Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008: We're Back

We got home last night about 8:00 and even though we were gone 5 days, it seemed like 5 minutes. We had such a great time with Lori & Eric. Everything was so much fun it is hard to pin-point a favorite part of the weekend. While on the plane yesterday I made this short video that recaps our weekend.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008: Havin A Great Time!

To say we're having a great time with Lori & Eric would be an understatement! The weather has been perfect, the people have been extremely friendly and everything is working out beautifully! Our resort in Vegas is absolutely gorgeous!! In fact, it is so nice that we aren't even going into Vegas today...we're just going to hang out by the enormous pool and relax all day. We went into Vegas last night and we all got an education. Wow. But first, the Grand Canyon. Amazing, just amazing. The helicopter ride into the canyon was incredible. It leaves you speechless. What a wonderful display of God's creation. It was breathless. Well, once we got past the air sickness part. Oh man. Within 20 seconds my stomach was barkin at me. I thought I was going to toss my cookies. I found out afterwards that everyone else got airsick too. Well, everyone but Kristi. She was the only smart one and took her motion sickness pill before the flight. I don't normally get motion sick but something about the helicopter ride made me a little weesy. But we all made it without blowing chunks so it was just a minor inconvenience. Here are some pictures from our trip on the helicopter...
Does it look like she's having a good time?! (Kristi sat next to the pilot)

The first picture as we flew over the edge of the canyon...this is where you said "eeks" and your stomach went "gulp"!

The Grand Canyon is just so enormous it's overwhelming

a ride Eric will never forget ...

Saturday night we watched the sun set over the west brim

even had time to sneak in a little smooch...

I could go on and on with pictures of the Grand Canyon. With every corner of the road is an equally awe inspiring view. But, after 2 days at the Grand Canyon we departed for Las Vegas. We didn't come here to see Vegas, it's just the city where we flew in to. But, like I said, our resort is awesome! We went into Vegas last night and had a good time. Here are some pictures from last night.

the view from our resort...

"He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work." Psalm 104:13

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008: We're Here!

We made it! Our first flight was smooth and we made our transfer in Colorado with seconds to spare . . . only to sit on the plane for an hour and wait while maintenance fixed a communications and water problem. Fortunately we didn't have another plane to catch after that and they were nice enough to start a movie which made the time go quicker. Without that delay the flight would have been too short for the movie!

We have been amazed at how different states are. From the flat and green Michigan to the dry and hilly Nevada. The weather has been perfect! We saw the Hoover Dam on our way to the Grand Canyon. We are about to head out for our helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon. I can't wait!!! We are having an amazing time and enjoying every second of it. More to come!

Kristi between Lori & Eric...waiting for the maintenance men to fix the toilet in the airplane

On our way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon we stopped at the Hoover Dam

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008: Vacation Time!

Woohoo! In less than 9 hours we will be heading out the door to begin our trip! Guess I should get to bed! :) We would love prayers for safe travel, good health, that time would stand still (okay so that can't happen), that the kids would have fun and stay healthy and safe while we are gone.

Thank you to the Heinz family and the Palmatier family for taking the kids Friday night and to my parents for taking them the rest of the long weekend!

I'm sure we will have lots and lots of pictures when we return (which I'm sure will somehow turn into a video). Thanks for your prayers!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008: Remember This?

It's been one year already since Kristi shared her testimony in front of church. I just thought I would re-post her interview with Pastor Frank. This has been viewed over 2,500 times from all over the world!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008: Our Spring Break Video

Here is a slide show I made with our spring break pictures and video. Enjoy...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008: CA125 results

Well, the results are finally in. My last CA125 level was 45 and this months came in at 47. It is not considered to have gone up but is simply staying stable. I was initially surprised that it didn't go down but after I thought about it I realized that this simply confirms my thoughts. I am at my "normal" level now.

The verse "we live by faith, not by sight" kept running through my head after the phone call. I am faithfully believing that God has healed me and not relying on the "sight" which would be a lower number.

The song "I Will Boast" kept running through my mind as well. As the line went through my head "I will boast in the Lord my God" the thought continued "not in my CA125 level". As I looked up the lyrics tonight for the name of the song it also listed the scripture it is from. It was Psalm 34 . . .

1I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

What a perfect way to sum up everything! I prayed long and hard before deciding to stop chemo. My next appointment is on May 12. If at that visit the ct scan is clear and the next CA125 level doesn't dramatically jump up then I will officially claim that I am a cancer survivor! I can't wait! I already feel like I am but that appointment will make it "official".

The cold that I was starting to get thankfully ended as quickly as it started. Unfortunately Emily has come down with a terrible cold. She has a runny nose, a cough and a low fever. Brian is also still coughing like crazy. His chest is sore from all the coughing. He said tonight that he doesn't think it's the "asian bird flu" anymore but thinks it's "sars" (severe acute respiratory syndrome). He becomes quite dramatic when he's sick.

Tomorrow is Brian and my 15th anniversary! To celebrate we bought new kitchen appliances. It was actually a case of bad timing - our oven has been slowly dying and Sunday it was done. The microwave and refrigerator aren't close behind so we decided to just bite the bullet and get them all at once. Sadly enough we bought new dishes for our 10th anniversary. Practical but fun :)

A final exciting note to end with - we received an update regarding Rich yesterday. He met with his doctor in Boston this week and he was very happy with his progress. He also said that he will not need any chemo or radiation! Yea! He would like continued prayers for his shortness of breath. This should improve as he adjusts to life with just one lung. It can take up to a year for that remaining lung to reach its full capacity.

Thank you for your prayers. I know the higher CA125 level will be upsetting to some of you but I hope that you will be able to feel the peace that I have and that we can boast in God's goodness!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008: Still Waiting

We didn't hear anything from my doctor yet regarding my level. I called this afternoon and they were still waiting to hear from the lab. I haven't been stressing or even thinking about it much today. It's just a number. As Brian likes to say "it is what it is".

Brian had another miserable night last night. He keeps telling me that he has the "asian bird flu" and he "hopes he makes it through the night". So sad. Hopefully another day or so and the antibiotics will be kicking the infection out of him.

On a positive note, I made a point of parking far away from church this morning (typically I park right by church), I walked to the bus stop this afternoon (typically I drive) and tonight I walked for 15 minutes at a good pace for me. It was probably only 1/4 mile but it was a start! Thanks you for your prayers for this - I know they are helping!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008: Happy Birthday Emily!

I can't believe it - our baby turned 4 today! She is turning into such a big girl. With the exception of the potty training thing. One of these days she will just go cold turkey. At least that is what I'm praying for!

Our appointment went well today. My oncologist agrees with our plan. I had an exam today and no "lumps or bumps" were found. I have had a physical exam every four weeks for the last year and a half and am looking forward to them being spaced apart a bit more! We should have my CA125 results tomorrow afternoon.

I have a ct scan scheduled for May 2 (just routine) and we will meet with my doctor again on May 12. At this appointment we will have the ct scan results as well as next months CA125 level (I will get that done the previous Friday). My doctor said if everything looks well at that point we will say "nenernenernener" to cancer! He put his thumb on his nose and wiggled his fingers! He didn't actually say "nener" but I took that as what his gesture meant :)

Brian had an awful night last night with his cold and went in to the doctor this morning. He has a sinus infection and has started on an antibiotic. Hopefully within a couple days he will be feeling a lot better. Right now he is doing a lot of sneezing and coughing (not to mention whining!) :) We still love him anyway. I know once he starts whining that he is feeling better. When he doesn't whine I know that he is feeling really bad.

I am feeling a lot better. I was physically exhausted for a while but it is getting better. My doctor talked about exercise at our appointment today. Brian mentioned that my energy level isn't returning at all and the doctor said that it would help a great deal if I would exercise every day. I hate exercise with a passion! I have never enjoyed exercising and never felt "better" after I exercised. I know they say that after a while you are supposed to feel so much better and you will want to exercise. I find that difficult to believe. If a treadmill and a couch are put in front of me there is no question which I would choose. That being said, I do need to start exercising. This is a big prayer request. I mentally understand that I need to exercise but I am the only person that can make myself do it. I can have Brian prompting me (and me probably eventually resenting him for it) and have people holding me accountable but it just comes down to me doing it. And I dread it. But, with God all things are possible . . . even me exercising! So, please pray that I will, as Nike says, "just do it!".

Thank you!! I will update tomorrow night with the CA125 results.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008: Brrrr!

We're home and we're cold! This weather difference is crazy. We hit a couple bad storms on the way home and the weather just got colder and colder the closer we got to Michigan. Also, the scenery got flatter and flatter and the roads got very bumpy! Michigan definitely wins the prize for the most potholes!

It was a wonderful week but now that we're home we are exhausted. Brian has had an awful cold since last Monday (and still has it) and I am now coming down with it. Our patience is very thin so that is a prayer request. Combining physical exhaustion with a cold and a lot of hours in a car aren't a good mix.

The kids (both Ashley & Nathan) said this was their "best vacation of ever" but their "worst drive of ever". They are excited to get back to school and see all their friends again.

Tomorrow afternoon we have a doctors appointment at 2:45. I will have my blood work done but because it is so late in the day we won't have the CA125 results until Tuesday. We will be talking about what the plan for the immediate future will be. I am really hoping that chemo is done but if we have signs (elevated CA125 level or CT scans that show tumors) I will begin chemo again. Right now we are at a "wait and see" time. We are planning on getting this month's CA125 and then have a month without chemo and see what the next CA125 level is. This was my decision (with Brian's support) and tomorrow we will find out what my oncologist thinks about it.

The letters are starting to mix in front of my eyes so I think that is a sign that I need to get to bed. Before I go here's some prayer requests:

*Brian's cold will soon be done (or he will be willing to admit defeat and call the doctor!) and patience while he waits

*The cold that I am coming down with will be short lived

*That we will adjust to being home and getting back into the routine of things

*That we will be on the same page as my oncologist tomorrow

*Prayers of praise for safe travels and a wonderful vacation

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008: Our Week In Georgia

Wow, what a week!! We worked our tails off this week!! We also played a lot too so it was fun all around. The weather all week was warm and sunny! The people here at the Young Life Camp were extremely grateful for everything we did. They told us we did in 4 days what it would have taken them 15 guys and 3 weeks to do (not full time of course). I took over 400 pictures so it was hard to find only a few to post. Here are some pictures of our week...First, the work:

The first day at the camp the ladies did some cleaning of the dorms and changing of the bed linens. They now all hate bunk beds.

We stripped the roof off of this old cabin (built in 1846). They are going to relocate the cabin to a different part of the camp.

For the rest of the week, the ladies and most of the kids worked in the kitchen serving the staff meals. After the meals they had to wash dishes and set up for the next meal. Tuesday night the ladies worked until 9:00PM and Wednesday until 7:30.

Kristi was head dishwasher

The guys cleaned out this old lean-to and stacked about 10 truck loads of fire wood

This is a rock. A really big rock.

This is a truck. An empty truck. See the rock above (the really big rock)? We had to fill the truck with rocks. Why? Not sure. Our job wasn't to ask questions, just fill the truck. So we looked for rocks in the woods and filled the truck. As my friend Tom proclaimed..."God made rocks heavy for a reason...they weren't meant to be moved!" That was the most grueling of all jobs...mentally and physically...but we survived.

We also cut down trees, cleared around a pond and raked an area where they are going to landscape. Each day we all returned to our rooms exhausted!

OK, now the playing:

This is called a blob. See the person standing on the deck? This person jumps onto the big air cushion. See the person sitting at the end of the tube? This person gets launched into the air with forces so brutal it cracks your back and whips your neck. The kids call this fun. I call it something else.

The water slide was fun!

One night the guys hiked up to the top of Sharp Top Mountain. That was very cool.

This was another hike we went on.

Emily hanging out at the pool.

Here's a picture of our group.

Like I mentioned before, I took over 400 pictures so it was hard picking out which ones to put on the blog. Maybe I'll be motivated and make a quick slide show when we get back.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008: A Bunch of Red Necks

The weather was so nice yesterday and today we all have sunburned faces and necks!! Today was mid-70's and sunny. We're at the camp and worked our tails off today! But, when we were all done we had about an hour to play in the lake. We did the zip-line, the blob, and a really cool water slide.

Yesterday, on our way here we stopped in Chattanooga and visited the Tennessee Aquarium (which was really cool) and also did a lot of sight seeing along the way from Chattanooga to Jasper. Here are a few pictures:

This would have been impressive had there not been 10 inches of glass between him and I

Kristi conquered the mountain! (we had to scale the side of this drop off to get up - and she ruined her nice pants)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008: We're off . . . . almost!

Well, tomorrow is the big day! We're all packed and ready to head out early tomorrow morning. The kids are so excited! I was telling Emily today that we were going to drive for a long, long time tomorrow and after she thought about it for a little bit she said "when we are done driving for a long, long time can we come back home again too?" I'm sure she will get a bit homesick but hopefully she will do fine. Her cold is almost gone and no one else caught it - yea!!

If we get internet access we will update the blog while we're gone. Thanks for your prayers!