Sunday, September 30, 2012

"The bitter and the sweet"

Well, I am into my second round of chemotherapy.  I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that things get harder as you go along. I guess I remember it being that way last time.

Last night was a hard night.  I was super tired and fell asleep around 7:00 pm.  I finally found my way to bed around 9:00.  By about 11:00 my stomach was churning like crazy.  Sweet JoLynne, in her wheelchair, was trying so hard to take care of me.  She got up and found the anti-nausea medicine and a "barf bowl"  I swallowed the medicine but promptly threw up.  We tried that a few times and then just kind of dealt with it.  By the time morning came around there was really nothing left to throw up and my stomach had started to settle.  Finally I was able to get to sleep.  I feel bad that I messed up JoLynne's night as well.  I was grateful that JoLynne had texted the Stake President the night before and excused me from meetings.  I was in no shape to be out.

In contrast to that, Shanelle and Mike brought by our granddaughter and let us babysit Saturday evening.  Little Vivian is so sweet!  It sure doesn't take any time at all to become attached to her.   I wasn't feeling the best but she didn't care, she just snuggled right up to me and fell asleep with me.  Sometimes when I am on chemo I have anxiety as well.  With that sweet little girl next to me I could just feel the anxiety leave my body.  What a blessing she is in our lives already.  I am grateful for her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Last night "all the shingles blew off"

This time my chemotherapy has been MUCH better than last time.  Wow, what a difference.  I have still been super tired and dizzy and all that but I don't feel like I was run over by a truck.  However, my hair hasn't liked it too much.  Actually it caused my hair to fall out sooner and more completely than last time.  For the last couple of days it has been falling out like crazy.  Every time I touch it sections were falling off.  By last night I couldn't stand it any more.  I sat down at the table and just pulled it all out by hand.  It was so loose it didn't hurt at all.  I guess it didn't look too good.  It made JoLynne cry and I was sorry for that.  So....back to bald.

You know, it has been a hard time in our family.  Between my cancer coming back and JoLynne's broken legs,  It hasn't been easy.  On top of all that, we were notified by the credit card company that our identity had been stolen while we were waiting for JoLynne's leg operation.  Finally, the night we got home from the hospital little Elizabeth came into the room in tears.  Her pet bird, Peeps, had died.  Peeps has been part of our family for 15 years!  I will be honest, at the time I thought, "You have got to be kidding!"  But time has passed, the bird had a very nice funeral, the credit card company is helping us fix the damage, JoLynne's legs are healing and I am doing quite well for a bald guy.  I have often thought back to the time when my son Seth and I were running a marathon together.  Seth was recently home from his mission and in pretty good shape but probably not marathon shape.  He really didn't train well enough.  In spite of that he finished in good time.  At the finish line he was really sick and not looking well at all.  After a few minutes, when he could talk he said. "Dad, I know what Hell feels like now."  Then the profound statement, "When your'e going through Hell, you just need to keep on running."  I have thought of that statement often.   Quitting isn't an option and brighter days are ALWAYS ahead.

And, speaking of brighter days, we now have what may be the most beautiful granddaughter ever born.  Words don't express how happy her arrival has made us.

We have wonderful neighbors.  One neighbor brought over a "Jazzy" scooter and our other neighbor allowed me to use his Segway.  JoLynne and I are riding again!  It's almost worth breaking your legs and having cancer when you get to travel like this...

Finally, the other evening there was a beautiful double rainbow.  It was so bright it almost looked unreal.  This was shortly after JoLynne had come home from the hospital so it was very difficult to get around, but with several of us helping, we managed to get her outside in a wheelchair where we could watch the rainbow slowly fade from the sky.  It was spectacular.  Afterwards I found myself thinking about the first rainbow and the trials Noah and his family had been through.  Wow, it makes my problems seem really small.  How sweet and tender for God to give him and his family the gift of a rainbow.  In their case it was a promise that God would never send another flood.  In our case it felt like God saying, "I am aware of you.  Look to me and your problems will fall behind you"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wrapped in love, 29 beautiful years.

Lately I have been sleeping on the floor in the living room.  For some reason the couch is more comfortable for JoLynne than the bed with her injured legs, so I try to sleep close to her so I can help her in the night.  (By the way, her sleeping on the couch does not denote any strife in our marriage for those of you who may be wondering.)  Anyway, this morning I woke up looking at a picture painted by my Grandma Vogel.  It hangs on the wall  in our living room.  It hung on the wall in my parents house as well all the years I was growing up.  I have been looking at that picture for about 50 years.   I was wrapped up in a quilt made by Grandma Vogel as well.  She made it for us, 29 years ago as a wedding present.  The colors and the pattern are bold and wild, it reminds me of her.  I remember when she gave it to us.  She told me at the time that she had counted how many stitches she placed while hand quilting it.  She told me that she quit counting stitches at 10,000.  It was early morning and I had this overwhelming feeling of being wrapped in my Grandmother's love much like I was wrapped in her quilt.  It's hard to describe but it was very real.  Later when I had JoLynne up I told her of the feeling I had, she started to cry and told me that she had the exact same impression earlier in the night when she awoken and had looked over at me wrapped in Grandma's quilt.  I don't know what the relationship is between our world and that of our family who have passed on but I believe that they are not as far apart as we think.

JoLynne is doing better.  The pain is diminishing.  She quit taking percocet today and that has helped.  She still can't stand on her own but we have high hopes that she may be able to do that with crutches within a few days.  She is so sweet and pleasant even when she is hurting.  I need to be more like her.

Today is our 29th anniversary.  JoLynne was apologetic this morning about the situation being less than ideal for our anniversary.  I told her, "Hey, we're together, taking care of each other and still very much in love.  That seems pretty good to me"  Some day we will look back at this anniversary and shake our heads and laugh.  We both have a vision of some day being old and sitting on the front porch rocking together.  I look forward to that day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Well, just when you think you have enough on your plate......

Thursday Night JoLynne and I were returning some dishes to some very kind neighbors.  It was dark and JoLynne stepped in a small hole that she didn't see.  Down she went.  She didn't break the neighbors dishes but I wish I could say the same about her ankle.  She is no whimp when it comes to pain but this was really hurting her.  I looked at her left ankle and it was really weird looking.  The leg bone wasn't over the heel anymore, it was over her arch.   Lot's of swelling of course.  Her right ankle was really swollen as well.  We grabbed some ice and a blanket and called the ambulance.

In the ER they determined that she had sprained her right ankle and had a complex fracture of the left ankle.  She broke the distal part of the fibula and shattered the distal end of her tibia.   Pretty much we left her "without a leg to stand on".   (sorry for the bad humor)

The ER doctor manipulated her ankle back into it's right place but told us it would require surgery to put all the bone pieces together.    We spent all day Friday waiting for swelling to go down.  I accused her of being a "fallen woman' but she didn't think that was a very funny joke.

Surgery was this morning, (Saturday) and the surgeon just came out to tell me that everything went well and she should be out of recovery in about an hour.  We will see a therapist this afternoon.  If JoLynne can put weight on her right ankle then she can come home.  If she can't then they will make us send her to a rehab center for a while....Yargh

We are sure going to be grateful for our health when this is all over.