Monday, May 31, 2010

Laying Low Over Memorial Day Weekend

On Sunday Rianne woke up around 6:30 feeling well-rested but not feeling well. She had trouble getting a good breath of air. This situation has occurred several times during her treatment. We’ve been told that it is due to her bone marrow reproducing white blood cells and that the sternum is one of the most active areas in the body where blood cells are produced. The ribs, hips, pelvis and skull are other very active areas. When this occurs, Rianne feels a pressure in her chest, but not around the heart – instead it is painful from her collar bone down to her upper abdomen. She describes it as if her sternum feels like the weight of an elephant is upon it. Because of this, she didn’t feel as well as she did toward the end of the week.
She really wanted to go to church, so we did. We stayed to take the Sacrament but both felt that it would be a good decision to leave as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of her getting uncomfortable. We returned home and laid low. She spent time trying to relax, yet kept herself busy enough to feel like she was making her brain work. She is very concerned about “chemo brain” and wants to keep active enough so that she gives her brain a “workout.”
We took a break and watched a movie, then decided to go ahead and watch another. I could tell that it was just what she needed. Rest is absolutely critical during the recovery process. While watching the movies her pain lessoned and she began to feel a little better. She went to bed feeling better than she did when she got up. Like we’ve said before, we are trying to take it a day at time and this was what worked for us yesterday!
Today is Memorial Day and it was a better day for Rianne. She slept in until 8:00, which, believe it or not, is good for her lately. She talked on the phone to her Mom for awhile and discovered some new information about her Thallasemia condition. We wanted to get out and go for a quad ride, but with the forecast of rain all week I decided to get that jungle of a lawn mowed or I’d pay for it the next time I‘d get a chance to mow. Rianne put herself to work in the house while I was on the turf and accomplished one task after the next. By now she knows her chemo routine and wanted to get some things accomplished before tomorrow’s chemo infusion kicks in. She knows during the end of the week that she receives an infusion that her body will attempt to shut down. She then won’t have the strength to accomplish much, which is why she thought ahead and worked hard today. That's my wife let me tell ya! Every hour I asked her how she was doing and she honestly replied, “I’m doing good.” I could see that she felt good and was content with keeping her brain busy.
She wanted to try to go for a quad ride, so around 2:00 we tried to get her quad running. Even with a new battery it didn’t want to start, so we changed the plan and stayed put. She found a new project to work on in the house and kept herself busy for the rest of the day.
Tomorrow is Chemo Infusion #3 in Coos Bay and marks the beginning of the 3rd cycle of her treatment which is scheduled for 6 cycles before radiation. She’ll rise early and return home late once again. Rianne gets some anxiety on the ride up, but once she sits in the recliner and the Oncology Nurse taps into her Port she settles in for the day.
Ahead of time we want to thank you for your prayers, love and support as she enters her 3rd cycle in the morning. Hard to believe that she has been undergoing treatment for 6 weeks and that tomorrow begins week 7. Rianne is one tough woman with a heart of gold and I truly am fascinated by her willingness to get up each day and fight this cancer with the attitude that she has!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"You Blew Bubbles for Us!"

The week has ended well for Rianne and she certainly deserved it to be that way. After her blood transfusion on Monday, the disastrous ride home that followed and fighting her way to sleep that night, her only direction to go was up. Tuesday was a better day, as was Wednesday. On Thursday morning she awoke when I did at 6:00 and said she wanted to go in to work. I was concerned that she may be pushing herself too hard and was able to talk her out of it - for now. She is still in a critical period for her latest blood transfusion and cannot risk illness at any level. Friday was another good day and today has been very restful for her also. On Friday Katie Hensley and Becky Howlett, Rianne's co-workers at Curry County Title, brought lunch to her and built her spirit up through their generosity. It was good for Rianne to briefly visit with them and hear about their lives. "I don't want to talk about me" Rianne said, "I want to hear about how your lives are going."
This morning I awoke at 5:30 to find Rianne’s face lit by the glare of the laptop. Some nights she wakes at 3:00am and can’t return to sleep. She fights it by reading, letting the dogs out and, as she did today, heading to her Facebook Page or reading her email. It’s senseless for her to lay in bed and stress about her cancer, which she has done recently, so she tries to keep her mind on the other things in life that mean the most to her – like you, her supporters.
She received an inspiring email from her Aunt Annajean which reminds us of the importance of living a full and peaceful life, living each moment as it comes. We must also remember to value each person we know and embrace them for who they are, and never judge them. When Rianne showed the clip to me I was inspired by it and it reminded me that we all have the choice to live our lives as we please, yet we should always try to live as best we can and value all of those around us. The email from her aunt provided some encouraging quotes:
"Aspire to inspire before you expire." "Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And leave the rest to God." "Happiness keeps you Sweet. Trials keep you strong. Sorrows keep you human. Failures keep you humble. But only God keeps you going!" Thank you for being a very important part of the seasons of my life.
The Power Point slideshow can be found at When you get to the site, scroll down a little to Featured Videos and it’s the last video in that section titled, "The Seasons in Life." It’s a great slideshow and there are many more on the website.
Rianne sometimes feels SO ALONE with this battle she is engaged in. She has had some tearful moments. I sometimes fire out of bed when she wakes at 3:00am because I don’t want her to be alone…thinking about the cancer…feeling like it’s her against the world. I often worry about leaving her alone at home when I drive to work in the morning, yet I know that someone will contact her to brighten her day. This is why I want to thank all of you for your love, friendship and support. The visits you’ve made, dinners you’ve prepared, phone calls you’ve dialed, text messages you’ve sent and cards we’ve received all have a huge place in our hearts. Every single thing that you do helps her gain strength and live her life to the fullest – laughing and smiling even during this difficult "Season of her Life."
Today we rested until the phone rang. We knew that it would be someone who cares about her, as that is what all calls have been like for the past two months. She answered the phone and, to our excitement, it was our nephew, Kyle Owen, calling from Iraq. He was deployed in October of last year and is working on the front line with his fellow troops searching for and detecting bombs, land mines and many other threats to American Soldiers. It was absolutely wonderful talking to him. He was told about this Blog by his Grandmother, Luane, who was told about it by her son, Devan, Kyle’s father, who was told about it by his son, Duncan, Kyle’s little brother. We talked about Rianne’s cancer and Kyle expressed his concern and admiration for his Aunt Rianne. I was awestruck that he was contacting us because there he is in Iraq, in one of the most dangerous situations possible for a person his age to be in, and HE was reaching out to express HIS love for HER. We laughed and shared stories with him, even teased him a little. Then he thanked her for visiting Boise well over a decade ago when he was a youngster. “I remember when you blew bubbles for us on the deck and how big they were. And you read that book to us – it’s still one of the only books I’ve ever read through all the way!”
It goes to show how deep of an impact Rianne has had on people over the years. She is loved by many although she sometimes doubts it. I often remind her that she inspires people in ways she will never really and truly know. Be it her beautiful smile, her infectious laugh, her committed friendship, her pleasant conversation or her enormously warm and friendly heart – it all has a place in the lives of others!
She truly has touched so many lives and continues to do so today!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rianne’s Tests, Blood Draws and Surgeries

Rianne’s trail during her fight against cancer has been nothing short of exhausting. Many of you have followed every step that she has taken, but some of you have not yet heard of her challenges. To better familiarize you with her trail I have created a timeline of the schedule she has followed since the day she had the lump removed from her head. The intense schedule of tests, blood draws and procedures is not uncommon for cancer patients to follow. April 15th is a date to note when you read this entry. Reading through and remembering her schedule makes me marvel at her strength, courage and endurance through all of this.

March 25, 2010 – Rianne underwent surgery for a lump that was on her head since June of 2009. The lump grew in size, especially in the winter months. The surgery was successful, yet the lump stumped the surgeon. He promptly sent it to pathology.

April 1, 2010 – Results of the pathology report were returned to the surgeon. Rianne’s lump was found to be a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Rianne was told that she has cancer.

April 6, 2010 – We went to an appointment with the surgeon to remove stitches that Rianne received during surgery. Surgeon decided to leave the stitches in her head to minimize the risk of infection, as Rianne would be facing numerous tests during the upcoming week.

April 8, 2010 – We met with the Oncologist for the first time at North Bend Medical Center in Coos Bay. We were impressed with his knowledge, especially when he understood Rianne’s blood condition, which is called Thallesemia Minor. This was the first doctor in 21 years of our lives together who knew what it was! We felt very comfortable with him and with his nursing staff.

April 12, 2010 - 9:15am – MUGA SCAN – Rianne was injected with a radioactive material and scanned by an advanced machine to detect the strength of her heart. She received the injection and 30 minutes later endured an hour long test while she lay motionless on her back.
April 12, 2010 - 1:30pm – CT SCAN (Formerly known as the CAT SCAN) – 6 hour fast required. Rianne was instructed to “choose a flavor!” She chose banana flavor and was told to wait until 12:30, then drink two 20 ounce bottles of barium – a chalky textured liquid which helps to create an image during the scan. She hesitantly polished off the 2 bottles by 1:30, then again laid motionless on her back for 20 minutes for the imaging.

April 13, 2010 - 11:30am – PET SCAN – 6 hour fast required. Rianne was again injected with a material to assist the Positron Emission Tomography machine to clearly read her entire body cavity for cancerous tumors. The injected material involved glucose, which cancer cells react to and get caught in the act by the high-tech scanning machine.

April 14, 2010 – Her only day off from what we have since called “The Cancer Olympics”. Rianne went to lunch with her parents at the Mill Casino. Magic returned to Gold Beach the previous evening so he could work the next day, then returned to Coos Bay to accompany Rianne for the remaining tests.

April 15, 2010 - 8:00am – Rianne went through a BLOOD DRAW to test counts on her white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, calcium, vitamin D and more.
April 15, 2010 - 9:45am – BRAIN MRI – Rianne remained motionless once again for an hour to produce clear images for the Magnetic Resonance Imaging of her brain. This was a painless procedure which she responded to well.
April 15, 2010 - 10:15am - LUMBAR PUNCTURE - 6 hour fast required. Rianne hesitantly endured a LUMBAR PUNCTURE (Formerly known as the Spinal Tap) - A large needle was driven through Rianne’s lower back and into her spinal cord while she was lying on her belly. She was then tipped up to a near vertical position to allow spinal fluid to drain into a vial for testing. This was a painful test which caused her enormous anxiety. We discussed the procedure before it was initiated and were told that a surgeon would administer the test, which relieved her concerns. She did remarkably well through the test, although pain later returned.
April 15, 2010 - 1:30pm - CHEMO PORT SURGERY - 6 hour fast required. The surgeon who removed the lump on her head inserted a unit beneath Rianne’s skin and into her upper chest muscles referred to as a Port. The Port was sewn into place with dissolvable stitches and could not be seen but could be felt. Oncology nurses can access the Port (which is about the size and shape of a Rolo candy and has a tube that is placed into a vein) and place needles into it for chemotherapy infusions, blood draws and blood transfusions. The Port is less likely to draw infection during the 18 week chemotherapy treatment process than other IV methods used.

April 16, 2010 - 2:30pm– Rianne went into NBMC for an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist but the appointment was cancelled by them. She did undergo a HEARING EXAM while she was at the facility.

April 19, 2010 – 8:00am - Rianne began CHEMOTHERAPY INFUSION #1. The infusion began the first of six cycles. Each cycle is 3 weeks in length. She completed the infusion at 6:00pm with a smile on her face, yet she was physically exhausted.

April 20, 2010 – 8:00am - Rianne returned to the Oncologist to receive a NEULASTA SHOT. This chemical is used to boost the production of white blood cells which occurs in the bone marrow. The chemicals administered during chemotherapy kill cancer cells, red blood cells and white blood cells, which is why the shot is critical to receive. The bone marrow in the sternum, ribs, hips and skull actively produce white blood cells, but also causes intense pain during the recovery process.
April 20, 2010 - 11:30am - BONE MARROW TEST - 6 hour fast required. Rianne hesitantly endured her final procedure which she again had anxiety for. When she was 5 years old, her mother and her underwent Bone Marrow Tests to check for Thallesemia Minor, which is similar to Sickle-Cell Anemia. She clearly remembered the pain, grinding noises and tears involved that day. Luckily, she had excellent nurses to reduce her anxiety this time. The Doctor inserted a hollow needle and took a “core sample” from the marrow in her hip bone on the upper backside. To make her feel at ease, he sang Elvis Pressley songs to her, which greatly improved the experience for her!

April 26, 2010 – Rianne’s father took her to NBMC here in Gold Beach to take a scheduled BLOOD DRAW to check her counts. Later that day she texted me, begging me to come home as something was wrong. I called her Oncologists and asked about the results of the blood draw. We were told her numbers were low and that she needed to have a blood transfusion.
We left Gold Beach at 4:30pm and arrived at Bay Area Hospital around 6:15pm. She was in the hospital bed from 7:00pm until 3:00am enduring a BLOOD TRANSFUSION.

May 3, 2010 - 11:00am – Rianne had a scheduled BLOOD DRAW at NBMC in Coos Bay. Her counts were good.

May 10, 2010 – 9:30am – Rianne began CHEMO INFUSION #2. Results of the series of tests were also reported to us that morning. Her Bone Marrow Test was clean, but the Brain MRI test discovered another tumor. The tumor is located between her brain and skull below the original tumor which was removed during the March 25th surgery. The newly discovered tumor was large in size and measured 5.2cm x 2.3cm x 4.4cm. The tumor was reported to us on May 10th, but has been constantly addressed by the chemicals infused into her since the 1st cycle began on April 19th.

May 17, 2010 – 1:00pm – Rianne had a scheduled BLOOD DRAW at NBMC in Coos Bay. Her counts were low enough for a blood transfusion but she was encouraged to avoid having one. Instead she was instructed to concentrate on improving her counts through rest and a healthy diet until her next weekly scheduled blood draw.

May 24, 2010 – 1:00pm – Rianne had a scheduled BLOOD DRAW at NBMC in Coos Bay. The results showed strong white blood cell counts but very low red blood cell counts. Due to the need for strong counts before beginning her 3rd cycle on June 1st, another blood transfusion was necessary. We arrived at Bay Area Hospital at 3:00pm and left the building at 10:00pm after the blood transfusion was complete.

I hope that this entry has helped you gain a better understanding of the schedule that Rianne has been required to follow. It amazes me that she is still able to function as well as she does. She really is an incredible woman and I am the luckiest man in the world to be with her! Rianne is the love of my life and her strength, courage and determination throughout all of this inspires me.

Riding the "Cancer Roller Coaster"

Today and yesterday were good days…but Monday was literally an up and down emotional roller coaster ride. Rianne had a MUGA Scan scheduled for 8:30am, so we woke at 5:30 and left town at 6:30 to arrive on time for the appointment at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay. The technician injected Rianne with a radioactive material and stung her when the needle hit a nerve. We returned a half an hour later for the procedure to be initiated. Rianne lied motionless for an hour so that the machine could take an accurate reading of the strength of the left ventricle of her heart. She walked through the test like she was walking in a crosswalk. No difficulties and a smile on her face when we left the hospital. We headed to Walmart (wearing our medical masks in the building to resist germs), and did some shopping. We didn’t want to have to stay in Coos Bay after her 1:30pm appointment for a blood draw. It was tough enough on her to rise at 5:30 and make an early appointment, but on this day we were scheduled for another. We were anxious to have her blood drawn, hear the good news that her counts were improving and then head on home so she wouldn’t be exhausted………we should have known better by now!
The Oncology nurse at North Bend Medical Center drew her blood and returned with the results. “Your white blood cell counts look really good.” Rianne and I smiled at each other with pride because we worked hard on her diet to focus on higher counts during this draw. “But your red blood cell counts are way down. We want your numbers to be up for your next chemo infusion on June 1st, so we need you to receive another blood transfusion. If your counts are low on June 1st we won’t be able to treat you.” We understood, but Rianne was crushed. She has battled with a blood disorder called Thallesemia Minor for all of her life. The disorder causes battles with her strength on a daily basis. Even when she was in excellent health, there were times when she had literally walked in the door after work, grabbed a snack and went to bed for the night due to exhaustion – all triggered by the Thallesemia. Another blood transfusion registered failure in her mind because she felt like she was improving, but the blood draw showed that she wasn’t.
We left the facility at 2:00 and headed back to Bay Area Hospital for the blood transfusion. We checked in at 3:00, had her blood drawn for a match and waited for the new units of whole, packed red blood cells to arrive. During the wait she had a meltdown - as I mentioned earlier, I won’t sugar coat it. She sobbed in my arms, discussing with me her fears of financial hardship during this grueling process and her concern for my well being should her condition worsen. She apologized to me for having cancer and for causing me to have to take sick days from work to be with her. Sadly, she was at the lowest she has been since the diagnosis was made.
Once again I listened to her and let her speak, yet I wanted to cut her off and tell her not to worry. Getting the frustration out is critical in the healing process and she needed to vent. When she was finished I assured her that money was not going to be an issue throughout her treatment and that I won’t allow it to be. For the past 21years of our marriage we have always found a way to work things out financially – and we will find a way again and again during this ordeal. I reminded her that my sick days have accumulated over the years and that I have built up enough to be with her without worry. Lastly, I encouraged her to not apologize for having cancer - a condition that she had no control of getting. She didn’t get cancer for doing something wrong…or as a punishment for something she did in the past..…she has cancer because it is an awful disease that doesn’t discriminate against anyone – it can and does find whomever it wants to.
It hurts me to see her hurting. I feel her pain and am very empathetic to her feelings and frustrations with all of her tests, blood draws, chemo infusions and blood transfusions. Her day was already long and she was tired…and it was 3:30…and she hadn’t received a drop of blood yet.
At 4:30 the first of two units began to drip into the IV and into the Chemo Port in her chest. Each unit would take 2 hours or longer to empty. After her meltdown, her spirit began to climb again thanks to a phone call from Briana Katzenberger and another from Crystal Szymczak. Again, we find great strength in the support we receive from friends, family and our community - and again it was coming at a time of need. When the second unit arrived around 7:00, Rianne was laughing and feeling refreshed again. She was texting friends, talking to the nurses and even visiting with another patient who was receiving treatment for breast cancer. I too was feeling somewhat relieved, until I saw her eyes begin to get that glazed look, which is the indicator that she has had enough. When she said she had a headache I knew it was only the beginning of what was yet to come of an awfully long night.
At 9:00 the second unit was still dripping into her IV. During her first blood transfusion 3 weeks ago, for some reason the pump kept stopping and triggering the alarm. The unit “beeped” once every second, signaling for the assistance of a nurse to reset the machine. It did this very often, which lengthened the night considerably. On Monday night it began beeping again, which increased Rianne’s stress level and, of course, intensified her headache. At 9:45 the transfusion was complete and at 10:00 she took her medication for the night to help her sleep during the hour and a half ride home to Gold Beach. She also took a pain killer to relieve her aching bones and hopefully relieve the headache, which was worsening . 20 minutes into the trip home she began to sob again because her headache wouldn’t ease up and she was beginning to feel nauseated and frustrated. When we reached Humbug Mountain she couldn’t tolerate it anymore and begged me to pull over. Exhausted, she stepped out of the vehicle and began to vomit repeatedly. She felt better, if that’s possible, and we didn’t stop again until we were in our driveway at midnight.
She stumbled into the house and into bed, asking for an icebag to relieve the pain from her headache. She took a second Ambien to help her fall asleep, as the first was lost when she emptied her stomach on the asphalt at Humbug. Finally, at 2:00am, after an over-exhausting day, she was snoring, which meant that her miserable day had finally ended.
The entire day was like a "Cancer Roller Coaster" ride. One moment we were up, the next moment we were down. An hour later the day was improving, yet during the next hour we were feeling low again.Having cancer in our lives has had it's ups and it has had it's downs. The best that we can do is handle each situation as it arises, knowing that "this too shall pass."
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, today and yesterday were good days for her. After the first blood transfusion she improved steadily with each new day. So far the same has occurred with the second transfusion. Her strength has returned with the newly acquired red blood cells and her positive attitude has returned as well. Tomorrow is yet another day and, if the pattern follows the first cycle of her treatment, she will have a good day. We are hoping and praying that the week will end with good days so that she will have strong blood counts, refreshed strength and a good attitude for the start of her 3rd cycle of chemotherapy.
Thank you again for all of your support. Although you may feel hesitant or unsure if you should contact us or not, please remember that something as simple as a “one-liner” in a text message can improve our day. Your friendship is valued during this trying period in our lives and we encourage you to feel comfortable contacting us. We hope that you understand how HUGE the “little things” can be!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Rianne Means to Me

Written by Briana Katzenberger - Rianne's Cousin - May 24,2010

2005 was a big year in "this" Katzenberger household. John moved to Maui, and I stayed back in Idaho, with our 3 year old Son Carter. I was so lonely, and Don and Lillian had been telling me for years to "email our daughter Rianne, you'll love her". I was always so self conscionce of "pushing myself" on people that I'd never met. I was worried she wouldn't like me or something? I was worried she wasn't as "cool" as they were making her out to be? I don't know... but in one simple step, Rianne finally took the first step and emailed me... and it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

Rianne is so much more than a cousin (by marriage) to me. She's my girlfriend, a momma, a sister, a soul mate. We can sit on the phone for over 3 hours and STILL have more to talk about, but get off the phone, because we know that neither of us have done a darn thing except talk on the phone. We can sit there laughing at anything and EVERYTHING, especially if it's anything related to Poop. She's a mentor that I run to DAILY with my problems, a friend that can pick me up when I need an extra boost, a mom when I need advice on how to NOT kill my child, and a soul mate... she knows things about me, before I EVEN know them. :) We strive to find something funnier, or sicker, or down right profound to call each other about at least once a day... but sometimes we call just to call. If I ever wondered if God was real, there is no question now, because he gave me one of the greatest blessings of all, with my dear Rianne.
Rianne is one of the MOST caring and generous people I have ever met. I, honestly don't know what I did without her. We talk everyday, and if we miss a day, it's because something is wrong, and I know to call her immediately. :)

Seeing Rianne go through everything she has with NHL has been extremely difficult for me. My husband and I seriously debated moving to Gold Beach, just so I could be with her everyday, even if that meant NO JOB and that we'd live on the beach... I just cannot imagine the strength and endurance it takes to tackle this disease head on. She's carried courage, and determination, and a faith far beyond a mustard seed, to face this Poopnoma, and conquer. Rianne is ABSOLUTELY HANDS DOWN the person I strive to be everyday of my life. She's my inspiration to keep going when I think things are rough. She's that encouraging word in my ear. She's my everything. (She might want to consider a restraining order... I'm sounding a little obsessed)... I truly TRULY did not know what it meant to have a "soul mate" until I met Rianne. We are one in the same. We're like Siamese (if you please) Twins... with 30 years between us. We often joke that if she had a daughter it'd be me... (with my Twinners)... We can finish each other's sentences, we wake up the same days with headaches, "kankles", chinecks, bums on fire, DIET COKE, special TP, AMAZINGLY FUNNY/DORKY husbands... you name it... and we're practically the same person... I'm just not quite as OCD as she is! HAHA

I love Rianne Becker-Katzenberger to the moon and back times a million. Without her, I wouldn't be complete. I wouldn't be who I am today. In just 5 short years, this woman has impacted my life like no other has. She has engraved her name on my heart, where nobody will ever be able to touch it. She has given me so much more than a few crummy words could ever describe. Rianne is my Hero. (yup, I'm balling too).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

She's Not Always Going to be Up

Today was another good day. It started out a bit frustrating, however. I woke at 5:00am because I noticed that Rianne had her jacket on, which usually means that she is letting the dogs out. I forced myself to get out of bed to help her and noticed that the dogs were lying on the floor below me in the bedroom. Instantly the red flags flew, as I darted out into the dark living room to find her. She was in the kitchen just standing there with tears in her eyes. I asked her what was going on and she said that she couldn’t sleep and had been up since 3:00. She said that she keeps getting this feeling that she needs to get her life in order and needs to prepare the house for me in case the outcome is grim. I let her talk and she also expressed her fear of possibly not making it through the treatments.
I refuse to sugar-coat this Blog because I’m sure that you who read it and care for Rianne want to know the truth. We’re scared – every day! NHL is a very serious condition – it is TREATABLE, not CURABLE. We may fight this for the rest of our lives and it finds a way to sneak into our minds on a daily basis, no matter how much fun we are having or how long the drive to treatments are. No matter how hard we try to push the thoughts away, they return. When people tell us to fight the cancer, they also mean to fight off all of the fearful thoughts, draining emotions, and, worse of all, the unknown future that is ahead of us. Although we have had good days, it is a simple fact – we will have very low moments that make the tears flow. This morning was one of those moments. And the chemotherapy will cause Rianne to have those types of feelings, which was told to us straight from the Oncologist.
When Rianne finished talking I just held her in my arms and let her know how little it matters if the house is organized or not. We then sat down on the laptop and looked at her Facebook Page. Immediately her smile returned to her face. She and I both find super strength from friends like you who have supported us since the news of her cancer came on April 1st. The last 2 months have been the toughest in our lives, but with the support of friends and family we gain strength to fight another day – and each day DOES matter.
We spent the morning downloading photos to our sites and laughed until our sides ached. Rianne cooked a nice breakfast, then we got ready for church. We sat behind Ty, Ashley and our grandsons, Kacen and Brant. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop when Kacen greeted his Gramma Rianne with those three beautiful words, “YOUR BALD HEAD!” We both had to muffle our mouths to keep from laughing out loud! The innocence of children is amazing sometimes and today, right in the middle of church, was one of those times! We were fortunate to have the boys sit with us, but we had to leave early to avoid the croud. It’s difficult to have to walk away from everyone, but Rianne absolutely cannot risk catching a cold or flu from anyone, as it can complicate her therapy. If she catches a cold it can develop into pneumonia and possibly death. Even when our closest friends visit, she wears a respirator/mask as a precaution and sometimes we visit with them outside, on the deck, in the open air.
When we got home she wanted to take my picture. Instead, I took hers, then she set the 10 second timer and off we went on a tear of 15 or 20 shots, which got goofier and goofier. She posted them on her Facebook Page and got immediate responses, which again put a smile on her face. The positive support helps Rianne and I keep a positive attitude, which is critical during her treatment. It’s been a roller coaster ride since the tests and Chemotherapy started – our positive attitude fights with negative feelings and fear. One moment we’re up, the next we are down…..Rianne laughs and enjoys a visit, then her bones ache so much that she has to cry to feel relief. Overall, however, we have stayed positive even when times seem to be difficult.
Again – thank you for your love, prayers and support. We hope that you are enjoying this Blog and what we have entered in it. Send us an e-mail if you would like to at It would be great to hear from you!

Letter to the Editor - Curry County Reporter

This is our letter to the editor of our local newspaper. It is a letter of appreciation for all who helped with the Spagetti Dinner fundraiser which was held on Rianne's behalf on May 8, 2010.

We would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you who attended and/or contributed to the spaghetti feed held on behalf of my wife, Rianne Becker. We thank you all for your love and support.
Thank you to Pam Hunter for creating, organizing, decorating and managing the event. Thank you to Nancy Aldrich for your amazing work in the kitchen. Thank you to Katie Hensley for your contributions and your help organizing, decorating and managing the spaghetti feed. Thank to you Karen Stuart, Becky Howlett, Tammy Oliver, Debra Way and Josh Howlett for your help and generosity at the event. Thank you Eddie and Tom for rallying with the bullhorn! Thank you Don, Rilea and Michelle for your help at the event. You all are appreciated and we are very grateful for your efforts.
Thank you to all of you who donated for the event. Thank you to Mike Wallace, Trish Kerr, Caryn Merica, Carol Noble, Ray’s Food Place, McKays Market, Sweetbriar, Gold Beach High School and anyone else who made donations – you too are all appreciated.
Thank you to all of you who attended the spaghetti feed – we hope you enjoyed the outstanding food and desserts! Thank you for your generous contributions on Rianne’s behalf. Your love, support and contributions are all appreciated.
On April 1st, Rianne was diagnosed with a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer has changed our lives! But once again, our great community has proven to us how special it really is to live here. All of your love, generosity and support have been absolutely humbling, heartfelt and very much appreciated.
Rianne and I would like to invite our community to visit our new weblog, which we hope will help keep you all updated on Rianne’s progress throughout her treatment. The address is .
Lastly, please feel free to call us, text us, visit our Facebook sites, visit the Blog or chat when you see us. Your friendship, love and support give us great strength during this very difficult time in our lives.
Once again, thank you all for everything you have done for us. You make us very proud to be living here in Gold Beach!

The Spagetti Feed was a huge success. Thanks again everyone for your hard work, love, support and contributions. We appreciate it all very much.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Time to Get the Quads Running

Today was another good day. Rianne woke up feeling well. We relaxed in the morning and got a few chores taken care of. I took a short nap and Rianne decided to sneak outside with Kelbi, our 2 year old lab. She returned with a smile on her face because she pooped Kelbi out throwing a toy to her and taking her on a walk by Elephant Bar Trail. She came inside and asked me if i wanted to go on a quad ride - which means she is feeling well! We headed to the garage and dusted the cobwebs off the quads, which is embarrassing since we haven't rode for months! Here is a personal fact about her- Rianne has admitted more than once that the best thing she has EVER bought for herself is her QUAD! Now THAT makes her man proud!
My wife is a "Go-Getter" and has always been one! Before we were even married she begged me to take her elk hunting with my brother, Paul and me. I asked her if she could shoot and she replied, "yes I can!" My brother and I decided we had better field test her claim before we let her stomp around with us in the Idaho woods. Soooo, we took her out shooting! No reason to explain anything else about how that outing went!
We dusted off the quads, aired up the tires and agreed to go for a ride tomorrow after church. There's just something special about getting away from it all - even if it's for an hour, or better yet, an entire weekend. I am grateful that I have a wife who is an outdoor enthusiast. Remind me to tell you about the "Fish Whacker" story!
Tonight we talked to our son, Tate, who is currently living and working in Utah. We ate dinner and relaxed, then Rianne cut up some fruits and vegetables for her Smoothies, which she makes quite a bit lately. She and I have both made a strong effort to improve our diet, especially since sugar and junk food FEEDS cancer cells! It has been an eye-opener as far as diet and nutrition goes.
I would like to encourage you who visit this blog to search the internet on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. You'll understand more of what Rianne's condition involves. It is a serious diagnosis and will change our lives in many ways and possibly for the rest of our lives.
Thank you for your prayers, love and support - without it we would surely struggle. With your support we are able to embrace each day, knowing that we have friends, family and loved ones surrounding us as we fight this cancer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Post on "WeLoveRianne" Blog

Today was a good day for Rianne. She had a rough beginning to the week, as Sunday was a tough day for her to even get comfortable. Her body hurt all over and she had trouble resting. On Monday her blood was drawn and the results showed that her counts were low. 3 weeks earlier her counts were so low that she needed a blood transfusion and received one. This time, however, she was instructed to rest and build her strength with the intent to avoid another blood transfusion. She rested and improved her diet, which she has continued to do all week. She expressed how well she felt compared to earlier in the week, which is encouraging. We took a short walk tonight and relaxed. Tomorrow is a new day, which we have learned is the best way to live - a day at a time! Thank you for all of your love and support - every bit of it is appreciated!