Thursday, March 31, 2011

Family Day

The girls have a favorite game they play with Dustin. I'm not quite sure what the name of it is, but drawbridge or collapsing mountain would be appropriate. :-) Sorry the pictures are so blurry. I think I must have hit something.

Climbing to the top and peeking at Daddy before jumping down.
The daddy sandwich, and if you aren't careful, he might grab you for a hug.
We decided we needed some fresh air, so went to check out the dam for the first time this year.
It was a bit colder than anticipated. Karis was shivering.
Have no fear, she quickly warmed herself up. My heart almost stops when I watch the girls run pell mell down a hill.
They kept me warm with a few snuggles.

I was praising God for the day He gave us. You see.... last Monday I had been feeling sorry for myself because other people were having great family days, and here I was...

Having a reaction to pain meds.

Feeling sick.

Thinking I was going to die.

Basically giving into every negative thought I had floating around.

God has given me such a great week and a half.

I'm tired, but I'm here, not in pain, and able to mother the girls a little bit.

I can go on little outings and watch them giggle with their daddy.

I feel like taking pictures of our lives.

I'm grateful God is patient with me and let's me have those moments where I can get scared and a little teary.

I received a card today that was so precious. I'm going to change the wording a little because it expresses exactly how I feel at the moment.

I continue to entrust me and my family's future into the loving arms of "The Everlasting God who does not become weary or tired." Isa. 40:28

I'm so glad I have arms like that to trust in. And I'm glad He never wears out like I do. :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Things are good

My body is again tolerating the pain medication. I'm not sure why other than your prayers. God has given me several very good days. I'm able to get my calories down all by myself. I even made the girls breakfast and lunch today. Considering that last Monday I was ready to throw in the towel, these are huge steps for me. I am so humbled by all the reminders of people praying for me that I've had this week. Thank you for your unfailing willingness to hold my family and me up in prayer - I know that is why we are able to keep on keeping on. :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Dustin and I are facing a decision we have to make.

It is one that is brought to our attention nightly.

It has nothing to do with me or sickness.

Karis wants her ears pierced.

She has several friends who have their ears pierced.

Up until now she has adamantly stated she doesn't want a needle through her ear, even though she thinks earrings are very pretty.

This past week she seems to have changed her opinion.

Dustin and I were tucking her in when she said, "You guys need to hurry up and talk about letting me get my ears pierced."

"We are talking about it, it's just not a decision you make quickly," Dustin said. "You realize that it is going to hurt, don't you?"

"Oh Daddy, it's only a needle going through the flesh, there is no bone."

This is true. :-)

Her answer did nothing to help us along in our decision, and we have a very impatient five year old on our hands.

Dilemmas, dilemmas....

Later, she rushes into our room and on a completely different subject says,

"I have listened to this Uncle Rick CD hundreds of times and I know what those Scriptures say. I need to listen to a new one because I need to learn new Scriptures because it is important for me to know the Scripture."

I went and changed the CD.

Thank the Lord for two beautiful daughters who continually fill our hearts with smiles.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Too cute!

Gabi has been fighting a cold. She isn't too fond of blowing her nose, so the resulting chapped upper lip will take a bit to get rid of. You see, she isn't fond of letting me put lotion on, either.

When she complained of an earache today and I put a few drops in you would have thought I was trying to burn her alive.

It took about a half hour before my stubborn little miss came out of her closet and snuggled with me again.

She feels better now, so some of those drops must have stayed in - either that, or God was gracious enough to heal without, since he knew what I was dealing with. :-)
These are the pictures that result when your five year old gets your camera without you knowing it.
Grandpa and Grandma Swanson took Karis on a field trip last Sunday to a Prairie Center and to see the most adorable little goats ever.
I want one and I'm not even particularly fond of goats. I do have to say they have great milk, though.
Don't you love her jean jacket? I have no idea where it came from, but it makes her look quite authentic.

She has informed us several times that she is glad Grandpa and Grandma have a farm so she can be a "farm girl."

Maybe someday.... I just can't quite see Dustin out on the farm, though. :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life feels like a Merry-go-round!

Up, down, spinning around.

Sometimes this past week the spinning part has got the better of me.

A few times my horse got stuck on the down position and it was a bit of a struggle to get it moving up again.

Never before have I understood what people mean when telling me how someone they knew just gave up and died.

There were a couple of times when I knew that if I gave up right now and quit fighting, that would be me.

Here's the thing.... I'm not allowed to give up. :-)

I have this wonderful family who refuses to let me.

Sunday night I discovered that my lung is a little upset again with my pain meds.

On top of my Friday news this devastated me. It shouldn't have, but it did.

Not only do these meds take all the pain away, they let me sleep.

The past two weeks have been such a blessing.

When I saw those meds slipping away I fell apart - just being honest.

Monday I woke up, pulled on a hoodie, and sat on the couch.

Dustin found me with tears running down my cheeks and very little will to keep on fighting.

He wisely packed me up and sent me to the woman who would force feed me not only food but the will to keep going.

I have talked to my oncologist since then and decided that while I may cough up a little bit of blood due to the meds, sanity is worth it. The amount is far from dangerous, and it is the only side effect.

Can you pray that I won't need it much longer?

Pork me up a little bit and hopefully the problem will just go away.

My blood work came back and assured me that my liver is functioning normally.

Good news.

On Monday I had my mom call my doc in Chicago.

I didn't have the energy to talk to him, but I needed to hear what he said.

I think both of us were ready to give up on him.

Surprisingly, after hearing what he said, I'm ready to keep going for a bit more.

To sum it up he said, "He has seen over and over how people take an MRI, get bad news from the doctors, are ready to buy their coffin, do surgery, only to find out that it wasn't as bad as the pictures made it look. Shadows can distort sizes of tumors. He has worked with so many patients and has learned to trust his instinct. In my case he would stake a lot on the fact that I'm getting better."

He wants to see my MRI's next time.

Is he right?

I don't know. I'm depending on a verse a precious friend sent in the mail today.

"Call to Me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." Jeremiah 33:3

We are on our knees crying out to God to show us things we can never figure out on our own.

When I talked to my oncologist yesterday on the phone he mentioned only doing more tests for treatment.

I perked up at that. Treatment? Was there something new?

Turns out no. Just the same 19% possibility for the shot that might stop the tumor growth.

That leaves my naturopath and finding other options.

We may still look into the shot, but we can't stop there. That isn't a cure. That's hoping the tumor doesn't grow more.

So, for now we will keep up with Chicago. His confidence lends me confidence I need right now.

After my oncology visit I really was ready to buy my coffin.

I have strong feelings about the kind, by the way. I've thought about it even before I was sick.

Something cheap!

Personally I'd rather spend the money on something I can enjoy now! :-)

But that is a rabbit trail.

With Chicago doc I feel like I'm going to make it.

Like he is going to find something that works.

The plan is to still search out other options.

The tooth keeps coming up, so pray for wisdom on whether we should act on it.

Everything just costs so stinkin much, you know?

Sadly, that is probably the biggest reason I'm hesitating on that. Well.... that and I really dislike the thought of getting a tooth pulled.

I still have my wisdom teeth! Never have I had a tooth pulled.

I'd rather have a needle in my lung or liver than my tooth pulled.

So that could be my real reason....

I'm sorry this is so rambling. You're head is probably spinning like mine now, but hopefully you have a general idea of where we are at.

God has me where I need to be. Unable to turn anywhere but to Him.

Thanks so much for the prayers and support!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Odds and ends

My sister Rae cut my hair. I love it! I can just put it into a pony tail, but so far I wear it down all the time.

I look rather tired because the self portrait was taken last night after my rather emotional day. I figure if I still like my hair after a day like yesterday it must be a good cut! Way to go Rae!

I'm ready to fight again.

This curve ball wasn't a surprise to God.

He knows what is next, my job is just to do my best.

We will be working on it.

Oh, and I've gained weight!

That was the only good news yesterday.

At least my new diet is working and my body seems to love it.

One less thing to worry about and now we can concentrate again on the cancer.
We had Noelle, Brian, and Kalvyn over for March Madness on Thurday. The kids had so much fun, and while the guys cheered on the players Noelle and I painted each other's toes and talked and talked and talked.

She got the raw end of the deal, if you ask me. I painted her toes, and I'm not the artist. She had to scrub a bit off her skin by the end. :-)

Mine? They look beautiful!
Gabi cracked me up at my parents yesterday with a conversation she had with her Auntie Faith.

It went something like this.

Gabi: What are we having for supper?

Faith: Black beans and rice..... or no, maybe we will have some Gabi (tickles her) should we eat some Gabi.

Gabi: (giggling, then becoming very serious) No Auntie Faith.

Faith: Why not?

Gabi: Because I would taste yucky and my mommy would be very worried if you ate me.

I think she just might do well as a missionary to a cannibal tribe, don't you? It's a pretty solid argument that I don't think many would be able to refute. After all, you don't want to worry a mommy, they can get pretty mean when protecting their babies. :-)

Grandma Robin surprised the girls by bringing her very own princess dress to wear when she watched the girls last week.

They were in awe, and of course quickly joined her in their dresses, as well.

Sometime I may have to join them.

Life goes on, doesn't it?

I'm grateful for the normal.

Grateful for a family who surrounds me and helps keep life as normal as possible.

God is good.... all the time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

Habakkuk 3:18-19

No catastrophe has taken place so I'll keep my promise.

I want to write in a few days.

Days when I know I will no longer feel the raw pain and disappointment my results brought today.

My oncologist stalled as he brought up my MRI photo's.

I knew he could just be unprepared, but my heart told me bad news was coming.

I couldn't hold back the tears as I saw tumors in my liver that had doubled in size the past four months.

My lung tumor has increased, as well.

It's a good thing my mom was there because I couldn't ask any questions, at all.

Questions like, "Why do I feel better if the tumors are increasing. How can I breathe better?"

His theory is that my other lung is compensating.

It's all a theory.

And there are no magic treatments just because my tumors aren't behaving like they are supposed to.

Which is GO AWAY!

I wish I had something to tell you, but I don't.

I'll have a PET scan done again, I'm sure we will consider everything all over again.

But again, considering doesn't bring any real options to the table.

Do I think my Chicago dr. is a crock?

At this point I couldn't tell you what I think about anything or anyone.

All I know is that my center hasn't changed.

God is holding me up through this. He is my solid to cling to.

I've climbed on His lap today and asked him to carry me through all of this.

Giving up is not an option.

But fighting in my own strength is beyond overwhelming right now.

I didn't want to have to share news like this.

I wanted to tell you how everything was shrinking, or at least frozen in place.

In a few days, when the newness of the latest report has worn of, Dustin and I will need prayers for direction.

I know that is what you do best.

In the meantime, God is teaching me a whole new level of rejoicing in Him.


I am really nervous about my doctors appointment today.

So nervous that if I had any choice in the matter I would not go.

It's one of those events where I feel much safer just not knowing.

I'm feeling better.

I know I'm getting better.

But how will I feel if the tumors have grown?

That is what I'm nervous about.

Disappointment will be a given, but I don't want it to lead to anything more.

What decisions will I have to face if they are growing?

And why am I doing this to myself?

I need to be trusting in God right now and not letting the "what if's" scare me.

So.... I'm going to go pray about it, and I would appreciate if you would, as well.

Thank you!

I'll blog tonight about the results unless something catastrophic prevents me. :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drugs and Dreams

A couple of mornings ago, very early, I heard a pop, pop, popping.

It went on for an extended period of time, and I remember thinking it sounded like the gunshots you hear from a distance on t.v. programs. (stellar source of knowledge, I know:-)

As soon as these popping noises stopped I heard the squeal of tires as a car rushed off.

My thoughts were this.

Should I go get Karis out of her room? After all, it was in the front of the house, and if our town was experiencing drive by shootings, the front would be where you wouldn't want to be, right?

Also, maybe I should call the police?

In fact, why weren't there sirens already roaring towards us?

Surely someone had been hit by all those shots, windows broken?

Or wait.... was I really awake? Did I dream all of that?

I still don't honestly know, my dreams have been very vivid and reality and dream world are hard to differentiate at times these days.

Like yesterday afternoon I took a nap.

In my dream all of us had gone shopping. My mom, girls, and sisters.

I had bought some cauliflower and put it in the trunk.

It had fallen to the ground before I put it in, so when we got home and I dropped it yet again I was dismayed by the damage - it was very uncauliflower like.

Soft, gooey, utterly useless.

My mom handed me a couple of tomatoes in those cellophane packages.

The package slipped out of my fingers and landed face down.

I bent to retrieve it and was again horrified to find them not only bruised, but smashed, soupy, and again, useless.

My mom, not really frustrated, but disappointed that the tomatoes were ruined said, "Here, I'll hold them."

I started to cry - really cry because I couldn't believe I was dropping things and ruining them.

Then I woke up and found myself sobbing.

The tears were really pouring down my cheeks.

So far I haven't dreamed anything more scary than drive by shootings that only make me vaguely wonder if I need to be hunkering down, odd cauliflower, and smashed tomatoes, but it leaves me wondering what is coming next.

Maybe my mind will adjust to these drugs at some point. :-)

I know my body is so grateful.

Yesterday morning I couldn't take a pill until ten because I had to drive the girls up to my parents and you don't really want me driving while on these things, trust me.

By the time I got there I was achy, grumpy, my shoulder hurt, and generally tight and uncomfortable.

I sorted through the feelings.

Was it any worse than it had been before I started taking these pills.

I had to admit that it wasn't.

Part of me immediately felt guilty.

If I could handle it before why was I needing these pills so much now?

Was I addicted already?

Then I realized that the pain had gone on so long my body had just learned to deal with it.

I was never able to relax, I was exhausted, and yes, I was in a good deal of pain.

Now for a week my body has experienced the sensations of being relaxed, able to sleep, and pain free for several hours a day while the other hours are just mildly uncomfortable.

My body is continuing to tolerate the medication and for this I praise the Lord DAILY! Thank you for the prayers on my behalf.

I loved having an adopted mother of mine call and inform me that she and God had a very stern talk during one of her walks about how I needed a pain medication that worked.

God has been so amazing to give me many prayer warriors that aren't afraid to ask for the hard stuff, even when I give up in those departments.

Loves to all!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Where to start?

1. I really want to be lazy right now and not write anything. It may be my meds, but I'm totally not motivated to write anything.

2. Uncle Bob, I want you to know this post is purely because I know you will come hunt me down if I don't post. :-)

3. I had an MRI today.

Mom took me.

I wasn't really worried.

I didn't even take time to paint my toenails.

Of course, I forgot one important detail of wearing a hospital gown.

You really should shave your legs.


Yet another reason you should be allowed to wear scrubs.

It's winter!

Some of you may take the time to shave every few days, but me?

It's winter - that says it all.

But you can remedy anything if you ask for a heated blanket! :-)

Now I know why people say to always ask for one.

I'm learning the secrets...:-)

I won't hear my results until Friday at my Oncology appointment, but I'll let you know a.s.a.p!

4. So far so good with my pain meds.

Keep praying.

The relief from constant pain is indescribable.

I'd like to keep it.

The groggy, sleepy feeling is nothing to complain about, either.

For the first time in months I've felt like I can truly relax.

So wonderful!

5. I said goodbye to Gotein today in favor of fresh goat milk.

It tastes great.

Not quite as sweet as from a cow, but, not goaty, either.

That not goaty part? That's huge in my book!

6. My naturopathic doctor thinks my cancer can reasonably be assumed dead.

I'm praying he is right.

I want to believe him, and I think I do.... It's the whole "ye of little faith" thing.

My MRI won't show one way or another. A tumor looks the same dead or alive.

What I'm praying for is that they will have shrunk at least a little so my faith can have sight!

That's why I'm a bit nervous about Friday.

It is so easy for me to get emotionally discouraged; my prayers at this moment are that even if the tumors show they have grown, somehow God will give me the strength to keep on keeping on.

That, and believing that what I am doing is indeed killing the cancer, even if I can't see it.

I feel better, my lung feels better.

Dustin and Mom are so good at reminding me of that!

Love all of you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My foggy world....

Sorry that once again I've let so much time laps.

Last Saturday I was up all night with a joint in my shoulder that throbbed, and throbbed, and throbbed.

Maybe a half hour of sleep.

The next day usually brings some relief, but not this time.

My hip and lower back were the culprits, as was a splitting headache.

All I wanted to do was sleep, but lying down was agony.

Since we were at my parents they watched helplessly as I walked around trying to get relief.

That is almost the worst part of the pain, knowing others are suffering along with you.

Suffering and frustrated that they can't do anything.

By evening the pain had lessened somewhat, and I felt that maybe I could get some sleep.

Ten minutes later I knew that wouldn't be the case.

Emotionally I knew I couldn't face another night of pain without sleep.

I am such a tightwad, though, that I didn't want to shell out the money for the emergency room, the only thing open that time of night.

Pain won out, and I asked my poor husband, who had finished packing all our stuff for Chicago and settled down to watch a little basketball, to escort me to the emergency room.

He is a saint!

Especially for packing my stuff. :-) Girls are kind of hard to pack for, I'm discovering.

He got dressed, grabbed some electronic gear in case we were waiting for forever, and off we went.

I really felt like we should be having a baby, as those are the only other times we have headed to the hospital at that time of night. :-)

The waiting room was full when we walked into the ER and I had a sinking feeling we would be sitting there half the night with flu victims.

I signed in, praying that it would be fast. My pain wasn't agonizing, but relief would be welcome.

God answered that prayer, and then some.

Our backsides didn't even touch the waiting room chairs, in fact I felt a little guilty as we were ushered right back to the check in room and then to the treatment room.

I was further shocked when the doctor proceeded the nurse into the room moments after we had been placed there.

If this was an example of the ER, I would have to come more often.

After describing my allergies, symptoms, etc., I was given a shot in my bum. (the only place with enough fat for a shot, I was told. :-)

Sweet relief!

It made me dizzy, but it also made me blessedly relaxed and sleepy.

This story will have to be continued..... if I don't post now, it won't be posted for at least another day:-)

Or week..... as life has been going:-)

Just so you know, I'm doing fine. Chicago went well. Eating is happening. More details to come.

Friday, March 4, 2011


In case you didn't realize it, the above is meant to sound like a goat.

If I can't do cow, I'm moving onto goat.

Those little creatures are a little scarce in the milk department this time of year, so, we went to goat whey protein.

Gotein, I do believe.

I'm finally giving into my stomach.

It's been rejecting nuts, which after I looked into it, made sense.

Did you know nuts are one of the hardest foods to digest?

And meat for me six times a day is beyond impossible.

I really am almost to the feeding tube stage after this past bout with the flu, so we are fighting it our own way.... well whey, tee hee hee. :-)

I'm like a baby.

Mom fed me rice, squash, oatmeal, and protein drinks today.

And blueberries. Yummy, yummy blueberries.

At a total of 2200 calories on a day where I'm not quite better we feel pretty good about it.

Best of all, my stomach feels good about it.

It went down easy without me feeling sick, and that is such an answer to prayer.

I really was ready to consider a feeding tube.

I'm counting on some little goats to start producing milk.

Goat milk fresh tastes just like cow milk - IF you get the right goats.

However, goat milk in whey protein form.... Hummm.... shall we say I could imagine a goat standing right there staring me down as I gulped my "new" chocolate milk.

Even a goat staring at me is better than nuts at this point, so I shall not complain.... I shall not...shall not.... :-)

This time, I'm praying that nothing else disrupts my weight gain, and that soon I'll be able to tolerate food that packs more of a punch.

Good news in the brother-in-law department. He got the tube and packing taken out of his nose today and it is no longer bleeding. The doctors are watching it, as well as his blood pressure. If it remains stable he should be able to go home soon. Pray for some answers, though. This hardly ever happens, apparently, so they are unsure what caused it, or if it could happen again. Makes me think of when I kept getting confusing answers about what I have. It's frustrating.

Love you all! Think of me if you see any goats!


No matter how hard I try, weight seems to allude me.

The past three days have been ones battling the flu around here.

I've had it, the girls, my sisters....

Thankfully it hasn't been the "puking your guts out" kind, but I've had a really hard time getting food down and keeping it in.

Gone are the days I can lay there and refuse food.

Mom has made sure I've gotten at least 1400 calories in, despite a rolling stomach.

It is so hard not to get discouraged.

Add onto that the fact that I can't tolerate dairy yet.

Nothing major, but when flecks of blood started showing up again and I'm more congested I conceded to the obvious, yet again.

My body doesn't like dairy.

Or at least my lung doesn't.

Sigh.... no more chocolate milk....

I know God has a plan in all this, it's just hard to see at the moment.

Today I feel a little better - not great, but a little better.

Mainly I'm writing to pass on a couple of prayer requests.

First, my brother-in-law is in the hospital because he randomly started bleeding from his nose a few days ago. The doctors aren't positive what is causing it, but are hoping that it has been stopped. He will find out today or tomorrow, but we would appreciate prayers for healing.

Second, A precious family I know has had a close fellow believer falsely accused of a crime and facing up to 60 years in prison for it. I don't know any details, but I know it is really causing them a lot of pain. My prayer is that the truth will set the believer free.

Love you all!

Now.... off to attempt the seemingly impossible task of weight gain. Who would have thunk?