Friday, July 18, 2014

Lots Going on Here

Looking back at the last post I realize a lot has been going on here.


Dennis saw the doctor today. This was his first check following the radiation. He said Dennis is doing about where he would expect him to be at this point. He said Dennis should continue to gradually increase his activity as much as possible.  He said it will take months to gradually regain his strength. 

He also is having some difficulty with talking.  This should improve also. If it is not doing better by his appointment in four weeks speech therapy may be needed.  He will have an MRI in four weeks.


A little over a week ago I grabbed for one of our dogs as she tried to slip out of a door, lost my balance and slammed my shoulder into a support post on our porch. I did not break my shoulder but I have an injury to the rotator cuff. The doctor does not know if it is torn or just badly bruised. For the next three weeks I will have physical therapy. If it does not improve they will do an MRI to see if there is a tear. For now, I am resting it a lot and trying to keep the pain down.


Brooklyn is enjoying summer school. She has taken math, cooking, computers and sign language.  She has also enjoyed time at the county fair, spent time with friends, planted a garden, attended Concerts on the Square and learned to roller blade.

She will be going to Abundant Life Christian School in fall.  We just got the school supply list. Yikes, summer is going too fast.


  • Continued gains in strength and communication use for Dennis.
  • Healing of Ellen's shoulder.
  • Adjustments to a new school for Brooklyn.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lots of Changes


On Monday I went into work.  It is the first time I had been into the office in close to two weeks.  Dennis took Brooklyn to the bus stop that is two houses away from us at about 7:40.  She is in summer school.  When he came home, he fell while going into the house.  When he finally was able to get up and call me it was around 11:30.  Needless to say I headed home immediately.  He had a bruised elbow but mostly was OK.  I had just gotten him an emergency call button but he had forgotten to put it on that morning.

Ellen's Changes

Since the incident on Monday, it became clear that I can't be gone for long periods of time so I am working from home.  My company and supervisor have been so supportive of this change.  I'm not able to work full-time most days as Dennis needs my help, but I am able to work a lot at this point.  I've set up a home office so it makes it easier to focus on my work with having a dedicated space for doing that.

4th of July

This was supposed to be a quiet day for Dennis and me.  Brooklyn had plans to spend the day with her aunt and uncle and I was hoping Dennis and I could get have a picnic.  Well, Brooklyn got to go to my sister's house but from there, it was not as planned.

I had noticed that Dennis' leg and ankle were swollen yesterday.  I sent a picture to his nurse asking what she thought it might be but she was off for the day.  Since he had fallen on Monday, I thought he may have injured himself and we'd see how it was doing over the weekend.  This morning it was significantly more swollen and cool to the touch.  Not sure if this was an injury or something else, we headed to the ER.  After x-rays and an ultrasound, they determined he had a significant blood clot affecting most of his leg.  It is a good thing we went in.  He is home and will be receiving two shots a day to thin his blood and allow the clot to be absorbed.  We had our "picnic" in the ER while waiting for tests to come back.  (The UW cafeteria has really good food.)  He will need to be up and about as tolerated and when not up, have is legs up to reduce the swelling.  Our doctor had told us a long time ago that about 1/3 of patients with this type of cancer will have blood clots.  We had avoided them up to this point.

Overall Conditions

Dennis continues to struggle with words.  He knows what he wants to say but so often he can't get the words to all come out.  As you can imagine this is frustrating for him.  We are hoping as we get further out from radiation that this will improve.  

After radiation he was really struggling with getting out of chairs.  He has improved in this area.  We are also seeing some improvement in his fatigue level.  

As You Pray

Please keep us in your prayers.  There have been a lot of changes in the last few weeks and we are all adjusting to them.  

We will be enrolling Brooklyn in a school in Madison this year as my schedule of going to Watertown on a daily basis is not predictable.  We are working on the details of car pooling with some other Sun Prairie families.  Please pray for her as she adjust to a new school and makes new friends.

As I am not able to work full-time, I will very quickly exhaust my sick time and vacation time.  We are thankful for a good financial adviser that is helping us plan for this.  Please pray that God continues to meet our needs during this time.  Please also pray for me as I assist Dennis and parent Brooklyn.

Please keep Dennis in your prayers as well.  Specifically pray for the blood clots to dissolve and for continued improvement with his speech and fatigue.  Also, please pray for him as he lives with these frustrations on a day-to-day basis.  Some days they are overwhelming.  

Thank You

Thank you all for your prayers, words of encouragement and assistance.  We don't know what we would do without you.  

We continue to trust in the Lord and his plan for this season of our life.  It certainly is not something we would have planned but we know it is part of His plan for each of us.  Recently I was in a Bible class and as we entered, we each were given a single piece of a puzzle.  The lesson was on how we only see one event at a time in our lives and don't always know how they will fit together.  It is much like that one piece of the puzzle.  On its own, it does not give you a good idea of what the picture is.  It is only when they are all put together that we can see the full picture.  God, the artist of our lives, knows the full picture.  I have that puzzle piece in my wallet as a reminder that all of this may not make sense to me right now but it is only one small piece to a much bigger puzzle.