Brett is part of “the dream team”!

Brett, Raj, and their third business partner Kevin, recently got some really great press in the Champaign County News Gazette!  You can check out the article here!


With two start ups, things have been quite busy in our house 🙂  The dream team even recently moved all of their equipment out of our downstairs and into an incubator space that they are renting.  I’ve crashed a few late night parties hack-a-thons deadline crunches with the guys at their new space in the past few weeks 🙂  The team is always hard at work!

If you want to learn more about what they do, click here and if you want to see their company’s official website, click here.  🙂



a walk through my scan day!

Last week I had a clean, 6-month scan!!!  I have one more of those every 6 month scans and then two, every year scans before I am officially done with my clinical trial.  As promised last time (and last week), Brett and I documented this scan, step by step as we went through the hospital and our day.  🙂

Since we come to the hospital from out of town, Brett and I always drive down the night before and then take the first CT scan appointment of the day.  This means a 6:15 am departure from my childhood home…or 6:20 am if we are leaving late 😉


When we drive to the hospital, we park in the garage that is adjacent to the building where my CT scans, labs (when they draw blood to check things), and my doctor’s appointment all are.

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In all of these pictures, Brett and I both look a little tired.  🙂  We aren’t used to getting up before 6 am and we had just returned from our all night drive home from Boston the day before heading down to St. Louis  🙂  Busy couple of days!

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When we get to the CT waiting room, the women there know me by name.  They always exclaim “Good morning Ms. Casperson!” as we walk in 🙂  I always fill out the same forms…I did this even when I was getting scanned ever 3 months…I could complain about that and other hospital idiosyncrasies for hours 😉

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Then they call me into the back where they start an IV.  When I was still doing chemo, this process was a lot easier because I had a port they could easily access in my chest.  It meant that they didn’t have to find a good vein in my dehydrated body’s arm (I have to fast starting at midnight the day before the scan) but used the port that was connected straight to an artery in my neck.  I used to always be given a special liquid to drink at this stage too.  It tasted super funny and my GI system didn’t like it all that much…  Now though, I don’t have to drink it!  Win win!

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After the IV is placed, I’m sent back to where the CT rooms are and I typically wait a few more minutes.

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This is what the CT machines look like.  I lay down on the table and it raises and retracts into the doughnut shaped part of the machine.  They scan my neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvic area.  While you are allowed to have some metal on you (unlike an MRI), I can’t have it in areas where I am directly scanned.  I have learned to dress appropriately so that I don’t have to change into some awful hospital paper outfit or raise/lower a piece of clothing for the scan.  I typically wear comfy/kind of fashionable pajama pants, a cami with built in “bra”, a stretchy top, and some sort of sweater that will keep me warm in the chilly hospital and has no metal (no zipper for instance) but that I can also roll up the sleeves.  On the arm where the IV is started, I need to roll up that sleeve without removing my sweater all the way…plus, having some fabric (like a rolled up sweater sleeve) under the tourniquet they use to start the IV makes that process a bit more comfortable.


Brett waits in the waiting room, and I come get him when I’m done 🙂  Then I can eat breakfast and have some coffee!!!


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Next, we head to the labs area.  Here, they draw the blood needed to take all of the measurements they need to see if I’m healthy and monitor everything they do for the clinical trial.


This labs area is connected to the rooms where I had chemotherapy treatments a few years ago.


Then we head to the doctor’s waiting room!  I check in, pay a co-pay, and wait a little more.

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Then we meet with the doctor.  I really love my doctor and her team.  I think that choosing someone to handle your treatment that you are comfortable with is a HUGELY important thing 🙂

Outside of the doctors’ offices and the labs area, there is a bell.  Patients ring it whenever they want.  It signifies good news and everyone claps and cheers whenever the bell is rung.  It makes me teary eyed just thinking of all of the rings I have heard while in the cancer area…whether in labs, treatment, or seeing the doctor.

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And that’s it!  Brett and I weren’t documenting our lives they way we do now, when I was going through chemo.  On a chemo day (if I also had a scan), our day would have started just like I just described, and then after the doctor’s appointment we would have headed across the hall to chemo.  Finger’s crossed that those days are behind us 🙂

another 6 month scan today!

Happy Wednesday!

By the time you read this, Brett and I will be in the middle of another one of my every 6 month scans.  This time around, I decided that we would do a post where you see exactly what one of these scan days is like for us, so look for that later next week (eep!  Teasers!).

We’ll definitely keep you up to date with the results!  Wish us luck!


Boston weekend!

Brett, Raj, and I met a group of friends from early in graduate school (right as I was coming into the picture hehe) this past weekend in Boston.  The three of us drove the 1000 mile journey from Champaign to Boston.  The boys quickly forgot why they agreed to participate in the 16 hour (each way) drive about 5 hours in… 🙂  I will add, however, that I brought plenty of entertainment with us including hours of podcasts, music, and audio books!  I guess I hadn’t really anticipated the deadened looking, winter scenery though 🙂


We saw some interesting sites along the way…including snow (even though it was 60 degrees F when we left Chambana!) and a trailer of full-sized glass (maybe?) horses.

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Needless to say that some caffeine was in order a few times along the way.  On the way there we split up the drive with a night spent in a hotel in Liverpool, NY but on the way back home we drove straight through.

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Once we got there, the three of us found Fred’s house in Somerville and headed into Boston to meet the others!  The T (the subway in Boston) had these really cool bronzed gloves on display everywhere.

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Our first stop with the group was the Sam Adams brewery.  Brett and I didn’t actually like the brewery tour very much despite very much liking the beer!

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Later that night we all had dinner at a fun oyster bar.  The restaurant was decorated in reclaimed wood and had an entire wall covered in caged oyster shells!


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The next day we hit another brewery, the Harpoon Brewery.  While waiting for our tour, we all enjoyed some really great pretzles, beer, and of course some riveting games of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.  🙂

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The Harpoon Brewery tour was really interesting and our tour guides were fantastic 🙂

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Later that afternoon we walked a large portion of the Freedom Trail.  We enjoyed such sites as the Green Dragon Tavern and the Skinny House 🙂

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Then came the drive home.  With about 6 hours to go, the boys decided we would drive until we reached home at 4 am.  I will fully admit to falling asleep in the back seat 🙂

Boston_28 Boston_29All in all a really fun weekend filled with really fun people 🙂  We tried to talk Fredrik into driving back to Champaign with us…I think we almost had him!  😉