27 December 2007

New Toys

Blogging live from Florida on my wife's laptop, using her new wireless satellite internet connection thingy (technical term).

Man, technology is GREAT!

My bestest gift was a new air compressor, and the tools to go with it. Now I just have to keep my eldest son's greasy paws off of them. Wish me luck with that, so far he's gotten into all the rest of my tools.

The trip went well, although it took 12 hours instead of the expected 10. Congestion on I-95, for reasons unknown. After crawling along at 5-10 MPH for an hour or so the speeds would hike back up to 70, and there was no indication of why the slowdown occurred in the first place. I made better time on secondary roads at times. I really hate I-95.

Hope Sandy Claws was good to you and yours.

24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

It's been a busy year at the Refuge.

Last year at this time I worked for a different company, so this year brings a new (and in many respects, better) job.

Last year I had one grandson I had never met. This year he and his brother came to stay with us for a month.

My younger sister and her husband came to visit, and a good time was had by all.

My older sister moved to Virginia, a couple of hundred miles away. Big changes this year for her as well.

And finally, my wife of 14 years has been diagnosed with cancer, a potentially life threatening condition. I am hopeful, but more to the point, I have taken to heart the lesson that we must cherish every moment as if it were our last, because one day it will be.

Thanks to all of you for dropping by, have a very Merry Christmas and a glorious New Year!

God bless us all, every one.

Good And Bad

The good news is I won't have to work Christmas Eve or Christmas night.

That means I get to spend Christmas day with the grandkids as they rip and tear their way through miles of wrapping and tape.

That also means I'll be able to sleep all night Christmas night instead of being up. So instead of leaving work at 4:30 to put the wife on the plane, we will get up early and I'll load her and the boys in the car and leave the house around 5:30. We will drop her off at the airport and continue to head south from there.

The bad news is now I get to drive the day after Christmas during the daytime, while the boys are awake.

And since I'll be the only adult in the car, I get to handle any problems as well.

At least it's only 500 miles or so, it should only take me about...


19 December 2007


The radiation therapy started Monday, 15 minutes a day until it is done, estimated at 7 weeks. The chemo will start after the new year.

So many new things you learn when you are involved in the battle against cancer, many of which I hope you will never have to learn.

The chemo therapy is tailored to each individual patient, so there is a...shall we say, collection process...that has to occur. Suffice it to say if you are ever in the house with someone that has been recently diagnosed, don't drink out of the orange jug in the refrigerator.

My younger sister had a patient (both my sisters are RN's) that drank Propel sports water during her chemo and was able to keep her hair. We stocked up on it today, we will see how it works when she starts her chemo. I hope it works.

She wants to travel south for Christmas and I am worried that she will not tolerate the trip well. We will be taking our 2 grandsons back home, ages 2 and 4, as well as our youngest, age 8. We decided that she will fly down and I will drive at night while the kids sleep and she can ride back with just me and Chris on the return trip. Less stress, and she can lie down in the backseat on the way back if she wants.

The chemo will start when we get back, she will have a "port" put in, which as near as I can tell is a semi-permanently attached IV line. This will remain until the end of the treatments.

The docs hope that the masses can be cut down to a manageable size in 7 weeks, at which time they will be able to go in and "section" the lung to remove the bad parts. Her type of cancer generally responds well to the treatment regimen that is planned, and they are confident that within a couple of months she will be back to normal...or at least back to what passes for normal for her.

They are also pretty confident that the radiation will knock back the tumors enough to relieve some of the pain by the time we head south next week.

I was mulling all of this over in my mind as we drove back from the treatments today. She told me I looked worried.

I'm going to have to work harder on that.

15 December 2007

Fear in a Handful of Dust

Cancer is a scary word.

When it's used in reference to someone you know casually, it's scary.

When it's used in reference to someone you are close to, it's terrifying.

When it's used in reference to someone who carries your soul in their pocket, terrifying is too mild a word.

She went to the emergency room on Monday, December 3 because the pain in her side made it hard to breathe. They found spots on her lungs, one of them large.

Tuesday the 4th was our anniversary. I've had her for 14 years now, and I'm afraid that I may not have much more time with her.

Afraid means I've never been more scared in my life.

I will be strong. For her.
I will do anything for her.

Her doctor called her on Thursday the 6th to come in, without an appointment. I held her as she sobbed into my chest, and pushed my own helplessness and tears down where she couldn't see them, as he confirmed the diagnosis and set up the appointments with the oncologist.

I will be strong. For her.
I will do anything for her.

She went to the oncologist on Friday. He says that chemo and radiation therapy should knock the tumors right down, and that she will be back to her old self in 7 weeks. She is upbeat and happy at this news.

I think about an article I read while researching that says sometimes chemo and radiation therapy fails. I keep it to myself.

I will be strong. For her.
I will do anything for her.

Yesterday she went in to get the tumors mapped. She starts the treatments on Monday. I will take care of things around the house, work schedule permitting, and keep a happy face on.

I will cherish each and every moment with her, realizing that while I thought I was doing so before, I really wasn't.

I will suppress my fears and not let them show. I will not show any sign of hopelessness or despair. I will use my blog, which she thinks is kinda silly and doesn't read, as my outlet instead of burdening her with my insecurities.

I will be strong. For her.
I will do anything for her.

And I will pray for Mr. Fixit. Because he is riding the same roller coaster through the darkness that I am.