Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010: 2011 Calendar

Well, better late than never! We sold quite a few calendars last year and I've had a few people ask if I was going to make one for next year...just been busier than normal lately. Anyway, the 2011 calendar is made up of more pictures from my different adventures. No frills this year - just the picture with some of Kristi's favorite verses she's used in our blog. Take a look...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Brian & Kristi
Ashley, Nathan & Emily

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010: One More Round

In my update on Sunday I typed the lyrics to the song One More Round. I love that song. I can physically be feeling horrible and yet when I listen to that song I feel tough and ready to get back in the ring. As soon as the song is done though I find myself cowering in the corner. I don't want to go "one more round". I don't want to be in the ring. I don't want to be in the building that the ring is in. I don't even want to be in the city of the building that the ring is in.

But, my ways are not His ways and my plans are not His plans. After talking to Dr. VanderWoude this morning we have decided to go "one more round". I will be starting chemo treatments again. Yuck. I am scheduled for a ct scan tomorrow morning and then we'll meet with Dr. VanderWoude next week to discuss the results of that scan and talk a little more about the chemo. I'm not going to start the treatments until next year. I sure wish that was as far away as it sounds but it's actually only two weeks away.

I'm still kinda numb. I knew this day was coming but now that it's here it stinks. On a positive note though now that we've switched doctors I can go to the chemo clinic in Holland.

I'm not sure how I will respond to this treatment (fatigue, nausea, pain, etc.) but I'm anticipating and want to be prepared for the worst. So many people have offered to help and I would like to put together a list so that when the needs arise we will have an organized list of who to call. If you would like to be on this list, please send us an email with how you would like to help (transporting kids, cleaning, running errands, baking, prepare freezer meals - whatever you enjoy doing most). Also, if there is a day of the week that works best for you let us know that as well. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010: When The Going Gets Tough - The Tough Get Sick?

Wow, I just looked back and realized that I haven't done an update since November. Usually I like to update the blog - to help process what is going through my mind. The past few weeks the thought of sitting at a computer and typing has been too much for me.

I've had friends say they cringe when they see the update is in black because they know Brian typed it and he is the more realistic one - he says it like it is. Also, if he is updating it usually means I am not physically up to it. I wish I could say that since this update is by me it will be a happy, upbeat one but I'd be lying.

To be perfectly honest, right now I am scared. The physical pain is really taking a toll on me. The waiting is driving me bonkers. On top of this I came down with a flu bug on Wednesday night. Thursday I felt like a bomb had gone off inside my head. My only goal was to remain still as possible because I was afraid my head may actually explode.

Thankfully I felt much better on my birthday. It was the best birthday ever! If I typed everything that I did that day this post would go on forever so here's a quick glimpse: Emily slept in (yea!), a friend dropped off a tin of frosted Christmas cookies (yum!), went to see the movie Tangled (cute!) with my mom and Emily, went to lunch with my parents (more yum!), came home to discover that a friend had decorated our front porch with beautiful (BEAUTIFUL!) Christmas decorations and that Brian had come home early from work (woohoo!).

As if the day wasn't going good enough, someone from the Moms In Touch prayer group that has been praying for us stopped by with a huge bag of goodies for our family movie night. A red serving tray, huge popcorn bowl and smaller serving bowls, microwave popcorn, candy canes, pop, hot cocoa, boxes of movie theater style candy, chips and a couple dvd's are just some of the items that were in this bag.

There are days when I hate being "that family" and there are days when I am overwhelmed by the love that is shown to us because we are "that family". Friday I was overwhelmed by the kindness of our community of friends and family.

The best part of the day by far was cuddling up on the couches with lots of blankets, Brian, the kids and the dogs to watch a movie. Rosie was hiding in the other room - yes, she is still with us and available if anyone still needs a last minute Christmas gift! :)

Being crashed on the couch with the family and slipping away from reality was the best gift ever. I went between watching the movie and watching my family. I wish I could have made time stand still right then. As happy and content as I was though the thought "what if" kept pushing its way from the back of my mind. What if that was my last birthday? What if this is my last Christmas? Honestly though - that question goes for any of us. No one knows when their last day will be. It's just when you have cancer that question is constantly running through your mind. Every time you have a new pain you wonder. Every time the phone rings you wonder. Every single minute of every single day - I wonder.

Saturday I still felt pretty good but today I woke up with a horrible headache. I think it is just the end of whatever virus I had last week. My sinus' are clogged, my chest is full of guck, my nose is stuffed up and dripping, my eyes are watering . . . right now I would be the perfect picture for a Nyquil commercial. Well, the "before" picture anyway.

Tuesday morning we meet with Dr. VanderWoude to discuss two chemo treatment options. I can honestly say that I really, really, really do not want to start chemo again. I will though if after talking to the doctor we think that it is the right option for me. Right now I wish I could just wiggle my nose and make it all go away.

I'll end this post with a song that I have listened to so much lately that Emily has even started singing along! It's called One More Round by BarlowGirl (thanks Kathy!!). Here's the link and some of the lyrics:

Round one wasn't what I thought it'd be
Round two I'm struggling to breathe
3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times I wondered why I stepped inside this ring

I may be knocked down and bruised
But I'm here to tell you
That I may be knocked down but not for the count

So take me one more round
I'll just keep fighting
One more round
You're messing me up but I'm still here

One more round I'll come out swinging
One more round
I'm telling you now I'm not gonna lose it

It's so hard to get up off the floor again
But I know that victory is when
I'm pushing through the pain that tries to feed me lies that I won't reach the end

I may be bloodied and so bruised
But I'm here to tell you
That I may be knocked down but not for the count

I am not defeated
Though you cannot see it
I have never won a battle on my own
I find strength in weakness
I find hope in believing
God is for me who can bring me down?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010: Happy Birthday!

happy birthday to you,
(slightly off pitch)

happy birthday to you,
(a little more off pitch and slight squeal)

happy birthday to Kristi,
(going soprano with ear piercing squeal -
animals are scared)

happy birthday to you
(coming back down to human
sound levels but still way off key)

I love you!!

ah yes, don't you miss the '90's?!

(and no, that ain't no stinkin mullet!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010: Getting Tougher

Monday night Ashley was making plans for a sleep-over after ski club on Friday night. That means we would see her for 20 minutes in the morning, then not again until Saturday afternoon. Normally this would not be a big deal.

Friday is Kristi's birthday. Kristi was obviously hurt by this. But, I reminded Kristi that Ashley's a 13 year old girl and is in an 'it's all about me' phase. That mixed with hormones and whatever else...yikes. After dinner, I quietly motioned for Ashley to come upstairs with me. I was sitting and motioned for her to come sit next to me...she of course just rolled her eyes and stomped over...this after stomping up all the stairs to get to the bedroom. I'm sure Ashley was thinking "another lecture from dad".

Our conversation opens like this..."Ashley, I have to tell you something that is going to hurt. It's going to hurt a lot. And I'm going to be brutally honest." At this point I think she realized this was more than a "dumb lecture".

I continued on with "honey, you need to realize this may be mom's last birthday with us, and last Christmas with us." "What?! I thought you said 5 years!" "Well, the doctors told us '5 years after diagnosis' . Next month will be 4 years." Then the crying and sobbing. Needless to say, we'll be spending Friday night as a family watching a movie on the couch...just as Kristi envisioned.

Game time decisions. That's what we're faced with every day. 30 years from now would Ashley remember "the one ski club" she missed? But would she regret not spending enough time with her mom? Sometimes reality sucks, but sometimes we need a reality check.

I think we'll be seeing a difference in Ashley. I hope and pray that Ashley can maximize her time with Kristi moving forward. Truth is, we don't know how long it will be. But both Kristi and I realize that something not good is happening inside her. She's pretty much in constant discomfort these days. Today she added nausea.

We meet with her new doctor next Tuesday to discuss treatment options. We also got the name of the pain management place that we'll be calling.

We had my work Christmas party tonight including spouses. You know, the one that all the spouses dread going to because "I don't know anyone". Yup, that one. Kristi couldn't go of course. Before I got home from work she had just taken a Vicodin and she was feeling nauseous so I went solo. I have to admit, although there was plenty of laughing at the expense of a few (and not me for once), my thoughts were at home. I didn't stick around much after dinner because I envisioned Kristi at home being miserable. I also have to admit it was tough seeing all the couples and realizing...

All in a day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010: ?

Wasn't sure what to title tonight's entry so I felt ? was good enough. Kinda at a loss for words these days. Kristi's pretty much in constant pain, taking her Vicodin way more than she wants. But the pain in her back is extremely uncomfortable. So we go into "pain management". So I type fragments for sentences. Why? I don't know. It's the creative style coming out in me I guess.

Random thoughts.

Well, here's a not so random thought...Kristi had blood work done last week for genetic testing and a CA125 check. We decided to have genetic testing done to see if Kristi is a carrier of a specific gene for ovarian cancer or if her cancer was just a random occurrence. We won't have those results for about 3 weeks.

We did get her CA125 results last week, however. No surprise: it went up. She was at 551 and she now is at 701. We expect to hear from her new doctor this week and what the new treatment plan is. In the meantime she just has to bear the back pain. Actually, we are going to look into a pain management specialist to see if there is anything else we can try - and yes, we did ask about medical marijuana...jokingly of course. Because it was for me. Actually, I asked. Jokingly, of course. It was voted "in" in the state of Michigan but it's still a federal crime. Don't worry, mom, I wouldn't inhale. We're just not from that generation. Nope, our generation skipped over the pot and went directly to crack. Way quicker. I heard.

But anyway, sometimes my thoughts wander. I hear there's a pill for that. Well, prayers for Kristi's back pain and bloating, her emotional and physical health, our family's emotional health and strength for all of us. I described Kristi and I to a friend recently as we are both physically and mentally exhausted these days. So if we walk right by you in church or where ever don't take it personally. Most days we're like walking zombies. The 4 year battle is taking its toll. Needless to say, we're looking forward to a nice and quiet Christmas break to recharge.

Thanks for your never-ending prayers!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010: Pain

yesterday another bad day for kristi. I think that's 3 or 4 in a row. she had been exchanging 2 good, 2 bad, 2 good, 2 bad. she's been stuck on the bad. I hate seeing her in pain. we can send people into outer space but we can't cure a disease. we can create cars that drive themselves but we can't cure cancer. technology seems to win when it comes to research dollars. that doesn't seem right, fair, humane, ...

the nights are getting longer and the days shorter. literally and figuratively.