Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Flying again

I'm looking forward to seeing my New York family again, but I'm torn to be leaving my precious daughters at home.

Flight leaves at 5:55 am with a stop for business in Toronto, arriving in NYC by about 7 pm

The next day I'm off to Orlando for the Vidir Florida Christmas banquet. Back to NYC Saturday, and home again Monday.

Renee and Martha are still sitting in the hospital room waiting for Renee's counts to go up. She has had some fever since Sunday, and they are trying to figure out which is the best medication for her at this time. The bacteria that has been growing in the cultures might be resistant to one of the antibiotics, so they are going to try another antibiotic.

For more info check Renee's blog

Thanks for your prayers and support. Every email and phone call is much appreciated.

Raymond Dueck

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday Nov 28

Renee was sleeping because of the medication she got today because of an allergic reaction to something she got or ate. Renee's WBC had been up to .5 for a few days and now it has been down to .2 the last couple of days. She gets platelet transfusions every couple of days and red cell transfusions at least once a week.

I took Karalee to MTYP, tried to locate Justin so he could join me for dinner, didn't find him and went to Muddy Waters for a meal that was less than excellent.

Karalee is busy writing stories, and Alayna is busy reading. My computer went on the fritz so I'm reduced to using the laptop....

I'm planning to go to Vidir tomorrow, to a networking breakfast with the Trade Commissioners from Poland and Mexico on Wednesday, fly to NYC Thursday with a Toronto stop, then on to Orlando on Friday, returing to NYC Saturday, and Winnipeg on Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Nov 27

Alayna, Kara, and I went to our home church this morning, for a wonderful worship time! Many people came up to me to tell me they were praying for us. That is SO wonderful that the family of God can stand together in tough times. I was hoping someone would invite us for lunch or something.

Alayna and Kara made a delicious lunch, and then Kara and I went Christmas tree shopping and found out there are NO trees to be had yet. Last year we were too late - this year too soon!

After lunch we went to Alayna's voice recital, and then dropped in to see Justin. Then home for a quiet evening. I watched the last 1/4 of the Grey Cup football and saw the nail biting finish to see Edmonton win!

We spent several hours on the phone with Martha and Renee in New York. Martha went to Trinity church in the morning, and in the afternoon, Renee and Martha spent time in the hospital rec room, working on Renee's photo albums.

Dwayne's Journey

Dwayne Kevin Harms
July 27, 1967 to August 16, 2005

"Life is an adventure, a journey we travel. And God walks it with us - hand in hand if we let Him. Guiding, shaping, and molding us through the circumstances. I seek to journey more intentionally here." Read about his journey

The Kansas House Prayer

The Truth:
This event actually happened in the Kansas House (not Senate) in Topeka on January 23, 1996. Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita. Click here for the details.

Please Pray for Alayna

Pray that it become clear to all of us - what God's perfect will is.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Moving Day

Renee moved from the private room to the 2-bed Room 10 on the NE corner of the 9th floor. Her counts are actually slipping, so she asked for the double dose of the GCSF, to try to move the counts up.

Renee finished her 3rd round of chemo and is waiting for counts to come up. Hopefully she will be able to be home for Christmas. Then it's back to New York for 3 more rounds. Martha is with her in New York. She often goes to our apartment to make a home cooked meal for the 2 of them.

Renee is cheerful and looking healthy. She developed a bit of rash today.

Alayna was out climbing all afternoon. Karalee was home alone again. I was invited to the DeFehr's for a meeting with Dr Konkel of Providence College. They want to expand again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Better and better

What kind of title is that anyway?

I know you expect to find something new here every day but that has not been happening. Renee got her walking papers today, ah, that is, she is no longer in isolation. That allowed her to go up to the activity room on the 15th floor and do some crafty things - mosaics, that is.

Our Florida staff Christmas celebration is on Dec 3, and I was hoping that Renee might feel well enough to go visit the sun. She is likely to be allowed out of the hospital, but not likely allowed to travel.

I made it home Monday night on the world's unfriendliest airline - Air Canada. I need to make a business call in Toronto ASAP, but I'm hoping that can wait till next Thursday or Friday.

Karalee is celebrating her 17th Birthday on Dec 3 with her friends. Her birthday is on the 20th of Dec. I guess I'll miss it. Alayna has a receital this Sunday. I hope I don't miss it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Renee is getting stuck again

Renee does not have the central line any more. She has NOT been on chemo for 10 days. The IV nurse came in again to restart her IVs. One had been in too long and the other one wasn't working any more. Now she has 2 IVs in her right arm. She says psychologically a central line makes her feel more sick. She needs IV lines for the various meds she is on.

The next 3 chemos are going to be much easier. Recovery should be pretty quick.

Renee is feeling well, her counts are coming up, and she'd like to get out of this room with 4 walls and a view of the next building. We watched 2 of the Monty Python movies. You didn't miss much.

The Harry Potter craze is on again. Alayna and Kara think they have to go see this one right now. What do the rest of you think? Does anyone out there have the guts to say something negative about Harry Potter?

I was in North Carolina yesterday on a business day trip. Change of scenery. Visit a potential customer.


A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to the Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

" I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

" His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother

" I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

" How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

"One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly.

"And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. "

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven cents .... plus the faith of a little child..

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need..

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law..

There is no reason to believe this is a true story, but no way to prove it isn't, either. There's no verifiable information provided (such as the family's name or location), nor is the author identified. The only nugget of information we can even research is the name of Dr. Carlton Armstrong - which, turns up only copies this story. Perhaps someone was so touched by this parable that he or she wanted it to be true, and added the line about it actually being true.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NYC for longer

I extended my stay in NYC to at least Monday - maybe Wednesday - business trip to NC Friday - possibly another one Monday to ATL

Renee is feeling well - some ups and downs - down a bit today - some upset stomach issues.

Now Dr told us that there would be 3 more rounds like this last one, about 4 weeks apart. Get better, get sick, get better........

please check our blogs for more updates
we posted more pictures for you to enjoy
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog at

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures at
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church

Monday, November 14, 2005

Two Little Children

Here is a song my uncle John taught me when I was little:

Two little children, a boy and a girl
sat by an old church door
the little girl's feet were as brown as the curls
that fell on her dress that she wore

the little boy's coat was all tattered and torn
and tears shone in his eyes
"Why don't you go home to your mother?" I said.
And this was the maiden's reply:

"Mother's in heaven they took her away
she left Jim and me all alone
we come here to sleep at the close of the day
'cause we have no mama or home

Father got lost on the sea long ago
we waited all night on the shore
for he was a life saving captain, you know,
but he never came back anymore.

Mother got sick, angels took her away
she went to that home fair and bright
'They'll come for my darlings,' she told us, 'someday.'
and perhaps they'll call us tonight."

The saxton came early to ring the church bells
he found them beneath the snow white
the angels made room for two orphans to dwell
in heaven with mother that night.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday Nov. 13

Click on the headline above to see Bernie's web pics. Click here to see our pics of the weekend.

Karalee and I went to Trinity Baptist. The pastor's topic was: "Why do good people suffer?" His text was Ecclesiastes 7:15-29. This is how he put it : "There are no good people, so bad things don't happen to good people except Christ himself. All the good things that happen to us are by God's grace, and not anything we deserve. No one is good except God alone. How could a good and just God allow a sinner like Keith (the pastor) make it to 45? We don't measure up to God's holiness. Grasp the idea of being humble. The more we follow God the more we'll realize how sinful we really are. God uses suffering to grow us. To help us see we need Him. CS Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain: 'God whispers in good times. Pain is His megaphone.' The life God has for me is grace upon grace upon grace."

Renee got a bacteria called Clostridium difficile. They suspected that's what it would be a few days ago when she first had the symptoms, so they started her on metronidazole and by now the symptoms have dissappeared, but she has to be in isolation for 7 days. Her counts today were: platelets 36, Hgb 7.9, WBC 0.1. They are starting a red cell transfusion. She has some pain when they run the transfusion too fast. She does not have a central line at this point.

Alayna took the early flight via Montreal to get home to Winnipeg. Karalee leaves at noon tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

We made it!

We got to the airport at 5:10 am but the 5:50 flight was full with 12 standbys. They put the girls on standby for the 7am flight and gave me a boarding pass for the 9am Executive Class to Montreal, and then we went to the Executive Lounge to wait. The girls got on the 7am flight, but when they got to Toronto, they were not going to get Executive Class so they decided to wait for the next flight, but then they only gave Alayna Executive Class and would not allow Karalee to sit in the empty seat beside her. That ticked her off! She says she will never fly Air Canada again! Their flight ended up getting into NYC an hour late, so they got to NYC only minutes before I did, inspite of the fact that I spent 2 hours in a business lunch in Montreal!

Today we went to a preview of the show The Woman in White. It's an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical that opens next week. The star of the show, whom the show was especially written for, has cancer, but she is still performing the lead role, except during the matenees. After the show we met Bernie, Caroline, and Katie at Angus McIndoe restaraunt, across from The Phantom of the Opera. They didn't have room for 7 so we went to Spanky's BBQ for Alayna's New York birthday.

In the evening Martha picked up "handmade fresh every day" ice cream from ColdStone for a ice cream party in Renee's room with just the 5 of us! Alayna would like this ice cream every day!

Renee is her usual happy chatty self and feels good except for her eyes. They hurt too much to read, so I read the Winnipeg Free Press for her this morning. She keeps her lights off and wears sunglasses to watch TV or do stuff on her computer. This is a result of her chemo.

Alayna is leaving again 1st thing in the morning - 1st class all the way home!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Alayna's 19th Birthday! Time to FLY!

We just got back from Sydney's at the Forks. Alayna, Karalee, and I along with some of her friends filled a table for 10.

What a meal for her 19th birthday! Such a joy to visit with her friends and hear them talking about all effort they have to put in to get throughuniversity and to hear them share their hopes and dreams with each other!

Renee was feeling better today than yesterday. Pain in her eyes prevented her from reading, so Martha read to her.

Bernie, Caroline and Katie arrive in New York at noon Nov 11. A, K, and I, are heading to the airport at 4:40 to attempt to catch the 5:50 am flight. That would get us to NYC shortly after noon.

Alayna went to a friend's house-warming party at midnight and forgot the specially prepared delicious fudge squares in the fridge! We'll be (we are) tired!
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog

Raymond 204-782-2112

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Chills, fluconosal, chemo, asperganase, Tylonol

Renee is done with chemo for the capizzi course. G-CSF and lots of different antibiotics. So far no infection has shown up in the lab, but because of the fever, Renee gets assorted antibiotics.

She read one blog today, but that's about it. She had one phone call and missed another one. She listened to her voice mails, but otherwise had chills under piles of blankets.

Course 1 - 2 cycles of Capizzi II. Just completed.
Course 2 - 2 cycles of CCG 241A Maintenance. This will be started once her platelets and ANC are high enough.
Course 3 - DENVER maintenance.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Renee is back in the hospital

Renee developed a fever this evening and Martha took her in immediately. She is being checked / admitted at this hour.

Sorry about the messed up email yesterday. You can read a clean copy below.

It was snowing big blankets of snow on the way home from Vidir. Took twice as long as normal to get home.

Pat Boone's song "For Those Tears I Died" wiggled its way into my brain:
"Then Jesus said, Come to the Water,
stand by my side.
I know you are thirsty,
you won't be denied
I felt every tear drop
when in darkness you cried
and I spoke to remind you
that for those tears I died"

Renee is getting intravenous antibiotics at this hour, and will be admitted to the 9th floor for her next dose of chemo that should start at midnight or as soon thereafter as possible

Martha will stay at the hospital overnight.

Who said it?

Be Bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozy.

gink neaj eillib

Monday, November 07, 2005

Renee is back on chemo

Renee is back on chemo. It started last week Monday when she was perfectly healthy. She enjoyed the company of her friends Teresa and Audrey. Martha took them all to the "Hairspray" comedy on Broadway on Friday. On Saturday Renee and Audrey went to "Little Italy" for the day. I'm sure they must have had the best cheesecake in the world at La Bella Ferrara Pasticceria. It's worth the trip.

Sunday they went to Trinity Baptist Church. The senior pastor preached a good preach. Later they enjoyed Central Park again.

Today Renee had enough energy to make the 15-minute walk (8 minutes for me) to and from the hospital for more chemo. They gave her antihistamines to control the nausea. That tends to put her asleep. Tomorrow morning at 8 she gets more chemo. Her ANC was down to 0.1 and that makes her neutrapenic, meaning she can't eat raw vegetables or anything else with germs on it and very susceptable to infections. Tomorrow she'll need to get platelets and red cells again. Pray that she will remain free of infections and she'll be able to recover at home.

This will happen again on Wednesday, the last of this series of chemo. After she gets perfectly healthy they will do this 2-week chemo routine again. They will NOT do a transplant at this point because she has a 50% chance that she will be cured for life.

Alayna, Karalee, and I have had some quality time at home. Church on Sunday, a hurried lunch, and Alayna was off to Youth Parliament Cabinet Meeting. I picked Justin up so he could catch a ride with grandma, grandpa, and Auntie Rose to the Peter Pan performance at SBC. Karalee and I had seen it Saturday night. Justin is still looking for that job that suits him. I offered him the opportunity to apprentice with the hair stylists in Arborg, but he wants to think about that some more.

Alayna, Karalee, and I are booked to fly to NYC on Friday. Alayna will return Sunday, and Karalee on Monday at 4:35 pm on AC259. Do we have a volunteer to pick her up at the airport and take her to her class at MTYP at the Forks? Alayna is in class at U of W. She could pick her up at MTYP and take her home after the class. I am booked to arrive home Wednesday at 3:50 pm.

Thanks again for your prayers, concern, and support. We appreciate every prayer, email, phone call, and expression of support.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At the hospital all day

We had a lovely sunset in Manitoba after the rain.

Renee and Martha and friends hung around the hospital all day starting at 8 am. Renee had the last of the four three hour IV doses of AraC for this first cycle of the Consolidation chemo today. This was followed by a shot of asparginase 3 hours later. Before they could go, they had to wait for the G-CSF. After that, they had to wait for the ensaflon to go in for the G-CSF shots. There was some confusion as to whether the insurance was going to pay for it. It's a very expensive drug.

Tony, whose mother Martha has been getting to know, was scheduled for a transplant this week. Today they found out that he had relapsed. His mom was very worried. Martha kept her company for two hours while she was waiting to talk with the doctor.

Teresa and Audrey were in Renee's room, but she was sleeping most of day because of the anti-nausea drugs. Renee had been throwing up last night, so they gave her extra medication as a precaution.

Now Renee is finished chemo for this week. Her counts were good. ANC 5.9 Hgb 8.3 WBC 6.2

By the weekend Renee will be neutrapenic. Next week she gets more chemo again. Prognosis remains good.

This morning I went to a breakfast presentation by ScootAround. Very interesting! Then I convinced Dr Friesen to do a new procedure on my #23 eye tooth. He used a carbon fibre post and acrylic over the root to create a solid fondation for the new crown. I call this the Raymond procedure. Time will tell if this works. Maybe I should patent it!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Laughing Matters

I guess I'm learning that I can't control the wind, but I can adjust my sails. Some people live like they have Limburger cheese on their lips. To them the whole world stinks. I'm learining to wipe the cheese off my lips. To adjust my attitude.

No matter what goes right, no matter what goes wrong, God is in control. One day - maybe not tomorrow, or even next week - I'll see things His way. So I might as well just throw back my head and laugh.

LOST: Dog with three legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken, recently castrated.
Answers to the name of "Lucky"