Tuesday, May 31, 2011
It is 65% humidity here right now.
I'm going to die a slow death of too much wet air...
BUT - that isn't what I'm writing about. Today I started writing before Kurtis had his stem cells back - and he does now! He did a great job and didn't get sick like some people do. He is now resting comfortably at home. This afternoon, he even ate a little pizza which is a great thing :) He's not feeling "good" yet - as this doesn't work like a blood transfusion but as the cells grow and mature, he should get there.
Just a few things to point out and then I'll write more later:
NUMERO UNO: You can now see our photos at the top right side of the page! Yay! I'm incredibly intelligent when it comes to being awesome and made it do that with only my mind powers (or, I found a widget and plugged in the user name...)
NUMERO DOS: You can now sign up to get our blog via email (I think). Someone who wants to, please sign up and let me know if it works!
Love to all,
Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey
I haven't changed the time on my computer yet, so as I start this post, it is 6:45 am back home. Feels kinda weird to completely adjust to the time, and I am definitely not there yet. This morning my semi-paragraphed ramblings come from Room #5 in the transplant center at IU. Kurtis is already getting infused with his 'fluids' today and will get his cells back around 11 which is just a few hours from now.
The hospital and the transplant clinic are much busier today than yesterday. When driving in to the parking garage, there were a bunch more cars and I had to go up several levels in order to find a place to park. There are little to no license plates from other states, but it seems that my subraru gets along with all of the other cars just fine.
It's another hot day here (were you expecting anything else?? ha.) and the humidity is only at 69%. I can adjust to there being "new" things here - but I'm having problems adjusting to the humidity...as is Kurtis. Every time I go outside, it is like I get hit in the face with sticky air and it is quite possibly one of my least favorite things, ever.
Yesterday Chauncey and I went "exploring" to try and find a dog park. We found one - but I decided that it would be best to keep the creature away from other dogs who might have some kind of strange sickness that Chaunce could then bring/give to Kurtis. So, we looked at the dog park and then drove around to find another park. The other park had a nice path through some trees and bushes and other green stuff, so we walked for a few miles on that. He doesn't really like the humidity either - he was hot and panting so much that his tongue was hanging out of his mouth to the side which looks really funny since he has black spots on his tongue. Chaunce made friends with a little boy who asked me why he was breathing so hard. I told him that it was because we're from Colorado and not used to how hot it was - and I told him that it was also humid and then I asked him if he knew what humid meant. He said "Yea, it's humid here. We celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas." Um...yea. I don't know what he thought I was asking so I just went with that one...yet another reason why I don't teach third grade.
I also drove around Indy some yesterday trying to get a little more familiar with it since this will be our home for awhile. There is a ton of road construction everywhere because of the pending (or should I say...possibly pending...) Super Bowl. Indianapolis has gotten a few things for that, including an really flashy blue Marriott hotel that has thirty-three floors and over a thousand rooms. Click here to see it! Regardless, cities usually have massive amounts of construction and traffic anyway, but I have located the Chipotle - so I think perhaps I'll be able to survive the humidity :)
I haven't been able to upload pictures using my computer yet, just the ipad (thank you very much lax families!! - we love it and have used it endlessly already) so I'll put some up later. However, I did start a flickr photo page - our name is kurtislizandchauncey. You should be able to find our "photostream" by following these instructions:
-->Go to flickr.com
-->Type in kurtislizandchauncey into the search box
-->It will tell you that it is sorry and couldn't find anything. DON'T FREAK OUT. Please, put the lamp that you are about to smash back down - it is only one easy step!!! Instead of smashing things, simply change the search mode from "photo" to "people"
-->Click our name!
ORClick this link... http://www.flickr.com/photos/63475898@N02/
I'm still learning my way around flickr, but right now it seems fun and like I'm able to put stuff up and get some information there :) Hopefully it will give you a view into our "midwestern" life a little bit.
I think that is all for now - I'm sure I'll get more updated today :)
Monday, May 30, 2011
This is the sign by the entrance to the cancer center.
These mosaics are created By people who have been touched by cancer.
This is the main sitting area by the entrance and information desk in the Simon Cancer Center
This is a siting area complete with bamboo :)
My choice of footwear...smart wool shoes. Haha. It is only 85 degrees...
The outside of IU :)
Hello and good morning from Indianapolis!
While we are In the hospital, I thought I would take some time to write a quick update. Today, Kurtis is resting while he gets "fluids". Fluids include things to flush his system as well as medicines to keep him from getting sick while his blood counts are low. Today is the last day he will have before the return of half of his stem cells. I like to think of them as mini super heroes that are coming to help Kurtis :)
The room we are in is small, but nice. It has a door that we can keep open or close, and several chairs as well as a bed for Kurtis. There is also a tv, and K enjoys that for background noise. It is really quiet here today...although it isn't surprising. I think that the people next to us must be going through the same thing - dr. Eu horn just came by and talked with them. I would like to go talk to them, but their door is closed and I don't feel like it is okay for me to knock. It would be nice to speak with them and talk to someone who is around our age and in the same situation.
The sun is out and shining in Indy today and I will make use of that later when we get "home" since Chaunce will need to go play some. I brought my long board and there is a parking lot with a lot of open space so we will probably do some of that.
Kurtis isn't feeling too great, but he spends a lot of time sleeping...so that isn't a huge deal.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Hello from muggy Indianapolis!
Chauncey and I arrived earlier today after we dropped "aunt" Chelsea off at the Louisville airport.
Over the last few days, I have gotten to see a lot of the country which was neat. Chauncey liked to get out and stop and see things. We were able to see a lot from in the car as well which was neat. I wasn't expecting Missouri to be as pretty as it was driving through. Today, I went to Louisville and I'd really like to go back. The city was really neat and there are some things I'd definitely like to see.
When we arrived, Chauncey "helped" me to unload the car a bit before we drove back across town to get Kurtis and his mom. Our room is nice, it has a couch, chair, little kitchen and tv. The fridge is full sized as is the freezer. In addition, the couch folds into a bed, so everyone has their own place to sleep which is good. I've blocked Chauncey and myself onto the couch and kitchen side so that he doesn't go try to snuggle with Kurtis. He just had a small barking episode, so hopefully that is done for the night.
Tomorrow Kurtis will go back to the hospital and will get more fluids,etc. He is feeling really bad, and from watching him today it is clear that this chemo is a lot tougher than VIP or BEP. Mostly he seems tired and semi sick to his stomach which is a bummer. However, I know that because he feels so rotten, the chemo is working. it is quite odd to be happy he feels bad, but I'm happy that the stuff is doing what it is supposed to be. I haven't been with him yet to the hospital, but i am looking forward to it. I didn't like being away from him during his chemo, but it was important for me to finish school and pack up what we needed.
I'll update more as we go :)
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Chels and I have been traveling since yesterday, and I'm only a few hours away from Louisville and a few more hours from Indy. Tomorrow, we'll go to Louisville where I'll drop Chels off and then I'll drive two hours with the dog "solo" up to Indianapolis.
Chauncey has been good so far for the most part - and that really helps the traveling. He doesn't like to go to the bathroom other places besides home, so our current bathroom count is -->
Pee: 2 total. #1 = Salina KS @ 3 am; #2 St. Louis, MO @5 pm (ish)
Poop: Still refusing...
He spends most of the time in the back of the car sleeping, but freaks out if you drive over the "warning" bars and has to come up and sit in the passenger seat. Today we had lots of breaks for him including a visit to KU, Mizzu, and the St. Louis arch. He really liked the Mizzu campus (as did we!) and seemed to enjoy St. Louis until I made him go down by the river...hehe.
Kurtis is doing well. I texted with him most of the day, and talked to him on the phone for a bit and he is exhausted. This chemo is really taking a toll on him, but the good news is that he is done with this set of chemo! Only one more round of it (and that will be several weeks from now. I can't wait to see him as I feel like it has been forever. Chauncey and I really miss him and are both thankful that this treatment will blast the crap out of it.
I'm sorry to be sending Chels home tomorrow as it really means we are "on our own" out in Indy. Kurtis and I love hanging out together, but we'll really miss our friends this summer. I know that some of them have talked about coming out and we're really hopeful that they can. We've been looking forward to seeing more of our friends in the summer all year - and would love to now, even if it is in Indy.
Anyway, that is all for now.
There are some pictures of the doggy on facebook if you want to take a look -
Love to all,
Liz and Chauncey
Friday, May 27, 2011
As you can all tell by now I began chemo yesterday. That meant that Mom and I were stuck up at the hospital for about 9 hours while blood was drawn, returned, chemo's given, and some magnesium. It stormed most of the day that we were in the hospital so that made me feel a little bit better for not being able to go outside.
Today was a much shorter time at the hospital (only 5 hours). Things went very smooth today, but now I am super duper exhausted. This is easily the hardest of all of the chemo that I have done so far. I had to wear a mask out of the hospital because I am not immuno-compromised. So that is obviously embarrassing.
We are back at Rachel's House and are still the only people here. We are getting quite tired of having to rely on taxis every day, but that will be over on Sunday evening when Liz and Chauncey get here. On the topic of Chauncey, we are apparently testing the limits of the bone marrow transplant people because of how many diseases and whatnot dogs can carry, but for now I am still allowed to stay with him and will do that until they tell me that I can't anymore.
I am very exhausted after my two days of chemo, but the nice thing is that after tomorrow I am done with the chemo for a few weeks. However, I will start to feel very crummy because my blood numbers are going to be very very low.
We will get you all an address when we have one because both Liz and I have been getting asked if there is somewhere in which people can send us stuff while we are in Indy so you all will know that as soon as we have one.
All of my love,
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I know Kurtis wasn't feeling quite up to updating tonight, so I thought I'd take some time to fill you in on what is going on where he is as well as what I'm up to as I prepare to leave Colorado and head out to hang out with some hoosiers.
Kurtis started his chemo today, which is a great thing. They were able to harvest enough stem cells (I think he said that in yesterday's post...but I can't remember) and tomorrow, he'll get dose number two. Sounds like it is a lot like the other out patient chemo he had - takes a long time and they give him a lot of fluids. I know he wasn't feeling too great, and I didn't get to hear a lot from him today due to it being my last day of school and his first chemo treatment.
Getting ready to go has been a pretty big chore. I find myself wandering around the house trying to find what I need and struggling to think about what we might be needing. For the most part, the Subaru is packed up, either actually, or almost actually. I've got some things that have to wait for tomorrow to be packed up - and some things that I just have yet to put in the car... haha.
I'm really glad for a break from school (although, it will only take approximately four days until I'm ready to be working on next year's stuff...or you know...on the drive home from Denver tonight.) Really, I'm just happy that I have time "off" so that when I'm out in Indiana with Kurtis is doesn't mess up things. I've set it up with some people I work with so I'll be able to Skype with them and do some of my work while I'm gone which is great. I'm finding that technology is the greatest things for us during this time as it not only keeps us connected with our friends and family, but it provides information and endless entertainment.
I think that is all for now - thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and positive energy!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Once again the majority of Indiana is in a tornado watch as well as thunder-storm warning for most of the evening tonight. In talking with many of the nurses and people that live here full time this type of weather is a common occurrence for May in this area.
Although we are always fighting the weather, we made our way to the hospital this morning to begin the harvest of stem cells that will be used to "rescue" me after I am given the high dose chemo. So Mom and I sat in a hospital room today for about six hours while all of my blood was removed and replaced roughly six times. I had to be hooked to the large machine all day so I didn't even get bathroom breaks; all I got was a portable urinal. Needless to say by the time the day was over I was very stiff, sore, and had a hard time walking at first when we left.
We made our way back to Rachel's House and waited on the phone call from the stem cell lab to find out if they collected enough cells today or I needed to do the process all over again tomorrow. That call came not too long ago, and I am very pleased to report that I will begin my high-dose chemotherapy tomorrow morning at 8:30!!!!!
Mom and I were very happy to hear that the chemo would get started, but I am a little bummed that Liz will not really get to see me while I am still healthy and in good shape. By the time she gets here on Sunday my first cycle of chemo will be completed and the side effects will be in full force.
Also, for the past two days some of the volunteers here at Rachel's house have brought dinners for Mom and I (who are still the only people here). They have treated us so very well here, and we look forward to being able to give back in some way when I have finally beaten my cancer.
That is really all the news that I have for today. Mom is doing well with everything, but I can tell that she is getting tired of sitting around hospitals much like I am, but soon this will all be behind us and hopefully none of us will have to be in a hospital for a very long time.
Love to all,
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I wanted to start this update today with some nice Midwestern "folksiness" as I unwillingly for the next two months a Midwesterner; but don't tell Liz because she will not approve.
The day started extremely early today. We had to check into the hospital at 7:00 today and since we are totally dependent on taxis, and taxis can be unpredictable we were awake at about 5:00 and made it to the hospital at 6:00. The hardest part about all of this is that Mom and I are still very much on Colorado time which felt like we were getting up at 3am.
After getting to the hospital so very early we finally were taken back to the area where I was prepped to have my special new catheter placed. This new catheter will be used to remove the stem cells, give me chemo, and then put the stem cells back in as well as give me any meds and such that I need. The procedure was done under conscious sedation which meant that I was awake, but I have no recollection at all about the procedure.
We will head back to the hospital tomorrow morning at have my stem cells harvested, and hopefully they will be able to collect enough so that we can start the chemo on Thursday. They told me today that most times it takes anywhere from 1-3 days to get enough cells so I am not getting my hopes up to high about starting Thursday.
This afternoon, I was in dire need of some sleep so I took a much needed nap while Mom took a tour around the neighborhood and found out that there were some restaurants north of where we are staying which is much closer than having to head west. So that was wonderful news, and we made our way there tonight and had dinner in a very cool pub.
There is some very good news on the Indianapolis front. The air conditioner at Rachel's House is once again working and that has been making the stay so much better.
There were also two very generous donations made in the Kurtis Huss Cancer Fund at the Wells Fargo Bank. We cannot express how grateful we are to the people that have been, and were, so very generous to us throughout this entire ordeal.
After we find out about how the stem cell collection goes tomorrow we will let all of you know. Thanks again for all of your support and love.
Monday, May 23, 2011
It is so very humid here and Mom and I are having a difficult time adjusting. To us high humidity in Colorado is around 20%, and today the humidity was 89%!! Luckily it was breezy so the air didn't seem quite as heavy. Luckily the temperature is supposed to drop some in the next few days. However, the air conditioner is not working to great in our room so that makes it tough, but we have a ceiling fan and another fan that keeps it plenty cool.
Today we made our way to IU Medical Center to meet with many of the people who will be taking care of me over the next two months. The places were running late (of course) and because of that there were doctors waiting on me for a change.
The city of very busy this week since the Indianapolis 500 is going on, but luckily we are staying where we are because it would be impossible to find hotel accommodations anywhere else.
Tomorrow I will have my catheter placed which is used to take the stem cells out, draw blood, and give me IV medications. I will be sedated while they do this so I won't really remember any of it.
I think that is really all I have for now. We appreciate everything that everybody has done for us and all of the continued positive thoughts and well wishes.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today was quite enjoyable and busy. You can tell I've been a ton of places today as Chauncey is sniffing me like I smell like a stack of raw meat covered in cheese and peanut butter. Today I gave a diploma to one of my lacrosse kids who graduated which was a fun way to spend the morning. The graduation even had a fire drill - a new "fun" thing. I've calculated and I have been to at least twelve graduations total...and the fire drill was a new one. Kurtis and I then headed out to a grad party and then out to Sterling for a graduation celebration for his cousin who just finished time at CSU. We spent several hours there which was nice as Kurtis got to see his family before we head out "mid".
We're just now getting home, and as I'm watching Kurtis pack his suitcase (and the dog attempt to bite off his tail...) everything is feeling real and more in motion. He started his shots today - he gets two in the stomach a day for five days before they begin their harvest. Currently, he is in great spirits and we are both in a very much "let's get this stuff done" mood. Chaunce is aware that something is "happening" but he is not really sure what is up. It will be interesting to see how he handles the cross-country trip. Thank goodness Chels will be along for that ride.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers - and please feel free to pass this link on to anyone. Our carepage doesn't like to get the copy/paste, so unlike originally thought, I think we'll be transferring over completely to this blog as it is a lot easier for me to use. I'm working on getting it to let me add pictures, but up to this point, I've been thwarted like so many of the moths that tried to fly through our windshield tonight.
I think I have changed the settings on here so that anyone can comment. There are a few things about this blog that I'm still learning, but I think I fixed that! So go ahead and give it a try! We love hearing from you :)
All our love -
Liz (Kurtis and the 'creature')
Friday, May 20, 2011
Kurtis didn't have any tests or anything today - he starts his shots tomorrow. He'll get five sets of shots to make sure that his bone marrow goes "nuts" and produces all the things that he'll need later in the process. Thankfully, we have a friend who is a nurse who will give him the few shots that he needs while he is still in Colorado. The first option for those shots was Kurtis himself, and as you might imagine that was a no. Option number two was me which was a NO, NO. Once his body produces enough cells, they'll harvest them and Kurtis will start his three days of chemo. If they can't get enough on the first go, they'll wait a day or two and then pull more out.
I've been searching for things to do in Indy - and I've decided that there are some art classes that look really interesting, so I'm trying to decide what I might want to take. Who knows...
Thank you for your positive thoughts and continued support. It means a lot to us to know that you are all behind us as we power forward!
Lots of love,
Liz (Kurtis and Chauncey)
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I'm trying really (REALLY) hard to be excited about heading to Indy...and trying to find things to do or see that are new and interesting and might possibly distract me from the fact that it will be really hot and exceedingly humid. Any recommendations from someone who has lived there would be great...not like we know anyone...haha. So far, my list of things that I'll enjoy are:
-the Cheetah at the zoo
-that at least there is a AAA baseball team (go Indians! the AAA affiliate of the Pirates...)
-lightning bugs <-- a pretty new thing for me unless you count when I went to NC
Kurtis finished up his tests today with his pulmonary function test. The guy who was running the test for Kurtis said that he has gained an entire liter of air capacity since being first diagnosed in October which is quite impressive. So, although we're headed into a new round of treatment, we are celebrating the victories achieved. As we both hold a BA in history, we know that with any great war, there are battles won and lost. Although some of the stupid cancer cells might have escaped and clung to life, they are about to get their clock cleaned. We're thankful for modern medicine and what it will do to help Kurtis.
Other than that, not a whole lot of stuff is new to report - we've got a busy few days ahead...
FRI - Liz gets to go to a special IB ceremony for one of our lacrosse kiddos
SAT - Liz hands diploma to one of our other lacrosse kiddos & there are several grad parties to attend in town and out east where we'll get to see Kurtis' family
SUN - Kurtis and his mom head out to Indy, Liz votes for all-americans in Denver for lax
MON - End of the year lacrosse banquet in Fort Collins and possible visit from Liz' Mom and sister (or maybe tues...YET TO BE DETERMINED!)
MON-THURS - Kurtis gets ready & starts treatment in Indy, Liz teaches ukulele class
FRI - Liz & Chelsea head to Indy
I think that's all for now - thanks for reading and following along!
All our love,
Liz (and Kurtis and Chauncey)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
First and foremost, I'd like to acknowledge what is currently weighing the heaviest on my heart - even though it has nothing to do with Kurtis or cancer or anything that you might be reading about. Today, my family lost our dog, Kona. Kona came into my life when I was in sixth grade and he was great for me. I had been pestering my parents for years, literally, to get a dog and I can still remember the day we went to go pick him out. My dad wouldn't tell us where we were going, but I figured it out somehow and felt like I was going to burst the whole car ride out to Black Forrest. He was a crazy dog, but a good dog and I will really miss him. He loved sweet bread (doughnuts especially!) and I'm thinking that he has a whole buffet of sweet bread in heaven. I'm happy he isn't in pain anymore :) <3
With that said, I have some great news!
Kurtis got the result from his brain MRI back today and everything is NEGATIVE!! This means that the cancer has not moved into his brain and we are eternally thankful for that. Our doctor in Indiana, Dr. Hanna, said "Let's Roll". Kurtis and his mom will be heading to Indianapolis on Sunday and then I'll follow shortly after. I booked our "reservation" at our new "home" - - - an extended stay hotel. It was really weird to tell the woman who I worked with that we'd be staying there for "sixty nights". Haha. Good news is, it is fully furnished, has breakfast daily, and is Chauncey approved. It also has a pool...which will be good since it's the midwest - and summer - and humid.
On another positive note, tonight was the 2011 graduation for my school. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my school, it is a small school, and we had twenty-eight kids walk tonight. Although I attended a big high school (and loved it) I have found a lot of things I absolutely love about our small hands-on school. One of the coolest things is that we, as a staff, get to speak about our seniors. We all get one or two kids to speak about and it makes the kids smile and cry and it is the greatest feeling to pass those emotions on to them.
So, we are currently in a transition period. Kurtis is preparing to head to Indy Sunday and I'm planning on following with the car (and the dog!) and arriving a week later. I'll be finishing up school and the teaching of my "intensive" (week long class) about ukulele and then head out.
Thank you for all the offers to take care of our house and lawn - my best friend is going to be living here (at least most of the time) and will be taking care of that kind of stuff. We've also been blessed by a Cubs fan who didn't want to force us to watch that sad team all summer with MLB TV. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
It's been a rainy day in Fort Collins and we're glad that you're following along with us while Kurtis turns into captain cancer destrcto!
Liz (and Kurtis and Chauncey)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Welcome to our great new blog! This is going to make it a lot easier for us to update you (and include pictures of the "adventure"). If you've found this, nothing below is different from what you read on the Carepage. Stay tuned for more info!
Good Afternoon -
As the news of yesterday has begun to sink in, we have a bit more of information to share with you regarding Kurtis' treatment in Indy as well as what you can do to help. Many of you have been asking "what can I/we do?" and as we're kind of in a whirlwind right now, I thought that perhaps sitting down and writing it might help.
Kurtis will be undergoing a procedure called stem cell recovery. Here is a basic synopsis of the treatment:
-K gets shots of a drug that makes his bone marrow mass produce stuff
-K has cells removed and "stored" (frozen, I think)
-K begins chemo as an outpatient for three days and then take a two day break followed by the return of half of his cells
-K has a two week long watching period and then seven to ten days of "break"
He will have two sets of this total...and then we'll be done! WOO! We will be spending about two total months in my favorite bustling metropolis of Indianapolis and are currently looking for a house/apt/extended stay hotel/etc. The good news is that we'll be able to take Chauncey with us, so that will help us both greatly.
Below you'll find a list of things that are going on and things you can help with if you're interested . Please don't take this as us asking for things as we know that everyone has their own needs. However, people have been asking us and I wanted to provide a list of things for those who wish to help. We appreciate your love, support, and positive energy more than anything so please consider that your greatest gift <3
AT HOME NEEDS
-Front yard water (grass,roses, raspberries, pots)
-House "check in"
if you wish to help with any of these things, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurtis is going to be spending a lot of time inside where he'll be doing "nothing". Although he won't be able to be wandering around Indy as much as I might be, he still needs things to "do". Here is a list of things he likes if you'd like to contribute to his arsenal of "stuff to do".
-Book $ at Barnes and Noble (we have Nooks so money goes into the 'account' and Kurtis will be able to download any book he wants to read)
-Crossword puzzle books
-PS3 games (he has MLB, golf, and call of duty WWII)
-MLB TV for the Rockies games
-itunes $ (ipods help with sleeping and chemo days!)
Chaunce will be heading to Indy with us and he'll be living in a much smaller environment so if you'd like to help HIM out he likes:
-"kong" like toys
-Hard chew toys (Nylabone, etc.)
Money is always a big help. If you'd like to donate money to help with rent, gas, food, etc. you can go to any Wells Fargo and put money into the Kurtis Huss Cancer Fund which becomes available for us to access right away.
Again, we thank you more than anything for your thoughts and positive energy. Please, PLEASE don't feel like you need to do anything listed above. When people ask, I always draw a blank and I can't figure out what to say and then I can't remember who asked, etc.
We're starting a new blog which is easier to update and add pictures, etc. We'll be updating there with more ease. However, I'll continue to update here with "copy and paste".
The URL is www.kurtislizandchauncey.blogspot.com
Bookmark it and pass it around as you need :)