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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Come Soon!

The wind whistles bitter around doors and windows shut tight.  Winter has a grip that just won't let go!

Hands and Feet are frozen and longing for a thaw... surely the warm breezes and sun-drenched beauties of spring are not far around the bend.



"She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    Winter is dead."
                       ~ A.A. Milne

Spring Come Soon!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

One Small Mis-Step....One Big Disruption

The job was completed.  All that was left was clean-up. 

Farmer Husband was almost ready to head home.

And then the cuff of his pants caught on a pallet while he was loading up the spent steering cylinder.

It was just a little mis-step.  Mere inches and his cuff would have cleared the pallet.

No...No, not this pallet!
. . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . . .

This Pallet! 

The forward momentum of his body and the 150lb steering cylinder spelled disaster.

He landed on his right side with a jarring thud and intense pain followed.  His shoulder seemed to take the brunt of the fall.

Life spun from Grand to Gloomy in a heartbeat.

These last few weeks have been spent visiting doctors, filling perscriptions, having x-rays, meeting physical therapists, and finally a trip to the Imaging Center for an MRI.

Final Diagnosis...Torn Rotator Cuff.

Ughh!  Our journey through life just took an unexpected detour.

Consult with an Orthopedic Surgeon is in the future as well as possible (very likely) surgery.

While we wait for the wheels of insurance approval and appointment availability we find ourselves offering Gratitude for the Graces found even in this valley...

The injury is not life-threatening.  Grace Given.  We know the heart-ache of so many with terminal diagnoses.

The big jobs will wait.  Grace Offered.  Work has arranged for light duty for Leroy while "off" tending his shoulder.  We laugh at this Grace, for Farmer Husband is not prone to enjoy a desk job with its accompanying requisite filing and phone responsibilities.  But we know the hurt of so many with no jobs.

The enforced time home, rather than traveling across country with work is an unexpected gift.  Grace Enjoyed!  Time together is sweet.  We know the pain of so many missing loved ones gone.

And so we journey this messy life.  There will be hidden Graces still to find.  And Gratitude to give.

                                   ~ One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Not Easy... But we're longing hard after Joy.  Trusting in the Grace Giver for abundance.

Love Always, Jane

Friday, February 14, 2014

Otter Love

Sometimes it takes a team to make a Valentine's Day special... Like the staff at the Georgia Aquarium.

I'm in Otter Love...

Simply precious...especially if you love otters.  Which I guess I do, because, well, just Adorable!
Catch the whole story here.  (Be forewarned...Cuteness Alert)
And it makes me realize that sometimes it takes a whole lot of effort, and thought, and time to show someone just how much you care...even if you are an otter.  The Otter Team at the Georgia Aquarium obviously knows this.  And they do a splendid job of sharing the love.
Praying that you have someone taking all the time and thought and effort to show you just how much you are loved.  Might I be among those wishing you Love this day?  I know someone else who is just crazy in Love with you too...
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying,
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
                                                            Jeremiah 31:3 
Happy Valentine's Day
Loved Ones!

Monday, February 10, 2014

What to Do when Days are Dreary...

Winter has dug in deep around these here parts. 

Cold... Grey... Dreary...
What to Do???
Well, if you have a serious sweet tooth and some crazy sweet friends, you might just sign up for a Chocolate Making Class at the Dallas Arboretum!
So fun.  So sweet.  So perfectly timed...right before Valentine's Day...

We dipped Strawberries.  Rolled Truffles.  Molded Chocolate Hearts.  And, of course, sampled all our delicious mistakes!  
We laughed and ate the dreary day away. 





I'm in a sugar coma right now, please don't has been blissful!
Wishing you sweet moments of joy to brighten these dreary winter days,
Love Always, Jane

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Clinical Trial Gives Hope...

When mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we were swamped with decisions on her treatment... chemotherapy and radiation were the traditional treatments recommended in hopes of shrinking the tumor enough for surgery...but we also looked at alternative therapies and debated the merits of nutritional supplements and diet.   And at some point in the dark hours we even threw in the possibility of a clinical trial... everything was on the table for consideration.  We were in battle mode and we were fighting hard for mom's very survival... 

We so wanted to hear success stories like the one I'm about to share with you.  There is nothing more encouraging than talking with a cancer survivor that knows where you are and understands the gut-wrenching struggle you are wrestling with... Kim Vernick has been where you are and she shares her story with pluck, humor and tenacity.  Her journey involves the decision to participate in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are not for everyone...nor is Kim's story going to be your story... but what if, (whisper it loud), what if there's a clinical trial out there that finds the Cure for Pancreatic Cancer???  There is a cure...I know it deep in my bones (I dream it for each one)...and one day soon... One Day Soon, Pancreatic Cancer will become a thing of nightmares past, for each of us.

Thank you Kim for sharing your journey and bringing Hope to the table...

      by Kim Vernick

No this is not a mental illness even though I think I would prefer it to be.  This alien is cancer.  Why me, I ask? I have never been sick a day in my life unless you count colds.  I am an avid tennis player and a pretty good one I may add.  I even dappled in yoga for a year prior to acquiring my alien.  Yoga was fun but it was not easy for me as I am not your most limber sort.  Walking was great…I could walk indefinitely but had to be aware of the time so I could return home before dark. 
I was 52 when I was told I have pancreatic cancer.  It must be a mistake but after two hospitals that specialize in pancreatic cancer confirmed the same thing following a battery of tests performed at both institutions, yes I have cancer.  Okay…now I must tackle this head on.  I will survive this.  My advice to all of us with such aliens…stay off the internet.  But no…how can you when you need to find out as much information as possible.  But the internet had me dead and buried multiple times.  Yes, I will be in that small percentage that makes it.  So as the doctors told me, I must prepare for the marathon ahead of me.  That’s right, “this is a marathon and not a sprint.”  Personally I prefer sprints as running was never my thing but since I was now in great physical shape and mentally I am a real tough girl, I was going to beat this alien.
I did keep a medical diary of all that transpired during the year of my marathon.  I participated in a clinical trial, which would beat me up even more but increased the chances of reaching the goal of getting me to that surgery table.  I consumed drugs to stop the nausea, others to help me from the ensuing constipation caused by the anti-nausea drugs, more to follow to stop the diarrhea when the anti-constipation drugs kicked in….oh and the vomiting.  Yes of course there was vomiting but there was nothing to stop that…thank you chemotherapy.  But on the other hand…really thank you chemotherapy.  After all was said and done they did get the alien.  My surgeon stepped to the plate, after my oncologist and radiation oncologist killed the alien, and successfully removed my alien with many of my internal body parts as well.  Apparently I do not need my gallbladder nor my spleen nor 2/3 of my pancreas.  Fortunately I am left with the part of my pancreas that is necessary to produce enzymes for digestion and to keep me from becoming diabetic.  So now I am one year from surgery, drug free, and feeling great when the doctors informed me that I have a suspicious thickening near my gastric junction, in the same place as before.  After another battery of tests it is discovered that my alien is back in the same area. 

So I retire my tennis racquet for a few weeks, clean out my tennis bag as I always keep snacks in there and we do not want mice in my coat closet.  Continued walking but it is really too hot for long walks.  Get mentally tough!

The good news is that it is in the same area so it did not spread.  The bad news is that it is in the same area and I am pretty messy and damaged in that area.  The doctors are now ready for plan “B” and I am now ready for round “2.”  We are a team and we need to do this together.  So the plan is they will beat me up yet again and hopefully my alien will be obliterated…end of story…never to return...

Proton radiation is a specialized form of radiation therapy.  I asked about this therapy two years ago but they were not using it for pancreatic cancer at the time.  Okay, now I get to use those protons.  So on my not so comfy mold of my shoulders and arms I will lay on the table while they blast me with protons.  Don’t move a muscle but I can breathe normally.  Arms raised above my head, knees elevated comfortably with a rounded pillow pad like a massage table…don’t move as we do not want to miss.  Thirty minutes…what do I think about for 30 minutes?  The beach on a Caribbean island, I can do that for a few minutes, what about the other 25 minutes….alien be blasted…alien be blasted…get it get it rah rah rah. 

Emotionally I am trying to stay strong but in reality I am scared.  There are too many what ifs to think about.  I am trying not to go there at all.  My family is going through this too in a different way of course.  They don’t want to lose their mother, wife and they are worried as well.  Also, the marathon affects the entire family not just me…the victim…or patient…I feel I am more of a victim.

I am ready for this and I will beat it again with the help of my doctors.

Well round two was over a year ago and I am feeling great and having fun living life.  The first time was a clinical trial protocol of chemotherapy and radiation and then surgery and then more chemotherapy.  Round two was protons and chemotherapy.  I will be forever grateful to my doctors, friends and family.  But we also must remember to stand and stay tough as it is our responsibility to make sure we get the best care and take care of ourselves.  I hope I do not have to participate in any more of these “marathons” but know I can if need be.

I am cancer free and feeling great!