Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pressure

There is no oil without squeezing the olives. No wine, without pressing the grapes, no fragrance without crushing the flowers and no real joy without sorrow.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's Fear?

I took an Excel class recently. The instructor kept encouraging us to not be afraid of Excel, to click that down arrow and see what other options there were. He said to tell Excel what you wanted it to do.

I have an art magazine that centers around mixed media, which I love. It too encourages you to not fear starting or failing at art and creativity. I never did understand how an art teacher could grade a students art work. They should all be A's.

Well, I find these examples of fear humorous. Want to know fear? Try waking up at night hearing a cough that sounds like someone's last. Review your list of things to do before you die, but know it's a matter of months, not years before it happens. Say goodbye to a friend from out of town and know it is probably the last time you will see them this side of heaven. Holding hands while waiting for the oncologist to tell you if your cancer is back. That's fear.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Retirement Plans Early

We all have plans for when we retire. Steve's is to fix up our home. So he is going to do that now. I'm not sure where the energy will come from, but the boys and I will help where we can. So we started by cleaning up the garage, so we can make a mess in our first room, the kitchen.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Tree

The couple picking out a tree looked about our age. I wondered, did they want shade, flowering or maybe a certain color? Sometimes, it takes years for a tree to 'do it's thing'.

They smiled up at the one he held. They had no doubt at all they would both be there to see it happen.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crying Is Okay

God's greatest life messages come out of our deepest hurts. I can't make the doctor tell us how much longer until he is better. I can't get healing for him from anyone. But, my dependency on God has become my life line. I read now with fervor and a hunger I've never had. I'm desperate for whatever He can give me for that day's peace.

Being in anguish opens the pores of your soul. Your senses are more keen, feelings are raw. Steve and I linger on each word the other says, with our eyes saying the words we dare not speak.

So far, I feel like I've done well. But I've moved into a new phase of tearing up at everything. It's okay, I know. I'm not hiding them anymore from anyone. But, I can't be crying while grocery shopping or driving John Deere road. And what is it about the shower that brings me to tears? Is it because I'm wet already?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Sermon

Steve wanted to go to church with me Saturday night. What are the chances the sermon would be about dealing with a cancer diagnosis (or something equally life altering)? We just looked at each other, both of us thinking the same thing. Should we stay or go? I figured I'd let him make the choice and follow, but he stayed in his seat.

I could see he was very uncomfortable. He had always enjoyed the music being loud. But the steroids made him anxious, loud music and so many people had him on edge. When the sermon started, I glanced over concerned. He whispered, "Maybe I'm supposed to be here." With that, I relaxed and let God worry about the rest.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What You Wouldn't Give

Who of us, has not lost someone in the blink of an eye? One moment, you are going through life, and the next, is a moment that forever changes the way things are.

It is only minutes before your mind goes to the last conversation you had. Then, it is on to the questions. Why didn't I make amends, say I love you, or tell them what they meant?

But it's not that way for Steve & I. We have time. Time to be grateful. Time to have another Father's Day, anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday and Easter. We have time to call a sibling, or give advice to a son or hold a grandchild. What some of us wouldn't give to have one more hug from that loved one that went on before. Time to say..."Remember when...?"

Friday, April 19, 2013

MRI Was Good

The good news is, the MRI came back showing the cancer had NOT metastasized to the brain. We're very relieved to not have that monster to fight too. When I mentioned later that it still only leaves us months together, minus a miracle, Steve said he hadn't stopped thanking God for the results. That put me in my place. I can't jump back into dreaded reality and forget the good.

God continues to take care of us through others. We had a delicious meal brought, I had a pastor come to my office and pray with me, I received a Visa card from an anonymous person that said, 'May God Bless You'. I received flowers at work from a lady I had never met, but is going through a similar season with her husband's terminal illness. And we had family chip in and help with a flooded basement we could never have done on our own. God is so good!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Here I Lay Me Down To Sleep

It's the weirdest sensation, but everywhere I go, I want to lie down. As I walk through my house, even in the basement, the floor calls to me. When I go to my car, I want to crawl in back. In my office, just for a minute, to lie down. I want to curl in fetal position and put my hand over my eyes. Goodness, don't stop me; I'm headed for my bed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Weekend

We had a good weekend with visits from family and friends and grilling out last night.

Steven has a new craving now. He can't get enough chocolate. I know what he means, as I've been a chocolate lover all my life, but this is eating whole bars and wanting more.

Today is the dreaded MRI. He will take some of his nighttime meds and hope it relaxes him enough to lay still.

Yesterday, while reading my devotion, I felt God telling me I needed to go to church. I really wanted to stay in my recliner and tried to explain Steven was sick and I should stay home, but I knew, He knew, it was my excuse.

He doesn't want me there just for the closeness I feel to Him during the worship music, nor for the instruction I get from the sermon, but because I'm carrying a silent banner that say's, "I'm going through something really hard right now, but being here in church and feeding myself spiritually is a priority."

I'm representative of how big God is. People want to love on us. They want to know how Steve is. They want to see we go on living and making the most of what is. So I got out of my chair and went to church. And I'm so glad I did!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stress

They say that crisis and turmoil can either drive you apart, or bring you together in your marriage. I can be there for Steve, but not without the help I'm getting from family and friends. It is so hard to let people help, but if I put it in the context that the more I let others do, the more energy I can put into helping Steve, it is easier.

I was looking at lists of top stresses in life and the impact of long term stress. Here is one description of stress: When demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

And then there is the number one stress at the top of every list. Let's just say, going to jail is number four.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wait Sping!

Spring has a way of making a person high. More people fall in love in spring than any other season. But this is one spring I would like to put on hold. If I stay in winter, I might be able to stop time...and cancer.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Our Heavenly Crown

The virtues of a man's heavenly crown consist of every act that is selfless.
Denice Lane

Thursday, April 11, 2013

He Is All That Is

A blank page. Letters that make words, words that make a post, a post that make a blog. If I were to tell what moves me the most, what inspires me, intrigues me & motivates me, it would be my faith in Jesus Christ. Why, out of all that is...is this where I am? I tell you, it is ALL THAT IS.

There is no certainty or guarantee, that if you do well, you are entitled to a life of ease. Nor, does this earn you a place in heaven. Riches do not give you love, prestige does not earn you peace, people do not give you joy.

What is certain? Will the sun rise tomorrow and my air still be there to breathe? Will my husband still love me or even be here? Will my children respect me? Will I age with grace and wisdom?

One thing remains...my faith in Jesus Christ. I stand on this rock that is HIM. The winds blow, the water rises and I remain standing. I will not be shaken. I cannot say,
"Where is He in this turmoil of this life?"
He is in the woman who listened to me at lunch, who hugged me and told me I meant something. He is in the sister who said, "Let me...do anything." He is in the prayer that was lifted up by many. He is in the smile of that precious little boy who holds his arms up to me. He is in the son that asks what he can do, and the sender of card that came in the mail, the text that said, "We can do this together." And He is in the coworkers that encircled me and prayed. HE IS ALL THAT IS.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bad News

I had barely gotten to work Monday, when Steve called me. He said I needed to come home because the doctor's office wanted to see him regarding last week's scans. The doctor explained that the tumors had grown significantly and could be seen in the lung and the liver. That was why he was doing so poorly last week. They immediately started a chemo called topotecan. This will be done once a week. They also ordered an MRI to see if it has spread to his brain.

This is all disturbing because it was just a month ago that the tumors were too small to seen. We didn't talk much about the ramifications of what this next stage means, but it was hanging over us. We are both feeling the effects of impending doom. Our train of thought gets lost and we are short tempered. At the same time we do not want to be far from each other physically. I can't say enough times how it breaks my heart to see him go through this.

But the weather was so perfect that day. So we had lunch on the deck, did some light yard work, took a nap and visited my in-laws. What are you going to do, curl up and cry? That is for later.

I feel like a window has been shut on us.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Weekend

We had a great weekend. Saturday, we spent several hours cleaning the camper. The way we are going it will be cleaner than when we got it. That wore us both out, so Frank's cooked for us.

Then Sunday, we had Parker for the morning. Steve created a big bubble maker, but Parker just wanted the bowl of suds. Parker spent lots of time on the John Deere tractor and created artwork with chalk. After he left, Steve worked in the yard and I did a mixed media project. I never should have started watching YouTube on our TV.

The hiccups have stopped. Maybe because the steroid dose was reduced. I'm so happy they are gone. We are once again enjoying life.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Dance

Sometimes, he will come around the table and kiss me. So once, I got up and we danced. And, for just a few minutes I forgot everything, which is BIG. All I thought about was the feel of his body. His arms caressing my back, reminding myself to 'let him lead'. Pandora was playing the perfect song. I didn't cry, I just smiled. Now I cry.

He is my best friend.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Can You Say Hiccup?

Steven is doing so much better. The steroid is not even keeping him awake at night. What a blessing. So he isn't doing jumping jacks, or even walking at a fast pace, but IS sitting up in bed and eating. He has a sense of humor, so I do too.

The only drawback of the steroid is, he has a bad case of hiccups. He actually has hiccups more often than not. Even through the night. We didn't know if he would be able to have his scans. So I called the doctor and he prescribed something that doesn't work very well. Steve found drinking out of a straw will work for a short time, and I bought gripe water (suggested by those with babies) which I promptly spilled on the counter. I managed to save enough for a dose and once again it worked, but only temporarily.

Have you ever tried to eat with the hiccups? He is frustrated. I'll call today and see if the dose can be upped.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CT Ordered

I think we both thought Steve would be admitted when we went yesterday to see the oncologist. But it didn't happen. The doctor started him on a steroid and ordered a CT scan. So we have traded some symptoms for new ones as he adversely reacts to a drug he hates. And we are back to our silent worry of what the scan will show.

I'm so tired. Yesterday, after I got him in bed after the appointment, I ran to the pharmacy for his prescription and some Gatorade. I then ran to work and tried to catch up, then home again. I went directly to him in bed and crawled in. We lay knee to knee, holding hands, eyes closed and just breathed. Minus the tears, it would have been heaven.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Timing Is Perfect

We go to the doctor today for our 2 month check. The timing couldn't be more perfect because Steven has been having some different symptoms that we are concerned about. He's very nauseated, not eating much and hardly able to get out of bed. I hope he can get some relief soon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our Easter

I wasn't sure Steve was going to make it out of bed to join the Easter festivities, but he did. He was very tired, but all 25 of us were happy to see him.

The hidden eggs were found and despite the wind, the wiffle ball game was played. There was plenty of food and lots of family and friends. I'm very thankful. Thankful for today and thankful for that day long ago when the tomb was found empty and my Jesus arose.