Tag Archives: leukemia

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Day + 35 <3

It’s been a while!

So much has been going on!

On August 14th, we (my youngest two and I) took Shyanna to college up in Chadron, Nebraska. That drive takes me five hours. It was not easy because I love each of my girls so much and enjoy having them around as much as possible, but I KNEW college life was going to be just what this one needed at this point. She is mature for her age, knows what she wants, is very focused and really loves to learn. Campus life seems to suit her just fine! It’s exciting, too, because she is achieving her dreams and also playing college basketball (something she has wanted since kindergarten). She told me recently that she has officially achieved all the goals she had and so now is the perfect time for her to make some new ones and aim to achieve them as well.

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Monday, August 18th, our oldest daughter and I BOTH started college. My college this semester is a full-time on line load and I am enjoying it immensely. She is enjoying the freedom that comes with less class time and more time getting in the gym with other players who love the game as much as she does!

Tuesday, August 19th, the younger three started school. It’s hard for me to imagine the life they continue to lead with me only being home part-time and their dad living in an apartment in a different town, but they have been getting through this and are doing well. I am proud of them.

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So, continued prayer for our girls and all the transitions they continue to face and live through….

BUT, we are more hopeful than ever that things will be more back to normal sooner than later. Mark’s ANC has been up over 4000 for about a week. That’s normal levels, folks. The virus he had flare up CMV, was put back in check very quickly and he has had absolutely NO other issues. THANK GOD! And thank YOU, for your prayers! He has been on minimal medications post transplant and has been doing SUPER! We are all hoping that his time having to stay right by the hospital can be cut short if this continues!

This has been a long four months and we are still quite amazed that people haven’t just forgotten about us! One thing that is certain is that this journey has really helped to show us the depth and love of many people we have in our lives, it has shown us some wonderful friends and family that we really didn’t know we had until this happened and it has shown us that there are some we thought we had a closer relationship with, that we just don’t- and that’s ok. 🙂

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I am excited to finish up the course and move on loving and living life with those that have made it obvious where we all stand in a positive way!

It’s funny, but the older I get, the more I realize that life is full of people and the best relationships to have are the ones that aren’t forced, but happen naturally. The people I want to be around are those who love fully and deeply and have compassion and a desire to encourage others and  live positively.

Although it’s been difficult, this journey has also brought our family closer and that is a beautiful thing! It has given me a nostalgic feeling hearing from aunts and uncles and cousins that I don’t normally hear from who have realized that nothing substitutes for family when you go through something major. Of course, our parents and siblings have been right by our side even though they are over a thousand miles away and that means the world as well….

So, if you are still praying, please pray that all this goodness continues and that his Bone Marrow Biopsy tomorrow comes back leukemia-free and full of donor cells and DNA! 🙂

THANK YOU!!!!!

Callico

 

 

 

Day +3

It’s July 18th. That means it’s been three months to the day that we checked into PSL. We are also at Day +3 or 3 days after transplant.

Mark woke up this morning feeling a bit better than he had. He turned on TV, talked more, sat up a bit. He ate a little peanut butter toast and had some tea. He continued to do well, by getting in some walking and we even played a couple games of checkers. Dinner by candle light – no just dinner for two at the cute little table in our room. (Which means he got up out of bed) Chicken Noodle Soup and a little bit of Beef Stroganoff on the menu, followed by a little bit of sitting and cuddling in Callico’s futon/chair.

We have a joke with the doctors in our room. He gets a chemo called methotrexate on Day+1, +3, +6 and +11. It can give you Mucositis – mouth sores and since I had trouble remembering the name-we just refer to it as “meth”. Yes, the jokes continue in room 3304. After all, laughter is the best medicine. 😉

 

TheThird Month- first week was pretty hard

This is our third month up here and in that time, I have heard the weeping of three people who were losing- or lost a loved one. The first lady I had never met, but she was all alone so as she talked and cried on her phone, I gave her a gigantic hug. The next, I had met and talked to some… she and her husband walked the halls with us here. He had been fighting for a year. She didn’t want a hug- I think she wanted to protect me from her pain. She is sweet and would do that. Tonight, ladies I had never met. Both crying and making phone calls to loved ones to give them the news. I wanted so badly to do something- but the best I could do was pray as I listened to them talk and cry….

This can be a difficult place to be with the isolation and the whole hospital ambience… I never knew hospitals actually had a “smell” until we spent so much time here and it’s weird because I would often spend nights in the hospital with my grandma… of course she always checked out AMA cuz she hated them and their restrictions so much.

Mark has primarily slept for the past few days and I am glad for that because if he wouldn’t be sleeping, I am sure he would be puking. I’ve been reading, playing games on Facebook, chatting some, texting some, stepping out when I can to grab a bite to eat (smells bother him- but eating dried fruits and nuts gets old) from the “Snack room”.

You get tired from doing nothing and from the emotions and the stress and the nurses and doctors coming in and out all day and night. It’s not like being at home when people normally call first. You get sore from the futonish chair or the hospital bed and the lack of movement or the ridged chairs they have for you to sit in. But, you can’t leave either…. And I can’t imagine leaving him here alone right now- I can’t imagine being Mark right now-these are all his struggles, but so much more!

He felt good! His levels were up higher than they have been since this all started and he came in here only so far to be isolated, eat hospital food over and over and over again (I know some people who do that- eat the same meals over and over- but we don’t), swelling up from so many fluids, being given drugs that make him feel sicker than a dog… and then drugs to make him sleep only to get woken up every hour for “a quick set of vitals”.

Days like today, weeks like this week, I am reminded how glad I am that this is not our home. I’m constantly thankful for a tomorrow.

 

 

Two Are Better than One

Well, today was a blessing in many ways!

IT WAS THE LAST ROUND OF CHEMO!! (and he was drugged up and slept a lot so he didn’t get sick!) HE’S CURRENTLY GETTING HIS LAST ROUND OF ATG! (Rabbit antibodies), and is still sleeping! 🙂  And, a second fundraiser event was held all the way back in my hometown of Painseville, Ohio, thanks to my sister and some school friends! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!!!! It is unbelievable to us as we think about the wonderful support we have had from each of the places we have lived! Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois and Colorado! It is delightfully overwhelming to think about the kind of wonderful and lasting relationships we have made in those four states!

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Fortunately, we have decent disaster insurance through Mark’s work, but we used up last year’s out of pocket and deductible in a couple of pretty quick months and now are starting over for this year. (They start over again every July-  WOOHOO!) So, the bills are piling up at home and I will need to start going through and making payments!  PERFECT timing! We also use quite a bit of gas between me running back and forth to home and here and the girls doing the same a couple times a week to visit their dad.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest for Mark. He gets to relax in his little hotel room- I mean hospital room. (Joke is all of us call it hotel room on accident in the Neu Crew… Or, maybe it’s just me and Mark!?

The whole thing I have been thinking about today is that we truly have surrounded ourselves with people. Over the course of our lives, we have met some incredible members of the human race and it is so true that we are stronger together! I cannot even imagine going through this alone – it makes all the difference in the world to have each other- us, those of you in our family, and our friends!

Oh- and here is just a sneak peak of the apartment house we will most likely be moving Mark into as soon as we have clearance from the doctors after transplant. (Most likely beginning to middle of August.) It is within walking distance of the hospital and CBCI Colorado Blood Cancer Institute and 7-11!! 🙂 So, it is right by where we are now and I have to say, I am falling in love with this little area. The city! Diversity, alive, fun!

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Rubber Meets the Road

This has been pretty smooth so far. He didn’t have any major issues with chemo and has been saying up until today that if he didn’t know he had Leukemia, he would go home because he feels healthy.

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Today, he began Cytoxan. It runs for 2 hours and was started at 12pm. It has made him hot and have nausea. Just a few minutes ago, he actually got sick. I am not nurse material for sure, as I sat behind him on the bed with my hands trying to hold him in support and give strength, while tears came from my eyes…. Since then, they gave him Ativan through his IV and he is sleeping, thankfully.

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At 4pm for 6 hours, he will get ATG-which is antigens from a rabbit, oddly enough and so as you can imagine risk of side effects runs as he definitely has a human body, not a rabbit’s. He will get tylenol and Benadryl to help combat these effects. The purpose of this is to guard against him getting Graft V. Host disease when they give him the stem cells in just 3 short days.

The doctors prepared us for this. They said this was where the battle would begin to get more tough. The difficulty will be the side effects and it will be the isolation. Isolation has already been a factor and it has not been quite a week, yet.

Please keep the prayers coming…cards, HEALTHY- call- ahead visits, texts, calls…. ALL are so very much appreciated!

Presbiterian St. Luke’s , 1719 E 19th Ave, Denver, Co 80218 Room 3304

 

 

Hoping in the LORD

Good morning. This is my mantra now. This is my focus. I hold on to the promise that when we focus on God, we can overcome- Rise Up, like an Eagle soaring over a storm….. I made this picture to hang up in our hospital room this morning as he slept. Art is a sort of therapy for me…. and sometimes, it ends up being a blessing to someone else. 🙂

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Well, today began Busulfan chemo. It comes every 6 hours by IV for 2 hours over the next four days. He will be given other medicines that work as prophylactics to help the possible side effects before the first dose came this morning at 6am. After four days of this, he will begin getting Cytoxan once a day for three days over the course of a two hour time period each day. One day of rest, and then on July 15th- he will receive his new stem cells.

Nikayta was reading the drug info yesterday and said she understood that the Busulfan would kill fast growing cancer cells and the next drug, Cytoxan, helps prevent them from coming back- but she wished they didn’t have all the possible side effects. Smart girl.

Our family really never takes drugs and so this is a new thing for us and it’s scary reading all the side effects and then all the side effects of the prophylactics, too…. I guess this is what happens when a hippie chick and her family get thrown into the medical world!

So, we are praying that the chemo does it’s job to the cancer but that he stays as healthy as possible. We are praying that mentally and emotionally this next 30 days is not too unbearable. You see, this time, he is on a MUCH smaller wing and he is no longer allowed off the floor or to go outside. This is tough for a young, otherwise healthy salesman type person!

If, in an effort to help keep his spirits up, if you would like to send him something, or come by for a visit, it would be SO much appreciated! You must be healthy to visit and cannot have been around a sick person. He cannot have any real flowers or plants, but balloons are fine as is pretty much anything else that is man made. 🙂 Prepackaged food is also fine.

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Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center

Mark Neu Room 3304

1719 E 19th Ave

Denver, Colorado 80218

You can call or text him also. People need people-that’s for sure and it’s just about like living in isolation around here unless you have a visitor. 🙂

THANK YOU ALL!!! We have held on to every call, every text, every card, every meal, every visit, every donation ….. everything you do (no matter how big or small) that shows us your love has made a HUGE difference in our fight and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate YOU being in this with us!!

 

 

Kick it in to High Gear – Preparing for Battle

Hi! Today is Monday, June 30th. Today we go to the doctor to get blood levels checked and tomorrow we go again to have the way the Busulfan chemo they will be using metabolizes in Mark’s body so they can give him the dosage rate that will work best for him. We have one week before we delve into the “transplant process”. Spelled out by readmitting to the hospital on Monday, July 7th, BuCy chemo on Tuesday, July 8th, a day of rest on Monday, July 14th and Transplant on Tuesday, July 15th. Apparently, from what they say, Mark’s hardest time may be the two weeks following transplant when his levels are low and the new stem cells work to take over the place of his old. Right about the time he is being released from the hospital, my girls and I will be taking our oldest, Shyanna to her college to begin the new and exciting chapter of her life about 4.5 hours away from us.

So, this morning I read a little devotional page shared by a friend on Facebook from a book entitled “Keeping God in the Small Stuff”. It may seem odd, but I believe this is the next purchase I will make for our family. (We have been doing something weekly together to keep our focus though we are separated distance wise most of the time, we realize how important it is to stay together in our faith as we fight together in this battle.) The thing is, that one of the biggest lessons we have learned so far is that we NEED to focus little. Step by step. One day at a time. There is just too much that overwhelms you when you get ahead and try to take on too much with something like this.

This is the passage shared today:

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It reminded me of the fact that over and over again in my life, when i have come to a challenging time, I have had to sort of “Shift Gears”.  I told my girls recently, this same sort of thing. The Bible is clear. Jesus told his disciples, ” In this world, you WILL have trouble.” He didn’t say you might, or could…. “YOU WILL. But, take heart, for I have overcome the world.” So, as I read this today, I was moved. Moved and I reflected. I wish I could say I had it all together all the time. But, I don’t. I absolutely don’t. But, what I will say, is that God created me to adapt and change and this is what I want to share.

When I was getting ready during labor to push, I always took a minute to pause and throw my hair up in a pony tail. I was preparing for the workout ahead. When I teach fitness classes, I warm up, to prepare. When we drive in the mountains, our vehicle is used to a more flat and constant ride. Suddenly, we are climbing and descending very steep inclines and declines. What is necessary? SHIFTING GEARS.

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Recently, before this battle, I faced another littler battle. I had to stand up and against something very dear to my heart. I felt the need to stand up for those who weren’t standing up for themselves and who felt bullied and pushed around. It was a tough decision, as I knew that it would cause me to lose friends, but I also knew that it would be hard to look myself in the mirror if I stood by and did nothing when I knew how these people with less power (or seemingly less power) continued to feel powerless. I understood that God himself would not want this to continue and that if it was so heavy on my heart, it was for good reason. I filled myself up on God’s truth about defending others- especially those who need it. About being courageous and about the importance of lifting others up and encouraging them. I went into a battle filled with truth and focused on the love I had for those who were smaller- those who needed someone to help them. I didn’t like the battle, but I saw it as necessary and so, I went forward after filling myself up on God’s word and with much prayer.

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Now, we are preparing for the battle of our lives, and this little passage reminded me of the importance of the shifting of gears again. Of the preparation needed to be ready. So, my focus is that this is where we are and what we need to focus on isn’t where we are and what is going on- but on GOD.

Isaiah 40:31
… but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Oddly enough, this is the same verse I have already shared with two of our girls. Our oldest, as she heads to college at Chadron State to play basketball for the Eagles and to learn all she can about Human Biology before heading to Med School. Our third daughter as she is a runner… and feels like God made her to run- how fitting this verse was for her as she discovered this calling.

Isaiah 40:31 might just be my new life verse. I need my strength renewed. I need my hope to be in the Lord. I close my eyes and picture soaring on the winds beneath like an eagle… hitting that pace in my run where I feel like I can just keep going – it’s a good pace. This is my prayer for our whole family right now.

God, help our family to focus on the hope we have in the Lord. Let our strength be renewed daily and even minute by minute and second by second as we focus on our hope in Him. Let us run this marathon and not grow weary. Let the winds and the turbulence lift us and carry us higher that we might soar on top of it. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Getting Ready for the Marathon and More

Phew! Tired. Today we took in a whole lot of info in a short amount  of time.

Before they discharged Mark yesterday, they gave us papers to look over so that we could be ready with questions today and then sign consent forms should we agree to move forward with the Stem Cell Transplant. Even though we did that, it was another thing entirely to listen to the Coordinating Nurse and the Transplant Oncology Doctor say all of it out loud, again.

So, the bottom line is this:

Mark has AML with a MLL which makes it a tougher kind of leukemia. He also has malfunction with chromosome 11 which is one they (doctors) really don’t like. (So, we don’t either.) Next, he did not go into remission with the first round of chemotherapy. This combination makes him a high risk case. However, he is young and otherwise very healthy so instead of them grouping him in the 10-25%% cure category, they are saying 20-50%. These are better odds and MUCH better than just chemo alone which would give him less than a 5% chance for a cure.

Sounds heavy, huh? Well, my mom said, “Sombodies have had to beat the odds or there wouldn’t be a range of 10-25% to talk about, and it’s about time those numbers move up a notch or two!”  I told Mark that he’s the batter and he can hit out of the park! My brother, Steve said, ” Cavs had a 1.0037% chance to land 1 pick … and they got it, bottom line- any chance is all he needs.”  My friend Robin said, “There are always people who break through the stats. That will be Mark.” God says, “All things are possible.”

So, the doctor compared this to a marathon. He said after that one month in the hospital before having to live in Denver, it would be considered one mile of that marathon. He also said we could compare it to a Mine Field. You have to go out into the field, but it is full of mines you try to avoid- Infection, Relapse, Graft V. Host Disease…. He said the infection possibilities are limitless and crazy sometimes and that there are many different ways GVHD transpires and different levels. Short term and long term side effects are not uncommon from medicines and chemo.

The doctor said that we always worry about relapse. He said our first goal is getting through the first 100 days. Then a year, then we get greedy and try to get more.

So, this is the long and short of it. This transplant is one of the most medically complicated procedures. They basically replace Mark’s immune system and bone marrow. His DNA will soon read out as the DNA of his donor. He will have to begin getting all of his childhood vaccines again after a year post transplant when his immune system can handle the shots.

For those who have a medical background- they are using Busulfan and Cyclophosphamide for his guns blazing chemo going back in beginning on July 8th. His regimen will last 6 days, he will get one day of “rest” and then the very next day, July 15th, they will put stem cells in just like they would a bag of blood or platelets.

He will continue on many medications including Immunosuppresants and antivirals, antibacterials and anti fungal as long as they feel he needs them.

For now, we enjoy the next 10 days he is at home. When he goes back in, he will be in the hospital for one month and then be living in Denver by the hospital about 100 days.

Today, Mark signed all those papers to continue with transplant and this battle we are fighting.  It was more time consuming and had more signatures than anything we have had to sign for so far in life. Then, we did just as he wanted and went to a late lunch at Olive Garden!

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Please continue to pray. He has been so positive. Pray he continues to be. He has responded well to chemo with little side effects, please pray that continues. His blasts are below 5% at only 2% right now…. please pray that the next chemo destroys all it is supposed to to allow the new stem cells to come in and take over. Pray for graft v. leukemia instead of graft v host disease. Pray for health and wellness in every way possible- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for Mark, but also for our whole family. Please pray that our insurance covers the housing in Denver. We have appealed it as originally  they said no and it is necessary. (We are hoping for an answer early next week.)

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all you have done so far and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PRAYERS and money you have sent, texts, calls, cards, time you have given us, events you have put on and will be putting on to help us raise funds. WE ARE SO BLESSED!

 

 

 

 

The Path None of Us Planned

We are moving forward!

Mark is in the hospital until his blood levels ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) comes up. So that he can have a little break before Transplant, they discharge him for a time. We are hoping that the time is soon because we have a tentative schedule, that as long as the donor can work within the dates they have requested (to get his physical, start getting his shots to stimulate his bone marrow to produce stem cells and then the date to actually donate the actual stem cells), we have an action plan for Mark.

Here is what we are looking at- August looks pretty blank, but mid-August, about 30 days after transplant, is most likely when Mark will be discharged to living in a place close to the hospital in Denver for about 100 days. WE ARE STILL PRAYING THE INSURANCE COMPANY WILL AGREE TO COVER THIS! 🙂

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Other than that, now you know what we know.

Because this time we know about the readmit and sort of have a plan going into this, we are able to plan a bit for our girls as well.

Starting in August when he is discharged to live in Denver, he will need 24/7 care. We have had some wonderful people (both family and friends – our framily) step up to offer to come a week at a time to let me have a

break. I will always still be involved as his primary caregiver, but I can at least leave Denver

then, to come home and take care of things around our house and our daughters. We also have a few friends in our area, who will come on the weeks I am in Denver doing 24/7 care, to give me a break, or let me come home or whatever. We truly are blessed by these people who put their own needs aside to come and serve our family in our greatest time of need.

Shyanna will leave for college pretty close to the time that he is discharged in August, so it will be strange having one less girl at the house (well, really two less, as her bff Alexis practically lives with us, too.) I will take her to college with my other three girls August 14, 15 and 16. This will be a HUGE weekend for us with Mark being newly discharged and all the emotion that brings and our oldest heading off to college about 4.5 hours from home and all of the emotion that brings! (Mark was cute, and has already asked one of our over 6 foot friends to walk around campus with us so the guys think Shyanna has a big dad! lol)

This time of life, is really NOTHING like any of us planned, but we continue to try to stay focused on what is positive and good. We have gone from being virtually a family that does EVERYTHING together with our kids ALWAYS having at least one parent there (often we have had to split up to attend their activities) to a family who has part-time parents at best, sometimes. But, we are doing what we can.

Our goal is to continue to keep Mark as positive, safe and healthy as possible, and to keep life as close to regular for our daughters. We are in constant communication with them. We

know and understand how much this has shaken up our lives and we do not want to do any more shaking than necessary. We have had people to offer to come and live with us, but during this time, that would just be another adjustment everyone would have to make. So, we have a wonderful community with an amazing friend stepping up again to help plan for needs and with meals that will be home cooked and delivered,

toiletries and snacks will be provided, and even people who have volunteered to stay with Mark so I can go cheer them on, or others who will take our place and become their biggest fans at their events and games. We are truly blessed and I am reminded that friends in many ways become your family when you live far away …. And we have many loving family members who are doing what they can for us from a distance.

AS ALWAYS PRAYERS are SO appreciated and needed as we keep moving along down this path that none of us planned.

Yes, I jumbled this up on purpose as an expression of our lives being jumbled up right now. 🙂

The Leukemia Roller Coaster

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Last post boasted about the great work of chemo and cancer-free news!

This time, I write after another night of terrible sleep and watching Mark nap on and off as we wait for news about his newly developed bacterial infection.

Dizziness, fever, headache… turns out there is some bacteria present at least from pic line blood culture and we wait to rule out any other areas of infection. And we wait to hear what the doctors think should happen next. The Infectious Disease doctor was in and will meet with the other docs. to discuss and they will come in with a plan. In the mean time, he is on two IV antibiotics as well as the oral ones he has already been on. They will watch the blood cultures from the peripheral and pic line blood samples over the next five days. And decide what other areas of his body they need to test and or watch.

AND THIS JUST IN—> BOTH PERIPHERAL AND PIC LINE BLOOD CULTURES SHOW BACTERIAL INFECTION COCCIT CHAINS. MARK CONTINUES TO SLEEP- TWO IV ANTIBIOTICS – ONE EVERY EIGHT HOURS AND ONE ONCE A DAY EXTRA FLUIDS AGAIN THROUGH IV AS WELL.

This is life with or without Leukemia… there are ups and downs, some hills are steep, some, barely noticeable. Sometimes, you even get thrown around a loopty-loop and every once in a while you are full speed ahead and it seems that nothing could possibly change your path or throw you up out of your seat (thank God for safety restraints), because, then they hit and you are bouncing all around again!

Roller-Coaster

What I have known for forever, is that when you get to caught up in your own life, you become a miserable person. I don’t believe we were called to a life of “self-focus”. So, what we try to do is be a light even here, on the forth floor of this hospital for others. Whether we are going up, down or all around on our own ride, we realize everyone else is on a ride that does similar things.

So, we have met people here and become interested in their lives and asked them questions and let them know we care. Then, we pray for them and for you and for our own needs. We are all in this life together and I believe we were made to love and to be loved by God and other people.

There is an older man up here who can’t hear us, but he enjoys talking, George. He has loads of kids and grandkids and he gets out of his room and walks slowly and socializes with anyone he meets.

There is a guy named Mark from Ohio up here and his wife is Lisa and they live in Denver. He is a lot like my Mark. They both are determined to beat this illness they fight, they walk fast and they tell the doctors, “I don’t care what it takes. ” Funny, they are the same age and he grew up in Bowling Green not far from where Mark grew up in Lima.

Another young man, whose name escapes me- 40 – his mom lives in St Vrain Ranch- the neighborhood right next to ours. He lives in Mead. He may get to go home today! 🙂

Randy is in the room next door and always has a smile ready to share….

Then there is a new couple here from Kansas. They were like us and didn’t realize that this initial visit would not last days but weeks. I am thinking of taking Kathy, the wife to lunch.

Another couple, the wife has the illness and her husband is in the ministry and they are very supportive and caring people. You can see their love glowing around them.

We have had one very young guy who I only saw being brought up here with a neck brace. I saw them helping him walk once with a walker. He was about 19. He was transferred before I got to meet him, but I have prayed for him every day since I first saw him. A reminder, not to waste time- it doesn’t take much to say “Hello” and introduce yourself.

Sadly, there has been one couple- the first couple we met. Andy and Robin. They had been fighting Lymphoma for a year…. the last time I saw her, she was in the family waiting room with some friends and asked me how we were… after I told her, she said they were not doing well…. the next thing I knew, the very next day, they were gone. I imagine hospice was called in and they went home….

We are trying to get people interested in some social time around here- though, yesterday was the first day. We offered poker – and a few stopped by and talked, but none sat down to play yet, so we just played with our girls. But it’s a start. We need community and being up here in almost solitary confinement, it’s hard to keep the social aspect of living that we humans desperately need.

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The nurses and the doctors, though, too. We try to learn all their names. What a draining field to work in. Always helping and serving. What compassionate hearts they have-we have seen tears more than once. It’s fun to ask them about their families and lives and see their faces light up with joy. It’s also fun to hear them laugh and joke around with Mark as he lets them know his plans for getting out of here each day. 😉

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So, I guess what I am saying, is we are all riding a roller coaster of life. Whether we are sick or injured or healthy and strong. Life is never consistent and we are never better to live or ride alone.

Thank you for riding this coaster with us! We love and appreciate you! I want to leave you with this post I saw on Facebook today:

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