Friday, December 9, 2011

Latest CT Scan Update

Hello one and all,

I figured that it would be a good idea to share with you the results of my latest CT scan results from last week. The remaining tumors in my lungs are continuing to shrink and my tumor markers are all still normal!!

This is outstanding news and I am so lucky to be in the driver's seat.

We will continue to monitor my blood once a month or so and do CT scans every 3-4 months.

Thank you all again for all of your thoughts, prayers, and positive thoughts that you all have been sending to me and my family.

Liz and I are very much looking forward to spend Christmas with our families and not with the staff of the oncology ward at Poudre Valley Hospital; even though they were wonderful people.

Love to all,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Post 11-21

Good Morning,

It feels like it has been forever since I have written anything about what is going on with me. In fact it was in May when you all heard directly from the horse's mouth so to speak.

Needless to say it has been a difficult month for me because I am continually thinking about what was happening on this day last year, but it has also been refreshing because I know that all that is behind me. Last week my tumor makers were all retested last week and they all came back NORMAL!! It is hard to explain how ecstatic  we are to feel like we are finally clear of this large bump in the road.

Liz has been keeping herself busy with school and lacrosse. She is very much enjoying being in school and always has about 100 stories to tell me about her day when she gets home. She is also practicing with the lacrosse team about two times per week and she is really really enjoying that. I think she has the practices more for herself than she does for the kids.

Chauncey is enjoying having me back healthy and we continue to have "first grade" at home. He is turning into quite the snow dog and really enjoys playing outside in it and looking out into his "kingdom" from the upstairs windows.

I have been keeping myself busy. In September, I a started substitute teaching at Liz's school and have been working once or twice a week doing that. It is definitely what I have needed since I have been sick. It has been a joy to begin to put a face to many of the names that come with Liz' stories.

Liz and I are extremely excited to be spending the holidays with our families this year instead of cooped up in the hospital. This year we are creating some gift bag type things for the people that are in the hospital for Thanksgiving that we will take there either Wednesday or Thursday because we know how much it sucks to have to be in there and how much small gifts can mean.

But all in all the last several months have been very good to Liz and I. We now look forward to a much more stress free road ahead. Thank you to all of you who continue to pray for us, think about us, and seen positive thoughts our way.

Kurtis (and Liz and Chauncey)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Update! October 1

Good Morning and hello!

Since it is October, I thought it would be a good time for our first update of the month! Right now, everything is going really well and Kurtis and I are slowly getting life back to normal.  Day by day it gets closer and closer.

Kurtis is doing well.  We just got his most recent HCG number back and it is currently less than .5 which is awesome! I always tell Kurtis "good job!" when he gets his low numbers back - seems a little silly since it isn't anything he can control besides taking his medicines :).  He met with the doctor on Wednesday and he was very pleased with Kurtis' progress!  Earlier in the week, Kurtis had to get a blood transfusion because the chemo pills knocked down his blood counts...but it's normal and he feels a lot better now that he's had the transfusion.

This past week was "intensive/adventure" week at Polaris and I had a really big group this time so Kurtis was my additional help in the form of a sub.  We worked with great kids all week and did a whole bunch of simulations which was fun.  I think the week was pretty tiring for K, but he's certainly enjoyed working again!  This weekend we don't have a whole lot going on...but we're going to go watch some of our lax girls play rugby a little later and we had the chance to watch some of our lax girls play field hockey last weekend. 

Hard to believe it is October already!  The weather in Fort Collins has been insanely hot (for the season) and I'm really ready for the fall weather.  Or at the very least, a drop in temperature by about fifteen degrees! We're enjoying watching football and playoff baseball. 

Other than that, not a whole lot new is going on here.

Sending love!

Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

9.17 Benefit

Good Morning!
I'm writing this morning in Holyoke...yesterday, the community here put on a benefit to help us by raising money that will go to help us catch up on our bills, etc. The event was incredible, and I know that there are some of you who read my ramblings and would like to know exactly what went on.
The day started for us with a drive to Holyoke. Generally speaking, the drive isn't our favorite thing in the world, but yesterday we were actually quite excited because we've become intensely obsessed with a book series called
The Hunger Games. If you haven't read any of these books, you should find a deserted Island and go there with the books (three of them...we are midway through number two) and read. The drive gave us several hours lost in Panem. Once we got to Holyoke, it was time to watch the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Unfortunately, the Rams didn't prevail, but we enjoyed watching the first half anyway.
It was finally cool outside and the clouds followed later by the sun made it so the temperature outside was quite nice. To begin the benefit was a golf tournament that fielded around twenty total teams. We played and it was fun to travel around the golf course and listen to all the fun being had. Each of the holes had a pin prize. Some were for "normal" golf things while others were for things like being closest to a flag in a sand trap. The tournament lasted for nine holes before the event transferred over to the local Vet's club for happy hour, steak dinner and a silent auction.
The Vet's club has a large room that was filled with long banquet tables covered in purple and white balloons. Along
The tables were also pictures of Kurtis doing various things with family and friends. Served for dinner were plate-sized steaks and baked potatoes served in a tin foil wrapper. There was also a salad for all the adult types that like that sort of thing :) everyone seemed to enjoy the drinks and well as checking out and bidding on many of the silent auction items. Around the outside of the room on the east side were tables covered in auction items. People were extremely generous and donated all kinds of things to be auctioned, homemade blankets and pillows, gift baskets, various gift certificates, handmade jewelry, doorstops, clothing, were among the items for sale.
After dinner, the live auction took place using a live auctioneer. There were many things up for grabs...a fire
hydrant, sports tickets, golf, stays at a cabin, and a game-used Todd Helton helmet were only part of the line up. It was a fun auction for everyone - with great items and an even better atmosphere. In addition to all of that, there was also a putter that had been purchased to raffle off. The man who won it turned around and donated it to the auction which was an incredibly generous thing to do.
Following the auction, the large room was cleaned up while auction winners collected their items. A dance took place with people staying for or coming to the festivities. A lot of Kurtis' family was able to not only coke to the benefit, but also stay for the dance and we enjoyed seeing and hanging out with them. Some of our friends were also in town and that made it more fun. After midnight, we headed back to Kurtis' parents' house and crashed out for the night.
There were a lot of great things going on yesterday and I'm confident that I'll never be able to properly express the gratitude that Kurtis and I have sitting in our hearts right now. To write that this was thoughtful, incredible, meaningful, amazing, and exceedingly kind...I would still be only describing about 1% of what yesterday meant to the both of us. To everyone who helped to organize and run yesterday, to those who donated items to be auctioned, to everyone who came to play golf or eat or dance, to those who supported us financially through the purchase of tickets, items, and straight up donations ... THANK YOU. Thank you for helping us. Thank you for caring enough about us to aid us in any way you were able to do so. Thank you from the bottom of our grateful hearts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Continued Good News and Self-Check 10-18


Time from a quick update from our neck of the woods.  Today has been rainy and grey.  Normally, this sends me into an angry tirade all day...and my poor students have to listen to me moan about how much I hate rain...but not today! My classroom has been a bazillion degrees since we've started school and the cool air circulating around my room felt more than fabulous today.

Since Kurtis' HCG has been "less than two" the doctors ordered the high sensitivity test.  We have since learned that Kurtis' HCG is .5 which great news.  Right now, there aren't a lot of things that we're doing medically for Kurtis.  He's taking oral chemo which doesn't impact his daily life too much.  Sometimes he's tired and occasionally his stomach hurts, but for the most part, he's "normal."  In order to make sure that he should stay on the chemo, he also gets his blood drawn once a week to check for various levels, etc.

Life has normalized for us somewhat which is positive.  In October, we will hit the one year anniversary of Kurtis' initial diagnosis.  When I look back at the past year, there are a lot of things that I've learned and ways that I've grown.   There are a lot of people who feel really bad when they find out what we've been through over the last year, but in a lot of ways the things that we've experienced have really impacted our lives in a positive way.

I know, it sounds strange... but consider the following...

...the type of cancer Kurtis has isn't forever.  It isn't something that he'll have to carry in his body for the rest of his life.  Sure, the treatment has been hell (to put it nicely) and it isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy, but there are a lot of sickness that don't go away.  His is on its way out the door as my fingers tap along on this keyboard.
...the sunrise, the sunset, rainstorms, afternoons in the hammock, baseball games, dinner out, reading books, drawing, writing, dreaming, and playing among everything else we do is now in technicolor.  Life has never seemed so bright - even the simple things.  Both Kurtis and I have learned not to "live in the moment" but to "love the moment".  Of course, we're still future-minded, but it is nice to be able to love the moment you're in - and notice the small things.
...Kurtis and I have been through a whole lot together.  I think there are a lot of people who are approaching marriage...right around our age...who have not been through the firestorm we've just walked through.  I've discovered how nice it is to look at your partner and know that no matter what, they've got your back.  There might be puking involved - or scary hospital stays - random frustration fits - or moments when you don't know what to do, but at least you have someone with you all the time that gets you and that you just get too.
...Families rock.  Our families are fabulous and I can't imagine being here right now without them.  Parents are great and they know how to do everything - from calm you down on a rough day to making sure that you have everything you need to survive. 
...Friends and co-workers rock too.  Ours have been so supportive.  From our close friends that live in Fort Collins to the staff at my school and our lacrosse families we've had so much help that never went unnoticed. 

It's hard to say things like "I'm glad you got cancer" or "I'm glad cancer touched us"...because, truth be told, there is no way that we'd like to repeat this whole process.  BUT - since it happened, there are a lot of things we've learned and a lot of ways that we're better off because of what we've been through.

In addition, I'm gearing up a program aimed at teens called "Self Check 10-18" is only in the beginning stages right now, but what other way to throw out an intro to it than in this blog where you have followed our moves through this journey.

Working with kids (high school mostly) makes it so I know a few things:
-HS kids are awkward.  All of them.  So were all of us when we were there.
-Testicular cancer is rare, but if you break down the ages of kids who are diagnosed, many of them fall into the HS age - or the close to HS age.
-Because they are unsure about who they are, they are also confused about everything else (what time class starts for example...haha) - including their body.
-I don't want ANY kid who finds a lump to not tell someone because they are embarrassed about it.

So...for these reasons I decided that one thing I could do to give back, spread awareness, and ultimately make 10-18 a positive day instead of a negative one.

Self-check 10-18 will launch at my school in classrooms on the 18th of October (Kurtis' diagnosis date).  10-18 in police "ten codes" also means urgent which I found appropriate.  In short, teachers will talk to kids about the importance of knowing their own bodies - and most of all reporting something to an adult who can help them if they find something odd.  It's not about scaring kids, but just about having an honest conversation helping them to feel less afraid.  In the future, I'd love to get people that kids look up to speaking to this, but for now, we'll start small and work from here. 

I'm launching a facebook page today, and if you're connected to facebook, I'd appreciate it if you'd add it.  It takes a certain amount of "likes" before the page can have its own name, and I'd like to get that done ASAP.  So - you should be able to search Self-Check 10-18 and find it!

As time goes by, I'll make sure that more information goes up as I have it :) 

ALSO (I know, this post is long...hang with me) There is a benefit for is the information from the Holyoke Golf Club:
Join us for a benefit for Kurtis Huss! Saturday, September 17th 4-Person Scramble Golf Tournament @ Holyoke Golf Course: 2pm-5pm $200/Team. Includes Golf, Dinner, Auction and Dance. Dinner tickets can be purchased separately for $30/ticket. Call Toby Thompson, 970-580-0581 or Ben Rahe,970-520-7022
Hope everyone is doing well and we're sending love to all!

Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August CT Scan Update


I come today with fabulous news!  Kurtis had a CT scan last week to check his abdomen and his lungs.  We have been nervously awaiting the results ... today especially.  But, when the doctor came into the room today he immediately told us that everything was shrinking which is wonderful. 

Kurtis continues to have normal HCG readings and will now have to have his blood tested using a "high sensitivity test" which should tell us what number he is exactly at.  All we know right now is less than 2, but that is comforting enough as all we need is for it to be normal (and it is).

Not a whole lot new is going on here, or it doesn't feel new anyway.  I'm back at school and currently teaching two sections of English 9/World Lit combo classes and one section of College Prep Reading.  I've got great students and it is a whole lot of fun.  In a few weeks, Kurtis will be going through the sub orientation for the school district up here and start out subbing by helping me run my intensive (a week long class that is different from "normal" classes) at school.  I'm teaching a whole bunch of social studies simulations which should be a ton of fun for us and the kids.

We are currently fostering three adorable puppies until they can find homes.  We've had them about a week now and it is fun to get to play with them and watch Chauncey be the "big brother."  They wear him out, but he really enjoys having them in the house.  Their names are Dexter, Helton, and Tracy (Rockies theme...) and we're hoping that they are able to find homes soon.

This weekend Kurtis is playing in a golf tournament in Holyoke and we are going to hit up the Rockies game Monday.  I know he will enjoy playing golf with his dad and it will be nice to spend Monday afternoon at the ballpark. 

On September 17, there will be a benefit for Kurtis in Holyoke.  We don't have all the info yet, but it encompasses a golf tournament, dinner, and dance.  As soon as I have access to the flier, I'll get it posted up here.

Thank you for your continued positive thoughts -

Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

-to Indy and back-


I can't believe that it has been about fifteen days since I've written any kind of an update.  That should serve as a very good sign to all of you - and it is.  The short of it is that Kurtis is doing fantastically.

In the last two weeks we've been soaking up summer. 

We've spent a lot of time sitting around and watching tv - mostly "Lie to Me" and "the Tudors" which are both things we don't watch during the school year but have access to on Netflix.  I've been getting ready for school - purchasing supplies and writing lesson plans - and we also finished painting our room and the basement.  Our room now has beautiful black frames with pictures of our family and friends covering the walls along with a new cover for the comforter that we like very much.  Not only that, but we also found time for a few rounds of golf, several Rockies games, and time family. 

This past weekend, we returned to our ever favorite place (in the entire WORLD might I add!), Indianapolis.  Kurtis needed to have a six-week checkup with Dr. Hanna.  In planning the trip, we didn't have a lot of time, so we ended up spending two nights in Indy instead of just one.  Although it is not our favorite place, we had a good time.  The Drum Corps Championships were going on which was very lucky!  Our first evening was spent at a neat bar and grill and then to the park to watch the drum corps warm up.  Kurtis probably learned far more about marching band than he ever wanted or needed to, but we had a great time.  Sunday we hung out in the mall (it was a dreary day...the day following a bad storm where the stage blew over @ the state fair killing several people if you heard that on the news)...which was a lot more fun than it sounded.  We ate at the new California Pizza Kitchen and played an 18 hole round of glow golf topping the whole thing of with a movie and dinner at a cute place on Mass. Ave (the only moderately cool place in the whole town). 

Monday afternoon Kurtis had an appointment - so we spent the morning strolling by the river and checking out the animals at the zoo.  As soon as we got back to the IU med center memories started to flood back. We've had a lot of experiences there reaching back over six months and the sights, sounds, and smells always bring back feelings of being back in there. 

The appointment went really well.  Dr. Hanna checked Kurtis over and went through the details of his treatment and recovery.  Men who respond to the stem cell quickly (Kurtis did) have a 50% chance of being cured completely.  Men whose numbers normalize after treatment (Kurtis' did) have a 75% chance of being cured. Considering that Kurtis had both of those things happen - he is in a really good place.  Dr. Hanna let us know that the next year is important, but if we can get through the first year without relapse that we're in a great place!

We're feeling very thankful right now and extremely happy.  Thank you to everyone for all the support, love, and care over the past ten plus months. 

Here is to the next step in the journey - - -

Love to all -

Monday, August 1, 2011

Didn't see that coming...did you cancer?


We have some very exciting news for you today!!  Kurtis is no longer pregnant!!

What the heck does that mean?  Well - his HCG is NORMAL.  Finally. 

>HCG, for those who haven't been following us for a long time via blog is the hormone that is used to measure the level of Kurtis' cancer, simply speaking.  It is the same hormone that is used in pregnancy tests - when someone is pregnant it is a positive our case it is super negative.  It is responsible for some of the things that Kurtis feels when he is sick - moody, tired, achy, sick, etc...just like pregnant women.  So, now, you get the joke if you didn't!<

They took a test of his blood on Thursday to check his HCG levels.  When we were in the land of Indiana, they can test the blood there and get results back in about two hours - but in Fort Collins, the blood has to be sent to the Mayo clinic and it takes a few days to come back.  With the blood test on Thursday, it meant that we had to wait over the weekend.  Over the course of fighting this junk, we've gotten better about waiting, but it is never easy.

This morning the results were in and I could hardly believe my eyes.  NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL. 

Thank goodness. 

Kurtis has been feeling better than he did last time (aka after his RPLND and we were told that it was gone...).  I talked to him about that in the car today and I asked him if he knew it wasn't gone last time the whole time and he said yes.  He feels different now and you can see that in his eyes and hear it in his voice.  :D

Tonight we're going to the Rockies game which should be fun.  It's raining here as I type this, so hopefully it clears up for the game tonight.

Not a whole lot else to report...just getting ready for school to start up and looking forward to life actually being normal(ish).

Sending love!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The BOX"

So, show of hands...who remembers the story of the insane insanity at the Indy post office?

If you're not raising your hand, you need to go back a few posts...go here!

Anyway, on the heels of that awesome experience we returned home.  And then we waited for our boxes...two were coming from Michigan City and were sent a day after the Indy box.  Once we got home, there was no box (which was okay) and in the next few days, we got our Michigan City boxes, but not the Indy box.

So we waited.
And waited.
And then, for a change of pace, we waited.

Daily we'd come home from somewhere (like the grocery) and hope to see the box on the porch.

It wasn't.


So, after a week after it should have been delivered, I called the USPS customer service.  I asked them what I should be doing - go to the Fort Collins office, call Indy's office, talk to them?

"Oh, it's no problem ma'am.  We'll open up an investigation."

Great.  Investigation.  Show of hands, who feels good about the box being returned to me?  Um, not me.

So I told the "representative" about the box and she gave me a case number and told me that someone would call me Thursday.  They didn't.  Anyone shocked?  Nope. Me either.  This prompted me to call them and ask about the "investigation" (was my box murdered?!). 

"Oh, it looks like they're still investigating.  Someone will call you Monday."

Guess what happened Monday?  You're right: no call.  So I called..."oh, someone will call you tomorrow, we're still investigating."  AWESOME.  I hate you. I want my box.

I called my mom and we decided I should go to the post office here with all the information and they could call the brilliant people at "customer service" and find the box (or what remained of it). 

This morning I headed over with all the information I needed...where I sent the box from, to, what size it was, what was in it, when I sent it, my calls to customer service, etc. etc.  We met with a nice man who looked at it, headed in the back and brought back the box.

So, for like two weeks, our box has been sitting in Fort Collins.  Great.  I want to know who gets paid to do investigations at the post office.  I could be making so much money doing absolutely nothing!!!!

Other than THAT, things are going well.  Kurtis will be tested for HCG on Thursday which makes us happy/freaked.  It hasn't been tested for several weeks now, and we're hoping it is down, down, down.  He's been playing golf and that is "normal" and I start lax practice back up on Thursday.

Chauncey is doing well too - happy to have all of his toys back from the box.

Hope everyone is doing well -


Friday, July 22, 2011

Kurtis back to golf


Hope everyone is keeping cool during the heat wave that the county seems to be experiencing!

Well, we're still home and everything is going well.  The days are ticking down from "summer" back to "school" which I'm not totally disappointed about.  I love teaching and working, so the summer always seems a little bit too long.  However, with the first half of our summer being spend in Indy, I'm not bored with summer yet and looking forward to enjoying the last few weeks I've got left!

Not a lot of stuff is going on around here.  We were able to go to the Rockies game on Wednesday and we met my parents for dinner which was really fun.  The Rockies played well and won the game which is even better.  It's nice to get back to the ballpark and I can't wait until August when they come back to CO! 

Kurtis went to Holyoke this weekend to play in a golf tournament.  I decided to stay home and take care of our grass and get some work in at school.  He's been enjoying hanging out with his family and I got some good time in at work the past few days - always nice to be back in my classroom. 

Chaunce is mad that he can't be outside all day since it has been so hot, but otherwise he's happy.

Sending our love to all of you!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

late night report from the hammock


Hope all is well in your neck of the woods - just a quick update from our end of things.

We went to Colorado Springs this weekend to see my family.  It had been quite some time since I had seen any of them so it was nice to spend a lot of time with them.  My sister comes home on the weekends from her awesome camp job, so I got to see her too.  Last night, Kurtis, my dad and I went to the Rockies game.  Our seats are by the bullpen and I am interested in working with the Rockies to set up a testicular cancer awareness campaign.  The bullpen coach, Mike Wright, knows us (we hang our head over the wall and look longingly at baseballs enough) so I started by writing him a letter asking him to get my contact info to the person who handles that kind of stuff.  He said he would, which is great news - and also wrote a beautiful note on a ball and had a bunch of the bullpen guys sign it.  It was a wonderful gesture that meant a lot to both of us.

This week looks pretty simple.  Kurtis has a blood draw tomorrow morning and then we're going to go to the driving range.  We went last week and it was not pretty for either of us - seems like time away from the clubs is NOT the answer when trying to get better at golf.  Haha.  Hopefully that will go better. I'm getting a haircut that I've been needing for a couple of months in the afternoon, so I'm pretty excited about that. 

I'm not sure what else is up but more hammock lounging (YAY) and taking the stinky dog to get a bath at the "Pawlor". 

Hope everyone is doing well!

Sending love ,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Monsoon Season in Fort Collins!

Hello all!

We are still home and things have been going great.  Just as per usual, when life begins to return to "normal" I don't usually update as much. 

In the past few days we have really settled in.  During spring break, we started painting our house.  We weren't able to finish our room and then it was cold outside and we were in the middle of lacrosse and I never got it completely finished.  I was supposed to finish after school got out, but as you know - as soon as school was done I was headed out to Indy.  Long story short, I got that done and it feels fantastic.  We also have some dead and thin spots around the yard, so I've been working on growing grass in those places.  I bought some stuff called "Scott's EZ Seed" that was recommended by the grass area worker at Home Depot.  Here's to hoping that it really is "EZ"!

I don't know that a lot of you have ever been to our house, but we have a great backyard.  Minus the fact that there are two huge pine trees placed really awkwardly that neither of us like at all.  I even had a dream about going into the mountains and catching pine beetles in a jar and bringing them home to kill the trees....something I would never do in real life.  So, I was sitting in our living room and I looked out and realized that a hammock would be the perfect thing to go out there.  We set out on a journey and found one at JAX (a store kind of like REI) that is made of parachute.  We love it and I've already become a lazy sleep in the backyard mess. 

Yesterday we had quite the hail storm.  It has been raining in the afternoons here almost daily, and one night we fell asleep to paparazzi like lighting that went on for quite some time.  Yesterday the thunder rolled in and I pulled the cars in the garage and brought our hammock inside.  In a few minutes the stones started falling from the sky, so I moved the peanut sauce off the burner and tried to cover up some of my raspberry bushes and roses.  Unfortunately, they still got beat up quite a bit, as did everything.  The hail was quite big and came in at an angle and it really sounded like we were under attack.  Chauncey wasn't thrilled with the "attack" and wandered around the house like the world was ending.  Hail was shooting out of the rain spout and piling up.  It hung around for awhile after the storm was done in piles on the side of the house and in front of the garage. 

So far, we've avoided the severe weather today and are enjoying the Rockies game.  Tomorrow we're headed down to Colorado Springs to visit my family (and to go to a Rockies game!) so that should be a lot of fun.

Hope everyone is doing well-

Sending love!

Monday, July 11, 2011

H to the O to the M to the E!


I'm sorry I haven't written in several days, but what a several days we have had!

Kurtis and I made our way across the US on I-80.  We started out leaving Michigan City in Indiana and ended up going through Chicago.  As nice as smart phones are, sometimes they make things more complicated.  Our trip through Chicago wasn't planned, but seeing as we didn't get murdered on the south side, we deemed it successful.  We finally got on the roads west - ended up on a toll road...and thought "oh no" but ended up paying like $5 total.  The drive to Des Monies was nice.  Once we crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa, we decided to have lunch.  There were all of the normal fast food choices, but we drove into town and found a great little Gyro joint.  It was delicious!  We even saw a large rodent that we think was a beaver!

We spent the night in Des Monies, IA  which was nice.  We found a little mexican place like Chipotle, but it turned out to be terrible, so that was a bummer.  The flavors were pretty much non-existent...and for me to be saying that says something! 

In the morning, we packed up the mutt and headed to Holyoke.  We drove through the rest of Iowa and all of Nebraska with a few stops here and there.  Nebraska is not nearly as pretty as Iowa, so it was a boring ride.  Chauncey knew that "something" was going on, so he spent almost the whole ride standing up in the backseat.  He would fall asleep with his head on stuff, but stood up the entire time.  At the end of a long (long, long) drive, was Holyoke where Kurtis' family lives.  We hung out with everyone and had a wonderful dinner while watching the Rockies and enjoying the nice cool non-humid night. 

The next day, we hung around for awhile longer before heading all the way home to Fort Collins.  It was a nice blue sky day which was wonderful since we haven't seen "blue" sky since we left.  As we got closer to home we were able to see the mountains - what a glorious homecoming those are!  We had no problems getting into the Fort and even came home to a welcome sign on our driveway :) 

The car has been unloaded and I've been pulling weeds and working in the yard.  Chauncey has been bouncing around the backyard and the house and is very happy to be home.  He misses camp a little bit, but has enjoyed "playing" with the dogs that live on the sides of the fence. 

Today we've got an appointment with our local oncologist to check in and get everything set up here (blood tests mostly). 

Other than that, I don't think that there is much to report! 

Have a lovely day!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

-Indy's Greatest (or not so great) Hits!-

Good Evening!

I'm writing today from the central time zone! We're still in Indiana, but some parts are a little brighter than the others when it comes to selecting their time zone location.

We're spending the night in Michigan City, we'll continue our homeward bound adventure tomorrow.  Today we went to Lake Michigan which was beautiful, and slightly disastrous.  Among other things, I decided it would be a great idea to take Chauncey into the lake (he hates water).  I thought that if I could just get him to calm down a little bit in the water that he might like it. 

It failed.  I now look like I've been attacked by a cat or something with scratch marks all over my arms, hands, and face.  Kurtis said that I had been a 'fraidy cat! 

So, in honor of our last night in Indiana for this trip, I've decided to compile a list of things that we will miss and things we will not miss upon leaving the hoosier state.

-Looking tan, even though we are not.  I'm in better shape than Kurtis, but he still fits right in.
-The nursing staff is really nice at IU, so that's a plus

-Driving down Washington St. daily.  On this drive, we pass about fifteen different varieties of fast food and I manage to hit more than 70% of all the lights.

-Humidity.  I do not enjoy feeling sticky and covered in wetness 24 hours a day.  It is disgusting and gross and I do not understand (even in the slightest) how people manage to live long term in such terrible climates.

-TERRIBLE DRIVING.  The driving is absolutely terrible.  Stop signs are optional, I get cut off at least once a day and no one (NO ONE) knows how to merge.  Oh, it is a force to be reckoned with.

-The word Hoosier.  This is such a weird word.  I don't know where this word comes from. It is weird.  I don't really like it - it makes me really uncomfortable for some reason.  Say it out loud.  See?  Awkward.

-Taking my dog out on a leash daily for bathroom breaks.  Oh, sliding door, how I love thee, allowing my dog to pee without me!

-The interesting people that inhabit the hotel.  There are some really...special...individuals.  I am glad to be living not near them anymore. 

-Not feeling safe at the neighborhood grocery store.  I drove to Target instead.  I miss King Soopers. I will not miss the drive to Avon in order to pick up five things. 

-Sweet pickles.  For some reason, Indiana has an aversion to dill pickles and while I don't eat a lot of things with pickles, Kurtis does. And really, sweet pickles are just not very good when you like dill ones best.

-The night news coming on at eleven.  It's way too late people.  But, I guess when you've messed your time zone up and it stays light until after ten, you just have to move the news back.

-Living in a box.  I think the space we were living in was smaller than the main floor of our house.  It gets a little cramped and we are glad to be headed back to our house.

-ALSO! Coin operated laundry.  Wow, I did not miss that from college...

-Construction on the interstates.  Indy is trying to get ready for the Super Bowl and have torn up their entire highway system.  Getting around is really fun.

-THE SUPER BOWL.  People in Indianapolis are in denial that the NFL is in a lockout.  It's amusing.  In the paper everyday, there is a countdown.  Really?  You need a countdown?  (Now you're's only 213 days away)

-Having a kitchen.  With four burners and a dishwasher. 

I think that's all for today.  Hope everyone is having a great start to July :)

Love, Liz

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

::what you've been waiting for::

Hello out there!

Well, I'm here to write the words that you've all been hanging on a cliff to read...

...that's right.  THE POOL IS OPEN! It wasn't open when I arrived, and I have been checking day after day after day (after day...etc.) for over a month.  It's been full of water just sitting there for more than a week and today, red signs announced its arrival.  I'm really kind of disappointed that it took so long since we're LEAVING TOMORROW!!  I know that THOSE are the words you've actually been waiting for - and there they are.

The last few days have been kind of hard.  We knew that we should be headed home, and I even made hotel reservations.  However, since last time, when we thought we were "good" turned out to be a "not good" both of us are a little gun shy.  When Kurtis is going through treatment, we know the routine.  Get up. Go to doctor/hospital.  Get treatment.  Come home.  Repeat.  But, as time winds down we start entering unknown territory.  We're excited to be done, but being done comes with its challenges too.  Walking into the hospital today, both of us were freaked out - we didn't talk about it because it was already clear what the other one was thinking.  Today is curveball day, we thought.  Here we are, all set up for a hundred mile an hour heater wondering if that's what we're gonna get  - or if we're about to swing a little bit too early.

The swing didn't come too early, and Kurtis hit it out of the park.  His HCG is now at SEVEN.  SEVEN!!!!!!  Take the feeling that hit you while you read that and multiply it by several hundred thousand (or, you know, infinity) and that's what we were feeling earlier today.  Neither of us thought we'd be getting a number lower that seventeen, so it was a positive shock - like that zapper thing in the hospital where they yell clear and save your life.

So, after a quick morning at the hospital it became pack up time.  I've been running around like a hamster trying to pack up the Subaru (yay tetris!) and not forget anything while remembering where everything is.  WHEW.  Tomorrow, we're headed up to Lake Michigan which I've never seen, so I'm pretty stoked.  Then, we'll head home via I-80 (Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska). 

In order to fit everything in the Subaru, we had to ship a box home.  UPS ships cheaper than the postal service, so I drove up and down Avon trying to find the UPS store, failing.  I finally decided I'd just get a box at Target and use the postal service since I knew where the post office was (like .2 of a mile from our hotel).  I came home and packed up the box with stuff we wouldn't miss and then took it over to the post office.

The box was full of mostly clothes, so it was fairly heavy and 18x18x16 in size.  I pulled it out of the car and then went into the post office.  Once inside and searched around for a label and finally found one in some obscure box...but seeing as this is Indiana, there was no pen.  So, I put on my "pen-finder" goggles and found...nothing.  Fortunately, there was a nice man who loaned me a pen.  I slapped my name and address on the label, put it on the box, hopped into line, and started reading things on my phone while I waited. 

Three seconds later, my silence was interrupted by the "nice" man asking me if I knew the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial.  I did.  I did not want to tell him this because I was not in the mood to discuss it, so I said no.  The woman in front of him wanted to discuss it, so they had this loud eight minute long discussion about how "bad" the jurors were and all of the "what were they thinkings" and everything in between.  Finally (finally!)  the woman got called up and I thought we were home free.  Great!


Mr. nice guy now wants to talk to me about sexual predators.  What?!  Um, no thanks.  Unfortunately, I'm stuck here with this box and I need to mail it now so I just awkwardly stand there and nod while he informs me about how he was raised.  Great.  Now I know more about you and I still don't care.  After what seemed like seventeen hours he was able to go up and mail his letter or whatever.  The man behind me made some snide comments that made me laugh and I was home free. 


I was next.  My big box and I made our way to the "window" and this is what happened.
Liz: Hi! I'd like to send this box to Colorado as cheaply as possible, please.

Worker Lady (who reminded me of the growly old lady monster on Monsters INC): Well, you put a Priority Mail label on it

Liz: Okay, is that the cheapest way?

Lady: It is $40

Liz: Is there a way I could send it less expensively? (I thought asking in a different way might help)

Lady: You can send it parcel post for $18.

Liz: Great! I'd like to send it that way, please.

Lady: You can't.

Liz: (?????????) Why not?

Lady: Because you put a Priority Mail label on it.

Liz: So, can I change the label and send it that way?

Lady: Yes.

Liz: So, do you have a label I can use?

Lady: No. You have to buy one.

Liz: (???????????????) Okay, I'd like to buy one.

Lady: You have to get it from that display back there, and I can't check you out until you have a new label.

Liz: Can you scan the label and check me out and then I'll fix it right here?

Lady: No.

Liz: (...BrainExplosion...)

So, I went and got a label (two for $0.69! what a deal!) and labeled by box. AND WAITED WHILE THE LADY TRIED TO CHECK OUT A WOMAN WITH A BANJO WRAPPED IN PIECES OF BOX ALL TAPED TOGETHER.  Seriously.  I can't even make this stuff up.  They were trying to weigh it by standing it on the "bottom" of the banjo.  It was insane.  It was amusing.  And then, it lasted for ten more minutes.  The other man helped (literally - and yes, I mean literally - five people). 

And now it's my turn.  Please hold while I check my excitement for the opportunity to work with this lady again.  (excitement checked).  I put the box on the scale and we begin this dance again. 

Liz: Hi! I fixed the label! (and then I laughed and an idiot)

Lady: So, we're sending it priority mail?

Liz: No.

Lady: Oh, what are we sending it?

Liz: Whatever was $18. 

Lady: (types on computer and scans label).

Liz: I'm going to leave this label here for the next person who needs a label, since I don't need two.

Lady: But you paid for this.

Liz: I know, but I don't need it.

Lady: But it was like $0.75.

Liz: I know, but I don't need it.

Lady: Are you sure?

Liz: Yes.  I'm sure.  Really.

And then I left.
It is a good thing we're on our way out of Indiana or I might smash someone's face.

So, if you made it through all of THAT nonsense...congrats.

I just had to tell someone.  I chose you. FEEL SPECIAL.

Kurtis is doing great and we're ready to kick it outta here.  Tune in soon for Indiana's greatest hits ... the things we will not miss!

Sending love!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!


Hope that everyone is having a good day! Our days in Indiana are numbered!

Kurtis' blood counts came in with good results on Sunday, so we were able to take today off.  Tomorrow we'll go in and meet with the doctors and hopefully get the okay to head on out of here!  Day by day, Kurtis feels better!  We're not sure what all is planned for tomorrow, but we're hoping that it won't take too long.

After the hospital tomorrow, it's time to pack the subaru up and ship some things home.  It will take us a few days to get home.  Our first stop will be to Michigan City, IN where we'll visit the Indiana Dunes.  If you look them up online, they look very cool.  They're right up next to Lake Michigan and we might be able to see Chicago's skyline across the the lake which would be neat.  It will be a nice one night celebration for this part of the adventure. 

Tonight the fireworks will be shooting off from downtown.  I doubt that we'll be able to see any from the hotel, but we're going to try.  If not, my grandparents sent us a bunch of pictures from the Rockies game the other night - so we'll just make our room dark and and play some music and go through those.  They're less scary for the dog anyway :)

We were able to go out for lunch today.  Our first thought was to hit up the Chipotle in Avon, but they were closed, so we went downtown to the Weber Grill for lunch.  We've got dinner and a half left over, but it was good.  One of our favorite "discoveries" here.  We spent the rest of the day watching a movie and planning our trip home!

I think that's all from Hoosier land for today -
Enjoy your holiday!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

countdown to blastoff!

Greetings and hello!

This morning, good old room six is quite a bit more interesting with the start of the Tour de France today!  Now we have something interesting and up to date to watch instead of yet another episode of House Hunters! 

Kurtis is doing really well this morning.  Yesterday, he got his catheter taken out and he feels MUCH better now.  The catheter was near his port and had a tube that went into his chest.  Hanging from it were two tubes that were a couple inches in length.  The entire time we've been here, he hasn't been able to take a shower, and has only been able to take a bath from the waist up - they didn't want anything to happen to his line.  Now that it's out - he only has to wait one more day until he can shower!  I know that he is very excited about that.

We found out that he was going to get his line out yesterday and after he was done with his fluids for the day, we went down to the IR section of the hospital.  We had to wait for about forty-five minutes, although that is actually pretty good considering we weren't on the schedule.  They took Kurtis back to a small area with rooms that had slide curtains.  I had to wear a mask and a hat, so that was new.  Kurtis got a few shots of numbing medicine near his line and then the doctor pulled it right out.  The tube from inside him was several inches in length.  She kept pressure on the "hole" for a little bit, and then bandaged him up.  We were concerned for a little bit when it bled some on the way home, but it stopped and all was well.

We are consuming the last of our food supplies and I'm hoping that I don't need to go to the store anymore while we're here.  I bought extra milk (I have a slight addiction to milk...) so we should be good to go!

Right now, it is looking like we'll be on our way out of the hospital on Tuesday and head home soon after that! HOORAY!

I feel like there is something more I had to say this morning, but it is slipping my mind at the moment. 

Sending love from hoosier land!


Friday, July 1, 2011

[on the upslope]

Good Morning!

The sun is attempting to come out here in Indiana, but as usual, failing.  We'll continue to talk to him and see if we can get his smiling face to peek out!

Things are going as expected here.  Kurtis' blood counts finally started to rise yesterday, although by a small margin.  We have yet to get the blood results back from today, but our hope is that his counts have continued to rise and "exploded" a little.  The sooner his counts are good, the sooner we can get in the Subaru with the yellow doggie and head back west!

Overall, Kurtis is feeling a lot better.  He's been walking in and out of the hospital the last few days which is fantastic.  He has also been sleeping less during the day and eating more.  In the morning he's more alert and wakes up/gets up faster than when he's feeling terrible.  :)

The other day, a guy who had been through this treatment came back to visit (he was meeting with Dr. Einhorn or Hanna) and he stopped by our room to talk to Kurtis.  It was nice to see someone who was done.  He was four months out of this and his hair was back and he looked normal.  He talked to Kurtis and encouraged him which was really great.  There is also a new germ cell tumor patient next door.  He's getting his checmo and stuff and we're both very happy that we're on this side of the whole adventure. 

As Kurtis just pointed out, we'll be in the hospital for another holiday.  We've joked about his cancer being the "holiday stealer" since we've been in the hospital for many of them, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Looks like we're also going to get July 4th!  haha.

Hope everyone is doing well - we love and miss you all!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

::time ticks and fluids drip::

Hello, howdy, and hi!

Hope you are having a fabulous day - wherever you are.  While I was asleep, I was dreaming about Hawai'i and swimming in the ocean with turtles.  Then I woke up.  In Indiana.  Poo.

Kurtis is doing well.  As of yesterday, he was still at the bottom of the U, but looking good.  Just like a U has a line along the bottom, so does Kurtis' recovery, so it is expected that he travels along that line while he is getting better.  Any day now, he should start to trend back up and he'll start to feel better very quickly.  He didn't have to get any platelets or any extra anything yesterday, so the day seemed "short" at the hospital which as very nice. 

We're waiting on his blood tests to come back for today to see if he is on the upswing yet.  There is talk of us being able to blow this popstand by the end of the weekend, so that is absolutely fabulous! It will take us several days to get home (by choice and necessity) but we're thrilled that the chance of having half of a Fort Collins summer awaits us.  I know a lot of you are from the Fort, but for those of you who are not - Fort Collins in the summer is like a dreamland.  The sun is out and it is almost never too hot.  Old Town is free of the college kids (well, so is most of the city during that time!).  The river is running, Horsetooth calls out to be hiked, and many hours can be spent working and playing outside. 

Kurtis is sleeping right now, which is pretty normal.  He wasn't feeling too well last night, but still managed to watch Master Chef and the two hour almost-final show of The Voice before heading to bed.  I don't think either of us have really completely adjusted to the night news being on at eleven instead of ten, and shows running to's going to feel weird when we go home.  It seems like he has been sleeping well though, which is excellent.  The more his body rests and works, the better he'll feel faster.

I've been working on school stuff mostly.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be teaching my English class using pirate books, so I've been cranking through those one after another - two down, three or four to go!  I've also been making some sock bunnies to take to the children's hospital before we leave.  My mom sent me some felt, and the one I made yesterday trumps all the other ones I'd made before...thanks Mom :)

Other than that, not too much to report other than a great win by the Rox last night.  Thank goodness technology is advanced enough that I can watch and listen to them out here!

Hope everything is well with everyone.  Sending our love!


Monday, June 27, 2011

bottom of the "U"


Welcome back to Indiana...but today I'm not writing from our favorite room six, but our hotel room instead. 

I was going to write earlier, but then I thought it would be best to wait for Monday's all important HCG number so that I could send that out instead of leaving everyone hanging.  I got caught up in a book that I started this morning and since I'm done with it now, Kurtis reminded me that I hadn't blogged for a few days. 

First of all, Kurtis' HCG is down to 27!  Although this drop doesn't seem to be very large, it actually is just what is expected.  Once he gets closer and closer to "normal" (zero), the number doesn't drop as fast.  His drop this week is roughly the same percentage drop as his first drop.  So - hooray! We're on track.

Right now, K is officially in the bottom of the "U" curve that happens with his blood counts.  The process goes something like this...
-K gets chemo
-chemo blasts away cancer cells as well as other healthy cells
-K's cells and blood counts steadily decline
-K's blood "bottoms out" or goes as low as it is going to go
-K's blood counts go back up

The stem cells that he got back are babies and it takes time for them to grow.  He's been at the "bottom" for a few days now, and in the next few days (maybe tomorrow or the next day) his counts should start to go back up.  Yesterday, his platelets (that clot blood) were too low so he had to have a platelet transfusion.  So far, no other transfusions have been needed which is great.  Throughout his entire battle, Kurtis hasn't needed any blood products except for platelets. 

We had a nice time with Kurtis' family while they were out there.  As I write this, they are on their way back to Colorado and they should arrive fairly soon at DIA.  It was good to see them, and I know that Kurtis got an emotional boost seeing them :)

Other than all of that, not much is happening.  We're really (really, really) ready to come home and the closer we get I think we both get a little bit more antsy.  Baseball and golf await! I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I get my kitchen back...besides have a field day!

Anyway - it's time for Master Chef (and some Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter World Ice cream <-- apparently you can only get it at Target...but it is darn good!!) so I will leave you for tonight.

Hope everyone is doing well - sending our love!!

PS. Have you read any great pirate books?  If you have, please let me know! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

day +3: Countdown Mode

and hello from Hoosier Land.

Where am I this morning? You guessed it! Room SIX. 
I am still enjoying the Rockies triumph over the Yankees last night [insert fist pump and taunting dance here].  Even if we can't pull out another W, at least we won't get swept by the scum of the earth.

I didn't write yesterday because I was too busy playing at the zoo with all the nice animals and Kurtis' sister (Heather) and her baby (Aubrey), and thought that if I were to write a post last night, it would have turned out terribly as I was quite interested in the baseball game.  Knowing that we had a little while in the hospital today, I thought it would be fine for you to wait and find out what has happened.  I know that some of you were devastated and probably spent the majority of the night crying when nothing was posted, but don't fret! Here is the lowdown!

We are now at day "+3" and that means that Kurtis is three days out of his stem cell transplant.  This time last round he was in the hospital with nasty stuff going on in his body and a button attached to a pain pump.  So far, he is feeling much better, and even though his counts are starting to drop (they're supposed to) his mouth is still doing okay and he is still feeling pretty dang good.  This morning he thought he had a little bit of a fever, but by the time we got to the hospital, there was nothing, so that's great!  He is currently plugged into the iPad watching some stand up comedian and laughing to himself.  It's quite funny since I don't know what any of the jokes are (he's wearing headphones) and the whole clinic is pretty quiet until he goes into a laughing fit. 

We've started to look at heading home which is nice.  When I first arrived in the land of hoosier, I tried not to think about when we got to go home.  Countdowns that get shifted to things you really want can be super frustrating, so I just tried to take it one day at a time.  Now that Kurtis is doing well, we have a pretty good idea of when we'll get to head home if things continue to go as planned.  It's going to take us a good amount of time to get home probably, but we've decided that if Kurtis is feeling up to it, we can see a few things on the way home. 

Although we're excited to come back home, we feel kinda bad for Chauncey.  He has no idea that his time at camp are limited and he has made some great "friends" including a big doberman named Zena.  He gets insanely excited when he goes everyday and he's going to be seriously bummed out when he doesn't get to see his friends or his camp counselors on a daily basis.  Poor little buddy.  That is, however, not enough to cause us to relocate...not even close.

AND NOW [drumroll] the funny story time.  Yesterday, Heather and Aubrey and I went to the zoo.  When we were done, we drove over to the hospital which isn't very far away at all, in fact, we pass the zoo on a daily basis coming here.  I pulled into the parking garage and was about a half-turn away from parking when Kurtis texted me that he was we went all the way back down the parking garage and pulled up to the window where you pay.  I handed this semi-grumpy looking woman my pink ticket that tells the computer in the booth how long I had been "parked".  I decided I could pay the dollar it was going to cost for the "under two hours" rate.  She took my ticket, scanned it, and looked back at me with raised eyebrows as if to say "why did you come in here to park for two minutes?"  and I looked at her with a nice smile as if to say "because driving around the parking garage is fun."  In front of us, the bar to exit was raised and we were free to drive back to the front of the hospital.

When you pull up to the front of the hospital, there is a little security guard guy with a radio attached to his shoulder.  This poor man's job is to stop every car that comes into the loop and make sure that they know they can't park.  If someone is here for the valet parking, he talks in his radio to the people twenty feet away to tell them that the "blue toyota corolla" is here for valet. 

---Just to be clear, this area is not big.  There is not enough room for a bunch of cars, and generally it isn't insanely busy.  It's a loop.  You give your car to valet or you drop off/pick up someone and that is all there is to it.   The purpose of this security guy radioing the people twenty feet for him are pretty much unknown seeing as: (a) twenty feet isn't that far, (b) there are no need for such descriptions of the cars seeing as there are usually like two cars and a taxi at a time and (c) there are approximately seven people working the valet station at any given time.  I appreciate your attempt to help the job market and the economy IU medical center, however, it doesn't seem like it is very necessary. ---

Anyway, we pulled up and told the guard (he should have a better name, so I am making one up) *ahem* so we told CAPTAIN FERGON the GUARD OF THE AUTOMATIC DOORS AND PARKING AREA that we were picking someone up and began to circle.  For the next ten or so minutes, circle we did.  We passed good ol' Captain Fergon a multitude of times which actually made our trips around the oval thing sort of awkward for him.  Especially when we were the only car left.  For about half our circles, there was a Jimmy Johns delivery driver who parked in a place people who are not delivering food can't park...and he stood outside his car, with a sandwich, and watched us circle.  We circled fifteen times.  I am now good at left turns.  I will be back next year.  I will win the Indy 500 using my turbo-infused Subaru.  BOOM.

I miss the security guard who instantly knew that white Subaru from Colorado (made evident by two Rockies magnets and a sticker on the back) knows the rules and I didn't have to roll down my window and talk to.

I know. Not that funny.  But sort of funny.  And when you're living in Indiana, sort of funny is REALLY funny.

ALSO (since you didn't get a post yesterday, I'm really just making this worth your time) through this blog, I am able to see "stats" which tell me how many hits we've had (over 3,000!), when people are looking at it, what browsers people are using  (43% of you use Internet Explorer) and where the hits are coming from.  We've gone international with hits from eight countries outside of the United States!  Some of them I know that it is someone who we know reading our blog, but for other places (Denmark?) I have no idea who might be checking us out.  When I thought about that, I thought about the fact that there are probably a lot of people reading in the US who we don't know either.  So, hi.  Hello to those people we don't know and if you're dealing with cancer, or this HD chemo, I hope that me writing about what we're doing helps :)  And if you're just curious, that's okay too! Welcome!

Okay, I'm done now.
It looks like the day might actually be nice, and yesterday they were finally filling up the pool at the hotel so I better get my work for school so I can play outside later.

Sending love to all!
GO ROCKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

[day +1, round 2]

Good Morning and Greetings from Hoosier Land!

Here we are, again, in room six.
Kurtis is getting fluids.
Chauncey is at dog camp.
Indiana is humid.

Kurtis continues to do better this round than the last - he has been able to keep his mouth sore pain under control and thus remain outside of the hospital walls.  We're both hoping that he'll be able to stay out of the hospital for the whole time this round.  One thing that has really been helping him so far are some pain pills.  Last time he wasn't really taking them, but this round, he has been a lot better about taking the pills he needs to take in order to keep things under control.  Today he seems quite chipper and acting like his normal mouthy self, so that is refreshing.

Last night, Kurtis' mom, sister, and niece arrived and we were able to visit with them some.  Kurtis still gets tired easily, and since they got in sort of late, we didn't have too much time with them yesterday, but today when we're home from the hospital, we will get to see them more.

Yesterday went well.  Around lunchtime, Kurtis suddenly had an intense craving for chicken fingers.  It is my job to find such things and so after a list of daunting directions from one of the nurses on the unit, I headed off - toward the people mover - in search of the McDonalds that resides in the Riley Children's hospital.  I was fortunate and did not get lost in the twisting hallways or the large glassed in above ground walkways. 

While walking through one of these walkways, I pondered to myself why it was really necessary.  I mean, it gets cold here in the winter, but not that cold.  I mean, it's not like we magically transplanted to northern Alaska here, people.  But then, upon seeing a man walking in a full suit, it hit me.  It's not for winter.  It's for summer.  For the ungodly humidity-heat-of-death-why-do-people-even-think-about-living-here air.  It's not for the cold.  In fact, I am surprised that the winter here isn't celebrated for being at least the complete opposite of what is happening now.

ANYWAY.  I found my way down to the McDonalds which was completely packed with parents of kids, heath staff and kids in wagons. And Amish families.  Yep, small children running around in overalls or dresses, speaking the German-ish dialect that the Amish are known for.  Half of the 'patrons' of McDonalds were Amish.  So, while waiting for Kurtis' chicken (it had to be made fresh since he is so special) I took some "I'm a spy and can take covert pictures with my iPhone" pictures.  When I get bored, apparently I take on alternate personas.  Or I watch too many shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds.  Or both.

Eventually, Kurtis' magical chicken was done and I wandered back through the hallways and above ground walkways back to beloved room six.  The entire way, I went all history/social studies on myself and decided that I needed to know why there were so many Amish people in the hospital.  In my infinitely large amount of science wisdom, I decided that it must be a genetic issue since the Amish are basically all from one set group of German-Swiss that migrated to the United States with their Amish/Mennonite faith. 

I did some research and learned that there were only 150,000 initial immigrants and Amish people now suffer from something that is apparently called the "founder effect" - meaning that rare genetic flaws are able to show up since the marriage pool is so small.   I've read some articles about the strange genetic flaws that happen and the culture that keeps the Amish from preventing such flaws.  All quite interesting.  In fact, I am sure that is what everyone wanted to wake up to - a history/science lesson.  Next up - the Revolutionary War!  We'll learn all about the Stamp Act and the beginnings to the Sons of Liberty!

Just kidding.

Other than all of that, I'm not sure I have anything to report that is of interest.  We got to see a picture of our house today thanks to some of our lax girls that are taking care of the lawn (AND IT LOOKS AWESOME THANK YOU!!!) and that made us happy/miss home.  I'm ready to mow the lawn and trim the roses and eat my raspberries!

Looks like we're down to a few weeks here - a drive home with a crazy pup - and then it's HOME! :)

I think that's it. 
Unless you're sure about not hearing about the Stamp really is quite interesting....

Lots of love!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

::stemcell infusion complete::


Hello! How are you? We are fantastic, just back in room six (as usual) hanging out while Kurtis gets all of his nice fluids and medicines, etc.

Yesterday was fairly uneventful.  Kurtis got his fluids and decided to try another day out of the hospital.  When we headed home, he relaxed and I went outside to play my uke a little bit and hang out in the "sun".  After watching some show on the travel channel or the food network or something, Kurtis wanted to eat a burger and bacon -so I made him a burger with bacon and he ate the whole thing!  He hasn't been eating a lot lately, so I was pretty excited.

Today was stem cell infusion day.  Just like last time, it is quite the ordeal.  The infusion was set for 11 am, and the infusion team arrived at about 10:45.  They bring in a big black cart and a large canister where the stem cells are.  Once the cart is cleaned off, they get going.  From the large frozen canister to the heated water bath where they get warmed up and then put into an over sized syringe and pushed in to Kurtis through his central line.  When this happens, it can make Kurtis feel sick, make his chest hurt, and  make him taste garlic (the preservative for the stem cells is a "garlic derivative" apparently).  They gave him a pile of grape jolly ranchers and he got through it with absolutely no problems!

Kurtis had a room reserved in the hospital for today.  I headed out to the car to get some Advil (my elbow is hurting...stupid weather changing)  and when I came back, our NP was talking to Kurtis about not staying in the hospital tonight.  He's feeling good enough to go "home" which is great! I'd much rather he be in our "box" than in the hospital "box" <--and so would Chaunce!  Kurtis' family arrives tonight as well, so I am sure he'd rather see them today than tomorrow.  His mouth is still starting to "turn", but hopefully it won't get too bad. 

Other than that, I don't think too much is new with us.  Just living the good 'ol Hoosier life!

Love to all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

...prelude to stemcells...

Good Morning!

I am again reporting from our favorite "newsroom" - room six.  Kurtis is already getting his fluids and (starting today) his antibiotics.  He's exhausted still, so he's all curled up under a sheet just trying to sleep this nasty feeling time away. 

Yesterday was one of the harder days that Kurtis has had while he's been here.  The chemo and fluids messed with his system and although he has medicine to help control the nausea, it doesn't always work...which means throw up time.  I think he actually feels better once he throws up, but it's not fun even if it does make him feel better.  He spent a lot of time in bed watching TV and sleeping yesterday and it looks as if he'll spend much of today sleeping as well. 

-Although things are hard, the good news is that his HCG dropped to 37 in just two days!-

In addition, it looks like he may get checked into the hospital today or tomorrow.  He's just not feeling well at all, and I think that sometimes it is easier for him to be here and know that if anything goes wrong, the nurses are here to handle it.  Some of the medicines he gets while he is checked in help him too.  Once our nurse practitioner comes to visit today, I'll know more.  Don't worry though, the hospital isn't a negative thing - it's just helpful right now.  Tomorrow is stem cell day, so we'll be headed up and up from here!  It will probably be kind of a rough week, but it will be over soon enough :)

Chauncey loves camp more than ever.  He has a great time going every day and is always exhausted when he leaves.  I really like taking him there because I know he is having a good time and that he'll be tired for us when we bring him "home". 

I've mostly been working on school related things while I'm at the hospital with Kurtis.  There isn't a lot that I can do otherwise that is a productive use of my time.  I've got some new classes to teach next year and it has been nice to crank out some of the stuff I know I am going to need.  I can't believe that we've been out of school for about a month now - I love summer but I work at such a great school with wonderful people that it is hard to not want to go back all the time! 

So far, the storms aren't rearing their heads today.  The storm that came through yesterday was pretty loud and nasty.  Some places around Indy got around four inches of rain - and there are places that are flooded because of it.  It looks like we'll be clear today until the afternoon when it all starts back up again...yay.

In addition to that weather problem, I've learned that the Indy weather reporters have a different view on some of the "normal" weather terms...for example:
 Sunny = the sun might peek through the clouds for up to a minute at a time
Mostly Sunny = cloudy, but sort of bright
Mostly Cloudy = death clouds

Today I don't have anything positive about Indiana (I know, you're really bummed out...sorry...) BUT instead, I have a very special news story.  Last night, after watching TV, the news came on.  I decided that I would watch and find out about the weather, the latest on the missing IU student, and see if they had anything exciting before the first commercial break.  I'm tired and not really paying SUPER close attention when the news says something along the lines of "brampbrampitynewslalalaIndianastuffIdon'tcareaboutblahblah and today, an Amish man was busted for sexting a twelve year old girl."  Excuse me, what?! So I watched.  Low and behold, the Amish man was lured in by police who set up a sting operation.  The man thought he was going to meet the girl for sex...and pulled up in his horse and buggy.  And to think- I thought it was weird here before... want to read about it?

Anyway - I think that is all from Hoosier land for now, so I'll let you head off into your exciting day instead of continuing to babble on for no apparent reason.

Love to all!

Monday, June 20, 2011

scalloped clouds and thunderbooms

Hello -

We woke up this morning to a barking dog and thunder.  That's right, it's raining again here in Indy...woo.hoo.  For those of you who know me well, you know that rain is not my favorite type of weather.  I don't mind it in small chunks, but this day after day grey sky stuff really messes with mood.  Although, I was thinking about it, and it wasn't really all that "nice" even on "sunny" days.  Apparently, if it is moderately bright and the sky is only mostly covered in clouds, it is considered to be "sunny" here.  Anyway, we're on a flash flood warning today due to the rain - and we'll see what else is headed our way later. 

Indiana...the gift that keeps on giving!

It's easy to see that Kurtis' chemo is working because he's started to feel worse with each passing hour.  Mostly, he's just plain worn out so he rests/sleeps a lot to combat it.  Yesterday, he had a battle with feeling sick to his stomach all day and still managed to eat some pizza rolls and most of a baked potato.  During the day yesterday he watched some tv and played on the ipad before sleeping in the office for a long time.  Then it was time for the trip home...not my favorite part of life when Kurtis feels bad.  The roads out here are extremely rough (lots of cracks, potholes, and fixes to both) and when Kurtis feels sick to his stomach, I know the ride home is rough on him.  I try to make the ride home (about fifteen minutes...) as smooth as possible, but I can't do anything about the rough roads.  Yesterday was one of those days I wished that I could just teleport him back to the box. 

Once we got home, Kurtis ate some lunch and then slept for the majority of the afternoon.  I did my best to be quiet (and so did Chauncey!) so we hung out on the couch and watched the Rockies which was nice.  I love being able to watch them on the's like a perfect mini TV!  I've also discovered that I can watch OLD games, so when the game I'm watching is over, I can just pick a different one I haven't seen and watch that. 

We've been enjoying Food Star on Sunday nights, and yesterday was no different.  Fortunately, Kurtis was feeling good enough to be up and we watched as the chefs made dessert.  The episode was great and we're already looking forward to next week!  It's nice to have a little bit of normalcy, even when it is just watching a specific TV show. 

This morning, he had blood drawn and they're checking all of his numbers as well as the tumor marker (HCG) so we'll have a new number to report here in a few hours.  No chemo today since yesterday was the last day! HOORAY! 

Hopefully everyone is doing well - we miss you all and hope that your day is less full of thunder and lighting than ours is!

Sending love,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stormy Sunday

Good Morning and Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers...but especially Kurtis' dad and my dad who we both miss very much.  We'd love to be with our families celebrating today, but instead, it is back to work with the last day of chemo!
Sportscenter is jabbering in the background as I update you from a dark room six this morning.  The machines are hooked up and the fluids are running.  As the days go by, Kurtis is feeling worse and worse.  We knew that this was going to happen, but that doesn't really make it any easier.  It's hard for him to go through all of this and difficult for me to watch him go through all of it.  However, this is about the time I arrived during the first round, so at least we know what exactly is coming. 

Today Kurtis will get the last bit of his chemo and he'll get his remaining stem cells on Wednesday.  His mom and sister will arrive on Wednesday and I know that he is really looking forward to seeing them.  Overall, he's mostly just tired and his appetite has taken a dive bomb - the chemo really makes his mouth taste weird and then he doesn't want to eat very much :(

It is super grey today.  As we drove into the city the skyline was popping out from the pink colored "sunrise" type was 8:15... instead of melting into a dirty white haze.  It's now around 9 and the clouds have settled in for the duration of the day.  Currently, the humidity is sitting around 90% and the day is supposed to be met with thunderstorms and possibly severe weather.  I grew up in Colorado Springs, so unlike Kurtis, I don't have a good perception of "severe weather".  The weather report mentions the word tornado and I have a mental freak out.  I'm trying to remain calm, but I'm not too fond of the idea of twisting winds falling from the sky. 

Other than all of that, nothing much is new here.  We'll see if Rory can hold on to win the US Open and watch the Rox later hoping they can continue their streak!

Sending love from the stormy midwest -


Saturday, June 18, 2011

chemo day 2.2


Welcome back to good 'ol room six. 

Yesterday we found out that Kurtis' HCG number is all the way down to 65.9!  We were very excited about this...especially after the doctor made sure that we knew it was okay  if the number went up a little bit before chemo round two.  This time, while playing our guessing game, we were hoping for something around one 65.9 was fantastic!

The chemo hit him pretty quickly yesterday.  I headed out to get us lunch from the BBQ place (one last lunch before his taste buds go again...) and we had a nice lunch.  About an hour after that, he started to feel kinda queasy and tired along with the overall feeling of "yuck".  The tiredness has definitely set in, and he said that this round has hit him a lot faster than the last round.  One of our nurses said that people tend to do better with the second round, so we are hoping that is the case with Kurtis too.  Yesterday Kurtis made a good point - the first round of chemo took his HCG down about 9,000 and the second round only has to take it down 65.9.  On Monday morning, he'll have a blood test for HCG and we'll get a new number which we're already looking for.

Today and tomorrow Kurtis will get chemo.  He then gets two days of fluids and then will go through his stem cell process again.  Once that is completed, he will be going through the same process that he did before - all leading back to Colorado.  We're anxious to get home...both starting to miss Fort Collins and our house a lot - not to mention our families and friends.

It's a rainy day this morning in Indy and is supposed to rain all day today and tomorrow....good thing we're stuck in the hospital anyway.  Chauncey is at camp (his favorite place, ever) getting himself completely worn out...apparently he doesn't stop playing the entire day which I think is great.  When he comes home he sleeps and walks around in "tired" mode which is amusing.

Looks like someone sort of fixed the Rockies :)

Hope everyone is having a great day and we'll update again soon!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Good Morning!

I'm back in my big chair in room #6 for this morning's report. 

Yesterday, Kurtis and I headed down to Louisville which is about a two hour drive south on I-65.  We didn't run into a lot of traffic, so the trip was pretty quick.  On the way down, we talked about how neat it is that as you get closer to the east coast that the cities are closer and closer.  Heading into Louisville, there is a big bridge that we drove on while going over the Ohio River.  I like rivers out here - they're really big and since that isn't how they are at home, I like to see them.

Our first stop? The Louisville slugger factory! We parked in a lot and the parking attendant person was fixing the machine, so we stood around and waited and waited.  A family from Missouri came out and gave us their parking ticket so we didn't have to pay which was great! Once in the factory, we bought tickets for the tour and had the chance to go through the factory and watch as bats were being made from billets (the circular logs taken out of the ash or maple) to bats.  They showed us the machines that cut the bats from the billets.  Instead of using lathes like they used to, the billets slide into the machines and get spun so fast  that in one pass, the machine shaves off all the wood!  The shavings all get sucked up, so there is very little sawdust - all of the sawdust goes outside into a truck and is sold to a turkey farmer in Indiana.  We also got to see the machine that makes all the pro bats, watch them stamp things into the bat, and see how they finish up the bats.  Touring the factory was quite enjoyable and we were both glad that we went. 

For lunch, we tried to walk to a brewery, but were completely thwarted because we didn't read "east" main street (we were on west) so we ended up at a little mexican place, Los Aztecas.  It was exceptional and soothed Kurtis' craving for Mexican food.  We then headed back north, picked up Chauncey from camp and had a laid back evening - watched a few episodes of Iron Chef and did laundry. 

Today, we're back at IU.  Kurtis had to have his labs drawn before we got to meet with Dr. Hanna.  So, around 8:15, Kurtis got his blood drawn, and then we waited for about an hour before heading up to meet with Dr. Hanna.  The Simon Cancer Center is so nice, but I always get sort of nervous when we head in, and it only gets worse when we get back into the rooms.  Once Kurtis got weighed, etc., we were taken back to one of the consultation rooms where we patiently and nervously waited.  Once Dr. Hanna entered with a smile on his face, we both felt more at ease.  One thing we've learned while fighting cancer is that the first few seconds when the doctor enters the room usually tells us if we are going to be smiling or really upset in the minute following.  Today was a smiley day.  Just as we were, Dr. Hanna was thrilled with the progress of Kurtis' HCG.  We were given the go-ahead to start chemo today, which is great.  We're ready to get back home :)

So, here we sit, watching Maury (because we've pretty much exhausted our HGTV and Food Network choices...and it is is DNA test date, so we've been betting if so-and-so is or isn't the father...haha) and the US Open waiting for Kurtis' chemo to get going.  They weren't sure if he was going to start today or not, so that is why it takes a little bit longer than normal.  I'll go get some good lunch here in awhile since Kurtis won't feel too much like eating in the next day or two.  It sure feels good to have the okay to get going so we can get home.  Kurtis is feeling good and had a little swagger walking back to the infusion center after meeting with the doc :)

We are still waiting on his HCG for today, but I'll report that out once we find out :)

The most recent Indy observations...
-Apparently, people here take the "white boarder on a stop sign means it's optional" as a literal statement
-The sky is almost always white, not blue
-The temperatures aren't too bad when it isn't humid (which isn't very often)

Today's positive thing about Indy...
7. Um. It's close to Louisville? And Louisville is really cool...

That's all for now folks - more later!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Morning with a side of thunderstorm

Good Morning!

Well, this morning I was woken up by someone's furry little face nudging mine... "mom, I need to go to the bathroom. PLEASE."  Chauncey knows who to wake up to take him out (me) and is too cute for me to ever deny him.  So, I stumbled around, still basically asleep, got him all hooked up into his harness and we headed outside for his morning sniff around and pee.  As soon as we stepped outside, there was a crack of thunder and I knew that the pup had about 88 seconds before the rain followed.  Miraculously, he found a place to pee, and we trotted around the building to the door.  Once we got inside, there were several other cracks and booms and then the rain started to fall in sheets.

It has been over an hour of sheet rain, and it is still coming down with force.  I'm not used to thunderstorms in the morning, so the whole weather 'activity' that is happening right now feels quite strange.  The weather (be it rain or lighting) has knocked out the TV signal, so Kurtis has hunkered back down into his bed, Chauncey has taken over "his" couch and I'm left, wide awake, to busy myself quietly - which I don't mind. 

Yesterday was quite lovely.  The temperatures were fairly mild again, and even though the humidity was back up (dang-it), the day was still more like "home" than a lot of our other days have been.  Kurtis and I decided to take a trip downtown, so around noon we headed down to the underground parking facility for White River State Park, and walked for awhile along the canal.  We then rented a paddle boat for an hour and paddled up and back about a mile down the canal.  Kurtis was able to paddle now and then, and I think the physical activity was probably good for him.  We saw a lot of baby ducks of various ages as well as a whole area of 'bachelor ducks'.  It was quite amusing to see about twenty male mallards in a line just watching the other duck families going by and quacking.  We worked up quite an appetite and then headed to lunch on the way home.

In my research of Indy - believe me, I've done a lot - I found out that there is a BBQ place called Judges' Tip of the Rib that has gotten rave reviews. So, seeing as it was near the hospital on Michigan, we gave it a try.  Kurtis had brisket with mac and cheese on the side while I had pulled pork and baked beans.  Everything was fabulous and we had the opportunity to speak with the owner who was really kind and wanted to make sure everything was perfect.  They must have a fairly consistent clientele as he knew right away that we were new. 

After that, we came home.  Kurtis was, of course, exhausted so he went to bed.  Chauncey and I went to other places in the hotel and Chaunce napped while I prepared for the US History class I'm teaching next year.  I'm pretty much out of control excited about teaching history again and bought a bunch of books the other day about the American Revolution (my class will focus on the colonies to the Constitution) and I have been reading the biggest one while making notes and creating things for my students along the way.  As soon as I start reading historical stuff, I'm pretty sure I start to drool and then get this insane desire to tell people all of these new facts I've learned.  I feel bad for Chels who had to live with me in college because of that. 

We had dinner consisting of baked potatoes (the toaster oven is awesome again!) and this great bacon/parmesan dip that comes from Target.  We also watched Master Chef and the Voice which has become our Tuesday routine.

Today will probably be pretty laid back.  The massive amounts of rain falling from the sky make any outside activities a no-go and Kurtis has a nurse coming to change the dressing on his catheter sometime in the afternoon.  Last time she came she was late like three separate times, so we're not expecting she'll be here in her two hour time window...haha.  Also, we want Kurtis to rest so that we can go to Louisville tomorrow.  We'd love to see the Louisville Slugger plant, so we'll just have to see how that goes.  If tomorrow doesn't work, we'll surely see a lot of stuff on the way home :)

I think that's all for now, although it seems like a lot.  Hopefully you enjoy reading about our time in this strange state and our "box."

Sending love -

Monday, June 13, 2011


Helllooooo -

We are officially on break! Hooray!

Today we went over to IU as usual and Kurtis got his labs drawn.  We then waited for the results to see if he needed to get any potassium or magnesium, and it turned out that he did need that mag, so we hung out for another couple hours.  We found out that we're free - FREE - for a few days while Kurtis' body is on a break.  We both feel pretty excited about having a few days off.  During the week when you're working - or going to school - there is always the weekend to look forward to.  Get through five days, get two off.  Cancer doesn't work like that.  Work for a month, get three days off - haha. 

I think we're going to get in a paddle boat on the canal sometime as well as take a little trip down to Louisville, KY which is only a few hours away.  If nothing else, it will be nice to hang out without HAVING to head downtown to IU. 

On Friday, we'll start back up again.  Kurtis and I will head in to floor five (where he gets all of his stuff done) and have labs drawn.  Next, we'll head over to the cancer center to meet with Dr. Hanna who is our oncologist here.  I may have said this before, but your doc at home, Dr. Marschke, has been absolutely FANTASTIC about working with the folks out here.  So, wayyy back in December when we made our first journey out here, we met with Dr. Hanna for the first time.  Since then, he's been working with Dr. Einhorn out here and helping us make sure that the cancer is kicked out of Kurtis' body!  I haven't seen him since Kurtis' surgery (I wasn't here yet when he met with Dr. Hanna at the start of this treatment) so it will be nice to see him again.

So, everything is on track and Kurtis is looking forward to starting the chemo, round two, on Friday.  Neither of us are really excited about him going through the process again since it is rough ... hard on him and hard for me to see him like that ... but we are excited about getting this stuff taken care of and heading back home to spend the other half of the summer in good old FoCo :)

As with every Monday, today was "tumor marker day"  where they test the tumor markers along with the other blood counts.  Last night, Kurtis and I played "guess the HCG" count" game.  At times through the adventure of cancer, we've played this game.  Other times, the count number seems too important and cancer to be joking around or playing games.  Anyway, his last count was around 1,000 which, as many of you know, is still quite high.  We've learned throughout our time with this disease that the closer we get to normal (1) the longer it seems to take. 

So, in the midst of our evening, we made guesses - both landing somewhere in between five and six hundred.

Today, the results came back.  They were not what we all.  Kurtis' HCG is now at 173!!  That's right!



So, to celebrate, I made insanely good hamburgers (bacon, cheddar, avocado, cream cheese mix...yea, you can stop drooling later) and mini cupcakes.  We had a great evening - Kurtis watching some TV and me diving headfirst into a pile of American Revolution textbooks in preparation for the class I'm teaching next year.

Last, but not least - today's Indiana positives (and one for yesterday)...
5. There are parts of rural America we would have never seen.  Yesterday's trip out to Parke County was a nice snapshot into midwestern farm country which included beautiful scenery and some big red barns.
6. The Camp Bow Wow here is FANTASTIC.  All of the workers are kind and take great care of Chauncey.  He is always insanely excited to go and tired from playing when I pick him up.  We're thankful for such a great place and fantastic people to take care of our pup. :)

That's all for now!
Love to all!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day off!


I'm happy to report that today has been a day off from treatment for Kurtis.  Today has been glorious on many levels and for the first time, I actually enjoyed more than fifteen seconds in Indiana!

Since we didn't have to go to the hospital today, we had the opportunity to sleep in.  I say "the opportunity" because someone apparently didn't think that sleeping in was a good idea.  He wanted to go to the bathroom...and his bathroom is outside.  We call Chauncey "morning dog" anyway because he has this insane burst of happy in the morning to a point where it is really quite ridiculous.  But since his ears and his long greyhound face is so adorable, it is impossible to be annoyed for more than .23245 seconds.  So, I took him out and he (thankfully) peed without having to sniff every SINGLE blade of grass at least four times which is usually what happens. 

Seeing as we were now awake, the morning turned into a movie and read fest - with a side of chocolate chip cookies and Cap'n Crunch.  We watched the Patriot on TV and I finished a book I started a couple of days ago and around lunchtime, I finally decided that I needed to shower and actually maybe do something so that I didn't feel like a big pile of goo (aka a "hoosier"...okay, not really.  There are plenty of nice people here.  However I am thankful that people from Colorado are not called "Hoosiers" because it is really kind of weird.)  By the time I was clean (and covered in powder so that I feel like I'm in CO, Kurtis was itching to get out as well.

After careful consideration, we decided to drive west to Parke County, IN.  They have a lot of covered bridges, so we drove out of Indy, through Avon and out into rural Indiana.  The farm country is quite different here than at home.  Seeing as Kurtis is from Holyoke (which has lots of farm stuff for those of you who don't know...) it was easy for us to compare.  The trees are huge and there are a large number of big red barns.  I like the barns.  We also spent some time learning (from Wikipedia...via Kurtis' blackberry) about Indiana's role in the Civil War.  Many of the small towns we were driving through had Civil War something or other.  Neither of us have really studied the Civil War in depth - I really love the Revolutionary War period while Kurtis loves the 1960s so we spent some time learning some new history.  Great thing that we both like the same thing that so many other people would be put instantly asleep.  Haha. 

Once in Parke County, Kurtis and I pulled out the "bridge map" and decided that we would take the "black" route which took us by several covered bridges.  We made a stop at each of them to take some pictures.  One was quite new and we spent the most time there - looking at the water and having lunch.  Even though he's still tired, riding in the car was fine for Kurtis and he felt like he was able to get out of the house some which has lifted his spirits. 

Today has been beautiful.  The humidity has been low (by midwest standards anyway) and it hasn't gotten any hotter than like 75 which was great.  Fort the first time since I've been here, the sky was actually blue ALL DAY which was a nice change from the perplexing white haze that seems to linger over Indy all the time. 

Tonight we're hunkered in watching the Mavs/Heat game - right now Dallas is winning and we're hoping that the Mavs can pull out a win.  Later, we'll watch Food Star since we're both suckers for competition style reality TV.  I think mac and cheese is on the menu for later (or as soon as I finish this) and it should be a nice, relaxing night in.

Tomorrow we'll head back to IU to see what is going on.  We're not sure if Kurtis will be getting fluid or just labs, but we've gotten pretty good at going with the flow, especially when it comes to the doctors and hospitals.  Hopefully tomorrow's weather is as nice as the weather today and we don't have to stay in the hospital too long.  There are some boats on the canal that I'd love to rent for an afternoon.  Kurtis can sit and relax while I get a workout (since lax is not happening right now) Yea!  So we'll see how he's feeling.

Hopefully everyone had a great weekend - and as always - thanks for stopping in!



pps - there are new photos up on Flickr (or soon) of our trip! Check 'em out!