Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The picture on the blog today is our house showing the irises that you can see from the street. The blue and white ones are in full bloom and will continue for about a week. Then they’re done. The others in front of the house are mostly rebloomers and I have some more rebloomers in the back yard. They will bloom more and off and on until Thanksgiving. They bring me so much pleasure! Remember, you can click on the picture and you'll get a larger version for closer inspection if you like.
Today is the day that Don is going through Davy’s business with him and I’m going to see the cleft team with Trish and Raynie to learn of the plan for Raynie’s surgery. We expect them to want to do it around her birthday in July. We’ll see. She’s doing great. Due to her cleft palate, she has never been able to nurse, the only one of Tricia’s children who hasn’t. However, Trish has been committed to her having mother’s milk, so she has diligently pumped and fed her from a special bottle. She has pumped all she could, for fear that if she didn’t her milk would dry and she wouldn’t have enough to get Raynie through her surgery at least. So, she has ended up with a freezer running over with mother’s milk! She found a couple in another town who needed mother’s milk for their son who wasn’t doing well on formula and his mother couldn’t make enough milk for him. So, she has given them a cooler full of milk twice and he has gained 3 pounds; she said, “Maybe that’s why Raynie was born unable to nurse, so we could feed him, too.” Besides all the grandkids, we’re still proud of our kids because they think like that!
Trish sent me a quote today: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” - Art Linkletter Somehow I see that fits HER to a T; she has sure made a wonderful thing out of Raynie being born with a cleft palate! I am so proud of her! I know that today will be a good day with our visit to the cleft team. Raynie is a darling and Trish is prepared to get all the information and work the plan.
We are also so proud of Davy. He’s an amazing father and husband and he’s just unbelievable in his business. I hate that I can’t go tour the business, but it would all be over my head anyway. Don will explain it to me, but the bottom line is he deals with electrical equipment. Not appliances, but big huge stuff that I don’t even know exists, let alone know how it works. He does, though. I’m amazed. We’re pleased to get to spend a night visiting with him before he goes home for the weekend. It’s nice to have a place to hang our hats while we’re gone to Don’s reunion, too. I’ll catch you up on all the details when we get home.
We thank God for precious family and for these two who live close enough to us that we can see 8 of our grandkids pretty often. We thank God for the opportunity to catch up with the other three kids and 7 grandchildren throughout the year. This year we’re making up for lost time last year! Woo Hoo!
The picture on the blog tonight is one Don took of me last week after we’d walked. You can tell I’m all red from the heat of the walk. Some days are hotter than others. Check out the hair! My driver’s license picture doesn’t have much more hair than this! This time of year it’s hard to judge about the heat. If we get up and walk early I get chilly, so we like to wait until later, but then it sometimes gets so hot! We win some and lose some, but we walk regardless.
Today we are in route to OKC for Don’s reunion. I’m writing this ahead in anticipation of what we will be doing, then saving it so that we can post it from OKC. We’re staying at our son’s place in Norman. His home is in Wichita Falls, but he bought a business in Norman in January, so he moved there and stays during the week. On weekends he goes to wherever Bruce’s games are or home if Bruce isn’t playing that weekend. Anyway, we will be seeing his place in Norman for the first time and we’ll be staying there for the weekend even though Davy will be going home to Wichita Falls. We’ll visit with him tomorrow night. Then Friday he will show Don all around the business and I’m going to OKC with Trish to see Raynie’s cleft team; they’re planning her surgery date we think. I’ll report about all that when we get home next week. After Erica graduates next year, Davy and Susan and Bruce will move to Norman and Erica will go to college at Stillwater.
Today we are also stopping by to visit briefly with a dear couple who live in Norman. She and I are great email friends, but we love each other in person, too. She knows someone everywhere I go and she is a tremendous prayer warrior. Her husband writes a wonderful devotional every week and she types it for him and posts it to the Internet. He’s a retired Baptist minister/missionary and she sings like Ann Murray. What a powerful couple they are. We look forward to a quick visit with them. God has blessed us to know them since we first moved to Hobart; they were doing an interim ministry here at that time. This will be a fun day! I hope yours is, too!
The picture tonight is Sadie at Mason’s game last Saturday. She’s something else! Besides her blue eyes, her beauty and her gentle ladylike spirit, she’s as big a tomboy as she has to be to get the job done. A couple of foul balls landed in the gutter of the roof over the dugout and she was scrambling to get them. Don went over and held her up and she out scrambled guys bigger than her who were climbing up after them. She beat them to the only two balls that were stuck up there and the umpire gave her tickets for two cokes. She gave one of the cokes to a girlfriend of hers. Coming third in line after two big brothers taught her to scramble with the toughest.
Today’s been busy. We’ve been getting ready to leave tomorrow to go to Oklahoma City for Don’s 50th high school reunion. I’ve washed 3 loads of clothes so we’re leaving everything clean. We walked and went to church tonight. Oh, we took our friend, Joan, out for lunch at the Barbeque place (I didn’t get to pick or you know it would have been the Mexican restaurant!). She’s the friend who takes care of our flower gardens and mail when we’re gone. She’s also in the canasta bunch. It was important to celebrate with her since we won’t be here to play cards with her this weekend. I got the carpet scum busted, too!
I’m going to get posts ready to put on the Internet each day. I hope I can figure out how to do it from where we are. I’m not taking the laptop with me; there’s too much to do to fool with the computer. I’ll use Tricia’s computer or Davy’s or get Trish to do it for me. Anyway, we’ll get the posts done. Hang tough with me; I’ll answer any comments when we get home Sunday night. Don’t worry about me; I’m doing really great. I have plenty of energy and feel really good. I thank God so much for this chance at life and all it’s rich blessings! You are counted among our blessings.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Is this a precious baby darling, or what? This is Raynie when she and I were waiting in the car for Pop to go in and get sandwiches at Arby’s for lunch on Saturday. I had to take 8 pictures to get this one of her smiling. (Thanks for my digital camera!) She was just coming around to realize that I was okay with her. She kept looking at me trying to figure out just who I was. I sound so much like her mommy, but she knows I’m someone else. It took her a while to warm up to me, but she did. She’s so precious, as all the kids are. She weighs 16 pounds, now, and will be 10 months old the 10th of May. We’re going this weekend to Don’s 50th high school reunion in OKC, so we’ll get to see Trish and her family again. Raynie will begin to know us soon because we’ll be seeing more of them.
Today has been an awesome day for me. This morning we went to Dorothy and David’s house to give them haircuts and that was such a delight. I love doing that! They both have great hair and it’s so easy to cut; they come out looking great and I get to have a part in that. While we were there we helped them to move around some furniture in preparation for a family gathering they have this next week. Then we all went to lunch at the Mexican Restaurant. I never get enough of any of that! It’s just so grand to be home and doing things I love to do. We walked this afternoon, too. I never got around to scum busting the carpet yet, but it’ll be here when I get back from doing things I like!
This morning we found out that the youth intern who is coming to work with our congregation this summer is going to stay at our house! We love that! They were having a hard time finding a place for him to rent and asked if he could stay with us until they could find a place. We insisted that we’d love to have him stay all summer, so they checked with him and he agreed to it. We think it will be such a blessing to have him in our home.
I got to take some pictures of the irises in full bloom today. I’ll get them on the blog sometime when I don’t have people to show. Irises are great, but people are the best!
It seems like God keeps showering us with blessings, and He certainly does. I thank Him so much for so many rich blessings.
Monday, April 28, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is Mason, ready for his game on Saturday. Bless his heart I love it that he will smile when he sees I have the camera, even if it’s a tad phony smile. He means to cooperate and I love that. He was happy to be at the game and he was happy, as we were, that we were there. I’m so glad I got some pictures; it helps me to live the weekend over and over. Since we can’t be close to the kids I have to thank God for ways we have to communicate that we didn’t have when my family was so far away from home when I was a kid. We only had snail mail, but we made good use of that! Today we have long distance that is reasonable, cell phones, email and digital cameras to take lots of pictures when we are together and to share by email. We hardly use snail mail, but we sure make good use of the rest of it!
Today I meant to clean the carpet around the new chair pad, but I never got to it. I put the scum buster to work on the vans, though. Does that tell you I’m feeling great? We clean our cars about once a decade whether they need it or not, but they really needed it, so I chose today to do it. Not only that I went up in the attic (it must have been 120 up there) and searched until I found a box of t-shirts so I could dress up the seats in our old van with clean t-shirts. That old van is an ’86 model, so those seats needed covering and I wasn’t about to spend a penny to do it; the t-shirts work great and I got something out of the attic!
I had to trim the hair that was sticking out from behind my ears, too. It is so fun to have enough hair to cut! It’s long enough that I can’t go to bed with it wet or I have rooster tails. That’s way cool! I love it. There were a couple of spots on my chest and a couple under my arms where the skin was breaking down from the radiation. I’ve treated it diligently with a solution of peroxide and water and the one under my armpit is almost healed. The other two on my chest are much better, too. The peeling is almost done. I’m surprised every day how much better it looks.
I am so grateful to have had surgery and radiation with the burns and never gotten an infection. That is one of the dangers, and I feel so blessed to have managed to heal so well. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I know that God had me in His hands, and you, too!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is sweet Gracie. I couldn’t get the camera to work to get a picture of her during her soccer game, but I got this one later at her house.
Today has been a restful Sunday. We had lunch at the Mexican Restaurant after church and then I had time for a little nap before we walked. The Oklahoma wind made it awfully cold for walking, but we made it. After our walk we put together a new chair we bought yesterday for the computer, and replaced our old chair mat. Of course there is a line where the old mat was. So, there is my project for tomorrow: clean the carpet around the computer. (I’m already giving thanks for the scum buster!)
The irises are standing tall and braving the winds. I’ll have to remember to get pictures of them in full bloom this week. Talk about abundance; God is sure blessing me with these gorgeous irises.
Thursday we’re going to Oklahoma City for Don’s 50th high school reunion. This week I’ll be working on figuring out what to wear for the events of the reunion. It’s interesting to go through my closet because I’m finding shoes and clothes I’d forgotten I even had. For so long I couldn’t wear shoes with toes; I never liked shoes with toes, but I did own some. I feel so blessed to be able to wear shoes with toes! God is ever gracious!
The burns on my chest aren’t nearly as sore as they were last week. I think it must have peaked. The peeling continues, but I’m thinking it may be done in a couple of weeks; I hope so. I’m still tender, but I feel so good. This morning a precious lady at church came up and hugged me very gently; as she did, she quietly said, “I don’t want to hurt you so I’m trying not to get too close.” Bless her sweet heart. You know how some things stick in your mind? That one will always stick in my mind. I’ve had a million hugs and I cherish them all. Some did hurt, but love in them healed the hurt. I knew she was so genuine and I treasure her sensitivity on top of the love. It made me want to squeeze her until I hurt! God puts special treasures in our lives and they are all people!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The picture on the blog today is one taken of Trish and Rob and their family on Easter. In the back from left to right is Rob, Trish and Nate. Sadie is standing in front of Nate. Then in the front is Grace, Gabe holding Raynie and then Mason. Nate is 16; Gabe is 13; Sadie is 11; Mason is 7; Grace is 5; and Raynie is 9 months. They live in Oklahoma City.
Today we got up early and traveled to OKC to watch Grace play soccer and Sadie and Mason play softball. Besides all that we got hugs from everyone! It was awesome! It’s been a long day and we’re falling into bed giving thanks for everyone’s health and a safe trip. God Bless and thanks for reading about us.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Happy Birthday, Gracie! Today Grace is FIVE. She is one of our 15 grandchildren who make us realize the truth in the scripture Psalms 128:6, “Children's children are the crown of old men.” What joy they all are to us. Grace is a whole new delight every time we see her. We’ll see her tomorrow as she plays soccer and we’ll help her continue with her birthday celebration that she starts today.
Tonight we’re playing cards out at Dorothy and David’s house. We expect no less than a great time. 4 of our regular players aren’t able to be there for various reasons, but we are playing with a couple of dear ladies who are gracious to substitute when we are short some players. How wonderful it is to have so many great friends. It’s the friends we enjoy so much; the cards are just an excuse to get together. Hazel (our neighbor across the street) is playing with us and also Charlene Pulley, a dear lady from church. Maybe I’ll get some pictures and have them on the blog another time.
It is so windy we could hardly walk home today. We walked to town and got the mail and stopped by the church building to get copies of the ‘test’ we took at the salad supper last night. It was really hard and I wanted Don and David to take it. I also got a copy of the answers, so I’d know what I’d guessed and got right. We got a block away from home and the wind whipped those out of my pocket and blew them in 3 different directions. I was not to be outdone, so I RAN after them. I can’t run, but I did a little! Enough that I caught up with two of them and Don ran after the other one. He got the answers, so his was the most valuable run. It’s amazing how the wind will jerk something away and then make it scamper out of reach just as you are about to get it. Then a fence or high grass holds if for you. God is great. He knew I needed that last burst of exercise I guess.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The hair IS curly! When it was first coming in it looked straight as a stick to me. I didn’t care; I was so glad to have hair to keep me warm! I didn’t even care that it gray. Well, the longer it gets, the curlier it gets! The picture on the blog today is my sweat hog look. It’s how I looked when we came in from walking our hour today. You can see the curls; they’re dark when they’re wet, but they dry gray.
Today was pretty much a regular day. I did a little work in the garden out back and that felt great! I pruned all the lavender and a couple of crepe myrtles. I cut a few irises and brought them inside. The good fairies (Bob and Diana Clark) brought us a bag of pecans to share with Ruthie, so Ruthie, we’ll come in June bearing gifts from the Clark yard! At church tonight we had the area wide ladies’ salad supper and our neighbor, Olya spoke. Oh, my! Was that ever a treat!!! She is a gifted speaker and she has a heart the size of Texas, and we all felt it. It was such a joy to listen to her. Our neighbor, Hazel went with Dorothy and I because she’d never heard Olya speak and had heard that she is very good. When we got back into the car she said, “Well, I could listen to her all day and all night!” It really was that good. We all came away feeling so blessed after her lessons on the seasons of life.
The ladies who planned the event had asked people who had businesses to donate prizes to be given as door prizes and anyone else could donate anything they wanted to be used for door prizes, too. One of the members of our congregation paints and she made several bookmarks and donated them. Dorothy and I both won one of Mary Ann’s bookmarks, and we were thrilled! We couldn’t have been more pleased than to have something she painted on one side, then a handwritten prayer and Bible verse on the other side. It has a ribbon and a beautiful cross hanging from one end and it is laminated. What a treasure! I want to share mine with you:
Dear Lord, help me today and every day to be a peacemaker for those around me. Help me to do good, to seek peace and pursue it. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Did I have a blessed day or what? Thanks be to God!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is Erica, Bruce’s big sister, talking on the phone between games. She is our oldest grandbaby; she’ll set us straight in a New York minute that she’s almost 18! She has always been a great supporter of Bruce and it warmed my heart to see her squeeze his sweaty, dirty (from sliding) shoulders after they won one of the games this weekend. It seems like no time ago that we kept them one weekend and he so looked up to her. He wouldn’t do anything without checking it with ‘Erita’ first. Old memories are precious and it’s wonderful to make new ones all the time.
Today has been rainy off and on, so we didn’t get to walk. I did lots of stretching and good exercise in our ‘gym’ down the hall, but walking is lots more fun. I guess it’s good for me to have a day that we can’t walk to make me appreciate it even more.
I saw the dentist this morning to have that one cavity filled. It went pretty well, but it sure is sore, now. How grateful I am that I only had that one cavity. I think that’s great after all the chemo. I think the last cavity I had was a couple of years ago, so I’m feeling good about my teeth. I ordered some bands to see if I can pull my teeth together to fill in that gap, but they aren’t here yet. I imagine that will make my mouth sore, too, but it’ll be fun to see if I can do it myself.
Angelica came and cleaned the house today. What a blessing she is! She had the house sparkling when we got home from Houston, but with us being home for nearly 2 weeks it was time to clean it again. It was good for me to have a deadline to get everything put into it’s place . . . well, some I hid and probably won’t find myself! God is so good; I sure count her as one of my blessings.
Philippians 4:8 “ . . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” We missed church tonight, but my ‘sources’ tell me that the lesson was around this scripture. This might be one of my favorite scriptures. It sure is a great way to live, so I thank God for giving us this plan for living.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight was taken of Bruce pitching at one of the games on Saturday this past weekend. He’s a great all around player. Most of the guys on the team can pitch because they play so many games in a weekend that they have to have plenty of pitchers. It’s amazing to me how versatile they all are.
Today we went to Altus to have my eyes checked. Chemo is hard on vision, so I didn’t even have them checked last year. I figured it would be a waste of time and money, so I just used reading glasses when I couldn’t see well enough. The news about my eyes was that the distance hasn’t changed and the close up could be corrected with a new perscription. That was very nice! I have cataracts, but they are too small to remove; they were started 2 years ago when I saw this doctor last, so they are not growing rapidly. He made some kind of picture of my whole eye and he could see that there is no glaucoma or macular degeneration starting, so that is all very good news. It’s so nice to go to a doctor and get good news! God amazes me every day!
I was reading a devotional today and Max Lucado reminded me that God’s gifts are so abundant. Like He didn’t have to give us mountains and valleys or colors; He could have made the world flat and all black and white. He didn’t have to make the squirrel have a fluffy tail; He didn’t even have to make the squirrels. I have been known to complain about squirrels when they were wolfing down all my birdseed, but I should have been complaining about them stealing the birdseed only. Every day there is so much for which to give thanks.
After lunch we walked a square mile. We live on the last street in town, so we walk a mile west, a mile north, a mile back east, and then a mile south (roughly). It’s a nice walk when it’s not too hot, and today was perfect for it. I am so grateful to be able to walk those 4 miles! There are so many blessings in these gifts. (Besides, no dog even chased us! Yesterday we were walking right in town where there is a leash law and someone’s bulldog scared me to death. He nipped at my fingers until I held my arm up over my head and then he nipped at my calf. I nearly jerked Don’s arm off, but he kept calmly walking until the dog was satisfied that we were out of his territory. If I had been by myself . . . I shudder to think. I won’t go there by myself for another decade or so, I imagine. Being bitten by a dog is worse than breast cancer, chemo and radiation; I remember, but I won’t bore you with THOSE details. God gave us a memory, and I’ll use mine as long as I can, with thanksgiving!)
Monday, April 21, 2008
The picture on the blog today is of 3 great ball players, in my opinion. The one on the right is our grandson, Bruce. The other two are guys who have been on his team for years. We are so proud of all of them. They play great ball and when they aren’t playing ball, they’re just great all around kids. This shot was taken while they were waiting on the championship game yesterday, so they were just hanging out, after already having played 3 games that day and two on Saturday..
It was so much fun for us to be back at the ball field, watching the boys and being around their positive parents and grandparents. These guys play on a tournament team, so they travel to play these tournaments; it’s quite a commitment from their families as well as from them. They get a lot of experience playing good teams from mostly all over Texas, but sometimes other states, as well. I love the atmosphere.
Thanks so much to Trish for posting for me last night. I’d forgotten how late it could be when your team plays all the way to the finish! We left the ballpark at 9:30 and they were still passing out trophies. We pulled in at home at 2:15 a.m. We slept until 9 this morning! God blessed us with a wonderful weekend of weather and safe traveling for all of us. I have a few more pictures I’ll be sharing this week and some more stories from the weekend.
The weather here was perfect today, so we walked this morning. This afternoon I changed our sheets and did 5 loads of laundry. I’m still folding some of it and the last load is in the dryer. My irises are about to burst into bloom; there are stalks standing all over the place. I cut the only two open blooms today and put them on my mirror in my bathroom. Soon the yard will be ablaze with more blooms than I can possibly bring into the house. God gives us such abundance and spring is such a reminder of that! PTL!!!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
It's Tricia. Mom called and said that Bruce's team made it to the championship, so they are playing another game tonight which means it'll be late when mom and dad get home. So, your regularly scheduled blog post will resume tomorrow.
Your picture tonight is of Rayne getting into stuff. Notice the look - "What do you want? Can't you see I'm very busy getting into this stuff?" Pardon the spots on my camera lens.
Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying your Sunday! Thanks for reading the blog and for loving Mom and all of us. We love you guys right back!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This is Bob and Diana Clark. Bob and I went to school together at Itazuke and they live down the street from us. Diana made that awesome lap quilt for me. They also came to see us in Houston and played in Galveston with us. They met us last week at the Kozy Diner for breakfast and again this morning. Bob said he's jealous of my hair; how cool is that? They are really good friends.
We are headed today to our first baseball tournament of the year with Bruce. We don't even remember what to pack, but we'll manage. We really can hardly wait to get into this groove, again.
God is great to watch over us and keep us safe and so abundantly blessed in every way. We're not taking the laptop with us to McKinney; we're taking the day off from the internet and will catch up whenever we get home Sunday night. The post may be late Sunday night. Love you all and God bless!
Friday, April 18, 2008
The picture tonight is from last week’s canasta game on Saturday. Dorothy is listening as Jack (Silly) ‘stacks’ the deck; Tillie is also listening intently. This happens between hands. It’s great fun and we’re playing at our house tonight.
Today was 34 when we woke up, but it made it to be a great day for walking! We’re leaving in the morning for a weekend of baseball in McKinney, Texas, which is just north of Dallas. I can hardly wait!
We’re all set for the canasta players, but I’ve got to get our dinner out of the way. We just do popcorn and cookies when we play, so we keep it simple.
I’m feeling so good! I worked in the yard today, even. There’s a lot more to do, but it can wait. It was so good to be outside and DOING something! God is great! Make a great weekend!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The picture tonight is the iris that I have hanging on my mirror in the bathroom. It’s Total Recall. I forgot to tell you last night that the peach colored one is Roney’s Encore. They name these irises like racehorses, don’t they?
Today we were supposed to get rain, and it was really cold because of the wind and cool temperatures. Don and I walked all the streets nearby the house for an hour so that we could get home pretty quickly if it started raining. I wore a wool hat and Don wore earmuffs, besides long pants and jackets, to keep warm. We’re missing the warmth and the great family in Houston, but we’re still so glad to be at home!
This weekend we’re going back to Dallas to watch Bruce play in a tournament. We’ve missed his tournaments so much. Next weekend we’re going to Oklahoma City to watch Grace, Sadie, and Mason play ball. We’re getting back into the swing of things. I’ve still got things to get into place around here, but I’m almost done. The canasta group is coming here to play tomorrow night, so I’ve got to be done by then or find a place to stash it. Ha!
After 6 days of Arimidex I’m not noticing ANY side effects. I’m so grateful for THAT. God amazes me. I thought I was amazed before breast cancer, but I don’t even have the vocabulary to express how much I thank Him and stand amazed at all He does! Another breast cancer ‘sister’ wrote that a dear friend suggested to her that she is not a victim but rather a vessel. I love that attitude and it seems so true. I feel like I’m a vessel holding so many blessings and so much love. How blessed I am. I’m blessed that you are reading this; thank you!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Here are the beginnings of the irises! These are both rebloomers, so I’ll have them off and on until Thanksgiving. God is so generous and creative!
I didn’t ever get around to pruning in the yard today; it was too windy! We did walk, though. I’m going to the nursing home to sing tonight with a group from church. I’m really looking forward to that. I couldn’t go there while I was on chemo, so it’s been a long time since I could go. There is one guy there who is the age of our youngest daughter; years ago he was beaten and left for dead in a nearby town. He recovered, but he can’t walk and talks with difficulty. He’s one of the sweetest guys alive. His mother died with breast cancer, so he took it pretty hard when I told him I had breast cancer. I wrote to him from Houston, and he even sent me a plaque for my wall in Houston. I look forward to hugging his neck tonight.
One of my ‘breast cancer sisters’ wrote today and we were comparing notes about our radiation redness. It reminded me that I haven’t mentioned the peeling. It’s part of the story for me, so I’ll mention it. Every place that they radiated is very red and about half of it is peeling like a minor burn. It’s a lot like the peeling of a sunburn, but the skin is not quite as thin and doesn’t peel in big sheets. It’s sore like a really bad sunburn, but it’s not all over me like a sunburn would be, so it’s really bearable. I’m supposed to put lotion on it and I can put cortisone on it for itching. That really does help. I still don’t like buttons on the front of my clothes because the seams, and knots behind the buttons are uncomfortable. None of this is anything bad; it’s just how it’s happening. Oh! One more thing: I have some skin break down in the armpit that they radiated. That’s no problem because I’m mostly numb there. I can barely feel it. I clean it with a solution of peroxide and water and it will heal fine. These are all reasons I haven’t been the least bit eager to wear a prosthesis, yet. Maybe when all this heals I’ll be ready to look like a girl. Right now I’m so grateful to be looking alive and feeling alive! I feel great!
Thanks for keeping up with what happens to us! I love you and God does, too. God’s love is a comfort to me!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is from the canasta game Saturday night. You’ll recognize Don. Then going clockwise is Joan, our dear friend who takes care of my flowers, the house, and the mail when we are gone. Next is David Rule, then with her back to the camera is Dorothy. The guy whose arm is all you see is Jack, who we call Silly because he’s such a clown and he’s married to Tillie, so they became Silly and Tillie. No doubt he had just said something hilarious because everyone is laughing in the picture. Canasta is just an excuse to get us all together and laugh a lot!
Every day is very busy because it takes me so long to do my exercises and then walk and cool down from the walk. If we get anything else done it makes it so busy. That’s okay, but it’s just how it is. I’ve gotten most everything put in it’s place, but there are still some things looking for home. It sure takes a while to settle in again! Today we did some minor repairs around the house and touched up some marks on the walls here and there, so it smells like paint. That’s kind of fun!
Tomorrow I’m going to do some pruning in the garden. We’ll see how that goes.
I am so thankful to God for the energy to do my exercises, walk and even some extra things around the house! It’s great that God is in control! I sure thank Him for our great friends and familly, too!
Monday, April 14, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is Dorothy and I at breakfast on Saturday morning; another precious memory! I’ve been smiling like that every since we’ve been home!
I had more great news today. I hadn’t been to the dentist since before I went to Tijuana last year. When we came back I was too busy. Then when we decided to go the chemo route, I figured I might as well wait until the chemo was over to see the dentist because chemo is notorious for wrecking havoc with teeth. After chemo was over we went right into surgery and radiation, so the dentist waited. I wasn’t having problems, so it seemed like the thing to do. I thought I should call right away and get an appointment, so when I called today and she asked if I could come in this afternoon, I thought I was sure blessed! Then when they x-rayed, cleaned and examined my teeth they were very pleased to announce that I have only one tiny cavity! He said that after all my treatments he would have expected to see 5 or 6 cavities, but my teeth look great. I asked him to give me an estimate on fixing that gap in my teeth and he said $300. I made an appointment to have the cavity filled, but the gap I think I like. HA!
One way to look at it is this: I have (relatively) no hair and no boobs, so why panic (pay $300) over a gap in my teeth? Gratefully, I HAVE teeth! The other way to look at it is: my teeth are all I have going for me, so what’s another $300 after we’ve spent a bazillion on all these other repairs? The answer to that is that another $300 will be $300 toward paying off the bazillion! $300 is about 88 gallons of gas. I like the gap better and better. I think it gives me character.
I called to make an appointment with the eye doctor, too. Chemo did a number on my vision, so I’ve been wearing reading glasses to read even wearing my contacts. I’m a year over due going to have my contacts changed, but I didn’t see any point in going until I got the chemo out of my system. Again, I felt blessed to be able to get an appointment for a week from tomorrow. I’m thinking God is really paying attention to my needs!
We had a freeze here last night, but my irises are TOUGH! I was so pleased today to see them standing tall and proud. I had only 3 blooming when we got home and I cut them all and brought them into the house. There are lots of stalks, though, so I’ll have lots more blooms soon. I’ll make pictures and post them, of course.
God is taking good care of us and we thank Him profusely! Thanks for reading with me.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
The blog picture tonight is from last night’s canasta game. We played at Jo Ann and Frank’s house and in this picture is Diana and Bob Clark and then Jo Ann and Frank. There were 6 of us at this table and then another 6 behind Frank and I in the kitchen. It was wonderful to get to play again.
Playing canasta I did notice that the chemo brain is certainly still in control of my brain. They say that it will get better and I hope it does, but I can live it if Don can! I have trouble counting and keeping track of things to the point that I notice it. When we played canasta I could really see it. That’s just some of the facts, so I need to share it.
There is a good thing that I haven’t had a chance to mention. Back in the fall I noticed my ears hurting. I thought it was about allergies, although I’ve had allergies all my life and my ears never hurt. Then I thought maybe it was because I use a brick for a pillow (that’s what my friend, Judy calls it) and I was laying on it so much because of my naps. Well, the earaches went away and I forgot about them until a couple of weeks ago they came back! I asked my doctor’s nurse practitioner about it and she said, “It sounds like peripheral neuropathy to me.” That made perfect sense, because I started having trouble with the peripheral neuropathy back in the fall after my treatments of Taxol, then it went away when I took medication for it. I weaned off of the medicine for the neuropathy when my fingers and toes weren’t hurting so badly anymore and that’s when my ears started hurting, again. It’s not any horrible thing and I’ll live with it without medication. I’m just glad to have answers.
Another good thing is that most of my marks are faded/washed off my chest! Woo Hoo! I’m so enjoying my baths, even if they can’t be hot. Warm is good. (I can’t do hot because of the threat of lymphedema.)
It was wonderful to go to church today and feel the love there. People are so good everywhere. I got some really good hugs! I really appreciate God’s plan for putting people in families and then even provided us with a great family where He is our father. Wow!
Don asked me tonight if I’m going to write this blog for the rest of my life. I don’t think so, but I don’t feel like quitting, yet. Somehow I’ll know when it’s time to quit; maybe when nobody is reading it or responding to it then it will be time to quit. It seems to me like I’m still on a learning adventure, so there is still ‘stuff’ to share. Like I started on the Arimidex on Saturday. That’s the pill I take for 5 years. It’s for postmenopausal women who had advanced breast cancer. It has some nasty side effects but none of them are as bad as breast cancer, so I thank God for the opportunity to take it. Maybe I won’t have any side effects! So far I haven’t had any, so I’m hopeful.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The picture on the blog today is me in my bubble/jet bath finally! Check out the hair! I was like a kid in the tub: I wanted to make my hair stand up and I didn’t want to get out of the tub! It was so wonderful.
Last night when we went to bed it was so nice to be in our own bed. Even my memory foam remembered me. (I told that to our friend David and he said, "Did it say, ‘Is that you, Jo?’" It’s so good to be home to his sense of humor.) I snuggled right into my spot and slept like a brick.
Man, it’s cold here, though! We’re shocked, and missing Houston’s warmth, already! We had to turn the heat on or I would have frozen. I’m wearing a fleece top to play canasta tonight. I’m so tickled to be getting to play! It’s great to be out and amongst people! I may not remember how to play, but I’ll be able to pick up and hold the cards! Woo hoo!
God has so richly blessed us. I’m still working on getting the house put back together. It’s wonderful to have some energy for this! Angela had the house sparkling when we got home, so that was so wonderful. We brought in a car load of belongings, so it’s all cluttered, again. It’s fun to be putting things where they belong. It’s wonderful to have the desktop computer! The laptop has been wonderful while we were gone, but the desktop is a real luxury in terms of speed and size, etc. I thank God for home, friends and family. We are so blessed to live in America . . . even Hobart!
Friday, April 11, 2008
The day has been perfect! We got up at 5 to load the car and we were done by 6! We didn’t have to leave until 7:15 but we figured we could sit at the hospital and wait as well as we could sit at the apartment, so we went on to the hospital. We got there and they took us right in! So we were done and leaving the hospital by 7! The picture today is the one Ann (who has traveled this radiation road and knows the ropes) told us to be sure and get: Don and I standing by the bell we ring when we finish the radiation treatments. I’m in my red shirt and Don calls that a red shirt because it has red on it. It has a pocket and that’s the key when we’re traveling. If you look closely you can see the dark spots here and there on my shirt from the stuff they let me put on my burned skin; pretty much ruins shirts, but helps the skin!
The traffic in Houston was the least we’ve ever seen on a day other than Sunday. We moved right along and NEVER came to a single stop. It was a breeze. We drove to Conroe and stopped at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and by 8:30 we were leaving for home. We stopped for lunch north of Dallas and got home at 3:45! We couldn’t believe it. We unloaded and put away a few things, but this is a BIG job! We met our friends at the Mexican Restaurant and had a great reunion! There were 13 of us at one table and then we saw lots more. It was great. We are so tired, though. We’ve been up since 5!
God has so richly blessed us. I can’t believe I forgot to take the camera to the restaurant tonight; I’ll take it to the Kozy Diner tomorrow, though. Coming home is really sweet! I can only imagine what it will be like to go to heaven, but I appreciate this time here with folks all over who love us. (Do you know the song, ‘I Can Only Imagine?’ It’s a favorite of mine.)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Luke is one today! Heather has hated working since Luke was born (and before!) , but her sister was able to keep him with Doris and Jerry keeping him 1 or 2 days a week. Heather hated missing any time with him. She was able to resign from her job last week because she landed a job she can do from home! She’s had this week open to spend some time with Luke before she starts her job next week, so she got these pictures. He’s a very good boy and she’s a great mom and manager, so I know they’ll work out this job from home and both will love it. What a great birthday present to Luke to have Mommy at home with him!
The first picture is when Heather told Luke we are going back to Oklahoma. The next one is when she explained to him that we’ll be back from time to time. No kidding; he and Colter both make us feel so loved. They are such sweet boys and it’s been our blessing to be here to see them grow since they were just tiny guys.
I saw my medical oncologist today and she is very pleased with my progress. She says I will need to come back every 3 months for the first year. Then the second year I’ll need to come back every 4 months. Then years 3-5 I’ll need to come back every 6 months. After 5 years I can come back once a year. That’s really more than we wanted to come back to MD Anderson, but the great part of it is that we’ll see lots of Luke and Colter and their families! God finds a way to keep families tight.
We are packed and ready to go except for the last minute things. I’m going to go shower and then clean out the shower and put up a new liner. Then I’m ready to eat dinner, watch Survivor and then go to bed early. We’ve got to get up early in the morning to get the beds ready for the next people and then pack up the toiletries. We have been so blessed! Thank you for your love and prayers. I’ll post on the blog as soon as we get home tomorrow night.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Today has been an awesome day. I did the laundry and then we got probably 80% of everything packed into the car. That all feels good, but we’re both exhausted. The best part was, though, that Bob Dwyer, our friend from Hawaii called and then he sent pictures! That’s Bob pictured on the blog tonight; he’s a great friend, so it was really fun to get his phone call. Then tonight a girl from the Breast Cancer Stories site called me! She’s always been such an inspiration to me and I never expected a phone call from her. Little did I know that she lives in Spring, out where Doris lives! We’ll get together when I come down for a check up in July, I hope! Then one of our canasta buddies called to ask us to play canasta at their house on Saturday night! Man, that sounds good to me! She promised to prop me up if I’m tired. HA! That’s the kind of friends we have; whatever we need they are right there with it!
Thanks, Bob, Ronetta, and Jo Ann for your calls today!
God has blessed us so richly; this trip has been interesting all the way, but it’s going to be so good to get home. It’s been fun working around the apartment today, planning to leave it in tip top shape for the next folks who have the pleasure of being here. I hope they love it like we have. God will be here for them, too. Isn’t it great how He can be here for them and go home with us, and be at your house, too! I love it!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is Don and I at the Black Eyed Pea celebrating our anniversary. It’s been a great day and we had a great dinner.
We saw the radiology oncologist this morning and he is very pleased with my progress. He wants to see me again in 3 months. If all is good, then he’ll only need to see me again in 6 months. That’s good for us. Thursday we see the medical oncologist. I think we are good to go, then after I have my last treatment on Friday. We are so ready!
We already have breakfast planned on Saturday morning at the Kozy Diner in Hobart with the canasta gang. As I told the doctor this morning, our bodies are here, but we’re really already gone home. We’re like kids on the last day of school. Our bodies are here, but that’s it.
Thanks so much for keeping up with us. I’ll keep you informed! Praise God for His awesome care for us.
Monday, April 7, 2008
The picture on the blog tonight is one Don snapped just for the blog. I threw out the last of the flowers and have the vases all washed. Of course we’re taking the plants home with us. There really isn’t much to capture with the camera anymore; maybe I should have taken a picture of the bags I have packed and ready to go! That’s where my mind is. Our bodies are still here in Houston, but we’re really already gone from here.
I had my first BOOST treatment today and it really did go very quickly. They only had to set me up for two different positions and then just had one 25 second ‘zap’ for each one. I think we were there for less than a half hour. Tomorrow we have to see the radiology oncologist and I hope he will release me to leave on Friday.
My chest is still very tender from the radiation, but I think it will get better and better. Actually, it’s tender still from the surgery, too, but it’s not anything too bad at all. I only mention the tenderness so that I don’t mislead you. This whole process since the surgery has gone so quickly that it’s been hard to realize all the changes. I went from pain and drains to numbness and exercises right into radiation. The time has really flown. I’m so very pleased with my range of motion. I’m so glad to be able to walk. It’s an honor to be walking in my mom’s steps. She set quite a goal for me to reach and I think of her every day as I aim to do better and better.
It’s fun to have enough hair to comb! I look forward to getting in my tub at home and to eventually all these marks fading off my chest. God has been so good to us to give us a wonderful experience with no complications; I thank Him profusely for that! I look so forward to getting home to see all our friends and to get to family soon, too! Can you tell I’m so excited?
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The picture on the blog is me tonight half way through my walk. We didn’t get around to walking today, so at 8:00 tonight I took off walking around the complex. I stopped after a half hour for a restroom break and Don took my sweaty picture. It was great walking, though; really great weather. I missed Don, but it’s always encouraging to know that I can do it by myself. I know there will be days that I can’t walk because we are traveling, or because of weather, so I really need to walk when I possibly can.
We said our good-byes at church today. Then after church we went out to a great Tex-Mex lunch with all the Edmonds. It was a great time. Luke did not slow down to walk. He went right into running! It’s been so fun to watch him and Colter grow over this past year.
Tomorrow is the first day of my Boost treatments. I’ll see how that works. It’s been fun to let the marks on my upper chest fade. The burn from the radiation is very sensitive, but with the lines gone I can rub cortisone lotion on all of it and that helps. I’ll be glad to get home to my soft t-shirts with no writing to scratch and no buttons.
God has blessed us with a wonderful stay here and we thank Him, but we thank Him for taking us safely home on Friday, too!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I'm not putting this address on the blog anymore because we're leaving Friday and I don't want you to use this address! Yee Haw!!!
Today’s picture is me with Candy Lovell Burch, my ‘twin’ from Itazuke. Candy and I share the same birthday, so we had that extra bond at Itazuke. She lives here in Houston, but she just got home today from a month in Illinois. Sadly, her dad passed away about a month ago, so she went to spend some time with him before his death and stayed to be with her mom as long as she could. We met them for dinner and a visit this afternoon when her flight returned. It’s always so good to have times like that with good old friends. We shared a birthday party at Itazuke; I think it was our 13th. It was the only birthday party I ever had, so it was special. Now, don’t anyone be throwing any birthday parties because I said that! That one is a sweet memory! Actually, last year on our birthday we were at an Itazuke reunion in Dover, Delaware and it was at the banquet that they wished me a happy birthday. (I was in the restroom when they did that!) I really like to celebrate all year instead of just on that day, so every day is a party for me.
We were able to walk this morning. I am so pleased to have some of the lines on my chest to be fading. You might notice in the picture that I have on a tank top and no lines are showing above it. You can also see how RED my chest is! I may be a rather crispy critter by the end of next week, but by this time next week we’ll be at HOME!!! Yee Haw! You can tell I’m celebrating already.
Oh! I tried parting my hair on the opposite side from the way it grows, thinking it might make my hair look longer. It didn’t work. It’s only as long as it is and that’s all I can do, but it can’t hurt to comb it different directions and see what happens. I think it makes it curl a little to comb it the opposite way, so I’ll see how it works. This is really a fun thing, discovering my hair from the very beginning; thankfully, it doesn’t take much to entertain me! God is so good to give me hair! PTL for family, friends, health, hair and good medicine!
Friday, April 4, 2008
7490 Brompton, Apt. 442
Houston, TX 77025
Woo Hoo!!! We finished the last day of the regular radiation today! This is my cheering picture! I’m so pleased to be done with 5 weeks. They act like next week will be simple, but I think I can take one more week even if it isn’t simple. I’m going to be concentrating on going home!
I got to rub cortisone cream on all of the top part that is so red today. Up until the last treatment I had to avoid the lines, so that meant a lot went untreated. It feels so good to be able to use the cream on all the really red part. I’m thanking God today for getting me through this 5 weeks and I know He’ll see me through the last week. Woo Hoo! I’m so pleased.
We got to walk today before it rained and we’re promised a pretty weekend. I’m walking really well these days. That’s another thing for which I give thanks. God has so taken care of me. We are so blessed; I can’t stop counting!
This is our last weekend in Houston. It’s been blessed. I thank God for so much great family here and wonderful friends to make this stay away from home so awesome. It’ll be so good to be home, and I thank Him for family and friends who make home special, too.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
7490 Brompton, Apt. 442
Houston, TX 77025
The picture on the blog I gratefully found from a couple of weeks ago. One of those roses and most of the carnations are still alive and keeping me boosted! (See the arrangement over my shoulder in last night's picture; that's what's left of last week's flowers.) Tonight's picture was back when I could wear a shirt with buttons; the buttons aggravate my itchy chest, now, so I stick with t-shirts. I didn’t bring many t-shirts! I need to write a book to prepare women for this experience, but it’s different for everyone, so that probably isn’t such a great idea. There is a site called Breast Cancer Stories and many women who are experiencing breast cancer are telling their stories there. I think I’ll stick to that site. It’s been a big help to me and I hope I can be a big help to others who go there seeking support.
This time next week we plan to have the car packed except for our towels, our sheets, our memory pad, toiletries and the cooler with the food from the fridge. We are really so ready to be at home! I packed some stuff from the kitchen that I know we won’t use. I love this!
Tomorrow is my last day of regular radiation. Next week they will only be concentrating on the site of my tumor and positive nodes. That means those red marks that stick out near my neck can begin to fade. After next week I can scrub my chest! I’ll be so happy to do that. I’ll love to stand facing the shower and let the water run down my front. Little things become big things when you can’t have them, anymore! I’ll be so glad to get home to ALL my t-shirts, too. It’ll even be fun to get home and relive the experience of shoes with toes in them! I’m so blessed that the neuropathy in my feet and hands is gone and I have all my feeling back with no pain and no medicine. I consider that to be a huge blessing and answer to prayer because that is one of the side effects of chemo that doesn’t always go away. I sure thank God for the ability to use my fingers and wear shoes with toes. (I never liked shoes with toes and I never liked hair; God has sure taught me lots of lessons, just beginning with these!)
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
7490 Brompton, Apt. 442
Houston, TX 77025
The pictures on the blog today are to compare my hair with how I usually wear it. The first picture is one Don took tonight. The next one is one taken March 8, 2007. So, my hair is just about as long now on the sides and back as I usually let it get. The top is what is still short. By fall I should look like me. The rest of the pictures are the sides, and back of my head. I’m sorry for the dial up people for all the pictures, but they make sense if you see them at once. It’s interesting to watch my hair growing from nothing. I thought it was coming in straight, and it IS. But, it grows all different directions, so it bends when it bangs into hairs growing in a different direction. I look back and see that I always parted it on the wrong side; I guess I did that because that gave it body because the natural part is obviously on the left. If I comb it the other way, now, it stands up straight. This is really a learning experience for me. I’m sure that hair is a good thing; it doesn’t take much to make me happy, but I need as much as I have now to be warm. I thank God for all the hats people sent and the ones I was able to make to keep me warm when my hair was gone, and I thank Him for giving back my hair!
I only have tomorrow and then Friday of my regular treatments. Then I have a week of the BOOST treatments and then we can go home next Friday! Today I packed a suitcase of clothes that I know we won’t wear again while we’re here. I’ve got a bag of linens packed, too. It feels good to be getting ready to go home. The freezer is looking empty and we are eating up what is left around here. This is exciting! I sure thank God for giving us this home and for blessing us with health and healing since we’ve been here. I talked to Angelica (my housekeeper) today; she was at our house getting it all clean and fresh when we get home. It’s going to be so good to be at home in our own space! We’ve been gone this long before, but home has never seemed so sweet! Thank you for keeping up with us through all this!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
7490 Brompton, Apt. 442
Houston, TX 77025
Tonight’s picture is Brett, Heather, and Luke. Luke takes a step here and there and will walk around the furniture and holding onto your hand, but he’s most comfortable with the speedy crawl. It won’t be long until he flies ‘solo’ and it’ll be really tough to catch him. He’s really fast on his knees! He’ll be one soon; we’re missing his birthday celebration by one day, but we are so anxious to go home, so we’re counting on the rest to be able to keep up the celebration without us.
Today I saw the radiology oncologist and he is very pleased with my treatments. I learned that this is actually the last week of my regular treatment plan and next week is what they call a ‘boost.’ That means they will hone in really strong on where my tumor was because that is where it is most likely to recur. So, today they marked off that area so they can get everything situated to radiate that area big time next week. It’s good for me, too, because now I know exactly where to really watch closely. (Like I won’t be watching everywhere like a hawk!) He was not concerned about the blisters; they are very small and to be expected at this point. He is pleased that I still have the energy to walk an hour every day; me, too!
We got rained out of our walk for the first time, today. So, we went over to the exercise room at the apartments and there were 2 treadmills, so we walked there! I thank God for the treadmills for a backup, but I really thank Him for the good days to walk the area; that’s lots more interesting!