New Home But An Old Table

Tom and I took a big step this fall.  After several years of prayers, searching and dealing with our doubts, we made the move from our family farm to a condo.  This has been on heavy Tom's heart since his cancer diagnosis.  As we went through his treatments, it became clearer to us that we needed to have a home that didn't require  much work and maintenance.  
We were helped in our search by our niece, Karey Mulder.  We looked at many condos the past two years.  We never found exactly what we were looking for.  Several places meet some of our dreams but none met them all -until this August when a condo came on the market in Leisure Creek Condominiums.  We knew immediately that this was the home we were looking for.

We closed on our new home in late August.  Karey had a local artist make us a picture of our farm that we would be leaving.  She presented it to us at the closing.  It hangs proudly in our condo.

We feel blessed to have a new home that meets so many of our needs.  …

Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week

This is Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The numbers tell us how rare male breast cancer is.  1 in 800 men get breast cancer compared to 1in 8 women who are diagnosed.

Those numbers mean very little to my husband.  He was one of 2500 men who were diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

Tom discovered a lump behind his right nipple in April 2017.  His diagnosis was quickly followed by a double mastectomy.  Looking back, the surgery was actually the easy part. When the recovery from the surgery was moving along,  chemo began. Six months of chemo.  This was followed by 30 radiation treatments which were completed February 2018.

We received good news yesterday.  Tom had his 3 month check-up with his oncologist.  He passed with flying colors.  After treating a blood clot for six months, we learned his risk level has decreased greatly and she made some medication changes.  All good steps forward.

Men facing breast cancer enter a world of women.  The acceptance and treatment is designed fo…

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…