Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decorating For Christmas

The kids really were in the mood to decorate and, while it was hard for us to get in the mood, we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for them..... so Norm and Nicole spent most of Saturday decorating and then we headed for a local store selling trees to pick out this year's "winner". Below ae pics from that venture as well as a few decorations in the house.
I went to church for the first time this morning. Today marks a month since the surgery. It wasn't too bad as far as emotional. I sat through most of it. I think it would have been harder if they had sang more of the regular songs but now they are singing more Christmas songs. Greeted some peple after church but I was soon ready to sit down again.
We may go and visit my new nephew this afternoon if they are home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Yesterday we went to my mom's and dad's for Thanksgiving. I think the hardest part is facing your family with this hanging over your head. We have just been through so much pain and disappointment the past year so it's hard to see the pain in their eyes once more and know you are why. Below the pic of Coby nuzzling me are photos from our Thanksgiving this year including photos of my two sisters, baby brother and I which I heard that my brother requested. I am rally looking forward to next Thanksgiving when we can look back on this when I have been cleared of all cancer and we have that reason to give thanks as well.



Seth, Nicole and Bethany.
















Wednesday, November 26, 2008

As we go plodding along.........

We have all been trying to take it in and comprehend in our own way....... Tyler's school counselor has been been in communication with him before we even found out partially because of anxiety issues he had been having with a certain class. She's been having lunch with him once a week. When we told the kids on Monday that I will need chemo, his response was, "Are you going to shed like the dog?" While most times he reminds me of his dad, that is one way he reminds me of me...... when it gets stressful, make a joke of it. That's how I often respond to stress.
Nicole went to see her counselor yesterday on her own. The only reason we found out she was even there was because her first block teacher reported she was absent and the school called us. We told them to check again figuring out where she actually was and they found her. I think she is trying to hide her fears from us so we don't know how upset she is about it. I'm glad she found someone she felt comfortable talking to. Unfortunatley she is old enough to figure out what all of this could potentially mean.
Tonight Nicole has a Thanksgiving concert at an area church that we plan to attend. I haven't been to these concerts since I sang in the high school choir. I heard it gets full so we will probably try to go early.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As it slowly sinks in.......

It's been a painful day as we processed the news from yesterday. It is a very scary place to be in. We told Nicole and Tyler I will be getting chemotherapy in January but we tried to keep it as straight and simple as possible. Tyler wanted to know if I was going to shed like the dog. I think it was an attempt at humor. They are handling it well so far as I know. The counselor called Nicole in to talk to her right away this morning. The counselor has been in contact with Tyler since an earlier incident in September before all this was known.
Yet the love and support from family and friends has been overflowing. You don't think you matter so much until something like this happens and then suddenly everyone wants to be there for you and help in some way and that alone is enough to bring on the tears because the support is just so strong.
My one sister, Glenda, came over today bringing along another sofa to replace the one we have that was in horrible condition and extremely uncomfortable to lay on. It was an extra one they had around their house but it is such an improvement on the old one we had. I think I spent almost the whole day on it and my back wasn't throbbing near as much as before. Glenda also cleaned the house good for me. It needed it really bad since I had not been able to do a great job this fall not only because of working but our vaccuum had broken and we had only gotten a new one right before the surgery. Norm had cleaned it once but he's been really busy helping me with every day care. It needed a good thorough fall cleaning anyway and Glenda did a great job on it.
Nicole is anxious to get decorating for Christmas. Norm had told her that would be her job this year since it was out for me. She also wants to bake cookies. We usually baked cookies over Thanksgiving vacation and I was feeling bad because they couldn't have that fun this year. I think Nicole is deturmined she's going to do it anyway.
It's just been really hard today thinking about one's mortality. I keep thinking about my aunt and I know she was a lot sicker I am by now but I am trying to stay away from internet sites about it because reading about worst case scenerios is just scary. I want to return to work. I want life to get back to normal. I want to look forward to seeing my kids play sports this spring or watching Nicole in the spring musical because I sounds promising that she will get a good part because of how well she projects her voice.
When I asked the doctor if I could do activities or stay away from people to avoid sickness he looked at me and said, "Go and do what you normally do. Live your life."
It has been hard to be the center of attention because my introverted self never liked being there but it does feel good to know that people care about you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Results....not what we hoped.

We were in to see the oncologist this morning and while they still do not have the full report back yet, it was decided that the cancer was a Stage 3 and I will need heavy chemo. We have opted to start this chemo in January. For now I will need three treatments. I will have to be in the hospital three days every three weeks to get a chemo called B.E.P.??? We appreciate all of the prayers that have gone out on our behalf. Continued prayer for the whole family would be very much appreciated especially as we try to sort through this new information.
I just thought I would add on to the previous paragraph.
It's just been a long hard road and it doesn't promise to end soon. I was in pretty much of a daze most of the day except when my dad stopped by around lunch before he had to go to work. When he stopped on the way out and said, "I love you." I think I almost lost it because our family had never been one to express emotion or affection.
It's really hard to understand why God is allowing us to go through this. What does he want to teach us through this? I know we have already learned some lessons from this but have a feeling there is more He wants to teach us..... to learn to rely on Him. He keeps bring the "While I'm Waiting" Song to my mind as well as "Jesus Bring The Rain."
I feel sorry for my family because it's like reliving my aunt's illness all over again except I think she was in a lot more discomfort than I. She was part of what drove me to the doctor as some of my symptoms mirrored hers.
I am really glad for the guys from our church who have stepped up to give Norm their support because he is taking this very hard. While we were eating tonight my sister, Deb, called and told Norm she just felt the need to pray for him and he just about lost it. I was sitting across from him and figured someone was praying because he wasn't saying anything but he was getting really emotional.
We will get thorugh this and be stronger for it with God's help.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nervous about tomorrow

We go to see the oncologist tomorrow to see what our next step will be. That is when we will get a rating for the cancer. Really nervous about the whole thing. I told Norm it is so hard to believe that something like that is even lurking inside of me. Aside from how I felt this summer and fall, I just found it hard to believe something like this could grow inside of me and you just don't know it. I guess in hindsight there were clues, but the doctors thought it was other things. (Like my back hurting this spring....they thought I had mearely reinjured the injury from the fall before........ and they wrote the tingling in my legs off as something else......All this time it could have been the tumor pressing against my spinal could we not know that?) You just don't think about something being wrong with you especially if it does not run in your family. Now it opens up a whole new can of worms. Should my two sisters go and get tested? What about my children?
And I'm not sure how to handle colds now. I've always been one for letting them run their coarse but do I need to be more aggressive with them if there is a chance they could make me really sick? Catherine Baker Knoll was supposed to be doing well with her cancer and then got ill and passed on. I've been having something in my throat that I am hoarse and keep losing my voice so I'm not sure how worried I should be about that. I guess these are all questions to ask the doctor tomorrow. Everything just seems so up in the air.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Got out some today

We ran up to K-mart to get Lexi and Tyler each a new winter coat. I had to sit down when they started through the toys. Then we went to a local market and the supermarket. I lasted through most of the supermarket and then went out to the van to sit down till Norm came out. I was pleased, though, that I didn't feel quite as exhausted as before so I will take that as a sign of improvement.
We are unsure yet if we should try church. I've gotten a bit of something in my throat so we are somewhat worried about that. Will wait till Monday to ask the oncologist if we should be worried about colds. I just get mostly a hoarse sore throat. My girls both have colds so I was worried I was getting that.
It was nice to get out though.........

Friday, November 21, 2008




Woke up this morning with snow. It doesn't usually lay this early in the season around here. Norm says that means we will get 21 more significant snowfalls. Not sure if I like the sound of that!






Norm took me to my job to get my paystub and then to his job for his stub. It was nice to see everyone this morning at work. It was also nice to get out. It's been hard to get a walk in with the cold and now the snow. We were going to go to church to walk in the activity center but they closed it for renovations. Norm asked if I'd like to go to an area mall that is pretty big. I told him I was afraid I would tire out walking from the van in the huge parking lot to the mall. I hate the idea of driving awhile just to get a walk in especially the way the economy is going.
A lady brought a meal by for us this afternoon but I may save it for tomorrow lunch when hopefully everyone will be home. Tomorrow night Nicole has an awards party with the band and Norm may have to work. Nicole is going with the band to a sectional football game tonight an hour away. I hope she can keep warm. Don't need her getting sick! Norm is working tonight so it will be just the three of us.
A friend brought some groceries yesterday including treats for Coby. It was funny to see him actually stand on his hind legs to snff the treat bag. He usually won't put that much effort into standing for anything.
Been getting bored and frustrated because I want to do my own housework and it drives me crazy that I can't. Once I get the okay, this house is getting a good cleaning because I never got around to fall housecleaning...... which means washing the windows.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cabin Fever

Is that a fox
Or maybe a beaver?
Is seeing things a sign
Of Cabin Fever?
I'm stuck in a house
With just a Retriever?
Guess I'm suffering effects
Of cabin fever!

Wow, that was pretty good. I wonder if this guy from church who writes songs could help me put it to music. We got to take a walk today but it was pretty cold but I was happy just to get out.
I've had some ask if we heard anything....... no....... I really hope they have some kind of answer on Monday.

If you want, you can subscribe to my blog and then they come in your emails. But you set up what time they show up, I think....either that or they come just in the morning. I would have to look at it again. It doesn't always send an email as soon as I update it.
Norm doesn't want me to drive yet so he told me not to drive and I came up with the idea of moving the van to see if he's notice...... so he decided he was going to take chalk and mark it like the police do so he would know if it's moved. I came up with my own counter idea but I ain't going to say now what that idea is but I can see him standing there and just shaking his head already........
So I was good and worked on some of my Christmas cards...... till I ran out. I also usually write a family newsletter for family and friends who live far away or that we don't see often. I started it the other day and need to work on that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow flurries in forecast.....

Cold outside today!
Yesterday I overdid some through a shopping trip for Christmas presents that didn't exactly go as planned. After coming home, I rested the remainder of the day nd then felt much better.
Norm took me to church this morning to weigh in on the scales that our 3D uses. Was stunned to see I had lost approx. 20 pounds since before the surgery.
We have been hearing some very positive things about the reputation of my oncologist so that makes us feel better about that.
Norm started back to work last night. It ws hard to get used to not having him around again. Of course, he made me promise not to do anything before he left for work. :D

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some photos from past month

Lexi's team after their final game



Norm got hem dressed in their Trick-Or-Treat Outfits this year
and then brought the to the hospital to see me before taking them
to my sister, Glenda, who took them out Trick-Or-Treating.

Nicole turned 15!

My son, Tyler, being strange...... he discovered something he could do with magnets.
Warning! Gross factor!


Coby, my Squirrel Hunter, self-proclaimed protector and ever constant canine companion.
Wow, I didn't realize how much weight I lost in my face till I saw this pic. I had another pic of me I liked better but was having problems making Coby's eyes look decent.


My inlaws came to visit today....bearing cookies. Of course we accept anything chocolate!
Mason came home today so i assume his counts were better. Norm went over to see him but I stayed home. Guess I will have to wait before I get to hold the ittle guy. Norm said he almost missed it (having a baby)...... almost but not quite. :D

No walks today Very windy and cold. We are hoping to get Christmas Shopping doe tomorrow..... I hope I can last.........

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rainy day...........

We did manage to get a four block walk in between systems. It felt good to walk and it was nice to get outside. They've had a tornado watch all afternoon.
My bil managed to exchange some of the clothes they bought. I think he's getting over the initial shock. Last I hear they were going to call the baby Mason but that hasn't been confirmed yet. Unfortunately his counts are stil low. 'mnot sure when he will be allowed to coe home from the hospital. He was a very big baby but his sugar count was down yesterday andit doesn't sound like it's better today.
I doubt I will go to church tomorow. For one I think it would tire me out too much. Plus we want to say away from any viruses to try and get me healthy.
Been thinking a lot about that "While I'm Waiting" song (to the right). I guess that's what we've been trying to do while waiting for the test results even though that is not the original intent of the song in the movie. I've been feeling a lot of prayers going up and I think I've felt a lot more at peace about it....just reflective at times. :) Anyway, that you fo you prayers. they mean a lot!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good news? Bad news?

This morning Norm's brother called us to tell us his girlfriend had her baby...... a little boy........ unfortunately they had been told they were having a daughter and had either bought or were given gifts of all girlie clothing. Nate is having a fit trying to figure out how he will clothe this little boy. I called my one sister, Deb, to ask her if she still had any baby boy clothes at all. She didn't think she had much but promised to look through her things to see what she had. We told Nate to try the local reusit shops and Salvation Army Stores because they are generally cheaper than even the consignment shops. He's trying to exchange what they did buy but we don't know how accomidating the managers will be without receipts. My mil is probably having a good laugh because she has been telling them they are having a boy and not a girl like the sonogram showed. I think also that Nate is just extremely disappointed because he has never had a daughter....... mostly sons and stepsons. His girlfriend does have an older daughter but I think Nate was looking forward to his own baby girl. I think he will get over it and love his son, but just needs to get over the shock. We were trying to come with creative ways to help Nate out.
I am hoping to be able to do some Christmas shopping for the kids next week. I know I probably won't last long but for one, I like to get it done mostly before Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and for two, I want to get it mostly done with our future being too uncertain.
I have recently made a new friend named Jenn who is having a giveaway on her blog of a newborn boy's outfit. Click on her name to go and have a look-see.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rainy Day..........

It's been kind of a blah day. The kids only had a half day of school and then we had parent-teacher conferences with the teachers from our two youngest who are still in elementary school. Even ater using the elevator, I was still exhausted, which could be expected. It felt good to go home, lay down and sleep. Unfortunately with the rain, that meant no walks.
One good thing that has come from is also getting Norm eating healthier. Not only is he actually eating the vegetables to encourage me to eat well to get stronger, but he has greatly slowed down in his eating and has admitted that I was right..... he does feel fuller than he ever did before. He now laughs if I actually beat him done because, before, he would be long done before I was even halfway done, if that far. I am trying now to resort to 6 small meals rather than 3 larger ones. I want to see if I will feel better that way. I just feel too uncomfortable eating a larger meal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beautiful morning

This morning Norm got a visitor from his Men's Fraternity at church. This friend had went through a similar instance with his wife. I am so grateful at not only how everyone has been supporting me but also the men who have been supporting Norm. It is a real blessing having these men step out of their comfort zones and share from their experiences.
By the way, I will not mention people by name nor the name of our town or church because this is a public blog where even Osama Bin Ladin has access to if he chose which I doubt so I purposely leave out certain links to certain blogs and area places to protect my family and friends.
To answer your request yesterday, MaryKay, Norm says there will be no pictures of that.
It's really strange how dogs know when something is going on. Coby not only has been more gentle with me but more protective of me as well. A few times I broke down, he showed up to nuzzle me. We've been getting a kick the way, when we send him outside, you can see the shadows on the neighbor's walls of the squirrels scattering like sheep being hunted by a wolf.
The stories that have been coming to us of similar experiences with cancer are overwhelming and uplifting. I told Norm that I think we should put them in a book. Most are from our church and I think they would go a long way toward promoting the Cancer Support Group our church has started. We have decided that, once we are through with this, we wish to be a part of that group to encourage others.
By the way, I've added another You-Tube video at the right. Norm heard "While I'm Waiting" on the radio this morning and we didn't realize till we looked it up that it's from the movie, "Fireproof". If you ever get a chance, we would highly recommend "Fireproof". We have recommended to friends having marital issues and they went to the movie and came out with totally new perspectives. I wish Hollywood would acknowledge this movie but it don't surprise me that they don't because of the Christian message in it. I will proably eventually move the videos to the bottom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not exactly what we hoped

We went to the pathologist today but didn't exactly get a positive report but not totally a negatve one either. It was hard to get past all the extremely long words he was throwing around but basically he told us they had found some other cells in my abdomen that should not be there. They are waiting for the result from the section he had sent to a collegue at Penn State Medical Center who he says knows more than he does about these rare types of tumors. They will deturmine the rating for it. If it is a "1", there will be no action taken, but if it is a "2" or "3" then I will be admited to the hospital for a couple of days of heavy chemo. He told me that will not be pleasant and will probably make me pretty sick. So now we have to wait two more weeks. we wait.....
Norm and I had been talking about faith recently. It's hard to just trust for a positive result. It reminded me of when Ricky Bolden spoke at or church last spring. He had a neat saying about faith but I couldn't remember what it was so I emailed our pastor to see if he remembred. Not only did he remember, but he had a plaque with it on....which he told us to come and get. I made up a simlar grahic with it on so you can see it. In faith, though, we have been discussing renewing our wedding vows. In fact, Norm even vowed that, if I fought this, he would go and learn ballroom dancing so I expect a bunch of my friends to hold him to that. Photobucket

The dr. told me meanwhile that I really need to work on getting my strength back because I'm going to need it. Right now everything wipes me out. The incision went to 2 inches above my belly button so it's rather huge. Norm was upset because I appeared depressed after he(DR) told us we had to wait and it wasn't that great of news but, once I got home, had something to eat and a short nap, I felt much better.

Right now we have a reprieve with the kids' schedules. Tyler doesn't start basketball till right before Thanksgiving ... soccer is over for now. Band also just got over this past weekend so all Nicole has is play practice and all have church on their respective nights.

Well, Norm just asked me what chapter I'm on so I guess that is my cue. Thank you so much everyone for the encouraging words, hugs, meals, flowers, chocolate Photobucket and cards.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rough year for my family

This has been such a rough year for our family. Almost a year ago my aunt Lois found out she had stomach cancer. She had been a dear member to the entire family and was sorely missed when she passed six months later. Over the summer Norm was having some health issues and then my grandfather passed out and hit his head and ended up in trauma for awhile. While he was in the hospital another aunt was discovered to have cancer. (Both aunts related through marriage) I found out last night that she has now passed on. Nicole also had health issues this fall and before I could breathe a sigh of relief that it was all over I ended up with this.
I told my sister that it's just all surreal. It doesn't seem real and yet it's terrifying all in the same moment. One of those things you would think would never happen to you.
Norm makes me laugh so much with his shameful flirting. I would say how shameful he is, but this is after all a g-rated blog. Seriously though I am grateful that he does make me laugh.
Coby almost had squirrel for breakfast. Norm called him back at the last moment. Maybe now the latest "chatter" around here will not be about the free-for-all buffet but instead about the "vicious guardian of the feast".
It went well telling Nicole and Tyler. They already suspected anyway. Now I need to tell Lexi. I did inform all their guidance couselors as well. The kids almost seemed relieved to hear the truth from our lips than continue trying to decypher all the veiled questions about me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Telling kids tonight........

This is going to be really hard. Tyler already suspects that I have it and I have a feeling Nicole knows something is up as well. Norm went to pick up Lexi & Tyler from church today and Tyler asked asked Norm later if I have cancer that everyone keeps asking how I was doing. When he told me I just burst into tears because I just hate to hurt them so. Anyway, prayers for that would be appreciated.
Took a couple of walks today although the last one almost did me in because a neighbor down the street stopped us to chat. She also has cancer and it does not look promising for her.
We have been so blessed with family and friends, particularly church family, dropping by with meals and gifts, sending cards or flowers. It's been really touching how so many have stepped forward to show that they care. We aren't sure when we will be able to sit through a service again....without crying. There are so many songs that just trigger you. When the OBGYN first confirmed that the tumor was cancer last Thursday and we got out to the car and the song, "Jesus Bring the Rain" came on and I started crying. I've always been muscically inclined so He's been putting not only verses into my head when I need it but songs as well. I put the You Tube to that song to the right. I think if you don't know the song, you will see why it's so special. It was special to me before all of this ever started and maybe that was a God thing. I love the video that goes with it.
I went to work the other day to visit the ladies and the first thing my boss said was, "You're in your PJ's! " Igrinned rather sheepishly and told her that I have never been one to wear pajamas in public but that al changed when I had surgery mostly because it's more comfortable on my rather large incicion. (groin area to 2 inches above the belly button.) Funny how something can completely change your view.
BTW, I think I did lose 10-15 pounds from this and tht's a praise....I guess. Another praise is that Norm was supposed to have jury duty tomorrow. It was put off from last summer. We were dreading having to deal with it because we were told they would get really nasty but the lady was so nice about it. Norm actually got released from it and won't need to think about it for at least a year!
On a more humorous note, the squirrels have decided to take advantage of my convelescance and been attacking my bird feeder food court in full force. Norm keeps chasing them away but he came back in once and said, "They're numbers this time!" There was 6-8 out there. We put Coby(dog) on squirrel duty over lunch time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The results came back. I have a rare form of ovarian cacer. The prognosis is supposed to be good. Seening an oncologist on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My surgery

My surgery on Thursday did not go like they hoped. The tumor was even larger than anicipated. It almost filled an 8 1/2 x 11 cake pan. The anticipated 1 1/2 - 2 hour surgery ended up taking four. There were some aspects with the tumor that looked suspicious so they sent it out for testing and we are still waiting the results from that.Because of their suspicions, not only did they remove the uterus, but also both ovaries, some lymph nodes and a few other things. They could not use my prev. c-section cut because of the immense size. The incision runs all the way up to like two inches above my belly button.
I came home on Sunday. Norm has been wonderful with taking care of me. He makes sure I walk and helps me dress. All the little things you take for granted and I am so grateful for him. I have not seen that kind of loving care from any man for any woman since I used to work in a nursing home 20 years ago and my old third grade teacher was there and her husband took such loving care of her. Even the most menial, embarressing tasks he has just stepped up and helped me with and it has made me feel very loved and cherished. I love you, Norm.
We go to the dr. tomorrw to hopefully get my train tracks down my belly removed. Will try and update later. Get tired very easily!