Showing posts from December, 2013

Chemotherapy and Blood Work

Wes went in for some blood work and a meeting with his chemo oncologist today.  Result:  His blood is perfect.  White cells still strong.  He is experiencing very few of the side effects from the chemo so far, has good energy and is still working.

All these things are answered prayers. 

Glory to Thee, O Lord.  Glory to Thee!

Sink or Swim

I am learning through this crisis in my life that is my spouse having cancer to internally slow down.  Think each thought,. Feel each feeling.  Be in each moment.  Wonder each wonder.

It is OK to think, feel, and wonder.  But it's also OK to just BE.  And to focus on the necessary dailyness of being.  Things like coffee and lentil soup and what's for dinner? 

I stare at my pretty wedding rings that are mostly not even "wedding" rings (one was from an anniversary and one was from a Christmas and is CZ)  and I wonder how much longer I will "get" to wear them.  Then I remind myself that I can wear them forever if I want to.  Because LOVE lasts forever, even beyond death. 

I am learning to take care of myself....or continuing to learn this.  I am eating nutritious food.  I am not caring as much about weight loss as I am about keeping up my stamina and little of that as I have. 

I am taking my vitamins. 

I am learning that it is impossible to cry…

Happy Birthday, Wes!

Birthday man turned 44 today!  I made a high protein, low carb cake out of coconut flour and flax meal.  It contained 10 eggs!  And chocolate.  It was sweetened with erythritol and stevia.  One of Wes' medications has evil effects on his blood sugar, so other than a bit of fruit and the occasional portion of prunes, he is avoiding sugar.  The cake was popular with everyone in the family, which was a nice surprise.  And since it is not loaded with sugar and carbs, it will make a nice breakfast!  Here are some pictures: 
Prayers are certainly appreciated.  Right on schedule, Wes is starting to experience some of the side effects from his chemo.  He can't go very long with an empty stomach now, without experiencing an uncomfortable gut clenching sensation.  And the hair loss: That has begun and is progressing.  Please pray that God would grant Wes the ability to keep working through this round of chemotherapy and radiation, which will last until near the end of January. 

Camned Dancer

I picked Wes up from work today to take him to his radiation appointment.  We were chatting.  How was your day?  How was your energy?  Well, I see at least you still have your I snuck a look at his beard and chuckled.

He paused, a funny look on his face.  "Actually..." and he whipped off the hat I"d knitted during his biopsy surgery.  I pulled the car over, still in the parking lot of the place where he works, so I could take a look.

Sure enough, a couple of bald spots on the side of his head:  one of them as big as my palm. another, about thumb sized.

I joked that at least now we know the pills aren't placebos.  The laughter covered up tears.   I noticed he looked pale, wan, and worn out. 

His hat went right back on, and we ran a couple of errands (filling prescriptions at the pharmacy, checking mail at our P.O. box...nothing earth shatteringly fun). 

After supper I shaved his head with barber clippers.  I've done it hundreds of times before.

But th…

Saturday Update

Eight days of chemo and two weeks of radiation under his belt and Wes is still feeling pretty good.  So far he still has his hair and although we have noticed a slight increase in fatigue, he is still pulling his weight at work.  I'm so grateful that he's working from home as much as he is.

Me, how am I doing?  Horribly.  Seems like my whole day every day is errand after errand and driving driving driving.  My son has missed two activities (Boy scouts and choir practice) this past week, and the girls missed an American Heritage Girls meeting because I was too tired to drive in the evening. And I was also too tired to call and find them a ride. And by too tired, I mean, I could barely hold my body upright by the time I dragged through the door after the radiation treatments around 5 pm each day.

Thank God for the crock pot.

On Wednesday, I bought a car.  I won't go into details about how ridiculous and exhausting the whole process was, but in the end, we got approved for a …

In All Things, Give Thanks

I suppose my readers here would like an update on how Wes is doing...So far, he is doing GREAT.  As a matter of fact, he is running circles around me. His face is puffier though, and his smile Larry the Cucumber.  Small differences.  Probably from the steroids. 

He's been receiving radiation for six treatments so far (today is day seven) and chemo every day since last...what was it?  Wednesday or Thursday.  something.

Each day he has energy and no side effects is a gift, and so far, he's been fine.  We do realize that it is cumulative and that the nausea will probably kick in once his stomach lining cells have been destroyed along with his hair follicles and hopefully some of those nasty cancer cells.  We shall see...but each day he is feeling good, we give thanks.

Meanwhile, I am EXHAUSTED and dealing with plenty of fibromyalgia pain from day to day.  I don't have the option of slowing down and resting, since I am the family driver, at least through the e…

Lipstick Courage

At the oncologist's yesterday morning, I observed that you could pick out the caregivers. Most of them seemed to be daughters of elderly mothers or fathers. Some sons. The daughters and sons were my age or older.  All the women were very intentionally dressed up just a bit...just like me. Perhaps it is forced cheer in a stressful and sad place:  Lipstick courage and prayer to bolster the flagging spirit that can too easily descend into that sorrowful place of anticipation. The oncologist office seemed like a very sad place, on the whole. But also full of caring and devotion, love.  I coined the phrase "Lipstick Courage", not to call it false courage, but rather to describe the particular place a caregiver finds herself in.  It's a strange place to be; a prayerful place, an exahusting place, a place of death-to-self.   I know this, and I've only just barely stepped across the threshold.During all my copious weeping last week, and the week before, s…

An Eventful Day...

Yesterday was very eventful.  It was NOT the type of day I imagined when I was stretching and waking up as my alarm clock went off.

It started out normal enough:  I took Maia and Wes to work.

First detour:  I went to the beauty parlor to get a hair cut.  I came away with a wax, cut and COLOR.  And I ADORE how my hair looks now.  The stylist said that I was 15% gray....I'd been thinking of getting a box and doing it myself, but I have consistently had bad results doing that...the boxed color just slides off my gray hairs. 

So I got a new "do" and that took all morning long.  Sorry kids.  Bad mom.  They got their school work done independently, as usual.

Because the salon took for-freaking-ever, I had to run and pick a Maia a few minutes late, grab some lunch and eat it while driving to pick up Wes.  Yes, I AM that driver.  The one eating pie.  While driving.

So, long story short...Wes picked up and dropped off at Cancer center for his first radiation treatment.  Me, home…

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 cups gluten free flour blend (I use 1:1 ratio of tapioca starch and rice flour)
2 tsp. salt
6 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum.
1 T. rapid rise yeast

Mix dry ingredients. Add to this:

1 egg
1/4 cup oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
2 or 3 cups warm water 

Stir together, and then beat with a mixer until batter is smooth.  this is pretty much just like my gluten free bread recipe up to this point, just w/ smaller quantities.

When batter is smooth, gently shake in some gluten free instant mashed potato flakes, and mix them in, a little bit at a time.  Do this in small amounts and slowly...don't get the batter too stiff.  Stop adding potato flakes when batter is sticky but not completely stiff.

Add a tiny bit more flour (about half a cup) and mix it in, so the batter is now a dough and forms a ball.

put some flour on your rolling mat/surface and pat this dough out so that it is a large rectangle, less than 1/2 thick.

spread melted butter or oil on the dough and sprinkle liberally with s…


I had a wonderful time today, visiting with my bestie, Alicia.  She and her girls came over for tea and baked something-or-other and we had a grand ol' time.  Of course we talked about all the important things in life:  kids, our concerns, health stuff, Church stuff, God stuff...all that stuff.  We drank tea.  We used pretty china.  It was so awesome. 

Earlier this morning I was feeling pretty emotional, and I didn't want to go home after I took Maia and Wes to work.  So I hit the thrift store, and I found some tea cup/saucer sets!  (I collect them).  I also found some pants that I was in need of.  So, mission accomplished.

Pink Roses on the tea cup!  That's special to me. 

And I had another wonderful conversation with another friend tonight after I dropped off my son for scouts.  She had her new 12 passenger van to show me, and we talked about the sorts of things people who buy 12 passenger vans talk about:  Health, nutrition, when the baby is know...good LIF…


Today Wes went to the radiology Oncologist.  I liked the doctor.  He was very informative and explained the procedure and process of what Wes is going to be going through  over the next six and a half weeks.  The most interesting tidbit we learned was the size of Wes' tumor.  Back on September 30 when he had is Aphasia episode, and we took him to the ER thinking it was a stroke, the tumor measured 2.3x2cm.  On November 21st, less than 2 months later, the MRI they did before the biopsy showed that the tumor measured 3.3x3cm.  That is a LOT of growth!  And very rapid growth! 

I think this knowledge really has hit us hard, making it all real, again, on a whole 'nother level.  I shed a few tears, and so did Wes, and so have some of our kids.  Each one of us is showing our sadness and fear in different ways, and I'm trying to encourage us to talk a little bit about the fact that people grieve differently from one another and that there is a wrong way and a right way to grieve. 

An Ordinary Day

Today my fibromyalgia kicked me in the rear, and I stayed home from Church.  Unfortunately that meant the kids stayed home, too.  Wes, feeling great, walked the 1.5 miles to Church. 

But for supper we had a couple come to visit us who live in another state, whom we have been friends with since before we were each married.  (In fact, their wedding was just about three weeks before ours, the same summer).  It was so good to visit!  They are the types of friends who are friends for life, that you just pick up with again where you left off and there's really no "leaving off" even if we have not seen each other in a few years. 

Tomorrow, thankfully, is an ordinary day.  I'll just get up, take Maia to work and then take Wes to work.  After that, I have to go get my blood draw done, so that my doctor can have lab reports on how I'm doing with my various health concerns.  That's what so weird and difficult:  Just because Wes has cancer does not mean I don't stil…


Several people have suggested to us that we start fund raising for Wes' cancer treatments.  To that end, I have set up a gofundme account.

With humility and gratitude.  May God be glorified.