Friday, October 29, 2010

My girls!

I feel like my girls are in some ways growing up without me.

My mom and I were discussing this morning the things both of them had learned while I was in Chicago and she in Israel. (yes, dad and mom went to Israel for ten days, and yes, I'm jealous. :-)

Gabi had called me in extreme excitement and told me that she had gone "stinky" all by herself in the potty chair.

I laughed at myself as i was practically dancing up and down with the phone in my hand all because she had dumped some icky, disgusting waste into the potty chair.

The things we get excited about as parents.

Now, she hasn't done it since, but still, I'm hopeful that it will happen soon.

When we got home on Wednesday Dustin went up to the farm to pick them up. As he pulled in the garage door opened and Karis rode out on her bike with no training wheels.

My sweet, adorable, amazing husband said he was so proud of her he started tearing up.

Don't you just love dad's with their little girls? There is nothing more precious.

They are both getting so big, and as they accomplish more and more, often without my help at all, I get a little sad.

But the sadness is soon pushed away by gratefulness.

My girls could be stuck in our house with nothing more to do than watch PBS kids while I try to survive.

Instead they are getting to learn new things all the time. Things they would be doing if I was feeling like a normal mom.

I love it.

God has provided a way for my girls to learn and grow even though we have a war with Cancer going on around here.


Not everyone who is going through what we are have that blessing.

I'm so glad I can sit back and work on getting better knowing that my job is to give hugs and loves and what I can, all the while knowing that they are going to be learning exactly what they need to be.

God is good!

Thank you everyone who is helping my little ones grow up!

What to say...

I'm not even sure what to say as far as an update goes.

Was there anything different in Chicago?

Not a ton. I will cautiously say that my body does seem to be responding to what I am taking, but it can respond for awhile and then stop. So... the jury is still out on that one.

Overall it was positive, though.

My tooth, the one I wrote about way back in January or February is still in the picture.

For those of you who hadn't read anything about it, my doctor in St. Louis was positive there was an infection in my number 19 tooth that was related to my lung. I didn't really believe him, but a PET scan revealed that there was, indeed an infection, deep down. My option was to pull it, which I wasn't thrilled about.

I put it on the back burner because my naturopathic doctor told me to wait it out for a bit and see.

We both forgot about it because it never ever bugs me.

Last month I asked him about it and some tests revealed that it was still there and was related in a weird way to my lung.

What to do, what to do.

We are watching it. I'm using some things to try and attack it without having to pull the tooth, but next month will show if it is helping or not. If not then we will have to decide if the tooth goes or stays.

Isn't it silly? I'm scared to pull my tooth. I'd rather have a needle poked though my lung or liver than a tooth pulled. I haven't even had my wisdom teeth pulled.

It must be a fear of the unknown going on for me.

People tell me it isn't that bad... but all I can think is, #19 is a huge tooth. It has to come out of my gums........

So.... would you pray that the infection in my tooth would go away? On it's own? That I won't have to have it pulled?

Thanks a million!

Back on the blogging track

It's been awhile....

Isn't it funny? You can get out of a habit so quickly.

I have stages where I absolutely love to blog and can't get enough of it. I could post two, maybe three times a day.

Then there are stretches where I'm either too busy or nothing seems interesting to write about.

The past few days have been like that.

I'll have to be honest, yesterday was a drugged up stupor of a day.

And for the most part I can't even blame my lung. I have to blame myself. My back went into spasms again on Wednesday night. It was due to being in the car for hours on end coming back from Chicago and the fact that I didn't do my back exercises.

You would think I would learn, wouldn't you? Evidently "worse than child labor " pain isn't enough of a motivator for me to do twenty minutes of exercises a day.

I really did think I was going to die this time, but more on that later.

Ten Ibuprofen and a hot shower later (those really do work) I had that somewhat under control only to discover that it had set off joint pain in my shoulder.

You see, all my coughing has led to some joint troubles. Mainly my right shoulder and hip.

Seriously, don't I sound like I'm a hundred and ten? Joint pain, back pain....

Anyway, Ibuprofen doesn't touch that pain, and unfortunately it kept me up all night. I was exhausted and good for nothing in the morning.

My sisters, like the angels they are, took the girls when Dustin had to leave for work. After a couple more hours I gave in and called my doctor.

The nurse gave some fancy name to describe what I would be taking, I didn't care, I just wanted to be able to sleep.

Off to Walgreen's I went, only to discover that what they had prescribed was the one medication I was allergic to. Vicoden. Guess they didn't check my chart.

At that point, I didn't care if I broke out in a rash that made me itch my arm pits like a monkey and feel slightly sick to my stomach. Just give me the pills.

After it kicked in, I did get a few hours of sleep, and I think it was worth the trade off... I think.

I don't know what is in that stuff, but it makes me dizzy, my nose itch, the aforesaid armpits, and I feel just uggh... Won't be taking that anytime soon.

But today? I slept great last night and feel a little behind on everything today, but good.

I'm going to do my exercises and then I'll tell you about my doctors visit in Chicago, my tooth, and what God has been teaching me lately. A lot, as usual. :-)

Happy Friday! Have a super fun weekend! Does anyone have any crazy party plans?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The windy city

Chicago is living up to it's name this time.

Dustin and I were going to head downtown today, but as we were coming out of Trader Joe's I nearly got blown away.

We scratched our plans in favor of a good old fashioned dinner and a movie. I'm kind of excited. :-)

Now, if I can just get him to go see a chick flick my night will be complete.

The two visits I've had with my doctor so far have been good. I've gotten some tight muscles loosened up and some changes in my supplements and herbs.

I wish I had some mind blowing news for you, but I don't. My body seems to be responding a bit to the new stuff I'm taking, and that is good. However, it's a waiting game.

Your continued prayers are coveted. I'm hoping it is attacking the tumors and we can start getting rid of this nasty cancer!

I will post more later, but until then I'm going to go and enjoy my movie!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Busy days

I have some friends visiting from MN over the next few days so posts may not happen.

And then after that Dustin and I head out to Chicago again.

I wanted to let all of you know, though, that health wise I've felt good, sometimes great, but never absolutely terrible. :-)

Besides a few minor aches and pains and relatively little pain associated with the tumor, it has been a good month.

I think a lot of that has to do with the help I've been receiving. What a blessing.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I know God is holding me close.

We have some big decisions to make regarding my cancer. I crave God's wisdom for them.

I never realized how confusing finding answers and making decisions can be when you are dealing with something like this.

Just so you know, we haven't stopped searching, or given up on what my various doctors have to offer. My oncologist is on call and still searching. My naturopathic doctor is continually searching for something to attack it, and maybe we found it, who knows, my nutritionist is doing her darndest to keep me on the diet, and then there is still the blasted tooth....

Everything keeps coming back to this silly tooth.

I will try to update you on my tooth soon, because I know everyone wants to know about the state of my teeth, but for now.... :-)

Please keep us in prayer over that, as well.

There is so much information out there and sifting through it and discovering what is good and what isn't is often time consuming and a little frustrating. Each new thing you hear you want to be the answer, but you have to be wise and realize a lot of what is out there is false hope.

God promises wisdom to those who ask. I'm asking, and thanks for all of you who are asking too!

Have a beautiful fall day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gabi Rae - a baby story.

My baby is almost three. At the time of her birth I wrote down her rather eventful arrival.

Typical of me, I lost the journal that it is written in. Since it is something I know I'll forget all the details of eventually, I thought I'd celebrate her birthday by writing it down here.

If you don't like baby stories, you can skip reading this and wait for the next post. :-)

Karis was born at the hospital, fairly quickly, as first labors go. Unfortunately two and a half hours of the seven hour labor was pushing. Pushing that didn't get anywhere and eventually required the visit of the anesthesiologist and a forceps delivery. I'm not against the drugs,(I told my anesthesiologist that he was my favorite person in the whole world, at that point) I was just disappointed I'd made it all the way to the end without being able to push the baby out.

Since it wasn't the size of the baby, the shape of the birth canal, or any other factor, I wanted to try not pushing for two and a half hours with my second one. We decided the best chance for that was a nurse practitioner/midwife I had heard about.

I loved my pre-care.

The appointments were always an hour long and I felt so much more educated with my second one.

One thing they couldn't accomplish was making me go early.

Apparently I cook them super slow. Karis was eight days late and 7pounds 6 oz.

With number 2 I started having contractions about three days after my due date. They were about five minutes apart and a little bit painful. My midwife was actually on her way past our house when I called so she stopped by and checked things out.


A little over a week later I had some more contractions. They grew steadily during the day, but it wasn't until around midnight that I thought I might be in real labor. I was a tad gun shy because of getting it wrong a week earlier.

By 2 a.m. they were getting painful.

I got Dustin up, called my midwife, then we met her at the center.

She checked again.

I was a disappointing very tight three.

She informed me that it would probably be at least another ten hours before we progressed to the point of giving birth.

Ten hours?

She gave us the option of staying there, but Dustin wouldn't sleep well and I figured if it was going to be that long I might as well be at home.

Her instructions were to drink a little wine to calm me and take some Tylenol to help with the pain.

I hide pain quite well, so she really had no idea how much the contractions were hurting.

We didn't have any wine at home and by this time all the bars and places that would sell it were closed. I settled for the Tylenol and had two with some toast at home, trying to read a book to distract me from the ten long hours ahead.

I sent a reluctant Dustin to bed. When in pain I really do like to be alone. I deal with it much better when I can pace and moan and groan by myself.

Don't talk to me.

Don't touch me.

Just stay away.

After the Tylenol I felt a little queasy - not unusual after I take pain meds.

I tried a hot bath and drinking lots of water.

When none of those helped I knew this baby was finally coming.

Since people were sleeping upstairs, I moved to our basement where I could pace without waking anyone.

Looking back, there were signs that I should probably high tail it back to the center, but by that time I was in so much pain all I could think of was surviving the next contraction and the fact that I have ten more hours of this.


I'm not a screamer. Most of my pain is dealt with in silence. I did tell God under my breath that there was no way I could survive that many hours in this kind of pain.

I also came super close to waking up Dustin, changing our birth plan, and going to the hospital for that epidural.

Somewhere in the haze my foggy, pain filled brain, grasped the fact that I wasn't getting much of a break in between contractions.

In fact, they were pretty much on top of each other.

All of a sudden I felt an urge to go to the bathroom.

Once there I realized I wasn't just feeling the urge to go to the bathroom, it was to push, and then I realized I was pushing.

Wait, this wasn't the ten hours she predicted. I still had seven and a half to go!

Stop the train! I wanted to get off.

I called her in a panic. She told me to get down there now.

Dustin was harder to get moving.

I woke him up, explained that I was pushing.

"Are you sure this time?" He asked, not quite awake.

Was I sure? Hello! Everything in me was trying not to push this kid out right in the living room.

I continued my pacing around our car, poking my head in to see what was taking so long and discovered him wandering around looking for a lost flip flop.

I informed him that he could go barefoot. I needed to get there. Now.

As we drove down our road he looked at me and said, "Now I know it's hard, but try to stay calm and don't push."

I can't remember if I said something or just gave him a withering look. Try not to push? That isn't even an option when you are as far along as I apparently was.

I looked at the speedometer. Was he seriously going the speed limit now? Of all times? He always goes at least five over.

"Come on, faster, faster.... I'm going to have this baby in the car if you don't hurry up."

"If we get pulled over it will take that much longer to explain. You'll have the baby in the car, anyway."

He had a point, but as we got off the freeway the pushes I was desperately trying to hold back were getting unwanted results.

I knew I felt the head crowning but was way too freaked out to check it myself. Still queen of denial. What you don't know for sure isn't happening. :-)

He stopped at a red light behind a car.

"Go around" I hissed. "I feel the head"

He wouldn't. It was a blind spot and we could have been hit.

At that point I didn't care.

He stopped at another red light.

I just glared at him.

When we finally pulled into the parking lot with the baby still intact, he just sat there, not moving.

I looked at him in disbelief. He was just going to sit there? What was his problem? I was the one with a head coming out of me.

"Don't just sit there!" I panted, "Go get the nurse and a wheel chair." I didn't think I could walk in my current state.

As soon as he opened the door the breeze seemed to revive him and he sprinted towards the building. At last!

The nurse had been watching for us and came to get me. She informed me there was no wheel chair and I had to walk.

It had to make quite the sight. Me waddling across the parking lot and her holding her hand between my legs in case the baby slipped out.

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Somehow I made it into the building, up the elevator and to the bed. (praying all the while that this wouldn't be an elevator baby.)

By the time she whipped my sweats off and I sat down on the bed I had a baby on my chest.

Again, not kidding.

I remember looking at this child in shock, and Dustin, who had been grabbing my bag and finding the room, walked past the bed and did a double take.

"Is that ours?"

"I told you I felt the head." :-)

The nurse just laughed as she pulled her gloves on (no time to do anything but catch the baby before) and asked him if he wanted to cut the cord. He is always opts out as he is a little squeamish about those kinds of things.

Official time of arrival 5:39 am, time of birth 5:40. The nurse thought maybe I should try a home birth next time. :-) It would be easier on everyone.

Dustin later informed me that he had just sat there because having to listen to me try not to push the whole way there had left him feeling a little faint, freaked out, and stunned. I think it might have been sympathy pains. :-)

I have learned several lessons from this.

1. Next time, if there is a next time, if I feel a little queasy, I won't blame it on the Tylenol, I'll know I'm going through transition.

2. Instead of pacing aimlessly, telling myself I'm going to die of pain if this last ten more hours, I will time my contractions and realize that when they are thirty seconds apart I'm in trouble and probably should have been out of my basement an hour ago.

3. Don't wear sweats that have a draw string. They are liable to get tangled and cause a few panic moments in the delivery room. :-)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Last night after church we ate some yummy vegetable beef soup that someone had frozen and given to us.

This soup made me briefly think that some chicken noodle soup would be amazing.

That was it. A flicker of a thought.

This morning I hopped out of the shower and ran for my ringing phone.

My mom's cousin-in-law was on the other end.

She has been bringing us a meal once a week and wanted to drop something off tomorrow. (super, super sweet of her)

Guess what it was?

Homemade chicken noodle soup - organic even.

It made me glance up and smile at God.

Don't you think He enjoys doing the little unexpected things like that?

A brief thought on my part.

A special little gift from Him.

Thank you everyone who is letting God use you to be a special blessing to us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

About that Garlic and Fiber :-)

I had a chat with my nutritionist a few days ago.

It's like talking to my mom. You can't hide anything and they don't pull any punches.

I admited that I had gone on a few rabbit trails this summer - ok, maybe elephant trails - with my diet.

She didn't scold me.

On a side note here, do you ever grow out of the fear of a scolding?

I'm 32 and I can seriously tie up my stomach in knots just thinking about getting a scolding when I know I haven't done something I should have.

On another side note did you know that the reason you get butterflies in your stomach when you are nervous, or sick at the thought of facing something you don't want to is because your gut is pretty much a second brain in your body. It's fascinating and I may have to devote a post to it.

But for the moment my second brain seriously dislikes scoldings. :-)

Instead of a scolding this is what she said,

"Let's pretend that it is your five year old who has cancer. You have a list of things she needs to eat, do, and drink. Are you going to let your five year old skip the things she doesn't want to do?"

"Of course not!" I said as a light came on for me.

I had been really good at the diet for about two months. Then I skipped this and that, fudged here and there.

If it had been Karis or Gabi I wouldn't have given an inch.

Hello! They have cancer. They need to get better and if nutrition and alternatives are the only option, well, we would follow it to the letter.

I now have a new job. My job is to eat right. Eat everything I need to and nothing I don't.

Just eating doesn't sound like that tough of a job, but it is.

Garlic, four times a day, one tsp. each time. I haven't figured out how to do this yet because I also need to eat yogurt for the good bacteria and that bacteria dies when garlic is next to it.

I really don't blame it.

There is going to be nothing left alive around me with this garlic smell that seeps from my body. It is potent.

Poor Dustin. Kissing me is like kissing someone who has just walked out of the Olive Garden after consuming an entire bowl of salad and basket of bread sticks. Oh yum.

Good thing we are already married and he can't run. :-)

As for the fiber. Lest you feel too sorry for me, I am allowed to have a substitute for beans called Psyllium Husk. It isn't super fun to swallow mixed with water, but I've had worse. You do have to drink it right away or it turns into the consistancy of a super thick milkshake without the yummy milkshakey taste. But.... better than beans seven times a day!

And then the veggies, protein, and the supplements. This lotion, that oil, exercise. You need food with some, no food with others, and oh yeah, gain weight while you are at it.

And I have! Four pounds! So you don't have to pray so very hard for that now. :-)

What you can pray for is that I take this job seriously. I don't want to be a whiny, complaining little brat, but there are days I feel like being just that.

I walked around the kitchen last night as I was finishing up my "job" muttering to myself, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks..."

I'll be honest, the hardest thing for me to give thanks for is smelling like a garlic clove. :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


If you own an apple orchard and need to turn a profit, what do you do with all the rotten, wormy, bruised apples that inevitably turn up?

Why, make them slingshot filler and charge people $1 for 5. See, genius. The girls loved it, and Dustin could have spent a lot more time there.

You have to let go, Gabi!
Karis is thinking about all the fun she could have if this was in our backyard. Our neighbors windows are thanking us for saying "no."
Ready, aim......

"I've got it daddy, you can let go."

"But if I let go, I'm afraid you will go flying with it."

Ok, maybe daddy didn't think that, but mommy sure did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sugarlicious addiction

Last Saturday night I went to the mall with Dustin.

It was a date/look for a back massage tool so Dustin doesn't wear out his hands on my sometimes very tight muscles kind of outing.

You know the kind. The, let's go out for dinner then stop at Menard's for a toilet tank cover. Ah the romance. :-)

We've had to do that twice.

I finally moved the picture we had hung over our toilet. It seems solid wood does a number on porcelain if it is knocked off the wall. Just in case you want to check out what is hung over your toilet. :-) Those lids are hard to come by.

But back to our mall date.

I was crabby.


Not pleasant.


It wasn't a thing Dustin had done.

I wanted sugar.

We drove past the Cheesecake Factory and I declared that I wanted chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.

I stood outside of Starbucks and looked with positively green eyes at the cinnabun place and DQ.

We went for an appetizer at a restaurant and I wanted the cake and cupcakes they had out for breast cancer awareness month.

They were even uncovered and looked like they had been sitting out for several hours. I still wanted one. Bring on those germs.

I started meaningless arguments with Dustin because I was a monster and wanted sugar.

The next morning we went to church.

A word of wisdom, don't go to church if you are currently a crabby, grumbly, icky monster. At least not our church.

I love our pastor except for the fact that he has this ability to bring conviction almost every single Sunday - no every Sunday.

This time there were several things, but the biggie was a question.

"Is there anything in your life that you think about more than your Savior." Meaning it has become more important to you than Him.

I cover my face as I say this. (not literally, at least not now, a second ago, but not now, because if I did I couldn't type.)

It seems so foolish, silly, fluffy, unbelievably .......well unbelievable.

What was I currently letting come between me and thinking about my Savior?

Sugar. Sugar!

I was a grumbly ungrateful mess because I couldn't have sugar.

I won't deny that it is stinkin' hard to pass by chocolate and pumpkin bars, sweet tarts and icecream, but really?

To make it so important that I would let it ruin my outlook on life?

To seriously wonder if it was worth giving up even if it could be a huge factor in getting rid of a tumor in my lung.

You know it's addiction when you actually think to yourself that maybe a lung tumor is worth a candy bar or a cold Pepsi.

I've thought it, trust me.

But what cuts me the most is that I let myself get so caught up in my need for sugar that I couldn't even be grateful for what I do have.

First, salvation.

I'm not going to hell. I don't get the eternity I deserve for my sins because Jesus saw fit to die for me and take the punishment. (John 3:16)

Hello. That ought to trump any lack of sugar in my life.

Second, I get to eat most everything else. Even a little cheese on occasion.

Third, I feel sick after I eat a lot of sugar. So I feel better when I don't have it. Yet I want it.

Sometimes I wonder a little about my intelligence.

I know without a shadow of a doubt I will feel sick after I eat pretty much any kind of sugar.

I've been tested. I'm allergic to it. And chocolate. (it's ok to cry here. Allergies like this are worth a few tears.)

Yet my brain rationalizes that this time it won't make me sick. I'll feel fine.

No wonder God compares us to sheep, but that is for another post.

God has brought things back into perspective. I miss sugar, but I'm no longer drooling over the lack of it. I'm trying to focus on what is really important in my life.

As long as I have Christ, nothing else matters.

Will I remember that always? Probably not. I'm sure I'll need reminded about a gazillion more times before eternity. He is always faithful to give me a quick slap in the face when it is most needed, though. A gentle slap for the most part, but a slap nonetheless.

Next post I will treat you with what I do get to eat like candy. A.K.A. garlic and fiber. Oh yum. :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Through the ringer.

I struggled with trying to find a word that summed up how I've felt the past few days.

I guess I needed three.

Through the ringer sums it up. (Although health wise I've felt relatively good, actually.)

Dustin and I deliberated and thought about what to do with my further treatment.

He quickly made a decision, surprisingly it was me who was a little slower. Usually it is the other way around.

We could go ahead and do another scan and then decide if we were even going to attempt the shots that have a small percentage of a chance to stop growth.

My emotions were haywire with this.

I want the tumors to stop growing more than anything. The ones in the liver I can't feel, so those don't scare me as much. It is the one in the lung.


I've never treasured it so much.

I've caught myself watching people take a deep breath and not cough - it makes me marvel.

People singing and entire song, sometimes three, four, five, all without coughing, or "hawkingaloogie" :-) brings awe.

People laughing. Drawing in large gasps of air to fuel their hilarity, and no cough. Fantastic.

You don't even think twice about it when it isn't a struggle.

I think about it all the time. Maybe not consciously, but it is in the back of my mind as I talk to people.

I don't want to get any worse. I don't want my lung tumor to hamper my life anymore.

I don't want it to stay as it is, not shrinking, just staying.

And that is what ultimately made the decision for me.

Dustin had already said I should just wait on the scan and pursue the natural.

To have him say that so decisively made me pause. I would have expected the opposite.

To have me leaning towards a scan that made me drink a bottle of radio active material also gave me pause. We all know how I feel about that. :-)

I didn't want to make a decision out of fear. And fear is what was making me consider a scan that had very little chance of helping me.

So, after a lot of prayer and tears, (tears on my part) we felt positive that the scan can wait.

My oncologist is on board with our decision. Can I say he whole heartedly approves? Actually I have no idea. He didn't argue against it, and that in itself tells me how small a percentage this shot has in working.

I've felt so blessed to have the doctors surrounding me that I know I can trust to tell me the truth, and if you are wondering, he is still my oncologist. I will still be meeting with him regularly to check my progress and I can call him at a moments notice.

This decision has been so hard to make because I feel, in part, that I've ended one journey and begun another.

I've taken the medical field train as far as I can, for now.

The tracks may begin again further on in my journey, but for the moment it's another form of transportation.

I hesitate to say wagon or stage coach because I think the chiropractor would prefer to think of himself as more a space age car. :-) He is a bit of an eccentric, but I'll take his confidence right now. I need someone to believe we can kick this thing.

I don't know if I'm scared, nervous, excited.

Probably all three.

I wasn't going to share this, because I hate to throw false encouragement out there, but you guys are so faithful at praying, that I have to. (even if it turns out to be nothing)

I can't believe I'm talking about this with all of you.

Seriously, but here goes.

My chiropractor said to look for the mucus I cough up to turn yellow or gray as a sign that my tumor may be breaking up. (sorry, gross I know.)

The last few days it has been slightly yellow. Slightly.

It has only ever been clear or bloody.(gross as well) But not bloody for a long time, honest. That's for Teresa.

So.... I'm encouraged.

It's those little things that keep you going..... :-)

Vignette #2

I could say something about the hay bales, the wagon, the pumpkin field, but all I can see when I look at this picture is that she needs a hair cut. I'd better pull out the scissors and do something about those bangs.
Corn in the fall is my favorite. It is pretty in the summer, but there is just something about corn stalks that are ready to harvest. They aren't left in the fields long enough in my opinion. :-)
Whoever would have though Dustin could be such a cute little girl?? Yes, Gabi is the spittin' image of her daddy.

Vignettes of the Apple Orchard

I've been putting off doing this because the sheer amount of pictures that I want to put in overwhelmed me. Instead of chucking the project altogether, I decided to do it in vignettes.

I may post several today, or it may take me several days, but they will get posted.

This picture is the one and only picture that was taken of me. I am putting it in to prove that I was indeed at the orchard that day and that I enjoyed every minute of watching my family take in the sites.

On a side note, it really is a bummer only my legs were in the picture. Unlike last year at the apple orchard I actually took time to make sure I wasn't wearing just a sweatshirt, I had earrings on, my hair was decent, and.... ah well, vanity, vanity, all is vanity. :-)
Dadda Man (as the girls affectionately call him) is fortified by his morning brew for the days activities.
I look at this picture and can't believe that those girls are mine. They look so big! Gabi turns three this month, three!

And that is it, until we meet again. :-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What the doctor says :-)

I took my mom with me this time because Dustin has jury duty.

We were a little early because it was a new office and I never know if I'm going to be able to find new offices.

Turns out he was ahead of schedule, too, so we were ushered right in.

I felt a bit like a bug under a microscope.

When my nurse midwife sent me that note, she also sent my oncologists notes from my last visit.

You know your doctor is trained to observe you for symptoms, but I never realized how much.

Example: "Examination today reveals a pleasant lady who is alert and oriented times three, and in no acute distress."

First, I've never been called lady - hummmm.... or pleasant. Makes you wonder what kind of patients he sees.

Second, what does times three mean? Is there a times one or two? Do those people wander the halls looking for their doctor, disoriented, wondering why they are there?Although I'll admit, I feel that way sometimes. Glad it doesn't show through. Or maybe times three is worse that times one or two..... Oh dear.

Third, if he was observing me that closely I probably wasn't going to be able to hide the raspberry stain that had landed on my sweatshirt that day.

You see, the berry jumped off my spoon, landed on my hoodie string, the actual sweatshirt, and my jeans.

Little bugger.

I couldn't go home and change, either.

Now that I know he observes his patients like a hawk, he probably wrote that eating coordination skills of his patient are slipping. :-)

But... on to the real reason I'm writing this.

What are my options.

I'm going to take this moment to remind you and myself that my doctor is co-chair to some kind of fancy cancer board, he is in contact with all the "experts" across the nation, if he wants, he consults with Mayo, he combs the research papers for new developments. He's good. He's thorough. Looking for another oncologist isn't going to change anything.

What did he think of the options he had to give me?

He's frustrated.

He told me that.

I respect him for it.

It doesn't make the news any easier to take, but at least he is honest and isn't pushing a bunch of treatments on me just to have me do something.

The highest percent of anything that may help is 18-20%.

Even that doesn't do anything to get rid of it, just may stop the growth.

I have enough little lesions on my liver to prevent surgery. A transplant would be needed, but because it is also in my lung a transplant isn't an option.

May I take another moment to mention that I never thought I'd have to talk about transplants of my liver. It's a little weird, I must say. I feel like I'm on E.R. or Greys Anatomy.

But back to my options.

They are doing experiments, but nothing is having much success.

As I said, he is frustrated.

In his words, "It's hard to see anyone sick, but it is really hard with the younger patients and not be able to offer much help."

So what are Dustin and I going to do?

Do you try a treatment that may or may not be successful, actually has less of a chance of being successful, and doesn't shrink the tumors in any way. Or...????

Oh how I wish we were deciding which leather couch to get. Or if we like the color of the counter tops, the wood floor, the paint.

Those decisions are so much more fun.

Can you please pray that we would be wise in what we do.

My oncologist will continually search, but right now we are wondering if throwing our energies into other options will serve us better.

Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom.....

I read Psalm 119:169-175 and was so comforted by the fact that He does hear us and promises to give us understanding.

That is a wonderful thing to know, and a peaceful place to rest.

And that's it. No earth shaking news.

Love you guys, and I just want you to know that today is a good day! I feel great. We are going to take the kids to the apple orchard and enjoy being a family.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Because I don't want to write about cancer anymore....

Because today is too beautiful to talk about doctors and appointments....

Today I'm going to pull out my thankfulness list.

I can't even remember what number I'm on, so for the sake of me being too lazy to go back and look let's start with:

30. My little Gabi's ear ache is gone.

31. Someone is bring us supper tonight.

32. Dustin is home all weekend, something that rarely happens.

33. I have no tumor related pain.

34. God keeps providing what we need.

35. Sunshine

36. My sister found a braided rug for my living room for $8

37. Our bathroom light is fixed, no more showering in the dark.

38. A God who never topples under the pressure.

39. Leaves

40. Fall

Tomorrow I'll tell you what my doctor said, but for today I just want to remind myself to be thankful for what God has given me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When I hear the word leaning...

The first thing that comes to mind is the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I've never seen it except in pictures.

In my mind right now I see a lonely old tower that looks like it needs another tower to keep it company and maybe a stony shoulder to lean on. :-)

Then I started to wonder how many of us are like that tower.

Standing all alone with life a little off kilter - or a lot off kilter, depending on the circumstances.

We may be surrounded by people, family, friends, but still all alone and leaning....

Here on earth God has blessed me with people to lean on.

Dustin happens to be one that can be leaned on literally and figuratively. :-)

I treasure his hugs like nothing else.

After my crazy "witchy" day, all I wanted was one of his hugs.

I can wrap my arms around his neck and just lean.

I know He isn't going to lose his balance.

I know He can support me.

I feel safe and know I won't fall.

Though the hugs aren't the same, I've also been given family and friends who I can lean on, no matter what.

But what happens when they just aren't enough? Because let's face it, sometimes they aren't.

You may not be facing my particular problem, but you may have lost a baby, have child with a disability, job problems, marriage problems, money problems... the list could be a mile long.

No human is strong enough to hold those leaning towers up

When I was having my phone throwing etc., etc., etc., day I pulled up a Streams in the Desert devotional.

It is the reason I am thinking so much about leaning.

I don't usually put the whole thing up on my blog, but it spoke so deeply to me in my particular need I thought some of you might enjoy it, as well.

Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" (Song of Solomon 8:5).

Some one gained a good lesson from a Southern prayer meeting. A christian brother asked the Lord for various blessings -- as you and I do, and thanked the Lord for many already received—as you and I do; but he closed with this unusual petition: "And, O Lord, support us! Yes support us Lord on every leanin' side!" Have you any leaning sides? This humble man's prayer pictures them in a new way and shows the Great Supporter in a new light also. He is always walking by the Christian, ready to extend His mighty arm and steady the weak one on "every leanin' side."

"Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
'I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms

Of My Own love.' Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
he government of worlds. Yet closer come:
Thou art not near enough. I would embrace thy
care; So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it. Doubt not then;
But Wing Me, lean hard."

I don't know about you, but I'm going to lean as hard as I possibly can.

I love that not only can He hold me up, but He knows my every thought, fear, and insecurity.

Lean away my friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The skinny on me..

Is that a saying or am I just pretending in my own crazy mind that I've heard it somewhere?

Regardless, it is appropriate for the subject.

I've resisted writing about this, because, well... Here's the story.

Today I got a note in the mail from my nurse midwife who delivered Gabi.

I thought she was going to tell me she was practicing again.

Imagine my surprise when I read this,

"Rebecca, I am continuing to get reports and i appreciate being able to review them even though I am not practicing. (what? she was getting my dr. reports? Not that I minded at all, I was just surprised) I see their concern about your weight. I would like to recommend that you continue to avoid sugar (no fair) but monitor your healthy food intake to include 3-4 of healthy protein. Be well! Carey

Hummmmm...... so what did I do?

Freaked out that everyone was talking about my weight.


I immediately got out the skillet and fried two eggs!

And ate them, of course.

Now I'm going to go eat supper and then finish this at some point.

After I've gained ten pounds.

Which may be a challenge as I can't eat any of the things that I would LOVE to eat to put those pounds on.

I'm drooling just thinking of them now.

It's somehow not as fun to put weight back on with protein, fiber, veggies, nuts, and.... well, you get the picture. (and exercise)

That's how you are supposed to get it off, not on.

I've been a little slow on the uptake to realize how serious this is.

My goal with my diet was to get rid of cancer, not weight.

When it came off due to all the cleanses and the "extreme" diet, it caught me by surprise.

It's my fault that I've lost as much as I have. I've gotten lazy and not eaten all the protein that I needed to.

When you eat all the fiber I am and not the protein it is bad news.

I knew last doctor's visit when I hopped on the scale that I was in trouble.

Dustin offered to let me hold his coffee, I thought that maybe I should hold my purse.

But that was cheating.

I had to finally face the fact that I needed to force myself to eat everything I'm supposed to, even if I don't want to.

So..... as funny it seems, I'm asking you to pray that I would gain weight.

Even now I can't believe I'm asking that.

Did those words actually come out of my finger tips?

Could you please make the prayer very specific and not go over ten pounds?

That's all the doctor said I needed to gain - honest.

And have you seen a ten pound tube of hamburger? Trust me, it is enough.

Thank you! :-)

Let's try this again.....

I tried to be put pictures in here, but obviously I did it the wrong way and messed everything up. You will just have to imagine the Wicked Witch of the West in your mind. I'm sure you can do it.

Yesterday I was sure she had inhabited my body, Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to label it my own sinful nature.

Do you ever have days you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself?

Somedays, and this is no holds barred honest, I'm just plain witchy.

That's something I don't want to share, but I also don't want you to get the wrong impression that I always have the perfect attitude, either.

Not even close.

You can hide so much from the outside world, and I don't want to mislead you by only sharing my victories and not struggles.

This is life.

My very imperfect life.

So, what prompted this post?

I'm going to have to say it started out with a set of keys.

The keys to the Honda I drive.

I had everything packed up and was looking for them - couldn't find them anywhere.

Then I remembered vaguely that Gabi had wandered back to the bedroom area with a jingle jangle of keys.

I told her not to lose them, but failed to get them from her.

Today I was paying for it.

I called them in and asked Gabi where they were.

She had no idea.

That was when I lost my temper.

I never knew I had a temper until I had kids.

I always thought I was fairly easy going. Sure stuff bugged me, but lose my temper and yell at my kid to find the blasted keys?

No way!

Yes way....


After frantically looking all over and making my kids miserable I dissolved into a puddle of tears on the floor.

What kind of an example was I?

They were keys.

It was at least half my fault I didn't grab them from her yesterday.

It didn't matter if we made it to my moms on time, or not.

My response to this problem was completely sinful and I begged their forgiveness.

Unfortunately this happens all too often.

Like later in the day.

I was calling to return a product I had bought.

This product, which I had carefully checked out, and talked to a lot of people who have used it successfully to get rid of the tumors that have been untreatable, was super expensive, but we figured it was worth it.

Especially since we could return it in a month, money back guarantee.

Or so we thought.

Today I called and it seems I was misinformed by the lady who told me about it.

You can only return the unopened product.

Unfortunately I have opened most of the really expensive stuff.

I was irritated.

Sure, it was again my fault for not reading their small print and trusting the lady, but still.

I was irritated.

So irritated I did something I've never done before.

I threw the phone across the kitchen and started crying.

As soon as the phone landed the hospital number came up on my cell phone.

I knew it was my doctor calling with my results.

Of course.

I answered trying to control my tears.

This was probably the first time he had a patient cry before he had even said anything.

It was short and sweet, but the news was rather sour.

My liver has carcinoid just like my lung.

We are getting together and talking about options on Thursday.

I don't even know what options there will be, now that we know for sure it has spread.

I hung up with him and this time I didn't throw my phone, I called Dustin.

I told him the news about the product, telling him I was so sorry I wasted another several hundred dollars on a product that didn't work and that I had carcinoid in my liver.

Just what every husband wants to hear at work, right?A wife sobbing about wasted money and carcinoid.

You know what?

God gave me exactly what I needed.

Someone to remind me that it is only money, not to worry about it. Dustin didn't care. All that mattered was me.

God would somehow work out the liver and lung thing. It was no different than it had been a few hours ago and we would fight if with everything we had.

And he prayed with me.

Then my mom prayed with me after I told her the news.

After which I took a good hard look at myself.

I could blame my mood and tantrums on a lot of things.

My cancer, the meds I'm taking, which are affecting me, my lack of sleep, etc., but none of them are an excuse.

It's me, letting my sinful nature get the best of me.

Pastor preached in Colossians on sunday.

Verse 10 and 11 have haunted me ever since.

"so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowlege of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience.

My problem is I keep trying to do it on my own, despite knowing better. I get lazy. Don't read the Word like i know I need to in order to walk worthy of Him and get that endurance and patience.

I'm sharing this with you because, one, confession is good for the soul and two, just in case some of you struggle with the wicked witch of the west personality on occasion, like I do, that you would allow God to drop a house down on it. :-)

I love your prayers for my cancer, keep them coming, but would you also pray for the inside, inside of me? The part that really matters? Cancer can only kill my body, my anger hurts my soul.

Sorry if there are a lot of mistakes in this post. Those pictures really messed up my typing. I can barely read it when it isn't actually posted on my blog.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My little alarm

A couple of days ago Karis came into my room with a dramatic swoosh.

What is a dramatic swoosh?

It's entering your parents bedroom by pushing the door back quickly at six in the morning.


"Yes." Mumbled by me.

"Mother, I have to marry Owen. He is the only boy that I love."

That is a lot for a mom to process at six in the morning, let me tell you.

I assured her that if God wanted her to marry Owen it would happen.

Later we went into a longer discussion on the reality of who you may or may not marry, but I don't think it changed her mind much. She is one determined little girl.

By my calculations Owen will be back in the states at age 8, 12, 16, 20 and so forth and so on.

I'm thinking by 16 we can let them write, and at 20 they can start dating. :-)

Sound good Teresa?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Did you know?

If you are anything like me, you probably haven't thought a whole lot about your liver.

I'll be honest, I had to do a quick refresher course to even remember where it was about six months back. :-)

Now it seems to be giving me a few problems, so I thought I'd look up some facts about it.

(if you don't want to know any facts just skip to where I write about my biopsy. If you don't want to know about my biopsy adventures just skip the post entirely. My liver won't be offended in the least:-)

Did you know....

* The liver is the largest organ of the body.

* The liver affects nearly every physiological process of the body and performs over 500 different chemical functions.

* The liver filters over a liter of blood each minute. (Wow)

* You probably don't think a lot about it, yet you can't live without it. (no kidding)

* You can't feel it working, yet it plays a central role in nearly all body functions.

* It's your body's "protector," and damage to it can result in serious, potentially life-threatening consequences.

I'm actually glad I wasn't "up" on all my liver knowledge before I went in for my biopsy.

I would have been even more nervous than I was because apparently the liver is a bit more valuable than my lungs. Not that I can live without my lungs, but at least one is dispensable.

I'm thinking those 500 chemical functions wouldn't do so well if my liver malfunctioned. No wonder my doctor is a tad worried.

And hence the reason you are now being treated to a play by play of my liver biopsy.

Simply because I know you've been dying to know what they are like.

I put very little thought into what I would wear because I knew I would be changing shortly after arriving. Just comfy sweats and a tank top.

Why am I sharing this? Not sure. It really has nothing to do with my biopsy.

I did, however, make time to paint my toenails. It seemed very important that morning, for some reason.

Probably the same reason you paint your toenails before you have a baby.

And when you figure out that reason, let me know, because it did seem a wee little bit foolish to be painting my toe nails minutes before I walked out the door for a biopsy.

Grandma Linda met me promptly for my check in.

I always feel like I lose control the moment I check in and get that tape put around my wrist.

It's a piece of paper, yet all of a sudden I become a little kid who must do whatever is asked.

It isn't bad, I've already agreed to everything, just feels..... I don't know, helpless.

So, I meekly followed my guide to the room and sat in the designated chair.

(by the way, I'm so glad Grandma Linda gave up her day to be with me. It made everything so much better!)

The lady across from me already had an i.v and hospital gown on.

I knew my moment for the inevitable struggle with the gown had come.

The nurse bustled around, got my i.v. stuff ready and asked if I had an arm preference.

Does anyone have an arm preference?

Yes, please, it feels so much better to be jabbed in the right one than the left.

I know they mean do some veins work better than others, but for me neither one likes to have a needle jammed into it.

I let them pick and close my eyes.

She started the process and mentally I wondered if she had forgotten the gown.

Not wanting to ruin a good thing I kept my mouth shut.

One jab.... not going to take. Hit a valve or something.

Next vein, which according to her are huge, worked out better.

I'm not sure if I am happy I have "huge" veins or feel a bit perturbed about it.

But, regardless of the vein size, the worst part was over.

She explained the risks - internal bleeding, lung collapsing (say what?), etc., etc., etc.,

Ok, maybe this was more serious than I thought.

Let the waiting begin. Grandma Linda kept my mind off the risks, thankfully, and if I had been on The Price is Right that day I would have won a awesome stainless steel gas stove. I was one dollar off.

My fellow waitee was in there for a liver biopsy, as well. She had talked to people on facebook that hadn't done so well with their biopsies. Lots of pain, etc.

Drat facebook. Who needs it?

My moment finally came.

Wait, still no hospital gown.

I asked the nurse and she said that for this procedure I didn't have to change.

Not that I wasn't excited, but it felt plain wrong to be climbing up on the operating table dressed in Capri sweats, a black tank and my Brazil flip flops.

Could the doctor do a procedure with me in flip flops?

I wasn't sure about that, but then the drugs started to kick in and nothing much bothered me. :-)

Good thing, too, because as the doctor was prepping the site the nurses came in and asked him what they should do for the previous woman who had a similar procedure done but was experiencing severe pain and having a hard time breathing.

I knew that I should probably be jumping off the table and protesting the needle being inserted into my liver, but....

What can I say, those were delightfully good drugs.

The biopsy went off without a hitch with only about five seconds of somewhat severe pain. Five seconds is nothing. I've had dental appointments that have hurt worse.

I'm telling you - good drugs.

After four hours of recovery time - they are very serious about making sure you aren't bleeding internally - Grandma Linda took me home.

My sisters kept the girls for me while I lay down and licked my wounds.

You know what hurt the worst?

My i.v. sites. They are still a little bruised.

However, even the bruises are worth it for.... you guessed it, the drugs. :-)

The best part is there were absolutely no complications that are associated with Liver biopsies - Praise the Lord! He was totally watching out for me.

Now.... it's just waiting for the results.

Patience, patience, patience.