Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Facing Tough Days With Gratitude -by Joe

Our Quiet, Peaceful Thanksgiving Dinner
Heidi's spinal scan I mentioned in my last blog was frightening: new tumors on both her upper and lower spine, but thankfully none of them pressing on her spinal cord, which would cause severe pain.

And today, during our weekly appointment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for Heidi's chemotherapy, they plan to do an MRI of her legs, to rule out any new tumors there. Also frightening.

Last week, we met with the Oncologist who said Heidi's chemotherapy would need to change if any one of three things happen:
  1. any tumors reported on today's scan
  2. any increase in pain
  3. another rise in her tumor markers
Kayaking Away Some Stress
On top of all this, I get rechecked in two weeks for any new bladder tumors.

So it's tough, really tough right now.  So much uncertainty.. when will her chemo change? will the new chemo work? what will the today's scan show? will they find new tumors in me? will I have to have another surgery?

Tough times are a great chance to practice gratitude for what you do have. 

My gratitude list, written on Thanksgiving Eve last week:

4am, alone by the fireplace, feeling so grateful.

  • They said 12 months and now over three and a half years later, Heidi and I are still together, loving the life God has given us.
  • I'm grateful we are getting healthier, stronger and feeling younger month by month, despite cancer.
  • I'm also flooded with gratitude for our family and friends, like you.
  • For the freedoms and material comfort we too often take for granted.
  • For jokes and laughter.
  • For art and music.
  • For the amazing wildlife, flowers, trees, mountains and waterways where we live.
  • Wow!

Big Creek Trail Overlook
As always, thanks for your compassion, your prayers, your positive thoughts!

- Joe & Heidi

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No Looking Back -by Joe

We are approaching some major milestones.  Wednesday Heidi gets a spinal scan to check for new tumors and also gets her tumor markers checked.  A few weeks later I get checked for new bladder tumors and the new mass in my prostate checked.  Expecting good results on all three, we're not letting worry take over and not worrying about past results - no looking back!

We're both a bit sad that snowfall has closed off the high elevation, steep hiking trails for the winter.  What an amazing set of 22 outdoor adventures since May!  But now we can explore lower elevation river trails, and later do some snowshoeing - no looking back!

In our walks with God, we're learning the same thing.  Letting go of past doubts, expectations, bargaining, mistakes... Learning new ways to trust God and approach Him through contemplative prayer, we are excited about a growing, stronger, closer relationship with our Creator - no looking back!

As always, thanks for your kind encouragement, prayers, positive thoughts.

- Joe & Heidi