Sunday, August 31, 2008

Even I get to rest. This was taken last week. I’m not resting today. I’ve got to get things ready to go on Tuesday. We’ll leave at 6 in the morning if at all possible. So, lots to do.

All is well here. We’re on schedule to leave on Tuesday. It’s just that there are lots of last minute things to do. I’ll be glad to get on the way. We’re really excited to be getting to go to an extra tournament. We haven’t seen Jessie play in a couple of years, so this is great!

I hope we’ll be able to have Internet access as we go, but I’m sure we won’t sometimes. I think I won’t be able to post on Tuesday night, the 2nd. We’ll be driving all day and then we’ll get into Laughlin late at night. If there is Internet access in the hotel, I will post, but I imagine I’ll have to find someplace with WIFI to post. I’ll do that on Wednesday as soon as possible. Don’t worry; just know that I took a day off.

I’ll post tomorrow night before we leave. God is so good to give us this opportunity, so we thank Him. Big smiles from here!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Judy!

This is Judy, who you’ve seen so many times with me at MD Anderson. She’s been my friend since we were 12. We’re close enough that she can tell me when I have spinach in my teeth, or when I have a gap in my teeth, or when I need to go back to my mascara. She’s a doll. Bless her heart, she’d like for me to color my hair, but I just won’t go there. I’ll just look like her mother. She looks GREAT, but she’s as old as me, now. Can you imagine getting some of the worst news of your life (you have breast cancer and you need chemo, surgery and radiation) and then looking into these eyes? Her kids and her husband are so blessed. Don and I have been so blessed to have her be our dear friend through all of this cancer experience. She’s been so supportive. When we went to Tijuana she didn’t fight us. When we went to MD Anderson, she DROVE us to the hospital. We stayed at her house when I had the biopsy. I wore pajamas she brought me from Japan. When I had the mastectomies she was right there with me until I went into surgery and sat with Don all through it. She's spent HOURS and hours with us at MD Anderson through all our time there. She brought us flowers and food to the apartment. She GAVE me her kitchen stool for the apartment and I kept it and climb around my kitchen with it, still. She’s been such a true friend for so long and what a blessing she has been through this experience. We have so many memories to treasure. One is when I insisted she go get a senior drink with me at McDonald’s. I asked how much a senior drink was and the girl said, “For you it will be 35 cents, but for her it will be 75 cents.” Don and I bent over laughing and Judy said, “I rest my case.” (about me coloring my hair) I know I’ve left out a ton of what she’d done for us, but I didn’t mean to tell you everything; just enough to remind you of how special she is in our lives. Now she’s as old as I am, but she’ll never look it; she stays on top of looking young!

Life in Hobart today has been sweet. We had breakfast this morning with Dorothy and David at the Kozy Diner. Then we all went to check on Charlene in the hospital; she’s doing well, but will be there for some time with those fractures healing. After that visit we stopped by another friend’s auction, but didn’t stay long. I sewed a little today and cleaned up from all my exercises and got ready to go celebrate our friend, Maggie’s 80th birthday. Another good friend had a come and go party for her this afternoon and we were so pleased to be here for that special time. Jo Ann and Frank went to the birthday party with us and then we met David and Dorothy at a brand new steak house in town; today was their first day to be open. It was delicious, so we are proud to have another place in town to eat. It’s called the Wagon Wheel, so you’ll see me mention it, again, no doubt. After we hurt ourselves eating we came over to our house and played cards! This was Dorothy’s first time to play cards since she broke her arm. We have a cardholder that she could use and she did just great with it! The girls won one game and the guys won one. (Trish, that was the cardholder you gave us and she loved it! Thank you!)

I thank God for good friends who brighten our lives! I thank God for my healing and for Dorothy and David’s healing. Wow. We’re so blessed.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tiny picture; terrific Terri.

This little tiny picture is the best I could come up with for my sweet little ‘sister.’ We adopted each other after the Orlando Itazuke reunion several years ago. She lives in Texas, but we keep in close touch and we dream that we’re sisters, so for all practical purposes we are. I’ve put her picture on the blog before, but I wanted to put on a different one today, so I scooped this one out of one of my snap shots from a reunion. She sent me this great quote today, and I want to share it:

“Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh, shoot....she's awake!!'”

I love that. It makes me smile and have a new lease on the concept of crawling out of bed in the morning. If it makes Satan shudder, then I’m good with it even if I’d like to sleep until noon.

I thank God for Terri in my life. She’s not only an angel, but she shares great baggage; her mom was precious and she has a great brother who keeps us in stitches. I’m told a good belly laugh adds years to your life and Mike is good for MANY belly laughs. Terri and I might live to be a hundred if Mike keeps entertaining us. Thank you, Terri, for sharing your precious family and for coming up with great quotes like this one you sent today. Besides, she sent me the book,” The Shack,” which is one of my all time favorite books. I recommend it.

I’m working to get the rest of the herbs and vitamins packaged. I’m almost done. I think we’ll be able to get out of here early Tuesday morning. I thank God for the freedom to change our schedule and the opportunity to take advantage of time to see the kids and friends.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Compare 2006, 07, and 08.



The pictures on the blog tonight are taken of me over the last 3 years. The first one was taken in July of 2006; the next one was August 25th of 2007, and the last one was yesterday. I think it’s interesting to see how I have evolved. I think my hair came back about the same color, although it has some blonde hues now. It definitely has CURL! I’m just so glad to have hair. I think it’s obvious that God has a sense of humor and is very generous. I’m so glad to be alive. I’m also grateful for a digital camera to help me keep track of this experience. I thank Don for taking the pictures, too. He’s come a long way. He used to only smile for a camera, but now he even makes me smile for the camera!

I am feeling great; every bit as good as I did in the summer of 2006 before all of this cancer experience started, and maybe better. Actually, I’m sure there was cancer in my body at that time; we just didn’t know it. It’s been an interesting adventure and I just thank God that I’ve survived. I thank you all for your support.

We got an email from Jeff today telling us that Jessie has a tournament the week end before we get there, so we’re planning to leave a week early and make that tournament. So, I’m in a scurry getting things ready to go. The biggest issue is getting our vitamins and herbs sorted, ‘thrown,’ and packaged to go. I sorted them and ‘threw’ them today; I’ll get them packaged tomorrow. Whew! I’m excited to be going early, though. I’m really looking forward to this trip. I thank God for opportunities and the freedom to change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Messing with wasps!

This picture was taken today. My dear friend Joan called yesterday and asked if I knew anyone who needed some flowers and I said, “Me!” She is so diligent to water and she had lots of zinnias to share. I put them with some artemesia from my garden and the bow from Gretta’s mother’s day bouquet and it makes me happy!

I’m getting along fine with the sleeve. Tomorrow we’ll measure to see what the numbers tell us. I think as long as it’s not swelling more then we are doing well. The whole idea is to keep the compression (from the sleeve) on my arm so that it causes the lymph to pump up out of the arm. I don’t have to wear it at night since I’m not moving that much and my arm is level with my heart so gravity is not working against me.

God was looking out after me today; I know that He always is, but today I got a real reminder. We have a bunch of wasps who built a nest INSIDE the birdfeeder I had hanging on the light fixture on our front porch. So, about a week ago I took the feeder back to our back fence and hung it back there so that the wasps could be happy and out of my way. Well, a few of them were gone when I moved it, so when they came back they were confused and looking for home. When they didn’t find it, they figured a tornado took it, I guess, and started to build ANOTHER one. I sprayed them. The next day, some of the friends and or relatives were back building above the door, so I sprayed THEM. I got away with all that. Then today, we were headed over to the hospital to see our friend and I noticed those rascals were building above the door, again! I reached up with my cane and whacked down the nest and ran back to the van, but one GOT ME ON THE NOSE, right close to my eye! (You can see it’s red in the picture; under the inside corner of my right eye on the side of my nose.) Man, he was fast! Thank God he didn’t get me on the arm! I jumped in the car and then said, “I can’t go! I’ve got to get ice on this.” The ice did make it feel lots better. Then when Don came home he reminded me that you’re supposed to tape a penny onto a sting. I did and it has been fine. It’s red and feels like a minor toothache, but it could sure have been worse. What a dummy I am to take on wasps! I’ve got to remember that this lymphedema has me somewhat compromised and I can’t be reckless. I’m glad I could move fast enough so that only ONE of them got me! God is great!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Raynie in pigtails.

This is sweet little Raynie with her hair all up in pigtails. Someone had to be very patient to get that done; I’ve done it myself, and it’s no easy thing! Trish brightened my day by sending this picture today. Thank God for kids and grandkids! Gretta has a neighbor couple who are about our age and they have no grandkids, so they borrow Elena and Garrett from time to time. What a blessing they are to them and I know the kids are to this couple, too. Life would be so sad without the grandkids, so I’m so happy folks can borrow ours from time to time.

Today was an easy day. I didn’t do anything worth repeating; I even took a nap this afternoon. I’ve got lots to do before going to Vegas in a couple of weeks and I just decided to take a day off instead of doing anything. Oh, there’s laundry and meals, etc., so I haven’t been a total slug, but I did relax.

We plan to leave here on the 7th or 8th of September and won’t leave to come home until October 5th, so I guess we’ll get home around the 7th or 8th of October. We’ll spend the first couple of nights in Laughlin while we adjust to the time change. Then we’ll head into Vegas, where we’ll be staying at our timeshare there. We have a business meeting to attend and my school reunion from Time in Japan. Besides that we’re looking forward to seeing our granddaughter play fast pitch ball. We’re looking forward to lots of time at the pool. Swimming is the best exercise for lymphedema, so I’m going to get busy at that.

I’ve got a swimsuit I need to adjust (add some t-shirt material to protect the skin that was radiated) before we go. I have a couple I’ve rigged, but I’ve got another I’d like to take since we’ll be spending a lot of time at the pool. My swimsuits are a real hoot; picture this: no boobs and t-shirt material added to the right chest and back. It’s no fashion statement; that’s for sure! I really throw some people off when I’m walking, especially. They don’t know whether to gawk at my knee bands or my flat chest. It was worse in Houston because I had those drains hanging, too! They’re used to medical oddballs there, though. I hope they go away giving thanks that they have all their parts and they are in working order. I go away giving thanks that I can walk and I’m alive; if I can encourage anyone to be thankful for what they have or even give them a smile, then I’m pleased.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Exercise, exercise, exercise . . .

This is me, still exercising. I’m becoming an exercise machine. I feel good and thank God that I can do the exercises. It’s not really how I wanted to spend my retirement, but it’s sure better than spending it doing chemo, freezing with no hair and not getting to see anyone. This is heaven on earth and God is great!

When I first got the sleeve I thought I’d never be able to put it on myself. I learned Sunday morning when I got up to walk by myself that I could do it all by myself. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. It’s amazing what I can do that I never thought I could do. This sleeve is not such a bad thing. I thought I would hate it, but I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, yet, but I don’t hate it. I think it is going to be a part of me for the rest of my life; likely this lymphedema is a part of me that I will do good to monitor and keep under control with the sleeve and exercises. I will have to have new sleeves from time to time as my swelling goes down and as the sleeve wears. They have ‘diva sleeves’ for fashion statements, but I think I’ll stick with this generic looking one. The only fashion statement I’m interested in making is, “I got it on all by myself!”

I even stood to make burger patties with chia seeds today. I had to sit the last time I did that. I buy meat when they have it on special, then put it into patties in the freezer. I mix chia seeds with it because it’s a good way to get those seeds into our diet. (Chia seeds are the same seeds that make those hairy looking plants, but they are full of nutrients, so I grind them up and use them as much as possible.) Anyway, I made up 22 patties and put them onto a cookie sheet in the freezer, separated by wax paper. Tomorrow I’ll break them apart and put them into a bread sack and keep them in the freezer until we use them one or two at a time. Don eats a hamburger 3 or 4 nights a week, so it’s handy to have them already made. I couldn’t believe I could stand to do those patties! It would have been smart to sit, but I was hurrying and didn’t want to fool with getting all set up at the table.

I made a meatloaf, sliced it, and put it into the freezer for Dorothy and David, too. They liked my last meatloaf, so that’s an easy thing to do for them. They are doing better and better every day. I’m so proud of them!

Life keeps flying and it’s mostly fun! I thank God!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

God bless America!

This picture is me doing an exercise today. My days are made up of exercising it seems. It’s good for me, and I thank God for the ability to do it.

Today I got up and walked by myself because Don sometimes likes to sleep in on Sundays. I miss him, but I enjoy walking by myself because I take my own route, which is closer to the house in case I have to make a quick pit stop. Also, when I walk by myself I take my cane with me and can do all of my cane exercises as I go. That gets them done so I don’t have to do them later at home. There are pros and cons to walking alone. I’d rather walk with him, but I make the best of it when I have to walk alone. He won’t walk when it gets cold, so I’ll have to be good at walking alone then.

Speaking of my cane; I have to tell you that yesterday we went over to David and Dorothy’s house to cut their hair and we saw a cane that David is whittling. Dorothy said he was making it for Joe and I thought she meant his brother-in-law who has recently had surgery on his foot. Today, after church, we went to the Mexican restaurant and she mentioned the cane he’s making for ME for when I walk by myself. He’s worried that a dog will get after me and he wants me to have a good stick to use to defend myself! I was floored! The stick is beautiful, and I am in such awe that he would make it for me! What a sweet gesture and it will be a treasure to me. I told him I want to hang it on the wall because it’s so beautiful! I’ll take a picture of it for the blog when he’s done with it.

My day was made, again, when Diana Clark called today telling me that it looks like they’re going to get to leave Kazakhstan in time to make it to the Vegas reunion. I went to school in Japan with Bob and they live down the street from us, here, now. They are working in Kazakhstan for a temporary job and it was looking like they weren’t going to get home in time for the reunion, so this was really good news to me. I thank God that they are safe; it’ll be so good to have them home, and it’s an even better treat to have them get to make it to the reunion. They should get the ‘came the farthest’ award!

The Olympics are over. It’s been a pleasure to watch them and made for many proud times. I thought I might bust a gut last night as I strained to help Sonia Richards pass the Russian girl to win the gold medal in the women’s relay! And, I think I’m exercising! God bless America!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meet 'the sleeve.'

Tonight’s picture is of the ‘sleeve.’ It’s not so bad. It feels like part of me like wearing a bra used to feel. I always hated those. Now, I’m mostly numb, so I don’t mind a bra so much, but this sleeve isn’t much fun. It’s so much better than the wrapping was, that it’s almost my friend, though.

I think it would be bad to keep swelling and have all kinds of problems and pain with my arm, so I’m happy to comply with the sleeve wearing. I wear it from the time I get up until I go to bed. I don’t have to sleep in it. Of course I take it off for my bath and I’ll take it off when I swim. I can hardly wait to get to Vegas and swim every day! Swimming feels really good on my arm; actually, it feels good to my whole body.

I’m surprised at how much I enjoy walking and swimming. I have walked since I was a baby, and learned to swim when I was 12, but I’ve never enjoyed either as much as I do, now. It’s amazing to me how God fits us for life. I know people who don’t know how to swim and I’m sad for them. I know many people who can’t walk and I’m sad for them. I’m so grateful to be able to do both. We don’t own a pool and I’m thinking we don’t want to own a pool because of the trouble and liability involved. However, I’m so grateful to have timeshares we can use often that do have pools available for me to use a lot. We usually travel in non-peak season, so the pools are pretty much empty and good for me to swim laps. I’m not a great swimmer, but I can swim laps and I don’t drown. My mom loved to swim the sidestroke and I find that very relaxing, too. I really enjoy seeing so much of her in me these days. I’m glad she lived until I was 38; another blessing in my life! I know people whose mother died when they were still kids. I was so blessed to have Mom in my life for 38 years. I miss her.

Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for reading to learn. I sure hope that none of you ever have to face cancer, but I pray that if you do or if you face it with someone you know that you will be better prepared for having shared the experience with me. I thank God for a good experience through this and for providing your support as well as the background I had for it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Peaceful sleeping.

I really had to put two pictures on the blog tonight, because both are so meaningful to us and they go together. The first is Don with his brother, Gene, yesterday. Gene wasn’t so impressed with our visit, so he slept through nearly all of it. I wanted to get their picture, so Don said, “Well, I’ll take a nap with him.” Gene is 12 years older than Don and sleeps much better than Don does! We had a great visit with his daughter, Mary Beth, who lives there and also with his daughter, Donna, who lives in Nigeria! The second picture is Don with Donna on his right and Mary Beth on his left. It was precious time for us. Mary Beth’s husband, David, is the one who prayed thanking God for placing us in families. I’ll always remember that (as long as I have memory) and continue to give thanks in the same way. Our family makes up so many blessings for us. Thank you, God!

After our visit with Gene and the girls we made it back to Blackwell, Oklahoma for the night. I finished up my exercises for that day. Then when we got up in the morning I did all my exercises for yesterday except for the ones I could do in the car. I am an exercise machine these days; I remind me so much of my mom because she was an exercise machine, too. I wonder as I look back if she had lymphedema, too. Lymphedema wasn’t something they knew much about after she had breast cancer, but I’ll bet she had it. It feels so much better to me when I do the exercises with the cane where I hold my arms up and it reminds me of her walking around the house on her tiptoes with the broom over her head. I don’t know if it just felt good to her or if they told her to do it for her arms. I thought she was doing it for weight loss purposes. I know that she was always concerned with the size of her arms, but I thought it was about weight; maybe it was about swelling. I was 17, so I’m sure I didn’t have the whole picture.

Anyway, we made it to Oklahoma City for my appointment to be measured for my sleeve. I even got the sleeve yesterday. It’s wonderful. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being, ‘I don’t like this,’ and 10 being, ‘I can’t stand this,’ the wrap was a 10; the sleeve is a 2. I don’t like it, but maybe it will become my good friend if it gets the job done. It looks like that fabric they use to make costumes for ice skaters. It’s almost like skin. I’ll have Don take pictures of it for the blog tomorrow.

We got to see Tricia’s kids all come home from their first day of school. Then Nate watched all the other kids while we went out to eat with Trish, Rob, and Davy. After dinner we went to see the documentary. It was about the country’s debt. It was something we wanted to see, but it’s not like it was a great movie. It was fun to all be together for an evening. We sure thank Nate for watching the kids and all the other kids for behaving so that he could do it. It was a month ago tomorrow that Raynie had her surgery and she’s all fine, now. It’s amazing how God takes care of us. So much has happened in the last month! Thank you, God!

Happy Birthday, Bob Clark; you caught me!

This is another of my exercise pictures. The green band; I started with a blue band, but I broke it. I get right after those bands! I don't like these exercises, but this is one of my favorites. Somehow it's kind of fun. I think I can do it in the car, so that'll be good. There are several I can do in the car, using this, so that's good.

Today is Bob Clark's birthday, so he's caught up with me. He's on the other side of the world right now, but I'm sure hoping he makes it home in time for our reunion in Vegas.

I'm writing this the night BEFORE we leave for Kansas, but I'm thinking it's going to be very late when we get home and I'll ask Trish to post this one for me. I just do them ahead of time and leave the drafts for her to post for me. I hope it will work. (Okay, we made it home and I posted this myself. It's midnight, so we're going to bed. I'll report details about this trip tomorrow, but the bottom line is that it was a great trip; everyone is good and I love the sleeve.)

This is the day for my appointment to have my arm measured for a sleeve and and my hand for a glove. These are compression garments that help to keep my arm and hand from swelling. I've HATED the wrap, so I'll be so glad to get the sleeve and glove. I don't think I'm going to love either of them, but I think they'll be better than the wrap. I know I need the help, so I sure hope the glove and sleeve are better than the wrap. It'll take about 10 business days to get them back, so I just hope we get them before we leave for Vegas or I'll have to be using the wrap a lot. Whatever I have to do, I can do it. I believe that the exercises and massage help more than the wrap, so I am a beast after the exercise and massage!

I thank God that I don't have a job that keeps me tied up so that I have the freedom to exercise so much. Of course I love the freedom for doing all the other things we enjoy like traveling to see family, too. We are truly blessed in so many ways. Thank you, God. This is also the day that we'll get to see Tricia's family, and then go out to eat with Trish, Rob, and Davy before we go to see the documentary. Thank you, God, for this opportunity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Every day is an exercise day. August 20, 08

The picture on the blog is me holding the cane over my head; one of my exercises. They seem to be working, so I am diligent with them. I do over 20; I haven't counted, but I have to keep track of them with several sheets of paper where they are listed and explained.

Today we are on the road to see Don's brother, Gene. I'm not sure if I'll have access to the internet, so I'm writing this ahead of time and Trish can post if for me if I don't get it done. Bad news travels fast, so if you're seeing this you know that we are traveling safely. I plan to get up an hour ahead of time so that I can do all my exercises before we go. Then I'll do them again when we get to the motel. I have to do them twice a day. I'll be doing lots along the way as we travel, too, to keep my arm from swelling.

We'll not only see Gene, but we'll get to see his daughter, Mary Beth, too. This is a really quick trip, so we'll probably miss seeing her husband, David. That's a shame. He's they guy who prayed thanking God for putting us into families. That struck me and I've never forgotten to continue to thank God for that. Wouldn't it be horrible to be on this earth individually? Family and friends are the best! God is awesome!

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Tonight’s picture is me doing one of my exercises with the cane. I had Don take pictures of me doing some exercises tonight, so I’ll use them for the next couple of days.

Today has been a much better day for me. I got to walk. I think that makes my day better. Yesterday we got rained out of walking. We were actually rained out of it today, too, but I walked here and there and got it done. I walked for about 15 minutes in the rain and decided the rain was winning. Then after a while it quit and I went out and walked another hour and a half. That made me feel so good to get to almost catch up for yesterday. We won’t get to walk tomorrow, either, so I felt like I really needed to get in some extra for today. I’ll have to do lots of exercises with my arms as we travel or my arm will swell more. It’s down pretty good right now, so I need to work to keep it down.

My friend who is in the hospital from her fall called me this morning to ask me to go to her house and get her prosthesis (leg) for her. The physical therapists were coming to evaluate her and they needed her leg for that. She’d left it at home thinking she wouldn’t need it while in the hospital. That was such a good experience for me! Can you just imagine walking into the hospital carrying a LEG? Was that ever graphic to me about how blessed I am! I am so blessed to have all my parts and I’m so blessed to have such a dear friend. No doubt God sure works in our lives!

Today is my brother, Jim’s, birthday. He's celebrating the 50th anniversary of his 18th birthday. I’ve tried to call him and missed him, so I guess he’s having a good day. I’ll call again after I get this posted. He’s got to come home sometime! I was blessed to have a big brother, too. I wonder what life would be like without a big brother and sister, but I wouldn’t change it for anything; I needed their support! Thank you, God!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I get to vote on how I react!

The picture tonight is tonight as I count my blessings. I’ve been tempted to whine today about this lymphedema. It’s no picnic. BUT, I have so much for which to give thanks.

Shortly after I first found my breast lump and went to Tijuana for treatment, a good friend of ours was in a car accident with another friend. The other friend was badly hurt and eventually died and Charlene was left with one leg amputated just above the knee. She has done beautifully and has even been to play cards with us a couple of times this year. Saturday, she fell and broke her pelvic bone in 3 places, so she will be in the hospital for several weeks. She is a fighter of the first degree, so she’ll do fine; it just won’t be easy for her.

Of course, you know our dear friend Dorothy suffered a broken wrist with her fall about 3 weeks ago, and her husband, David, has been in the hospital with pneumonia. David is home and his X-ray today showed that his pneumonia is gone. Dorothy is getting stronger and stronger with that arm.

These dear friends remind me that I am SO blessed! I can use both my arms and both my legs and I am cancer free. Our grandbabies are fine and our kids are fine. We all have challenges, but we are FINE!

We went to Elk City today for another therapy on my arm; the swelling is still going down. It’s down enough for me to be fitted for a compression sleeve, so I have an appointment in Oklahoma City Thursday for that. We are going Wednesday to Lawrence, Kansas to see Don’s brother, Gene. We’ll head back toward Oklahoma City then to make my appointment there on Thursday. Thursday night there is a documentary that we’ll see with Trish and Rob and Davey. We’ll get to see Tricia’s kids in the afternoon, and then it’ll be fun to have dinner and the documentary with our kids. We’ll come on home that night. Expect the post on the blog to be late on Thursday night.

I’m thanking God for great health and for precious friends to remind me how blessed I am. Our precious neighbor across the street, Hazel, reminds me that we don’t get to vote about what happens to us, but we DO get to vote about how we react to it! I have some great examples set for me and I thank God for them!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bandage Sunday

The picture tonight was taken this morning. I meant to wear a pink blouse instead of the black shell with this outfit, but the sleeve wouldn’t fit over my arm and the bandage. UGH. Check out I even wore eyeliner and a little shadow today. I promise not to paint. I drew on an eyebrow but washed it clean because I looked like a clown. If you click on this picture and look close you’ll see all the fuzz on my face. I guess I always had this much fuzz, but I never noticed it so much until it was the first thing to come back when my hair started coming back. Those flowers are all from Joan’s garden. She brought them last week and I arranged them with the bow I’ve saved from Gretta’s mother’s day flowers. It’s been so dry here that it’s a wonder she’s been able to keep pretty flowers in her yard. My rebloomers aren’t blooming yet.

This was a hard day because this bandage is driving me crazy. I woke up several times last night with it hurting and itching. Finally at 5 this morning I got up and removed it. I was whipped. We put it back on an hour later to walk, and then took it off to bathe and then put it back on before church. Then it fell off in church! I don’t know what happened, but there must have been a loose connection because it just started unraveling near the wrist. I was thrilled to take it off!

Three friends from church had fallen and ended up in the hospital this week, so I was reminded how blessed I am! I can walk! I must walk it well. I have a bandage, but I don’t have a cast! I can take the bandage off for relief. I’m clean from cancer! I have so much for which to be thankful! There’s way so much more for me to give thanks! God has so blessed me. I don’t mean to be whining about this lymphedema, but I want to be honest and admit that it’s a struggle for me. God will see me through it. Thanks so much for your support.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A year ago, today . . . sweet memories.

If I can get a picture to post tonight I’m going to post one from a year ago, today! It was when Ruthie and Phil were here after I’d started chemo and was just about out of hair. Ruthie was doing her best to cover my head with the hair I had and Don got a picture of us. It makes me feel better to look at this picture when I see the band on my arm covering and protecting my PIC line. I’m glad that PIC line is gone! That hair that was left was the hair that had come back after my previous chemo in Tijuana, so it was curly, too, but it was a wiry kind of curly. The curls I have now are soft and fluffy. I wonder if it will hang in ringlets if I let it grow long enough! Anyway, it’s fun to look back at the old pictures. I notice the gap in my teeth. It feels good to have curly hair, no gap, no PIC line, no cancer and even no boobs. No lie, flat chested is fun and I notice none of the Olympians have big boobs, either. I’m in pretty good company. I also thank Him for the prosthesis so I can look regular, too.

I thank God that Ruthie and Phil did come to visit. We have great memories of that visit and it was really encouraging to us. I thank God for the opportunities for treatment and healing that I’ve had. I thank Him that there are so many of you who read this. I pray that going through this with me will prepare you to be better support for the next person you know who faces breast cancer. I repeat, it’s not the worst thing that can happen in life, but it’s good to be prepared.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The heart rock.

The picture on the blog tonight is another really sweet one! This rock is a ‘heart rock’ that Don had drug home for me to put in my flowerbed out back. I had quite a collection: the heart rock, an Oklahoma rock, a Louisiana rock, an Alabama rock, etc. I used them for stepping-stones and really loved them. After I started having health problems I knew I had to let some things go and I decided to let the gardening go. I do a very little gardening, but I used to spend hours out there in the yard. I so wished that someone would appreciate those rocks like I did. I loved just finding them, but it was even more special that Don would bring them home for me. My good friend, Joan, and I would go hunting them and we’d bring home what we could carry, but some like the heart rock were too heavy for even the two of us to carry. Farmers around here liked to turn us loose in their pastures to get rid of the big rocks for them. Anyway, last year when Ruthie and Phil were visiting Phil liked my rocks and was happy to take them home with them. I am so thrilled at how he has presented the heart rock in their garden! Their daughter gave them the figurine representing the two of them and they go so beautifully together. This makes my day! Probably I haven’t explained it well enough for you to understand the bond this makes, but it’s really special to me. Thank you, Phil and Ruthie for sharing love of God’s simple things and for keeping the appreciation going in such a beautiful way. (That rock is probably 3 feet by 2 feet at least.)

I’ve had the wrapping off my arm for several hours, so it’s time to wrap it again and go to bed. We’re up watching the Olympics, again. Wow! Go USA!

Thank you, God, for my sister and her precious husband and family. Thank you for rocks to bring us pleasure, too and thank you for friends and a husband who share the joy with me. Isn’t it great that in a world full of all kinds of people we can find some who enjoy the same things we do? Thank you, God.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This is not a pretty picture. In fact, Don and I were horrified when we took the wrappings off my arm today. We took pictures and I emailed them to the therapist. She said that’s normal for the arm to look like that after wrapping. I’ve let the edema fill in so that it looks fairly regular and I’m supposed to wrap it again tonight. I really don’t like this, but I’m not in this for pleasure. I send it because I’m not writing a pretty book; I’m just telling it like it is.

You know how you feel when you have a bad toothache or a really sore toe? When I have something like that I get really irritable and it’s not fun to be around me. I was like that today. My cup was just about to run over with the discomfort in my arm. Those bandages were way worse than the arm feels without them. Remember when we were kids and we put rubber bands on our fingers or arms and left them too long? They left a really painful place and we wondered if they’d go away before our parents saw it and yelled at us? That’s how my arm felt; like I’d had a bunch of big rubber bands on it and left them too long. Sure enough when I took the wrapping off that’s how it looked! I wondered if the therapist was going to yell at me!

I went to the grocery store this morning and it’s a good thing they had lettuce or I would probably have exploded on someone. I came home and took a valerian (an herb helps me to relax). I’m not looking forward to wrapping the arm again, but it’s got to be done. I keep reminding myself that this is part of the CURE and I give thanks for the CURE. We’ll get a handle on this lymphedema and I can do it.

We had an appointment with our homeowner’s agent today and I wore mascara. Linda and Judy will be proud of me. I needed the mascara to look alive since my arm was really bothering me. Thank God for mascara and the cure, even when it hurts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My new fashion statement.

Pictures today are WITH mascara. I guess I look more alive, so I’m sticking with the mascara whenever I wear boobs. Maybe I’ll step up to eyebrows; we’ll see, but no promises. The first picture was taken this morning before we left for my therapy. I’m holding up some of my therapy tools. Notice my arms. My right arm actually LOOKS better than the left arm because it is tight and the left arm is flabby. Both SHOULD be flabby; the right one is tight because it is swollen. The therapist was very pleased that the swelling had gone down significantly when she measured, so that’s good. She doubled my exercises AND wrapped my arm. UGH! That’s the next picture; me, with the wrapping. I do not like this wrapping at all, but I’ll appreciate it if it helps to get my arm back into good (flabby?) shape. If I can trade this for breast cancer I am so pleased to do it. I don’t have to wear this wrap forever; just nearly! Actually, I wear it until it feels loose and then we take it off and Don puts it back on so that it’s tight, again. Ruthie, you would hate this! It’s a real exercise in claustrophobia control!

The goal with this wrap is to help the swelling to go down even more. I’ll continue the exercises and go back on Monday. If the swelling has gone down enough by then, the therapist will send me to Oklahoma City to be fitted for a custom sleeve to wear to help the swelling stay down. I guess I’m into another fashion statement. It’s the statement that says, “I don’t care how it looks if it makes me healthier.”

It’s uncomfortable to type, so maybe this will help me to be more concise. We went by the hospital today to see a friend who was having some outpatient surgery done. While there I saw a lady who was younger than me using a walker and a guy who looked to be in his 20’s in a wheelchair because he was paralyzed from the head down. Neither was IN the hospital, but they had appointments for some reason. I’m sure they were glad to not be patients in the hospital; I was glad to be upright and standing on my own, not to mention having walked for an hour this morning. So, I was reminded to give thanks that my only problem is lymphedema and to give THANKS for the wrapping instead of griping and whining about it. God has a way of keeping things in perspective if we pay attention.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Vanity. The pictures on the blog today are all about vanity. The first picture is one Don took yesterday. The second one is one Judy sent me that was taken at our reunion in Reno 4 years ago. She sent it and said, ‘Don’t forget mascara.’ I guess she’s right. I’m sure she’d think I should go back to coloring my hair, too. Yes, I would look much younger, but folks would expect me to jump through hoops, then. I look every bit of 60 and people are surprised I can walk 3 or 4 miles every day. The last couple of years I’ve come to realize that looking young is NOT a priority to me. Being ALIVE is a priority. I’m not about to color my hair because I’ve read too much about the theories of hair coloring causing cancer, plus it was too big a deal to keep going. I’ve gotten too lazy over the last couple of years. I never wore anything but eye make up and I’ve been too lazy to even do that. Okay. I’m going to get out the mascara, again. I’m not wearing it every day, but I’ll wear it when I dress; maybe when I wear boobs. We’ll see, but I’m coming around to act alive. I’m not going to paint up like I did for a while, though; only mascara! Judy is a treasured friend. We knew each other before make up and boobs and she’s seen me through giving it all up. She’s the kind of friend who will tell you when you have a poppy seed in your teeth rather than let you go through the night with it there! I trust her judgment and love her for her advice and for loving me whether I take it or not.

Of course, going to the reunion will make me feel 14, so it ought to take 10 years off my looks! That and mascara will do wonders. HA!

Tomorrow we go to Elk City for another treatment for the lymphedema. I’m wearing mascara. I’ll have Don take a picture for the blog and you can watch as I come to life. God gave me this curly hair, so hair is not an issue. The least I can do is bring my eyes to life. Oh, I did use the round brush and blow dryer on my hair today. THAT was a fiasco. God gave me curls and curls it will be! These are a LOT of curls and there was no way I could get to all those curls and round them! I’m going to be so content with the ease of these curls. I’ll gladly spend a few seconds on a little mascara! (I think I need some eyebrows, too, but I'm not sure I'm willing to go there; so lazy, you know!) I’m going to enjoy seeing what happens as the hair gets longer; I think God is taking me on a new trip and I’m going to enjoy life with curls!

Aren’t the Olympics great! I’m really enjoying the gymnastics and swimming.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dorothy!!!

The picture on the blog tonight is the back of my head because I wanted you to see how chemo curly hair looks. Every day I am amazed at the curls! It looks like I’ve had a perm, but all I’ve had is a shampoo. This is fun! (Remember Tiny Tears Dolls? I look like a Tiny Tears Grammy!) This picture shows how much blonde is in my hair, too. When I was six I had blonde hair, but it hasn’t been blonde since then. Maybe I should get some blue shampoo? Gretta, tell me if I should get some special shampoo. I’m letting it grow; I haven’t cut on it since Gretta cut it for me a couple of months ago. I doubt if I’ll let it get very long, but this is too much fun to cut it, yet. One of these days I’m going to blow it dry with a round brush and see what happens, but I haven’t had time, yet. I’m not good at such a thing, so it’ll take some time.

Today is Dorothy’s birthday; she’s celebrating 39, again! She’s celebrating really big today because she got the best birthday present she could imagine: David got to go home! He still has pneumonia in his lungs, but they said it is much better and he can take the medication by pills. He can go home but he can only lay around. They were SO happy to get to go home! We’ll keep a close eye on them and help any way that we can.

I got up and walked way early this morning so I could be ready to go to the hospital early with Dorothy. (Don didn’t go because it was way early.) It doesn’t rain much in Hobart, but I got a shower while I was walking. Then after we got Dorothy and David settled at home we came home and Don wanted to walk, so I walked with him. So, today was a big walking day for me. I got some cooking done, too. I cooked chicken and ground beef to put in the freezer to pull out and make quick meals. The biggest thing I do anymore is exercise. I’m so glad to be able to do it and sure thank God for it!

Wow; the house seems empty with Dorothy and Daniel gone! It was so wonderful to have Dorothy here, but I know she’s so happy to be home with David. I thank God for the level of health that they are able to have recovered and pray that they will be back to normal soon. However, the doctor told them that it would probably take about 4 weeks for his lungs to be clear. Pneumonia is to be taken seriously, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on them. Tomorrow I’ll put that room back into it’s normal mode, as it appears it’s back to just us until company comes. Y’all come!

Daniel is back to school and we pray that he has a terrific year. This is his junior year. His dad’s knee surgery was postponed, so he is kind of on hold about that. Ugh; I think he’d like to get on with it, but they are using cortisone to buy some time, I guess. God will take care of them and we thank Him for that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What a sweet nap!

The picture tonight is David and Dorothy. They are so tired of him being in the hospital and are sure praying that his X-ray in the morning will be clear. If it is he can go home. They want that so badly, so I sure hope he can be clear for it! It’s been fun for us to have Dorothy stay with us; we call that her bedroom. They stayed here once before when they were treating their house and the air was hard on David, so that bed has always been ‘theirs.’ Daniel used their room, but he moved most of his stuff out last week, so Dorothy was comfortable to go back to ‘her’ bed. Daniel came and got the last of his stuff today, so it’s truly Dorothy’s bed, now.

Today was the fellowship meal after church and I ate more than I’ve eaten since I can remember. I came home stuffed like a toad and took a 3-hour nap! Can you believe it? I’ve been getting up at 5:30 to walk, so I guess I was exhausted. I slept like a brick. I haven’t been napping lately, so that was such a treat. Thank you, God! I didn’t get anything else done, but I got the rest! The other stuff I meant to do can wait. (hemming those other capris)

Someone left a voice mail on my cell phone today and I can’t retrieve it. It’s always dangerous to leave a message on the cell phone because I may not get it anytime soon. Always keep calling until you get us if it’s important. I thank God for the cell phone, though; it keeps us mostly in touch and that means a lot.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Toes don't look good, but they really are!

You know I’m hurting for pictures when I take pictures of these ugly feet. Actually, they look lots better than they have looked over the last year. I really want you to see that this is one of the effects of chemo. People think of nausea, fatigue and loss of hair, but the peripheral neuropathy was significant. I thank God that I don’t have the pain from it, anymore! Sometimes I have a tingle or a shooting pain, and I have pains in my ears sometimes, but it’s 1 on a scale of 10 and it got up to 6 or 7 at the worst. I keep my toenails cut so short, but I could let them grow and paint them like lots of women and they’d be good except for the big toes. They will take several months to look normal, again. HA! I’ve learned through all this that LOOKS don’t matter to me; LIFE does and I thank God for the life He gives me and all the rich blessings to enhance it.

Today has been another good day. I got all the cooking ahead that I could do for our fellowship meal at church tomorrow. I also made a peach cobbler for Don. It feels good to be able to do things! Last year I didn’t attempt much, so it feels good to be able to do whatever needs to be done. Of course, I’ve learned to do what needs to be done and let the other stuff go!

We stopped at a yard sale this morning and I got a couple of pairs of capris. Of course they were too long, so I got one of them altered. I’ll get the other pair done tomorrow, I hope. I thank God that I can use the machine and even thread the needle! There were months that I couldn’t thread the needle and the machine was awkward to use. God is great!

Our friend, Joan, brought ming cherries from Sam’s today. YUM! They are delicious and bring back precious memories of eating cherries with Ruthie and Phil two years ago as we went to and from the reunion in Dover, and the many cherries I ate with Judy in Houston last year when we were staying with them. It’s a blessing to have good times and then another blessing each time I’m able to recall the good times!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Remembering the water battle!

The picture on the blog tonight is Kyle (12), our grandson in Indiana. I took this picture after his and Ethan’s water fight with Sadie and Elise. They were all this wet. The girls were laughing too hard to stand up straight enough to get their picture made! This has to be one of Sadie’s favorite memories from the trip. (It was one of mine!)

David is doing better, but he has to stay in the hospital until they can get the culture back on his sputum that confirms they’re using the right antibiotic, and they want a clear X-ray. (Maybe Monday, and Dorothy will stay with us until he goes home; we’re loving having her!) He’s breathing much better and feels better. Dorothy spent the day with him, but we brought her home a little bit ago. We’re watching the Olympics opening ceremonies and then going to bed.

I got all my exercised done today. It takes about 30 minutes in the morning and then again in the afternoon. That sounds simple, but it’s hard to work it all into a day along with walking, and other things that need to be done. Today I got 3 loads of laundry done, so I feel good to have accomplished that.

I know that I am so blessed to be feeling so good. I’m sure the exercises and walking help me to feel better. I thank God that I can do it. I sure thank Him that I don’t have a job or family at home; I so admire the women who go through a cancer experience when they still have a job and still have kids at home. It’s been a blessing to only have to take care of myself and to have Don’s support all the way, as well as the support of all my family and friends. Thank you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Everybody is getting better.

The picture tonight was taken tonight at the hospital when we went to visit and then bring Dorothy home. She stayed the whole day with David. He’s feeling a good bit better today. They took x-rays and he still has pneumonia, but his lungs are clearing a little. They started a new antibiotic in addition to the one he’s been taking. We’re just so glad that he was feeling a good bit better today.

I got all my exercises done that the therapist ordered yesterday. I had to set up a pulley in the basement for one of them, but I had a pulley and some handles I could rig to make it work, so I got that done, too. I feel like my arm is responding to the exercise and the massaging. It’s still swollen, but I think it looks like it’s not at tight. I might be dreaming, but I might be right!

David and I thank God for improvement in the right direction even if it’s baby steps. The right direction is a good thing. We are enjoying Dorothy here so much. I wish David would come here when he leaves the hospital, but I think he’ll want badly to go home. I understand that, but if he’d come here I could help them a lot. It’s really hard for Dorothy to do much with that broken wrist. We’ll see.

Today I got a lot of our plans made for our trip to Las Vegas in September. We have an Itazuke reunion out there as well as a stockholder meeting we need to attend for a Botanical Gardens on the Big Island. The best thing is that Jeff and Jeanette and the girls live there and we’ll get to see them. Jessie will have ballgames (fast pitch) and we’ll get to see her play, so that’ll be wonderful! We’ll be gone for almost a month; I have some nights to fill with plans, but I’ll work on it some more tomorrow. I thank God for the opportunity to travel and the health! I thank Him for pulling David through this tough breathing spell, Dorothy through her surgery and fall, and me through this lymphedema.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Physical therapy is under way.

The picture on the blog is one we took of Dorothy with Raynie when Raynie was 2 months old, so it was 11 months ago! Sweet Raynie was happy to sit in Dorothy’s sweet, loving lap! I put it on to remind you of Dorothy and to let you see how far sweet Raynie has come! Dorothy is spending the nights with us while David is in the hospital. David is about the same today. I guess it takes a while to turn this pneumonia around, but he’s not getting worse, so that’s good.

My appointment with the therapist went really well today. She massaged me a bunch and had me do 15 exercises. I brought home a paper telling and showing me all the exercises I am to do. I am to do each of them for 15 times, twice a day. Don wants me to cut my walking to 30 minutes and do the exercises for the other 30 minutes. No way. I’m not giving up any walking! I’ll give up something else; anyway, I’ll work in time for the exercises. I am to go back once a week for now until we see how the exercises and massage works. I’m also to do massaging. The therapist highly praised my surgeon; she said she did a beautiful job on my surgery. I wonder how beautiful can it be when both breasts are gone? I guess I should see a bad job, huh? Anyway, I’m grateful. I’ve never been anything but grateful to my surgeon and I thank God for her expertise! I also thank Him for the therapist and her expertise. I totally trust her and appreciate her.

I so thank Don for his awesome support through the surgery and my recovery and now this lymphedema. Our friend, Joan, called me the other day to remind me that I’m married to an exceptional man. She said, “I was thinking what an exceptional guy he is and thought I should just call and say that because so many times you think things and never get them said. He’s not only good to you, he’s good to everyone.” She’s so right! I am blessed and I thank God for him and for friends and family who agree with me and appreciate him.

We are enjoying having Dorothy here. She’s just like family. I know she’d rather be with David, but she really needs a bed for rest and her own healing. David insisted that she come home with us and not stay with him. She stayed with him all day. We’ll take her back first thing in the morning to check on David and then I’ll go with her out to her house to help her get a good shower and wash her hair, etc. before I bring her back to spend the day with him. She’ll stay with us until he goes home, I think. It’s fun helping to take care of her and I thank God for the opportunity. She and David make our lives richer. So do you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dorothy is spending the night with us.

I’m doing just fine, but our dear friend, David, has pneumonia! His wife, Dorothy, is recovering from back surgery and a fall that left her all bruised and with a broken wrist, plus she has macular degeneration, so we insisted she spend the night with us. Normally, when David has to be in the hospital she stays right with him. She’s just not in any shape to be sleeping in a chair beside a hospital bed! She wanted to go home, but we just wouldn’t have it and neither would anyone else! We ganged up on her and insisted that she come home with us. I LOVE having her here!

This is David’s picture on the blog tonight. David has COPD and wears oxygen all the time. We control him by threatening to step on his oxygen cord if he doesn’t behave. He’s a great sport and keeps us in stitches most of the time with his quick humor. This pneumonia is not too serious; it’s kind of common with COPD patients. I really think he will be fine after a few days of IV antibiotics and frequent breathing treatments. He has just about worn himself to a frazzle looking after Dorothy for the last several weeks, so this time of rest may be good for him, too. I hope Dorothy will stay with us as long as he is in the hospital.

Tomorrow we go for my first lymphedema therapy. I’m looking forward to it. I thank God that there is therapy within an hour’s drive, although we’ll have to go to Oklahoma City to get the sleeve I’ll need to wear. They won’t fit me for a sleeve until they get some of the swelling down, so it will be a while before we go get that, I think.

We thank God for wonderful friends and family; you are some of them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy 60th birthday to me, Steve, and Candy!

The picture on the blog today is me in the middle of my favorite spot and in my favorite old shirt. I’m usually on the other side of the sink looking at this array of pictures, but I got right in the middle of it for the pictures. I deadheaded nearly all my flowers today; the heat has whipped them. But, Joan brought me enough zinnias from her yard to make these two arrangements to enjoy on my birthday. I share my birthday with Candy Birch (a friend from Itazuke, who we saw when we ‘lived’ in Houston) and Steve Davis, who was pictured on the blog a couple of weeks ago with his rainbow tree. These are two good friends and it’s fun to share this special day with them.

Don wanted to do something special for my birthday today, but it was special to me to stay home! I loved it. Our neighbor across the street, Hazel, brought over some squash from her yard, so that was the perfect treat for supper. I was absolutely delighted!

I spent most of the day calling around to determine where I should go for my lymphedema therapy. I decided to go to Elk City and I have my first appointment on Wednesday afternoon. I’m sure we’ll go there and eat lunch out, so that’ll be a continuation of the celebration. I guess that will be the 60th anniversary of me being 3 days old. I know all the celebrating we do when we have a new baby in our family. The third day is as special as the first day; we’re already trying to tickle a smile out of those tiny babies. I hope I smiled for someone that day.

I’m smiling today and thanking God for no gap in my teeth and my own teeth. I’m thanking Him for hair and even curls! What a treat! I’m sure thanking Him for the ability to walk. We got up way early to walk and it was still pretty hot. I’m happy to be able to do it, though!

I’m doing the lymph massages on my arm that I learned when I was in Tijuana. They gave me those massages every other day, so that was good experience for me. Now I really need to be doing them. I’m anxious to see what exercises they will give me to do. I’m afraid they will take me off salt. That’ll be a good thing; no doubt I’ll lose 10 pounds because I really like salt and without it I won’t eat much. No salt, no sugar; good grief; I’ll learn what it really means to eat to live and maybe I’ll get down to the size I should be. Whatever. I will be content and give thanks.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Getting back to normal.

The picture on the blog tonight is another one Trish sent of Raynie with one of her ‘looks.’ She is so funny; she’ll discover a look and use it a lot for a few days. I imagine this is one she’s developed lately since everyone seemed to want to look into her mouth! She is pretty much back to herself. She’s eating, DRINKING, entertaining herself, etc. How blessed we are.

So, things are getting back to normal around Raynie’s house. Gretta, Elena and Garrett are all back home with Joe, too, so they are developing a normal around their house, too. Of course, they are in an apartment while they build their new house, so this is a new world for them. Garrett will be starting in a new school this year, so that’s something new, too. They are all thrilled to be living as a family, though. Joe has always had to travel with the horses, but he gets to stay at home in Lexington with the horses, now, so this is great. He’ll get to go occasionally for special races if he wants, but for the most part he’ll get to be at home. We’re excited for them to get to build the house they love and live together all year!

We have done all our summer traveling, so we’re home for about 6 weeks. We’ll go to Las Vegas in September, but we don’t have all those details arranged, yet. We’ll be working on that this week.

Daniel, the youth intern who has stayed with us for the last three months has just about completed his ‘term.’ Technically he’s still here, because he has a trip to 6 Flags with the kids this week and he’ll be here next Sunday. However, his dad has some surgery on his knee scheduled for this week, so he’s gone to go with him for that. He left today with the bulk of his belongings, as he won’t be sleeping here anymore. He’ll just be back on Sunday to get all the rest of his things. So, it’s going to be just Don and I rattling around in the house again. So, things will be getting back to normal around here, too.

I’m not sure what normal is, but I know what NOT normal is. Breast Cancer is not normal; chemo is not normal; radiation is not normal. Loved ones in the hospital is not normal. I thank God for the opportunity to have another shot at normal in our families!

I’m researching as much as I can about lymphedema, but there is not a lot out there. I’m learning a lot. Tomorrow I’ll call and see if I can find a therapist to get me started. From what I read there is no cure for lymphedema, but there is treatment for living with it and that may become normal for me. That’s okay; it beats breast cancer!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home safely!

Whew! We had a good trip home. It was cloudy some to give us a break from the sunshine, but it was really beautiful the whole way. We got home around 3:30, so we got unpacked pretty quickly and had dinner at home. I’ve still got to unpack my suitcases, but I got the food all put where it belongs and all the other ‘stuff’ that travels with us.

The picture on the blog today is Raynie in full form; marching around with her favorite baby under her arm! Trish said she is pretty much back to her normal little self. She doesn’t want to be held all the time; she’s happy to wander around and entertain herself (get into things). Yesterday she had TWO bottles of breast milk, so Trish is very relieved. She really felt that she needed the nourishment, so she’s really happy that she’s taking it. Up until then she really didn’t want to drink anything. I guess her mouth and throat were pretty sore, but they must be back to normal. Praise God!

We thank God for our safe trip to Houston and home, too. I surely thank Him for my good report. Now it’s time for me to get busy researching lymphedema and start attacking it. God takes good care of me, so I’d better do my part!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Heading for home tomorrow; Frank is better.

The picture is one Trish sent to me and I can’t resist sharing it. It’s one they took of Raynie as she went walking off to surgery with the nurse. Isn’t that the sweetest picture? Bless her sweet little heart, she was so trusting of the nurse who had come in 3 or 4 times to make friends with her while they got her all ready. God love her; she’s pretty much past it now. She’s a darling. She still doesn't want to drink anything, but she's eating Trish out of house and home. We thank God for her recovery and pray that she will soon figure out how to drink; she needs all that milk Trish is pumping! (Thanks, Trish, for great pictures!)

Today we went to the little old fashioned town of Montgomery. It didn’t take us long to inspect it. We were refreshed, but we’re ready to head back to our own little old fashioned town in the morning. We’ve got to get everything around her packed and we’ll head home in the morning.

Frank is feeling better today. We’ve played cards and they only let us win one game. He’s going to OD on winning and be sick, again, if they don’t watch it.

Don and I did our last swim and last walk for Montgomery this morning. I sure thank God that we’re able to do that stuff!

Thanks for keeping up with us; I’ll post tomorrow night when we get home.