Sunday, January 31, 2010
We started this morning at our traditional Sunday morning breakfast spot, First Watch. It was great to be there as we never anticipated we would be back any sooner than a month after the surgery. Here we are only 10 days later! One of the nicest people we know is Chris, our server (in the yellow shirt). He is the main reason we love coming to First Watch. Also in the picture are Katie and Scarlett.
After breakfast, Cindy had enough energy to contribute to the retail economy in three stores. Here she is making the shareholders very happy in Bealls as she and Katie attacked the blouse and purse sections. They once again used the old "It's on sale!" line on me. Every time I am told it's on sale, it costs me a LOT of money!
As is the case when Cindy ventures out, it does exhaust her. Within 30 minutes after our arrival home she was fast asleep.
Each day continues to be better and better.
This week will be a bit of a nervous one as I will be traveling from Tues - Thurs. We are grateful to Kyle's girlfriend, Kristen, who has arranged her schedule so she can stay with us while I am away. With luck (and thanks in advance to all of you who have been so helpful to us throughout this venture) all will turn out well.
More to come tomorrow...
Saturday, January 30, 2010
My parents returned to Boca Raton, and Cindy had a relaxing day during which I cleaned and we organized the house to make things more accessible for her.
The only concern is that we learned Cindy may be having some challenges clearing one of her antibiotics from her system, thus her levels may be a bit high. As a result, she has been made to discontinue the twice a day IV drip until we receive the results of a blood test that was taken today. We do not believe it is anything for which we should be concerned.
Tomorrow, we will be going to our favorite breakfast restaurant, First Watch in Winter Garden Village and will have more pictures to share. We plan to be there at 10 am if anyone wishes to stop by and enjoy an amazing breakfast.
I know it's confusing and I can't explain why it is that way. Perhaps Rus and Amy can provide more insight, but we noticed last night that Cindy was able to leave a comment under yesterday's blog by following that process.
Quick update: Last night Cindy and I went to TooJay's for dinner with my parents, Katie and Scarlett. She did great! Another maiden voyage!
For us, life truly is beginning now!
Friday, January 29, 2010
As you can see, she is doing great! It was extremely rewarding to see how happy she was and how radiant she looked. There is an amazing difference in her since she has had the surgery.
During the visit, Kevin called from Afghanistan to see how Cindy is doing. It seemed strange to be speaking with him in the location where he went to elementary school when he was a child...and now he is an officer in the military. Very surreal...
The trip was exhausting for Cindy, but well worthwhile.
Tomorrow morning is our next road trip. We are going to our favorite restaurant...First Watch in Winter Garden Village. The staff there is great and the food is even better.
So far this is a great start to the weekend!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Thank you to those who have sent really amazing gifts. Today we were surprised to receive one from our good friends from Maryland Carol & Joel. Cindy will be sending a thank you note.
Tonight Cindy will look forward to one of her favorite things...our friend Judi is bringing an 8 week old Golden Retriever puppy to play with Cindy.
Also, a special thank you to the team at the American Cancer Society. Cindy has been hearing and receiving cards from many of you and she really appreciates that you are thinking of her. She is anxious to return...
- To Rus and Amy: for creating and administering the blog and caring so much.
- To Christine and Dawn: Two very good friends who are physicians at Moffitt. They were there with us every step of the way...and continue to be.
- To Katie Harris and Scarlett Privara: what can possibly be said? You all kept Cindy's spirits high and were with us throughout. Having you with me while Cindy was in surgery means more to me than you can possibly know.
- To Kristen, for offering to stay with us when I am away on business and can't be home to take care of Cindy.
- To my parents for staying with us this week and assisting wherever and whenever they can.
- To Carole, Mabel & Trish: Thank you for the delicious dinners and breakfasts. You have made my job as a caregiver more managable. To those who are on the schedule to prepare meals...thank you so much in advance. Cindy still requires around the clock attention and to take that task off my plate is a godsend!
- To Judi: For watching Bosco and for being a special friend to us both.
- To Rick, Jim, Steve, Warren and families: for caring so much for your sister.
- To all friends and family who have been keeping in touch so regularly:, especially Neen, Dani, Joan, Laura, Mimi, Wendi, Breta, and everyone else who are blog followers, commenters and readers. Please forgive me if I have failed to mention you by name.
If you would like more one-on-one, up-to-date information, please contact me directly on my email address: Robster03@comcast.net or on my Facebook account if you have one.
Have a great day!!!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Though she was working with crutches, Cindy will continue to use the walker until the wound heals some more. From there, she will graduate to crutches at a later date when she feels up to it.
She is more mobile, continues to be in the most amazing spirits ever, and looks like a new person.
This morning we had a nurse come by early to do an assessment. During that time, Cindy did her morning infusion. What does that look like? See below.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Cindy's nurse came over this morning and she is presently infusing. All looks good.
Honestly, Cindy has never looked better! Her pain is reduced, the infection is departing and she looks more happy and lively than I have seen her in a long time.
As I write this, she is showing a DVD to my parents about the prosthetic leg that she will be getting in a few weeks. It shows how much mobility she will have and how it will provide her with the quality of life she has not known for quite some time now.
This morning, Cindy was watching the Food Network for the first time in several months. She now believes it won't be long before she will be able to get in the kitchen and cook again. Before, she lost interest because she knew she could not do so.
I need to apologize for not having pictures to attach to this morning's blog. My camera battery died last night. Today's mission will be to replace it and add some new pictures so you can see just how well Cindy is doing.
So far, everything is going great! She is on minimal medication.
Feel free to call her on her cell phone and say hello! I know she will appreciate it.
Thanks to everyone for your concern, your caring, your love for Cindy and all you have done to keep her spirits high. It means more to us than I can possibly communicate in this blog.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Cindy will infuse twice a day. It takes about 90 minutes to complete the process each time.
What has been remarkable is how well Cindy is maneuvering throughout the house on the walker. We anticipated much more difficulty with the logistical part of her activities here, but thus far, things have been rather smooth. She does tire easily using the walker and her upper body is still adjusting to being called upon for all mobility activities.
So today is her birthday! It started early with our friend, Carole bringing Cindy birthday breakfast. It was some of the best French toast we ever ate! It was so good I would not put syrup on it for fear it would mask the flavor.
Cindy's spirits and state of mind are beyond encouraging. She continues to be thrilled that the surgery was done and excited to be starting a more mobile lifestyle.
Yes, she still has some very painful episodes, but she is handling them very well.
Please know that Cindy is reading all comments that are left on this blog site, so please keep them coming. It really makes her happy to hear from everyone!
That's it for now...more to come later.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Willpower is an amazing thing. Cindy is living proof that the power of positive thinking can impact the future. It certainly has for her.
Tomorrow's birthday celebration will be special...as every day on earth for us is special.
If you are reading this blog, please take a moment to leave a comment and wish Cindy a very happy birthday. I know it will make her day even more special!
Although this appears to be a blog from Rob, it's Cindy Lou Who!!! I will have to figure out how to blog under my name when we get home.....which should be today....ta dah!!!!!!
Now that they have reduced my pain meds I feel as though I am able to put two intelligent words together! LOL I want to let you all know how much I appreciate each and every one of you. I am so blessed to have such a loving group of friends and family. Although we may not speak with each other frequently, I think we all know that we are with each other in spirit every day and would be there in a second if anyone of us needed assistance.That is how I am able to face each challenge...it's because of all of you. Plus, Rob has now thrown in a trip to my favorite beach getaway! LOL Knowing that you all are there to catch me should I fall(literally and figuratively) is an amazing feeling. You have allowed Rob and me to put our heart and soul into our new adventure. That is a gift that brings tears to my eyes every day, but concerns Rob! He watches over me so closely, that when he sees me cry he always associates that with pain. When that happens I tell him that these are the best tears to have; they are tear filled with love for all of you.
Lou Who :o)
What does she do? Smiles, laughs, asks each person who enters our room if they are having a good day, speaks positively about everything and everybody...and has not yet complained or felt sorry for herself. Her focus has been that this is the best thing in the world and she can't wait to start her new life.
She continues to touch me in ways I would have never imagined.
As I sit here in the hospital room watching her sleep, I can only reaffirm to myself how fortunate I am.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
You can see by Cindy's smile that she is doing well. She had just completed her physical therapy session when I snapped this picture. The fact that she is smiling and sitting in a chair rather than being in serious pain and getting back in bed indicates how well she is doing. However, the picture also shows how exhausted the physical therapy session was for her.
The pain levels have been reduced significantly. They reduced her meds and we will be definintely going home tomorrow. Cindy is moving more quickly and confidently on the walker. Her spirits are insanely positive. She just said to me how excited she is to start her new life and reminded me I owe her a vacation to our favorite beach resort as soon as she is physically able to enjoy it.
The head of the Infectious Diseases Dept. surprised us with a visit this afternoon. We did not expect to see him. He wanted us to know he reviewed Cindy's case and determined that the remaining infection is a bacteria that he is confident the IV antibiotics will kill.
They ordered home nursing care for us (Cindy already spoke to our favorite nurse who ensured he will be the one to administer to her), physical therapy and some therapy equipment that we will need and do not have.
Today is a much better day and we are now excited to be getting home tomorrow!
All have been covered for 2/2, 2/3 and 2/4. Thank you!!
If someone could provide a lunch for Cindy on this day, it would be most appreciated.
For 2/4, please email me and I can update the running meal list I have in my earlier blog post to reflect changes/additions as extra entries cannot be added to existing meal dates.
Thanks again for all you continue to do for Cindy and Rob. :-)
Our meal sign-up application is still not behaving itself. So, I am posting the current list of those who have signed up below just so that we have it in one place that won't randomly disappear. ;-)
If you signed up for something that I don't have record of, please email me and I can add the date. I will probably be completely re-doing the whole meal calendar at some point this weekend. Those of you who signed up for meals already on the calendar may (or may not) get emailed reminders from the Take Them A Meal! site given our current issues with disappearing entries. Anyone who wants to sign up for a date not already listed below can email me (or post it to the current calendar, which I am archiving every ten minutes....lol) and I will manually add the info to my listing below.
Thank you again for all who have signed up for a meal or meals. :-)
SUNDAY 1/24: Mabel Arrant: Chicken w/ yellow rice, veggie, chocolate-chip toffee cookies, danish
MONDAY 1/25: Carole Perlman: Breakfast; baked french toast, fruit, juice
TUESDAY 1/26: Trish Vail: Lasagna, garlic bread, salad, bagels and cream cheese
WEDNESDAY 1/27: Mabel Arrant: Rotisserie Chicken, scalloped potatoes, mixed veggies, sliced pineapple, yogurt varieties
THURSDAY 1/28: Judi Volpe: Sausage chowder, bread, blueberry pie
FRIDAY 1/29: Trish Vail: Too Jays (will bring menu to Rob/Cindy w/ their mail)
SATURDAY 1/30: Trish Vail: Steve's chicken tacos, rice & beans, omelettes ala Steve!
SUNDAY 1/31: Mabel Arrant: Meat loaf, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, croissants
MONDAY 2/1: Breta Delio: Baked pasta w/ meatballs, green salad, bread & Brie's chocolate chip cookies
Lunch: Breta Delio: Veggie soup, sandwiches
Dinner: April Carpenter: Pork chops with apple cornbread stuffing
Lunch: Maureen Roth: Something yummy
Dinner: Maureen Roth: Chicken Parmesan
Lunch: Tami Hannweber
Dinner: Breta Delio: Mac and Cheese, yummy bread, fruit salad
MONDAY 2/8: Mabel (for Beth Leahey) Arrant: meat loaf, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, brownies, cereal
SATURDAY 2/20: Laura Strach: Stuffed shells, garlic bread, salad
Friday, January 22, 2010
Looks like we will be here until Sunday. It is mostly precautionary to ensure she can cope with the pain once we get home.
Our goal: celebrate Cindy's birthday (Monday) at home.
****UPDATE: This has been fixed and all dates restored!! ****
Just wanted to fire off a quick note that the 'Take Them a Meal!' site seems to be acting up this morning. I jumped on briefly this morning and all looked well, but up on going back an hour or so later, our calendar is not acting right. I do have a file that I saved with all the meals that had been signed up for as of Wednesday this week. If you entered a meal after Wednesday late afternoon or evening, please email me to note the date and meal so I can re-enter the info if our calendar somehow got wiped. I recall an entry on 2/20 that I don't have in my original archive.
I have emailed the site guru to ask if there is a technical glitch and am just waiting to hear back now.
The dates signed up for so far (in my records) are: 1/24, 1/26, 1/27, 1/28, 1/29, 1/30, 1/31, 2/2 and 2/8. I believe I am missing a meal from 2/20 that went into the calendar after my archive on Wednesday.
Sorry for the trouble, guys! I'm trying to get it sorted out and fixed as quickly as possible.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
While the IV meds kept her knocked out most of the day, she became more alert during the evening.
Cindy tried to read some of the comments made on the blog site, but she is having difficulties keeping her eyes open. I'm sure she will be more alert tomorrow and will be able to read them tomorrow.
Until then...another update tomorrow.
Our friend, who manages the physical therapy dept, came in and worked with her. She said that Cindy's mobility with her leg (which we saw for the first time) is incredible. Cindy was determined to walk down the hall and did a great job. I took pictures, which I will try to post soon.
We are on the same floor that we spent many of our overnight visits during chemo, so we are with nurses that we know from past visits. Our day nurse is one who we know well.
The exercise knocked her out and she is fast asleep.
Infectious desease visited and indicated that the infection is still in the femur and they will prescribe 6-8 weeks of IV antibiotics, which we have been through before so it is not a big deal to us. If the antibiotics don't rid her of the infection, more surgery may be required, but that is down the road and we are going to think positively that we will not face that issue.
Cindy is in great spirits and is making incredible progress.
I'll update later in the day with more news.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I am always amazed at how loved Cindy is and how she inspires everyone with whom she comes in contact. We had more doctors and nurses not associated with the surgery drop by to see how she is doing. Our two friends who are also physicians at Moffitt were with us all day long, one on her day off. We could not be more grateful to them. They provided us with information, friendship and peace of mind.
I am grateful to our daughter-in-law, Katie and her mom for spending the day with me and keeping me company. I also appreciate Kyle's girlfriend who wanted to be here with us but was unable to make it to Tampa.
A special thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and words and your desire to stay in touch with us. A huge thank you as well to those who volunteered to make our lives a bit easier once we return home. You honor us both with your kindness!
Cindy will be spending the night and much of tomorrow in the ICU. She is resting comfortably and doing well.
I will be leaving around midnight and staying at a hotel in Tampa. I agree with many of you that staying in the waiting room or driving home is foolish.
That's it for Day 1. Tomorrow, Cindy begins physical therapy in the morning. I'll let you know how it goes and share anything else that comes up. With luck they will have a room for us, but at this time they are not sure that we will be that lucky.
Have a great night!
The hospital is so crowded that we may not be able to get a room tonight. The results will be that they will likely move Cindy into the Intensive Care Unit...not because she needs to be there, but because it is an open space so she does not have to remain in Recovery overnight.
In the past, when Cindy was in Intensive Care, I was able to sleep in their waiting room. Unfortunately, they changed the rules and no longer allow it. I will likely wait until late tonight and either get a room at a hotel or drive home to Orlando, catch a few hours of sleep and return in the morning.
The great news is that Cindy's vital signs are sound. She typically does not do well with surgery and her BP drops dramatically. That did not happen this time. What a relief! For me, this was the most stressful part of the present/upcoming ordeal. The next task is to keep her happy and thinking positively.
Any and all communications from you all will go a long way toward achieving this goal. Please feel free to post comments on the blog so Cindy can read them when she is able.
Katie (Kevin's wife) and her mom (who is one of our closest friends) joined us for the early morning ride to Tampa for today's events. They have been with us throughout.
After a 1 1/2 hour delay, Cindy was taken to pre-op. We were met there by two of our good friends who are doctors in the hospital. Cindy had everyone in stitches. She asked each physician who would be operating on her and the anesthesiologist if they were in good moods and if they got enough sleep the night before. She wanted to ensure that they had their morning caffiene before they worked on her. She even bribed two doctors with chocolate chip cookies if they did a good job.
The surgery took 1 1/2 hours. We were told by the doctors that the leg was in very bad shape and there was nothing they could have done to reduce the infection; therefore amputation was the only option. Presently, some infection remains in the femur, but they are confident that they will be able to rid her of the remaining infection with a regimen of IV antibiotics.
As I write this, Cindy is sleeping in the recovery room. One of our friends who works here went back to look in on her and said she woke up, said "hi", responded that she is in just a bit of discomfort and dropped back off to sleep.
Because the hospital is packed with patients, we learned that it will be several hours before Cindy is provided with a hospital room. Until then she will remain in recovery. I will be allowed to see her in a bit less than two hours from now.
I'll provide an update when I see her.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Once we departed, we went straight to the Magnolia Hair Salon, which is owned by our friend Julie. Cindy had a haircut and a pedicure (of her right foot, only). Face it, why have a pedicure of the left foot if she is donating it tomorrow. :-) Pictures were taken which I hope to post in the near future.
From there, we ran errands and stopped by Barnes & Noble so Cindy could buy a journal. She found the perfect one. It says, "One Step At A Time" on the cover. From there we went to an ice cream shop to celebrate Cindy's new life as a mobile person, which begins tomorrow!
That's it for now. Time to finish the household chores before it gets too late.
I will write again tomorrow.
I have set up a meal delivery calendar for Cindy and Rob. You can access this by clicking on the following link (password is 1114 if it asks you for this). This calendar is fully interactive and will allow me to email Rob a schedule weekly. :-)
Thanks again to all of you who have already offered help!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Your love, friendship and support mean everything to us!
Cindy and Rob
My focus will be to care for Cindy, provide blog updates and communicate with those who would like to have one-on-one email conversations with us. All other activities will be managed by Rus & Amy.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Greetings, everyone. Let me introduce myself. My name is Rus, Cindy's brother, and we've set up this site to keep in touch with all of Cindy's friends, relatives, and colleagues.
More information will be coming very shortly. Cindy--we love you, and you are surrounded by friends and family who want to do everything they can to support you and Rob through these challenging days ahead.