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.