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.