Also, Gwyneth was weighed today...11lbs 12oz!!! She has literally gained about one pound per month since January, which is great.

We're heading to Durham this afternoon. Tricia has two appointments at Duke tomorrow, one with her TX team and one with the cancer docs. We're assuming we'll be told what the next step is for her lymphoma treatment, but at this point (having waited over a month for this info), nothing would surprise us. With Gwyneth in tow, you may not hear from me again about the latest news until Wednesday night or even Thursday morning.

Thanks!

Nate

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Pics










Nate

Demo!

Yes, there are easier ways to remove tile, but not when it's been adhered to cement which has been tacked onto pre-existing vinyl...plus, a hammer is a lot more fun.


This is the partition that Tricia and I were arguing about in the video...and yes, there are better ways to remove it, but again, this is a lot more fun.

Nate

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First Toy Assembly

On Wednesday, I embarked on my first large toy assembly. Not nearly as complicated, frustrating or time consuming as I expected.










Good practice for laminate flooring, me thinks...

Nate

Go Skins!

Thus it begins...


Nate

Friday, November 14, 2008

House Tour

Here's a video tour of our new house. It was wet and dark, so we couldn't get any video or pics outside, and the lighting in the house isn't good, and the audio isn't great, but we thought we'd share it with you anyway.

This was filmed around 4:45 this afternoon. By 9pm, all of the flooring in the entire house had been torn out (thanks Dad, Michelle, Ramon and Mike!). There's still a lot of work to do, and we're taking lots of video and pics along the way, some of which we'll be sharing with you.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement...this has been a nearly four year journey for us, hunting for a house, and we're happy and thankful for where God has brought us.

Enjoy!

video

Nate

Today is the Day!

It's a rainy dreary day outside, but we couldn't be more excited! The next time you hear from me, we will be home owners!

We have lots to do today, but I promise to get some pics up at some point, even if it's late tonight.

Thanks!

Nate

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A New Stanfield On The Way

If you remember me posting about The Stanfield Family a few times, you might be interested to know that baby Faith is on her way tonight.

The first time I posted about Kenzie was when her premature son arrived and passed away on January 23...it's hard to believe it was that long ago and everything has now come full circle. Wow...feels like yesterday and an eternity ago.

Click Here to visit the Stanfields' blog and leave them a note of encouragement. We're hoping for great news soon!

Nate

High Noon

We sign our lives away to the bank this Friday at noon...sounds like everything is wrapped up and ready to go!

I'll be sure to post pictures when I get the time...outside of work and family, I'll be spending all of my time over the next several weeks slaving away with family and friends at the house, getting it livable for Tricia and Gwyneth.

Thanks!

Nate

(Bump) National Organ Donor Sabbath


This Sunday, November 16, 2008 Nags Head Church will be participating in National Donor Sabbath.

In the US, the weekend of November 14-16, 2008 will be observed as an interfaith celebration of the gifts of hope provided through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. We will be encouraging those who are members and attenders at NHC to consider becoming organ and tissue donors for the first time.

Please, consider talking with your church/religious organization leaders about participating in this life-changing event. For more info (including how to receive a box of info to help people in your church/religious organization become organ donors), visit the link below.

Organ Donor.gov

Thank you!

Nate

Yes, We're Parents

Q: How do you know you've arrived as full-time parents?

A: When the majority of your conversation over dinner at Outback revolves around the topic of Gwyneth poop...and it doesn't alter your appetite.

Nate

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11.11

Today is Veterans Day.

To all our Vets, thank you for your service to our country.

If you can, at 11am, take a moment to pause and be thankful.

Nate

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Night Update

We finally heard something from Duke today. This might be confusing, so I apologize in advance...

The lymphoma is still present in Tricia's lungs, which we have known. The new mass around the lymph node in her chest (as I described in This Post) does not appear to be lymphoma. It does appear that it is an infection caused by a bacteria.

An infection is much better news than spreading cancer, but it is an infection none-the-less, which means Tricia will be on antibiotics for the next 30 days. This certain bacteria is something that Tricia has dealt with in the past with her CF lungs, so, at least, we know what we're dealing with. Because of her compromised immune system, this infection has grown faster than it would have normally. We'll know in a month if the meds are taking care of the infection. The bacteria (which wouldn't be an issue in a normally healthy body), however, could be more difficult to get out of Tricia's lungs.

We'll be heading back to Duke next week to meet, separately, with the transplant team and the cancer team. We've yet to hear any news about the next suggested treatment for the lymphoma that seems to have grown in Tricia lungs.

The good news is, over the past few weeks, Tricia has been feeling better than she has since starting the chemo four months ago. We've been taking advantage of this, knowing that this might be the last time she feels this good for a while as we're assuming that the next round of treatment will be the toughest yet. I've been spending all of my extra time with my girls, and we've taken advantage of any nice weather to have some fun.

Also, the closing on the house was bumped back again...we're told, "it will hopefully happen by the end of the week."

Thanks for your continued prayer. As always, we trust that God knows our future and wants the best for us, even when it doesn't feel that way.

Nate

Saturday, November 8, 2008

PPFFSSTT!

Gwyneth and I were discussing today the fact that baseball season is still five months away AND it is the Redskins' bye week...we both came to the same conclusion...

Nate