Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Hate Insulators!

Julia was in a class musical tonight titled, "It's Electrifying!"  She was an electromagnet along with her good friend Gabby.  Last week her teacher, Ms. Coppess asked if I could help with props.  I said, "Yes, of course, I'd love to.  I don't know how they'll turn out, but let's give it a whirl."  I just figured once she saw my work, she'd never ask again.  Fortunately it was gluing die cut letters onto a poster board and cutting out kite shapes.  She asked me to make a poster that said, "I Hate Insulators".  I just figured the high cap teacher didn't know how to spell "insulters" and went ahead and made the poster.  Turns out she was right and I just didn't know what an insulator was.  Here is a picture of Julia and my "props" in the background.  Julia is the electromagnet in the middle to the right of my sign.  She has yellow electrical wire wrapped around her.  I still don't understand why the guy next to her has the Superman costume on?
I'm proud of my girl for having a good attitude and doing a great job singing "Electromagnet Man"...oh, that guy is probably Electromagnet it.

My parents braved the rainy weather and proudly watched their granddaughter sing about electricity and Benjamin Franklin.  Thanks mom and dad, it was fun sitting with you in the crowd.   Now we all know a little more about electricity! 

Dave went in to the hospital today and had his pump removed, so he even got in a shower before the performance!  He can't shower while attached to the pump.  (I'm sure that was a necessary comment...). He received an extra dose of anti-nausea meds since he wasn't feeling so great.  The weird metal taste he gets has been a little stronger this time.  He feels yucky and looks a little pale, but he is continuing to be strong and press through it all.  Good job Chemo Man!

Oh and I forgot to mention something.  So a few of you probably have read about our Chemo Teach and the nurse that did the teach.  We talked to her on Tuesday during treatment.  We were remembering when she did the teach and she said, "That was my first time doing that teach.  I didn't know anything I was saying.  Remember me talking about not touching the pills?"  We just laughed, now that day makes more sense!

Goodnight all and turn out your lights so you can save electricity!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chemo #5

I wonder if we'll remember today in 10 years.  This should be a significant day in the life of the Shaffers.  We have started the 5th round of chemotherapy.  Dave had his pump connected to his port this afternoon, the little "zzzzt" sound every 90 seconds reminding us of its presence.  Thursday at 4pm he'll be through with this round.  Then, only three left.

Today was a long day filled with lunch packing, praying, working, phone calls, chemo, facebook, picking up kids, emailing, getting chia seeds from Kathy, hula, grocery shopping, caring for my aunt, homework with kids, coordinating schedules for tomorrow and of course blogging about it all.  Really though what will we remember from this day?

I probably won't think, "should have worn flats instead of heals"...though I should have.  I won't think, "shouldn't of had that brownie" ...because why would I say that?  I probably won't remember that Debbie Le made me cry ...she tends to do that a lot.  I won't wonder how many days it had been since Daniel bathed ...this should be remedied, but hey, one thing at a time.

My days seem to blur together and I don't know why I'm wondering if I'll remember this day in 10 years, because really, I can't remember what happened 10 days ago.  I do know that I'll remember God's faithfulness to us during a long, difficult journey.  I know I'll be grateful for such an incredible support group that uphheld us (thanks Jennifer and Kathy for taking care of our kids today).  I will remember the grace given to me by coworkers and friends as I tried to juggle this crazy life of mine.

And I hope I'll be remembering all of this with my husband of 30 years.  That will make all of this worth it, looking back and remembering the good that came from these days.

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
Psalm 77:11

Friday, March 23, 2012

We have a winner!

Dave had a follow up appointment with the surgeon today, it went really well.  He gave Dave the green light to expand his diet!  Still no nuts or grains, but he can have a few slices of peeled apples and cooked veggies (no skin).  He already has started eating grapes, bananas and cantaloupe.  You just don't know how much you can miss fruits and veggies until you can't have them.  The other good news is that he doesn't have to have another "pressure" test...I don't think I mentioned that before, but he says that has been the most painful experience to date.  We were afraid he'd need another one since he didn't "pass" the first time.  (It basically checks if his colon is leaking).  Instead, he'll just get yet another colonoscopy and he is fine with that.

It looks like he'll have surgery in late June or early July.  They'll put his intestines back together and take out his port.  Ah, the end looks like it is in sight!

And in the mean time we are still being spoiled.  This is where the "winner" part of the story comes in...and you thought I was talking about Dave.  Shelley Zoller is the official winner of bringing a meal from the furthest distance!  Yeah Shelley from Beaverton, OR!

Here she is coming down our stairs tonight with her sister Suzanne.  They were on their way to see their sister up north so they stopped by and brought dinner and yummies~ (yippee for the big Trader Joe's bag loaded with my favorites!)  Shelley and I met when we were youngin's at PLU.  We instantly became kindred spirits always making each other smile at the silliest of things.  One of our mutual favorite memories was a Cannon Beach trip with some other girlfriends...I can't blog too much about that trip...there's only so much you want your children to find out about yourself!

So Shelley brought us Cannon Beach Bread (white for Dave, Cannon Beach Brand to make me smile).  She is just like that, very thoughtful, joyful, creative, kind and crazy.  I love that time and distance have not diminished our friendship.  I love that even though we hardly ever see each other, she would do something so generous and kind for my family.  I love that experiencing Cancer has shown us how amazing and generous people really are.  I am challenged and encouraged and profoundly blessed to be surrounded by friends like Shelley.  Love you friend!  (And Suzanne, it was great to see you are equally infused with the joy your sister shares with us.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm going to Hawaii!

Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things,which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3

Yes, this blog title is's not some great ploy to try to get you to read this entry.  No false advertising here...this is really happening.  (I'm still trying to convince myself of this...)

I know some of you may be checking in to see how Dave's chemo treatment went today.  It was really boring so I'm blogging about Hawaii instead.  Okay, I'll talk about Dave for a little bit.  We met with Dr. Senacal first (Have I mentioned he is the best Oncologist in the world?) 

He walked in the room and smiled at us and said, "Here's the couple of the century!"  We were like, "Wow, did we win something?"  His dry reply, "No, I say that to all my patients."  We proceeded to chit chat, share some of Dave's latest effects/concerns from the chemo and that was that.  All is well.  As we were leaving he gave us the charge, "Onward Christian Soldiers!"  I'm still smiling at how delightful this man is.

We went next door, Dave got hooked up to some meds for about 3 hours, they put on his pump that will give him chemo slowly over the next two days and we were out of there.  He did get to borrow one of their ipads to play Angry Birds, that was a highlight.

Okay, back to Hawaii.  So about a week ago my sister Lily skyped with me and said, "I know this isn't great timing and I will understand if it won't work for you, but do you want to go to Hawaii with me to see Kai?" (my niece, her daughter) 

Let me insert here, my dad is Hawaiian, grew up in Maui, went to UH. I love Hawaii.  I haven't been in about 26 years.  You must know I love the ocean, beaches, paths (well, now you do).  If I could pick one place to go to get refreshed I would say Hawaii.

My first thought was "right, Dave gets cancer and I get Hawaii, how fair is that?"  No, I can't go.  He is in the middle of treatments and it's just not right.  And um, I can't pay for it.  Well, long story short my generous and always giving parents are giving me their miles to fly there (and back!).  We are staying with Uncle Richmond, (who isn't technically my uncle, but in Hawaii, that's how we roll) he is a long time friend of my dads. 

So I am going to Kauai in 35 days!  I cannot express in words how valuable this is to me.  How undeserving I am.  How desperate I am to go!  I feel "fleshy" wanting this so much, I have dared not dream of this day for fear it may not happen, oh me of little faith.  Seriously, I wrestled with this decision.  Is it okay to leave Dave (for four days)?  Who will take care of my aunt?  Is it worth all it will take to leave town?  What will people think?  Is this fair?  Is this right?  And just like that I knew.  God said yes, I am doing this for you.  Go.  I hesitantly emailed my sister, yes.  And she got the tickets the same day!  No turning back.

I am overwhelmed at the goodness of the Lord.  And do not let Dave sing you a sob story.  He doesn't even want to go to Hawaii.  He's like, go, get it out of your system. : )  He has been pretty great about this.  As he says, I am part of this whole cancer journey too. 

And by the way, the picture above was taken in Kauai by my niece Kaileia.  (check it out at Kai Nicole Photography on fb) I've already asked her to reserve that spot for me.  This will be hard, part of me wants to just relax in that hammock for hours soaking in the sun and the other part of me is thinking, I'm only there two and a half days, we have to get in as much as possible! 

Thank you Lord!  I am ridiculously blessed again...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Follow up to Round 3

I guess we fared well during this "in between" time from Round 3 to Round 4 since I haven't posted in almost two weeks!  "No news is good news" is apparently true in this case.  While Dave did have the "normal" issues (pain, neurophathy, lack of appetite, stinging in the stoma, fatigue etc), he felt better than after Round 2!  We are grateful.  And now we are heading into the 1/2 way point of treatment.  Tomorrow Dave gets the 4th of his 8 treatments.

We get to see Dr. Senacal before the treatment, then we sit for four hours while Dave gets hydration, steroids, anti-nausea meds and chemo.  He'll get his pump and chemo bag placed for the next 46 hours and off we'll go.  It is strange what feels normal now.  The room that I used to describe as bland and depressing now has a new dimension to it.  As we have met the nurses and some of the other patients, it has changed into a room of hope for me.  (Even with a death of a patient and the tears that were shed, we know of eternal life in Christ and the hope that brings) Many of these patients have endured much more than Dave, and they are all smiling.  The nurses have constant encouragement, even though you know they must have bad days.  And this drug that costs way too much (financially, physically and emotionally) is extending my husband's life.

I'm grateful for this attitude adjustment and that God has allowed me to see beyond the physical, temporary four walls of this room to that which is far more valuable, the people inside that room and a thing called hope.  Praying you can see beyond your circumstances to something more valuable also.  I'll update after tomorrow!

Psalm 147:11
...but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.