Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A bend in the road

Well, today, while I was at the hospital paying 10% of my surgery bill, giving blood, and signing a myriad of forms, the surgeon's office tracked me down and had me return. The MRI report showed some areas of ambiguity that the surgeon feels we need to follow up on. So, instead of surgery tomorrow, I will be having another breast biopsy, and then on Monday I will have a PET-Scan. Surgery has been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday, May 8, with the final approval and decision on the type of surgery to be determined after these next two tests.

So, here is the latest "crook in the lot", to quote Thomas Boston. This bend in my path is no surprise to the Lord. I rest in Him.

Some specific prayer requests:
  • Pray that anything we need to know about to make a treatment plan will be made known in these tests.
  • Pray for the staff and doctors performing the tests, that the results will be read accurately and in a timely manner, and communicated to the other docs that need to know.
  • Continue to pray for clean nodes, for confirmation of no other involvement outside of the breast, and for an effective treatment plan to be made and begun as quickly as possible.
Some specific praise reports:
  • Yesterday was a day of emotional melt-down for me. Praise God that these changes waited for today when I am more stable!
  • As I write this, my eldest son, Ben, is playing guitar and singing to me. What a joy to have some time with him while he is here until Saturday!
  • This morning I was blessed to meet with the elders of our church. They prayed over me, and offered Christ's encouragement. What a blessing God's church is to me!
  • God is providing good, peaceful sleep for me each night, by his grace, and I am sure through the prayers of his saints. Thank you- you are all a blessing as well!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

News to celebrate

Ben has just received an e-mail confirming that he has passed all the requirements for his Master's degree in Latin. Well done, Ben! We are looking forward to hugging him in person tomorrow when he arrives in NM for a few days.

And I understand Ben and Elsa have added a gerbil named Valentine to their family. A beautiful wife, a Masters degree, and a gerbil. What more could a guy want?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another update already

My first clue today that things were continuing to move quickly was when the receptionist from the oncologist office called. She said the onc wants to see me about two weeks after my surgery. Could I come in on May 14? That's two weeks from now.

Next the surgeon's office called, followed by the hospital insurance and billing lady, followed by the MRI people. Add a few friends calling, and I had several hours of constant phone calls, and voice mails being left almost every time I was on the phone. Here's the gist of it:
  • MRI tomorrow in Santa Fe. Unless something totally unexpected shows up, we are apparently moving ahead.
  • Pre-op visit at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon
  • Surgery on Thursday morning
It is a blessing that we are moving quickly. And it is a blessing to have many praying for me. Thank you so much!

Happy Birthday Ben!

It's amazing how things change in 24 years... but we love you more than we did then! Happy birthday!

Cancer Journey

Dear family and friends,

Since this has become a source of updates already for family and friends, I thought I would begin to post updates here on my latest journey along the road of breast cancer. As many of you know, I was diagnosed last week with breast cancer, and here I will try to post details for family and friends who wish to be kept up-to-date, and who want specific prayer requests. I will tag these updates as "Cancer Journey", and you can pull all the updates up by clicking on that label in the right sidebar. I hope to keep family updates here still, besides. And I hope to continue recording other thoughts on my other blog (found in the links in the right side bar, or here).

Here is a synopsis of where we have been so far:
  • Wed. 4-9-08: routine yearly mammogram
  • Friday 4-11-08: abnormal nodular area noted in mammogram, follow-up required
  • Monday 4-21-08: Ultrasound revealing what looked like a cyst with an irregular border. Aspiration of cyst and possible biopsy needed
  • Wed. 4-23-08: No fluid found, so it was not a cyst, but a solid mass. Core biopsy done.
  • Thurs. 4-24-08: preliminary pathology report is invasive ductal adenocarcenoma. Normal life shifts and my landscape changes quite suddenly.
  • Friday 4-25-08: Appointment with surgeon
And here is where we *think* we are going at this point:
  • Tuesday, 4-29-08: MRIs
  • Thursday, 5-1-08: possible surgery (lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy), dependent on the findings of the MRI and the surgeon's consult ith the medical oncologist.
  • Both radiation and some sort of chemotherapy lay ahead for me, yet-to-be-determined by the pathology following the surgery.
And some specific prayer requests:
  • Please pray that whatever is in my future, I will do nothing to shame my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His preparation for me to walk this road is perfect, as is His plan in it. He is amazing, and worthy, and sufficient. Ask that in my moments of fear or doubt i would trust Him.
  • Please pray that the MRI will confirm no other major involvement with cancer hot spots.
  • Please pray that my lymph nodes will remain clear.
  • Please pray for my choral group, Los Alamos Homeschool Chorus, who has their dress rehearsal for their spring concert on Thursday, likely without their director. And their performance will be on Thursday, May 8. Pray for my dear friends who will jump in and fill in the gaps for me: Dawn, Tom, Valerie, Gretta, Amy.
  • Please pray for traveling mercies for Ben (my eldest ds) and my parents, who will be arriving on Wednesday. Pray for Tim, who will not be here, but will wish to be. Ask the Lord to assure him that he is right where he needs to be!
And lastly, some praise reports. Join me in thanking God for these mercies and blessings:
  • We have moved incredibly quickly so far. What a God-ordained blessing! Thought my mind feels like a blender on high at times, I am grateful for this.
  • We have seen God preparing the way for me, not only in the speed of things, but in my spiritual focus, through past experiences, in His leading as I study His word. He is gentle and gracious to me!
  • God has raised up an army of support already: friends to hug and pray and cry with. What a blessing and comfort you all are! Included in these are my ds Ben's in-laws, who are helping make it possible for Ben to come out this week. Thank you, Chris and Donna, for your incredible love and care!
  • God has given me a most precious gift in my best friend, Dave. Not only did he walk his own cancer journey in the past with strength and courage and faithfulness, but he loves me and serves me beyond anything I could hope for. He is God's hands and feet and arms of love to me. I am so very grateful and humbled by God's gift to me in him.
  • And Jesus has saved me, kept me, prepared me. To Him be honor and glory and dominion and power forever!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

And another...

Tim ran another hard race at Hillsdale last night. He told me he just can't find "that next gear", and he is discouraged. I think his return from the stress fracture in his femur is turning out to be much harder than expected. We are so proud of him for battling to do well and return to this thing he loves and is gifted in. And we trust that God is building into him some significant things: perseverance, trust, patience, integrity. We appreciate your continued prayers for him!

We are happy Nikki is spending the weekend with Tim, and hope we may get some pictures of them both to post...

And keep praying! Next Thursday and Friday are the MIAA Championships at Alma College.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A race to build character...

Poor Tim... Last Wednesday night he spent the night mostly awake as a cold/flu took hold... and he spent Friday evening at Wheaton trying to run when he couldn't breathe and had no energy. My mama's heart is sad...but he, as always, has a great attitude... He ran what is a fast 5K time for regular mortals (14:50-something), but not fast enough for Tim's goals. His coach has been encouraging him that he looks great and he's ready to run fast when the conditions are all right. What a reminder of the intangible details that only the Lord controls! May we all learn such lessons! So Tim is sleeping lots this week (when he's not running or bowling) and hoping to be feeling better and more fleet of foot when he runs a 10K next Saturday at Hillsdale. Thanks for your continued prayers for him!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Backyard: The Before Pictures

It is my hope that we can make significant progress in the back yard this Spring and Summer. So, here are some "before" photos, though strictly speaking, we have already pruned the fruit trees for three years, eradicated weeds, laid a sprinkler system, and done a walkway. So we have already made significant progress. The people who owned our house before us called the back yards the "Jungle", and hadn't touched it in 10 years or so.

Here, Dave begins the raised bed for the vegetable garden.

This view (above) is looking to the northeast from the pear tree in back.

And this is looking to the southeast from the pear tree, towards where the vegetable garden will be.

This is looking west from the vegetable garden area, towards the apple tree and pear tree.

And this is looking from the side yard due south. Watch for updates :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tomorrow's Track MEET at Wheaton

Tim runs tomorrow at Wheaton (not Saturday, as previously reported, but Friday evening). If you are interested in seeing the "Heat Sheets" they can be found here. "Heat sheets" list the competitors in each event (and each section) along with their "seed" times: these are times turned in by coaches to represent the expectations of the times for the competitors. Sometimes these are not realistic, but are made to get kids into particular heats or flights. They are SUPPOSED to represent times accurately, that is, but they don't always. Some races require the seed times to be actual times run, but not usually.

You can find the meet schedule here. Tim will be running late!

I spoke to Tim today, and he is just getting over (hopefully) a cold, and was pretty sick feeling awful as he ran his 12 miles yesterday. He felt a bit better today. Tomorrow they leave for Wheaton at about 1:30 P.M., drive for about 4 hours, then run, then load load on the bus and drive back.* Please keep Tim in your prayers!

*Don't let anyone tell you the stereotype of the Dutch being cheap is not real...

Ben Update (hopefully with the details correct)

It's hard to believe, but that baby on the left took his comprehensive literature exam for his Masters degree last Saturday. Thank you to all who held him in prayer for that! He believes he did well, but results are not yet in. He actually used the term "fun" in association with the essays he had to write. But then, Ben has always been a unique individual... He apparently wrote on the effect of Greek literature on Roman literature and the place of gender and sexuality in some specific period of Roman literature (at least I think my details are accurate.)

Let us know when you get the results, Ben! Rejoicing with you as you move towards completing this degree this May!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CAUTION: incorrect reporting below

Well, when Tim read the update below, he didn't say, "Thanks, mom, for pointing our what a great fellow I am!" No! Instead he said, "The fellow I paced is named Jaeger, and he's a transfer student, not a freshman. And a 'Track TOURNAMENT'? REALLY, Mom!" the interest of complete disclosure, please note:
1. Tim paced a TRANSFER STUDENT named Jaeger to a third place finish.
2. The student that won the race was Andrew Stutzman.
3. A track event, as every educated person knows, is a MEET, not a tournament.

My most humble apologies...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tim update

Tim has always had a very sweet spirit. When he was tiny, we began to call him "Sweet", because of it. He was always empathetic, even as a toddler! When he was in grade school and on the chess team, he wanted a chess trophy more than anyone, but rarely managed to win at tournaments. But he received a special award one year because of the way he rejoiced in the successes of others, and encouraged everyone.

It was a joy to see this is still a God-given part of his personality. Last weekend's track tournament was a conference meet, and it was important for Calvin to take the top three places in every event possible because of the strange way they scored the event. Tim's job for the 5K was to pace one of the freshman, making sure that Freshman took third place. After the race, Tim called very excited. He had encouraged the Freshman runner to succeed in getting third and to set a PR for the 5K. Additionally, because he was staying with that team mate, it had enabled another teammate, who had never won a collegiate race, to win for the first time. Tim was every bit as excited about his second place finish, and the part he played in the success of his teammates, as he ever is about winning.

Way to go, Timmy! You make us so proud!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Paper airplane designs

I thought all the guys in the family (and maybe the gals as well) would enjoy this paper airplane simulator.

Let me know how far you get (leave me a comment or e-mail me!)...I made it 27.8 M after about 2 minutes...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And another post for Nikki

On Friday Dave and i went on a little date to Santa Fe. While there, we stopped in at a Ross store, and found the dish below. Is this what you're looking for in regards to the tables at the reception, Nikki? I think this one may be a little larger than the photos you sent, so the second has a tape dispenser so you can see how big it is. It's sort of a serving-bowl size, and it tinged a lovely golden color. Is this what you're looking for?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

For Nikki

Nikki says I don't post often enough here. So here is a post for Nikki to find.

At right you will see Ben (left) and Tim on their way to a mystery dinner in honor of one of Carolyn T's birthdays. I just love that picture--- they were so funny!

Ben apparently has begun to study in earnest for Saturday's Latin Literature Comprehensive tests. Keep him in your prayers, please!

Elsa is preparing a post-comps party for Ben and the other classics students taking the test at their cozy little home. Wish we were closer to bring the champaign!

Tim has been earning his bread money working for his coach doing landscaping work. His cush-cush science job at the Lab looks better and better all the time... He runs an outdoor 5K both this weekend (the MIAA conference Jamboree at Alma College, and next week at Wheaton College).

Nikki is trying to recover from the viral infection that has taken her several times to the emergency room in the last several weeks. We hope she is finally conquering it! And when she's not dying, she's working at the physical therapy place, and making her wedding invitations by hand.

Dave continues to work on back yard projects. I'll have to post an update soon there. We almost have a wall around our vegetable garden, and are beginning to get some things planted back there. Grass seeds go in next month!

I am of the age that I am struggling with my hormones. Pray for Dave and Marilyn, who have to live with me...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ferris State 1500

Tim had a rather disappointing 1500 on Saturday: he went a little early into a head wind, and just couldn't hold on. As always, he is having a wonderful attitude, and we are really proud of him!

Now he will run his first 5K next Saturday at the MIAA Jamboree meet at Alma College. We appreciate your continued prayer for his health and for the Lord to continue to sustain him!

A Trip to the Zoo

Last Friday Dave and I, along with Jack, Shirley and Marilyn (above) enjoyed a beautiful spring day at the Albuquerque Zoo. The flowers were blooming, the NM sky was a brilliant blue, it was in the upper 60's, and just lovely! We enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the park, and watched a giraffe eating greenery off a tree right next to us (see video below). We also enjoyed a lovely luncheon together before heading for the Hill.