Thursday, January 31, 2008

Doing so well!

The day has passed and I’m still doing very well; maybe better than Don. He’s struggling to stay awake until bedtime. He only got a couple of hours of sleep last night, so I sure hope he sleeps good tonight. He went to bed for a nap this morning but didn’t sleep. He’s just not a good sleeper, so he’s having to work with this ordeal.

He’s doing great to help me by doing all the lifting and reaching for me. I fixed dinner with his help tonight. It was only a (loaded) baked potato for me and a hamburger for him, but it was all we needed. Tomorrow night we’ll have chili out of the freezer. I’m able to do everything as long as I don’t have to lift or reach too high.

I feel really good. I get sleepy, so I sleep, then I’m able to do some things before I need to sleep again. The picture on the blog is me sitting at the computer; that requires no lifting or reaching, so I can do it! I look pregnant, but no such ‘luck;’ it’s only the drains. The drains are about the size of my hands and about 1.5 inches deep, so they take a lot of space and there are 3 of them. Hopefully they’ll come out in the next 3 weeks. I’ll get pictures of them for the blog soon, so be braced to be grossed some day soon.

I can’t believe I feel so good. God has sure taken care of me. I pray that He gives Don a good night’s sleep tonight. Don’t anyone be worried; we’re doing just great!

'Home' already, doing fine and resting!

I’m ‘HOME!" Can you believe it? Believe it; it’s me back on the blog. I’m on my way to bed, but I can DO this! Wow! It feels so good to have a home and be in it. Thank you Doris, Jerry and GOD. I know that God has been so good to us.

Judy was there with us yesterday, and stayed with Don the WHOLE time. Patty, Dana, Terri, Bob, Bob and all of you who know Judy know how good that was for Don and for me to know she was with him. Doris is fighting a cold, so she helped most by NOT being there. You know how paranoid we all are about germs!

We left the hospital at 9:30 this morning. Don dropped me off and he headed out to get my prescription for pain. When he gets home we’ll both take a good nap. He slept the best he could in one of those chairs that makes into a bed last night, God bless him! He’s too big for one of those, so I know he didn’t sleep well. I slept like a brick with all the medications. Those of you who know I always have nausea after surgery: I admit to one spell of nausea, but they gave me something for it and I never had another problem. I hadn’t had anything to eat, so I only spit up a bit of water I had drank right before. Later I ate breakfast and kept it down fine. All is well! Thank you all so much for watching the blog, for your comments and for your love, support and prayers. I’m doing just fine and I’m off to bed. Trish, thanks SO much for keeping up the blog for me! You’re a doll! I can take it from here.

The picture on the blog is of Judy and I before they took me into surgery. This was a holding room. God bless Judy and all of us.
PS: Bald is so wonderful for wallowing around in a hospital bed, those crazy caps, etc. What a blessing, but it'll be fun to have some hair one day. For now, this bald has been such a gift! Thank you, God for that, too!

Still good and getting better

Hi guys!

Talked to mom this morning and she sounded really good. Tired, but good! She said she was up walking and all the doctors who had seen her were happy. She even said she may get to go home at noon! Cool, huh? She said dad was good, too. They are planning to take a nap when they get home.

Ran out of recent pics, so here's one from when Rayne was littler with her proud brother Mason.

Thanks for all the nice comments on yesterday's post! You guys are wonderful! Mom (and all of us) are so blessed to have such great friends and family!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's All Good!!!

Hi guys! Just talked to dad and he says the surgery went well and mom is fine. She is out of recovery and getting set up in a room. Most likely she'll stay there till tomorrow night and then be released. Doctor said all went well, got everything there was to get, pathology report next week. Dad says mom feels fine, considering, he's OK, too. Judy stayed there with him for 10 hours! Is she terrific, or what??

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. All together now - phew........!

Mom made me promise to put pics with my posts, so here's one of the silly hat twins.



Hi guys! It's me, Tricia, the former blogmaster. Dad says surgery started about 3ish and should be over about 8ish and we're not to worry about it. So, stop worrying already! Keep praying, though. I'll post more when I know it, may not be till sometime after 8, so don't worry if it's a bit later. It just means I haven't been able to sit down at the computer yet.

Thanks for being here for mom and all of us, for checking, for praying, for everything!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Today is a GREAT DAY! We got the results of all the tests and all were CLEAR. That cleared me for surgery tomorrow! YES! The really great news is that all the tests were clear; that’s so good and we are so grateful for this gift of NO CANCER anywhere on the prowl.

I am scheduled to check in at the hospital at 9:30 a.m. That means they will get around to doing the surgery around noon. The surgery is scheduled to take 5 hours, so it’ll be after 6 before Don will get around to calling Trish and reporting so that she can post to the blog. Remember she has 6 kids and a husband at home, so she might not get it posted until bedtime, so don’t anyone be holding your breath! You can always call Don and get a report from him. His cell number is 405-371-5132. Remember he’ll be in the hospital with me, so he might not be able to answer your call when it comes; he may not even GET it. He’ll get to you as soon as he can if he sees he’s missed your call. Don’t bother to leave a message; I doubt if he’ll know how to retrieve it. He’ll do good to answer your calls left on the caller ID on the phone.

The picture on the blog today is a shot of the kitchen. I’m so proud of that little stool that Judy dug out of her garage! It’s PERFECT to get me up to the high shelves in the kitchen! Judy will be proud of how good it looks with a coat of paint! Notice Don’s birthday pie on the stove; it’s really home around here! We are so blessed to have this apartment.

God has sure taken care of us and we give Him profuse thanks for all our blessings! I know He will take care of us through the recovery period, too. I thank Him so much for blessing us so generously.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Testing, testing . . .

Today was full of tests and phone calls. I got the blood work and chest x-ray done, as well as the bone scan. Then we got home and the phone rang a couple of times to be sure we knew that I’m scheduled for a cat scan at 6:30 in the morning and then an appointment with the surgeon at 10:15. I hope she has all the reports back to her in time to read them and clear me for surgery on Wednesday. They are holding a slot for me in surgery, but they won’t schedule everyone in until between 3 and 5 tomorrow afternoon. By the time I write the blog tomorrow night, I’ll know if surgery is on or off and be sure to tell you.

For now I’m still in ‘Limbo’ waiting to see what they tell me. I fully expect them to clear me for surgery. The doctor’s office was really scurrying today to get me scheduled for all these tests at the last minute. They are planning to do surgery on Wednesday, and will only postpone it if they see something on these tests that indicates they should wait. I really believe it will all be good for me to go on Wednesday. Pray with me that their computers stay up and running!

The pictures on the blog today are the dining room and the bathroom at the apartment. How blessed are we to have this apartment! We could not have made all the tests today and tomorrow would have to start way early if we were coming from Doris’ house! Certainly we could have been at Judy’s, but I’d hate to get them up at all hours to get us off to tests! Aki has a horrendous enough schedule! (And Judy, too, keeping up with us, not to mention Aki!

I thanks God for family and friends!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

68 looks great in 08!

The pictures on the blog today are Don in the living room (we’ve swapped the chairs since) and the bedroom in the apartment. (Yes, Doris, we moved the furniture in there, too; we’ll put it back, but I wanted to be sleeping toward the north.) These are twin beds, but we pushed them together to make a king. Don looks good at 68, doesn’t he? I think he looks great!

We celebrated his birthday today. I made him a cherry pie and he seemed pleased. It was a beautiful day so we walked around the apartment complex and were pretty overwhelmed with the size of it. I’ll have to pay better attention the next time and figure out how many apartments are here. It’s very nice, though.

Last night was interesting. I gave Don a haircut and then he went to shower to find we had no water. We could get a trickle, but not enough to shower. A major water pipe had burst locally, and the whole community was without water. They told us they were working on it and would have it back in several hours. YIKES! So, I gathered enough (by trickle) and warmed it in the microwave to wash his head in the kitchen sink. When I woke at 2:20 we had water, so we started his birthday with showers!

The day after our first night here, we came home to find the kitchen sink full of icky water that had backed up the drain. We called and they sent some guys who got a machine to fix it. Then the water deal last night. Then the postponed surgery. So EVERY day is interesting.

I’ll keep you posted via the blog about the tests they do tomorrow and Tuesday. This should be a very interesting week! I believe God is in charge and trust Him totally. I thank Him for the opportunity to stand amazed at His awesome work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Surgery delayed; I'm learning patience.

The pictures on the blog today are of the apartment where we will be spending the next three months. Yesterday was a shot of Judy and I on the sofa, which you can see, again, in the picture beside the TV in today’s picture. The first picture is taken looking toward the kitchen with the desk and the laptop on the wall on this side of the kitchen. You can see Don’s leg in one of the recliners in both pictures. The second picture is taken toward the dining room. That takes care of the kitchen, living room and dining room. Another time I’ll put on pictures of the bedroom and bathroom. It’s a great place to stay! We are so blessed to have it, and we thank God for it.

The surgeon called today to tell me that she doesn't want to do the surgery on Monday. She said the ultrasound showed there may be some change in the size of the tumor. She said she hopes it is a technical issue and if it is, then we'll schedule the surgery for Wednesday. I asked what a technical issue means; does that mean the technician did something wrong? She said that the numbers can be reported differently and the measurements can be taken differently and she wants to run some more tests just to be extra sure. I asked if a change in the size means that it's bigger and she said that it could be a little bigger, but what concerns her is that maybe it has spread to somewhere and she wants to check my liver and bones and chest before she does surgery. She said she has ordered a bone scan, a cat scan and a chest X-Ray. If all of those are clear then we'll go ahead and do surgery on Wednesday. I asked what if they aren't clear and she said we'll do more chemo before we do any surgery. She said not to worry; that she expects it will be simply a technical issue. That kind of baffled me, but I immediately called my good friend who was there with us for all the tests. SHE is the alert one, and she said, "Oh, Mary Jo! That makes so much sense because, remember their computers were down all week!" Of course I had forgotten THAT. How COULD I forget that? I do understand, though. They were so far behind that the doctor was in the office today just going over tests that were run all week. We did tests on Thursday that were scheduled for Tuesday and they couldn't do because of the computer problems. They told us how they could do some things with the computer, but most things had to be done manually and they couldn't send reports from one department to the other but had to run them around manually. So, indeed, it does make sense that this issue could be a technical issue rather than a difficult issue for me. Judy also reminded me that I'm at MD Anderson and they are number one because they are extra, extra careful and thorough. I do find comfort in that. However, I find the most comfort in the fact that I am here doing my best, but I trust my future to God and His best is all that really matters. He can overcome anything if it's His plan and whatever His plan, I'm good with it.

So, that’s the news from Houston. Keep the faith; don’t be discouraged. This is all for my best care and God is seeing to that! I love you for caring and for watching.

I talked to our preacher and neighbor in Hobart, today, and he wisely reminded me that this delay of a few days will give me time to heal more from this cough I have. He said after surgery, a cough like mine could be very uncomfortable, so this delay could be a real blessing! He’s so right. Two more days can be very healing, so I can be patient and continue to thank God, and I AM!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Apartment is home; christened by Judy and Mary Jo laughter.

The picture on the blog tonight is Judy and I having another laughing fit. We sat down on the sofa and I hadn’t told her that it’s VERY soft! You sit and go nearly to the floor. We sat and then burst out laughing and Don took the shot. It’s another of the Judy and Mary Jo stories and they go back to 1960; memories to treasure!

Judy brought our dinner tonight and ate with us as Aki was working. It was so sweet of her to spend her Friday night with us on top of bringing dinner. Thanks, Judy!

I got our laundry done today and just about everything put in a place to call it’s own. It feels good to be somewhat settled. Our good friend at home, Joan, is checking and forwarding mail, so we’re even getting mail here. Even UPS brought us a package yesterday! It feels right and comfortable.

I got the details of the surgery schedule tonight. I report at 6 a.m. and the surgery is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. The surgeon expects the surgery to take 5 hours. A nurse will advise family and friends every 2 - 2.5 hours. I should be out of the OR by 1:30 or so. I expect they will have Don in there as soon as I’m awake. Then they will observe me for 23 hours and send me home if I’m doing well, which I expect. So we hope to get back to the apartment early on Tuesday afternoon.

I thank God for taking care of us this far and thank Him for the care He will give us for the rest of our lives. This thing on Monday is a big deal to us, but it is a piece of cake for Him. Thank you for caring!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cleared for surgery on Monday the 28th!

The picture on the blog today is Judy and I on Tuesday before we got silly with yesterday’s picture. It’s freezing at MD Anderson, so I was wearing 3 hats and the blanket/jacket Trish gave me and the fleece scarf that Terri gave me. By the time the day was done I had pink and blue fuzz all over me. Ha! I may look like Granny Hoop Scoop, but I pretty much stay warm! Freezing is not a good thing!

Today was a good enough day. We waited a lot at the hospital, but there could be lots worse things. We finished up all the pre-op tests and I was cleared for surgery on Monday. I have a temporary time of 1:30 p.m. The surgeon expects the surgery to take 5 hours. The time may change. I will know the certain schedule tomorrow evening and will report it on the blog; of course, it can still change! We rode the shuttle to the hospital today and it worked great.

They really didn’t find anything new or surprising today. Just being cleared for surgery was a relief after having the fever on Sunday and Monday and then coughing all week. It doesn’t seem to bother them; I guess it’s okay because I’m taking meds that will make it all be gone by Monday, plus I’m really doing okay with it.

I’m still working to get settled in here. There is a lot to do to find a place for everything. Plus I spent this evening making food to have to eat next week, so I don’t have to cook or eat fast food. It feels good to be nearly ready. Tomorrow I can finish, I think, and then rest on Saturday and Sunday.

God has been so good to provide as always. I know He will see me through on Monday and next week just fine, and I thank Him! He looks after us all the time, but we often think we are taking care of ourselves. A thing like cancer sure reminds us Who is in charge! I’m happy to learn the lesson and be reminded and refreshed!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No fever and in the apartment!

The picture on the blog today is Judy sharing her hair with me yesterday. It was so fun to have a great day with her. Today was another interesting one. Their computers were down again, so we started out WAITING over an hour on our appointment with the Internal Medicine guy. He was very nice and cleared the rest of our day so that we could get into the apartment. He had them reschedule an appointment we missed yesterday and the stuck on there for today. We’ll do it tomorrow.

It was great to get into the apartment. Tomorrow we’ll get more settled and once I have our clutter out of the way I’ll take some pictures to put on the blog. It’s a very nice place and more than adequate for our needs. We are so blessed to have this available for us. We thank God so much!

I am headed to my bath and to bed because we start early in the morning. We have to be there at 7:40. The shuttle leaves at 6:30, so we’re taking it and having breakfast and lunch there tomorrow. They have a great restaurant that has really good food and it’s very reasonably priced. We enjoy eating there. We’ll come ‘home’ (from now on that will mean the apartment) for supper. It was so good to be here for supper tonight. Don ate leftover chicken fahitas from lunch the day before yesterday and I had a baked potato. It felt good to be functioning in our ‘own space.’

Doris and Jerry are so wonderful to make us feel so at home at their place and then to find this place for us. They were here cleaning when we got here today. Jerry hooked up a high speed connection for us, so we don’t have the struggle of dial up. Wow! They are awesome! We’re sure thanking God for them and their families who have been so supportive.

God bless you all and thank you for checking on us! Another thanks to God for no fever today! God is GREAT!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No fever today!

The picture on the blog today I’ve been saving for the right time. I think this is it. This is one I caught of Elena and Raynie in Branson and it had to have just the right caption to go with it. I think Elena is saying, "I said Grammy has a FEVER!"

The good news is that I didn’t have any fever today. Also none of the people I saw today at MD Anderson were concerned about the fever I’ve HAD or the cough I’m having. I coughed up some ick today, so that means it’s coming from my head since my lungs are clear. I’m not having any trouble breathing and no chest pain. They listened to my chest all over the hospital today and everyone was pleased. So far we are still on schedule for surgery on Monday.

Now, the rest of the story is this: the computers were down all over MD Anderson today, so they were behind all over and I didn’t get to do a couple of things for which I was scheduled. They’re rescheduling it all for Thursday, so we can still get moved into the apartment tomorrow and we’ll get everything done at the hospital on Thursday. Tomorrow we see the internal medicine guy and he will release us to finish up with the anesthesiologist on Thursday. We’re getting there.

Today wasn’t so bad for me because Judy came and spent the day with us, so we had another reunion. Don held up well in spite of it all. We’re just so glad not to have to make that drive in and out everyday after tomorrow morning. Don took most of the stuff out to the car already and we’ll finish up loading all the rest in the morning.

I continue to thank God that so many folks care and keep up with us on the blog. I apologize if I worried anyone, needlessly. I didn’t want to hold out information and have people offended that I didn’t tell something. God continues to take care of us and we thank Him for that, too. We trust Him totally. Love to all and God bless.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fever again, but okay.

Today has been another interesting day. I felt fine this morning. We went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Jerry asked me if I felt feverish and I told him I felt fine, as I DID. But we got home and I thought I was really tired and ought to get some rest; just for kicks I took my temperature and it was up. Ugh. I went ahead and went to sleep and woke up with it up another degree. It’s NOT high. My regular temperature is 97 or 96, so when it’s 101, it’s up for me, but not anything that concerns the doctors much. I’m taking my meds. I expect my fever to be back down in the morning and we’ll be at MD Anderson for appointments beginning at 9. They’ll figure out what to do with me and I’ll post to the blog tomorrow night.

The picture on the blog tonight is another from Branson. Elena was enjoying some time with Uncle Phil. He looks like he’s asleep, but I’m sure (???) he wasn’t. Ha. I can’t help the caption of her saying, "We were having such a fun time, but I guess he was really bored with me?" That is such a joke because they loved and enjoyed every moment together! I treasure the trip to Branson so much because the girls and their kids could spend some quality time with Uncle Phil and Aunt Ruthie. With so many miles between us, that’s a real treasure. Most of the kids are old enough to remember the time, too. Thanks to all of you for meeting us there!

I will post to the blog tomorrow as soon as we get home from MD Anderson. We have appointments all day and a traffic filled drive home, so it won’t be too early. Watch for the report, though. I’m excited to see Judy tomorrow. She’s going to meet us and join us for our visit with the anesthesiologist. She’ll be able to ask good questions since she is married to an anesthesiologist; she’ll report to him and he’ll explain what we need explained, too. God is so great to put the people we need in our lives when we need them. I continually thank Him for His care and for YOUR support.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Emergency room, but okay.

Today was interesting. We went to church, then both boys came over with their wives and sons for dinner. After they left I took a nap and woke up with a FEVER. I called MD Anderson and they said to go to the emergency room. So, 6 hours later, we’re home. I’m really tired, but okay.

They said that I may have the flu, but it’s not showing yet. I had a fever and something in my blood work indicated they my body is fighting something. My numbers were all good, so I’m not immune suppressed, so that’s good. That means I can fight whatever it is. They said that often the flu doesn’t show early. I don’t feel all that bad, just feverish. They did cultures which will take 48 hours to have all the results. They did X-rays and my lungs are clear.

Anyway, it was somewhat of a scare, but the important thing is that I got to come home; I don’t have anything horrible, and they gave me antibiotics and a flu medicine, so I likely will be able to be all better in time to still stay on schedule for the surgery next Monday. AND, we got to watch the Giants beat the Packers; I think that was important. Ha!

The picture on the blog tonight is another one from Branson. This one is Raynie getting ready to chew on someone’s goggles as she holds Elena by the seat of the pants. They were so cute together! I could hardly get them both in the same picture because they moved so quickly.

I thank God for a great visit in Branson, good care today in the ER, and Doris to show us everywhere to go!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Safe in Houston!

The picture on the blog tonight is Garrett, crashed in Branson. One day when we were there Trish was taking the boys out for a boys day out, shopping. Garrett couldn’t find his billfold, anywhere, so he opted not to go. We knew it had to be there but we couldn’t find it anywhere. Since there were only the girls left with us, he crashed on the sofa. Sadie and I did the mothering, type A sort of thing and hunted the whole condo over for his billfold. When we still couldn’t find it, we sat down and played Scrabble. Garrett later found his billfold in his suitcase, right where Sadie told him to look 3 times. He looked once and didn’t see it because it was black just like the lining of his suitcase. It turned out good because Sadie got to say, "I told him," and Garrett saved all his money and got a good nap!

Anyway, I put this picture on because it looks like me today. We had a fine trip down from home and I took 3 naps. I shouldn’t have been tired, but I was. We visited with Doris and Jerry until they got up to get ready to go to the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of their good friends. I crashed right on the sofa where they left me; never even knew when they left. I feel rested and ready to get up and get ready for bed, now! How lazy is that?

God was good to give us a safe trip down today. It was a beautiful day and much of the roads where they’d been working the last time we came were finished! We actually left 15 minutes ahead of our planned leaving time. Of course, I forgot my Salba (my super food), but Ruthie to the rescue! She had the address so that I could order more quickly and it will arrive soon. God sent me with enough in butter to get me by until the new batch arrives.

My sweet sister-in-law has ‘my’ bathroom stocked with beautiful live irises; what a dear she is. I wish everyone had such a wonderful sister-in-law and wonderful sister (who has ALWAYS pulled me out of trouble) as I do. I thank God for them and you!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ready to head south to Houston.

We are down to the very last day before leaving for Houston. Several have asked for the address where we’ll be in Houston, so here it is:

7490 Brompton, Apt. # 442
Houston, TX 77025

There is a phone in the apartment with an answering machine, so if you can’t get us on our cell phones, then call the apartment. Often the cell phones don’t work in some parts of the hospital. The apartment phone number is 713-660-7816. My cell phone number is 405-823-6453; Don’s is 405-371-5132.

I will do my best to keep the blog current every day. The day of surgery Tricia said she would post for me and report what Don reports to her. Right now, it is our understanding that I will be in the hospital for only 24 hours (actually on an out patient basis and there for observation for the 24 hours). If that is the case, then I believe I can post to the blog if I can get up and go to the apartment. However, it might take every ounce of energy I have to get to the apartment. If that’s the case, I’m sure Trish will cover for me until I’m able to post myself. (She doesn’t have anything else to do with 6 kids at home; NOT!) The picture on the blog today is Trish with Raynie in Branson.

I don’t know who wrote this, but I received it from friends who are members of our Itazuke Alumni Association. Thank you, Linda and David Cherry! It comes to me on Red Shirt Day, the day I wear red to support our troops, so it is so appropriate; to me it is breath taking. Think about it:

"A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'"

"That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it."
- Author unknown

I thank God for our veterans, their families who support them, and the civilians who support them. I thank God for the opportunity to be a military ‘brat.’ I thank God for all of you who support me in this chapter in my life, too. God bless!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fuzz will be hair!

The pictures on the blog tonight are me with my fuzz/hair update. It’s not much to see, but it’s how it is. The first one is of me right after I took my hat off, with all the electricity making it go every direction. This is the chia Grammy; ha! The next one is after I rubbed it down with my hands. Don was laughing at me like it doesn’t make any difference, but it does! It looks a lot better rubbed smooth. I also look a lot better laughing at him laughing at me; that’s why he’s so good for me. He makes me feel and look better!

I thought I should put this picture on for you to see how the hair is progressing. It still isn’t much for a head of hair, but it’s a lot for a bald lady! I’m pleased. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be curly or anything but gray with a brown mix. Whatever God gives me is going to be perfect! I thank Him so much for this much of a cover; it keeps my head so warm. I haven’t slept in a hat since before we went to Branson! I only wear one baseball cap at a time, too. Lots of times I don’t wear any hat at all; I love being free from a stack of hats. I’m only taking a handful of hats to Houston; that’s faith. I believe I’m going to have plenty of hair before I come home. I’m not taking a brush. I figure I can use a comb and my fingers and that’ll be fine. That way I’ll be so glad to see my brush when I get home!

I’ll post to the blog every day that I can. I don’t think I’ll be able to post on the night of the surgery because they will have me in the hospital. Actually, I think I’ll only be in for 24 hours, but I’ll ask Don to call Trish and report to her. I’ll ask her to post to the blog that day so that you’ll have the update as to how I’m doing. When my mom had her mastectomy, the first thing she said when she woke was, “Where is my red cake pan?” That was such a great icebreaker because we were all worried; when she said that it made us all laugh. We joked about it for years because there was no such thing as a red cake pan. My goal is to wake up and ask where Mamasan’s red cake pan is. I wonder if I can be that sharp? Probably I’ll wake up and ask for a barf pan . . . maybe I’ll remember to ask for a RED one. HA! I will wake up giving thanks to God. I thank Him for this opportunity to rid my body of cancer and heal to a life to give Him glory.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Escaping proves I have little stamina.

Pictures on the blog tonight are Grace ‘crowning’ Don in Branson and Don holding Raynie. He’s a wonderful Poppy.

Today has been an interesting day. It was the day I would have had another chemo treatment, except I’m DONE with chemo, so I didn’t. I’m assuming that my numbers were good enough for a treatment, though, so we escaped from our ‘hole.’ We went out for breakfast and lunch! We went late to both, so there weren’t too many people there. However, there were several coughing, so I was really paranoid about being among them! I decided against church tonight because I figured there would be people coughing and sputtering there, too. I’ll be so glad to have my immunity really strong and not feel so fragile.

After breakfast we went to Wal-Mart for a refill on my neuropathy medication, which they didn’t have. Just those outings wore me out. We came home and I took a nap, but woke up when the pharmacist called to say he had my prescription. It’s amazing that going out and being presentable is so tiring. I think I feel good, but I guess I don’t have stamina. It’ll build back as I build strength.

I thank God for details that matter and the ability to struggle with them. I thank Him mostly for the opportunity to heal and build strength and for people in my life, who care, support me, and pray for me to heal. Life is good and God is great; to Him be all the glory!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Woohoo! God provides!

The picture on the blog tonight is Elena with Uncle Phil at Branson. They speak the same language; see the looks on their faces? She’s asking him, “YOU read that rule book, too? And, ‘No Chewing’ means THIS table, too??? Good grief, I’ll bet you’re going to enforce that ‘No sweet potatoes on my clothes’ rule, too. Uh-huh. And I was thinking you were a cut above the rest of them. But, we can still be close; am I doing this 'strum on the table' thing right?”

The Woohoo in the title of today’s blog is about God providing an apartment for us! Doris called today and they have an opening next Wednesday! That means we’ll get to move in on Wednesday after my appointment with the internal medicine doctor that morning. We are so pleased and give thanks to God. This is an apartment that Doris and Jerry and another couple manage for their church. The church pays for half of it and we pay the rest. Whew! This is awesome for us. It would cost about $100 a day to stay in a motel and around $2,000 per month to get an apartment on our own. This one is very close to the hospital and a shuttle stop is right across the street so that we don’t have to drive to the hospital every day for doctor visits, radiation, etc. It is completely furnished, so all we have to take is our personal stuff and food. Praise God; this is such a wonderful thing. It means we can get into the apartment and get all settled before the surgery on the 28th. Thank you, God!

We went out to eat at the Mexican Restaurant tonight to celebrate the apartment! Dorothy and David joined us, so it was a fun celebration. Three of our neighbors were there, so we got to see a fun group!

God is great and takes care of us! Thank you for your prayers and love!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Inversion table fixes my back ache.

The picture on the blog today is sweet Grace before her haircut in Branson. She is Tricia’s 5th child.

Last night was another rugged night for me. I slept fine until I woke up to use the bathroom; then it was hard to get comfortable because my back hurt no matter what position I took. Today I spent some time on the inversion table in the basement and I feel SO much better! I’m looking forward to good sleep tonight!

I also make 3 sets of knee bands to take to Houston. It’s not that hard a job, but it did take sewing and sewing is something I’d had to abandon for the last couple of months because of the neuropathy. So, I’m really happy to be able to work with my fingers, again. They still hurt, but they work lots better and the pain is much less. That gives me hope that someday they will be back to my usual.

I keep packing more and more to take to Houston. Don has decided to go on Saturday, so that’ll be one day less of things I can take. HA!

A good friend sent this today, and I think it is so good (Thanks, Nancy Jones!):

“I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.”

I really love that I want to thank God for even more hair coming in to replace what the chemo took. I consider it such a blessing to be able to sleep without a hat! I wore a sleep hat to the basement to sew and use the inversion table today because it’s about 58 degrees down there. Otherwise, I do really well with just a cap or even without a cap. I look goofy, but that doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m so thankful to be able to walk, see, have lots of love, be able to sew, have an inversion table to fix my back, etc., etc. Vanity is way at the bottom of my list of priorities these days. Our blessings are more than I can count and I thank God!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Today’s picture is sweet Sadie. Sadie is Tricia’s 3rd child and the oldest of the sisters. She’s a wonderful helper and babysitter! In this picture she’s putting her hair into a ponytail to go out with Trish for a girl’s day out with her mom and Grace in Branson. She’s 10; will be 11 in March.

Today has been a long day. I was sleeping in because I’d had a hard night; I think I’ve pulled a muscle in my back. The phone rang at 10 telling us Don’s 3rd cousin had died Thursday. We got ready and went to spend the day with his 2nd cousin. It was a good day, but long.

I’m going to spend some time with one of the machines that I hope will pull my back into shape. Then I’m going to bed early, hoping for a better night than last night. God is great; He will give me the rest I need. God bless.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Uncle Joe is the best!

Since we had dial up in Branson, I’ve been more sensitive to time to download pictures and just put one on most days. Today both these pictures had to be on here because they tell a story about Joe and Grace. The first on is Grace hitching a ride on Joe’s leg as he walks over from one unit to the other. He’s such a nice guy he let her DO that! The next picture is Joe enjoying an X-Box game with the guys and Grace is in his lap fast asleep. Does Grace have his number or what? He’s really a great guy; I’m proud to be in the bald club with him. (That's Garrett beside Joe and Mason beside Garrett. Gabe is in front.)

I’m happy to be growing hair, though. It’s so nice to have enough hair to keep my head warm at night and through the days. I’m still wearing a cap, but I’m not wearing 4 or 5 anymore! I just look goofy, not totally ridiculous. Ha! Don’s back to calling me ‘Curly.’ We can’t tell if the hair is curly, yet; he just calls me that. Most of it appears to be white, but there is some brown in it. I’m sure it’s God’s favorite color for me, so I’m going to love it.

We loaded lots of stuff into the car today and got all our clothes ready to go to Houston. We are so ready for them to call us. We’ve got plenty to keep us busy here, but if they call us, we’re ready. I expect we won’t get a call and we’ll leave on the weekend to head to Doris and Jerry’s and do the pre-op stuff from there. We’re shooting from the hip, but we trust God will provide. He’s already provided Doris and Jerry and Judy and Aki! We are so blessed!

One time we were visiting Don’s brother in Kansas and his daughter, Mary Beth, and husband, David. We had lunch at their house and David prayed thanking God for lunch as well as for putting us into families. That was something I’d always taken for granted; my family! How dumb is that to take a thing as wonderful as our family for granted? I’ll always be grateful not only to God for our family, but to David for alerting me to that awesome gift! I also give thanks to God for putting people into our lives when we need them. How blessed are we to have such great friends! Thank you for being among our family and friends!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Exploring with ring fingers.

Today’s picture on the blog is not just a sweet picture of Elena. Look closely at her right hand. She is ready to explore that bottle she’s shaking with the ring finger on her right hand. This was such a peculiar, but interesting and cute thing that she started doing about 3 weeks ago. She explores everything with her ring fingers before she tests it with her mouth. She’ll pick up whatever interests her and then touches it with her ring finger of the opposite hand. After she does that, she switches hands and explores it with the other ring finger. Then she pops it into her mouth. All the while she intently focuses on it. If it’s a new person in her life, then she’ll reach out and touch them with her ring finger; first one and then the other. It’s amazing. I’ve researched the Internet to see if I could find an explanation, but I find none. Probably I’m not using the right words. If any of you have any wisdom about it, we’re sure curious. Joe’s sister believes it’s a hypersensitivity sort of thing. She’s way educated in such, so she’s probably on the right track. I hoped I had a better picture of her exploring, but this is the closest I could get to it. She’s quick, you know; quicker than my camera or me! She holds her index finger and her middle finger down toward her palm and aims right in with that ring finger. It’s amazing to watch. Then she looks at you with that puzzled look of hers as if to say, “So, what? I suppose you have some rule about how to explore things, too?”

Today I took a big old nap this morning so I’d be well rested for our dinner out and card game tonight. Last night was fun, but I was zonked after a busy day. (I took all the china and other ‘pretties’ out of the china cabinet and cleaned it. Angela, the housekeeper wanted to do it, but I wanted to be the one that broke anything that got broken. I didn’t break anything!) Today, I cleaned up some ‘clutter’ on our web site, which takes more brainpower than I really have, but I could sit and do it. I’m ready to go and wanted to get the blog done ahead so I can fall right into bed when we come home. Fun is good, but it takes more energy than I generally have these days. I have to plan ahead.

I thank God for the opportunity to have some fun while I’m healing. I thank Him for the opportunity to heal! How rich are my blessings! Thank you for your support!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The lights are still on at Big Cedar!

We had a great birthday celebration. It was fun eating out and there were only about 4 other people in the whole restaurant, so I don’t think we were exposed to anything. Dinner was good and then we enjoyed two games of cards. The guys won one and the girls won the other one. We had so much fun we’re going to do it again tomorrow night.

We’ll meet at the Mexican Restaurant this time and then go to Jo Ann and Frank’s to play. If we go to the restaurant at 4:30 there is nobody there but us. It’s a good plan. Then we can get started playing cards early and we don’t have to stay up late.

Angela came and cleaned house today, so it feels all fresh and clean around here. Now I’ll get out all the suitcases and boxes and get really serious about packing for Houston. I couldn’t have all that stuff out when she was vacuuming, so now I’ll make my mess. Actually, I had a bunch done and it’s all out in the garage. Now, I’ll finish it up. Some things have to wait until the last minute, though.

The picture on the blog tonight is of Ruthie and Phil, standing in front of a huge tree up at Big Cedar. Notice that the balls on the tree are nearly as big as their heads (some are BIGGER)! Notice the big light hanging from the ceiling: it’s made of antlers. Cool, huh? We love it up at Big Cedar; so much attention to detail.

God bless our troops every day. Tomorrow is red shirt day to show our support. I thank God for the freedoms we know and for our men and women who are willing to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What a goofus! I had the picture all ready to put on the blog last night and then I sat here and did lots of work on the computer. I thought I had DONE the blog, but never DID it! CHEMO BRAIN strikes, again! My forever friend in Houston, Judy, wrote this morning asking ‘Where’s the beef?” I didn’t even realize I hadn’t put the ‘beef’ on the blog! Thanks Judy! She also said not to worry about the apartment; they have room. See what great support I have!

The picture on the blog is Garrett holding Elena and Grace holding Raynie. Sweet Branson memories! Raynie has her other front bottom tooth, now; the first one came while we were in Branson.

Yesterday went really well. I’m feeling so good these days. I know part of it is because I’m not concerned about another chemo treatment coming in a few days. Part of it is because the LAST chemo treatment is working it’s way out of my body, too. Anyway, I’m feeling great!

Don is concerned that after the surgery and radiation it will hit me that I have no breasts and some emotional crisis may occur. Bless his heart. I think I’ll see it as a life saving event rather than a pitiful thing. I really think I’ll look on it as a good thing. Don is doing okay, but he feels that it’s his responsibility to look after me and I think he feels like he may not be equipped to handle a basket case. I think I can keep the ‘weave in my basket’ together; I believe God will do it for me. I remember when Mom had her mastectomy and she was concerned about losing a breast. I remember saying, “Mom, let them take a whole arm if they need to if it will save your life; your life is what matters, not your breast!” I believe I still feel that way.

I’m feeling so good I can hardly stand it. We’re going to celebrate Don’s birthday today. It’s not his birthday, but we’re celebrating it because it’s the day before my surgery and he’ll get left out that day, I’m afraid! We’re meeting our card-playing friends for an early supper at the barbeque place in town (before the crowd gathers). Then they’ll all come over here for cards. That’ll be way fun. I promise to do the blog tonight!!!

Thanks for caring! God Bless!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lights are on in Branson!

Today has been another good day for me. I feel so good. I don’t feel sick at all, so you all don’t need to worry about me. I didn’t even take a nap, again. I haven’t had a nap since the first day we were in Branson. I’m not doing a lot of work, but I’m staying awake and getting done what needs to be done. Last night I was even able to mend a shirt of Don’s, so my fingers are better!

The picture on the blog tonight is me with Ruthie and Phil as we were standing with a bear up at Big Cedar. That is such a great place; we loved going there with them. They have beautiful lights even when it’s not Christmas, but they still had their Christmas lights and decorations going big time. Dot, tell Jane’s Tom that the lights NEVER go out in Branson! Even when it’s not peak season, they cater to the tourists. They don’t have a lot of shows at this time of year, but it’s still a great place to go. It’s our favorite time!

I talked to the people who have many more apartments for patients at MD Anderson today. They have us on their list, too. So, we feel confident that we’ll have an apartment before too long. If we don’t get one soon, then we’ll move in with Doris until the surgery. Then we’ll move in with Judy and Aki after the surgery. That way we’ll be close to the hospital when we need to be and we won’t impose too much on either of them. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get an apartment soon after the surgery. Anyway, I know that God will provide whatever is best for all of us who are concerned.

I’m headed to soak in the tub. God is so good to give us this tub; I want to make use of it while we can. I think the apartments will only have showers. I’ll be grateful for a shower, then! I’m taking a shower chair with us so I won’t have to stand in the shower. God is good to provide that, too. We have everything we need and then more. We are really so blessed. PTL!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Home is comfortable!

One day home and I’m reminded how sweet home is! It’s so nice to find places for things to go and the best thing was falling into our own bed. Our own bathtub was sure nice, too!

I called to check my status on the apartment waiting list and they told me to check back in two weeks! YIKES! Two weeks is when I HAVE to be there to be at appointments the next day. It’s not a problem; I called Doris (Don’s sister, who manages some apartments for their church) and she gave me a location where I could apply with all the churches that have apartments. Of course they have us on top of their waiting list, but they don’t have an opening right now. I’ll call the Hospitality Suites again tomorrow; I really think I had a volunteer who didn’t know much about what is happening today. Anyway, I’ve applied with all the churches, now. If all the apartments fall through, we can always stay with Doris and Jerry or Judy and Aki. They are both so gracious. We just don’t want to impose on them unless we have to do that. God has a plan; I just have to be sure I do my part.

We’ve talked to both girls and Ruthie today. Everyone arrived at home in good shape. What a wonderful week it was in Branson. The picture on the blog tonight is Don holding Elena with Joe and Gretta right after they arrived last Friday.

I’m feeling great and noticed that hair is coming back on my arms, too! It’s okay with me if it never comes back on my legs, but I imagine it will. I think the hair on my head is enough to keep me warm. I slept without a hat again last night; that’s such a freedom and so nice to be warm without it! God is great. He knows how much of a pile of hats a body can take. Woohoo!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Home, sweet home.

We all left Branson around 10 this morning. I talked to Ruthie and Phil in route, but not since they got home. It’s too late in Louisville to call Gretta and Joe. It’s an hour later there and I know they fell right into bed as soon as they got home. We got home around 8. We hoped to be here sooner, but the sun was right in our eyes, so we stopped and ate supper and got groceries to give the sun time to get down. It’s beautiful at home, but so tired in this house! HA!

Usually I keep up with our laundry while we’re gone, but I came home with three loads of dirty clothes, so I’m doing clothes while I get this blog done and go get a bath. Then, I’m falling into bed. It’s been a WONDERFUL week, but I’m worn out. We’ve got to get ready to go to Houston, now. I’ll call in the morning and see if I can learn where we are on the apartment waiting list to give me an idea how much time we have to get ready.

Praise God! Nate, Garrett, me and everyone else stayed healthy all week. I know that God took care of us and saw to it that we all stayed healthy in spite of us starting out with both those boys carrying some kind of bug. They did fine all week. I thank God for our safe travels, too!

Thank you all for your prayers for this meaningful week as well as for my healing and healthy travels to Houston and Lawton for treatments. Your support means so much. God blesses us all.

The pictures on the blog tonight are of Nate on the laptop in Branson and Grace (with the new haircut Aunt Jilly gave her) playing with Raynie and Elena with Mason in the background.

Wind down of a great week.

The picture on the blog tonight is the one I promised the first night to compare with the one from nearly 2 years ago when we were in Branson. Nate is on the left, then Garrett (who was NOT in the picture from nearly 2 years ago), then Gabe, and then Mason. You can see that Nate, especially, has really grown! Nate is 15. Garrett is 11. Gabe is 13, and Mason is 7.

The week has absolutely flown! Today was nice and warm and Joe took all the kids except the babies hiking. What a sport he is! Trish has been taking them swimming all week. I usually stayed with Raynie, but she got to go swimming tonight because Trish found Little Swimmers (diapers for the pool) for her today! Elena didn’t go swimming because Gretta didn’t want her to get water in her ears as she’s had problems with ear infections. Then Trish went out with Joe and Gretta tonight, so we got to keep all the kids. They were all really good, so it was a nice finish for the week. The babies are amazingly good-natured; we are blessed. They really seem to enjoy playing together and don’t care when they take each other’s toys.

We’re getting up early to leave in the morning. We’re meeting Joe, Gretta, Garrett and Elena for breakfast and then we’ll go back and help Trish get checked out of their condo and pack the cars to head for home. I think Ruthie and Phil might go to breakfast with us, but I’m not sure if they decided to do that or not. They came back to this condo before I did and they were still deciding when they will leave. We’ll see in the morning. Anyway, it’s been a great visit with them, too. They’ve had some time to rest and relax, but they’ve spent some good time with all of us, too. I know they were a real treat for the girls and their kids.

God has blessed us with a fantastic week and I give thanks! Now, we ask Him to guide us safely home and through the rest of this challenging year and give Him thanks, believing that He will do just that. Thank you for caring.
PS: I've been wearing my hats less and less all week. Last night I slept all night without a sleep hat! Either my hair is thick enough and long enough to keep me warmer, or the chemo freeze is diminishing. Whatever: I give THANKS!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Raynie has a tooth!

We’ve had more fun than might be legal. Gretta and Joe and Elena got here shortly after noon and it’s been fun, non-stop, since then. The picture on the blog tonight is Gretta holding Elena and Raynie; Elena is giving Raynie a kiss. They are so cute together. Raynie reaches to get Elena’s pacifier that’s clipped to her shirt and Elena grabs her with both hands and gives her a big kiss. Raynie cut her first tooth today; Grace is so proud of her for ‘growing teeth!’

Trish has been an angel and taken the kids to the pool every night except one since we’ve been here. What a trooper; she doesn’t even like to swim. The kids do, though, and she’s been so good to take them with only taking one night off to not go. She’s taken them every day for either a girl’s day out or a boy’s day out. Today she took them to Branson Landing to see the fountain show. I think they’ve had a great time. We’ve played cards and worked puzzles and eaten like nobody’s business. It’s been a great week. It’s really fun to have Gretta, Joe, and Elena join us to cap off a great week.

I thank God that we’ve been able to stay healthy and travel safely! This is a wonderful boost for Don and I before we head off to Houston for surgery and radiation. God is so good to us. Thank you for keeping up with us.

PS: I just read Evelyn’s comment on the blog and maybe others wonder, as she did, “What is Chia?” Remember the ads on TV around Christmas every year about Chia Pets? They have these clumps of dirt in shapes of animals; they are covered in Chia seeds and they call them Chia Pets. They have that catchy little tune: ch ch ch cheeeeaa! Anyway, I think you spray the thing with water and keep it moist to watch it grow fuzzy greenery in the shape of the animal. I’ve never had one, so I’m telling you this using my chemo memory from the ads and just guessing how they really work. I’m sure if you do a Google search you’ll see why the kids called me a Chia Grammy (it’s the fuzzy new hair growing on my head).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gretta gets here tomorrow with Joe and Elena!

Tomorrow Gretta and Joe and Elena come to join us! We can hardly wait to have them here with us. We’ve had the best time this week. I thank God that our health has held!

We are blessed to have the opportunity to have these timeshares to house all of us. It’s been good to have plenty of space and to be able to put some distance between us so that we could get good rest, plus keep the germs at bay.

The picture on the blog tonight is the little Sweet Pea (Raynie) crawling. She is such a hoot. She just figured out how to crawl a day or two before we came to Branson. They have hard wood floors at home, so it’s tricky for her, but on the carpet in the condo, she can really move! She’s so tiny; it seems impossible for her to be scooting around like she does. She’ll be 6 months old the 10th of this month; can you believe that hair?

Tomorrow I sure hope to get pictures I promised of all the big kids. I know we’ll get more of Elena and Raynie together. It’s hard to keep the big kids still long enough for pictures; they hate that stuff. I’ll be doing my best to get some pictures, though!

I thank God for the digital camera to take lots of shots and not have to wait to see if I got any good ones. There are so many modern things that make our lives richer. Mostly I thank Him for fantastic family members and times to share with them! I thank Him for you, who care to keep up with us, too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chia Grammy gets upgraded!

This was day three and Nate and Garrett are doing fine and so is everyone else, including me! Whoopee! God is so good to us!

The picture on the blog tonight is Grace and I; we traded hats, so she says I’m “Queen of the world.” How sweet is that? I think that’s quite an upgrade from “Chia Grammy,” which is what they were calling me since they saw the fuzzy hair. I’m enjoying the fun; I don’t care what they call me. I love being called!

Tomorrow Ruthie and Phil and Don and I are taking the morning for breakfast out and whatever touring we have the energy to do. We’d like to take them out to Big Cedar Resort if we feel like it, but we all reserve the right to hang close to the condo if we’re bushed. Hanging out is the important thing; touring is down on the list.

We are still thanking God for time to be together and the health to enjoy it. Gold bless you all; thanks for looking in on us.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy and healthy in Branson!

Last night it took about an hour to upload the pictures on the blog because I’m using dial up. So, tonight there is only one picture on the blog. It’s me sitting in the floor holding Raynie. I was playing Scrabble with Nate and Sadie while Trish took the other boys shopping. Raynie got bored with the game and fell asleep. I have to tell you that she dropped her toy onto the puzzle once and strewed pieces every which way. We had to reconstruct the puzzle! Our Momasan would be so proud to see us enjoying Scrabble! It was one of her favorite games.

Nate and Garrett are feeling just fine and I have not shown any indication of catching their germs. Maybe our hand washing vigilance is working. Maybe it’s God’s protection plan. Anyway, I’m doing just fine.

Ruthie and Phil and Don and I moved to a 2-bedroom unit at the Falls Village this afternoon. We went right back over to the Surrey and fixed burgers for dinner and stayed while Trish took the little kids swimming. Nate could have (and would have) kept Raynie, but we were enjoying her. She’s such a sweetie.

We’re so blessed with dry weather, even if it’s cold. We’re happy to not have snow. We sure want Gretta to be able to get here with no issues on Friday! We thank God for taking care of our family as we travel. I am so grateful for this opportunity to visit with the girls and this many grandkids as well and Ruthie and Phil. Thank you for keeping up with us while we escape!