Monday, December 31, 2012

Richie's Haircut

Saturday I gave Richie his first haircut since his chemo.  Another milestone :-) 
Doesn't he look handsome?!!!!


Last night was the best night of sleep he's had in a long time.  He did wake up a few times and lost about an hour and a half of sleep in the middle of the night, but that was still much better than being up all night long!  The night sweats seem to have ceased, so that's a relief too!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!
May you all have a very blessed 2013.
Love,
Lydia and Richie 

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12-29-12

The last few days have been pretty good ones.  Richie continues to heal and feel a little better every day.  Nights are the hardest for him, as he hasn't been sleeping very well.  Part of the problem is that he has had very heavy night sweats for the last few nights.  He'll wake up in the middle of the night and everything his body touches is absolutely soaked!  I'll sop up as much as I can with a towel and change the sheets every morning.  Janet read on the Internet this morning that night sweats are pretty common after surgeries.  Hopefully it won't last long!

Low-fat Pizza!
 Richie's had to be on a low fat diet.  It really hasn't been too bad, as most of the food we eat regularly is low fat.  He will be happy when he can have a big steak though ;-)

      

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas

We had a great Christmas!  We spent most of the day over at my folk's place.  It's always a busy house on Christmas!


Benjamin
My aunt and cousins joined the family for several days prior to Christmas.  It was so good to see them again!
Timmy
Joe

Richie picked out "The Founder's Bible" for Kyle.  Daddy read the back of it to us.

My sisters and brother got Richie a couple of nice knives!

My sweet mother!

After an hour of present opening Benjamin decided to take a nap.

Richie thought that was a good idea too!

Annie was happy to be in on all the excitement!

Back at home, Sandy and Lefty had a nice restful Christmas :-)

Richie was pretty tired by the end of the day.  He's doing pretty well today.  He hasn't had any pain medication since midnight last night.  There's a full day of John Wayne on TV today, so we're in Rich and Janet's house watching that.  It made Richie's day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

First Snow!


Here's Richie all dressed and ready to get out of that hospital room!

The sheep came running to see me this morning!

Then they followed me down to the barn for some hay.

Lilly has to be one of my favorite ewes.  I raised her on a bottle, and she turned out to be a real sweet heart!

Mr. Romulus is looking handsome as ever ;-)



Rosie's smart to hang out in the barn on mornings like this!

Smokey and Pronto trying to steal some of Isaac's grain

"Feed us!!!!"

 Miss Petunia looks like she's going to be lambing here in the next week or two.

Lucy was happy to see me! :-) 
It's soooo good to be home!!!!!!!!!!!

12-24-12

We're HOME!!!!!!!!

We got home about 5:30 yesterday.  Richie cried.  It's been a long 11 days.  We're so thankful for our beautiful home.  We have a couple inches of snow now, just to add to the beauty.  What a great God we serve!




Sunday, December 23, 2012

12-23-12


I think we're going to get out of here today!  Richie's feeling really good, except for the fact that he doesn't sleep well and struggles to eat their food because it reminds him of getting chemo. 

The Dr. just came in and told us that he thinks we can go home in the afternoon.  He says the way Richie's looking and feeling there's no reason why they should have to keep him another night.  He's going to talk with some other doctors to make sure, and get Richie off the TPN (nutritional supplement though IV) and watch his blood sugar for a little bit just to make sure.  He's going to send us home with some medication and the prescriptions for more.   
Thank you Lord, and thanks to all of you for your prayers!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12-22-12

A beautiful Christmas
decoration from Mary!
We had a very nice day yesterday.  So many sweet people that Richie works with came to visit us.  It made the day go by so quickly!  They brought us all kinds of Christmas gifts and magazines to look at.  They even took me on a walk outside and brought back food from the cheesecake factory for me for dinner!    


You gotta love Jeff's sense of humor...
dart guns for Richie to shoot at the TV, window,
and/or nurses lol ;-)

We slept a lot better last night.  The Physical Therapist put a sign on our door that reads “Disturb Minimally.”  (Richie says we ought to add an “ed” to the end of disturb and then they’d really leave us alone lol )  So the nurses and PCTs have been so kind to coordinate their “visits” and lessen the disturbance at night.  Thankfully the pain medication pump and the other pumps didn’t break or have any problems last night.  It was nice to get a few solid hours of sleep.      

We talked with our doctor today about estimated departure dates…he said maybe Monday.  We’re content with whatever he decides, he knows best and we trust him!  We definitely don’t want to leave too early and have to come right back.  







Richie was put on a low-fat diet this morning.  Moving right along!  I think he’s going to order some diet vanilla pudding and a fat-free milkshake ;-)  He's also going to start on oral pain medication this morning.  yay!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Richie can eat!

Yay!!!  They finally put Richie on a clear liquid diet!  That means he can have popsicles, jello, pop, juice, water, candy...and a few other options.  He's very happy!!! 

We're both pretty exhausted.  It was a long night last night.  Richie's pain medication pump was broken, it was giving him too large of a dose and beeping constantly.  Nurses were in and out frequently.  Besides that Richie had to use the bathroom a few times.  We're looking so forward to being home with no more annoying beeps and squealy sirens.  On top of that, the thermostat in our room is broken, so it's been freezing in here at night.  The PCT thought Richie had a fever at one point because he had the blankets piled on so high.

We still don't know if we'll get out of here by Christmas.  The way the Urologists talked this morning it sounded like we're still going to be here for awhile.  Pray that this won't be the case!

 
Richie's Breakfast!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Richie's Incision

Richie wanted everyone to see his scars! :-) 
The incision is actually about 3 inches longer than what you can see. 

It's amazing how good it looks.  I think it's kind of funny that they went right around his belly button ;-)
Two day old incision
The general surgeon group came in this morning to take the dressing off, and told Richie that he can drink sips of water today.  Still no bowel sounds, but we're hoping it will be soon!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12-19-12

The pathology report on the tumors from Richie's belly came back today.  The doctor says it is Teratoma, which is very good news.  No cancer left alive!  Teratoma apparently is a type of germ cell that grows, but does not spread anywhere and is not life threatening unless you let it get so big that it messes up your insides.  Since they removed every little bit, they're not expecting to have it grow back. 

We've had such a nice day today.  Ron and Becky came to visit us for the afternoon!  We've had such a great time visiting.  Richie's taken a lot of walks today.  We're still waiting on him to pass gas before he can eat or drink.  He's so thirsty, poor thing!   

My folks stayed with us overnight last night and that helped us get some good rest.  There is a poor guy down the hall that would be in here visiting and selling us weed all night long if no one was around.  He said he doesn't even need to sleep anymore.  Wonderful.  Remember this man in your prayers! 


Rich and Janet are  here today too.  The day goes by so much faster with visitors to talk to!


















Richie asked the nurses to borrow a stethoscope.  They said "you can HAVE one!"  We were thrilled!
So Richie's been listening to his belly for gas.  Whataya do when you're bored to death? 

Richie makes faces at me :-)

After no luck hearing anything moving around in Richie, Rich assured me that I'd be able to hear his intestines talking! 

Happy Day!

What a day it was yesterday!  We were so blessed by the reassurance from the doctors that the surgery would be "nothing like your first one."  They were right!  Around noon yesterday they placed a pic line in Richie's arm to give him some nutrition.  It's been a week (last Wed. morning) since Richie's had anything other than jello and a popsicle to eat.  We were so happy that my folks and Rich and Janet and Richie's sister Joy came to visit.  They really lifted the mood and got Richie smiling and laughing again!  We waited in our room until about 2pm,  and they took us down to recovery to get ready for the surgery.  The anesthesiologist was very kind and reassuring.  The surgery only took a couple of hours, and most of the time taken was cutting him open and sewing him back up. 

This morning the stomach tube came out, and Richie's just as strong as he was before the operation yesterday.  He's walking up and down the hall and feeling pretty well.  He's having a little pain, but nothing terrible.  He'd definitely got his sense of humor back ;-)  I am amazed at Richie's strength.  He's a tough one, that's for sure.  He really makes us laugh!     

As soon as Richie starts "passing gas" he'll be able to eat and drink more.  Hopefully within a few more hours.

Thank you so much for praying...see how God is answering your prayers?!  Thank you for being such a huge part of Richie's recovery.  I hope you all know what a big difference you all are making.  We love you!!!!



 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hard Night

Been up all night.  I’m really scared and wanted to ask for prayer for another specific thing.  Richie’s exhausted. Late last night he was having weird dreams and thinking he’s seeing things in our room.  Then, he was extremely confused…couldn’t remember where he worked, and I had to explain pretty much everything that has happened in the last week.  He said it was all starting to come back to him, but kept making comments like “it’s scary out there, nobody knows me.”   We had a rather rough day yesterday with a man down the hall who is trying to sell us pot and thinks he’s god.  He was outside the door much of the night last night talking to nurses loudly about us and other things and we were scared.  Richie called security. 

I cried some in the night and Richie seemed so mad and frustrated.  He’s never snapped at me or ordered me around before, and all of a sudden he is.  I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know he’s doing it.  I just don’t know what to do and am barely keeping it together.  While he’s awake I’ve been able to stay calm and tell him he’ll be fine and just needs to get some more good sleep, but my own words aren’t comforting to me and I don’t know if they are to him.  I’m trusting that the Lord is going to bring us through this one too, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to continue this way without losing my mind.  I’m so scared that Richie’s lost his.  He’s so upset and scared about the surgery tomorrow.  I keep telling him it’s going to be quick and easy and he’ll be right on track again, and that God has been with us every step of the way and won't leave us now.  To me the memories tied with the surgery waiting room are so sickening that I think I’ll vomit if I have to step foot in there again.  I am having such a battle within myself between these awful sickening feelings and the knowledge that this medical care is saving Richie’s life.  I know it is and I am so very thankful for the good thorough surgery that was done.  But it doesn’t seem to make the thought of another surgery any easier to bear.
Thank you for all of your prayers you guys.  We have seen God answering and doing amazing things.  Richie is sleeping soundly right now, and I’m just praying that he’s going to be himself again after a few more hours.   

Monday, December 17, 2012

Surgery Tomorrow

The vascualr surgeon visited us a few minutes ago and said they're planning on doing surgery tomorrow afternoon.  We're glad that it's going to be sooner than later.  Thanks for your prayers!

Additional Surgery

Just talked to vascular surgeons again.  The results from the CT scan showed that Richie is going to have to be operated on again. 

Because his surgery was so lengthy, the surgeons decided not to do this extra procedure to ensure that the aorta graft would be safe from friction on the intestines.  Apparently what can happen is the bowel and aorta graft can rub together, and after 10-15 years fuse together and leak into each other.  They told us that it would be a much shorter surgery (1-2 hours) and hopefully the recovery would not be nearly as difficult.  The news is rather disheartening, Richie was just starting to feel better.  But we definitely know that it's much better to get everything done now, rather than have to come back.  We don't know for sure when the surgery will be...we're hoping sooner than later.  Thank you so much for your faithful prayers.  You guys are amazing, we are truly blessed.       

Urgent Prayer Request

Richie's doctor just visited and said that he is scheduling a CT scan for Richie today.  He is worried that the aorta graft might be too close to Richie's intestines, and that over time they may rub against each other and cause problems.  He said that if they are too close, he will have to go back in and put a "buffer" of fat between them.  Our request would be that this would not be necessary, but we are confident that God has a plan for Richie's good either way.

Also pray that Richie can down the awful CT contrast and not feel too sick.  He's been so happy to be able to drink liquids, but now he won't be able to for awhile.  Not fun. 

A couple things

It's amazing what an impact one little cup of water has to one's countenance and outlook.  Richie was commenting about how just being able to sip a little water makes such a big difference in his recovery.  It makes him feel more like he's actually getting better.  When he couldn't drink anything it made him feel like maybe he wouldn't.  This morning we prayed over his first little half a glass of water.  It was a defining moment.  Once again I was so blessed by Richie's profuse thankfulness and the way he praised the Lord for the refreshment that he could finally enjoy.

 A few minutes ago when a group of doctors came in and commented on Richie's breakfast (red jello) Richie told them "Yeah, steak and eggs for breakfast this morning...I know it looks like jello but it's really steak and eggs."  Love his sense of humor ;-) 

12-17-12

Richie gets to drink today!  His intestines have been making plenty of noise, so the doctors said he could be on a clear liquid diet...and if he wants, he could probably start more solid foods tonight.  Richie's wanting to be very careful though, so he may just stick with jello until tomorrow.  He's so happy, and so am I! 

Prayer request....Richie's vascular surgeon visited yesterday and said he was concerned about the aorta graft that he put in.  I was in the shower when he came, so do not totally understand what he is concerned about.  They're going to have to do an ultrasound today I think.  Please pray that there wouldn't be any problems!  

We got a little more sleep last night than we have the past few.  Richie had to go use the bathroom frequently, so it's always a process to get him unhooked from everything and then re-hooked up again.  But the kind nurse put a "do not disturb" sign on the door so that the PCTS aren't coming in every half hour for one thing or another like they had been.  That helped ;-)

God is good all the time! 



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Good Things!

Good things that have already happened in the last few hours:
  • Richie's stomach tube was taken out
  • He's been walking back and fourth down the hall several times
  • His energy is up a little more!
Please pray that Richie would be able to tolerate drinking tomorrow.  He is SO THIRSTY and the ice chips just aren't cutting it! 

Psalm 126:3  "The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad."

 Mommy brought us some very nice Christmas decorations!  We're hoping to be out before Christmas, but it sure is nice to have it feel a little more festive around here!




Believe it or not, I'm back!

God has been so good.  These last few days have been the most difficult of our lives, but He has carried us though them! 

Special thanks to my mom for doing such an AMAZING job of keeping everyone updated.  That was such a blessing to me and to all of Richie's friends and family!

The nurse last night and this morning has been wonderful.  She has really been on-top of the program.  Already this morning she requested the orders to take out Richie's catheter, and they got that done already.  Last night they took out the awful artery catheter in Richie's neck.  Now, we are really hoping that the doctors will let him take out the stomach tube through his nose.  It is very irritating to Richie!  Please pray that he would be able to take that out today so he can start eating and drinking!

It was a long night last night...Richie was feeling pretty crummy (mostly because of his awful sore throat, dry and sore tongue, and intense thirst!  He uses a breathing exerciser every hour (if he is awake) to prevent pneumonia.  I've been able to feed him ice chips through the day and night, which is at least a little refreshing!  I asked him once if he needed anything, and he said with a little smile "Only about a gallon of tea."  
His fever has even come down, praise the Lord!  Another prayer request is that Richie would be able to start coming of the pain meds.  They make the poor guy so tired and confused sometimes!  I've heard about all sorts of different dreams so far, last night he even held out his hand and said "hi" as if he had just met me :-)  I just had to laugh and oblige him, but then also kiss his hand and cheek like a new acquaintance would not have done. 

Last night I was so exhausted sometimes I wasn't sure I'd be able to sit up in bed without falling asleep, let alone get up and do what needed to be done.  The Lord gave me strength.  Although I still have no appetite, I'm sure it will be back soon.  Thank you so much Kari and Aunt Sheila for the delicious cookies and bread.  It's helped me remember to eat! 

There are still going to be some very difficult days ahead as Richie tries to get up and get moving more often.  It's pretty painful for him right now, but he knows it's important and that it will help get him outta here sooner.  There are no words to describe how hard it has been to see so many painful things happen to Richie.  He's so tough it amazes me.  And then he's all smiles for the nurses and PCT's even though he feels terrible.  They wonder if it's jut his pain meds.  I know it's not.   I told him once "You just made that nurse's day."  and he replied groggily, but confidently "That's what we're here for."  What a guy. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  Richie was feeling pretty discouraged last night wondering if he'd ever make it through this.  I reminded him of all of you.  What an amazing blessing to have such a huge "Team Tevis" holding us up in prayer.  You guys are awesome!  It's going to be a slow process, so please pray for strength, perseverance, and patience for both of us!  We love you guys!

In the middle of the night last night we read Psalm 16.  I found it very appropriate and comforting.  But then again, what scripture isn't?!

PSALM 16 
1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
          I have no good besides You.”
3 As for the saints who are in the earth,
          They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
          I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
          Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
5 The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
          You support my lot.
6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
          Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
7 I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
          Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
8 I have set the LORD continually before me;
          Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
          My flesh also will dwell securely.
10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
          Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
11 You will make known to me the path of life;
          In Your presence is fullness of joy;
          In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Update on Updates

Hi there ya'll,

Just wanted you to know that my mom and I worked out a deal...she's going to do the updates on her blog for the next few days as I won't have my laptop with me until we get into a hospital room.  Tomorrow we have a couple of pre-surgery appointments to go to, then we will stay the night up there and report to surgery in the wee hours of the morning Thursday.  After that, we expect Richie to be in the ICU for 24-48 hours, and then he'll be moved to a hospital room for 8-10 days. 

My mom will be posting updates on her blog (http://onlyonedayliketoday.blogspot.com/)  and updating the church prayer chain as well. 

We love you guys!

Thank you and another prayer request :-)

Thank you so much to all of you for your sweet encouraging comments and Bible verses.  They are so encouraging to us.  What would we do without all of you?!  We feel so blessed!

Richie has been having some burning pain in one side of his abdomen for a couple of days.  Of course, not knowing what it is and worrying about it being the cancer is the last thing we want to think about right now.  We know that everything is in God's hands and that He is watching over us.  But little problems like this just tend to stick in the back of our minds and trouble us. :-(  Please pray that it would be nothing significant!  Also pray that we would be able to get good rest in the next few days.  Last night Richie was having bad dreams and was kept awake by the pain in his abdomen. 

    Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him."

Monday, December 10, 2012

12-10-12

Only 2 and a half more days until it’s surgery time for Richie.  I think I speak for both of us when I say we’re feeling thankful that the time is finally here, nervous that it’s such a serious and lengthy surgery , and blessed by the prayers that we have been so covered with in the last few months!

These last couple days I have been feeling especially emotionally sapped.  A lot of scary/sad things have happend and I think of course the upcoming surgery weighs on me a bit.  Pray that the Lord would gaurd my heart, as I know that the enemy is out to kill, steal, and destroy my relationship with the Lord and the joy that He has given me.  I can’t tell you how many days I’ve stopped and realized how badly I am contradicting my own blog title!  Like when I cried sending Richie off to work this morning.  Silly me, I have no reason to do that!     

Sunday a dear friend Sandy suddenly collapsed for the second time in the church foyer.  The first time, she was quickly taken to the ER and recovered with nothing but a bad bump on the head.  Last Sunday, she collapsed again.  This time, CPR was administered before the emergency team arrived and used their defibrillator.  From the looks of things, we were sure she had gone home to be with Jesus.  The victim’s sweet daughter Colleen was absolutely devastated.  Several of us were able to get her seated.  I couldn’t find any words of comfort or assurance, and even if I did, I’m not sure I could have choked them out.  I simply sat at her feet and held her hands tightly.  And we cried.  The words I remember most that day were those of one of my best friends, and former piano teacher.  She told Colleen something like this “We don’t know what’s happening or why, but God does, and he can be trusted.  He can be trusted.  He can be trusted.”  Those words have played over in my head so many times since then.   I trust God with all my heart, but living like I do is more difficult than saying so.  Right now Sandy is still in critical condition, but miraculously alive. Please pray for these two people whenever you think of them!  

Later Sunday we found out that a dear long-time friend of the family named Frank passed away.  Janet used to clean his house for him.  I only got to talk to him a couple of times, but loved that sweet old man from the start.  He was very generous and let us take all the apples we could haul in the pickup from his orchard.  

Today I read an update on some friends who live up in Canada.  I have not met this family, but the Klassen’s story touched my heart.  I met them though some missionary friends who were trained in part by Mr. Klassen.  My friends told the Klassens about Richie and I, and Mr. Klassen in turn committed to praying for us.  The Klassen’s are fighting cancer as well.  What a testimony to the Lord these people are though the pain and hardships they have endured.  My heart aches for these folks.   I hope that you will read their  ***blog***  and commit to praying for them with us. 

I look forward to the day when there will be no more death, no more sadness, no more pain or sickness or worries or fear.  I’ve listened to Hillsong’s You Hold Me Now a couple times today.  I find it to be an encouraging song.  We know that we’re here on earth right now for a reason…to Glorify the God who made us and deserves so much more than we have to offer…but we also know that there is going to be a better day when we go to live in His presence forever.      

On that day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fear is swept away
In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need
And forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness no sick or lame
No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now

In this life I will stand
Through my joy and my pain
Knowing there's a greater day
There's a hope that never fails

When Your name is lifted high
And forever praises rise
For the glory of Your Name
I'm believing for the day

When the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

For eternity
All my heart will give
All the glory to Your name

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Makes You Beautiful (5 Piano Guys, 1 piano)

These guys are called the piano Guys.  They have some wonderful videos!  They are very talented.   My cousin Kari introduced us to them on her blog.  Thanks Kari!  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Many Faces of Joe

Joe is my 6 year old brother.
We love him.  He loves to talk.  He talks. And talks. And talks. And talks. 




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fantastic Little Christmas Cookie!

They're called Peppermint Snowballs...and they're delicious!

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground nuts, optional
  • FILLING:
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 3 tablespoons crushed peppermint candies
  • 1 drop red food coloring, optional
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Directions
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in nuts if desired. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  • In small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, milk, candy and food coloring if desired. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a deep indentation in the center of each.
  • Fill with 1/4 teaspoon filling. Cover with 1/4 teaspoonfuls of dough; seal and reshape into balls. Combine topping ingredients; roll balls in topping.
  • Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until firm. Spread about a tsp of melted white chocolate on the warm cookies and dip in crushed peppermints.