Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Fall...

It's Fall and the colors here in Michigan are just beautiful!  Even on a grey rainy day, the colors still show God's beauty on earth! Now it is evening and the skies are clearing and I can still see the nice  leaf colors and lit up buildings on medical the mile where I live right now. I enjoy walking the halls while I have the energy and without the need for a mask.

A week ago, Jeff and I were packing and getting ready for our whirlwind trip to Oklahoma to see Matthew and two shows put on by the OU School of Drama. I was so excited to see our boy I could jump out of my skin, Unfortunately, I caught a cold that routed itself into my sinuses and ears too. Thankfully, I made it through the plane rides without pain. All three of us enjoyed ourselves immensly. We were in OK for less then 48 hours and did all of the following!:

  1. Toured the School of Drama with Matthew and saw where most of his time is spent. We met his friends and teachers, who were all very nice.  It seems that many people like Matthew. I can understand why...
  2. When Matthew reported to work in the eshop (electrical shop) Jeff and I checked into our hotel and took a two hour nap.  Afterall we were up late packing and up early to get to the airport. A nap felt good.
  3. Thursday evening started with all you can eat ice cream at Diamond Dawgs but I didn't get m cap'n crunch hot dog.  Boy that is so good. Something for next time. Then we went with Matthew to check the lights at the sooner theater for the rehearsal. It's very interesting to me to watch Matthew at work and how much behind the scenes preparation goes on.  Very Cool.
  4. Dinner was at our favorite Burger Place- O'Connell's. The ranch hand burger is soooo good! I didn't like the steak fries so much.  Matthew's regular fries looked a lot better.  After dinner we went to the contemporary dance rehearsal.  It was contemporary but some very good talent was scene.  I kind of felt like I was a judge on "so you think you can dance". I am glad we went.
  5. Friday Matthew was busy until 3 pm so we slept in. When did that happen last?  Jeff was working on getting a new rental car, since our red Ford Focus lurches, lunged sputtered when we accelerated. We were walking the outdoor track waiting for the new car when Jeff got the call.  I kept walking and charted one mile!  Jeff told me our new car was green!  I Kia Soul.  It looks like a box, but it ran so much nice. It purred.  Jeff took another lap on the track and then a swim in the inviting pool.  I can't swim, since I have a PICC line, otherwise I would be in the pool for sure. I took a little nap, after calling Dr B's office about my cold symptoms.
  6. We took a trip to the downtown to take pictures of the Sooner Theater during the day.  We got pictures of the inside too.  Later in the evening there would be a fall festival too. 
  7. Matthew was ready at 2:30 pm and we took him shopping for some clothes (I got some too), and had dinner at the Interurban, another favorite.  Then we rushed over to the Sooner Theater for the show.  Matthew took me with him to check lights while Jeff parked the car.  Remember the fall festival I mentioned? It was in full swing. I sea of people. I would have believed that every Norman resident was out for fun.  The weather was sure perfect for it.  It was in the 80's that afternoon.  No coats necessary. It was fun to see all the families with their kids all dressed up.  The band from the show came outside and put on a concert in front of the theatre.  It was great. Just as the play was too. The show was Our Time and it was well done.  
  8. Then we were off to get some pumpkins for Matthew. He loves to carve pumpkins and was excited to get them. We enjoyed some Braums Ice Cream and then went to get my antibiotics that Dr B called in to Walgreens in Norman. At the end of that night, it was good bye.  We were sad, but realized just how much fun we had in a short amount of time.  It was a wonderful trip! We were happy to get to Oklahoma.
Each day that I walkaround the hospital halls, I peak out the windows, the fall colors are still there.  It won't be long though, and all the leaves will have fallen and winter will be here. It snowed around lunch today on Halloween!    My chemotherapy for this round is just about done. All the chemo bags will be down by bed time.  Then I just have one little IV line for my nausea meds. 

I will welcome November here with my hospital family, whom I have grown to love and share time with.  It's nice to have some interaction with people during the day, even if it is just a how are you today?

Trying to keep a happy face while waiting for healthy stem cells.

Happy Fall!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick Update

Here I am back in the hospital.  Most of my blogging is done on my care pages. Thought I needed to update you on the rest of the family too.


  • Has a lot on his plate to keep up with.  Church work, housework, paperwork for insurance and quickbooks and coming to see me every day at the hospital.  What a star!
  • Slowly getting things put in their place at her apartment.
  • Busy at her new job at Lumen Cristi Catholic High School as the Athletic Trainer.  Football season has started.  Getting organized and learning the kids and coaches!
  • Started her first year as an English teacher at James Jordan Middle School in Los Angeles.
  • She likes her kids and they like her too.  Of course there are some challenges in middle school but she is handling it well.
  • Doesn't like the traffic driving home.
  • Back at the University of Oklahoma beginning his junior year in the school of drama.
  • All drama classes this semester! 
  • Working in the electric shop this year rather than the scene shop for his work/study and at Regal Cinemas in Norman on the side.
Great report, isn't it?  I am keeping up with posting pictures, so check out the family photo album frequently.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where's Waldo?

Sarah contacted me this morning letting me know she is now on her employer's website.  She said, can you find me?  Of course, I plug away until I found it.  Now I am sharing it with you!   

See Sarah here.  You will have to scroll down a little bit, but she looks great and has a nice bio to go with it.

Weather in Michigan is beautiful.  Wish I had gone for a walk, but I have had another stupid headache this afternoon, and I worked at church this morning.   Since my PET scan is tomorrow morning, they said no exercise.   Just walking gets me all sweaty.  So I am playing it safe.

Now it is time for Tiger baseball and So You Think You Can Dance.  Let's hope the Tigers can win today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Month Gone By

Woke up early and couldn't sleep, so why not update the blog? Life keeps humming along and by the time I sit down my creative thoughts are not flowing and frankly, I have been battling some increased fatigue.

While Sarah was still at home, she came to a few orthopedic doctor appointments with me.  The hand doctor was first, and after an xray and exam it was confirmed that I have arthritis in the base of my left thumb.  He ordered a thumb wrap that helps immobilize it when the pain flares up.  It has helped tremendously.  Then I went to get my shoe orthotics.
It didn't take nearly as long, and they haven't had as much success in the long run for my foot pain caused by a falling arch. Later in the month I saw my orthopedic surgeon who ordered physical therapy, otherwise the treatment is much  much more invasive. That was that.  So I baby my older joints along as best I can.

Sarah's ice cream sundae send off went well.  Everyone that came had fun and enjoyed ice cream with toppings.  Then two days later we headed to Jackson to get her moved and settled in her new apartment.  As you  might know,, moving can be quite stressful. So we stuck with the basics.  Her work start date got moved up too, so she had only 2.5 days get some things put away and be ready for an 0600 start time on Monday.   While we were there, we were able to find the local stores in the area, pick up needed items to help with the move-in, and even ate at a good Mexican restaurant.  She had here cable TV/WiFi installed and her daddy put things together and threw away a few things that broke (on the final leg of course!).  Since then she has enjoyed her new job and has finally visited Lumen Christi, her new school and even some of the students. Football season is almost here!

Mary has finished her training with Teach for American by teaching summer school.  She is off for the rest of this week and then officially starts her job at James Jordan Middle School.  California has been great for her and Brandon. They have been getting out on the weekends to places like San Francisco and Laguna Beach.   Mary has taken advantage of her two weeks off and been cooking up a storm, preparing some pretty awesome meals like our favorite Korean meal and an Olive Garden inspired meal including a dessert!

Matthew has been happy and healthy in Wichita, working hard on scenery for Muscial Theatre of Wichita and there quick turn over of shows. While we don't talk very often, there has been nice pictures posted of his work and also having fun with friends.  They are working on the final show of the summer, 42nd Street.  After the strike in a few weeks, he will head back to Norman OK for his junior year at OU.   

Over the past 3 weeks or so I have been increasingly tired, having more GI problems, constant headaches and finding bruises on my arms and legs.  Naturally I called Dr. B's office and he brought me in the following week.  At this point it is time to re-stage my cancer to see where we are and what sort of treatment is next.  My blood counts are down and proteins are up. So I have had lots of lab work drawn, 18 x-rays taken of my long bones and later today a bone marrow biopsy. I only worked one day this month!  That isn't good.  Makes me wonder if I will be able to return any time soon if at all. We will know more later.

Jeff has been great through it all, moving, health concerns and keeping up at church and home.  We even threw in a week of VBS!  I don't know how he keeps going, but he does, just like the energizer bunny!   We went to a whitecaps baseball game where we met Mickey Stanley and got his autograph and enjoyed an evening out at golf benefit for myeloma. We didn't golf, but enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Well, I am still not feeling the best, took some nausea medicine and think I will lie down.  Need some sleep.  

Keep your eyes open for updates on my caring bridge.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

 Jeff, Sarah and I had a nice 4th of July weekend.  I baked some cupcakes and brownies to take to the cookout at our friends the Olivers.  There was yummy pulled pork, homemade Bar-B-Q sauce, salads, chips and of course, dessert.  It was fun to spend time with friends from church and meet new friends too! As it got towards dark,  we sat around the campfire, had marshmallows and s'mores.  The neighbors lit off fireworks followed by fireworks in the yard.  They even released mini hot air balloon type or floating air lanterns. It was pretty cool.  Tried to watch some TV afterward to keep the fun going, but we fell asleep.

Saturday proved to be another fun day.  Sarah and Jeff went tubing down the Flat River with some of the same friends from the party the day before.  They were on the river for 4 hours!  Both of them had some sunburn, but are doing fine.  I stayed home and worked on my list and watched a movie.  Then picked up the river riders up in nearby Belding.   Mitch got some leaches on him and Sarah helped get them off. Dinner was back at the Olivers for Hot Dogs and Sausages.  We had a nice time.  

In just a few days we are throwing a send off party for Sarah with Ice Cream Sundaes.  We have most of the yummy things, but still need to pack up some of Sarah's things here at home before officially moving her to Jackson on Friday.  Breaking News:  Sarah starts work 7/14 instead of 7/21.  Exciting times ahead!

Tomorrow I will see the hand surgeon about my ongoing pain in my left thumb joint.  It is painful to write, grab and hold onto things and occasionally I can  feel things "catch".  I hope that he can help me, especially since it effects my dominant hand.

I will keep you posted either here or on facebook.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Farewell Toledo!

Sunday after church, as usual, Jeff and I both had an afternoon nap.  Jeff had to cut the grass and I watched the Tigers lose, cleaned the kitchen and finished the laundry.  Then we packed up and headed to Toledo to help Sarah move out of her apartment and head to Jackson, MI.

Since we didn't arrive until after 2130, we didn't get too much packing done.  But we did enjoy some down time with Sarah before she and I packed up her books and some clothes. There was lots of work to get done the next day!

Monday morning came early and packing was put into high gear and pack up the rest of her household items including the kitchen.  Two of Sarah's HS athletes came over at 1100 to help with the packing of our U-Haul truck that we picked up earlier in the morning as well.  It took about 2-3 hours to have it packed and another 2 hours to pack up our cars and clean the apartment.  Moving is such hard work and so tiring! The hot and humid weather didn't help either.

We arrived at our hotel in Jackson, MI around 1930 and even though we were tired, dinner was in order. Red Lobster was right across the street!  Gotta love those cheddar bay biscuits!  The rest of our food was good too.  Since there was still a little light after dinner, we drove around Jackson and saw a few of the apartment complexes we were going to check out and Sarah's new high school, Lumen Christi.  Nice. By the time we got back to our hotel, there was still time to make use of the pool and hot tub.  It felt so good after a long day.

Tuesday was certainly a God Sighting Day.  Sarah completed all her paperwork for her new job and we met her at the first apartment complex after breakfast.  It was nice, and the only one bedroom left and available. The manager was very nice and welcoming. We spent a few more hours looking at 2 other places and calling other complexes that were appealing.  Very few seemed to have one bedrooms available and the nicer ones had waiting lists. God was opening a door in front of our eyes.  It was pretty obvious where He wanted Sarah to live.   So after lunch, we headed back to apartment #1 with filled out paperwork and Jeff headed to the storage unit.  We wouldn't be able to move in for another 24 hours at the earliest.  

This is where the God Sightings start popping up everywhere.

  • This was only apartment that was move in ready and available now.   The other one bedroom wouldn't be ready for a few weeks at the earliest and was more expensive and up three flights of stairs rather than a half dozen steps down.
  • While Sarah was turning in her application and paying her deposit to hold the apartment, Jeff called and asked if we could store Sarah's things in the empty, move-in ready unit. After all, this was the one she would be moving in to the next week any way?  Unbelievably, she said yes.  It isn't done routinely, but she understood that we would  have to unload the truck into storage, then load a different truck next week and unload it again into the apartment.  We were so happy and thankful.  God is good, all the time!
  • It was a lot of work for the three of us, especially with Sarah in her long summer dress she had worn to her employer that morning.  Who would have known that she'd be moving into her new place that afternoon. It was such a blessing to unload the truck only once! Sarah won't sign the lease until next week, but it is officially hers and the rent will be pro rated so she will save some money too. 
  • But the biggest sign, at least to me, was that we learned that Sarah's apartment had already been secured by someone else but at the last minute decided to upgrade to a 2 bedroom instead. It became available late Friday afternoon.  This apartment was arranged just for Sarah, a gift from God. 
  • The apartment faces a lake away from the parking area and the street. It is in a nice location and only 10 minutes from her new job. 
Now we are back home and catching up on things. I took Sarah to my yoga class yesterday and then met Jeff for dinner at a favorite place- Brann's. Tomorrow we will be spending the 4th of July with the Olivers.  Jeff and Sarah will be tubing down the Flat River with them on Saturday.  I am just not ready or brave enough to do that yet.  I would probably end up a lobster and be stressed most of the time.  I hope to work on writing another chapter in my book.

Mary called this morning and things are going well in her classroom. She is proud that her students are learning and that over 50% have met the goals set by Teach for America just half way through summer school.  The students like their teachers, including Mary of course, and have learned to like English because of them.  She and Brandon are spending the holiday weekend in San Francisco. Matthew has texted me on and off over the past few days and he is doing well too.  I have enjoyed some pictures of him at work that were posted on his face book.  

Jeff saw an orthopedic doctor on Wednesday and had a cortisone shot to help with the inflammation around his rotator cuff.  His MRI and x-ray show that his shoulder is sturdy and wouldn't require any surgical repair. Whew.  Should the pain and weakness continue into next week, the pain may be related to the chronic cervical stenosis he has had for years. This would mean a trip to a back specialist instead of the trauma surgeon we saw this week.  I would remiss if I didn't mention that the doctor was quite impressed with Sarah.  Once he found out she was an athletic trainer, he did some quizzing and her answers were spot on.  They were throwing around all the names of muscle, bone processes and nerves.   It was pretty impressive.  Instead of sending Jeff to therapy he asked Sarah if she could get him started with the proper exercises.  No problem.  I am sure the doctor was impressed too.

I will be seeing a hand specialist on Tuesday to find a reason for my ongoing left thumb pain.  My other docs (and Sarah) have all said it is arthritis.  Boo.  I have to do something though since it affects my daily living in a  big way.  I have pain when I sign my name, grab a water bottle and will occasionally feel the bones click.  Sometimes the pain is almost bad enough that I want to take my pain meds from my cancer treatment.  After doing some reading about my doctor,  I am confident that I have the best doctor. Hopefully I can fill you in soon after my appointment.  I will also get my orthotics Tuesday which I hope will help my ongoing right foot pain related to tendonitis that affects the insertion point in the arch of the foot.  Boy if it isn't one thing it's another.   I am so thankful for my continued remission. It's a big blessing. Each day is a gift!

Well, that is all.  Normally I would be working tomorrow, but since no surgeries are scheduled for the 4th of July, our department is closed and most of us enjoy the day off.  In the hospital business, even if the department is closed, someone is always on call.  I am on call for 4 hours Wednesday morning and work Thursday next week.  Then it's back to Jackson to get Sarah settled in her new place at Alpine Lake Apartments. It will be a great day!

Now I had better get some sleep!  I shouldn't stay up so late, but I am not tired.  Might as well get some stuff done.  I've always been a night owl. 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July. Happy Birthday America and God Bless the USA!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another Move in our Future

It has been one month since we returned from Los Angeles. While we miss Mary very much,  she is doing well.   Teach for America has had the new teachers training and teaching summer school since June 10th.  She updates us each week and sounds very happy, although she does get a little frustrated with the assigned lessons/teaching plans and prefers to write her own.

We don't hear from Matthew too often, but when we do,he sounds happy with his job and life in Wichita this summer. Here is a cool coincidence.  Jeff did his ROTC summer training camp before his junior year at OU at McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita, KS!  Like father like son!  Different professions same place to train!

Jeff and I have settled back into the empty nest.  I am working one day a week, and like it very much.  I am starting to pick up an extra day of work here and there. So far it hasn't been to hard on my body. Sarah was able to come home for Father's Day and we enjoyed dinner and a movie. Jeff just returned from four days on Mackinac Island with our high school youth for the Michigan district HS Youth Gathering.  From what I hear, it was great. 

Sarah has a  job. She will be the Athletic Trainer for a high school in Michigan.  We are all very happy for her. Tomorrow Jeff and I will be driving down to Toledo to do some final packing and loading up the U-Haul on Monday to move her things to a storage unit near Jackson, MI until she finds an apartment. (We hope that happens this week!)

The weather here is warming up and our fans are going full blast part of day.  I wonder if  we will need to put in our air conditioner this summer?  

That's all my news.  Have a great week! Stay tuned for more news after the move.