I am sitting here trying to think of how to start writing again. I've missed it sorely but then when I look at the computer screen, my mind goes blank. I can't believe how much time has gone by. December was packed with making gifts (I took pictures but will have to share later), parties, cooking, meeting the new grand kids (Abbigail is so precious and boy what a new experience to be called "Grandma" by the older step-children), hyper-extending my finger (can't believe how foolish I feel with that one and still trying to heal from), mine and Mom's shared birthday (which was a treasured day as always), the annual New Year's Gaggle Conference at the beach, getting all of my church responsibilities taken care of, and of course then packing for my trip. I would apologise for not writing sooner and make promises to do better but I feel I have said it so many times in the last several months that it must sound pretty empty to you who are faithful to read and check on me.
Instead I want to say thank you for your support and gracious understanding.
My goal over the next several weeks is to make updates on Daddy's progress and try to wrap my brain around my own thoughts. We shall see how it goes eh?
I arrived here late Saturday night so today makes the beginning of my 3rd full day here. It was a strange feeling to pack up for a 6 week window of time and hug my family goodbye. I was/am really feeling the the lack of not having my hubby and girls close by but then at the same time having such excitement and expectation at being here with Daddy.
Daddy started having problems swallowing foods and then liquids sometime last August. It didn't take too long for him to not be able to swallow even his own saliva. Because of that, I was preparing myself for the idea that he would have lost a lot of weight. I knew that the chemo and radiation was zapping away his strength; I could hear it in his voice whenever we talked on the phone. Despite my mental preparation though, I felt an inner gasp at seeing his frail body purpose to get up from his recliner for a loving hug. I barely began the thought of comprehending that the delicate man trying to stand in front of me was once a strapping barrel chested formidable man that no one ever dared to cross......but then I felt God hold me and heard Him say, "he is okay Julie and so are you. You can do this and I am right here with you."
That was when I saw the sparkle in his eyes.
I have spent these last few days just getting acclimated to my surroundings.
I have taken it upon myself to do some cleaning and organising around the house. Then there are the dogs; we call them the fuzzy children. There are currently 6 little ones here and they do take a bit of attention. There are 4 yorkies, a shitzu and a schnauzer that range in ages from 3-16 years old. Most have different degrees of blindness and lack of hearing so it takes a bit of strategy and sign language to get all of them in and out of the house. Because Daddy has been so sick, they have not gotten outside as much as needed and have developed some lazy habits. Yeah........ I am working on that.
The doctors have completely changed Daddy's treatment plan around but I am told that it is a good thing. This is his last week of radiation therapy and because he is responding well to treatment the oncologist wants him to do another couple rounds of chemo. He will have a treatment the end of this month and then we will see what happens. At this stage he probably won't have a PET scan to check the shrinkage of his tumors until March or April.
I have 2 cousins and a step sister here that have been his primary source of transportation, encouragement, and watchful eye. I have been so grateful for their presence with my own brother and I living so far away. At the same time, I worried that they would feel my trip would be some how an intrusive effort on my behalf to take over. Happily, they are all warm and supportive of my being here. (The only way I can possibly express right now why I would ever feel in the way here would be for you to read an old post series I wrote from a few years back titled Heart Journey) They have all patiently showed me how to do Daddy's medications and feeding care and have left the house so that we can have time together. At the same time, they have all pulled me aside and encouraged me that they are here and a phone call away whenever I need anything. And they are even still doing his daily trips to radiation so I don't have to try and learn everything in super speed time.
For now, I am going to close. Between dogs and such, this has taken a couple of hours to write.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement.
I will write more later.
Be blessed and have a wonderful God filled day.