Round 4: Hoping for a Knock Out

by Renee on August 29, 2015

ERThe past couple of weeks at home between chemo treatments for Paul have had their ups and downs. We had many visits from health care pros–nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists. We had many visits from friends–including a former coworker of Paul’s from 20 years ago. We had an unexpected trip to the ER overnight, due to a reaction to one particular medication–Paul had chest pains and shortness of breath, and you don’t fool around with those symptoms. I called 9-1-1 at 2:30 a.m., and a rescue crew was here right away. One night in the University Hospitals Emergency Department and one night for observation, and then he was home again. We got a surprise package from actress Monica Potter–who has a line of lotions and balms that are MPmade with cancer patients in mind. We ended up giving up our foster dog Roxie, who had lived with us for the past six months. Two dogs and all those new people in the house was just overwhelming me as Paul’s caregiver. Especially with both kids now gone away at college. (Our old man, Harley the yellow lab, is still hanging in there.) And yes, saying goodbye to Matt as he headed off for his freshman year was particularly matthard. Meanwhile, two appointments in a row at UH for infusions turned out to be unnecessary–Paul’s blood levels were great, with no need for a boost of platelets! On the way home we celebrated with a stop at Chef outMichael Symon’s B Spot Burger joint–our first date of the entire summer! In the nick of time too, as Labor Day weekend is almost upon us. It’s hard to believe we lost a whole season to this awful disease, but we also gained strength in love and relationships along the way.

As we get ready to head back to Seidman Cancer Center and Round 4 of chemo on the last day of August, we’re hoping for a knock out. That’s one thing I keep clinging to, hope. Thank you, #TeamDeLuca.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
Emily Dickinson

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Home, Sweet Home

by Renee on August 16, 2015

PDMany weeks into this journey, and Paul is finally home. At least for the next couple of weeks, between chemo treatments. He’ll be readmitted to Seidman Cancer Center at the end of the month for round four. I am so glad he will be able to regain some strength here–enjoy his own bed, spend time with the dogs, allow me to spoil him a bit. And he’ll get to spend a little time with Matt mattbefore he heads off to his freshman year at Marquette University. Matt is attending as a pre-med major. We couldn’t be more proud.

Ali already had to say her goodbye to Paul, last week. She is back at Boston College, for Aliher senior year as a Secondary Education and English major. She’s training to be a Resident Assistant in the dorms. We’re very proud of her as well, and can’t believe how fast her college years have flown by–seems we were just sending her off for her freshman year. We are empty nesters! (And in other happy news–I’m a Nonna and Paul is Papa to my stepdaughter Elizabeth’s new baby girl, Isabelle, born 8/16/15!)

As these situations sometimes make things more clear, I’ve come to realize that I need to take my sideline business of beer a little more seriously, and make it my main business. It’s truly my passion. Recently I poured New Albion at Chuck’s in Chagrin Falls, and telling the story to craft beer lovers reminded me how much I care about sharing this beer. Hoping to spend more time on The Brewer’s Daughter Beer Company and New Albion Brewing Company Ale in the near future–look for us to expand our offerings with Platform Beer going forward. Clarity is a wonderful thing.

This recent article that highlights the beer scene in Cleveland had this to say:

“However, the city’s biggest coup might have come from Platform Beer Co., which not only brews its own line and runs an incubator for aspiring brewers, but brought pioneering California brewer New Albion into the fold.”

Pretty cool. Cheers to getting home, spending time with the ones you love, leaving home and spreading your wings, and finding out what’s important in life.

 

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Paulie D’s Day Out

by Renee on July 31, 2015

Ken strongYou’ve probably noticed my “beer blog” has morphed into updates about Paul. But beer and life have always gone together for me in the writing of this blog, and I can tell you that I certainly appreciate a beer at the end of the day more than ever, these days!

Today has been a good day. We’ve kind of been bummed out that summer is passing us by, but today Paul had the chance to get outside and get some good ol’ Vitamin D! Late July sunshine, blue skies and a kind breeze were a wonderful treat as we enjoyed the garden in front of University Hospital’s Hanna House Rehab Center with our friend Ken, who came bearing sweets from a local bakery. I listened in as they talked about the Foo Fighters, skydiving and other adventures, and I tried to imagine that we were just three friends enjoying a day in the park–we take our snippets of happiness where we can find them. This was a happy moment. I’m thankful we’re facing this during the summer months (if we have to), so at least we can get outside and get some fresh air. Nevermind my daily commute to get here–thank goodness there isn’t snow and ice to worry about. Small mercies.

So ten weeks into our new normal, Paul has now successfully completed two rounds of chemo! He’s tolerated it very well. Here at Hanna House, he is getting occupational and physical therapy (OT and PT) on a daily basis, several times a day, as a follow up to his brain surgery. He’s getting stronger, and working toward being able to come home in between chemo treatments. Also, Ali and Matt are looking forward to bringing our family dog for a visit–something patients are Godfatherencouraged to do here.

Paul’s diet is mostly unrestricted, and though his appetite isn’t large, he eats pretty well. (He’s lost about 30 pounds since this all began.) Today’s lunch was homemade chicken piccata and lemon gnocchi, sent with me from a friend. So many people have dropped meals off to the house, and invited me out to dinner, and I’ve been sharing with Paul and the kids, too.

Meanwhile, at home, cards and packages arrive nearly daily. #TeamDeLuca is strong, and your support is our lifeline. Though we won’t be making any trips to the beach or even a baseball game very soon, we are grateful for a simple summer’s afternoon in the garden, time spent with friends, and always, each other.

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#TeamDeLuca Update: My Superman

July 17, 2015

It has been more than a month since my last blog post, and 8 weeks now since our journey down this path to restore Paul’s health began. In that time, Paul had a second brain biopsy, when much of one of his tumors was removed–giving us a complete diagnosis: he has CNS (Central Nervous System) […]

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