Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just Keep Loving On Him

Occasionally, I see a look on Steve's face that says, this is only going to get worse, not better. I know God can heal him, but I don't know that Steve has much hope in that happening. I wonder sometimes, if we are being taught a lesson through all this why such big guns are needed.

I don't know where Steve's head is, because he doesn't talk about any end of life issues or what may happen between now and then. He is carrying a heavy load right now and it has made him sad and angry. I think if he were better with this, I would be too. But this needs to be about Steven and what can make this easier for him, so I don't push.

There is not a book out there that explains how to be a caregiver to a terminally ill husband who is not talking. I guess I just keep loving on him.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Oh, That Predictable Life We Used To Have

I have not forgotten the monotony our lives used to have. It was predictable with the occasional flaw of bridge traffic and weather that cancelled our weekend camping. Our thoughts revolved around what's for dinner and whose turn it was for the tread mill. We slept in the same bed and complained daily about who kept whom awake the most.

My devotions were daily but seldom involved tears. Steven and I spent lots of time teasing each other. He would surprise me with things all the time. Each season brought new chores and we both knew what ours were. We never ate out but sometimes would get a pizza. Who orders out with a cook like Steve?

There was the usual forewarning of each season when you are in the same house over 20 years. Box elder bugs usher in Spring, the quietness of waking to a snow covering, the smell of freshly mowed yards, the sound of leaves under foot.

But everything is different now. We live the opposite of predictable and routine. It is a world of peril and uncertainty. I don't know who does anything and I'm not sure I care. My thoughts revolve around each new symptom Steve has, and what it means. This is day 4 of total exhaustion. Should I worry? My devotions are out of desperation and weakness. I'm needy and hurting and welcome the haze of numbness that comes just before I fall asleep.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hi God, It's Me Again

Hi God, it's me again. I was thinking that if You didn't want to do that miracle and You didn't want to return just yet, there is another way out...




You could wake us both up.

I know I need to see beyond my pain to Your plan. I know I need to worry less about being comforted and more about being conformed through all this. I know I am in a place where I need You more than ever, because You are the only one who can heal Steven. All my hope lies in You. I need to go from 'why us', to 'what do You want to see in us'.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do You Hear God Speak?

I was asked if I hear God speak. My answer is in a question. If you want to hear God, how well do you know him? I think the more you are in The Word, the better you know it. Just like when you ask yourself a question and can hear your mother's voice because you heard it often enough. So when you close that Bible, it continues to be living water within you making your Spirit strong.

So I told God, this life is too hard. And I hear him say to me, "Just do today, not life, just today." I can do that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Habit Not Addiction

I hate addictions. I think I've seen enough of what can happen when you are controlled, rather than having control. I may have a bit of an obsessiveness with audio books. I usually put my ear buds in while I'm making coffee in the morning, then thru my workout. I do take them off during my devotion. Back on while I drive to and from work, and then off until the next morning. Unless of course Steve is up to something, then I might as well keep having a story read to me.

But what I find, is that I'm always having what I hear, controlled by a storyteller. That's okay with discipline. I'm not always good. So every once in a while I take a two week break. I do this to prove to myself I can do without it. When I make coffee in the morning, I'll spend time thinking about life and maybe the things I'm grateful for. And during my workout I listen to the stupid person on my workout program. I really dislike those people. They are really too cheery for me. And while I'm driving, I'll keep the radio off and pray for my upcoming day. How can I expect to hear God's voice if I'm not listening?

But darn I miss those books. I will laugh out loud at Stephanie Plum and Ranger. Or cry at Kent Haruf's powerful characters. I'll listen or read Elizabeth Berg and Charles Martin over and over.

On my own, there is too much going on in my head. My mind goes places that have me crying in minutes. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm staring out the window with tears on my face. So walking in someone's shoes during their journey gives me a measure of peace for a spell.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Traditions

When I first started dating Steven, we spent Easter at his Grandmother's (Granny). One of the things I liked best was the wiffle ball they played in the big yard. It was kids and adults alike.

When we started having our own Easter, we carried the tradition on. I love it and so do the kids. They like seeing their parents run the bases. There are other fun things like Easter egg hunts and the scavenger hunts but the wiffle ball is my favorite. Rain or shine (or snow one year) old and young, we all try and play. If you can't play you are a captive audience on the sideline cheering. For me to like this has nothing to do with my skill. I am so bad. I'd include a short video taken one year, but it is the story of my life when it comes to sports and I still can't stand it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Breakfast Compliments of Steven

Breakfast made by Steven is an experience. A skillet of bacon, a skillet of hash browns, eggs cooked to your preference, English muffins, homemade black raspberry jelly. He lifts the skillet to flip the hash browns and then put cheese on top. One at a time our plates are served. Often it's an hour before he gets his own plate to finally sit down and eat.

This is one of the reasons I don't mind taking breakfast into him in bed each morning. I'm pretty sure I owe him a few hundred more.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A New Day

I'm better today, but kind of numb. My remote quit for the T.V., my phone was out of charge completely and I accidentally put orange juice in my coffee. But things are gonna get better. I just have to wake up.

I didn't say anything to Steven about my wrestling with God. Nor did he walk in on me laying on his side of the bed shaking my fist at the ceiling. He spontaneously suggested going out to eat. Wow! Its been a long time since we did that. So I got all pretty and we went to Captain's Table. What fun we had. Teasing and bantering each other. Making goofy faces at the other as we ate. Really, do other people do this? I left my 'take home' food there by accident, but we had such a good time, it didn't matter.

Today is a new day to enjoy together. I'm off to do my Pilates/yoga and spend some time with God, then it's a breakfast tray for two with Steven.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's Not Fair - Part Two

Steve went out to the campsite to check on the camper. He's having trouble getting the heat going so it's not drying after flooding.

I like to take advantage of him being gone to clean the bedroom. So clean sheets, plumped pillows and polished dressers it is. I started praying a blessing on the room. That it would be a place of peace for Steve. I lie on the bed in his spot and stare at the ceiling, wondering what thoughts he must have, as he lay here. I prayed the room be filled with goodness and light and nothing evil.

I started to cry. Then cry out. Then beg, with God. "HEAL HIM! You can! I come boldly. I beg for him!" And then I started thinking about what Steve has lost. His health, his strength and stamina and his future. What does he have? No confidant to share his fears or anger with. Too much time in a bed to think. And pain. That's the worst thing he has. His joints all ache. He has headaches and just feels lousy. What has he gained? Salvation. It's big, I know. But from Steve's point of view, I'm not sure he's too happy with the hand he's been dealt and probably isn't too grateful to his creator. So, then I get angry and I'm shaking my fist at the ceiling and shouting, "Give him a break! I beg! How much can one man lose Lord? Just give him something to make this easier!"

I don't think I've ever been mad at God. But since he already knows what's in my heart there is no sense denying it now. I'm mad. This is more than just your average 'not fair' life for him.

Oh Lord Jesus

Oh Lord Jesus, take my hand,
Save me from this sinking sand.
My Creator, heed my tears,
Hold me please, and calm my fears.

Father God, he’s yours I know,
But I beg, don’t let him go.
Abba Father, here I am,
Telling you I trust. Amen

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Mom

My mom (step-mom) deserves a lot of credit. She married a man who had custody of two children ages 4 & 5. My brother and I were pretty confused about our change in family life. It couldn't have been easy to take us all on.

As the story goes, my dad needed a sitter and hired this young woman, who was spending the summer with friends. My brother, who was 5, then invites the pretty sitter to the drive inn. A short time later we are a family complete with a mom.

She is always there for me. From middle of the night leg cramps, to explaining the facts of life, and having children of my own, she is a comfort to me.

I always felt sad for her after dad passed away and their anniversary would roll around. For a few years my siblings and I would get her flowers on that day. Then one year, I got her an anniversary card that was from me, the step-daughter. I wrote that when she married my dad, it was also the anniversary of her becoming my mom and how very grateful I was. She is our family's strength and will always be a good example to me. It takes a lot to get her riled. I think I've seen her mad 3 times. Only once was because of me. I love her attitude and that she never complains. I don't know anyone else like that.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Embarrassing Moment

Like everyone, I've had a few embarrassing moments in my life. Here is one I can share.

We got walkie talkies as a gag gift from Steve's brother after I had Steve paged at Lowe's. I simply could not find him and got angry and gave up. He does this thing where he wanders off like a little kid. I look up and he's gone. Instinct tells me to stay where I am, like when you're lost in the woods, and he will come back, but he doesn't. So when he came to the service desk after being paged, he was fuming and growling like something rabid.

We used the walkie talkies when we would go grocery shopping. We each had our list and would use them to locate the other when done.

One Saturday he took one of the talkies out to the garage and I kept one in the house so we could communicate if we needed. We were very late in getting cell phones. So I hear his voice come over the talkie saying something a bit sexually suggestive. This would be normal for him, but the comment was not one he had said before. Well, being the good wife I am, I responded back with a suggestive comment. This went on a minute or two when he then asked me where I was. I began to get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Gosh, maybe this wasn't Steven. My fears were confirmed when he walked in from the garage to hear some pretty bad stuff coming from my walkie talkie. I explain I thought it was him, but it must be a neighbor kid or something. Steve took over from there and says some stuff to the guy I can't repeat. He then turns off the walkie talkie and turns to me shaking his head. What could I say?

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Weekend

We had a good weekend. Steve felt okay for most of it. We had flooding in our camper, which sits on my in-law's property, bordering the Rock River. So we trudged through mud with each step getting heavier. We then strategically changed into shoes so we could enter the camper and wet vac gallon after gallon of water, and clean up a layer of mud. I pray this doesn't happen again in a week or two as my back is killing me.

Our 15 month old grandson accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee on his belly. He has 1st and 2nd degree burns. Poor little guy. His whole belly is one round burn. I went over yesterday to help clean the area and change the dressing. We prayed first, then did what had to be done. He had been given some mild sedative prior so he fell asleep soon after. I think I felt almost as sorry for mom and dad as I did for Parker. It's hard to know you are causing your child pain.

I had my same 'driving down a dark road with no headlights' dream. This time I saw tail lights from a car but it was too far ahead to know if it was a straight shot. I hit a surface other than highway and try not to over correct, but did. I'm now on the far left of the road and feel a drop. Branches are hitting the car. Then, I am air born. I feel that lift in my stomach like when you go over a hill on a roller coaster. My last thought is to center myself in my seat, which is actually my bed when I wake up.

Maybe it wasn't such a good weekend.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Words of Encouragement

On Wednesday at our employee meeting, we took turns speaking praises in our department or in our personal life. I brought up the fact that my husband Steve, who has terminal cancer, was in between any chemo or radiation pending the tumors growing. I said it was a praise God for us that we had this window we were not sure we would get. I thanked everyone for meals, cards and of course all the prayers.

We then did something new. We were asked to go to 2 other employees and tell them why you appreciate them. I'd barely had time to get out of my chair when a pastor was in front of me, sharing a verse that had carried him thru difficulties. Then a coworker hugged me and said the nicest thing. She said I was setting an example of faith by being so strong. Another pastor approached me with tears in her eyes and said she didn't know how I did it. She told me I was touching so many lives with my blog and story. I got tears in my eyes. I finally made it to an employee to compliment his singing. He then went on to tell me there were lots of prayers being sent up and that sometimes God doesn't show us the whole path, but only lights up the next step or two. By this time I'm crying. It was all bittersweet. I love where I work.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Call You Never Forget

Some days in your life you never forget. It was 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday in July. I got a call from my sister while I was at work. My dad had collapsed after mowing the yard. The neighbor found him on the garage floor. They thought it was probably heat stroke and my mom told us Dad said to not worry about coming the 3 hours to the hospital, he was fine.

So we pow-wowed. Tick Dad off and go, or wait it out and see. Steven solved it for all for us when he said he was taking off work to drive us 3 sisters to the hospital. It was a decision we all remain grateful for. Little did we know as we bantered and laughed on the way that Dad had had a heart attack and was having open heart surgery. Not having cell phones back then, we found out from Mom when we arrived.

Unfortunately, Dad had another heart attack during the surgery and was put on life support. We were told they would give him a short amount of time and then remove the support and see if his heart would beat on its own. We called all the people we could to pray for him, but I think we each knew that years of smoking had probably taken its toll. I'll never forget the doctors face as he told us Dad didn't make it. It was one of the worst moments of my life. But what I remember as I go back to that day is that Steven was there for the four of us. He told me later it broke his heart to watch each one of us go through this anguish, but he remained strong for us that day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Name, Same Thorn

Steve's iPad, named Little Miss iPad, continues to be a thorn in my side. The fact that he apologizes to it when I accidentally touch it pushes that thorn in a little deeper. I usually just smile tightly and feign indifference, but he knows he's got me. It is for this reason I have aptly renamed the ipad to...Miss Maxi Pad.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hi God, it's me again.

Hi God, it's me again. Thank you so much for the good news of the x-ray. It gives us more time together and hope for the miracle you can do. You know, I was thinking, if you didn't want to do a healing miracle for Steven, maybe you could just return. Like, soon. I get so excited when I think of the trumpet sounds I will hear...and I will know my inheritance is right around the corner.

Then I wouldn't have to worry about how Steve and I are going to do this really hard thing. Or how I will carry on without him. So give it some thought.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thoughts to ponder

A show I normally liked on TV had two or three torture scenes in it this week. Is it me, or is there more and more violence considered acceptable? Then there is the blood. I remember when the series ER started showing the inside of bodies during surgery, it would make me sick. And to think I wanted to be a nurse!

I thought it was my sensitivities that were changing with age. Loud music or a baby crying didn't bother me in my 20's, in fact I preferred it that way. The music, not the baby. But maybe it is society moving the line.

Do we always have to have more? What will TV be like in 20 more years? How loud will concerts be in 20 more years? And maybe babies really do cry louder now than back in the 80's. Thoughts to ponder.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A blessed time

We had our next appointment with our oncologist. Steve had had a chest x-ray and lab work prior. He had been so crabby for 3 days. I had a headache in anticipation of the outcome. But we were told the x-rays were okay compared to June of last year. We both breathed a sigh of relief. In the car later, we admitted we had been overly anxious. According to the doctor the cancer is still there, but tumors are just not big enough to see yet. He has more x-rays in two months. This is a blessed time.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I'm trying

I'm trying...I'm hanging on. I read to relate but then don't. One quote from a study Bible says, "There is a limit to adversity. It will come to an end. A verse noted, "and it came to pass." so, "Just think - it came to pass. It did not come to stay!" No!

Or, remember that today's troubles are just that: today's troubles. A season of trouble is just that, a season of trouble. Crises pass. Circumstances change. Situations evolve. God works in and through adversity to bring it to an end. According to his time table. No, no, no.

2 Corinthians (12:9-10)But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Okay

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I don't want to be in charge

I'm tired. There is so much going on that is weighing heavy on my shoulders. They are not big shoulders, and not made for all they are holding. I need someone to be in charge. I'm now in charge of the person who used to be my rock.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Friends

I love thinking of the friends I have had over the years and what they have meant to me. My first confidant was my cousin, Binky. We would get together when we visited my Grandma out of town. That was only 3 or 4 times a year but we made up for lost time talking well into the night. When our family left to go home, we would write letters. They contained all the firsts of a girls life, from bras to boyfriends. When I think of her I remember the excitement of getting a letter in the mail. And writing another back was probably my first writing experience other than in school.

Barb, I knew in Junior High all the way into adulthood. Goodness, we were silly. It was all giggling and pushing each other into the boys we liked. Passing notes and sharing secrets. That era of my life could not have been done as humorously without Barb.

Next came Sue. She married Dan, a friend of mine. She and I had son after son for about 5 years straight. When I didn't know what to do with my babies, I called Sue. If it wasn't for her I'm not sure the boys would have turned out so well. She tackled motherhood with a confidence calmness I eventually caught on to.

Next came Kris, who entered my life as a teen. I was in my twenties with two little ones. We each matured in our own way over a 30 year period. I love that she knew me as the mom who tried, and the wife who struggled, and the Christian who never gave up. She saw the worst and the best and was always there.

I thank God for each person He blesses me with. I know my time of needing girlfriends and confidants is far from over. Especially now, in a season of weakness and uncertainty, laughter or tears with a friend is priceless.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Looking forward...to what

Most people look forward to something that helps them get up in the morning. Maybe you hate your job, but there is always a weekend, vacation or retirement to get you out of bed.

Maybe you long for a child but can't have one. You can have hope in adopting, or you can influence the children you know of friends or family.

Maybe you are in prison, or a hospital recovering but discouraged. There is hope for your release...someday. Life may be different, but it is a life.

It could be you've lost all your worldly possessions in a disaster. But hope lies in rebuilding and the relief your family is safe.

I feel there is nothing to look forward to for either Steven or I. I am nauseated when I reflect on what our future holds and have no idea how we will endure. Terminal illness leaves no room for the future. The road has a big block at the end of it and you can't go around, over or under. The road stops here. Of course we both know God can heal and will, should that be His plan. So that is my hope, but it doesn't help the nausea.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Analogy anyone

I've had the same dream three times now. Steve and I are driving down a road and it's very dark out. It's the kind of road with no street lights. The darkness doesn't just scare me it makes me want to scream and stop him from driving. I don't know much more, except I know I couldn't be doing it any better, and it's not that he's driving erratic which usually makes me angry.

This morning when I wake up, it's the first thing I think of. And now I know what I didn't know then that was scaring me. We have no headlights! We are driving down a dark road with no headlights, blindingly hoping we stay on the road! Analogy anyone?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Good days and bad

Steve has good days and bad days. Some weird shooting pains in different areas. Mysterious bruising and swelling. But with everything his body has endured, I don't think we can pinpoint the cause. If it is another ailment, you will hear us both scream.

He wakes up with headaches and wants to figure out what he did to cause it. He questions the combo of meds or amount of sleep. But again, brain radiation, chemo,lung cancer, medications and the stress of all that, can cause a headache.

The good days are so good. We laugh and tease each other and don't have to be doing anything special to have fun. We'll just pray for more of those.