Cancer Update

For those of you looking for updates on Jordon’s cancer, it has been really rough and I have done a bad job writing for him.

Here is the bad news first

  1. It’s stage four cancer in his colon and spread to his liver.
  2. It is terminal.  He has less than three years to live.
  3. He is really weak and really sick depending on the day. 

The good

  • He has started chemo every two weeks.  one day of treatment and then about 40 hours on a toxic thing they call a “baby bottle” which attacks new cancer cells.
  • The oncologists are encouraged by the potential results of his chemo but this is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Jordon’s aunts both reached out to him and continue to throughout the process.  It has brought some healing to Jordon that has much appreciated.
  • This is kind of funny but Lee is rebuilding out deck this week.  Everyone has been telling him to beat the heat on the deck and Jordon goes, “It’s gone! Lee and Mark took it”  They tell me it will back on the weekend.

Mexican Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked, drained
  • 1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar-Jack with jalapeño peppers cheese blend (6 oz)
  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Directions

  1. In 10-inch skillet, mix beef, taco seasoning mix and corn. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Spoon into ungreased 12×8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish; sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese.
  2. Separate or cut dough into 2 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal). Place on top of meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  3. Bake at 375°F 15 to 20 minutes.

Philly Cheese and Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/ lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 slices (1 oz each) provolone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced into wedges
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle original biscuits

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef, mushrooms, salt and pepper over medium-high heat 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Place in baking dish. Arrange cheese over beef mixture, overlapping slices if needed.

  3. In same skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Cook over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. Spoon over cheese in baking dish.

  4. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. On lightly floured surface, pat biscuits into 5-inch circles. Arrange biscuits over vegetable mixture.

  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top.

Friends and Family

It’s been a long week but I wanted to make some comments about how awesome friends have been.

It was Mark’s birthday on Friday and it was a hard one.  We were all emotional from the night before and all exhausted.  We gave Mark his birthday gifts which were in part all to be used this weekend in Grasslands National Park.  Jordon was still exhausted after being up for almost 30 hours over Wednesday/Thursday and so was I.  We went out and took Mark for lunch at Boston Pizza and then Jordon called the owner of Don’s Photo about what was ahead.

Later in the day we walked outside and were startled by this.

Sean Spicer in my front hedge

It is the handiwork of Hilary and both horrified us and made us laugh.  No one wants to see Sean Spicer in your front hedge unless you are Donald J. Trump. [Editor’s note: Sean Spicer wants it known that he was not in the bushes but among the bushes]

We got some texts that asked if we were going out with friends and we decided to go to The Rook & Raven with some friends.  We then decided the real enemy wasn’t just cancer but the Rook & Raven’s horrible appetizer menu.

It was a good time.

Saturday Jordon felt really, really weak which is kind of scary seeing this hit him.  His breathing was strained and was exhausted.

Jordon and I went to the Reimer’s last night for a wonderful dinner.  From Jerry and Gloria’s perspective we went over there to share a roast and food.  From Jordon’s perspective it was a celebration that I got our garden in on time (for the first time ever). 

I had a good time talking with Gloria while the guys chatted downstairs.  I also came home with a bunch of plants that I am planting tonight.  It was also good for Jordon to go someplace and just relax.  He was exhausted by the time we went over and didn’t have to hide it.

There was one condition of our meal and that was Gloria had Jordon get some apps talking to each other on her phone.  Jordon has been fixing Gloria’s computer in some way, shape or form since they worked together almost 20 years ago.

Today Jordon got up early and met his brother Lee and niece Camdyn for breakfast at Cora’s.  Lee and Jordon look a lot a like and are close but they are polar opposites when it comes to restaurant choices.  Lee is all about the franchises while Jordon is all about independent restaurants.  They don’t even pretend to negotiate, whoever suggests a place first wins.   Either way Jordon got some oatmeal and fruit today which is all he can really eat so Lee’s choice was excellent.

Then Jordon came home and went to bed.  He slept off and on almost all day.

In a week I saw him go from being super excited to go hiking to being super weak and unable to do much.  I know there will be better and worse days in the future but it is hard to see him like this.

I am not really making things easier.  I am stressed and not really focused and have got all of these ideas that will make things better.  The truth is that it isn’t going to make it better and I just need to slow down, listen, communicate when things go wrong, and work out a solution.  I tend to internalize everything under stress and that leads me to a dark and frustrating place for Jordon and I.  As Jordon said today, “If I can’t cure cancer, just worry on the running of the household and I’ll worry about the cancer.”

I have been asked if family will be helping out.  My family hates both Jordon and myself.  Starting on our wedding night, my family has bashed Jordon.  Even if I had cancer, I would not want them around.  As the saying goes, “Good friends are the family you choose”.

As for Jordon’s father, he just despises Jordon.  We have tried to reach out a few times but never anything back.  There is a running jokes that when Jordon or I are out or if Mark is there and some random stranger walks up and says, “Your are a f@%&ing moron” which is always about Jordon’s writing, one of us will say, “Long lost family” and we all get a laugh out of it.

So we have Lee and his wife Brittany, some great friends and Jerry and Gloria which are family.  We also have some great friends.  In many ways we are really fortunate.

It is the best of times and the worst of times

So the good news from last weekend is that Oliver’s karate test went really well and he is now a green belt.  On Wednesday Jordon was really sick and couldn’t get out of bed.  Mark took Oliver to his dojo and got the belt.

That night, Jordon had some abdomen pain and was running a high fever.  We went to Royal University Hospital and sat in a variety of waiting rooms for 20 hours.  He was discharged once and sent home before the doctor called back and ordered us back to the hospital.  He later ordered more tests.  Another doctor ordered even more.  Yesterday afternoon after numerous CT scans, they confirmed that Jordon had cancer or the liver and the colon.  We don’t know how bad it is yet but surgery and treatment start right away.

We drove home in shock.  Jordon was supposed to work late.  He went by Don’s Photo, joked about cancer with his boss and then we called Gloria.  We then had to tell the boys and home.  Mark was crushed and cried all night.  So did Oliver.  It was so hard for them and Jordon.

What makes it so hard is that we don’t know what we are facing.  We know there will a colonoscopy, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  Jordon is fine with that. 

He is taking time off from The StarPhoenix who have been really gracious about it.  Actually I think not writing it will make him insane.  Even on Wednesday with him being so sick and at the hospital, he was scheming on trying to figure out how to file.  It was the first time in six years he couldn’t file and was irritated by that.  He joked this morning, “I draw strength from stupid government decisions everywhere”.

As many of you know, it’s a long road ahead but we are up for it. 

Update: Here is the day from Jordon’s point of view.

Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s Day today and as usual we had some fun.

Oster BlenderThe guys woke me up early and gave me my Mother’s Day gifts. 

Marley gave me a photo of herself in a great dog themed frame.  Oliver gave me a blender/food processor (mine finally died and I wanted a new one), and Mark some trekking poles and a Nalgene water bottle.

McKINLEY Drift Trekking PolesPink Nalgene bottle

Jordon also gave me a t-shirt and a picture frame that looks like one of Parks Canada’s red chairs with a photo of Mark, Oliver, Marley and I in a Parks Canada red chair while we were on our way to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park.

In front of Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park

We started the day at Smiley’s Buffet with Jerry and Gloria Reimer.  A few weeks ago we decided to take Jerry and Gloria out for breakfast today and it was a great breakfast.

A few months ago our friend Julie told Jordon about Wood Wick candles and we gave Gloria one of those and two framed photos of the boys.  I have known Jerry and Gloria for almost 20 years and I think one topic has come up in every one of our conversations and that is where to get the best iced cream.  This will come up later.

Then we ran home, grabbed the dog, and headed north.  It’s important to get that order correct, first you go for brunch and then we grab the dog.  Marley at a brunch buffet would not be pretty but it is a pretty awesome mental image.  Imagine a dog diving through the air with her mouth open trying to each as much as possible.

We drove through Prince Albert and stopped for a Slurpee.  I don’t know what I was thinking but I thought ordering a “Mango Heat Slurpee” would be a good idea.  It was not. 

We then pushed on towards Prince Albert National Park along Highway 263.  Instead of heading into town, we checked out a foggy Sandy Lake.  In a few weeks Mark will canoeing out here as part of Bedford Road Collegiate NorWesters canoe club.  Or as Jordon puts it, this is where Mark will be attacked by wolves and eaten by bears.  Either description works.

The Park was quiet but the wildlife was out.  We ran into these elk just after we left Sandy Lake.

An elk in Prince Albert National Park

After heading into Waskesiu and tooling around a bit, we hit up the Parks Canada store where Jordon bought me a Parks Canada shirt and Mark got himself a hat.  Then it was time to head back home.

The Big Test

Today I spent the day at Oliver’s Shotokan karate dojo where he took in a karate seminar and more importantly was tested for his green belt.

This morning Oliver was so nervous about karate, he almost was sick.  When I took him to his test, he did fine.  He will find out how he did next week.  Here are some photos.

Shotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in Saskatoon

Shotokan karate seminar in Saskatoon

This year he has been a senpai which means he helps out with some aspects of teaching others.  He didn’t tell us at first because, “You don’t brag about karate Mom!”

Great Western Saw

Our old axe was stolen from our shed so we needed a new one for camping this summer and to chop up some firewood in our yard.  After looking at Canadian TIre, Home Depot, and Walmart, we got the one we wanted at Peavey Mart. 

Problem was that was really, really dull.  Now Jordon got an axe sharpener and made our hatchet really sharp.  That was good but while he made progress with our axe, it was slow going.  Instead we took it to Great Western Saw.  If it was going to be under $20, it would be worth it.

Jordon was driving so I ran in with it and was immediately greeted with, “A women with an axe!” joke which was pretty funny.  After joking around they told me it would $8 and 5 minutes.  It was like three minutes and I was on my way and that included some more joking.

The axe is razor sharp and will be much easier to keep an edge on it now (it would have taken hours to do it at home) that it has one.  So if you are looking to get an axe sharpened for camping or the summer, check out Great Western Saw.