Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Only Live Thrice

We interrupt my vacation trip report for an important announcement. As you may be aware, my father recently had a check-up with his cancer physician and a follow-up PET scan showed that new "hot spots" had appeared within his lung and lynph nodes.

Yesterday, my father paid a scheduled visit to the hospital to undergo a biopsy on the suspected tumors. The process he underwent is called a CAT-scan guided needle biopsy, where the radiologist takes a sample of the suspected cancers as my father lies in the CAT scan machine. The CAT scan device would provide the radiologist with a live view of the procedure as he inserts the needle into my father's chest.

During the CAT scan and prior to the insertion of the biopsy needle, the radiologist got up from his chair and consulted with my father's cancer physician who was in the back of the room. My father lay waiting in the machine for 30 minutes, and he was quite nervous as awaited his fate. When the radiologist returned, he informed my father that the suspected cancer nodules had completely disappeared and that he remained--as far as he knew--cancer-free.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for my father and supported him during this difficult period. And of course, thanks to God for providing another miracle for my family.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Jersey Trip Report, Part 1

July marked our annual pilgrimage to New Jersey to visit my parents and sisters’ families. The trip was divided into two halves. The first half consisted of hanging out in New Jersey at my parents’ house and a visit to my sister’s house in Connecticut. The second half was our 3rd Annual Trip to Long Beach Island at the Jersey Shore.

This trip was typically exhausting, but especially important because my father has some health issues that we needed to discuss. Most lung cancer patients at some point in time will face a reoccurrence of cancer, and my father is preparing for that eventuality. He’s done quite well with his current cancer drug, but will need to move on to another drug soon. We spent some time discussing his options, and reviewing research material on the internet. On a side note, the Brewster Boys were delighted to see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. I’ve never seen them so happy.

I hadn’t seen my sister in Connecticut for two years (I think), so we spent an overnight with her family in their new house in the woods. While we were there, we visited two farms nearby. One was a dairy cooperative and the other was a vegetable and poultry farm. The boys loved it. We don’t have anything like it in our area. As a result of these experiences, we thought seriously about getting a pet animal for the boys. Maybe someday.

Punky was very happy to see his grandfather after a year

Russell employs an unusual release during our game of mini-bowling

Punky shows off the guinea pig at his Aunt Katy's house

Russell especially enjoyed hearing the rooster crow

The Brewster Boys pose with a group of real farmers

Here we are at the dairy farm

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Picture of the Day

Punky is very serious about something

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Central California Trip Report - Day 4 (Hearst Castle)

We spent our final day along the Central California Coast with another visit to Hearst Castle. This time, we took Tour 4: The Garden and Guest House (Casa Del Mar). I specifically chose this tour thinking that Russell and Punky would be better behaved if we spent the bulk of the tour outside viewing the garden complex. Turns out I was only partially correct (Punky has a meltdown towards the end), but Jenny and her mom liked this tour better than the one we took a day earlier. Along the way, we viewed the Pool Dressing Rooms, the Wine Cellar and the main Guest House (Casa Del Mar). I should note that Casa Del Mar is the largest of Hearst's three guest houses, and is itself around twice the size of our own house!

Having checked out of the hotel earlier, we headed back home upon the conclusion of the tour straight up Route 101. Unlike previous long roadtrips, Russell did not get car sick along the way. This is because we were careful to minimize our consumption of junk food during the trip, even bringing along the rice cooker to cook dinner for the kids on two nights (steamed chicken, egg and rice).

Among the new lessons learned from this trip are:

1) Russell and Punky like pools, especially heated ones
2) Russell and Punky have a maximum 2-hour attention span
3) Jenny and her mom like hot tubs
4) My driving limit is 3 hours of continuous driving
5) Russell and Punky prefer hotel suites (Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites) over hotel rooms (Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn)