Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A little back to normal life....

Now that Tiina has been home for four days and been a week since her operation we have gotten back to a half-way normal life. The second day home she decided she wanted to go for a walk to get fresh air and exercise. That walk turned out to be nearly 4 miles! First we went to the library where she needed to turn some books in, pay some fines (shame, shame) and pick up some that were being reserved for her. Then we walked to the mall in the center of Espoo and grabbed a bite to eat. After that we went to the pharmacy to get some gauze and stuff to keep the mosquito bites from itching when they bite Niki whilst he is up in Lapland all this week. We then went to the grocery store in the mall and bought a ton of groceries. There were two cloth bags and a small backpack's worth. Guess who got to carry them? I didn't mind. Tiina decided we should take the bus back because she was feeling a bit beat. Unfortunately for us the bus came a few minutes early and zoomed right on by before we could get out the door. She didn't want to sit around to wait 30 minutes for the next bus so we started walking. She did stop to rest at a bus stop halfway home. We just crossed the street near our place when the bus came! She took a shower and changed her dressings and felt new again. She did sleep like a baby but only until being awaken by the neighbor's teenage daughter who decided they should have a party at 2.30 in the morning. Tiina got up and climbed her way up the stairs and out to the balcony. She knocked on the wall separating us from the neighbor and told them they had two choices, be quiet or she calls the police and then asked if they understood. They did and they got quiet but only until 5.30 when they went at it again. This time I woke up. So I sent a text message via my phone to their father who is away somewhere on holiday with their mother. I think he got the picture that we weren't happy. He called his kids and then he called us to check the stories. He apologized.

Yesterday we went for a walk on the path through the woods. Tiina wanted to take a bucket in case we found some wild raspberries. We did and we walked up into the woods collecting about a liter or so. We then came back home as it looked like it was going to rain. But it didn't so I fired up the gas grill and cooked some hamburgers and chicken along with red bell peppers, corn on the cob, and one tomato. Check out my new apron and oven mitt that Tiina bought for me. It is from the Marimekko shop! ;-)

Niki and I left on the bus to Helsinki where he was to meet up with his Scout troop at the Helsinki Railway Station. Their train was leaving at 22.27 for Rovaniemi. They were headed for Muonio up in Lapland where they will be hiking and camping all this week. He has been pretty excited about this trip since he learned about it last winter. He was all excited as I let him wear my prized Suunto Vector. He said he would be honored to wear it! Cute kid. He will be returning to Helsinki something like 7.30 a.m. on Sunday. The weather forecast has called for rain and cool temperatures whilst he is up there. Nothing more miserable than staying in a tent when it is wet outside and damp inside. I am sure they will manage though. Seems like he took everything with him but the kitchen sink!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Breast Cancer and Tiina

Many of you do not know that just before Midsummer (20th of June) that my loving wife, Tiina, had taken it upon herself to have a mammogram performed. Well the mammogram and ultrasound revealed a growth approximately 3 cm = 1,18" in size. A biopsy was done immediately but she had to wait until the 3rd of July to really find out what the diagnoses was. She had been notified by phone on the 28th of June that it was bad and that it needed to be researched more. On the 3rd she found out what hospital she would be treated in. The nurse gave her a run down over the phone but her actual appointment wasn't until the 9th of July. So we both went in for the consultation and additional tests. A blood test and lung x-rays were taken and both turned out clear and negative. The doctor explained that the surgery would take place on the 17th of this month and explained what the procedure would be, etc. Tiina asked if it would be possible to have reconstructive surgery done at the same time since the total amount to be removed would amount to smaller than a tennis ball. The doctor called in the plastic surgeon who examined Tiina. She said it wouldn't be a problem to do that but the surgery date would have to be moved from the 17th to the 24th of this month. We left for our cottage as soon as our son Alexi was finished playing soccer with his team in the Helsinki Cup. We had an enjoyable time at the cottage. Both of us are quite calm, positive and optimistic that this will be overcome.

Tiina and I went to the hospital yesterday for the injection of a radioactive dye into the tumor in order to locate the sentinel lymph nodes that will be taken out and examined for cancer. Well the first round didn't reveal anything so she had to be injected again. This time it was under the skin. Luckily one, only one was to be found! So this will be the one they remove for testing. I guess as many as 10 can be found which means they would all have to be removed. If none are found then all the lymph nodes in the breast and under the arm as well as the fatty tissue from under the arm are removed. Tiina explained to me that before the dye was used the lymph nodes were automatically removed during the surgery. By removing the nodes this can cause swelling in the arm as well as numbness.

We got to meet the doctor who will be performing the actual surgery to remove the tumor. She had been on her summer holiday during our first visit. She is very nice and from what everyone tells us, the very best that they have. This is also a comforting thought. She drew lines on Tiina to indicate where the incisions would be made and how much would be removed. It appears that the size will be reduced from a D cup to a B cup. When the doctor had finished her drawing Tiina looked like a 3 year old got hold of a marker and had his way! These markings had to remain on her until today's surgery. The doctor was very pleased with the location of the tumor and with the texture of it. She said it should all go well. Another comforting thought.

So now Tiina has been in hospital since 8 am this morning. The time is now 4.13 pm. The doctor couldn't say for certain but thought the surgery would begin around 11 am. She said if all goes well it should take about four hours or even less.

I wasn't awake when she left this morning with her mother. She did come in to kiss and hug me and to say that she was leaving. I, of course, could not go back to sleep. It is a very eerie feeling. Heaven forbid something to go wrong but if it did that would have been the last time I would see her! Enough of that! No news is good news. So far I haven't heard anything yet. We had asked the nurse or doctor to call if something drastic had to be done. To let Tiina rest we decided that she would contact me first from the hospital.

So to all of you friends of Tiina you can check here for any results. As soon as I get them they will be posted here! I thank you all for your concerns, prayers and wishes. They truly mean a lot to us.

Tuesday 24.07.2007 22.15
Well my mother-in-law had called several times to the hospital to find out how Tiina was. She hadn't come back to her room by 8 PM so she called again at 10 pm. The surgery ended at 6.30 PM and if I understood right it went well. Too what extent that is I am not sure. She is being kept in recovery over night due to lack of personnel because of summer holidays. I will know more tomorrow and hopefully get to visit with her.
Wed. 25.07.2007 08.37Well my mother-in-law called this morning with good news. Tiina's operation had gone well and she had been moved to her own room just after Midnight. She had already eaten something this morning and had received pain killers and is now resting. She said we would be able to visit her just after Noon sometime.
Wed. 25.07.2007 14.44
I just talked to Tiina via phone. She is doing well. Unfortunately all the lymph nodes in her breast and underarm had to be removed. We were hoping that it wouldn't have to be so. The doctor found one that was quite hard and decided to do away with them. The tumor has been sent to the Cancer Research Center in Helsinki and the results should be back for Tiina's first follow-up on Aug. 1st. The surgery lasted from 2 pm - 6.30 pm. She was transferred to her room around 11 pm last night. She is on antibiotics and painkillers. She can sit up and go to the bathroom on her own now. She still feels a little dizzy when she does so but said it is getting better. We will go to visit her after the meal time so that would be after 4 pm.

Thurs. 26.07.2007 11.00Tiina called this morning and said that she will have to remain in hospital until Friday. She still gets dizzy and nauseous when she stands. They want her to move around more as well. She only started walking about around 8 pm last evening. The draining tubes should be removed today so that will make it easier for her to get around. She won't be able to drive for two weeks and will have at least four weeks sick holiday. Other than that she is progressing just fine!

Saturday 28.07.2007 10.47 Okay! So now Tiina is finally at home and doing well. She was released from hospital yesterday at 1 pm. She came home and rested a bit while watching TV catching up on all of her favorite shows that had been recorded on the digibox, especially All in the Family ;-) With a little guidence from her I made supper for everyone. Usually I am good at just throwing pre-marinated chicken thigh/legs in the oven and making macaroni and cheese or goulash that I have made since I was about 11. This time I fried up some small pork steaks with onion and cream and made macaroni and corn for the crew. Tiina ate it well enough, even though she doesn't eat much meat. She slept the night really good. I had the window open so it was much cooler downstairs than up. Her stitches are healing fine. Today we will try to go for a walk to the grocery store. She can't lift or carry anything but the walking and fresh air will do her good. Hopefully it won't rain before then or whilst we are walk about. Now that she is home I won't be updating here so often as she will be back on board with her Internet lists and groups (you all). I will make seperate entries for major things that come along concerning her future treatments. For those that just want to know leave me an email or comment and I will get back to you. I thank you all for stopping in and reading up about Tiina. I also thank those of you that have left nice comments about me to Tiina as well ;-) God bless you all!

Kesäloma = summer holiday

Ahhh.... at last the long awaited kesäloma!
This year's loma is a bit unusual compared to previous years. This will be explained in the next entry. We only got to have about eight days at our cottage. I think it is the shortest we have ever stayed a summer at the cottage since purchasing it in 1998. Well it isn't going anywhere. We have some good news concerning the property. We were finally granted the permission to split the property from that of the person from whom we purchased it. This has only taken nine years to accomplish. Our property is less than the minimum that the municipality requires. So with this permission we will be able to have it split with the boundries drawn on an official map and most importantly we will finally be able to rename it from that of Luhtala to that of Kujala! We will probably have to wait until next summer to do this but at least we know we can.

We didn't do much this year because of the short time and some rainy weather from time to time. We managed to do some real spring cleaning inside the cottage. It needed it pretty bad. I have never seen the place so clean! We visited with the neighbors who are distant relatives of mine but family all the sdame to me. I think they are the closest I have to MY own family here in Finland. I am very thankful for this as I always feel I am returning home when I visit the cottage.

I spent some of my time helping the relatives with their computers. It is something I enjoy doing. I taught their son how to back-up DVD's to the hard drive or burning them. All legit of course. They had some problems with getting the new laptop connected to the wireless network. I started out working on it when another friend of theirs came along to work on it. For a while we both worked on it. You know the saying, "two heads are better than one". We had to call it quits around Midnight as the son and mother had to get to sleep as they both had to work the next morning. By the time I got over their the following morning the other guy had it pretty much up and running. So that was good.

We went to visit a friend who lives in Jepua. We finally got to see her little son and had a tour of the fine, old house and all the improvements that had been made to it. The last time we had visited that house was in 1992. It was a nice day trip. We had last tanked up the car in Espoo the day we left on the 13th. We tanked up in Jepua on the 18th with 48 liters. The car holds 60 liters. We had gone 543 km on that tank. We are quite happy with that. The Volvo would have used much more. We even had the air conditioning on most of the trip.

Our last full day at the cottage we had invited the relatives over for sauna and food to honor the 100th anniversary of my great-grandfather leaving Finland (see earlier entry) for the USA on 17 May 1907. The sauna was ever so great. I think it has become quite popular with everyone. We are very proud of it ourselves.
So now we are back home in Espoo. We did some gardening work but that is about it besides the ton of laundry that needed to be washed. Got it all washed but then it began to rain and rain. I think I will have to take the sheets in and hang them in the sauna to finish drying. No, the sauna isn't turned on ;-)

I still have two weeks of holiday left so I will have some things to do as well as taking care of the boys and Tiina.

New car!

Well we finally did it! The 1986 Volvo just got too old and expensive to make the yearly repairs in order for it to pass the auto registration inspections. She will surely and sorely be missed.

So this year we decided to put the money that would be spent on repairs into a newer car. As it turned out the man who generally services our car happened to have a 1998 Nissan Primera SLX for sale! What a beauty she is too. When Tiina saw it for the first time as we turned into the parking lot and fell in love with it right away. I also like the color.

It is a 1998 model that had only 125,000 km = 77,671.4 miles. All other cars that Tiina checked out for the same year had well over 250,000 km. We had purchased it on the 18th for 8,000 Euros + the Volvo. I don't think that was a bad price. This car's interior is like new and she runs very smooth and fast! It is front wheel drive and even has air conditioning. Lovely!

Helsinki Cup 2007

July 8th-15th, 2007. Well Helsinki Cup came and went for our star #9 Alexi. His team EBK Vilperit Sininen unfortunately lost all four of their matches so they didn't get to continue to the next round. They all played well and their spirit was quite favorable. Even with losing they came off of the field with smiles on their faces and bubbly spirited. This is what it is all about boys. Winning isn't everything but being able to get out there to play the game, being given the opportunity to do so and to have fun doing it. Better luck next season!

The results were as follows:

tu 10 08:15 Laajasalo 2
EBK/Vilperit Sininen - VeVe 1 - 3

tu 10 17:35 Leppävaara 2
tn PK-35/Kobrat - EBK/Vilperit Sininen 11 - 1

we 11 09:25 Käpylä 8
TiPS/Juventus valkoinen - EBK/Vilperit Sininen 6 - 0

we 11 17:35 Käpylä 8
EBK/Vilperit Sininen - Valtti/Bandicootit 0 - 2

The boys have something to be proud of for their efforts in their first Helsinki Cup being such a new team. The last match played was probably the best game they had all year. A few more matches like this and they for sure would have been able to advance to the next round.