Sunday, September 30, 2012

9-30-12

Today was another very nice productive day.  Richie continues to feel well, and has been working around the place a little more every day.  Today he did some mowing and worked on a project in his shop.  He definitely got a lot of walking in!  Probably by tomorrow his white blood cells should have recovered and come back up, so we shouldn't have to worry about infections anymore.  That will be a relief for both of us!  I picked and canned a couple dozen jars of plums today, made some french sandwich rolls, started some meat in the crock pot,  picked some apples, and worked a little on a scrapbook of all the wonderful wall pictures and decorations from the hospital. 

We sure miss everyone at church though!  Hopefully we'll be able to come a little more regularly for a while now!  Thank you so much Ron for faithfully bringing us the sermon on CD every Sunday afternoon.  What a blessing!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quotes


"There is an old proverb which says, 'Never cross a bridge before you come to it.' How many Christians are filled with sorrow on account of imaginary troubles! Many timid Christians have a trouble manufactory in their own houses; they sit from morning to night endeavoring to make trouble for themselves. We have quite enough real trials to bear; and if we make any more of our own, we have no promise that God will give us grace to bear our self-made sorrows. How unwise are those people who crowd a whole year's troubles into a single day!" (C.H. Spurgeon)

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  (Matthew 6:33-34)

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 89:31, 37-39 ESV)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wok cooking!

One of the neatest things Richie bought for me recently was a Lodge cast iron wok.  It is perfect for cooking delicious and nutritious veggies from the garden!  I like to cook them with coconut oil, and add a little soy sauce just before you remove the wok from the burner.  Even if you aren't veggie lovers like we are, I guarantee you would love this!


mmmm...carrots, green beans, broccoli, and turnips, all from the bountiful garden the Lord has blessed us with this year! 

Corn Processing and More!

Today was another busy day!

Richie and I started out early this morning with processing the 200+ ears of corn that Janet and I picked at the Wedam’s place last night.   

Cutting corn off the cob is always a messy and time-consuming endeavor, so we were excited when (while sitting up at the hospital last week) Richie found a new method for corn cutting on You Tube.  Basically you take a screwdriver and a lag screw and screw it into the fat end of the corn.  Then you hold one of those cheep corn cutters in one hand and drive the corn through.  Brilliant, fast, effective. Right?

Well, we found out today that the economics of blanching and freezing corn for the winter just doesn’t pan out.  Unless you have a commercial machine for the job, it would be most time and cost effective to simply enjoy your corn on the cob in season.  We bought our corn 10 for 1$.  Of course that is a heck of a deal, but for what you get in the end (200 ears=16 quart bags) you’re almost better off buying canned corn and saving yourself a whole day!  (If you can’t live without corn!)

We were a little disappointed with what we thought was going to be a great idea.  Much of the corn was wasted on the cob because diameter of the cutter is too wide.  Maybe if our ears of corn had been the like the big giant hybrid commercial type, this wouldn’t have been as much of an issue.  The drill was so heavy that I had to let it rest on the side of the box the cut corn dropped into.  Richie held the corn cutter as tightly as he could to shrink the diameter of the cutter.
Let’s just say Richie and I were a little sticky and a little tired and (just a little) thankful it was finally all over when that last blessed ear of corn passed though the cutter.  

After the corn was done, I got busy in the kitchen making french bread, brownies and lasagna.  Very pleased with the results of the french bread recipe I tried from All Recipes:

6 c. flour
4 ½  tsp yeast
1 ½ tsp salt
2 c. warm water (110degrees)

Egg white
1Tb water
1.                       Combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2.                       On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3.                       Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
4.                       Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
5.                       With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack

I also tried a new brownie recipe.  I love that the ingredients are easy and it tastes just like the boxed kind.:-)  This post is getting long, so I will give you the link the to recipe instead of copying the it to the blog. 
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/brookes-best-bombshell-brownies/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=brownies&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe

Until next time!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Timmy!

I can't believe you're turning 8 already Timmy! 













I WUV IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Whata Day

It’s been a busy day today!  Been cooking and baking, experimenting and cleaning up my messes since about 8am.  Here’s my day in short:

Made granola (To eat with the yogurt that has become my staple food!)
Made pumpkin-apple-cheesecake muffins
Picked blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Made mixed berry muffins
Tried a new recipe for Pierogies
(Trying to) roast herbed roosters in the Traeger (will use the bones for chicken stock for canning green beans soon!) 
Picked more raspberries and blackberries
Made a blackberry and raspberry pie with new coconut oil pie crust recipe
Put half the dishes in the dishwasher, thought I was out of detergent...use dish soap instead.  very. bad.
Spent10 minutes cleaning up bubbles all over the kitchen floor and consoling myself when the dishes were almost dirtier than when I put them in.  Note to self:  (don’t ever use dish soap in the dishwasher)

It sure is nice to be home!

Richie’s felt much better just because he isn’t sitting in a hospital bed with chemo pumping through him.  He’s on his anti-nausea drugs, which make him tired.  But maybe that’s a good thing, he might overdo it if he wasn’t feeling drugged :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

9-22-12

Last night was a long night! 
Richie's red blood cells were very low again, so they decided he would need a couple more units of blood.  Well, because you can only run so many things at once (1 port, 1 peripheral IV) we had to wait until both of the 1 hr chemo drugs were finished (around 9pm or so.)  When the nurse starts the transfusion, she has to stay in the room and monitor Richie for 15 minutes.  Then take "vitals" then come in and take vitals every hour until all of the blood is gone.  The transfusions finally finished about 3:30 this morning.  

We're so ready to be home!  We've both just about reached the end of our ropes physically and emotionally.  Richie's been so strong though all of these awful drugs...he's just about had it though.  I'm so glad this is our last day!  Maybe we can start to live a sort of normal life.  One thing I know for sure is that this has given me even more of an appreciation for how most of the time God keeps our bodies all in working order.  Just a slight malfunction and everything goes downhill.  I don't think I've stopped to thank Him for good health as often as I should in the past.  Now I really know just what a blessing it is to be able to do normal every-day things.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

9-20-12

The last couple days have been rather uneventful.  Richie's had more nausea this time than he did the last, which was kind of disappointing.  At least we know that this is the LAST time he should ever have to get chemo.  Please pray for him!  One thing that seems to lift his spirits and make him feel a little better is Herbox chicken broth.  He loves it!  The poor guy's appetite has not been great, but he has been able to get at least one or two good meals in a day. 

We found out more yesterday about the surgery they've been planning to do to remove the rest of the tumors or "scar tissue" in the abdomin 6 weeks from now.  It's quite a bit more serious than we thought it would be.  I guess it will be a complicated surgery, and will require 24 hrs in the ICU and then 7-10 days in the hospital after that.  This news was again disappointing...but at least it's a ways out.  I'd just as soon not see Richie have to handle anything else after all this awful chemo.  But we know it's neccissary.  And it's going to be OK.     

Here are some of our beautiful room decorations





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Good the Bad and the Ugly.

It's been a difficult few days I guess.  For a couple of weeks I've been putting up with some GI issues (I'll not explain the gory details of the condition here) and sort of kept it to myself in hopes that the symptoms would evaporate into thin air...or that I could at least wait for treatment until after the last chemo session this week.  As you can imagine, another serious health problem was the last thing I wanted us to have to deal with or worry about right now.    Alas, my abdominal pain was bad enough Saturday morning that poor Richie found me broken down to tears and I had to fess up.  Well, that afternoon we drove out to Urgent Care in Centralia for a blood draw and a stool sample, just to make sure that I didn't have anemia or a bad infection.  Results haven't come back yet, but we're convinced that it is not an infection at all.  After a doctor visit on Monday, the knowledge that Ulcerative Colitis runs in my family, as well as the knowledge that flare-ups are caused by stress, we're all pretty sure that it is Ulcerative Colitis.  I suppose my guts aren't quite as tough as I though I was.  Hopefully for now the meds that were prescribed will help.  I now need to schedule a colonoscopy (ooh fun) so that we can be sure that what I think I have IS what I have, and it's not something even worse.  As awful as the whole thing has been, I'm just happy to be here in the hospital with Richie right now.  My greatest fear was that my problem would turn out to be more serious and we'd have to be separate.    That would be more stressful to me than anything we've had to endure to this point.  Poor Richie...like he needed something else to worry about.  He asks me about every 5 minutes how I'm doing, how I'm feeling, if I'm ok.  I love him so much. 

Sunday night was a hard night.  I suppose there comes a time when a person simply grows weary of being strong, weary of waiting and wondering and worrying, weary of being scared... you just break down when the light at the end of your tunnel seems to keep moving further and further away.  But that's the time when you have to lay your burdens on the Lord and let him carry you the rest of the way; to those greener pastures that you long for so much.  I know we're going to get though this.  Richie's constantly saying "It's going to be ok!"  I don't know what I'd do without him....or my wonderful parents and sisters and brothers, or my sweet adopted family Janet and Rich who are there for us all the time, or my church family and friends who have been so supportive!  So much family, you'd wonder why I ever get discouraged!  You are all wonderful, we love you so much. 

The tears started flowing again tonight as I read the end of this passage from 1 Peter 5:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Today has been a busy day.  Up at 4:30,  in Seattle by 8:30, Richie had a blood draw, a CT scan, and then a meeting with the doctor to go over the results.  The CT scan showed NO SPOTS on the lungs!!!!!  That was wonderful news.  The only other tumor is the one on/near the kidney, and right now the tentative plan is to surgically remove whats left of it after Richie has recovered from this last chemo.

Finally, please pray for us!  Poor Richie started getting pretty severe nausea even before they started the chemo.  In fact, it's 7pm and they STILL haven't started the chemo.  We're way behind schedule!  Anyhow, we're not sure if the nausea is caused by all the terrible contrast dye Richie had to drink before the CT scan, or if it's just the thought of the chemo that does it to him.  (They call it "anticipatory" nausea.)  At home, even the thought of the hospital makes him nauseous sometimes.  Poor thing.  We're so anxious for this all to be but a very. distant. memory. 

THANK YOU Janet Foss for the wonderful beautiful flowers and vases you gave for our room.  They are BEAUTIFUL!  Those bright salmon pink colors are one of my favorites!  THANK YOU Mommy and Janet for decorating our room so nicely!  And THANK YOU Linda Clements for the beautiful little pillow you made!  We love it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Poem

This is a poem I wrote one night when Richie and I were in the hospital.  Actually, this is a poem I wrote several years ago and edited.  The hill we call home is a very special one...and we're not the first generation to think that it is.  I was inspired to edit the following poem after clicking though some of my favorite photos from around the farm; photos that display God's incredible handiwork and unique design.  Pictures never capture the beauty quite as well as my own eyes do.  I guess that's just one reason why I'm so thankful to live here.

His great mercy has set me free,
His own child I am blessed to be.

For His great glory he gave me sight,
To see flowers, trees, and birds in flight.

Rolling hills and valleys, a delight to the eyes,
Misty grey mornings and bright evening skies.

How could someone so great as He
Care for a person so small as me?

With only a word, spoke the world into motion,
Even the smartest are awed by the notion.

By His grace I live another minute,
His creation is lovely; I am blessed to be in it.

He listens to hear our every cry,
So very grateful for His love am I.

He patiently waits to cast cares away,
If only I would seek Him every day.

The Lord alone is a shelter for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.

I am kept safe, protected by His love,
So many wonderful things He sent from above.

I cannot believe that He died for me,
There is nothing I have done to deserve Him, you see.

This Glorious One holds my life by a thread,
I owe Him my all, for He rose from the dead.

So many people, yet He cares for me,
So many to care for, I’m small as a flea.

But what God sees is not me, but my problems small,
He designed the plan and can conquer all.

The One that created our time domain,
Sees yesterday, today, and tomorrow the same.

The great trials of life I will not fear,
Because I know that God Almighty is near! 





Three Days and 53 Quarts Later


I haven't had much time for blogging lately ;-)  The green bean plants are in full swing this time of year, as well as the apple trees!  We were so blessed when a sweet friend offered us as many apples as we can pick from his orchard.  So far we've canned 40-some quarts of applesauce, and I hope to do more than twice that before we go back to the hospital.  I don't know what I'd ever do without Janet's help...canning goes much smoother with 2 people!  We've canned 87 quarts of dilly beans, a few dozen pints of salsa, and over a dozen half-pints of plumb jam from the plumb tree!  We thank the Lord for the bountiful harvest!   
Richie has been going to work for 3 days in a row now.  He's been tired by the end of the day, but he's also been very careful not to overdo it.  Yesterday we figured out that we need to get to bed earlier than 10:00 when we're getting up at 4:30am.  As early as that may seem, we've been happy to be back to a normal schedule for a few days!  I love the early mornings :-) 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9-12-12

Sorry it's been so long again since the last time I posted!  We've had some very busy days! 

Today Richie has gone back to work for the first time since before our wedding on June 16th.  He has missed being able to work very much.  The managers and employees at the dam have gone out of their way to make sure that Richie is able to keep his job through all of this.  They set aside hours and hours of light duty work for him, and many folks are standing by ready to donate their vacation hours.  What a blessing!

Obviously, Richie has been feeling pretty well these last few days.  He took the heavy medications for back pain on Saturday and Sunday, so although he had some back soreness, he never did experience the awful spasms!  Thank you for praying! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

9-4-12


Richie has been doing VERY well!  He didn't have any nausea this time around, which made for a much easier trip home Sunday, and then back up to Virginia Mason today for his blood draw and appointment with Dr. Nichols.  Thank you SO much for praying...God worked through the new anti-nausea drug they gave Richie to keep him eating, drinking, and feeling really well! 

We have a new prayer request for this week.  The doctor told us that he thinks the excruciating back pain (that Richie had to go to the emergency room for) was probably caused by the  "Nufella" shot that he gets 2 days after the last chemo to boost his white blood cells back up.  So, it is likely that he will have back/hip pain again every time he gets the shot (it was given to him today.)   The doctor prescribed a strong pain medication for him to take when he starts to feel the pain coming on.  Please pray that if he does start to feel the pain, it will be controlled by the medication he was given, and ideally that he would not experience any pain at all this week!

This week has already been a busy one, and I think it will continue to be!  My sweet sister Valerie came up to help me get more than 2 dozen quarts of dilly beans canned.  Tomorrow I'm planning on starting some tomato sauce for some salsa.  It is kind of a big project, so I like to work on making and boiling down the sauce the first day, and finishing and canning the salsa the next day.  Today Richie took me and his folks on the grand tour of Costco Business.  There are some great deals there,  so we bought some shelves for the kitchen and a bunch of bulk grocery items.  It's a really neat store, so I am sure we are going to be shopping there often! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9-1-12

It has been a very good day today!  We had some wonderful visitors all morning...Richie's sister Joy, Rich, Uncle Darrell and Uncle Jim all came up for a few hours. 
It's been sort of a crazy day...in short...it's a good thing Richie's paying attention, or a lot of things could have happend that didn't need to, and he'd be confused out of his mind.  There are tons of doctors; none of them seem to communitcate with each other, and none of them have a clue about what the plan is so they ask us every day.  They sure have been drawing an awful lot of blood today.  I'm kind of suprised Richie has any left!

Last night's sunset was a very beautiful one.  Unfortunately, Richie slept (snored) though it.  (Actually, I was glad that he was getting some extra sleep.)  The sunsets are prettier at home anyway. :-)  As much as we dislike it here at the hospital, the city lights at night are neat to see. 
I think this is a really cute picture of Joy and Richie :-)

  Next time I blog we will probably be home!  Overall this hospital stay has definitely been much more tolerable for Richie than the others.  Praise the Lord!   I can't believe how much he's been able to eat.  The new pre-med for the nausea helped a LOT, but we also know that SO many of you have been praying for Richie's nausea and that's what really makes a difference!  THANK YOU so much!!!  The numbers are all looking very good. (They're down to normal levels now!)  I'm starting to get excited for us to be back to a "normal" kind of life.  We hardly even had the chance to get used to normal.  But this was God's perfect plan for us...I'm good with that! ;-)