Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A night out

Allison treated us to a night out at Ya Ya's. The ambiance was amazing and the food even better.

This is probably where I got in trouble in the yeast department.

The rolls before hand..... mmmmmmm.

The sausage and cheese dip, even better.

My asparagus pizza.
Out of this world pork chops for Jess.
Sea bass for Allison.
Drooling before we dug in.
All dressed up. I found it ironic that I, being the least girly, was the one in the dress. I borrowed it from one of my sisters, and just so they know, I'm not giving it back. It has one of those twirly whirly skirts that I positively loved. I felt like Karis.

And the mirror isn't crooked, the camera is. :-)

Girl Time.

I don't think it is possible to have a girls trip, event, weekend, whatever, without some form of nail painting.

We splurged and got our toes done which was a double pleasure after a morning of shopping.

I love the chairs. It would be nice to get one of them, especially if they come with the super talented lady who managed to make my poor abused nails look half way decent.

You see, half the time when my nails need cut, and I hate to admit this, I just pick at it until I can tear it off. It's a habit, I guess. Not a good one, especially when it comes time to get a pedicure. But.... the lady persevered and you would never know that they had been in bad shape before. :-) Now you understand why I need to keep her around.
Sullivan thoroughly enjoyed his first pedicure. I think we may have hooked him on it for life, and he certainly charmed the ladies.
In honor of the fourth we decided to get our nails done in these festive colors. The sad thing is that the pale mannequin hand matches my own skin rather well. Seeing Allison's skin several shades darker brings out the envy in me.

And envy rots the bones. I was driving past one of those cool storage units that they have now incase you want to store heat sensitive items. On their sign out front they weren't saying what the cost was, or the size, or even their number.


All it said was "Envy rots the bones."

I think the sheer shock of seeing that verse in front of a storage unit is what has made it stick with me.

Why it was on that sign I don't know. Seems to me it would rather hurt their business. Because usually it is envy that causes you to buy more stuff, which causes people to have to store other things.....

Who knows, maybe they are full up and need to turn people away.

But... regardless, it was a good message for me, and I don't want rotten bones. I already have enough problems, thank you very much! :-) So, whenever I'm tempted to envy someone else's life, I remember that storage unit.

But, this was not a post about envy, this was a post about pedicures and I have no idea how that led down this rabbit trail.
Aren't they cute? Jess already had a toe ring, so Allison and I jumped on the band wagon. It has been forever since I've worn one, but when I saw the solid silver band with daisies on it, well, I couldn't resist.

I had to ask Faith today if they were still in. I'm not up on the latest fashion trends.

She kindly told me that they could be in if I wanted them to be.

Hummmmm.... need to ponder that one for a bit. :-)

Thanks for praying:-)

A small miracle happened today.

I had ice cream.

Before you think your prayers failed, let me explain.

My mom made ice cream made of cream and stevia.

I get to have stevia.

In fact, the chiropractor has me taking 15 drops of dark stevia for part of my treatment.

So, when it is cream, and the cream is frozen and sweet with stevia with a raspberry on top, well....

Let me tell you, this girl is in dessert heaven!

I think my mom has just found something that will make my journey easier.

Thank you mom!

About my Chiropractor....

I made a whirlwind trip out to Chicago yesterday with my mom.

I wasn't sure what to expect.

No, that's a lie.

I've cheated quite a few times in the food department this month.

My body was telling me that it didn't like the extra bowls of ice cream I had ingested.

And the brownie.

And the M&M's.

And the extra bread that wasn't good for me.

Oh, but I loved each little morsel.

And they were little.

Since they were so little I figured I must be imagining the worsened symptoms.

I got on the table to be examined.

My mouth didn't open once to say what a bad girl I had been.

My body betrayed me.

This doctor is ANNOYING!

He doesn't just look at you.

He has ways of getting your body to squeal on you.

It's medical torture, I tell you!

And my body gave in. It caved. It told him everything he wanted to know.

It cried that it hadn't liked the abuse I had given it this past month.

It wanted the no sugar, no yeast, no nothing yummy, yummy, yummy back, and back now.

It was explained to me, again, that with my condition eating sugar or yeast isn't like a normal person eating them.

My body takes the millimeter I give it and runs a mile. The tumor eats it up and grows.

So, I'm here to tell you that while it can be downright frustrating to have a doctor like I currently have, I'm grateful he has put me back on that straight and narrow diet.

I'm still doing ok, just waking up to the reality that if I give into my cravings my consequences aren't just weight gain anymore.

The stakes are higher.

A lot higher.

It's getting better.

Or getting worse.

Makes me think twice before eating a bite of ice cream, muffin, or M&M.

Could I just ask one thing of you?

Pray for me.

It's hard, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I have a new man in my life....

Dustin isn't the least bit jealous. A tad worried, perhaps, about the proverbial "baby itch" that wants to raise it's head when I am around him, but not jealous.

Sullivan was the only man allowed to come along with us. Nursing babies only is the rule.

This is the little boy I wrote about earlier. He wouldn't take a bottle so had to go to the hospital for nurishment. :-) He has since learned, and I am happy to report that he has gained four pounds in the past month.

He is also a little charmer. His fussy moments were few and far between.
I leaned forward, but he was the one pulling in for the kisses!
In the waiting room waiting to give approval to the super cute clothes his mommy bought.
Thanks for sharing your little man with us Jess!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The drive...

I've been to Kansas City a few times, but never beyond.

In all honesty, I hadn't thought much about what I would see. I printed off my directions from mapquest because unlike my techy husband, I prefer printed directions. They seem more dependable to me.

They might be if you check them with a map.

I didn't.

I figured I had a cell phone and Allison if I got lost.

Which I didn't.

Not even one wrong turn.

Which sounds impressive until you consider that I was basically only on two highways the entire time.

All that to explain why I had no idea what to expect on the drive, other than I would hit a toll road at some point.

I drive toll roads all the time.

So often I have an I Pass sitting in my car.

The Kansas Toll road is different.

Very different.

For starters, there is very little traffic, at least when I was first driving it.

Along with the very little traffic there are NO houses to be seen.

I'm not exaggerating here, even a little bit.

As far as the eyes can see there are hills, beautiful hills.

At one point they made me cry a little, but I'll explain that later.

And then there are cows, cows, and more cows.

It made me wonder what I would do if I had to stop for help?

Do you jump on a cow and tell it to take you to the nearest ranch? Though I'm not convinced that there are any ranches on that stretch of road becuase like I told you before there were NO houses to be seen. And I'm really not sure that Verizons little "Can you hear me now?" man would work out here.

See? No houses. And it is a good thing I didn't need to get out and walk because Chad, Allison's husband, informed me that there are quite a few poisonious snakes in that harmless looking pasture.
Even though there were no houses, or no people, or not really any cars to be seen there was, of couse, one of these.
I am convinced after last weekend that McDonalds is literally everywhere. I would not be surprised to be lost in the middle of a desert and see one of these signs in the middle of nowhere.

And it wouldn't be a mirage, either.

Dont' you think it looks a little funny?

No town, no house, no nothing.

Just McDonalds and a gas station. It struck me as odd, so I thought I would share.

At some point along the way I began to wonder how the cows got from one side of the endless stretch of four lane highway to the other.

I, who don't really think about cows unless it is in the form of hamburger, steak, or milk, became quite concerned.

Hey, it's a long drive. Who knows what my mind would cook up to worry about if I was traveling by covered wagon.

I pictured ranchers stopping traffic to herd the cattle across. But there is a divider, and we were wipping along at about 75 mph, so I figured that wasn't the case.

I didn't figure they would take them all the way to the end of a few hundred miles just to get them across.

And somehow I knew they needed to cross. I don't know how, I just knew.

And it concerned me.

Then I saw it.

A bridge.

Not just any bridge.

The "Bazzar Bridge."

It was aptly named because need I remind you that there are no cars that need this bridge, apparently no people that I could see, and certainly no bikers or walkers, only my cows.

I was relieved that they had the Bazzar Bridge to cross on safely.

No long out of the way walks for those cows.

No braving the dangers of traffic.

Cunundrum solved.

I may not have lost sleep over it, but in that moment I really cared about how those cows got from one side to the other. :-)

Goes to show how surroundings can change what you care about.

Lovely, isn't it? They had several bridges just for the cows, but only one had the fabulous name. The other ones only got numbers.
This is what made me cry. It reminded me of Box T. And Box T closed down a couple summers ago due to the owners retiring in their 80's. It was such a special place for so many people.

And... you could walk in hills like these without fear of being bitten by a snake!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There is a group of friends in my life who have decided to get together every two years.

We met each other at different times in various ways, but the tie that binds us closest is Box T - and the Lord, of course. :-)

I met Anna, first. She, unfortunately couldn't come because of this silly little excuse of being pregnant and almost due. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to chance having a baby in a strange city without your husband?:-) Anyway, we met inutero. Our parents were attending a conference while pregnant with us, then some 11years later they moved into the area and we met officially. We are probably as different as night and day, but we love each other very much.

Jess was the one I met next in the line up. We were about 14, and again, it was at a conference. I don't really remember much about that meeting except riding in backwards together in a stationwagon. We would meet again later on, but first I'll mention Allison.

Allison and I met at Box T. She was counseling, I was the cook. The only thing I really ever cooked in my life before that was bread and easy stuff. They say if you can make bread you can make anything, and maybe that is true if you love to bake, but I don't. Thankfully there was an older lady I was cooking with who kept me under a tight reign and the campers managed to fill their bellies. Al and I didn't really run into each other terribly much that camp, but when it was discovered that they needed two cooks for the next camp we were asked to cook together.

We accepted. Florence (The camp directors wife and in charge of making sure the household ran smoothly) had her hands full.

Allison and I bonded for life over that sink and stove. The kitchen is small. You either have to love each other or kill each other. Especially when you share a room, as well.

The counselors at this camp - it was a boys camp - knew us fairly well and were adept at pranks.

One morning Allison and I came down to make breakfast only to have them asking us questions about things we had talked about last night after we had hopped into bed.

Personal things.

Things that we wouldn't have said to anyone else.

But thankfully nothing we were ashamed of.

It turns out they had bugged our room - placing some device under our mattress - and listening to us on their radio downstairs.

Once again, a bonding moment and one I'll never forget. It reminds me every now and again that I need to be careful what I say because anyone could be listening.

Even at a horse camp out in the middle of North Dakota!

The next year we met again at Discipleship camp and then Jess entered my life again!

Allison and I had already arrived at camp and I heard that Jess was coming as a last minute decision. She and Al were already friends and I remember being disappointed that she was coming. I had been looking forward to spending time with just Allison, and now it would be Jess, who I didn't really know, as well.

I'm so glad God knows way better than we do. It was a bonding week for all of us. New and old friendships grew over ruined batches of puppy chow, yes, we managed to do that between the three of us, sprained ankles, (mine) and romantic sorrows and joys (not mine). :-)

Although Anna wasn't at that discipleship camp, she did counsel with us, cook with us, and grow up with Jess and Allison, so that is how she fits in at Box T.

And that, my friends, is the backround of why the four of us find that one of the highlights of our year is to get back together discussing memories and how God is working in each of our lives. I'm realizing as I write this that God has blessed me with wonderful friends. Not that I haven't realized this before, but the reminder is good for me. :-)

Here is one picture from my weekend of running away. Me, of course, Jess, and then Allison. I love these girls, and am so blessed to have them as friends for the last 14 years. More pictures will come tomorrow.
Or the next day.
Or maybe the day after that.
You never can be too sure these days. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Four things

1. Yesterday I drove to my oncology appointment with two empty car seats.

My aunt was watching the girls so I could concentrate on the words of my doctor and not on those Tinkerbell stickers and potty breaks.

I pulled into the parking garage and it was packed, as usual. A reminder that there are a lot of very sick people out there. Which makes me sad.

I was afraid that I would have to drive all the way to the top when I spotted an opening close to the front.

Then I noticed that they were reserved.

I've never qualified for the reserved before, except for the expecting mothers one which only seem to be open when I don't show at all:-), so I almost drove past this one when the words registered.

"Reserved for cancer patients"

I still don't think of myself as a cancer patient.

But you know what? An open parking spot is an open parking spot. And if I have to admit that I have something serious wrong with me to get it, I guess I can do that.

Hopefully I won't qualify for that spot for much longer. It's one that I would happily relinquish and walk from the top of the parking garage.

2. My second oncology visit was a little better than the first.

I have discovered a trick for getting right into an appointment.

A project.

I actually needed extra time to address envelopes, etc. When I arrived fifteen minutes early I was thrilled. My projects would get done.

The envelopes got pulled out, one addressed, and I got called back to get some blood drawn. (14 minutes early)

I pulled out another one and I almost finished it when the nurse called me.

I weighed in, was deposited into my room, and once again pulled out my envelopes.

I think I got two addressed and stuffed when my doctor walked in. (12 minutes early)

See? I've done this once before and it worked the same way.

If you bring nothing to do you wait forever. :-) I'm convinced it must be written into the waiting room rules.

3. I haven't had another scan done, so my visit was mostly more information about what I have and a report on what the cancer board has said about my case.

I still am not sure exactly who is on the cancer board, just various specialists from all over.

It makes me feel a little strange to know that a bunch of doctors from all over are looking at all my information and discussing my case.

Without even seeing me or knowing how I tick they are discussing what should be done. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just weird.

Some say cut out the right lung.

Others say lazar the lesions on my liver.

My doctor (and can I just say I praise God for giving me Dr. Lair? I do!) looked at me after explaining my options and said,

"You are actually doing very well for someone with Carcinoid. Often people who have it
(not to gross you out) have the runs 30-40 times a day."

Ok, yes, I'm doing very well. You couldn't leave the house! Or the bathroom!

He is not convinced that the spots on my liver are carcinoid. They very well could be, but they have to see if they grow or not.

Basically it is a waiting game. Being too aggressive, as in removing lung and spots on liver, could, according to him, cause me to have more problems then I currently have. He doesn't want to stick his head in the sand and ignore my problems, but he doesn't want to do too much and cause my body more trauma than necessary if it isn't going to help in the long run.

I was waiting for him to say I had heard him wrong and chemo and radiation were an option.

They still aren't.

And the shot, Ostreotide, is only effective for 20% of those who get it, I found out.

I told him about my chiropractor and what I'm taking, also the results I'm getting.

I always get a little nervous when I tell my doctors I'm doing other things besides the normal medical route, but I guess in this case he is probably glad I'm doing something else since there is nothing at the moment for them to do but wait and watch.

4. Yesterday made me wonder how many, many others sit there and hear the same thing.

What are the thoughts that run through there minds?

How hopeless do some feel who have a far more aggressive disease than I have?

How would I feel if God hadn't graciously directed me to alternatives?

The thought of the pain, coughing up blood, and lack of energy make me grateful.

Grateful I have something that is able to be helped somewhat by what my nutritionist and chiropractor are doing.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but I will trust in the Name of the Lord my God." Psalm 20:7

I'm not sure what the outcome of this will be, but His Name is to be trusted. I'm fighting this, but God knows my outcome and I will trust Him for it. :-) I'm in good hands, and He has proven Himself faithful in every way so far by giving me the doctors He has and the people He has placed around me.

Next time I'll tell you about how I ran away for the weekend! :-) It's much better than an oncology visit, I promise!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer is crazy, isn't it?

I just realized I haven't written anything for five days. That seems like a long time, for some reason.

It's just busy.

And for me, being busy means I'm feeling better.

Though, there is a downside to being busy.

I have a hard time eating like I should and everything I should.

Today I found myself forgetting to drink.

I have to get at least 64oz. in, 90 is ideal.

When you have a few sips to swallow your pills and then forget to drink until around 12, well, it's hard to get it in. It isn't a good idea to start after five, believe me. :-)

Right now I have about 3 cups of vegetables left to eat. 32 oz of water, at least.

A couple of servings of Psyllium Husk, my bean substitute.

Some raw garlic, and maybe a little protein.

This wouldn't be that big of deal except it is 6pm.

I doubt I'll get the veggies all in, maybe two cups, but hopefully all the rest will get taken care of.

It has become more clear to me in the last month than it even has before why it is so hard to eat healthy in America.

We are BUSY.

Even as a stay at home mom I'm often too busy to eat right.

Junk food is much easier.

Fish sticks vs. the real thing.

Hot dogs vs healthy meat.

Cereal vs. oatmeal or eggs

Ice cream snack vs. veggies.

Noodles vs meat, veggies, beans.

It's hard! My awe to those who do it regularly and have done it for a long time.

My sympathy for those of you who are like me and need to eat right and have to eat right, and have little kids and busy lives. :-0

My prayers for those of you who are thinking of starting to eat in a healthier way! :-)

And that is all of my rambling. I'm off to fill my body with good things.

Oh, I have another oncology visit on tuesday. Nothing new, just talk over what he has found out over the last two months. Dustin is coming this time, not Karis, so I may get a few more questions in, not be distracted by Tinkerbell (I hope he doesn't being stickers:-) and he will probably remember more than I will. :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just Cause...

There isn't any reason for this picture. Just my little Gabi being goofy. She has an expressive face just like her daddy. Both can make me laugh without saying a thing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The way my mind works.

A few nights ago I was watching Bones.

They were trying to solve a case where someones bones had been used in multiple grafts.

The problem with these bones was that the person who owned them had died of a cancer that had spread to all of the bones.

The recipients of them were contracting the same form of cancer, some dying of it.

Someone made a huge mistake that time.

Wonder if it happens in real life?

Why this was on my mind this morning, I don't know, but as I got to the grocery store and started to get out of my car I was struck with a thought.

I just checked the little "yes" box the last time I got my license. It took me that long to be able to be ok with the fact that they would take certain parts of me and give them to someone else if something unforeseen should happen.

As a side note, I really feel like that is a big decision to make at the DOT.

Think about it.

You stand there, answering all these boring questions about you, and then all of a sudden you get hit with the bombshell.

Do you want to give your heart or liver away, maybe an eyeball or two, possibly a set of lungs, and whatever else that can be transferred to another person?

I don't know about you, but this happens to me every time.

I freeze.

Do I?

Then I realize about 30 people are in line behind me.


They don't care what decision I make, really, they just want to get on with their day.

Seriously, they should be a little patient with me. What if one of them were the ones who might get one of my organs if they would just give me time to think. Honestly people! Although I know I've been one of the impatient ones. I'll try to be more understanding next time. After all, they could be making a big decision like me, or... they could have forgotten their address. :-)

I don't break out in a sweat, or anything, but I do get a tad bit warm.

I tell myself they don't rush my death, just because I check the box.

But what if?

I know it's the movies, but that niggling doubt that they might hurry my demise along just a little to get the aforesaid lung or eyeball is still there.

See.... this decision should be made in a nice quiet place. No pressure. A nice environment. Does it really have to be on your license?

Good thing I don't have to renew for another few years. I don't think I could handle it every few months.

Though, actually, my picture is horrible.

I hate it every time I have to pull it out.

My face looks round and fat.

My hair awful.

Seriously. It is a drivers license picture that lives up to it's name.

I may stand in line just to get another one.

How sad is that. Vanity, vanity.

Maybe I'll lose it on purpose.

How come when Gabi goes through my purse she manages to lose my debit card and library card, but not the card I really want to lose? We will have to work on that one.

And because she lost my debit card, I have to write checks. When you write checks you have to show your license. Ugg.. I may be at the DOT tomorrow!

But, back to my topic.

I made that big step.

I overcame my fear of giving my innards away if the need should so arise.


I get to keep everything anyway. :-) Funny how that all works out.

It made me a little sad.

I probably would have never donated any part, but just the fact that my body isn't healthy enough to give parts of it to anyone else is sad to me.

Another reality of being a little sick that I had never thought about before now.

All these thoughts while I walked through the parking lot and into our store. Makes me wonder what everyone else is thinking as they buy dish soap and trash bags. I'd love to know.

And that is a glimpse of what's gone on in a portion of my mind today.

I'd better be careful what I watch or who knows what else will go on in there. :-)

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Disappointment is inevitable, discouragement is a choice.

I know I've shared this quote before, but it sums up my life at the moment.

I've let myself get discouraged.

Not that my life is all disappointments.

It's not.

There are so many, many amazing things going on.

But I've let myself get discouraged about the disappointments.

Emphasis on I'VE. I'm afraid I've been leaving God out of the picture.

Not intentionally.

I've had all the trips to Chicago.

We haven't been going to my mom's, so I'm busy keeping our lives somewhat together.

For some reason God is the first thing that slips.

And when my time with God slips, discouragement sets in.

There are always disappointments in life, but with God's help they can remain disappointments and not turn into discouragement, leading to depression.

It has been disappointing that even though I'm feeling better recovery is so SLOW! I want all my hurt and pain, tiredness and coughing to be gone now. Not lingering along the edges of my life.

(I want to be able to eat SUGAR! And I have a few times, and that is part of my problem. But I'm trying to do better again. It's hard to get out of a long standing cycle. I always turn to sugar when I'm discouraged. In my case that is dangerous at this point. Sugar is just compounding my problem.)

The last week or so I've let that disappointment turn into discouragement, and it's not pretty how feeling sorry for yourself can make you.

I could say it's because I'm tired, all the traveling, but that would be a lie. It's just plain old discouragement that I've let take over.

Yes, it is hard to wake up knowing your day is going to be a struggle simply because you don't feel 100%. Also knowing that two little girls are going to tax what energy you do manage to dredge up. But it can be done with God's help. And it can be done well. I am quoting, "With God, all things are possible" over and over again lately.

Today I want to focus on my Lord. The only one in my life who can turn the disappointments into things to rejoice in.

So I don't feel 100%, at least I am way better than I was.

My girls are healthy and want to get into everything. I'd rather have it that way than two little ones who are lethargic and don't care about what is going on around them.

It might be a little harder to get over the disappointment of yesterdays primaries. Do people really think it is going to help Iowa's economy to put someone back in office who was part of the process of todays problems in the first place? But that is a completely different problem, and I hate politics. However, if I were in charge of the world.... :-) Thankfully I'm not. I'm just trusting that God is in his Heaven, He knows what is going on, and somehow everything will work out for His purposes. :-)

Glad I can trust in that in the big and the little goings on of this life.

Everyone have a wonderful day. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

She ain't gonna' be cheap...

Karis was sitting on the couch a couple of days ago reading a counting book.

On the last page her face lit up, and she squealed out excitedly,

"Look Mom!"

I glanced at the page and saw a bunch of little items on each flap. When you opened the flaps the number of the items was listed below.

Two in particular caught her attention; she proceeded to explain why.

"Boys don't like these, but girls LOVE flowers and diamonds!"

If I knew who her future intended was I'd jot him a note and tell him to start saving now. :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm beginning to feel like a commuter:-)

A commuter to Chicago. I've been out three times in the past two weeks.

If you were to ask me where something in the western suburbs are, I actually might be able to get you there. :-) At least a few places. Like Whole Foods, Kohls, Starbucks (although with Starbucks you will probably run into one of those blindfolded without too much problem), and, of course the doctor and downtown.

This time I had the privilege of taking Dustin along. We decided to make a date out of it and hit downtown.

The train is the best way to go there if you don't want to tackle the traffic and the parking.
As we were waiting several trains thundered past. Their roaring massiveness made it hard to sit calmly on the bench some 20 feet away. I was positive one of the cars would come flying off and crush us. :-)

Once there, we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. Our goal was Navy Pier.
We got a little distracted. Dustin decided that once the kids are all grown up we will live in one of these high rises. Preferably the penthouse, of course. :-)
We will also get one of these tiny little boats. :-)
Won't he make a great captain? You won't find me complaining when he wants to take me out on the water. :-)
I love my sweetie! He was amazing and took great care of me.
This is as close as we got to the Navy Pier. I was all tuckered out, so we settled for the security pier. At least that is what I called it, since all the police boats were tied up to it.
Not exactly sure what this is, but the redness fascinated both of us. We are quite easily amused. I was a tad nervous to stand this close because the water seriously looks as if their should be several dead bodies in it.

My health remains about the same. I'm a bit worn out from all the trips and a few rough nights and 5:30 mornings with Gabi. No dramatic difference, but little steps in the right direction.

Well, I'm off to do laundry and clean a couple of bedrooms that two little girls, I won't mention names, have destroyed. :-)