Vernon Volumes

Vernon Volumes text

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Friday morning (10/11/2019), Andrea woke up with a few small itchy areas on her arm and on her side. There were only a couple, but they were irritating and Andrea got an appointment at the doctor's office to have them checked out. The nurse practitioner said they were likely an allergic reaction to something and recommended Andrea try some over the counter allergy medicines and anti-histamine cream. It didn't help, but we drove to Palmetto Bluff in SC anyways, hoping the hives would go away.

Saturday morning when Andrea woke up, the hives had spread all over her arms, down her stomach to her legs, and on the back of her head. She was going crazy with all the itching. She tried to tough it out, but it was just too much and we decided to head home. 

We arrived at the ER on Saturday night and while we were waiting, her lower lips started to swell up. Up until that point, it only seemed like a minor annoyance, however if Andrea's airway started to swell it could prevent her from breathing and that's something Andrea would like to continue doing. In the ER they gave her some steroids and medication and the itching slowly subsided.

Due to the lip swelling up, the doctor decided it would be best to keep Andrea overnight. Grandpa Rick answered his phone at 10pm and dropped everything to come help us out, we are so grateful that he was there for us. Grandpa stayed the night with the kids and I stayed the night with Andrea in the hospital. By morning, Andrea's lip was much better, but she still had some itchiness. By noon, Andrea was discharged and we celebrated with Grandpa and the kids at Valley Smoke BBQ for lunch. 

Andrea's continued taking some steroids through today and the rash slowly cleared up. Thankfully today she's feeling much better. We aren't sure what may have caused the hives, but the physician's guess is that it was related to the chemo. Hoping this was a one time thing!

Palmetto Bluff

Last weekend, on October 11th after work and school we drove to Palmetto Bluff SC for a weekend visit. Andrea booked us a nice house for three nights and we were excited to visit the resort and check the area out. Apparently Justin Bieber had just gotten married there a couple of weeks before our visit, and we'd heard it was pretty nice.

After we arrived, we unloaded all of our junk and bikes and then biked around the area to check it out. We stopped by the main hotel to check it out and sip some sweet tea, then we biked around the resort and played at the treehouse.

As it got dark, we went to the River House area for S'mores. They had a little bike cart setup with eight different kinds of marshmallows. There were three big firepits setup and we all enjoyed trying out the different flavors.

On Saturday morning, Andrea was feeling very itchy with hives (more on that later). I did a tennis clinic at 10am and then we decided to go biking down the Moreland trail. There were a lot of biking trails to choose from and there were lots of paths and paved trails throughout the area. 

When we got to the end of the trail, we played some football with the kids at a recreation area, looked around some shops, and then Andrea finally decided she couldn't deal with her rash any longer and we decided we would have to leave early and head home. We were disappointed we couldn't stay as planned, but we were worried about Andrea and decided it would be best to get home so she could be seen at the Mayo Clinic. We really enjoyed our short stay at Palmetto Bluff and hope to go back again soon for a longer visit.

Turtle Trot - Paige

On Thursday, October 10th, Paige and her class participated in the Turtle Trot fundraiser for her school. I took some time off of work to go and cheer her on. It was a little hot, but the kids had a water station for drinks during the run and the parents had spray bottles with colorful dye that they sprayed on the kids during the run. It was a mess, but the kids loved it, and the PTO raised a record $160,000 for the school.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Final Chemotherapy treatment - TNBC/IDC/BRCA2

Today was an important and emotional day for our family. We get to share the happy news that today was Andrea's final chemotherapy treatment. We've posted about her journey on the blog, but a quick summary: Andrea was diagnosed May 22nd with Stage 1 IDC breast cancer and has undergone a double mastectomy (6/11) , reconstructive surgery, and chemotherapy. The tumor was detected on her annual mammogram and although it was very small, it had started spreading in her breast tissue. The mastectomy surgery did not show that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, however the pathology showed that it was an aggressive form of cancer (triple negative) that did not respond to many of the available treatments. Chemotherapy was the only treatment option available and Andrea tolerated it well, although it's been difficult with the cold therapy (to prevent hair loss and neuropathy) and painful at times.

I am so proud of Andrea for staying strong, enduring, overcoming and remaining positive throughout these difficult months. Today, for the final treatment, we picked the kids up early from school so they could be present with us and to celebrate this moment with us. Andrea rang the bell today to mark the end of this chapter and we are hopeful she will remain healthy for a long long time. Once Andrea's body recovers from the chemotherapy she has one more minor surgery to finish her reconstruction, but for now we will all relax and celebrate.

We love you, and we are so proud of you Andrea! You are so special to me and to our family!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Four Seasons fun with Anna, Charlie, and Owen

After our late night at Disney, we slept in quite late on Saturday morning. Once we were all up, we went down to the pool area at the hotel and did some rock climbing, played in the hideout game room, jumped in the pool with the football, and went on the lazy river. We at lunch at PB&G's and relaxed in our comfy chairs. We took Andrea, carefully, around the lazy river a few times. It was a little stressful because we were trying hard to keep her hair dry.

Anna and her boys were gone most of the early part of the day and we met up with them a little after 3pm. The kids played for a bit, I turned in to a shark and threw them and chased them around the big pool for a while, then the kids floated on the lazy river together. Around six we headed back to the room and then got ready for dinner and ate at the lobby bar. For dessert, the kids did the scavenger hunt together and got their gelato reward at Lickety Split's. It was fun for Andrea and I to have another adult to chat with, and the kids got along well and had fun goofing off together.

Disney with friends - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

On Friday night we went to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This year was extra fun because we met up with some friends at the park. Anna and her boys met us in Orlando and we traveled to the park together and started out with them. We arrived as the park was closing for regular guests and during the overlap with the Halloween Party guests it was a little crowded and pretty hot in the sun. We started out riding some of the shady and indoor rides like the Haunted Mansion and Belle's Enchanted Tales.

It was fun to have Anna's boys Charlie and Owen with us so our kids could ride some of the things that we tend to avoid like the barf inducing teacup ride. The kids really got it spinning, the adults were thankful we didn't have to ride it with them.

We ate dinner fairly early and then rode a bunch of rides and got lots of candy.

Anna and her boys couldn't stay very late since Charlie was competing in a USTA tennis tournament early in the morning, so we said goodnight to them and they left fairly early in the evening. We then met up with the Carroll family (Casey, Keagan, Kevin and Karen), and we rode Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean together and did some trick-or-treating as well. Unfortunately it was super dark by the point we got together and we didn't think to snap any pics.

We were lucky that the weather was nice, no rain, and nice and cool once the sun set. It was an awesome night at Disney and it was extra fun to share our night with friends.