"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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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Al on crutches


Al, one week after getting a rod inserted into his right thigh bone. We have made it to the office every day this week. He can probably walk without crutches, but we don't want to rush things. We saw the surgeon yesterday. Had to go see him earlier than planned because of a rash Al developed on his leg. Didn't seem to phase them. Got x-rays. Wish I could get a copy and post those for you. Interesting. Won't go back to him for 6 weeks. Hope to be talking, at that time, about doing the other leg.
Meanwhile, Al went without pain meds last night because we thought that might be what gave him his rash and we hadn't gotten the new Rx filled for different pain meds. He had a terrible night with night terrors and the neuropathy pain. He says the neuropathy is way worse than the pain in his hip or knee.
We pray for the Lord to keep us constantly on His path, making decisions that are glorifying to Him.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hobble-Along-Al

Al is slowly improving. We have been going to the office for several hours a day all this week. When the pain starts getting to him, we come home. He looks so good that it is hard for people to believe the amount of pain and tireness he is dealing with.
He still needs help getting dressed because he cannot reach his toes on his right foot. But he can do most everything else. He can shower by himself since we got the shower chair. Our room is starting to look like a hospital suite.
He gets around pretty good on the crutches, but he just doesn't go far or stand up for very long periods. The fatigue is still with him, but that is the chemo. We start our monthly round of doctor visits next week, so we will see how things are going.
It has been an interesting week. A couple of days ago, we loaded up the truck with Al, Mother and the 2 dogs. I dropped Mother off at the surgery center for a test and discovered she had left her phone at home. So we take the dogs to the groomer and go back to the house to retrieve the phone. After taking that back to the surgery center so Mother could call for her ride home (thanks, Jean!), we discover that Al forgot to give himself the shot.
He has to give himself a shot in the stomach every morning. It is to keep from getting a blood clot. So....back home to get the shot. Finally, we are able to take off for Irving and the office. It only took 2-1/2 hours to get there!
All is well. Mother's test came out good. She was not anxious. The dogs got a much needed bath and haircut. Got home and got some laundry done so we could wear clean underwear today. Al had a really good nap. We got some work done and even dropped by to visit his Dad. Whew! what a day. I was pretty much exhausted. But I'm getting some good exercise running back and forth.
I will post a picture of Al when he lets me take one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Got up around 5 am this morning to get gimpy to work by 7. It's been a while since I had to do that on a regular basis. Looks like I will be setting up my laptop in the company conference room for a week or two.
He is doing pretty well. Went to that basketball game on Saturday. Went to church Sunday morning. That was pretty much all he could handle, though. He is having trouble sleeping again. I think his body is just too wired. It resists anything that wants to try and slow it down. He has always been a man of action. Can't sit still for very long. So I guess the body is in protest mode. Wants to be doing stuff.
I would love for him to be able to just take a couple weeks off and be able to rest, but that doesn't seem to be acceptable. Friends have expressed a desire to see Al's boss have an up close and personal experience with cancer. We do not wish that on anyone - no matter how unfair or unfeeling they may be. But I wouldn't mind him coming to an understanding of how Christ would handle the situation.
Others have said we should sue. While we may or may not have grounds, we want to go through all the right channels and give them every opportunity to do what is right and fair. We want to be able to walk away saying we have no regrets. That we can look our Lord in the eye and not feel ashamed of anything we did or said.
Don't think we did not already think all the things that others are expressing...we are just trying to be patient and waiting upon the Lord. If you give yourself time to think and pray before saying and acting...He usually gives you a check in your spirit.
Pray for us to continue to look to our Heavenly Father for the right way to handle each and every situation, every day. It is the only way we will be able to make our way through this maze of pain, anger, jealousy, frustration, injustice, legal matters, conflicts and so much more, with the grace and compassion for others that Jesus showed to those who mistreated him.
Pray for those who do not have the hope of eternity spent in a new body, with the Lord of the Universe.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Excitement Never Ends

Al got some good sleep last night, despite the leg. He is up and moving around this morning with the help of crutches. The biggest problem we are having is keeping the dogs from jumping up on him while he is sitting or laying down. We tried the fireplace screen as a fence, but Maizee just tried to jump it. They love their daddy!
He has to give himself a shot in the stomach every day for 2 weeks to prevent blood clots. Also for clots, he gets to wear this really sexy socks. All in all, it is amazing that he is getting around so well. The pain medicine, of course, has a lot to do with it. He does feel the screws in his hip and knee, so that will take some getting used to.
While Mother was fixing him some eggs this morning, she looked out the kitchen window and started hopping up and down screaming something I couldn't understand. I thought the pasture was on fire again. Then I understood "hawk" and "the baby" (meaning Kailee, the dog). I ran outside thinking I would be seeing my dog flying through the air in the talons of a hawk. But she's a fast runner and managed to escape. I turn around and there is my mom with her 22 rifle standing in the driveway fixin' to blast away at that hawk.
(For a mental picture - think Beverly Hillbillys)
Luckily, Al had managed to hobble outside on his crutches and took the gun from her and shot at it himself. I think it is illegal to kill one, but he scared it pretty good. That hawk was hugh! He also saved our vehicles which were in the line of sight.
It is always an adventure around here. Just when you think you're going to have a nice quite day at the house...those two manage to get your blood pumping...one way or another.
Al wants to try to go to Mansfield today and see the twins play basketball. It's there last game and we've never seen them play bastketball. I'm up for it. And don't be surprised if you see us at church tomorrow, either. But, if he wants to show you his incisions - just say "No thank you".
We thank the Lord that this surgery went so well. Not sure what will happen next week. I will probably be driving him to the office, since his boss is being difficult about him taking time off. I guess they forgot all the years that Al worked 12 and 14 hour days, for 6 and 7 days a week. He has given this company much more than he could ever be repaid for and they are not even sympathetic to his situation. Pray for them to have a God-inspired experience that will soften their heart.
Pray for us to be patience with each other, with others and with the circumstances. That we would give God the time and room He needs to work things for His own purposes. Pray for God to guide us through the maze of possibilities and choose the path He has laid out for us. We are considering beginning the process to get Al on disability. Not sure if he is eligible for LTD from work or how to work with those who may not want him to have that. Will start the process as soon as we feel it is right.
Pray for me to be in God's will about a job. We know it is the absolute wrong time to be looking, but ... God will have to find the one He wants me to have. I am mainly looking for something that has great benefits. We will need them when Al gets to the point of leaving his job.
Thanks to all who called and emailed and visited. Each time, it was just at the right time and just enough.
We are hoping for a swift recovery - so we can do it all again - on the other leg.
See ya in church!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Surgery Went Well

I am home from the hospital. Al is doing well. This will not be a long blog as I have been up since 3 am. Had to be at the hospital very early. Al's dad and brother-in-law was there most of the morning. Billy Eaton and Terry Miller came and sat with us, too. I think we exceeded the 2 visitors rule.
The surgery began on schedule. It only took about an hour. It took much longer in recovery and waiting for an open room. He's in Truett Hospital, room 664.
I heard someone say he did have a little trouble breathing in recovery, so they had him on oxygen for a few hours. But the Respiratory Therapist came and got him doing some breathing exercises and so they were able to take him off the oxygen.
He ate a good lunch and supper. Was having some pain and soreness, but some of that was due to the return of feeling in his legs and the neuropathy. They gave him some good stuff, though and he was doing very well.
In order for him to come home tomorrow, he will have to go through some exercises with the Physical Therapist. I will be back up there tomorrow and see what's happening. If I know Al, he will make it a point to do whatever will get him home.
I give the Lord all the praise and glory for the ease of this day. I thank Him for reminding me through His Word and others who love Him that what we try to hang onto for our security means nothing. Christ is our ONLY security. Not our home, not our job, not our 401(k), not our health. All that can go away in a heartbeat. He will never leave or forsake us. We are His children and He loves us very much. All we have to do is Trust that what is happening in our lives, is not a punishment. It is a gift.
Thank you all for the many texts, emails and prayers. Thanks to Bruce for the hospital visit.
Will blog next week about other things going on in our lives...but for now, pray God would show us the way through the maze of our lives.
Our prayers go out to Deann Hosea. We know that Larry is in a better place and we praise God that he came to know the Lord at just the right time in his life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Becoming the Man of Steel

We are on the orthopaedic surgeon's schedule for this coming Thursday. He will be in Baylor-Dallas. The surgery takes approximately 2 hours. He has to stay overnight just to be sure all is okay and he has time to recover from the anesthesia. They say he can walk on it the next day if he feels comfortable doing so.
We got the results from his latest CBC. The protein levels (cancer) are the same as 2 months ago. That's good. They didn't go back up. Would like to see them go down some more. (A prayer request) But will take no change.
The cancer is not really the problem at this time. Most of the things he is dealing with now are from the chemo & steriods he has taken. The arthritis in the hips. The chemo-induced neuropathy.
The bone lesions in his legs are the cancer. I pray that this surgery will give him stability in his right leg and ease the pain. The cracks in his vertebrae are from the weakened bone. Pray the L5 will heal on it's own like the L3 has done.
Thanks for continuing to pray. Will be busy this week, but will update this blog later in the week. Sing praises to the Lord.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bring On The Rain

I don't know if you have heard this song. It's on my playlist. So many mornings I have my computer on to listen to music while I work on the computer or get dressed, this song never fails to lift my spirit. It's not the only one, but a good one. If you have speakers and can listen to music, scroll down to my playlist and click on "Bring On the Rain" by Jo Dee Messina. Here are the words.

Another day has almost come and gone
I can't imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I'd like to hide away, somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost, but not the war.

'Cause tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain.

It's almost like the hard times circle 'round
A couple drops and they all start comin' down
Yea, I might feel defeated and I might hang my head
I might be barely breathin', but I'm not dead.

'Cause tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain.

No, I'm not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
And I'm not gonna lose any sleep tonight.

Tomorrow's another day
And I am not afraid
So bring on the rain.

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring onthe rain.

No, I'm not gonna cry.

Bring on, bring on, bring on the rain....

It reminds me of the daily struggle we all face, no matter how bad the battle gets, we have a Savior who has already won the war for us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Putman Hospital

God must be trying to teach me something. Everywhere I turn in this house is someone in need of nursing. Mother continues to experience weakness and stomach upset. I have no idea what the problem is. I think she will go back to the doctor for more bloodwork and maybe see a specialist.
Justin just got over swollen tonsils not too long ago and is even now on his way to the dentist to see about having his wisdom teeth out.
Yesterday, I had to make an unexpected visit to Dr. Mike for our youngest member, our dog, Kailee. She got bitten by a neighborhood dog. Had to have x-rays. Now she is on pain meds and antibiotics! She is doing well, but the wound has to be watched. The offender left evidence, a canine tooth inside her abdomen. It did not penetrate all the way through, but is in the 1st layer, Mike says.
Al went to visit his back doctor on Monday. Took more x-rays. The L3 crack has repaired itself, but the L5 has not. Will continue to watch it. Same situation as with the legs, pain is the big indicator. Are not anticipating any need for surgery at this time.
After our visit with the orthopedic surgeon on Friday and thinking we had a 3 month reprieve on the surgery - we are re-thinking this. Last Saturday, Al & I went out to the CCTRC barn.
While I was visiting with Emily and Jill, working on a newsletter project, etc., Al was outside enjoying the day and talking with Bobby. Our meeting went kind of long & come to find out, Al had been standing by his truck this whole time! By that evening, he was in pain. It did not get much better over the next few days. Then the nurse at the back doctor told him he could break his leg by what he did on Saturday. Just the weight of his body could break his leg while standing. So he called the surgeon back and scheduled an appointment for this coming Friday to discuss going ahead with the surgery.
We would ask your prayers for God's hand in this decision and on his doctor. I know that Al is not a fan of surgery or the hospital. But, in this case, it was his idea. It is amazing to me that throughout this whole ordeal that he has yet to be admitted to the hospital. He spent a few hours in the emergency room in the beginning when he got dehydrated, but that is all. Isn't God wonderful? The way He knows what will make us more comfortable - even when the situation is irreconcilable.
Please pray for Al's mental state of mind, also. He tries not to think about it, but I know that he is really getting discouraged about never feeling good, having no energy, in too much pain to walk very much, not feeling like going anywhere or doing anything. His mind is still building things, cooking fantastic BBQ, shooting, hunting, snow skiing, boating, water skiing, fishing, watching grandkids ball games, riding on the tractor, helping people, and much, much more. But his body just won't cooperate. Pray God gives him something interesting to do that will replace the more physical activities he has been used to all his life.
I thank our Lord that there is this procedure that will ease his pain and stabilize the bone. The surgeon says that it is a pretty simple day surgery. Two weeks recovery. They would insert a rod into his thigh bone and anchor it at the hip and knee. He will have to have it eventually in both legs, so we might as well do one before the bone breaks. He will be the "Man of Steel".
Will write an update next weekend after we have visited with the surgeon.
To God be the Glory!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Al and I spent a lovely day in Dallas on Friday - NOT. We were in and out of different doctor's offices. Had some blood tests. Saw the oncologist. His cell count is pretty low, which it has been with this latest chemo. Got another shot of neupogen to boost that. Thankfully, he was not wired for 3 days, like the last time.
Even with the good pain medication, he has still been in a lot of pain. He takes them and they do well for a couple of hours, then he is watching the clock waiting for time to take more. So the doc gave him the same stuff in a slow release form. Now he only has to take it twice a day, and it seems to work much better.
Then we went to the orthopedic surgeons for our 3 month checkup. Took more X-rays of his legs. There doesn't seem to be much change, but the right leg is giving him some concern. There has been some deterioration and he is concerned that it might break with too much stress. We want to avoid a break, as that would be a lot more pain and recovery. He wants to put a rod in Al's right thigh. Well, he wants to do them both, but right now we are only talking about the right leg.
The indicator he usually uses is pain. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, then it would signal the need to put in the rods to relieve the stress. But since Al is on pain meds for the neuropathy, he doesn't really know if there would be pain in his thigh bones. So, we were given a 3 month reprieve on the surgery. It could go either way, so we wait. But, he will probably get the surgery sometime after the next visit to the surgeon. We want to do it BEFORE the bone gets too weak to hold his weight.
We have not yet gotten the results from his CBC blood tests to see how the protein levels are. We hope to hear something this week and that they have been further reduced by the chemo he is currently taking.
Our prayer requests would be for wisdom to know when the right time is for the surgery. That his protein levels would be further reduced. That the neuropathy would receed. That he would be as pain free as possible, for as long as possible. That is cell count would rise, giving him more energy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More pix from Waxahachie

Here is a picture of Al and Kailee kickin' back on Super Bowl Sunday. Wasn't feeling too good that day. Made it to church, but went to bed for the kick-off.
This is what it looks like when you get just a little blowing snow or ice, but the ground is too warm for it to stick. Everything above ground had ice crystals on it, just on the north side. Winter in Texas ain't what it used to be.








Sunrise from my porch.




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