Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Here's a chemo recap for those of you keeping track of numbers:  Matt was originally scheduled for 12 treatments (6 rounds) of ABVD.  In between his third and fourth treatment, he had his PET scan which showed no evidence of disease and he was officially in remission.  As a result, his local oncologist agreed to shorten his chemo course to 10 treatments. 

Setting aside the fact that the experience of having chemo is miserable, it also does permanent damage to your heart and lungs (and hearts have proven themselves to check out early in our family).  Because people actually survive Hodgkin's Disease, there are many more considerations of quality of life longterm that are starting to be taken into account.  Matt and Mom did quite a bit of looking around and talking to people from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well as his original oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to see what the most current research protocols advise in this situation.  Current research states that complete remission plus two rounds achieves the goal of ridding the cancer cells from the body while minimizing the longterm effects of the ABVD concoction.

Thus, two days before Christmas, Matt had his final chemo treatment (although he didn't know that at the time).  He had a PET scan late last week to make sure everything was clear (it was!).  His port is being removed tomorrow, and he can say an official good riddance to the shitty second half of 2009.

Yes, he still looks like a cancer patient because of the dearth of hair.  But he feels...fantastic.  One of the common longterm effects of treatment is fatigue, but Matt feels energetic (although I think some of that may have to do with the fact that the typical oppressive Florida heat has given way to pleasant, cooler tempteratures these last couple of weeks). 

Has he changed?  Yes, in a huge way.  Close friends and family will not believe this, but he has not had a single. bowl. of. cereal. since he began treatment back in September.  Matt has been known to artfully mold a towering mound of cereal into a bowl, packing it gently to avoid any precious pieces from falling.  My parents singlehandedly kept Costco in business in the 90s from cereal purchases alone.

What he has been eating will also shock you.  Healthy stuff, thanks to the awesome Vita-Mix and Excalibur Dehydrator (and his awesome wife, Bodia!).  Keep in mind, when I told my brother last spring that Sam and I were thinking of participating in a community supported agriculture program, he scoffed at the idea and called me a dirty hippie.  I am excited for my new and improved brother, although I don't expect him to be purchasing a pair of Birkenstocks anytime soon.  (I highly doubt they come in a size 16 anyway!)

This blog will return to my mundane ramblings about life with my boys.  So, Matt's friends?  It was nice having you here, and you can return to your lives happily ignorant of my comings and goings.

Cancer, don't even try to make your way back into our family again.  In fact, you can stay the hell away from my friends and their children as well.  There's too many good things to focus on in this life, and I don't have the desire to give you one second of my time from here on out.  Good riddance.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Here's To a Good One

Last year, we woke up on New Year's Day and decided to go for a hike to celebrate the new year as a family.  Castlewood Canyon was our destination; the weather was gorgeous and we had a great time, despite the fair amount of complaining from kid #2 about the ice on the ground.

I guess we made a new family tradition by engaging in the 2nd Annual Tunheim Family New Year's Day Hike.  I figure if we do this each year, by the time they are in college it may prevent behavior leading to major hangovers if they have an innate need to be one with nature on a New Year's hike.
. . .

Ok, I'm not really that naive, but it is still a nice family activity.

There is snow on the ground here in town, so there was some concern that we would have quite a bit wherever we were going (read: heightened complaints from son #2).  We chose to venture to Mt. Falcon Park, out near Evergreen on the Castle Trail.  There are ruins from a guy's home built out there in the early 1900s that we wanted to check out, and we figured the two mile roundtrip distance would be a nice balance between covering some ground and keeping whining to a minimum.

There was an awesome fallen tree at the beginning of the hike that the boys climbed, and it seemed like a great place to take a family picture.  Sam deftly nestled the camera between branches in preparation for setting the timer and decided to snap off a branch that was blocking Kenyon's face and ruining his composition.  Bad decision.  The force of Sam's mighty muscles upset the camera's precarious perch, sending it crashing into a branch below and into a deep pile of snow.  Needless to say, that was the end of our camera, and my hopes for a family picture were dashed.  I took a few with my phone, although none capture the awesome views of Red Rocks, the mountains, and the city in the distance.

Jackson and Alex, with their headlamps that Merry gave them for Christmas, were fully prepared for any impromptu spelunking missions they happened upon.

Kenyon was happy to ride in the backpack but did get out for a bit so he could nosh on some snow. (And don't be fooled by this picture--I carried hefty Kenyon half the time, but of course there's no picture documenting it.)

 I love people here.  You'd think not many people would be out and about in nature on the morning of January 1, with 40 degree weather and snow on the ground.  We saw couples with dogs, families, friends, all out hiking or cross country skiing and enjoying the day. 

Handsome Sam with roundy Kenyon :)

2010 marks a new decade.  My last decade was chock-full of law school, getting married, fixing up/selling first house and buying our present house, losing Sam's mom to cancer, and three pregnancies resulting in three kiddos.  Whew!  I'm looking forward to a calmer decade ahead.