Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random thoughts

Since September I've been making Christmas gifts. Now I'm done and all the items for making are put away. As I sat in my new recliner last night I felt discontented. What do I do now? What was I doing before that kept my hands busy? New project? Old project? Oh life is good when hands are busy.

I had a thought on the way home yesterday that eventually I will be coming home to an empty house. I wonder what I will have to look forward to. A day off? A vacation? Why? I'll just have more time alone. I used to complain about not being in charge of the remote control to the T.V. Now I don't want it if it means I'll be alone.

I have a confession. When Steve calls me...sometimes I don't answer. That way he goes to voice mail and I will at least have his voice. I sure hope nothing happens to this phone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On to the shortest week ever

We had a awesome Christmas. Everyone was healthy and cheery. We had a wonderful Christmas breakfast served by none other than the master chef Steven. The candle light service at church included drummers and a good message.

The day came complete with gifts and nap time. The highlight gift was definitely the recliner I got. It swivels, rocks and reclines. Who could ask for more? I wanted to sleep in it last night but forced myself to go to bed.

We went to Aunt Becky's house for dinner and dessert. I had mostly dessert and brought home baggies full...to share with Steven of course. I had fun teaching Parker who is one to turn around and go down the stairs backwards. He was a quick learner. He now holds his arms out to me to be picked up which is a real compliment since he doesn't do that to everyone.

Now I'm off to work on a Monday which is actually a Wednesday. Everyone who knows me knows what my Mondays are like. I wonder if others are as confused on what day it is as me. This will be the shortest week ever!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Not a good sharer

Christmas morning at our house is probably a normal one. Coffee, music, some food that smells wonderful and our family. Despite having homes of their own our boys will usually come on Christmas Eve and spend the night. I know it's because they can't wait to rip into their stockings Santa filled. I tried to explain that there is a new generation of children (grandson) and they now need to be adults, but it didn't work. You would have thought I took their life savings. So Santa came one more year.

We have a dear friend Amy who makes this wonderful toffee candy. She found out how much Steven liked it and one year made him his very own batch. I wrapped it and he opened it and when the boys saw him hugging it to his chest they, being who they are, had to take it away. This picture ensued.
Thankfully no one was hurt. Steven got his candy back which he promptly hid and had two pieces each night until it was gone.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Empty hands

Do you ever wonder if God is making a mistake? He says He causes all things to work together for good, but I'm not sure I can wait that long. I don't want something good to come out of this, I want Him to take it away. I want to tell Him there is nothing He can ever do to make up for this because this it too much.

I want to play "Let's Make a Deal" with Him because I feel it worked before. What else can I give except me? Is it all I really have? Surly I have more than that? I hold out my hands and they are empty

I read how He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. I don't know when or how, through this trial, but I know why...because He promises He will. Cling to this, hold tight, watch empty hands raise in thankfulness for what you cannot see.

This is only a test

I have this urge to hold him really tight and beg him not to leave me. Please, I can't do life without you. But what could he say to that? It's not like he wouldn't change the situation if he could. Everything centers on not making him feel any worse than he does already.

We used to have tornado drills when I was in school. We would go down to the basement of the school and sit with our heads between our knees and our hands laced over our heads. Why does this sound so comforting to me? Am I the only one hearing a siren?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do

I had a friend share the woes of a recent breakup with her boyfriend. She was having a hard time accepting this. I don't think it surprised her, but the finality she felt moving on put her in a whirlwind of activity. As we talked on the phone I tuned out and started thinking off my own situation. That's rude, I know, but even worse was when I said to her that I wish Steve were just leaving me and moving on. I wish we could run into each other in 10 or 20 years and he was happy with someone else and another family. If he could just live and be happy or shoot I'd settle for live and not be happy. Of course what could she say after that? But, she still calls so I guess we are still friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A great Christmas

Our Lane Christmas weekend went very well. It's funny how you are scrambling for days to ready for a party that lasts hours. One minute you're looking at a list of way too many things and the next you are relaxing with family.

The food was wonderful as usual thanks to Willis. The shopping got done thanks to Bob and Tena. The game Apples to Apples kept us laughing for a couple nights. But entertainment kudos go to Steven. His walking into the room wearing a long red wig about had people on the floor. I was laughing too hard to take pictures but I know there were lots. Of course we then had to pass the wig around so everyone could try it on.

Steven held up really well for how he felt. His stomach was giving him problems and getting him to rest was hard. He now has his appetite back and is digging into leftovers.

Fred was Steve's ride to his MRI last Monday. We don't know the results yet but he will have the radiation regardless. He had his head shaved since he will be losing his hair. This treatment will tie him up for about a month with fatigue. My prayer is that it will be worth it to him.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve at our house. We are all a little sleepy from breaking out the games last night but nothing a cup of coffee won't help.

Today I wrap and finish sprucing up the place while too many Lanes cook in one small kitchen. I'm so excited about the family all being together and having fun.

The current events have made me realize how tragic and short life is. I feel guilty looking forward to something while all the families in Connecticut are grieving in a way I can't imagine. I keep praying for those hurting each time my mind goes there.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hi God, it's me again, waiting for rescue

Hi God, it's me again. I love knowing today is not a chance occurrence but a perfect plan of Yours. That, and my love for this man is what is getting me through this day. You have seen me floundering yet wait for me still. I hate the fact it takes so little to make me lose my temper. Curse words are out before I have a chance to think about it. Yet You wait for me to come to you. Your arms are filled with gold tinged love ready to wash over me and soak me.

So much scripture tells me to cry out to You and You will rescue me. What does rescue look like? All I see is that I'm not dying. I know I should be grateful that I even have You, but other than still being able to breathe I don't see any rescue. Could it be you are rescuing me from something worse than I'm going through right now?

I'm thankful for everything and do trust in You. I can spill my guts and You won't think less of me for my confused state of mind. I don't have to do some grandstand performance to earn You. I remain grateful for the hand that reaches down for me and pulls me from this pit life has so carelessly thrown me into. And I praise You for the rescue I am not able to see but know is there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Give me my bed

I've been in bed since 10:30 Monday with what I don't know. Low grade temp, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and headache. Today I am better and think I'll try to go to work for a while. We haven't had trouble keeping our distance since I haven't left the spare bedroom. I pray I get my energy back quickly since Missouri may arrive today and Wisconsin tomorrow and the festivities will begin. I want this to be as stress free as possible for him but it's not starting out very well.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Radiologist appointment

We had our consult with the radiologist who agreed with the oncologist on preventative brain radiation. He said the memory loss happens most often in patients over 70 years of age. Downfalls to the procedure are complete hair loss, a sunburn on his forehead and fatigue.

He has to have an MRI which is scheduled for tomorrow night. Be prayerful as this test was very hard for him previously. We are checking on meds he can get before the test begins to help calm him from the claustrophobic feeling. This will tell if the lung cancer is in the brain.

He then has a mask made out of a weave of a spaghetti-like material that hardens into the shape of his head. This is used to mark where the radiation happens each time. He will go 5 days a week for 3 weeks.

This coming weekend will be a gathering of Steve's family for Christmas. We have a great party at our house for our Christmas Eve complete with prime rib and gourmet deserts, and then meet at his parents for our Christmas Day to do a gift exchange.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The proposal

Our first date was at an concert downtown. We then walked to the river and sat on a bench and just talked. Three years later when he proposed he wanted to get back to that same bench with me. Unfortunately, it was freezing that April month and I couldn't figure out why he picked that day to want to walk by the river. I'm practically begging to turn back to the warmth of the car when we reach the bench. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I definitely was surprised. I had been waiting, yes. Every Valentine's Day, every Christmas expecting a ring. Of course I said yes. We walked back to the car and the song that was playing brought tears to my eyes. It was Bruce Springsteen singing When You're Alone. I remember thinking I'd never be alone again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A day of rest

Brother Mike is back in Wisconsin, the boat is back at Mom and Dad's and Steven can rest today. I think he is ready for that, but by the weekend he will be restless again.

I am so tired. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get, I want to put my head down. I'm so tempted to go lay in the back seat of my car for lunch. I look like poop with a capital 'S'. I've given up trying to cover up the circles under my eyes. But, God provides.

Recently, it is in the form of volunteers at the church. There should be a special place in heaven (preferably by Mother Teresa) for church volunteers. These women have become indispensable to me. Each day they come in and hug me and do what work I'm not able to get to. They question how I am and share their life struggles. They listen, pray with me or for me and hug me on the way out. My office is quiet until the next volunteer. I feel like God puts thought into who walks in that door because I've managed to make friends with each one and sometimes feel like I've had a therapy session. We get work done around the talking...sometimes. Gosh I hope my boss doesn't read this.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The water is calling

The water called, he went, he fished. I was worried after how he was barely out of bed on Saturday, but he made it fishing. His brother Mike came from Wisconsin and they had a great day.

I think of the weather today, which may break record highs. It is a gift from God. Steve is up already at 5:45 a.m. hoping to beat any rain the day may bring. What are the chances of it hitting 70 degrees on December 3rd? I'll think of him in that boat every time I step out the door today and smile that he has it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Medical update

The doctor started Steve on a different antibiotic and gave him a prescription for his coughing. Unfortunately this antibiotic bothers his stomach but he said it will be worth it if it works.

I've had a bad couple days. I don't know how to explain myself since I'm all over the place. One minute we are laughing at a joke one of us made and then next I'm crying because someone is slow dancing on t.v. and I probably won't get the chance to do that again. Why do guys stop slow dancing after your done dating and married? Probably for the same reason girls stop doing things they do while dating. OK, don't go there.

Our tree is gorgeous with blues and silvers. The angel has wings that light and fade to different colors. I could sit and watch it forever.

Today is a new day so I'm going to concentrate on getting Steven better.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Steve's cold

Steve's cold has gotten worse. It's taking it's toll on what little energy he has. The coughing has given him a headache and he woke around 4 a.m. with a terrible sore throat.

He had called his doctor and gotten an antibiotic earlier in the week but he just gets worse. I'm going to call today and hope to get him in and maybe get a strep throat culture. I guess this means we reschedule his appointment with the radiologist this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TV is not our friend

It's hard to watch TV because so much of it relates to dying. Either the widow/widower is being visited by a deceased spouse or there is a dead body involved.

We were watching a recorded show the other night and a terminally ill man found out he had been misdiagnosed. He kept shouting, "I'm not dying? I'm not dying!". An uncomfortable moment ensued.

I told a friend I would not be hosting or attending any holiday functions next year. She asked me why and I tilted my head in reply. She then reprimanded me by saying I shouldn't be even thinking that way. What way? In reality? Is it wrong to go there in my head?

I had another friend, who is single, remind me how lucky I am to have this treasured relationship. She's right. And here I am with all these fab memories to carry me thru a lifetime. What will happen when I've told all my stories and there are no more?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Being thankful on Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with most everyone showing up. There were at least one from each family that stayed home due to cold symptoms they didn't want to pass on to Steven. Unfortunately, he still woke up with a cold on Saturday. It appears to be mostly sinus at this point but if his already bad cough gets worse we will contact his doctor immediately.

We went and bought the biggest fresh tree we could afford and the pine smell has filled the house. It didn't get decorated yet because I couldn't seem to get it straightened and tightened in the stand and Steve was stuck in bed. Each time I tried it wanted to fall. Catching a tree when you are under it is tricky. So I left it knowing when he saw the crookedness he would be drove crazy until it was straight. And it worked. Watching the Bears game he got up 4 times to correct it and now it is perfect. We never get started on Christmas decorating this early but with the Lane Christmas happening on December 15th we needed to.

We are still on our 'good news' high. The Bears winning helped too. I wish I could call Lovie and ask him to keep it up since it makes Steve so happy but he probably wouldn't take my call.

Steve wanted to show me a heater he was interested in buying on his Ipad. He said it runs on propane and could heat a room if we lose power. He said this with a smile and then went on to say it could also be used to heat him in the boat. Somehow this reminded me of when he bought the gas grill as a surprise for me and opened the lid to present me with three African violets.

So now he can fish longer. I told him straight faced that I wondered if they had a mechanism that would chip the ice in front of the boat when it got really cold. Gosh, I hope they don't.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Think about it

That Steven does not read my blog does not bother me at all. It actually frees me up to not worry so much. Goodness, if he was reading some of these stories he would disagree with everything and then add all these details like it wasn't the last dance and I forgot it was windy that day.

I was thinking how hard this diagnosis must be for him. He who does not stop until the sun goes down. Whose motto is 'life is good', and his cup is always 1/2 full. And I was slammed in the gut with a fraction of the anger he must have. I mean, give the guy a break. First his hands with carpel tunnel surgery, then rheumatoid arthritis, which meant his work and livelihood. The headaches, pneumonia and then the horrid cancer. He loses his hair, his voice, his great strength...his future. I shake my head and cry. I can't even go on with this.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The best news possible

Our doctor appointment yesterday went the very best it could be. The tumors are too small to be seen. He was quick to say they are still there, but not seen. What this means is the longer they take to grow the more time we have.

Since small cell lung cancer is known to go to the brain he brought up the option of prophylactic brain radiation. It would add a few months to his current prognosis of one year given in June. We have to weigh the ramifications of the side effects of the preventative radiation.

First we have a consult with a radiologist next week. Then they do an MRI to determine if the brain is showing any cancer at this time. If it is, then the decision has been made and he will most likely have the radiation. If none is showing we will discuss our options and decide.

For now and the next week I want to remain on this high of having good news. Thank you Jesus for getting us this far and having a ray of sunshine. I want to hold it tight because it's been so long since we looked at each other and truly smiled (and hugged and danced if the truth be known).

I'm off to get a turkey in the oven on this very special Thanksgiving holiday with so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hi God, it's me again

Hi God it's me again. I'm learning that no matter what I do there is no certainty in life that it will turn out the way I want. There is only one certainty and that is You. You hold all the cards. On them are the sun, the rain, the climate and everything else.

I can pray and even believe you will heal Steven, but you already know how this all turns out so do I still keep asking? Do you ever change your mind? I know Moses pleaded for the Israelites and you reconsidered and changed your mind. Who is my Moses? I hear you say to me that even if you don't answer this prayer you are answering other prayers of mine. I guess I have to settle for that. Gosh, I'm sorry, I sound so ungrateful. This just seems so big to me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Each day

Each day once I wake up I am fighting despair. I don't know if this is normal, but it's true. So I pray myself into hope. Then I go on to fear. Who cares if it's normal, it too is true. I hate fear. Even the word sounds weak and wimpy. So I call myself a few names like baby and others I won't mention. I tell myself this is not about me it needs to be about Steve. But until I get my own head right I can't be my best for him.

Today is a whole day with many minutes. How will I choose to spend them? Will I go to church and be fed spiritually? Will I make love with my husband? Will I touch base with family? Will I crawl back in my warm bed and pull the covers over my head? Who owns the seconds, minutes, days and years? If I don't find enjoyment in this day despite my circumstances whose fault will it be? Will anyone even know? If I go beyond myself and care, I would ask how can I be light if I hold on to the darkness of negativity. Whose choice is it? I think of a verse in Philippians that encourages me to think on things true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.

All around me are people in need. We each have our own story of turmoil and trial. I just happen to be blogging about mine because it helps me. The best way to get out of a funk is to reach out to someone else in need. Will I put aside my fatigue and put on strength, hope and love? Will I wake up thankful and go on through my day grateful?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gone fishing

It's cold, but the sun is shining and there is little wind. And that mean he's gotta fish. His hands don't work and he doesn't have energy but he has to go. It's like it calls to him and he hooks up the boat on autopilot with sandwiches and a couple bottles of Ensure. Where he goes is about 45 minutes away but he is thinking of the big ones. Those crappie and that honey hole and God forbid if anyone is on it.

So I pray for no snags, no wind, sun on his face and some big crappie.

My faith

We all have people who impact our lives. My grandmother (Gram) was one. She was a big part of my life growing up. My faith stated with Gram and our many visits to St. Mary's Church. I loved the beauty of it, and the routine of the service. I loved the standing, kneeling, ringing bells and repetition of the prayers. Each night I stayed at Grams we would practice The Lord's Prayer. And we would talk and talk well into the night. I learned to tell time laying in her bed one morning. I learned my love of creating by crocheting and sewing at a young age. She also taught me how to clean. From baseboards to light bulbs she cleaned everything and taught me along the way. You scrub the floors on hands and knees and washed windows with water and vinegar. If I worked too fast she would say I was 'doing piece work'. My Gram truly loved me. I still feel it even though she is gone now.

That Jesus answered prayer was something I witnessed at a very young age. My first answered prayer was regarding a very large spider. I prayed, I lived, prayer answered. I've had enough prayers answered in very obvious ways to seal my belief.

Later my faith was nurtured by a neighbor named Jane Neil who was kind enough to take me with her daughter to Vacation Bible school and then youth group at their church for years. I remember her saying one day that I didn't need to raise my hand every week to accept Jesus, once would do it. I continued on in that church for many years.

When I was a teen I made a promise to God to read my Bible everyday if He would get me out of a jam I was in. He did and I've been reading it ever since. I feel in love with the stories and for the first time felt a true perfect love. It is the promises that book holds that is going to get me through this crisis.

I now work at Heritage Wesleyan Church in the Administrative Department. I feel very blessed to work in a Christian environment at a time like this. My coworkers and the congregation have really rallied around both of us to let us know we are not alone. None of our friends or family can make this cancer go away but it's good to know we are not the only ones praying for a miracle.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Steve is keeping busy this week getting the garage ready for our family feast on Thanksgiving. We open the door from the house to the garage and have a big table where we can all sit. The garage tends to gather all the things garages gather from rain gear hung to dry to boxes from the latest home project. He finished off the inside of the garage years ago so it makes a nice big room complete with a shiny 1965 GTO. Not everyone has that to stare at while eating Thanksgiving dinner.

He still seems tired to me and is having headaches. I don't think he tells me everything to keep me from worrying. His scans and doctor appointment to get the results are next week.

I finally have an appointment with a new doctor as mine moved on months ago. I'm not sure how to go in there and say everything hurts, I'm tired all the time, I have severe headaches and cry a lot without getting every test invented. I'll have to start with telling him I have a bit of stress at this time. Okay, more than a bit. Hopefully, I won't end up at Robert Young but if I do please visit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hi God, it's me again

Hi God, it's me again. You know that cartoon where there's a guy and he has a devil whispering in one ear and an angel in the other and he has to choose who to listen to? I feel like that sometimes. I know there is a war waging over each one of us, and while I say I choose You it's just lip service if I don't live it. What does living it mean right now? I say I trust You, then I worry myself into a headache. I tell you to bless me with peace but go right back to being scared with my next thought. You know all this indecisiveness is your fault. Everything is your fault. You never should have given us free will, you knew we would screw it up. Sorry. I have so many questions and I'll probably forget them all when I'm finally in front of You.

My biggest prayer to you used to be to for Steven and the boys to be believers so I could know they would be heaven bound. So Steven gets this terminal diagnosis and the same day prays the prayer of salvation and that is so awesome. But now he is dying and I'm forgetting something big happened. You answered that really big prayer and all I'm thinking about now is how badly I want him to live.

I know You are taking care of me and will in the future too but my sense of security is askew with all this. Everything as I know it will change. Shoot, everything has already changed. Did I mention this was a big fear of mine? You're not just moving my cheese here.

I wanted to thank you for the perfect day Saturday. We boated all day so he could fish and I could read. The sun was warm and we just kept saying 'wow'. Then back to the camper for a nap and a campfire that night. This is a day that will stay with me a long time.

I've heard it said that the most important thing about a person is what they think of You. It's good to know I'm on the right track by most standards.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The princess

That Steve takes care of me is an understatement and is probably what is making this all the harder. I guess most husbands are like that. Steve has been the cook in our family for years. It's not that I didn't do it for years myself but I got tired of it and he just took over and was so much better.

One day I called him crying from work. Bad, ugly day it was. When I got home he had a bubble bath ran with candles and a glass of wine.

I love that he'd rather be with me than anyone else. But don't ask him because he would never admit it. And I love that he hardly gets mad at me. There was one thing that I didn't do (like the only thing) that would make him angry. I wouldn't remind him when my mileage hit what the sticker said so he could change the oil. But I never saw a sticker, and he did drive my car occasionally.

I've learned a lot from Steve. I had not slept under the stars until I was 34 years old. We just weren't the camping kind of family. But once Steve found this out, it was happening that very next weekend.

Butterfly stitches are an art. One we got very good at since Steve enjoys sharpening knives and I occasionally use them.

Then there is driving a boat onto a trailer, fishing, putting up a pop-up camper, changing a tire, driving a stick and taking shingles off the roof. Using a riding mower didn't work because this stupid tree got in my way and then the mower tried to climb it. And of course there is backing up a trailer which I am never doing again.

But I have so much to learn in such a short time. I wonder if other wives just let life happen and then pass the ball to their husbands. If the car breaks down or needs maintenance, riding mower won't mow, garage door, furnace, appliances and many others simply become his problem and never mine. I wouldn't even be thinking about this if I didn't have to. He tells me I'm stronger than what I think. You know what I think? I've been taking this man and all he does for granite and I'm about to find out the hard way what I never truly appreciated.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Steve got me through

We had more than our fair share of teen problems when raising the boys. I won't go into specifics but let's just say that I'm not in an mental institution with a permanent head twitch is a miracle.

I remember one time I had about had it. I was crying and angry and ended up in the back yard with an ax splitting wood barefoot. Ugg. Did I mention I might have had a beer or two? Well, you think Steve would have run out there and saved me from an accident but he waited and let me have my tantrum. I still have both feet.

I have a clear memory of sitting at the table exasperated. This would have been 15 years ago now. Steve said to me that if I could see thru a window 5 years from now I would see both boys were going to make it through this. He said I had given them a base that was filled with discipline and love and they would be back to those boys because of it. And he was right. They are now good men.

Another time he took me away for the weekend. We were in the pool and I was floating with him guiding me around. I had been near a mental breakdown, or maybe I was in one. It feels a lot like I do today. Anyway, my senses took over. The sun shone in my face so I had to keep my eyes closed. The water filled my ears until all I heard was a hollow echo. I totally relaxed and in that moment something happened to me. I still cry when I think of it because it was a turning point for me in surviving that season of life. Maybe another float in a pool?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who will I be

I won't know who I am without Steven. He is the one full of humor and wit. He never complains (unless you count his growl), and always looks on the bright side of things (unless he is getting a late start when fishing, his sandwich is cut at the wrong angle, his beer is badly poured or the Bears are playing like crap).

By the world's standard I'm not much to note. I'm pretty hard on myself so if I'm not a natural at some game of sport it's just one more thing I've failed. I'm very frugal so designer names are not a necessity, nor jewelry or makeup or accessories. There it is. I will probably never be prestigious, nor do I dream of a crowd of clapping people, or having my name in a history book.

Yet by God's standards I'm awesomely perfect. I am secure in my faith in Jesus Christ and believe the promises He will not break even if I screw up. He will be there again and again and again forever and ever amen. That love He and I have cannot be taken from me. I find solace in that because I've been vulnerable of late.

32 years ago at a Halloween party I had my palm read. She turned over one card after another and said a few general things. Then she turned over another card and instantly looked uncomfortable. I got out of her that something bad was going to happen. She didn't say what, she just picked up her cards. I walked away confused and not really believing in that stuff anyway. But as I went on with my life I always wondered at the rough patches if this was the bad thing. I wondered when my marriage fell apart and again when my dad died. I wondered when I miscarried and now I wonder again...surley this the bad thing.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

A great day

What a great day today. It started with getting up at 8 a.m. only to realize it was really 7 a.m. Steven said it was a good thing we had plans today because he needs to take a break from fishing. He is exhausted.

Then Aunt Judy, bless her heart, brought us homemade rolls which ARE as good as Granny's. She brought strawberry jam and fudge too. She hadn't backed out of the driveway and we were buttering up warm rolls and making moaning sounds with each bite.

We went to our grandson Parker's first birthday party. He does this thing now where he fake laughs when other people laugh which makes other people laugh even more. He loved digging into his own little cake and opening up all his gifts.

Why does everything make noise and flash now a days. Do they have to have batteries for all those toys? How good it was to see family and friends get together all sharing love for this little boy.

Then home to feel sick coz I had too much cake and ice cream. But the Bears won and that made Steven happy so I'm happy too even if my hand is on my stomach. Did I mention homemade fudge?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hi God, it's me again, saying thanks

Hi God, it's me again. I was thinking what a great witness it would be to our non-believing family and friends if you healed Steven. We know the only way for this to happen is with you. Wow, imagine! Just something for you to think about.

Thanks for Steven and I talking last night about things. You know how much I've worried. And I had lots of prayer for this conversation so I give you all the credit. It was very cool how calm we both were. You would have thought we were discussing a a list of everyday things instead of end of life issues.

What I am rehashing is the emotional things rather than the facts of what needs to be done. Things like 'he is not going down without a fight'. And when I asked what I could be doing that I'm not doing his answer was, "If this is all the time we have I want us to be happy". I guess I haven't been happy lately. You know all about that business.

His quote that 'none of us are getting out of here alive', made me laugh at the simplicity of death and is a remainder that we are all getting closer to our turn.

The best part was him saying that this had to be really hard on me. He knew if it was the other way around it would be devastating for him. I wish it was the other way around. But for whatever reason you want it this way and there is no sense arguing about it.

It was exciting to talk about maybe going somewhere warm to fish some more. If it would be possible. I'd like to see someone stand in my way. I will go in debt and give up my job rather than miss one last trip. I'm counting on you God to to pave the way.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Done with chemo

It was decided that we will stop at five rounds of chemo. So we are done with that. Steve will have scans in 3 weeks prior to seeing the doctor and he will decide then how to proceed. I should not have read online about small cell lung cancer because it has once again slapped me in the face with the reality of how terminal it is. But being me I have to be on top of things and know what I can. So regardless of if the tumors are small or he is in remission a recurrence is in his future.

They do not do a second line of chemo for the extensive stage because the cells have become chemo-resistant. There is a drug called topotecan that I've read about. It is a form of chemo to prevent the tumors from growing as fast for a month or two in patients with SCLC. Our oncologist hasn't said anything about using this, but did mention the possibility of preventative radiation to the brain. This cancer is known to metastasize there.

So on this day, Steven is the healthiest he will ever be. He is still getting out and enjoying life. On the down side he tires easily. His voice is still not healed but talking to him in person you can hear him just fine. I worry about what he will do with his winter. All his favorite things to do need good weather. I guess he can continue being angry at Angry Birds.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Will it be chemo or fishing

Steven has spent a lot of time fishing since we returned from our trip to Missouri. That vacation was just a warm up.

He has fished with his dad, his mom and recently by himself which he enjoyed more than he thought he would. And the catch has not been bad either.

Today he goes for his blood work and then tomorrow we see the oncologist who will then decide if he should have the last round of chemo. I'm kind of hoping not since it will have him down a week or two and that could make getting out on a boat difficult and take us to mid November. Steve mentioned he could chip ice to motor to where he wants to go but I'm hoping he was joking. Of course I never thought he would really go out in Friday's storm by himself either.

I'll keep you posted on the appointment and the fishing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hi God, it's me again, breathing deeply

Hi God, it's me again.

I'm having a hard time with all this and wanted to let you know I'm really trying to relax but my body seems to work in auto pilot.

I keep finding myself with my heart pounding too hard and I'm breathing funny. Can a heart really break? I'm teary eyed and shaky. So I breathe deeply and look to You. Your picture is on my desk and it's like You are looking right at me. But then that makes me cry more. So I close my eyes and breathe deeply and immediately I feel my headache ease. Maybe some yoga? A fatal heart attack would be good. When's the last time you had someone ask for that?

Are you sure you have the right person for this job? After the sermon last weekend I know you have me picked for this but how can I be calm and relaxed?

I'm looking to You, and leaning on You and trusting You just like I'm suppose to. And breathing deeply.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts on life

Do you ever wish you could push rewind on your life like a VCR? Oops, let's do that again and not be speeding, or if I had just made that phone call one day sooner.

Would you marry the same person again? You know them much better now. The good, bad and ugly of them. I think for the first two years you are on your best behavior and then you let your hair down.

Since there are no do-overs without consequences of getting out of what you are in, do you just adapt and make the best of things? Jobs are easier than marriages to get out of. Kids, not so easy unless it's the first two weeks and really all they do is sleep then. Why is there not a place to drop off our teenagers? Steve said there should be an island we can ship our troubled teens to and then get them back a few years later when they come to their senses. Imagine having a job on that island!

Do you ever wonder why there is less shame each generation? Shame used to keep us in line. You wouldn't want to get pregnant out of wedlock or file for divorce. Now there is no shame in either. If you have a marriage over 20 years you are probably a minority.

Maybe marriage is like a 401K where it only pays off with investment and time. Plus by the time you are old you are likely to forget a lot of things that bothered you about your spouse. I would like to grow old with Steven. I see him as a cranky old fart who growls a lot. I would like to see what he did during retirement after building a business that many years. I would like him by my side to laugh with. We are so good at that already.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Presence of God

As I stood singing in church about how awesome the presence of God is, I felt Him there. I realized in a rush of emotion that I was in the audience of the One and Only person who can heal my husband. I felt My Answer in that room with me. I didn't need $60,000 or even an appointment. He's closer than a phone call. He loves Steven even more than I do and has plans for us.

He is the Almighty and has the only power possible to save his life. And all I have to do is ask and have faith. So I lifted my arms as I worshiped Him and asked my Abba Father to heal him, heal Steve. And how thankful I am for a faith that will never wane.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Take that trip

We had a great time on vacation to Missouri last week. I loved seeing all the family interaction between so many siblings. And I got a front row seat to my grandson's life for one whole week. I have so much to brag about with that little guy. Don't get me started or you might regret it.

While I wish the fishing had been better for the diehard men in this family, the week was beautiful. The trees were at the peak of Autumn brilliance. It was breathtaking no matter which direction you looked.

I'm thankful for this time we all had. Steve was exhausted at the end of each day but saved enough energy for a few beers and some board games or Karaoke. There was lots of laughter and lots of good food.

When you find out you have terminal cancer (or your spouse does) you start thinking of things you should do. Things that you were putting off doing. There is that trip you take while the going is good. Where for a while you forget everyday routines and a calendar full of doctor appointments. As Steve backed the boat in the driveway at the end of our trip it hit me that that was our trip. Oh crap we just took our trip. There will be no more trips short a miracle. Then I started thinking about his brothers and what the week meant to them.

But really, at this point each day we can hold each other is a gift. I want to shout at everyone in jealousy, "Take the trip. Or go take their face in your hands and look them in the eye and tell them how much they mean and how empty your life would be without them. Then gently kiss them. And if that is too easy...call your brother."

Do it for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hi God, it's me again

Hi God, it's me again. I love how you know just what I need. The phone rings and it's just the right person, a chapter in a book is just what I need to hear or I get an encouraging card in the mail when I'm feeling my lowest. The last one even offered home made cookies!

This diagnosis has my feelings so raw. Just as little things can make me sad, little things can make me happy. I see my grandson and cry at his beauty. I see the trees change and realize we are headed into another season. I want to be happy because I love fall, but my stomach is in knots over the time that is passing. My appreciation of life is at its fullest, and in my weakness at it's lowest point.

Where did summer go? I can never go back to it and my memory of it now is one of turmoil and incredulity. Something tells me someday I will want to look back to the beginning. The summer of 2012.

I'm so confused God. Help me to see clearer. I'm not sure how to be and think I'm probably okay no matter how I am, but this has proved to be very wrong of recent.

You can heal him. I want you to heal him. Please...heal him.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Granny's rolls

Our first year celebrating Valentine's Day was a special one for me. Not in the gift I got which I don't remember but in the one I gave. It's hard to buy for a guy who appears to have everything and you don't have extra to spend. So I asked myself what does Steven LOVE? And then it came to me, his grandma's homemade rolls and jelly.

I'd not met Steven's grandmother yet and she lived in Cleveland, Illinois wherever that is. So I call his mom and get the number and call this lady I've never met and ask her to make Steven some homemade rolls and jelly. Of course being the wonderful woman she is she said yes.

The day before Valentine's Day I find my way to Grandma's house in Cleveland and introduced myself. She was so sweet. And she loved Steven as I was beginning to realize I did too. We had a great visit and I looked forward to seeing her again.

Steven was surprised at the gift. He is one of those guys who would much rather have a homemade bread products than a sweet snack. And these rolls rocked!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How much is life worth?

What if you were told there was a doctor who had a cure for cancer but the FDA was preventing this from getting out? This is what we heard recently from a dear friend. She sent us the 1 1/2 hour link to watch. She warned us the cost was $60,000. But it worked fast and had no side effects.

I couldn't wait to get home and check it out. I started thinking of the benefit money, things we could sell, investments we could cash in and we could refinance the house. 'We could do this' became my mantra and my heart sang. The more I watched about Dr. Brusinski the more excited I became. It is during the last 10 minutes that a list rolls up of the types of cancer this treatment cures. Ours wasn't mentioned.

So we are back to what? Reality? Denial? Immense sadness? Where I am is 'in this minute', not 'this day' or 'this hour'. I'm doing the best I can with the coping abilities God has given me and leaning on the strength of those holding us up.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What if...

What if we all wrote about the one we love? If we shared stories of our history both happy and sad but always speaking in a positive light? I think it would remind us of who it was we fell in love with and rekindle those feelings again.

We tend to forget the things they have done in the past that made us so thankful for having found them. It's easy to get caught up in the business of today and the 'me' feeling we phase into after a few years of marriage. But back in the beginning it was all about them. Finding out who they are and who they were that made them that fantastic catch. Lingering on every word of their stories as though each one was a newly wrapped gift sitting in front of you. They had your full attention. Do we do that anymore after years of listening? Look them in the eye and expectantly, silently wait for their words?

Remember how just the thought of kissing them could make you sigh? Kissing, real kissing is a thing we tend to lose after years too. I heard a great way to rejuvenate a marriage is to have a 5 second kiss every morning before leaving for work and when you came home. It's kind of hard to be mad at someone for forgetting the milk with a kiss like that. It sets the tone for the evening together.

If you can't write a blog about the one you love, maybe just take time to close your eyes and revisit the you that could not wait to see them again. Then surprise them with a kiss.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The baby

We knew we wanted to try and have a baby. Steve had no biological children and I was in my thirties, so it was feasible. The boys were both in their teens at this point so it would be like starting over for me. We decided to give it a year and see what happened.

It was during the last month of that year that we got pregnant. I couldn't wait to tell Steve. He was ecstatic, as was the his family. A baby! He knew it was a boy and I knew it was a girl.

The first few months were uneventful. I put on some weight but rather enjoyed it. During the forth month I started spotting and called my doctor. They scheduled an ultrasound. I was really excited at the prospect of seeing my little one. I was not expecting Steve but he showed up at the last minute which made it even better. Not once did I think anything was wrong.

The rest is kind of a blur. The young technician performing the ultrasound lay down the wand and left the room saying she would be back in a minute. She had the doctor call us on a phone in the room we were in. She said the baby did not have a heartbeat.
I can't describe to you the feeling of going from expecting a baby to not expecting. All in one moment. There was just stunned silence. And then we both held onto each other and cried. That's the only time I've seen Steve cry.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not just my hero

Steve has been known to put out some fires. One was our neighbor's deck. The fire was ignited by a tiki torch and it had spilled across the deck toward the house. The neighbors ran inside to get the fire extinguisher but couldn't get it unplugged to use. Steve was mowing the yard and ran into our house, grabbed our fire extinguisher, raced over and put out the deck fire which was now a big blaze. He has been their hero ever since.

The other fire incident was at a wedding reception. All I know is one minute we are sitting and eating at a table and the next Steve is running toward the bride at the buffet table like he is going to tackle her. The napkin she had been holding beneath her plate had been set aflame from a candle on the table. He was her hero too.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chemo week

This is our chemo week. I don't feel like Steve recouped from the last round but his blood test should be able to show if he is okay for the next cycle. He seems to tire easy and is still not slowing down until his body gives out.

He has been preparing 3 boats for a fishing trip and I think the boats may have won. But we had a grand weekend at the camp site. The weather is so beautiful this time of year. Campfires in the Fall are much better than in the Summer.

My dear sister-in-law Robin Ringberg pass away last week. While not being totally unexpected, this is a very sad time for my brother, and for us. Robin was special in so many ways. I don't think I heard her say a bad word about anybody ever.
There was a period of time when she was coming to visit every Sunday and we would watch a movie together. She was my church buddy and did volunteer work for the church in my office. She will be missed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Memory stone bag

When I read the book Hinds' Feet on High Places, I was intrigued with the idea of gathering a stone at each place God taught us something. So I made a memory stone bag and recalled the times in my life I made faith steps.

For me, one of the stones represented forgiveness not just from God but from myself for a foolish choice I made when I was a teen. Another is for forgiveness for someone who stole a piece of my childhood. A third is for putting a nasty habit behind me. A fourth for the return of a prodigal son to me. All impossible to me on my own.

I decided to make memory stone bags for my praying friends. I wrote a letter explaining the purpose. I felt like if we all were reminded of those pivotal moments then God's grace and bigness would stay foremost in our minds. They made a meaningful gift.

This time of my life is one of the hardest. Maybe because I'm in the middle of it and so helpless to make things different. One of those friends I gave a memory stone bag told me when I make it to the other side of this hard spot I'll have to find a stone to represent it. I'm definitely going to need a bigger bag.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Freddie's Beach


We used to take the boys to a place called Freddie's Beach in Delhi Iowa for vacation. It was not a good fishing spot but all in all we were well entertained.

When you plan a vacation ahead of time the weather is not always ideal when the time comes. You go and make the best of it.

Freddie's Beach had a trampoline with a timer for each kid's turn. It had a rec room with video games and an old guy named Freddie who would pay kids with a quarter to rake the beach. They made many friends.

The boys loved it. They would play on the beach and we would take the boat and fish nearby checking on them periodically. This particular time a storm moved in quickly and we were caught in a downpour. By the time we got the boys and were back in the cabin we were drenched as was everything we had with us.

After using what towels were left to dry off we started in on the clean clothing to finish up. Then to dry everything we hung it up all over the cabin. That night it was still sprinkling but we went out to the small fire pit anyway. Steve, being the Boy Scout he is impressed us by making a fire with wet everything. It's funny because that's what I remember most about the vacation was the things that went wrong and you laugh later.

My getting lost with the boat trailer is still not something we are able to laugh at. When we arrive to our cabin initially there is no boat ramp, so I drive around to another resort and dock Steve in with the boat which he takes by water back to the cabin. I'm not proficient in trailer backing upping. Well, I'm okay but there is something wrong with every trailer I try to back up. It never ever goes straight even though I don't turn the wheel. As I'm driving back I miss my turn and after a mile or so of going too far I turn into another resort to turn around. But it's a dead end and I have to back up to get out. But it won't go where I want. I want to get out of the truck and go back there and lift (or kick) the back end of the trailer like it is a little wagon but of course I can't. So I start crying and hitting the steering wheel instead. After 82 1" back and forths I get out and start back down the highway praying I find my turn.

In the meantime, Steve is back at the cabin pacing and trying not to picture me in an accident. He finally gives up and jogs from our resort, to the highway, to the other resort with the boat ramp and back again. When I pull up in tears with a super duper headache he is sitting on a picnic table a sweaty mess. Not the ideal way to start your vacation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

An odd ornament

My first Christmas knowing Steve was a sad one. My father wasn't speaking to me, the boys were spending their first Christmas with their dad and the Christmas tree died. In an effort to keep things as festive as possible I purchased a real tree like we normally did. But no one told me to shave off the bottom of the tree. You think I would have noticed that it wasn't requiring much water but I had other things on my mind. Little by little the needles turned brown and slopped. The decorations were sliding right off. I had to take it down before the all important day.

As I was packing up the ornaments I noticed in the box an empty pack of Steve's cigarettes. I decided to leave it in there, thinking, "I wonder if when I unpack this box next year and come across the empty pack if Steve will still be in my life?". We'd only been seeing each other a couple months at that time.

That was a long time ago. Every year since then when I come across the empty pack I smile and give it a special place on the tree. Someday I'll get into the ornament box and I'll have the empty pack and Steve won't be in my life. It will be because of that pack and many more like it that contributed to his cancer. Maybe I should toss it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More rest needed

Steve is doing well overall but is weak. This is hard for him because he can't stop himself until he's ready to fall down and then it takes longer to recover.

I'd like to be his mommy and make him lay down every 2 hours for a 15 minute rest but I'm just a wife and at work.

His hands still bother him too. Just before the cancer he was being treated for rheumatoid arthritis which in itself is hard to deal with. It is a systemic autoimmune disease which means his immune system mistakes some part of his body as pathogen and attacks it's own cells and tissue. His body will flare up with the disease then go into a period of remission that may last about a month. It affects the joints in his hands the worst. Doing simple things like taking a cap off a bottle of water can be hard. It also cases extreme fatigue and fevers. There is no cure for this and the medication he was on was a steroid with bad side effects. I think we need to check into getting something else for this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Story time


We won a Halloween costume contest once as Sonny and Cher. It was really the Sonny that clenched the win. Steve grew a mustache for the occasion and he had these crazy high shoes that really were his from the 70's.

It was a fun night. They had Karaoke and we sang 'I Got You Babe'. I had no idea there were so many 'I got you babes' at the end of the song. I guess when you're watching the real Sonny and Cher you're too busy watching Cher swing that long gorgeous hair around.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The trust in God

My heart went out to Steven in that ER room. His headache was beyond endurance. And then we heard he had cancer. And the next week that it was incurable, and in the same sentence maybe a year to live. In that moment I lost my heart to him and it would never be mine again.

I knew it would mean I'd be doing a lot for him and I wanted to. Your whole attitude changes when you think you are losing someone. My thought process changed. I try to be one step ahead so he has what he needs at his finger tips. The home rules have changed to where he has the least amount of things on his plate to do. And I don't bring up issues that may upset him like money or being exhausted. I don't want him to blame himself in any way for any changes we've needed to make.

It's all relatively easy, this desire to make him happy and worry free. I know he must have a whirlwind of thoughts in his head but he never brings them up. Maybe he is doing this for me or maybe for himself. I have the utmost respect for his timing in finally broaching some inevitable topics. And I trust God to continue to take my anxiety away until that happens. And I'm so thankful to the family and friends who make him smile and laugh.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goodbye Kitty Witty

We bought Kitty 16 years ago for our son, but when he moved away Kitty became Steve's. Steve of course was the only one who could have cared less if the cat liked him. Kitty was very particular with who was allowed to touch her and Steve's lap was the only one she crawled on. Each morning she meowed outside our bedroom door to come in and sit in the window while he had coffee and woke up. She was his buddy on the couch each night for TV time and even cheered for the Bears.

So when Kitty curled up in a corner and didn't come to her food bowl Monday night we knew something was wrong. She looked out of it, and didn't react much when I touched her. Later we realized her back legs had quit working. It was like she had a stroke.

The next day was not better. I think we both knew we were losing her. When she drug herself to the hallway outside the bedroom door it about broke Steve's heart. Knowing he would not be able to go to the vet with me I called my mom who drove us. Kitty lay in a box on my lap. I don't know how my mom kept from crying since I cried the entire time.

So Kitty Heaven has one more little angel and our home just became a bit less occupied.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Not the typical fish tale

If my mother-in-law could blog about Steve, she would tell the recent story of how Steve brought her fish. But this isn't your typical fish tale because it took super human effort for him to do this and no sickness was going to stand in his way of the delivery of yet another one of Steve's surprises.

The story starts with Steve getting a call from a fellow fisherman who had quite the batch of catfish. He knew Steve's mom loves catfish and so called him to come get some and take to her.

This was the day before he finally went to the ER. So he has pneumonia from a cancerous tumor pressing against his bronchial tube and a migraine. With a cold pop can held to his head he drove the distance to get the fish, then delivered them to Mom. She gets tears in her eyes as she remembers him coming up to the door dragging that bag of fish. He looked terrible. What was he doing? He'd been in bed with this headache for days. But he knew how happy it would make her to get this gift.

What an example he is to our sons, and what a blessing he is to his mom.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Another success

The yard sale was exhausting but so fun. We saw old friends and made new friends. We sold lots of stuff for very little but it all added up. I want to thank Becky for opening her home to an onslaught of donations and keeping us all in stitches with her witty sense of humor. To my friend Kris for all the arranging that I don't even know about and for helping us tear down. Thanks to my my mom, sister Mary and brother Mike, and to everyone who came, gave, or bought, we love you all. I had more than one stranger tell me today how blessed I am to have such a support system behind me. I'm thankful to God for the gift of each of you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Should I fall behind

We have fun no matter where we are so today will be no different as we spend our anniversary having 3 hours of chemo.

I love this man dearly and have been treated like a princess for the past 22 years (counting courtship). I would say I've been treated like a queen but it sounds so matronly, so I'll stick with the princess.


He's not perfect by any means. But so much of what he does has the underlining of benefiting me. He's beautiful, gentle and passionate.

The song at our wedding was not a popular song played on the radio over and over. But we both love Bruce Springsteen and this song seemed perfect. We closed out everyone around us and danced and kissed and laughed.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Questions health professionals ask

I'm just wondering, when an auto accident comes to the ER, how many hospital personnel ask the patient if they were speeding? Do they ask how often do they speed a week?

Or the overweight person who come with heart problems. Do they ask if they do too much snacking? Or how many trips do they make to the buffet?

Why is it okay to ask about the nasty habit of smoking but not the questions above? They are all bad habits right? I'm just saying...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The perfect gift

I'm searching my mind for a gift I can get Steve for our anniversary. It unfortunately hits next week during our long day at chemo. My mind is blank. I want it to be special. What if it's our last?

There were many tears of joy at our wedding. First a young man started crying, then I started crying because he was crying, then people attending were crying. Women were riffling in their purses for tissues to pass around. It was all very touching.

We'd been together 3 years by the time we married. And so happy. Everyone who saw us knew we'd end up marrying but who would have thought this would happen?

If I had a wish, I'd wish I could go in now and wake him up from this terrible dream. I'd take him his coffee and he could complain about the construction on John Deere Road. I'd tell him on my way out that his lunch was on the counter and it was his turn to pick up milk on the way home...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm angry

I'm angry today. I'm angry that this exotic plant I've had forever is dying. I want to throw it but then I'd have to clean it up. So I leave it sit there because it reminds me of how I feel inside. Little by little the green turning to brown. I hate that plant.

I'm angry at these ground squirrels that dig in my pots. I want to borrow the riffle from whomever wins it and shoot the things. First I'm going to shoot my plant.

I'm angry that I come home after a trying day at work and all the lights are on and he's been fishing all day. I'm especially angry that I can't say anything about it. I want to say to call me when you go so I can come home and turn lights off and then go back to work.

I'm angry at the construction on John Deere Road. Why can't people just form two lines and merge? Why? Did we forget everything we learned in kindergarten?

I'm very angry because I can't sleep and I have this headache and my doctor left his practice so I can't call to get something and all I do is cry. Why can't I have a bunion or a flat tire instead? I want to go to the library and find a book I used to read to the boys called Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I don't remember how it ends but somehow think it may help me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thanks to you all

I am so appreciative of the classmates that came to support Steve. It was great watching you all catch up with each other.

Several of my coworkers at Heritage Church where I work and we attend came. I've come to rely on your praying for us.

I have 20 volunteers that work in the Administration office and after all that volunteering they still found time to come and support us.

Steve's vendors, customers and employees (past and present)coming meant so much to him.

Our neighbors (past and present) and dear friends, our family that drove or were flown, I can't believe how far you came. Several people who were not able to make it mailed or gave us cards and checks. Thank you to you all.

So many of you said to let you know if we ever need anything. Right now things are okay but I don't know if they will always be okay, so I may call. Sometimes it would be nice to just have coffee and hear about you and your life. It scares me to put my toe over that line called future and think too much, much less talk about it.

I worried that after all that hard work Becky and Kris put into this that maybe no one would show up. But you surprised us all. You bought every bakery item there was and bid way too high for a pie. You bought golf clubs to be auctioned or donated a basket. You gave time to sit behind a table. I hate being in need but feel so full of amazement at your generosity. I'm humbled and don't know how things are going to work out but I know one thing for sure...we won't be alone.

The benefit

I can't describe how loved we felt from those who came to the benefit. We were hugged and loved on by so many friends and family. Some came from far away and some we had just lost touch with. We are still shaking our heads in amazement. Steve asked me on the way home, "What just happened in there"?

We have so many to thank for their hard work at putting this together. My sister Becky and dear friend Kris were relentless in making sure there were plenty of baskets, auction items and baked goods. Now they move on to a huge benefit yard sale happening the 6th, 7th and 8th of September. All this for us. I don't know how to show my gratitude.

Thanks to all the behind the scene people who not only worked a long time at the benefit but many days prior in assisting. It was a huge success and we love each and every one of you.

We go on now with a bit less worry financially and a true feeling of not being alone on this journey.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Boat

It was the boat the family used for their fishing trips. All 5 boys, mom, dad and lots of poles & bait. The boat was later sold to brother Mike when they upgraded.

Steve told his brother Mike he would work on refurbishing his boat this last winter when things were slow at the shop. Then his health got bad and his hands quit working. The boat sat at Mom and Dad's and winter turned to spring.

Michael visited after Steve's diagnosis and they both wished the boat was more usable for their fishing excursions. As soon as Mike left Steve set out with a mission to get this boat looking like a million dollars before his bother visited again. The flat bottom boat (set up like a bass boat)needed total restoration.

Unfortunately, as you know, even a small amount of work will fatigue Steve. If it is a chemo week then it's compounded. But he went to his folks every day he could and made the boat a real beauty. When the temp rose to the high 90's his mom would bring him water and make him drink. She was also his left hand and professional gofer. His dad was his consulting agent. Steve re-carpeted, painted and repaired boat and trailer.

With the benefit this weekend it is now time for Mike to visit again. I wish you all could have seen his face when he realized this gem of a boat was his. Once again Steve (aka guy with the surprise) pulled though when the odds were against him. When he should been pampering himself with naps and very little work he put someone else before himself. I want to be just like that when I grow up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

And they all come marching home

Lots of family coming into town for the benefit this Saturday. We had New Jersey over Monday, Chicago arrived yesterday, Wisconsin Thursday and Missouri on Friday.

Everyone is so excited. Steve unfortunately is very tired. More tired than normal so keep him in your prayers. Not that you are not praying for him already. I want him to enjoy his family rallying around him. And of course to be at the benefit to see people he hasn't seen in a while.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boys and their dogs

It was the perfect fit. Just like in Brady Bunch where they all look at each other. I had two boys who had never had a dog, he had two dogs who had never had a boy. They all were out of puppy-hood and the perfect age to appreciate each other.

What was interesting was the personalities of the dog each boy gravitated towards had the same temperament at the boy who chose it.

There was a golden retriever, Cassie who would sit all regal, prim & proper. She would come and love on you and then go lay down. She seemed so quick to learn and well behaved. This became Josh's dog. He always seemed grown up even in a little boys body. He'd listen to adults and then contribute some wisdom beyond his years.

Then there was Toby a black lab, chow mix who never gave up and lay down. She bounced all over in excitement and seemed to be stuck in that adolescent stage her whole life. Brandon wanted Toby, who would dangerously join him in every adventure one of them could think up. With a harness Toby could pull a skateboard, bike or sled and Bran would wear out before Toby would. He was very proud of the tricks he taught her. His favorite was to put a dog biscuit on her nose and have her sit while he walked all around the circle in the house coming back to her and giving her permission to flip the biscuit up and catch it in her mouth.

The boys grew up and moved on and our dogs went to doggie heaven. Toby actually lived to 16 years old. She was walked every day, although the last few years she was behind us during these walks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The benefit


The benefit is this Saturday at the Rock Island VFW located at 3715 9th Street. It will be from 4 p.m. to midnight. There are many items that will be raffled off or silent auctioned. I wanted to tell you some of the items to get everyone excited.

Silent Auction Items

Set of Titleist Golf Clubs (can be exchanged for left handed, women's or sized)
$200 Johnny's Steakhouse Gift Card
$325 party for 30 at Haunted Hay-rack & Bonfire
Illini Football Tickets
2 hours carpenter work worth $75.00
4 hours electrical work worth $150.00
Oakley Watch valued at $550
Necklace designed for benefit by Revell Jewelers
Xbox 360 Gears of War


Raffles

Set of Titleist Golf Clubs(can be exchanged for left handed, women's or sized)
Rifle
Several, Several Baskets!

More info on the Benefit tab above

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I would not be 'the flower lady' without Steve's help.

We start in March, sprinkling seeds on dirt, spraying with water and carrying down to the greenhouse we made in the basement. We have grow lights, a fan and a space heater. We call them our kids, asking each other, "Did you water the kids today?". Then they germinate and it makes you feel like God. The little seedlings pop their head up with their seed coats still suck on. And there's that fresh smell of dirt. We wait for the last frost of which we argue yearly about and then it's time to get the garden ready. This part I like to leave to the guys.


Once I have flowers I share them with everyone. I take them to neighbors, co-workers, family and nursing homes. It's become kind of a ministry. I tell God, you grow them and I'll give them away.



This last Spring Steve hadn't been feeling well. He'd had carpal tunnel surgery in both hands but still could not use his hands to full capacity. For the first time in years I said I didn't want to start any seedlings. I felt guilty as the time came to plant and I had nothing, but also an immense relief at not having the responsibility. Then Steve went and bought packets of seeds and soon I had rows of zinnias. But I already had it in my head that I didn't have this extra duty of cutting, vasing and sharing. I found it to be a chore as I drug my feet out to the garden to cut.

Then I thought, wait, he did this for me. All the transplanting them 12 inches apart and weeding on his knees. All the watering since it would not rain. How many husbands grow their wife a flower garden? And now they are blooming and I see in their colorful array the gift of it, of him.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's not my turn

I need to quit thinking that being a Christian means I won't have human feelings. I need to stop being down on myself for my weaknesses. I'm weak. I want to be the strong one but it's not my turn.

I have a hard time letting others help. But I need to. Not just because I need help but because it's their turn to help. And maybe these helping hands are God's way of stretching out from where He is.

I'm not getting off the hook. I still hear God telling me to shhhh, just listen to the person in front of you, and to help someone out. And surprisingly it does take my mind off my situation. I helped a friend clean a condemned apartment. It was a reminder how many comforts I have in life. How privileged I am, even when I may think I'm not.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Road trip

It's pretty sad when a trip to see another oncologist can make us excited, but we were like two kids. I know it was the car trip.

The doctor was almost comical. He was a very thin, bald elderly man that didn't seem to stand up quite straight. He showed us Steve's scans on the computer to see the change in the tumors from June to August. It was amazing, not just the difference in the tumors but the technology. Like our local doctor, he was very encouraged at the success of the chemo. So keep those prayers going guys. He said to stay with what was working and so we will continue here. He also suggested a procedure to get Steve's voice working again.

Later sitting on the deck Steve brought up taking a road trip. Of course I agreed and for the first time in a long time we seemed like our old selves.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Floating

There are times we all find ourselves in deep water. Maybe you were having a Titanic moment goofing around with your arms out straight feeling the wind. Or maybe you stood on the edge of the ship and foolishly jumped at your own choosing. In my case I was blindsided and pushed. One minute I was smelling the sea air thinking how good life was and the next I'm sinking. In my head I'm thinking bodies rise and float right? But maybe that's when they're dead. I struggle to the top and burst free taking a giant gulp of air. There is drift wood and I grab onto it for support.

So here are my choices. I can flounder around kicking and splashing and perhaps attract the attention of a shark. I can cry and scream out, "Why? Why?" to the empty darkness. Or I can float.

I don't know where this ride is going and that is scary if I think too hard so I don't. But I know I have something to hold onto and I'm not letting that go because it's my saving grace. Oh Lord, can I truly just lay my head on my arm, close my eyes and You will take me on this journey? Can I trust You to never leave me and make sure I have what I need to survive until my feet touch land? Your promise has to be different than Steve's though because he promised he wouldn't leave me either.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our rescheduled Iowa City trip

We have made it thru another cycle of chemo. This is our third out of six. It was a hard week for Steve with fatigue. He would make himself get out of bed and get dressed and by the time he was done he was ready to go back to bed.

We have our Iowa City appointment rescheduled for Tuesday at 1pm. Seems like a long time ago when it was first scheduled and then Steve ended up in the hospital. I pray we can be strong in hearing this kind of news a second time. We have a lot longer drive home this time.

I'll share later this week on how everything went.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grandparenting

Everyone told us being grandparents was oh so awesome. I swore I would not be all ga ga like they were. And I have to admit, until he was born I did pretty good. I really enjoyed watching this fatherly side of my son come out. This love of his was more intense and committed. They are both such good parents. But oh this baby. You know it's bad when you start showing complete strangers pictures on your phone. And a new edge of worry reappears that you haven't felt in oh about 17 years. He is so funny at only 9 months old, I can't imagine what it will be like when he starts talking.

He is all about discovery. He does one of three things with what's in his hand. He tastes it, bangs it or tastes & bangs it.

I sat with him in the front yard on our plush green grass. He very slowly tried to make his fingers work to pick up items. A leaf, a acorn, some bark.
Then he would rub it between his fingers and his face would get this intense expression as he absorbs all the facts. I can tell he is going to be very smart. We had moved beyond the taste/bang faze now.

I thought of how Steve is with our friends son, Caleb. No baby talk, in fact not a lot of talk at all, which made Caleb listen to him even more. When Caleb wanted to know about the tread mill, Steven put him on it and taught him what all the buttons meant and the safety features. I thought this was so cool as I was thinking I would have told Caleb it's for big people. Maybe Steve wanted to wear him out. All I know is they were buddies after that.

Then I think forward 4 years until Parker is Caleb's age. I want him to have the 'grandpa' experience I never had. The one that takes you clamming then fishing with the clams. Mushroom hunting then cooking them with cracker crumbs in butter. Boat rides and building a fire. Whose lap is big, and arms are strong and he never seems too busy.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Another cycle done

Today was the last day for the chemo cycle. My poor hubby is extremely fatigued. If he's in his robe then he's sick. The TV is on during the day. Then he goes back to bed and I tiptoe around trying to make no noise but always end up sounding like a train wreck. Have you ever noticed how when you try to make no noise you do?

I remember BC I used to think about my house and how it must look. We have way too much glass. I would invest in Windex but I probably already own part of the company. My plants could have no brown leaves. What a disgrace that would be. It's very sad how some of my oldest plants are dying now.It's as tho they sense my sadness and are responding. Or maybe they haven't been watered since June.

I had a routine, where I got up, worked out, did a devotion and got ready for work. Now I struggle to remember if I fed the cat. She says I didn't but she always says that. Discipline has always been very important to me and I have none now. I eat sweets because darn it I deserve it! So now it is starting to show. He loses weight and I gain it.

I would come home and try to identify dinner by it's aroma as I came thru the breezeway. Steven made the most delicious meals. It's been his job for years now. I buy everything and he cooks what I buy. He is one of those cooks who starts pulling things out of the cupboard and frig and mixes it all together with pasta and waa la, a new dish never to be replicated. I keep meaning to cook now. Especially with the 42 cookbooks I've downloaded for free on my Kindle, but I don't want to make him sicker. Last weeks was a whole cookbook on making meatloaf. He hates meatloaf. I have another on making desserts with beer. Really?


Life is going on as normal around me and I want to holler out my car window, "Why are you all going on as normal? Don't you know my world is falling apart?" Sometimes I've no idea how I got to work, all I know is my car is there and I'm in it.

I hate that I know what my cry sounds like. You should only be familiar with your laugh. I hear crying is very cleansing. My eyes must be reeeeally clean.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm okay

I overheard a conversation at the checkout counter as we all grumbled about the bad winter weather that goes on forever in Illinois. The lady in front of me said to the cashier that no one would hear one complaint from her. She said due to her medical prognosis this was suppose to be her last winter and she was going to enjoy every minute of it.

What if we omitted all the time we spend in negativity? How long would we have left? If our life only consisted of the time we spent on thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, how long would our life be?

All day long I've been on the verge of tears. I start off wallowing (this is different than waddling) in self pity each day and then I hear someone else speak candidly about their life and I realize we all have a story. Good and bad experiences are there for us all. It's just my turn for a bit more than the average Joe. I'm good, I can take it.

I'm okay
  Until I see an elderly couple.
I'm okay
  Until I look at our new grandson.
I'm okay
  Until I hear a cancer story, most of which do not end happily.
I'm okay
  Until I see leaves on the trees changing.
I'm okay
  Until I think of our sons.
I'm okay
  Until I look in the mirror.
I'm okay
  Until I hear just about any song.
I'm okay
  Until someone complains about their husband.
I'm okay
  For the first 5 seconds after I wake up.
I'm okay
  Until I think about the future.

I'm out of wit, wisdom and words. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Did the chemo work

I have good news, the chemo has worked. Unfortunately, it worked on the cancer in Steve's liver too which confirmed the doctors suspicions that this the extensive small cell rather than the limited (which affects only one area and is then treatable with radiation too).

My Favorite View on Rock Creek
So we've been granted more time and will continue with what is working while Steve is able to tolerate the chemo. We are grateful that we are surrounded with such good family and friends. We feel the comfort of your prayers as we draw close to God not so much in understanding all this, but in knowing his love covers all, even this.

My surprise guy

Steve is all about surprises. One year he planned a trip. He booked tickets, lodging, concerts and special dinners. I didn't know any of it was happening. He gave me an anniversary card at one of the dinners that said Happy 10th. I then had to break it to him that it was only 9 years. I did add that I couldn't wait to see how he would top this trip next year.

When we were first dating I was a divorced mom with two young sons. The three of us were relocating to a new home which did not come with a stove and frig. I was lucky to have come up with the money it took to move in.  And here comes Steve in a truck with a matching set. I think they were green. Of course he wouldn't let me pay him back and it seemed like so much for a boyfriend to do.

Sometimes the surprises appear like they are for me but they are really for him. When he bought a super nice grill, he lead me out to the deck and said, "Surprise!". He then opened the grill to show me 3 African violet plants.

The best was a surprise 40th birthday party. I swear, he had people there I hadn't seen in years. And I didn't have a clue. About half way thru the night he had the Karaoke guy announce it was time for my present. He had car keys to a new car. I've never had a new car, but then I've never had a guy like Steve.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Like peanut butter and jelly

Steve and I had a bad accident several years ago. It happened soon after we left his parent's house on Barstow Road. Several family members and friends came to the scene from their house while they used the jaws of life to free us. The car was very mangled everywhere and they knew chances were good they had lost one if not both of us. One of the brothers said he thought to himself there was no way one of us could make it without the other.

We are such a team. Steve and Denice. Denice and Steve. We finish each others sentences, read lips and communicate a bunch (not always good stuff) with just a look. When I go down the basement and holler up, "Steven, why am I down here?" he usually knows. When he goes to the frig and curses, I tell him it's in the drawer.When I don't recall an events details, he always does. This amazes me. Where was I when that happened? Was I there? My sister describes us as peanut butter and jelly. I'm sure she meant this as a compliment.


I'm one of those singers that fill in the lyrics when I don't know them. And often I don't know them. Steven will always correct the words. He would definitely kick butt at that one song game. I know this should make me happy but it cuts into my song and I usually stop. Then he says inevitably, "Oh, does that bother you?" After 23 years you get to know what bothers the other. And I never intentionally do things that bother him, ask him.

The Lane Five

Five boys and my mother-in-law is still sane. And each one of her sons is fantastic and gifted in their own way. I'm so thankful for this wonderful family.

I see how they support each other and worry when one of them has something going on. I see the favors they do without worry of reciprocation. And even though 4 of them live out of town I know at the drop of a hat they would be here for their parents if they needed them.

One by one these brothers have come and spent time with us. It's been nice going to work and knowing Steven would have someone to hang out with. Each visit would bring different fun things to do. One brother helped Steven get his 65 GTO roaring. They don't purr. One spent each day he was here fishing with him. One brought him an I Pad and spent time getting him around on it.

I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up in their family, but I'm sure glad I'm part of it now. I love these guys and consider them brothers. I tell each one they are my favorite, and I mean it.


Friday, August 3, 2012

A way to help

Our family and friends are putting together a benefit for August 25th. I'll tell you more about this later.

Right now they are collecting for a  yard sale they are planning for September 6th-8th.The proceeds of this will help us out financially.  If you have gently used items you'd like to donate to this, or you'd like to come join the fun on one of those days please call the number on the benefit flyer. There is a tab at the top of this page. Thanks from both Steven & I for your prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence

I haven't received our water bill yet but have sworn I would not say a word if it made Steven happy to water several days several hours in a row in an effort to keep what light yellow grass we had from turning brown.

Tonight he makes me get in the car, backs out of the drive and slows in front of our house so I can see our grass has turned green not just from one angle but all angles. I felt like I was at a 4th off July firework show as I oohed and aahed. It was the only way he would let me out of the car.


So then he goes on to says he can't hardly believe it, but he's gonna have to mow that grass and that really $*(^@#s him off. Well what did he think 43 1/2 hours of watering was gonna do, turn the grass green but not grow it?