One Year Later

It has been 7 months since I blogged.  There are several reasons.  First, we have been very busy.  Also, Tom has had to deal with another health crisis.  Since this past year has been so difficult, it is sometimes difficult to write about it.  I'll explain:

After the last blog entry, we left for Florida.  We were looking forward to a relaxing time of warm weather and days of fun with our community at Lake Bonnet Village.  But that isn't exactly how it happened.  We arrived safely in Florida and began to relax.  But after 10 days, Tom's Aunt Vivian had some major health issues.  Tom was Aunt Viv's guardian.  She had no immediate family and depended on nieces and nephews.  We loaded up the car and drove home to help her.  Once she was settled into a nursing home with appropriate care, we returned to Florida.

Things went smoothly for the next month.  Three of our grandchildren flew down for a visit.  We had a wonderful time with them.

We were making preparations to retur…

Treatment Completed

February 1, 2018 was the day we had looked forward to for the past 10 months.  That day marked the 'sunset' of Tom's cancer treatment.  It began with the discovery of a tumor in April.  This was quickly followed by surgery in May.  Once he had begun to recover from the surgery, chemo began in June.  This lasted until Thanksgiving.  Radiation started in December and finished on February 1.

On the last day of radiation Tom was given this certificate and some well-wishes and we were on our way without any fanfare.  But in our hearts we were all rejoicing.  Our son Eric came along for moral support.  We celebrated with a breakfast at Anna's House-a favorite breakfast restaurant in Grand Rapids.
We were going to have a family celebration over the past weekend but the weather didn't cooperate. However, I know there will be lots of time for celebrating in the future.
Tom's radiation journey was not always smooth.  Over Christmas he had Influenza A which meant no radiation…

Sunset on Chemo Treatments and On to the Next Step

We are blessed with a wide view of sunsets at our farm in Alto, Michigan.  This sunset from late November shines over our field.  It symbolizes for us the sunset on Tom's months of chemo as well.
Tom had finished chemo on Tuesday, Nov. 20.  This gave us much to be thankful for this year.
Our family had a blessed Thanksgiving. Our daughter Jennifer and her husband Sudeep hosted Thanksgiving this year.  This was a first for Jennifer.  She did a great job.  Kristen and Chris came from Ohio and joined Tom, Eric, Jennifer, Sudeep and I for a delicious meal.  

We also celebrated Kristen's birthday that day.  Spending time together was the highlight for me.  Our plans were to go shopping on Black Friday; however online shopping was so much easier.

Later that weekend we celebrated our daughter-in-law, Sherry's birthday.   November and December are big months for birthdays in our family.  We still have two more in the next week.  A four year old and a one year old.  There is so mu…

Our Basket is Full

Thanksgiving was extra special for us as we are praising God for His strength during this cancer journey.

We have good news to share with you.  Tom completed his chemo treatments last week.  There were several bumps along the way.  With the help of the doctors, nurses, Tom was able to continue his treatments and complete the recommended chemo regiment.

We have been overwhelmed by the support of our family and friends.  We continue to receive cards with messages of hope and encouragement.  We joked last week that our basket of cards was full so it was time to be done with treatment.

We keep the cards close-by so we can re-read the messages and think of each of you.  I will get a bigger basket now!

The next step is 6 weeks of radiation.  We met with the doctor next week to set the plan and schedule.

Our plans still include Florida as soon as treatment is completed. 

Thank you to all of you who prayed and supported us.

It Takes a Village to Get Through Treatment

Today was Tom's 13th chemo treatment.  Only three more to go.

The staff at Lemmen-Holton got into the Halloween spirit which made the day more enjoyable.  This is Tara who has been with us since the first treatment.  She is kind, knowledgeable and fun.

Each week at chemo he is evaluated before starting and they give the go-ahead to start.  The first step is a blood test.  Today's lab was staffed by the "Three Blonde Mice".

Last week, the treatment was canceled because Tom had developed neuropathy in his hands.  Neuropathy is numbness and tingling caused by the chemo drugs and it can become permanent. The doctor felt that a week without chemo might help.  As we arrived back in the lobby feeling very discouraged, there was a lady playing the grand piano that sits in there.  She was playing "It Is Well With My Soul" which is a favorite hymn of ours.  It was a sign to us that God is in control.

When we returned today, Tom's feeling had almost completely ret…

For the Record Book

Tom's sister sent us this clip from an article that appeared in the GR Press this week.  Tom's long-held football record for 445 yards rushing in a single game was broken.  Tom was happy for the young man and is going to send him a congratulations card.  52 years is a long time to hold a record. 

Tom's high school football performance gave him opportunity to play college football.  He chose Western Michigan University from among the many offers he had.  After suffering a career-ending injury, he transferred to Cornerstone University (Baptist Bible College at that time).  That is where I met him. And the rest is history.  
Tom is facing his cancer challenge with the grit and determination that he brought to the football field.
This past week he had his 11th chemo treatment.  The doctor said he is doing great and tolerating the chemo well.  She began reducing the amount of steroids he receives and now he is completely weaned from them.  We are happy for that because the ste…

Keeping Your Heart

Tom had his treatment this week without any problems.  His blood numbers had not moved from the previous week which was good news.  He now has 7 treatments left.  We are cautiously looking toward the end of chemo.  There will be celebrating when we are done.

The last post I made was about the 'waiting room' that we feel we are in now.  Our lives have been put on hold while he goes through his treatment.  At each week of chemo he receives a blood test that determines if he is healthy enough to receive treatment.  Each time he receives his treatment, he is one step closer to being done.  But waiting or postponing treatment is discouraging.

Some of our family attends Ada Bible Church near here.  I often watch the services during the week.  The Bible teaching is an encouragement to me.  This week's sermon is part of a series called Choosing Joy Under Pressure.  I have been watching with great interest.

Jeff Manion's sermon this week asked the question, "How in the wo…