"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." -Daniel 2:22
"Do not fear, for I am with you..." -Isaiah 43:5
"...we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion." -Daniel 9:18
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

It's noon on New Year's Eve. Al has just called to say his company has shut things down and he is on his way home for another long weekend. He has been very discouraged this holiday season because he has had 2 or 3 nice, long weekends, but hasn't felt like doing anything.
The weekend after Christmas, some family and friends came over to shoot rifles and pistols, but the wind blew like a hurricane. He never shot one time. The next day was absolutely beautiful, but by then he had used all his energy for the weekend. Didn't even feel like going to church.
He has been hitting the pain pills pretty steady. He was reluctant to take them much at first, because he did not want to become depend. But the pain is just too much. He takes the less potent stuff during the day, but the oxycodone he takes as soon as he arrives home. We just pray that when the time comes that he doesn't need it anymore (hopefully, that is soon) that he will be able to put it down and walk away.
We had a great surprise yesterday afternoon: Scott Cunningham came to visit for a little while. Terri and the kids were off doing some errands so he came by. He used to be WBC youth pastor. We worked with him for about 8 or so years. It was so good to see him. Nice to sit and talk to him and catch up. It really lifted Al's spirits. We are planning to make a trip up to Colorado to visit them - probably sooner than they are ready!
If you are wanting to do something for a person that is in our situation - that is the most uplifting thing - a visit born of true friendship and love.
Another bright spot on our horizon is Rachel and Jacob bringing the youth out to have a bonfire and campfire at our house tonight. We might not be able to plan and participate as we once did, but we do still want to feel a part and we want our place to be used to God's glory.
I have been reading The Shack, as I know many have already read. (CJ is reading it too) Will get back to you with a review and some thoughts when it all sinks in....
Have a Happy and Safe and Blessed New Year. Eat your black-eyed peas (even if there is no such thing as "luck") just because it is tradition and they are good with some ham and cornbread!
God is good - all the time -
He's my source - for 2009

Love to all. Thank each one who has kept us in their prayers. May God richly bless you in this new year. We are praying for better times when we are able to get out and visit more of you on a more regular basis.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008
















Al has been on double the Lyrica + B6 for a couple of weeks now. Not seeing a whole lot of change. We had a great holiday with the kids and grandkids on Christmas Eve and then went to his sister's house on Christmas Day. Lots of good food.
Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aredia + Valtrex -Velcade + Revlimid + Lyrica + B6

We went for Al's monthly visit to the doctor yesterday. The equation above is the short version of what is going on with Al's medication right now. He has been getting monthly IV treatments of Aredia to strengthen his bones for about 18 months and this will continue, probably the rest of his life. He has taken Valtrex for over a year to hold off any outbreak of viral infections like Shingles. The Velcade is the nasty chemo that caused his neuopathy. So nix that and add the Revlimid, instead. Add to that Lyrica which is suppose to help reverse the effects of neuopathy.

After suffering for another month with the dibilitating pain in his legs, feet and one arm - the doctor has doubled his dose of Lyrica since it didn't seem to help much and added Vitamin B6.

Al seems to be one in thousands who have had this kind of reaction to the Velcade. So, therefore, any new drug that comes out along the same formula as Velcade, he will not be able to take. But, there are other types of drugs being developed.

For now, he is at an acceptable level with the cancer, that hopefully can be maintained with the Revlimid for an extended period of time. As long as he does not develop any further deterioration of the bones, we can live with this - minus the neuropathy.

The doc says the neuropathy will reverse itself - it will just take some time. I have tried to convince Al to take his pain medication on a regular schedule to reduce the amount of time he has to suffer, but he is uneasy about becoming dependent and sometimes waits too long between doses. I believe the pain has eased somewhat, but it is very slow progress.

Please pray that he would find some relief from this pain and that the neuropathy would begin to reverse itself. Pray for Al's frame of mind, as it is hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are in constant pain. Pray for Al at work, that God would be with him there to counsel him in the way to handle all situations and all people. Pray for God to guide Al and I along the path He has chosen for us. Not just walking that path, but joyfully skipping and singing and encouraging others along their paths, as well.

I hope that each of you have a blessed Christmas holiday with those that you love. I pray for God to reach each heart with His Saving Grace and bestow the gifts of peace and contentment upon you this joyous season.

We are giving God the glory for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us in 2008. Time to spend with our 3 wonderful kids, 7 fabulous (and good-looking) grandkids, sisters, brothers, mother, dad, all our friends. A home to shelter us. Vehicles to drive, a job to sustain us. A church to support us.

But, mostly, a Heavenly Savior who has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and thereby, have the assurance of spending eternity with Him. This allows us to live in this disaster of a world with the hope of a better future.

Praise be to God in Heaven for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God Sings to Us through Others & Table Decor


Whew! what a busy week, this past week. It seems everyone wants to do things in the first week of December. It has been such a blur, I don't even remember it all...
Taking the tree down from the attic, rearranging the furniture to accomodate it, the ice maker is on the blink (no ice for weeks! devastating), the bathroom sink has a drip (took 3 trips to Home Depot to get that fixed), last minute invite to decorate a table at the WBC Women's Christmas dinner, helping Jill and Emily decorate the trailer for the Waxahachie Christmas Parade, shopping for decorations....It was all fun, but very tiring.
I only had a fuzzy idea about what I would do for table decorations on Friday evening. Jill and I shopped all day on Wednesday to try to find just the right table covering. All I knew at that point was that it would involve grapes. As Mother was decorating a table also & she was using her gold dishes, I didn't want to use gold also. I choose my burgundy and purple plates, along with the grape decor from my kitchen.
I began to pray about it. Yes, I was praying about table decorations!
As I had exhausted all other posibilities for a table covering and wasn't coming up with what I thought would work, I resorted to the fabric dept. All the table cloths, so far, had been in red and green or just not the right color. (I am a non-conformist and was determined to do something that really spoke about the real reason for the season-I don't think Jesus was born in a manger with red and green swaddling clothes!) Then I spotted the burlap. I wasn't sure how it would look, but it seemed the right thing to get, so I jumped out in faith and bought 5 yards. Cheap.
God put the idea in my head to have a table decorated for communion. I still did not have a good idea what it would look like until I got there and put it all together. I had my dishes & things, I had some of Mother's candlesticks and things, I used some of Laura Riza's napkins and rings, I used a fruit bowl from Jean Heffernan - it was a group effort. Wanda Westlake gave great advise. Johnny Carino's makes great communion bread and Welch's the "wine".
I must say, God sets a pretty table. It all came together: the tower of wooden bowls and candlesticks surrounded by a grapevine wreath with red berries & topped with a cross. All on top of a table covered with burlap, grape and burgundy plates (both square and round) and glasses embellished with grapes.
It was so fun to have most of my good friends sitting at that table with me. CJ and Jill and Kellie and Emily and Lisa.
To top the evening off, He sang to my heart through my good friend, Lisa Crouch. Any time Lisa sings - it fills my heart with such overpowering gratitude to Him, that I can not contain it. I cried and cried. (Imagine, me, crying in church!) It was so cleansing to have that opportunity to be held in the arms of God and my friends, while I sobbed my grateful heart out. Afterwards, about seven of us adjourned to the other room for a quick prayer time. It was such a blessing.
As it turned out, the table decorations were a reflection of Siyan Fayiga's message for the evening - we don't have to celebrate Christmas the way the world has told us we should. It doesn't have to be red and green and glittery. Celebrate the way God tells you to.
So, let God help you, even with the small stuff, like table decorations. You will enjoy it all the more and reap many blessings in the process.
The next morning, Jill, Emily and I were in the parade for Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. It was my first parade. Fun. I just rode in the back of the truck, mainly to take pictures of Anne and Seth and Bernice and all the kids that come for therapy. They and their parents seemed to be having a ball despite the cold. By Saturday evening, I was so exhausted, I think I went into a coma for about 10 hours.
BUT....the really good news is that Al and Justin finally got to go to a gun show for a few hours. Al had to sit down part of the time, and it really wore his legs out, but he slept really good Saturday night, too. The first time in a very long time. He is still in a lot of pain and still taking a lot of pain meds, but once in a while there are small signs that he may get better at some point. He felt well enough to go out to dinner and a movie with Billy Eaton on Friday night, too, while us gals were having our dinner.
All in all, it was a great start to a celebration of the birth of Christ. I am praying that our family will continue to look to Him for our strength, our direction, our physical and spiritual healing and our hope. And I am praying the same for you....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday

We had a great day on Thanksgiving seeing my niece, Amber and her husband, James who were here from North Carolina. My sisters, Sue and Joette came to celebrate the holiday with turkey and all the trimmings. Our daughter, Kim came by with her horde of guys to visit Amber. Al's Dad came by. I really enjoyed having my sister, CJ with her husband, Joey, son Sean and sister Amanda come spend the evening hanging out.
Then we had the trip to the deer lease the next day (see last blog). Al and Justin tried to go to the gun show on Saturday, but the lines were too long. Al would not have been able to stand for that long. I guess it was a God thing, because we got a visit from pastor Bruce and his son, Robert that afternoon. That was encouraging. We all prayed together for the Lord to touch Al's body and to strengthen us both.
I have been trying to get Al up and moving just a little, so that maybe he can sleep at night. There's not much you can do that doesn't require too much exersion. So we went to the movies to see "Bolt". It was pretty cute.
I am thankful that he continues to be able to make it to work each day, even if he doesn't stay all day. That he can still go to church on Sundays, even if all he can do is walk straight from the truck to the back row.
I always hear how great he looks. But looks are deceiving. He feels much worse than he looks.
It seems that nothing is helping to ease his pain, or help him to sleep at night.
We had hoped that he would be doing much better by this time.
All we can do is to continue to trust in the Lord.
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable!
May He grant you your heart's desire
And fulfull all your counsel!
We will sing for joy over your victory
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners
May the Lord fulfull all your petitions
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright,
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us inthe day we call."
Psalm 20

Saturday, November 29, 2008

25 Days Til Christmas!

We did not get up early to go to the deer lease yesterday, but took it easy. We got there around Noon. We weren't sure we were going to be able to even get out of the truck because it was raining so hard just a few miles from there. But by the time we got to the gate, it had let up and stopped completely. Thank you for answered prayer, Lord.
Our daughter, Kim and her family were there. Mark and the boys had gathered some wood and were about to start a "manly" fire. Meaning: you douse it with gasoline.
We burnt some hot dogs and fed the fire some marshmellows. It was a great time. We just sat around and enjoyed the fire.
Then Al took Chance to sit on a field and Mark took Peyton and Jarrett to a tree stand to hunt. Mark shot a deer, but I never saw it. Al and Mark prepared the deer for the processor with a couple of the boys help.
Kim, Grant and I just stayed by the fire. Ate pumpkin bread shaped like turkeys and hearts. (Kim is an over-achiever) Talked with other friends who came to hunt. It was a perfect afternoon in the woods! No wind, just the right temperature. Good company.
I usually have to sit there by myself because most of the other ladies go hunting with there husbands. It was very nice.
Al did very well. He was tired, but nothing more than usual. We figure, if he is going to be in pain - he can at least be doing something he loves.
Today he is going to attempt to spend the day with Justin at the gun show.
Time to get that tree down and get started with the Christmas holiday season.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all! Before I get in the kitchen and finish up our feast, I just wanted you all to know that we are inching forward.
Al is still in a lot of pain, but it is gradually getting a little better. We have determined (doctors, that we are) that the pain in his shoulder is probably the same thing as his hips. Damage due to the taking of steriods that first summer of 2007. That would mean that it may not get better until he has more radiation. Not the best news, but, at least, an explanation for why the pain is not receeding.
He does still have some side effects remaining from the Velcade. But the neuropathy is subsiding a little bit. He is able to walk better, but still can not stand for more than a few minutes. His feet remain swelled and painful.
But, he is gradually getting around doing a few things each day. We took his Dad, sister and brother-in-law to supper last night. He got up and put the turkey on the smoker early this morning (he is still not sleeping through the night) and he helped me bathe our two dogs this morning.
That is probably all he will do for today, but it is getting him moving around a little bit.
We are so thankful for all the prayers you have offered up to our Heavenly Father on our behalf. We are thankful to live in the United States of America. We are thankful to be able to worship and serve a risen Savior. We are thankful and grateful for our home, our family and each other.
Don't eat too much!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A hunting we will go....

Al's symptoms seem to be getting better one minute, but then not the next. It is really hard to tell how he is doing these last few days. He is still not sleeping through the night, even with pain pills or sleeping pills. The neuropathy seems to have gotten better in his legs, but he still can not walk very well or stand up for more than a few minutes. His arm and shoulder still hurt.
We drove down to the deer lease on Saturday. Took some corn for his feeder. Our son-in-law, Mark and oldest grandson, Chance were there and helped him get that done. After chatting with some of the folks hanging around the campfire, he was ready to come home. He didn't even take his rifle with him! You know he's feeling bad.
Got up and went to church, but then he turned around and went back home. Said he slept pretty good for a few hours.
I guess his system is just all mixed up and doesn't know when to sleep and what to do.
Looks like the recovery from this last chemo is going to be very, very slow. Meanwhile, he has started the Revlimid pills (the 2nd chemo he took last year) without the steroid booster. It's hard to tell if he is having any side effects from it, since he still has so much lingering from the Velcade.
Please continue to pray that he does recover well enough to have a better quality of life. He is getting very discouraged to have no energy to do anything.
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with your family. We are giving much thanks to our Heavenly Father for all his grace and mercy to us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking Up

Al has had none of the chemo, Velcade in about 2 weeks, but he has continued to experience the side effects. Mostly neuropathy. A nerve thing in his legs and one arm, that is painful. It seems to have gotten worse over the past week. He has not slept well in several weeks.
Today we were at the doctor to find out what, if any, impact this latest chemo was having on his cancer. It did have a small impact. He was at .5% protein (cancer indicator) and he went down to .4% with 2 rounds of Velcade. The doc says in some people it completely knocks out the rest of the cancer cells, but Al only got a 20% reduction.
Therefore, we are going to discontinue the Velcade treatments. Since we have discovered Al is highly sensitive to any chemo that might effect the nervous system, we don't want to continue with this treatment. He had this same reaction way back with the first kind of chemo, Thylidomide. The doc says if we were to continue this he would end up not being able to even walk. We don't want the "cure" to be as bad or worse than the disease.
So....since we have exhausted all of the current treatments available for multiple myeloma that are feasible, he is going to return to the 2nd drug treatment, Revlimid. There are other treatments available, but since Al only has this small amount of cancer left, it would be "overkill". Meaning, the chemo would be too strong for what is needed. There is also clinical trials, but he is not to the point that this is necessary.
The Revlimid was working for Al and, as I recall, he had no serious side effects from it. Before they gave him a steroid chaser with the Revlimid, but we are going to forego the steroids this time, as they are the cause of the problems in his hips. They only took him off that to do the 2 stem cell transplants.
So things are looking up. There is more hope.
He has felt really bad for the past few weeks. He tried to go to church on Sunday, but just couldn't sit there. He went to try to lay down in the truck. He is very sorry if he was rude to a couple of people who tried to talk with him and ask him how he was - he was just feeling really terrible and had to lay down.
He is awfully tried and needs to get some rest. The pain medication he has had is not working, even when he takes the right dose. So the doctor gave him something stronger today. He says that after a while of not having any Velcade, that the neuropathy should ease up.
He started feeling something funny around his eye this morning too. He is fearful that it could be shingles returning. He had a case of them in his eye about 5-6 years ago. He has been on Velcade since he started stem cell treatments to try and prevent an occurance of shingles. I think they had cut his dose in half, so we need to jump on that before an outbreak. Nasty stuff.
I pray that the Revlimid will squash that remaining .4% of those nasty cancer cells without any further side effects. We are hoping for him to start feeling well enough to enjoy the holidays and be kicking up his heels and pestering me to go, go, go in 2009. We have lots of plans and much more work to accomplish, as the Lord wills.
Al is hoping to be able to get back to his duties as a deacon. I have signed up to help in the nursery. As things are looking up.....we are looking up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Review: Same Kind of Different As Me

I want to thank CJ and Beth for recommending this book to me. They don't know each other, but both mentioned this book to me within the space of a few weeks. I thought I should check it out. CJ brought it to me last week. I read a few chapters when I had some time, but this morning God was gracious enough to clear my slate long enough for me to finish reading the whole thing.
What a blessing! It is a book that everyone should read. I don't care who you are - you can learn something. I do not know how you can read this story and not be moved to racking sobs, as I was, because of the examples God has blessed us with.
Aside from the touching story of what a difference one person can make, is the amazing gift of how God works through people.
The wisdom He gives to some to share, even those who have never read His Word, but know it.
The struggles and disagreements that even true believers have with their God.
The bottomless well of compassion He allows some to spread across all boundaries.
The amazing work He can do with a ready and willing heart.
The amazing work He can do with a closed and stubborn heart.
If you are paying attention, you will see how we, as Christians (and as churches) need to quit judging each other based on all the things we judge each other on: race, looks, clothes, cars, money, knowledge (a biggie!), lack of visible sin, lack of visible service, jobs, homes....the list is endless!
We need to get back to just loving each other...that is what makes a difference.
I hope that you will find this book and read it and share it. After all of that - that you will find a way to make a change in your own life and the life of someone else, through the love of Christ. You will be blessed.
If you have read this book, I would love to hear your review...just post a comment here on my blog...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hope

After Al told the doctor how he has been feeling, the doctor said we would postpone more chemo for a week. I was happy that Al really told him how he was feeling. Sometimes he tries to be his own doctor and decide what he wants to tell the oncologist.
The doctor needs to see what the results are from the blood tests & that will take a few days. Meanwhile, he has given Al a new medicine for the neuropathy in his legs. This is the main cause of his not being able to rest.
We will go back next week and see what the tests say. If this chemo is not reducing the protein levels at all, then he will discontinue this treatment and look for something else. The protein level is only 0.5%, but we would like to achieve ZERO.
The doctor is concerned about quality of life and work for Al. If it is achieving no visible results, but creating all these adverse side effects - then there is no point in continuing it.
If, however, this chemo has had some effect on his protein levels (reduction, hopefully), then he will look at continuing it, but maybe at a lower dose.
This extra week will give us time, also, to see if the Lyrica works on the neuropathy. If it is successful, and the protein levels have gone down, he may stay at this dosage with a solution to the most adverse of the side effects.
One thing we did not address, was his tiredness and lack of energy. His red and white blood cell counts are still not up where they need to be, so this is a big part of it. He takes Folic Acid to help. The doctor was gone before I could remember to say something about it... I will address that next week, if he has not improved.
Pray for good results from all this.... God is soooo good. We give Him all the praise for the progress we have made in this fight.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHANCE!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just No Energy

Last week I was hoping for some marked improvement for the side effects Al has been dealing with, since he did not receive any chemo. He did seem to feel a little better for a day or so, but then the fatigue seems to slam him. I think that when he starts feeling even marginally better, he rushes around trying to do too much and then WHAM!
We went to the orthopaedic surgeon on Friday. They took xrays. He sees no change, which is good. There is still plenty of bone structure. You can see on the xrays where the edges of his bones (we are mainly talking about his femurs) are a little rough. It looks a little like an old piece of wood where the edges are weathered. We will go back for xrays every 3 months to track this. If it gets to where there is too much erosion, then we will have to talk about the rods in his legs. Pray that is very, very far down the road.
We went to the movies to see Madagascar 2 after the doctor. Those penguins need to get a movie of their own - they steal the show! Then had dinner out with Al's dad, sister & brother-in-law, my mom & Justin. Tried the orginial Cafe Roma's in Lancaster - fantastic white pizza.
Al went hunting Saturday morning with Steve, while I spent the morning at the riding center. Rusty brought Jaxon out to ride a little and he just loved it!
Al shot an 8-point. So our freezer will be full next week. Guess I'd better get it cleaned out! Then Saturday evening we sat out in the yard around a campfire. Justin and Charli made s'mores. Lewayne and Virgil came by for a bit. It was nice. I love me a campfire.
Yes, we did get up and go to church, but I think Al slept through most of it. He just can't stand up for more than 5 minutes any longer. He has not been sleeping well, so that adds to all the other fatigue. I hate not going, but I hate that he is not able to enjoy going. He wants to get out of the house and do things, but it just totally wipes him out.
I want to say Thank You to Rusty, Billy, Tobey, Scott and all those on the men's softball team who were involved in coming out to the house and painting the trim. (Amber, too) Some that came didn't even know us. But God knows who you are and I pray His ample blessings upon you all and your family. It is a great load off my mind to have that job done.
We will be going back to the primary oncologist tomorrow to see what tests he want to do to see what, if any, effect this chemo is having on the cancer. Al says he is going to see if they will suspend the chemo treatments for a while to let his body start feeling better. I don't know if this is an option. I don't know if this is a good idea. I don't really know much of anything.
Please pray that God would give Dr. Maisel wisdom in his assessments and how to deal with a man who just wants to feel better, but may not ever.... I could use some prayer, also, to remain in Christ. To deal with Al through the power of the Holy Spirit and not let frustration and other human emotions rule the situation.
I will post again after we see what happens at the doctor's office tomorrow. Love to all.
Much love and thanks to our daughter, Kim. We love your pico! It was a great treat to come home and find you had delivered some.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Such a Knucklehead!

If you have been wondering where I was....I posted this blog on my Beginnings blog by mistake last Sunday and it has taken me this long to figure out how to get it transferred over to this current blog.....so read on.....

From Bad to Good to Terrible

I guess the last time I blogged was about a week ago. In that time we have gone from bad to good to terrible - several times. At that time, Al was recovering from the nasty intestinal virus that hit him very hard and caused him to become extremely dehydrated. During all of that he still managed to get to the hospital twice a week for the past few weeks to get his chemo shots and go to work almost every day and spend some time getting ready for deer hunting.Meanwhile, I was busy rearranging the entire house to try to get him his favorite spot back for his chair in the living room. A desk with computer had previously occupied that space for the past few years. There is still much stuff to find a place for, but the major stuff has been moved with the help of our son, Justin.In the moving, which included my computer, I seemed to have lost my internet connection. I got a USB port to catch it with wireless connections, but have not been able to get it to work, yet. Today I pulled out the laptop with Al's internet card to get online. Hopefully, I will get mine up and running sometime this week. It is my connection to the rest of the world! So if you don't get a response from me via email, just call me. I do still talk on the phone sometimes. (See below)So, there were bright spots when he seemed to feel okay and felt like talking or interacting, but by the end of the week, not so much. It seems that most of the things that have caused him pain in the past, are all hurting again. I remember thinking, not too long ago, that if the pain went away with radiation, what would happen after the radiation was no more? Well, that time appears to be here and it is not good.His legs don't exactly hurt, but they cause him some discomfort. His hips and back hurt, even with the Hydrocodone. So much so that he isn't sleeping well. The heating pad helps some. But his stomach is still upset almost all of the time. He really has to push the liquids every day to keep from getting dehydrated again. He does a pretty good job of that, because I told him if he didn't, I would take him to the hospital for the fluids. Fortunately, they gave him some fluids by IV while he was at the hospital getting his monthly meds.He did get up and go deer hunting with Steve yesterday. He lasted all day, even though it was pretty hot. I went down there in the late afternoon and he wasn't feeling the best, but he stuck it out for the evening hunt. But he is paying for it today.I had all the good intentions of getting up and going to church today.....He did not sleep much, he is in pain and can't seem to get comfortable. Please pray for him to find some relief. I think he is just going to have to cut way back on what he does. I remember when he used to leave the house on the Friday before deer season opened and we didn't see him again until the following Sunday evening. No more.He is going to have to learn to take things very slowly and shorten his "playing time". I think it is going to take most of his energy just to make it to work and back as many days as he can.I don't know what all this means. He does not have chemo this week. I think they will begin doing tests next week to see what kind of effects the radiation and this new chemo have had, if any. If this chemo is not making things any better, I don't know what comes next.I know it is no fun having to go to work every day, feeling like he does. Especially when it seems that his boss is no longer very understanding. Pray for his bosses' heart to be softened toward his situation. And, of course, continue to pray that God's will be done in our lives. Healing would be good, but His will is most important.On a lighter note: I hope you enjoy my playlist! I know it is very eclectic and some are very ancient, but they are songs that lighten the heart in different ways. If you don't like what is playing, just click the forward button and it will change to something else.Also: I was gifted with a couple of bottles of "The Origianl Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce" and asked to write a review here on my blog. Yes, it is shameless advertising, but I said I would.I would have to say that I liked the sauce. It has a sweet, smokey taste that goes well with the hamburger patties that we used it on. I have not had a chance to use it on other meats, but feel it would be good with pork ribs. Look them up online to buy some.Another note: We cancelled our land line at the house because it just seemed like a waste of money when we mostly use our cell phones and all we would get are telemarketers, anyway.If you need to call, here is my cell : 972.743.0507 If you need Al or Justin or my mom, Lutean, call me and I will give you their number.Love to hear from you!We missed most of the football games, we missed the Country Reporter Festival, we missed the Fall Festivals. We have missed being involved with youth, going on missions trips, doing fund raisers, cooking for lots of causes, ... just being involved. We will be missing a whole lot more of the things that others take for granted being able to do. BUT we are trying to find new ways to enjoy the life we have now. God is good and we look to Him for our strength.Thanks to all who pray....who believe....who minister....who carry on....who persevere....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blood Pressure

After my last post, Al got to feeling okay. Went to work on Friday, but wasn't back to normal. We were going to go to the Bob Phillips Festival on Saturday, but he wasn't feelin up to it. Then on Sunday he got to feeling pretty bad again. I thought it was just residual effects from the virus.
Later in the day, he told me that he had been out of his blood pressure meds for a couple of days. Yeah, that will cause a few problems! All this after he had called in his meds and gone to CVS to pick them up.
Today he went to work and stayed there all day. Was feeling much better. (Duh! That's what happens when you have the proper medication.) He is still very weak, but after a few days of some food and meds and proper hydration, I think he will be good to go.
Until the next germ decides to attach itself to him. With his immune system compromised because of the chemo & stuff, he will always be subject to picking up germs that would not have bothered him a few years ago. Just another change in our lives that will probably be permanent.
He was really sorry he didn't feel up to talking with Rusty and Billy when they came out to work on painting the trim. You guys are awesome!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stomach Virus

Well, this sounds wrong, but Praise the Lord, it was a stomach virus! Al is feeling much better this morning. His stomach muscles are pretty sore, but he's able to get out of bed.
After talking with his oncologist last night, he said that it was not related to the chemo or the cancer. A nasty bug going around. Thanks to all who were praying and those who sent those sweet emails. (You know who you are, Wade, Emily, Norma, Cheri, Terri...)
Hospitals are such a good place to pick up all kinds of germs. We have gotten lax in our disinfecting of hands and stuff when we are in public places. They disinfect the chemo chairs, but not the elevator buttons, bathroom handles, waiting room chairs... It is so easy for these germs to spread.
Hopefully, this is the last catastrophe we will have to deal with for a few days. At our house, it is never very long between catastrophes of some kind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

Well, as soon as you give God praise and glory, Satan tries to get you to denounce Him. As soon as I reported that all was well with Al - BAM! He came home this afternoon with severe stomach cramps and nausea. He finally told me that he it had been hurting since yesterday and gotten progressively worse. Especially after eating lunch.
I pray that this is not how he is going to react to this drug, Velcade, each time. Otherwise he will surely be taken off of it. I hope it was just what he ate. After all the contents were removed from his stomach and all the way down to his toes, he is feeling a little better.
We will try to get him back on a liquid diet and then see if I can introduce some solids later this evening. Then he goes back for another shot on Friday morning. I'll let you know how things progress.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From Death Row to General Population

We had a good visit with the oncologist today. After spending the last year and a half on what amounts to death row, we feel good about being released back into general population. While we are still in the cancer prison, we no longer anticipate death on a daily basis.
Al started out with a whole lot of myeloma cells in April '07. After 2 chemo treatments and 2 stem cell transplants, he is down to .5%. A really big reduction. The first chemo treatments nearly killed him. The transplants were not expected to put him in remission, but did greatly reduce the amount of cancer cells.
Then the radiation helped arrest the deterioration in his back and legs. He has finally begun to feel pretty good. He seems to be getting past the side effects from the radiation and the new chemo doesn't seem to have any - yet.
He will be on the new chemo, Velcade for a few more weeks before they do tests to determine whether or not it is decreasing the myeloma even more. If so, they will continue him on his present regimen of 2 weeks on and 1 week off. If they find it has not reduced the cancer at all, they will probably stop this treatment.
There are other treatments becoming available all the time. There is always full body radiation, which is not a desirable treatment, but an option down the line.
His back has been feeling better after the radiation. As long as he can manage the pain with heat and medication, he won't need any other treatment. If it gets too bad, he can have the plasty surgery, but we are hoping the cracked vertebrae will heal on it's own.
The doctor is very optimistic about his prognosis. Instead of the death sentence that accompanied this diagnosis just a few short years ago, there is a lot of hope. Geraldine Ferraro is one famous person who has been living with multiple myeloma for 10 to 12 years. She says that it is more of a chronic disease now which can be managed. Of course, this is not true of every person with this disease. There are a lot of factors involved. But we are thankful that Al was diagnosed early and was in such good health, with no other issues and got started with treatment before the disease did any damage to his kidneys or other vital organs.
Our goal, now, is to decrease the cancer as much as possible and then try to maintain quality of life. We have to be sure that the treatment is not worse than the disease. We also have to keep an eye on his vital organs, to be sure there is no issues that develop there. His kidneys are fine, but many others with this disease have had major problems in this area. So, they will be monitoring all his vital organs and the strength of his bones, which could be another area of great concern.
Al seems to be in such good health if you just take him at face value, but he will always have issues to deal with. Because he was in such good health (meaning no other health issues besides the cancer), he has tolerated all these treatments very well.
One issue that was addressed today was his anemia. He has continued to be easily tired. They gave him a shot of Arenest (not sure of the spelling) for that today. He had not gotten it before because you have to meet certain critria in order to receive it. I guess his numbers were down low enough and long enough to get it.
We give God all the praise and glory for the healing that has taken place, so far. We anticipate many years of extended good days to serve Him in whatever way He puts before us.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

House Painting




These wonderful people came to our house today and began scraping and painting the trim. We had painted the house a couple of years ago before Al was diagnosed, but never got to the trim. This spring, my Mom and I had tried to get it done, but didn't make much headway. When I was exchanging emails with our pal Rusty, he asked if we had any projects that needed doing. His softball team wanted to begin doing mission projects. At first, I didn't think we had any until I remembered the trim painting. That was only about a week ago and here they are...I pray God's blessing upon them. They will have to come back next weekend & bring some of the guys who couldn't make it this weekend. We really do appreciate the help.

Al is doing very well, but when he starts feeling better, he thinks he can go right back to doing all the things he used to could do. He can't. He overdoes it and winds up totally exhausted and in great pain. When others come and help get these things done, it takes the burden off him to worry about getting them done. Even though I think it is killing him to sit back and watch other people do things for him. Maybe, next, we can get some help dismantling the paintball coarse, hint, hint. It will make a fantastic bonfire!

We have lots of friends and family that we know who are more than willing to come and help. I am not using all those chips, just yet. I want him to do what he can because it makes him feel better to do something. Right now, he still can, to a point. In the future we will probably have to call on our fantastic son-in-law, Mark, along with his 4 strong boys or his best friend, Steve or his son, Keith, to help out with some things.

Since the whole economy has gone bust, we have decided God wants us to just sit tight where we are until He shows us His plan. In the meantime, Al and our wonderful son, Justin, have begun the big CLEAN UP. Justin works shift work and doesn't have a lot of days off when Al is off, but he is great about using his days to help around the farm. This will be a big help when & if the Lord allows us to sell and move. A lot less stuff to have to move or get rid of.

Getting rid of all the "stuff" you have collected over 25 years is a long, slow process. I am very proud of Al for beginning to let go of some of it. He has always been one to keep everything because he might have use of it some day. So....we have an acre of metal and wood and tools and gadgets and thingamagigs and whatchamacallits, just to name a few.

He has made great headway in starting the cleanup. Maybe by the time the economy kicks back into gear, we might have gotten rid of a lot of the stuff he will never need. It is very hard to give up your dreams and to know that all those projects you had been wanting to do....will never happen.

We will just have to come up with some new dreams, a new direction that is more appropriate to what our lives will be like in the future. We thank God that we have come this far in the battle of this disease. As a friend from many years ago wrote, we are trusting in the Bigger "C". Christ is bigger than cancer. He gives us a hope and a future, because He lives.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Motorcycle


We have a buyer for the motorcycle! PLT. He came by last night to look at it and ride. Someone local that we had previously met. He ministers through his motorcycle group. So...not only do we have the burden of the motorcycle taken away, but it will be used for God's Glory to boot! I pray that all the financial elements fall into place to allow the sale to go through as planned.
I know it is a great disappointment to Al to have to give up riding. He waited 3o+ years to be able to have another motorcycle. He only had it for 2 years. I guess we were suppose to help pay for it, so that this person could afford it for his ministry. Amazing how God works!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Albuquerque



After Al's last Velcade shot in his first round on Friday, we left for New Mexico. He felt good and loves nothing better than a road trip. Even though the night before he had experienced some pretty intense pain in his back (or hips).
He is still not able to determine exactly what is causing the pain. Don't know if it is the hips, the back or what. It could be left over from the radiation or it could be from the new chemo. It seems to be random and usually in the late evening.
We had a great time seeing our friends who moved there from Waxahachie with their two teenagers. They had only been back home from a year in Africa as missionaries when they got the opportunity to move for his job. It was a God thing because they had both always wanted to live out there. They both now work for a ministry called Faith Come By Hearing. Look it up, if you don't know anything about it...they are fulfilling THE GREAT COMMISSION. Exciting stuff.
The weather in Albuquerque was fantastic! Reminds me of Mexico. Unfortunately, the wind was pretty strong, so they cancelled the mass balloon launch on both days, the last 2 days of Balloon Festival. We did get to see a few launch on Monday morning from their balcony.
They had all kinds of plans for things to do while we were visiting, but Al's back began to hurt some on Saturday and he was up all night, so we just hung around the house, visited and watched the Cowboys blow it. It was nice, relaxing. We are thinking of going back this winter.
Never figured out what caused all the pain, but we did learn that applying heat to his back does help. By Sunday afternoon, with some rest and heat, he was doing much better.
He drove all the way on the trip home. Does he not trust my driving? Anyway, we stopped by Palo Duro Canyon on the way. Both of us are born and bred Texans, but had never been to the canyon. Awesome! We plan on going back there, too, when we have more time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Velcade

The latest chemo treatment was not suppose to make him sick, but he is feeling pretty lousy. I don't know if it is because they started him on it even before he finished with the radiation or if that has anything to do with it at all. I am praying that this is just his body getting used to the new drugs. He got up and went to work, anyway.
Isn't cancer just a cruel thing? We were going along pretty good. Things seemed to be getting better. Everyone told me how great he looked. He spent the weekend working around the farm, cleaning up metal. He has still had some side effects, but nothing he couldn't handle with some medicine.
Last week we went to visit at Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center out near Five Points, south of Waxahachie. Our friend, Jill is just getting it started with her friends, Emily and Bobby. We had a great time getting to know these wonderful people. We have decided to begin volunteering to help them get this ministry growing. I am helping administratively Al hasn't yet determined what he will do. I imagine he will be a side walker or something of that nature, as he has always wanted to work with special needs kids.
We meet some other great volunteers and were looking forward to our first night out at the center together. But when Al came home last night he did not feel like going out there with me. I was disappointed, but I took Justin's girlfriend, Charli with me. She wants to help them with the horses. I am hoping Justin will get involved, also. My friend CJ came out to meet Emily and Bobby and Jill. She gave them some insight into a new program for RAD kids (look it up on the internet) called Beyond Consequences, for emotional challenged kids.
The riding center is building a new barn, arena and bunkhouse/studio. It will all be available for groups besides their riding therapy, art therapy and EAC (equine assisted counseling) They want it to be used for a place of healing from all types of physical, emotional and spiritual challenges.
Anyway, more about that on another blog. I have high hopes for this to be the direction God is leading us as a family. To be involved with His work through a ministry that is making a difference in the lives of others. It is not probably one I would have chosen on my own, but after just a couple of visits with these folks, I feel God in the whole scheme.
Al is excited to have a way to help others. Since his body is less able to do the physical activities that he is accustomed to, this will give him an outlet for some of that energy. He has always been an extremely mobile person. Always on the go. Extremely generous, too. He needs a way to use his energies. He and Bobby hit it off right away. He also met Donny, who is the unofficial chaplain of this new endeavor. They plan on having men's breakfasts out in the new barn, when that gets finished.
I ask for your prayers for Al's body to settle down with this new drug. Velcade. That God would lay His hands upon him. I thank the Lord for this new opportunity to focus on others needs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just Another Fun Day at the Hospital

Yesterday, we spent all day at Baylor hospital. Labs, Dr. visit, a couple of hours in the infusion room for his Aredia and a new chemotherapy drug, Velcade, then on to radiation. We got to eat lunch from the hospital cafeteria while he was hooked up to the IV. They really have pretty good food.
The visit with the oncologist did not have any surprises. He asks a lot of questions about how Al has been feeling. The answer: he has really been doing pretty well, lately. He has some uncomfortable side effects from the radiation, but nothing that can not be managed pretty easily. His back has been feeling much better. He has quit taking any pain medication other than occasional Tylenol or Advil. His legs ache a little, once in a while. The pain in both places is sporadic. He is sleeping better.
We give all the praise and glory to our Heavenly Father who is granting him some relief!
So...the doc started him on the Velcade immediately. It is a shot to be given by IV twice a week for two weeks, then one week off. He will go through about 4 cycles of this before they do any further testing. It is not suppose to make him sick or his hair fall out or anything, so hopefully, he will be feeling better and better.
When Al first went to see the oncologist, he had 5 grams of plasma cells in his blood. The first couple of chemotherapy treatments knocked it down pretty good, but also took a great toll on his body. The first transplant brought the plasma cells down to .6, which is pretty good, but we were hoping for zero. After the last transplant, the amount of plasma cells did not diminish further, so they are going to try to get it to zero using the Velcade. But no steroids, if possible. You will remember, it was the steroids that caused all these problems with his hips.
As for all the issues with hips, legs, back....they are all on the list to be monitored. None of the issues are serious enough, at this point, to warrant any kind of surgery (whew!).
After the radiation and the rounds of this new chemo...he will undergo all the tests again... blood, bone marrow biopsy, MRI, etc. Then we will see how this new treatment has worked.
We are thankful to be in a place of peace. We look around in the waiting room of each floor and see the devastation of cancer. It is staggering to see the numbers of people who are suffering just in this one hospital. And there are so many of these hospitals around the country and the world. We feel grateful to have access to great medical care, to have great medical insurance and to have a merciful and compassionate God.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dog Days

These are the dog days of cancer treatment. Waiting. Enduring. Today Al will get his 8th radiation treatment. He has done really well. Some side effects, but he is managing them pretty well. The nurse says that the doc only wrote up 12 treatments, so maybe we misunderstood the 20 we thought he was going to get. So he just has to get through next Thursday, for now.
We go on Tuesday back to the onocologist for bloodwork, Aredia, consult with doc and more radiation. We don't know if the doc is going to go ahead and start him on some maintenance chemo or wait until the radiologist is through with him.
Not sure why, but his back has been feeling very good since he started the radiation. He is not having to take any pain medication. The radiologist says it is not due to those treatments, but he will take credit for it anyway.
God is just laying his hands upon Al's pain for now. His real struggle now is his attitude. It is very difficult to find a reason to your life, when the doctors have said, "This is as good as it gets for the rest of your life, but it will get worse." I would ask that you pray for Al's heart and mind to be renewed in Christ.
God continues to bless me through His Word. I have begun a new bible study about the life of David. It is, once again, right on target. In I Samuel 14:6 Jonathan says, "Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf". He knew that God could save him & bring victory through him, he just didn't know if that was part God's plan. The same with Daniel & his 3 friends in the furnace. They knew God COULD save them, but would He CHOSE to do so?
I have learned that obedience is more important than sacrifice.
Our struggles are personal. Not that we should not seek help and guidance from each other, but we have to have that one on one relationship with God. We have to have our own understanding of who God is, what our own salvation means, what our own faith is built on and we have to take responsiblity for own own actions and obedience.
We need to be following Christ. We do not choose the battles, He does. We just follow behind him, be obedient and BE PREPARED.
I have learned we need to always wear our Sunday best. Not clothes. God doesn't care about our clothes. He cares about our best heart! Our best worship...our best skills....our best friendship....our best love
I learned we need to take God's Word over the opinion of others
Measure the size of what we are up against, next to the size of our God
I hope you have a blessed and anointed weekend.
...if you are new to my blog and don't know our whole story, you can read all about it on my other blog: kaputman2.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Radiation

Peyton, #2 grandson

Al has had a total of 3 radiation treatments now. The first one was the worst. He got chills and fever. His skin was hot to the touch. He was nauseated. But once he found out (the next day) that he was suppose to drink lots of fluids, it was better. He had also not eaten much before that first treatment & his nerves were probably pretty bad.
I sent out an all-points prayer email. It worked! The next two treatments were not so bad. It helped to have further instructions from the nurse about the fluids and they gave him some cream to put on the areas that might get "burned". He is doing well enough today to go to the deer lease with his friend Steve. Of course, he could go to the deer lease, even when he isn't feeling good, but I think he is.
He says he had lost all modesty. He has to change into "the hospital gown" with nothing but his shoes and socks on. Then he has to sit in the radiation waiting room like that until they are ready for him. They don't make those gowns big enough to cover very much of a 6 foot, 230 lb guy.
As he tells it, they lay him on the table & tie his feet together so that he doesn't move them. Then he has to stretch his arms over his head. We know what that does to the hem of your skirt, huh, ladies? (Sorry for the visual) Anyway, they are radiating his hips to his knees, so they have the gown up around his neck anyway.
When it is time to turn him, he is not suppose to move, so the nurses have to turn him. He thought it would be just a couple of nurses, the same ones each time. But NOOOOOO....he gets to show off his fine physic to about 5 new nurses each day. (He thinks the word is spreading about how buff he is - shhhhh, we won't tell him)
Anyway, although the primary job of the radiation is to arrest further deterioration of tissue, it has made his back feel better. Not sure if it is just the heat from the treatment or what......we'll take whatever we can get! Time is the only thing that will tell if the treatment is doing it's job.
Thanks for the emails and prayers.
Happy Birthday, Peyton!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hangin' in There





Kelsey, #1 granddaughter


Al went to radiology this morning to get some more tattoos! They have to tattoo tiny dots on you to mark the exact places where they are to do radiation. That way they can radiate the same exact spot every day. It took 2.5 hours.
He is in pain almost constantly these days. It seems like this problem is progressing very rapidly. The pain these days is mostly in his hips. He had thought it was his back, but since seeing the radiologist, now knows it is his hips (mostly). The hip problems are not the cancer. It is from the cancer treatment - namely, steroids. That is some nasty stuff. I guess that is why it kills cancer.
We are hoping the radiation treatments he will receive over the next 20 days will bring some relief. I am not sure, though, as I believe the treatments are mainly to arrest the deterioration of this area, not necessarily to heal anything.
It is all so much to assimilate in your mind. What the oncologist says, what the transplant doctor tells us, and the orthopedic surgeon, and the back specialist and the radiologist....they all have different ways of looking at the situation.
The oncologist see things in terms of longevity. He is trying every treatment he feels will prolong Al's life. His primary concern is Al's blood and the amount of cancer it contains.
The BMT doc (bone marrow transplant oncologist) looks at the completed procedure and what resulted from that. Knowing whatever the results, there is nothing further he can do unless another type of transplant is called for by the primary oncologist. Even limited success is a good thing for him (& us), it looks great in the research data.
The back specialist is only concerned with what is going on in his vertabre. He prescribes the physical therapy accordingly, even though other problems may make that a painful process. He can only recommend what he feels is the best treatment at the time. At least we postponed the plasty surgery to give the L5 time to heal, but what about the lesions in the L3?
The orthopedic surgeon is concerned with his entire skeleton. The operative word here being "surgeon" (no pun intended) - he wants to operate. Thus the talk about putting rods in his legs to shore up the femurs. Which really freaked Al out....
Enter the radiologist. He really seems like he is very right on. Let's do some radiation in just the areas that need it (right now) and try to preserve as much bone as possible so that if it should come to surgery, there will be bone tissue to adhere the rods and a new hip to. (A hip replacement!) Al was, again, freaked out with all this cavalier talk of replacing major portions of his skeleton.
So here we are. Trying to hang. Start radiation. Try to make some sense of everything that everyone is telling us and who is in charge of what part of his body. In a few weeks (before we even finish radiation), we go back to the primary oncologist who will want to start him on the maintenance chemo, Velcade.
We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that keep us constantly before the throne of God. I know that at any given time of each day, that there is probably someone who is praying for us. It does make a difference. When Al feels so bad that he can not pray or I am too overwhelmed that I can not pray...that is where everyone else comes in.
With God's help, I have been able to stay strong before Al. Sometimes in my quiet time I cry out to God, but not for Al to see my anguish. Most days, I just try to stay in the moment.
There is no road map for this disease. I learned this past week that there are 7 different varieties of multiple myeloma. It is very hard to find 2 people in the same area that have the exact same strain. So we are unable to compare treatments and get an idea of what the future looks like for us from others.
But there is hope. More and more research is being done for this cancer. There are more treatments available today than there was even a year and a half ago, when Al was diagnosed. Just a few years ago, the prognosis was 3 to 5 years. Now, it just depends upon how well you tolerate the treatments. Some are living 10-12 years.
We also know that heaven waits for us when the battle is over and that God is the only One who is in charge of life and death. We know where we will spend eternity - together, along with most (prayerfully, all) those that we love.
Thanks to those who we interacted with this week - you are a blessing!
Kerry & Kelsey (oldest grandchild, see pix), CJ (getting me out of the house), Joey (thanks for meeting with Al on Sunday), Sherrie, Priscilla & Warren, Winnie (crying with me), Leslie, Diane, Ruth, Melissa, Lori, Ami, Sandra, Anne & everyone in Sunday school, Tim, Scott, Billy, Jeff & all the guys that encouraged Al on Sunday, Jill (giving me something to do), Justin (for being a great son & changing my tire & mowing & stuff)...if I didn't get to you, I will eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Give me some time!

I am a new blogger. So, give me some time to get my feet wet with this stuff. I will get better - trust me! My friend CJ has been blogging and writing for a long time, now. She had been telling me I needed to do this. I am slow to jump on the band wagon, but when I do - I'm there for the long haul.
I have been journaling and writing emails to friends and family for over a year now. It has been very good for me as an outlet for all the thoughts and feelings I have been experiencing due to the extreme life changing events of the past year. I am hoping that by going web-wide I can get some feedback from others with these same experiences and/or feelings.
My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood) last April. It has been a rollercoaster ride ever since. He has been through 5 rounds of chemotherapy, 2 stem cell transplants and lots of tests. He has reached his plateau, but is not in remission.
He is going to start some radiation treatments to the 3 areas that are giving him trouble right now: the hips, the femurs, & the L5 & L3 vertebrae. They begin the 20 treatments next week, after which he will be getting on a maintenance program of lower doses of chemo called Velcade.
He has been getting very discouraged lately. He has been experiencing more and more aches & pains in his bones. He has begun to realize that he has to give up things he has always loved to do, like riding his motorcycle, snow skiing, water skiing, etc. His body will not longer stand up to hours and hours of laboring, whether it is for fun or for work. He can't spend the whole weekend mowing, weedeating, washing and waxing the vehicles, handling the hundreds of chores he used to.
We are extremely grateful to our Heavenly Father for all the love and encouragement He has made known to us through friends and family. It has been our saving grace. We don't know how people with no faith in Jesus Christ can withstand all the ups and downs of something like this. Knowing that however short our time together is on this earth, we will spend eternity together in heaven.
I would love to hear from others who may be going through this same experience. To hear how they are coping. Where they get information. What things have helped them. What they have learned through this journey.

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