Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet the dogs -

- and all the other animals in our lives.

* * * * *

But first, a short update on Sigve:

The blood tests on Monday showed raised values connected to the liver (sorry, I don't know the details, and can't even explain it in norwegian!). So he was called in for extra blood tests and a liver ultra sound examination on Thursday. Those blood tests showed a continued raise, and the doctor wants him to be admitted to Haugesund Hospital on Wednesday for an over night stay, and to have tissue samples taken. 

On the positive side, since he's in the process of reducing the dosage of Sandimmun, the medication that prevents Graft-Versus-Host disease, so a slight attack of GVH is desired, and it indicates that the whole process is working. 

He's due for a scheduled check-up in Bergen on Monday, so we'll get some details then. But the doctor in Haugesund had emphasized that this was developing slowly and there was plenty of time to find out exactly what caused it, and to treat it. 

I'll be back with more info after Monday.

* * * * *

So, here is our miniature schnauzer Isa at 2 months, in January 2006.

And here she is today, a grown lady at just over 5 yrs.

She is pure bred, with a long pedigree, but we decided right from the start that we wanted a family dog, and not a show dog, so we have not kept her fur in show condition. And anyway, any chance she gets, she'll make a mess of herself, whether it it's in snow,

 or dirt.

But this is her most favorite place in the world.

Isa has spent a lot of time with Hilde Marie and Jon Helge on their farm, right from when she was a puppy, when we travelled. Last fall, while Sigve was in hospital, and for a while after, Isa couldn't live at home. I travelled back and forth to the hospital in Bergen, and when Sigve got home, keeping an animal in the house was too big an infection hazard. So Isa ended up living on the farm for 4 months. 

There are lots of friends to play with on the farm. 

Here she is with her great big friend Aira.
Aira is Hilde Marie and Jon Helge's Irish wolf hound.

Sometimes Big Isa (border collie/Irish setter) visits from Bergen, 
and Daisy (dalmatian) visits from Sweden.

And when they all get together, 
there's a lot of sniffing and playing going on.
Aira is such a gentle giant, and has always 
been tolerant of Isa's juvenile behavior.

Here's Hilde Marie and her brother Geir Espen 
with Aira, Big Isa and Daisy.

Some of the cows, and no, that's not Noah's ark behind the rock :-)

The ponies. I think these are Sunshine in the back, 
and Demonica Lucille (born 06.06.06, hence the name).

Tiril, the female miniature pig.

Isa meets Henry, the male miniature pig for the first time,
and that's me holding him!

Henry has grown a bit now, from the cute little piglet he was.

Tiril and Henry's latest litter.

Isa also loves to go camping with us in our camper van. 
Visiting her friend Millie, auntie Olaug and 
uncle Jan in Kristiansand is heavenly.
Here is Geir Espen playing with Millie and Isa.

Gratitude continues, every day, for everything, big and small. Gratitude replaces negativity; the two feelings are incompatible. Gratitude for every day we get to spend together. 

Gratitude for every day we get to spend with Helmer. He's so amazing, and a blessing to us all. Today he started copying us when we stuck our tongues out to him :-)

A moment between mommy and son.

Watching sports with granddad.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Do you see the resemblance?

Grannie in 1953

Grannie and Helmer in 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here and there, this and that

Blogging has turned out to be so much fun! I have "met" so many wonderful, funny, positive, reflective, creative and amazing people who are quickly becoming friends. Many have become followers of my blogs and I of theirs, and I so appreciate each and every one of you! Over the last week I have not been very active at commenting on all your blogs, and I apologize for this, but my time has largely been spent getting to know ♥Helmer♥, our new grandson. 

After the new little family came home from the hospital, they had a few days together before Jon Helge had to go back to work. He works 24 hours on/24 hours off for 2 weeks, and then he has two weeks completely off. So in agreement with them, we drove our camper van over here, and parked it in their yard so Hilde Marie can have some help when he's at work. This has also been a unique chance for us to get to know Helmer too. We have had the privilege it is to watch him grow, develop and change from day to day. It had truly been a privilege and blessing!

Hilde Marie will turn 26 next month, and it's been that long since I've had close encounters with newborns, and I had totally forgotten how fast they develop and change. I had also forgotten how tiny they are :-) But it all comes back. 

We could have stayed in their house; they have a big house and the extra room, but since we have the camper van, with everything we need for spending nights away from home already in it, it's just so much easier than packing bags and suitcases. It also gives us all some privacy, and we avoid stepping on each other's toes.

Sigve had to drive home Sunday afternoon, along with Geir Espen, who had been visiting for the weekend. Sigve has a hospital check-up on Monday, and a taxi picks him up at home in the morning. So I'm alone in the camper tonight, and I end up blogging most of the night. But that's ok, and I can sleep in late in the morning. 

I just checked, and the temperature has dipped below -12C/10,4F and it's bone chilling cold outside. But I have a full tank of gas + electricity, and it's warm and cosy in here. 
It's not that cold during the day, and on a walk I came over a hillside with huge icickles, and I got some good macro shots. Some of them had beautiful patterns of air bubbles trapped in the ice.

I'm listening to Back Street Boys, the 90's boy band. Surprising choice of music? In 1999 Hilde Marie was 14, and as passionate a BBBs fan as only a 14 year old girl can be. She wanted to go to one of their concerts in Oslo, but we would not let her go on her own. So her fabulous dad suggested that if she could find a concert in London, her mom would go with her in a heartbeat, knowing that I did not need much of an excuse for a trip to London. Of course there was a London concert scheduled for June that year. So I got my two sisters-in-law with their 13 year olds to come along, and the 6 of us ended up spending almost a week in London. I decided up ahead that since I was going to this concert I needed to get to know the music first. It a lot more fun at a concert if you can sing along to the songs. So I played the CDs that Hilde Marie had until I knew the songs by heart, and the music grew on me, so much that I still listen to them from time to time. We all enjoyed the concert so much, and 2 days later our hearing returned. Great memories!

These last couple of days the sun has finally shown it's face again. You can believe my surprise when I saw this amazing sight on the floor. The sun came in through a window, went through the fish tank, and left this perfect rainbow reflection under the dining table.  It was like a thousand good promises.

At last Monday's check-up at Haugesund Hospital, Sigve had the Hickman catheter removed. He was given some shots of local anesthesia, and it only took a small incision at the point where tissue had grown onto the tube to remove it. Two stitches, and that was it. But he had to remain lying down for one hour after, and then stay on at the hospital for another two hours just to be sure there was no bleeding. So I went shopping... :-) 

Sigve commented the other day that it feels strange not to have the tube hanging out of his chest after 6 1/2 months with it. But it's really good not to have it there though, as it was an infection hazard, even if we disinfected the exit hole every day. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, this is what it looked like:

In another post I wrote about Sigve's new DNA. The way it is is actually even more strange than we thought. It turns out that Gerd's DNA is now in Sigve's blood, and will remain there for the rest of his life. BUT, his old DNA is still in all his other tissue! So not only are there two people with the same DNA, but there is one person with two different DNAs. Isn't it amazing? 
And think of the implications if criminals knew about this! 

The moon was also full this week. This is from when it was just emerging from behind the hill opposite the house. The slight halo is caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

My gratitude this time is for both Sigve and I 
being able to enjoy and get to know Helmer. 

Life doesn't come with guaranties, 
but six months ago Sigve's prognosis was not that good. 

I bought him a calender for Christmas, with a text that says:
LIVE every day of your life!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Grandson

We spent a few lovely hours with the new little family today. 
He's so beautiful, I just couldn't stop looking at him.

Mommy and son.

With his very proud daddy.

With grannie

and with granddad.

With uncle Geir Espen.

His parents have not quite made up their minds about his name yet :-)

The waiting is over!

We are proud and grateful 
to be able to announce that 
we have a Grandson! 
3376 grams, 48 cm, 
born just before midnight on Febr.9th. 
All is well with ♥ baby boy ♥ and parents. 
And with the grandparents :-)

We'll be heading over to the hospital in the morning, 
and then I'll have pictures to post :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We're waiting....

I can not believe how fast time goes by! A while ago I added a pregnancy count down ticker to the side bars of both my blogs, and they said something like 120 days to go. The due date for our first grandchild was February 6,  which was on Sunday. So now we're on overtime. And it can happen any day now. 

Today Sigve and I went over to see Hilde Marie and Jon Helge, and they are calm and doing fine. Hilde Marie is in great shape, and the baby is actively kicking away. 

Hilde Marie and I have taken up knitting, and a few pieces of baby clothing have emerged.


Sigve has been in for 2 check-ups at Haukeland Hospital in addition to his regular visits to Haugesund Hospital, since my last blog post. Both went well, everything is going by the book, and the doctor is pleased, I guess both with Sigve and with himself :-) 

He is continuing to reduce the Sandimmun dosage, in tree week intervals. We have been told to expect a small degree of a desired GVH (Graft-versus-Host disease) reaction, and a slightly raised liver test value in his latest blood tests may be an indication of this. But so far no problem. 

An interesting piece of news was that the latest bone marrow test showed no trace of Sigves own DNA, now only Gerd's (his sister and stem cell donor) DNA was found. We did not know that he would actually change his DNA! So now it seem like there are two people with the same DNA. I wonder how that would work in a criminal case? We need to ask more questions about that next time. 
Gerd's blood type has now completely taken over too. 

A good indication of things going well is that he's having the Hickman catheter removed on Monday. For one thing it means that they don't expect him to need any more regular blood transfusions, and in case of an occasional one they'll just stick a needle in his arm. But he hasn't needed neither blood nor fluids refill since before Christmas. His platelets and leucocytes are stable at acceptable levels, and his hemoglobin level is stable too, although still low. 

Sigve has not been able to gain any weight yet. He's actually lost some more, so he's terribly thin, and he now weighs less than he did at 15. We have asked for an appointment with a dietitian, so hopefully that will be helpful. His appetite is not too bad, but his ability to absorb the nutrition seems to be low.

But his hair is growing!

Oooops, wrong picture, that was one of Jon Helge's cows :-)

So here is Sigve's hair, still thin and soft, like a baby's first hair.

There is so much that recently he had to start shampooing it again :-)

I wrote before about his fingernails having deep marks, and starting to fall off. Well, now some of them have actually fallen off, and new nails have grown underneath. This has started to happen to his toenails too. So he's close to being a completely new person!


Another big piece of news is that Geir Espen has moved out, and into a rented house. He has a main  floor, a basement and a loft, but he'll only be using the main floor, at least for now, except for the laundry room in the basement. The main floor has good sized kitchen, dining room, living room and bed room, and a tiny bathroom and toilet.

We all helped him move last weekend, and this is us having a pizza break in his living room. 

It looks very empty, but since then he has more furniture, some carpets, curtains, and other stuff to make it more like a home, and he seems to enjoy himself there. He is also really excited and looking forward to becoming an uncle!


A recent sunset.

Low flying seagulls in evening fog.

I am so grateful for the child that is getting ready to be born any day now. I am so grateful that both Sigve and I are here for this amazing event, and we look so much forward to get to know this new little person.

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