Friday, October 31, 2008

Ready to go.

BlankTonight’s picture is of Raynie waving. She is such a sweetie; she’s a tough one, too. Notice the bruise on her forehead and the scratch on her cheek, but you can see the happy in her eyes! She’s such a sweetie. You know, she was born with a cleft palate, so they weren’t sure if she’d have speech issues or not. Just in case, they taught her to sign, and although she is learning to talk, she signs very well. It amazes me and it is so sweet that she can do it and communicate so well with it. This wave is so precious. I guess she talks with her eyes a lot, too. She’s a precious little girl and has recovered totally from her surgery back in the summer. She eats anything she wants and can even suck from a straw (which she couldn’t do before her surgery). We miss all the kids when they are gone, so we sure thank God for lots of pictures. We’re blessed with the kids and blessed again with the pictures!

All our ‘stuff’ is on the bed ready for me to pack. I’ll go do that and then we’re ready to go in the morning. We’ll get up at 5 and leave at 6. We like to get off early so that we get there before it’s dark. We’re good to go in the dark in the morning. There’s nobody on that road but us in the morning. If we get a late start, there will be oodles of people on the road in Houston after dark!

I’ll do my best to post to the blog while we’re gone, but I may not be able to when we are at the retreat. I’ll let you know if we have to take a couple of days off from posting. I’ll also let you know on Tuesday evening how my appointments go. I expect no issues; I expect this to be totally boring. I wonder if they’ll recognize me with all this hair. I didn’t have this much hair when they met me and I’ve NEVER had curls like this.

I finished packaging all of Don’s herbs and vitamins, so he’s good through March! WHEW. I have enough to get me through until I get home next week and another week or so, but I’ve got to get busy and get mine done through March when we get home. I’ve done all my exercises today, so I’m ready except for putting things into the suitcase. I’m headed to do that. Then I’m going to power plate before bed. The power plate is a great machine that is for full body vibration. That’s very good for building bone density and many other things. It feels so good to an achy back, so I’m ready to have a session. I thank God that Don and I can be on the same page for the equipment and supplements that we feel are helpful. It’s a blessing to me to have the power plate and the jiggler. The jiggler is packed already in the suitcase to go with us! Keep an eye on us and I’ll keep you posted. Hugs to you!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Windmill weeds up to my shoulders, again.

The picture tonight is me in the midst of our newest ‘collection’ of windmill weeds. I’m holding one up so you can better see their size.

Today was another awesome weather day. I love it when it’s brisk enough to walk with a sweat shirt and shorts, but it gets hot enough that I have to shed the sweat shirt about half way through the walk. It feels like Colorado memories to me. I remember thinking it was so funny that people there wear jackets and shorts. After a couple of days I caught on because it’s cool in the mornings, and a jacket is needed, but in just a little while it warms up enough that the jacket ends up tied around the waist. The locals call that mud season, I think. Don and I were there for a week and loved it; a foot of snow sliding off the roof to wake us up in the morning at it was all melted by noon. We spent a week in Colorado one spring; maybe we can do that again this spring! Anyway, our walk was tremendous today.

I’ve got all my other exercises done, but I’m still working on getting those herbs packaged. I did get all the laundry done today. Tomorrow we’ll get all packed for our trip to Houston and I’ve got to get these herbs and vitamins packaged! When we get home I’ve got to throw and package mine. It’s a big chore, but it sure feels good when I’ve got it done through March. Tomorrow we’re getting up early to vote.

Today I received a rough draft of our memory book from the Vegas reunion and I spent some time working to get the names right in it. That was fun. I was glad to get it in time to do it here, so I didn’t have to take it and do it in the car on the way. I’ve got it all ready to go out in tomorrow’s mail. I had to call some folks to make sure I had some of the names right, so it was kind of like a bonus reunion!

I thank God so much for the ability to walk and exercise! This time last year I couldn’t wear shoes with toes because my toes were so tender. My big toenails are almost back to regular, now! They’re very short, so the end of my toes are pretty tough. Last year I couldn’t thread a needle, and could hardly use one, but this year I can sew and even thread my own needles. I’m so grateful that the peripheral neuropathy disappeared! This time last year I was bald and didn’t have a hair on me anywhere, but this year I’m a peach all over and have a head full of curls. What a difference a year makes! I thank God for giving me another year to live and enjoy feeling better and better. I thank you for hanging with me through all this!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today’s walk brought a fun incident. It was gorgeous here, so I started out with my sweat shirt on, but after a while tied it around my waist. (See the picture.) Don and I were walking up a street and I had done all my exercises with the cane, so we were holding hands and I was ‘twirling’ my cane. I do that because it further exercises my arm. A lady drove by and turned around a came back and stopped to say, “I just had to come back and tell you what I thought when I saw you! I thought you were a cheerleader out walking until I passed; I just wanted you to know you’ve got it whipped!” It made my day. I figure people must think I’m some kind of idiot, but she just thought I was a cheerleader skipping classes. Bless her heart, she’s a few decades behind times because cheerleaders all have long straight hair these days. But, she was kind and I love her even if she hasn’t seen a cheerleader in years! She probably meant majorette, but it doesn’t make any difference. She meant active teenager, so that took 45 years off me and made me feel like skipping home.

I think there is a lesson in there. They say you should always tell people when you love them. They say to not let friends get away without letting them know how much you care about them. I think it’s also a good idea to say something nice to total strangers. You just might make their day. I thank God that that lady stopped to tell me I looked like someone young and active at her first glance. He finds ways to encourage me. I thank God for you on my side in life, too. Thank you for checking in on me.

Speaking of active, I’ve got exercises yet to do, so I’d better get with the program, as Daddy would say. I hope you feel young and active; if not, come walk with me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Football weather.

Tonight’s picture is one taken when we were in Vegas the Friday of the reunion. Good memories! I should have taken the camera with us tonight, but I forgot to take it. We went to Lawton to watch Bruce play in a football game. It was perfect football game weather; I thank God for that. I took my coat with a hood, a scarf and gloves and a blanket. With all that and no wind I did just great. The boys played great and won 20 - 0. I should have taken the camera, but I wasn’t on the ball. Davy and Susan were there, but Erica stayed home to work on a project. She’s a senior this year, so I guess most everything she has to do is pretty important. We missed her, but it was great to see everyone else.

I got Don’s herbs and vitamins done from last night and was able to get another set of 75 thrown today, but I’ll have to package them tomorrow. Tomorrow is also laundry day to get everything clean so we can pack to go to Houston on Saturday.

This trip to Houston is going to be fun. We’ll see our friend (my 'adopted' little sister, Terri) on the way to Houston. She’s going to meet us in Fairfield for lunch. Then we’ll get into Doris and Jerry’s on Saturday night. The time changes that night; I think we lose and hour, so we’ll be ready to go to bed early. We should see both her boys and their families at church on Sunday, so that’ll be fun! Monday another friend is going to meet us for lunch in Houston. Then Tuesday is my appointments with MD Anderson. I don’t expect any problems; I’m not aware of anything suspicious. Then Wednesday through Friday we’re going to a patient/caregiver retreat hosted by the Wellness Center at MD Anderson. It is in Navasota, TX, so we’ll be about an hour north of Houston. We’ll leave there after lunch on Friday, heading for home. We’ll make it home late Friday night. So, we’ll be gone a week, get some really good visiting done and a good retreat, too.

All is well here. I continue to feel great. Thanks for keeping up with us. We love you and thank God for you and that you care!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tough kids.

The picture tonight is one of Grace and Mason hanging from the monkey bars. Mason is all over that thing and Grace is too. Grace just amazes us! She’s no bigger than a minute, but she is so incredibly strong. Don lifts her up to the bars and she takes off and goes the whole way over to the other side and then comes back, backwards to the very beginning! She goes the whole way giggling, too! There were a couple of other little girls at the park and Don would put them up there and they’d drop right down. They just couldn’t do it. I guess they haven’t had the practice that Grace has had. She’s a tough one! We’re really proud of her and Mason; they are both sweet as can be but tough as nails!

Today was cooler, but we still got to walk and enjoyed it. My day was all turned around because I had to ’throw herbs’ today. That’s always a hard couple of days when I have to do that. It’s hard because I have to get all the containers out and then all the herbs and vitamins. Then I have to COUNT them all out and counting is difficult for me, anymore. Then I have to package them. It’s all hard on my back, I guess because of the position of me sitting and holding my arms out over the containers, etc. Anyway, instead of getting my exercises all done as early as possible, I left them for breaks from time to time to get away from the herbs. It worked okay. I still have jiggling to go, but that’s very relaxing and I’ll do it after my bath. I’ve got all of Don’s herbs thrown for 75 days and about half of them packaged. My goal is to get done with his tonight before my bath, so I’m headed back to that task.

I thank God that we have these supplements available to us and that we’ve had the time to research and study them so that we know what to take. I also thank God that Don and I AGREE to take them. It’s a big financial commitment and a big commitment in time and energy to put them all together. We really believe that taking them for the last 16 years has made us both healthier than we would have been if we hadn’t taken them. We really believe that they are helping me to recover better than I would have if I hadn’t taken them all these years. We believe that my immune system was strong and able to take the onslaught of chemo and radiation better than I could have if I hadn’t been taking them before and since. I didn’t take them during because the doctors advised me not to take them as they might interfere with the chemo and radiation. So, these days of ’throwing herbs’ are difficult for me, but we believe it’s worth it. I trust God to take care of me, but I also believe that He expects me to do what I know is good to do, just as I believe I must do the exercises. Someone said that God provides food for all the birds, but He doesn’t throw it into their nests. In the same way, I believe I have to do all I can do to assure my recovery. We believe that God is making my recovery possible, and we are doing all we can to work with Him.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mason, thinking.

This is Mason, in thought; I wonder what he was thinking. Maybe he’s remembering the jelly beans that were in that jar in his hands. He’d graciously shared them with Grace. Grace took this picture of Mason when they were here last week.

Today was another great day, but WAY windy here! When we got home from church the wind had blown windmill weeds back up against our back door. There was no time to get them today because the wind was blowing too hard. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I walked by myself and it was blowing so hard that it was hard to stand up, let alone walk! It was cool, though. One of our elder’s mentioned in class this morning that times when we are alone are so great for worshiping. I so agree. When I walk with all that wind it makes me feel like I’m being swept along by God. I loved it. Thankfully, it wasn’t bitter cold, so it was nice to be walking with shorts and a sweat shirt. Man, I sure thank God for the ability to walk, for the wind, and for times I can be alone with just Him.

Today was the day some of us from church do a devotional at the nursing home. That is really a good time for me, too. It’s so sweet to me to see people who really struggle to be productive because their mental ability is so confused, but they still find joy in singing songs of praise. These people in the nursing home need and give love and I’m grateful to be in their loop with them.

Recalling last week when Trish came with Sadie, Mason, Grace and Raynie, I sure give thanks for that time and their safe trip. We missed Rob and Nate and Gabe, but I give thanks that the boys are growing up and maturing as they should and that Rob is a wonderful dad who would stay home with them and encourage Trish to come home for a visit with us. God is great to give us wonderful families.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Precious memories.

This picture is of Mason hugging Raynie when they were here and we were over at Exploration Station. Mason always amazes me at how tough he is but how gentle and sweet he can be. Raynie is lucky to have such a great big brother. She has two other big brothers, but they are so much older they’ll be off and gone to college when she still needs a protector. Nate is 16 and Gabe will be 14 next month. Mason is 8, so he’ll be around for Raynie for a while. I think it’s a good thing for girls to have a big brother. I always had one; he was 8 years older than me, and he was a big comfort to me through the years. (I overlooked all the times he scared me to death, I guess, believing he’d use that skill to protect me if needed.) We sure miss the kids, but we treasure the memories of the times they’re here. Having pictures sure helps. Check out Mason’s shoes: one brown one and one blue one! He’s such a hoot. On our way home from Vegas we found those shoes on sale, so I bought him two pairs, one blue and one brown. He likes to wear them mixed! They’d laugh at me if I did that! If I do, I’m going to act like I did it on purpose to be cute like Mason!

Last night was fun playing cards. We celebrated Floyd’s birthday that’s coming up on November 1 when we’ll be on our way to Houston. He’ll be 83. The women took compassion on him and let the guys win one out of three games. We thought that was the least we could do.

Last night it was cold here (37 I think!), but it warmed up nicely today. We walked for half our walk and then Don came home to watch football and I went back and did the last half by myself. It was such a gorgeous day that I couldn’t resist being outside. I really believe it’s good for me to walk, too, and it gives me a great opportunity to ‘raise lots of cane.’

I’ve got all my exercises done for today, so I’m going to catch up on some reading this evening. I think Don will be into football all night. I’ve got some reading to do that he has assigned to me. HA! He does lots of research and culls out what he thinks I need to read so that we can be on the same page. I appreciate him doing that, so I’d better get with the program, as Daddy would say. I thank God for a Daddy whose memory I can treasure. (I overlook his imperfections, too; he did mine!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Friday!

One more picture of the windmill weeds. This is our back yard before Don took the picture of me yesterday. We got all that out of there and only a tad has blown in since then. We hope it’ll blow right past us in the next big wind, but I‘m a dreamer.

The housekeeper came today, so the house is all ready for our card players tonight. I’m able to keep it up pretty well; she just does the floors and dusting. That’s a big relief to me and I am grateful for her.

We walked this morning and it was great! It would have been COLD if the wind were blowing, but it wasn’t, so it was just a brisk walk. I’ve got to go do the basement exercises right quick before the card players get here.

Everything is good here. I thank God for a beautiful fall and the health to enjoy it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No pictures; well one!

I couldn't load any pictures to the blog tonight because of some technical issue. It has something to do with my quota of pictures; this is really Tricia's blog, so I may have to move or something. Anyway, I'll talk to her about it tomorrow and we'll come up with an answer. I have cool pictures of the windmill weeds, but no space to load them. We worked hard on them and got free to get in and out our back doors.

[[Okay. I went back and deleted some extra pictures I had previously loaded onto the blog and never used, so that gave me some space. That'll get us by until I can figure out what to do. I'll let you know if we need to change addresses or what. This picture is of me standing in the middle of our big pile of weeds by the back door. If you have time, click on the picture so you can see it big and you'll see how small each individual weed is. These buggers are hard to gather!]]]

It was pretty windy today, but Don even walked with me. I was so ready for a good bath after tackling the weeds and walking, plus all the other exercises. It feels good to have it all done even if I know I’ve got to do it all over again tomorrow.

I so thank God that I can get out there and help. I was able to help clear them last year, but I wasn’t as good at helping last year as I was today. You may remember the pictures from last year. We don’t get these weeds every year. It depends on what the farmers plant. This is our third year to be covered with them. Don thinks it’s like an oil spill and the farmers should be responsible for cleaning them up for us. He has such a sense of humor!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oops! No water tonight!

This is a picture of Mason (8) and Grace (5), playing on the little merry go round at the park last Thursday. It was a warmer day than it was today! It was so fun to have them here. I’m so grateful for the digital camera so I could get lots of pictures to capture the memories of a quick visit..

Speaking of thanks! I got the printer working! I am really thankful for that; what a relief! I went to Wal-Mart to buy a new printer because a printer is usually cheaper than a cartridge. (I kept getting a message that the cartridge wasn’t right; well I’d refilled it about a dozen times and I think the printer caught onto me.) They didn’t have just a plain old printer; all they had were photo printers or color printers where I had to buy a black ink cartridge anyway. I thought if I was going to buy a cartridge I’d buy one for my printer. They had one for only $14.50, so I threw $14.50 at it. It still didn’t work until I uninstalled the printer and installed it back about 3 times. The last time seemed to do the trick. Man, this stuff is a test for patience. I thank God that I had enough patience and $14.50 to get it to working. I really need to print some things for us to get our taxes ready before we go to Branson for the winter. We won’t be able to do it all, but we can be mostly ready. Now, I really need to get the scanner working, but maybe I can get by without it.

I’ve gotten both computers working pretty well and the printer working, so I feel a big relief! I’m changing our sheets tomorrow and the cleaning lady is coming Friday. I’ve got banana pudding made and some mixed nuts for cards Friday night. I’m all set and it feels good. I also got a big batch of chili made and a pot of pinto beans. I feel secure to have some food stashed in the freezer.

Uh oh. We don’t have any WATER, though! On our way home from church we noticed a huge water leak and a team working on it. We had a few drips of water and now nothing but air. I hope we have water by morning! I thank God that there is a team working to get our water problem fixed!

I walked by myself today and it made me feel 8 feet tall because the wind was blowing at 35 mph. Don wouldn’t go, so I felt really big for my britches to go brave the wind by myself. I thank God that we live in an area where I can walk close to home and even bad weather isn’t that bad. Oh, man! You should see the windmill weeds (commonly called tickle weeds) that those winds blew up today! There is a huge mass at our back door that is about the size of our kitchen (maybe 14 x 17 feet) and up to my shoulder! There is another one on our deck about half that size. I had pictures of it on the blog last year; I’ll take more tomorrow. It’s wild! There’s no point in cleaning it up until the wind quits blowing; maybe it will switch directions and blow somewhere else!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cold front coming! Chili time!

This is another picture someone took of us at my reunion in Vegas. We sure had a good time!

We had another beautiful day here, but a cold front is supposed to be coming in tonight. I imagine I’ll be walking by myself tomorrow. We’re supposed to have big wind and Don doesn’t like to walk in the big wind. It’ll be an adventure. Today was a great walk, though!

I got our laptop in better working shape, today. I’m pretty much down to getting the printer to work. I did a little work on it today, but I’ve got it unplugged hoping it will forget it’s problem and wake up refreshed when I plug it in tomorrow.

We’ve made plans to play cards at our house Friday night. Floyd’s birthday is November 1 and we’re leaving that day for Houston, so we’ll celebrate his birthday Friday night. That’ll be fun.

We took our neighbor, preacher and house watcher and his family out to dinner tonight. It was fun. They are such great neighbors. They stay busy, so it’s hard to catch them with free time. It was fun to go out to eat with them.

Since the cold front is coming in I’m making chili tomorrow and we’ll take it out to share with David and Dorothy. We like to do that, so it has become a ritual whenever I make a pot of chili. I’m looking forward to it. They are both doing pretty well. They’re coming to play cards Friday night. I thank God for their recoveries, AND mine!

We are blessed to have wonderful neighbors and friends and good health! God is so generous!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Summer Rayne makes herself at home.

This is a picture of Raynie last weekend, walking through the kitchen figuring out her plan of attack. Bless her heart, it was all new to her, but once she got it all in her mind good, she was in control. We sure miss her and her family after having them here.

Today was another beautiful day for walking and sunning. They tell us it’s going to get cold for a few days and I’m not looking forward to the cold. Don won’t walk when it’s cold, so I’m on my own. I may do Dana’s idea and get some books to listen to as I walk. So far I stay pretty busy with the cane, but maybe I can swing the cane and listen? No, I have to count, so I can’t read and do the cane exercises. There’s plenty of time left after I get the cane exercises done, though. I’ll work on that idea.

Bob and Diana Clark took us out to the Mexican Restaurant for dinner tonight to thank us for helping to take care of their flowers while they were gone. We did precious little, but it was nice of them to take us out to dinner, anyway! It was fun to get together with them. It’s wonderful to have them living right down the street, but so much of the time either they or we are gone, so it’s fun to get together.

I got all the house put back together from the kids being here this weekend. Sadie left her bed beautifully made, but I got all the sheets washed and the beds remade. It looks boring, again. I SURE miss Sadie. It’s interesting how all the kids are so much alike, and yet each is so different and special in their own way. God sure blesses us with grandkids! My heart aches for folks who have no grandkids; I think they should find some they love and borrow them. Grandkids are absolutely the best! Sadie went around the house copying all the positive sayings I used for decoration. I was so pleased that she noticed and liked them. She is a wonderful helper and she fits into any group. If the little kids want to play chase, she’ll play with them. If the big guys want to go hiking and exploring, she can be as tough as them. If the grown ups are playing cards she can sit right in on that game. If Raynie needs her pants changed, she’ll do that without griping. I’m impressed. I can brag about all of our grandkids; it’s just Sadie’s turn tonight. I thank God for all of them and their wonderful parents.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fading magnolia bloom.

This is a picture don just took of me with today’s flowers. The magnolia is on it’s way out, but I love it even when it’s fading. I love the way it stays white around the edges; it’s like it’s outlined. See the rebloomer? I think it’s October Splendor; I’ll have to have Joan remind me or correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve got a couple more stalks in the back, so they’ll be blooming soon. I love these rebloomers for brightening the fall!

I walked by myself today. My friend, Deb was sick and Don was watching football. It’s more fun to walk with someone, but it invigorates me to be able to do it by myself. It’s a great time for me to meditate and commune with God for all He has given me.

I’ve done my ‘basement exercises’ and my cane exercises. I still have to do the resistance ones. The resistance ones are done with a big rubber band and a rubber cord. I can do them in front of the TV and most of them in the car if we’re traveling. The ‘basement exercises’ are ones I do with the pulley on the door. I also have an ab-lounger that I use down there. Of course the cane ones I can do in the living room, but I get them done when I walk; it gets more done in the same time, plus it makes the walk go by more quickly. Wow, it was beautiful for walking today!

So, I’m off to do the resistance exercises in front of the Desperate Housewives.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Be good to me day!

The picture tonight is one I made of Grace on Thursday. She is always the model! I love it that she’ll pose on demand! Grace is 5 (she’ll tell you that she’ll be 5 ½ in 8 more days)

We had the best time while they were here. We took the weekend off, after they left. I’ve washed towels today, but I’ll do the beds tomorrow afternoon. It’s fun taking it easy. Don has watched football most of the day and I’ve done odd jobs around here. I took a couple of hours to get some sun and have a leisurely bath, though. That was way nice!

This morning we made 3 yard sales and went to the Kozy Diner for breakfast. Tomorrow we plan to eat at the Mexican restaurant after church. It feels like things are sort of back to normal after reunions and company. We also walked this morning. This weather is so wonderful for walking. Probably Don won’t want to walk tomorrow, as he’ll be watching football. Maybe Debbie, who walked with me last week will want to join me again; if she doesn’t want to, I’m content to walk by myself.

Every day I shake my head in dismay at my ability to walk and do the exercises I do. It’s not like any of it is so difficult, but it feels good to be mobile. I can tell that it all makes a real difference with my arm; in fact I think it all makes me feel so much better than I would if I didn’t do it all. I thank God that I can do it. I thank Him for the amazing weather, too.

I should take a picture of my magnolia blooms! My magnolia thinks it is summer and is blooming! I’ve got the third bloom in the house and it smells so sweet! Tomorrow I should have more rebloomers open. I’ll have to get pictures of that to share.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Exploration Station

This is Sadie and Mason at Exploration Station today. All the kids can go up and down that pole like better than I can walk across the room! They are amazing! I walked over to Exploration Station, pushing Raynie in the stroller and Sadie walked with me. Don drove with Trish, Grace and Mason. On the way home, I walked with Raynie and Don and the rest went to the Sonic and got happy hour drinks and brought one by for me when they passed me. It was another great day; the weather and the company were perfect.

Trish left with the kids at 9. They were all ready for bed and they’ll all go to sleep on the way home. Trish had a strong cup of iced coffee for the road to keep her awake, plus she had a nap this afternoon, so they should travel fine. Rob and the big guys will be glad to see them, I’m sure.

We absolutely loved having them. Tomorrow Don will watch football and I’ll get back to working on the computers. They are really both still a mess. I’ve been limping along with them, but they need a lot of work. Too bad I don’t know what I’m doing. I just fumble until I get it right.

I thank God that I’m able to walk and kind of keep up with the kids. I thank Him for their safe traveling and for mine and Raynie’s healing from our surgeries.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great fun at the park!

This is a picture Don took of us at the park today. Raynie totally cooperated and slept through the whole thing! We had a great time!
Grace lost her ring and Don found it. He found a quarter looking for it, so that’s a pretty good return. He found 2 cents besides that!

We’ve had such fun. The weather has been gorgeous and we’ve played and played. We miss the big guys, but we even played canasta without them. Trish and Sadie went shopping while Don and I took Grace, Mason, and Raynie to the park. They did all the fun stores in town and even had sodas at the drug store.
I’m about worn out, but it’s been worth it. I got all my exercises done, except the jiggling. Maybe I’ll get that done before I go to bed. If not maybe I’ll make it up tomorrow.

I am so thrilled to compare this time last year with now. I know that I am so blessed and I thank God for my health. I thank Him for the kids, for their health and for precious time with them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Confusion, my companion.

(NOTE: Linda Rose, please send me an email; I sent you an email that bounced, so I'm lost!)

This picture is so funny! Marti, from our Itazuke reunion, sent it today and I had to crack up. See the look of confusion on my face and my fingers in front of me? It looks like I was confused over counting my fingers! Likely I was! I get so confused with numbers and it’s sometimes funny. If I didn’t laugh I’d cry. I’ve always been a numbers nut, in that I love numbers and count everything just for fun. I get so baffled at counting, now; it’s pathetic. But, I’m alive and I love that! Don can count for me!

I talked to people all the time who ask if I’m really feeling good or if I’m just putting up a good front. I really do feel good. I make every effort to be honest. I should confess that when Don takes pictures for the blog I insist that he take 3 pictures so I can be sure I can get one to post. Often I have my eyes closed in at least one, and I reserve the right to pick the one that looks the best. So, to that degree I’m putting up a front. I really do feel good, though. I DO get baffled by any numbers. I DO lose track of what I’m doing and working out a plan is a BIG task for me. I see the difference and quickly blame it on chemo. I have to thank chemo for the shrinking of my tumor so that they could do successful surgery, though, so on one hand I blame chemo, but on the other hand I thank it. Most of all I thank God that I’m alive and feeling great. This picture came today and I had to post it. It so depicts how I feel often: confused!

I did manage to get all our Branson reservations made today! We’ll be there for 8 weeks! WOO HOO! I’m so excited about going. Don asked me why I’m so excited about it. It’s because we usually go to Branson for several weeks in the winter and we haven’t been able to do that for the last couple of years. Doing that feels like our life is getting back to normal. We love to go in the winter when the crowds aren’t there. It’s a beautiful place and a great place to get away. I hope we get snowed in for some of that time.

I so thank God that I do truly feel so good. I walk every day. I exercise every day. I can wear shoes with toes! I can thread a needle! I’m so pleased to have back the use of my fingers and toes! I’m enjoying being flat chested; I don’t miss boobs even a tad and these ‘falsies’ suit me just fine. I’m enjoying curly hair, even if it takes some getting used to having. I thank God for a second chance at life. I thank God for helping me to manage the lymphedema; it’s not a horrible thing. Life is a wonderful thing and I thank Him for it and for all you who support me through this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gina, celebrate every day!

Here’s a picture of Gina, our oldest daughter who lives in Indiana with her husband and 3 of our grandchildren. We called her on her birthday yesterday, but I totally forgot to mention it when I wrote the blog . Gina, I hope you’re still celebrating! We celebrate every day and thank God for you and your family. (Gina is the one who suggested I update the little picture in the corner of the blog with one that includes my longer curls. Wonder if my hair will be curly like hers when it grows??? I wonder if I can be patient enough to let it grow that much! Ha! We’ll see.)

Today it’s been cool and rainy, but I managed to find a dry time to walk this afternoon. I love this time of year! Tonight is the ladies’ salad supper at church, so I’m headed there in just a few minutes. I’ve already made Don’s burger, so he’s happy and will spend the evening with the TV.

I managed to get registered for a retreat along with my next appointment in Houston. I’m so pleased to be able to do this! I had to change my appointment a week and get my doctor to complete a form for me, and I think it all got done today. Whew! I feel like I moved a mountain! The retreat is the 5th - 7th after my appointment is on the 4th, so that’s cool. It’s a retreat for patients and caregivers, so I’m excited about it. MD Anderson Wellness clinic is doing it and it’ll be on our way home from the trip to Houston. We’ll leave here the 1st and go spend a few days with Doris and Jerry before the appointment. I’m so excited to get to see them and their family again. We got pretty attached to their grandsons when we were there so much, so it’s great to go back and see all of them.

I thank God that I feel so good. It’s great to be able to walk and exercise; to go out in public to salad suppers; to go visit at the nursing home; to go to Houston for fun; to plan trips for the winter! Wow! I am so blessed and thank God every day for giving me this life. Thank you for looking in on us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ever raising cane!

Here I am raising cane, still. Walk, walk, walk, and shake that cane! I got in almost 40 minutes walking today before the rain sent us home. I got in some extra yesterday, though, so I’m calling it good.

Today has been hairy. I’ve been on the phone all day working to get our timeshare time all in line. What a job! Some use points (that means COUNTING!) and some use weeks; it’s hard for me to switch back and forth between the two and make the calendar fit. It’s exciting, though, to think about being in Branson! I’m so ready to go back to Branson; it‘s like home away from home for us. We haven’t gotten to spend several weeks there for the last couple of years, so I’m ready to go back and do that. I’ll have some more fine tuning to do on the schedule tomorrow, but it looks like it’s falling into place. I hope our travel buddies will have some time to get away with us some this winter.

We were out of frozen (cooked) chicken, so today I cooked chicken and froze it. I was out of cooked and frozen pintos, so I cooked and froze pintos today. Tomorrow we’ll shop for groceries and we’ll be in good shape for food for a while. It turned cool here with the rain, so it’s time to make some chili. That’ll be good for a change. I washed and folded two loads of clothes, too, so I’ve been busy!

Trish and some of the kids are coming this weekend, I think. I think maybe only the girls will come. Mason has a couple of soccer games; Gabe has a babysitting job; and Nate has to work (he’s working at a restaurant and we’re so proud that he’s saving his money), so Rob is staying home with the guys and Trish is bringing the girls. That’ll be a different sort of visit. I’m thrilled the girls are coming, but I’m heart broken that the guys won’t be here. I guess we’ll do all girl stuff. I knew this day would come when the kids would be too busy to come, but I hate that part. I’m glad they have full lives, though, and life is unfolding as it should for all of us. We’ll get good pictures. Raynie hasn’t had a chance to be here much, so it’ll be her chance to learn to recognize and control Grammy and Poppy’s house like she does at home.

I thank God that we can get back to life as we know it after beginning this breast cancer journey. My dear friend here lost her sister-in-law to breast cancer this morning. She started with it at about the same time that I did, so it’s a real reminder to me that I have been so blessed to have another chance at life. I thank God every day for giving me recovery this far and ask him to be with Sue and her family through this great loss. Thank you for your support all the way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This is a picture taken of Don and I at his reunion last night. We really have such a good time with these people. He went to school with them until the 4th grade when his family moved, but he remembers them and many of them remember him, too. When we moved here 12 years ago we went to their reunion and they readily welcomed both of us. It’s fun to get together with them every other year. They, too, have been very supportive of me through this breast cancer journey. I look at this picture and see that my ‘baseball tan’ is fading and I probably need to consider some blush. I still walk and we get as much sun as possible, but it’s not the same as spending the day at the ball park in the middle of summer!

We finished up his reunion this morning with juice, coffee and hot cinnamon rolls and then a brief devotional. It was really nice. Then we headed to church and capped that off with a fellowship meal. The men stayed for a men’s meeting and I walked with a good friend from church. It was a gorgeous day for walking! I love it when I can walk in the middle of the day and not sweat into a puddle! I thank God for these days and intend to enjoy them as long as they last. We get lots of good days here. There are only about 3 or 4 weeks in the winter that are really bitter cold. I hope we’re gone to Branson or someplace when those days hit!

After another sweet reunion I am reminded to thank God for precious people in our lives. Life would be different without others with whom we can share it; I thank God for putting us together with a need to share life with others. It was fun to walk with Debbie today! God bless; have a great week and enjoy your great weather and friends and family.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sleepy here, but exercise wins.

This is a quick post between reunion activities. This picture is me with Carol Scavatta, who planned the Vegas reunion.
There is a great turn out for Don’s reunion. We’ve enjoying seeing everyone so much! The only bad part was Oklahoma’s performance at the ballgame this afternoon. Ugh. Otherwise, it has been perfect.

I didn’t get up early to go walk for fear of freezing. That means I have to go do it now. I’ve got all the other exercises to do, too. I did a few this morning before we left, but I’ve got most of them to do so I’d better get with the program. It’s allergy season, so I’m taking antihistamines and they are making me so sleepy that I really would rather go to bed for a nap, but I don’t read anywhere that naps are all that good for me but the exercise is. So, off I go.
I thank God for a beautiful day for this walk and for this reunion. I thank Him for the ability to do it all and the gift of easy sleep, so I’ll sleep good tonight and get plenty of rest. I’m very blessed. Thanks for checking on us!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reunions, reunions!

This is sweet little Raynie. She and Trish went for a weekend retreat last week and one of the other moms took this picture of her. I think she looks like she’s thinking, “I think that bug is something that Gabe would love; if I can just figure out how to get him!”

Don and I are exhausted. We had a full day and then tonight was the first night of his reunion. It was a great night. We’ve been going to these reunions from Hobart’s class of ‘58 ever since we’ve lived here, so we’ve gotten to know some of these folks pretty well. He really only went to school here through the 4th grade, but he remembers lots of them and they remember him. They remember me since we’ve been here crashing their reunions!

My new cleaning lady came today and I am so blessed to have yet another wonderful lady. Maybe all women who like to clean houses are wonderful! Anyway, I thank God that she is wonderful and that she can clean my house.
I baked cookies so we’d have a treat in case people come by the house. Likely nobody will come and Don can eat all these cookies. I’m prepared, though.

Tomorrow will be a full day, too. Then Sunday we have the final breakfast, church and a fellowship meal at church. Whew! I’ve got to get to bed and get some rest; it makes me tired to think of it even if it is all good stuff and fun!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In bloom in Hobart!

Well, the word processor worked yesterday. Now, I’ll use it again, plus use the new photo processor. Everything is new to me. Don took a picture of me today with my remaining flowers that Joan brought me when we came home last week and the anthuriums we brought from Vegas. In between are Echinacea and daisies from my yard as well as my first REBLOOMER! I’m so thrilled that the rebloomers are starting to bloom!

Tonight we’re going to a fish fry at church. I’m getting this post done before we leave so we can come home and relax and go to bed after that. I think tonight is Survivor night and I love that show.

Tomorrow Don’s reunion from Hobart begins and we’ll be busy all weekend. I called a new housekeeper today and she can come tomorrow! Woo Hoo! I broke down and dusted yesterday and meant to do the floors tomorrow, but I’m much happier for her to do it! I thank God that there are women out there who want to do this work so that I don’t have to do it. My lymphedema would not be happy about me vacuuming. It’s doing pretty well, so it’s good that I don’t have to push it.

I sure thank God for the flowers to keep me boosted, too. I’m pretty easy to please and I thank Him for that, too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

These are the good old days; right now!

This is a new experience. I’m on my ‘new’ old computer and I’ve found the word processor, so, I’ll see how it works. In going through the pictures I managed to save in this recent computer crash I found this one from two years ago. It was taken of Don and I at his Hobart reunion, like the one we’re doing this weekend. This was just before I found my lump in November. Straight hair days; boob days. Ha! It's not the greatest quality, but you get the idea.

I saw an ad for a t-shirt today that said, “I survived breast cancer and this t-shirt is all I got!” I don’t feel that way at all. I have survived so far, but I feel like I’ve gotten a LOT from it. I don’t need the boobs, but I’ve got a couple of pairs of phony ones that work just fine and I can go flat chested whenever I want! I got curly hair out of the deal! I’ve learned to exercise like a maniac. I’ve learned to appreciate every single moment and even the tough times like when the computer crashes. I’ve lived to cuddle our two newest granddaughters and watch them walk and play. Most of all I’ve become aware of how many people really do love me. They loved me before, but I wasn’t so keenly aware of it. They’ve made it so obvious, now, though, and I am so blessed by that. So, I’m not buying that shirt. I thank God for all the blessings of this journey and I trust His timing.

This is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but be aware every day. I hope this blog will help someone to see the blessing in whatever happens in life. I believe there is something worthy of celebration in everything. I hope you won’t wait for something bad to happen to become aware of all the people who love you. Notice it now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh, my!

Woo hoo! I got the F10 procedure done. That wiped my computer clean of everything except what it came with originally. That means I have to reinstall everything. Change all my settings so that the computer looks and works like I want, etc. Man, what a job. I might just learn to like it like it is! I was able to find this picture to post. On the left is Dana, who posts a lot on this blog. She's such a good friend! Then myself and Don; you can tell it was Friday as we have on our red shirts. Then Cindy is on the right. Cindy is the one who won $230 the first night they got there! She won that on the $10 they gave her to play. Bless her heart, she didn't spend it the whole time she was at the reunion. I was so proud of her for taking the money home with her!

All is well here. I'm up to my ears in this technical stuff, but I'm online, so that's the important thing. If I can just get the printer going, I'll be so happy. I'm sure we'll need other stuff, like the scanner, but I'll work on that as we go.

We got up and walked today. I'm maintaining my exercises. It's a real job to get it all done. I've inventoried the t-shirts from the reunion today and got them packed away until the next one. It's good to have that behind me. My cleaning lady fell off a ladder and hurt her back, so I guess I'm the cleaning lady this week. I can do it. This weekend is Don's 50th reunion from school in Hobart. He didn't graduate in Hobart, but he remembers and loves the kids who did. It's here in Hobart, so there will be people at our house. The house is finally neat, but it needs to have the last month of dust removed. I'll do it tomorrow. I'll pretend it's exercise for my lymphedema and get right with it. Ha! I thank God for the strength to do what has to be done and have some left over for fun.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Technical issues.

Amendment: I'm still working on the computer. I got a picture to post; it's me a year ago; my hair was all gone but I still had eyebrows and I still had the gap in my teeth. I did the F10 and didn't do it right, but I haven't lost everything, yet. I'll call the guru tomorrow and see what I did wrong and get instructions to proceed. Here's what I wrote earlier:

Okay. I can't get a picture to go on the blog. I'm really having computer problems with the desktop and the laptop. I threw in the towel and called the guru to come today. He sent me out to get an external hard drive to back up everything and then do an F10 on my hard drive. Anybody know what THAT means??? It means I'm up to my ears in trouble and may lose everything on my computer if I foul it all up. I thought I'd better do the blog before I (or the computer) crash, but it may be too late since I can't get the picture deal to work.

Other than the computer problems everything else is going fine here. Tomorrow we'll see how the computer and I survive. I thank God for the guru! He'll bail me out if I get in over my head and hold up 3 fingers! Thank you for looking in on us. I hope to be back in better shape tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chia grinding time.

We’re at home and this is a picture of me with the fresh flowers that are still looking so good after almost a week. Home is sweet. You can tell I’m tired from catching up around here, but it’s starting to feel normal to be here. I’ve got to grind up chia seeds tonight before I go to bed. (My super food, you know.) Can you believe I was totally bald this time last year?

Today was sweet. We did our regular breakfast at Mr. B’s and lunch at the Mexican Restaurant with church in between. I visited some friends this afternoon while don watched football, so I enjoyed that.

I’ve got to get busy with the chia seeds; that’s tough on my back, so I’m not looking forward to it. I get to jiggle after I get done with that, though, so that’ll be good. The Jiggling George keeps me moving; without it my back would have me totally stopped. I really thank God for the Jiggler to help my back issues. My back issues have nothing to do with breast cancer. They are just part of me. I have spondylolisthesis (Google it.) and my bottom two vertebras are fused together (congenital), so my back complains when I stand on my feet for very long and plenty of other times, too. The Jiggler is the best thing since sliced bread for my back. These back issues are the reason that I opted NOT to have the tram flap reconstruction done. The tram flap tends to cause back pain in about 1 in 3 women who have it done. I didn’t want to have ANY chance of one more backache! I’m so glad I chose to forget reconstruction; I’m very content with a flat chest and the fake boobs.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Technically challenging day.

This will be another quick post. I have been struggling with the printer today. I really need to print some documents and the printer is taking this week off, evidently. Ugh! I give up. I’m going to bed as soon as I jiggle and get my bath. Maybe tomorrow it will work for me.

Other than the technical problems today has been a good day. I still feel great. I don’t like this technical stuff; I work so hard to stay stress free and then here comes this stuff. (Eyes rolling!)

The picture tonight is one of Don and I at the banquet last Saturday night. Sweet memories. I can relax recalling it.

I thank God for great times and I thank him for the computer and the printer even though they are stressful. It would be way more stressful without them! I thank God for your computer, too, and your willingness to use it so that we can communicate. I’m sad to think of all the people with whom I’m unable to connect because they live in snail mail country. Thank you for walking this journey with me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Here’s the rose I brought from the reunion. I can’t believe it made the trip and still looks so good. Theresa Lipschitz (the youngest person at our reunion, I think) won the decoration from our table, but she was flying and couldn't take it with her. She told me I could take it, but after giving it some thought I doubted that it would make it home safely for that long drive, plus we are gone so much it would meet it’s death soon, anyway. So, Jerrii Swafford was happy to take the bamboo plant home with her, but she gave me the rose to take. I put the rose in with the anthuriums and they all made it just fine. It says something about love; it’s tough and it lasts! A single rose stands for true love; did you know that? Anyway, thanks to Janet for the beautiful decorations, too, and to Theresa and Jerrii for sharing. I’m enjoying the rose as it hangs on my bathroom mirror. Thanks to Dana for showing me how to take close up pictures!

I’m getting things done, but I’m still not up to speed. Don and I were walking around the darn (Terri said we aren’t supposed to say Hoover Dam; it’s the Hoover Darn ) today and he asked me why I didn’t wear a red shirt. YIKES! I felt like I was walking with NO shirt! I didn’t even realize it was Friday. As soon as I got home I put on my red shirt. I hate when I don’t even know what day it is; it usually doesn’t matter, but I really want to wear red on Fridays to support the troops.

It has been so good to be home. It was a great trip, but home is always so sweet! Soon I’ll have it all in order and start packing again for our trip to Houston toward the end of the month. I have to check in with MD Anderson on the 28th so that they can tell me that I’m doing as well as I feel. I sure thank God for my recovery and that I feel so good. It feels so good to walk every day. The exercises I do make me feel like I have to climb a mountain every day, but I’m so pleased to be able to do them. They always make me think of my mom, too, because she did so many of the same ones. I always thought of her lots, but I really feel like I’m walking in her shoes these days. She would have loved it to have this hair. I’m glad she didn’t have to have chemo, but she would sure have loved hair like this, I think. I thank God for every moment we had with our mom and dad; they were special and gave us great memories and preparation for life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fresh flowers keep me boosted.

This is going to be a quick post because I want to get done so I can watch the debate while I fold clothes. I’ve got the clothes in the works, so I only need to get the blog done.

I’m slowly catching up. I have lots of emails to answer, but I’ll work on that after the other things are done. I got all the t-shirts except one pair sent today. Whew. The last pair is ready to go out tomorrow. It feels good to have that done.

Oh! The flowers in the picture are what keep me inspired! Those flowers on the left our good friend, Joan, had for me the day we came home. She’s such a dear and has seen me light up over fresh flowers ever since we moved here 12 years ago. I think she loves giving them to me as much as I love having them. They are zinnias from her garden mixed with artemesia from my yard and my mother’s day ribbon from the arrangement Gretta sent. The anthuriums on the right are left from the World Botanical Gardens shareholder meeting that we attended in Vegas. They lasted the whole time we were in Vegas, plus made the trip home looking better than we did! I love them more and more every day. The vase in between is beautiful gift that Bob and Diana Clark brought to me from wherever they’ve been (Kazakhstan?); it’s shaped like a woman’s body and hand painted. Anyway, these are keeping my spirits high as I work through getting all the clutter cleaned up from where we came in from our trip. Thank you, God, for beautiful flowers to lift our spirits and for friends who will share them with each other! Tomorrow, I’ll post the picture of the single rose that I brought home from the table decorations at the reunion banquet. It’s gracing my bathroom mirror.

Oops! The debate is on and I really want to watch it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The picture tonight is me with a close group at the reunion. Actually none of these girls were at Itazuke when I was, but I’ve grown so close to them at the reunions! It feels like we were all there together. I am grateful for the reunions to give us the opportunity to ‘extend’ our stay at Itazuke! When we were kids our dads could sometimes extend our stays, but now WE get to do the extending by going to the reunions and sometimes even getting together between reunions. Beside me is the Dana who has faithfully held my hand through this breast cancer journey; you’ve seen many posts from her. In the middle is Terri, my ‘baby sister’; we adopted each other through the reunions and we’re nearly joined at the hip when it boils right down to just about everything. In the bright yellow is Marti, who blew us all away at the reunion. She sang and she can really belt it out. She has not only an awesome voice, but she is a true entertainer. I wish I were connected; she’d be the next American idol. She’s the current Itazuke Idol for sure. I fully expect she will be the entertainment at the next reunion! On the far right is Debbie, who is Dana’s sister. We all have so much fun together. This is not all of us, but this is a bunch we could get together, standing still for a moment. I thank God for these and all our friends.

Today I’m still unpacking and putting things in their place. It seems to take forever to get put back together after we travel. I’m running behind on exercises; so I’ve got to run finish those right quick. We’re amazed at how cool it got while we were gone. We don’t have to get up at dark to walk, now! In fact I slept until 9 this morning. That’s 7 Vegas time; I guess I haven’t adjusted to the time change, yet. I haven’t been so tired today as I was yesterday, though, so I’m going in the right direction.

I thank God that Dorothy and David are doing very well and both are getting stronger and stronger. Dorothy doesn’t even have to wear her splint on her arm, now. She’s doing physical therapy and getting stronger all the time.

My lymphedema did very well while we were gone. We measured my arm when we got home and it was smaller than when we left. That’s really good with all the time we were on the road. The exercises help, so I’d better get off and go get them done. Thank you, God for giving me a plan for recovery and for watching over us as we traveled.