Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm Ready.

Here's one of my favorite 'guys.'  I love watching them fish around our lake!  I thank God that they stay here or come back every year.  We go away in the winters, so they might, too!  All I know is that they make me smile every time I see them.

We've had several inches of rain over the last few days so my garden soil was nice and soft and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dig and thin out my irises.  I'm taking a bunch to Trish tomorrow.  I took Kathy a bunch earlier this week.  While the ground is soft, it's sure easier to dig them!  I'm grateful that I can do it!

I completed my 4th day of this 7 day cycle today.  My feet and hands feel blistered, but they're not.  They just look red.  They're not swelling, so I can deal with the hot feeling, I think.  I just have 3 more days to go and then I can take a week off the Xeloda.

Tomorrow we leave at 7 to get to OKC in plenty of time for my angiogram at 10.  I'm ready.  We're not planning to spend the night, so I just have to be well rested and go.  I trimmed my hair today, so what else could need to be done?  When we get this finished tomorrow, I don't have to see another doctor until the 12th of August unless I have problems.  I've had my quota of problems, so I don't expect to have any more.  I see the Oncologist on the 12th and the cardiologist on the 13th.  Then on the 16th we leave for Tennessee for a couple of weeks.  Yay!  I'm ready for this trip and to get all the doctor appointments out of the way.  I thank God for seeing me through to this point.  It was a rough few weeks during June, but I'm in good shape, now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God is So Count-on-able!

Here's another pic from last night.  I love feeling good!  Today I got some paperwork done and rested.  I'm learning to appreciate my resting times a whole lot.  It's a challenge for me because I'm wired to go until I drop.  I'm finding that it's better to drop and rest before I HAVE to drop.  It's amazing that some things take a lifetime to learn!  I thank God for His patience with me!

I want to rest good tomorrow, too, so that I can be rested when they the procedure checking for blockages in my heart on Friday.  Surely it will be better to go in rested than to go in with my tongue hanging out, which is my normal mode of operation.  Ugh!  I'm working on cleaning up these bad habits!  God will help me.

Tonight before church the phone rang and it was our preacher and next door neighbor.  He had pulled pork sandwiches he'd smoked on the smoker and french fries for our dinner.  What a blessing.  I had absolutely no plan for dinner, so it was a delicious treat and the timing was perfect.  For so many reasons I thank God for our precious neighbors!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Doc is Pleased; Me, Too!

This is a pic Lee got of me a few minutes ago.  The oncologist was pleased with all my tests and said all my numbers have improved.  It's not like I'm cancer free or anything that wonderful, but I'm doing really well and am STABLE, again.  Whew!  We will continue with the current treatment and drug adjustments we've made. Praise God for directing us in the path we needed to take!

We got home from OKC today and it's good to be home.  Friday I have the angiogram, but, hopefully, we'll be coming home right after that.  God has been with us all the way, so I'm sure He will be Friday, too.  The smile you see in this pic is natural.  I didn't have to work to get a smile going.  I feel really good; feel like myself, again!  PTL!  Thank you all for your prayers to help me get to this stable position!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Precious Memories and More to Come!

This pic was taken at Big Cedar, near Branson, last winter when Sissy joined us there,  We're planning another trip this November.  Sissy will go with us and Ruthie and Phil will meet us there as well as Tom and Linda.  Tom and Linda are as close to family as anyone can be, so it will be like a family reunion. We're so looking forward to it!

Today's testing all went smoothly.  Tomorrow we see the oncologist and get his analysis of the situation and his plan for the near future.  I feel really good and don't see any swelling happening.  I started another week of Xeloda today, so I'm hoping that continues to go smoothly!

Our plan is to leave the 16th of this month and head toward a couple of nights with Tom and Linda in Tennessee.  Then we'll head on to a week in Nashville and a high school reunion with my Itazuke group.  I'm praying that God will help me to stay stable enough to make these trips.  I'm planning like I believe He will!  What better way to approach the future:  trust God to take care of things.  Works for me!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Those Foxy Women!

I missed a great photo op today, so I'll have to pull out an older pic.  Today we were dressed for church and ate sandwiches and birthday cake at Dorothy's house after church.  I had the camera and just never thought to take pix!  I was having too good a time visiting with Dorothy and Lee.  So, I pull out this pic from the Fox family reunion in Nashville last month.  That is me in the middle and my sister, Ruthie on my left.  Then next to her is my baby daughter, Gretta.  On the left is Ruthie's daughter, Deanna.  Suzanne is min and Ruthie's first cousin.  She's just like a sister to me.  We spent as much of every summer as possible together and then we were roommates in college.  These are special folks!  This was one of Gretta's last days with hair; chemo took it the following week.

Gretta is doing very well with her chemo.  She is able to continue work, so that's good.  She got moved and that's good.  She has awesome friends who did so much for her in that move.  It wasn't the ideal time to move by any means, but the house she was renting was sold out from under her, so she had to move and her friends really stepped up to the plate!

This was after my first ER visit where they drained some fluid off my abdomen.  I was still pretty miserable, but I had 4 more ER visits to go in the following 3 weeks and lots of misery.  But, today is 5 weeks later and I feel great.  I thank God for precious times, people, and memories and for the opportunity to heal.  Gretta and I are  putting one foot in front of the other and continue to do better and better.  Praise God!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nate's Work.

These irises were starting to look burnt and they were too crowded as well as too weedy.  My awesome husband hoed out most of the weeds from the garage up to this little redbud tree.  Then my awesome neighbor got out there and finished up the weeds clear to the street the last time we were in Oklahoma City!
Nate came home with us a couple of weeks ago and trimmed all the irises, plus thinned out the ones that were choking themselves out.  It looks a little bare right now, but the weeds are already coming back.  I've been out there with the hoe after them twice and sprayed them twice.  I'm not letting these weeds win!  Next year we'll have awesome irises, too! I've thinned out a bunch in the back and have some more to do.  I just do a little at a time so I don't wear myself out to quickly!

I got another bloom off the magnolia tree tonight, too.  MMMMMM, it smells so good!  I thank God for the sweet smell of His flowers!  It's a joy for me.

I am feeling like myself.  It's so wonderful to be my right size and hot have huge legs and feet!  I can wear all my shoes and clothes.  That seems like a small thing, but it was stressful finding something to wear when I was so swollen.  I really thank God for turning me around to get back to this point from the swollen state I was in a couple of weeks ago! We serve an awesome God!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Floor Installed; Cabinets in Place; Coming Right Along!

This first shot lets you see the floor and cabinets are in place!  The appliances weren't in when we were there, so I stood in for the stove and microwave.  At least you can see I have my skinny legs and ankles back and it feels so good to be pretty much back to 'normal.'

Diana is about to burst with excitement to be this close to ready to move into this little mansion.  I'm so happy for her.  Bob does such a great job.  This little house is going to be such a great getaway.  They'll move into this house as soon as possible and then Bob will start on remodeling the house where they live right now.  It's so fun to watch it all come together for them after so much hard work.

I've been filing and planning some travel today.  Yay!  It's wonderful to even think of traveling!  I thank God for another run at life!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Something is Fishy . . .

I fully intended to get a pic of the whole floor done and the kitchen cabinets and appliances installed, but, suspiciously, I couldn't find anyone there all day.  Actually, Bob had to have a routine check up so his doctor could sign off on his next job, so I imagine he got hung up sitting around waiting on the doc.  This pic I got the other day, but was there later that day (without the camera) and the whole floor was done and the kitchen cabinets were sitting in their places.  Bob was going to take over the appliances and I was going to get pix today.  I never was able to connect with him.  Maybe tomorrow.  Notice the light fixtures are installed.  Those people in the pic are Bob on the left and his sons, Marshall and Forrest.  Those guys have been a tremendous help; they're great guys and do awesome work like their dad taught them!  I don't have any better friends anywhere than these folks, so I post their progress because they're just like family.  This winter when we were snowed in, Bob and Marshall showed up at our front door and shovelled out a walk to our door.  They're just like that!  Marshall lives near Dallas, so he's not always here, but it's always good to see him.  Forrest lives in Weatherford and is still in college there.  We see him a little more because he's only about an hour from us.

I separated and replanted a bunch of irises today.  I'm amazed at how I continue to gain strength. Praise God!  I thank Him so much for getting me past that last crisis.  It may have all been His way of leading me to an awesome oncologist in OKC.  I trust Him and thank Him!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Each Day I'm Better and Better.

The old me is on it's way here, I think.  Each day I feel stronger and stronger and I do things I didn't think I could do.  I'm not back to normal by any means, but I'm sure going the right direction!  It feels so good to look down and see the feet and legs that belong to me!  There are still some tests to do, but I feel so good about every day.  It's amazing how easy it is to move my legs after dragging those heavy tree trunks around for weeks.  Really, that's what they felt like and it's so much easier to have them be the right size and weight. Dropping 30 pounds of liquid sure makes life a lot easier for me!  Thank you, God, for giving me this relief!

Today I was able to fix the sound on my computer and message machine, so I got some messages that have been hidden from me for a few weeks.  I'm still not able to get them all, but I'm working on it.  Sharon, I've called a time or two, but get your voice mail.  Hope I can catch you while you're still in the state!

Praise God for all our blessings; we are all rich with blessings in my opinion!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Precious Memories, How They Linger . . . Thank You, God!

We got this pic Sunday morning before church.  I keep reveling in the joy of having Garrett here this week and Nate last week.  These are memories I will always treasure.  By the way, I have on 3 inch heals here; Garrett is lots taller than me when I'm not wearing my big girl shoes!

I feel so blessed that I can get my shoes on, as well as any of my clothes.  Whatever threw my body out of control, I hope to never run into, again!  It was unreal to look down and my body looked like someone else from the breastbone down.   I'm so grateful that all the swelling is gone and my energy is coming back little by little.

This is my second day of rest from chemo and all is well.  The only side effect I have going is the bottoms of my feet are sore and feel blistered like I've been walking on hot coals.  I can put them into the bath water, though, so it's not so bad.

I'm watching like a hawk for swelling; I do NOT want that to start anywhere, again, so I want to do all I can to prevent it.  I nap each day with my feet higher than my heart.  Maybe that helps, but it can't hurt and I'm bushed enough to sleep like that. Naps are a must do, I think.

I thank God for Grandsons who will come and visit and for healing from this recent out of control trip that my body took.  God is Great everyday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Felt Like Going Somewhere I Didn't Have to Go!

We went over to see what Bob and his sons have accomplished on the house.  Check out the new flooring and the walls, light fixtures and even the washer and dryer!  Things are moving right along and they'll be in that house soon!

I am so grateful to be feeling so good!  Garrett had to go home today, so our visit came to an end, but it's full of great memories.  I changed his sheets and washed a load of laundry.  That required time to lay down, but at least I could do it!  I don't have any swelling that I see.  Today was my first day of rest from the chemo, so it's been a nice day.  I got through this cycle with no problems; just sore feet that feel like I've been walking on hot coals.  I'm so grateful!  God is seeing me through this crisis and has me headed back in the right direction!  Praise Him!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Better and Better Each Day! PTL!!!

Each day I gain strength.  I"m absolutely amazed!  I can fit all my clothes, again, and I think all the swelling has gone.  I am SO GRATEFUL!

This pic was taken on our way to church this morning.  It felt so good to be out among people.  Of course I couldn't sit through the whole service because of the diuretics, but, I'll get to where I won't need them soon, I think.

Garrett and I went fishing twice today.  He didn't catch a thing and I didn't even have a pole, but we enjoyed being out on a beautiful day.  Special times and I thank God for the special times and for the healing!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Put a Smile on a Little Ole Grammy? Send a Grandkid!

Garrett surprised us today when he called and asked if he could come for the night!  There was a mix up at work, so he had the weekend off at the last minute and we got to be the beneficiaries of that piece of luck! We had pizza for supper and then played Rumikub.  His mom is the world champ of Rumikub, so we had lots of fun wishing she was here to tell us what to play.

I'm feeling a little stronger each day.  I am being careful to not do too much, but I want to push a little each day so I can get back up to par.  The swelling is mostly all gone, so I praise God for that!  This was my 6th day in a run of  7 days for this cycle of Xeloda (the chemo).  Thankfully, I have not had a single side effect, yet.  I sure hope I'm getting enough to do it's number on the cancer!

I'm a happy camper with a grandson here.  And I'm a happy camper to feel so much better.  PTL!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lucky Lady 'Fesses Up'

When we went to see the oncologist the other day I had on the compression stockings he wanted me to wear.  I had on the only pair of shoes that had fit me for a month, but they were much to big, now with the swelling way down..  I had my arms full of notebook with papers, jacket to keep warm because they keep everyplace so cold, etc. Anyway, my arms were loaded, so when I stumbled on their shiny (hard) floor, down I went right on my cheek bone.  They got all excited and brought me an ice pack to hold on it.  I thought sure I'd have a black eye because all the bones around the bottom hurt like everything.  They still do if I touch them, but they didn't turn black!  You can see a little bruising right where it looks like I have high cheek bones, but that's all I've gotten.  I consider myself to be very lucky that I didn't break any bones and that nothing turned real black or swollen.  Needless to say Trish and Kathy carried all my stuff from then on and I had to hold onto Lee everywhere we went.  That's a better plan, so we're sticking with it.

Tonight I'm really tired because I did more today than I've done in a long time.  I even went outside and worked in the iris patch!  I divided lots of irises that were way too thick.  I stopped after just thinning out one patch in the back yard, so I'll have some more to do while the ground is soft from this rain.  It's not hard work, it's just hard for someone who hasn't done anything for a month.  I'm hoping to do a little more each day.  I still needed my naps today.  I'm thinking whoever I got this blood from was a tired old lady, too.  :)  I sure had more energy today than I've had in a month, though.  God is good and I think He's bringing me back gently.  I'm good with that.  Tomorrow I'm doing laundry and changing two beds.  That's a full day for me and will require naps along the way.  But, I'll get a little done each day!  Woo hoo!  Praise God for better days and tough bones that don't break when I fall on them!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Fresh" Blood.

Today went very well; it just started awfully early!  We had to get up at 5 to be in Altus at 7 to get this transfusion.  I had never had a transfusion before today, so it was a learning experience for me.  They gave me Benadryl and Tylenol before the blood, so I went right to sleep and slept most of the day.  I guess that's a good thing.  I did manage to get a new book on Lee's Kindle, so that was a good thing.  I love his Kindle, but I get stuck every time I attempt to put a book onto it, so it was a happy time when I got a new book on there!

I had no problems with the transfusion.  We were surprised that it took about 8 hours, but we both needed a day of rest, so it was a good day for us.  We don't have a thing on our calendar for tomorrow, so we're hoping to rest some more.  So far, I'm not noticing any more energy, but I think maybe after a good night's rest I'll feel a little more energetic tomorrow.  Starting the day getting up at 5 asks a whole lot of the day!Don and I used to give blood every 8 weeks.  I thought about that today when I was on the receiving end of someone's gift of blood.  It was a thing I always felt good about doing, but after today I feel even better about it.  I'm grateful there are still folks out there who are willing to give blood.

More good news from Gretta!  She had lost her kitty cat in her move and today they found her!  She's so pleased and I'm so happy for them!  She continues to do beautifully with her chemo treatments.  She's getting more and more tired, but she's nearing the end of her treatments, too.  She's hanging in there and doing a wonderful job.  People are being so good to her!  Her job is being a dispatcher for the Frankfort Police Department and the policemen have started a signup sheet to keep her grass cut for her all summer!  Wow, what a huge relief to her and what a wonderful gift!  God shows up again and again!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Good Days in a Row.

This is a pic we got tonight after we got home from church!  It was so nice to go to church.  We are having VBS this week and I'd love to be helping during the days, but I don't have the energy for that, yet. Tomorrow we have to be in Altus for the blood transfusion at 7 a.m.  I'm so hoping that this will be a burst of energy for me!  I'm feeling good, but I'm still really dragging.

The meeting with the cardiologist was interesting this morning.  He showed us pix that they got during my stress test and there is a dark area in the bottom of my heart which indicates there may be some blockage there.  We have scheduled me for an angiogram on August 1.  It seems like once you get started with doctors, they keep on going and going and going.  I guess that makes sense at my age, but it's hard to adjust to it!

I'm thinking that with a transfusion and then a stint if there is a blockage, I should be feeling pretty good real soon.  I'm praying for that.  God has taken good care of me so far, so I know He will continue to do so.

We spent the day in Altus getting all the prior papers done so that we can go right in for the transfusion tomorrow.  This was after the appointment with the cardiologist.  I'm glad I left my calendar open for this month!  Before this all started I weighed 119.  I got up to 143 last week and was down to 112 this morning. All this in 3 weeks!  It's amazing what all that water weight can do.  It's very smothering and I sure never want to go there, again, if I can help it.  I still have fluid collecting in my abdomen, but it is not out of control or smothering.  Praise God!  I love having my own feet and legs, again, instead of those huge clubs I was dragging with me everywhere!  There are wrinkles, but wrinkles don't hurt so, I'm so grateful!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thanks is Not a Big Enough Word.

This is Kathy and James, who have made us feel so at home in their home the last few weeks.  It's one thing to have company, but to have sick people come is a whole other thing.  Kathy and Jim have been so hospitable to us, but also very caring and took such good care of us.  Last night was Lee's birthday and they took us to one of his favorite restaurants, Charleston's.  James is Lee's son and Kathy has been just like a daughter to us.  She's gone to all our appointments with us, asked great questions, etc. Trish came with us to all the appointments, too.  It was almost a party each time.  We can never thank them enough; it's wonderful to have kids on both sides who are so good to us!

We are home tonight and ready for bed.  Home is so sweet, but it was sure sweet to have 'home' instead of a hotel while we were seeing the docs so much, too.

Tomorrow I will see the cardiologist here and he will go over with me the meaning of my stress test, etc.  Today the appointment with the oncologist was great.   He did lab work and then called me this afternoon to go over all of it with me.  We have 3 major concerns right now:

1)  I am very anemic and will have a transfusion as soon as we can arrange it.  He thinks this will be a good time to do a transfusion since everything else seems to be going in the right direction.

2)  Thyroid function is not good, so I will be adding synthroid to my meds.

3)  Liver function.  While the results of the analysis of the fluid removed from my abdomen last week showed no cancer cells, the liver is still producing all that fluid.  That indicates the liver is stressed at least and we're going to work to get it's functioning better.

It feels so good to me to have some specific plans that I understand.  I began the Xeloda on Monday, so I've had 2 days of it.  I'm doing a one week on and one week off schedule, so we're hoping this will be the right schedule for my body to accept.  So, I have 2 days out of 7 done and no issues so far.

My weight is just about down to normal and I will weigh every day and take the diuretics based on how much my weight is.  I love how we are fine tuning the treatment to me and my size.  I am very grateful for this doctor who really seems to care.

For the second day in a row I feel better than I've felt in a month.  Praise God for giving me this turn toward the positive.  Thank you all for your love and prayers!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy 70th Birthday, Lee!

Today was the first day since June 21 that I even felt like putting on any make up.  The edema seems to be under control.  I think the doctor will think so tomorrow, but we'll see what he says about the whole picture.  This picture the waitress got for us.  Zachary, Lee's great grandson, was helping him blow out his birthday candle.  Zachary will be 4 on his birthday and he has a baby brother on the way, who is due the 26th of August and a cousin who is due within a couple of days of that date.  The family grows!  We thank God for healthy, happy families!  They were sweet to take us out to dinner to celebrate Lee's 70th birthday.

Today I did the stress test, but I have no idea what any of it means.  The cardiologist will be in Hobart on Wednesday and I'll see him then for an explanation of the stress test.

I resumed the Xeloda today and the way we're adjusting the dosage is to do the same dosage but only for 1 week and then take a week off for a rest for my body.  I really think this will work.  We would like to use the Xeloda because it seems to be working on the cancer; we just need to find a dosage that my body can tolerate without getting totally out of control.  I'm looking forward to the appointment with the oncologist tomorrow.  I think he will be pleased that the swelling has gone down so much. My feet and legs look like they belong to me and I'm so happy to have my own feet and legs!  I am wearing compression stockings and I'm sure they help because yesterday when I had them off long enough to wash and dry and my feet and ankles were already starting to  swell.   It's an ongoing issue and I just have to learn to cope with it and not let it get out of control.

Our hope is to get a good report tomorrow and head home.  It's been so wonderful to be staying with James and Kathy.  Their support has been awesome.  We are richly blessed.  Tomorrow Trish will meet us at the appointment with the oncologist, too.  I love that the kids are so good to us!  It's wonderful that they will share even the tricky times with us.  The burdens don't seem so heavy when there is wonderful help to carry them!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back to OKC

Lee got this pic of Nate and I today.  Nate has on the last of the Shnell Region t-shirts; that's an OLD shirt!  More old memories of good times and good people.

Nate worked hard, and so did Lee.  When we get home I'll get pix of the flower beds they've perfected!  I'm really proud to have those beds looking so good.

My weight was down to 117 today, so my legs and feet are doing great.  My belly is still bloating, though.  If I could ever get all the swelling down at one time, I'd look and feel so right.  I'm super grateful for the relief I've had though.

We are in OKC at James and Kathy's house.  I have a stress test first thing tomorrow morning.  Then on Tuesday I see the oncologist, again.  I hope he'll be pleased with the 22 pounds of water I lost this week; I sure am!  I resume the Xeloda tomorrow, too.  I'm going to take a regular dose, but only for a week.  We're going to do one week on and one week off and see if my body tolerates that schedule better than the schedules we've done previously.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Most of the Retained Fluids are Gone! Whew!

This is the flower bed out front with only irises in it.  I should have taken a pic of all the weeds.  Nate has it looking so good, now.  I'll get pix tomorrow and post them.  Nate and Lee have really worked hard, all the while wanting to throw out the flowers and put in grass, but someone would have had to die over such a blunder as that.  I appreciate their work, but I'm not crazy about their attitude of wanting to trash the flowers. When I'm dead and gone they can ruin the yard if they want, but as long as I live, I love these flowers.

Today I was down to 121 and I was at 119 when this all began, so maybe most of the fluid is gone!  I just hope I can keep it gone!  Fluids collecting in the body are sure no fun.  So often I feel like I'm smothering. I'm grateful that I have an oxygen generator; it's been a big help!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Precious Memories and Precious People!

This is a pic we got last November when we were on our way to MDA.  Terri, would always meet us for lunch on the way.  She has retired and moved to Orlando and is leaving her dream, working at Disney World.  Terri and I were at Itazuke at different times, but we became attached at the hip at reunions.  She goes with me everywhere (we both have that set mentally).  When I was in Tijuana for treatments she went into the 'oven' with me.  These last few weeks of many ER visits, she's gone with me every time in my mind and hers.  I thank God for my Princess Dolly; she's been a wonderful support.  She calls me Sissy, but I have a Sissy, so she's my Princess Dolly.  Precious people; precious memories!

God knew I needed a real body with me for all this, so He sent Lee, too.  Lee and Nate have worked so hard in the yard today.  The yard looks better than it ever has.  Bless their hearts.  They deserve medals.  I thank God for them.  They were working so hard while I was laying around with my feet up higher than my heart all day.  The liquid is coming off, though, so I'm happy.  I figured this is what they'd do to me if they put me in the hospital, so I'm doing the best I can to get this stuff GONE!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Raynie!

This is Raynie and her big sister, Sadie.  It's  pic I took last summer, so they've changed a bit, but not much.Sadie is the world's best big sister and Raynie is her little clone.  She looks exactly like Sadie did at her age.  Today Sadie took Raynie to have her ears pierced!  That's pretty special for a big sis and it will be a birthday that Raynie always remembers!

I took it really easy all day today.  I'm wearing compression socks as instructed by the doc and keeping my legs up as much as possible.  The fluid is draining of a bit, but my feet and ankles are still awfully fat looking. I'm hoping that it took me a while to get to this point, so it will probably take a while to get back to normal.God will show me the way.

It was so good to be home today and get lots of rest.  Lee did some laundry and Nate got some work done in the yard.  I love the help!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Love, Love, Love Home!

This pic was taken just about a year a year ago.  It was the 28th of July, last year.  That's me on the far left and Nate on the far right in the back.  It's hard to ever get a pic of him because he's very elusive anymore at 22!  He came home with us today to help us get some yard work done.  He's saving money for a trip to Denver the end of this month and we need the help, so it's a win/win for all of us.  It's been so fun to just have him all by himself, too.  It's wonderful when all the kids are here, but it's really special when we get some one on one time with any of them.  Between Nate and I are Sadie and Gabe.  Then on the front row are Raynie, Gracie and Mason.  I love every one of these kids SO much, but I'm really thrilled to get a little one on one time with Nate.

They were able to pull off over 2 litres of fluid from my abdomen today.  What a relief it is to be able to bend at the middle!  I've got to get to bed and get my feet up so that some of that fluid will start to move, too.  If it doesn't move, and if the abdomen fills up, again, by the time we see the oncologist on Tuesday they'll put me in the hospital and get real aggressive with getting rid of it.  I'm  content with anything they do.  I sure like moving and not being so bloated and tight!

I had another session of a racing heart beat last night from 3 until 5 a.m.  At least it was beating at 140-160 beats per minute instead of 190 per minute.  So maybe the new medicine is working!  I'm tired, though, and so ready for a good night in my own bed!  Thank you so much for your love and prayers.  I'm getting better and better with your support!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quick Post; So TIred!

This was taken on my first birthday.  I had my new panties on my head and no shirt.  I guess I've had modesty issues from the beginning,

Today we did all manner of tests and ruled out a lot of things.  Ruled out blood clots in the legs.  Ruled out a heart problem.  The cardiologist thinks I was born with the tendency for my heart to race (kind of like born with the tendency to go without a shirt???) and it's simply manifesting itself now because my body is having a crash course in survival.  Anyway, tomorrow they will drain my abdomen which will give me some relief and they will analyze the fluid to see if there are cancer cells in it or not.

We are adding a second diuretic to attempt to get some fluid off my legs and feet.  I will go with this plan of a couple of different drugs and see if we can have improvement by next week.  If I improve we'll do the happy dance.  If I don't they'll stick me in the hospital and go hard and heavy on getting rid of all this fluid.  I'm ready for anything that sounds like relief!

God is great!  We really had a fun day today; it was just so tiring.

Monday, July 7, 2014

You Just Have to Cut Me Some Slack.

I am so sorry that I didn't get yesterday's post POSTED!  I thought I did it.  I had it all written and had every intention of posting it, but I signed on today and there it sat as a draft.  You know I really am not so sharp when I've been running lots of sprints, which seems to be what I do a lot of these days.  Some of you are so kind and mention that my pix are good.  I usually respond with, "Thanks, but I  just delete the terrible ones." It's been really tempting to delete many from recent days,  but that would not be honest.  If you or someone you know and love ever has to go through what I'm doing through, I want you and them to be prepared with the truth.  I was laying here in the ER Saturday night with my heart racing.  Someone in scrubs had just put an IV in my left hand, which I thought would kill me.  I've had lots of IV's put in with great difficulty because these old veins roll, but this was the worst ever.  There were two people in the ER in scrubs, but neither had a name tag or wore rubber gloves.  They could have been the cleaning crew for all I knew!  Then a woman with a name tag came in and proceeded to draw blood our of my RIGHT arm.  I was told in 2008 to never let anyone stick me in the right arm for anything because of the lymphedema in that arm.  I told her that and she said that was not about the sticking, but about the pressure of the tourniquet and she had no intention of using a tourniquet.  I was pretty much petrified as you can see by the look on my face.  NOBODY had stuck that right arm in the last 6 years.

My arm hasn't fallen off.  Tomorrow I will ask the oncologist about that arm sticking business and the pressure, etc.  Moving on to today:  GREAT NEWS!

Lee had his angiogram and the blockage they saw was there, but his heart had already built an alternate route and his circulation in his heart is good.  They need to do no stints!  He's up and walking around.  Yee Haw! He can go with me to all my appointments tomorrow as long as we push him in a wheel chair.  That's the rest of the good part.  They told me in the ER to see a cardiologist ASAP, so his cardiologist agreed to see me tomorrow!!!  So tomorrow we approach all my big issues.  I'm posting and heading for dinner Lee's precious daughter-in-law has prepared!  God bless families!

What a dear Lee is; the man has a wife with no boobs and a belly big enough to be carrying full term twins and he says: "Cute butt!"

Post or NOT Post . . . This is Real; More of the Cold Hard Truth.

Sorry this pic is kind of blurry.  It was 2 a.m. and Lee was wobbly and I was helpless.  I wish I could make this be a prettier picture, but pretty is not how things are these days.  Those elephant feet go all the way up to my flat chest.  I can only be thankful that my arms and chest and head aren't swelling.  Maybe it's only a matter of time, though, before they swell, too?  I'm also grateful to have some balloon size clothes to wear to these ER 'parties.'

I was asleep and woke up at 12:14 a.m. to the sound of that clown jack hammering, again.  That clown turned out to be ME!  See in my right hand?  That little black oximeter told me that my heart was racing to the tune of 170 beats per minute.  Lee and I worked for an hour to get it to 'convert,' with no results.  So, we went to the ER.  Holy cow!  Note to self:  don't go to the Hobart ER unless it's daylight; you can do everything they do in the middle of the night.  At some point I did convert without them having to give me meds to do it.  I think it was when she was putting that IV into my left hand; no doubt my heart stopped and restarted 2 or 3 times while I thought she was killing me.  Anyway, by 4 a.m. we were back home in bed with a good heart rate.

We are headed to OKC so we can be there for Lee's angiogram in the morning at 6:30.  I don't think today is likely to get any more exciting than the way it started at midnight.  I'll post tomorrow as soon as I can.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mr. I'll Take Care of it!

I got this shot of Lee on memorial day when we went to decorate the grave of his mom and dad and older brother.  Who knew he could do that?  I thought I'd have to rig it!

Bless his heart, he spent 3 hours in the front flower bed getting rid of weeds out there.  He knew they were bothering me, so he just did it.  I am so grateful.  Today, I boiled over some tomato soup on the stove and hes said, "I'll take care of it."  He has that attitude about everything when he needs it.  I assured him that I could do it 10 times faster than he could simply because I know how to clean up a flat cook top and he doesn't.  I love his attitude, though.  Bless his heart, he's had a couple of weird weeks looking after me.  I sure hope we can get me turned around so I won't be such a burden to him!

My prayer is that he will sale through the angiogram procedure on Monday with no complications.  We are driving to the City and Trish will haul us around to all our appointments while we are there.  I'm so glad she is free to do such a thing because she has a good head on her shoulders and she can help us to keep up with instructions, etc.  She has accepted a full time job teaching 1st grade at a special 'community hub' in OKC.  Raynie will go to school with her and all the other kids will be at Classen, another special school.  Well, Nate and Gabe are out of school so they are not issues these days.  Sadie is a senior, Mason is in 8th grade, I think, and Grace will be in 6th grade.

Thanks for keeping up with us on our journey.  Love and prayers for all of you,to

Friday, July 4, 2014

Another Good Day; Hopeful!

This pic was taken about this time last year when Lee and I went to Branson and Big Cedar.  We absolutely love Big Cedar and hope to get to go spend some good time there this winter and maybe this fall, too.  I'll be so ready to go if I can ever get jeans on, again!  It's really hard to travel when I feel like I'm blown up stiff like a balloon doll!

Today I did a better job of pacing myself.  I got a good nap.  I had some wonderful visiting time with Dolores Holt, a friend like a sister at church.  I am just not wired to lolly gag around and it's a whole new trip for me.  Dolores broke her hip last year and she had a lot to learn about setting new paces for herself, too. I'm doing my best to learn from her example and thank God for it.  Maybe I'm an example for someone, so I've got to get real serious about making better adjustments.

I got this 'message from God' today and found it VERY interesting! 
July 03 2014
Today, God's message for you is that patience is one of the greatest gifts you can give, to others and to yourself. Do not hurry through life; it goes by fast enough as it is.

I never, ever thought of patience as a gift to me or anyone else.  I just thought it was something I lacked and I needed to work on mastering.  What a concept, that it's a gift to give to myself and others.  I love it when God sends me a message and I GET it!!!

Happy patience to all of you!  Let's work on it together and think of it as a gift to ourselves, to our fellow man and to our awesome God!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Figuring Out How to Dress.

So, these pants used to be comfortable.  They still are, but I may wear them and another 2 baggy ones to threadbare.  I thank God that I had some draw string pants so I can be decent if I ever get the energy to go somewhere.  Sunday we'll go to OKC and stay with Lee's son, James, and his wife, Kathy.  We are so blessed to feel at home at their home.  Lee has to be at the Cath-lab for his angiogram at 6:30.  We didn't want to drive from Hobart to be there at that time of day.  Usually we stay in a hotel, but I'm admitting I need the support when Lee goes under anesthesia.  When he had his quadruple by-pass 3 years ago, it took him a week to come back to real life.  I'm in no shape to handle that sort of thing without the kids' help.  His procedure should go like clockwork and then after he rests on Monday, we'll go see my new Oncologist on Tuesday and get a treatment as well as put into play a new treatment plan.

Today has been a good enough day.  I was able to make and freeze 2 meat loaves this morning and a double batch of tuna salad. Having those handy I can go have a quick bite of protein at any time during the day.  The more protein I eat, the more the swelling us supposed to leave.  It's not happening yet, but I'm working on it. I feel like one of those blow up dolls that has been blown up so tight that I can't bend anywhere.  I'll be so grateful when this swelling disappears.  The Lasix is not working any miracles, but I keep doing the best I can.

The pic above was from about 6 weeks ago, I think.  My arms now look like bones with a sheet of wrinkles hanging on them.  But, I can sure fill those pants up with a huge belly!  I've said before, if this wasn't happening to me, it would be so very interesting.  Thank you all for caring.  I hope you nor anyone else you know ever has to endure this; but if they do, they CAN and I pray that I've helped to pave the road a bit for them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Good Day!

Oops!  I just pressed publish before I even wrote the blog.  Maybe that shows you how good the day really is.  Seriously, we were able to stay home today.  With my coaching Lee changed the sheets on our bed and did 3 loads of laundry.  He's amazing!

I thought it was a great day because I never had a racing heart; never had to use oxygen and was able to eat pretty well.  I still have a lot of inappropriate swelling, but it's getting better and better, little by little.  I sure thank God for a wonderful day of mostly rest for me.

This pic is one we took at Doris and Jerry's house 3 weeks ago.  Man, I'd love to get into those jeans, again! No way, anytime soon.  I'm grateful to recall the good days, though!  I'm not dumping all my jeans; I intend to get back into them!  The PA told me yesterday to eat whatever I want, but to drink a high protein Insure 3 or 4 times a day; the protein in it will help to take out the edema!  That's wonderful; I thank God that the Insure is delicious!  It's not a difficult assignment at all.

It's part of the deal I made with Lee to get the blog done before bedtime, so this is it for tonight.  Thanks for reading up on us and for sharing the good days as well as the bad days.  Today was a good one!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Hard Cold Truth.

I'm back and will hope to post every day.  It's really hard to keep so many people who care informed; the blog works so well to inform all of you at one time and save me repeating the same story over and over on many phone calls.  Thank you for allowing me to use the blog!  Thank you also for giving me a few days off.  I so needed the break.  Actually, I was never too sure what was happening, and I've been rather loopy.  (That is more than usual!).  I love it that you all care and I don't want you worried.  Remember, God doesn't like us to worry.  When I worked for Home Interiors, years ago, the President, Mary Crowley, used to tell us to never worry;  She said, "Girls, do all you can to solve your problems and then turn them over to God because he's going to be up all night, anyway."

I'm using this pic tonight, which I just took.  I balanced the camera on my water bottle and this is what we got.  I'll admit that I threw away 3 that had my eyes shut or the top of my head cut off.  This is the cold hard truth, as George Jones would say!  Three years ago I had my eyebrows and liner on my eyes permanently done.  I have never regretted it.  Especially on days like the last two weeks.  I have not had on make up since the day we drove home from the reunion in Tennessee.  I think that was the 22nd.  I would look like death warmed over for sure if I didn't have this permanent makeup as a part of me.  There is no way I've felt like putting on make up or removing it!

Now, the facts.  I have fired my oncologist in Lawton because he washed his hands of me.  He had his nurse call me and tell me that he said he had done all he could for me and I needed to call my docs at MD Anderson!  This is AFTER we made a flying trip to Lawton to get there in time to meet with him before he left for the day.  Lee drove 90 and 95 mph to get me there.  When I got there (this was a week ago tomorrow.) my heart was racing.  188 beats per minute.  75 is a good number for that!  I was there to do something about the fluids collecting in my body, but the attention shifted immediately to my heart rate.  Then on Friday I ended up going to the ER in OKC because I was still so swollen I couldn't bend anywhere. Sitting was awful, walking was nearly impossible and I was having a terrible time getting enough breath to breathe!  In OKC they monitored me all night and started me on Lasix to help get the swelling down.  I also met my new oncologist there!  He is happy to work with the docs at MD Anderson and he will do my treatments here.  I have an appointment for the 8th to meet with him and have the Zometa infusion.  We will determine at that time how we will resume the Xeloda.  The onc I fired kept saying we would reduce the dosage, but we never did.  My body just flat got totally out of control.

This morning I woke up at 8 a.m. and my heart was racing anywhere from 165 to 195 per minute.  That makes me way out of breath because it's like I'm running sprints!  I let it go for 2 hours hoping I could overcome it, but it never would stop.  I called my general practitioner, here and asked if he wanted to see me or if I should go to the ER.  He said go to the ER.  I really had fun in the ER!  They got my heart regulated and then they were simply running tests and attempting to figure out how I should deal with that racing when it happens, again.  The PA was absolutely wonderful.  He was explaining to me how I might be able to convert myself (from racing to a regular heart beat), when he glanced at the monitor and said, "Here we go, again; you're racing, again!"  So he attempted to show me exactly how to convert on my own.  After a couple of minutes it wasn't working so he rushed out of the room saying, "I'm going to get meds." He got about 20 steps down the hall and Lee said, "It's dropping!  It's working!"  He went running after the PA and we all did the happy dance.  We were so thrilled that I can stop it on my own without meds!  It's just not safe to let the heart run at full speed like that because it will wear out the heart!  So, we sat down and discussed nutrition, etc.  They kept me through lunch and I was able to eat and do fine; they even let me walk out; didn't have to go in a wheel chair!

I knew almost everyone who worked on me in the ER and I was pulling lots of pieces of the puzzle of Hobart together for Lee.  I had either taught these folks' kids  or knew them just from living in town. Everyone was warm and wonderful to me, so it was a pretty good experience.

This post is way too long so I won't go into more details.  I'll explain more in the next few days.  I'm enjoying lots of pampering and generally doing nearly nothing.  I"m resting a lot, but we're getting done what needs to be done.  Lee is absolutely wonderful.  Bless his heart; what a wonderful gift from God.  My feet and legs are looking way closer to normal, and my abdomen is going down little by little.  I look only 7 months pregnant, rather than 9 months.  Friday in the ER I weighed 139 pounds.  3 weeks ago I weighed 119. Yesterday I was down to 127.  I didn't even think to weigh today because I was fighting so hard for breath. Things are looking much better and I'm so grateful.  Thank you all for caring; God bless us all!