"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

August 30, 2014

Crazy week Part 2

We started school on Wednesday morning! We have a senior and a sophomore in our 'school' this year!

Life right now is a lot of running here and there all over town for appointments. In this month we've been to 2 different hospitals and 3 different cancer centers and several oncology appointments. Our phone always has messages from this office or that office and then there is all the calling I do, to get this doctor's office to send records to that doctor's office. There's tons of paperwork and payments to attend to. Not to mention all the cancer research you end up doing just to educate yourself... And all of your friends give you book suggestions and remedies they have heard about. (which is sweet)
But it's A LOT.
I feel like I have a new part time job, but instead of pay checks, I get bills! ; )
 ~And speaking of jobs, I applied for a part time one to help us through this time.

All that to say that it was a mad dash scramble to get things in order to start school and thankfully, it is all coming together. Last week, when I was working on everything for the new school year, I was happy to see that we didn't have any appointments for 4 whole days. Whoo-hoo!
And then, one of Zac's wisdom teeth became infected. And I had plenty more appointments...
Honestly, it was kind of nice to be in less dismal seeming waiting rooms than we are usually in and with younger people. We are usually in a waiting room with people who are 20 to 30 years older than my hubby. (and that in and of itself is sometimes kind of sad)
Anyway, the oral surgeon said all 4 wisdom teeth were impacted and had to come out ASAP. And it was THE.WORST.TIMING.EVER. Because we have plenty of medical bills as it is! When the surgeon said "You don't seem happy about this." I explained what we are going through and then he asked me a million questions about the cancer. (maybe to see if I was just making this up for a discount or something? I don't know) I think he did give us a bit of a discount. Thankfully.

So, Thursday was the big day for Z!
 He had already taken off work for four days to take his annual road trip to NC with his best friend. Surgery replaced camping. Poor guy! All went well, if you don't count him spitting out blood all over the dashboard of our car! He's been a champ. Bless him and his cute swollen cheeks.

That evening we had a (pricey) conference call with two doctors. This was for our second - second opinion. Or are there third opinions? I don't know. Anyway, both of these doctors have integrative cancer treatment centers on opposite ends of the country. One is a well known cancer research scientist and both use more natural means for treating cancer. To our surprise, he actually agreed with the other surgeons we've seen so far and believes that we need to treat this the traditional way with chemo/radiation and then surgery to remove all or part of the esophagus. He said if he was in Hubby's shoes, that is what he would do and that this is his best chance of survival. That was heavy. I had been praying for a way for him to keep his esophagus... But in the big scope of things, what does it matter?
After the call and dinner, Hubby took the kids to choir/ band because Zac didn't think Dad would be quite as good at nursing him as mom. ; )

I declared Friday to be a 'cancer-free day', meaning I wasn't going to do anything related to cancer. I wanted to just do normal things like school and grocery shopping. But it didn't turn out that way...
Which is fine, because we now know the path we have to take.
It is nice to be done wondering and done getting opinions, and tests and labs, for goodness sake.
We'll just go for it and believe God!
He's in control.


August 29, 2014

Crazy week Part 1

Here we are at the home restoration we did last weekend!
It was a blast!!! All these sweet volunteers came out and worked so hard in and around this small house without any A/C
in August.
God bless them!

 Pretty landscaping in front, tree trimming in front and back yards, painting the whole interior of the house, fence fixing, microwave installing, new doors for all the rooms, bi-fold doors for all the closets, light fixtures...you name it and they did it! My hubby did an excellent job of running the project and keeping us all focused.

On Monday, Andrew finally came home from his trip to CA to see his best friend. The poor guy had about 6 hours of delays but finally made it home late that night. I've decided that no one needs to go anywhere for 10 days, its way too long. ; ) We missed him too much! I'm so glad that he spent some time with his brother, his grandparents and his aunt while there! What a blessing! 

Tuesday, I worked at a voting poll for the primary election. Last time I worked at a poll it was the Presidential Election of 2012 and that was intense! We had poll watchers, grumpy voters and long, long lines. This election was really relaxed! The other inspectors were a sweet but rowdy bunch of retirees, lets put it that way. One was a 68 year old woman who could moon walk and did. They teased me all day long because I sat behind the sign for the line that said 'H-O 'of the alphabet. Oh my stars, did they ever get a kick out of that. They want me to work with them at this poll again in November and they planned a potluck lunch. I said only if I get to work the  'A-G' line. LOL 

Wednesday, my sweet hubby had ANOTHER endoscopy scheduled. By now, he knows what he is in for and how long his throat will hurt afterwards, so before he went he wanted to play the song Hello Hurricane. He's declared that song from Switchfoot (his favorite band) our theme song during this trial. Zac wasn't back from work yet, so they didn't have a drummer and our keyboardist lives in CA now. But Andrew did a great job on guitar and had the rare privilege of getting to play Dad's Martin. (years ago, the kids nicknamed the guitar 'Dad's 5th child' because he loves it so) Joy harmonized with Dad during the song, (a first) and it was beautiful. A very fun thing to do before an endoscopy if you have to have one. ; ) 
Moffit Cancer Center is sooo nice. No wheelchairs were hijacked and taken two blocks after this endoscopy. They have valet parking! 


August 22, 2014

An update on my sweetheart

Here is an update on my wonderful husband. He's been diagnosed with gastro esophageal cancer that was caused by an acid reflux issue that he didn't know he had because there were no symptoms such as heartburn etc.. The second opinion we got yesterday was the same as the first: Three months of chemo/radiation and then a surgery to remove all or most of his esophagus. They would then pull up his stomach (or his colon) to function as his esophagus. It is a major surgery and he will be in the hospital for 7-10 days and need to relearn how to swallow and eat. We will be consulting with one more doctor this week...
So thankful for our Great Physician who's got this! : )
 Thank you for praying and believing with us for his healing!


August 19, 2014

Weekend Fun

Friday, Joy and I decided we needed some 'beach therapy'! We are the only ones in our family who find the beach relaxing and fun! She was so cute and determined to go that she checked the radar at all the beaches and found one that didn't have any rain coming that day. (supposedly, but this is summertime in Florida for goodness sake!) So, we drove through dark clouds and rain to get there. But we could see the sunny spot in the distance that was our destination and we were so excited. But when we finally arrived...so did the rain!!! So much for radar. We sat in our car during a monsoon and ate our lunch. When the rain slowed down, we ventured out for a walk on the pier with our umbrella and looked like total tourists. -But I'm pretty sure the tourists were the ones IN the water even though we could see lightening flashing above us.

On Saturday, Hubby and our kids and their friends all went to the One Republic concert. It was outdoors and thankfully it did not rain even though it was suppose to. Yay! (this had Hubby reminiscing about concerts he's been to at Red Rocks) The kids all thought it was the best concert they'd ever been to and Hubby loved it.

Sunday, we went to the engagement party for the lovely couple at church who got engaged on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Joy and I gave the beach another go, because well, that other trip was not too relaxing.
It was a gorgeous sunny day!!! Hooray! The only stressful part was being in the water when a group of 4-6 sting rays came our way. I moved out of the way!!!! And maybe screamed.
Joy, stood in their way and was completely still and watched them swim around her just inches away. It really was beautiful sight to watch, when I realized that our Miss Marine Biologist knew what she was doing and wasn't about to get stung. (that girl is a wealth of information on things related to the ocean) The sting rays swam by us another time and I kept my legs up and tried not to panic. I'm not sure this trip ended up ranking very high in relaxation points but we had a fun time together.

We heard from Andrew in CA last night and he's having a great time. Nathan made a beautiful video of Andrew and his friends playing guitar on top of a mountain. God's using that skill of his to help a bunch of para-church organizations and help him pay his way through school. So impressive!
He and Andrew and Andrew's best friend are going to San Diego to see my parents tomorrow! How great is that?! I'm so excited and I'm not even the one going! : )

This weekend we have a work project that our church is doing on Saturday that Hubby is in charge of. We are partnering with another ministry to help restore the home of an elderly woman in a rough area of town. So, we've been organizing this event since before the day the big 'C' word entered our lives and turned it upside down and this Saturday is finally the big day.We'll be painting, landscaping, tree trimming, mowing, dry walling and you name it... We have LOTS of volunteers thankfully. I love that our church is all about trying to make a difference in the community. It is going to be fun to see this dear woman who is not a member of our church, and doesn't live any where near it, get her needs met by the body of Christ. Because who better to do it than those trying to be like Jesus.


August 16, 2014

One of us is in CA

And what a welcome Andrew received!

I love all the love in this face! Brothers reunited! A precious sight to this mom!


August 14, 2014

An exciting week

Tuesday night some of the kids in the youth worship band had the opportunity to be apart of a wedding proposal!!!!
It was THE sweetest thing ever.
Our youth worship leader had an elaborate plan to get his girlfriend to the building after she got off a plane from a missions trip. About a hundred of us were invited to watch, while waiting in the dark for her to arrive, lest we blow the surprise.
It ended up taking longer for to arrive than anyone expected and Andrew, who was on bass and his friend on drums, ended up entertaining the crowd with some impromptu jazz. Very cool! He's gotten so good at bass even though his instrument of choice is electric guitar!
I'm pretty sure if it had taken much longer for her to arrive, all of us females in the room would have had some kind of anxiety attack, we were all sooo nervous. LOL
Since it was on a night when the band usually practices, things looked normal and then he jumped out from behind a curtain and sang her the song he wrote about her while the band played along.
(such a catchy song too!)

Then he brought her up on stage....

and proposed!!!! Ahhhh!!!!!

And she said 'yes'!!!
 It was beautiful!
The teen girls around me all said that he had really "raised the bar" as far as proposals go! And one said she wasn't going to say yes to anyone who hadn't written a song about her! Too cute!

Here is the band with the happy couple.
 (our cute guy is wearing the tie)

Such a beautiful night!

Joy is going to make these for their engagement party this weekend:

To add to the excitement, Andrew got on a plane this morning to go and visit his best friend in CA!!! What a fun way to end the summer! He also can't wait to see his brother, who we've been missing so much during this time! 

And Wednesday,

we found out that our oldest son, Zac, got accepted into the business school at Arizona State University!!!!!
He's taking advantage of The Starbucks College Achievement Plan. 
We are so proud of him! 
God truly answered his prayer to finish his college education and remain debt free. PTL!!! Amazing! 

We needed some good news around here and we got it! : ) 

August 11, 2014

Our walk/roll on the wild side

Today, Hubby had endoscopy with an ultrasound, which came complete with a miserable atmosphere in the recovery room
and a nurse with negative amounts of bedside manner.
The promised nurse to wheel my very groggy Hubby out of the hospital, never showed up.
So, I pretty much high-jacked a wheel chair and hit the road with him (our car was parked two buildings away) and acted like I knew where I was going, with Hubby, who couldn't speak, pointing out directions.

Let's hope our final bill does not also include 'one wheel chair' since today's procedure already cost what some people make in a year!

P.S. No wheel chairs were stolen in the making of this drama  ; )

August 8, 2014

Two awesome words

The doctor we saw yesterday said that he didn't have any good news for us, but I disagree!
There are plenty of reasons to rejoice over these two words:


Thank you, Jesus!  

But then he's rather 'doom and gloomish' anyway, and we are not! : )


August 7, 2014

On the lighter side

because there always is one! : )

~I told my family that I needed to have cute hair while going through the trial of my life
 and they all agreed. : )
Zac's girlfriend is now a licensed cosmetologist and has a job at the cutest salon. I had a fun time being away from all things medical for one evening!

~I'm doing the cancer fighting diet with my hubby, and have lost 5 pounds so far! He's lost 8 and looks awesome! ; )

You know that you've changed your diet when....

~You are cooking fish and it ISN"T to put inside a taco! boo hoo!
~You are planning on baking a treat and it is KALE chips!
~When you stop and stare longingly at the cheeses in the dairy section of the store!
~When you are already planning to go eat Mexican food the very minute your husband is declared cancer-free! : )


August 6, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies" ~ Ps. 103:2-4

A dear friend sent us these verses and let us know that he was praying them over us this morning. So sweet!
Tomorrow is the big day where we find out Hubby's test results and my stomach is doing flip flops everytime I think about it.

This quote is very helpful at a time like this:

"Wherever Jesus may lead us, He goes before us. If we don't know where we're going, we know with whom we go." ~Charles Spurgeon


August 4, 2014

You know that God is....

near and answering countless numbers of people's prayers when
ceases to scare the living day lights out of you!

Thanking Jesus, for the peace that passes all understanding!


August 2, 2014

The week after the 'C word' entered our lives

What an emotional week this has been!

Hubby has had so many wonderful friends calling him each day, that his throat is sore from talking, each evening.
He said one friend of his has just about planned his funeral, but the rest have been wonderful. They are praying for him and some are fasting. Some are calling him crying (and he's cheering them up!).  He is definitely feeling the love!
He feels great on his new diet which is dairy free, soy free, gluten free and sugar free and is still working. I've been scrambling to learn how to cook for him. I'm pretty sure I've been to almost every health food store in town now. I've bought a vegetable juicer, joined an organic co-op, and found a gluten free bakery. ~where I paid about a million dollars for a dozen muffins that were dairy free, gluten free and sugar free. I don't know what WAS in them, but they were tasty and I've got to figure out how to make them.

This web site: Chris beat cancer has been very helpful. And of course, lots of people are sharing info with us all the time. The Bible says that 'The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord" so I'm counting on that because how can anyone do all the research and read all the books out there?!

Today Hubby had the PT scan and we'll know the results on Thursday. He came out to the waiting room after the scan and told me that he is radioactive for 24 hours. Oh my!
He had to drink a popular sugary drink before the scan because sugar immediately goes into cancer cells. Sugar feeds the cancer. How creepy is that?! I think I'll remind myself of this often while on this cancer fighting diet with Hubby. Scary!

Some low points:
~Someone sending me info on the link between painters and cancer
~Being teased by the clerk at Walmart about going on a diet with the juicer I was buying. I just smiled and then cried all the way to the car thinking about how my hubby has cancer and how this isn't a fun diet fad

Tonight he's had the opportunity to talk to someone who had esophageal cancer 5 years ago, who went through surgery and chemo treatments and is now cancer free. It was great to talk to someone whose been there.

Feeling blessed and at peace, but totally exhausted!