pegkerr: (Deep roots are not reached by the frost)
Rob is going to be in the hospital for the next two months.

We are now going for bone marrow transplant.

Read more at our CaringBridge post here.
pegkerr: (Rob)
Here's an account of the past two weeks, as well as a request for help: Rob has a series of appointments at the U of MN three times a week (M, W, F afternoons) and we're trying to schedule volunteers to drive him so Peg can return to work.

Read more at the CaringBridge post here.
pegkerr: (candle)
Everything has changed, and we are in all new territory. The clinical trial is off. Click here to find out why.

We are trying to be brave. It is difficult.
pegkerr: (Deep roots are not reached by the frost)
Rob is not doing well. And we have had more bad news: cancer has now reached Rob's bone marrow.

Read more at CaringBridge here.
pegkerr: (candle)
We had a PET scan report today, and it wasn't good. Rob's remission lasted five months, about as long as the one he had two years ago did.

Read more at CaringBridge here.
pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
New CaringBridge post: Rob has had two more clean PET scans. Yay!

Unfortunately, we have had a new complication. As a direct effect of the treatment he has been undergoing, Rob has now developed diabetes. Read more at CaringBridge here.
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
Rob has achieved COMPLETE REMISSION!

And I have been offered a JOB! I will be working for the Minneapolis ELCA Synod (the local governing body of the Lutheran Church). I will be, among other things, assisting with the administration of the process to call new pastors to Lutheran Church.

Details at CaringBridge here.

This has been the best week, like, ever.
pegkerr: (Default)
Rob's PET scan yesterday was good enough to allow him to continue with his clinical trial. See the details at his CaringBridge.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
If you've forgotten your CaringBridge password and so you're not reading these posts, hey, you can get CaringBridge to send you a new one.

Rob's cancer has progressed further and is now is found in the ulcers in his stomach. Since it has been proven by biopsy that he has "progressed," he's being taken off the study he's been on for the past 14 weeks and will be placed on a different one. It means we'll be spending much more time in Rochester, which, no offense, is a very nice city. But...we'll be spending a lot more time in Rochester. Thank you, Kyle and Mary, for putting us up.

CaringBridge post.
pegkerr: (Default)
These were taken by a friend, John Walsh, who is a professional photographer. Thanks for doing such a great shoot with us, John!

Peg and Rob 30th Anniversary - John Walsh Photographer

We haven't had a nice professional photo taken of Rob in, like, forever:

Rob - 30th Anniversary Shoot - John Walsh photographer

And here it is! The famous Tunnel Through Time, taken every decade, now in its fourth iteration.

30th Anniversary Tunnel Through Time picture

And I'm adding this one, which is all about how hard this year has been )
pegkerr: (Default)
We finally caught up with Rob's oncologist who interpreted the PET scan from two weeks ago for us. Rob has put on a waiting list for a new clinical study. He may get called to go in for tests sometime in the next 2-8 weeks. He would be a good candidate, but he may be ineligible because of his participation in an earlier study. Read more at our CaringBridge post.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
It's all summed up in the first line of the report: "Mixed changes with however worsening of lymphoma."

Read the rest at the CaringBridge post here.
pegkerr: (Default)
PET scan: liver glow GONE. Spleen glow GONE. Central glow deep in the abdomen (this is the one that really worried the doctor last time) GONE. Neck glow GONE. Slight glimmer on back of head remains, but no bigger than last time. New slight glimmer at tip of stomach: may be simply inflammation. Blood work looks perfect.

Our doctor said, "This is an enormous response. Marked improvement. Everyone's happy. Take the weekend to celebrate."

So...yeah. Thanks to Mayo! Thanks to our doctor. Rob's not ENTIRELY in remission, but he's pretty damn close. Which is absolutely amazing!

(I sent the girls Snapchats all day about "Our Day at Mayo" and took screen shots of most of them).

Our Day at Mayo )
pegkerr: (I told no lies and of the truth all I co)
The flu put me badly behind, but I'm not quite so far behind now.

Week 31: Minicon
We're there every year!

Week 31 Minicon.jpg

The challenge that [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. gave me was that the Minicon card had to be made entirely with materials found at Minicon. The image in the lower left was cannibalized from the business card of the Artist Guest of Honor. I used bookmarks left on the freebie table, promotional postcards, bits from the Bozo Bus Tribune, etc. I like this card.

Week 32: EverTwixt
EverTwixt awaits you if you dare.

Week 32 EverTwixt.jpg

As part of my attempt to switch career fields, I started a marketing internship with an old friend, a writer I met at Clarion almost thirty years ago, Kelly McClymer, who is attempting to start a new website, EverTwixt.com.

Week 33: PhotoShop
It's great fun, but an amazing time-sink.

Week 33 PhotoShop.jpg

Also as part of my training, I've started learning PhotoShop. This was an attempt to make a graphic that could be used as part of the EverTwixt site: one of the stories available for download, "Maiden Ash" is a variant of Cinderella, and this image is suggestive of the moment when the stepmother scatters ivory beads and jewels in the straw and tells the heroine to pick them all out into separate piles if she wants to go to the ball. Of course, in PhotoShop, I was doing the exact opposite: painstakingly assembling the layers: straw, then jewels and beads. When I made the card, I cheated and embellished the beads with some glimmering paint [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K.had hanging around.

Week 34: Shadow
"There are three shadows on the liver in your CAT scan, and two on the spleen."

Week 34 Shadow.jpg

This is what the doctor said when he came in to our meeting that week. (For details, you can see our CaringBridge). This is not an actual diagnostic image taken of Rob, but a graphic I found online, highlighting the liver. I added the shadows on it with PhotoShop.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
Rob and I just came back from Rochester. We have a mixed report. New spots on his liver and spleen. Are they tumors or inflammation? We don't know. The one deep in his body is probably a tumor, as it's right at the site of the tumor that started it all, which had apparently been eliminated by radiation in early 2015. One glowy bit from the last PET scan is gone. The doctor has decided the best thing is just to stay the course for now.

Read the rest on our CaringBridge post here.

I am so goddamned tired of all the uncertainty.
pegkerr: (Default)
We are back from a two day stay at Mayo. The latest PET scan and biopsy gave us good news, and we've learned some more about how truly fortunate Rob has been. You may read more at the CaringBridge link here.
pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
Rob had another PET scan yesterday. The results were ... inconclusive. Difficult to interpret. His immunatherapy clinical trial continues. Read more at our CaringBridge account here.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 17: Biopsy
After the second of two biopsies, Rob hovers at the brink of awakening.

Week 17 Biopsy

I took a picture of Rob right right before he awoke from the anesthesia, after a double bone marrow biopsy. Something about his posture, the angle of his face, the lighting (and the suffering of which he never complains)...something made me think of religious iconography. (Which would certainly bemuse Rob, as he is an agnostic.) A saint in a religious trance or something. Religious ecstacy.

That impression and that word, 'ecstacy' triggered a memory of an image I'd had stashed in my soulcollaging cache of images, "The Ecstasy of St. Teresa," a central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome (google it to see). I flipped that image and scaled Rob's down to fit in with it. Note the angel holds an arrow, indicative of the sharp point just used to do the biopsy. It pleases me that the arrow is pointed at the site of the cancer.

Week 18: Yule
Light a candle, sing a song.

Week 18 Yule

There is a Peter Mayer song about the winter solstice called "The Longest Night." Here are the lyrics )

I've always loved that song, especially given that I'm vulnerable to Seasonal Affective Disorder. This card is trying to juxtapose the thoughts of this song with Christmas (the wreath) and Solstice (the diamond candle), which fell during the same week. "Yule" is a concept that would encompass both of them.

Although I like the concept, the card just didn't turn out to have as much impact as I'd hoped. Just not vivid enough or something.

Week 19: Hogmanay
The year comes to an end.

Week 19 Hogmanay

THIS card, on the other hand, turned out SPLENDIDLY. I had a great deal of difficulty, however, managing a decent scan of the card, because it is difficult for scans to capture the way it glitters. It's much more scintillatingly impressive when you hold it in your hand than I can convey here. "Hogmanay" is an old Scottish word referring to New Year's Eve (and I resorted to it because I'm limiting the titles of these cards to one word, and "Newyear' just didn't look right to me). The monks are a reference to the poem I wrote and posted earlier about our trip to Mayo Clinic the day before New Year's Eve, and the silver light and the glittering spindrift was made from nail polish. The very same nail polish, as a matter of fact, that I used in my New Year's Eve manicure. I think they captured the sense of the 'icy spindrift' (and the cones of silver light) extremely well!

And the Chinese fortune was from the fortune cookie I opened on New Year's Eve. My family has been gathering together and eating Chinese every single New Year's Eve for years. Perhaps this fortune was a wry commentary on the job hunting process.
pegkerr: (candle)
At 5:00 a.m.
the old Buick growls to life
surly at being roused from winter hibernation
for a predawn appointment ninety miles away.
We drive through the silent streets
past the light rail station
past the Falls
over the Mendota Bridge
past the highway fork where the oil refinery
flings its lurid glow against the sky.
The curved streetlights hunch
broodingly over the road
meditative as monks at Lauds.
Swirling fog and icy spindrift shines against the darkness
in the cones of light falling away from their burning eyes.
He sleeps beside me as I drive
the once crisp line of his goatee blurred
by the grizzled whiskers
growing out over the biopsy scar.
And the light sweeps over him
again and again
mile after mile
a benediction and a blessing.
All shall be well
All shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well
.

>>>

We drove to Mayo for a surgical procedure today, to have a port put in for Rob so he doesn't have to keep getting IVs in his elbows for the infusions (the veins in his arms are very bad).

I write very little poetry, and I don't follow formal forms, and since I'm so ignorant, I don't consider myself to be any kind of judge of what's good and what's bad.

But

I kinda like this.

I blame the fact that I had to get up at 4:00 in the morning.
pegkerr: (Haven't you been listening to all that I)
I fell asleep in the chair in the room where Rob was getting his infusion. Woke up hard after an hour with a series of cross and sleepy kitten noises, and Siri, on my iPod Touch, responded by telling me, "I'm sorry. I don't know what you're telling me."

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