My blog is a way for me to share in the wonder of each day. I know there are others like me that due to medical issues have our days numbered and would like to make the most of them in a positive and gifting way for ourselves and for those around us.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Next update on Son, etc.

Yep it happened. He hoped he wouldn't be one of the many, but of course he was. David began to lose patches of his hair last weekend so he shaved it all off. He has taken it pretty well, but he is worried that he may lose his beginning goatee. You can see it a little in the photo below. At least he can still smile.
3 weeks into chemo and he lost his hair.

Last week he had a pretty good week and felt well enough to get out and do a few things. I took him to Pueblo last week to visit some family and he had a great time and had a chance to reconnect since he's been away from my home for the last 2 1/2 years due to my own medical issues. He was tired but happy.

Another day I took him to the park after we picked up his 'cousin', actually my best friends daughter. They have known each other since they were babies and she went camping with us and even lived with me awhile when her mama had an unexpexcted situation to deal with. We took Myrtle with us as we walked around the lake and visited.

The Ivy in my front yard covers the fence and the evergreen bush

David went up to Denver on Tuesday to begin his second round of biochemotherapy. The first day always hits him the hardest and makes him sick. Then the meds they give him for his stomach also puts him to sleep so he can rest.

Morning glory flower in my front yard

I went to Denver on Tuesday a.m. to visit with David and sit with him during the day. I happened to catch the Doctor in the hallway and asked about David and he said he was doing well for what he is going through with the treatments.

I guess I am such a realist I had a need to hear it again. I asked about the 10% chance of survival statistic he gave us last time and asked if David's general health and youth would positively affect those percentages. He basically said no, but that he will know more when they do the PET scan in a few weeks.

Flowers hold such promise and beauty

I thought I always tried to teach my children to have faith in God in all things and to seek his guidance, but I now think my daughter has more faith than I do. She is stubornly faithful to think positive and look for that miracle. You would think that my faith would be doubled after all the miracles I've had to still be alive. Truthfully I question it all at times (don't worry, my faith is still there) but my son needs for us to have faith so that he can have it and be positive and hopeful for his own wellbeing.

The last little strand of my faith always produces a beautiful flower

Well, anyway, he was much more alert yesterday and talked some. His foster sister, that I practically raised and had guardianship of, came up with me so they got to see each other which was good for both of them. My sister Brenda is coming to town late next week, so hopefully we will be able to get a family gathering together. David is interested in coming too and I'm sure eveyone will be very happy to see him.

Then shortly after that David's birth brother and his adoptive mother are coming out to visit with David. I think that will be a good thing for him also. He has asked about his birth mother and father but they are out of reach at this time.

In case you are wondering about all the pictures of flowers, etc. my front yard still has some life to it since all of the rains lately. I have alot of beautiful ivy that has just about taken over my side fence and is almost smothering the front evergreen bush. I love it though and the ivy turns a beautiful burnt red in the fall and contrasts just right on the dark green bushes. I'll try to put a picture of it on my blog this fall.

The Morning Glory flower is my dad's favorite flower and it's one of mine too. The glory of a sunrise always unwraps the tightly twisted bloom and it reaches upward all day long. It is a vining climber and reaches upward like we need to every day!
All the other colorful flowers I see are showing off and hoping we'll stop our busy day to notice, just for a moment, and to reflect on our hearts and God's wonder.

The vining flower represents just how I have felt in all the times of my life when I felt the lowest. The thick braid of my faith in youth, being tested sorely, has many times been worn down to just one tiny thread. But, somehow, that thread has been tougher and more resilient than any man made cable and it has always brought me through. Pretty soon the seeds of faith begin anew and blooms again. I think that is pretty much the story of my life and I'm sticking to it.

Enjoy your gifted day and remember who gave it to you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No pictures today. Today is one of my contemplative days and sometimes pictures in our mind are more poignant that any photos or drawings. So here is my little piece of thinking about life. You know, my favorite subject.

Life is a growing thing. Sometimes it grows well like new sown grass, all fresh and soft and full of promise. Sometimes it matures and get's stronger and darker green showing it's wellness and strength.
Sometimes weeds begin to grow and try to suffocate the grass and if it is not tended, the grass gets weak. If it is burnt too long in the sun, without water, it becomes brown and eventually dies.
If it is watered in time, even thin, brown grass can be resusitated and become strong again. Eventually though, even strong grass withers and dies during the winter.
Then new baby grass comes up through the cold, ground. It is protectected by the leavings of the old dead grass, which helps to hold in the moisture and hold off the heat so it can grow and prosper.
This is so much like our lives. We start off young and usually healthy, full of zest and promise. If we are nurtured as children, then we become strong, knowledgeable adults, able to withstand much of what the world can throw at us.
As long as we continue to grow and use what we have with wisdom we stay strong, even in adversity. We raise our young and teach them and protect them as we were raised.
If we get caught up in life and ignore the signs of trouble or weeds, whether financial, family matters, selfishness, or whatever, then we become strangled with our lives and our stress and we become weak.
If help arrives or we turn our minds to what is important in life and we begin to be nurtured and cared for again, many times we can become strong and prosper again.
Eventually we, each at different stages of our lives do face adversity and heavy burdens and then finally death. By then, we hope that we have left ourselves inbedded in our childrens lives so that they also can grow and prosper as they stand strong in the sun and wind and rain of life.
We have all had adversity and many have dealt with health issues for themselves or family members. I am so happy with how I have come back from the withered and brown stages of life more than once, only to grow and stand for another season.
My faith has brought me through some very tough times, even when all else seemed lost. But knowing in my mind that there is something so much stronger than I who is very interested and caring about my life, then it makes all things possible. I am not here to give up and I sure do think that being available to other's in "sickness and health" (both ways) is what keeps me keeping on and liking it!!
My son is now facing one of those brown seasons of famine as he goes through the chemotherapy for his melanoma cancer. I am hoping he will be sufficient in strength and hope, to live through this difficult time in his life.
Maybe my longivity is needed to help support my family through this time. Although I have to admit that I have thought selfishly that if things had been different, then I wouldn't have to face this too. But, that was a very fleeting thought and I am going to be busy helping my daughter and my son deal with the realities of this life we live and celebrate the joys of each day we have together.
Maybe by next spring my son will also be starting fresh with new wisdom about life. Maybe he will have a new outlook and new goals to look forward to and family to lean on and to love.
We all need a time in our lives to look at what's important and necessary and then what most makes each of us happy in life. Mine is my family, all extended and my friends that have also shared and cared through the tough times.
My goal is still to gift myself to them and to recieve the gifts they offer me of themselves as well.
Now, what's new with you??

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A fun get to know me day!

For my latest update on my son David, please scroll down to my latest previous blog.

For today I wanted to do something fun and positive. My sister, Brenda did this and I decided to follow suit. Just as she posted, if you decide to do this on your blog, let me know so I can see yours too. To check her's out click here.

What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? Zest - his, Dove - hers, and liquid body soap
Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? Ate it all already
What would you change about your living room? Nothing, got it just the way I want it except for nice curtains
Are the dishes in your dishwaser clean or dirty? clean
What is in your fridge? you name it, just don't look too closely
White or wheat bread? White, medical reasons believe it or not.
What is on the top of your refrigerator? A fake plant but look what's on front....

What color or design is on your shower curtain? We don't have one, just a glass shower door
How many plants are in your home? 9 live ones and 2 or 3 fake ones
Is your bed made right now? yes but not for long
Comet or soft scrub? Comet
Your closet organized? semi organized, short sleeved, then medium sleeved, pants together, etc. Just don't look at the shoes on the floor (thanks to Myrtle our dog)
Can you describe your flash light? clear blue with wide round lighting area and red flashing dot to find it in the dark.
Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Now that kids are grown, glass only. I deserve it.
Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? No
If you have a garage, is it cluttered? Of course, isn't yours?
Curtains or blinds? Some of each
How many pillows do you sleep with? Count for yourself....

Do you sleep with any lights on at night? no

How often do you vacumn? I don't, my husband does it for me. Too strenuous.
Standard toothbrush or electric? standard
What color is your toothbrush? purple and white
Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? yes, 2 of them
What is in your oven right now? Do you really want to know?
Is there anything under your bed? Dust bunnies and etc.
Chore you hate doing the most? Dishes
What retro items are in your home? What's that? actually sounds like a colorful disco but I have a little of everything, antique, new and inbetween.
Do you have a seperate room that you use as an office? yes and a pantry, a sewing room, a craft room, a photocollecting room, and file cabinet room and a dust gathering room. It's called multifunctional.
How many mirrors are in your home? Aproximately 7
Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? Don't tell my grandchildren....

What color are your walls? wheat color in livingroom and dining room, cranberry in bathroom (looks great), and my own splash design with lavender, rose and cream (looks like wallpaper), spring lime green in guest room

Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Don't mess with me baby....
What does your home smell like right now? on a humid or wet day? wet dog. Right now, cranberry and vanilla to cover up the wet dog smell since it's been raining for 2 days.
Candle scent? anything berry smell
What kind of pickles (if any) in your fridge? dill slices and dill relish
What color is your favorite Bible? which part? canvas zip cover is blue, print is black or red, pages are white.
Ever been on your roof? yes
Do you own a stereo? How about a big boom box
How many house phones? 3
Do you have a house keeper? used to but can't afford it. Now it's just us
What style do you decorate in? I like modernized country or western as long as it's homey. Don't like ultra modern
Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? solids
Is there a smoke detector in your home? 8 or 9
What are the items in your house which you'd grab if you only could make one quick trip? Just our big baby....

Whew, that's definitely enough about me, how about you?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Son's Update

I know I left things hanging last week concerning my son David. Things have been busy since then so will try to catch up. By the way, we so much appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers for him. It's all in God's hands right now and all we can do is try to be there for my son.
He went through the first week of Biochemotherapy as well as and even better than expected. He basically slept through the whole week and doesn't remember much of anything. That is good because he didn't have to go through all the stomach uphevals and other irritations the treatments cause.
David was released from the hospital on Saturday and stayed in Denver until Tuesday recuperating. He was then moved to another location in Colorado Springs which is quite close to all of us and makes it handy to see him. Even though he has been in legal trouble and is being cared for in a group home of sorts, he is there now mostly to continue with insurance so he can get the care he needs. Being 18 he would have no insurance of his own.

Today I picked him up and we met Amber and the kids at the park. We had a nice time and visited and played with the kids on the swings and slides. David got tired easy but we sat and looked through his childhood photobooks and nibbled on donuts.
David pushing his nephew Ethan on the swing
Afterwards we went to the movies and watched Dark Knight (batman) and he really enjoyed that. It's a good thing I replaced my O2 tank just before going in because that thing lasted 3 hours. I was on my last whiffs of O2 by the time we got to the car.
Ethan beats David down the slide

We went to his favorite, Taco Bell, afterwards and he actually got some food down. Since the chemo, he can't stand to eat much and his stomach hurts alot of the time. He has lost weight and looks like he's just getting over a bad case of the flu.

David and sister Amber

He is trying to be brave and I hope he will be up to the next round of treatments. I know he has almost given up a few times already and has considered not going on with the treatments. We are trying hard to encourage him to keep on keeping on. Since he is 18 he is trying to establish himself as an adult and making his own decisions and this illness is taking some of that away so he sometimes feels the need to state things (like not continuing with the chemo) to prove he is the one in charge of his life.

Mariah and Grandma (me) swinging (O2s dangling)

Please keep him and his fledgling adult ego and his emotional state of mind in your prayers so that he can be strong enough to endure what is nesessary to save his life. Thank you so much from one mother to the many and father's also.

Sister and brother doing a balancing act

Life around children reminds us that things don't always have to be so serious. Each day should include at least a little fun, just like we did today. Take care and look for the good in each day. My goal is still and will always be to gift myself and my days to those around me that I love the most. How about you?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Son's Diagnosis

This is my son. He is 18 and doing well in other aspects of his life. But..on Monday, Aug 4, 2008 (the day I took the following pictures) we were all told that he has stage 4 melanoma in his neck, in several lymph nodes on his neck and in his left lung. He was given 10% chance of survival (based on infants thru 80 yrs with same cancer) and 8-12 months to live if the treatments do not work.
David is 18 and need lots of prayer
They started treatment on Tuesday with 3 kinds of biochemotherapy, the most aggressive treatment available. He is still in Denver University Hospital until Saturday for the Chemo.
My daughter Amber and little brother David.

After this week of chemo, he will have 2 weeks to recuperate and then will begin another week of treatments followed by 2 to recuperate again.

Me and my youngest son at lunch on Monday.

After the first 6 weeks they will do another PET scan of his whole body to see if the cancer is getting smaller. If it is doing the job, then he will get 2 more rounds of chemo like the first 2. If only a tiny spot is remaining he may get a 5th round, otherwise they usually stop at 4 due to the damage the chemo does to the body.

Just a little fun before reality totally sinks in.

We will continue to be positive and support him as much as we can. He has had some troubles growing up but has alot to look forward to and a little baby to be a daddy to. He is good with kids and loves to play with them. I am praying that he will get the chance to try out those new more grown up attitudes and behaviors and become the good man that he is made to be.

Amber with David and his little nephew Evan.

I will try to update as we go but it's going to be a difficult time. Thank you all for your encouragement. My daughter, Amber has a cool blog and would enjoy it if anyone were to visit her site. She also has a second site for photos that she likes to take and post. We'll call it Amber's photos. She is a good big sister and loves David dearly.

As a change of subject I'll tell you about our adventures on Wednesday. My husband and I, along with Myrtle our bulldog) went fishing on the Pueblo Resevoir in our little alluminum fishing boat. It was hot and sunny but I took an umbrella to keep Myrtle cool. We fished by some tall dead trees in the middle of the lake and didn't catch but one little perch. Then our outboard motor died and wouldn't start for anything. We have a little electric trolling motor but that's not great for getting anywhere very fast.

My dad and some grandkids were out in his boat pulling a water innertube behind. What fun. We needed to reach them but I forgot my cell phone at home and my husbands phone had a low battery. We called them and left a message but had to turn off the phone between calls to conserve the battery. Eventually after a few missed passes, they found us and we all started back to the dock. Just then a large storm came over us with lightning to boot. Since we were all out in 2 alluminum boats we headed for the nearest shore.

What a fiasco that was. The kids clambered up a large tree trunk leaning against the cliffs and got up the gully fairly easily. Not me of course. With an oxygen tank hanging on my back and knees and feet that don't work exactly right and hurt alot, it was extremely difficult for me. I used to scramble over rocks, balance over logs, climb trees, etc. before my illness, but now I feel so helpless and was very nervous. Getting the bulldog out of the boat was great fun also. My husband found a better spot to tie up for him and the dog.

Seven of us and one dog huddled for over 2 hours while the sky opened up and dumped on us. We were all in shorts, sleeveles shirts and sandals. The boys were shirtless and wet swimming trunks. We shivered in the heavy and constant thunder and lightning until Rick remembered we had a small tarp in the boat. That helped hold in our body heat and kept the water off of us. poor Myrtle leaned into my lap and I covered her ears when the thunder roared. One lightning bolt hit just above us over the gully ridge where we huddled. We all jumped sky high on that one.

Finally the storm lifted and we got into the larger boat and towed our little one. My husband rode it (after bailing a bunch of water out of it) to steer. We later heard that the storm dumped 2 1/2 inches in some places and 4 inches over some places at the resevoir. I think we got the 4 cause we all were sqeaky clean after that downpour. What an adventure. I'm just glad I had extra O2's with me and no one got hurt.

Basically the trip was a bust. No fish. Motor dies. Storm holds us down for 2 hours huddled under a tarp. Made it home before dark anyway. Better luck next time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Whopper

I am enjoying going fishing with my husband and Dad. Yesterday we headed to Pueblo again for some night fishing. We got there early, about 4:30pm and got set up. It has been baking hot in Pueblo every day in the 100's - 103 range but we were lucky that some clouds came over most of the evening and beat off the sun.
Is this my whopper? No just a nice bluegill.
THIS is my whopper. A 15" small mouth bass. About 2 1/2 lb

Just as the sun went down, this bass was trolling along the shallows and grabbed my bait about 5' from shore. I had just thrown out both of my poles with bobbers on them and I had a pole in each hand when it grabbed and ran. My husband took the other pole, thank goodness, or it might have taken my pole with it. When I played it on up to the edge of the shore, my Dad grabbed it for me. I was afraid it would lose the hook but no chance cause it was caught good.

My dad and husband each caught alot of the bluegills and perch so we had plenty. We stayed on until almost 12:30am but no more luck after the big one. We had a great time just relaxing and talking under the lanterns they set up. We were lucky that there were no mesquitos bothering us too, which made it so much more comfortable to stay out.

Well, my cousin left today but she will be back next month since she plans on moving here. She is a smiley happy person so it was nice to see her again. She helped me so much each time I got out of the hospital and needed someone to stay with me and drive me to doctors and to physical therapy. It takes special people to drop their lives for a while just to help someone else.

My sweet cousin

This week was, even with the bad news about my 18 year old son (see previous post), good because I have all of the people in the world that I love the most around me. Either in town or in nearby towns where we can get together often. Last weekend my brother and wife came up and we all played marbles (aggrivation) on the large marble board I made last year. We played almost 2 1/2 hours on one game. We killed each other off and sent them back to base so often that we thought the game would never end. It sure was fun though as we laughed and snacked and teased each other incessantly.

My now 7yr old granddaughter loves pretty summer dresses.

My now 4 yr old grandson loves to play with and be teased by Grandpa!
I am not looking forward to tomorrow but it has to be done. (See previous post). Going to hear the verdict on your son's life isn't fun but I think that positive things can come out of this so that's going to be my focus.

God does care and we can lean on that! Happy days to you all.