Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I moved the covers ever-so-gently 'cause I have a sore foot... I thought to myself how heavy those covers are. And, I didn't think it in a good way at first and then I realized that I am very, very fortunate to have heavy covers....especially these past few days.

I started thinking about the things I am thankful for... And then I thought I should make a list of all the wonderful things that are a part of my life. The list that follows is only partial... Too many blessings to count...
  • Harvey -- that he's here again this year...that he is my husband and the father of my children
  • the medical professionals that have worked and are working to extend his life and have done an amazing job so far
  • my sister, Laura's, medical team who are continuing to work to improve her health and that the current treatment seems to be working
  • Sarah's and Hannah's teachers, coaches and friends
  • Celeste's friends and co-workers 
  • my friends - walkin' buddies, fellow foodies, Facebook friends, friends I see in person and friends I don't get to see enough...and even friends I'm still gettin' to know better.
  • Sehome Cross Country -- for the blessings that my girls have had through it and for all the friends I've made through it... Cross Country Mamas forever!
  • my family -- sisters, brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and those who feel like family even though we're not technically related (Leesburg peeps and others who have been a support to our whole family -- especially during the last six years)
  • good food -- and plenty of it
  • a warm bed with plenty of covers
  • a sweet and amazing dog-child who has made my life richer than I ever even imagined was possible 
  • two sweet kitties...and our sweet, bad kitty Reba who went to animal heaven this year.
  • where I live -- my city and my home -- we are surrounded by beautiful forests, the endless ocean, and enormous mountains...
  • being able to travel freely to places near and far... and the gift of new French friends. :-)
  • the blessing of lifelong friends
  • really wonderful neighbors
  • reliable transportation
  • toys, all kindsa toys
  • books -- REAL ones and electronic ones
  • my eyes (and the blessing of being able to have glasses now that I need 'em) and ears and working fingers and toes... 
  • overall good health even though I'm reaching the age where the warranty has expired and things are starting to show signs of wear and tear
  • the woods and trails near us -- & the fresh air that goes with 'em
  • plenty of clothes to wear
  • creativity
  • a washing machine and dryer
  • a working indoor bathroom with a warm shower 
  • memories of good parents
  • music
  • quiet
  • conversations with people I love
  • good in-laws... :-)
  • pieces of the past that live on in my house
  • family recipes
  • celebrations
  • children that have brought lots of joy
  • the little "boring" moments of life
  • laughter
  • a really good life -- in spite of moments I would not have chosen if I were directing the play...
No tellin' what the next year will bring, but I know it will include more blessings than I'll be able to count.

Here's wishing you all a very happy 2015 with bounteous blessings, great love, and an abundance of peace & hope & joy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Silent Pondering...

For a few days before Christmas Eve I wrestled with myself about going to the Christmas Eve service at church. It was partly because we always have appetizers for dinner on Christmas Eve (and watch "It's a Wonderful Life") which always makes me feel rushed after the service to get things ready. But it was also because I have a struggle going on inside of me pretty much all of the time about my faith...or my doubts.

I knew I was going to go because it's what our family does. And, I knew I was gonna go 'cause it would seem wrong if everybody went and Mama didn't. But I really didn't want to go. I whined to Harv a little bit but mostly I whined inside my head. I knew it was pointless to whine 'cause I knew I was gonna go, but whining happened anyway.

Let me pause here to say that I was not raised with "worship teams" and electric guitars and drums in church. I didn't ever really have a problem with it, but that wasn't how we did it... When we started going to our current church, we chose the "rockin'" service 'cause we thought our girls would more likely go to Sunday school where they had a friend .... and that happened to be during the  "rockin'" service. Before you know it, I grew to really like the music at that service.

So, on Christmas Eve we arrived at church to hear "Joy to the World" with some good beat in the background... 

I can't explain this to you -- and I don't really understand it myself -- but I am a girl filled with doubts, cynicism, frustrations, and many questions... and yet there are times (you've heard me mention occasions like this before) when I hear music (and it can be all different kindsa music) and I am totally moved beyond explanation. I still have doubts. I still whine. I still fidget and get all cynical...but somewhere deep inside of me is a piece that has some faith... and music often leads me there.

That faith has no clear definition for me, but it makes me know that there is a God.  He's bigger and stronger and deeper than I can comprehend. If my brain starts to go to places like virgin birth or resurrection or "only one way" I get befuddled... but way deep in my soul -- the part of my soul where music touches me -- I know that there's a God. And sometimes that knowledge is too sacred to put to words... Sometimes I just need to silently ponder that He is there. 

Long story short, I left the service feeling a little calmer in my soul and thankful for the richness that is our congregation. I certainly don't understand it all, but God is the people, in the music, in my soul...

Chances are, I will have a little battle within me again, but I hope that I remember where He is for me...and I hope when I need Him to calm me, I remember to look for Him there.

Many blessings to you all this holiday season and in the year to come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Yesterday it seemed like Harv's system was waking up a little bit. So he had a scrambled egg for breakfast and one later in the day. And, for dinner, he ate some rice and a piece of chicken... The day also included chewing gum and trying to stay well hydrated.

Then yesterday evening and this morning, it seemed like things were slowing down... So we reverted to liquids.

He had an appointment with his family doctor today and basically, he said he feels confident things will work themselves out and that Harv needs to pay attention to what his body is saying. When things don't feel like they're moving, then he should go to liquids only... Then slowly start to add low-residue foods and see how that goes. Kinda like take a step forward and then go backwards if need be... and then repeat until his system feels normal again for an extended period.

He said it's not likely that they'll go the route of surgery. Surgery is a last resort because more abdominal surgery will cause more scar tissue which could cause more obstructions. And, who wants that?! 

So, we're just moving slowly... which means, most likely, that Harv won't get to fully participate in Christmas food hoopla like he would like. But, in my not-so-humble opinion it's better to have a boring food Christmas than to end up in the hospital again.

Today feels better than the other day.

I told a friend of mine "thank you for puttin' up with me." 'cause there are some moments when I'm feeling like I might bust with all the "what if's" and then the next minute, I might feel fine. I suppose that might be what happens when sickness hits a house. Not sure. But I know it can mess my brain up.  ("Oh, the noise! The noise, noise, noise, noise!,")

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Not much has changed since Friday when I reported that Harv's system isn't really moving like we want it to... He's had beef broth, Gatorade, tea, jello, clear Ensure and water...and he has been chewing gum and walking (not at the same time, though. hahaha!).  He doesn't feel hungry. He hasn't had any pain or nausea either. So, we haven't called a doctor or gone to ER...

In an ideal world, his system would just begin unfolding itself or unblocking itself so that foods can pass normally...and maybe that will still happen.

If it doesn't happen, I suppose that surgery is a possibility. 

We are both hoping that surgery isn't necessary...'cause of Christmas and 'cause we have a trip scheduled somewhere fun and just 'cause who wants surgery?!

Doctor's appointment scheduled for Tuesday morning.

So, I'm throwing out another prayer request. Please pray that things resolve on their own. It'd be great if he started feeling hungry (a good sign) and it'd be great if he was able to begin processing actual food (low-residue first and then move onto regular stuff).

And, this wife of his would appreciate it if you would pray that I would be totally consumed with peace in spite of lots of unknowns. (I'm not fond of unknowns.... )

Thanks, y'all!

Go Seahawks! (Gonna watch the game soon.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Canniversary (a term a friend used the other day) to Harvey Chute. Three years ago today he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.... He's still fighting and he has not allowed cancer to win this war. GoFightWin, man that I love! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

It appears that Harv's system was not as excited to move on to regular-ish food after all.... While he is not in pain and doesn't feel nausea, things are not exactly moving quite like we would like them to...

Therefore, he will return to a liquid diet until things behave appropriately. And he should do lots of walking, too. He's planning to see his regular doctor on Tuesday. If he starts to feel worse before Tuesday, he is supposed to go to the ER. (I am hoping that ER will not be necessary...and especially middle-of-the-night-ER.)

There is no immediate emergency, but things are not as definite as may have been thought yesterday....

Soooooooo, if you wanna pray for appropriate system behavior, that'd be great.

(And, you might wanna pray for sweet, loving, pleasant, calm, stress-free wife, too.)

Thanks, people!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

He's home!

That is all.


Harv has moved on to low-residue foods...and the doc said that if that works out okay then maybe he can go home today... He hasn't actually started those foods yet and I am Cautious Carrie so I don't really want him home until we reeeeeeeaaaaaalllllyyy know he's gonna be fine with it all. I am NOT into health care emergencies so much. I'd much rather him be here if there's a chance something might not go as hoped.

But, he feels good and he's pretty energetic so that is very good.

One week until Christmas! :-)

Have a good day, people.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Harv's doing pretty well. Still has the NG tube, but in no pain (except for a bit of skin irritation in his nose from the tube). He's already walked 20 laps and is gettin' ready to walk again. 

I went home for lunch and when I came back he was trying some chicken broth. It that works well, then they may decide to remove the tube later. Basically, he's on a clear liquid diet now. I'm pretty sure (at least I hope) they plan to take it slowly just to make sure everything's alright.

There was a time when he went home a little too early and we ended up back in the ER/hospital shortly after we left. Don't much wanna do that again.

(He's out in the hall just zoomin' around the floor. Has to take his IV pole with him and he seems like he's flyin'... )  :-)

Please note: if you don't see an update, then things are pretty much the same.... As has been the case before, no news is good news.

Love you peeps!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Went downstairs for lunch with a friend. Got this message from Harv while I was there:
"Dr. Higgins was just here -- all symptoms are promising to him -- just have to keep waiting it out. Doing all the right things -- walking, sham eating."
Sham eating is eating hard candies and chewing gum -- which is tricking your system into thinking you're eating or activating your digestive system. I don't know why he doesn't just say "eat hard candies and chew gum."  :-)

So... things are currently looking good. Thanks for your support and love.

P.S. I'm not kiddin'... If we want the doctor to visit, then I guess I'm gonna have to leave the room every time.  It happens EVERY time. EVERY single time.

I am the slowest movin' person in the world when it comes to gettin' to the hospital.  Dawg! 

Anyway, I had a lovely night's sleep last night, took Raney for a walk this morning and then crammed in a couple of errands. Today I took the time to luxuriate in a shower. Ahhhhh! 

I also decided to just go for it.  I wore my Christmas pj's to the hospital. I know. I know. None of you southern girls woulda done it...and it's not something my mother raised me to do. ;-) But doggone it. I just wanted to be comfortable if I'm sittin' around all day anyway. So... there you have it. 

Harv called and texted me multiple times from about 6:00 in the morning until I got finished with my walk. (We've been having trouble rec'ving and sending messages to each other for some reason. Maybe it's time to upgrade??? We're a few models behind the times. Maybe they're just wearing out???)

Anyway, when I finally spoke to him he told me that he had had a good night's sleep and that he's not feeling any pain and hasn't since about 9:00 last night. We're not sure if that means that the NG tube has removed the blockage ... or if the small intestine is loosening up and behaving. Or maybe both?? 

He's walked a fair bit this morning already and he is currently chewing gum which sometimes helps his system wake up and start moving things through.

He is currently responding to emails and has what I would say is a fair bit more energy than yesterday... He's about to start watching the Food Network. He does that a lot when he's in the hospital...and I think he's gonna want to cook when he gets home.  I'm not good sharing my kitchen, but I'll try. :-)

I imagine we'll just be hangin' today... Thanks for tuning in... Lots of love to you all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Just as I suspected he would, Dr. Higgins came in AFTER I left (DAMMIT!)... I called the room and he answered the phone, though! :-)  

Soooo he thinks after looking at the scan that it is not cancer related, but an adhesion or scar tissue from a prior surgery. Because of that, he believes the best thing to do is to continue what we're doing, but add some walking. Most likely, it will resolve on its own with this plan. If it has not resolved in a week, he'll probably opt for surgery, which I think means he would remove the adhesion... He might do the surgery and discover that it's different than he thought, but he currently believes it's NOT cancer related. 

I like his theory better than a cancer related one.

So tonight, I'm gonna go to bed at a decent time and I'm gonna sleep in my own bed. And tomorrow I'm gonna go check on the man who is my good husband.

Thank you all so much for your support, concern, prayers, good vibes, love, etc. etc....

You're good people, you know that?

I mean it.

Sleep tight, good peeps! 

Lots of love to you all.
Still waiting for the surgeon.... 

Harv just threw up again and the attending doc said that if he did it again that they should do an NG tube... So, I reckon he gets a tube.

Currently he's getting some more pain meds and will soon get the tube.

The tube, btw, will suck stuff out that isn't going anywhere right now... The opposite of providing nutrition. Nurse is on her way to get the supplies for that now... So I will be leaving the room. Some of us can handle those things better than others.  :-/

Thanks for keeping up with us.

I took Raney for a walk with my friend, Laurie, which was good...  Got to the hospital at about 11:00, I guess...

Harv had already seen one doctor before I got here. And, that doc said that the surgeon will come around to see Harv later today... (The surgeon is the same one who did my hernia surgery a few months ago.) We don't KNOW that he'll need surgery, but the surgeon will look at the CT scan and determine what the obstruction looks like and what it's doing to his small intestine.  Maybe we'll get lucky and the obstruction will straighten itself out and all will be well... Maybe he'll have to have some assistance to make things right. And, maybe surgery is the best option for the greatest success...

I'm hoping that surgery isn't needed.

Most of you who have ever been in a hospital know that feeling of being hungry or needing fresh air or needing to check on things at home or whatever it might be but you're afraid to leave the room 'cause that's when the doctor is most likely to come. That's where I am right now....

And, almost always the not knowing is worse than the knowing -- even if finding out what is, is not what you'd choose.

Thank you for checking on us. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for loving us.

Harv got to a room at about 3:30 this morning. I got home around 4:00. 

I spoke with him a few minutes ago and he was groggy sounding (could be meds/genuine sleepiness), but said he slept well last night (this morning, really). Basically things are the same as when I left. Hopefully he'll improve today.

I slept fine, but had to get up for some home office issues... Was going to go in to the hospital for Harv's assistance but he called and we were able to get things resolved for now. So, I just might go back to bed. 

Raney would love for me to walk her and I just might 'cause it might be good for me, too... but first, I think I'll sip my coffee and maybe doze a little bit.

Thank you so much for your prayers. 
Small bowel obstruction... which means that his bowel is twisted. Evidently common after surgery with scar tissue, etc.... Cancer can sometimes contribute, too. ??
Treatment is continue with fluids and manage the pain and most of the time it straightens itself out. If it doesn't, they will put a tube in through his nose (NG tube) to help somehow (can't remember those specifics).
Now, we're waiting for a room.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

At ER... Harv's been having really bad abdominal pain and some vomiting... Not sure why. Hopefully, they'll straighten things out...  Would be happy if you wanted to pray for us. Thanks.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chemo today

Just a heads up...

Harv has chemo infusion today. And, he started the Xeloda (oral) today, too.

We appreciate your prayers...thoughts...well wishes...chants, etc. Wouldn't it be fun if the cancer got scared and just went away? I mean, DAWG!

Thanks, people!

Lots of love to you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dear People We Love,

We have received a few notes from some of you who make us believe that you think our last update was sad...or perhaps that we were indicating that things are worse than we thought.

We just want to clarify that, while we were hoping that Dr. Lin was going to say that our last few rounds of chemo had seriously shrunken the tumors (we hope that every time), we don't feel at all like things are gloomy. Harv's CEA count has remained stable -- which isn't really bad. It means that it's not getting worse.  It means that we still have work to do and that cancer isn't actually winning this war. 

Harv met with his local oncologist and they figured out a way to continue with chemo and have Harv feel good for Thanksgiving and Christmas and our upcoming trip to Maui.... So, cancer ain't got nothin' on us!

We appreciate your kind words and thoughts and prayers. And, we will take them whenever you want to share. :-) But, we're doing pretty well.

Lots of love to you all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not much different to report today... We left at about 5:30 this morning and arrived in time for Harv's 7:45 appointment (with a few minutes to spare). I, as usual, took myself to Milstead & Co. Coffee and enjoyed a croissant and a latte. (Sadly, my triple tall latte is not seeming quite as strong as I like it.)

Harv finished up his PET scan a little before 11:00 and we took ourselves to the cafeteria across the street before an 11:30 appointment with Dr. Lin.

Not surprisingly, the PET had not been read yet, but Dr. Lin looked at it. The official report will come out later, but basically, the tumors that are in his body are relatively stable. Significantly smaller than a year ago, but still there.  The tricky part with Harv's particular situation is that his liver tumors respond better to one kind of chemo and the lung tumors (which we kinda knew about already) respond to a different kind of chemo. 

He hasn't lost weight which is a good thing. And, his energy -- while not quite as high as 5 years ago -- is pretty good. Both of those things are encouraging. 

The plan right now is to continue with the infusions he's been having for lungs and add a pill chemo to keep the liver tumors in check.

We'll keep at this plan through December and probably into January, but we'll make sure chemo does not interfere with Thanksgiving or Christmas meal planning. So, we'll start infusions the week after Thanksgiving and try to figure things out so that Christmas eating can be fun.

In other news, Laura had her two days of photopheresis and is back in Leesburg. She sounded pretty upbeat when I spoke with her, but I imagine she's pretty tired. She has some good friends in Leesburg who often fix her dinner on the night she comes back. I sure do appreciate those people. Sendin' a hug to them!! 

Tonight, Sarah and Hannah will have their last high school cross country banquet. I am gonna get teary, I'm pretty sure. What a wonderful group this has been -- the runners, the coaches and the parents. Thank you all for making these four years so special.  

Sending you all wonderful wishes for a Thanksgiving full of love, rest and lots and lots of good food. 

Peace to you all.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This week...

Tomorrow, Harv and I go to Seattle for his PET scan. We are hoping that it shows that his cancer has decided to retreat so he can switch over to a maintenance chemo.  While he kinda figured out a way to make his symptoms slightly less intense, I wouldn't say it has been much more "fun". 

We don't know what Dr. Lin will say, but in our dreams his cancer would be in control (or, better yet, go away completely) and he wouldn't ever have to have any more infusions.

In other health news, my sister, Laura, goes tomorrow for a treatment for her graft vs. host disease. See this link for more information.  She'll be at Emory University Hospital (outpatient) for a couple of days every week for the next eight weeks. 

We also have dreams for Laura... that the graft vs. host disease would go away and she would be able to enjoy life without annoying health issues. I do believe she's had enough to deal with over the past few years. She deserves happy and healthy in big doses.

Thank you for tuning into our lives...and for praying with us for all these things.

We love you.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear Sehome Cross Country People,

Yesterday the girls and I went to the State Cross Country meet in Pasco. We drove over to Yakima late Friday night, arrived at our hotel at about 1:30 in the morning and snatched a few hours of sleep before we headed to Pasco for the meet.

We hung out at the meet watching races and enjoying time with the team. And, watched both boys and girls become the State 2A Champions! It was thrilling! 

But, for me, it was thrilling not only 'cause they did so well in the races, but because I feel so strongly that Sehome Cross Country is a family. It has been a great family from the early days through the last meet of their senior year. 

Perhaps slowly at first, but steady nonetheless, I have grown to love and feel a kinship towards all that is Sehome Cross Country.  From the coaches and assistant coaches to the runners who don't know me much at all and to the parents... I am so thankful that our paths have crossed. I'm thankful that my girls (and I :-) ) have been a part of a team that feels like a family. 

As I drove home from the meet last night, I tried to think of the words that would convey this full feeling in my heart for this wonderful team.  I'm not sure I have the words to convey my deep gratitude for such a gift.

So... I will say "thank you." And, when you read those words, think way deeper and way stronger than you might initially think.  

Way deeper.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thought you might wanna know

Well, it appeeeeeeears that keeping very well hydrated makes a positive difference for Harvey after infusion. He and I have a competition every day to see who actually drinks 64 oz. of water or electrolyte beverages or NOT caffeine bevs everyday. We started a little before his infusion and have continued... I think we've been at it for about a week and a half. I'm technically winning, but he's done pretty well. And, though he's been tired and has had a little bit of stomach upset, it has been nothing like last go 'round.

They predict that he "bottoms out" between days seven and ten. Day seven will be tomorrow. But last time he felt terrible on day six.

Bottom line is that he hasn't felt as bad. He's even taken Raney on a couple of walks (one of 'em was probably too long, but he did it.)

So, yay! 

Have a happy rest of your weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2014

'Nother round of chemo for Harv today... He's been trying to hydrate ahead of time so hopefully this round won't be as difficult as last time... Please pray that he keeps up with hydration during and after chemo...

Thanks, y'all!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

So... I'm gonna have a little bit of surgery tomorrow. Laparoscopic. Outpatient. 

Pretty sure it's not that big a deal. This kind of surgery is done all the time with few complications.

But, as with any surgery, there's some risk. That things might not go 100% according to plan is not likely, but it's still possible....

My wish is that I would come out of surgery slightly improved as opposed to slightly more complicated. :-)

I'd also like to heal fast. I ain't got time for bein' the one who needs tendin' to...

So, if you would pray for the surgeon and for me, I'd appreciate it. 

And, Harv's next chemo is next Monday. Please pray that the drinking of lots of fluids BEFORE and during chemo will help him AFTER chemo to push that yucky stuff through him with little discomfort.  (And, pray that he remembers to drink the fluids BEFORE, DURING and AFTER.)

Thank you, people!

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's been a week since Harv's last chemo infusion...and it hasn't been a happy week. 

A fact about the chemo he's taking: it causes diarrhea and cramping. Because of that, they give him a nice big dose of pre-meds to help with it. However, the pre-meds cause constipation -- which also is not fun.

I suppose it's been long enough for us since he's had Irinotecan that we just kinda forgot how to deal with it... So, when he had the constipation, we decided that maybe a stool softener would be helpful. And, it was, for a short time. Then the diarrhea phase kicked in...which is where we are now.

Now, I don't know about you other wives out there, but sometimes I have a husband who doesn't  follow the advice of medical professionals to avoid as much discomfort as possible during chemo. This is one of those times. 

Long story short, he might need to play catch up with fluids and the BRAT diet and boring food. And, in my humble opinion, just generally "suck it up."

And his grumpy old wife might need to take some deep breaths and perhaps a few long walks to avoid "losin' it." 

Please pray that Harv feels better, that his system straightens itself out, and that he can go on a fun trip that he has planned this weekend with a buncha guys to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Merci beaucoup!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If you're wondering, Harv is doing okay. The first day is always pretty good.. 2nd and 3rd days are harder. He has some stomach discomfort and has slept most of today, but I THINK he might be slowly feeling better.

Thank you for your prayers.

Lots of love to you all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chemo Time

Chemo for Harv today... First of at least three rounds every three weeks. Would appreciate prayers that he handles it well and that the chemo seriously kicks some cancer butt.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

Well, here's some good news! Harv had a normal night's sleep last night... (Normal as in: took some Ibuprofen PM and was able to sleep without being in pain.) A wife likes THAT.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Harv's havin' his MRI now... They told me it was in two parts: a 40 min. session and a 50 min. session. Please pray that the muscle relaxer relaxes him enough to lie still for as long as they need him to... He's not lookin' forward to this. :-/

Monday, September 8, 2014


Dear Friends and Family,

For the most part, Harv is doing well. And, he has done pretty well for the past (almost) three years.

Currently, however, the biggest issue that he's having is that he has some real pain in his shoulder/neck/back area. Dr. Lin thinks it's related to the surgery he had last year, but we're not sure. He's gone to medical massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, our primary care physician has given him muscle relaxer, he's used heat and cold and topical pain medicine. And, still... he has this pain that will not go away.

Dr. Lin has asked Harv's local doctor to order an MRI and hopefully that will shed some light on what the cause is and how we can alleviate the pain.

In the meantime, would y'all please pray that he can get to sleep and have a good night's sleep for many nights in a row? Not sleeping is a big, fat drag. Not sleeping can affect lots of things and lots of people.

Thank you very much.

Many blessings to you all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Harv update...

CT scan today. No real change. Dr. Lin wants to give Harv some KA-POW!-y kinda chemo and see if we can get the numbers down a bit more. So, he'll do that in about 3 weeks. Which means that he will be off of chemo until then. Always a good thing when chemo is not a part of the routine. 

In the meantime, school has started and life is about to pick up speed. 

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of your week.

Monday, September 1, 2014

From this day forward...

I just wanna say this:

I know of a really good, solid marriage that's very hard sometimes. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes communication is fuzzy or non-existent. Sometimes somebody needs to sit in time-out.

I know of a really good, solid marriage that sometimes doesn't even feel that good or that solid...

Sometimes trust is broken. And trust has to be re-learned...and/or earned. 

Sometimes this really good, solid marriage that I know of doesn't even feel very loving. 

Sometimes this really good, solid marriage that I know about looks around at the other marriages and wonders "Do THEY ever have these issues?" 

This really good, solid marriage is made up of two people who might not like each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year... 

Really good, solid marriages take a lot of work. Sometimes more work than a person actually FEELS like doing.

But this really good, solid marriage that I know about is committed -- in spite of hurt feelings, bad communication, broken trust, not-loving feelings... 

This particular really good, solid marriage that I know about is made up of two extremely imperfect people working over and over and over and over and over and over and over again to make sure that it lasts until forever. 

So... that's all I wanted to say.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's happening

I remember when Sarah and Hannah were babies and I'd be somewhere in town and people would stop to talk. Most people would either be amazed that they were twins or have a story to tell about their twins. When my parents came to visit after the girls were born & we went to the mall, people would stop and look and Papa would say "We charge a quarter to look." (He had a good sense of humor.) And, many people -- who were not in the thick of trying to take care of infant twins -- would say "Treasure these moments." 

I knew they were right. And, I knew that I was so lucky to have these sweet little baby girls. But the truth was, I was LOOOOONNNNNGING for time away from their lovely selves. I could not WAIT until they went to preschool. Two and a half hours of ME time (even if that meant grocery shopping) sounded heavenly.

Preschool came. And in that time, I met some great mamas and became good friends with some of them. The girls, too, became good friends with some of their classmates. They played. They learned. They had fun. I went grocery shopping, or had lunch with the ladies or played on my own. Turns out two and a half hours goes really quickly.

Then it was time for them to go to kindergarten. That was even more time to myself and more days a week. They learned. They played. They made good friends. Me, too. 

Elementary school turned into middle school and middle school turned into high school... 

People have told me through the years that high school, in particular, goes very fast. I've found that that's true, but it still seemed like I had a lot of time. Even last year, when they were in eleventh grade, they still had one more year to go.

Somehow, though, it all of a sudden became the summer before they become SENIORS.

Last week, we went to see the movie "Boyhood."  It was really good... Lots of good parts in that movie, but the one that really got to me was when she was talking to her son before he left for college. And, I just cried and cried. The tears would not stop.

I have a friend whose oldest daughter graduated from high school last June. My friend kept telling me  -- all through the year -- about how emotional she was and how her husband and daughter didn't like it, but she couldn't help it. She'd cry at the last cross country meet. She'd cry at the orchestra concerts. She took a day off of work to get ready for the graduation party and she found that she was just crying at home alone... I sort of understood, but not really 'cause my girls were still in eleventh grade. They had a whole year ahead of them. WE had a whole year ahead of US. 

But starting last week, I began to understand. My girls -- my little bitty, teeny weensy, twin baby girls --- who needed me so much when they were born...who cried when I left them in the nursery at MOPS...  who cried for the first month of kindergarten and who followed sweet Mrs. Francis around the playground for the first three months of kindergarten.... my girls, who were quiet and reserved... my girls who used to be picky eaters, who loved (still love) "Arthur" and "Little Bear"... my girls who used to dance around the family room to silly music... who loved listening to "Room Six Songs" in the car on the way to school... my sweet girls who would practice their multiplication tables in the car listening to School House Rock... my little girls who used to be afraid of cats until we got Reba and Faline... and dogs until we got Raney.... those tiny little three year olds who were in no hurry to potty train and pushed me to multiple variations of bribery to help them hurry a bit... my girls who used to take a million books to bed with them when they were still sleeping in a crib... the same girls who ran out to the car at the end of 4th grade to tell me that they wanted to play the violin in orchestra.... those little girls who did not love learning to swim... who went with me when they were in 4th or 5th grade to lobby our representatives to fund more Alzheimer's research and treatment.... those little girls who had (have) beautiful imaginations and played games like "Sally and Nalley", "Thorny Prickles" and "Springtime Offices"... THOSE little girls are soon to be seniors in high school, which means they will soon graduate and move away from home and be grown up.

As much as I have known all along that one day they would be grown up, I really didn't know. I had no clue it would actually arrive at my house. Not really. I mean a parent knows things, but they don't really become real until it actually happens.

So... I pray that THIS year is the most wonderful year of their school career. I pray that they learn a lot and grow a lot and have a lot of fun. I pray that they begin to see a little more clearly what they hope their future looks like. I pray that they each -- as individuals -- discover a little more about themselves and begin to discern what the correct next step is for them. I pray that their friendships deepen and strengthen... I pray that every single day of this school year is helpful preparation for all of the years that lie ahead.

I pray that I will be an encouragement and a help as they prepare for the next few years.  And, I pray that they, in turn, will also help me prepare for the next few years of their "grown-up-dom."

I pray that this year and the all the years that follow teach them how to live and love and support all kinds of people -- whether those people are just like they are or are very different -- while still holding onto their values and principles.

I am so thankful for the gift of those girls. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dear Mama,
I sure do miss you... 'Member how I used to call you every day or close to it? Loved that... Sometimes we didn't really have anything to say... we were just shootin' the breeze.

There are things I don't really want to tell you... Illnesses, divorce, "not-fun" stuff... So, I'll leave those out.

I miss sittin' on the front porch. I've been trying FOR YEARS to figure out how to make a picture book out of a front porch story. I sure hope I can do it.

Celeste lives in Bellingham now. It's been good to have her here... (Can't tell you how it came to be that she moved to Bellingham 'cause that's a little bit of the "not-fun" stuff...but sometimes "not-fun" stuff can cause good things to happen.) She lives in an apartment with a friend and has a boyfriend and works at a local software company. Last time you saw her, I think she was about 17. Lots has happened since she was 17.

Sarah and Hannah will soon be SENIORS in high school!!! SENIORS!! They're seventeen! Last time you saw 'em they were 10 years old and in fifth grade. Lots has happened since fifth grade. They are runners now... They're in the orchestra (Every time I go to a concert, I think about how much you would love to hear them play.). They (we all) went to France this summer. You would've loved it. Especially the countryside... Harv and I went to London. I thought of you and Papa when we were there and wondered about what you saw that I was now seeing. I also thought of you and Papa when we went to Harrod's and I saw all the yummy food. Wished I could've brought some Stilton home 'cause it made me think of Papa. Plus, I love it.

I am older now too... Fifty-dang-two years old. I have some aches. I don't sleep as well as I used to. But things are pretty good... (There are some "not-fun" things, but I can't tell you about those.)  I think of you so much... I try to keep tellin' stories of you. I keep lookin' at photos. Sometimes I see myself in the mirror or I look at my hands -- or today, I saw my TOES(!) and think of you. You sure were a good mama.

Harv and I still love living in Bellingham. We have a dog now. We got her in 2009. You would like her. She's sweet. Her name is Raney and she makes us get outside and see lots of nature. 

Harv is still working for the same company -- though only part-time. Can't tell you why that is 'cause it's part of the "not-fun" series of events, but we are thankful for all the many blessings that we see everyday.... "We're just as thankful we're as well as we are..." (tell that to Pop.)

Oh... there are other stories of Laura and Robert and Mary... Some good...some "not-fun", but we are all just tickin' away! 

And, we all miss you so much...  And, we miss Papa so much, too. 

Wish I could sit on the porch with y'all tonight. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Harv went for acupuncture yesterday. She told him that the success of acupuncture runs the gambit: some feel relief right away, some feel it later, some don't feel it at all. She inserted the needles and then let them sit there for a few minutes. Afterwards she used little suction cup things to draw blood to the painful areas.  He's all spotty now. 

He didn't feel immediate relief, but he's got two more appointments for next week and we are hoping that he begins to feel the benefits of the treatments.

Monday he'll see our local oncologist and will have an infusion that day, too.

The Genistein (immune booster supplement) arrived the other day and the pills are GIGANTIC so, for now, he's chewing them (which doesn't taste good). Y'all got any tips for easily and "pleasantly" ingesting sawdust-tasting, giant pills ?

Next week, Harv, Sarah, Hannah and I will volunteer for Obliteride, the fundraiser for which I rode last summer. If you'd like to participate in helping to put an end to cancer, check out this link....

We are thankful for the beautiful weather... The sunshine feels so good! And, we are thankful for the last days of summer where we can be at home and just take it easy. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking for relief

Tomorrow Harvey goes to an acupuncturist to try to find relief from some pain he's had in his shoulder/neck area. We would appreciate your prayers that it makes a difference. He's been having trouble sleeping because of this pain. 

Thank you... 

Monday, July 28, 2014

More info...

Dr. Lin called and CEA count is up to 6. He did a blood test to see if a new drug would be helpful. Turns out that drug (don't remember the name) won't be helpful for Harv.

So, he'll start with Avastin (infused) and continue on the Xeloda in combination with that. And, HOPEFULLY it will make a difference and squash those suckers! If it doesn't make enough of a difference, we'll probably need to add something else.

Luckily, the Avastin is easier on his system than some other infused drugs.

Also, Dr. Lin said that there are some approved clinical trials out there for immunotherapy "stuff." Some of those trials have long waiting lists, but we can work with the current drugs while we wait.  

More information as we learn it.

Have a good week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Short update...

Went to the doctor today to get a CT scan of Harv's lungs. Basically, no dramatic difference since last month. So, we'll pretty much stay the course and add a supplement. Depending on what the blood work says, Dr. Lin might add another oral drug for a little more kick. We'll go back in 6 - 8 weeks for another scan to see if there has been anymore change.

On a different note, we had a really nice trip to England and France. We got back last Thursday. We all had a great time doing lots of fun things. London was great. Paris was great. L'Isle D'Abeau, the alps and Solutré were great!! And, our stop in Iceland, though short, was a neat experience, too. (Thank you Delgado Family for hosting us while we were in L'Isle D'Abeau!)

Praying that people all over the place feel hope and peace as they go to sleep tonight.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Pretty soon, we're gonna be heading over to France to catch up with our girls (all three girls will be there when we get there)...

Just wanted to ask y'all to pray for a good trip. Harv doesn't have a TON of stamina so we have to move at a slightly slower pace than we did the last time we were there. He does okay, but he gets tired fairly easily and somewhat winded. I, on the other hand, tend to want to walk really fast all over the place.    
I think we're gonna need to splurge on taxis a little bit more than we might be inclined to just so we can take advantage of all that is out there for us.

Please pray for everybody to feel good and for us to just plain ol' have a good time. 

As is true for most family trips, my brain is currently full of details which makes it a little bit hard to be excited yet. But, I am really looking forward to the trip. (Don't love to fly, but am hoping for a lovely, smooth, uneventful flight.)

Thank you for keeping up with us. Thank you for your prayers. 

Love to you all.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Silly Little Cells

Yesterday was Sarah's and Hannah's birthday so I waited until today for medical news.

Harv had a CT scan and we were hoping that the nodules they saw on the scan last time were due to his cough and that they'd go away when his cough did. Unfortunately, the nodules are still there. Dr. Lin says that sometimes the teeny weensy cells get angry when they get blasted with strong chemo and sometimes they dig their heels in and fight... It sounded like they were pretty little, but they're still there. His CEA count is slightly higher, but not dramatically.

So, we're gonna kinda sneak up on 'em with what he calls "maintenance" chemo for a couple of months and then we'll have another CT scan. Harv will start taking the Xeloda (oral drug) again right away and most likely follow that up with Avastin (an effective, but easier chemo drug). We'll be traveling a bit this summer so Dr. Lin is making it simpler to attack the chemo and still have a life. We were gonna wait until we got back, but we're gonna start real soon...perhaps even today. And, when it's time for the Avastin, we'll be able to get that in Bellingham.

While we don't especially like that the little nodules are still there, we still feel pretty good about things.  Harv feels good. He's been very busy at work and he's been working on lots of house-y stuff. It's been very nice not to have to go to Seattle so often and very nice not to have any type of infusion. Life without chemo can be pretty pleasant. It helps, I'm sure, that the weather has been so nice lately, too.

And, so... the battle continues. The fight isn't quite as scary as it was at first, but we still have to be on our toes. Can't let those silly little cells think they own the place.

Many, many blessings to you all. Thanks for keeping up with us. Wishing you all a wonderful summer...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Twice blessed

Today we celebrate Sarah's and Hannah's 17th birthday! Woo hoooo!!! Love those girls... Am so thankful that they were born! Luck-luck-lucky mama am I !!

Tune in tomorrow for details on today's CT scan / appointment with Dr. Lin.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just a note: Harv's cough seems to have gone away. :-)

CT scan on June 12th.

Prayers still appreciated.

Love y'all.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Good Kitty

Goodbye, sweet little good, bad kitty. We love you.

Reba Marie Chute
July 14, 2000 - May 24, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Reba Marie

Today my sweet little kitty Reba is on my heart...

I say "sweet" 'cause she is, but she definitely has a feisty side. We adopted Reba and her sister, Faline, when we moved to this house almost 14 years ago. Actually, we hired them (room and board was their salary) to patrol the area. They have pretty much lived outside during the day and slept in the garage "mansion" at night. Faline was the boss. Reba quietly walked away with shoulders slumped and head down if Faline wanted the spot by the door. There was an understanding between them. Faline was the huntress. She shared some with Reba, but she was the "catcher." One time they worked together and caught a Stellar's Jay. He got away, but they held onto him for a long time.

Faline left us when the girls were young in elementary school. Someone hit her (probably in our driveway) and she made it back to the shady tree area near the apple trees to die. Harv found her after she had not come home for a day and a half. It was sad. Faline was so cuddly. She drooled when we pet her.  She didn't bite us when we decided we didn't want to pet her anymore. Not Reb's... She wants what she wants.

Reba became a huntress after Faline left. There were perhaps fewer "treats" left at our door, but Reba took over where Faline left off.

We always say that Reba acts like a little dog following us around the yard. If we go out to throw the ball for Raney, she'll follow us out into the yard and hang out in the safety of the bushes. Sometimes she walks us almost all the way to the mailbox just to be with us. 

She and Raney have become friends. They kiss sometimes and rub each other. They're definitely siblings.

She loves to jump in our laps when we're on the deck. But we have learned to be careful about how we stop the cuddles... She loves to keep an eye out for an open door so she can run in the house and go hide under the guest room bed. And, more power to the person who tries to get her out of the house. Claws and teeth are on the ready.

Recently Harv has noticed that she's lookin' skinnier. I didn't think so until last week. She looked real skinny to me, though. Seemed like she was drinkin' more water than usual. So, I took her to the vet.

Harv and I had a talk before I took her 'cause we wanted to be prepared in case we got a bad diagnosis. I was feelin' all business-like. "She's 14. I don't want to be treatin' a cat for cancer or diabetes or kidney problems. She's 14. If she was 2, maybe I'd feel differently..." And the honest reality (as harsh as it sounds) is that I'm really more of a Raney person than a Reba person. That doesn't mean I don't love Reba, though.

So, I took her in on Wednesday. My 52nd birthday. I kinda hated the thought of her having some major health issue and subsequent major life decision on my birthday, but she was sick. The doctor looked at her and found that she had a high fever and was dehydrated even though she had been drinkin' lots of water. (I felt myself gettin' a little emotional in the examining room. Not crying, but feelin' like it was just under the surface.) 

We made the decision to leave her there and they could do blood work and urinalysis and give her hydration. The possibilities for this mystery illness at that time were sort of wide open... Kidney problems, cancer, etc. The tests they ran ruled out kidney issues, leukemia, and FIV but they found that she is anemic which means, most likely, that there is some kind of inflammation somewhere... There are other things that they said which I can't remember, but it boils down to a mystery right now. We have an appointment on Tuesday for an ultrasound to see if there is an obvious place of inflammation...

Yesterday I went over there to see what the status was on her. Not a lot of change. They let me visit her. They had told me that she was grumpy (a cat with IV fluids and receiving lots of pokes is bound to be grumpy if you ask me). When I got to her, though, she was as cuddly as she could be in a cage hooked up to fluids. She licked a little bit of food off my finger. She purred a little bit. She ate a little food from the bowl. She turned on her back -- as much as she could -- and asked me to rub under her chin. She let me kiss her. Then I sent Sarah and Hannah over there with some of her food and her treats. They cuddled her, too.

I kinda surprised myself (and am surprising myself right this minute) with the amount of emotion I felt when I saw my little bitty kitty feelin' yucky. 

I'm gonna pick her up later today to come home for the weekend. 

How did this feisty old cat get to my heart? How in the world did I get so teary about her sweet little self?

I mean, seriously. We hired her. 

She's done a great job of being the cat this family has needed. 

Love that little girl.