Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Single Digits!

Yes, it is true.  We have reached the single digits for the Radiation Countdown!  Nine more radiation treatments left, my how time flies (when you are not the one getting radiation...).  Dave is doing pretty well, all things considered.  In general he feels kinda yucky, his skin burns, he has lost his appetite and his insides are all messed up trying to figure out what is going on!  I'm very proud of him, he is being a trooper despite having cancer and dealing with the general stresses of life.  We are doing one day at a time and trusting God to figure out tomorrow.  I don't usually quote the NLT, but I like how it communicates Matthew 6:34 ..."So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."  Amen!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Surgeon!

So before our appointment yesterday, Dave could not shake the feeling that he should check in to getting a new surgeon.  He called Dr. Klatt's office and voila, we have a new surgeon.  Too bad more things in life aren't that easy!  (Actually, I've probably seen God more in the difficult than in the easy...but occasionally, it is nice to have something easy come your way!)  We don't get to meet him until October 17, but from friend's recommendations, we are feeling pretty good.

Today we are going through red tape trying to get Dave's chemo pills refilled.  We have to go through a "specialty" pharmacy this time.  (Didn't know Walgreen's was so special).  I called the 1-800 number and went through all the questions: name, birth date, etc...she asked what medications Dave was taking: none, until we get this one...allergies: none...She said, "Wow, he sure is healthy, most of our callers take lots of medications, it's nice he only has to take one"....then there was that awkward I said, "Yes, besides having cancer he's very healthy!"  We both just laughed, what else do you do? It actually made me feel good, I have said my share of ridiculous remarks...guess that is why we all need grace!  Pray we get the pills before the 7 days that it typically takes, he is out of his current prescription, the gal said she would put the status as "stat", hope that means "get this fast" and that it is not just short for "status" ; ) 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Feels like I'm cheating, but here is a quick update on our lives!

Yesterday - We were ministered to by the Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda. Wow. They are beautiful, talented, amazing, eloquent, creative...but that is not what spoke to my heart.  The clear message for me was that Jesus is our Hope.  These children each have a heart breaking story, yet the joy of the Lord is clearly their strength.  Julia wrote in an email to a friend (yes, I read her email : ))  "I can't believe how they go through much worse times than us but yet don't complain but go to the Lord (they made me cry)"  My heart is full that my daughter got to hear that message.  What a great lesson to learn at age 11!

Today - I finally got to talk with a woman that I have been praying for, she has had cancer for awhile.  She has experienced radiation, chemo, stem cell transplant, hair loss, nausea, surgeries etc....She was such a great encouragement to me and I can't believe it took so long for me to meet her.  (Side note: LCCC family, she is having another transplant in a few weeks and really needs our help, they are a military family...connect with me if you can do a meal or take care of kids).  I had hoped to encourage her, but again, was in turn blessed.

Tomorrow - We have appointments with our Surgeon and our Oncologist's nurse practitioner.  Dave and I are asking God to make it clear if we need to seek out another surgeon.  We like this one, but just aren't sure if he's "the one" : )

There you have it kinda short, mostly sweet and to the point!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Be Strong

Be strong and courageous...I have a friend that is walking through an extremely difficult time in her life.  I hoped to encourage her this morning with these words from Deuteronomy.  Little did I know they would come back to mind tonight as we walk our own difficult road.

Dave called tonight crying.  What in the world do you do when your husband calls crying.  He found out today a friend's dad died Saturday (of colon cancer) and then one of his new waiting room friends from radiation is in ICU and it doesn't look good.  It was a hard day emotionally and physically.  I'm sure emotions are heightened by the increase in feeling crummy.  The last few days have been more difficult on Dave's body.  His skin burns and to spare you the details, I'll just say his plumbing is giving him constant discomfort.  Food has become something he must eat so his chemo pills don't make him sick.  We are seeing the toll this is taking on his body.  (Little side note here: About 1/4 of his chest hairs have turned completely white?!  Weird)

There are several verses where we are commanded to be strong and take courage.  A command?  How do you do this when your weakness just pours out until you feel empty?  There is only One way:

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Trust.  My heart trusts in Him.  I have to confess it was easier to trust when this whole cancer thing was a conversation.  Now it has become more of a reality.  I am still absolutely confident in Him, in fact, I think He is the only place I can find any confidence, any hope...

And here I am again, at this place of dependence and surrender (DL you know just what I mean).  It's a difficult lesson to learn, especially through your husband having cancer. 

I have to tell you about the goodness of the Lord.  In mail today was a beautiful letter from some far away friends.  It was filled with a generous gift and sweet words of comfort and friendship.  Then we had an incredibly wonderful couple stop by just to check on us, M and M you always light up our days, thank you for loving us through good times and bad, your faithfulness is a reflection of the faithfulness of our Lord.  AND my fantabulous niece is here to take care of my family while I go to Texas for the next four days. heart exults... and I thank Him...

So dear friends, Be Strong and Take Courage.  I love you!

In case you got weepy reading this blog (since I cried most of it), here is a picture of my children tonight doing a weird, crazy fashion show...they are one of kind.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's New

Not much.  We saw Dave's oncologist yesterday.  Again, I have to say, this is an amazing doctor.  It was a quick no nonsense appointment, just checking felt kind of like having coffee with a friend.  I think my blood pressure actually lowered being there. We chatted, they took more of Dave's blood.  Dave had more questions of what the future looks like.  It was good to get more of the picture (possibility of a port, 4-6 months of chemo post-surgery etc)  Dr. Senecal did say for now, Dave would be getting more tired and would generally feel yucky, but if that is it, we'll take it! (of course it is not me feeling yucky and tired)

You know I was thinking about our "instant" society.  Microwaves, instant coffee, fast food, email, live-streaming.  We get what we want and we get it now.  I think that is one reason I like special events (birthday parties, retreats, conference) you have a beginning, middle and end.  Then you are done and you move on to the next task.  Life isn't so much that way.  I'm about done with this cancer and it's not even me that has it!  That's been the weird part of this journey.  Dave is in this for the long haul, there is not an instant fix (well, again, God is able...but it looks like the slow-cooker version, not the microwave version). And while we (he) goes to radiation 5 days a week and takes his chemo pills everyday and we schedule the doctors visits around school and work...we still need to get homework done, go grocery shopping, keep up with the laundry...those daily tasks.  How do you weave these worlds together?  What task do you tackle first? 

I still don't know, but I do know you just have to be flexible and laugh often.  Take for instance, if your daughter smears whip cream all over your just need to get his life jacket on and throw him in the lake.  That is a priority.  And it's a definite laugh.

Our part: Faithfulness.  Day by day.  Step by step.  Moment by moment.  Listening to His voice.

God will: Be committed to us, keep His covenant with us, watch, protect, provide, forgive, love, comfort, discipline.  He is for us and not against us and He is in this for the long haul too. 

And together I'm sure we'll laugh along the way, day by day, step by step.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Week Down & First Day of School

Today marks one full week of chemo and radiation.  Hmmm, do we celebrate?  Dave is feeling the effects of this "poison" he is taking twice daily.  (He said it is strange to take pills that basically are destroying something in his body)  He is more tired, he feels pretty sick after taking the pills and the radiation seems to make him feel kinda "yuck". 

He met with a dietitian today that really encouraged him and lifted his spirits.  She gave him a whole list of foods he can eat now.  We thought it was more restricted than it really is, so this was good news.  She gave him tips on what to eat if he gets sick and how to avoid feeling too sick.  I missed this appointment, which made me sad a little.  We have spent more time alone together this last month than we have almost all year!  (We have had a lot of doctors appointments)  However, I was picking up our kids from their FIRST day of school. 

Julia is attending Oakbrook Elementary for 5th grade this year and Daniel is in 2nd grade at Idlewild.  Yes, they both start and end at the same time each day and I drive both of them.  Someone is going to have to be very early or someone will always be late...we'll figure it out.  First day of school pictures are always out our back door on our stairs, here is this year's picture.
Oh my, this freaks me out a little.  How did they get so big!  Look at Daniel!  I struggled a little this morning.  Julia has one more year of elementary school and at the end of last year we decided to send her to Oakbrook.  They have a self-contained "gifted" class, it sounds weird, but basically she has more homework!  We are very proud of her, she works very hard and she is very smart.  Anyway, on the way to school today Daniel said, "I wish Julia would be at my school this year."  It's the first time any of us have acknowledged that they will not be together this year.  It made me sad.  Then when I dropped Julia off at her new school, I got all those icky butterflies you get when you are in a new situation and I got all nervous for her!  Here we are on her first day.
She did great and even lamented that they didn't get to do any work today (who is this girl?).  I, however, was exhausted after reading about all the work they will be doing.  

So two firsts crossed off the list (first week of treatment and first day of school).  Wish I could say it will be easy sailing.  I think we all have some rough waters ahead.  We continue to trust in the One who calms the sea and walks on water to meet us in our storms.  Now to bed so we can do the second day of school~

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

For the past 11 years, my sister and her family have traveled across the state with the Weaver boys to stay at "Hotel Julia".  The first year (which was Memorial Day, the other 10 years have all been Labor Day) the Weaver boys needed a place to stay while mom and dad went away for the weekend...and the rest is history.

The boys are fondly referred to as the J-Quad (Joe, Jake, Jesse and Josh) and are now officially part of our family.  I think Josh (the youngest) was about 7 when we first met him, now he is a senior in HS!  Joe is now married (he did good...we LOVE Brinn!), Jake got engaged last week (thanks for bringing Valerie this year, we love her too!), and of course there is Jesse...following in the family footsteps and studying at WSU.  Joe and Brinn moved to Boston to begin seminary and could not make it this year which absolutely broke our hearts.  So to make it up to us, we got Ellis (Jesse's bud who happens to know every word to every VeggieTale song ever, we also call him John John) and my niece's bff Courtney and her two adorable boys were added to the mix.  (Not sure why her son Roman calls my husband Grandpa, but he loved it!)  Oh and of course I don't want to forget Marty and Marcy who graciously took our guests out for a "spin" on the lake.

This year we also added Dave's sister (Linda plus Walt and Makayla) and our "other" family the Van Houtes.  It was a crazy, beautiful, perfect weekend!  I don't think I had to wash one dish, there were so many people here helping out it was wonderful.  The house is ridiculously quiet right now : )

Only in a few ways did cancer invade our weekend.  Dave is getting used to wearing a hat and sunscreen (thanks Deputy Kirstin) as instructed by our Oncologist.  We had to pause a few times to figure out if Dave could eat what we were eating, he is such a trooper.  The worst one though was when Dave came in a little buckled over to lie down on the couch.  Daniel saw him and shyly followed.  He stood at a distance from Dave trying to take in what was happening.  Dave called him over and explained that daddy had a tummy ache because of the medicine and it would be okay.  He pulled him into an embrace and Daniel sobbed in his chest.  I've seen my son cry many times, but not like this.  He was genuinely scared and it broke my heart.

This is just a  part of the new landscape of our looks different than it did just a few weeks ago.  I am absolutely grateful God has placed these amazing people in our lives (thanks Lily for buying groceries, cooking food, washing dishes, keeping track of the craziness and blessing us beyond what any of us deserves!).  I am so much more aware of God's beauty and provision and joy than I ever have been and I know I've barely experienced a fraction of what God has in store for us. 

So school starts in two days and I must get to bed!  Amazingly enough, Daniel is excited to go back to school (though he also doesn't want summer to end - I hear ya buddy).  Goodnight my friends, I love you all!