“I look for the up (that down just ain’t my style), I go for the up.”

May 11, 2012

TWO blogs in two months???  Look who’s becoming a star blogger! Ok, not really, but it’s better than Imageusual.  Things are beginning to look up for these Caldwells.  First, an update on Joey.  He’s doing really, really well.  He recovered quickly and easily from the surgery-even his surgeon was surprised at the pace of his recovery.  His thyroidectomy went well, but the surgeon did find cancer in the lymph nodes in his neck.  Because of this, and because his tumor was roughly 3 cm in size, they are insisting upon further treatment. In the middle of July, he will begin radioactive iodine therapy. This means that they will inject him with radioactive substance.  He will be quarantined in the hospital for the first 3 days and will not be allowed to see anyone except doctors and nurses who will be donning hazmat gear.  Crazy, right??? Anything he brings with him, he has to be able to throw away afterward (clothing, magazines, books, etc.)  He is going to be verrrry bored and lonely, I believe.  He keeps joking that this might turn him into spiderman, but I keep reminding him that he’s more likely to become some kind of radioactive roach superhero, here in Hawai`i.  🙂  After 3 days he can return home, but I must stay farther than 6 feet away from him, and there will be various other precautions we’ll have to take.  Since I am planning a trip home this summer, we are thinking of timing it so that I will be in Kentucky to make things easier.  This treatment serves as a sort of search and destroy mission for any remaining cancerous cells in his body.  It is not pleasant, but it is not as brutal as chemotherapy.  


ImageI am so endlessly proud of how he handled his surgery.  He was a total rockstar!  Many warned me that because he would be on a high dosage of hormones,  he would be irritable and moody.  I didn’t know how I would handle that, considering that my husband is generally so laid-back and sweet!  But he has been his usual, relaxed self; I had nothing to fear.  The night he spent in the hospital, he let me crawl into bed with him to watch the Merrie Monarch Festival, and I instantly felt so grateful for who he is and how he has handled everything.  His Mom came to Hawai`i for the surgery which was hugely helpful, as I was in the midst of finals and also needed help taking care of him in between work and school.  Since the surgery, he has been more tired than usual and struggled a bit with a loss of appetite.  They have him on high levels of hormones to gear his body up for the iodine treatment.  Afterward, they will keep tweaking and adjusting his medications so that he feels more like his old self. Hopefully, that is.  We’ve been laying really low lately.  He hasn’t been able to be in the sun or water and I’ve been in the midst of stressful finals. So, apologies for all of the parties, dinners, and birthdays we’ve missed!  We promise to do better, soon.

I have officially completed my 1st year of graduate school.  Whew!  This semester was not easy, but I learned so much and am thrilled with the effort that I put forth, considering the other stressors happening in our lives.  I received a temporary assignment for the summer in the Women’s Studies Department, which saved me the pain of looking for a summer job.  Plus, I work with fabulous, amazing people! My two awesome bosses, below!  🙂


In even BETTER news, I got the graduate assistant position for the Women’s Studies department!!!!  I am unbelievably excited!!!  This means that school will be free and I will also be receiving a small salary for the year.  I get to teach an intro Women’s Studies class on sexuality.  It will be a great opportunity for me to see if I enjoy teaching AND if I’m any good at it, as I think that is what I want to move toward upon graduation. I know I got this position against enormous odds and I am ever-so-grateful.  I think we really needed a bit of good news after these last few months.  🙂  Here is Joe celebrating at our favorite Japanese restaurant:

In other grand news, as I mentioned earlier, I will be returning home to Kentucky for the first time in 2.5 years.  I’m super excited to see family and friends and watch my dear friend Toni get married.  🙂  I also get to attend a huge family reunion on my Mom’s side AND have a mini sister trip with my sistORs.   I’m excited to hear the accents, drink whiskey with my Dad, and sweat my arse off in the sweltering Kentucky heat.  Can’t wait!  I’m sad that Joe cannot come with me, but we are trying to plan our own Caldwell vacation later in the summer, once he’s fully recovered.  We have not had a proper vacation since Buenos Aires and are itching to get abroad again!

As I said, we’ve been laying pretty low since Joe has been healing and I have been slogging through finals, but we did manage to take a little trip to the Honolulu zoo a few weeks ago.  I just love zoos.  I adore animals and find them wildly entertaining.  We were lucky enough to see the hippos do some tricks for us.  🙂  We also recently went to a women’s rally at the capitol downtown.  I am so glad I have a feminist husband that not only supports the wahines, but actively supports the rights of all human beings.  Here we are at the rally:

I was additionally lucky enough to be able to attend a conference with the Dalai Llama.  He spoke at the University of Hawai`i and I just had to attend!  Seeing the Dalai Llama, after all, is most likely a once-in-a-lifetime event.  He was exceptionally warm, charming, and down-to-earth.  He spoke of compassion and peace and even gave a few shout-outs to social workers, calling their work “noble.”  Hey – when the Dalai Llama calls your profession noble,  you feel pretty important!  Jack Johnson and Anuhea (two favorites of mine) also opened for him, so that made the experience even more amazing.  

That’s about it in Caldwell-land!  Thank you again for the many kind notes and supportive words during Joe’s surgery.  Please continue to send healing vibes his way!  We appreciate it more than you will ever realize.  Aloha!  

2 Responses to ““I look for the up (that down just ain’t my style), I go for the up.””

  1. Anna Woodard said

    Here’s some positive, healing vibes from Indiana! Thanks for keeping us updated. And beautiful pictures, as usual.


  2. Mike Shoulders said

    I’m so glad things are going well. Thanks for the update!!!! We can’t help to think of you both often. Good luck with the upcoming treatments. Please….. KEEP BLOGGING!!!!! 😉


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