Monday, November 27, 2006

Post Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving, or Feast as Kendall would call it, in Nashville last week. It was fun to visit with family and basically take it easy. Chuck and Beth have the setup we'd like to have as far as the outside goes. They live at the end of a dead end street with a small farm behind them and acres of woods to the right of them. They are also animal lovers and have many creatures for the kids to play with. We could let the kids out and let them play with the dogs outside or just run in the big back yard playing with sticks or whatever they could get their hands on without worrying about somebody snatching them up or getting run over.

The farm was great fun for the kids as well as they got to interact with all the farm animals. Namely donkeys, horses, and goats. See the pics below.

Grant and Chuck Checking Out the Goats

Everybody Petting a Goat

Kendall Petting a Horse

Chuck's neighbor Gary told us about some beavers back building a 40-50 foot beaver dam on a pond back in the woods. So we trek out to check it out. See pics below again.

The Dam Runs Through the Center of the Picture

Evidence of the Beaver's Work. In the Background You see the Reflection of the Trees (Upside Down) in the Water

We didn't see any beavers but you could tell they had been there. We also visited the Adventure Science Museum while we were there. Kendall really enjoyed the uhhhhh, how should I describe this, I guess...sounds of the Colon exhibit in the BodyQuest area will do. We also went to a pottery store called Third Coast Clay where you pick out a blank piece of pottery and paint it yourself. They'll then fire it for you and you can come back and pick it up later. It was a lot of fun. We won't get our wares until next week though.

Patty felt ok throughout the trip. She is really bumming because her eyelashes are starting to fall out and their is nothing to put her mascara on. She's also complaining that one of her eyes seems blurry. It is most likely nothing but, when you have cancer every ache or pain becomes a concern whether or warranted or not. She did get to enjoy a whole day of kid free shopping on Friday. Her and Beth left out at 5:30 and returned about 4. Better her than me is all I have to say!

Her last AC treatment is next Monday. Then she'll have 3 or 4 Taxotere treatments. The Christmas Tea that is she is arranging for the church is this Saturday. Once that is over I know it will be a big load off of her shoulders. I was hoping she wasn't going to do it this year but I think it has given her something to put her energy into. Patty and Katie will be performing at the Christmas Tea to the song by Nicole Nordeman, "I AM" I love this song. They are going to be signing the words to the song. Katie is doing the first of the four parts and Patty the last. Below are the words to the song.

I Am *
(by Nichole Nordeman 2002 Ariose Music)

Pencil marks on a wall, I wasn't always this tall
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed.
You watched my team win, and watched my team lose
Watched when my bicycle went down again

When I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Elbow Healer, Superhero, come if you can
You said, I Am

Only sixteen, life is so mean
What kind of curfew is at 10 pm?
You saw my mistakes and watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I'd never love again

When I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
And I said Heartache Healer, Secret Keeper, be my best friend
You said, I Am

You saw me wear white by pale candlelight
I said 'forever' to what lies ahead
Two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream
Too much it might seem when it is 2 am.

When I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name
Oh, Shepherd Savior, Pasture Maker, hold on to my hand
You said, I Am

The winds of change and circumstance
Blow in and all around us
So we find a foothold that's familiar
And bless the moments that we feel you nearer

When life had begun I was woven and spun
You let the angels dance around the throne
Who can say when, but they'll dance again
When I am free and finally headed home

I will be weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name
Creator, Maker, Life Sustainer
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer
Lord and King, Beginning and the End
I Am, I Am

If you haven't heard the song. Click HERE for a short clip. They'll be over a hundred people at the tea so I hope they don't get to nervous.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Live From NashVegas

We arrived in Nashville this afternoon after leaving late this morning. We're staying with my cousin Chuck and his wife Beth through the Thanksgiving holiday. We're hoping to have a "feast" tomorrow as Kendall would say and just hang out the rest of the time. Traffic was pretty bad heading out of Knoxville but smoothed out once further out. I only almost fell asleep once. They have some donkeys, horses, and goats behind their house that we went and played with before dinner. The kids really liked the goats. Beth fixed a big fancy dinner that now has my pants wishing they weren't on me. But I digress.

Patty is feeling better and getting back close to normal. She says she still has a general feeling of not feeling well but can't put an exact word on how to describe it.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Update

Patty still felt pretty bad Saturday. I left early with Kendall and Grant to do some volunteer work with our small group and she was wiped out on the couch. Soooooooooo, when I return she's cleaning house. Jimminy Crickets! I guess OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) had finally eclipsed the amount of pain and suffering. I encouraged her to return to rest but it was no use. The House had to be cleaned! An hour later I take everybody but Brett, he was sleeping, to my dad's to trim bushes and cleanup. I call Patty on the way back and now she's at the store!

Yesterday she was getting over the flu like aches but is now having some other less than pleasant side effects from all the anti-nausea drugs. It is truly a Catch 22.

We had a thanksgiving dinner last night with our small group and this is where Patty really gets her groove on, planning and setting up events. She truly would excel as a wedding or event planner. She is an attack dog in the pit bull vein when it comes to event planning. Nor chemo, nor aches, nor pains shall stop her if an event is to be planned. Did I say Christmas Tea? Don't get me started on that one. Anyway, she begin cooking as soon as we got home from church and then she headed over to the host's house, 4 hours early mind you, to help setup for a 1 hour dinner. Her other true love is organizing closets, rooms, etc. and junking anything that hasn't been touched in a 24 hour period, or earlier if its in a high traffic location, trust me I know. But I digress.

Kendall's class had a Thanksgiving Feast on Friday since it was their last day of school until after Thanksgiving week. I went to participate, and bring the rolls which is another story. In my usual fashion I wait to the last minute and run to Ingle's at 10 a.m., the party is at 10:30. I hit panic mode when upon entering the bread aisle I cannot locate any rolls. Thus, I used my emergency instant answer device (phone) to contact my emergency grocery store consultant (Patty). Upon the consultant answering, I scream to my answer machine, "FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, WHERE ARE THE ROLLS, AHHHHGGGGGHHHH?!" Ok, maybe I wasn't that loud but there was definitely panic in my voice. The consultant calmly tells me to move to the Deli section of the store upon where I would find the rolls. Now, I'm no grocery store manager but good grief, common sense would tell you ALL bread, no matter the type, should go in the same section. Anyway, I made it with 5 minutes to spare. Check out our and other little pilgrims in the pics are below.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Morning

Patty felt much worse yesterday. The flu type symptoms finally hit her in her back and neck. You couldn't even touch her back without her wincing in pain. You could tell by just looking at her that she did not feel good. On the positive side she still has not had any issues with nausea or vomiting. Hopefully this evening she'll start to feel a little better.

She's got one more treatment to go of these drugs (Adriamyicin, Cytoxan). She'll then switch back to the original drug Taxotere that she originally started and had the reaction with. She is really nervous about taking that one again. She will have four of those and then a year of the Herceptin. Still sounds like a long time but if that is what it takes then we'll make it through it with God's help.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Update

Patty had another decent night last night. Decent meaning no prolonged nausea or vomiting. She didn't eat much yesterday just a bowl of soup and a bowl of cereal. Her teeth hurt really bad from the Neulasta shot this time. She says it is like when a severe sinus headache causes your teeth to hurt but much worse. I spoke to her not too long ago and she said that her teeth were still hurting and now her neck was hurting pretty bad as well. This is still much better than the last treatment. Hopefully, the medications and prayers will continue to help her through this week.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Morning Update

Patty didn't feel too bad last night. She looked like she felt bad but she said she just felt really tired and drained. The good news is she hasn't had any prolonged nausea and no vomiting. Hopefully, all of these anti-nausea medications will continue to hold up. I just talked to her and she said she feels about the same as last night. The next couple of days will tell the tale. I'll update again later this afternoon. Keep praying.

I want to thank all those again who have been providing meals and childcare during these treatment weeks. You'll never know how much of a help you have been. Our church has been tremendous and we've also had many many friends and family jump in and offer their assistance as well. The song says it best when it says, "God is good, all the time."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday Update

Patty did well last night except for feeling really wore out. The extra meds seem to have drained her energy. I just spoke with her and she seems to be doing ok. She's coming over soon to get her Neulasta shot to boost her white blood cell count. Tonight is the usually the time she first starts to feel the effects so hopefully it will be much better this time than last.

Everybody seemed to enjoy the pics of the kids on Halloween so I thought I would share a pic of an older group that dressed up. This is some of the staff at our North Cancer Center who got in the spirit of Toy Story to cheer up our patients. I bet they never imagined they would wind up on the internet, lol.... I'll withhold names to protect the innocent!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Treatment Monday

I'm sitting next to Patty as she gets her 4th treatment. The treatments usually take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. She's nodded off for a few minutes. Since she got so sick with the last treatment they're trying some new anti-nausea drugs which I think is what is making her sleepy. Hopefully they will be effective. She has been really dreading this treatment due to the effects of the last one. Pray that these new drugs help.

We had a good day yesterday. It started off with church where our pastor delivered a great sermon on confession. For those of you who weren't there, I'll try to sum it up in a few sentences. He basically taught that our confessions should not be only to God. It should occur with the individuals of whom it affected or affects as well. The Bible talks about confession to others as much as it does confessing your sins to God. Afterward, we took the kids to see the family symphony concert at the Tennessee theater. Katie is taking violin lessons at school and we thought it might increase her interest in it. They had an instrument petting zoo which was cool and they also had a craft where they made rain sticks. It was a lot of fun.

As usual I'll post often this week to keep you updated on Patty's condition. Thank you for your prayers. I just heard today from one of our sisters here at the hospital that one of our retired sisters (the famous one who starred in the commercials with Peyton) is praying for us as well. I am so thankful for these prayers as sometimes I am so overwhelmed I can't find the words to say. That might sound crazy but its true.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Philadelphia Closing

Ben Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River

No, Philadelphia isn't closing. My conference has come to a close and the reason I used the title above is because we had a closing speaker that was so outstanding he almost brought me to tears with the truth of his message. His Michael Broome, his one of tremendous inspiration to me. It was as God designed it for me. He spoke directly of facing tragedy and finding the silver lining it it. I can only portray a small part of his message but will try my best. I encourage everyone to go to his website and view his video clip.

He begin by discussing tragedy in our lives. He related the story of Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, who as a young man lost his wife and mother within hours on the same day. He penned the next day, "The light of my life has gone out." Roosevelt though recovered and later made the statement that, "life is a joy for those who demand it!" Even through tragedy you should demand joy.

He was tremendously funny when delivering his message. As I guess any motivational speaker would be. He spoke of one of his own personal tragedies of when he and his wife discovered that they would not be able to have children. Instead of dwelling on this loss, they searched their options and soon acted on their next best option, adoption. They proceeded to adoption only to have their first attempt fail at the last at the last moment before taking the child. On the solemn ride home he and wife sat in silence until his wife turned to him and said, "Well, if we can't adopt a child, we could always adopt a highway." Humor, he says lightens the load of the heart. Abraham Lincoln was reading jokes from a book when his lead general announced to him that they had lost almost 20,000 men in one of the battles of the war. He asked the President how he could read jokes when such tragic news was upon them. President Lincoln said that without laughter sometime during the day his heart could not survive such continuing tragic loss.

He spoke of gratitude and how it is the creator of joy. He also gave advice on worry and fear that was echoed by another speaker who opened the meeting. He said "The more you fear something the more you increase the odds of it occurring." This parallels a great statement I read from Thomas Jefferson in his Canons of Conduct years ago, "How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened." Patty and I need to embrace this sage advice.

After the meetings closed I got to see some of our nations history. It was pouring rain and I was soaked but I didn't let it stop me. Below is a picture of the Independence Hall.

Inside is where the Declaration of Independence was formed and signed as well as the United States Constitution. Both documents were penned and signed in the room below.

Lastly, directly across the street is where the Liberty Bell resides. It was interesting that you have to go through airport security like measures to enter either location. There are two pictures, one just of the bell and one of the bell and clock tower of Independence Hall where the Liberty Bell used to reside.

I fly out at 1:55 and should return to K-town by 4:00. The weather is now beautiful and hopefully it will be an uneventful ride home. I'm looking forward to seeing Patty and the kids. Patty's 4th treatment will be on Monday. I ask each of you to pray that it will be tolerated much better then the last.

I can't thank each of you enough who continue to intercede on our behalf in prayer. My appreciation runs deep knowing that there are others approaching God on our behalf. Thus, I say, THANK YOU, with my deepest sincerity.

Monday, November 06, 2006

From The City of Brotherly Love

Once again I apologize for my lack of posts over the last week. I am attending a conference for work in Philadelphia this week so last week was consumed with taking the kids out trick or treating and getting everything done that needed to be done before I left. For the most part I was able to get everything done except for a few minor things. The kids all were Super Heroes this year. See below.

Well, greetings from the city of brotherly love. I've been here since Saturday morning and have been attending meetings since an hour after I arrived. Luckily my hotel allowed me to check in at 9 in the morning and I made my first meeting at 10. My hotel is right on the Delaware River on the outskirts of downtown Philly directly across from Camden, NJ. There is a bridge that connects New Jersey and Pennsylvania called the Ben Franklin Bridge. I told the kids I would post some pictures so they could see where I am staying. So, I'll post a pic below of the bridge from my hotel window.

On Saturday night I got out and walked around and took some other pictures close to the hotel. One was of this cool looking ship that is now a restaurant. You can see my hotel in the right background of the picture. I swam out to get this perspective from water ;).

Patty is finally getting to close to feeling normal again. She still is having sporadic aches and pains mainly in her rib areas. The doctor did a x-ray on her last visit but again, thankfully, nothing showed. We're thinking it may be to the Neulasta shot. When I spoke to her last night she sounded like she was at 'wits end'. She said the kids had been driving her crazy all day. This was one of my fears in leaving. Truthfully, I wouldn't have attended this meeting had I known all of this was going to occur. I had booked all my travel which was non-refundable on July 28. Patty first discovered something on Aug 4. What timing. Anyway, I would appreciate it if those of you who are reading would check in on her and see if she is still sane. If you've had 4 kids under the age of 8 before you'll know how she feels. She's an outstanding mother and continues to do a great job despite our recent setbacks. My prayers and hopefully yours will be that the kids would be on their best behavior while I'm gone. I am supposed to return on Thursday.

Some of the meetings have been great so far. Matter of fact, there was one yesterday that I was contemplating skipping that really inspired me. I'll post on it tonight or tomorrow. I've got to get dressed and head out to my next meeting and then I'm going to the exhibit hall at the convention center to check out all the latest in cancer technology and treatment. Ironic, huh?