Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Service, May 30, 2010 - Memorial Day

Rebecca and I planned the "skit" (for a lack of better terminology) for this mornings service and it was carried it off with lots of tears. The gentleman that read "TABLE FOR FOUR" was retired from the Navy. Of the two people we had at the table to interact - the gentleman was a former Marine and the lady was retired from the Air Force. At this time in life no one could fit into their uniforms or did not know where they were, for sure, or do not have them anymore. So we borrowed one from each Military service and hung them behind the table. Our pastor carried through with the theme and so did the gentleman doing the communion talk. And of course, we cannot forget the Worship Team and their patriotic spirit. All-in-all it was a wonderful service this morning.


This small table is a table of remembrance. It is set for four.
It represents the four services in time of war: The Army, the Marines, the Navy and Air Force.
This table symbolizes that members of our military are gone from our midst.
We call them fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and friends.
They are unable to be with us, so we remember them each day.

The Table Cloth is White – symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms…
The Single Rose – displayed in the vase reminds us of the families and friends of their lost loved ones…
The Red Ribbon – tied prominently on the vase reminds us of the blood that was shed for our country…
A slice of Lemon – placed on each plate reminds us of their bitter fate…
Salt Sprinkled – on the plates reminds us of the countless fallen tears of their families...
The Glasses are Inverted – they cannot toast with us…
The Chairs are Empty – they are not here…
The Bible – represents the strength to sustain the families of those gone from us, from our country founded as one nation under God…

Let us pray for those still serving our country so that we might be free.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mario is no longer mine!

The last two times that I saw Mario, he would have nothing to do with me. Oh yes, he would rub on my legs but he does that to everyone. Other than that all he would do is hiss and growl at me if I tried to pick him up. Laurie's other two cats, Mo and Noir, were happy to get my attention.

Ember stayed with Laurie while I was in Omaha - Mario and Ember did not get along. It has only been six months, but what a difference it has made. I guess Mario thought that Ember was invading his new territory. Maybe he thinks I have come to take him back to the small apartment where there is no room to play and only windows to look out.

Mario gets to go out in the back yard everyday to play and if Craig is out there working Mario sits and watches him - stays right with Craig like a little puppy dog. Amazing!! He has a great time out there as long as it is not wet. You know he cannot get his little feet wet. He is funny about that. He has finally learned to eat wet cat food but only the expensive kind. What do you expect - he once was mine.

Ember was glad to get back home where she felt safe. After all she was up against three large male cats. That would be scarry for any little girl. I have decided to keep her at home when I have my surgery. I will miss her too much if I am here and she is not. She sticks pretty close to me at all times. I think she loves me - a lot! Or, is it because we are in close quarters - hmmmm!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Omaha Trip - May 17-27 2010

Two years of planning my trip to Omaha to check out graves on my dad's side of the family in Falls City Nebraska finally happened after much delay. The original trip was planned for October of 2008 - it did not happen. That is the year I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Now over a year and a half later it finally happened.

The day that I arrived in Omaha, Johanna (my aunt) and I checked out two cemeteries in the area and I did find a couple of grave sites. On Wednesday we headed for Nebraska City for a two night stay at the beautiful Lied Lodge. Well, as luck would have it it started raining and did not stop - no chance of going to the cemeteries in Falls City which was about an hour away. Because of the rain we tried to do things in Nebraska City. We went to the Arbor Day Farm but did not get to tour the grounds, but we did get our trees. That was on Thursday. On Friday we checked out, had lunch and then toured the J Sterling Morton Mansion. It was absolutely beautiful inside and out. Then we headed back to Omaha and Jo and Betty headed back to KS and MO.                                  

As wonderful as it was the most excitement we had was when Jo found some "joints" behind the dresser. She was on the floor, on her knees, trying to plug in a computer when she found them. I must say that I have never seen Jo so upset. She called for a manager to come to their room immediately. The manager was appalled and she came back up with free drink tickets, desert tickets, and free cables if we needed them for our computers. We did have a good laugh over it.

When Johanna and I arrived back in Omaha it was not long and I realized that I did not have my wallet and figured it must be in Jo's car. It was. Uncle Larry said that I did that on purpose just so that I could see him. Jo and uncle Larry drove back on Saturday and met us in Squaw Valley (half way point for all of us) and we had lunch. And, most importantly I did get to see uncle Larry.

It turned out that once we were at Squaw Valley we were not far from Falls City and it was not raining so I did get to go to Steele Cemetery after all. It was a beautiful cemetery but it was so windy that we could hardly walk through it. The headstone that I wanted to find was Katherine Crofford, my dad's mother who died in 1921. I am also named after her. We found the spot but there were no headstones for her or her 4 month old son, Melvin. However, there was a beautiful large headstone with only "CROFFORD" on it right where Katherine and Melvin were buried. My mission was accomplished. We did look around and found a few other Croffords that I am sure I am related to but am not familiar with their names.

On Sunday we went to mass at St John's Church on the campus of Creighton University. What a magnificent church. I took lots of pictures. I am not sure why it is not called a cathedral. It is so beautiful on the inside. Absolutely breathtaking.

I was so disappointed when it started raining but it turned out to be a wonderful trip and I had such a great time with my cousins Betty and Jo, and my aunt Johanna.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Prayer needs

Last August (2009) when I had my PET scan is showed that the endometrial cancer had metastasized and had gone to another lymph node and to the liver. And, my CA125 had gone up to 53 – outside of normal limits. In less than a month after that, September, I had a lumpectomy – right breast – caused by the needle biopsy. It was malignant but a different cancer than the endometrial cancer. Going on what I knew at that time I made the decision not to treat it since the endometrial cancer was spreading at a rapid rate as expected.

Six months later, (February 2010) my CA125 was back down to 15 and well within normal limits. The PET scan showed that the endometrial cancer was not active in the lymph nodes or the liver. There was a spot on my right breast that was undetermined. I guess in my mind I felt that it was not active either so I put off getting another mammogram.

When I had the x-rays on my back I decided to do the mammogram at the same time. After more mammograms, an ultra sound, a meeting with the radiologist, four needle biopsies, and a consultation with the breast surgeon, it has been decided that I do indeed need a mastectomy. I am already scheduled for June 7th.

As I talked with the surgeon I realized that now I have to make decisions based on the unknown. Will the endometrial cancer rear its ugly little head again soon, or will it be a year or two? Meanwhile do I want to die from breast cancer if there is a chance we can control it?

The diagnosis: Infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Grade III. (Lymphatic/vascular invasion.) If this has gone into the lymphatic system then there is a possibility that more chemo and/or radiation might be needed. I will make decisions as necessary.

The prayer needs come in to play because I am having a really tough time wrapping my mind around having a mastectomy. Right out of high school I worked in a private Pathology Laboratory for 16 years. I saw a lot and I learned a lot, and one of things that I conditioned myself to, was that “I never ever would have a mastectomy”. Now I find myself in that position and it is very difficult for me. Funny thing is – there is a lot of cancer on my mother’s side of the family, as you probably have read about – "but no breast cancer".

With your continued prayers and support I know that I can make it through this next round of cancer.

Friday, May 7, 2010

News update…

The answer on the Coumadin – yes, I will be on it for the rest of my life. People with Cancer have an increased risk of getting blood clots. I have verified this on the web. My goodness what did we do without it years ago? I look everything up and I do go to reputable sites.

I had four breast biopsies on Wednesday, May 5th, under Ultrasound. I received the call today, Friday. Cancer cells were noted. I have an appointment – consultation only – with a breast surgeon on Wednesday, the 12th. I am so very excited because Kaiser is finally starting a department with physicians and surgeons who deal directly with breast cancer.

I continue to ask for your prayers. They have worked so far and I do not want you to give up on me just yet. God Bless all of you and your families.

“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29:11-13

Monday, May 3, 2010

New PCP and PA

I had an appointment with my new PCP on Friday. My other PCP was Family Practice and my new one is Internal Medicine. What a difference a title makes. My new PCP was asking questions, has already talked with my oncologist and sent me an email. How fast is that – it is only Monday! I do believe that he is really interested in his patients.

In KC my doctor was Internal Medicine but when I joined Kaiser in July 2008, it was because I needed medical attention, fast, and could not be choosey about my PCP. I took the one that was available at the SW clinic.

Today, Monday, May 03, 2010, I had an appointment with the Neurosurgery Department about my back. My appointment was with a PA and I really liked her. She showed me the pictures of the MRI, which Imaging had put on a DVD for me. And, she showed me the x-rays and explained every detail. I went to an outside facility so I could get an open-sided MRI.

The fourth lumbar vertebra is out of line. They took x-rays with me leaning forward and backwards to see if the vertebra would line itself – it did not so it most likely will remain out of line. Osteoarthritis is very evident in the facet joints.

I told her that I was not interested in surgery but I would like for the pain to be reduced so that I don’t have to be on pain pills all of the time. Her suggestion was cortisone shots in both sides of the vertebra. I can have four a year and she said that they are very effective.

She will contact my new PCP and my oncologist to see how they feel about the Coumadin. If I have to be off of it for five days then it will interfere with my trip to Omaha because I will not be able to fly for five days after the injection. I may have to wait until I get back because I am not going to postpone my trip.

Isn’t our God wonderful that he has put people in our lives that can explain all of this to us? I praise Him everyday for my life. No one can take care of me like my God!

Sorry this is so long. I am sure there is more information here that you care about. But then again this is my journal so that I remember things.

One year ago on May 1, 2009...

I cannot believe that it was one year, on May 1st, that I moved into my apartment. I can honestly say that I have no regrets. It has been a totally different life than what I was used to living, but it has been so good. I have let go of material things that were just that, material things. I have let go of most all of the stress in my life. I have learned and am still learning how to eat differently. I must admit that I do struggle with this one. It is hard to break many years of bad eating habits. I also admit that I really like food, junk food and fast foods are among the foods I like best. Do I like food more than life? I don’t think so – in fact I know so. That is not to say that I don’t have my weak moments or special occasions, but I can say that the bad times are no longer the norm.

Back to the original subject - I know that my saving grace, besides my Lord, has been this magnificent view. I have moved my desk and computer over by the window so that I can see the view while I am doing my very serious business. (Ha! Ha!)

“In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” ~Psalm 33:21