Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Round 2

Today's photo:

The chart indicates the CEA marker... You'll notice that it has dropped significantly... About 200+ points.

For that, we are thankful!!

The doctor said that the first response to chemo side-effects is a pretty good indicator of how future reactions will be.

We are ALSO very thankful for THAT.

It's a good day!

There's a slight problem with Harv's port. They were not able to draw blood from it for some reason, but meds are able to go in. However, they're trying to get the mystery solved before they start infusion. Hopefully, that little problem will get solved very shortly.

(And now, I'm headin' out to get some sushi while Harv relaxes and kills some more cancer.)

Woooooooooooooooo Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

There are many stages to grief...and they come at different times for different people. 

Since Harv's diagnosis, I have experienced shock and sadness and frustration. I have been worried and confused. Recently, though, the overriding feeling I've had (other than extreme need for space) has been peace. I'm not sure WHY, but lately, perhaps because of the mild side-effects, I have not been anxious. I feel like, regardless of how this story ends, it's gonna be okay. And, I have not felt even the slightest bit angry about this stupid disease.

Until today.

This morning, anger rose up in me in a very real and powerful way.

I am angry that there is cancer.
I am angry that Harvey has cancer.
I am angry that I lost a cousin today to her SECOND battle with cancer.
I am angry that my sister has had two different battles with two different types of cancer. 
I am angry that I have other relatives and know other people who have cancer or who lost their fight with cancer.
I am angry that I no longer have -- nor will I have again -- my cozy little life that was full of order and predictability.
I am angry that my children have to be concerned about their father.
I am angry that we're one of THOSE families that is a cause for concern in the community.
I am angry that we have a need to go to family counseling to make sure that we all handle this well.
I am angry that there's always a schedule of medicine and doctor visits.
It pisses me off (please excuse me) that insurance -- which we have paid for for years and have not used -- gives us even the slightest bit of trouble when it comes to Harvey's care.
It makes me angry that I'm angry, too!

And, I feel guilt...for all of the anger that I feel..and for the struggles I have within myself about daily things.

And, yet... I know that, in the midst of all of the things that piss me off, there are amazing blessings to be found. DAILY.

And, there is hope.

Friday, January 27, 2012

We had a date!

This coming Tuesday is chemo round #2. Harv will also have the regular blood work done.  The doctor said not to be surprised if his numbers go up so we won't be, but I, personally, am hoping for an amazing drop in his CEA count. (Click here for a reminder of what that is)

For the meantime, Harv's been feeling pretty good. Mostly, exhausted, but his side-effects are less awful than we had expected. We don't know if that will change over time or not. We are hoping, though, that he's one of those lucky ones whose body responds well to the chemo, but that the side effects continue to be minimal.

Yesterday we went to a family counseling session for the first time. We didn't really have an agenda. Mostly, we went 'cause people said "You should get counseling," but it was a good session and I think healthy for all of us. Truthfully, we feel pretty good about our in-house communication and there weren't  many surprises on that first visit. We plan to continue periodically just to check-in and make sure that we're all doing fine.

Remember way back in December when I told you that Harv and I gave each other "dates" for the year? Well, last night was our first date of the year. We went to a concert at Western Washington University's Sanford Hill Piano series featuring the Anderson and Roe piano duo. I've included some of their videos that I found on You Tube. Very impressive, to say the least. The first video is more recent.

The second seems to be a few years ago, but it's great! They call this a Tango for the piano. You'll understand when you watch it.

Thankful that we were able to go because the music was so great AND because Harv felt well enough to go.

Looking forward to all of our upcoming dates.

Thank you for your continued support. I keep saying the same thing, but I'm NOT KIDDING!!! You people are AMAZING and we love you.

(Seriously, take a few minutes and watch these videos. If you don't have time for both, at least watch the 2nd one. Check out the hands, man! Astounding!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 13

Today is Day 13 after the first infusion and so far I think we're feeling PRET-TY doggone lucky! Harv's most troublesome side-effects are a few small mouth sores, some stomach cramping and fatigue.  (Oh yeah, and interrupted sleep. I have that side-effect, too.) Interestingly enough, he still has ALL of his hair! Over the past couple of days he's seemed like he's had more "energy." He hasn't had a real nap for two days. That's sayin' somethin'!

We've heard different things about what to anticipate (side-effect wise) for future treatments. Some say it's cumulative and he will slowly begin to feel worse. Other people have said that the first couple of treatments were the worst. I'm hoping he fits into the second category or even his OWN category of never really feeling BAD.

The girls were out of school for a whole week -- mostly, due to snow and ice. So we've had LOTS of togetherness! We are all happy that they were able to return to school today. (Now...how do I get Harv, Celeste, Raney and Reba out for a little bit?)

This week, since he's so energetic we've kind of crammed in the appointments and activities: follow-up appointment with estate planner, orchestra concert, family counseling and our first DATE of the new year. We're going to a piano concert on Thursday evening. 

Next infusion is Tuesday, January 31st. Rumor has it that the weather would like to snow again around that time. Hoping it waits until we get back home that evening.

Our freezer is full of food. Our hearts are full of gratitude.

Love y'all!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Today is DAY 9 after chemo... And, so far, we've been pretty lucky. Yesterday was the first day that Harv has felt much of anything more than fatigue. And, those symptoms were the early signs of mouth sores and some stomach upset.

We are armed with a plethora of meds for most any occasion that might come up so when he said he had a mouth sore I said "You need to do the Magic Mouthwash" -- which he did. And, he hated it. It has an intense numbing effect which just doesn't feel good. But, I believe that if we jump on the side effects immediately, we might be in for less intensity of them.

He also complained of (what I will only describe as) upset stomach. So, we jumped on the Immodium right away.  The upset stayed away for most of the day, but he went to bed with stomach cramp-y type stuff. And, neither of us really slept well 'cause his stomach complained all night long.

But, in the wee hours of morning he must've fallen asleep. When he got up, I said "how you doin'?" And, he replied "I feel good.  I had a really good sleep."

Now, for the wife, that's frustrating. Not that he feels good, but that I didn't rest well 'cause I thought he didn't feel good and then he wakes up all "perky!"

Currently, his stomach is still not "right," but I think it's less of a problem than when he went to bed.

This coming Monday will be the last day of the oral chemo for a week. I'm gonna enjoy not giving him pills for seven days. 

This coming Tuesday will have been two weeks since infusion and one week before the next round. If things don't get any worse than they have been, I'm gonna feel pretty lucky. 

For those of you who don't live in Bellingham, we've had quite the snow over the past few days. As you might remember, it started the night before we headed down to have his port installed. More came after we got home and I think it's pretty accurate to say that we have at least a foot of snow on the ground. The girls have been home from school for two days and we're all just a little bit stir-crazy -- some of us more than others. You know your teenager has cabin fever if she WANTS to go back to school. 

Today I hope to get out and run some errands -- just to be able to get out if nothing more.

Thank you for your continued prayers, packages (some of them from "anonymous"), phone calls, cards, letters, e-mails, meals, baked goods, facebook messages, garbage duty, errand running and all around love. What a gift!!

We love you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Port Day (Part 2)

We're home! The drive was pretty good. Roads weren't AWFUL, but we drove slowly just to be sure. I had to make a couple of stops on the way, but we made it back before it was way dark.

Oh! And, the drive home was so pretty! When we got to the Skagit Valley, the sun was hitting those big, beautiful "painting clouds" (you know the ones --- they're in all the famous paintings.) I really wished I had had a camera-- and that I could've stopped. The snow on the dark green evergreen trees against a blue sky with the sun hitting them from across the road. Ugh! It was so pretty!

As for Harv, he's a little sore, but overall he's just exhausted. I think (and hope) that he'll sleep well tonight. The port installation went fine.

Not a lot to report other than we appreciate your prayers. Our request for safe travel was answered. Thankful for a relatively uneventful day.

Port Day (part 1)

We left home shortly after 8:00 am. The drive was pretty good. We just went slower than usual. We got to the hospital at about 10:15. Sat for an hour and then Harv was called back. He's expected to be there until 1:30 and then we'll drive home. Praying for an uneventful trip home. Right now, I'm eating lunch at the Fred Hutchison cafeteria and feel like I'm sitting with some of the cast from The Big Bang Theory. Very intelligent sounding researchers. Thank you for your prayers. Will report more later. (please forgive this post. I'm typing on my phone.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

How the heck we are... (sort of)


Harv's doing fairly well. Not really sleeping especially well at night, but having pretty good naps during the day. It might be good if those things were reversed. No major side effects, but we were told we'd most likely see them between days 7 and 10. I don't want him to have any side effects. I just want the drugs to work like they're supposed to. However, if we see them, they will most likely be nausea/potential vomiting, diarrhea, & mouth sores. There are other possibilities, but those are the most common ones. We're prepared. We have drugs for everything. My dream, though, is that there will be no additional complications/problems. (I know. It's rare that chemo patients don't have side effects, but a girl can dream, can't she?!)

Tomorrow morning, we head back to Seattle to meet with a nutritionist and to have his port installed.  Our appointment is at 10:00. There is snow on the ground and more predicted. I have a little bit of concern about traveling in the snow. The good thing is that we're traveling on I-5 the whole way. And since our appointment isn't until 10:00, we have some time to work with. But, for those of you who pray, please pray that road conditions and Harv's symptoms/side effects do not keep us from moving ahead on schedule.  And, while we're praying for that... please pray that his counts never interfere with the schedule. (Well, for that matter, that NOTHING interferes... Good grief! We've got to KILL that cancer!!!!)

The girls:
Overall, I think all of the girls are doing well.

Sarah and Hannah are more internal and prefer not to process out loud (with words...tears come sometimes, though.) I've given all three girls a journal so that they can process that way if need be. My prayer for them is that they find some way to process that is healthy and real. (We do have some family counseling coming up.)

We haven't kept anything from them. They know what's happening. They don't like what's going on, but we're all moving forward. They're pitching in and trying to make things as easy as possible for all of us. And, I think they kind of like their "specialties."  All three girls are hand and foot masseuse's (is that a word?) every evening. Sarah has been focusing on the knot in Harv's shoulder and it seems to be helping. Hannah is an excellent "pill giver" to the dog (yes, the dog gets pills every day, too) which is a help to me... And, Celeste has been helping me with transportation, laundry and just getting settled. (They're all good at other things, too! ☺)

Celeste has given up a lot to be here, and while I think she's very happy to be here and would not do it another way, she's learning how to be away from her boyfriend (and vice versa) and how to be an adult in her parents' house... And, trying to get settled in a whole new place. She's familiar with Bellingham, but hasn't ever really LIVED here. So, now, she's discovering new things --- which is exciting and scary. Pray for her and Mario as they figure out how to be away from each other. (I think they're doing pretty well, but it's not easy.)


I think I'm doing okay. I see a counselor once a week. I like her a lot.  She's been encouraging and affirming.

I, however, struggle with my selfishness... 

I do NOT want my husband or children to have to go through this s&#*!   I do NOT...  

Those of you who know me know that I value alone time... There isn't much these days. And, the problem is, I'm also a control freak so it's not easy for me to hand over my job of mother, caregiver, dog-mother, chauffeur, housekeeper (though I'm not very good at that on ANY day), cook, dishwasher, etc.  And, the thing is, I don't want to contrive any alone time. I want the regular old alone time that I've always had... Harv goes on a short trip, the girls are at school, I come and go as I please during the day and then everybody comes back home.  Repeat every so often. As my girls used to say when they were little, "I wanna do what I wanna do!"

This is an adjustment for me. It's an adjustment that I am happy to make, but it's an adjustment. 

I remain hopeful. I have a real peace about Harv's health -- the end result of this treatment. I am not worried about that. My worries come with how he feels during treatment and how I can solve the problems. I'm not looking forward to (nor have I enjoyed so far) watching him suffer. [(Mind you, if I didn't think my mother was reading over my shoulder, I'd be using much more colorful adjectives to describe what I think of cancer.) I'm not angry with God. I'm just angry that there's cancer at all... I'm angry that ANYBODY has to do this. It's pretty stinky. ]

Anyway! ☺ We are doing what we can to make sure this cancer goes away. And, many people are helping us do it. We continue to receive cards, emails, gifts, secret packages left at our door, donations to SCCA, food, time with friends, entertainment for the girls... Emails/notes from friends we haven't heard from in YEARS, and just a whole lotta love in general.

We love you all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I dedicate this song (Click this sentence to hear the song) to Harv who, strangely enough, has never heard it before. :-)

For those of you who were alive during the '70's, I THINK you will remember this song. For those of you who were not alive then, get ready to hear a really groovy song!

Love you, honey!

Late yesterday afternoon, Harv began to feel a sharp pain in his shoulder. It was a knot, he said. He thought it felt more muscular than anything else. He's been sleeping with an extra pillow 'cause of some earlier issue at night so we thought maybe that was it. We called the nurse in Seattle and she thought it sounded more musculoskeletal and suggested that we try a few things --  which we have. Last night, the ibuprofen and heat felt good. This morning, though, he woke up with that same severe pain.  He took some ibuprofen and went back to bed.

I pray that the ibuprofen and some more sleep will make that annoying pain go away.

(Excuse me while I whine...) I don't waaaaaaaaaaaant to go down this road.

(Okay, I'm done. I know that I get to go down it anyway. Hope I can be what everybody needs (including me) during this time.)

Continuing to pray for healing. Total and complete healing.

And, continuing to be thankful for the many blessings that are all over the place --- in spite of this #@$%&?/ disease.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lovin' the sunshine

For those of you who don't live in Bellingham and have never visited during this time of year, we treasure sunny days. Today Harv and I went for a short walk at Boulevard Park and it was beautiful. Way more beautiful than the photos reveal.

Thankful for the sun. And, thankful for the times with enough energy to get outside.

Have a happy day, people!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hugs of Hope

Today was a pretty good day... Harv woke up with more "energy" than I saw in him yesterday, though naps are now a routine. He and Celeste took a short walk. A friend brought a yummy dinner -- which included a fun cake to "Uncle" Harvey.

Dinner was followed by a quick game of Pass the Pigs.

During our game, we received a phone call telling us to check our doorstep for a package for us. "A hug in a box, " we were told.

The sweatshirts we are wearing in the photo below are what was waiting for us at the door.

We were told to consider it a "hug from your church family"-- which we most certainly do! The sweatshirts came from Hope College which was founded on Hebrews 6:19 -- "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

We like hugs and we like hope.

There are many blessings to be found in the midst of struggle!

We love you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


One of the chemo drugs that Harv has to take has a potential side effect of a hand-foot skin reaction... Those skin reactions could show themselves in any number of ways.
The nurse recommended that when he takes that med (twice a day) that we rub his hands and feet with a lanolin-rich cream as one of the ways to keep the symptoms at bay.

So, we have started an evening ritual (He's on his own in the daytime!)... Sarah and Hannah give him a foot massage and Celeste rubs his hands. Two of his very favorite things!!

There ARE perks to this situation...

I'm not sure what it is, but there's something about sunrises, sunsets and rainbows that give me a burst of hope....

Today's sunrise is SOMETHIN' else!

GoFightWin!, husband of mine!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amazing Race Day One

What a day!

We started out at 6:30 this morning and spent the day surrounded by wonderful health care professionals.

Our meeting with Dr. Lin was short, but sweet. He was helpful in answering all or our questions and confirmed our belief that he's the one for us. He told us that Harv's CEA markers (What is CEA?) had increased from 544 to over 600...which means that the cancer is growing. Our prayer is that the chemo begins to decrease those numbers.

After that we had a "Chemo Teach." I was afraid there would be too much information for my brain, but it was given in a way that empowered me/us rather than "freakin' us out."  We were given hand-outs with drug names and potential side effects. But, we were also given lots of drugs and helpful hints to combat those side effects. That, too, made the battle seem more do-able.

And, then the chemo began. Harv received some IV meds to combat nausea and diarrhea before the chemo started.  Those should make him feel pretty good through tomorrow at least...and then we have OTHER drugs should those symptoms crop up. 

I should've taken a picture of the infusion rooms 'cause they're pretty interesting. They're separate rooms...with lots of privacy. And, down the hall is a snack room filled with a large variety of snacks and drinks and even frozen meals that can be prepared while hangin' out there. 

At about 3:30 or so, we were ready to head out. And, this is what we saw on our way TO and FROM infusion:

Not too bad to look at.

All in all, we feel good today. Tired, but good. We are aware that there could be some difficulties, but we're armed with the weapons we need to combat those.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and good wishes and phone calls and meals and texts and facebook messages... We feel hugged. And, we're huggin' you back!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gettin' ready for the fight

Quick update:

Insurance coverage for recommended chemo cocktail was finally approved this morning.

Celeste and Mario arrived at about 4:00 this afternoon. Woo hoo! 

We had a delicious dinner provided by a dear friend...followed by a round or two of Scrabble and some tv watching.

Tomorrow Harv and I leave here about 6:30 a.m. for a 9:00 appointment for his blood draw. This will be followed by an EKG for next week's port placement. We'll meet with the doctor and then we'll have a "Chemo Teach." The day will end with 3 hours of receiving the chemo. He will have this first round of chemo as an IV and the rest of them will be given through the port. The hospital day will end for us right about heavy traffic time. And, then we'll drive home after that.

Prayer requests:
• a good night's sleep for Harv and me
• safe travel to and from Seattle
• that I would absorb the information that I need to absorb
• good interaction with the doctor 
• that Harv's body will receive the chemo well and with minimal side effects
• smooth sailing for the girls (all three of 'em) and Mario tomorrow

And, just in case you misunderstood... I didn't mean that you SHOULDN'T call if you want to; I just meant that there will be times when we might need to let it go to answering machine...and THAT doesn't mean we don't love you. We do.

Thank you for loving us so much and in so many different and meaningful ways. What an amazing blessing you all have been to us.

Signing out so I can be ready to kick some cancer with Harv tomorrow. G'night.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Harv likes Winston Churchill...

I do  too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Just a few random thoughts:

• Not sure about Harv (he's still asleep), but I had a good sleep last night. (I hope that doesn't mean I snored soundly while keeping Harv awake. That would be bad.)

• Celeste is coming in a few days!!!! Woo hooo!!

• I saw a counselor yesterday who, I think, is going to be a big help to me --- and perhaps the rest of the family. Plus, she has a good office space with corner windows. :-)

• We have received some wonderful cards and e-mails and phone calls from people we love. Some of them, we haven't seen in YEARS!, but they're still our close friends. It means a lot to us that you would call. Thank you. That being said, though, we wanted to gently say that sometimes we're just tired. We LOVE you for calling us, but sometimes we will just need to let that call go to the answering machine. Please don't be hurt. We'll try to call you back when we can, but our bodies/minds are a little bit more exhausted than usual and sometimes we'll need to honor their wishes.

• Met with friends yesterday who wanted to help me figure out how to let other people help us. Now, that's not something I'm totally comfortable with. Feels a little awkward. But, deep down, I know that when people I love need help, it makes me feel like I'm actually DOING something. One time I read a book that said that part of serving is allowing other people to serve you. I try to remember that when I'm feeling awkward.  I've been told that there are "quite a few" people who want to help. Some in town, some out of town... If, you're one of those, please contact my friends Laurie/ stage-it@earthlink.net or my friend, Shelley/ shelleyknebel@juno.com  

We love you all. We love that you want to help.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some Days are just like that...

Yesterday was a full day. 

Harv and I met earlier in the day with an estate planner so we can make sure our lives are in order...wills, planning for the girls, etc. The man we met with was really great. I feel good about trusting him with those details. But, I didn't actually have fun at that meeting. So, I suppose I left there just a little bit heavy hearted. Not crazy, but it forced me to look at something I hope is not necessary to utilize for quite some time.

And, then, we had our meeting with the Bellingham doctor. I like him. He's just a "little boy," ;-) but I like him. He seems like a gentle and kind person and he has a golden retriever -- So, he's got to be a pretty good human if he has a golden! 

But, there were things that didn't sit right with me... Nothing I could put my finger on specifically, but something just the same. Please don't misunderstand. From what I can tell, he knows what he's doing. And, I'm sure he's helped and will continue to help many other patients --- but he did not fill me with the same kind of hope that I received from meeting with Dr. Lin.  And, that, too, caused my heart to get a little heavier. (But, as a friend reminded me -- that just confirms that we have chosen the right doctor for US.)

I realize that there are going to be days when my heart is heavier than I want it to be. I may even share my thoughts sometimes on those days. But, I want you to know that my hope has not disappeared on those days. It's there. It's just temporarily covered by a cloud.

Part of the "cloud" is simply the fear of the unknown. We know NOTHING. We SORT of know what to expect from chemo, but we won't REALLY know until we get there. Knowing (even if it's unpleasant) is easier, I think, than not knowing.

So... the plan continues to be to head down to Seattle on Tuesday and start beatin' up on that stupid, @#%&!@#%&!#  cancer. 

Thanks for your many ways of supporting us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Amazingness of Hope

Waiting is hard. Not knowing is hard. Only knowing a little bit is hard.

Today we went to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and met Dr. Edward Lin. He knows.

He specializes not just in gastroenterology oncology. He specializes in COLON CANCER.

And, because of that, I believe, he is more optimistic than the doctor who pronounces that you have stage 4 cancer. And, more optimistic than the surgeon who can't operate because you have stage 4 colon cancer. Because Dr. Lin knows all about colon cancer.

He treats patients from all over the US and even patients from overseas. People come from far away to be treated by him. And, thankfully, we live just up the road.

And, while we haven't officially "signed up" with him, we are 99.9% sure we will. We have an appointment scheduled tomorrow to meet the doctor in Bellingham. It will be good to meet him and to at least have an oncology contact in Bellingham should there ever be an emergency that would prevent us from getting to Seattle.

But, Harv and I both feel that it's RIGHT to receive our care from Dr. Lin.

There was something about him -- not just his words -- that exuded HOPE. And, that sits pretty well with me. I like hope.

He said that the plan is to take the "incurable" disease and convert it into remission. And at some point, it may be determined that surgery is needed or we may just continue with a maintenance chemo. Though I can't recall his exact words, he told us that he has treated more than a few (but perhaps not thousands☺) of patients with Harvey's exact symptoms and that there are A NUMBER of them who are "10 years out or more." 

Now, doesn't that sound pretty?! TEN YEARS is prettier than [sad face] "stage 4 colon cancer/the odds aren't good."

And, so...we have a schedule to return to SCCA on Tuesday and begin this journey. 

The day will begin with blood work, chemotherapy education, a tour of the facility and then we'll top the day off with about 3 hours of chemo. (Weeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaaaaw!)

Then, we will return every three weeks. And, every three months, we will have an assessment -- which will include CT scans, blood work, etc. -- to see how things are going .

It is nice to have a plan. It's nice to talk to a doctor who gives us hope. Seriously... I love HOPE.

Thank you for your prayers.
We love you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Amazingness of People

Long, Lost Friends:

There are friendships in life that remain despite miles and miles of separation and years and years without real communication. 

Harv used to be a river rafting guide in his younger days with some people that are just like that. They shared amazing experiences and experienced rivers full of stories. I don't know much about rivers except that they flow and they can sometimes be fast and dangerous. Some are clear. Some are murky. According to Harv, a wild rapid in a river is followed by a calm pool. The slow-moving, quiet water is a welcome rest after a bumpy ride through the rapids. On commercial rafting trips, the pool gives the guides some time to "collect themselves" (paddles, floating gear and sometimes passengers.).

One of Harv's former rafting buddies sent Harv a note today that includes the passage below. "River wisdom," Harv says.
"Life is a river, Harv (from one guide to another), sometimes there are obstacles that you have to get around, and a few bumps along the way.  But the energy of the river always finds its way through.  You may feel like you've fallen out of the boat, a bit out of control, but your family is your life jacket, they will help keep you afloat and your head above water.  So face downstream, follow that flow, maybe close your eyes and hold your breath a bit through the bumps and splashes, and you'll come through fine.  We'll see you in that deep, green pool below the rapids."

I HAVE THE BEST GIRLS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!! They are aware of all that's happening. They are strong and loving and supportive. They are a little bit scared, I think, but they are coping well, I do believe. I am thankful for the support that they have in their friends and youth leaders. I've sent messages to their teachers and am so thankful for the supportive response I've gotten from them, too.

They have cried...and I'm pretty sure they will cry again. But, they've also laughed and helped us laugh, too.

Blessings, indeed.

Friends Close by:

For the second time this week, we have found packages at our door from local friends who didn't want any recognition for the love they shared. One was a delicious plate of yummy cupcakes. Today's package was a package for our road trip to Seattle tomorrow.  And people show support and love with food and walks and calls and visits and prayers. 

Truly, cancer stinks, but if there's anything about this situation that's good, it's the AMAZINGNESS of the love we continue to receive. It's indescribable. It's a gift. And, one that isn't always easy to receive.

Thank you all for showing love to me, Harv, Celeste, Sarah and Hannah.  We love you back!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Today most of Harv's family gathered at his sister Lyn's house partly to celebrate some coming of age birthdays (Grandpa is 85 and Carl is now legal at 19), but also just to be together as a family.

Harv's dad is a very soft-spoken man. And, he's pretty reserved. Not one to draw a lot of attention to himself in a crowd. But when he speaks to a crowd, people listen. After we had eaten some fun MANLY birthday cake, Joe started speaking.

He spoke of how being 85 doesn't feel that much different than when he was 84. And, he told stories of the effects of aging -- to which most of us can relate. And, somehow, stories of being 85 developed into stories of miracles.

One, was a story of how he and Peggy had left home one day to head down to Abbottsford. On the way down, he noticed that the signals weren't working. So, he stopped a little way down the road and had a local car person help him replace a bulb. Normally, it would have seemed, that it would've been a quick fix, but for some reason, it was tricky and took 30-45 minutes. The repairman said only once or twice before in his 20-something year career has it been that difficult.

They got back in the car and drove a bit further when they were turned around because there had been a rock slide which covered the highway and closed the road.... That slide occurred at about the same time they would have REACHED that spot if they had NOT stopped in Boston Bar to fix the light.

And, he told a story that the minister of his church told about her pregnancy. She was told that she had B- blood type and the doctors suggested that she abort the pregnancy for likely complications that would result. She decided that she didn't want to do that and began to pray. About 3 months later, she was at a check-up and the doctor was astounded to find out that her blood type had actually changed to B+. And, a few months after that, she delivered a perfectly healthy baby.

Two miracles.

I have not done justice to the way the story was told or the way that he tied it all together, but he ended by saying that miracles do happen -- even in these days and "we have every hope for you, Harv."

That is what we're praying for...and it is very helpful to know that miracles do, in fact, happen, even in 2012.

For those of you who haven't already heard:

I hereby declare 2012 as:


We gon' kick this cancer in the BUTT!!!