Saturday, May 31, 2008

all vacations must come to an end...

So here it is Saturday night and we are heading home in the morning. We have had a wonderful time and are so glad many of you attending the week with us through this blog.
The weather has been perfect which helped us enjoy each day to its fullest. The boat has been cleaned up and put away and we hope to be back again to enjoy it in a few weeks.
It has been very special for Jayne & I to spend time together since last Tuesday. We spend some of the time reminiscing about all of the time we have spent her with the boys. Most of the time on a shoestring budget and the boys didn't even know the difference. Jayne & I have been coming her since 1973 and Jayne has practically grown up here. She learned to ski on the lake at age 4.
Our family vacations have run the gamut. We beach camped, hotel stayed, rented our own place for the summer and have been here enjoying this view since 2000. Great memories!
we will see you back in reality...

Friday, May 30, 2008


We headed back up the lake today. We went to the London Bridge and stopped at a favorite sandwich shop to get a pastrami sandwich for lunch. By the way, the London Bridge is NOT falling down as you may have heard. It is standing strong in Lake Havasu City, AZ. I drove under it to get into the shade while I waited on Jayne to get our sandwich.
A little health update. I am still retaining water in my lower body. I have been wearing compression stocking to keep from getting cankles (my ankles are as fat as my calves) I really can't eat much but my waist is growing bigger & more uncomfortable. If I bend over too far, it makes me violently nauseous. I am close to having my meds dialed in. I hope to get back to a regular work schedule soon. I am very anxious & scared about next weeks tests & what the results will be. Yet, I know that I will be able to deal with whatever the test brings, I have a God who is bigger than all of this and His plan, is my plan. We are getting through each day together.

We made two new friends today...they introduced themselves as Donald & Daisy???????
We took their picture & shared our lunch with them. We hope to see them again soon. Maybe Fathers Day!
We are enjoying having all of you here with us.
until tomorrow...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

another great day...

how is this for a view?
The weather is still very comfortable. Today we drove up lake to the city, it is about a 50 mile drive round trip. Life is just too short to worry about how much gas we burned, it was worth every gallon.
until next time...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


sunny skies...

80 something degrees...

no other boats on the lake...

afternoon nap...
love to all of you...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


view just before taking my afternoon nap...
until next time...

Monday, May 26, 2008

beautiful day in paradise...

The weather was beautiful again today. After some boat owners maintenance, installing new batteries, we headed out to a cove and spent the day. The temp was just right and I even snuck in a few little cat naps.
My medications are doing a great job maintaining the pain, I have officially moved from the recliner back to the bed. My new name is Barney Buzzsaw, given to me by my loving wife. She says she is glad to have me next to her and that the earplugs are never out of reach.
our love to all of you...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

great, great, great

Hi all, we are having a bit of trouble getting our Internet to connect so we will do our best.

We spent Saturday here because it was raining off and on. Jayne & I both love the rain because the smell of rain is what we think it is going to smell like in heaven. All of us spent time relaxing and doing some more relaxing.

Sunday: we were ready with the boats all gassed up (it was like taking out another mortgage : o ) we had our lunch ready and the bags packed. The weather was beautiful. We made it out for a great day and then home in time for the beautiful sunset and dinner. We are really looking forward to the week of this kind of weather.

We will also try to send some pix, if we can get those to load. Anyhow, keep the sunblock on, we know that all of you are here with us.

until next time...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

headed for sun, fun & relaxation

Friday morning, we're heading to our favorite place on earth....Lake Havasu. We are spending the weekend with our family and look forward to creating memories and lots of relaxation. But wait, it gets better. On Monday, we send all of the kids home and Jayne & I spend the rest of the week together. 

We will take the computer and attempt to keep you up to date each evening with a tidbit from the day. It's really hard for me to express how much I'm looking forward to this time with my family. 

We feel like we are taking each one of you with us so make sure you wear your sunblock.
Until next time...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

puzzle pieces are still missing...

We met with the surgeon today and faced some pretty tough news. As is stands surgery is an option, if I can get clearance from a cardiologist and if my vena cava is not block by the tumor. The surgeon looked at the ct scans and seems to thing that the tumor has spread to the vena cava and if so surgery would not be possible. The MRI of my vena cava and cardiologist appointments are schedule in the first week of June which will help with making the decision for surgery or not. Today I had a chest xray, an EKG and a ultrasound of the veins in my legs to see if I was developing blood clots. All test were NORMAL......  These were all a part of my pre-op tests and we were able to get them out of the way in one day, yes, 3 tests and a doctors visit, in on day with minimal waiting.

My legs still are retaining water, I have been wear compression stockings to keep the swelling from causing pain. My overall pain is very manageable now and I am to a very comfortable level. I am also getting back to getting a good nights rest, which helps a great deal.

I am thrilled that my 3 boys, two daughter-in-laws are joining Jayne & I at the our river casa for this coming holiday weekend. At the end of the weekend, the troups will go home and Jayne & I will spend the rest of the week enjoying our little slice of heaven.

We ask that you continue to pray for strength and time, because we can never have too much of either of these.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

sunday, monday...

Tuesday, right now it seems like forever away. (tuesday, is my next doctors appt) 
We find ourselves holding up under the strain of waiting pretty well. I spent the day watching golf, phoning a few friends and taking frequent naps. The pain medications seems to be keeping the pain at a manageable level. Yes, writing down each time I take them has helped.
I seem to be retaining water in my lower body. We told the pain management doctor they made notes and we emailed the surgeon & he said that the tumor is pressing on the inferior vena cava, this is a large, yet short vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body to the heart. He suggested to elevate my feet and make sure to call them if I  get short of breath. OK??? I guess they know what they are doing and I was able to spend 2 hours lying on the couch with my feet elevated. I guess the good thing is that I was able to lay down without strong pain, it has been a long time. 
Until tomorrow...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

the results...

We have been letting the news set in from yesterday. The pathology report is shows metastatic cancer most likely consistent with renal cell carcinoma, clear cell type, ie. Kidney Cancer. So where do we go from here? The doctor is scheduling surgery to remove the kidney or a cytoreductive nephrectomy. The surgery will be scheduled in 2 to 3 weeks. We meet with the doctors on Tuesday, May 20th @ 8:30am. We are also being scheduled to meet again with the Oncologist. This news just confirms what we already knew, that there is a tough battle ahead. We feel as though we have been wondering around in the dust and now have been put back on the road to getting this taken care of, which feels much better.
The medication is still a bit of a science experiment. I still struggle with a loopie feeling, if I get too much & I still have to fight off a nausea feeling. I am having some side effects as expected. I have to say that over all my days are a little bit better. Needless to say, last nights sleep wasn't the best. I am still having to sleep in my recliner and having the "what it is" causes me to start thinking about the surgery and I am definitely not looking forward to the title of "patient". One day at a time, right?
Depending on the scheduled date of the surgery, we may take our vacation a few weeks early. We will go to our little slice of heaven, Lake Havasu, I always say, a bad day at the lake is better than a good day at work.

Here is my the view from my patio.......NICE!

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

moving in the right direction...

The meeting yesterday with the pain management group appears to have been very productive. Last night was the best night sleep that I have had in months and last night as well as today, the least amount of pain. There is still some fine tuning to be done with the dosage as I am flirting with some mild nausea. I probably don't have to say this, but thanks to all of you, that are sending well wishes, phone calls, emails and most of all prayers. All of these are of great encouragement, give me strength and hope. Still waiting for the news on the biopsy. 
Hopefully tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


No, not those kind of cocktails. Today at our appt at COH, pain management group, the conversation centered around finding the right RX cocktail to manage my pain. Jayne and I were both impressed with a very thorough consult and physical exam. They feel confident with the information I provided and their expertise, they now have the right "cocktail" of medications for me. The next few days will tell if we are on the right track. The goal of course is to manage the pain without side effects or losing conscientiousness. I was able to spend several hours at the office today. Interacting with my staff and my immediate boss, was a breath of fresh air. He, my immediate boss, has been here from our Oakland office for several days working in the LA office.
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

still waiting...

Here's the readers digest version of our visit to COH. Sun was shining today in LA...that's as a good thing. Arrived at our appt on time and got right waiting, that's a good thing. Received a couple new medications from the Dr. to help with pain and sleepless nights...that's a good thing.
Pathology report is not back yet but the Dr. talked to the head of pathology while we sat and listened and even the pathologist is baffled as to what he sees. He commented that all of the tissue samples were excellent samples but will require further review by a board of specialist...results, MAYBE, by the end of the week...this is a frustrating thing. Picked up the new medications from the pharmacy to discovery that one of them prescribed was exactly the old medication that made me nauseous...that's a frustrating thing.
So there you have it...
Good things - 3
Frustrating things - 2
Good wins.
Until tomorrow...

Monday, May 12, 2008

happy, happy, happy...

Happy Mothers Day, to all of our favorite mom's, you know who you are...
Happy Anniversary to my wife of 29 years...
Happy Biopsy over Day!
We arrived at our 8am prep & check-in, at 7:45, for my 9am CT guided biopsy. Dad always said " you never can be too early", apparently that was way back in the day, of someone noticing and actually caring. We waited and waited and waited until 8:45am to which my advocate, Jayne, got up and started whispering something to the check-in gal and you guessed 8:47 we were on our way to the prep room.
We were greeted by nurse Rita, she explained the procedure from start to finished which included some instructions to my wife about what she might do while the test was being done, don't go there, nurse Rita.... I gave Jayne a kiss and sent on her way to wait some more.
Get this visual, middle aged, overweight man, half on his stomach, half on his side balanced on a 18inch wide, moving table. Fortunately, 12 inch wide, velcro strips ( yes, velcro ) are strategically place over my body to keep me perched on the 18 inch table. Right arm up over your head with a blood pressure cuff, left arm strapped down to your left side with an IV and sweet nurse Rita asked "are you comfortable, honey?" Well, after some really good la la drugs into the IV, a BB pellet, a black sharpie, a band aid strip and an hour later, I was whisked up to recovery. Shortly after arriving, Jayne came into the room to do some more waiting. She just couldn't get enough. The darn recovery nurses kept yelling at me from their station that was about 10 feet away, DEEP BREATHES, MR. FLETCHER, DEEP BREATHES apparently the oxygen saturation sensor kept registering Low and alarming with this beeping noise. This went on for at least an hour and yes, I was annoyed. Lunch showed up and two bites into my roast beef sandwich the annoying alarm went away, FYI roast beef brings out the best in me. 30 minutes later we were on our way home.
My pain hovers between 7 & 8, 10 being the worst and the pain is primarily on my right kidney and side. I am not able to sleep laying down but have made a really good dent in my new recliner. Nurse Jayne suggested I take the pain meds every 3 hours as the bottle states, instead of waiting until the pain gets out of control, she also suggested I write down the time I take the pill because CRS has set in, I am turning 50 next month. I also started putting ice on my right side off and on, something about that seems like it's a good idea. I am really not sure if it is or isn't helping but I feel like I am doing everything possible. After all ice makes any kind of boo boo better, right? I think I remember my mom saying that and we all know that "mom knows best".
We are hoping to hear some results from Dr. Josephson tomorrow at our 10am appt and you guessed it we need to be there 30 minutes early... until tomorrow.

Friday, May 9, 2008

two down, one to go...

More GREAT news today.... the brain scan was cancer free! hip hip hooray!

Yesterday was a tough day, the pain just would not let up. I just couldn't get the right dose of medication. More seemed to make me nauseous and dizzy and to describe the feeling, it was Loopie, ?? So, as the day wore on, mostly on Jayne having to watch me trying to get comfortable, she suggested that I call COH to see if it was possible to change medications, she just didn't think that I need to be so uncomfortable. Well, she was right! I am getting better at saying that. They were able to prescribe something quite a bit stronger and so my first dose came just before bedtime. What a much better drug. Laying down causes a stinging kind of pain in the kidney, so I slept in the recliner all night and really felt much better in this morning.
Today was a little better, I spent the day trying different kind of home remedies...drank Ensure for some balanced nutrition and put an ice pack on the kidney side off and on and I changed from briefs to boxers (the elastic was loser around my waist TMI?), which all seemed to contribute to a tolerable day. About 3pm was when the news came that the brain scan was, All Clear!
We had hopes of going to the lake this weekend to celebrate our 29th anniversary but after these last two days and my biopsy early on Monday, we decided to celebrate at home.
I am so very grateful for the many that have called, sent cards, left comments on the blog and are praying for us. This is more uplifting than many of you could ever understand. Thank you for your love support and prayers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

hurry up and wait...

Yesterday and last night were really tough ones. I just couldn't get the pain under control. So we called my GP, Dr. Ferguson, and got in to see him right away. I was concerned because it was the left side of my chest. After a brief exam the doctor found nothing wrong with the heart or lungs. He gave us the green light to have the tests that were scheduled.

We arrived at COH @ 2:30 as requested, checked in, and went to the nuclear medicine waiting room. When we sat down there was a sign that said" if you have been waiting over 30 minutes and have not spoken to a tech, please let us know" great! So we waited, and waited, and waited. Jayne noticed that 30 minutes had past, so she went down the hall to "let us know"....the gentlemen she spoke to was just about to call the front desk because his computer didn't have us checked in we went. The injection of radioactive isotope went pretty smoothly and then we were off to claim our 3pm CT scan and it was now 3:15. Jayne told me that she would check me in......she told the gentlemen that she had checked us in with at 2:30, that he was the one who was in trouble for not checking us in and our being late and something else that I couldn't hear. So we sat and waited and waited and waited and waited until 4:15 (we couldn't find the "let us know sign:) When we were taken back to the scan room, I went in & Jayne reminded them that we had a bone scan set for 5pm to which they told us "no problem". We he did finish in time and we made it to our bone scan and we left the building @ 6pm.

By the time we got home, the surgeon, Dr. Josephson, had called to say that the bone scan was free of any cancer! The only thing we needed to watch for was that he might glow in the dark for a few days...teeeeheeee! A little light humor after a long day. Great news! Amen and AMEN!

actual Skull Scan...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

testing 1,2,3...

One minute after 8am I (jayne) was dialing COH (City of Hope) radiology, the scheduler on the other end told me, yes, Mr. Fletcher has:
1. CT of his brain
2. Bone scan on Wednesday and.............................
3. A CT guided biopsy of his kidney on Monday, May 12th @ 9am.
At times it feels as though we are traveling in reverse. Waiting for the chug, chug, chug of a large institution to get the request, films and paperwork all in one place at the same time is truly frustrating at times. Then we remember that all of this is in God's hands and we take a breath and rest in His promise.
This part of our day is the best. Knowing that all of you are out there means more than you will know. Keep your comments, encouragement, thoughts and prayers headed our way.

Monday, May 5, 2008

hurry up & wait...

We made another trip to COH (City of Hope) to visit the MD oncologist. He confirmed what two other surgeon oncologist had said. We were told that we need to have the biopsy and that this doctor wanted to actually see the cells under the microscope. He said he wasn't the type to say "I think it's this or that" he wants to see what he is treating. We both liked his straight forward talk. This week we move forward with the scans and biopsy in order to get a plan of treatment.

Today was one of B's harder days, the pain was a bit unmanagable at times and todays doctor, by the way his name is, Dr. Figlin, encouraged B to take the pain meds as soon as the pain starts, instead of waiting too long. He also increased the dosage, for him to be able to better manage the pain. We do not have a scheduled appt for the biopsy, so I did what I do best, knocked on doors, sat in front of whomever would listen and at least receiveda promise of a call tomorrow with an appt.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Errands, Cars & Furniture

We spent the weekend together taking short trips here and there, not too far from home. B gets tired pretty quickly. He did manage to get me to the car wash for both cars, as you know a man rests better if he knows his cars are clean. I rearranged the bedroom to get a recliner for B to get into during the nights, this will save him having to go downstairs to the couch when he gets uncomfortable. So with the help of my brother-in-law, we moved the furniture to make B more comfortable, that's how I rest better. We are faced with a big week in order to get more pieces of the puzzle.

Keep your prayers and good thoughts coming...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A place of Peace...

We are spending the weekend filtering all of the information we have been given over the last 2 days. The answer is still the same, some kind of kidney cancer. Monday we will go to a oncology medicine guru at City of Hope, Wednesday B will have a bone scan & brain scan. This will be the pivoting test...if the cancer has spread to these areas we are pretty much limited to medications. If it hasn't spread, we are going to have the tumor biopsied to see what kind it is and then probably be faced with surgery and medications/treatments.

We have peace and are so thankful for this gift of time. It is much better than a sudden death. We are being treated by the best in the nation and we have our family by our side and our lives are forever changed by this.

Please pray for strength.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The news you never want to hear or give your kids.

As some of you know B took a promotion in March 07 to Division Manager. All of his hard work, experience and dreams of having the privilege to manage had come true. He hit the ground running and was really busy hiring and training a staff and implementing all that he had learned in life about managing people.

Long days at the office, commuting the LA fwys were thought to be the culprit of sever fatigue beginning late summer. He began a quest to get some possible answers which started with a sleep study, that proved to be uneventful and the fall was spent with a focus on diet and exercise in order to conqueror the fatigue issue. While the exercise and dieting helped him to lose a couple of pounds it still didn't help with tiredness.

About 12 weeks ago, pain developed which mirrored his past battle with cancer, so off to the doctors we went. A blood test revealed severe anemia and a very high SED rate, which indicated inflammation of some kind. Because of the past cancer we were referred to a Urology Specialist which lead to CT scans and ultra sounds.

April 30th, we get the news that "he has been hit by lightening twice" to quote the doctor. The scans showed a large mass on his right kidney which appears to have spread to his liver and lymph nodes in his lung.
May 1st finds us at The City of Hope, with the news that it is Cancer.......deep breath....well we knew we were in the right place. City of Hope has the best of the best doctors and treatment for this type of cancer and it is located less than 10 miles from our home.

May 2nd find us at USC Medical Center with another expert in this field confirming the diagnosis from the day before.

The week of May 5th will include more tests, visits with specialist and plan of action put together by this group of experts.