Friday, April 8, 2016

Land Ho!

It snowed today! It's the middle of April and it snowed!?! About 3 inches!! I don't recall seeing snow in April in my 20 years here. It's supposed to be spring! I am not sure the blossoming fruit trees are going to appreciate it much.

Our cherry tree is in bud and full blossom ... but I am not sure the pollinators are gonna visit anytime soon
Back to better news, I'd love to introduce the newest member of our family. Meet BISKIT. She's a pure-bred Blue Heeler (aka. Australian Cattle Dog) ... yep, another Aussie! She'll be two years old in a week. Isn't she beautiful?!

We have talked a good bit in the past couple of years about wanting to get a dog as a 'therapy companion' for K, to help with his ADD, social development, and teach some life-skills/responsibility. BUT last week I would have told you — and I know I told the kids a couple times — that we weren't going to get a dog until we moved into our new house (which we have not even started renovating!) THEN on Friday evening we saw a poster about her. It was our gut instinct to call and arrange a meeting on Saturday morning, and we took the kids (we didn't tell them where or why we were running this "errand"). Upon meeting she was friendly, alert, and attentive to us. T took to her immediately, K was a little hesitant to interact with her, but within 15 minutes he warmed up to her. 

Her former owner is relocating to marry his high school sweetheart, who has a Pit Bull, so he had to find her a new home. After about half-an-hour chatting and observing her behavior they offered her to us, and we accepted — and we went home with a dog, vet report/papers, crate, food, toys, dishes — FREE!! And indeed she is proving to be a real gift. She is crate trained, and has much of her basic training, and she is learning very quickly the rules of our house. But the biggest gift is seeing K embracing her, laying down with her, playing with her, and wanting to be with her. And I can tell you she is already having a therapeutic affect on him. 

One idea I have is to have K teach her agility. And we definitely need to train her to be mellow around our chickens — she was a little too eager to 'meet' them, and they were squawking the alarm of a potential predator & fluttering around in their coops. She sure was straining on the leash!!

• • • • •

As for my cruise, this is the end of week six and I have arrived at my first port of call. It is called REST and I get to stay for about 10 weeks. Today was my last day of radiation and continuous-low-dose chemotherapy. I even got a certificate!

A review of the past couple weeks: 
It was nice to get back to church, after a couple months away due to swim meets, just in time to celebrate Easter and our Risen Savior who is victorious over cancer, who gives me strength for each day.

After a two-week break from chemo (weeks 3&4) to recover some from the intensity of the side effects (but really I felt just as bad, and ended up a whole week off work), I was hooked back up to the chemotherapy pump on a 40% lower dose for weeks 5&6. As for side effects, the waters were mildly choppy, with a rogue wave here and there, but thankfully, I did not experienced the same intensity of side-effects as the first round of chemo, though definitely some version of them.

And as if all that hasn't been enough to live with, I've had four deer-tick bites in the last 2 weeks :( Can't imagine my blood tastes too good right now, full of chemo-crap. None-the-less I got a single dose of antibiotics as a preventative measure against Lyme disease and I will have to be way more vigilant about checking myself after going to our "farm" property. Seems ticks are out in full-force this year already. My first line of defense will be to spray all my shoes with bug/tick repellent.

So, I have to admit I was feeling a little "Ecclesiastical" for the past few weeks. I was fatigued, there is no joy in eating, I keep finding ticks on me, and I have felt pretty rotten ... King Solomon's words were ringing in my ears "When I observed all that happens under the sun, I realized that everything is pointless, a chasing after wind..." (Ecclesiates 1:14) "...Like fish tragically caught in a net or like birds trapped in a snare, so are human beings caught in a time of tragedy that suddenly falls to them..." (Ecclesiastes 9:12) And God listened, graciously.

But I have arrived at the island of REST. I anticipate having "sea-legs" for a couple of weeks to come before my body starts to detox and heal from the radiation and chemo. The oncology nurse said it could even get a little worse before it gets better. I have a variety of follow up appointments over the coming weeks, including one with the colo-rectal surgeon to determine my surgery date (approx 10 weeks.) I'll let you know.

In the meantime I continue to celebrate God's presence, strength, and joy...

"Be joyful always..." Every new day is cause for joy! God's abundant provision for our needs is cause for joy. The Risen Savior and his victory over death and sin is cause for joy!
"Pray continually ..." I continue to pray for those I know undergoing cancer treatment
"Give thanks in all circumstances ..." Phase 1 of my treatment is DONE. And I've lost about 13 lbs, which I have been trying to shed for over a year!! And of course I always give thanks for those of you who are caring for us through prayer, encouragement, meals, cards & letters, rides ...

Until next time ...

Sandii :)