"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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Pounding

This has been an awesome week, so far. Last Friday I got the call to interview with Ellis County on Wednesday (tomorrow).
Then on Saturday I was priviledged to help with Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center's first "Ride of Champions". It was so great to see the excitement and smiles of all those kids who have been riding this past session. They have all made such an improvement in some way. Some it is posture, some balance, some speech, while others the improvements are not as noticable to you and I, but their parents see it. Al got to come out for a little while, but didn't want to push it with the heat. We feel so blessed to have come to know Bobby and Emily and help in small ways to further their mission.

Al did not feel well, at all, for the 5 days after his chemo. But Saturday morning he woke up not feeling bad, so he took it pretty easy over the weekend. That nausea can hit all of a sudden, so you don't want to get too far from home. We are hopeful that he will feel good for 3 weeks out of each month during this chemo treatments, which are indefinite. Today (Tuesday) he woke up feeling really good. Not as tired as he has been over the past year or more. He is able to mow and putter around the house, as long as he doesn't lift anything too heavy and overdo.
He is having a new issue with his right forearm. They took x-rays and it is sore, but they didn't see any fractures. They are going to do some radiation treatments on it tomorrow. We did learn, however, from the radiologist, that his left hip has a fracture. Obviously it was there even before they put the rod in that leg, but no one told us. He had been having some pain there, but figured it was from the operation and the new hardware. He is balking at more surgery right now. That is a prayer request - that he not be stubborn just for the sake of not wanting to do it. He may have several more surgeries in his future, but we will have to determine when it is enough. The risk of infections and complications is a concern with each surgery.
We are thankful for today and that he feels good today. We have family and friends coming over on Saturday to eat hot dogs, shoot some skeet and pop some fireworks. I know he will enjoy watching the gkids play and run and laugh and have fun.
We got several nice surprises this past weekend and we want to thank all who participated. Especially Marilyn and all her volunteers who blessed us with the proceeds of her garage sale. It is very much appreciated and I will be making a trip out to her place to tell her so.
Also, a church in Corsicana, where we have never been, but our friends Steve and Ina attend, gave us a pounding. For those of you who don't know - it is a tradition from centuries ago where neighbors welcomed new settlers by bringing them a pound of whatever they had in their lauder (pantry). Pioneers usually had very little by the time they got to the end of their journey and began to set up housekeeping. There was so much food! A truckload. It is very humbling. A very personal way to show love to those in need - even when you don't know them. We are blessed.
We plan to pass some of it on, as it is much more than we can use, to a food pantry or other family in need.
We woul like to visit some of those churches where we have never been, but know of folks who have had us on their prayer lists for some time. We ask God's grace to allow us this priviledge. We need to make trips to Irving, Cleburne, Evant and Corsicana. New Mexico and Colorado and even a few others here in Waxahachie!
Another praise: We finally got Al's social security disability paperwork turned in with the help of Karen. Pray for swift and favorable results.
We would appreciate your prayers for the job interview. We realize it is all in God's hands and want what He wants for us according to His plan. If it is not this job, then we know he will provide for us, as he has already been doing.
If you have been a part of the blessings bestowed upon us, I hope that you have received the joy and peace that comes with serving the Lord, by serving others. We hope to, some day, be in the position to "pay it forward" and bless others, as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Man in the Land of Uz

Let me see....what's been going on since my last blog....
A movie and dinner with my friend, CJ last week. Nice to get out of the house with someone I love like a sister and have lots of fun with.
Father's Day - a nice relaxing day thanks to Al's sister Lewayne and her husband, Virgil who invited us over for great burgers and Wii (mostly watching).
Monday we had a doctor's appointment before going to the infusion room for his first IV of Cytoxan. Since he has had some pain in his right forearm, off to x-ray. Those appointments took all day long in Dallas. Nice dinner out with Justin and Charli.
Tuesday Al was up very early and got some stuff done outside, but began experiencing some nausea. Took medicine for the nausea, but it made him sleepy so he went to bed early. Got some good sleep, though! Works better than the sleep aids. Nausea is not too fun though.
Wednesday Al slept pretty late, didn't feel very well most of the day. Doctor called to say he needed to get some radiation next week on that arm, so I'm assuming they saw some lesions (Cancer). Al was not too happy about that and is already protesting any more rods in his body. I told him not to get too far ahead of things - it is just too scary to think about. We thought we might have a bit of a break, but, alas it is not to be.
Al may not want anymore rods, but he may have to get used to it because this will not be the end. There are how many bones in the human skeleton? The cancer can seek and destroy them all! I realize that he will have his "I can't take anymore of this!" moment - but it's way too soon for that. I'm not ready for that. We've still got a lot of good years. I am believing that.
Today, I went to a funeral in Ft. Worth for my 11 yr old 2nd cousin. He was my cousin Barbara's only son. I had never met him before today, but know that I will get to know him better in Heaven. Our family has been fractured for many years and I hate that we have all grown up, gotten married, had kids - in diferent worlds. But today, although sad, was a beginning, I hope. Of restoration. To God be the Glory.
On a happy note, Justin and Charli are doing well after the loss of the baby. They are moving forward, planning a wedding. I am grateful to be able to be a part of their lives, their healing, their growing as a couple and pray that God will bless them and draw them close to Him.
Thanks to Karen B for her help in getting the paperwork together, the letters written, the vast amounts of information typed up for us to be able to turn in Al's papers to Social Security tomorrow. We pray for a quick decision and a generous portion.
Still no nibbles on our property or a job. Nothing. Nothing at all. I am wondering if I misread what we were suppose to do in regard to these two issues. Maybe I was projecting my own thoughts, hopes, dreams onto what I took for signs from God. So, I am struggling to let go of both of these issues, step back and try to get my signals straight.
Al and I have both been in and out of a depressed state over the last few months. I suppose it is normal and natural. There is ebb and flow. We are trying to work our way out of that. We do put our trust in the Lord, but it doesn't keep you from getting down.
I have begun a new bible study and that, along with several devotionals that I read periodically, really help sometimes. I have really been struggling with all this waiting - nothing new happening (at least, not any good stuff).
We would really appreciate some fresh lifting up. I have begun saying my prayers while laying face down on the floor - in reverence to The Holy One. He deserves all our honor and our praise, for He alone has been our Redeemer and our Savior.
Pray that the nausea would subside and not last much longer. Pray that the radiation would stop this latest cancer attack in it's tracks. Pray that the SS stuff is well received and is complete and we receive a swift decision. Pray for God to shove me out of the way, so that He has total control in our lives. Pray that we would see God in our every day and that He would show us joy and peace. Pray for Justin and Charli. Pray for Christ to return - soon.
Next up - July 4th. Al feels like he wants to open up our house to have our usual party/picnic. We won't be cooking. We will just have the grill out for anyone who wants to bring some dogs or hamburgers. The kids and gkids will be out with their waterslide, four wheelers, friends, fireworks and guns. Water guns, shotguns, hand guns.... Hopefully, Al will feel up to shooting some skeet. If you don't have other plans, feel free to drop by to say hi and visit, cook a dog and/or bring the kids out to shoot fireworks.
Hope to see you all soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Nothing new to report. Just thought I would blog about how absolutely nerve racking it is to have nothing to do but wait! Still working on papers for disability. Still no activity on our property. Still no interviews. Just dishes and laundry and junk like that.....
So little to do that I don't have anything to talk about.....except God's goodness to us and the encourgement He gives me each day in my devotional.
I will be starting a new bible study next week, so that will give me something to concentrate on for an hour or so a day.
Al did get to go fishing this past Sunday and Monday with his friend Steve. They took it slow and had a great time. He's thinking of trying to hit a few golf balls soon.
We go for Al's first infusion of the new chemo Cytoxan, on Monday.
Happy Father's Day to all you Dads.

Monday, June 8, 2009

SURPRISE! /// Have another round ..... of chemo

Last week things seem to be turning around. We got some good news about finances. Looks like we are going to be able to hang on to our property....at least until it sells. With help from several different sources.
If we can ever get all this paperwork together and get the disability claim turned in, we will do okay...eventually. We pray for a swift decision and that it would work in our favor. The determination they make on our claim has a direct bearing on what I need in a job (benefits). If they were to consider him disabled at the time of his stem cell transplants, then I would not need a job that would cover him, insurance wise. If they set the date at the time of his separation from work, then I will need a job that would cover him. It can all be very confusing and hard to keep up with.
I got several chances to apply for some promising job opportunities. Will have to wait to see how they all pan out and if any actual job offers materialize. Please pray that I would recognize the one that God has for me.
Friday, George came and got Al and took him for his 1st root canal. It took like 3 hours, but Al felt so much better afterward. He was estatic to be able to eat and drink without pain. Thanks George! Only a couple more to go.
Sunday we had a great time of fellowship at the church-wide picnic after services. Then we came home to a pasture full of cars. I was sort of stunned, at first. I couldn't figure out what was going on. My husband, along with Kim and Lewayne and other family members had arranged a surprise 25th anniversary party. I was really surprised. It was great! Beautiful cake. Lots of good friends. We missed all those that couldn't make it, but enjoyed more fellowship throughout the afternoon. Half of those people were the same ones we had talked with at church that morning! What a blessing! Thanks to all who came and all who prepared a truly special event. It really means a lot to me.
It was fantastic to see Perry and Annette Prudhomme (call Al and let him know how things went for you this week 972.824.8185)
Today, we went for the monthly checkup. The results of those tests done last month were okay. Not great, but okay. The cancer levels had risen, slightly. Last time the level was at .3% and it had risen to .4%. So the oncologist feels the Revlimid's usefulness is over. He is taking him off that chemo pill. In a couple of weeks he will start a new regime of once a month IV of Cytoxan. He has had a few doses of this before during stem cell transplant procedures. It will still effect his energy level and might nauseate him, but they will give him meds for that. He might lose a little hair, but not all.
They are waiting a few weeks so that he can get over the bronchitis infection that developed suddenly yesterday evening. As soon as everyone left - wham! it hit him. Needless to say he did not sleep well and neither did I. I am so afraid of it turning into pneumonia. The doc gave him a Rx for antibiotics to knock it out.
We also had to stay for several hours today for him to get back on Aredia. It is the bone strengthening IV he used to get every month. He was taken off while having surgeries. If he were getting any other kind of dental work done, he probably would have to remain off it, but as they are working below the gum lines, he says he is at greater risk of bone breaks without it.
So, the cancer is not in remission, but it is under control. Our main focus now is to avoid any breaks and infections. The doc told him that if he feels he needs to go into the hospital for a few days for fluids or whatever, it is better than dying of pneumonia. Seriously.
I wish he were still getting a monthly breathing treatment. It seemed to help keep his lungs clear and he never got sick while getting them.
Now we have a new chemotherapy, for the time being. It will probably change again when the new drug becomes available.
We ran into Steve Newport. He was getting a checkup. His cancer is returning. He is still on dialysis every night. Didn't get to get a full update or see Gaynelle, but hope she will email us with the latest results. We are praying for you, Steve!
Our prayer is that the antibiotics would knock this infection out quickly, so that he can feel good for a few weeks before he gets the next chemo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blowin' In the Wind

God is so good.
Sunday I had a meltdown. We went to church, but I could not stop crying. Every person that I tried to talk to, I just could not turn the waterworks off. I can handle things as long as I am in my everyday routine, at home, alone. But when people are nice to me (and, of course, they are), I can't handle it. I always express deep emotions with tears. I cried all the way home, too. The pressure just got the best of me.
I couldn't sit through the worship service. I went in search of a place to pray. It was hard to find an empty room, but I finally did. Looking throughout the auditorium and seeing all the people we have met and gotten to know over the past 15 years made me cry too! That God would bless us so mightily with all these friendships. To learn the heartaches and sorrows of those around us. To have been able to lift them up in prayer, as they are doing us now. I never knew how much it could mean to know all those people where talking to God on your behalf.
After all that crying I felt better and even optomistic . That's what church is suppose to do for you, right? The message got me to thinking, too, about how I am handling things, my prayers... my expectations.... my perspective... (Perspective Is Everything!-as my friend, CJ says)
My friend Laurie P was so helpful, too. Wonderful words of comfort and wisdom. We don't see each other much, except in the halls of church every couple of weeks, but God always speaks to me through her and I hope, to her, through me. I feel so blessed to have friends that, even though we may not speak for weeks, even years-we can pick right up where we left off.
Laurie, Jill, CJ, Laurie, Annette, Becca, Rachel, Annette, Kellie, Ina, Patty, and many others...
Anyway, after all that hullabaloo, on Monday I drove to Waco to take a typing test. (Yes, my job search has been extended to Waco.) Baylor University. It would be an hour and a half drive, but if that is all that is available......
But God is showing me that He has got other works in the fire....if I would just be patient! I have turned in a few more resumes to places around town. Several opportunities have opened up in the past few days, some I have been expecting, while others were a surprise. Please keep me in your prayers - that I would make right choices concerning a job, if and when I get an offer.
Today, Charli let me use her jeep. I just lived in the moment for a bit while driving around town with the top down, sipping on a frappaccino (sugar free, of course). The wind blowing my hair. I got several looks from some young guys, until they got close enough to see it was just an overweight grandma driving! I am so glad I am at the age where - I don't care! It was fun!

Al is doing okay. Still struggling with how to rearrange his life to this new way of living. Still struggling with the anger. In our house, we are all going through the stages of grief, for one thing or another, or two or three...
We are both being humbled by the generousity of others. We have received many gifts of money over the past month. It is greatly appreciated. To all those who have given time, money and prayers on our behalf: know that you are "bridging the gap" for us & we appreciate it.
Al is wading through the paperwork that it takes for disability. I am so happy to have Karen Blevins to help. She went with Al yesterday downtown to try and get medical records that he will need. She has been a real blessing to us "blind people" who know nothing about how the goverment works.
Billy Eaton has been great, too. Calling to see how Al is doing every couple of weeks. Today he took Al to the movies and to eat. He really needs that. I really need that. It is very difficult to be with someone, even someone you love, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He needs other things to do. He needs to retain his independence. I am not ready for him to be so dependent upon me to be with him every minute and direct every minute of his day.
Yet another blessing: On Friday, George is coming to take Al to start his dental work.
I ask that you lift these people up and others I will not name... ask God to bless them beyond their wildest dreams because of their willingness to reach out to those in need.
We go on Monday to the oncologist to find out the results of his latest tests. Pray for good news. I'm not sure how much more bad news I can handle. But, I trust in the Lord and He is my strength. Today's scripture? Psalm 56:3 "when I am afraid, I will trust in You"