Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Congratulations, Karen!

My sister, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.  After surgery, chemo, and radiation, she is well on the road to recovery, thank God.

So what does she do to celebrate?  Throw a charity event, of course.  Last Saturday was the 2008 Belvidere Historic Home Fun Run/Walk.  Initial reports are that the event raised upwards of $9000 with 150 participants.  Way to go, Karen!  Will you get some rest, now?

Mom is doing much better

For those of you who don't know, my mother was hospitalized in early April with an infected cyst on her groin. While in the hospital, the infection spread rapidly, and required major surgury and antibiotics to bring under control. Her recovery has been a slow process -- some of the wounds have still not healed.

Mom was released from the nursing facility on July 8th. Having recently been through a similar experience with BR, I flew home to offer what assistance I could to my Dad and sisters. Mom was pretty weak, and had trouble getting up from a seated position. We got the house arranged to be as comfortable as possible, interviewed caregivers to help when the kids couldn't be around, and marveled at how calmly Mom was taking her new physical limitations.

As I flew back to SF, I prayed that Mom and Dad would continue to find the strength. For the caregiver that was necessarily invading their space. For us kids, whose personal issues (we should write a book) got a big dose of perspective.

I also felt some guilt for not being more available to help out. Thank goodness for internet medical supply stores! But most of all, I felt pride in how we pulled together as a family and did what was necessary for our Mother.

When I spoke to Mom last Friday, she was in good spirits. With the help of a physical therapist, she had climbed the stairs to the second floor, and sat on her own bed for the first time in over three months. I can close my eyes and see the smile on her face.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Soul crushingly painful decisions

BR and I arrived in San Francisco in June of 2004. Even before we arrived, this city threw its arms around us and made us feel more welcome than we could have ever imagined. That's because in February 2004, BR and I joined the thousands of other couples in claiming the legal rights and obligations that most take for granted ... the right to marry the one you love.

Turns out, that document wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, but it set the tone for the next four years. A spouse keeps you grounded in the face of unimaginable bounty (fleeting as it was). He keeps you going when bed feels like the only safe place. And he makes you understand that not all things are under your control

So once again we are offering our fate to a higher power, and taking steps to prepare for whichever way Fortuna's wheel spins us.

In other words, we are moving to Austin at the end of August. Here are the highlights of the current plan (subject to change without notice):
  • My boss is graciously allowing me to keep my Staff Engineer position at VMware. I will be working remotely from VMware's Austin office starting September 8th.
  • Once we arrive in Austin, BR and I will be living in an extended stay hotel for at least a month while we look for suitable housing. I know it sounds crazy, but it turns out to be break even compared to our current living expenses. We'll put all our stuff in storage and are open to offers on the furniture. $-)
  • We have already identified a primary care doctor for BR, and have an appointment for the first week of September. It shouldn't take long to fill out his medical team with an afternoon caregiver, an in-home nursing service to regularly change his suprapubic cystostomy tube, and a neurologist to monitor the MS progression.

We have come to love San Francisco -- evenings sitting on the stoop chatting with neighbors, Broadway shows -- we saw Tuna Does Vegas last month, and most of all the cool friends and cool temperatures that seem to help with BR's pain.

So Austin, you'd better have a Margarita waiting on us at the airport. We'll forgive you if you won't marry us, if you'll forgive us for leaving our heart with another city.

Monday, July 28, 2008

BR starts Rituxan treatment

It's been a very eventful day. BR received his first infusion of Rituxan. Hear about it directly from him by clicking the play button on his big mouth.

Rituxan is approved to treat cancer and arthritis, but not MS. However, there have been studies that seem to indicate that it can stop MS progression and give the body a chance to heal.