Wednesday, May 29, 2002

San Francisco and Surgery Update

So sorry the updates had to wait while we were gone. We had a little bit of a problem having time and a place to hook up to do that so I will try to summarize.

First, Kyla is back home and doing well. She is of course healing from the surgery but all in all is feeling good. The doctors and nurses at UCSF are food though.....just like you would expect.

Kyla and Jed left on Mothers Day for San Francisco and stayed at the Hill Point Inn which is right around the corner from the hospital. Because of the parking problems in San Francisco, it was very handy to just walk and never move your car if you were lucky enough to get a spot in front of the Inn...but be careful to turn your wheels the right way on those hills...we managed to get two parking tickets because our wheels were either straight or turned the wrong way. However, which way is the wrong way was questionable. Every other car had their wheels turned a different direction...but interestingly enough the only two cars that were ticketed were of course Oregon cars (guess whose). Hmmmmmm...those Oregon tourists! However, the people at the Hillpoint Inn were very kind and gave us their two-room suite for a much reduced rate than it usually goes for. Still very expensive but worth the convenience for Kyla and Jed.

Monday was spent at various doctor appointments to get ready for the biopsy on Tuesday, lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and dinner at Bubba Gumps. Since Kyla is a huge fan of Forrest Gump (I think she has watched the movie at least once a week since it came out), she had to experience that.
"Bubba was my best good friend"

Dave and I arrive around 9:30 that evening and were welcomed by a sudden rocking and swaying of the room enjoying an earthquake. Made everyone think about running like Forrest and standing under the door frame...which also later brought a funny story from the proprietor of the Hill Point Inn from his days of being a restaurant manager. I guess during one of the bad earthquakes in California a few years ago, he was in the restaurant working when the quake hit. Two very large Mexican ladies (dishwashers) ran and squeezed under the only door frame. So because he and the bus boy couldn't get out they dove in the middle of these two women and were wedged there safely until the quake ended. Nice vision!

Kyla and Jed had to be at the hospital at 6:00 am on Tuesday morning for the 7:30 surgery. However, the surgery didn't actually start until 9:15 because of all the preparation. The biopsy and placement of the first catheter went well and she was out by 11:45. We talked with Dr. Kumwar and he said that all looked good, she was in recovery and that we could see her in about 45 minutes. Well we waited and waited and nothing. So around 3:00 she was finally brought to her room....a very long 45 minutes. We found out later that she woke up with NO pain medication because the doctor forgot to leave orders for it. Kyla said it was the worst pain in the world. It took quite a while for the nurse to contact the doctor to get the order for morphine which then made her conk out again so recovery took quite a bit longer than it should have. Kyla did well after that and so on Wednesday they began the infusion of the IL-13 drug at 2:30 pm. She was monitored closely (every two hours) for her vitals and this went on until around 2:30 on Friday. She handled that infusion very well....not even a headache and was released on Saturday morning for three days.

Dave and I returned to Eugene on Friday to take care of some things and pick up Kelli and Emma for the return to SF for the main surgery. Brian and Jill drove to San Francisco on Friday and stayed the night with Jed at Hill Point Inn. Saturday Brian and Jill drove to the RV park in Pacifica to meet with Mike and Allison Durham who lent us their 5th wheel for that week. They got that all set up and then spent the rest of the day with Kyla and Jed having dinner on Pier 39 and just sight-seeing. A special THANK YOU and blessings to Mike and was absolutely wonderful to have a place to go to especially for Emma, who loved the bunk bed and Veggie Tales (or Garden Tales as she calls them).

Brian returned home to Eugene on Sunday because he had a class on Monday. He took care of the cat for Dave and Vonda for those few days and reported back that the darn wild turkeys were eating his new little corn which was popping up. The deer are also munching our strawberries and a few other plants....grrr!!!...but Kyla's carrots and beets and growing fine. Dave and I start back to San Francisco with Kelli and Emma on Sunday and make it to Redding where we decide to spend the night since our little Emmy was pretty cranky from having to sit in her car seat for long periods of time and the fact that she was car sick for those last few miles made the decision a final one. Kyla, Jed and Jill did some sightseeing on Sunday...a visit to the Winchester Mansion (crazy lady) and the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.  Dave, I, Kelli and Emmy arrive Monday evening after driving through a freak hail storm and take Kyla for her last meal before surgery at a great Italian place on Irving Street. We stay at the RV park and prepare to be at the hospital in the morning for her surgery set to begin at 7:30 (which we found out translates to 9:15).

After 6 hours of waiting on Tuesday the surgeon finally emerges and talks with us. He removed the new growth and an older lower grade tumor that he found successfully and implanted 4 catheters into the tumor bed. He felt very hopeful and optimistic that everything looked good and that this treatment was one of the best out there at this time. Kyla was very groggy but woke up in ICU with pain medication this time (she was very nervous and apprehensive about this and she had every right to be. I think every nurse, doctor, intern and technician were instructed to be sure to have the order for pain medication). She didn't experience any right side motor problems which we were warned that she could have. The next day she was moved into her private room on the 8th floor which she came to know way better than she liked. After recovering for a few days and having some yummy delicious hospital food (which included weird things like coke for breakfast handwritten on her menu by some unknown person), the second round of the IL-13 infusion began. This time it was a larger dose and they again monitored her closely. Jed stayed with her in the room the whole time and Kyla experienced some problems with word loss but all in all is regaining that. She had to be tethered to the IV pole for four LONG boring days in that room with occasional walks around the corridor. Of course the highlight of each day was all the visits from the whole family....sandwiched in this little room (NOT). I am sure the nurses were glad to see us ALL go home when Kyla checked out. Actually I think she was a little overwhelmed when everyone was there at once so we took a day to go see the Winchester Mansion. We also snuck in some food from the Italian restaurant one night, Kelli and Brian brought her doughnuts from Krispy Kremes, we managed a milkshake from Hard Rock Cafe and Jed was always getting her something different from the cafeteria because the food was so bad.

Kyla handled the infusion side effects. Monday we cleaned up the RV and packed up Kelli and Emma and start back to Eugene. Brian and Jill stay and meet with Mike and Allison who were picking up their fifth wheel and begin the long drive back about an hour after us. Emma was great during the drive and we had just passed Roseburg when we got a call on our cell phone that Brian and Jill were in an accident on the freeway. They were OK and no one was hurt (except Brian's truck) but we had to turn back and go to Grants Pass to pick up things and wait for Wade to come and take them home. So we didn't arrive back home until 1:30 in the morning which translates to Emmy not sleeping until 4:30 because her hours got all mixed up. But we are back and safe. Kyla checked out of the hospital on Tuesday morning and they drove all the way home in one day. She was soooo glad to be out of that room and home. So child, dog, a new Dorothy fish are all returned Wednesday evening.

A special thanks to Kamisha and Jeremy for taking care of the dog and fish and for watering all the plants (we understand that Charley was kind of special that week...we won't go into any sordid details and that Dorothy met her fate and had to be replaced again). Also to Barb and Rick for taking care of watering at our house and for feeding the lazy cat. Thank you to all the people who emailed and called...your love, concern and support mean to world to us. We love all of you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Fund Raiser, Confirmed Date and a Second Place Beautiful Baby Contest Winner

The fund raiser at Papa's Pizza yesterday was a giant success. Kelli organized the entire thing with help from Jill, Brian and her friends. We are so proud of you Kel!!! The whole family had pizza at Papa's on Main Street in Springfield and we were so touched by all the family, friends, co-workers, teachers and people we don't even know who were there and at the Papa's on Coburg Road who supported the cause. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. Words truly can't express how we feel. It restores faith in the kindness and caring of people and makes us all slow down and appreciate what great people we are surrounded by. THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL AGAIN AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO PAPA'S PIZZA FOR THEIR SUPPORT. 

The surgeons office from UCSF called this morning and Kyla now has a firm date. She will need to be there on Monday, the 13th for some tests and the biopsy will be done on Tuesday. Kyla and Jed will leave for San Francisco on Sunday and Dave and I will leave on Monday. Jill and Kelli will be taking care of Emma while we are gone and then we will come home and take everyone to SF on the weekend of the 18th so we will be there for the surgery. We are assuming the surgery will take place on the 21st which is exactly a week later, but that will remain tentative until she goes through the biopsy. We have faith that things will go well and all the positive prayer and thoughts to Kyla and our family are felt. God bless each of you as we have been and we love you.

Kyla dropped by to pick up some pictures of Emma from Bruce Berg and found out that she placed second in the Lane County Beautiful Baby contest. The winning photo will be displayed at Valley River Center beginning tomorrow. Of course this grandma always knew she was the best!.....

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Cinderella Fund Raiser for Mrs. Stone

Kelli, Kyla, Jed and Kelli's friend, Erica went to the fund raiser production of Cinderella for Mrs. Stone who is battling cancer. Mr. Stone is the football coach at Thurston and Mrs. Stone used to work in the career center a few years ago. They all really enjoyed the play and the house was packed.

Dave and I babysat Emmy while the Kyla and Jed were at the play or should I say we ran after Emmy all afternoon. She was a very good girl....even when she had twelve suckers in her hand at Walmart. She decided she doesn't like Grandad's "wheelies" in the cart either. So after Dave traumatized her for a while, we made it home and she had a nap. Jed made Kyla drive out to get her because he had something to do for a few 45 minutes. When he arrives he brings a still warm-from-the-oven-frosting-melting-cake for Kyla to celebrate some new hair growth! Very clever Jed!

"Way To Grow" cake--note the black spikes

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Flower Shopping and Dinner

Aunt Barb took Kyla and I along with cousin, Kamisha shopping at the Little Red Farm to purchase flowers for Kyla's birthday while Dave stayed home and sprayed for weeds. Barb furnished planters, flowers, dirt and all. There was so much to choose from....hard to make up your mind. Kyla and Jed then planted the flowers and now her back patio looks so cute with the bird bath and all her flowers....just what she needs....a quiet place to retreat in the summer as she recuperates. I went home and had to plant all the strawberry plants and herbs that Barb gave me in the morning....they looked a little sad when they were put in, but are thriving now with the cool weather. The evening was spent at dinner with Brian and Kelli at the Olive Garden while Dave and I went to dinner with Mike and Linda.

Friday, May 3, 2002

A Gardening Theme Birthday

Happy Birthday to Kyla! 24 today.....Kyla began her day exciting........the razor guy and his wife show up to pick up the experimental razors that she was supposed to try. So Kyla's morning was spent answering questions about the effectiveness, etc. of the razors. But hey, anything for research!

The evening was spent at at our house for dinner and of course her choice for dessert was strawberry shortcake. Gram and Grandad came and Kyla received some nice gifts. She now has a new bird bath from us, a gift certificate for Grays Garden Center from Brian, some cool new plant holders from Jill, Kyla's all time favorite movie, Forest Gump, on DVD from Kelli and a new story wheel for her necklace from Jed. Gram and Grandad gave her some money to buy herself something of her choice and Gram gave her some special emerald earrings that she lent Kyla on her wedding day. Grandad, of course followed tradition and out came the big bag of peppermint patties.

Emma decided that the Cinderella movie was what she needed to watch and she made Uncle Brian watch it with her (pay back for all the football and basketball games we all have to suffer through). We could tell that secretly Brian loved Cinderella.

Thursday, May 2, 2002


Kyla and Emma delivered flowers to the graduate school yesterday for May Day. Kelli took Kyla and Emma to see Cinderella at Thurston High School this evening. Emmy loved watching and trying to participate in the play....trying to dance when the actors danced and clapping long after everyone else had stopped. Intermission came and because it was past her bed time, they took her home. So now Cinderella is the big thing in Emma's world....when are Kyla and Jed going to get a pet mouse (named Gus, Gus of course)? Maybe that is something Grandma and Grandad should look into for them......isn't life fabulous being a grandparent?