Friday, December 21, 2007

The best news....

Yes, it was a very long day. Fred was at the hospital at 7:30 am and we left the hospital at about 6pm this evening. We were so glad we had left overs that we could just heat up in the microwave in our room for supper. It was a day full of tests, waiting, MRI, doctors and more waiting and more doctors.

Everyone wanted so bad to give us good news and give Fred a treatment. His liver enzyme numbers have come down, but not as much as was expected or needed before he could have his vaccine treatment. He is the only one one this trial that has had this problem and they are very cautious about putting any more stress on his liver.

The best news is that Fred is still in the this drug trial and his treatment has just been postponed until his liver heals. So....we have postponed our trip home from January 6 to January 9. Fred will have blood tests and hopefully a treatment on January 7.

Tomorrow Skip is coming to pick us up and we will spend a couple of days with them. We are going to the crab shack for lunch. Fred and Skip usually make a run to the book store too. We always enjoy our time with them. I think it is time to teach Skip & Sandi to play "Hand and Foot", don't you?

Then we are off to see family for the holidays. It is time to spend time thinking about something besides cancer. It is very important to Fred that everyone treats him like he is normal. He is....this is our normal life now. It makes Fred uncomfortable when anyone hovers over him and tries to protect him. He is still able to make good choices for himself. We all need to let him do that.

It was great to hear the excitement in the air this evening as we watched the staff leaving the hospital for the holiday weekend. Everyone was greeting each other with Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday greetings, sharing holiday plans and excitement.

Fred & I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

Remember the best news - Jesus is the reason for the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas choirs, trees, trains, and flowers.

Just had a call from Dr G and Fred's liver enzymes are still high. Yesterday he had blood work and today they did a liver sonogram. Tomorrow he will be at the hospital all day with blood work, tests, Dr appointments and hopefully a treatment. We will see what all the doctors decide tomorrow.

What a great surprise today..... at noon we were at the hospital when the NIH Chamber Singers put on their annual Holiday Concert. They sang 20 songs, all Capella, in an hour. What a treat to hear that concert. The group of 15 was made up of employees and friends of the National Institute of Health. The atrium area where they were singing is a big open area with about 50 palm trees in giant pots. This month they all decorated with red poinsettias at the bases of the pots and a huge Christmas tree plus several tree shaped poinsettia displays. It is a wonderful Christmas display and then fill it with music. What a treat.

More Christmas tradition.... the first Christmas season we came to DC (4 years ago, I think) Fred and I went to see the National Botanical Gardens Christmas display. That year it was a 1950's theme with electric train, displays of Alpine Villages, flowers, decorations everywhere. Today we took the metro and went back to see what the Christmas display was this year. There were poinsettias in white, pink, old fashioned red and red with rose shaped centers. The main colors were light pink and white poinsettias and bright midnight blue balls decorating the tree. Also tucked in among the all the plants and flowers were a collection of models of historic buildings of the National Mall and Capital Hill. Maybe I can put up some pictures I took of some of them.

More about the train display... the garden railway features three islands, more than 800 feet of track and a 45 foot suspension bridge. You can stand and watch the trains for hours, winding up the mountains, through villages, past rustic cabins and across the bridges.

We are so blessed to be in DC during the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're Back...

Yes, we're back in the DC area... seems like we were just here last week. No it's been 2 weeks. Our flights were good. We got first class upgrades for the long flight from Seattle to DC. Today we moved into Navy Housing and tried to catch up with the jet lag.

Skip was here for a Doc appointment so we went out to lunch with him at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. He had good news about his cancer today.

We had a nice restful time at home and now we are ready to do the Doc thing again. Fred will have tests for the next 2 days and then hopefully he will get a treatment on Friday. We hope to do a little holiday visiting on the way home....we may be in a town near you.

Our new house sitter is Brad. Hopefully all will go well for him in Alaska. I kept telling him we are only a phone call away.

We want to thank everyone for your help in making our travel and stays smooth. Thanks for your prayers too. God is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Home again, home again jiggidy jog.

No first class upgrades, but our flight home was pretty uneventful. Just the way we like it. Most of the snow was gone, so we didn't have to clean off our car that had been sitting in long term parking. On the way home we stopped on base, picked up a few groceries and filled our gas tank. After we ate some dinner, we were ready to head for bed. We got up at 12:30am Alaska time (4:30am DC time) to get to the airport that morning.

Today we had a slow day - sorting through mail, adding a log to the fire, making a few phone calls, catching up on reading the local newspaper. It's good to be home again.

Sadie does not let Fred out of her site. Right now she is laying on the floor next to the couch where he is laying reading his book. I think they are both pretty contented.

Tomorrow will be busy filling out travel vouchers and finishing up the travel details just 10 days away. Not sure what or where we will be over the Christmas..... A lot can happen before then. Right now it is good to be home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tomorrow Alaska

First the liver news. The biopsy showed that Fred did have a drug reaction from a trail drug he took last month. He will not get that drug again. Fred is the first one on the trial to have this problem. The liver is getting healthier on it's own, so they are not going to give him more medication for that. Healing will just take time.

Time gives us a chance to come home for a couple of weeks, well 12 days anyway. Fred is scheduled for re staging on the 19th of this month. This means body scans and 3 days of tests. He has a ticket for the 17th and on the travel story goes.

Looking at my calendar yesterday, I realized that we have been here about half of the time for the past 4 months. Skip and Sandi asked if we ever thought about just getting an apartment in the area. My answer was no. We feel pretty at home here in Navy Housing......they know us by name when we walk in the door. We have what we need here or we know how to ask for it.

The weather has turned much colder and very windy. Last night when I walked home from the hospital, I felt like I should hold on to the lamp post so I wouldn't be blown away while I waited for the street light to change. I saw a lot of big winter coats today. It made me laugh, I just have a wind breaker. I did wish I had put on my gloves when I walked up to the hill to the hospital this morning.

Fred was discharged from the hospital about 2 this afternoon. He is on some pain medication. His ribs are sore and he is a little stiff. Right now he is napping.

All the motels by the airport are full so we will have take the metro early in the morning. We usually get a motel next to the airport the night before we fly. Oh well, not this time. I have our names on the list for first class upgrades.
We'll see.... tomorrow home to Alaska.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Resting comfortably.

It was a nice restful weekend. Quite a few people at the hospital commented that we both looked more rested this morning. Makes us wonder what we looked like last week. I know that Fred had better color this morning than he has had for a couple weeks.

This morning we caught a ride on the shuttle to NIH. Of course Fred stopped and gave the lab a little blood to start the day. We headed for the Procedure Unit and there was our liver Doc with a big smile. She does so well with Fred. She is truly a god sent to us. In just a few minutes they were ready to get to work, so I headed out to the waiting room.

Fred said that he didn't feel a thing and it was all over with before he knew it. Doc said they got a great sample. Everyone was very pleased with how good he looks on the inside. They keep telling him what a healthy man he is.

By 11am the procedure was all over. They kept him in the unit and watched him very closely for 2 or 3 hours and then they took him over to a room. He had to lay flat for 6 hours and didn't to eat until about 5pm. He was ready. After he ate, he had a pain pill and I left about 6:30. I do not think he will be awake for long. He was just getting a roommate when I left...I am sure he won't be bored.

We were visiting with to Misty on the phone today and she said we should start calling Dad a guinea pig. Fred's comment was that he felt more like a lab rat. They took more blood this afternoon and did a CBC that looked great. Nice to get good news once in a while.

I plan to be at the hospital about 10am. Fred is not supposed to lift or do anything stressful for a week. Guess we will be checking those bags. We still have tickets for Wednesday and may get to use them.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biopsy Postponed

We were in the final stages before having the biopsy when it came to their attention that Fred takes aspirin every day for his heart disease. Fred needs to be off aspirin for 5 days before they can do the biopsy. Now we are scheduled for Monday morning. Yes, we changed our plane tickets again to Wednesday, December 5. Fred is scheduled for his every 6 month body scans, on December 19, so we will be flying back to DC on the 17th. That is if we get home by then.

Our plan now is to go to Skip and Sandi's for the weekend. They called again last night making sure that we understood they have a place waiting for us at their house.

We need to contact our Alaska support team (dog sitter, house sitter, chicken sitter and military health insurance people) and let them know the latest changes. We are blessed to have so many people willing and able to help us.

Fred is feeling good. The cold is almost gone. He would not know that there is any problem if it weren't for the blood work. But that is they way it has been through most of this cancer adventure. The PSA is going up, but the numbers are no where near where they were this summer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The numbers are up.

Well, Fred got up early this morning and went over for his blood tests. I enjoyed a little extra time in bed. He was back home by 10 to take his nap. We knew that Sandra was coming to the Navy hospital for a Doc appointment this we were hoping to get to see her. She did call us and we got to see her for a few minutes before she had to head back to work.

For lunch today we headed over to the hospital dining room and had tacos. It was a clear sunny day. The locals were complaining about the cold but we thought it was just right for walking. We took the Metro and went to a bookstore Fred likes at Union Station. Each of us got a new book to read for tomorrow. It will probably be a long day.

Our liver specialist called in the afternoon to tell us that the numbers went up another 20 points today. So the biopsy is on for tomorrow morning. We really like our liver specialist. She is 31 years old and very through. She told me that Fred reminds her of her own father and that she will treat Fred with the same care she would treat her own dad. We are well taken care of by the whole team of Doctors here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sonogram and Biopsy

What a beautiful fall morning, we walked to the hospital. It's about a mile or so from our building to NIH. There are still some leaves on the trees and the temperature was about 55 degrees. Walking through the bright colored leaves on the streets reminds us of the fall we were engaged, just 37 years ago. We have had a long fall between here and Alaska.
This morning Fred had a liver sonogram and more blood tests. This afternoon we met with the liver specialist to learn that the liver looked good. Sooooo the plan we have for now is.....tomorrow they will repeat the liver blood work. If the numbers have not come down, he is scheduled for a liver biopsy on Thursday. He will be staying in the hospital for the night on Thursday. Our tentative date to fly home is Saturday, December 2. We have our tickets changed. Any of this could change at any time.
We shared our shuttle bus with another military couple in Fred's trial from California this afternoon. We hope to connect with them again and share the shuttle more often. He has had his own share of problems. Seeing so many very sick patients here makes us realize how good we really have it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Great Flights

We had such great flights the day after Thanksgiving with first class upgrades the whole way. Skip and Sandi were off on a cruse so we have been hanging out at Navy Base housing for a couple of days. Yesterday we got up late and took the metro to the next stop and ate brunch at a nice restaurant. I talked Fred into taking a little walk in downtown Bethesda. We found a Safeway and got some fruit and a few things before we headed home.

Today is treatment day. We got to the hospital in good time this morning for Fred to get his blood work done. When we went upstairs they put him in an isolation room because of his cold that he is almost over. Too many sick people around they don't want him to make sicker. We saw our usual round of nurses and doc's, but today they did not have good news. Fred's liver enzymes are way up. That means no treatment until they figure out why or if the numbers go back down. Tomorrow he will have a sonogram of the liver. They took a total of 23 vials of blood today, we should learn something. Thursday we will have more Doc appointments and they will decide what is going to happen next.

One more time we will not be going home on our scheduled day. We will keep you posted when we know anything new. I am not changing my plane tickets today, because I do not know what to change them to.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What day is this & where am I?

I have a calendar in my purse to keep track of Doc appointments, PSA's and travel info. I usually spend some time catching it up to date while I am in the air. That has been a lot lately.

October 26. We went to DC for Fred's treatment a couple of weeks ago. The Doc's decided to put it off until they treated a rash that he had. Well, he was feeling good, so instead of flying all the way back home, we decided to go see the grand kids in the west.

November 1-4. We spent a few days in Seattle with Shane & family. I think those kids have grown an inch or two since we saw them in July. Shane took a few days off of work, so it seemed like we saw them a lot. We celebrated Shane's 35th birthday a few days early with Sunday dinner at Olive Garden. It wasn't that long ago we were 35, was it?

November 4-7. Sunday night we flew over to Boise and spent a few days with the kids over there. We even got to sleep in out camper for 3 nights. Carrie has been living in it in Misty & Peter's back yard. We went to the park and Carrie brought us our picnic lunch. The last time we saw the Twins they were not walking yet. Well they are now and they have places to go and things to see as you can see on Too soon it was time to get back in the plane and head for DC.

Novermber 7. Our faithful friends, Skip and Sandra, were at the airport to pick us up and take us home. We had a day to rest and then Friday, Skip took us back to Bethesda to see the Docs again. Fred still had some rash, so it was decided that they would see us again in Mon. Well, the fun part was that we spent another weekend with S&S. We just join in on what ever is happening. This week they are getting ready to go on a cruse with some of their friends over the Thanksgiving week.

Monday, November 12, one more day in the hospital waiting on Docs and making treatment decisions. This is the 5th time in 2 weeks come to the hospital. It was a good visit. We got a lot more one on one time with our Doc because it was a holiday and there were only a few patients in the day hospital. It was decided that we would come back for a treatment in 2 weeks, November 26.

Home again. We arrived back in Alaska, Wednesday afternoon, November 14. It was beautiful flying in over all those white, white mountains. Our car had been parked for about 3 weeks in the snow and rain so it took us some time to get it cleaned off and warmed up. I was so happy to hear it start right up when I turned the key. Fortunately I had left a warm coat and gloves in the car when I left.

Friday, November 16. This is our second morning at home and we are enjoying the quiet. Yesterday Marni M brought Sadie home. Marni has been taking care of my chickens and Sadie has been staying at her house enjoying their 4 kids and dog named Sadie. We are so blessed by so many people.

This morning about 7am our case nurse from NIH called to try and work out dates for us to travel next week. With Thanksgiving it will be interesting. After a couple of calls it looks like we will fly a week from today, November 23. Now I have to get my ticket worked out with the travel people here. We are so blessed to have our tickets paid for. Now if we can just keep up with schedule. Fred and I both have sinus colds and jet lag that we hope to be over soon. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Freasting on flowers

The sun is shining through the trees covered in white fresh snow this morning. Yes, it snowed again last night. Fred scraped the new inch or two off the front deck this morning. I am so glad that he can do that. We have been to DC several times since I last wrote. We are adjusting to the new drug trial protocol. He is given a vaccine with his cancer DNA in it each month. He is also given immune booster shots. We are wanting the body to learn to have an immune response to the cancer and start fighting it. His PSA is going down, but we know some of that is because of the radiation treatments he had in August. So far the shots make him feel like he has the flu for a couple of weeks and then he feels pretty good for a couple of weeks before we start the whole process over again. This morning he is out helping his friend, Chuck. He went with him yesterday for a couple of hours too. I think it is so good for him to get out and work a little and spend time with another guy.

My latest observation is that Fred only has one soldier left and he thinks that it is me.

I am sitting at my dining room table enjoying my morning cup of coffee. Out my window the birds are busy at the feeder and the trees look like and old fashioned Christmas card. When the snow started falling this week every thing seems blanketed in peaceful silence. Another long winter has moved into stay. Just one more day and we are off to DC for the week. These past weeks at home have been great. We finished putting away the lawn furniture and put the flower pots to bed for the winter. I cut off all the plants, took them to the chicken yard, and watched my chickens feast on the last blooms of the season.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that Fred gave me a dozen chickens for our anniversary. Yes he did. I think he was looking for some normal activities around here. We had chickens for years and butchered them at Carrie's request when she lived here. She was tired of taking care of them when we were gone. So it has been a couple of years since we have had any. Our new chickens are just starting to lay. There is nothing like fresh eggs.

A couple of weeks ago Fred pitched a rotten apple over the deck rail at the chicken yard. He heard a chicken squawk and didn't think anything about it. The next day he came in and told me I had a dead chicken. So I went to check it out...nothing wrong with it that I could see. I don't know why it has died. A couple of days later he tells me about the apple and says, " I think I killed that chicken." I told him that was pretty expensive target practice, he said he never even looked he just threw it. We have had a good laugh over that one. He couldn't do that again if he tried.

This has been a restful month at home watching the snow come down the mountains, but we are looking forward to seeing Skip and Sandi again. I called them last Saturday and they were having their usual Saturday lunch at the crab shack. They are so excited that we are coming to spend the weekend with them. It is Skip's birthday and I think there is a party planned. They will be there at the airport in DC to pick us up Friday night. They are such a blessing to us. God just keeps blessing us in the most unusual ways.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This day has finally come.

After three trips to DC in the past 6 months to try and start this drug trial, I am pleased to announce that today Fred had his first vaccine. So far he is tolerating the vaccine well. We have spent about 8 hours a day for the past 3 days having all kinds for tests and interviews.
Friday, Sept. 14 we flew to DC. Saturday Skip and Sandra came and picked us up and we spent the weekend with them. Monday morning they had an appointment here so we rode in with them. Tomorrow we head back home. All in all everything has gone pretty smoothly this trip. It is great to have our own wheel chair.
In two weeks we will be back our next appointment. After that it will be every 30 days. It is good to know what our schedule will be for the next 7 months or so.
Just a few days before we left last week we learned that Fred's insurance will pay for my plane tickets plus meals and lodging that NIH does not cover. God is taking such good care of us. Now we just need to learn how to fill out all the right paper work. The insurance office in Alaska has never had anyone traveling to DC for a drug trial before. We are all learning as we go. All the paperwork is different now that Fred is retired from the Army.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We're home

It is good to be home were the weather is cool. A few more days and we will be adjusted to the 4 hour time difference. Sadie was so glad to see Fred, she will hardly let him out of her sight. We are so thankful to everyone that helped take care of our home and animals while we were away this summer. Jane & Jim, Sandy & Rodney, Katya & Katie.

Katie is moving in Carrie's old room in a couple of weeks. She house sat for us several times in the past year and took care of the B&B the last couple of weeks. It will be great for us to have someone here while we are gone. We look forward to encouraging her too along the way. Carrie has been gone a year already.

36 years ago today we got married in a little country church on the prairie. What an adventure it has been. We are so blessed with all our children, grandchildren, family and friends around the world. It is great to spend this day together at home.

I was talking to Uncle George yesterday and remembering some of the highlights of that day. He and Dale stole the bride (me). I can still see Fred standing on the church steps and waving as we went by. They didn't think he was any fun at all. By the time we got a few miles to the Maurine Store, they were ready to take me back. Apparently my Dad had told them that was as far as they could go. Funny how they took that seriously. I remember having a good laugh with them and then going back the the church.

Fred remembers that Aunt Jean kept decerating the car. He was busy packing the car and everytime he went in the house to get something, it was decorated again. He would wash it go back inside and she would decorate again. He was sure she did it 6 or 7 times until there was no shaving cream left. When we sold that car, a 1968 Ford Galxie 500, it still had a ghost of "Just Married" on the trunk.

My favorite mental picture of that day was the trip to the church. You see it had rained for the first time in six weeks that night and Dad didn't want our 2.5 mile dirt driveway torn up by driving on it wet. So when it rained we would drive on the prairie. Fred & I were in the car ready to head for the church when Dad came over and said, "Ahhh Fred, I don't want to offend you or anything, but you need to drive on the prairie. I think Marie should drive, cause she should know where to go to stay off the gumbo." Fred said okay and I got in the driver seat. No pressure!!! Usually when I drove the prairie I was following Dad. I really wasn't too sure where to go. Dad and I chatted a few minutes about where I should drive and we took off. I have this picture in my mind of the 4-6 foot sage brush flying by the window along with a lot of mud and water. Fred is hanging on to the dash board and the arm rest for dear life. The wedding dress is flapping on the hook in the window behind me and we are flying across the prairie. I kept the gas peddle pushed to the floor most of the way. The only thing that I could think of was that I did not want to get stuck this day. We got there safe and sound but after the trip, I don't remember a lot about the rest of the day. We still work at trusting each other.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Headed Home

Moving on. After 11 days in base housing we moved to a hotel near the airport today. It was a little sad to leave our space we have enjoyed so close to the hospital. Sandy dropped us off with our luggage at the Metro station. She and Skip have been so good to us on this trip. We look forward to visiting them when we come back next month. Tomorrow morning we head for Alaska. We hear that the weather is beautiful at home. The thermometer said 90 today and with the breeze it was very pleasant.

Just a short shuttle bus ride to the airport in the morning and we are headed home one more time. Thanks for all your prayers for us. God has been very good to us on this trip.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

So how is Fred?

Fred has one more radiation treatment on Monday. He has had no side effects of the radiation except fatigue. He is always ready for a nap. The pain caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched is much better. He is just taking Motrin now for pain when he needs it. He is walking much better too. He uses a cane and gets around real well. This week he walked to treatment every day. When we go for long walks he does ride in the wheel chair part of the way. He tires quickly.

Monday we have an appointment with his radiation Doc and the Doc's at NIH. We will learn the dates of our appointments next month. It looks like we will start the next drug trial after Labor Day. It will be good to get all the dates set so that we can plan our life around them.

We have had such a hard time deciding whether to go home or stay in the lower 48 for the next couple of weeks. We have been planning to spend some time with Wade and family on one of these trips. To make a long story short we have decided to go home on Wed. Fred & I are both ready to get out of the heat and be home for a couple of weeks. We will come see you soon Wade.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Marie's haircut

My hair has been driving me nuts. You see the last real haircut I had was in May or June. I keep trimming it up myself every couple of weeks and getting by. Last Friday I bought a pair of kid’s paper scissors, they are pretty sharp with about a 2.5 inch blade. After I washed my hair I started trimming and that soon turned into seriously cutting of what I could reach. I even considered coaching Fred on cutting the back, but I chickened out on that idea. When I quit, it felt better, well I felt better.

Then yesterday I woke up with a haircut on my mind… Maybe it is those 100+ temperatures. Maybe it is that my life has slowed down enough to notice my hair. Anyway, I was ready to find a haircut. I looked in the base directory and there were 2 barber shops. I called one and they said that they would only cut woman’s hair. Hummmmm… After Fred and Sandy’s treatments we went to the BX and I sat in the barber shop for 5 -10 minutes waiting while the women barber gave a young sailor a “high and tight”. Skip came in and asked me how I was doing. I said I thought it would be ok. He gave me a big smile and said they would wait for me in the store. I kept looking around and only saw clippers, no scissors. This might not be good. I do not want to tell her that I don’t trust her. She is almost done with that haircut……..ok, I am out of here.

Everyone was sooo glad that I had changed my mind. I put up with haircut jokes and “changing your mind” comments for the rest of the day. They were very happy to take me downtown and find a hair cut. We found a shop right away. I got a very nice hair cut from a beautician name Maria. Nothing feels as great as a good hair cut.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Time flies when you're having fun...

Oh yes, Skip and Sandy. We spent 4 nights with them waiting to get into base housing. I seems like we have known them forever. Skip is active duty Air Force Guard and has been in the military a couple of years longer than Fred. He and Fred talked non-stop for hours about all their similar experiences. He even reads the same authors as Fred. Sandy and I do so many things the same way that she is sure we must be related. She even has dinner plates with fruit on them. Both Skip and Sandy have cancer, so the Doctors are alternating treatments between them so they can take care of each other. Right now Sandy is having radiation for breast cancer. The clinic arranges Fred’s and Sandy’s treatments so they are one after the other. Everyone is so good to us. Everyday they come by and we go to treatment together. Then we have lunch together and get groceries or whatever.

Sunday I got together with Nancy C., a distant cousin I met at the Boe reunion last month. We spent most of the day together at the American Indian Museum at the Smithsonian. We had a fun day getting to know each other, she is a graphic artist and works in advertising. Fred had a little break from me, and took a walk to the BX. I remembered that I get free minutes on the weekend so tried to call some of you in the evening.

One person I called was Barbara L. There was no answer so I left a message. Monday morning she called me back and you will not believe this, but she is in the DC area visiting family. Her sister dropped her off at the Metro station that afternoon and she came and spent the night with us. We had a great time. I had made a pot roast and fixed a salad in my little kitchen, so we had a nice meal and some great laughs together. Then Barbara and I had a good game of Hand and Foot. She won by less than 200 points. It was just like old times in Alaska. Barbara and I have gotten together 3 times in 3 different states this year: April in Kansas, May in San Diego and now here in Aug.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Where do we start?

This is a summer for the record books. Don't feel bad if you can't keep track of us we can hardly keep track of ourselves. We had a great trip to SD for 3 weeks visiting family and arrived home in AK on July 11. Four days later Fred's sister, Sandy and family of 8 started arriving. We spent 2 weeks playing tourist with them, driving up to Hatcher Pass, salmon fishing on the Keani River with the Smiths and on the Deshka with Bruce plus lots of meals filled with good food and lots of laughter. Before we knew it the kids started heading for the airport to go home with lots of fish and stories to go with them. July 29 we left Sandy and Rodney with instructions on how to run the B&B and flew to Washington DC.
Now we have been here for a week and this is the first day we have had no Doctor related appointments. Fred spent the day hanging out in our room, sleeping, reading and watching TV. I fixed us some food and cleaned up our tiny kitchentte, then made a list of things we needed. Yesterday I bought groceries expecting our unit to have the basics; silverware, plates and a few kettles. We have a small frig, micro wave and coffee maker that is all.... I am now on an mission to keep things as simple as possible and yet be able to make meals for us. It is amazing what you can find in cheap plastic. I even found ceramic mugs for 79 cents apiece.

Cancer. Yes, that is the real reason we are on this adventure. Fred has a tumor on his spine that is pinching the siatic nerve and causing him a lot of pain and affecting his ability to walk. He was sceduled to start a new drug trial at the National Health Institute on Monday, but his Doctors there wanted him to have radiation treatments to shrink that tumor and make him more comfortable before he started the trial. He will finish the treatments a week from Monday, August 11. As I understand it, the Dr's want him to wait another couple of weeks to recover before they start the drug trial.

God has been going ahead and preparing the way for us so may times on this trip. After 3 days of tests and doctors, Tuesday afternoon Fred started radiation treatments at the National Navy Medical Center accross the street from the NIH campus. I needed to find us some long term housing that was near the hospital and not so expensive. Normally that would not be so hard, but because of the war there are a lot of families needing housing near their wounded soldiers. I had to go outside to make the calls on my cell phone, it was a small quiet garden surrounded by tall hospital buildings. Finally, I found some housing on base near the hospital starting in 3 or 4 days. I was praying and asking God what He wanted me to do next...because whatever it was, I wasn't getting it. A few minutes later I went back inside and was standing at the counter in the radiology oncology office asking the clerk about other military bases in the area. He didn't know much. A woman from accross the waiting room asked what exactly I was looking for. I told her that my husband was having radiation treatments and that I needed housing and turned back to ask the clerk another question. She said, "Excuse me, but you can come home with us we come here every day for treatments." I was stunned.....are you sure? I said, "I have a B&B in Alaska and you can have a free stay any time." I walked over and introduced myself and they introduced themselves.

Sandy and Skip Meet our new best friends.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Our Kids Are So Great!

Thanks to the mad skills of our youngest... which the three older children take credit for... we are now hooked up to THE BLOG world. We hope you enjoy the updates whenever they actually happen. Maybe this way we will not repeat ourselves quite so often and everyone will be in the loop of our crazy adventures.