Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in North Carolina...

Merry Christmas to everyone and we wish you all a wonderful new year!

While we missed everyone in CA and NV, we had a really nice time here in North Carolina.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with Amy and Michael at their new house and then at Michael's aunt and uncle's house.  That was really nice.

Today, Christmas day, we cooked a turkey dinner and invited a friend from the apartment complex to join us.  He didn't have any family here in town so we asked him to join us for Christmas dinner and that was a lot of fun for all of us.  The turkey was medium rare after 4 1/2 hours so we ate MUCH later than planned but it did taste good once we started eating...I wonder if we were just half starved by then ;-)

Here are our Chirstmas pictures for 2009. 

Before Christmas...

Lee and Wendy.  Robert took these pictures for us.

Lee, Wendy and Missy

Christmas Eve
Amy and Lee

Amy and Mom

Michael and Amy

Martha Stewart has nothing on Amy!

This is a picture of Amy and Michael's back yard a week after the snow.  They really got a lot of snow...

Lee by the downstairs tree.  Doesn't he look nice in that sweater?  Please say yes because I bought it and made him wear it!  :-)

Amy in her Carolina Blue "Fight like a girl" t-shirt.  It makes me laugh that I bought this very Carolina colored shirt at Duke University Medical'd think they would be more selective in the colors they offer (like Duke blue!)

Lee and his new toy.  He was like a little kid....all he wanted for Christmas was this great big remote control truck and I think he was really worried because none of the packages I brought home were big enough to be his truck.  That's because Amy and Michael bought it for him!  We both want the rain to stop so that we can try it out!

You can see how excited Michael is with Amy's new present.  She was excited!  This picture made me laugh because that look would be on Lee's face also if I was getting one more thing for my craft room!

Michael in his Carolina snuggie.  He told his cousins that he too had a snuggie and they sort of laughed but I bet he'll like it a lot because there house is freezing!!!!

Now on to Carol and Rock's house for lunch

This is Carol and Rock, our hosts. 

Amy, Carol and Leah (Carol's daughter in law).

The gathering.

More of the group.  There were 18 of us in all.  It was really nice.

Christmas Morning!

Christmas socks from Sue.  My sister is known far and wide for her great choice in decorator socks :-) Amy got some too and was so excited that Aunt Suzy didn't let her down :-)  By the way Sue, she was really pleased with the colors too.  Michael even wore his Argyle Chirstmas socks to lunch at Carol and Rocks!

Lee and his autographed cap.  John and Sharen (and Brandon and Emily) got Lee this World Series Championship cap and then had CC Sebathia autograph it.  He's a pitcher and won the ALCS MVP in 2009.  And, in case you thought I was blind or something, I did tell Lee that he looks a lot like a convict in this picture! 

Isn't this the greatest hat for NC?  It will keep his ears warm and he'll be ready to play Daniel Boone or whoever roamed the hills of NC!

Missy and Mom.  Missy really wanted to be in the action!

In fact, here she is looking for a present!

And of course she found a treat!

And this was our Christmas in pictures.  I hope you can see that we had a great time.

I'll blog again after the first of the year unless there's news sooner!!! 

Love to all,

Lee, Wendy and Missy

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Merry early Christmas!

We are getting into the spirit of Christmas and really feeling blessed that things are going pretty darn smoothly.  Nothing new on the transplant horizon but we are ready!

Today we shipped the last of our presents to CA and NV.  Yea! Yea! Yea!  Now I can concentrate on wrapping for Lee, Missy and Amy and Michael.  It's not nearly as bad as that may sound because my very awesome husband has already wrapped the majority of the presents.  I do need to wrap his though :-)

It is snowing!!!!  It's actually sticking to the ground!  Lee and I are really good with this because we have no place we have to be tomorrow.  We're going to stay home and watch Christmas movies and wish we were going to be in Elverta and PB for Christmas.  But, when choosing between a lung transplant and one Christmas with family, we choose to stay in Durham.  It'll be great next year when I can breathe!

I've put some pics here.  The first two are at The Melting Pot with Amy and her best friend Crystal.  It's the first time I'd been there and it was so good.  Lee would have just hated it (way too fu-fu for him) and Michael doesn't like it too much either so we made a good choice for lunch with girls. 

The first pic (not a very good one I know) is of the dessert.  It's dark and white chocolate with all sorts of really good stuff to dip in it!

The second pic is a close up of the chocolate.  I was impressed with how they were able to separate the dark and white.

Now for the rest of the pictures...we show snow!

I needed to go shopping and it had stopped snowing so off I went to the post office and then Target. 

Well, I tried to pretend that the big white blobs that were hitting my window were just large rain drops...I wasn't looking to drive in the snow.

But by the time I got out of Target there was snow on my car and it was getting in my shopping bags!

Here's another pic of the Target parking lot.

I got home from Target to find Lee's CA truck covered in snow.  The poor's never seen that much snow.

Neither has Missy!

Lee and Missy needed to go for a walk...Missy needed to go a lot worse that Lee did :-)  As you can see, Lee has the clothing down pat for walks.  He's where ear muffs, a Kings beanie, a scarf, gloves, and a winter jacket.

Please note the little princess puppy has her holiday sweater on too.  She actually likes the sweater a lot and doesn't like me to take it off!

Lee has lost his "manly" tan umbrella so he needed to borrow my old pink and purple one (my black paisley umbrella was in the car). 

Don't he and Missy make quite a fetching couple!  :-)

It's looking like Christmas...snow on the cars and ground
outside and our "beautiful" 4-ft tree inside and the presents that
Lee has wrapped.

Joy to everyone this season!

Lee, Wendy and Missy

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's December and it's cold!

Hi all.

I'm sorry I haven't written in such a long time.  I'm sure it's because I'm too cold.  Lee says I have a new way of saying how cold it is.  North Carolina is "stinkin cold"!!!!  We are wearing gloves and both of us have now invested in thermals :-)

I've been listed but I haven't had a call to come in. 

Since the last time I blogged in the middle of November, I've been to doctor appointments and had more Pulmonary Function Tests and  Arterial Blood Gas Tests and X-Rays and CT Scans.  The results are just what they PFTs are worse than last month and my ABGs show a tiny bit more carbon dioxide in my blood than last time.  The X-Rays show a slight deterioration in the upper lobes of my lungs and the CT Scan shows no change in the "nodule" in my upper right lobe.

The Team updated my LAS (lung allocation score).  They will do this each month.  As my test results get a bit worse then my LAS gets a bit higher. 

When I saw Dr. Zaas last week he was really insistent that I get an H1N1 shot so ... one more needle!  I think I've mentioned before that each time I see Dr. Zaas it's refered to as "clinic".. Each time I go to clinic I have blood tests (lots of vials), a PFT, an X-Ray and an appointment with Dr. Zaas. 

The people in the blood lab need to go back to school. The lady there had to stab me - that's really what it felt like :-( - three times and she drew some blood out of two of the stabbings but she ran out before the vials were filled.  So, she started sharing the blood between the vials.  My brother and sister-in-law both know more about blood tests than me but I'd think the goop at the end of the vials must mean something so I hope I don't get wierd results because she poured stuff from one vial to another.  Hopefully by next visit (December 30th) they will get a little more proficient at finding my viens!

Dr. Zaas talked with Lee and me about the waiting and wanted to make sure we weren't getting anxious.  Neither of us are because we understand that right now there are people who are way sicker than me on the list and hopefully they'll get transplanted before me.  Dr. Zaas said that the team decided to bring me out as soon as possible instead of waiting until I was critical because he didn't think I'd be able to make a cross country move at that point.  The team wants me in rehab getting strong and buff...oh yeah, I could be in a Kung Fu movie!  OK maybe not but I do feel a little stronger.

I've finished my chemo (rituximab) and IVIG (IV Immunoglobulins) treatments.  They hopefully will kill off the anti-bodies that would reject donor lungs.  Dr. Zaas says it takes a long time for these treatments to kick in.  The blood test I had taken this week to check those levels will most like only show the results of the first set of treatments (first set in October and second set in December).  Well, I hope I'm more receptive to foreign things in my blood than I was.  Because of my anti-body levels and my current degree of sickness Dr. Zaas said it could be another four - six months before transplant....OH PLEASE let's pray it's sooner than that.

Amy Paige came to Durham last Wednesday to go to Transplant School.  They were teaching feeding tubes again.  After attending the class (Lee went with us too) Amy said it wasn't as bad as it could be and she's now traded responsibilities with Lee (again).  She'll handle the feeding tubes and he can take on the insulin shots.  It's so nice to see how anxious they both are to sign up for these jobs!!!

Amy did say that I looked like the healthiest one in the room (patients only).  She is used to seeing me do as much as I possibly can all the time.  Some of the patients aren't as active...if at all.  She was sort of shocked to see how sick some of these people are. I'm probably as sick as some of them but I'm driven to stay active and that makes a huge difference.  One doc I saw said it's really sad but a lot of the patients come to the Durham area for a lung transplant at Duke and simply sit on the couch waiting for the phone to ring telling them to come in - even if it's months.

I'd go crazy!  I'd make Lee crazy!  I'd make everyone around me crazy!  I have to keep active.  It is getting harder at times but Dr. Zaas said to "push through it" so that's what I try to do.  In the last month Lee and I went up to Amy's for Thanksgiving.  That was fun because Michael's family was there.  They are really nice people.  Then the Saturday after Thanksgiving Amy and I went to a huge Holiday Faire in Greensboro, NC.  People come from all over the east coast to this thing.  It was really cool.  Then Saturday afternoon Lee and I went Christmas shopping.  I was beyond exhausted after that day but I think anyone would have been :-)

I've been sewing and doing a little embroidery for Christmas.  I LOVE my embroidery machine.  Amy and I embroidered 144 caps for a new restaurant that is opening.  Heads up to us that they will have six others opening in the new months.  I embroidred burps and bibs for the baby store.  They were really cute!

This last weekend I drove up to Amy and Michael's new house to make cut-out cookies with Amy.  She and I baked and baked and baked.  My Friday night stay turned into a week-end stay just so we could finish the cookies.  They are done and here's some pics:

You've heard of writer's about froster's cramp?

It's all in the details!

Amy was so proud of her VERY green frosting.  To quote her "Isn't It Stunning?" 

Our official taste tester.  He was very good at his job!

Amy and 1/3 of the cookies.

Me with 1/3 of the cookies. They really were cute!

Now here are a couple of other pics for you: 

I guess they let anyone drive in North Carolina!!!

It looks like I'm really digressing here so that's it for now.

Love to all of you,

Lee, Wendy and Missy