Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was an anniversary of sorts, 5 months since my surgery.  I don't know why it seemed to strike me yesterday but I kept thinking about what I was doing 5 months ago.  It has been a scenic ride these last five months, hopefully a journey I won't need to make again any time soon.

She's makes a way cute grandma
Well, let me start with the big news that I wasn't allowed to tell last week.  JoLynne and I are going to be grandparents!  March 2nd was JoLynne's birthday and it was also supposed to be my last day of chemotherapy (before I flunked out).  Anyway, Shanelle and Mike brought by a surprise present.  When JoLynne opened it there was a note that said "So you can look the part" and when you lifted the paper there was a gray grandma wig and a note saying "Not to be used before September 20th".  We are thrilled for Shanelle and Mike and so grateful for the wonderful changes that this will bring into their lives.  Children are a ton of work but they are so worth it.  We are thrilled!

For those following this blog, you may remember that prior to my surgery a dear friend gave me a priesthood blessing where he promised, among other things, that I would live to see grandchildren and great grandchildren.  This seems to be a fulfillment of at least the first part of that blessing.  We were having a hard time imagining how we would get to part B without doing part A.  Shanelle and Mike have solved that.

So I have downloaded an app on my phone called "My pregnancy" and I check every day to see what our grand baby is doing today.  For those who may care, he/she developed fingerprints this week.  I think Shanelle thinks I am a bit over the top but I don't care.  I have a recording of the baby's heartbeat but I'm just not "high tech" enough to figure out how to attach an audio clip.  In case you're wondering it sounds like this:  "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh......"  It's pretty awesome.

A good day for a run

I went for a run yesterday.  It was the first time since my surgery that I didn't feel like every step was a chore.  I still didn't run very fast but I also didn't suffer as much.  I went 9.22 miles so my strength is coming back slowly.  I picked up Jarom along the run and he ran the last 4.5 miles with me.  I appreciated the company.  He's a great young man.

It turns out that yesterday was also the Rex Lee run.  This is an annual race held at BYU to raise money for cancer research, in honor of the late Rex Lee who died of cancer and was an avid runner.  As we were running along the south side of campus they were just getting ready to begin the race and I happened across a friend of mine, Neal Anderson, who was running the race.  He is in my stake and was the same one who helped me to finish my very first marathon many years ago.  He stopped to show me his race bib.  There on the front was written, "In honor of Eric Vogel".... I am blessed with such good friends.  Just when I think I am getting over crying about everything something like this comes around...  My tear glands are still working.
I am blessed with good friends

Well, life is beautiful.  Every day is a gift.  I love watching the sunrise in the morning or even the snow fall in March when I want to work in my garden.  I love going to work and taking care of patients who are dear friends.  I love hearing my children giggle.  I love snuggling up to my wife at the end of every day.  This world is a beautiful place and fills me with awe and wonder.  I am grateful for the faith of friends and the miracles that have happened as a result of that faith allowing me to continue to enjoy this life.  I am grateful to my Heavenly Father who grants me every breath.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I used shampoo!

Not every shampoo "restores your spirit"
You pay more, but it's worth it.
I am slowly but surely recovering from surgery and the effects of chemotherapy.  The Stake President now calls me "Curly", JoLynne refers to me as "Fuzz head".  JoLynne's description is more accurate.  As I was taking a shower yesterday I noticed a new shampoo that JoLynne had put in the shower.  The label read "Nourishing Oasis, Restore your Hair and Spirit, Energize and Volumize"  Plus it was made in Canada!  I thought to myself "This stuff has to be good!"  I was tempted to use it all over my whole body.  Anyway, I practiced some restraint, and kept to just using it on "the fuzz".  I don't know about all the other claims, but it did make my scalp shiny.

Kind of how I feel
My strength continues to return as well.  Yesterday I ran 7.5 miles.  I am not as fast as I used to be but I am running none the less.  I still have a hard time keeping up with the oxygen demands of my body.  I just need more red blood cells I guess.  I should probably eat liver or something but I think I would rather be out of breath.  I returned the other day from a 5 mile run and was expressing my frustrations to JoLynne that I couldn't run faster.  I told her "It used to be so easy, now I have to work for it"  She just shook her head and said, "It's about time that you understand how the rest of us feel all the time"

The real miracle is that there is snow
The wound care team released me from their care.  The wound on my leg is essentially closed over.  I mentioned to them that I had been skiing.  The doctor shook his head and said that he didn't remember giving me permission to do that.  I reminded him that he had given me permission to run and, Hey, skiing is kind of like running with two boards hooked to your feet.  They didn't see it the way that I did but they didn't scold me any more either.   They told me that I had earned "The Magic Wand".  I thought that they were kidding but they weren't.  After my last appointment they walked me out front and waved a singing wand up and down my body and recited some ditty about how they had worked their magic upon me.  It seemed like magic to me.  I don't think the wand was the key to success but it was funny anyway.

Oh, and I have some really big news....but I can't share it yet.  Maybe next week.

This last week two significant people in my life passed away.  One was the man who performed the sealing and wedding  for JoLynne and me, David Yarn.  I think he performed the weddings and sealings for 9 out of 13 siblings in my family.  He lived to a ripe old age and had a life full of service.  The second one was a young pediatrician here in town.  He had some minor health problems which somehow got out of control.  He ended up having a stroke and dying at age 38.  He had barely begun his medical practice and left behind a wife and four young children.  That is only a little older than my father was at the time of his death.  I guess the reason I mention it is because it re-emphasizes to me the fragile nature of life.  Every day I wake up so grateful to be alive still.  Life is a beautiful, delicate gift.  It is so easy to take for granted but really, who knows how long any of us have upon this earth.  We may have a long life or we may be called home early.  We just don't know.  I try to live each day to it's fullest.  I hope I can help someone in need or do something of value each day that I am alive.  I hope I never go to bed without telling my wife and children how much I love them.  Tomorrow never comes, we only have today.

PS:  Yesterday I winked for the first time in four months with my right eye.  JoLynne will have no relief from the flirting now!