Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back In The Northwest....

I went on my walk this morning. It felt so good to hike the butte and smell the fresh air. Everything is green and crisp with Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens sitting on the horizon. Kekoa nudged me along and encouraged me to stretch out my stiffened muscles. A few more days and I should be conquering the whole 2 miles just like before right?

This is day 4 of me being back and it still feels strange. It is more than a simple 2 hour time change. It is me learning to let go of certain responsibilities while catching hold of other ones.

Sunday morning I was still foggy from my late night flight but I relished the idea of being at church. With flying in at 11pm the night before and visiting with my family, I didn't think I would jump up and attend first thing in the morning but my sweet Puddin' was on drums and I just HAD to go cheer her on. I hugged as many people as possible in between songs and completely let myself go in the freedom atmosphere and like minded thinking that I had been missing.

Before I even recognised that I would really wrestle with it, God told me that this is a transition time for me. It is a time to trust and know that Daddy is in His hands. It is a time for me to let go and focus on what is in store for me here. I cried and thought, "Ok I can do this" as I cleared away mentally.

But now I find myself swinging back and forth violently with quiet emotions that scream to be in check. I do great until I hear from my cousin or step-sister and then I want to rush back over and fix everything. But now is not that season. Now is the season for them to band together and work their system. Now is a waiting time for Daddy to build up his strength and remember that he can still do some things for himself. Waiting is hard and not knowing what the next step is for 2 more months is agony but they must focus and concentrate on the now.

I wrote a 3 page list of To-Do things every day to help them along. Most of it is doggy medicines and Daddy medicines. They have split the days into "shifts" so that Daddy has the encouragement around whenever he has question about anything. I think that was a really good idea for them to do it that way. Then it is not too much on any one person.

Here, I have unpacked and have begun cleaning the different rooms of our home. Of course Hubby and girls did things while I was gone but it makes me feel more here to have my hand in it too....and things just need a mom's touch. This week is Spring Break from school so all of my "extended" children have been going nuts. Yesterday we started getting the phone calls that said, "I want to respect your time with just getting home but I am really missing you and missing being at your house. Could I please come over?" Too funny. There were 11 around the dinner table last night with 2 more that popped in just to say hi and not eat.

Next week will be time to encourage Puddin' with school, get Pippin on track with college an/or job, and put my head on straight with Children's Ministry. Btu this week is about fun, settling in, and finding my niche again.

I thank you God for special times, for my understanding family, and that You have Your hands everywhere protecting and encouraging my dad.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am finding myself to be pretty antsy as each day goes by. I don't think it is really noticeable on the outside but on the inside I feel mental tremors rocking through my body as I vacillate between emotional waves of turmoil and that "emotions off auto button" that threatens to flip on and not feel anything. In 3 days I will be going home.

Daddy is well enough now that I am confident he can take care of himself with family checking in on him for encouragement. I doubt he will follow his care regime the same way I have but that is okay. Still, I don't want to leave him. I don't want to leave because he is my daddy.......he is my daddy and I feel like such the small little girl that never wants to leave her daddy's embrace. But I miss my family so very much. It hurts so very much.

I have started my preparations to leave list.....cleaned the house, scrubbed the bathrooms, all the dogs went to the groomers, re-stocking the pantry, and I walk in my room to look at my suitcase but then turn and leave again.
We have accomplished things like getting an eye exam and new glasses for Daddy. I bought an anti-barker device for the dogs, gone through old pictures, made copies of old family recipe books, and visited Daddy's work crew that he was in charge of where he worked as a nuclear/x-ray technician.

Last Saturday my cousin wanted to take us out for a special dinner as a means of "yeah chemo is over/bon voyage for me". We ended up at The Melting Pot. Oh wow! Talk about celebration. I have been to a fondue restaurant twice before and knew what to expect but goodness it was a wonderful evening. I took pictures so that you could have a glimpse. My cell phone takes horrid indoor shots but it still conveys the overall idea.

Our appetizer fondue was bowls of breads, veggies, and apples that we dipped in a pot of mild white cheeses with spinach and artichokes. I was completely full with that and the amazing Cesar salad but that was just the beginning. Below is a picture of our main course platters that we skewered and cooked in seasoned broth fondue pots. Two different platters held an array of lobster, shrimp, ravioli, steak, sausage, and chicken.

It took lots of stories and laughter for us to empty those plates as we tried to time our cooking by our cell phones. We were definitely a bunch of silly beans. Daddy ate very well. I wasn't sure how he would do but he cut up his food into small bite and enjoyed more than we all imagined he could eat. He proclaimed that he hadn't eaten that much in 3 months total. We were so excited to see him be able to really swallow and enjoy.

By the time we cleaned away the main course platters we could have rolled out the doors but dessert was still on its way. Oh my! With choices of cheesecake, bananas, strawberries, pound cake, rice crispies, brownies, and marshmallows to dip in such sweet melted can one resist?

Our server was amazing.
He clued into our celebration attitude and put a candle on one of the cheesecakes for me.

Here is a picture of Daddy and I looking over our dessert. Doesn't he look great?
He has lost 75lbs through all of this but is resilient and strong.

Once when Daddy left the table for a few minutes, I shared with our server that Daddy had just finished his last chemo treatment and this was his first major meal. I thanked him for making it so special and blessed evening for us. Our server just about dropped the plates he was holding and his eyes misted over with tears. He said that he was a professional opera singer and had left the circuit over the summer because his dad was undergoing cancer treatment. He smiled, "You don't know what this means to me. It is so encouraging to see you all here celebrating with joy and witness the enthusiasm of your dad. Thank you....thank you for telling me that. You have made my day."

It makes me cancer so rampant that it seems everyone I meet has dealt with it in one way or another. Or is it that God is purposing our steps to cross and lift each other up in understanding agreement. I think it is both. And I think that I weigh heavily on the side of God. He is so amazing to know what we need and when we need it.

Be blessed today!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time Is Passing....

The Last Chemo Treatment

Daddy is finished with chemotherapy now. March 1st-4th I tried to keep things calm and quiet around the house so that he could save up his energy. Then on the 5th we spent 5+ hours at the hospital getting the chemo pump disconnected and making a CT appointment. It truly shouldn't have taken as long as it did and we were all frustrated and tired by the end of the day. But in retrospect I think it was quite a comedy routine in classic military form. (Being born in, raised in, and married military I can say that with a smile while still being humbly grateful and stand in 1000% of respect for the soldiers who fight for our freedoms.)
Wanna laugh with me?

How to Schedule An Appointment via Military Medical Center

It all started the week prior when meeting with Daddy's oncologist. He mentioned that he had ordered a CT scan to see how the tumors are shrinking. "If they don't call you in a week to set up an appointment then let me know," the doctor said. The allotted amount of time went by with no phone call so we called the doctor office. The secretary said, "While you are at the hospital getting your pump disconnected just stop by Imaging to make an appointment."

So.... Friday after leaving 6th floor west wing oncology, we went to 1st floor east wing to Imaging to schedule the scan. The receptionist gave us a paper and pointed to a phone in the hallway. She didn't handle the scheduling of appointments and said we simply had to call that number to secure a time and date.

No one answered the phone. Instead we were told to leave a voicemail (because they were so quick to return the voicemail from the doctor right?) Then the Imagining receptionist said if we weren't happy with leaving a voicemail we could go straight to the person who schedules the appointments located in......Mammography in the basement north wing.

Determined to not leave without an appointment we grabbed a wheelchair for Daddy and headed to the basement. Even though we had a god place in line for the Mammography counter, other people were getting helped first.....I guess because who would figure a 62 year old male would really need help there. Finally I got him up to the counter and we were told that to make a CT appointment we needed to go to the back of the waiting room and knock on a special door that looked like a janitor's closet. We went....we knocked....the door opened just long enough for the tech to say he would be with us shortly. Then he helped two other people who came in after us.

By that time, Daddy was wilting in the wheelchair and all of his pain meds had worn off. I went back to the front counter to say (in the truest military candor I had been taught) that my retired E-8 father had been overlooked. See how important it is to have an advocate at the hospital. 30 seconds later the magic door opened and we had an appointment that only took 10 days and 3.5 hours to schedule. Yahoo! And we were able to schedule it for a date before I leave for home.

The 5 K Walk

This past Saturday was the 5K that I had committed to walking. While it certainly isn't a huge length to conquer, after sitting around the past couple of months I was worried about being able to really do it without consequences. Turns out that it was a lot of fun. My cousin and I walked along at a good clip of a pace and did the whole 5K in just under an hour. I think that is decent pace for walking and talking.

The walk was to raise money as an emergency fund for the employees of the hospital she works at. I thought it was a great idea and a fun way for everyone to come together focusing on health and encouragement.
After the walk we hung out around Breckenridge Park for a bit enjoying the scenery. It really is a pretty area. I imagined what it would look like in the later spring with everything in bloom.


This week has been quiet. I have tried to keep Daddy ahead on his medicines so that we can stay away from the big chemo crashes. His energy seems to be picking up a bit now. He is awake and alert enough that he feels restless and is tired of sitting around. But the nausea keeps hanging around threatening to run the show. I am praying for that to leave soon and I keep encouraging him that it is simply more junk that his body is getting rid of for good.

Even though he is nauseated, he is adamant that smells don't bother him. Because of that, I have started cooking up a few of his childhood favorites and am freezing them in single serving containers. By the time I leave here in a week and a half, he will be ready to start dabbling with food tastes again. I am thinking that having yummy things ready in the freezer will help him along. He will still be on the feeding pump for a good while yet but it will encourage him to be able to swallow and dabble with tastes that he enjoys.

As always I could find several more things to talk about but I should get going. This has taken me a couple of hours and several doggie mediator trips.

Have a blessed and wonderful week!