It’s not over yet…

Dec 28, 2011

When I decided to blog, it was to share what we’re going through; and also because writing it  down seemed to help me.  If I write down what’s happening, I can look at in on this page and somehow decide how to deal with it.  It seems to leave ‘me’ and become an inanimate object sitting there on the page…one that I can stand back and look at from a distance.

I said that I’d share it all “puke all over these pages” I think I said.  Well, in the spirit of sharing – here I go puking it out all over the pages again, because it’s not over yet.  

Christmas was supposed to be a wonderful family celebration, but it wasn’t everything we’d hoped for.   Had a few hiccups.

We rented a gorgeous house in Vail to spend the weekend before Christmas in; the whole family was supposed to go.  Mom and dad backed out at the last minute.  They didn’t come with us because mom’s blood counts were low and she felt more comfortable staying home.  It felt like cancer was taking away our Christmas trip.  Bob had been diagnosed with pneumonia the week before we went and he spent most of the weekend in bed.  A few of us (me included) came down with some sort of bug.  I felt like crap most of the weekend.    

Upon returning home, we broke the news to mom that we couldn’t see her because we had all either come down with, or been exposed to some sort of cough / cold and didn’t want to infect her.  So we spent Christmas week quarantined to our separate houses.   hiccup

Jordan had an eye procedure on Tuesday the 20th…he has been diagnosed with some weird eye condition that could lead to blindness if not treated.  He underwent an experimental treatment that was not covered by insurance, was very expensive and was incredibly painful.  Now we wait to see if it worked.  hiccup

Katie found a new rheumatologist; the good news is that she finally has a diagnosis.  The bad news is that she has a diagnosis.  There is a treatment and  she has started her medications.  The answer to prayer is that the new doctor was wonderful, empathetic and very knowlegeable concerning this disease.  We are blessed to have found her.   

Bob had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday the 22nd — Katie’s 24th birthday.  He woke up that morning with swelling.  BAD swelling.  His ankles, his lower extremities, his lower abdomen and (puking it all out here) his testicles.  OUCH.  OUCH.  OUCH.  I hate seeing this disease!  hiccup hiccup hiccup

We told the doctor when we got there, they weren’t surprised.  The doctor told us that the cancer is not responding to the chemotherapy.  The swelling is a symptom of the cancer getting worse.  The blood tests show that the cancer markers are DOUBLE what they were before starting this new treatment.  OUCH.  OUCH.  OUCH.  The doctor talked to us about changing treatments AGAIN.  They are contacting the Mayo Clinic (again??) to discuss Bob’s care.   They say, “Another bone marrow transplant is probably best”.  Bob says, “Let’s just do it”.  I say, “Oh God no.  Why?”   They decide that we will discuss the plan after the holidays, so we can go home and enjoy the holidays with our family.  (family that is all sick, and quarantined to different houses)  hiccup

As I sit in the waiting room while Bob makes his next appointment my cell phone rings…it’s Bob’s other doctor, the one treating the pneumonia.  “Kim, we’re looking at Bob’s chest x-ray and it’s actually worse than last week.  And with the newly developed lower extremity edema we think Bob needs to go have an echocardiogram to rule out any heart failure.”  hiccup

“What?”  is all I said.  Then I half listened while he explained the details of the test.  I’m numb.  Feel like I’m being knocked down.  We left the bone marrow transplant office, quietly numb.

So Bob and I decide to just wait it out.  Watch the swelling and try to ignore the cancer that seems to be shoving itself down our throats…again.  We’ll wait for the heart test to tell us NOTHING IS WRONG with his heart.  We’ll wait until after the holidays to discuss the next step in the cancer treatment.

So we spend the Christmas week with this news, quarantined away from mom and dad, fighting this stupid chest cold and pneumonia and swelling and cancer…

Work continues, which is helpful.  Got a call Friday the 23rd, one of our jobs was shut down by OSHA – first time in the history of our company that this has happened.  Still trying to digest everything else that’s happening, now this too?  Just another hiccup…

Our banker calls because the 5 year loan on the commercial property is due for a refinance, he calls to say the appraisal hasn’t come back ‘where they wanted it’.  So the refi may not occur without a large financial hit to us.  hic…yeah – you get it.

Funny.  Everything seems to be falling apart, but now that I write it all down and look at it…it’s not that bad.  When I look at it on this page I become very aware that God is bigger. 

I remember watching swelling come and go before.  I saw cancer come and go before.  I’ve seen arthritis healed.  I’ve seen eyes healed.  I watched our business suffer before.  God is bigger.  God is bigger than whatever I can puke out on this page.  He covers it.   If I can just focus on Him and not these hiccups… 

I guess it’s a good time during this Christmas season to think about what Jesus really came here for.  To save us.  SAVE us God.  You’ve done it before, you will do it again.  Thank you. 

We have so much to be thankful for.  We really do.  And in the midst of this storm we will hold onto the ROCK that doesn’t move.  God doesn’t move, we put our faith and hope in the immovable God. 

“thus far the Lord has helped us”  “we will not be disappointed”    This isn’t over yet.

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Frosty

Woke up at 5:00 AM, singing Frosty the Snowman in my head.  hmmmm.  I hope that’s not a diagnosable indicator of mental illness.  🙂  As I lay there and hummed the tune I thought about old Frosty.  “A jolly happy soul…Alive as he could be.”  Not a bad example.  I’m going to try to work on emulating that this Christmas Season.

Bob has developed a cough, sounds pretty bad.  He went to the Doc yesterday and got a chest x-ray because it may be pneumonia (AGAIN).  He started antibiotics and we’ll have chest x-ray results today.  He seems to go through a fight with pneumonia at least 2 times every year.  He still doesn’t swallow very well (residual from the brain damage 7 years ago)…I think he aspirates.  BUT if he can take the antibiotics and get better I’m not going to worry about it.  What does worrying help anyway?

Mom had round 2 of chemo and as we all expected her counts have dropped.  BUT not as bad as I thought they would.  She’s actually doing very well.  We shopped for 2 hours on Sunday, she watched Tebow lead the Broncos to another victory (yelling and screaming and jumping up and down the whole game) and seemed perfectly fine.  If I didn’t know she was fighting cancer….I wouldn’t know.  (you know?)  But I think she’s scared.  We have a family trip planned to Vail this weekend.  Have been planning it for 3 months.  She just informed me that she’s afraid to go.  ??  I’m confused.  I’m trying very hard to not break down.  I want to be the one yelling, screaming and jumping up and down yelling at her (at cancer?) “don’t let fear run your life!  don’t let fear tell you what to do!”

We should be like Frosty.  “O Frosty the Snowman, WAS ALIVE AS HE COULD BE, and the children say he could run and play just the same as you and me.” 

I HATE CANCER.  Can’t wait for it to melt away.

 

Heat

It was supposed to be VERY COLD in Denver last night.  Like -5 degrees cold.  As I went to sleep last night I prayed for people to stay warm, prayed that there was shelter for the homeless and that those who were required to work outside were kept warm and safe.  Seriously.

I woke up this morning and it’s 54 degrees in my house.  My furnace is broken.  Called my dad (thank God my mom and dad answer their phone at 4:35 AM on the second ring).  Dad had just fixed Paula’s furnace earlier this week; thought he’d come over and work his magic on ours.  No luck.  We need an HVAC repair man.  I’m waiting here in my very cold house for a return call from the 3 messages I’ve left at various companies around town.  brrrrrrrrr…..

Bob was up early too, but had to be at work at 6:00 AM to check on a job that is starting.  So he’s leaving it up to me.  I’m waiting for the phone to ring – it does.  It’s Jordan who is at the office, and guess what?  The furnace at the office is not working.  It’s COLD there too.  He’s going to start some space heaters there and we’ll wait for the repair man to call me about my house and we’ll see if he does commercial work as well.  Seriously. 

My fingers are cold as I sit here under 3 blankets and type….and wait for the phone to ring again.  Heat is a good thing.  A roof over our head, a warm bed, a refrigerator full of food and family who answers their phone at 4:35 AM are all good things.  I will try not to take them for granted.  I will try to appreciate the things that I have.  Like HEAT.

But, seriously?

Those People

Mom finished cycle number two, all five days.  Dad took her.  She  called every day when chemo was over to tell me how it went.  On Wednesday she said, ” it was very depressing”.  I asked why.  She said, “those people are sick.”   

I think we are ‘those people’.  We are people that spend time in Oncologist’s offices.  We are people that sit in chemotherapy treatment rooms.    We are people that other people say “those people are sick” about.  We are those people that think about death.  We are people that have to…we deal with cancer treatments and blood counts and kidney function tests and biopsies.  We are those people that look at every cold or virus as it may be something that ends up in a hospital stay.

Mom quickly stated, “But I’m not sick; I’m not like those people.” 

Because we are trying to be those people that appreciate life.  We are those people that try very hard to enjoy every little thing, like – cooking a meal together, watching a movie in our PJs, eating ice cream out of the container, driving our grandkids through neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights, laying in front of the fireplace and watching Christmas Movies…just doing anything that seems like living and not dieing.

Mom is finished with chemo, and will have a bone marrow biopsy next month to tell us that she is cancer free.  So we can go back to being those people who don’t spend our time in cancer centers.  well…I mean don’t spend our time in two cancer centers.