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.