Monday, August 31, 2009

walking...

Hannah and I went to Mike's rehab session this morning. Mike walked about 30 feet with a right sided walker. It was glorious to see. He can get up out of his chair with just a bit of assistance now. He was so very tired after this morning's therapy that we left him to sleep until lunchtime. He has so much spirit and drive. The therapist said the goal was to get Mike home only using a cane... What an amazing journey this has been. Thanks to all of you who visited yesterday. Mike had a great day eating and sharing Bonnie's delicious cookies, visiting with friends and family, and going on a "field trip" with Hannah and I last night. We thought it might be nice to get him out and about... We now know parts of the hospital that we didn't know existed a week ago! Your concern and prayers continue to buoy us up.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

busy, busy, busy

Sorry for no post yesterday... We seem to be catching ourselves coming and going. The move to the rehab floor has been amazing. We are so appreciative of the the training of the physical therapists and the nurses there. Mike has learned a lot of "new tricks." This left sided paralysis is a huge challenge, but Mike has made great strides. He is now able to sit up by himself from a lying down position and stand vertical with a bit of help. On the former floor, it took 4 people to get him up out of bed. He can easily do it now with one assistant. He is walking between the parallel bars and is doing much better with coordination. Last night as Hannah and I rubbed his left leg and foot, he felt the pins and needle sensation. If I could have done a back flip I would have... a small cheer (no pom poms) was done however :)

Tyler is visiting with Mike now and I will go after lunch. If anyone would like to make a short visit today, Mike would love to see you. I don't think he has any therapy this afternoon. We plan on having a great day and hope you will do the same.

Friday, August 28, 2009

One Step Closer to the Door

Dad moved to the rehabilitation floor late this evening. It looks like they are going to keep him pretty busy. His schedule will consist of getting dressed in the morning, eating his meals on his own in the dinning room with everyone else, 1.5 hours of rehab in the morning, and another 1.5 hours in the afternoon, shower time, and back to bed. For those of you who would like to visit the time to do so is very limited. He will have some time between 6 and 8. He is sharing a room at the moment so the number of people that can come at once should be 2 at the most and visits need to be limited to 10 minutes. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Hannah

Up on his feet...

The progress is going to be slow with the rehabilitation of Mike's left side. Seeing him work so hard in his therapy today was heartbreaking for me, but the therapists are pleased with the progress. It was wonderful having my kids with me today. They surely take away some of the burden. During therapy, Mike did get vertical between the parallel bars. The kids are with him at the hospital now and I opted to take a rest. He is being transferred to 4 East tonight sometime. We have loved the oncology floor. The nursing care there is outstanding! We will see progress each day... I just know it. Thanks to those who visited today. Mike will be having at least 3 hours of therapy a day from now on. Anyone wanting to visit might try calling my cell phone or Mike's room phone to make sure he or I will be there.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Progress

We all had a long day today, but great progress was made. Mike is the favorite of the physical therapists! He is working so hard to get his left side functional again. He did regain some sensation in his left leg today. He also was able to use his left hand in gripping things. He was very, very tired after the session and slept a good while. When he woke up for dinner he told us that the sleep felt so amazingly great. He ate well and was back asleep in a very short time. We are hoping he can be moved to the rehab unit tomorrow. Mike is ready to get to work! We feel so blessed that we could see progress today. We are taking baby steps right now and are so very grateful for small miracles.
Mike had a rather restless night. He was very sad to hear the news of Senator Kennedy... The doctors have been in this morning and were delighted to see that he has been working with his left arm and leg and already has more mobility. They are going to try giving him more medication tonight that will relax him and allow him to sleep. He is anxious for the physical therapists to work with him today. He was moved to the oncology floor last evening, but will probably move again tomorrow to the rehab unit. We are doing well. Our dinner last night was delightful... thanks so much K for the service. We appreciate all that everyone is doing for us. We have the best friends and family on earth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The morning after...

Hannah and I just returned from the hospital after a morning visit. Mike was sleeping soundly when we left. He is doing very well considering all of the probing they did in his brain. All of the radiation necrosis was removed. What was thought to be tumor, was actually necrosis, which is very good news! He does have some considerable left sided weakness as a result of the surgery which will require some physical therapy. They will start the therapy today. Right now there are no rooms available in the oncology unit, so he will wait for a time in the ICU. We feel that the oncology unit is the best place for him right now... We hear the nurses there are STELLAR! Mike is anxious to get the therapy started. He is already doing what he can to lift his left leg and move his right hand and arm. He is happy and alert and has certainly not lost any thinking functions! The hospital stay will probably be a bit longer this time because of the therapy.

We are so grateful to a loving Father in Heaven who has again watched over us and blessed us during this time. We have new determination to do what has to be done. "Thank you" surely isn't adequate for the gratitude we feel to all of you for your prayers and support. We will continue to make this a positive journey...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quick Update

Dad had his surgery this morning. It went well. He got into surgery a little late but everything else went according to plan. They were able to remove what they intended to remove and get a look at what was left. Dad was awake and alert after surgery and is spending the night in the ICU. He is experiencing far less pain than last time, which is a relief to us all.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers today. It has been a long day of waiting for us all.

Hannah

Tuesday Is Here

This morning I am up early to get a few things done before surgery and being isolated for a few days at the hospital. I slept well and feel good. We are ready for this next step in the journey. We completely trust the Lord and His plan. We appreciate your love and great support.

Your friendship, close association with us, and our wonderful experiences together are the richness which brings great joy to our lives. I love you and express my gratitude for all that your do which is good in the world. We must all continue to develop our faith and love of Jesus Christ, my personal Savior and the Savior of the World. with great LOVE, MIKE

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ready for tomorrow...

We are getting ready for the day tomorrow. We have great hope that this surgery will be Mike's last for a while. He is feeling well today. We are fixing a big dinner since Mike won't be able to eat after midnight tonight. Tyler, Kim and the grand babies are coming over this evening. Andy and Hannah will be here too. Mike will get a special blessing tonight at the hands of Tyler and our home teacher... We know our Heavenly Father is aware of us and is guiding us through this time. Thank you in advance for your prayers in our behalf. Someone will post tomorrow when the surgery is over and Mike is resting comfortably.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sabbath Schedule

We love Sundays with the opportunity to worship the Savior, Jesus Christ, with so many of our friends. We will have a good lunch and an opportunity to visit with family today. Nancy's mother lost her last surviving sibling on Friday, so we'll try to provide some support there today.

There was a lot accomplished this past week and we will be busy tomorrow preparing for my surgery on Tusday morning and hospitalization this week. We appreciate your continued faith and prayers. We assure you that we are confident in the medical recommendations and have complete faith in our Heavenly Father's plan.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Accomplishments...

Today we got our guest bedroom painted. We have been going to remove the wallpaper and paint since we moved here, but were so tired of removing wallpaper at the time of the renovation, that we left that room. It feels so good to have it done! Mike also was able to fix our coat rack in the garage and get some mission stuff done. We feel good about the day.

Mike still hasn't felt the big fatigue that we were told would happen after the big radiation. He is just an amazing man. I stand in awe at what he can accomplish with all that is going on in his head! I gave that beautiful bald head another little haircut today. I love using electric clippers. I am not sure why everyone doesn't have bald heads... so easy!

We have a few more things to accomplish before tomorrow. We must get to it...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today has been such a lovely day. We were able to open up the house and let the cool breeze blow through it. Mike was able to work a few hours this morning and a few this afternoon. He also tells me that he has some work to do tomorrow! Sounds like Mike's old schedule :)

We had some sad news today. My uncle passed away earlier today. He was my mother's only living sibling. Our hearts go out to his family. We know he is now in a place where his body doesn't hurt and he is seeing loved ones who have been waiting for him for a long time.

We have had some amazing friends in our home today and they have helped remove wallpaper from our guest bedroom. I am going to be busy with my paint brush tomorrow. We will have a new bed delivered this coming week for our room and put our bed in the guest room. Sounds like we are getting ready for visitors! It is so wonderful to be accomplishing some projects. It helps to have an interior designer in the house at the present time!

We again thank our Heavenly Father for wonderful friends and family. Please pray with us for the family of my uncle that all of us will feel the peace that passeth all understanding.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Smiles

Dad strutted out of his treatment this afternoon with a big smile on his face and plenty of energy. There is perhaps no better sight then seeing him walk out of there with such a spring in his step and grin on his face. He was so full of energy that he and my mom walked home from the cancer center. Once they got home he walked on down to his mom's house. Dad is feeling good. We are feeling optimistic.

Ready for Thursday

We began preparations for Thusday's extreme radiation treatment last evening with increases in steroid dosages. This steroid is precautionary for the heavy radiation dose which will be administered this afternoon to control swelling. They do build up in the system, but last evening was unexpectedly restful until after the 3:00 am dose when the mind said it was getting up. We will work on some more rest today and preparation for the treatment.

We are full of great faith and optomism that this will allow a very positive outcome next week during the surgery to remove some that wouldn't have been possible without it. We do know that God is directing our medical professionals towards this path and we pray for them daily. They are absolutely wonderful and being directed for our good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A change in plans

We visited the doc again this morning... After the last MRI, which was done for mapping the radiation therapy, (Thursday) it looks like what may have been a tumor is radiation necrosis (dead tissue.) We have a surgery scheduled on Tuesday to remove that necrosis. Mike will still have radiation of the larger, inoperable tumor either tomorrow or Thursday. There is the hope that the tumor, once radiated will shrink and detach itself and be removable at the time of the Tuesday surgery. We feel that this is good news and a very proactive step in our journey.

We would appreciate your prayers to to help get us through these next several days. Hannah is staying for a bit longer... What would we do without wonderful children?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The week ahead

We have had a very quiet day. We went to church where great lessons were taught. Mike slept for quite a while this afternoon and is now up and working at his computer. Hannah and I both got a few winks this afternoon and are both feeling refreshed.

We don't know exactly what the new week will bring, but we do know we are pushing onward with faith. The radiation will be sometime at the beginning of the week. We will post more about that when we know more.

Hope everyone has a great week. Let's make the most of every moment!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Last night's gathering was so much fun. Thanks to Hannah for doing most of the cooking. We are grateful for friends and other family members who helped out.

We adore Andy's friends and know why he is so fond of each of them. It was so great to have people in our home after 3 mos. of not entertaining.

Tyler and his family came a bit early, so Poppy and Will had some private time to watch a few videos. What amazing therapy for Mike the grandbabies are.

We consider all of you our great friends and consider ourselves the most fortunate people in the world to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Andy…On Friendship

“You can tell a great deal about a man by the company he keeps.” This proverb may be somewhat clich├ęd, but it certainly contains a good measure of truth. Mom and Dad have asked to meet several of my friends this evening. I wish it were feasible to flood their home with 100+ guests. I think they would like to place some faces with the many names I speak of regularly. I believe they also see an opportunity to learn a little something about me through the company that I keep (I hope they don’t learn too much!).

I make friends rather easily. Judging from experience and the many comments on this blog, this is a trait I have inherited from my parents. I am extremely grateful for this inheritance. There is little that is more significant in our lives than shared experiences with friends and family. I have come to realize that it is easy, natural even, to be someone’s “Good Time Buddy”. I have had the pleasure of knowing many who are well schooled in the art of having a good time. We all seek out persons who help us enjoy our time here, and those friendships and acquaintances are to be appreciated and cherished. There are those, however, that are there when you really need them. Sometimes, without even being aware, they are lifting your spirits when you are down. This is the “Tough Time Crew”. As was written above, I wish the whole crew could be with us tonight. You’ll be there in spirit and in our thoughts and hearts…just as you always are.

AE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The fitting

Mike had another MRI this morning and then went to the radiation oncology unit to have another mask made to fit not only his head, but his shoulders. We had a bit of an anxious night as we anticipated today's procedures. Mike is such a trooper. He just does what has to be done. Today it was so wonderful to see him emerge through the doors into the waiting area of the cancer center. He looked so great in his bright red shirt with his smile that went all the way around and buttoned in back! It was obvious he was happy that things were finished for today.

We were able to visit and compare notes with our friends who are going through similar trials. We all agreed that we are in the fight together. We pray for each other.

Mike is planning on an afternoon of work. We are so grateful today's procedures are over. We are continually amazed at the way our lives are being blessed every with step. Thanks for your prayers in our behalf.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rainbows...

In Albuquerque there is almost always a rainbow when it rains. It rained here last night and I caught myself looking to the east for a rainbow against the mountains. There wasn't a rainbow (or mountains for that matter). I think for the last few week's it has been raining at my parents house and they haven't had the sunshine to see the rainbows. Yesterday after dad's surgery the rainbows came back (perhaps there is some sort of reflection off of the gold beads). We had a good afternoon yesterday, and have had a good morning this morning.

Dad went to work this morning after eating organic cinnamon rolls, which are so good he didn't even miss not having frosting. Mom and I got up, ate cinnamon rolls, and walked down to Nana's for banana bread and a good visit.

The kind gestures of family and friends over the past few days have brought the rainbows back to my parents house. We again have things to look forward to doing, and are again ready to combat rainy days with sunshine. Thank you for all of your sunshine... Keep it coming.

Hannah

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Gold Beads...

Mike is home and ready to eat after not having food since last night. A bison burger is on the way. The procedure went very quickly and smoothly this a.m. We left the hospital with Mike walking to the car. Today's difficulty will be trying to keep Mike from working :)

After speaking with the radiation oncologist this morning, we know the radiation treatment is definitely the direction we need to take at this point. The doctors are very hopeful that this treatment will shrink the tumors and Mike will be back in the saddle very soon after the radiation. On Thursday he will have an MRI with a physicist present and Mike will then be fitted for another mask (this one will cover his head and shoulders.) The exacting of the treatment will be figured out and then the actual radiation will take place at the beginning of next week.

Yesterday Mike received a "prayer shawl" which was specifically made for him. It is beautiful and a beautiful sentiment. The note with the shawl said "Shawls...made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusivee, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles..." It is with extreme gratitude that we accept this gift.

We also were participant in a healing meditation with some good friends yesterday. our positive energy was directed at Mike. We were deeply touched by the sentiment of our friends who initiated this exercise with us.

Our optimism is in place. Again you have lifted our arms when they have hung low. We are walking by faith at this point. We will face the next hurdle when it comes. God is good. Thank you for your prayers and concerns.

This morning I read these words to the hymn, "Master the Tempest is Raging"...
Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o-er shadowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep?
When each moment so madly is threatning A grave in the angry deep?
Master, with anguish of spirit, I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish sweep o'er my sinking soul,
And I perish, I perish, dear Master. Oh, hasten and take control!
Master, the torrent is over. The elements sweetly rest.
Earth's sun in the calm lake is mirrored, and heaven's with in my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor and rest on the peaceful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: PEACE BE STILL.
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea, or demons or men or whatever it be, No waters can swallow the ship where lies The Master of ocean and earth and sky. They all shall sweetly obey thy will: PEACE BE STILL, peace be still. They all shall sweetly obey thy will, PEACE, PEACE BE STILL.

We are being peacefully still, trusting in the will of our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We are ready to fight!

We are starting a new week. The troops are rallying. (Hannah is traveling from the airport as I write.) We are ready for the little surgery Mike will have on Tuesday and we are ready to radiate those tumors with all we can give them! Mike has a lot to do... and by radiating the tumors he is going to get things done!

Our good friends from Florida stopped by today and will stop by again tomorrow. It was wonderful seeing them and sharing experiences. Mike went to a meeting tonight but wants to be texted when Hannah arrives so he can come home. I even made chocolate chip cookies today... That's a first in 3 months!

We hope you will rally with us this week and pray for a great outcome from this treatment. Your prayers have strengthened us beyond imagination. We are not finished...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We are home from a trip to the lake with some of our friends. It was good to be away from home for a day and night... Mike got to see beautiful Camp Crosley from the water as we boated around the lake. He was pleased to see the new deck which had been built there. We have such great memories of Camp Crosley. From the water we couldn't see the day lillies or the hostas that we helped plant last year, but I am sure they are lovely this year.

Mike slept almost the entire way home this evening. It was nice for me to drive and think with him at my side snoring ever so slightly. We are both tired from the trip, but look forward to the Sabbath day tomorrow. Know of our deep and abiding love for all of you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mike spoke in his Rotary Meeting this morning and did a very nice job. He told his cancer story along with speaking about some Rotary projects which he has a passion for in Africa and Mexico. The talk was about adversity.

We hope for a bit of a reprieve from stress and worry this week end. We are all doing well. Hannah is coming home on Sunday. We are looking forward to spending time with her.

Again, the outpouring of your love and support is very humbling and overwhelming. I am thinking there are some thank you notes that I have not sent out... Do you all know how grateful we are for your amazing help and support? I sure hope so. God bless each of you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We met with the doctor this a.m. We have decided to go ahead with the radiation treatment. Mike will have an outpatient type surgery on Tuesday to have some gold markers placed in his skull. He should be out of the hospital after a few hours of observation. Probably within the week he will recieve a dose of radiation that will be 25x the amount of radiation he had in one treatment. That radiation will specifically target the two tumors. The radiation is a one shot deal. The side effects of this are minimal compared to another radical surgery. Surgery in fact is not an option since both tumors cannot be taken out. We are hopeful that this treatment will help Mike's well being. Mike and I both need a good night's sleep tonight and everything will look better in the morning.

A Rough NIght, but a new day

Last night was a bit rough. I guess just knowing that there are new "spots" in my brain made my head ache and i had trouble laying down. I took Tylenol through the night, but it didn't help me rest much. Nancy was also up and down a lot last night and didn't rest. We hope for some relief today and some rest. We will post after the doctor's appointment, and hope for a positive report as to the treatment options. One is not operable and will likely just be treated with radiation. We will continue to trust God's plan for us and we understand that we have more to learn from this experience. We will keep the faith and endure His path for us.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dear friends... The MRI results were not what we had hoped for. There are 2 more lesions inside Mike's brain that withstood the radiation and chemotherapy. I talked with the doctor today and he told me about some options... We will meet with him in the morning to determine what to do. I KNOW we are being cradled in God's arms. He knows what is best for our lives. Please pray that we will make the best decisions. Thank you all for your great love. The days ahead are going to be difficult, but with your strength coupled with ours we will be triumphant. Love to you all, Nancy
Just to let you all know, I called the doctor this morning and of course he was out, but I was told that he had reviewed Mike's test and would call me back this afternoon when he returns. Luckily, I had a friend here with me to give me the strength I needed to make the call. At least today we should know something. Thanks to everyone for your kind, sweet, generous thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I know many of you are anxious for a new post... Mike hasn't felt well for the last several days. We have heard nothing about the MRI... I am too nervous to call. I am going with "no news is good news." I have thought up all kinds of rationalizations as to why Mike is having headaches. The truth is, we just don't know. I hope I have hit my low point and am heading back up. Discouragement is a terrible thing. We have faith that a loving Heavenly Father knows us and knows our hearts and knows what we can handle. I posted earlier that we need to replace fear with faith. I'm trying. I don't see my counselor for another week... He is on vacation. YIKES! I have his number... Bob would call :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

This past week end was difficult for us. Mike continued to have headaches. He slept a lot and we both worried. This morning is bright and clear and we have new hope for the new week. We are anxious to hear from the doctor about the MRI results. We trust that we will be able to take the next step with faith.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

MRI complete & ready for the next step

The MRI was completed this afternoon. If you haven't had this experience, it can be a bit uncomfortable. You lay in a tube just the width of your shoulders with a guard over your head for about 20 minutes with a loud noise all around you. They do put some headphones on you to try to distract you from the tight space and loud noise. This is my 3rd one in the last 3 months, so I knew what to expect.

I don't know what to expect from the report next week, however. Though this is a precautionary MRI to see how I fared with the surgery recovery, radiation and chemo therapiess, one just never knows what is lingering up there. We are confident and trust in the Lord's plan for us. We will patiently wait for the results and take the next step in this journey, whatever it may be. We will faithfully pursue our life's mission and continue to make good decisions on eating, rest, and wellness. Our life is in the hands of the Master and we will follow what path is mapped for us.