Monday, August 31, 2015

Today has been quite full. Started with a visit from the chaplain who I liked a lot. She gave some good suggestions for conserving energy and focusing on the important things with the energy you have... Letting other people help with things that might be less important so that he can have energy for the wedding and our time together at home.

That was followed by a visit from our hospice nurse. She was here for a while and Harv gave her lots of information... She had some suggestions for helping his stomach and working with pain and appetite. We'll see her again on Thursday unless we need her again before that. We have specific things to do today and tomorrow to hopefully get his stomach behaving correctly.

Harv stayed awake for a while after that working on some paperwork. Then took a nap (is still napping).  I, too, took a nap.

One of our friends came to replace our bathroom faucet and another friend came to visit and drop off freezer food. And yet another friend (she's my college friend) is coming by so I can hug her neck on her way back to Seattle. I was honest with her and said I didn't have much more capacity for a real good visit... She obliged and will let me hug her neck in my driveway. (Mama might be embarrassed, but sometimes you have to be honest.) Wanted to hug her neck, though, 'cause I don't get to see her often. 

And still ANOTHER friend is coming over to walk my dog-baby. And ANOTHER friend just dropped off our dinner.

My world is full of wonderful people.

Yesterday it occurred to me that I have to kind of re-train my brain from the goal of trying to FIX all of Harv's issues to the goal of making him comfortable. It's not an easy switch.

Please pray for us as we figure all this stuff out... And, pray for me that I can figure out how to create the space I need while absorbing all the love and generosity that is given.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Yesterday Harv finished the third of three liters of fluids. I'd say he feels better, but his system still isn't really moving so much right now... He ate more yesterday than he had in previous days (combined) and this morning he had a bowl of cereal with a banana and a cup of coffee. He hasn't wanted coffee in months. 

He also walked to the street to get the newspaper and is currently at the kitchen table reading it while sipping his coffee.

On Friday, he was given the okay to take longer acting pain meds and I believe those, combined with his regular pills and maybe with the addition of much needed fluids, have made a real difference in how he feels.

His stomach isn't exactly behaving like he'd like, but he doesn't feel nauseous and he's eating... He is sounding and acting a bit more like himself.

Thank you all for praying for him and for being so good to me and our whole family...

We love you.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Sometimes I doubt and get discouraged about Christianity and the church. I get cynical and bothered by churchy things.

But, I tell you what. If there ever was a sign of God at all, it is in the community of good people that surrounds our family...and have surrounded us throughout this journey. 

How do you doubt goodness when so much love encircles you? 

Every day... Even every hour since Harv declared he was in hospice, people have reached out... People close by and people far away... People who want to fix my faucet and people who want to mow my yard... People who collect half gallon jugs so we can make apple cider with our apples... People who want to sit with Harvey and visit... People who walk my dog and bring me doughnuts... People who send me wine... People who drop my dry cleaning off and bring us soup... People from far away who want to feed my family pizza. People who organize all the people.  People I don't even know! People who pray for us all. 

And somehow I think that everybody in many different ways just wants to make a difference... We can't ever really change the outcome of this story, but we can make the journey less scary....and that's what all of y'all are doing. 

I will never, ever be able to express the deep gratitude that I feel for all of your love. 

Some of you may not be Christians or even believe in God at all, but I will say that, for me, God is in all of the love we've felt... This is the best kinda church service ever. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

For those of you who have asked...

These are the things that we don't always NEED and actually COULD do, but sometimes just don't have the get-up-and-go to do... It doesn't come easy for me to ask, but I know people want to help and don't know how.
  • I've been ordering ready-made meals from ACME for the last few weeks and they've been great. There are three of them in a box for the week and that's pretty good for most weeks. Sometimes, though, I just don't want to fix anything... And, for me, in particular, I like to just have "happy hour" food.. Or, taco salad or pizza with a beer... Or somethin' that sits well in front of the tv. :-)  Might be nice to have a couple of meals a week that I don't have to think about.
  • We haven't needed it much 'cause it's been so dry, but it would be nice every-now-and-then to have the lawn mowed, etc.
  • It would be pretty sweet if somebody could give me the name of a house-cleaner who could come every week or two.
  • We have a minor kitchen faucet / Instant Hot issue... I don't think we need a real plumber, but just someone who knows what things do what and how to make 'em behave properly...
  • Occasionally, if you're at the store or out for lunch, and can text me, I might have a thing or two that we need or want. I'll pay you back when you get here. :-)  (If you don't already have my cell #, please email me at and I'll give it to you...)
  • Somebody mentioned a baby monitor... Does anyone have one we could borrow?
  • Someday we might have an apple project or two. (cider making, picking, delivering apples to food bank or making us an apple pie.... tee hee) 
  • It'd be great if somebody would occasionally take Raney on about a 30 minute off-leash walk... The girls have been good about it and I know that it would do me good to get out with her, but I am currently feeling like I need to stick around.
  • Sometimes I like to drink a good glass of wine...  
  • There might be somebody out there who would love to be the coordinator of all of these projects... That would simplify my life a little -- one contact for me. (CONTACT Shelley Knebel  ( ) if you'd like to help. She's my coordinator. ❤️ 
Those are the top-of-my head things... And, maybe some of y'all know of things that would help us  that we haven't thought of yet.

Thank you for letting me ask these things... Y'all are good to us. We love you.

P.S. Just so you know... I lose it sometimes. I might lose it again -- often.  (And I know that's okay.)
Love you.

Hospice nurse came today... Hooked Harv up to IV fluids and showed me how to unhook him when the drip is finished. We discussed pain management and she will get more pain meds to have on hand. In the meantime, he's taking what he has and I believe he is currently sleeping.

The trick for me is to allow him to sleep without checking on him all the time. Need to just let him be sometimes.

Another nurse will come tomorrow and hook him up with another bag of fluids. We're hoping that that will relieve some of his discomfort and he'll begin to feel a bit more like himself. The next few days will be trying to figure out the perfect balance for pain meds so that he feels good. We are hoping that we can figure it out and that things will balance out by the time of Celeste's wedding.

For those of you who have asked if you can help, I'll make a list of things that come to mind... If something "fits" you, maybe you could help out that way.  

Please pray that Harvey feels some relief... that we can find a good pain med balance for him and that he will be strong enough to walk Celeste down the aisle.

Love you people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just a quick note to let you know that Harv has officially signed the papers for hospice.

We are both looking forward to having him get some relief.

I keep wondering whose life this is... I just can't quite take it all in... And, yet, I know it's real.

Continued prayers are appreciated.

Many thanks to all of you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Still waiting to hear from the radiation oncologist... I called yesterday and spoke to his assistant who said that UW still had not sent his scans to them... She was gonna contact them and see what she could see. We hoped we'd hear from her today, but we didn't. Dr. Taylor doesn't work in Bellingham on Mondays/Tuesdays, evidently.... Hopefully, we will hear something tomorrow.

I have also been in contact with Hospice House to just find out information. We're not ready to sign up for that quite yet, but we think it'd be helpful to hear what it's all about. The nurse I spoke with was very helpful and said they can come to the house to discuss everything. 

The girls (all three of them) and I had a good talk last night about reality. It was hard, but it was good. I think all of us needed to just release some emotion together. 

Harv continues to either be uncomfortable or in pain. And, occasionally, when he exerts himself (walks to mailbox, stands up too long, walks up stairs too soon) sometimes he gets sick. That's not much fun. He's not eating much, but I'm trying to fill him with protein and some fatty stuff. A friend gave me a great recipe that, to me, tastes like custard... He liked it.

He's been sleeping much of most days. 

I've told the girls that I either want him to be healed or I want him to be healed. I don't want him to feel bad anymore. I don't want to lose this good man who is my husband, but I want him to stop being sick. 

I do not know how to do any of this... But we will do the best we can... 

Please pray for all the right things... whatever those things are... I don't even know how to pray.  Pray for our children. Pray for his siblings. Pray for his parents... And pray for me... 

Thank you so much for loving us.

Many blessings to you all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Last Friday Dr. Taylor (local radiation oncologist) called Harv to give results of the scan he had had the day before. It appears that the tumor that's causing the most pain and is the largest is the tumor that Harv had radiated earlier this year. Dr. Taylor needs to confirm that with UW Medical Center scans (which he hasn't rec'd yet), but he thinks that's the case. He's out of town this week but hopes to have that information when he returns next week.

If it is, in fact, the case, then that means that radiation is no longer an option. 

It's possible that there's a trial or some kind of chemo available, but Harv and I have talked and he feels that he's not strong enough to handle that.  He feels that most likely any treatments that remain available aren't worth the discomfort and toll on the body.

So... We'll wait to hear from Dr. Taylor next week and see what's next... But we believe that what's gonna happen is that we will treat his pain and discomfort.

Only 3 1/2 weeks till Celeste's wedding... We want him to feel as good as he possibly can for that.

We appreciate all the love.  We would appreciate prayers as we try to figure out how to navigate the next stage.

We love you.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Celeste's wedding is in five weeks. FIVE!  :-)

We go to the radiation oncologist in town this week to see what he thinks. Not sure when he would start or how many radiation treatments the doctor will recommend. Dr. Lin has said that he thinks he'd like to add some low-dose chemo to that as well.

Based on Harv's experience last time with radiation, he is expecting to feel pretty tired and possibly nauseous from the radiation at the minimum. Maybe even more so if chemo is added.  He currently is already pretty fatigued and his appetite is not so great (He's eating often, but not a whole lot.).

SO! I'm asking if you will pray that the details of his treatment work well for him and that he will feel energetic for the wedding weekend. We'll be "on the go" from the Wednesday to the Sunday of that weekend.

'Preciate it!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Being at home seems to be a good thing... And, Harv has tried really hard to eat more proteins every day. I wouldn't say that he's overflowing with energy, but today he seems ever-so-slightly more "energetic." He even went for a walk to the mailbox... which is a pretty good walk. He might even try to go again later today.

We have a radiation oncology consultation scheduled for next week here in Bellingham. Hopefully, that will be able to be done fairly soon and with minimal side-effects. Want to be ready for the wedding (which is just about one month away)... After that consultation we will have a phone appt. with Dr. Lin and discuss what we learned and how, perhaps, a low-dose chemo might also fit into the plan.  

In addition to Celeste and Anthony's upcoming wedding, Sarah and Hannah are also gearing up to start at WWU at the end of September. Somehow all the little details of everything that's comin' up will fall into place, I know. Lots of fun things on the way.

That's all for now. Thanks for checking in. 


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Away time...

We left last Sunday for five nights at Kalaloch Beach... It's a part of the Olympic National Park and it's one of our favorite places. Celeste and Anthony joined us for the first two nights as well.  

We always take our own food and cook in the cabin -- which we did again. We usually go for a couple of walks on the beach each day and, usually, Raney is off-leash the whole time and we can walk however long without worry about her being on-leash except for right close to the lodge/cabins. Not so this time. She is still healing and I'm afraid she might tweak her leg so she and I went on a short-ish walk a day and mostly on-leash.  She was kinda bored. She DID get a couple or three off-leash walks which made her very happy -- and sometimes defiant. 

This trip, Harv and Anthony brought kites and we rigged up something so we could attach the GoPro to the kite and see what happened. Actually, I didn't rig anything up... they did. Harv made this  gizmo that somehow attached to the kite and held the GoPro in place.  I think they tried it Sunday and Monday.

What we found out, though, was that going to the beach was just a little bit too much for Harv.  He had a time walkin' back up the stairs back to the cabin. And, he found he tired pretty quickly on the beach, too. Turns out that after a couple of days of tryin' that, it was determined that it was best to stay on level ground. And, he slept a lot after that.  And, his appetite wasn't very big. And, he was in a fair bit of pain in shoulders and back. So... pain medicine was had. Which helped.

We got home early evening yesterday and unloaded, ordered pizza and watched tv. Today was unpacking and decluttering around the house... (PLUS, let's go get the bridesmaids' dresses day). Harv woke up with way more energy and "enthusiasm" than I've seen in five days... So, it appears that home is a pretty good place to be.

Not sure what the next steps are yet with his medical care... Hope to find out Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks for checkin' in... Will update when I know more. Love you people.