The Pathology of Technology

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaf Raking Party!

Today was a beautiful day in so many wyas. It was reassuring and spiritual for me to see Barb so happy with many of her Clarksville friends here today. They volunteered to help us get our leaves raked! We started at 10:30 and we were done by 1:30 with all of it. The lawn looks great, our bellies are full of the tasty snacks that Barb cooked and that others brought, and our lawn looks clean and neat for the first time in weeks. Thanks everyone, for helping to make Barb happy with all of your love and support. We really appreciate all that you have done for us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We're 1/3 done with Dr. Kemo Sabe!

Barb had her second infusion Tuesday and proudly announced "two down, four to go!"  She got a late start with her Doctor being a bit late due to longer than anticipated hospital rounds.  I thought, well, we kept him late a few times when we were in the hospital, so that's ok.  As long as patients are being helped.
So instead of getting out at 1, we left at three and went straight to Cafe Londonderry in Stuyvesant Plaza for their great Pumpkin soup!  This was due to in part to Barb only taking Cheerios to munch on during the infusion, and thinking she would be out at 1:00 p.m. in time for a normal lunch.  It was also due to the fact that we love the Londonderry!  Without this becoming a restaurant review, let's just say that whenever I have out of town guests during conferences, including the time I hosted a delegation of Hungarian and Slovakian dignitaries from their education system, I took them to the Londonderry for their "special" American meal!
Barb met a new friend at the infusion, a fellow quilter with whom she exchanged contact info.  Barb can make friends anywhere - easily striking up conversations and putting the other person at ease.  Definitely one of the things I love about her.
There are a lot of things to be happy with about this second infusion, especially since we both had a few concerns about the unknown.
For instance, was this round going to be harder to deal with because of the cumulative effects of the "Kemo Sabe Cocktail?" Or would she be better prepared for the experience having been through it once already?  I think it is more of the latter, since she has been strong and smiling since she came home, helped in part by the many cards, phone calls, and visitors who all bear the same message - you are loved my many, many people.
Some of those well - wishers have kept her up to date with school goings-on so very well, that she is very excited about returning to work in the spring.  Maybe not as excited as her students and colleagues would be to see her, but that remains to be seen!
Thank you everyone, for being part of Barb's healing team.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A look Ahead to Next Week!

Today started out happy and light and strong and...almost normal. But those chemicals (schemicals!) can sneak up on you when you least expect them and WHAM! What started out as a day of great expectations is puncutated with a need to just give in to the discomfort and fatigue that is all part of the healing process. It's hard to get used to, and can nearly overshadow the good things that happened ( a visit from the principal, another from an old friend from college - a survivor herself! Touching and uplifting cards, and of course, the healthy, tasty food made with love for the woman I love. The Bottom Line? Barbara is getting stronger every day - and no setback is capable of keeping her down for long. See you all on Facebook!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sinead O' Grapka

Good news on many fronts! Barb took charge of a big part of the situation. She had her had shaved and got a very beautiful wig that is so close to the style she had before, I couldn't tell :-) She had previously chosen two attractive hats that match and complement her eye color (hazel) and she wears them to keep the heat from escaping out of the top of her head! She looks great and is feeling better every day, slowly gaining her strength back and looking forward to a week of no side effects from Mr. Kemo Sabe. Life is good!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 18 - "Kemo Sabe' " or "1 down, 5 to go!"

Today was Barbara's first stay in the "infusion" area at Dr. Morrisey's offices. A place to lie back and relax and let the chemicals work their magic.

To mitigate the psycholinguistic effects of the term ascribed to this process, I've started calling it "Kemo Sabe' - words from the old Tewa Indian dialect that were uttered by Tonto to the Lone Ranger beginning with the old radio show of the same name. Words whose meaning has been debated by scholars for decades.

According to the son of the man who wrote the scripts for "The Lone Ranger" show, "Kemo Sabe' " means "Trusty Friend," or "Trusty Scout." I think both meanings fit. The room, the staff who work there, and the whole process, each is a new friend to walk beside us on this journey; more importantly, each one contributes to a unified vision of the road ahead - one that will be full of turns and surprises, but a road that also leads to a better life and new vistas to share with all of our "Kemo Sabe's.'

Peace

David

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It’s a Brighter Day!

Hi everyone. I’m sorry for not posting anything here these past few days, but I was knocked down and out by a stomach virus. Not at 100% yet, but feeling better just the same.

Barb has been home for a week now and you can definitely see and hear how much better she feels he positive difference in her. She’s back to doing almost everything she was doing before the surgery, despite my best attempts to get her stay put! She is still resting a good deal of the day and enjoying the extra time to read all of the cards from her friends and family, reading her new Kathy Griffin book, pet the cat. and generally taking things in stride, doing a bit of food prep here and there, as well as washing clothes. She wants to feel independent again after having spent so much time tethered to a hospital bed. Those were not fun times.
We had “the big meeting” with Dr. Morrissey, the Gynecological Oncologist this Thursday and heard some excellent news! Barbara will start her chemotherapy treatment this Tuesday. Her treatment schedule will be: one week of Chemotherapy, then three weeks off until she has had the complete program of 6 treatments. Lots of people want to know the stage that she is in. We look at that a bit differently – the stage is just a number and letter that carry a lot of stigma. Better to think of the healing process and the ultimate goal, rather than the absolute stage
It is our hope that this treatment, coupled with the right foods, the right exercise, and the right amount of love and prayers from family and friends, that she will win this fight.

As the weeks wear on, Barbara will feel like doing a little bit more each week, but she will also need continued help and support from her friends and colleagues. To all of you, thank you for the kind words and cards and for all of your support. To those of you who said you are willing to do anything to help out, we will be in touch!
Love,
David

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day Five: The Sun Is Shining

"Home Sweet Home" has a special meaning now that we are all Home together again. Eight days in the hospital is a long time for someone who never wanted to be there in the first place, and who came in to it under such extreme circumstances. On the positive side, that experience has caused her to work harder and to do all of the right things to heal from he surgery as quickly as possible.

Today's goals are to rest, heal, and gain strength. We are hoping to be able to go out on the patio together and sit for a while to enjoy the garden and the weather. She still tires easily, even after a few minutes on the phone, but she is hoping to reach out to everyone soon. Barb has made a few phone calls to family and friends, and entertained a few visitors from the neighborhoods who came bearing gifts of food and flowers and most importantly very good will and love. Thank you Dorothy, Robin, Kathy, Joanne, and Clare and Dana!

Also a big heartfelt hello and a "shout out" to Sharon Raimondi and the NYSCEC Board and to Jim Stowell, Marcia Atwood, Mike Schulman and the CNYSEA board for the lovely flower arrangements. They mean a great deal to us to be able to look at their beauty and remember that so many people are sending their thoughts and prayers to Barb to help her heal.

We are looking forward next Tuesday's appointment with Dr. Morrissey to discuss further treatment options - more on this next week!

Take care, everyone, and feel free to leave a comment here!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day Four

Barb is home today!

She is feeling much better but still not ready for all of her friends to visit. Please email or call me first and we'll let you know how she is feeling.

Ok, well I am off to do some errands. My sister is here and keeping Barb Company and keeping her in her chair so she doesn't get up and try to do too much!

Thanks everyone for the cards and flowers , thoughts and prayers, and well wishes and food!

With love and respect,

David

Friday, September 11, 2009

DAY 3 (Actually 12, if you count the first signs)

This is the third day of keeping this blog and the 12th day since Barb first experienced the symptoms that led her to an emergency surgery a week ago Thursday. She has come so far!

Last night, she sounded, looked and felt great! She only has two tethers - oxygen and heparin - and she has passed all of her other tests! All we have to do now, is get the INR blood score up to a "2.0" and she is home free! We are hoping she will be home this Saturday.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers and cards coming as they are helping. We appreciate all of you so much for your love, kindnesses and compassion, that you are sending her way.

With love and respect, David and Barb

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DAY TWO

Barb got a few steps closer to home today!

A PT came to her room today to talk about her physical therapy (some say PT stands for "Physical Torture"). Later, she may try climbing some stairs. She walked around the floor last night to prepare herself better for today, and today she took a walk; 2 full loops around the block, came back to her room and sat in the chair for 20 minutes.

The P.T. came in again and said she is very pleased with her progress. She ran her through the range of motions and then together they worked through several excercises that were printed on a double sided sheet of paper. Sounds like homework to me!

She he went back to sitting up in her chair, and O.T. came in and asked several questions regarding home logistics, checked for strength in arms, hands, and legs. She did great!

After all of that work, the "kitchen lady" came and gave her choices for what she'd like for lunch. She was very happy that she could order a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread, vegetable soup, and an Italian Ice.

After that, she watched a little of the food network and is going to nap for an hour until they bring her lunch.

That's it for now! More later.

Healthward

DAY ONE

Hi everyone,

This is the first in a series of daily updates about the love of my life - my wife Barbara. She was diagnosed with a tumor at 2 p.m., Thursday, September 4th, 2009, and by 11 p.m. that evening. Her surgeon told me that he removed 99.9% of the cancer that he found on her ovaries. Now, five days later, we are realizing - again - the amazing and incredible amount of love that her family, friends, and colleagues have for her.

This Blog is for all of you.

We are just learning about this new challenge and we want to keep it simple and manageable. We also hope that in some way, our journey can be one that heals us and gives others the peace that comes from knowing your loved one is all right.

The doctors have said that attitude is at least as important as all of the medical support. There is really only one attitude to have - we will fight this and win.

Today is a great day! Barb is getting her hair washed for the first time in 6 days - and we can all imagine how freeing and relieving that can be! The other good news is that Dr. Morissey's partner, Dr. McElrath, gave her permission to get up and walk around today. This is very important to the healing process - if she can walk, eat solid food, and a few other things, then that is enough to get her discharged from her "dungeon" (she hates her room - even though it is the only private one on the floor!) and home again. It's also important because it means the heparin drip is working and her blood levels are "therapeutic." You see, we had a little setback a few days ago - Barb was having trouble breathing which initiated another CT scan, which turned up two bloodclots - one in each lung. This is typical for a person who has undergone major surgery, and especially for someone who has some type of cancer. But for now, those two clots are on their way out, and we are all looking forward to getting Barb home as soon as possible!

With love and respect,

Dave and Barb

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finding My Musical Mojo

A few days before Christmas, 2006, I played my last gig with John Deere Green. Eleven evenings later, I was standing on the sidewalk of my daughter's apartment on Albany's Yates St. trying to understand what had just happened - why did my beautiful and loving daughter Lesley decide to take her life at the age of 25? Why was I arguing with the chief of Police about trying to get my wife there? Why was I making these sounds I'd never heard before? Sounds of grief and anger and disbelief and shock?

Those and all of the dozens of questions that followed kept me away from my drums for nearly a year and a half. I couldn't even listen to the radio, let alone sing or play one in a band. But on Father's day, 2008, my brother in law Gary persuaded me to sit in with his band a the "Bullfrog Inn" for "a couple of songs." I ended up playing for a whole set, felt that I had been awakened to the life and energy that was still in me. Not just to drum, but to work harder at answering questions and helping others avoid having to endure the same pain that I am working through.

A few months later, I was playing on stage at Northern Lights at Lesley's 27th birthday with her friends and their High School Band "Catfish." It was a Catfish reunion and they needed a Grapka in the band. Oh Lesley was there, all right, and I know she was proud of her Dad for helping to organize the "Musical Celebration of Life," (Http://www.mylegacylive.com) to honor her memory and her Legacy. But more importantly, she would have told her friends, proudly, "That's my Dad up there on the Drums." I drummed a whole set with my long time friend Jay Dugan and his original band, "The Notes."

For over two years, Jay and I were the nucleus of "The Sting," a popular Jersey Shore band. We are back, I am back, with my drums. We are getting together again on March 21 for a "rehearsal."

The songs on this site belong to the Notes and to Catfish. Over time, I will post songs from all of my bands that have been preserved on cassette tape and CD lo, these 30 years.

The dream lives on, and so will my love for Lesley - forever.

Through the Looking Glass