Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Ready

We are working hard today.  Ron mowed the backyard getting it cleaned up for the start of spring.  I found someone to mow for us for the rest of the summer since Ron won't be doing any yard work. 

While Ron has been working out back I've been spring cleaning.  I guess we are trying to get everything ready for what's coming.

Ron and I talked last night about him retiring after this surgery.  Right now he commutes to the city and I just hate that.  It's not a bad commute but I just worry about him on the highway.  It just seems smart to go ahead and start drawing his social security now and not wait until he's 66.  There are too many unknowns and he could be enjoying life right now.  It would also be easier to schedule trips around my job rather than trying to schedule around two jobs.  He'll be eligible for Medicare in 10 months and we can manage with him covered under my policy until then.  He's going to think about it but I think he will probably agree with me after the surgery. 

He doesn't like the idea of retiring while I'm still working but I told him it would actually be a help to me.  He'd be able to take some of the burden of Mike's care off of me.  Ron's great at managing the house and overall I think it would be good for both of us.  I'd only be 5 minutes away if he needed me and that's a good feeling.  We have to enjoy the time we have while we have it.  There is no guarantee about tomorrow.  I'll retire in 27 months so it won't be long but we will have my health insurance until then and with all the medical bills that's good.

Tomorrow we go to church and then a big family picnic at my daughter's house.  Looking forward to spending time with all the family.

Happy Easter to my internet friends.  You keep me lifted up with all your prayers and good thoughts.  I thank each and everyone of you!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Peanuts for the preacher

Ron and I saw the oncologist yesterday and it appears that the cancer has spread to Ron's lungs.  He will have surgery probably within the next two weeks.  We are going to meet with the surgeon next week.

We did get some of our questions answered yesterday but we will have more for the surgeon.  I was concerned about what comes after surgery.  The doctor said we would discuss medication options after the surgery.  I did some research and the options have horrific side effects, some even fatal.  
Ron and I only briefly discussed this option and decided to wait until we get through the surgery before we talk about it again.

Ron's biggest concern now is what to expect from the surgery.  He's worried about the pain.  His previous surgeries were really rather easy with very little pain.  This is much more involved. 

My concerns have to do with first getting him through the surgery.  I have a lot of concern about post-operative infection control rates and standards.  I work in a hospital and know just enough from attending infection control meetings to be scared silly.  Ron's doctor didn't help by telling me that that is a concern no matter what hospital you are in as it is now the reality of the world we live in.

My second big area of concern is Ron's quality of life.  I am so scared of the medical options (drugs) they use to treat Renal Cell that I almost don't want him to take them.  If he feels good and his lung mets are stable why put his body through that?  We aren't in our 30's or even 40's......we are at an age when quality of life may outweigh quantity.  I want him to enjoy the time he has left and not be ravaged by medical treatments that may or may not buy him time.   Time at what expense?  They also have the potential to shorten your life.

My feeling is that as long as surgery is an option we go after the cancer and remove it until it returns somewhere that makes surgery not an option.  Re-evaluate then and decide what comes next. end this post with some much needed humor......
A preacher visits an elderly woman from his congregation. As he sits on the couch he notices a large bowl of peanuts on the coffee table. "Mind if I have a few?" he asks.
"No, not at all," the woman replys.
They chat for an hour and as the preacher stands to leave, he realizes that instead of eating just a few peanuts, he emptied most of the bowl. "I'm terribly sorry for eating all your peanuts. I really just meant to eat a few." the preacher says apologetically.
"Oh that's alright," the woman says. "Ever since I lost my teeth, all I can do is suck the chocolate off them."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Busy hands leave less time for worry...

As a caregiver to my brother it has definitely concerned me as to how I will care for him and Ron (if he has surgery).  Since I usually prepare the evening meal for both Mike and sometimes my niece I decided to get a plan.  Yesterday I researched freezer meals and found recipes to prepare 40 meals.  I got my grocery list and went shopping and last night I got 10 of the 40 meals prepared and into the freezer.  I'm on a roll.  I think I can have them all done by Saturday.  I may throw in a few breakfast burritos for good measure.   Having meals prepared ahead of time will really take the pressure off me and allow me more time to just pamper my husband!  I just hope I can get them all in my's looking a little tight!

The past few nights I've noticed we are clinging a little closer to one another.   Snuggling a little closer and holding hands through the night.  I think we both need to feel close to one another and it eases our fears.   Ron has what we use to call the "jimmy legs" but I guess it is restless leg syndrome.  I usually try to stay far on my side of the king size bed in order not to get kicked all night.  Right now I don't care if he kicks me across the room.  I just need to feel him beside me. 

This is my lovely daughter Julie.  She teaches kindergarten and at their last school assembly she was asked to the stage where they placed an exotic spider on her arm.  Her students thought she was soooo brave but I know how scared she is of spiders.  She said that when the spider started walking toward her head it was all she could do to keep from slinging it across the room!

Tonight we paint our masterpieces....... how fun!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dying for chocolate chip cookies

This is a story Ron told me last night..............just an example of his sick sense of humor.  He was a nursing home administrator and he would dress up as the Grim Reaper and visit the patients in their rooms.  (See.....I told you he was sick) 

The story goes........

An elderly man lay dying in his bed. In death's agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed.

Leaning against the wall he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort, forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands, and crawled downstairs.

With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven. There, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted; the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to life.

The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to a cookie at the edge of the table when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.

"Stay out of those." she said, "They're for the funeral."

Sugar Sugar.............

Ron is at the hospital having is PET scan this morning.  I'm at work.  The sun is shining and that is reason enough to be happy.

My daughters and I are going to a paint and palette class tomorrow night.  I'm not a painter or an artist of any kind but both of my daughters are quite talented.  I'm looking forward to the evening.  I've never painted anything other than a wall so it will be interesting to see what my picture will look like.

I can't believe I've been able to get my fear under control.  I'm grateful but surprised considering how scared  I was last week when I heard the spot  in his lung had grown.  But I'm better today and I just don't let myself think too far ahead.  I think that is going to be key to getting through this.  Just deal with the here and now and take it step as it comes.

The fact that I'm feeling so much better physically has really helped me I think.   I can’t believe I never made the connection between sugar and joint pain.  I am learning that there is a direct connection between sugar, inflammation and joint pain.  

I have been in constant pain for the past two years from joint pain in my hips and back.  I have tried everything from physical therapy to purchasing ergonomic cushions for my chairs.  I’ve consciously worked to improve my posture and taken all the supplements recommended to reduce joint pain.  I had pretty much given up on finding relief.
So, I decided to work on lowering my blood sugar in response to my diabetes.  I started following the Atkins diet.  

In the Induction phase your carbohydrate intake is reduced to 20 – 25 net carbs per day.   The first thing I noticed within one week was my blood sugar readings dropped dramatically, almost in the normal range and then the second thing was I dropped 15 pounds after two weeks.  But within the next two weeks my hip pain had all but diminished and my back pain is greatly improved. I couldn’t believe that the 15 pound weight loss was the only thing contributing to my decrease in pain so I started researching the effects of sugar on joints.   There is considerable information on the subject and I was shocked that I had never heard of it before.  Maybe I had but wasn’t ready to initiate a change in diet.

As we know, inflammation is the immune system's healthy response to restore the affected area to normal following an injury, irritation or infection. However, in response to high sugar intake, which includes simple carbohydrates, the body is flooded with insulin and stress hormones. These inundate your blood supply triggering the inflammation process which creates stress and pain on your organs and joints. The less sugar you eat, the less inflammation experienced, and the stronger the immune system will be to protect the body from infectious and degenerative diseases.

So, I'm now a believer.........I just have to keep it up and believe me it is hard.  They say you finally quit craving carbohydrates but so far that hasn't happened for me.  I have to constantly resist them.  I hope that gets better.  

Right now I'm just grateful that I feel so much better.  I think that is giving me the strength I need to get through what may come next.

Monday, March 25, 2013

being normal

I've been thinking a lot about the millions of people who have already lived the journey Ron and I are on.  Those who have had cancer and those who have cared for a loved one.  But I can't imagine having a child and having to watch them go through the ravages of this hideous disease.  That is a pain beyond my comprehension.

It's weird how you go about your business as if nothing were wrong and then something just jolts you and you remember that your life is dangling precariously by a thread.  Yesterday I got aggravated with Ron over something of very little consequence but seemed important at that moment.  I suddenly decided I didn't want to continue the argument so I excused myself.  I hadn't taken two steps away from him when I was reminded of the fact that cancer is beating on our backdoor.  I felt a sudden rush of guilt for getting aggravated in the first place and then just as quickly realized that we are just normal human beings who get frustrated with each other in spite of the fact that our time (everyone's time) on this earth is limited.  What is the saying....."We are spiritual beings having a human experience"?

I think I've gotten myself in a better place since learning about the possibility of Ron having surgery.  I'm not sure why it shocked me so bad in the first place.  We've known about the places in his lungs for two years but I guess I got complacent about it and had begun to believe that they were nothing.  Ignorance is bliss (for a time) but can also bite you in the butt.  I've got the teeth marks to prove it.

Since we can only comprehend one thing at a time it's back to wait and see.  Ron has his PET scan tomorrow and we get the results Thursday.  We have considered as many scenarios as we can and have a plan for each one.  We've discussed the here and now and the future what if's.  This has addressed my need to prepare and now I can respect his need to put it aside. 

We'll get through this just like we have before.  One day at a time!

Friday, March 22, 2013

You were meant for me......

I believe there are people that are meant to be together.  I’m even more convinced of that since meeting Ron again and falling in love.  I can’t really convey how he was always just a thought away.  I recognized what a special person he is when we were just children.  I definitely had a crush on him all the while we were growing up but at the same time I never expected it to be anything more.  Maybe because we were too shy to talk to each other so our relationship was based on shy glances and timid smiles.

After high school graduation I lost track of him and went on about my own life.  By the age of twenty I was married to my college sweetheart and had no idea about where life had taken Ron.

As my life unraveled and my marriage with it I found myself at my ten year class reunion.  I was already grieving the loss of my marriage although the papers were still unsigned.  I looked across the room and saw Ron.  He was beaming with his new bride beside him.  I remember watching him and thinking, “That is what I want to experience.”  I want someone to look at me the way he looks at her.

Next thing I knew I had crossed the room to say hi.  The first words I had ever spoken to him.  He introduced his new bride and we exchanged cordial small talk before I walked back to my seat across the room.

That was it……….

But every night of the 25 years that followed my divorce I wished…..I wished on stars…. and I prayed for someone that would look at me the way Ron looked at his bride that night.

And…….then one day someone did………and it was Ron.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't surf the internet

A little knowledge is healthy but sometimes too much information is dangerous.  I make the mistake of researching information on renal cell carcinoma and all I do is frighten myself to death. Most of the time I don't discover anything I didn't already know but yesterday I did.  I have always clung to the hope that since Ron has had no symptoms associated with his lungs that it meant he was probably alright.  Yesterday I learned that early stage renal cell lung metastatic disease is asymptomatic.

I feel like I got too comfortable.  The past six months things have been so good that I was allowing myself to think that just maybe he could be the one in a million that beats this.  I'm not trying to be a pessimist now but I don't want anything to blindside me again. I don't know how you prepare for something horrible but I'm doing my best to remain optimistic but realistic at the same time.  The odds are just not on our  side here.  

I am trying to concentrate my expectations on things like quality of life for as long as you can have it.  The idea of Ron having to have his chest cut open terrifies me and for what?  If it isn't malignant great.....but if it is malignant then what?  We will know that it has spread and that there is nothing that can be done about it.  There is no treatment and he will just wait for it to grow somewhere else.  How many times can he be cut open to remove tumors?  I don't want him to slowly be chopped up until he can't take anymore.  I know it isn't my decision to make but I can't imagine him going through that.  

Maybe I don't want to know whether it is malignant or not.  Not knowing gives me hope.  If they confirm it I don't know if I'll be able to be hopeful again.  Ignorance is bliss!  I just want more time to feel normal and to have our lives as they are.

Then I wonder if my anxiety is for him or is it really for me.  I can't imagine losing him or going on without him.  It took me a lifetime to find love and I'm not ready to let it go.  As soon as I think those thoughts I'm reminded of just what a blessing it has been to have Ron in my life at all and how grateful I need to be of the 12 years we have had together.  Not everyone gets a second chance even if it is brief.  We are approaching our 2nd wedding anniversary and I remember a time when I didn't even think that would be possible.  

I can't discuss my fears with Ron so this is the only place I have to purge them.  I am scared.  But I am strong and I know I can get through whatever comes next.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CT Results

Ron's CT results were not as good as we had hoped.  There was mild enlargement of left apical nodule suspicious for worsening metastatic disease.  Measurements are currently 1.7 x 1.4 com compared to 1.4 x 1.3 cm previously.

Because of the location they are unable to do a biopsy so she feels it may be time to go in and remove it.  Ron has opted to have a PET scan first.  He says if it comes back "glowing" then he will have the surgery.  If it is not he wants to wait another 3 months and have another scan and if it grows again then he'll have the surgery.  She cautioned him that PET scans are not conclusive.  You can get false positives and false negatives.  The only conclusive thing we can do is remove it and see if it is malignant.

We talked awhile last night and it is apparent that Ron is either naive about his condition or in a happy state of denial.  Either way he is comfortable and not worried and so I just have to respect that and worry silently.  His reaction to things is so very different from anything I've ever dealt with before.  There are so many lessons to learn here.

My concern is how will I manage Mike at the same time if Ron has  surgery again.  I want to go to another hospital this time because I just don't have faith in our local hospital.  I hear too much from our doctors here at the children's hospital and so my confidence is low.  My issue is infection control rates......I want to know that before I'll let anyone cut on me.  

I found some condos near my daughter's house.  I thought I could purchase 3 of them and put Mike in one, my niece in one and Ron and I in the other.  Am I crazy or what?  I just don't know how to take care of 3 people without feeling so scattered.  Someone said this morning that I wouldn't know how to just live for myself.  I guess she meant how to relax and just breathe.  Maybe it is a good thing I've never experienced that feeling and therefore what I don't know I can't miss.

On a brighter note.  I was able to spend some time with my daughter yesterday and we went to pick out her new glasses (which were very cute on her) and we had lunch together followed by a short shopping excursion.  I'm happy to say I was able to walk without pain and had a great time.  The pain has decreased considerably in my hip and my back.  Of course I thought maybe God is just getting me ready for the next round of caregiving........ Either way I'm grateful.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The shot heard round the world

Our weekend of dog/cat sitting is over.  We stayed at my daughter's house because, well, I just didn't want 3 dogs in my house.  Besides, they have a much, much larger house and the animals are accustomed to their routine.

We only encountered two problems.  We lost the cat for about 24 hours and we couldn't turn the tv on because we are electronically illiterate. My son-in-law has a computerized remote that could fly space ships.  We finally managed to get sound but no picture.  It was so hard for Ron to admit defeat.....

It is spring break here in Norman, Oklahoma.  Schools are out and the town looks deserted.  We had 80 degree weather on Friday and low 70's Saturday and then in typical Oklahoma fashion it decided to turn chilly on Sunday.

Our furnace is not working but we are trying to wait until after the summer before we replace it.  Of course if the air conditioner decides to go on the fritz we will just have to replace everything sooner than planned.

Tomorrow Ron gets his CT scan results.  We are anticipating a good report!!!!!!!!

Mike's back to his old tricks.  His nurse called me and told me he had drank 32 ounces of prune juice.  Needless to say there was a rumble heard around the world.   I went to his house and found a juice glass and marked a red line on it.  Now, that doesn't mean he won't fill it up 10 times.  I'm not sure what is causing his obsession with constipation but he's determined to stay regular.  He's calling me first thing every morning to give me the poop report.  Oh God, give me patience but hurry!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Diamonds are a girl's best friend!

Last night my sweet wonderful husband surprised me with an early anniversary gift, diamond earrings.  I have always wanted diamond solitaire lever back earrings and now I have them.  Of course I'm terrified to wear them for fear I will lose one.  We are having them put on our home owners insurance but of course I had to wear them today.  I'll be feeling my ears all day to make sure they are still there!  What a sweetie he is.......  

Why is it that sometimes women just don't feel worthy of such an extravagance?  I never had a problem spending money on my children or someone else but when it came to me I just felt selfish.  I would admire something and sometimes I'd even purchase it only to take it back the next day.  

My daughters bought me a designer purse about 5 years ago and it is still in the box it came in.  I look at it and admire it but I never use it because I think it is too nice and I don't want to mess it up.  I'm more comfortable with a $20.00 purse that I use until the straps fall off.  I pick a color that will "go with anything" and I'm the same with shoes.  There is no way that I can justify purchasing a purse that could feed a family of four for a month.

I think other women look wonderful with their designer shoes and bags.  I admire their sense of style.  I have just never been able to look put together for more than 30 minutes no matter how much money I spend.  I have a picture of myself and my 3 best friends the morning of our first day in high school.  My girlfriends are the picture of loveliness with their perfectly flipped hair and outfits.  Me on the other hand was already a mess.  Half my blouse was sticking out of the waistband of my skirt and my flip had already flopped.  That's why I usually wore a ponytail and hoped for the best.

So to say that my be-dazzled ears are a stretch for my plain Jane lifestyle is an understatement.  But, I'm going to wear them as if I were Elizabeth Taylor selling perfume!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

CT TIME AGAIN is CT scan day.  Ron dropped me off at work this morning at 7:30 and was headed to the hospital for his scan.  He doesn't tell me when he will get the results until the day before his appointment.  It's our "New Deal".  He doesn't want me stressing out over it ahead of time.  So far that seems to be working.  It isn't that I don't think about it but I'm a lot less obsessed over it.

Now my other weird issue is that I've developed a superstition about going to the doctor's office for the results.  Nine months ago I really got on Ron's nerves when I was in the room to hear the results.  That was when they told us he might lose his one remaining kidney.  Well I had a lot of questions and I guess he wasn't ready to hear any of it.  To make a long story short we decided the next time I wouldn't go with him.  So I didn't.  He got the best news we had received in two years.  Then the next scan came and I again I didn't go because I didn't want to jinx us.  

Now I've really developed a phobia about going..........I'm terrified that if I go I'll break the good karma!  Ron really doesn't want me there because I stress him out so I guess I'm feeling guilty for nothing.  I know his doctor wonders why I wait in the waiting room but I am scared to mess with the good roll we are on.  I guess you never get over being scared.  

Next month will be two years since his last surgery!  Followed by our second anniversary.  

It's weird but cancer plays games with your head.  I'm in complete awe how Ron goes about his life and never lets cancer take over.....the minute they removed his kidney he was cancer free as far as he was concerned.  Since the second time they removed more cancer... he has been cancer free.... no matter what gloom and doom scenario they give us he just doesn't let it dictate his every thought.  Some people might call that denial (I thought that at first) but I think it comes more from his years as a nursing home administrator.  He just sees death as a natural process that will happen to us all and that worrying about when it may come only prevents you from the living the life you have right now.    

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hells Kitchen

Mike and I were on two different planets last night.  He had been calling me all day with one thought after another and I was a little tired by the time I got home.  

Then he started calling me at home.  He asked me if he could cook a T-bone steak in the microwave.  I said you can but it won't taste very good.  I asked if he had purchased a steak and he said yes.  So, I offered to grill it for him tonight.

Thinking that the issue was settled I went back to cooking dinner for Ron and I.

After many confusing phone calls later Ron took over.  It seems Mike had stew brought to him by a neighbor.  He decided to heat it in the microwave.  Ron told him to put it in a glass bowl and cover with a paper towel.

About 30 minutes later Mike shows up at our door with a bowl in his hand asking, "Is this glass?"   Twilight Zone Theme song began playing in the background........

Then I found out he did not have a steak.....he said in two days his neighbor was going to bring him one.  

Some days I don't know which way is up!

However, with that aside my quest to improve my health and blood sugar is going well.  My glucose readings have been great and I've lost 15 pounds in the process.  Trying lots of new recipes and so far so good.   If I can manage to control my diabetes and lose weight at the same time as a bonus ...well.....I'm just one happy camper.  My goal is to get off medication.  I'm only taking 500 mg Metformin per day but I'd rather control it with diet/exercise.

The doctor ordered me a back brace and it should arrive soon.  If it helps I hope to be able to take short walks with Ron.   I'm being very careful about my posture and not bending over too much if possible.  I want spinal fusion to be the very last resort. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Role Model

In a recent Sunday school class we were discussing the aging process and the grieving of loss.  The leader asked for examples of the loss that some aging people feel and the responses were not surprising.  Some grieved the loss of abilities, independence, friends, family members, etc.  Then the discussion turned to the anger that some people exhibit when they find themselves dependent on others.  One woman asked how do you deal with anger directed toward the caregiver.  This is especially hard when you are caring for a parent who is frustrated and lashing out. 

Someone suggested that we should prepare a manual of instructions for our children to guide them when they become our caregivers.  My first thought was, when did anyone ever learn from someone else’s mistakes?

In my own experience my mother was my model.  I watched her care for her own mother and her aunt and I drew from that when it came time to care for her. 

After my grandfather’s death my mother moved my grandmother closer to us so she could care for her.  She made sure my grandmother found a church home where she could establish new friendships.  Mom would drive my grandmother and her lady friends around taking them to lunch or any activities they might enjoy.  She did everything she could to make my grandmother’s life easier. 

Together they started a program at a local nursing home.  Each Wednesday my mother and grandmother would go to the nursing home and perform a music program.  My grandmother played the piano and my mother led them all in a sing-along.  They made sure to include songs from the resident’s youth not just hymns.  After the program they would serve cookies and punch.

When my twins were born they became regulars at the nursing home.  They spent the first five years of their lives attending the Wednesday program.  The residents enjoyed watching them as they grew from infants to wobbly toddlers then to pre-schoolers.  The girls loved passing out the cookies when they were old enough and they enjoyed just sitting and holding hands with the residents as they sang along to the music. 

As my mother aged and became in need for more care my daughters were there helping me care for her.  One daughter cleaned her house each week and the other was her personal attendant.  I remember hearing my daughter talking so sweetly to her grandmother as she helped her into a shower.  They talked about all the times her grandmother had bathed her as a child.  It was so sweet to hear them sharing memories.  Then Jamie would fuss over her grandmother sprinkling powder on her and telling her she smelled just like “Grandma”!

My children and I were so lucky to have such a great role model.  My mother definitely taught us the joy that comes from caring for someone you love.   Her example was better than any manual she could have written.  I'm very confident that I will be in capable hands one day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Loves me, loves me not!

When I married the first time at the ripe old age of twenty I was sure it would last forever.  He was my first love.  We had saved ourselves for marriage and it brought sweetness to our union.  Our baby daughters were born eighteen months later and though we didn’t have two nickels to rub together we were happy.  Unfortunately what I thought would be forever only turned about to be seven years.  So at the ripe old age of twenty-seven I was a divorcee with two young daughters. Not exactly the life I had originally planned.

None of this is new information since I’ve written about it many times.  During the 40 years that I was alone there were times I wished for a relationship but after living through the infidelity that occurred in my first marriage I had trust issues.  My biggest wish was to have someone in my life that loved me the way my father loved my mother but I never in a million years thought I’d ever marry again. 

WOW, just when we think we have our lives planned out something comes along to remind you that you aren’t in control at all. 

Today, I wake up each morning and I marvel at the fact that this loving human being beside me is my husband.  Every morning he kisses me on the top of my head and tells me I’m pretty……. Me…..with my rooster bed hair and age spots peering back at him over the top of my bifocals.   What a miracle….to have someone change your life completely. 

I’ve experienced young love and I’ve experienced mature love.  One isn’t better than the other it is just different.   Young love requires much affirmation.  At that age we had not learned to communicate.  We weren't even aware that our brains were wired differently.  I would ask "What are you thinking?" and he would reply "Nothing".  I couldn't believe that he could be thinking about nothing because my brain isn't wired that way.  He HAD to be thinking about something and I was sure it wasn't something good and on it goes.  It was youth and inexperience that sealed our fate.

Of the two types of love I can say that at this time in my life we don’t have time for the petty stuff.  We just appreciate holding hands and being together.  The hard stuff is over…..our children are raised and we are nearing the end of our working lives.  We have all the time in the world for one another.  We don’t sweat the small stuff and we’ve experienced just enough heartache to be grateful for what we have.  I believe him when he says he isn't thinking about anything.  (I get it now)  I now know that there are a million ways a man can tell you he loves you without uttering a word.
1.  When he locks the door on his way out of the house.  (he's protecting me)
2.  When he makes sure that he is on the outside as you walk down the street. (he's protecting me)
3.  When he does chores around the house without being asked. (This is huge to any woman)
4.  When he scrapes the window of my car or fills it with gas so I don't have to get out in the cold.
5.  Every time he opens a door for me.

All these things make me feel valued and loved.  If young men just knew that they would have very happy wives and very happy lives!

Friday, March 8, 2013

My blood sugar had begun to go up and I wasn't watching the carbs like I should.  So I decided to take tips from the Atkins diet and really get serious about my eating.  In two weeks I have really seen a huge difference in my glucose readings.  I'm staying around 108 - 111 fasting and after meals.  This morning was a little higher than usual at 134.....but that is the first reading over 111 in two weeks.  I also weighed and had lost 10 pounds which I consider a bonus.  It stands to reason that if you eat right and limit carbs you will lose weight.  But that isn't my main focus.....I'd like to get off diabetes medication and losing weight and eating right may just get me there.

Since I'm watching my carb intake Ron is too by association.....he's trying to help me.  He also wants to lose weight so I'm hoping he will see the scale move in the direction he wants.  It always makes him giddy when he loses weight. 

I've been dealing with back issues for awhile now and it only seems to be getting worse.  I finally got a diagnosis and it is  grade 1 L5-S1 aterolisthesis and facet arthopathy and Illeopsoas bursitis and greater trochanteric in my hip. From what I've read this is a slipping of the L5 vertebrae over the S1 by 25% or less.  I believe it slides forward.  All I know is it causes a lot of pain and hurts when I walk or sit in my office chair and it just never goes away.  I'm considering spinal shots (which is the least invasive treatment) to see if it will do anything to stop the pain.  If it gets any worse the last treatment option is spinal fusion.  I just don't want to do anything like that unless there is no other option.....

Between new super bugs and the idiots in Washington I've been really depressed.  I have never felt so helpless about things I have no control over.  I am not a gloom and doom person but it is really hard to remain optimistic about the future.  Is anyone else having these kind of feelings?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

hanging on............

Well we have made it to the middle of the week.  This month is full of evening meetings and early morning meetings and is a true endurance test for me.  I wish I had the energy of say a 50 year old...but as a friend reminded me this morning   TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE; SO - ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

I received a notice yesterday that our property taxes are going up and so is the homeowner's insurance.  This is the second year in a row they have both increased.  Paychecks decreasing and costs increasing creates a very stressful time for Americans.  

My son-in-law works for the government and he is being furloughed one day a week resulting in a 20% decrease in their income.  Since I supplement my brother's disability income I'm constantly watching what is happening with Social Security.  (like many other seniors)
I get so frustrated with our elected doesn't appear that anyone is really looking out for the average American.  They are too busy protecting special interest groups and the wealthy.  I can only hope and pray that we will see improvement somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oh my gosh, I only have to go back to November, 2010 and read my posts following my brother's psychotic episode to realize just how far we have come in 2 1/2 years.  I'm amazed that I survived the death of my mother, Ron's cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgeries followed by Mike's psychotic break.  I've been so close to all of it that sometimes I can't even see the progress we have made.  

In 2 1/2 years I have learned to live with cancer.....that was huge.  I wasn't living before I was just surviving from one CT scan to the next.  That is no longer true.  I can't say that I wouldn't flip out if we received bad news but I no longer anticipate bad news.  Don't know if that makes any sense or not.

My brother has traveled a million miles since his hospitalization in 2010.  He isn't the same person he was before the psychotic episode but in many ways he is better than before.  His every thought isn't dictated by delusional thinking.  He is a sweeter version of himself.  We are still adjusting to the brain damage he suffered but we can work around his loss of short-term memory and other cognitive challenges.

My entire life I have had a need to take care of other people.  I think it began with my mother and her struggle with depression.  I thought that somehow I could make her happy if I tried hard enough.  My father also had a need to be the caretaker, the rock, the one everyone depended upon.  I used to wonder where that need came from but unfortunately never had the opportunity to ask.  

But the truth of the matter is that taking care of others isn't really an unselfish act of giving it fills my own need, whatever that may be.  I truly am the happiest when someone needs me.  I just don't want my need met at the expense of others.  It's rather selfish on my part I suppose.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Avodah sheba-Lev "'You shall serve God with your whole heart.'

We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Norman Stillman  the Judaic Studies Program Director at the University of Oklahoma speak at our Deacon's breakfast yesterday.  He is an internationally recognized authority on the history and culture of the Islamic world and Sephardi and Oriental Jewry. Prof. Stillman received his Ph.D. in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has published numerous articles in several languages. He is currently writing a book on the Jews of North Africa for University of California Press and is the executive editor of Brill’s forthcoming 5-volume Encyclopedia of Jews in the Muslim World and was for ten years the editor of the AJS Review, the journal of the Association for Jewish Studies. 

Dr. Stillman spoke about prayer in the Jewish religion.  He stated that according to the Talmud, prayer is a Biblical commandment and the Talmud gives two reasons why there are three basic prayers: to recall the daily sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem, and/or because each of the Patriarchs instituted one prayer: Abraham the morning, Isaac the afternoon and Jacob the evening. A distinction is made between individual prayer and communal prayer, which requires a quorum known as a minyan, with communal prayer being preferable as it permits the inclusion of prayers that otherwise must be omitted.

I was surprised to learn that there are only three basic prayers but there are a multitude of additional prayers and blessings.  It was a very interesting discussion. 

The idea is to keep God ever present in your daily life.  To be mindful of him in all that we do.  Prayer is the way to do that.

We are so fortunate to have a strong connection to the University of Oklahoma and our church has been able to attract such scholars to share their knowledge.

The more I learn it becomes apparent (at least to me) that many religions have more similarities than differences.  

This was a weekend of birthdays.  I took a birthday cake and ice cream to my niece.  She was having her daughters for the weekend and I thought they could celebrate together.

We had a birthday lunch with Ron's oldest friend.  A lonely ole bachelor that I'm forever trying to fix up!  
Then we had a birthday dinner with my daughters and their husbands.  It was my son-in-law's birthday.   It was a very busy weekend.