Tuesday, September 14, 2010

YIPPPPEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First post treatment PET scan results are in. Clean as a whistle. Thank you to everyone for their love and support over the last nine months!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday June 11, 2010

Well we have been home six weeks now and John has been slowly getting better. Little by little each day he is improving. It's hard to believe that radiation is eight weeks behind him now. It seems like an eternity ago. John has had one follow up appointment with his radiation oncologist and he has another one July 1st. They told him he is recuperating well and even though he is very tired and weak. We are looking forward to his PET / CT scan the end of July. This will verify that the cancer was attacked effectively and fully.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday April 21, 2010

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! John completed his radiation and he had a great turnout of friends and family for his graduation!! A photo will be posted as soon as I get it from those with the camera's. We are still staying in Santa Monica to be close to UCLA for a couple of weeks while John gets some IV hydration three times a week and starts to regain some strength. He is still very tired, grumpy and feeling miserable but seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.. Stay tuned for that ever so wonderful graduation photo!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday April 16th 2010

Can't remember all that has happened since the last post. I know John had some great visits from SFD pals. Even though he could not talk long he really appreciates the visits. A bunch of them did get a glimpse of Jennifer Aniston walking from her car to the entrance of the Casa del Mar across the street from our apartment. She was filming a movie with Adam Sandler. Apparently, there has been quite a bit of filming going on around here.

John had a bit of a low after all the visitors left. He became extremely tired and had a few more side effects from the chemo and radiation. He is now done with chemo, after his 12th dose this last Tuesday!! He is very excited about that. He should have been done with the radiation yesterday but finish date was postponed until this coming Monday, the 19th. He is PSYCHED about that for sure. He is still getting IV hydration three times a week for the next two weeks before we head home.

It's been a long haul but the light at the end of the tunnel is now right in front of us. If all goes as expected, we will be headed home on May 2nd. After that it's rehab for John to start eating and regaining his weight and strength. We have follow up appointments with radiation and chemo oncologists towards the end of May. After that, we wait three months for the first PET Scan after treatment to make sure the docs, machines and drugs beat the beast!! We thank you again for all your continued support and can't wait to see everyone back in Stockton.

Stay tuned for a picture of John's graduation from radiation on Monday!!!

Elaine and John

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday April 4th, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone. We've had an OK rest of the week. My Aunt is here visiting and helping a bunch. John has had some nice visits from friends Pat, Brian, and Todd. Johnny, Niclole and Cooper paid us a nice visit too.

John is feeling alot more tired and isn't able to talk or visit much. Friday and Saturday evenings he had a bit of a fever that put me in a panic. He was able to get it back to normal with Tylenol, rest, and drinking fluids. Only nine more days of radiation treatment and two more Chemo Tuesdays to go so hopefully he will stay strong enough to avoid getting sick or needing a feeding tube.

The mouth sores and pain continue to be a challenge for him getting enough nutrition but he is still getting by. John is so looking forward to having the treatment behind him and getting back to Stockton and some normalcy. Looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back.

I forgot to mention John is quite the texter now, so his new nickname is "Dexter". Feel free to send him a text anytime. As always, thank you for your continued support.

Elaine and John

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday March 31, 2010

Well it’s been a while since our last post again. The last nine days have been a bit more challenging than the previous. John’s brother Rick was with him while Elaine took a break and went back to Stockton. Thanks Rick!!

Today will be the 22nd of 33 radiation treatments. The new finish date is April 15th. Who can forget that, except for those who forget to file their taxes? We’re a day behind because UCLA had to cancel an appointment last week because the radiation machine was having a tune up. So it has to be made up at the end. Only two more chemo Tuesdays’ too. John could not be happier about that, the dreaded needle pokes for 4 hours of IV drugs are almost history.

John’s eating has slowed down quite a bit but he can still drink liquids, which is l good. No feeding tube yet and we are keeping our fingers crossed that he can maintain a healthy weight just by drinking soups and Muscle Milk shakes with a banana and protein powder. He now weights 173 lbs. His pain is at an all time high and the mouth sores are numerous. His voice gets tired and cannot talk for long periods of time without getting really tired.

That’s all for now. Have a Happy Easter and thanks again for all the messages and cards. We are very appreciative of everyone’s continued support.

Elaine and John

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday March, 22, 2010

Wow, John has 16 days of radiation behind him and 17 days to go!! Four more chemo treatments too. He is so looking forward to that last day on April 14th. The past week has been OK. John's daughter Natalie was with him for two solid weeks of pampering and that put him in good spirits.!! John was sad to see her go (I was too, of course). John's brother Rick is with him now and he likes that too. If any of you know how the two of them are together then you won't be surprised to learn they go in trouble today in the radiation waiting area for lagging coins. Not even cancer can stop them from acting like kids!!

John's is still doing fairly well given the circumstances. He is weighing in at 176.5 which is down about 6.5 lbs from the start of treatment. His ability to eat is becoming more difficult so getting the nutrition down is his biggest challenge along with the pain in his mouth. His mouth and tongue feel like they are on fire all the time so even soups and smoothies are tough. It takes him until lunch to finish his breakfast and until dinner to finish his lunch. He gets tired very easily and is resting a lot. Elaine is in Stockton for the week and will return next Monday or on a moments notice if she needs to. Other than that all is well. We thank you for your continued support, cards, emails, posts, and phone calls.

Elaine and John

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday March 11, 2010

Wow!! It’s been almost two weeks since our last blog. Not sure how the time got away from us. Tomorrow will complete two full weeks of radiation treatments and John is still doing surprisingly well. That leaves him with only 23 radiation treatments and 5 chemo’s to go!! Believe me, he is counting down!!!

John wants to make the drive back to Stockton tomorrow after treatment, so that is the plan. He’ll be home Friday evening until Sunday morning so if anyone wants to pay him a visit or give him a call, he’d like that.

We’ve had a lot of visitors in the past two weeks. Tom Parker from SFD visited for a day. Thanks Tom!! John really enjoyed a visitor from the department. We’ve seen Johnny a few times too! Finally got a photo of him with his dad for the blog. My sister and brother in law flew out from Chicago for a week. It was wonderful having my big sister here to boss us all around. Just kidding Millie, you know I love you! Thanks for all your help and good meals for John. David was great company for John, and we are so appreciative of them making the long trip. Now, Natalie is here for two whole weeks taking care of and making her daddy smile! She will drive him back to LA on Sunday and I will stay in Stockton and work for a week. She is huge help too and great company for both me and John.

Not much else new to report. I will post again next Friday and try to stay on schedule. We’ve had quite a few emails and calls about the missing posts so we know you are looking for new info all the time. Thanks for your interest and concern. We really appreciate it… Until next week.. Elaine and John

video

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday February 27, 2010

Not much to report this week in the way of treatment. John and I were home for what was expected to be close to two weeks but UCLA rescheduled John’s Radiation Simulation for yesterday so we headed back Thursday afternoon. That was after John traveled back to LA with buddies Tony Silva and Brian Swanson for a chemo treatment on Tuesday. One of their mutual friends (Jeff you know who you are) was surprised they made it to LA without detouring to Vegas for a fun filled 24 hours!! They had a good time anyway given the circumstances. Of course they didn’t go the distance without some kid games. See the “Anderson Brothers” in photo.

Being home was great. John planted a new cherry tree in the back yard. He is so proud of that tree. Doesn’t look like much now but he is anticipating the sweet cherries already.

Friday’s appointment went well. Xrays are taken to verify all the radiation beams are properly lined up according the plan the physicists created. Now that the plan is verified to be correct, they will start executing on Monday for 33 treatments, one each day Monday – Friday. John can’t wait till he makes it to that last treatment on April 14th.

We had a wonderful day today with Ernie and Mary Jackson, friends from John’s Morada days and again his co-worker at SFD. We went out for lunch and back to the apartment for dessert and coffee. They were great company and very photogenic too!! Thanks for the visit Mary and Ernie!!

John and I can’t wait for my sister to get here from Chicago on Wednesday. We are REALLY excited!!!

Can’t thank everyone enough for all the well wishes, cards and emails. We hope all is well with you,

Elaine and John..

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday February 19th

Well it’s been a good week. After John’s chemo treatment we drove back to Stockton to be home for some days before radiation starts on March 1st. John is happy to be home and see his buddies and go visiting at the fire houses!! We’ll be in Stockton until February 28th for the most part. John has to travel back to LA for a chemo treatment on Tuesday but then he’ll be back for the rest of the week.

We had more visitors last weekend and that always makes us happy. John’s daughter and siblings came to visit and we had a great time. We also got to see my brother and his family and see my niece Jacki play basketball. That was a real treat.

Other than that we’ve had some TV personality sightings!! Don’t want to use the word celebrity since some of you may not even know who they are!!

Our first sighting was Sheree Wilson. Some of you older folks may remember her from Dallas or Walker, Texas Ranger.

Then I happen to run into Doris Roberts , you know Raymond’s mom from Everybody Loves Raymond.

Maura Tierney was in the chemo clinic in the chair next to John last week. She played Dr. Abby Lockhart on ER, one of my favorite characters.

That’s all the news this week. Stay tuned for more….

Again, thanks for all the blog posts, emails, phone calls, and cards. Keep ‘em coming, they are very much appreciated. Elaine and John

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday February 12, 2010

John made it through another week of chemo and is doing well. His side effects are so far minimal except for the teenage acne on his face. John’s never had acne as a teenager but he’s making up for it now. No biggie, he’s a little more fatigued too but not too bad considering. His appetite for those of you who know how he can eat is a bit diminished too.

John finally had the CT Simulation this week. This is the first step in planning the radiation treatment therapy. During this simulation, he had his mask made (see photo) which helps maintain a reproducible patient position for daily treatment.

The next step is the treatment planning taking place during the next 1-2 weeks. Here, the radiation oncologists, medical physicist, and the dosimetrist meet to design John’s customized treatment plan. Once this is complete, John undergoes (on March 1st) a verification simulation where a dry run of the treatment takes place to verify accuracy.

If all goes as planned here, the actual radiation starts the next day for 33 treatments M-F.

After all that, we also had our first visitors! Yeah!! This was so good for John; it really lifted his spirits up. He can hardly wait for more company after March 1st.

It looks like we are able to go home for a few days after this next Tuesday’s chemo and again after his chemo on the 23rd until the 28th.

We hope to see a lot of you during that time. Thank you so much for all the cards, calls and emails. Keep ‘em coming. We are so grateful to all of you.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Elaine and John

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday February 5, 2010

Well, another week of scheduling and making appointments, learning more and trying to understand this whole treatment process. Besides John’s second chemo, which went well, he finished getting all the mouth and jaw implements he needs during radiation. More tests and scans next week to prepare for the start of radiation.

We also attended a SPOHNC meeting (Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer). This was quite eye opening. John was able to talk to many people who have survived this disease but feels especially lucky to meet a wonderful man there who has already been a tremendous inspiration to him.

We were sad to leave Nicole and John’s house in Mission Viejo yesterday to move into our own little pad in Santa Monica. We are now just 6 miles from UCLA, much easier than the 60+ mile commute from Mission Viejo. We like it here so far and think we’ll be comfy.

Please keep the posts and emails coming. We really enjoy them and they really keep both John and I up and positive. Thanks for all your love and support.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 30, 2010

As most of you already know, John was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. He has a large tumor (about 5-6 cm) on the base of his tongue. John’s symptoms began to appear around mid November 2009, when he noticed some discomfort in his throat and his voice become slightly hoarse. He informed his doctor of the symptoms at his annual physical exam on November 30th. He was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, who diagnosed the cancer January, 2010.

So now our journey begins in Los Angeles at UCLA Medical Center, where we believe the best treatment is available for John so that he will once again be cancer free. We are very lucky to have John’s son and daughter in law, Johnny and Nicole, in Mission Viejo. They have opened up their lovely home to us for as long as needed. It may take a while to beat this thing, and believe me we are taking this fight “head on”. We are “all in” on the toughest hand we have ever been dealt. We’ve now been here for about a week, and have made several sixty-five mile trips to and from UCLA. The trip can be very long during rush hour traffic, so we decided to take an apartment a few miles from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. This will make the commute more bearable and convenient, especially after treatment begins. We also need to make the move while the kids still like us!

We have seen many doctors thus far starting with a Head and Neck Specialist. We have learned that head and neck cancers are quite complicated and need specialized care. We have also met with the radiation therapist who is setting up the radiation plan which is quite an ordeal in itself. It requires simulating John’s body with a couple of scans in order to make the plan. He’s also seeing a maxillofacial (oral and dental) to take measures to save John’s teeth and jaw bone. Radiation will start once the plan is complete and he gets clearance from the dental specialist. The next appointments will be with a speech therapist and a nutritionist. The speech therapist will help John maintain the ability to continue using his mouth and tongue muscles during radiation. The nutritionist’s goal is to keep John hydrated and to avoid him from having to use a feeding tube to get the nutrients he needs to keep up his strength. As most of you know, John doesn’t have a lot of pounds to spare.

Lastly, we have already seen a medical oncologist and John had his first chemo treatment this past Tuesday, January 26th. It went well and will continue once a week until radiation ends. The purpose of the chemo is to shrink the size of the tumor so the radiation has less cancer to kill.

We will keep you posted and add photos depicting our temporary life in LA. We can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support during this battle. We are confident that we will come out winners. For all of you wanting to know what you can do, we’re not shy. So, if we need something, we’ll call on you for help. Keep the emails coming or post a message here. We are very grateful to have each and every one of our family members and friends in our lives. Thanks again, Elaine and John Kluve


p.s. We will be posting updates at least once a week.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Updated information will be available regarding John's condition and treatments in the next few days. Thanks for your patience.