Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ya Comin?

Hey everyone,

It has been a whole week since my last treatment and I am feeling pretty darned good. Okay, pretty good for an almost 53 year old woman who has been lying around the house doing much of nothin' for the last few months. I've walked up the mountain a few times lately and hope to go again today. Anyone who wants to walk/stroll/meander up this hill should come on over. It is cold ,but the sun is shining. The wind is blowing so we'll have to cling together for warmth and to keep from being blown away and just because we want to. We'll wear scarves around our heads and mittens on our hands and drink hot chocolate when we get back. If by chance it decides to rain, come anyway and we'll stay inside and talk about the wonder of a God answers the prayers of ordinary people, who knows before we do that what we are really hungry for is hot oatmeal cookies and a glass of milk, and who loves the heck of us no matter what. Whew!! I'm going to get my jacket on. Ya comin'?

p.s. If you really want to come over post on the blog or write me at

Friday, January 25, 2008


I walked up the mountain today all the while composing a poem called "Ode to Curly Hair". Now that I am home I have forgotten most if it, or at least I have lost the rhythm of it. It was all about hatin' on this hair of mine all my life. About frizzies in Florida, about orange juice cans and lots of hair spray, about the long straight hair era that I lived, make that survived, through. It was about large round brushes and blow dryers. It was about Honduras,100% humidity, riding in the back of a pickup truck and finally letting go. About loving this crown of filigreed silver that I now wear on my head. It was about the ones that have now fallen 'in the line of duty' and how the others have closed ranks, become closer. So far you cannot tell that I am loosing my hair, it just looks shorter because the ones that are left are standing in the gap for the ones that haven't made it. I love curly hair.

Keeping Count

Trevor left for Honduras today. I cried. Not because he is gone but because I am not on the plane too.

It is easier to get in 4 shakes a day if you get up at 3:30 a.m.

If God keeps count of the hairs of our heads he's getting a lot of practice at subtraction lately keeping up with mine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"C" day

Today is the 2nd of 6 chemotherapy treatments. As of 1:00pm, things are going well, however Debbi is just a little apprehensive about this treatment. The first treatment pretty much knocked her off her feet. She felt very little change the first and second day after the first treatment, but by the third day her energy bottomed out. While she has felt good (no nausea or pain) her energy reserves are just about nonexistent. She is wondering if this energy drain will be cumulative, and will this second treatment knock her even further down. Please continue to pray for us as we make new discoveries about the wonderful world of chemo each day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Do You Think?

Trevor asked for a snow day. All I wanted was a nap. It was 10:30 yesterday morning. I promised that after I rested we would go out. . Outside the window I heard snow melting off the house. Drip................Drip..............Drip. The feather pillow cradled my head like I was lying in my mama's lap. Drip.......Drip.......Drip. I had pulled up the down comforter hearing Jesus say "I will cover you with my feathers and under my wings you will find refuge." Drip....Drip....Drip. I was surrounded with warmth and peace like sunlight and water. I lay in bed melting in to the sheets. Drip.Drip.Drip. I wasn't the only thing melting, so was the snow. I was called out of that bed, like Lazurus from the grave. In a few minutes I was wearing snow boots, snow pants,scarf, gloves, little warmy things that go inside your boots and a hat, besides all the layers that go underneath.

Instead of a nap, this is how I spent the next hour.

I think I made a wise decision, how 'bout you?

p.s. I rested the rest of the day and all night.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yesterday I went to the doc's for blood work. It is the halfway mark between treatments, the day when blood counts will be at their lowest. The results are pretty immediate which surprised me. I was standing beside the nurse when out printed a page with all my "test scores" from every time they had said "There is going to be a little prick." It seems there really is a "permanent record." She looked at me and started speaking. What she actually said was, " All your counts are within the normal range so there is no problem with continuing with are schedule. I'll see you back here on the 23 for your next course of treatment." What I heard was, " Woman! Stop acting sick, 'cause you're not. Stop watchin' Oprah and eatin' bon-bons. Git up off that couch. I hear the toilets in your house need cleanin'. Now git up and git to work you lazy thang."

The treatment center is next to the hospital so I took the results to show Michael. ( For those of you who don't know, Michael works at Mission Hospital in Radiation Oncology.) As I was walking in I saw one of the oncologist that he works with. I explained what I had heard the nurse say, all about working and stuff. He said, "Oh no that will never do." , snatched out his prescription pad and wrote this 'script:

Last night Michael cleaned the bathroom and was happy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

4 Days Later

It is Monday and I am kinda worn out. Friday, after chemo on Thursday I felt GREAT! We all piled up and went to Brevard to knock around for the day. I even ate fried shrimp for lunch and barbecue for supper. On Saturday Whitney needed to go to Black Mountain to learn how to tune the hammered dulcilmer that she got for graduation so off we all went again. On both days I kept saying to myself, "You just had chemo??"

Whitney left from Black Mountain to go back to Mobile. She graduated from the University of South Alabama in December and wasn't sure if she would move back up here or stay in Mobile. She decided to stay. I am sure that saying good-bye to her is part of the reason I feel "little" today.

I was in Camelot while Danita was here. She took care of me like a lady in waiting takes care of her queen. John, an "adopted" brother cooked the whole time and Michael, her husband, played video games with Trevor (so he wouldn't feel left out). They left on Sunday, so now the house is quiet. I went to church yesterday then rested the whole afternoon and evening and right on through he night.

Today I thought I would get up and finish the undecorating of the house , but no...that job is too big. I did a little. I'll do it a bit at a time or...if you are not doing anything and would like to help a grey haired old lady do some spring cleaning during these warm days of January then call up and come over this week. I would love the company and work is always more fun with a friend.

Now I am going to sit in the sun and maybe rest a little more.

Thanks for your continued prayers , notes and support. It is working. My body is tired but my spirit is singing.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The First Cycle

8:30am Debbi and Danita arrive at the Cancer Care Center. For the next hour they get information about side effects, and the care and feeding of the chemotherapy patient. After a quick CBC to make sure the blood is happy, the chemo started dripping. The treatment room is very large and spacious. There is fountain and a grand piano at one end. Debbi pulled her chair over by the fountain and settled in for the duration.
About an hour into the treatment, a retired oncologist came in to cheer the troops with his piano skills. He managed to play about 4 songs in row that were the very songs Debbi was wondering if she could get him to play. After playing he came over and talked with Debbi - He said she had a calm and peace about her that was very unusual in that setting. She was very encouraged.
Around noon, when the increased the drip of rituximab, she had an allergic reaction. Her chest starting hurting and she began shallow breathing. She created quite a stir in the chemo room. She stabilized quickly and was able to continue. Whitney and Allison, with their usual impeccable timing were just coming to visit when all the excitement broke out. After about five minutes, when the nurses had her stabilized, the girls were pleased to be able to have lunch with their Mama, as by then all were looking forward to their Hardee burgers.
Patients came and went throughout the day with the only constant ones being Debbi, Danita and the nurses. About 6:00pm, without further incident, she was finally done, unplugged and shown the door.
Tonight she is feeling a little puny and is going to rest watching an old Cary Grant comedy. We don't really know what tomorrow will bring. She was sent home with some powerful anti-nausea/vomiting medicine, and some steroids. So I guess she's prepared for whatever, but will just have to wait and see what develops.
Thanks for those of you who have kept Debbi in your thoughts and prayers, we can sure feel it.


Well, tomorrow is the big day. I am trying not to be nervous but I'm not doing very well. I need a long bath, a glass of wine and some quiet time with the One who loves me most.

Here is a great answered prayer. Because of some things we discovered about our insurance coverage and the very generous gift of a friend I will not have to go to that treatment center that I visited but instead will be able to be treated in the Cancer Care Center. It is newer and brighter and bigger and YAY! It even has a grand piano. Can you play?

Danita, my sister, said that I could not wear my flannels because I wanted to go in (and come out ) looking not sick. We bought some black yoga pants and are going to wear red shirts with a very snazzy red scarf.

Today was a really great day. We had several inches of snow. It was the first snow of the season. Michael, my brother-in-law, had never seen snow before. We all bundled up and played. We all sledded. Whitney and Trevor built a "Calvin Snowman" He had two heads. Allison came in and made chocolate chip cookies. When everyone came in there were hot cookies and milk. It was perfect.

Thanks for all your messages and e-mails and especially prayers. It is some great to know that we are not in this by ourselves.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008