Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lacey, our free range horse.

Lacey was born April 8, 1986, I knew from the time she was born that she really belonged to Heather and they made an adorable couple. Their first trophy at about 2 months old.

Heather riding Missy, Lacey's mother and leading Lacey in the July 4th parade in Whiting.

They were both growing up into beautiful young ladies a year later at another horse show.

Lacey turned out to be a handful and she went to 'horse school' for several weeks to learn to be a well mannered mount. She and Heather hit the horse show circuit in earnest but in time, Heather realized she wanted a different sort of horse, Lacey was too fired up to be a pleasure horse.

That was when Lacey came back to the farm with me and, after I lost my mare, Sparkle, became my favorite mount. Every year older did nothing to quench the fire in her and we had some interesting discussions on how to handle situations, such as crossing bridges. One early spring day I took her to the home place to see how Bruce was doing in the field, she said she would not cross the bridge.

I said she would.

She said she wouldn't.

We went round and round until she crossed the bridge.

She wanted to run, I did not.

We got to the home place and she said she wouldn't go by the bins.

I said she would.

She said she wouldn't but we finally went by the bins.

Then we were in the yard, there were cattle, she wasn't going by the cattle.

Yes you are.

No, I won't.

We went by the cattle and when we hit the fresh disced earth, I let her run, all around the big field, running out her frustration.

And then I made her walk home.

She was so ticked! She stomped every step home.

But she never held a grudge and we had lots of good rides. When Lacey turned 26 she noticeably was going down hill and required better feed and work on her ageing teeth. That is when I lobbied for my new mare, Lady, I felt guilty riding Lacey, I told Bruce it was like riding my grandmother.

Lacey was still a great extra mount for visiting riders such as little Sophia, who took control and could not be pried out of the saddle.

Last summer she was Ian's trusty steed when the California cousins came to the farm, even at 27, she still wanted to be first all the time, especially heading home from a ride.

But age does catch up, despite the best care we can give our animals, now she is 28 and has been failing more. While Bruce and I were at the MN cabin, putting on a new roof, we got a call from our animal caretakers that something was wrong with Lacey. Tim said he thought she got down in the barn and couldn't get up, that she was very dirty and wasn't eating. We were headed home the next day so we left early, not knowing what we would find when we got there. Lacey was standing in the barn, a filthy, dirty mess but she raised her head and pricked up her ears when I spoke to her. I understood why Tim called, she looked terrible. I saw the gaunt look of her body, the ribs that were showing. Lacey walked like an old lady, shuffling along and when I got her out in the light, I saw her body was caked with mud. I think she fell down crossing the creek that runs through our pasture and must have had a hard time getting back on her feet. She had to have spent all her energy climbing the hill to the barn.

"Did someone say Oats?"

So now Lacey's days of running with the herd is over, she is officially our free range horse headquartered in the stall at the south end of the barn and set free every day to graze. It took a couple of warm baths to rid her beautiful coat of all the caked mud and get the tangles out of her mane. I have her on a better senior feed, she gets three square meals a day and it's paying off, the ribs are not so prominent and she is growing a soft winter coat.

She waits patiently in the doorway while I fill a scoop with feed....

....and leads the way to her stall.

She enjoys a good roll in the dirt to scratch her back ......

.....so it gives me a reason to get the brush and curry comb out to put her coat back in place.

Lacey and I hang around together during the day, reminiscing about the old days, she finds me in the back yard but I'm not fooled, she just wants to make sure I don't forget a meal. She likes me to rub the hollows that time has carved into her head above her eyes.  

No one, man nor beast knows how much time we have here on earth so we need to love and be loved every day and I want Lacey to know how much I cherish her.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Magic Bullet

And not the Magic Bullet that is hawked on TV, "Buy one and get the second one free.......for just separate shipping and handling." I have found the magic bullet for my nausea and generally crummy feeling. It is a tiny orange chewable tablet of Meclazine, a motion sickness pill that I have taken at night for years because of my vertigo. I can't take it in the daytime since it makes me sleepy, EUREKA! I realized one of these days, they all seem to run together in yuckiness, that I had not been taking it because of the way I felt, I thought everything I put in my mouth was going to come back on me and not in a good way. The first night I took it, and the chewable is great because it goes right into the bloodstream and gets to work, no hanging around in the stomach to create any other havoc, I found sleep, blessed sleep. I roused in the morning to nibble on some food and took another, sleep, blessed, restorative sleep. Over the course I have repeated that and I know now that I will survive and I will beat this and I will be much smarter for the second time around. I guess we just have to figure this out for ourselves.

I was feeling so badly for Bruce since he was paying the price for my food aversion, Rosanne took the bull by the horns and sent out an SOS to the garden club for him. The first angel, named Lisa, honestly, I saw a halo around her head, arrived yesterday afternoon with 5 pre-cooked and frozen cheeseburgers, he will be indebted to her forever, a handful of cheese sticks and a jar of frozen, homemade applesauce. 

I cried.

I set the applesauce to thaw, it looked so delicious, pink and cold and it tasted like the nectar of the Gods. The first thing I can truly say hit the spot. And it did another thing, it got me going, if you get the drift, yes, I pooped! Twice!

Hooray for POOP!

After another good nights sleep, this morning I set a record, I got dressed, made two beds since I've been flip flopping between our room and the spare room, and brushed my teeth, although I did have to sit down to finish. I have another reason to celebrate, the tumor in my groin has shrunk noticeably, Dr. Hot Pants did not think it would with the first round but it has, if it had never gotten any bigger than it is now, I would never have known anything was wrong. When I let Bruce play Dr. he couldn't even find it. He has way too much fun playing Dr.

It is Sunday, another beautiful day that the Lord has made and I am rejoicing in it. Bruce is being taken care of so I don't have to worry about him and he can go combine beans. Tomorrow we have another appointment and then I should be free for three weeks. I can't thank everyone enough for their constant prayers and good vibes coming our way. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Man can't live on bologna sandwiches alone!

Today I feel as though I'm crawling out of the black hole but food is still a struggle, I've lost 10# and I know that is not what they want at this stage of the game. I've tried so many things, I'm still snacking on the chicken and noodles Rosanne made for me a week ago and, at some point, will put in another order but right now I can't stand cooking smells. 

That does not bode well for Bruce!

Here is he is harvesting beans, doing it all himself and the only thing I can tolerate the smell is a bologna sandwich and he doesn't complain. I had a package of hamburger in the fridge that we bought on Wed and knew I needed to do something with it. I know that people really do want to do something, so I called our neighbor, Jo, and she same down, picked up the hamburger and delivered it back as a bowl full of loosemeat for my farmer. He sat right down and had one! And declared it delicious! So now he can heat that up and bake a potato and have a fairly decent meal and that will make me feel better.

I'm hanging in there.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Did anyone get the license number of that truck that ran over me last night?

I will not be so cocky after chemo treatment #2, I had no idea what good drugs steroids are, is that why the athletes want to take them? I crashed and burned about 10 PM last night and spent the rest of the night on the couch warding off nausea with my pills and aching mightily from the shot. When Bruce got up early this morning I went to bed and slept a few hours and just got off the phone with one of the nurses at the oncology center. She said this is normal, the steroids keep the bad stuff at bay for a couple of days before knocking your legs out from under you. She gave me some things I can do, I asked her if the next time I can bring some steroids home in a bag with me. The biggest challenge is going to be finding something I can eat, I think Bruce will be on his own for dinner. I'm sure this too will pass but it's no fun while it's here. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chemo, Day 2, much better

We had another long day yesterday, went at 7:30 and got home at 4 but if everything goes well, I won't have another marathon session until Oct. 20. I was much calmer and my blood pressure stayed down and I tolerated the rest of the meds that were held over from the previous day. It's just a long drip and they have to give other stuff in between that one and the second drug. I only had one dose of Benedryl so I wasn't such a zombie as I was the first day, in fact the nurse told me the steroid would kick in and I'd be ready to go last night and she was right! That is until I crashed and burned about 9 and slunk off to bed, I slept until 4, got up and watched TV till 6 and went back to bed till 7:30. Someday I hope to be on a regular sleeping schedule.

Storm Lake hospital has a first class oncology, and I can finally write the word without shuddering, department with such a caring staff. The first day I was there, I saw a poster that said, "Have you thanked your oncology nurse today?" I was in such a state, I thought, "NEVER!" I'm ashamed of that thought now, they treat me as though I'm the only one there, I can't imagine getting any better care anywhere. The only time I got weepy yesterday was when the nurse wheeled me out to the car, because I had rubbery legs again, then hugged me before turning me over to Bruce. The second time was when I said goodbye to Janet, for all the good, loving care she has given me this entire time. But they were good weeps.

Today I still feel wobbly, I won't be driving until I feel like I have all my faculties, I'm also finding  something that tastes good and sets well is challenging but the anti nausea pills work great when my stomach starts to churn. Bruce and I made the trip back to Storm Lake this afternoon for a shot that helps the Bloods beat back the Crips, thankfully it was very quick and we were in and out with three sheets of 'This Could Happen To You' clutched in my fist because of the shot. So far none of them have come to fruition. The next appointment is Monday for labs, nurse evaluation and another visit with Dr. Hottie. Then I will have 3 weeks to recover before going on round 2.

Bruce is pampering me and I'm shamelessly soaking it up, it is such a relief to have this first treatment behind me. Even though I was assured over and over that it's not like the chemo of old, where you heard horror stories, I still feared it. The nurses all understand, one even said she would like the name to be changed from chemo because of it's reputation. They also know that everyone reacts differently and has to  blaze their own trail.

I'm blazing my trail with lots of water to flush the little nasty dead buggers out of my system and with all the love and support I'm getting from our families and friends. I'm very blessed.

Monday, September 22, 2014

There is a gang war going on inside my body

I call them the Bloods and the Crips, the Bloods are the white and red cells working for me and the Crips are the dirty low down cancer cells who sneaked in, set up camp and quietly multiplied, then moved about my body creating havoc.

 Today the Bloods received back up in the form of a red bag of a concoction dreamed up by a mad scientist. Actually I was to get the entire bag of the first one, interspersed by Benedryl and another drug to knock me out and keep me from getting sick, then move on to another concoction that I would receive one half dose today and go back tomorrow for the other half dose.

But there were problems with my blood pressure spiking wildly that created a head ache which woke me out of a sound sleep so they turned off the spigot on the drug. There were many whispered conversations in the hall, a visit from the doctor, the new guy, Dr. Bala, he's HOT! Young and very nice.

They decided to call it a day with the first drug and after more Benedryl and the other drug, the second concoction was pumped at warp speed into my port. So we go early tomorrow and they will finish both chemo drugs, then another trip on Wednesday to get a shot of something. Janet is charting my progress and she knows all the terms so I'm happy to leave it up to her.

Even though it was another, in a long line of emotional meltdowns, I was treated as though I was the only patient in the entire hospital. I had a comfy bed with a warm blanket and the most caring nurses on this planet. It was an extremely long day, we left at 8 and arrived home at 6 with two new prescriptions, one to ward off nausea and the other to protect my kidneys from the dead cancer cells that are right now being hunted down and annihilated, then flushed out of my body every time I pee. It gave me great pleasure to visit the bathroom several times today, I'd spit in the toilet, shake my fist at it and flush enthusiastically. "Take That you Bastards!" (Sorry, cover the children's ears.) 

Bruce had a tractor that needed some work and I needed some time alone to process things, so we went our separate ways when we got home, after he was convinced I would be okay on my own. I just felt a little floaty, like when you step on a mouse, right Janet? Lacey was waiting for her supper, there were dogs that needed petting, eggs needed gathering and chickens needed some free time before bedtime.

 Zoe and I took a book to the gazebo after all chores were done to wind down, the dogs get crazy every night about that time and tear around and around, Murphy running through the pond and probably giving the goldfish and frogs heart attacks. The little hen with chicks was shepherding her brood around in that important way she has and Larry Jr. was patrolling the doorway of the coop so Chet couldn't come in until he says he can. I felt the peace stealing over me and when it became too dark to read and all the animals were shut up for the night, I went in the house and took my blood pressure, 133/77! That's right, going to the doctor is hard on my blood pressure. Tomorrow was supposed to be a shorter day but since I have to finish the first drug, we will be there awhile. They do serve food anytime you are hungry and fed Janet and Bruce also with room service.

 And what can I say about Bruce and Janet? If one wasn't sitting by the bed, holding my hand, the other was.

I really hit the jackpot when I married into this family.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Bruce's father, Leo, was a packrat, and I still find treasures in out buildings. Following in his footsteps, I have squirreled a lot of the treasures away and saved more from the iron pile with grandiose ideas of converting them to something even more wonderful, with help from Pinterest and Instructables. Cleaning out Leo's shop, so we could get some use out of it, and cleaning out Bruce's shop so he could get some use out of, unearthed more. I have drug stuff home and filled our buildings until we can't even use them and the overflow has found it's way into Bruce big machine shed and I knew something had to give.

It's a SICKNESS I tell you!!

As I have grown older, I've lost the desire to convert these items, instead I was feeling the urge to purge. There is a great little 'junk' shop at Alton, just a short 1/2 hour drive and she put on a Junk Roundup last Saturday. I talked to Becky and Kim and asked if they would be up for a booth, they were and we reserved two spaces. They came on Friday and helped me load our livestock trailer, that is when you know who your friends are! What a hot, dirty job, I think it took us three hours but that trailer was bursting at the seams. As time went on, I was questioning taking things but Kim would always say, "Put it in!" Kim brought a pickup load for the trailer and Becky was going to haul her own, we agreed to meet at 6 AM on the mainstreet of Alton.

Do you know the sun has not even thought of coming up at 6 AM? It was a shock to me. We had the prime spot as we had an alley to park the trailer so we could leave multiples, yes, there were multiples, in and just replenish our stock. Unloading was much faster than loading and by 7 we were busy pricing and people were already showing up to shop even though it was advertised from 9-5. One guy even had the nerve to try to get us to lower the price before the masses even arrived.

Kim set him straight, you don't want to mess with a veteran flea marketer, this wasn't her first rodeo.

The dynamic duo showing some love under the pop-up, brought along for either rain or shine and we had a little of both.

Our booth stretched from the red and blue chairs....

.....past the 'coffins'.....

(Becky brought these huge styrofoam coolers that once held flowers and tried to convince people to buy them for Halloween. We had a couple of little boys talked into dressing up like a corpse and lay in one and then sit up and scare people, but their mother nixed the idea.)

Spoil sports.

This was the far east side of our booths, we not only had a prime spot for the trailer, we were right by the Pink Potties! We were the envy of the flea market crowd.

A few hours later, after robust sales, this is our much diminished inventory.

And later still, even more depleted, we had to lower the pop up because of wind gusts and Becky had to keep retrieving her coffins.

It was an AMAZING DAY! It took no time at all to pack what little we had left, it was an outstanding success for that small town, especially for the very first one. They are already planning the second annual Alton Junk Roundup and we know we will go again. I spent all afternoon cleaning out the garden shed and cataloging treasures that slipped by this year that I will take next year. When I got done I had room to move some of my overflow from the machine shed into the garden shed. It was a happy day! The best part was, when I counted my money, I'm well on my way to buying that camera lens that will show a pimple on the hiney of a gnat.

Back at home, Bruce was combining beans! He started Friday afternoon and they tested 13%, by Saturday, even after a fierce thunderstorm the night before, they were down to 12%, they needed to be out of the field. Also by Saturday morning, the farmer network was all a buzz with the information. You can't keep anything from those farmers. 

Bruce wanted help guiding the combine through this gate.....

.....it's a tight fit....

....about 3 inches to spare on each side. We won't be getting a bigger head anytime soon.

And he smiles....

I followed him home and he had to slow up to cross the bridge, not everyone does and some have found out by 'accident' that it's not very wide. I was out in the yard one night and saw a big tractor and disc going down the road at a pretty good clip and he wasn't slowing down. Then I heard, "CRASH!" He spent quite awhile extricating his equipment from the bridge railing and left some paint on it. I think he drove around our road after that.

A pit stop in the yard for maintenance, some greasing, oiling and chatting with neighbor, Jay.

Then through the farm yard and down the lane to another field, when Bruce kicked the combine in gear to try the beans, I had to quickly back off or be pelted by bean stubble and it hurts!

The corn is drying down nicely, the ears start to stick straight out and husks pull back.

"Pick ME!"


After combining a few rows, Bruce tests these beans and found, to his dismay, they were 22% moisture. Way too wet to combine.

So he had no choice but to return to the house and watch football all afternoon.

It's a tough job but someone had to do it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another beautiful day on the farm

Bruce plum wore me out yesterday and it was just what I needed, I had no trouble sleeping, in fact I didn't surface till 8:45 this morning and had 45 minutes to enjoy my iced coffee and feed all the animals before reporting to the field.

I rode with Bruce and shot some video of what he is doing and thought you might like to see how the chopper gobbles up the corn, stalk and all and shreds it into bite sized cow pieces for delectable dining this winter. 

Back at the farm, Bruce is busy leveling and packing, the pile is growing....

.....And growing, as more silage is dumped.

While Bruce was unloading the wagon, I noticed the monarch butterflies were swarming all over this beautiful flower - of the dreaded thistle. We cuss the thistles but this butterfly is rejoicing in the nectar that will supply it with some food.

A buzzard landed in the draw by the corn field and when I drove up it lifted it's wings up on each side, kind of like "DRAW!" and they just hung there. It reminded me of Grandpa on The Munsters, that's the way he looked in his cape. 

I have never seen the ground squirrels so active, I don't know if they have fall fever or are trying out the neighbor's burrows to see if that would be a better place to winter but every trip had them racing across the road in front of me. Their little feet were kicking up dust balls that hung in the air, it was hilarious. On one trip, two darted out but one chickened out and turned back, the other just flew under the tractor, I didn't know if I'd find his bloody body smashed on the road on the return trip but I didn't. He must have made it or the family claimed the body right away.

After dinner the neighbors moved in across the road with John Deere power and proceeded to turn this 40 acre field into silage. At one time they had 5 or 6 wagons and they load on the go, something I refuse to do, it takes someone more coordinated than I am to drive along side and fill a wagon.

This is their huge pile, by the time I quit tonight, the field was nearly history.


It was a long day for my farmer, in and out of tractors, running back and forth emptying wagons, his pants were hanging on his hips, his shirt unbuttoned and his shoulders sagging, I could tell he was out of gas. On one of the trips by the house, I stopped and made him a lunch, it's amazing what a bologna sandwich, Coke and a granola bar will do.

I left Bruce unloading wagons and packing the pile and headed home. When I drove in the driveway, Murphy was out in the yard with something very colorful and she was having such a good time. It was a red towel, a purple bath scrubbie and some striped footies that were 'Aloe Infused'. 


Then I looked up at the house and on the bench was a basket and on the cement step was this shattered bottle of wine, it did not survive the drop from the bench.


As soon as I saw the writing on the wine infused card, I knew it was from our good friend, Barb. In the basket was the rest of the towel set, some bath lotion and bath soap and soak.


It was obvious that Barb does not have a puppy, for a puppy respects no boundaries, what a puppy sees, the puppy owns.


And poor Mollie, she was SO SORRY!! "I told her not to do it but she won't listen to ME!!" In just a few months Mollie has grown into the old dog and she has a permanent worry line in her forehead. Murphy has done that to her.

I'm sorry Mollie, we know you are the good dog around here.

It did give me a good laugh, I hope the toad that lives behind the step enjoyed his wine shower tonight. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jack Frost came to visit.

One of the questions this year has been, will we get an early frost? With all the rain we have had, everything has stayed so green. We got our answer the other night, but it didn't really show up for a few days. Just a week ago, when Bruce and I were baling hay, the beans across the pasture were green as the pasture, not any more.

Bruce was ready to chop silage for winter feed, since I was not infirm-ed, he drafted me to help rather than call Grassey and Mike. Have I ever told you he can be a bit stubborn - self sufficient? I'm not sure he would have called if I hadn't been there but after 22 years, I kind of know him. At first he babied me, didn't want me hooking up the wagons which made me feel cherished and cared for, but then it just ticked me off. I know now that I'm not having a heart attack or have a blood clot, it's just some sore muscles and I've had them before. We got a good routine down, Bruce would chop four loads and I kept him supplied with wagons. 

You can tell he doesn't plant with GPS!

Then we hauled the wagons to the house to unload, I drove and had to reacquaint myself with his hand signals.

Finger pointing forward - GO.

Hand up - STOP

Finger winding in a circle - MOVE!
(Not drive in a circle as Janet did once, I'd been in big trouble as I was on top of the growing mountain of silage!)

Middle finger up - oh we won't even go there! (Seriously, that never happened.)

By this evening we had quite a pile, we should get another good day tomorrow and about have it done. While I was gone on one trip this morning, a good fairy brought us dinner, yesterday Rosanne made a special trip up here with chicken and noodles. People are just so kind.

I've really beat myself up since yesterday, I would have had a treatment behind me. But the nurses always stressed that I report anything out of the ordinary, This port has three little knobs on it and it's under the skin in my upper chest which is still fairly tight. Everytime I move the skin rubs and it's very irritating. Now if they could only have put it in my developing jowls, or under my arm wings, I probably wouldn't even notice. Speaking of the port, they actually sent home a needle and tubing with me, under what circumstance would I inject anything into it? Shouldn't that be left to a professional? Was that souvenir from the surgery? Like the time Rosanne had her appendix out and she brought it home in a bottle?

Working all day today has been good for me, I keep reminding myself to quit looking back. I'm sure you have all heard the saying:

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present." 

May you all have great presents.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Today was much ado about nothing......

....and I wish I were saying that the first chemo treatment went flawlessly and I came home ready to fight a bear, but that is not how the day went. Saturday I had chest and back pain, even pain when I swallowed. After calling my own private nurse, Janet, a few times and she had me check things like my blood pressure, were my fingernails blue, no they were pink and when I pressed on them they quickly returned to pink, she finally asked if I was taking my pain pills regularly and I wasn't. I took them when it started to hurt so she told me to take them every four hours and see if that helped and it did. Sunday morning I called to tell her everything seemed good and we were both much relieved.

I still didn't know what to expect on Monday because our insurance company was being a butt about OK-ing the oncologist's drug of choice. I woke up this morning with worse pain in my chest and back, as I was trying to decide what to do, a nurse called from Storm Lake to tell me everything was still on hold. I explained about my pain and she said I should see Dr. Harrison and I was able to get in at 10. We all know how Dr appointments go, it took 4 1/2 hours to see her, go get a chest x-ray, back to Dr, go get a CT scan while Bruce and Janet get some dinner, then I got a bowl of soup while waiting for the scan results and back to the Dr office. In the meantime, Storm Lake called the Dr office and set up an appointment for me next Monday because the day was obviously not going that well.

In the end, after all the tests, all the time and all the expenses that will come rolling in, there was nothing that could be pinpointed and that is the best outcome. Dr. Harrison thinks it all stems from the port placement surgery, the tissues are swollen and sore, hence the chest pain. She recommended I start taking Aleve instead of my pain pills because they only mask the pain, the Aleve will shrink the inflammation. And if you have any questions about what a kind and caring doctor she is, Dr. Harrison gave me her cell phone number and told me not to be afraid to use it. I came home feeling a bit bummed and out of sorts, I wasn't really psyched up for the chemo but was ready to, as Jean says, "Follow the trail that Brooke has blazed!" I took the laptop to the gazebo to craft this blog and to keep an eye on Murphy, she is way too interested in the chickens to be trusted. The monarch butterflies are gathering, Saturday they were all over the backyard, clustering in the trees, soaring gracefully and sipping nectar from the sedum and goldenrod that is blooming, so I got my camera. After taking about a billion pictures, I was wishing I had one of those huge, expensive telephoto lens where you can see their eyeball. There is something very comforting about sitting in the sun and watching them.

I looked up the symbolism of butterflies and found this and how appropriate right now.

Overwhelmingly, cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis.

From egg, to larvae (caterpillar), to pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon) and from the cocoon the butterfly emerges in her unfurling glory.

What a massive amount of transition this tiny creature undergoes. Consider for a moment the kind of energy this expends. I daresay if a human were to go through this kind of change we'd freak out!
Imagine the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Mind you, this change takes place in a short span of about a month too (that's how long the butterfly life cycle is).

Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly. She asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does. The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and her body.

This unwavering acceptance of her metamorphosis is also symbolic of faith. Here the butterfly beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives. She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature - she asks us to recognize the same.

WHEW! I couldn't have said it any better myself! I have been given a gift, another week to heal, to cook dinner for Bruce and his friends, Grassey and Mike who want to help him chop silage. To write more thank you notes to people who have been so kind, dropping off food and staying to help us eat it. To maybe get my upstairs bathroom cleaned so if I don't feel like it later, I won't feel guilty blowing it off. 

Or could that be an answer to the question I get most often, "What can I do for you??"

Hmmmmm, maybe I can milk this thing......

Friday, September 12, 2014

The struggle continues....

Yesterday I got my port, or as someone who has gone through chemo will say, my new best friend. I didn't feel that way at all when Bruce, Janet and I were led to my little room to prepare me for the surgery. When the nurse was verifying my health history, he said, "You have thyroid disease and a history of cancer."  Hearing that was such a shock, I blurted out, "WHAT?" Then it hit me, yes I do, now every time I have to fill out a health history sheet, that box has to be checked. Will it always hit me like this or will I eventually be able to check it just like my thyroid and high cholesterol? At some point will I stop thinking my body has betrayed me?

Bruce helped me change into their lovely hospital gown and then I had a major meltdown, I couldn't stop the sobs and bless Janet's heart, she totally understood. She said, "This makes it all so real." Instead of smacking me and telling me to get a grip, she took our hands and prayed for strength to calm my fears. She also told me that crying is like a check valve, if I'd been a pressure canner full of tomatoes, the ceiling would have been coated about then.

When I woke up, I was being tucked under a warm blanket and that started the tears again so the nurse held my hand and told me it was good to cry, don't hold it in. Fat chance of that happening. She offered me toast and juice but all I wanted was water and finally to get dressed and go find Janet and Bruce. We had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a pain medication and a lidocaine cream that I will use on the port site before I go for a treatment. In the bag was another bottle of pills I didn't know about, they are for extreme nausea, that set me off again. That has been one of my biggest fears about chemo, I've often wondered how people stood it.

I laid low all evening, the port was beginning to hurt but I didn't want to take a pain pill till I went to bed so hopefully would sleep all night. They worked great, right now hydrocodone is my new best friend, it wasn't long until I was 'floating' and didn't wake up until 3 am for another dose. I didn't know what to expect from the surgery but I didn't expect it to be quite this painful and that was depressing. Bruce has been wonderful, trying to cater to my every whim mostly I just want to lay on the couch, under my flannel quilt and not move. I know people have wondered how yesterday went but I've not felt like emailing anyone.

Then my friend, Becky, called and said she was bringing dinner so Bruce didn't have to cook and that just goes to show the mysterious ways that God works. Just a year ago her daughter in law, Brooke, was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation and now is cancer free. Becky just got back from seeing them and she showed Brooke my first blog. She said when Brooke finished reading it, she said that was exactly how she felt the first trip she made to the oncologist. Brooke also said that getting the port put in was the worst part and that I would not get sick from the chemo. After sharing tears and fears (and chocolate, chips and other junk food) with Becky for the last 3 1/2 hours, a couple of text messages and a phone call from Brooke, I'm feeling as though I will make it through this after all. 

I'm not writing this to make you feel sorry for me, I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to tell this chapter. I have found it's very cathartic to write about my journey and I'm even thinking about changing out of my pj's now! I'm also finding out if you want to know how much you are loved, come down with a serious illness. So many people are praying for me and tell me I'm not fighting this alone, my friend, Paula, put it very succinctly in a card, "They always say that hard times and bad things happen for a reason and only makes you stronger. What a load of crap!"

The first chemo was set for Monday but the hospital called today to say they are getting the run around from insurance so we are on a wait and see right now. So stay tuned and hopefully I will find out for myself that the worst is behind me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rallying the troops or circling the wagons....what ever you want to call it.

I've kept my family at arms length ever since I learned of the dreaded diagnosis, I don't know why it has been so hard to share what is going on with them. Maybe because I've always been the 'little sister' and they know me so well, I knew the floodgates would open and I feared I would never get them closed again. Regardless, they said "Enough!" and came in mass over the weekend, with motor homes, dogs and food. The floodgates did open but the world didn't come to an end and I didn't cry alone.

My brother, David and wife, Ruth, are here from Missouri with their little dog, Dixie, driving a behemoth of a motor home and it was a challenge getting it in our driveway. Ruth was driving and Dave was giving directions and at this point I was wondering.


The gazebo was filled to the brim with family and family dogs, much to Zoe's disgust. Rosanne's dog, Jr. is deathly afraid of cats, thanks to our mother's cat, Kitty, so he was content to sit on Rosanne's lap, "You won't let that cat get me, will you, huh, huh?" 

Rosanne's granddog, Toby, is much fawned over at their house so he could care less about Zoe, it's all about him. Mollie is desperately trying to get to know him outside and Toby didn't give her the time of day either.

Dixie, Dave and Ruth's precious pooch, loves cats and so wanted to make friends but Zoe spurned her also, took up residence behind a chair and soon asked to be let outside so she could have some peace. 

Much food was prepared and everyone moved outside to eat,,,,,

...it was a cool evening so the fire in the chiminea felt wonderful. My sister in law, Sue, fell in love with it, if it comes up missing, I know where to look.

Janet and Foof were invited to the banquet so my family could thank Janet for all she is doing for both of us.

Lacey, our free range horse, heard all the people in the backyard and decided to make a visit!

Lacey is 28 years old and now is in assisted living with three square meals a day, this was a hint that supper had not yet been served.

"Hi, Foof, got anything here for me to eat??"

When she decided nothing looked like a bucket of sweet feed, Lacey went on her way but I soon followed, she made her point.

Getting a little demanding, don't you think? 

We woke up to rain and hail Monday morning so it was nearly 11 AM when we sat down to a delicious brunch of biscuits and sausage gravy served up by Sara and Ruth.


The day ended in sunshine and the travelers packed up their homes and headed back down the driveway.

Bruce and David both helped Ruth get the big one safely out of the driveway.....

....onto the road....

....and away they went, with promises to be back if we need anything and I know they will.

Zoe and I retired to the gazebo, she was happy to have her home back and I thanked God that I'm lucky enough to have a family that cares so much.

Then I took a nap.

 Company can be exhausting.