August 29, 2013

My cup runneth over.......

So I got to thinking today...about all of this craziness that is my amazing life.  And here are some thoughts to ponder:

*My diagnosis came just before school started...when things are busy busy busy (because I volunteer so much at my girls' school)....I didn't have time (nor the desire) to worry about the unknown :)

*All of my appointments have fallen at such perfect times...the girls are in school...we've only needed help once...I think :)

*Things have happened so quickly.  I can't imagine this part being any different....sitting here waiting for my next appointment.  Times are hard enough...imagine finding out you have cancer and then waiting and waiting for an appointment to get in somewhere to see someone.  I am humbled by the attention I have received and the quickness of so many to come to my aide!

*And the best of all.....this could have happened ANY other time of the year...but it didn't.  It happened once the girls were back in school and happened during the BEST time of the all happened right here at FOOTBALL season!!!!  Am I the luckiest person you know or what???!!!  LOL!!!!  I can rest assured that I will have good TV to watch if the chemo gig isn't all it's cracked up to be!!!  Schew!!!  What a relief!!!  

My daily inspiration for you:  

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength,
 not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” 
Vince Lombardi

Continued gratitude to all of you still praying for me.  I consider myself a walking miracle and testament to the power of prayer!!!!  Help me continue to do so.  I remain faithful and grateful and above all...I remain trusting in Him.


GO Steelers..........GO Falcons..........GO Broncos

August 27, 2013

Good thing I invested in a new calendar :)


OK - I met with the surgeon yesterday.  Really liked him.  All of the things that can go wrong with a port however, made me a little nervous.  I will have to trust that I will be fine though!!!!

So here's what I know so that you can know too :)
Wednesday 8/28 pre-op at hospital 2:00
Friday 8/30 pelvic ultrasound to ensure those spots from the PET scan are nothing
Tuesday 9/3 back to Cancer Center at 2:00 for Dr. appt
Wednesday 9/4 check in at hospital at 7:00, surgery at 9:00 - I will come home after :)

Once this stuff is done I will go for my heart and lung study......then treatment can begin.  Still no date for that as I sit here today...but it's soon enough.

Katy started her volleyball season last night.  She played a great game....but they lost.  It was a close game and a good one too!!  I love to see them both play ball.  It's a blast!

My dear, sweet, amazing girlfriend Becky came to visit Friday.  It's been wonderful having her here!!!  The girls are very much enjoying her too.......they might be driving her crazy even!!  LOL!!

I remain faithful and optimistic.....I have no fear and no worries.  I am tackling one day at a time....with success!!!!!

Thank you for your prayers.  I am grateful for your thoughts and requests on my behalf.  You are each a gift!

When a man has quietly made up his mind that there is nothing he 
cannot endure, his fears leave him. 
~ Grove Patterson ~

August 22, 2013

Shout it from the mountain tops.....

"We serve an awesome God!"

Bone marrow biopsy is back.....results were GOOD :)  THANK YOU!!!  All of you!!!  Your prayers (and mine) have been answered.  By the grace of God, I am o.k.!!!!!!

WOW!!!!  I am elated!!  I hope you are too.  WOW!!!  O.K., next on the agenda is a whole sliver this time!  I'll take - what - a quarter sheet I suppose?!?!?!?!  LOL!!!

I don't even know what to say except THANK YOU!!!!!  I am thankful, grateful and remain faithful beyond measure.  Your care and love for me is amazing and I can never thank you enough.

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
Jean de la Bruyere

Hugs all around!!!!!

August 21, 2013


I had cake yesterday.......because I wanted some :)  LOL!  It was good too.....vanilla with butter cream icing.  YUM!!!!  Just talking about it makes me want more!!!!!!

So I'm just waiting on the call about the bone marrow.  Hoping I get the all clear signal :)  I remain positive and matter the results however.  Your prayers are working with amazing power...I know and feel this first hand.  It was already proven with the phone call about my PET scan!!  Thank you so much!  You are each a blessing to me in ways words alone cannot convey.  I hope...No, I will - pay this all forward and work diligently to be deserving of the blessing that are pouring over me.

Maybe more cake will be on the menu in the next few days?  LOL!!!  It's crazy around here this weekend....the big race is in town....and me out shopping for cake.  LOOK OUT!!!!!!!

Have a great Thursday...and a better Friday.  I'll be back soon.

a thought to ponder:
"Some people are always grumbling that roses have thorns.  I am thankful that thorns have roses."
     Alphonse Karr


August 19, 2013

Keep Calm and Eat Cake :-)

Well, it didn't feel like a trip to the spa but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be :)


I hope you had a wonderful Monday....mine wasn't too bad!!!

So, here is the plan as I know it today:
  • pelvic ultrasound
  • heart study
  • lung study/
  • surgery consultation (8/26)
  • surgery (remove node and implant port)
  • treatment consultation with oncologist
  • treatment...chemo and radiation
  • Eat Cake!!!!
The heart and lung study are necessary because 2 of the meds in the chemo can have adverse heart and lung affects.  

I think I'll rethink the cake thing......and have it after each appointment as opposed to saving it for the end.  No need to let good cake go to waste!!!!  I'll have vanilla with butter cream icing please...YUM!

A special birthday wish shout-out to my mother-in-law.....HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY KITTY!!!  I hope you had a wonderful day!!!!!

Thanks again for thinking of me and praying for's working and I know it, see it, and most of all I feel it :)  Your kindness is appreciated beyond measure!!!

Love to all of you!

It's Monday!!!!! (wink wink)

O.K.  Here we go......another wonderful week.....are you worried about anything?  Do you have something weighing heavily on your mind?  Are you scared about something?  Well, we were blessed with another day :)  That's a GREAT start!!!!!  Forge ahead with confidence and self-assured and poised.  No need to worry about those things in which you have no control.  Whatever will be will be.  Be accepting, resilient and versatile.

My most dear, sweet friend Jennifer sent me an e-mail last night with the following scripture.  I had to share them with you.......they helped me, calmed me and reassured me about things I have going on.  I hope they help you too.

Job 23:10   But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Phil 4:19   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:14  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Isaiah 41:13  For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

WOW!!!!  What a blessing to have such a wonderful friend but how much more wonderful to share these words.  I hope they give you peace and confidence.  They have calmed me and added to the abundance of hope I have in my heart :)

Now, go have a wonderful week.  I plan to :)  I'll check back later to let you all know how it goes today.

Love and hugs to all of you!!!  You are appreciated immensely!!!!!!

August 18, 2013

Almost Monday.....

Well, tomorrow is the bone marrow biopsy.  I woke up this morning telling myself I wasn't going to worry about it or give it much thought today.  I have to admit however, I am a little on the nervous side.  I told Doug when we were getting up this morning that I would just have to take a stick with me and bite on it during the procedure like they did in the old days.....I asked him.....isn't that what they did back then?  He watches a lot of Westerns so he should know :)  He told me it was a bullet!!!  Even better.  I told him to stick one in his pocket for me tomorrow.


So......continued gratitude to all of you for your prayers.  They are working in ways that even I can't comprehend but I remain grateful and so very, very thankful.  Thank you too for all of the e-mails, kind words and cards.  I feel loved like never before.  THANK YOU!!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday.  I'll let you know how things go.............hugs to all :)


August 16, 2013

PET Scan phone call......

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:4-7

What a glorious day!!  I hope you woke up feeling it too!!!  I just got off the phone with the Cancer sweet nurse Kim called.....the results of the scan are something to be excited about!  The scan is showing activity in only this one lymph node!!!!  I can FEEL the power of prayer!!!!  THANK YOU!!!!!!

There is some activity in my ovaries - but she thinks that it is something else (not necessarily anything to be worried about) and will do some testing to confirm.  Bone Marrow Biopsy is still Monday.....consult with surgeon the following Monday.  She said they are pretty good about scheduling the surgeries within a couple of days so hopefully....all of this additional work will be wrapped up by the end of the month and I'll know the plan - THEN I'll be on my way to being well :)................ok.................cured :)  I remain faithful.

Chemo and Radiation are still on the agenda, but she thinks there will be less required than initially thought.  I don't care how much I have to get now......I'm just elated that the cancer is confined!!!!!  GOD IS GOOD...ALL THE TIME!!!!!

So, join me today.....Smile, be Happy, count your Blessings and be Grateful.  This is going to be a GREAT weekend.  Enjoy yourselves!!!

Love you all!

August 15, 2013

Counting my Blessings.................all "GAZILLION" of them!

I count my blessings (they rain down upon me) regularly....but it's never often enough.  Many (ok MOST) of my blessings seem so undeserving.  I do work hard to try and be deserving of them.....but at times it seems unattainable...because the blessing are so abundant.  I am thankful and blessed for all of you that are thinking of me, praying for me.  Some of you I don't even know.  

If you haven't stopped to count your blessings should.  It will make you feel good and you feeling good makes me happy :)

So, having said that........I know this amazing man...many of you know him too.  I am beyond proud, grateful, thankful and HAPPY to call him friend.  I got this e-mail from him yesterday....shared too with others in our church.  It really moved me and he is kind enough to allow me to share it with all of you.  

I am sending this personal note to everyone whose email address is in our church database--only because I feel led to do so. Please understand that it is a note designed to express gratitude, offer encouragement, and perhaps spur each one to be more mindful of God's blessings in our lives.

My first 'order of business' this morning after arriving in Gray was to take a morning run. I was only hoping to continue my efforts to improve my physical condition a little, but I got a lot more out of it than anticipated. First of all, the beauty of the morning sun as it rose over this great community was stunning. I knew that the forecast was for a day without rain, a very rare thing over the last several weeks, but seeing the sun in all of its splendor rising above the grandeur of the East Tennessee landscape gave me a sense that my time on the roads this morning would be special. I was immediately reminded that this picture that I was seeing was the work of a God who is nothing less than an incredible artist. Wow! What He can do with the stroke of His hand upon the sky and the touch of His finger along the horizon!

As I was in the early stages of my run, I had a sense that I should put some effort into thinking about all of the blessings that are a part of my life. And He helped me know which blessings to be especially mindful of. During my run, I was waved to by several members of our church--I am so thankful for the blessing of a church family that loves me, that serves with me, that gathers with me to meet together for mutual encouragement and to worship our Father. I am thankful for that church family that shares in our good times, and helps carry the burden in difficult times. I am thankful to be on a church staff in which I am in the midst of friends throughout the day. (I am not comfortable using the word 'work' because I don't usually see it that way.) I am reminded to be thankful for the volunteers who work on projects, work in the garden, water the plants, set up the chairs each and every Sunday, make sure that lights are turned on and doors are unlocked when we are schedule to gather, those who lead us in worship, those who teach our children, those who through their smiles offer a touch of joy to everyone they see, those who clean our buildings, those who serve in ways that few of us see, etc. There are many good things at Crossroads, and many good people that He has blessed us with!

I was moved to consider the blessing of my health that allows me to run, something that not everyone can do. I was reminded of the friends that I know for having shared the common interest of running, and I was reminded to be thankful for them. I became mindful of the stories that I have heard from runners, many of whom I have never met, but have encouraged my faith through their stories of running.

This morning, as I ran, I took some time to think about the blessing of good friends--those special people who I talk to on a daily basis, who have taught me about being unselfish and trying to see the best in others. And those friends who I don't talk to regularly, or perhaps have not talked to in years, but who I know I could call on to share together in memories or in current situations, good or bad.

And on this day, my 31st wedding anniversary, I was reminded to consider the blessing of family. Each member has brought joy into my life. I have been given a wife who has made our home a safe and special place for our family. She has loved me in good times and in bad, just like she vowed to do 31 years ago. And she has loved our children. Each day through their school years, she has told each of them "Bye, I love you, Have a good day!" I have a daughter and son-in-law who have established a home of their own where Christ is the center, and their children are being raised with an understanding of who Jesus is and why everyone of us should try to be like Him. I have another daughter who is in her first year of being a school teacher and has a grasp on the idea that though she teaches math, in the end, she really teaches children. She understands her opportunity to be a Christlike influence on them. I have a son who is about a week away from embarking on a new chapter in his life--leaving home and going to college. He has a heart and compassion for others that is admirable--he has a gift of being a good friend to others. I have parents who have been married for 64-1/2 years and have been godly examples for each of their seven children and their children's families. Very soon, we anticipate the blessing of having them live very close to us. I have been blessed with two brothers and four sisters who demonstrate love to me and each other in a way that my words cannot explain--I just know it's good, and it is of the Lord.

So, my run was very good this morning because I was reminded of how much I AM BLESSED!

Having said that, today has been a difficult day for many. I am mindful of a dear lady whose son passed away this morning, of another family who is facing a difficult diagnosis for one of their family members, of children who feel safer when they get to school than they do when they get home, of some who will not have a bed to lay their head in tonight as they go to sleep, to those who are hungry today, and have no hope of the means to have food tomorrow. I trust that in some way, there is still blessing from God. My hope and sincere prayer would be that people in these situations can know that He is with them, and can in some way see a blessing from Him, and know it's from Him.

For me, typing out this note to you has been humbling. I recognize that I haven't scratched the surface in listing my blessings--I have not captured near as much as what has gone through my mind today. So many people have popped into my head. And, I also recognize that blessings for others may not be as evident--sometimes I think I wish I knew why that is the case.

As I said at the beginning, my desire in sending this to you, my church family, is to first of all, show gratitude. So, THANK YOU God for blessing me in so many ways, and thank you to those who He has chosen to use as part of my blessing. I also said I offer this as encouragement--perhaps tomorrow will be a day when you become more mindful of blessings in your life. And I suggested that this may spur you on. Trust me, attempting to count my blessings has been a very worthwhile exercise--I might try it again tomorrow.

Let me encourage you to enjoy your run tomorrow, no matter in what form it may take. As you run, count your blessings!

I am blessed to serve along side you!

As we too are blessed to have you serving along side us :)  Thank you for the beautiful note.  It took me a time or 2 to read it through the tears....happy, blessed tears.  
One HUGE blessing to so many of us is knowing you!.....yet another thing to be thankful and grateful for :)

August 14, 2013


When you hear that song by Imagine Dragon...think of me....I am radioactive today :)  

I had my PET scan this morning........scan was ~ $10,000 and the injection was like $1,700....are you still there or did you faint?  LOL!!!  Thank goodness I have insurance!!!!  HOLY COW!!!!!!!  I can't imagine having to foot that bill alone.....and that's just the second one so far!!!!

Anyway - this procedure was easy as pie.  Too bad it all can't be so easy right?!?!   Oh we wait for Monday.  Not too much going on until then, so all of you enjoy your weekend.  I feel the love and the strength you are all sending and praying about :)  THANK YOU!!!!!!  I couldn't do this with a smile on my face and a positive attitude without Him and without the support of all of you.


August 12, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday Emily :)

My girls.....the lights of my life.....are both soooo funny!  They have such a good sense of humor!  I love that about them both.  Emily.......she plays it up and if you start laughing...she's gonna keep you laughing!  These are but a couple of my gazillion blessings........

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY!!!  I love you very much.  I am proud of the young lady you are and they way you care for others is heartwarming.

On another is my schedule as it stands today:
*Today - dinner with family for Emily's birthday!!!  YEAH!!!!!  "Party" yet to be planned :)
*Wednesday August 14 is PT scan...check in at 9:00
*Monday August 19 is bone marrow biopsy.  This appointment is at 11:20
*Monday August 26 is my consultation with the surgeon.  This appointment is at 1:30.  This is also Katy's first volleyball game!!!  GO RAPTORS!!!!!!  They are going to be awesome this year!!!!!!

That's all I have for now.  As I have info to share I definitely will!!!!  Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers and kind words.  We're going to get through this with the grace of God, prayer and faith :)  I appreciate all of you and all that you do and all that you plan to do...LOL!

Have a wonderful week and I'll be in touch soon!

August 11, 2013

Procedure Update:

Got some mail bone marrow biopsy has been rescheduled for Monday August 19th at 11:20.  Good side.....tomorrow is Emily's birthday so now I don't have to worry about feeling bad and not making it.................but the 19th was a dentist appointment.  That will have to be rescheduled...yuk!

Anyway - another wonderful day yesterday and today is going to be good too :)

Love you all!!!!!

August 9, 2013

A very hard note to write but one that helped me see outside of trust in myself and my courage

I woke up Friday and found a lump in my neck....after a few doctor visits I got word that I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  

I saw the oncologist yesterday and this is what I know so far.......the lymph node needs to be removed.  Because of where it is in my neck and if necessary, they will have a vascular surgeon near during the procedure.  Monday I have a bone marrow biopsy......dreading this one!!!!  I also have to get a pet scan (PT scan?  I'm not sure how to write it).  I will know more about my official diagnosis after all of this.

Once all of this testing is complete and analyzed, chemo will begin.  We are guessing within the next 4 weeks.  I will have a port implanted in my chest with a line to my heart to have the chemo administered.  I am expecting doses once every 2 weeks for 8 weeks.  After a review of where I am then, they will decide what comes next.....more chemo or radiation.

So......that's a lot I know but we are all o.k. here.  I was shocked and scared to death initially but each day I wake with a better attitude, more faith, and less fright.  I have turned it all over to the ultimate doctor and am trusting in his plan for me.  I hope you will think of me and pray for me......that my faith and trust remain strong and that I myself stay strong in order to beat this thing.  I know I can do this because He makes me strong :)

Also.....please do not plan to shave your heads as a sign of solidarity.  A few bald heads in each family are plenty :)  We are all beautiful no matter anyway :) !!!!!!

I don't have everyone's e-mail so Doug will take a moment to forward this to the rest of the family.  I will take the time to get them all from him though in order to keep everyone updated on my progress.

THANK YOU!  I love you all,

Susan - please let Maw know and ask her for my prayers too.
Karen - let your mom know as well :)  Love you guys!

Lastly, my girls know....Katy more than Emily however.  If you have questions or want to talk, please talk to Doug and I,,,,,,,I am trying to keep the girls informed on an "As Needed" basis :)  After sending this note (and Doug sends too), only family knows and very few others.  For now, I would prefer to keep it that way; however, if you are making a prayer request on my behalf, you are welcome to tell them :)  All prayers welcome!!!

I haven't cried today and totally feel at ease......I know God is in control and I've given this all to Him.  I am at peace with whatever it is going to be.  For now and always, he is my strength.  I hope to serve as an example to all of you and everyone else I know....and maybe don't know.  I will be strong and work hard at being well....and faithful.......and grateful :)

I'll keep you posted as things occur.  Please continue to pray for me and my ability to stay strong and resilient........and faithful and grateful too :)  

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  PHIL 4: 12,13

Friday night was tough......can't stop mind is racing.....thinking this, thinking that.  OH MY!!!!  Then Saturday....the girls need back to school stuff.  There is a party from 5 to 7.  How am I going to do this.....knowing what I know and terrified or what it might mean????  I pull it together - only by the grace of God - and make it through the day.

Sunday rolls around.  Man - I know I can't make it through church without crying!  I cry at church sometimes when there is nothing to worry about!  LOL!  I know some of you feel me.  Anyway - after church we have open house at school.  There is so much work to do!!!!  I must get it / keep it together.

I survived church.......very few if any tears.  God is truly a miracle worker.....he was holding on to me the entire time...comforting me and reassuring me that I can do this!  Now, I have to be at school at 1:00 for Open House.  TOTAL SUCCESS.

Monday - Back to school luncheon for teachers.  I love these things and LOVE being able to bring smiles to so many. It went so well.  Plenty of AWESOME food, the decorations were super cute and the goodies we had as door prizes were appreciated.  Back to school tomorrow!!!!!  WOW!!!!!  Where does the time go?

TUESDAY:  girls go back to school, Doug and I go to the Cancer Center to see the Oncologist.  YIKES!!!!!  Neither of us knew what to expect.  I am now able to survive without tears however :)  I'm tough anyway :)  So this is what I find out...............the lymph node needs to come out.  They can gain vital information from it in order to further diagnose me.  I am waiting on a call from the surgery group to set up our initial consult and from there the surgery will be scheduled.  Outpatient surgery....should be easy enough.  There is one small concern however.....the lump is sitting on my carotid artery.  A vascular surgeon might need to be on hand.  Next, I need a Pet scan.  This is now scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30.  This coming Monday I am having a bone marrow biopsy.  This one scares me.  I've heard both good and terrifying things about them, but I resolve to remain strong and encouraged that I can handle it and will be strong.  I am in good hands and feel confident in their ability and feel their caring even this early in all of this.

So, that's it for now.  I will keep posting as much info as I have so all of you can know as much as I do.

I truly feel blessed beyond measure.....the most amazing, loving husband, 2 kids that are THE most awesome kids ever (besides yours of course :), exceptional friends and family that love me and believe in me and are praying for me.  THANK YOU!!!!  You each are loved beyond measure !!!!!

I will copy and paste my most recent e-mail next so everyone will be caught up and on the same page.  Please feel free to share this BLOG address with any family members or prayer groups that would like to keep up with all that is going on here.  I think this method might be easier than sending e-mails.  Check back as often as you like to catch up.  Feel free to join this page and leave comments too.  I'd love to hear from you.

My most serious "FREAK-OUT" to date:

So, it's time to get back down to it :)  While I hope to have time to post crafty things, I also plan to use my blog as a means to communicate to friends and family to keep you posted on what is going on with I am, and anything else I need to SHOUT out :)

So, here we go with round one of information...from the beginning.

A few months ago I went to the dentist and they found a "hole" (for lack of a better dental term) and a crack on the back side of one of my front teeth.  This called for a trip to the Periodontist.  While there and as part of their regular routine, they took my blood pressure.  It was sky high!  170/128  168/130......5 times they took it and 5 times it remained this high.  My pressure has always run normal and even sometimes low.  They got my Doctor on the phone and I was told to go right to the E.R.  I said NO!  but did agree to take myself to my doctor's office.  I was immediately put on blood pressure meds.  My dental work had to be put on hold until such time as my blood pressure was regulated.

Now, the meds I was given mentioned that they might cause a dry cough.  I in fact did have a usually only ever struck me at night and even then. just once at night.  A cough drop always helped.  Some time later my blood pressure meds were changed.  I mentioned the cough and was glad to be changing.  Having said something however, my Doctor was quick to inform me that the side effect of the meds would have caused a dry cough all the time....not just at night.  OK....maybe the new meds will make it go away and we'll both not worry about it.

New meds are fine...still have cough?????  Here's where it all comes to a head:  Friday morning, August 2nd, I got up and started getting to work.  I felt a knot / big bump in my neck.  It is on my right side - above but behind my collar bone - just to the right of my throat.  Needless to say I freaked out!  I called my Dr. and he said come on over...I'll fit you in.  And he did just that!  I'm nervous, but calm  - Emily was with me.  I didn't want to be too crazy in front of her :)  He arranged for a biopsy that afternoon.

The 4 of us (me, Doug, Katy and Emily) all hopped in the car and headed to Johnson City for the biopsy.  I wouldn't let them come in.  I told them to come back in 45 minutes.  Doug, being ever so understanding, took the girls for ice cream and came back to wait for me.  After the Dr. did her thing......I had the final word...HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA.  WHAT???  Excuse Me????  Huh0????  LOL!!!  She went and got Doug for me and all I could tell him was this is NOT good.  I couldn't stop crying.  But I had to.  My precious daughters, the 2 things in my life that mean more than ANYTHING, are sitting right out there waiting on us.  OMGoodness.  I had to pull it together!!!!  FAST!!!!!!  And I did....SCHEW!!!!

So - shocker one down........what next?