Friday, December 25, 2015

The Story of Two Lighthouses

Please click on the picture to enlarge
A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a picture of a lighthouse and I described it the best I could. Many, many years ago a picture like that hung over my fireplace. When I married Joe, and we were busy combining two households into one, I gave many things away, one of which was that picture. Within a few hours my niece was texting me. She said she thought about that picture as soon as I told her about Joe's diagnosis.  She soon found it in the form of a poster and mailed it to me with this message....."I love you Auntie. It had to be me to get it for you. I remember it so vividly above your fireplace."
Underneath the picture is the word COURAGE and the following inscription below that says We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. 

I found the perfect frame for it, the same wood as our fireplace, at 50% off...I just can't pass up a sale like that. So now my lighthouse is back above our fireplace.
Thank you Denise and Joe

This is the story of the second lighthouse. Joe's cousin, her husband and daughter and close friend came to bring us a Christmas gift. The gift was a picture of a lighthouse but it's not just any light house. This is a picture of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse .This is the story I told Cindy. I know this lighthouse! I have lived in Astoria, Bay City, Tillamook and Hebo all along the Oregon Coast. And Cindy told me the story of this particular picture. They know the photographer and he had to endure hiking in mud, floods, bad weather, all to get this coveted picture. Cindy had seen my post about a light house on Facebook also and when she saw this one she said she just knew  she had to have it for cousin Joe. So she had it framed and the inscription on the little plaque says. " In The Day Of Trouble He Will Set Me Upon A Rock" Psalms 27:5     Thank you Cindy and Tom

Two different lighthouses, two different stories but with the same message. "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand" 
  by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year

Hi My Blogger Friends,

Just a quick little note to let you know we are both O.K.  This first chemo treatment Joe only experienced mild fatigue, appetite is mediocre and the weather hasn't made walking, the only exercise he feels like doing, feasible. He has lost 20 lbs now but we were told to expect that. I have been teased that I'm the one who caused him to gain 20 pounds after I married him because  he always ate every thing I put on his plate.  I argued, he knew how to say no thank you......

He had a Dr. appointment today, two tomorrow and an ultrasound on Sunday (Adventist Hospital do those things on Sunday) then he has one more appointment, Another Dr. appointment on the 29th and Chemo on the 30th.  So to say the least, we are on Doctor appointment overload.  But these are all part of the big picture of the good care Joe is receiving and for that we are very thankful. 

So many of you have told us you are glad I kept the blog going, that you went through our happy adventures with us and now you want to walk with us on this not so happy journey.  So this is one of the times it's hard for me to write about but it's all part of the big picture.  At today's appointment with our primary care family physician, he felt we both should see a counselor for a time or two to help us with our communication skills in facing this "elephant in our living room" We both agreed. He has been our doctor for five years now. And he described us pretty well today. Betty is a helicopter wife, hovering over her honey, being the best care giver she can be and she's smothering him.  Joe is a quiet, kind, patient man who keeps everything inside........... yep.
He told us he has many cancer patients and it's very common to see the spouse become sicker than the one with the cancer  because of all the stress and not dealing with it well.  Those of you who know me well, know my eyes "leak" on a regular basis and sometimes it can turn into a flood!!  I try very hard not to have that happen in front of Joe, but a couple times I couldn't make it to my place for tears.  Just so you know, our faith and trust in the Lord is as strong as ever. But we also believe the Lord has put some really good counselors on this earth to help us over the rough spots.   ( I call them Jesus with skin on) 
So that's how it is for the moment. No pictures tonight. It's very peaceful in our home, sitting in our recliners, watching Christmas movies holding hands........ 

Tomorrow after we get done with the Dr. appointments and a quick visit from one of Joe's cousins,  I'll start cooking Christmas Dinner. We  splurged and bought a Honey Baked Ham.  To that I'll also have  Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Green Salad,  a nice dessert made with Cool Whip, Cottage Cheese, and Strawberry Jello. Joe's son and his fiancee are going to come for the day. I have a "honey doo" list for him... not much. Just want a picture my niece gave us and I had framed to be hung over our fireplace and it is to heavy for Joe to do.
So as I close my blog for this evening, Joe and I want to say thank you for all the cards, letters, phone calls and gifts.  God bless all of you for blessing us. Merry Christmas and a Happy Wonderful New Year to you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Easy Day

Joe has been encouraged to wear a mask any time he is outside our house. This was his first try at it.

Today was an easy day. He had his pump disconnected from the port. No pain, easy peasy. Only nurses that have been specially trained, can do this. Our Eastside clinic didn't have one available today so we had to drive to the Gresham clinic. 

 His nurse took time with us to explain how important it was for him to get the fluids in.  He thought he was doing so good drinking two bottles of water a day plus his juice.  She told him that WAS good, but he needed to double it. What????? But after she explained why, he settled down and is determined to do it.   I try to have all his meds, and his water available by his chair when he gets up in the morning. The other thing she emphasized was the importance of taking his medicine at the very first inkling of nausea because it wouldn't get any better. He has three different prescriptions for the nausea.  So thankful he hasn't experienced any yet. 
Daughter Kelly came to see dad after his first chemo.  She and Joe are going through boxes of old family videos and as a Christmas present from her and Hoi and the kids, he's having some of them put on DVD's.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

First Chemo Session Is Almost Behind Us

Hi every one. It's good to be back. While I was gone though, I kept up with all your blogs. I understand some of you that work with Live Writer were having some problems and trying to get your blog done with  Blogger didn't help you any.  For me, that's all I know so it's easy for me. I hope it all gets back to some kind of normalcy for you soon.  We went to Redmond, Washington last weekend and were able to stop and have lunch with my sister on the way. We were suppose to spend Thursday, the 10th with her, but I-5 North was closed due to a landslide. So we left Friday morning.  It was "nasty" going up there, a lot of rain. We always pray for the Lord's protection before we ever start the car. And we truly saw the hand of the Lord at work this day. We were in the middle lane on I-5 headed North, lots of traffic and as I said it was raining really hard. All of a sudden the driver veered over towards our lane and if in a split second that Joe saw there was no one coming up in the fast lane, he swerved over and she missed us...She would have hit right at my door. Joe had no time to even think.  That's my Greyhound Bus driver for you and the Lord's protection. We don't think that lady even had a clue what she did.
Kelly prepared a wonderful lunch for us celebrating a 50th birthday for Joe's son Rob, grand daughter Jolene 

They are growing up so fast! Kevin is a sophomore and Joleen, a Junior.

Joe always enjoys "making music" with Joleen. This time it was Christmas Carols.

We not only celebrated two birthdays, but also an early Christmas. I'm not a tree decorator, But I love looking at all the ornaments so I unwrapped each one of them and handed them to those decorating the tree. 
We celebrated Christmas early with them because they will be in Disneyland Christmas.  We were suppose to be there with them but life can change at the snap of a finger so we won't be there with them this year.

A gal and her daddy.  Kelly has been such a support to both me and her dad. She lives a 4-5 hour drive from us and she drove down here to be with us when dad had his first appointment with the surgeon, then again when he had his surgery, and now she will be here tomorrow eve to see how he is doing after his first chemo treatment. She's going to "dad sit" so I can go get my hair cut Saturday and then head back home to get ready for the Disneyland trip. I am so blessed to have her for a daughter in law.

So this wonderful daughter in law is also a very funny gal. After lunch, her husband dared her to finish 3/4 of a bottle of Knudsens Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water.......chugaluging no less, and he would give her $20. Yep, she did it.  And Hoi gave her the $20 she really deserved. She didn't look to good after she got done but we all had a good laugh.  And it only got better when he told his son Kevin he'd give him ten bucks if he would swallow a tablespoon of Cinnamon!!!!! 
Oh My Word!!!!!! Click on the picture and you Can you see the cinnamon flying out of his mouth.  We all laughed so hard.  Crazy Kid. He said it was like it was growing in his mouth. He must have coughed, spit, gagged and drank water for 10 minutes. if you look close, Joe is in the background holding his stomach because it hurt when he was laughing.  It was a wonderful weekend.  By the way, the gift Hoi, Kelly and the kids gave us was a blessing jar.
I don't remember mentioning it to her, but I was telling Joe one day, I wanted to make a blessing box to write down everytime we receive a blessing. She remembered that  and came up with idea. The kids decorated the lid. Isn't it beautiful. I just love it.

Now for the continuing story of Joe's Journey on Uncharted Waters Battling Cancer.  Wednesday Morning, December 16, we left the house before daylight to get to  the Knight Cancer Institute by 8:00AM. For those of you who know the Portland area. Their Eastside Clinic is located in the top floor of the Pavillion that is connected to Portland Adventist Hospital. They are connected with Oregon Health Science University, renting space from Portland Adventist Hospital.

The first thing they did as soon as he got there was take his vital signs, place the needle in the port, draw blood, then took us to the infusion lounge.
First they did "premeds"  medicine to combat nausea. Then there was IV medicine to do the same thing, then another one to combat any other side effects and then finally the Chemo. It was very busy that day with all the recliners being full.  There are juices and snacks available. The nurses are quick to help when needed, and your treated like you're the only one there. If they want them warm blankets are available. Joe had one under his own "blankie"  It is very relaxing there, ceiling to floor windows. It feels like a five star hotel. 

His chemo wasn't finished when the bag was empty...... his nurse then hooked up a pump to his port and he went home with it. He was still receiving chemo all night, all day today and tonight, and tomorrow at 1:30 we will go into the Oncology Department at Mt. Hood Medical Center in Gresham, where the nurse will disconnect the pump and Dr. Hu, his oncologist, will check a sometimes rapid heartbeat he has experienced a couple of times.  She is pretty sure it is from the steriods he is taking until Saturday.  

There was a little bump in the road when he was having pain in the calves of his legs and a pain in his chest when he did any deep breathing.  So after chemo he was sent to the xray department for an ultra sound on both legs to rule out blood clots. I'm happy to report that is negative.  No blood clots.
I have become Joe's  protector for now. We have posted this sign on both the front and back door of our home. He tires easily and we want to protect him from  "bugs"  If you would like to visit and you are free from fever, cough or sneezes, please feel free to text or PM me for a time that would be good for you to stop by for a few minutes. Thank you for understanding.

Showing off his chemo pump.
So now we play the wait and see game.  The only two symptoms he has experienced so far, was  pain in the back of his jaw where his salivary glands are. It was determined that pain is from the major chemohe he received  yesterday. He said only hurts when he takes the first bite . He hasn't experienced any more rapid heart beat since late last night. So we are thanking the Lord that the first Chemo went so well.  We asked Him to give Joe peace as he experienced all these new things and He certainly answered that prayer.  With Dr.'s OK he even drove home last night. How about that! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Blog Is Going to Take A Rest Too

I wish this would have turned out better, but almost all the leaves are off our red lace leaf maple. It had rained really hard, and the rain drops looked like glass drops.

 In my last blog, the update on Joe was, Dr. Hu, his oncologist has rescheduled  his first chemo treatment on December 16th. She wants to make sure his incision is healed and he is a little stronger after having the bowel resection.  She said just take the next 2+ weeks and rest and recuperate. That's exactly what we are doing.
This is the large poinsettia we got from Costco from the Christmas money Joe's Aunt Marlene gave us.

So my blog is also going to take a rest. If there is any updates that need to be posted I will do that but otherwise there will be no posts until the 16th. Talk to you all later.  God Bless you for all your continued prayers and well wishes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Port Is In Now A Couple Of Weeks Of Rest

Hello fellow bloggers.  You will notice as you read, more to the bottom, I'm having trouble with my fonts. I use Google's blog spot.  This just recently started to be a problem. If any of you have a suggestion as to what is going on and/or how to fix it  I would be interested. In the mean time, please excuse the large and small of it. ;)
Joe had his port placement yesterday. He really dislikes needles and pokes But when his nurse started his IV yesterday, he said he hardly felt it at all.This guy really knew his business.

The nurse is explaining the port to Joe. What it looks like and where it will be and how they do the procedure.

The port is in and he is hungry! He hadn't had anything to eat since a small supper the night before.  After the procedure, the doctor came out and let me know every thing went really smooth. He said it was "easy peasy"  Joe agreed when he came back to his room. He said it was the easiest procedure he's had so far.  He had conscious sedation for the procedure. Conscious sedation is a combination of medicines to help you relax ( a sedative ) and to block pain (an anesthetic ) Having this port in means no more needle pokes. He will get the chemo through this and also his blood draws can be done through the port. I teased him because he thought he was with it enough he could drive home NOT!!!! It was dark but not raining when he was discharged at 5:00pm. I drove us home and did a great job of it he said.  It started raining just as we were pulling up to the carport.

Joe slept all night and except for when I had to change his dressing, and another when his Aunt Marlene stopped by, he slept until noon! He just couldn't figure out why he was so sleepy.....I just smiled.  Aunt Marlene came over with a beautiful Christmas Card with a money gift in it. She knew we were going to just have a large poinsettia from Costco this year instead of a Christmas Tree and the money gift was ear marked for that poinsettia. Joe is standing by it.  Thank you Aunt Marlene.
Joe had yet another Dr. appointment this afternoon. This time with the surgeon to check on his incision that is slow in healing. He finished the antibiotics and the Dr. is pleased with the progress.  It is still draining and I am still changing the dressings twice a day. He has another appointment to check on it next Tuesday afternoon.
I received a phone call from Dr. Hu, his chemo Dr. yesterday while he was in Post Recovery. She felt his chemo treatment that was set for tomorrow should be set back until Wednesday, December 16th, giving his incision more time to heal.  When Joe heard that his whole demeanor changed.  He was really feeling overwhelmed and anxious with all the  procedures and surgery and facing chemo.  Now he has a little over two weeks to just rest and relax.  His family get together has been changed to accommodate the new schedule and while we are up in Redmond, WA., We are going to visit my sister in Bonney Lake and go to Spanaway Park to see the Fantasy Lights

I enjoy my kitchen calendars every month of every year.  Ever since we went to Kauai I also enjoy pictures of pretty roosters. They were annoying while we were there though. One time we were trying to have a picnic and they first jumped up on the seat of the picnic table then they had nerve enough to jump up on the table  itself and disrupt our lunch to the point of forcing us to pack up and eat in the car. 


We are really looking forward to just being able to stay home with no interruptions with Doctor or procedure appointments for awhile. We want to thank all of you who have visited by phone or in person, by email and Facebook, those who have sent cards and for all of your prayers and well wishes.