Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009: Just Another Week in the Life of the Rogalske's

Here is a peek at our schedule this week:

Monday: First day of school for Ashley & Nathan.
Tuesday: First day of kindergarden for Emily & pick up Pico from the Humane Society
Wednesday: Pre-chemo visit with Dr. Downey at 10:00
Thursday: Second round of chemo at 11:00
Friday: No school - no plans - phew!

Hmmm, did I say Pico? The Humane Society? Bet I've got you wondering :) When Papi was gone on his "road trip" we would stop by the Humane Society every couple of days to make sure he hadn't been turned in there. It was heart breaking to walk through there looking at all the dogs and cats in need of a home. We already have a cat and were hoping that Papi would soon return to us so I didn't let myself become attached to these animals as I walked through (not an easy task!). I thought with everything going on in our life right now adding another pet wasn't something to even consider. Silly me.

Brian wasn't able to get through the shelter without becoming attached. Pico caught his eyes and that was all it took. My initial response was "no way, no how, not going to happen!". After seeing the sad look in Brian's eyes and then seeing Pico's picture my resolve broke. We took the kids out to visit him last week and they fell in love with him too. On Saturday we brought Papi to meet him and they got along great. Long story short . . . we pick him up tomorrow!

Pico is having surgery today (he hadn't been neutered yet and the humane society requires that to be done before you can take the animals home). If all goes well we can pick him up tomorrow. We're not sure exactly what he is but he looks exactly like Papi except he is a little bit bigger and stockier. They guessed he is between 2-3 years old.

Although I still can't believe we are getting another dog I have to say I'm pretty excited. Papi likes other dogs (as long as they aren't big) and I think he will really enjoy having a buddy.

So some prayer requests for this week are:

* the kids as they adjust to the routine of being in school again

* for me as I adjust to the thought of my baby being in kindergarden!

* the family as we welcome Pico to our home

* that chemo will be uneventful and the side effects won't be as bad as the last round

* my CA125 number will be tested again on Thursday but I probably won't have the results until Friday - they said not to be surprised if it doesn't go down yet

* safe travel to G.R. on Wednesday and Thursday - the construction between here and there is crazy!

Thank you!!

By the way, if you are thinking about getting a cat or dog check out

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009: Sharing

I read this morning from 2 Corinthians: "just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." That is so true of all of you that follow our blog. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support - and sharing!!

"On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." True, we just lost a dog...we weren't being beaten and persecuted, but remember, God hears all prayers - no matter how big or small.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009: Papi's Home!!!!!!!!!!

Papi is home!!!!!! Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No time to update the details because I gotta go play with my dog!!! In a nutshell, he is home, he is safe and he doesn't have a scratch on him!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009: Papi Update

Papi was seen this morning running into Holiday West Mobile Home Park (152nd & Riley). If you happen to be in that area could you please drive through. Here is a new sign to bring with you...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009: Doing Well

Kristi is doing well again. She's done a 180 since last week. Really what she needs for the next week and a half is a return to normalcy. If you happen to see her, please talk about school, kids, weather, trees, grass, anything but cancer or lost pets. Speaking of lost pets, we had a call this morning from someone who saw a poster and saw Papi Wednesday in a subdivision about a half mile from our house. Kristi and the kids are out hanging posters in that sub right now. I'm headed out in a minute to look too.

A couple weekends ago I went on my annual wilderness outing with my friends. The first 2 nights we stayed a little west of Munising, MI and the last 2 nights we stayed on a remote beach a little east of Copper Harbor, MI. The beach was completely inaccessible for 99.9% of people because of the rough road and the 3 foot beaver pond covering the "road". But that wasn't enough to keep us away! Other than the Land Rover catching fire for a brief moment of excitement we all made it back safely! Here is a quick video of our trip...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009: Back in the Ring

Although I am not ready to pick up my pom poms yet, I have put my fighting gloves back on. Bring it on cancer . . . . my prayer warriors have got my back!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009: Even Moses Needed Help

For most of my battle with cancer I have felt like I would beat it. I've been encouraging others along my way that are also fighting cancer and telling them not to give up and to keep up the fight. Today this cheerleader is ready to retire her pompoms. This boxer is ready to take off the gloves. This cancer survivor is ready to give up.

I can't tell you how much I want to just stop chemo. Stop doctors appointments. Stop everything. I feel like this will never end and I will never again know what it is to be "normal". Between feeling yucky from this last chemo treatment and Papi running away I feel like I am just waiting for the final straw to fall. The one that breaks the camels back.

Even when I am physically feeling okay I am emotionally drained out. Just getting through each day - just getting out of bed - has been an effort. And each effort I make just drains me more. I feel of absolutely no value to my family. I'm either physically sick or emotionally wiped out.

Usually I am so much of a people pleaser that I just say "I'm okay" when people ask me but I don't even have that in me anymore. Now my response is "I'm here". I was talking to my younger but wiser sister tonight and she said "remember, even Moses had a time where he could no longer hold his arms up and his friends had to hold them for him". She is so right and yet my response was "if anyone gets too close to me right now and tries to cheer me up I may deck them". I'm at a place where it's just God and me. I'm angry. Not at God, just at life. I just don't care and I feel empty and ready to give up.

I'm sure this will pass, it always has in the past, but right now it feels permanent. It's hard to believe that just a week ago I was at an event at our church and feeling great even though I had just finished my first round of chemo. I had no idea about the storms that were about to come our way. I suppose the same is true for right now. Maybe there are some good storms around the corner.

I'm sure I have just made a lot of people cry and for that I am sorry. It is really good therapy for me to type this out. I'm still not okay. I still want to give up. But, I do have a glimmer of hope. I know there are many of you out there right now holding my arms up for me because right now - I just can't do it.

Please do not feel like you need to do something right now. I know that is my first response when I see people hurting. I want to help - to cheer them up. I am not posting this to make you feel helpless. I am posting because this is part of our journey. Our honest journey. Right now what I need most is prayers. Prayers that I will get through this pit once again. And prayers for my sweet children who are all handling this all so differently. And also prayers for my husband who cautiously walks through this storm with me . . . sometimes reaching out to me to pull me through and other times knowing when to duck and run for cover :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009: Empty

Brian and the kids returned home safely today (they were camping with our small group). They had a great time but returned home to the news that Papi had run away. There has been no sign of him anywhere. I can't explain the emptiness I feel as I hold them while they sob. They have so many questions and so many tears.

We are so thankful for our friends and family. We've had people out looking for Papi, making a "lost dog" poster and putting copies of it up around the neighborhood. I was so weak from the chemo yesterday I wasn't even able to go out looking for him. I don't know the last time I felt so helpless. I told the kids tonight that we need to remember that God loves Papi too and He will take good care of him no matter where he is and that we need to focus on that. Unfortunately that is easier said than done.

I know in the grand scheme of everything we are dealing with right now this may not seem like such a big deal but to us it is. Papi is a member of our family and I can't even imagine what it would be like if we can't find him.

We have left messages everywhere and will be heading to the Harbor Humane Society tomorrow when they open at noon. The kids are having a hard time falling asleep right now because Papi isn't here to make the rounds like he usually does. I offered to lick their faces but they said it wasn't the same :)

Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009: Can You Hear Jesus Calling?

It's been a stinky rotten day. I am feeling miserable, tired, nauseous and grumpy. Brian took the kids camping this weekend with our small group and I stayed home because I didn't figure I would feel well enough to go. I underestimated myself. I don't even feel well enough to move from the couch to the bathroom. I'm exhausted from the nausea pills that I take and yet the nausea seems to still be there. Let's just say there should be a rule that whatever goes down should be required to stay down.

On top of this, Papi wandered off today and did not return. I have message at the humane society, pet watch and the non-emergency phone line through Ottawa County. He did not have his collar on. I am going to have to break the news to the kids when they return home tomorrow. I am hoping that someone has taken him in for the evening or he at least found a safe place outside to sleep for the night.

Today I have been very disappointed that I feel awful and am dreading what the next rounds of chemo may bring. I have a huge guilt about Papi running away. I'm sure he is on an adventure having a great time but I am so worried about him. I have wonderful neighbors who took time tonight to ride bikes and drive around the block to look for him. He may have gotten pretty far by now but his starting point was near the corner of James Street and Butternut. If anyone out there finds a sweet 3 year old light brown chihuahua/dachshund mix that answers to Papi, please, please, please call me.

All afternoon as I was dreading the possibilities of what could have happened, the song would not leave my head. It is Can You Hear Jesus Calling by 33 Miles. Jesus is trying to tell me that I can get through tonight with out my dog and I need to just listen to his still small voice. I'm trying.

When you see the rushing wind, feel the pouring rain, hear the thunder now as the clouds roll in. You’re blinded by the lightning, do you also hear that still, small voice saying it’s okay, you’re not alone, you may be scared to death but I won’t let you go. You may think the sky above is falling - but can you hear Jesus calling? What do you see when you look at your world today?Do you see a glimmer of hope, or has it all turned to gray?Well start by counting your blessings one by one. Oh and I'm sure right there, you'll start to see the sun. You see there's always another story, another side to every coin. And how you see your circumstance is all about a choice. Because the darker the night, the brighter He can shine.

Please pray that this storm will pass soon and with minimal damage. I'm signing off now - time to go listen for His still small voice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009: So Far So...

Well, not great. Kristi started the day feeling pretty good but then was hit with a wave of nausea and fatigue. Fortunately, a friend was able to take the kids and she is now resting. It’s not as bad as when she was on both Carboplatin and Taxol, but even a little nausea is not fun. Thanks for your continued prayers for Kristi as she recovers from round one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009: An Unexpectedly Wonderful Day

Today has gone smoothly from start to finish. My doctor was in a good mood and he took the time to answer all of our questions. Basically my number continues to go up because "there is one stupid cancer cell that refuses to die and it keeps multiplying" (those were my words - after Dr. Downey stopped laughing he said "yes, that is what is going on".

Hopefully this chemo will be the one to take that cancer cell down! Thankfully I do not have to have Benadryl as a pre-med . . . that was soooooooo exciting to hear that. They watched me initially to make sure I didn't have any reactions - they didn't think I would but wanted to be safe. I didn't have a single side effect today!

So, the day started with a good visit with the doctor and then a yummy lunch at Arnie's. The time at the chemo clinic (about three hours) passed fairly quickly and no Benadryl or side effects? Doesn't get much better than that! Oh wait, it does, I got to spend the entire day with my favorite man!!

We got home around five and had a quiet supper together (my parents had the kids). I need to take an anti-nausea pill for a couple days just to be safe. It's best to stay ahead of the nausea if possible. I waited to make sure I wasn't tired from the pill and since I was feeling pretty good I headed to church where the kids were helping at a Back to School event. It was so fun to surprise them. I had originally planned to help at this event but wasn't able to because I had no idea how I was going to react to the chemo.

I am still a bit in shock at how well today went. I am completely peaceful and just thrilled at how well today went. Yea God!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009: Remaining in Him

A friend of mine once said "God has been calling me but He keeps getting a busy signal". That has been true of me recently. I've been busy planning my own life. This past weekend I started answering His call and listening. I've learned a lot and it has helped me prepare for this next step. If I shared everything I have learned this post would go on and on and on so I will just share one thing that has stuck with me the most.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:1-4.

My Gardener is pruning me right now and it hurts. I'll admit I'm disappointed that we have to go down this road again but I know we're not going it alone. God is there ahead of us showing us the way and also behind us - catching us when we fall. He is also on either side to make sure we don't stray. He promises us in this verse that if we remain in Him that He will remain in us. I can't ask for anything more than that.

Brian and I will meet with my oncologist tomorrow morning and then we're off to the chemo clinic. Although I'm not looking forward to the doctors appointment and chemo clinic - I couldn't ask for a better person to spend my day with.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009: New CA125

My new CA125 number is 102. I was guessing it would be around 100 so I'm not surprised. I will update more tonight but thought I'd better get the new number posted now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009: Never Enough

Have you ever had a time where you made the perfect plans made for your child? You took extra care to make sure every base was covered. You knew this child would love every minute and that it would be the best day ever!

Then the time is here. The plans go great! Everyone has so much fun and you get to see that look on their face - that look of happiness and content. You quietly congratulate yourself on a job well done. No sooner are you done patting your back and wham! There is it. That look. Those words . . . "that was fun . . . but I want more".

You thought you were the perfect parent. You made all the right plans and they were going to bring your child complete joy and happiness. Ha! Not this time my friend. Okay so that sounds a tad bitter. It is just so frustrating when you think you have given your child the world on a platter and yet somehow, some way, it is just not enough. No more "great job mom" or "that was the best" but "I still want more".

As a parent I like to think that I know what is best for my child and that I can plan their lives accordingly. If only they would listen to me and trust me that my way is the right way and that "some day when you have children of your own you will understand!!!". (Wow, I think I just heard my moms voice run through my head!).

As I was thinking about this today I could hear God saying . . . what about you? I have given you so much. I have planned your life out and I know what is best for you and yet every day . . . you want more. Ouch. I get so sad when my kids don't trust that I want what is best for them. What must God think of me? Thank goodness that His thoughts are not the same as ours . . . . "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)

God has planned out the perfect life for me . . . . For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). Right now that is all I need to know. He made these plans and He only wants what is best for me.

Tomorrow I go in for blood work. They will be testing my CA125 again. I don't know what those results will be but God does. The plans for my life are already written in His book. As I wait for this next page to turn I will trust that He knows what is best and that is more than enough for me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009: Ambien Man

It's been a while since I have done a posting. I promised Kristi I would do one last week but never got around to it. I've been busy at work and busy around the house and Kristi had been doing so well both physically and emotionally that she sort of took over the blog. That was until last week of course. That news last week was a bitter reminder of how cruel this disease is. It was like a kick in the gut. We both took the news hard and are both still struggling with the thought of chemo again. We went camping with friends last weekend so that helped a little bit (keeping busy is always good to keep our minds off of cancer). Although we did have a good time with our friends, I don't think either of us were mentally there. Then Kristi had VBS last week so she was really busy every day with that.

Now things wind down a bit and we will kind of coast for the next week and a half. With lots of down time I'm afraid that our minds will start getting taken to some dark places. Please focus your prayers on Kristi's emotional well being and that her depression doesn't take her down.

For those of you that follow our blog regularly, you know that I have sleep apnea and that I sleep with a CPAP machine. To fall asleep I take a sleeping pill called Ambien. I usually take it right before I crawl into bed. But...once in a while I get distracted and the pill starts to kick in before I make it to bed. I've fallen asleep around the house in some interesting spots...on end tables reaching to turn a light off, underneath a Christmas tree while I was watering it, on the stairs, etc. Sometimes however, I get a little goofy. A couple months back Kristi claims I was air-guitarring to some loud music. For whatever reason I don't remember these things - she tells me about them the next morning. Well, last night I had another "episode". This time Kristi thought it would be a good idea to record me.

Na, I had it posted but used better judgment and pulled it!! You'll have to stop by to see it! :)

As always, thanks for keeping our family in your prayers.