This is hard ... not from a pride stand point - just in knowing that everyone is having some kind of struggle, and because of that, it is hard to ask -- but after much thought and prayer, as well as the encouragement of others ... here is the link to the gofundme website --
But "my" version?
Had I known how the story would end ...
I would have enjoyed my kids thru the growing up years more.
I would have worried less about how clean the house was, how well organized everything looked.
I would not have sent the kids outside to play when the noise level got on my "last nerve".
Just to hear the laughter now. Even to hear the words of argument!
To walk thru the house and find toys in the floor, and stuffed in every nook and cranny.
Crumbs on the table, spills under the table.
Candy wrappers stuffed between the couch cushions.
Wet towels on the bathroom floor.
Water stains on the walls and the floors.
Trash cans running over.
Dirty dishes piled in the sink, and on the table, and under the beds.
To hear a slamming door.
To feel a child's presence in the room, without seeing at first.
To know the arms of a child around my waist, or around my neck.
I never would have said - not now.
Oh I am so thankful for Mandy and Joshua. And I am so proud of the woman and the man they have become.
And I am honored and thankful that they are my 2 best friends on this earth.
I thank God every time they call ... or for every hug they give.
They still make me laugh ... and cry.
But had I known the house would be so empty ... and the silence be so deafening ... I would have enjoyed the loudness more!
I would have savored and treasured every word, every hug, every mess.
Had I known that dialysis would take Rick's body ...
Had I known that a shoulder injury would take Rick's passion ...
I would have stayed in bed those mornings I didn't.
I would have laid with him as he slept - not get up and get the day started.
I would have turned into his arms every time, never saying - not now.
Just to get in a car and hit the open road - no destination in mind, packing nothing. Just go.
Those days are no more.
To climb on the motorcycle and feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face.
I regret the times that I didn't go.
The times of laughter and teasing.
Of hugs and kisses. Of LIFE.
Had I known all that would end ... I would have held on more.
I never knew, never understood.
That a chronic illness or disease could, or would, take so much away.
We have endured hardships in our life.
We have seen struggles and made it thru storms.
We have said that final good-bye, till we meet again - so many times that I have lost count.
But never have I known such loneliness, such grief ...
To have my husband with me. To see his form. To hear his voice.
But not to have his laughter ... his friendship.
To see his hands - but not to feel them.
To look at his arms - but not to have them hold me.
To hear his voice in conversation with others, but not to know that conversation.
To find quiet things to do as he sleeps. Hoping and expecting that he will feel better when he wakes up.
And then ... he doesn't.
He is still my husband. Still the head of our home.
But his strength is just not there most days, for most "jobs".
I am tired and weary.
I am just a woman - supposed to be the weaker vessel.
Tired of carrying the load - spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
I have aches and pains, too. I have a tiredness that I just cannot explain - and it just won't go away.
It's been so long since I have slept - that sleep where you don't feel anything, you don't hear anything.
I sleep with one eye open - aware of every move Rick makes now. Never knowing when he will need me, when he will call out for something.
I sleep with one ear open - always listening for the alarms on the cycler. Sometimes they go off once a night, sometimes as many as 4 or 5 times a night. Get up, check everything, reset.
And I struggle with the feelings of being ...
Abandoned - the loneliness in the night time hours is sometimes so overwhelming that all I can do is cry out to Jesus, sit there and let the tears course down my face. Trying hard to believe that weeping may endure for the night - but joy comes in the morning.
Betrayed - because rarely any more does it seem that there is any joy in the mornings, sigh. At least not the joy that just sweeps me away. Joy now that I search for diligently and hold on to with all of my sanity and strength.
Left alone - because there is no one to call at 2 a.m.. Because there is no one that I know personally that deals with this. Because there are no arms to hold me when I have a bad night. Because when a storm blows outside, I sit alone, afraid, calling on the Master of the winds. Because when there is a storm brewing within me, I sit alone, calling on the Knight to come rescue me.
There is no one person to blame ... this is just LIFE.
But it is not the life we had planned. We didn't dream about this.
We didn't live our life for all these years with this in mind.
I do not mean this post to be a "downer" -- just the truth. Brutal and honest. Perhaps too much for some.
But this is life for us now.
Not that there are no joys ... not that we don't have better days ... not that we don't have a decent night ever ...
The joys? Our children ... our grandchildren ... a friend who gives a hug ... a friend who calls to just say "I was thinking about you, I love you" ... a friend who makes a grocery run on one of the busiest shopping days of the year ... a friend's husband who gives a sharp "wolf whistle" when I walk in the room - simply because I am his "food wife" LOL ... a good cup of coffee on a cold morning ... a heating pad on a sore back ... a beautiful sunrise thru the trees ... a sunset that takes my breath away ... having a precious family member make a response to a blog post ... hearing a corny joke that makes us laugh ... watching a good movie ... laughing over an old sitcom ... a cold glass of sweet iced tea on a hot afternoon, when the throat is so parched it is hard to swallow ... we spend a great part of our days counting our blessings - big and small.
Better days? A day when Rick's blood sugar is low enough that he doesn't have to take a shot, but not so low that he has to take the "other" shot. A day when the pain is at a lower level. A day when even if we don't talk much - at least we aren't cross with one another. A day when we can visit with others. A day when we can just sit outside, drink a glass of tea or a cup of coffee, and at least pretend to be "normal". A day when we don't have to struggle to bring in the dialysis supplies, because the day before we brought in enough to last a couple of days.
Decent nights? A night when my body will let me stay in bed longer than 2 hours. A night when the cycler alarm doesn't go off at all - and I don't have to wake Rick up to check all the lines. A night when Rick sleeps without having to walk the floor first because of the pain. A night when the quietness of the house doesn't get to me. A night when I can actually sleep - even if it is on the couch, with my back pushed up against the back of the couch for support.
When we started this website and blog several years ago, we decided to be honest - good days and bad. Knowing that we aren't the only ones on earth to go thru all this ... and knowing that there are others who have things better ... but there are others who have things worse.
But, no matter the good or bad - we didn't want to be anything except HONEST.
And so, in HONESTY, I post this today.
I don't know what I did to my upper/outer right thigh - but oh my! I am guessing that I either pulled or twisted a muscle & pinched a nerve. It is swollen and warm to the touch when compared to the other leg. I feel it - and not in a good way - whenever I move! Finding a place to sit or lay or stand where the pain is at a live-able level is the most trying thing right now! Sigh. But when I am able to find that sweet spot of comfort for a moment - it's easy to fall asleep! LOL ...
Rick took me out to eat last night. It was raining and cool. We went to the Brazos Catfish Café - oh my! Such good food! And if you like the 50's and Elvis? Well - this is THE place for you!!!
And in trying to make better food choices - we chose the 5 piece catfish plate (knowing that we would have leftovers for Sunday :) ), I had the mixed veggies, Rick had the roasted corn on the cob, we both had a salad, pinto beans, and 3 hush puppies. Then, we splurged and got dessert - Rick chose the cherry cobbler with one scoop of vanilla ice cream (that we shared) and I chose the Sawdust pie. Oh my! The food was AWESOME!!!!!
Got woke up this morning at 3:30 a.m. - by my stomach. Acid reflux in full array! Not the most pleasant form of "good morning" that's for sure! But thankfully, had a Cranberry Sprite ... so my tummy is calming down now.
Not that I am glad to have had this tummy "episode" - but glad for the quiet time to work on some things. A quiet morning to pray and seek God's wisdom and direction.
And a quiet time to listen - for in the quietness God speaks.
--I have been struggling with living a life that is honoring to the Lord. Struggling with the difference I find between the humanity of "me" and the desire for it no longer to be I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Struggling so much that it seems I spend more time second guessing everything I say or do, that some days there just is no peace or rest. (Ever do that?)
Well, this morning I was praying about all this, writing it out in my journal. Actually, been praying and writing about all this the last couple of days. Just being brutally honest with God and with myself. Then, this morning I prayed and wrote this ... not really realizing the truth of it all until I went back and re-read it -
I still have those second guesses, the questions, the confusions - all that we talked about yesterday afternoon. ---thank you for that conversation with you. Cause even tho I still have all this - the weight of it is gone. Kwim? I no longer carry it. I bear it, I must find your way thru it all - but I don't carry it. Thank you!!!!! Never realized what a difference there is in that. Thank you!!! I love you!
When I started this website a few years ago, we were going thru trials and troubles like we had never had a nightmare about. I honestly thought that at some point, God would swoop in like a Knight in shining armor and rescue us from these storms. Uhhh...guess not! Rather than do that, He has become my Knight in shining armor - carrying me thru these trials, troubles and storms. He holds me in His arms. He fights the battles with me, and sometimes He just fights FOR me! Not the rescue I would have chosen in the beginning of all this - nor in the times since. But I thank God for the rescue He has done, every day, every trial, every trouble, every storm! He is my Knight!
Rick's UF numbers (dialysis) is 1992 this morning! Praise the Lord! Shows that the fluid overload is coming off - but not too fast. He would like to see the numbers even greater - without cramping. But that's hard to do. Especially when he is having his fluid intake restricted. It is such a balancing act.
We live in such an "instant" world - makes it hard to be patient and wait things out. Please continue to pray for him (and for me).
Not saying either one of us is right or wrong - but we are different. We look at things different. We deal with things differently. But sometimes, more than we like to admit, those differences make for rough days. Sigh.
8 years ago today ... Rick and I left Cheyenne, WY in the early hours of the morning. Drove to York, NE as fast as we could. Stopped for gas. Called to check in with the nurse who was watching over Momma's last hours. The nurse said that Momma wasn't going to last much longer. I told her that I was a good 10 hours away. She said that she just did not believe Momma could hold out. Her body was so tired and weary.
The nurse held the phone to Momma's ear - and I told her just how much I loved her and that it was ok if she couldn't hold on, but I was on my way! No sound. No acknowledgement that she had even heard. We hung up.
I looked at Rick and God love that man -he had done his best to get me to Momma. We were too far to turn back, so on we went. Me driving this leg of the trip.
5 p.m. leaving York, NE. Heading to Sulphur Springs, TX. Knowing that Momma won't be there when I get there - no matter how hard we had tried, no matter. Sigh.
Just as I got on the road and up to highway speed - 2 white trucks passed me, Texas license plates, and hauling butt! Rick said to fall in behind them. I did. And a few minutes later, looked down - 90+mph! Rick said hold fast. I did.
When they slowed down, I slowed down. And when they sped up, I sped up. 3 times in that trip we thought we had lost them - because either they got off, or we did. But all 3 times, we were either found by them, or found them.
Rick took over driving when it got dark. And he stayed with them. All the way to the Texas line!
Then, from the Texas line to the nursing home - I was on the phone with family and with the nurse. Momma was still there!
We pulled into the parking lot and I rushed into her room. 11:55 p.m. November 23, 2006. She was still with us. I leaned over, gave her a kiss, smelled deeply of her -- and stood there, holding her hand, talking and laughing with my kids and my sister.
A little bit later - Bettie called my attention to Momma. She was gone. 12:37 a.m. November 24, 2006 -- Momma walked into Heaven and rested in the arms of Jesus.
I loved you Momma -- and I still do. Just as much, no - MORE than I ever did. I miss you Momma. More today than I ever thought possible. Oh to be able to pick up the phone and call you - hear your voice. To be able to drive to you, walk into your room, hug you, get a sugar from you, and smell you deeply once again! Oh how I love you Momma!
Raining and cool this afternoon here at Coffee Creek RV park. Thanking God for the rain - it will help to fill up the tanks, adding to the reserves. It had gotten so dry around here - with the reserves so low. There was talk about Santo and Mineral Wells being out of water before too much longer. So, yes - thanking God for the rain.
I can't say that I was all that thankful for the hailstorm last night! Oh my! It has been a LONG time since we had such a hailstorm! From pea-size to nickel-size -- but in this RV? Sounded like dinner plate size! Oh my!!! But out looking around this morning, the only damage we could find was that there were more leaves on everything than normal. Thank you God. --and we got an inch of rain just last night! Thank you God!!!!!
After working this morning, we were sitting here discussing what to have for lunch. Looked like a hot dog (maybe). A knock on the door - it was Miss Glenda. She had some goodies for us :). Brought us several packages of meat to help with Rick's protein - Thank you God, Thank you Miss Glenda! And she had a dish of baked spaghetti for our supper! Well, needless to say - that baked spaghetti didn't wait until supper! It jumped into bowls, ran into the microwave and we caught it on the table - had to eat it so that it wouldn't get wasted! LOL ... Oh and it was so good! It was a blessing not to have to fix something to eat, or figure out what we wanted to eat. Just to have something that I didn't have to cook! I love to cook - but I do get tired of my own cooking. We are so blessed to have Miss Glenda as a friend and a neighbor!
Rick is doing better. Wednesday at the dialysis center he weighed in at 280 - Thursday after the higher concentration of dialysis, his weight was 275! Friday it was down to 274 ... and this morning down to 273!!! Slowly but surely - and the nurse wants him to take the fluid off slowly, reducing the cramps and dehydration. Our main concern now is that his blood sugar is running higher than it has in 2 years. Mid to high 300's. But we are assured it is a result of the fluid overload, and the higher concentration of solution.
He is breathing better. Using his walking stick less - more just for balance now, not for strength. He said that his energy isn't high yet, but he is feeling more like doing things. Still struggling with being sleepy and tired. But sleeping better when he goes to bed! Please continue to pray for him.
I have a strained, pulled, torn, something muscle in my upper and outer thigh. I fell going out of the old house a couple of weeks ago. Felt the sciatic nerve grab - hobbled around a few days. Seemed to be getting better. Then, last night - was taking off the pants I had worn yesterday. Raised my right leg to bring my foot off the ground and out of the pants leg ... BAM! Felt like someone jabbed me in the upper and outer thigh on my right side! Spent all evening, and night, and day so far trying to find a comfortable place to sit, lay, stand, or walk. Wow. Something so simple to cause this much pain and discomfort. Amazing ... but not in a good way.
Going to fix a pot of chili tomorrow ...
And will begin working on Thanksgiving Dinner. We are having Dinner at the Texas Star - 1 p.m. Thursday. Going to share Thanksgiving with others here in the park. Looking forward to the food, the fellowship, the laughter. And hopefully a good football game ... :)
Well ... house ain't cleaning itself ... and I hear no little elves doing it either -- so, guess I will get back to it!
Hugs and prayers - always and forever!
We went to the dialysis center and Dr. Greenwell on Wednesday, this week. Not the best report.
Dr. Greenwell said that Rick does not have any congestion in his lungs - Thank God!
There is a little fluid in the lower of one lung - but not enough to be worried about - Thank God!
He does have about 25 pounds of fluid overload though. At this time, it is seen in his legs from just above the knees down to the toes, and in that small part of your back right above your butt. He is definitely swollen in those areas.
Dr. Greenwell said it would be like carrying around 8-10 gallon milk jugs at all times! Whew!
Rick's total blood count was down to 8.1 - but we were told not to be too concerned at this time, because with that amount of salt water in him, it would dilute the blood to the degree that we couldn't get an accurate reading.
Dr. Greenwell said to give Rick 6 tablets of Lasix each day - 3 in the a.m. and 3 in the p.m.
Also, we normally use 2 bags of the 1.5 dialysis solution, or a 1.5 and a 2.5. But due to the fluid overload - we are having to use 2 of the 4.25 solution for a few nights.
Last night was the first time since Rick started on dialysis that we have used a 4.25. This morning we were thanking God for it - cause his UF number was 2703!!! (this UF number is the difference in what the cycler puts in to Rick - 6200 mL - and what it takes out.)
Yesterday at the dialysis unit, Rick weighed in at 280 lbs - this morning he was down to 275!
We were told that it should take only about a week to take this fluid off him. And that with the first 10 pounds off, we should see a major difference in the way Rick is breathing.
It might take the whole amount for him to feel a major difference.
Please help us pray for Rick during all this. It is not a pleasant experience by a long shot. He not only has more aches and pains - due to the fluid overload. But he has a host of thoughts, feelings, and such to deal with as well.
We were blessed to see Joshua, Dessie, Shell and Kyla on Tuesday night. We enjoyed supper with them. Laughter. Love. Hugs.
And then on Wednesday night, we were blessed to see Mandy, Elijah, and Brooklyn - supper with them. Laughter. Love. Hugs.
I sure do love our kids and grandkids. I miss them, too.
In a more perfect world we would be able to live close to them all - spend quality and quantity time with them.
I had it all planned out - I was going to be the "Grannee" who baked cookies with the grandkids, taught the girls all how to quilt and can and cook. We would go shopping together. I would never miss a school event. Birthday parties at Grannee's house. Going swimming. Sitting under the shade tree with a cold glass of sweet iced tea. Drinking coffee together on a cold morning. Creating crafts. Sewing clothes. Decorating for the holidays.
Life didn't happen that way. So, we make the best of what we can.
We have baked cookies together, but we have also bought cookies together.
We have learned to can and to cook over the phone and together.
We occasionally get to go shopping together.
I have missed more school events than I have been able to go to - but oh how much I enjoyed those that we did get to go to!
I have missed birthday parties and holidays. But never missed getting and giving hugs and kisses when I get a chance.
We have gone swimming. Had a glass of cold sweet iced tea. Drank a gallon of coffee when we can - sometimes while we talked on the phone.
Talked about and shared creating crafts, sewing some clothes, and decorating.
We have also talked and dreamed about what life could be like ... what we wished it could be like ... all the while trying to make the best of what life really is.
Thank God for the telephones ... for the Internet ... for text messaging ... for web cams ... for picture sharing ... for Facebook ...
Thank God for all the ways we can use to stay in touch across the miles.
I love you - Mandy, Joshua, Dessie, Elijah, Brooklyn, Shell and Kyla! Thank you for loving me - even when I cannot be with you! You are all my heart, my love ... the wind beneath my wings.
I love you!!!!!
It was a COLD morning here in Santo, TX - 17*! And it is just the middle of November! Sure made the HOT cup of coffee taste even better!
Today, Sunday, has been a most awesome day -- nothing spectacular for most people I suppose. But for me? For us? I think awesome!
Rick and I have had coffee - together.
Breakfast - together.
Made a cake - together.
Checked the cabins, the Spur, and the Star here at the park - together.
Lunch - together.
Made homemade chicken pot pie - together.
We have listened to some old music - together.
We have had good conversation and laughter - together.
We have touched and hugged each other.
And if you have read my blogs in the last 2 years - you will understand the importance of this day to me!
Rick said this morning that he would really like to lose some weight. So would i.
We both realize that it won't be easy - especially starting right here at all the major food holidays, and in the cold & wet weather. But ... we could always put it off -- which we do every year. Perhaps it is best to begin TODAY.
Losing weight and getting in shape is like a quarter. 2 sides. Eat less. Be more active. We must take in less than we spend. If we continue to put in more than we use? We will continue to "overflow" - and this way of overflowing is NOT good!
Please pray for us! With all the health issues that we deal with, this will be a CHALLENGE. But God is greater in us - and we can do all things thru Christ who strengthens us!
We made a cake this morning. It is "ok". Not bad. But could be better. I chose to cook it in a spring form pan - and I think next time I will use a loaf pan.
It is a "new" cake - or at least is to me. I had no recipe - even tho there may be a recipe somewhere.
--1 French Vanilla cake mix
--1/2 cup applesauce
--1 small package of walnut pieces
--and enough buttermilk to make it where I could stir it all together, and then pour it into a pan.
I cooked it in a toaster oven (what I have right now).
And for the drizzle, I used 4 Tablespoons Betty Crocker vanilla frosting stirred together with 1 Tablespoon Rum.
The cake has a really good taste! Not a pretty cake coming out of the spring form pan.
I am going to make another one for Thanksgiving - but going to use a loaf pan. Will cook it. Cool it. Slice it. Arrange it on a plate, and then drizzle the frosting.
The chicken pot pie --I cooked chicken stew this past week in the crock pot. Very good on a cold and wet day! But after several days, you get a little tired of it. LOL ... So, today - chicken pot pie.
i put my colander in a smaller bowl - just small enough to hold the colander up out of the bowl.
Poured the chicken stew into the colander and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Stirred it a couple of times.
Used one can of Grand's Biscuits - put them in the bottom of a greased casserole pan. Pressed them mostly together to form a "crust".
Poured the drained chicken stew on top of the biscuits.
Used 1 can of cream of chicken soup - not diluted - and poured it over the chicken stew.
For the top crust - I used 3 cups of self rising flour, 1/2 cup of butter ... mixing it until it looked like "English peas".
Then, instead of adding milk or other liquid, I used the soup part of my chicken stew.
Mixed it all together very well.
Dropped the "biscuit" mix by Tablespoons on top of the chicken stew. And smoothed it all out.
Cooking it now.
Oh my! It smells good!!!
Now how it will taste? We shall see! LOL
Working on cleaning the house. As well as having worked on the website some.
I still have some paperwork to get to. And am going to look at the other laptop - really wanting to get the rest of my stuff off there! Sigh.
Like I said - nothing spectacular for today ... but awesome anyway!!!
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers concerning Rick's dad. He is doing much better after his heart surgery. He had the heart valve replacement on October 23. He came home 5 days later. And he is getting ready for his follow up visits Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. Will have more blood work done. Will get the staples removed. Following that he will begin cardiac-rehab.
He is getting a little stronger every day. Still having moments of frustrations and weariness. Still struggling with some discouragement and depression. The ups and downs that are completely normal (but not easy or fun) following most major surgeries.
Please continue to pray for him.
Rick is having struggles with just breathing. We aren't sure if this is fluid overload? But his UF numbers are doing really good every night - from the 400's to the 1,000's. ? Or, is this a low blood count? Granted, his blood count was a little low last month, but he has been taking his EPO shots twice a week now for 4 weeks. ? (Do EPO shots lose their effectiveness?) Or, is this just that twice a year chest congestion/allergies that he gets? He is almost finished with a round of antibiotics. Using his inhaler 2-4 times a day. We can't tell that it has helped. ?
He struggles with breathing so much! He worries me, and scares me at times. I so wish that I could help! But in this, all I can do is Pray. And PRAY I do! Sigh.
Any activity at all - even just walking from the bed to the bathroom, or the bathroom to the kitchen, causes him discomfort and the feeling of being suffocated.
He told me yesterday that it just feels like he is only able to breathe from about 1/2 his lungs - and that the oxygen is just not getting out to his muscles. He is tired, weak, and sleepy - ALL the time!
Please pray for him. He goes Wednesday afternoon to the dialysis unit and we see Dr. Greenwell. Pray for wisdom to the nurses, and to the doctor. Pray for HELP.
Rick has been getting an accidental occupational insurance payment thru Ballard (his last job, where he was injured) now for the last couple of years. It was supposed to be for 116 weeks - which would figure from the first payment. IF that were so, he would continue to get this insurance payment thru the end of this year. But ... not so.
Thru paperwork pencil-whipping those insurance payments ended the 15th of October.
The payments were supposed to be 70% of his original salary, but again, due to the pencil-whipping ... not so. He was only getting about 50% of his original salary. It helped. But now, that is over.
We are now facing only his disability check each month. Not enough to cover the bills, the medications, fuel in the car, and groceries.
God has promised to meet all our needs according to His riches in glory thru Christ Jesus. We are praying, trusting in the Lord God. I told Rick once, several years ago, and it still stands true (perhaps more so now than then!) -- it would be so much easier to have FAITH if the money was in the bank! His argument to me, then and now, is that that would not be faith - it would be sight! "HUMPH!" Little does he know! LOL
Please do pray for us. That God will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory thru Christ Jesus. And that we will be the best stewards of all that God provides for us. That we will trust Him - standing firm in the FAITH.
As humans, it is so easy to panic - but panic never accomplishes anything ... but more panic and chaos.
We also pray to be attentive to the Lord's direction - as to what we can do, or who we need to talk to, and when we just need to be still and trust Him...waiting on His provision.
How am I doing? I'm not sure. Sigh.
I have not been able to go to the doctor all year now. I have missed 3 appointments with MD Anderson and my oncologist - because of the changes due to Obamacare. I have also missed my 3 appointments with my general doctor - again, because of the changes due to Obamacare. I had coverage with both - until January of this year. Obamacare kicked in and changed their rules and regulations. I was taken off their care programs. And we have not had the money for me to see a doctor. So, with no insurance, no medical coverage = no medical care.
I have aches and pains. Arthritis - but what kind and how severe? Times too much to walk, to sit, to lay down.
I have had to do some things this year that I was not supposed to do - because of the cancer surgery - and after doing those things, I have bled some. Not that I have an "woman parts" left to bleed with! So, I am assuming it is when a stitch tears loose. Dr. Frumovitz (my oncologist) told us that it would take at least 3 years to be completely healed inside - IF I took really good care of myself. The cancer surgery was just too extensive to be healed quickly. He did warn us that I might never be completely healed, and that there might be ongoing problems. ???
My blood pressure seems to be on a wild pendulum ride - 153/125 one afternoon ... and 93/45 the next morning. Headaches abound! Sometimes all I can do is sit on the couch, with a pillow behind my neck, eyes closed, tears rolling down the cheeks, and not even think! Sigh.
My legs are still swollen. Some days worse than others. Some nights they are just too swollen and too painful to even touch the bed, or allow the covers to touch them.
I know that my prescriptions have reached the end of refills. One left. December. So, I will HAVE to find a way to see a doctor before the end of the year.
Please pray for me. That God will show me the way to see a doctor.
We are still here at Coffee Creek RV park. Still work camping. We have more work campers now - Randy & Londie, Jim & Kate, Tommy & Kathy. So thankful! At least none of us are stretched the very limits now. We cover for one another, help one another. We laugh a lot :).
Bill and Edna have gone to their next assignment. I sure miss them - A LOT!
Rick, the new manager, wanted to transition me into the office. I tried it. It was supposed to be 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. It wasn't. I was supposed to be set up on the computer system so that I can do the work - I wasn't. Working in the office just didn't fit with us. So - as of yesterday, we are back on the cleaning crew! I can do the office work - I have worked in offices, and helped to run companies, for 30 years now. But ... this just did not fit us well.
The work we do for work camping is not physically demanding. Just cleaning the bathrooms, or a cabin. Perhaps taking the trash off. And with several of us on duty each day, it goes better. I do little more cleaning for the park than the cleaning I do here at the house. :)
Not sure how long we will stay here at Coffee Creek. We love the "core" people here. There are many more people here now than before - some are staying longer than others. But those that are "full-timers" here ... FAMILY, friends. Some people just have a way of getting into your heart!
Rick and I talked about moving back to Sulphur Springs to help out with his dad and mom. But - they are still independent, and stubborn! LOL
So, do we think they need help? YES. But do they think they need help? Not so much.
What do we do? We shut up. We pray. We ask God for wisdom for direction.
We only want to be wherever it is that God wants us. He says that He knows the plans He has made for us - Jeremiah 29:11. So, we pray ... and we wait.
I am going to be working on my websites and blogs a little more. God has given me some thoughts and ideas - and I want to explore those.
Also, God is burning a desire and passion within me to write. Still praying about that.
We pray for each one of you ... and we thank God for you.
Thank you for the time you give to read these words ...
Remember me writing about the 2002 Dodge Ram pickup that Rick had traded the old Suburban for?
We put it in the shop over at Paris - Precision Automotive. That was the end of August/first of September. They diagnosed it as needing the valves worked on.
Rick said that was ok. About a $1500 job.
They did it. The truck no longer smoked. But - according to the owner, and master mechanic, James ... it was missing.
So, with a light put down into the engine - they saw a hole in the number 9 piston.
Little did we know that that V-10 engine is a rare breed! No parts to be found!!! So, change the whole engine.
$4200 later - it runs like a new truck!
But because we were unable to pick the truck up the day it was finished - Rick's dad was going thru all that with his heart surgery, and we were out of town, as well as out of money - we ran just a few days past the 30 days. Now Rick was in contact with them - calling them at least twice a week since he had left the truck there. And he was assured that they understood, and that all was well.
However, due to miscommunications, and misunderstandings ... all was far from well.
Rick was able to borrow the money from Springleaf Financial to get the truck out of repair. He contacted the service manager last Thursday - letting him know that we had the money ready, all we needed was to figure out how to get the truck to our loan officer for pictures so that we could pick up the check to pay for the bill. Oh my! What a fiasco that turned into.
We were informed that we had to have the money to get the truck - by Precision Automotive.
But we had to have the truck to get the money - by Springleaf Financial.
Talk about being caught in the middle! Oh my!!!
Mary Lou, Rick's mom, even tried to just put the repair work on her credit card and let us pay her back with the loan. But Precision Automotive would not accept her credit card.
So for all day Thursday - phone calls, and a quick trip from Santo to Sulphur Springs to Paris ... frustrations, anger, questions, tears, STRESS!!!!!
Friday morning, I called James at Precision Automotive. We talked a long time about everything.
He listened to me. And I listened to him.
Everything got worked out. PRAISE GOD!!!!! I am so thankful! Really don't think I could have handled another day like Thursday!!!!!
We had intended to come down to Sulphur Springs on Thursday, and return to Coffee Creek RV park on Friday.
But our Honda's tire had different plans ...
We went got in the car Friday morning, to go up to Rick's dad and mom's for coffee and breakfast - the driver's side back tire was FLAT! Now these tires are only about 6 months old. No compressor to air up the tire. No flat fix to put into the tire. Nothing to do but to change the tire to the "donut" tire. So ... what an experience! Rick used to change tires so quickly - but with his declining health, he barely can change them at all ... and certainly not quickly! I have never had to change a tire - so I didn't know the first thing about doing it. And there we were - trying to work together, and getting cross ways. But we did it! After so long a time! We got the flat tire off ... and the spare on!
Had coffee - thank you God!
Took the tire to the shop. It was not fix-able! WHAT??? A hole in the sidewall - could NOT be fixed! And the shop did not have a tire to match, but could order one. No, could not be here that day, nor the next. So, we have waited 4 days now ... should have the tire at the shop in the morning.
By the way ... if you know of anyone in the market for a good truck -- we have a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500.
Burgundy and silver in color.
With a camper shell - color to match.
Tires are excellent all the way around.
Radio, cassette, CD.
Kelly Blue Book at $12,500. Asking $10,000.
Please call Rick @ 903-445-2682
Living the life of a chronic illness ...
The hardest thing I have yet to do in these 53 years.
A "chronic illness" is something that doesn't go away. There will be better days, there will be worse days. But "it" never goes away. And there is nowhere you can go to get completely away from "it". "It" Becomes at times a terrifying monster that haunts and torments - especially in the dark of night. You know, when most "normal" people are sleeping to get rested.
There is a grief associated with a chronic illness. A loss that we cannot really touch, or see, or smell, or taste. But a loss that we definitely FEEL.
A loss of dreams and plans. A loss of ideas. A loss of purpose and intent. A loss of jobs. A loss of friends. And more often than is readily admitted - a loss of family. All leading to a loss of HOPE - the greatest loss of all.
And when there is such a great loss, there is a great grief. We move through the stages of grief - some of us move more quickly than others. And some of us bounce from the first stage to the last, back to 3rd, again to first, to last, and yet again to 2nd.
We have come to realize that there is no set pattern for grief.
There is no semblance of normalcy in our days or nights either. Oh we may give the "appearance" of normalcy, but believe me when I say - it is an "appearance" ONLY!!!!!
Tears enough to float a boat, to overflow the Mighty Mississippi!
Anger enough to fight back the gates of Hell with a squirt gun!
Frustration enough to drive us to the brink of insanity!
And then ... a morning of quiet acceptance. That THIS is all a part of "IT". A life being lived with a chronic illness.
In a moment of desperation and surrender, there was a prayer. A cry to Jesus. For relief. For an answer. How do I LIVE this life? Not just exist from moment to moment. Not just get thru it all. Not just endure. But how do I LIVE this life???
And yet, all of heaven seemed to be silent.
I opened my Bible to read Words that I have read a thousand times before. Yet, today - today, this moment in time ... a Great Light shines on the Word -- and here is the answer ...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
Keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
Fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
And take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
Keep your foot from evil.
Reading these Words slowly, over and over, I begin to feel a HOPE that there is a LIFE within the confines of a chronic illness.
Thank you God - for being there when I needed You the most. For already having the answer - and allowing it to be what I am familiar with. Thank you God!!!!!
--You may wonder what chronic illness I am speaking of. Does it matter? There are so many chronic illnesses in our world today. And not just physical ones. Mental and emotional chronic illnesses. Spiritual chronic illnesses.
In particular to us, tho - kidney disease with renal failure (Rick), neuropathy from diabetes (Rick) and from injury (Rick, Margaret), migraines (Margaret), gout (Rick), gall bladder inflammation (Margaret), cancer (Margaret), Paget's disease (Margaret), arthritis (Rick, Margaret), degenerative disc (Margaret), bone spurs (Rick, Margaret), narrowing of the vertebrae (Rick), congestive heart failure (Rick, Margaret), ED (Rick) ... discouragement, depression.
There are days that all of these seem very quiet and still. Almost non-existent. And then, there are the days that not just one is screaming, but ALL are screaming just as loud!
Rick and I have different ways of looking at all this. Neither one absolute right. Neither one absolute wrong. Different.
And sadly, different does not always mean that we agree to disagree!
There are moments (and days) when the differences are so glaring obvious that we wonder if we can continue even being together. We take a deep breath, we try to just shut up. Just get thru the moment (or the day, or the night). Pray that the chronic illnesses will calm down so that we can look past the end of our noses and actually see what the other one is going thru.
Jesus talked about getting the log out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck from someone else's eye. Makes a lot of sense.
Have you ever had a speck in your eye? A speck of dust? An eyelash? It certainly does not FEEL like a speck! It feels like a LOG of great proportion! Feels like something much, much, much bigger than your eye!!! Oh the pain! The discomfort! The watering of the eye! And then, the relief when you get it out, when the eye has ceased to water, when the soreness is gone. When you can see clearly again!
When one of the many chronic illnesses is on the flare-up ... it becomes that LOG in our eye. It is almost impossible to see around. And how can what the other one is feeling even compare to what we are in that moment feeling???
And it suddenly becomes easy for us to try and tell the other one what to do to remove that tiny, unimportant, speck from their eye.
Lord, forgive us. Lord, help us to do better!!!!!
I am beginning to realize how the enemy uses these chronic illnesses to not only torment us, but to torment one another.
Be sure of this - if in a marriage, a family, or a friendship ... one person has a chronic illness -- we ALL have a chronic illness!!! The only way you don't ALL deal with a chronic illness is if you distance yourself from the one who has received the medical diagnosis. Which may make you feel better (for a time), but be also sure of this -- it does NOT help the one who has received the diagnosis! Because LONELINESS in the midst of a chronic illness is the unseen, silent KILLER!
When the chronic illnesses are on a flare-up in Rick, I want to encourage him, support him, minister to him. And he does me, when they are on the flare-up within me. But for the one who is dealing with the flare-up? It is not easy to accept the encouragement, the support, the ministering. It is actually easier to wallow in the pain and misery. And after just a short time of wallowing, the chronic illness seems to calm a bit, and we get comfortable in the mud and mire and muck. The more comfortable we become, the less we want to get out, and the more we try to get the other one to "come in, the water's fine". Dear God - open our eyes to where we are! Revive the desire, the passion, within us to get up, get out, and move away from the mud hole!
I am also realizing how difficult this becomes on our family and friends. This is not something that we will "get over". We aren't going to "get well". We won't be returning to "our former selves". THIS is life for us now.
It is hard to know what to say ... or what to do. It is easier if others just don't come around, or don't address the issue of "IT". Well, easier for them. But then, it becomes easier and easier to just not call, not visit. So you don't. And there for a time, I didn't understand that. Felt much anger, frustration, and even more loneliness. But now ... well, not that I like the way things are - but hey, I understand better anyway.
We are so limited in what we can do, where we can go. We have such a closed off life at times, even our conversations sound like repeats. So, if someone does not have to deal with a chronically ill person - even a family member, or friend - why would they choose to? Course, we sometimes sit here, crying, wanting to tell you that what we have is NOT contagious!
But there again - the grief. So much like when we lose someone to death. For a short time, others know what to say - I'm so sorry for your loss; or what to do - a gift card, a phone call, a plant, a meal brought. But then, everyone else's life goes back to "normal". And the one who has lost the most, well ... life is no longer "normal". There is a new "normal" to be found.
We are trying to do better. Trying to get out more. Trying to find those things that we can do, places we can go. It's not easy. Our bodies don't always cooperate. And our minds and emotions certainly don't. God, please - help us to find purpose for our life, for our days.
Jesus Calling - from August 22 ...
Trust Me, and don't be afraid. I want you to view trials as exercises designed to develop your trust muscles. You live in the midst of fierce spiritual battles, and fear is one of satan's favorite weapons. When you start to feel afraid, affirm your trust in Me. Speak out loud, if circumstances permit. "Resist the devil in My Name, and he will slink away from you." Refresh yourself in My Holy Presence. Speak or sing praises to Me, and My Face will shine radiantly upon you.
Remember that "there is no condemnation for those who belong to me." You have been judged NOT GUILTY for all eternity. "Trust Me, and don't be afraid; for I am your Strength, Song, and Salvation."
Is there any time better than to wake up early in the morning before the day begins, listening to the sound of a soft rain falling on the roof, and to have a steaming cup of fresh coffee beside you? Ahhh... I don't think there is! God is good! God is so great!
The older I get, the more I understand about the "secret to life" - enjoying the moment to the fullest. Just learning to be still, be quiet - and let God be God. He knows how to do it best! Accepting that there IS a God ... and I am not Him!
Jimmy gave us all a scare 2 nights ago. Mary Lou called about 9:30 - she was crying and scared. Told me that he had went to the bathroom, was taking longer than she thought he should - she went in to check on him, and he was standing there, holding to the wall. With eyes glazed, mouth open, incoherent. I told her to check his blood sugar. After what we went thru in May with Rick, that was our first thought. She didn't know how to do the glucometer. I told her to call 911. She had called Tina already, and was insisting on waiting for Tina. Tina got there, David took one look at Jimmy ... and an ambulance was called. Tina said that he was acting like he had had a stroke.
Rick called Aunt Jerry - and she went down there to check on them.
When the EMT's got him in the ambulance, one of the first things they did was take his blood sugar - and after Mary Lou had given him a piece of candy, it was 44! Jimmy was given the emergency shot, and before they got him to the hospital, he was alert, and talking!
He spent the night in the hospital for observation. But all tests came back good. No stroke. Nothing more wrong with his heart. Still a slight prostate infection. Meds were adjusted. He was sent home with more instructions and directions.
And I have a few more grey hairs ... so, yes, the Coffee tastes extra good!