We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another Beautiful Day

   Sunny, blue skies, 75 degrees...and Kim was as beautiful as the weather!  We got up and cooked a big breakfast for the kids - Kim chopped onions, avacados and tomotoes and I made eggs, toast, hash browns and cut up oranges.  Kim got another great night's sleep and was feeling pretty good as the bambini's wheeled her around the house in her wheelchair so she could help prep breakfast, eat and then go shower.
   Our dryer had stopped drying some time ago...we finally had a guy come look at it, he pulled off the front panel and vacuumed it out.  Then, he disconnected the vent hose from the back and let it run for a few minutes, declaring 'you need to climb up on the roof, take off the vent cap and blow out the lint with a leaf blower...I'm not allowed to go on the roof.  That'll be $90".  I'm in the wrong business.  So, my neighbor Brian and I set about going on the roof to do that today, right after breakfast.  Brian and I pulled out two Fry's bags of lint - he fashioned a de-linter using an electrician's wire fish and I shot the leaf blower in from down below, shooting lint 3' in the air.  This took a good two hours, but the dryer works great!
   By this time, it was nearly time for lunch, and Kim was getting hungry...so we made minestrone soup - she chopped the ingredients with Autumn's help and we cooked it up.  Angie dropped by with a huge jug 'o honey for us - Kim and the kids go through that stuff like water!  Then, Kim headed off to her Lazy Boy for a nap.
  It was such a nice day, so I took the bambini's for a bike ride through the desert - warning Antonio to watch the corner when we leave the pavement and enter the desert...he didn't make it...it looked like a rough landing, but he bounced back up, wiped himself off and declared 'I'm allright, I'm allright'...so off we went.  Cody and Autumn being much faster, Tonio and I get to take in the sights, discuss the birds we see and hope for a coyote sighting...not today.  They had a nice ride.  Cody went straight to Amy and Tom's house when we returned, to play with his friend, Alex.  Alex was playing in a basketball tourney tonight at the Univeristy of Arizona and Amy and Tom invited Cody to go watch.  His other friend, David, was also playing (Andrea and Mario's son). 
   It always seems like we are eating...and it was dinner time - we received another huge box of Omaha steaks, this one from my Aunt Jean and family.  I grilled up some steaks, potatoes and made a salad and we had a feast!  Thanks Aunt Jean!  Kim, Autumn and Tonio headed off to the bedroom to watch some Christmas movies and get settled in.
  We were grateful for another good day for Kim - and thanked God for this blessing.  One more day to wait to hear the results of the blood test and we are looking forward to Kim's chemo treatment on Monday...Kim's already planning what I should pack us for lunch and snacks while she is receiving treatment!  She has remained off oxygen since she was released from the hospital and her lower legs look like they have returned to normal.  Her upper legs are coming down slowly.  They will be re-checked on Wednesday by Dr. Namanny.  And, not to be left out of Dr. appoinments - time for Bella to have a check up with Dr. Burrows - Kim was a vet tech, prior to having Cody and worked with Dr. Burrows at Ventana Animal Hospital - she is an incredible Dr. and we always take our pets to her.  Bella's hoping no shots are involved.
  Thank you again for all that you do!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fourth Day!

      Kim had another good day today - we appreciate each one, thanking God for our blessings.  We went to Dr. Taetle's today, to have Kim's blood drawn to be sure she could get her chemo on Monday...it's a nail biter, since we will not know the results until Monday!  Kim's appointment is for 10:30 a.m. Monday, with Marylynn, the nurse practioner, to review the results, exam Kim and then determine if she can receive her chemo.  We will be praying through the weekend that she can get the chemo she needs to start fighting the cancer. 
     After her appointment, we went to Sunflower Market, Kim in her wheelchair, and stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetable to keep Kim strong.  We baked some yams and Kim ate one like a baked potato and had a fruit salad that I made for her.  She did pretty well today, but by around 5, she needed to get into bed.
     The bambini's had a fun day at school.  Tonio and Autumn attended a pizza party that was thrown for the students who achieved their accelerated reading goals three months in a row.  After school, Tonio went shopping with Mrs. Schrantz for supplies the classroom needs for a project they will be doing next week.  They also made a stop at McD's!  Autumn played with some good friends until it was time to go home and Patti gave them both a ride to our house.  I picked Cody up at school and he was jazzed - he had scored a 94% on his algebra benchmarks, a large part of his grade this quarter.  He has worked so hard and with the help of Mrs. Lopez, seems to be understanding it well.  It was a great end to his school week.  The kids have one week to go before school ends for a three week Christmas break.
     After we put Kim in bed, we ran down to Target so the kids could pick out some gifts to give to their mom for Christmas.  They were very thoughtful as to their choices - they are so sweet.  On the way home, we stopped at Red Box and picked up A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey, then, we ate some great chicken, rice and salad that our friend, Vonda, made for us tonight - Kim had seconds on everything.  We started the movie around 7:30 and less than half way through the movie, everyone is asleep...so if you haven't seen this version, this might save you some time and $$!
     Now, I'm praying that Kim gets a good nights rest and has a great weekend, looking to get going on the cancer fight Monday!!  In Jesus' name we pray...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a hat trick!

Yep, three in a row, like when a hockey player scores 3 goals in one game, it's called a 'hat trick' - Kim has scored one in real life, feeling pretty good again today.  We find if she eases into the morning, she feels up to some light activity in the afternoon, followed by a long nap, dinner and then she'll visit with the family until it's time for bed.
  Today, once again, she craved a Subway breakfast sub, she made grits - yep, snuck out of bed while I was taking the kids to school, going to Fry's for milk, fruit, eggs, etc and then to Subway.  Kim made grits and cleared some counter clutter that has eluded me.  This time, she made it back into bed before I caught her!  After breakfast, I ran Bella through the desert - another stunning day, blue sky, mid-70's - we saw a road runner that Bella wanted to meet badly and some chipmunks - but the mountains were absolutely breath taking, the way the sun was hitting them, with the bright blue sky framing them out - just God saying 'good morning!'.
   We got home, got Kim showered up and then she wanted to go to Ross to find an outfit or two.  We took her wheel chair and got a new appreciation for ADA spacing rules (Ross comes close, but pretty tight in some areas!)...she said she felt normal being out and about, and, Kim being Kim, picked out something for everybody but herself!  So, I took her over to Jamba juice and got her a mango smoothy.  It took a lot out of her, being out and about, but she so enjoyed it.  These things we take for granted have become precious for Kim.
    Kim crashed hard when I got her into bed...I ran to get Cody and school and when we got back, Kim was still out.  We set up the nativity scene under the tree together before he started on his homework.  The little bambini's went home with our friend Vonda, her little ones, Mano (who's in Tonio's class) and Maya (who is Aut's age), are great fun for Autumn and Antonio.  She kept them at her house until around 4:30 - getting them home in time for Cottonwood's McTeacher night at McDonald's.  The teachers work at McDonalds, who donates a portion of all food purchased to Cottonwood.  We arrived at 5 and it was getting crowded fast!  Cody grabbed a table with his friends, Alec and Nathan Ball, so we got a good seat.  The kids love going to this fund raiser - they get a 'homework pass' to be able to skip a night of homework whenever they need to (hasn't been a problem thanks to Mrs. Schrantz and Mrs. Rudzena!), there is a raffle to win prizes (Tonio won a $25 gift card!! He told Kim he wants to buy her something with it - he's such a sweetie, like his mama), the school mascot, Comet the Coyote was on hand - it was a great turn out!   We drove through our neighborhood on the way home, looking at the houses decorated with lights, as we prepare for Christmas - the kids thought it was beautiful and we talked about how it is a season of giving, rather than receiving...these kids amaze me. We brought Kim home a fish sandwhich and an apple pie.  Cody and Autumn gave Bella a bath, which seems to make her crazier than ever.  She bounced around the house, like Tigger, terrorizing everyone, but smelling clean, for now.
     She ended her evening playing a little guitar hero with Cody, sitting down to play her part.  Kim chose to play 'Revolution' by Muse, and 'Feel Good Drag' by Anberlin  - she played guitar and Cody played drums.  He's so good at this game - 'I am amused by the simplicity of this game' Ken Griffey Jr. - he makes it looks easy.  I can't tell you how happy it made Cody to be doing anything with his mom, something he has been unable to do over that last couple of months.
     Tomorrow morning at 9:30 will be Kim's blood test to check her blood values.  We concerned that she still cannot walk on her own, but otherwise, her appetite is fantastic, she is in good spirits (ok, no surprise there), her eyes are shining beacons - so, we pray that she can be cleared to receive her next round of chemo on Monday...and that tomorrow brings Kim another day of feeling good.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another Great Day!

      Kim had another great day today!  She started off with another good breakfast, her 2nd shower (still in her chair) and then, I asked her if she'd like her hair colored today...she was surprised and asked if I had picked up a box of the hair color that she likes...just then, Janene arrived with all of her magical supplies from Unique Identity, her hair salon.  Janene spent two hours coloring and trimming Kim's hair.  She was so happy and looks so radiant. What a huge morale boost!!  Kim was so happy that Janene would do a special house call for her, despite her busy schedule at her shop, not to mention how busy she is with her 3 boys!  Oh, while Janene worked on Kim's hair...Bella snuck off and got ahold of Kim's percocet!!  She completely demolished the bottle and left the percocet scattered all over the floor.  I quickly tucked her away in another room, counted the remaining pills - but found she had completely removed the label, so I was unsure how many should be in the bottle.  I called CVS, who told me the count and we were relieved to find that Bella had not eaten any!!  What a scare, as that stuff would destroy her liver, pretty quickly and painfully.  Never a dull moment.
     Although Kim's ankles and upper legs are still swollen, she is finding it easier to move and she is still off oxygen.  We spent some time making marinara sauce - Kim sat at the table chopping carrots, celery, garlic, etc, while I cooked.  Andrea's two girls, Breanna and Lexy were coming over this evening and she wanted to serve them pasta and make your own sundaes.  So, we ran to Fry's together and bought the ice cream, etc. then, to Target, as Kim picked out 3 matching fedoras to surprise the girls and then she rested when we got home to be ready for the evening.
    Meanwhile...the bambini's had a busy day.  Cody had his benchmark testing in Algebra, his toughest subject.  His teacher, Mrs. Lopez, gave him some extra time yesterday so he could feel prepared.  After school, Desert Sky's basketball team played Rincon Vista, who's team our neighbor Amy's son, Alex plays for.  Cody wanted to stay and watch him play.  Desert Sky won and Amy gave Cody a ride home.
    Autumn and Antonio, once again, were helped by their teachers, Mrs. Rudzena and Mrs. Schrantz.  They got a lot of homework done and were dropped off by Mrs. Rudzena's mom, Patti.  They love their time with their teachers.
    Andrea dropped the girls off around 4 and we began preparing pasta - everyone ate well and the kids had a lot of fun together and the kids did not want the night to end...
    Kim's pretty tired now, but she felt her best to date today and we had a lot of fun - we'll appreciate these up moments together!!  And, we are thankful to the good Lord for this wonderful day.  It was another nice one in Tucson, getting up to about 80 degrees.  Next Dr. appointment is coming up this Friday at 9:30 to check Kim's blood values to see if she is healthy enough for her next round of chemo on Monday.  We'll take it easy tomorrow, maybe watch a movie or two and have her well rested for her appointment on Friday.  She is a tremendous girl!

"And behold, I am with you always"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Great Day!

  Kim woke up this morning feeling rested and refreshed.  Her legs continue to return to normal.  I was able to put a chair in our shower stall for her and she was able to shower by herself for the first time in a month or so.  She wept in the shower with gratitude - she takes absolutely nothing for granted anymore!
  After a nice breakfast sandwich from Subway and a big bowl of grits that I made for Kim, she was ready to get out of the house!  We made our way down to Target to try to pick up a few things for the bambini's Christmas and then went to Subway for lunch - our first lunch together since we can remember.
  This afternoon, I went to pick up Cody from school.  When we returned, Kim was not in her Lazy Boy...we found her in the kitchen baking soft pretzels for the bambini's!!  She was looking for some coarse salt to put on them, seeing the box on an upper shelf, she used a spatula to get it down thinking 'oh gosh, Dave and Cody will come home to find me unconscious on the kitchen floor amidst a salt spill', but she neatly caught the box and finished cooking.  She said she needed to feel human again.
  Our friend Vonda, who's son, Mano is in Tonio's class, took Tonio and Autumn over to her house after school to play with Mano and her daughter Maya.  She also helped them with their homework before bringing them home.  They had a fun time.
  Then, it was an emotional evening, as our friend Melissa, who is volunteer coordinator at Cottonwood, the position Kim is at Rincon Vista, engineered a community fund raiser, at Chuy's.  We would like to thank the Vail community for the incredible support that they showed our family tonight!  There were teachers from Rincon Vista, Desert Sky, Senita Valley, Cottonwood, principals from all three schools, support staff, Cody's football coaches from Desert Sky, parents, children (bambini's!), nurses from St. Joseph's Hospital (thanks Annie!! and thank you Will!!), people who worked with me at Kohl's, plus, support from the Knights of Columbus at St. Pius church.  It was overwhelming, yet energizing - we cannot thank you all enough for all that you are doing for us!!  The night was incredible.  I took photos and showed them to Kim at home, who was beyond belief and very teary with gratitude.  You are her strength!
   Our neighbor, Amy, came over to sit with Kim while the kids and I were at Chuy's and made dinner for Kim (chicken adobo - it is great!).  Mrs. and Mr. Schrantz came by afterwards with a walker for Kim, we plan to put that to use tomorrow...after her surprise hair appoinment here at the house - our friend, Janene, is going to come in the morning before she goes to work at her salon, Unique Identity, and take care of Kim's hair, for although I have done my best Zohan, I cannot match Janene's expertise! 
   So, it was a great day for Kim today - perhaps her best in the last month.  She was grateful and enjoyed every minute of it...she is so beautiful, full of life, hope and belief...
  Thank you all again...for everything,

Monday, December 6, 2010

'We have a lot to blog about!'

  As they day went on, Kim grew more and more excited.  Her first visitor, was Dr. Taetle.  He said she looked good and would like to see her Friday for a blood value test to determine if she was ok to take a chemo treatment on Monday.  He told her he'd recommend she be released today.  She ate a huge breakfast of french toast, sausage, cream of wheat, potatoes and milk.  Then, she had a nice visit with Mary, one of the managers at Barnes & Noble who has stepped it up so nicely to keep that store running and keep me with Kim.
  Next, Dr. Choi came by and said she looked good, wrote her some prescriptions for percocet and lovenox in new dosages of 80 mg each, so I can give her two a day shots now and denied my request for valium.  Some Drs. can be heartless.  We are praying the new dosage can combat the blood clots and help Kim prepare for her chemo and fight against cancer.
  Her nurses and techs that she has had over the last month and a half came by, one by one, to wish her well, having heard about her imminent release.  It was amazing how many good people had cared for her at St. Joseph's over the weeks and how much they cared about Kim, who they call the 'angel of St. Joseph's'.  It was so neat to see, not surprising, but everyone could see the amazing woman that I see each time I look at her or think about her - it was like a pep rally for Kim!
  The nurses prepped Kim for release, fitting her with new compression hoses to prevent further clots and getting all of her paper work ready.  We were just waiting for Dr. Namanny to give his final approval on the Lovenox dosage and to check her legs out.  He arrived around 4 and said she looked like she could go home.  The lower halves of her legs look normal again, but her upper legs are still large, but soft.  Prior to surgery, they were incredibly tight -she truly thought she would burst!
  We made a follow up appointment with Dr. Namanny for next Wednesday and I loaded Kim into a wheel chair - I'm almost a part of the staff there, changing beds, trash can liners, fetching supplies and now, transporting Kim for her release. 
    It was a beautiful day in Tucson.  Sunny and mid-70's.  Kim marvled at the smell of fresh air, the birds overhead and the suns warming rays.  Then, she asked if we could get something to eat...at In & Out Burger!  So, off we went and had cheeseburgers and fries - Kim had a vanilla shake - she loves that John 3:16 is on the bottom of their cups - but the shake cups had Psalms 3:5 (what is that one Jodi?).  We enjoyed our meal, watching the sun set together.  Tomorrow, I am going shopping for a walker for her, so she can make it around the house, and later on, venture outside.
    The bambini's were overjoyed.  They had worked hard making two large banners, with Andrea and her daughters, Lexy and Brianna's help.  They had a good day at school, Mrs. Schrantz and Mrs. Rudzena kept Tonio and Aut after school and helped them with homework.  Then, Patti brought them home and stayed with them, feeding them (thanks Mike for the chicken tortilla soup and Rachel for the cookies!), until we got home.  Our neighbor, Brian, had cared for Bella during the day and picked up Cody from school.  They were so happy to have their mom home again!!  Tonio said he knows it is to stay this time.  He's so sweet, having recently memorized the Lord's Prayer, he makes sure to say it with me each night for his mama.
   So, we are praying Kim's health can stay consistent, and she is able to get on track for her chemo cycles to fight this aggressive cancer.  Thank you all for all of your support (my mom, dad and stepmom have been helping us keep up!) and for all of your prayers and happy thoughts.
   I put Kim in our bed, surrounded her with pillows (6 total - she'll have to go to 'pillows anonymous' after all of this is over!) and she is sleeping comfortably...it is so good to have her home.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kimmy Sunday

    Kim had a pretty good day today at St. Joseph's.  Dr. Taetle said he would confer with Dr. Nammany to see when Kim could go home and how they would handle the Lovenox, the blood thinner, which has been tricky, due to Kim's blood clots and her resistance to traditional thinners.  Plus, the adenocarcinoma cancer naturally coagulates the blood, working against thinners.  This will be the challenge, going forward, to balance along with chemo.
    Plenty of company today, as I got the bambini's down here for breakfast.  They were excited to tell their mom that they had decorated the Christmas tree last night and show her pictures!  Our neighbor, Amy, helped them and got me caught up on wash and dishes! They spent the morning, once again, reading, coloring and playing with a color Nook that Jaimelyn, who is helping run Barnes & Noble to allow me to take care of Kimmy and the kids, brought over for us to try out.  We ate lunch in the cafeteria, too, which always ends with a traditional foot race up the stairs to the 5th floor.  I can never do better than 3rd place.  Today, Tonio and I took a different set of steps to the 2nd floor and cut across the hospital to our the stairs that take us to Kimmy's floor and surprised Cody sneaking a ride on the elevators!  Busted!  Later, we ran down the stairs and out to a little garden area at that we have looked at out of Kim's window for many days.  The kids raced around the paths and burned off some energy.  It was in the mid-70's today and beautiful.  There is a nice statue of St. Joseph holding Jesus as a baby in the center of this desert sanctuary. 
     Andrea and her daughters, Lexi and Brianna, came down to pick up the kids (and bring me ice tea and a nice snack of cheese, crackers, apples, alomonds) and spent some time with Kimmy.  Jon, the cafe manager over at Barnes & Noble came by and brought us all magazines, books and some great pastries from the cafe - high octane stuff!  Andrea took the kids with her around 5 for dinner(our neighbor, Amy made chicken adobo and rice for us!) and to have some fun with her little ones.
     Again, the support from everyone has been overwhelming and so appreciated!  When I got home last night, I had received a letter from Kim's niece, Sara McDonald, who lives in Texas.  Sara wrote 'Recently, we had a boutique and I sold baked goods with the purpose of half of my profits going to your family.  I know it isn't much but I hope that it helps some!'  She had enclosed a check for $85.00.  Kim was moved to tears by this hard working, sharing young lady's gesture.
     Forgot to mention the hula hoop contest at Tonio and Autumn's school, Cottonwood, on Friday...it seems Patti, was eliminated before getting to the championship round due to some questionable hula hooping by other contestants.  So, she had Tonio call Ms. Bryson, the principal, while they waited for their flu shots at CVS that evening and leave her a message: 'hello Ms. Bryson, this is Tonio.  I'm calling to let you know, that Miss Patti was pushed during the hula hoop contest and should have won'...Anyways, the kids enjoyed that contest and congrats to Mrs. Montes (Autumn and Tonio's kindergarten teacher!), who won the contest fair and square.
     So, Kim should be able to go home tomorrow!!  That was the good news Dr. Namanny gave us to a large audience as Andrea, Brianna, Lexi, Cody,Autumn, Tonio, Jon and I cheered him...I think he was a little embarrassed by our overwhelming emotion - perhaps he felt we had placed him on a pedestal, our hero of the moment (Jon pegged Dr. Namanny as a Cary Elwes look a like).  Kim says, 'despite his youth, I think he is a genius!'.  Thanks for all of the prayers you prayed to make this possible!!  Next, we pray that Kim can get her next round of chemo...soon!
    Through Him, all things are possible!
     Love, Dave