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    Welcome to AnnMarieOlogy, where we discuss everything from wardrobe to whining, to wining & dining. I'm AnnMarie. I hope you enjoy your stay.

Mount Everest

2nd Cycle Begins

We arrived at University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz Cancer Pavilion at 11:00am. We are navigating the system pretty well I’d say as we took it upon ourselves to carry our luggage up to the 11th floor to “Check In” prior to getting his PICC Line in. This accomplished two things – tricking our brains that we were at a hotel by “checking in” and we didn’t look like idiots hauling my Creative Memories bag and our suitcase through the hospital.

Michael endured the PICC Line so much easier this time. It was also so much faster – a mere 10 minutes to put the line in. He was a champ!

We casually made our way up to our room- I think any spouse/care giver of a Cancer patient would agree it’s a joint fight where WE is the only way to go about daily business at this point.

I must say as a care giver, taking care of yourself is equally important as taking care of the patient and yet as the caregiver I admit it’s not so easy to do….. but today I was determined and so we  made a few adjustments in our room. I had a table brought in for my scrapbooking essentials and a reclining chair for comfort. I’m writing in the reclining chair and I’ve scrapbooked 4 pages of our European Trip we took the kids on in May. Both are putting smiles on my face.

Michael is fighting the fight. I wish I could say something more uplifting but I can’t properly convey how horrific a treatment BioChemo truly is. There just aren’t words to describe how hard his body must work to get through BioChemo and how difficult the mental aspect of this treatment is on a human being.

Did you know that Sloan Kettering doesn’t even administer BioChemo? For a champion hospital of Sloan Kettering to not take on this beast, is enough for me to know I don’t wish this upon anyone and enough for me to know that Michael is a Champion in his own right!

Speaking of Champions – our 3 Foonberg children are the biggest CHAMPIONS of all!

They are handling their daddy’s condition like true Olympians! Madilynne is spending a lot of time with our summer sitter, Katie and relishing in the freedom. Today she had 2 Red Streaks placed in her mermaid length hair and looks more beautiful than ever – look out Avril Lavine!  Madi has even become an Entrepreneur like both Michael and me and started her own Summer Camp for young kids – both her sessions are FULL! Asher is enjoying spending time with Michael and me often working with some construction crew that have been at our home which is his favorite past time and this week he’s learning to Kayak  thanks to Avid 4 Adventure.  Asher is also “needing” to see daddy during this Cycle so he’s already on his way to the hospital to give dad a hug! Gavin is a sport, just like he truly is and yet he is craving time with his friends – spending many nights at his cousins or friends homes. Although we miss him, we are happy to give him what he needs too!

Tears often fill my eyes when I think about how hard times have been this summer but quickly those tears are replaced with a big smile ( and if you know me and my lips it’s a big smile) when I think about truly lucky we are – 3 fantastic children, great family and friends, the ability for Michael to not work until he wants to…if ever and so much more!

Although this Spring threw us some horrific surprises and this summer is not how we imagined it, at all – we are tackling this disease head on and simply being able to sit with Michael at the hospital for whatever he needs and knowing our children are happy and being taken care of is enough for me!

My Ology of the Day

Don’t wait until tomorrow to be thankful

Biking, Dog Walking- OH MY

Getting Stronger

As if the doctors at University of Colorado Anschutz Cancer Pavilion have had patients go through BioChemo before, they hit the nose on the head when they told us how Michael would begin feeling better by week 2 of his “off cycle” week(ok so I know they’ve done this before).

On cue, by last Friday afternoon, Michael was feeling more himself. He has lost over 15 pounds now and most of his muscle but he’ll gain the muscle back after all 4 cycles and he’s now in perfect biking form, which he always wanted to be. I told Michael he should keep the weight off but put muscle back to keep his biking weight 🙂

By Saturday we were at our home in Vail and although Madi stayed in Denver for her cousins Birthday party, the boys and Michael lit up the town – ok maybe more like enjoyed the town as only a 7 and 9 year old would!

Fathers Day 2012 Farmers Market Vail, Colorado

We had a great weekend in the cooler temperatures and enjoyed one another along with watching Michael grow stronger. He went on numerous bike rides, surveyed the Farmers Market and built a Telescope with Asher our King of Engineering and continues to gain strength.

Asher builds Michael a Telescope to look at the mountain stars!

Madi Far Right Enjoying Fathers Day With Cousins

Madi has never enjoyed car rides and experiences severe car sickness so Madi enjoyed Fathers Day weekend with Uncle Paul, Aunt Erin and all of her cousins and avoided her dreaded car ride to Vail. We missed her but enjoyed knowing she was happy!

It’s now Wednesday morning and Michael and I are going to be outdoors once again, walking the dogs to the groomers proving that BioChemo can take you down, temporarily but it won’t knock you out!

Michael waking Porsche- 6 month puppy

My Ology For The Day

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Lisa perlmutter - June 24, 2012 - 5:24 pm

Shalom from the Holy Land! Jon and I are thinking of all o you every day. Tomorrow we will go to the Wall and we will pray so hard for Michael, your family, our family, Denver , the US and Israel and “klal yisroel” ( all of the Jews!!).

We want you to know you’re never far from our hearts and thoughts. We’ll pray with all of our might for a full and speedy recover for our dear, sweet friend!
Love,
All of the Perlmuiters

The Beach Has All The Answers

Cherry Creek Reservoir That Is….

To say it’s not been a long, hard and overwhelming week for Michael and our family would be the understatement of the century. To think the dirty, often over crowded with a unique “crowd”, Colorado’s attempt of a beach would be the answer to lifting Michael’s spirits and give him a burst of energy, is nearly unfathomable but that is exactly what Cherry Creek Reservoir has done.

Receiving Biochemo in the hospital for each Cycle not only knocks the patient into a near coma, it keeps them so fatigued for the next week at home one can only do the smallest of tasks such as using the restroom. Even taking a shower puts Michael back to bed for hours at a time.

This is nearly impossible to for anyone, let alone the once strong as an Ox, moves like the wind switching directions at a moments notice, Michael. With his memory in tack and his mind begging him to get up, yet his body is saying not yet Michael, mentally he is facing what all BioChemo patients face – a mental fight to the end and not just a physical one.

Today, however, I convinced Michael to use his mind to get him to my car, lean the chair back, close his eye and when I arrived at the Cherry Creek State Park, he opened his eyes and began to look around. The water was it’s usual dark green with G-D only knows floating around in it and the drought was seen by the brown grass that usually beams a bright green but when we saw the baby Deer laying under a tree we both smiled and then he perked up. He asked me to stop at a parking lot so he could watch a little girl try to water ski – she didn’t have much luck but then he asked me to go to another parking lot where we actually got out. He wanted to see and touch the “beach”

Then he began telling me to get beach toys for the kids, lawn chairs, frisbees, water toys and bring the kids here and he could sit under a tree and watch. He commented on how we never come here and we should…..so we are. Tomorrow we are going to take the kids to the “beach”.

It’s funny to think that the “beach” had all the answers the whole time. 

My Ology For The Day

When you least expect, the unexpected will happen

Harley Lubin - June 19, 2012 - 5:04 am

Michael, you inspire me. I can not possibly put myself in your shoes, but I know you’re strong and you’re tough. I hope you had a good Fathers Day, because those kids of yours have something special with you and Annie. Live Strong.

Harley

He’s Back…..He’s Home and

He’s Horny

Which is a great sign, right! I’ve watched him blossom today, in more ways than one mind you and I am so relieved.

We got home last night and he could barely walk, leaning on me to get into the house. A couple hours later, with my help he took a shower( don’t get any ideas now…it was a G Rated Shower) and although that was enough excitement for him in one night, which is definitely not the intensity of our normal exciting Friday nights, I knew he was on the road to recovery from Cycle 1.

Today I enlisted our Prairie Dog Catcher, Shea and our neighbors Anne and Mel to haul 2 Patio Chairs and a foot stool up to our bedroom deck. I then forced Michael to come sit outside and although it was only for 10 minutes, it was another VICTORY!

Looking pretty damn good if you ask me!

Did you see the animal that took up in our

home for 3 days before being caught?

After an afternoon nap and some good TV, he ate two bowls of fruit. He’s craving fruit – not a bad craving to have!

He’s even picked up his iPhone to relish in a texting chain between my very humorous younger sister, her friend and some swim suit pictures to cheer him up.

And if that wasn’t enough of an exciting afternoon for Michael, he’s watching both the LA Kings and Boston Celtics, proving that he has not lost the function in his hands and can still master the remote control! Which also means I no longer have any decision making with TV in the bedroom!

Although Michael is annoyed with his inability to even do the simplest things- go downstairs or watch a full movie without falling asleep or eat a balanced meal, he is not in any pain and he is not getting any worse – rather he is getting stronger and he is getting better each and every day.

It will be a mental race now between getting strong enough to get out of the house, eat a balanced meal and feel like himself again – just to do this Iron Man Race of BioChemo again round after round but when you have beautiful children like these – you will do anything to fight the fight!

My Ology Of The Day

Those that believe, do. 

Jen Gilbert-Kaufmann - June 12, 2012 - 11:50 pm

Please send Michael our best wishes for a healthy recovery! You are amazing and I know you will get through this together!
Jen

Say Goodbye to Cycle 1 & Hello Prairie Dog

Only Hours  To Go Of Cycle 1

At noon on the nose and not a minute too late, the Interlukin 2 was disconnected and the Dopamine was lowered. As promised Nurse Kate is coming in frequently to check Michael’s blood pressure from the lack of Dopamine in his system – and all looks good so far!

Michael is still mostly sleeping as 5 Chemo’s at one time for 24 hours a day will fatigue a Hippopotamus let alone a 200 pound 6 foot man.

However, a visit from our Rabbi Meyer who gave Michael a book of prayers and told Michael along with a room full of his closest friends, Scott, Michael H and John P along with one of his basketball players, Lior and one of Michael’s sister’s Dana, a beautiful prayer and one that brought tears to the room.

Thank you Rabbi Meyer!

We are anxious to get out of the hospital and work on getting his strength back along with spending some fabulous quality time with our children and thankfully not the creature below who decided to take up in our household the last 3 days – the Stanley Steamer Cleaner who came today to sanitize our entire home before Michael get’s home tonight caught the creature BEHIND my bed living in my Nordstrom shopping bag. Ok not too surprised are you that I keep shopping bags behind my bed!

Thank you Mr. Stanley Steamer

With Cycle 1 nearly behind us, we will now begin preparing for Cycle 2 and hope that Cycles 2,3 and 4 are not any harder than Cycle 1. In fact, I am preparing a few things for the next Cycle to make it a little easier – I’ve booked his massage therapist for 2 days of Cycle 2 and I am bringing in more Massage Music for him to listen to. Hopefully I can come up with more ideas along the way.

My Ology For The Day

If you can see the end in sight, you can fight the fight