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...