Friday, January 13, 2017

Ahhhhh……home again!!!

Wow, I didn’t realize that so many days had passed since I last wrote here.  So I guess you could say that no news is good news.

Mark’s assignment in Canada ended, and he was able to come home last Saturday.  We were pretty much packed up and ready to go, so we pulled out for home Sunday morning at 10:03.  It was bitter/sweet leaving.  Mark had so graciously opened his home for us to stay there, and it turned out to be nearly 3 months.  But we were ready to head home.  We were barely able to squeeze into my CRV all the bags and boxes that we had accumulated while there!

It was one of those terribly windy Kansas days with the wind out of the south, creating a cross wind most of the way as we headed west.  You could sure feel the rocking-and-rolling of the car as we headed out across those Flint Hills.  We made it to McPherson just in time to eat at one of our favorite places for lunch – Freddy’s.  By the time we got home, it was pretty cool, but I was able to get most of the small things into the house without being blown away.  We pretty much just piled it into the house to be put away later.  I made a trip to the grocery store since anything in the refrigerator was long overdue to be thrown out.  We didn’t have all that much in there to start with, since we hadn’t really had time to set up housekeeping before this whole ordeal began.

Everything was just fine when we got here.  Guy had used the app on his phone to control the thermostat in our house, so it was nice and toasty inside.  We spent Monday getting unpacked and settling in.  I got very little sleep that night.  I guess the trip and the anticipation of meeting my new oncologist and chemo the next day might have had something to do with that!

Tuesday, we headed to Hutchinson to begin my treatments here.  The appointment was at 2:00, and I got right in – didn’t even have time to get my paperwork completed.  I have to say that I was very impressed with my doctor, Dr. Haenel.  She put me at ease right away.  She had done her homework and read up on my case, so she knew all that had transpired.  Although she did ask me to tell her my story, and she listened intently.  My first impression of her is good, and I’m going to like her.  She got me right in to the lab, where they drew STAT labs, so that I could get started immediately with the infusion.  The lab girl was very nice and said she would be seeing me each week.  She then took me around to the infusion area where I met my nurse, who was also very nice.  She explained what would take place and offered me a warm blanket and anything else I wanted.  They do the infusion just a little differently here.  Instead of giving IV Pepsid, they gave me oral Zantac.  They gave me Decadron 1st, I think, then Benadryl.  Then they gave me Kytril IV which is to prevent nausea.  I told her I had not received that before, and had never been nauseated, but she assured me that was their protocol here so I didn’t get nauseated.  Hey, better to be proactive to prevent that than not. Then the Taxol was administered over a 2-hour period rather than a 1-hour period as it was in KC.  So, over all, I would say that I’m going to get along just fine here.  They gave me a calendar book with my future appointments all set up, so I know how to plan for the month. The rest of the month the infusions will be in the morning.  That’s good, because getting out at 5:30 in the afternoon was a bit late, but I’m just glad they were able to accommodate me so I could started on that Tuesday.

If you’ve been on FB, you know about the little incident that happened on the way home.  If not, I’ll tell you here.  Since we got out a little late, we decided to stay and eat supper there.  That put us into the dark driving home.  We were in my Honda CRV about 10 miles out of town.  Guy said, “Boy, you really have to look out for deer in this area this time of the year.” We were on a stretch of road that went between trees on both sides of the road.  He said, “This area right here has always been DEER CITY.”  And I said, “They can just come out of nowhere, too!”  And JUST as I got the last word out of my mouth, out bounded a big doe from the ditch on my side!! And WHAM!!!!  Guy swerved to the other lane and we hit her head and neck on the right front corner of my car.  We didn’t stop because Guy said the car didn’t feel as if it was driving any differently.  I kept wanting to stop where there was a light along the way to see the damage, but he drove on home.  When we got there, we had to get a flashlight to see, and we were stunned to see that there was only a slight crack that could be seen going from top to bottom in the bumper right under the headlight with some of her hair stuck in it.  I thought the whole area would have been caved in!  So, we knew we would have to have the bumper replaced.  However, the next morning, in the light, we discovered that as she hit the front of the car, her body wrapped around the side and hit both passenger doors, denting them both!  BUMMER!  The front door is not bad – can barely see it, but the back door has quite a dent – right where there is the natural bend of the door.  Guy called the insurance company today and has an appointment to get the estimate next Tuesday while I’m taking my chemo treatment.  Of course, cars can be fixed, and we are INDEED grateful that we did not wreck as we swerved to try to miss her, and that we hit her where we did rather than possibly having her come up over the hood into the windshield. What I’m also very thankful for is that my airbag did not deploy!   So much to be thankful for!!!  But what an eventful day it was!!  Seems there is never a dull moment for me. 

I really looked forward to Wednesday morning.  It was my first day back to the ladies Bible study at the church.  I couldn’t wait to see everyone!  It was a great reunion with lots of hugs and warm smiles.  I just love these ladies!!  They’ve prayed so much for me and supported me with cards, emails, and phone calls.

Wednesday night was the Congregational Ladies monthly fellowship meeting.  I still felt strong enough to attend it, and got to see even more ladies from the church.  The theme for the night was sharing your favorite Bible verse.  I shared that mine had always been Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  But ever since the first of the year, I kept running into this verse: Jerimiah 29:11 – “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.”  That was going to be my verse for 2017.  It was great to hear the others give their verses, and why those were their favorites. It was just a very enjoyable evening.  And the homemade cinnamon rolls just topped it all off!!

I’m just so happy and thankful for this little church here that has some warmly opened their arms to Guy and I and made us a part of their family of God.  Pastor Ted asked me to be prepared to give a testimony Sunday.  January has 5 Sundays, and the ladies want me to tell my story on that Sunday to the whole church.  This is one of the things I really feel I’m called to do right now – to tell My Story – and it’s not so much MY story, but it is the story of God’s working in so many miraculous ways in my life and all the blessings from my journey.  I pray I will be able to convey it in such a way that He receives all the glory.

Well, that was Wednesday.  Thursday, they began to talk of the “critical ice storm” that is on the way.  Oh, boy….just what I needed was to worry about bad weather.  We had gone to Lyons – the little town about 10 miles west for breakfast.  (They have the best little breakfast restaurant there!)  All the people could talk about was the last big ice storm they had here about 5 years ago when the whole town of Lyons was without power for a whole week.  Oh, thanks!  I really needed to hear that!!  So, we left he restaurant, and went to Ace Hardware to look at propane heaters.  If the power goes off in our house, we have no way to keep warm.  We bought a generator last spring, but it is not hooked up to run anything, and there is no time to call anyone to do it.  So, we purchased a small propane heater that is safe for indoor use.  It will give us some heat in a small room if we need it.  Our vehicles have gas in them.  Some neighbors have given us invitations to their houses where they have generators or wooden stoves, so I think we will be OK, if the power is out for long.  We are in the bull’s eye to get ½ to 1” of ice.  I pray it is not as bad as they are forecasting.  I don’t know how long it would take to get the power on in a small town if it goes out in a wide-spread area.  This event is supposed to happen over a three-day period.  Then it is to warm up into the 40s and 50s for the rest of the week.  That’s OK if you have power.  That’s still cold if you don’t.  We have a gas grill on the deck, so we can still cook.  Now, we just wait and see……  Oh, the joys of living in Kansas.  We’ve decided there is no place you can live and get away from bad weather.

Last night was one of those sleepless nights.  I’m still having trouble getting to sleep.  It takes me about 2 hours for some reason.  And last night, sleep just would not come.  I’m not sure if it is because I’m coming off the steroids, or if it is just trying to get settled back in here with all the excitement we’ve had lately.  I’m pretty sure that the gabapentin I take for the hot flashes has insomnia as a side effect.  I’m hoping as I get used to it, that might diminish, but hasn’t so far.

Today I just laid kind of low.  I put away a few things left over from unpacking and took it easy.  Annie and I just shared the big recliner together.

 Some good news is that my arm is healed now. 

 I just have two little spots left on the donor site of my leg.  The 3rd incision on my head from the last surgery is slowly healing – still has a small open area that is taking its sweet time to heal.  

I know that healing is being delayed by the chemo.  The three spots around my flap are continuing to shrink, and the top layer of skin is sloughing off of them.  Still NO NEW spots have developed since the chemo began.  That’s a BIG praise the Lord!!!!  And I still have a tiny bit of hair left!  😀

Today from Jesus Calling:

Try to view each day as an adventure, carefully planned out by your Guide.  Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to Me and to all I have prepared for you.  Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift.  Trust that I am with you each moment, whether you sense My Presence or not.  A thankful, trusting attitude helps you to see events in your life from My perspective.

A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable.  Expect each day to contain surprises!  Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day.  Be willing to follow wherever I lead.  No matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place to be is by My side.

And as always……I remain in His hands…..

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