Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello, we have had a busy week here in the Valley. Stephen King is feeling good, almost normal this week. His Texas sister has been here visiting and we have had lots of lunches out with all 5 sisters. It has been a pleasant change to our usual routine. Visit with nurse practioner this week was good. She answered his questions and prescribed something to help with sleep. He has been responding well to them, no groggy mornings! We have the 5th treatment this Wednesday, so he has a couple more days of feeling good. The side effects of these powerful chemicals are almost immediate. His voice changes within 3 hours of the start, the weakness begins that evening, legs and arms start to hurt the next day and day 3 brings stomach issues. Like clockwork, they come, we treat before hand to minimize their strength, but he still suffers, especially with the diabilitating weakness. The pain subsides to tolerable levels, the stomach settles down, but the weakness continues until week 3 and he remains breatheless always. But we are learning to deal, learning to anticipate, learning to prepare. Ater this treatment he will have another CT scan to see if there is change in the tumors. The last scan failed to determine any. Hopefully there will be obvious positive changes, shrinkage or disappearance of the lung tumor, healing of the tumors in the bones and a healthy spleen. Please, keep praying and sending up positive requests for him. We live daily with that as our guiding thought, "We will beat this!"  I truly believe negativity begats negativity, not only emotionally but physically. Call me PollyAnna :-)
Things are speeding up for our Mackenzie this week. She finally met with her transplant surgeon, who wants her lungs in tiptop shape for the procedure. This means cutting back on the immune supressant (chemo) and the blood booster (epogen) injections. One was canceling the effect of the other and not allowing the bone marrow to produce healthy red cells, without which the oxygen cannot feed the lungs. What a complicated, wonderous thing is the human body. Homeostasis, if I remember my Anatomy class, must be maintained for true productive function. Balance, not only in our lives, but inside our very core, creates a healthy existence. The wonder of it strikes me as the ultimate proof of our living God. What else can explain the microscopic detail, the precise symbiosis, the miracle of a human body?  There is Love woven into our flesh and blood at the cellular level. Love from God.
We hope to use February as a healing, resting time for Stephen King. If the chemo is working well, he will have one more treatment. If not, we will discuss our options. If our mild winter continues, this short, dark month should fly by. I'm hoping for a few good snow days myself, so winter seems real. We appear to be stuck in some gloomy, gray, wet world this month, with a sunny day once in a long while teasing us with its bright cheer. I have never suffered from SAD, but am realizing why some people do fight this each year. Living in a fog without the sun is stressful. I actually thought someone was shining a spotlight in my eyes this morning when I awoke. My light-starved brain could not compute the light filled room! Surprised, I actually laughed out loud when I came to my senses.
Stephen King is out and about today, with son, Stephen and friend, Don. They are attending an 18th century Trade Fair. These guys were born too late! They love everything Early American, they shoot muzzle loader firearms, cook over open fires, blacksmith and sit around the fire telling tall tales. Steve hasn't been up to going for awhile but with Stephen driving and a good chair to rest in, he should enjoy his day. I am so happy this was scheduled this weekend instead of next. I intend to quilt awhile today. I finished one of the four quilts awaiting finishing touches. Kristina seemed pleased with Abby's 30s style patchwork wth its bright red binding. I have a few borders to sew onto Whitt's cowboy quilt before it is ready for quilting. I will get that today, FOR SURE! I hope :-)  Bonner and Joe, our nephew, are expecting another baby in August, so I just must finish the first child's quilt!  But the good news is, I'm all but finished with the two quilts for Jessie's girls. Belle is two and the new one is due in March and I plan of gifting them both with a quilt! Belle's quilt is a complicated piece and I've stumbled several times. The new girlie will get a simple quilt in a unique color combo of aqua, red and gray. I am reaching beyond the traditional patterns and colors in my latest efforts, although I tend to love a simple patchwork best. I have purchased fabric and patterns for about six more quilts, including a Gees Bend quilt.
Gees Bend is in Alabama and during the depression a group of ladies became famous for their unexpected twist on quilt making. They used what they had, with no money to purchase new fabric, they cut and scrapped old clothes, flour sacks, anything available to make bedcovering to keep their families warm. Years later, these old quilts were declared "works of art" by the public. The unusual thing which separates a Gees Bend quilt from others made across the US, is the almost modern art designs. Not mere patchwork squares or blocks, these quilts were usually muslin with splashes of color without pattern. Very graphic works from untrained, unskilled poor women in an isolated spot in the middle of the South. Courtney and I attended a showing of these quilts at the Louisville Speed Museum a few years ago and I fell in awe of them. We were blessed to met a few of the original quilters, each a sweet, strong woman, still producing ART. I will attempt to post an example of a Gees Bend quilt, but with my techno skills it may not happen. YOU know what I'm talking about!
I had a lovely experience yesterday, I told you all this was a busy week. Anyway, I attended a baby shower for the son of an old frien and his newborn son. Chris is a family therapist, a single parent and has adopted Michael his newborn son. As it often goes, Michael is the spitting of his daddy. Both are biracial with beautiful caramel skin and chocolate eyes. Chris was a constant in our home during high school and I look forward to watching his son grow up. He handed Michael over to me yesterday saying, "Burp me, Grandma Hedy." That is all it took, I'm hooked. Madeleine fell hard for this sweet living doll, too. She stalked him throughout the afternoon, hovering over anyone who had him in her arms. Always willing to open her arms and lap for him. The contact she made was wondrous, Maddie looked straight into his eyes and smiled so sweetly, whispering love words only Michael could hear. She hated to leave when the party was over. Shawn had to promise a Louisville trip soon...I'm onboard for that, Madd.
Our tradional Spring Break trip is in the final stages, Connie has chosen a beautiful, gulf front house with all 4 bedrooms facing the water. Stephen King insists I go ahead as always and enjoy my getaway with the girls. I am proceeding as though I am going, but can give my spot to a friend if Steve or Mackenzie are in an needful medical spot then. I will not go off if either is not up and around. Again, I believe that living positively brings about positive life! But it is a battle, some days, to present a happy, calm face to the world when inside I am full of doubts and questions and rage. I practice banning those feelings and most days I succeed. I appear calm and sure because I AM. Sure that we will beat these ills; Stephen King will be healthy and strong again and our Mackenzie will blossom to life with her Mama's kidney filtering the toxins from her body.
Faith is strong and powerful and nothing is more powerful than our God.
Love you, Ladies. Talk to me. Hedy

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