Sunday, October 27, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Yikes! It’s going to get cold this week!  Tuesday night: -2.  Wednesday night the same.  Some winters we never get below zero, and this is happening in October!  Besides, it’s supposed to snow this morning, and again on Tuesday. I’ve been complaining that winter is coming early, but I didn’t guess THIS early.  Or this cold.  Yesterday was my last day to work in the yard, so I rolled up the hoses and brought in all my rakes and shovels.  Dang, I was hoping for another week or two of being outside.  We had our shortest summer ever.
         I had my biopsy on Tuesday, and it was no picnic.  The needle they put in through my back really hurt.  They couldn’t put me under because I had to take deep breaths when then told me, to get the needle in farther, as in: “Take a really big one now, because we’re going past a rib.”  I didn’t plan on being there so long, either, but they make you stay two hours after, in case your lung collapses.  That happens 30-40% of the time.  But it didn’t happen to me, so maybe my luck is improving.  Dad was a good sport and stuck with me all through it.  He really likes hospitals, as long as it isn’t him being worked on.
         Friday my oncologist called with his report.  It’s the same cancer I had in my colon, and it metastasized.  They’ll take at least two more weeks to “genetically analyze” it, whatever that means. Maybe it’s sort of like culturing a bacteria.  Then they can work up the right immunotherapy. Last night at a Halloween party I talked to a guy who has lung cancer, and they gave him immunotherapy for two years!  Funny, I never thought to ask my oncologist how long it would take. Oh, and I also found out I don’t just have the one tumor in my lung, because the biopsy doctor spilled the beans and mentioned lots of “nodules” that also lit up on the pet scan.  What fun!  I’m sorry to sound negative, but this has been a depressing week for me.
         Has anybody been wondering about the cabin? Nothing’s been done for the last two weeks or so.  Evidently they’re waiting for doors to come in.  After that, it’s paint and carpet and miscellaneous things.  I had hoped it would be ready by Thanksgiving, but I’m afraid there isn’t time.  But we can have a lot of fun here at our house, whoever wants to come.  With our big family, every get-together is fun.
         Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dear Kids,
         I’m sure everybody has heard that Paul and Stefanie are having a GIRL!!  I’m completely surprised.  I thought for sure it would be a boy, but maybe that’s because I’ve forgotten what baby girls look like.   There have been ten boys since Anna was born, and two just before her, Luke and Isaac.  So we’re in for a welcome change.  Stefanie’s due date is March 6th or 7th; Paul wasn’t sure.  Paul also told me a little bit about Oliver, Stefanie’s nephew, the son of Brian and Kelly.  He was born at 26 weeks and has been in the NICU at McKay Dee hospital ever since.  He was doing OK until he got too jumpy and accidentally pulled out his breathing tube, which, of course, he didn’t know he was doing.  They were worried that he’d gone too long without oxygen, but he pulled through.  I’m sure he could use your prayers.  I pray for him every day, along with Paul and Stefanie’s baby.  I know the Lord listens to us, even though He doesn’t always give us the answer we would choose.  But I’m sure He will bless both of these babies.
         On Tuesday afternoon I’ll be having the biopsy of my lung, and it’s a very high-tech process.  They don’t just stick a needle in where they think the tumor is.  (Although Dr. Lewis showed us how he could find it when he tapped on my back, sort of like knocking on a wall to find a stud.)  For the lung biopsy, they actually do a CT scan, so they can guide the needle into the right place.  That means I have to come an hour early and drink dye again (my third time within a month) and then I have to get into the machine.  I’m not excited.  They have to find out exactly what kind of cancer it is (lung? colon?) so they can prepare the right immuno drug.  Meanwhile, my real pain is coming from my hip, and I’m still waiting to find out what my orthopedic doctor plans to do.  Since I’ve been walking with a cane for three months now, I shouldn’t mind waiting a little longer, but it’s hard to be patient.  I also still have shingles pain in my left leg.  Whatever Heavenly Father wants me to learn from all this, I wish I could learn it and get on with my life.
         Scout just walked under my chin and dragged his magnificent tail under my nose.  The cats can’t stand to see me sitting at my computer, concentrating on anything besides themselves.  It’s snowing outside, so they’re all very friendly.  Even Tina.  Winter is definitely here early, and it’s our second snowstorm this week. There hasn’t been enough for a snowman yet (sorry, Matthew) but if we continue on at this rate, we’ll be building snowmen by Halloween.
         Love to all, Mom
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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Sonia is attacking my fingers while I’m trying to write this.  Also, she added in some of her own words, which I deleted.  I’m sure they were part of the authentic cat language, but they didn’t mean anything to me. 
         I was really glad to get my PET scan over with last Monday, and then to talk to my oncologist on Thursday.  He showed me on the scan where the “spot” in my lung lit up like a light bulb.  It’s about the size of a large grape now.   Since it’s growing so slowly, they can do immunotherapy instead of chemo.  But first they have to biopsy it to see exactly what kind of cancer it is.  Since it’s in my lung, it ought to be lung cancer, right?  Not necessarily.  It’s probably colon cancer that metastasized, which requires a different immuno drug. The biopsy will show for sure.  I could also see from the scan pictures that my hip didn’t light up at all–good news!  So why is it hurting?  My oncologist said the radiation I had last year probably thinned it out so it can’t support my weight any more.  It’s probably one of those weird side effects, like me losing half of my hair and the eyelashes on my right side, and having my fingernails hashed.  Anyway, my hip has two stress fractures, so no wonder it hurts!  I have to go back to my orthopedic doctor to deal with that, and he’ll probably give me steroid injections to lessen the pain, along with bone-strengthening meds.  If that doesn’t work, he can put in a rod.  Of course all that will take time, but I’m really glad to know what’s going on.  Thanks for all your prayers, and the prayers of your children.  I know they’re helping me. 
         We’ve had authentic winter temperatures the last few days.  Thursday night it got down to 12.  Naturally everybody’s flowers are dead!  And people around here who hadn’t blown out their sprinklers were in trouble.  The people who live in the no-account house across the street obviously didn’t blow theirs out, because Friday morning when it warmed up, they had water spraying from one of their outside pipes.  Of course they weren’t home!  Dad called the fire department and they came and shut off their water at the street.  (Francis city does NOT want people wasting water!)  The people still haven’t come home.  Maybe they’ve absconded for good.  They’re at least the third family to live there.  Some houses are just plain unlucky that way.
         I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Dear Kids,
         We really enjoyed our bread and soup dinner last night, and we missed those of you who couldn’t come.  Tom’s family was finishing Bentley’s eagle project, which is a top priority, since Bentley turns 18 on Wednesday.  Humm, our family seems to have a tradition of finishing eagle projects at the last minute.  Anyway, the supper we had was great, and afterwards, we “girls” went to the women’s session of conference at our stake center.  Then we had ice cream and brownies afterwards.  We’ll do it again in the spring, of course, when the men have their priesthood session.  I think it’s a wonderful tradition.
         And we really enjoyed the conference sessions yesterday, and we’re looking forward to the talks today.  It seems like they always tell us exactly what we need to know.  And they’re very fast about getting the talks online–it takes them less than a week now.
         Tomorrow is my PET scan, and my prep today is that I can’t eat carbs.  The scheduling lady told me only to have meats and leafy vegetables.  When I told her I couldn’t eat either of those, we settled on hard cheese.  I guess it’s low in carbs.  Thank goodness there’s Tillamook extra sharp aged white cheese, which I love.  I bought a big brick of it at Winco.  I talked to Jana McGettigan about the PET scan, since she’s had two of them.  On the first one, the cancer around her throat lit up like a Christmas tree, but on the second, nothing showed at all.  Naturally I’m hoping for nothing, but there’s the pain in my left hip that’s making me walk with my cane, still.  I’m hoping to get that cured.  And there’s the “spot” in my lung that’s growing.  (1.5 cm now.)  I’ll find out everything Thursday afternoon, when I talk to my oncologist.  Naturally I appreciate all your prayers!  I can feel the strength of them.
         Paul and Stefanie are having their ultrasound on October 16.  I’m thinking they’re going to have another boy, but maybe that’s because we’ve only had boys for the last nine years.  A girl would be wonderful!  Either way, we’re praying for a healthy baby.  It will be grandchild number 36 for us.  None of my brothers and sisters can compete with us any more.  (But I think only Monica Allen was counting.)  And the best is, Dad and I don’t have to do anything at all–just sit back and enjoy these wonderful grandchildren!  Thanks to all of you for bringing children into the world, and for raising such wonderful families.
         Love to all, Mom