Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oatmeal, Applesauce, and Grins!

It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels,
to go live on earth, and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave,
I like it here, and I will miss you".
He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay,
and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea.
So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me
and take the other half with you, will that be okay?" The angel smiles and says,
"I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared.
She asks, "Will I be okay with only half of my heart?"
Jesus replies, "Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out,
and you will be fine." Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan.
He says "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong,
and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart."
"Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday."
"And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again.
Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves."
-Author Unknown

Getting Ready for Some First Bites

Mmmmm. This is pretty good!

Waiting for some more!

Interesting! Very Interesting!

I'm having fun with this! Yum!

Celebrating the Feeding with My Big Brother!
We do have a prayer request we would like to put out to you all. Heart babies can have a hard time gaining weight and up until now, Maia has been fine in her progress week by week. But now...Maia is slowing down in her growth. Her weight gain is coming to a standstill as of late. She is right at about 13.4 pounds tonight, which actually is 4 oz. from her last doctor's visit two weeks ago. We are probably going to have to go to caloric supplements in formula as well. We will see what the doctor says we need to do.
I have a feeling that she is just going through sympathy behavior in honor of her Grams who is losing weight left and right from the affects of chemo. We love you Grandma Judy! We are praying for you as well!
We want to continue to praise God through each circumstance! Through the trials of Maia's condition, through the ups and downs of my mother's treatment, through the loss of Grandpa's Ken's job we know that the Lord is Good and He will be glorified! Praise you, heavenly Father!

Monday, March 23, 2009

For Aunt Becky!

Aunt Becky's Turn! Aunt Becky, Ken's sister, got this precious little velvetine jumper for Maia. There was a matching dress and matching pants as well! Too cute! I just, again, had to make sure to get some photos for posterity sake that showed Maia in such a wonderful little oufit! Thanks, Aunt Becky! We love you!

Then we just had to include a lot of "mug shots" of that cute face as well! :)

Please be praying for a baby boy named Stellan.
He was born the same day as Maia.
Prenatally he had a condition that should have killed called SVT.
SVT is a condition where the heart beats too fast.
He was miraculously healed of this condition inutero
He has not had any symptoms since his birth until now.
Yesterday he had congestion and flu-like symptoms so his parents took him into the hospital to check him out.
He was given an albuterol treatment which sent him into an SVT condition once more.
They have not been able to get him out of this fast-paced rhythm as of yet.
He cannot go much longer at 300 bpms!
Please pray for Stellan.
You can click on the picture above and it link you directly with his mother's blog.
Thank you so much for your prayers.
I will update you when I get further news!
God's Blessings!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For Aunt Meaghan

Oh the frustration of Blogger sometimes!!! Arggh!
I have tried over and over to get this pictures to justify correctly. It looks fine on my edit page and then voila I go to the preview and it looks totally skewed.
So here you go! This is the best I could get it to go! Sometimes I just don't understand the idiosincracies of Blogger. Phmmmpt.

Our sweet Aunt Meaghan gave
this cute little onsie to Maia
before she was even born.
She is about ready to bust out
of it size-wise so I thought I
better get a snapshot of her
in it before it is too late!

Thanks Aunt Meaghan!
Don't I look cute even though
I am mesmerized by the flash
of my momma's camera?
How did you know I was going
to be so smart?!? You are amazing!

Little hand
for both my Grandmas!
We fold our hands in prayer
for each of you every night
that you might
get better!

Love You Guys! Seriously!

Free Personal signatures - cool!

I found a great site for signatures! Have you seen those cool signatures that people have at the end of their blog or their facebook notes? Well, I have found the a site, My Live Signatures that helps you manufacture one (you can go to the link in this sentence). Now I got the "free" signature, but you can also write your own signature on a piece of paper, scan it, and email it to this site and they will make you an HTML code for your very own personal signature. Too cool! For now, my signature looks like the one down below, but I can change it at my whim. I might want to try that scanning thing and then have my permanent real siggy. Stay tuned!

God Bless!

P.S. I might need to change my webpage design so that the Signature looks better. The brown background doesn't seem to go very well. Hmmm.

Momma's Medical Musings Part III

Okay, I've been lax in my updates from my mother so I am going to post two different emails I have received recently from her. Thank you again for the prayers you have been lifting up to our gracious Father on behalf of her! She, I , we are so very grateful!

Judy's posts...

My hand....‏

I wanted to update you on a serious situation with regards to my hand and the redness which began last Saturday. I went through the weekend watching it closely to see if there were signs that the streaks were progressing up my arm. Other than the redness deepening, it didn't appear to get worse.

On Monday morning I called the oncologist center where I receive my treatments and talked with a nurse. After going over my regimen since my last chemo on the 27th, we were finally able to arrive at a cause for my present problem. When I had my treatment on February 27th I told you the procedure was completely different. It involved a much more detailed and lengthy time and I was consigned to a bed throughout. Sometime after 1:00 p.m. my male nurse, Mark, announced that he would be leaving for lunch and that while he was gone another nurse would check my IV's and when the bag was empty she would flush out my lines (a 30 minute procedure) before sending me home. Everyone there at the time remembers his explanation because he wasn't sure he would be back by the time I would be dismissed to go home.

Sure enough, when the bag emptied a nurse came over and instead of starting the flush, she began to disconnect all the lines. I told her that I needed to be flushed first. She responded that I had already been flushed out. I told her that I hadn't and that Mark had made it very clear I should be before I left. She looked at my records and said that I had previously been flushed and there was no need to do it again.

What was I to do? Defy authority? Ask for another nurse? Ask for a doctor? Hind sight now indicates I should have done all three. Even my new chemo mate, Lorrie was upset. So I gathered my things together and the last thing I said to Lorrie was that I would appreciate it if she would tell Mark when he returned from lunch. When I got to the elevator Mark was getting off. I stopped him and told him that I suspected I had not had my lines flushed out. He said that he would check with the nurse when he got to the treatment room. He did not ask me to go with him or to stay until he could either confirm or deny what had happened.

All was fine until a week later when I went in for my regular blood work. Normally I get a little pin prick on a finger but this time the tech indicated I needed to have blood drawn from my hand since he had to retrieve several vials. Saturday my hand started to redden and by Saturday night it looked like I had a severe burn with the red streaks beginning to form. I really had no idea if this event had anything to do with my sore hand but when the nurse heard this she knew and confirmed that by not having the flush, the toxitier remained in my veins and this was a normal side effect.

They scheduled me to come in first thing this morning. I certainly received the red carpet treatment. Even my oncologist came out to render an opinion. Pictures were taken of my hand. They have upped my dosage of antibiotics and over the next three days I have to go in for shots to boost my immune system. I've been told that if the lines progress further up my arm, I am to call them immediately and report to the emergency room.

One concern is that this will develop into cellulitis. The other problem with this hand situation is that the previously scheduled repositioning of my port (for tomorrow) had to be cancelled. That makes three times now that the procedure, which would have prevented all this from happening in the first place, has been delayed. I ask that you pray for healing of this hand, for wisdom from the doctors in my treatment and that I will be more bold in the future when faced with conflicting situations. Below is the definition of cellulitis:

Cellulitis (sel-u-LI-tis) is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly.
Skin on lower legs is most commonly affected, though cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body or face. Infections on the face are more common in children and older adults. Cellulitis may affect only your skin's surface — or, cellulitis may also affect tissues underlying your skin and can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream. Left untreated, the spreading infection may rapidly turn life-threatening. That's why it's important to seek immediate medical attention if cellulitis symptoms occur.


Second Email...

Port Day‏

Yesterday was PORT DAY...finally! I was so excited that I would have it repositioned and working for my next treatment this coming Friday. But, there was a problem. Wouldn't you know it? It took over an hour, five nurses and one doctor to get an IV line into me. At first, my main nurse, Peggy tried. She stuck me three times. First in the underside of my wrist, and then twice up at the bend of my elbow. When she was unsuccessful, she called for help. A gal named Brenda came in and three other nurses who were nearby and idle at the time decided to give both her and me moral support, holding my hand, offering encouragement.

Brenda's first attempt was a disaster. She went in somewhere between my wrist and the bend in my elbow. She thought she had it and so they started the IV fluids only to have me start writhing in pain. Swelling was instantaneous and they pulled out the needle, pronto! Apologies were coming from everyone. So she tried two more times on the under side of my arm, once toward the outside and the last time way over to the outside near my elbow. It was agonizing. Pure pain.

In the middle of all this I asked them to call Tom out in the waiting room to tell him to pray and to call for prayer. They did and he did. They kept saying to me, "Girl, do you ever need a working port!" No joke! Finally, they had exhausted all their options and they called the anesthesiologist from the OR.

Dr. Yates had been out to talk to me earlier. She looked at my bruised, bleeding, swollen left arm and quickly decided there were no more options there. She announced that the only remaining site would be the right side of my neck. Yes, you read that correctly! I cringed. "Will this hurt?" "Yes", they replied. It did. I came so close to crying. But I didn't. The Lord was with me and once it was in I felt no pain. Mainly because they started filling me with the most luscious relaxing meds they had on hand. (Smile.)

Once Dr. Hoagland got into the port site he soon realized that the port wasn't fit to be repositioned. It was a dud. So I got a brand new one. Donna Gunnoe brought me home so Tom could zip over to his office and tidy up some things. It wasn't long before he joined me at home.

As I was preparing to retire for the night I glanced at myself in the bathroom mirror and horrors! The left side of my lower face was swollen from my chin to my ear. What now? I had a restful sleep with the help of some pain medication and when I awoke this morning I could see that the swelling had not subsided. If anything, it had gotten worse. I called the doctor and we discussed what might be causing this. He thinks it is due to the port site and that he implanted the port deeper in the tissue than last time. Well, isn't that special?

Other than that, I am doing well today and haven't had to take anymore pain medication. I plan on going back to work tomorrow and Thursday. Friday I will have treatment #6. I can see a light at the end of my tunnel. PTL!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Alternative Route to Rolling on the River

Well, for some odd reason the embedded videos from Google are not appearing to work out on my previous post, so now I am going to Plan B.

Please go to the following two links to view the videos...

Link one is of Maia rolling over and Link two is of Maia feeding and grasping on bottle.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rolling On the River

Maia has been a rolling fiend as of late and I thought you would like to see her accomplishment. Mommy, Daddy, and Gideon of course are tickled pink!

Here is another video that I took tonight of Maia drinking her bottle of formula. She is really beginning to realize what those things that move on the end of my arms are for. She is starting to reach out for various things including reaching out for Daddy and Momma to pick her up. I think she likes that one the best so far.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Birthday on Broadway

We had a great time this weekend celebrating my 30 something birthday.
What!?! You want to know how old I really am?
Well, you are just going to have to guess.
Kenny had been saving up and gave me a wonderful surprise.
We went and saw "Mary Poppins" on Broadway!
Yes, the real Broadway!
My dream come true!
It was a wonderful experience and what most people don't realize is that the theatres in NYC are much smaller than that of the KY Center of the Arts.
There really isn't a bad seat in the house other than leg room.
Poor Kenny's right knee was about to be bent out of shape by the end of the play.
Fortunately we were on the left end and he could stretch the left leg out.
I had visions of the a time when the Gerdis family made a trip to England in 96'.
We ended our last night in the UK with a performance of the musical of "Oliver".
We got tickets in the highest balcony.
Evidently this is where the skinny peasants sat in the 1800's or something
They also must have been about 4 foot 10, as well.
My dad, mom, Micah, and I sat sideways to fit our legs in these seats.
It was crazy, but what a memory! Wow!
Anyway, back to "Mary Poppins".
It was wonderful!
Of course, they couldn't use the cartoon penguins or some of the other scenes from the movie.
Instead they used marble statues that come to life in the song...
"Its a Jolly Holiday with Mary"
The "Step in Time" rendition was out of this world!
And of course the way they interpreted "Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious" was truly mesmerizing,
Especially the tail-end of the song!
I think you can go to the website and see that performance.
Kenny and I ate at an Irish Pub style restaurant on 44th Street.
It was very yummy and had great earthy atmosphere.
It was so nice just being with my "honey" and two instead of four for one evening.
We had a wonderful time just being a couple!
Ah! Love!

My parents sent me a check for my birthday and with some of the moolah I bought this purple top! As soon as I saw it at Lane Bryant it was a must have!

Kenny and Maia right before the babysitter showed up!

Coral, our babysitter, and Maia!

Angus McIndoe, a great restaurant.

My Teddy Bear and I

He's so sweet, I just can't help but smile ear to ear!

(Ew! I just noticed that my spearmint gum is showing and it looks like a got a piece of spinach between my teeth! Promise...its gum!)

Took this pic at church the next morning in the nursing mother's room
This is a very surprised Maia (LOL) and her little friend, Ava!
Ava is so cute, she reminds me of a little oompaloompah from the new version of the movie!

Later on that day, Gideon and I went to a birthday party for his friend Jay.
We did that photograph sketching machine.
Here's the results.
I've sure got a cutie of a son!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Benjamin Thomas Gerdis

Benjamin Thomas Gerdis
Born on March 6th, 2009
at 6:47p.m.
7 pounds 14 ounces
21 inches long

Proud Momma and Grandma

Proud Dad and Papa!
My parents also visited Kaya, Micah's little girl this weekend.

She is getting to be a chunk. They all she does is sleep and eat.

Hopefully she will be discharged from the hospital in about two weeks.
She is starting to stay awake more during the day than the night. This is a promising sign.

You can tell she still has a fight ahead of her though!
Sweet girl, we are praying for you!
We can't wait to see our new nephew and our new niece.
Hopefully for Spring Break! Hopefully!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More of Momma's Medical Musings

OK, I have a winner. My friend, EJ Krueger Blohm, came up with this alliteration and I think I'll keep it. Much better than Momma's Mutterings!

My mom has sent out a new update. Poor Momma!

Mom writes....

I hate to be a pest but I certainly would appreciate it so much if you would be praying for me right now.

As you know, I had my 5th chemo treatment on Friday and since it is a new "cocktail" of meds I wasn't real sure what side affects would pop up, if any. I stayed home Saturday and Sunday and other than feeling a little weak and shaky, I thought I was doing fairly well.

Last night around 9:00 p.m. I started having sharp pains in my toes and feet. This progressed into the ankles and both knees. As the evening wore on the pain took over my back, hips, shoulders...even my hands and fingers. Tom prayed for me twice. I was afraid to take anything of any strength to combat the pain because I didn't know how it might interact with the other medicines so I had a very restless night of sleep.

First thing this morning I called the doctor and spoke with a nurse who assured me that I could take more powerful drugs to ward off the pain. I did that and even though the pain has somewhat subsided from time to time I'm still in a lot of discomfort. Even my teeth hurt. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've suffered like this. The doctor feels that this new chemo treatment has stirred up a storm within my system that has brought out the fibromyalsia full force. If I knew this would only last a day or two, then I can deal with it but, of course, I don't know what to expect. Please be praying for me that I can endure this latest set back with grace and peace of mind. Thanks so much

My mom also sent an update at the end of last week that I thought you would like to read...

Back on Track

Thursday I didn't feel much better so I was worried that my chemo would be cancelled again. But by the time I went to bed I could tell that my cough had dried up and wasn't as severe. I slept quite well for the first time in two weeks. When I woke Friday morning I hardly coughed at all so I was very excited. I told Tom to be sure and bring reading material because I knew I would have my treatment.

We arrived at 8:15 a.m. and I had my blood work then we met with the nurse practitioner. I started having the "rice krispies" again but she wasn't too concerned about that. She gave me the all clear to have the treatment and added that I would not be having the Neulasta shot. I was out of my mind with happiness!

A Whole New Routine

Donna Gunnoe had reminded me that during my orientation they had mentioned that at some point in my treatment I would no longer be assigned a chair but a bed. So, I was not too surprised when the nurse directed me to a bed. I should have known that this would mean a different routine for the treatment but no one had prepared me for just how detailed things would become nor how long the treatment would take.

Tom and I had rushed out of the house without anything to eat, thinking that I would be finished with my treatment by 11:00 a.m. or so. There are always snacks available for people to eat and a refrigerator full of soft drinks and juices. Tom did grab an apple from our kitchen right before heading out the door and this came in handy later in the day.

I started on my treatment at 10:30 and I wasn't finished until after 2:30. It was a long day. And, boy, was I hungry! We know now to pack a snack or a sandwich and bring it from home.

The pre-meds took as long to administer as the entire treatment I received for the first four. Remember I told you all that I would be on a different "cocktail" so they really doped me up good before flushing the line and starting me on the new solutions. That took nearly two hours followed by another flushing.

They had me hooked up to a blood pressure monitor and as they started me on all this new stuff my blood pressure started sailing higher and higher. Each time it went up I started to cough. I was so embarrassed. Here were all these sick people on either side of me and my cough sounded like it had earlier in the week. I tried to confine the spray to my blankets and buried my face into a pillow. It finally dawned on me that my cough hadn't necessarily returned but that the blood pressure was causing me to go into these fits.

Understanding Why

Remember how I wondered why all this coughing had caused me to have to go to a different treatment schedule? I was really bummed out that instead of Tuesdays I would now be on a Friday schedule. Now I think I know why this has all been part of His plan.

Susie Dana had told me that she shied away from the "support groups" because she felt they turned into pity parties. She said she received more encouragement from those who were there at the times she received treatment. I had been looking for that but each time I had my Tuesday treatment I saw different people and many of those were none too friendly and preferred not to talk.

When I arrived at my bed I noticed a lovely young lady in bed to my left. The curtain was partially pulled for privacy so I didn't say anything at first. But soon, she had to get up to go to the bathroom and she stopped at the foot of my bed and said, "Do ya'al go to Southeast Christian?"

Tom was wearing his Master's Men Southeast Christian sweat shirt and it had already been the source of conversation in the waiting room. Of course, it didn't hurt having Tom with me anyway as he is such a conversationalist and he started up dialogue with just about everyone around us. One lady in the waiting room saw his shirt and asked about our former pastor Bob Russell and mentioned to her companion that she must go to the Easter Pageant this year. Turned out that another man waiting in the room had a nephew who attends Southeast and we know him well from our Bible Class...Bill Kalbfleish.

So we replied to the young lady that, yes, we attend Southeast. She mentioned the pageant and introduced herself and her husband. Lorrie and John Holmes from Brandenburg, Indiana. We became fast friends and the curtain was pulled back permanently. In between our bouts of sleepiness we talked and talked. Tom and John never ran out of things to say. Lorrie was receiving her 5th round and has three more to go, like me. We are now on the same schedule and so we promised to save beds next to each other for our next treatments.

Lorrie's situation is a little different than mine, however. She is only 41 years old. They have two daughters. One is getting married to their pastor's son this coming June. Last summer she started having problems with her digestion and lost 30 pounds in a matter of two months. They started running tests on her, mainly her stomach and kidneys thinking that was where the problem had to be. I think she said she had over 100 biopsies on her stomach. Finally a doctor got the idea that they needed to check outside her stomach and there they found cancer wrapped around several of her ducts. It was not the primary source however and one doctor remembered that on previous mammograms a ridge had shown which they didn't think amounted to anything. They did a biopsy and that was the source of the cancer. It had gone to her lymph nodes and set up residence in her uterus, as well. She is stage four and all her treatments have been of the more aggressive style. Her attitude is amazing and she has a deep faith that is contagious. We talked of the Lord and she was just a delight.We had a wonderful time of prayer before leaving.

So now I know that the Lord had all this in mind from the beginning and I'm not at all upset anymore that my schedule has changed. And, I'm so glad Tom will be able to come with me as this new process is very tiring and he was so much help.

Side Affects

As of now I'm unsure what side affects this new treatment will show. At the moment it appears to be diarrhea and a little vomiting. Not much, though, and I'm not nauseas at the moment. Usually the third day tells me what to expect. Today I'm weak and shaky and I'm coughing a little bit. The consensus is that whatever the side affects I shouldn't have them as long as with the first four. That is promising. I look forward to getting back to work faster


Monday, March 2, 2009

Angel Boy!

Pre-Snow Pic!

Making a Snow Angel!

Ah! There we go! It looks like an Angel, Momma!

Can it get any better than this! Look at that face of happiness!

Cold Booty!

Everytime I turned around He was eating Snow!

See! There he goes again!

Ah! Help me momma! I am sinking! It has me! I won't last long! Help me, momma!
(We have a major pretender in our family!)

Either he was eating snow or throwing it at me! :)

I think he's happy! No, I know he is!!!!

I had a great opportunity to play in the wintery white stuff with Gideon today. It was so nice to play one-on-one with him. I don't get that chance (out of the apartment) lately. Oh yes, we play in the apartment, but now that he has a little sister, mommy-Gideon time has been sparse to say the least, especially in the great outdoors.
I saw this McDonald commercial today where an older brother is doing so well getting used to the his new little baby brother that his mother realized that she needed to take him out just them alone. Of course they went to McDonald's but it almost made me cry like a Hallmark commercial normally would! I realized I need more of these moments. Kennyis going to get some more requests for this time in the near future!

We romped in the foot of snow, made snow angels, and just had plain old fun with some snow balls!

Ah! Pure Bliss!

Proverbs 24:13-14

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

14 Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;
if you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off

Sharing Gideon's Interview About His Mom

Kid AnswersShare
Sunday at 6:15 p.m.
Cut and paste these questions and ask your kids their is a RIOT!
Gideon, Age 4

1. What is something mom always says to you?
G: "i love you"

2. What makes mom happy?
G: When I love on you!"

3. What makes mom sad?
G: "When I get hurt by rock or something."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
G: "By telling me silly, silly, silly, silly stories."

5. What was your mom like as a child?
G: " Playing your mom's piano"

6. How old is your mom?
G: "how old are you?" "45?" NOT! (my words)

7. How tall is your mom?
G: Like this tall (he holds up his hand to the top of my head as I am sitting on the couch.) :)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
G: Play with me.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
G: Think about me.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
G: Build

11. What is your mom really good at?
G: You are really good at controlling the remote for the cartoon channel (not sure how I feel about that one! Hmmm)

12. What is your mom not very good at?
G: Carrying really big things

13. What does your mom do for a job?
G: You are a teacher.

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
G: Fried Rice

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
G: When you get food for me

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
G: the stretch mom in the Incredibles ( I like that)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
G: We play games

18. How are you and your mom the same?
G: We have blue eyes

19. How are you and your mom different?
G: I'm a boy and you are a girl...that's different

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
G: I say I love you so much, Gideon. You say it all the time.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
G: He has brown eyes.

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go
G: Sushi places!!! Mmmhmmm