Sep 302013

I decided to give Rick a break and write this week’s update myself.


Last week we didn’t run into so many bumps in the road as we did in week one.  We decided to kick the nausea to the curb with a constant dose of the tummy medicine all week long.

This seemed to work really well and by Friday Rick was feeling well enough that we had a Date Night!  He had gone to the dentist earlier in the day and got an adjustment done on the new choppers, so we even did a supper out before pulling those one-armed bandits.

It was a much deserved night out and we had a lot of fun getting out and about again.

We did have one small problem with his neck swelling up.  After his radiation treatment on Wednesday the left side of his neck looked like he had a grapefruit in it.  He saw the Oncologist on Thursday and was prescribed meds for an infection in his salivary glands.  Other than terrible sweating, everything seems to be under control.

His appetite was wonderful this weekend and I cooked up a storm in anticipation that this week he will be able to eat more and keep his weight up.  I have to note that healthy eating is no longer a rigid standard in our household.  We were told by the Dietician that high calories would be our goal going forward so Ho-Ho’s and Enchiladas (and whatever else he wants to eat that he can tolerate) are now staples until we get off this roller coaster.

We are learning as we go and hope to hold off on using the feeding tube in his stomach as long as possible.

Oh, and it wouldn’t be Monday without a visit from another furry friend in the Chemo room.


This is Cash and he is a 4-year-old Black Lab.  He was so well behaved and even Rick gave him a scratch behind the ears.

As always, I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support.  We are venturing into the unknown here (which is scary as hell), and having all of you there cheering Rick on makes it that much easier.


Sep 162013

I told Rick that I’d love it if he would do a guest post from time to time to talk about what he is going through with the Cancer.

The following is an email that Rick sent out to his family and I am sharing it with all of you.*



Well today was my first day of Chemo.  It went well.  They wound up taking several blood samples for testing.  I guess they do that every week.  Send the result out to some pharmacist and he or she figures out the chemo mixture for the week, emails it back to the staff at Marshfield  and they whip it up right there on the spot. Today it was several bags of saline solution and the “fix”, a drug called “cisplatin.”  It targets fast dividing cells such as cancer and causes them to die.  I had one big bag of that put in me.  It is like you see at the hospital a lot, metal holder on wheels that they hook the bags to and from there it is kind of a gravity feed down into your body.

The cisplatin, and the saline solution, were both put into that Port they put in for me last week.  The cisplatin was “warm” at some points while they were putting it in, but otherwise went pretty well.  Apparently the body takes these liquids, that are injected into a vein, and very rapidly route them through to the bladder, I think I had to go to the bathroom at least twice during this. Probably three times though.  And by 1:00 pm they were all done.  I do not feel horrible.  I was told it can get horrible, nauseating…  sick vomit, etc.  but so far today I am fine.  Sandy ran in to the pharmacy to get my additional meds.  When she gets back I am gonna go to work.  33 more trips to Rice Lake and I will hopefully have kicked this SOB out of my system.   Oh I found out the name of this cancer: Squamous Cell Carcinoma/Tonsillar.

Sandy showed me comments on a facebook page today by many of your children, our friends, and my children.  I want to say thank you so very much.  Sandy if you would copy and paste this email onto your facebook page, I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  The journey begins with the first step.  Today we officially have taken that first step.  In 6-7-8 weeks I want this to be in the rear view mirror, got other things to do.  Thank you all very much (Miigwech), gigawabimin, (see you later)




Oh, and this is Oz.  He was there for moral support.  Support comes in many shapes and sizes.

And apparently fur.  Lots of fur.


*Minimal editing for stupid shit like punctuation.


Sep 152013

The last couple weeks haven’t been all Doctor appointments and miserable moments.


We ventured over to Rick’s sister’s house Labor Day weekend to attend the 2nd Annual Rooney Family Reunion.

What a great time it was!

For a few short hours we were able to relax and enjoy the company of family.  It’s always fun to be able to sit around and catch up on what is going on in everybody’s life.

Rick wasn’t sure we were going to be able to make it this year because he had some dental work (aka all his teeth extracted) done just a couple days before, but luckily he was feeling just fine and even able to down a couple of hamburgers.  How he managed this I have no clue.

This year we had the pleasure of some four-leggeds attending the festivities.

I’m just a sucker for animals, and I really enjoy photographing them.

They all have such distinctive personalities:





But the one thing that they all have in common is the love that they share with their person.

But the dogs aren’t the only thing with a commonality.

Every Rooney get-together has to involve a card game of sorts.


This year it was Cribbage.


If you thought that Cribbage was a relaxing, easy-going game you were dead wrong.


This family takes their card games very seriously so don’t even think about interrupting them for anything.

Unless, of course, that interruption involved family pictures which had to be done before Rick & I could make the long journey home.


This year’s photog centered around Jerry’s tractor.  It’s an old Allis-Chalmers that was built back in the day when things were meant to last.

As usual, getting those Rooney kids together for a picture is like herding cats.


And once you finally get them in one spot you have to hope that they behave for 5 minutes.


Much better.


It shouldn’t be surprising that the dogs were easier to manage.

The sunny, hot day ended just as we headed back to the Northwoods.


Nephew Adam snapped this picture of the storm clouds heading towards them.  We listened to the weather updates as we traveled and were lucky enough to keep ahead of the rain.

Which we celebrated by stopping at a Casino on the way home and left with more money in our pockets than we started with.

I’d call that a very successful day.


Aug 282013

Sorry I’ve been kinda absent lately from posting.

I could say that I have no excuse, but I really do.

It’s called Doctor’s changing their minds which causes appointments to get cancelled and new appointments to get scheduled which causes me to not plan anything because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next 24 hours and when I start to think about downloading pictures and coming up with something remarkable to talk about it all gets thrown out the window because somebody besides myself made a decision and is now running my life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this type of situation.


Reader’s Digest version:  Everything was going along swimmingly when the Dentist said 2 (or was it 3) weeks ago that Rick’s teeth didn’t look bad and that he could get started on the treatments.  Surgery was scheduled to get all the tubes put in his body for the treatment and feeding, as well as the simulation appointment.

Apparently the Radiation Oncologist wasn’t convinced, so he spoke to the Dentist.  This is where all the wheels feel off the cart.

When the Dentist found out that some really nasty shit could happen to Rick from the radiation because of his periodontal disease, the decision was made that he needed all his teeth removed.

2 steps forward, 10 steps back.

So, all those appointments were cancelled and new ones were added for his mouth.  He’s since had 14 teeth pulled and is waiting for the dentures to be made so that he can have the rest of them yanked out and the fake ones put in.

After that is all done, then he can get in for the simulation appointment and we can schedule his surgery again.  After he’s healed a tad from that, his treatments can start.

To say that it has been a tough few weeks on the homestead is putting it mildly.

But you know what?  It’ll be OK.

I’ve always said that things happen for a reason and I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

And in a couple months when Rick might not feel the best and we’re not particularly happy campers, I’ll look back at some of the happier days we’ve had these past couple weeks.

And despite all the setbacks, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

We just have to get back on track.


Aug 082013

Thursday is usually known for being a “good” day because it comes before Friday which many rejoice for because of the end of a workweek and the beginning of 2 days of either loafing off or trying to cram 26 days of chores into 48 hours.

This Thursday has special meaning because of two reasons:


1.  It is this marvelous man’s birthday; and

2.  We found out that the tonsil that was removed from his throat last week was where the cancer was located.

You don’t know how hard I had to fight not to do a fist pump in the Doctor’s office when he gave us the news.  Instead I breathed a sigh of relief and did a happy dance inside.

Now the fun part begins:  Treatment.

And that will start next week with visits to not one, but two oncologists that will plan out how much radiation treatment there will be and if it will also involve chemotherapy.

And sandwiched in between those funfests is a cast change from the cadillac he wears right now to a more compact model.

There is still some rough road ahead, but the news is good and that is all we could hope for.