Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Breathing easy

Good morning!

I feel much better about the whole bronchitis situation than I did yesterday. After seeing Gunter myself and giving it some thought, I understand how this could very likely be bronchitis. Things like this are really going around, so I'm thankful the nurses caught whatever it is before it got too bad. My red blood cell theory didn't hold water, because they said his cell counts are still good.

Gunter goes back to Montgomery this morning for the shot to boost his white blood cells, and thus begins recovery week.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and encouragement!

Monday, January 28, 2008


I just heard from Gunter, and he's on his way home from chemo #10. Lately, we've been concerned about some chest pain and heart flutters. Yesterday, he actually had a short spell of lightheadedness. I hoped they would do some sort of test today to make sure his heart is okay. I, the self-proclaimed honorary nurse, also thought it could be caused by low red blood cells. After a chest X-ray, the nurse practitioner decided it sounded like bronchitis and sent him home with some antibiotics.

I'm just not convinced. He has been coughing some, but I would say no more than usual. But I trust the nurses at the Cancer Center, and I probably would have felt better about it had I been there. And there has been a lot of this kind of thing going around... I hear that infant RSV sickness can translate into bronchitis in adults.

At this moment and, I'm sure, for the rest of this week, I will be pretty nervous. I know God is in control, but I try to be in control, too. It's only when I realize that I'm not in control that I "relinquish" control to the One Who really is. It's difficult, because I feel as though it's my job to make sure Gunter is physically cared for. It's pressure. Before I drive him crazy, I must remember that Gunter is a grown man — not a helpless child — and I'm just here to help. I bet I won't see him working himself into a worried frenzy. No, sir.

I'll update again as I see progress.

Friday, January 25, 2008

At week's end

Happy Friday! It’s been a good week. I enjoyed greeting our trustees at the conference this week and making new acquaintances, but I just about talked myself to death! I got home last night around 8:00 (sporting my business suit, hose and strawberry bedroom shoes), and my wonderful husband had cooked quail, butter beans, mashed potatoes and rolls…A good thing, because I was tired and hungry!

I ate lunch with Aunt Pam today. It's amazing how a few minutes spent talking with a dear friend can refresh my very soul. Sometimes, conversation with that result happens randomly, as if God sends a surprise gift through someone unexpected. And then there are those rare and precious people who make me feel that way every time, maybe because we have a special connection, maybe because their caring hearts wrap around mine with each minute of time spent together. I have more than one friend like that. We need to be careful to make time for people, because we never know how our fellowship might change someone's outlook on life.

Gunter and I are looking forward to enjoying the weekend. Tonight is date night, and tomorrow is wide open. I have some things I need to do around the house, but I hope to get out and do something fun, too. Against his own will, Gunter will spend too much time next week inside the house, so I’m sure he won’t want to be a homebody tomorrow, either. I just love Saturdays!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

20-year anniversary

We made it through another "bad week"! Gunter is doing well. We're praying that his body holds up well through these last three treatments and that the side effects will not worsen or throw any surprises on us. We're also praying for patience. Three more treatments might not sound like a lot, but we're so tired of this mess! Please forgive my complaining. I know it could be MUCH worse, and I know that God really has shielded us from so much. He is the reason we've fared so well, and it will only be by His power that we can have hope to move on.

I'll be helping with a conference for work this week, and I'm so thankful it fell on a "good" week. I hate being away from home when Gunter feels bad.

Thursday, I'll celebrate my 20th anniversary of being part of God's family! On January 24, 1988, God saved me in a little church in Donaldsonville, Georgia, at the age of almost 5. Even though I still needed a lifetime of polishing (still do), my parents say I was a different child after that day. I used to be jealous of people with powerful testimonies -- people who sold drugs, kicked cats and robbed grocery stores before they met Jesus and He radically changed their lives. But God has a unique plan for everyone. He draws us to Himself in His own time. Now, as I look back, I am deeply thankful that God drew me when He did. Though I made plenty of mistakes and rebelled from time to time, I know His presence in my life spared me from so much pain I could have caused myself. I grew up knowing God, and I am thankful that I can't remember when He wasn't there.

The Christian life is a great love story. It's an adventure. Life has its ups and downs, but with God, it is truly abundant. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I urge you to ask God about it. He wants to be your hero, your friend, your comforter, your peace and joy.

I sang a song today in church by Nichole Nordeman called "I Am." I changed the lyrics around on the kids part, but you get the idea.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Aerobics and a full week

Tonight, I start my aerobics class! Woo-hoo! I know I won’t be able to make it to every class, but it’s better than what I’m doing now — letting some workout DVDs collect dust on my shelf. I enjoy taebo, but it doesn’t seem like much fun when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. We’ll see if I can finally make exercising a habit. I’m out of breath just thinking about it. But, a couple of friends from work are taking the class, too, and these girls would make ANYTHING fun!

It’s been a great week so far. Gunter has gone to work at the church every day, and he’s really enjoying himself. Besides that, he’s been extremely productive, and he’s helped me out a lot.

My “Outrigger Island” super pack came in yesterday from LifeWay, so I am officially in VBS planning mode. With all the island stuff, this VBS is sure to be fun. We’re also working on our annual Valentine banquet to raise money for the youth. This year, it falls directly on Gunter’s birthday, so we’ll have to celebrate another day.

Sunday night, we’re taking the youth to First Baptist Church Opp to hear our friend, Mike Reed, speak. God has his hand on Mike and his wife, April, and it’s going to be a tremendous blessing. I know that because they’ve been blessing our lives ever since we met them.

Have a happy Friday!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Update after chemo #8

For those of you keeping up with Gunter’s progress, I guess I do need to write more of an update than I have. Healthwise, Gunter is doing very well. His blood counts are good, though all the sickness going around is still cause for concern. We’ve been fortunate so far. I don’t think he’s ever gone so long without common illnesses.

Last night, he started feeling a little better after spending the week recovering from treatment #8. This week, he’s had the common side effects, along with a few mild episodes of his heart beating hard and fast. His treatment nurse says that’s normal. He also seems to be experiencing some nerve damage from the “V” part of the chemo. Hopefully, those nerves will repair themselves after Gunter’s treatments are done.

He’s sick of being stuck in the house all week after each treatment, and I’m sick of it for him. I don’t like not having an easy remedy. Four more treatments to go.

On the bright side, I had an encouraging talk with Cheryl W. at work yesterday. I’m so glad that God sends people my way when I need a change in perspective. Cheryl reminded me that God does have a plan in everything and that He’s working his plan just as he pleases.

I read an entry from a blog yesterday that helped me better understand what Gunter is going through. The link to the page is below, and I’ve also added a link to his site on my “Links” list. His descriptiveness and ability to convey his thoughts are excellent. Please be warned — he tells it like it is and slips a “choice” word in here and there. Still, maybe reading his site will help you understand what AVBD chemo feels like, if you’re one of the fortunate who have never experienced it firsthand.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year's reflections

Happy New Year (a few days into 2008)! Gunter and I celebrated New Year’s Eve by going to bed at 9:00. I was clued in that 2008 had arrived when we heard our down-the-road neighbors shooting fireworks. They only shot two rounds of what sounded more like firecrackers, not giving me enough time to get up and look out the window. At some point, my sweet friends Lola N. and Karen B. sent text messages wishing me a happy new year, but I was so sleepy, I didn’t check them until the next morning.

I have no reason to complain about this going-to-bed-early routine. A full night’s rest has been a rare luxury since long before my college days, simply because I get up terribly early and I don’t always like to stop what I’m doing and go to bed on time. Gunter likes his rest, so he encourages me to relax and rest, too. My daddy is always telling me to get some rest — the man who often has to get up at crazy times to be there for someone who’s having surgery or drive all night on trips while everyone else sleeps.

I really do have the best parents. On New Year’s Day, it’s tradition to go to Mama’s house for meatloaf, cabbage, black-eyed peas and corn bread. This year, New Year’s Day fell the day after Gunter’s chemo #8, so Mama and Daddy decided to bring the tradition to our house. There they came in the freezing wind up our front porch steps, carrying a spread fit to feed five families.

Of course, we’re certainly not lacking as far as other family members go, either. We’d be fortunate to have only one good set of parents, but instead, we have three. We have a loving and supportive extended family, as well as people we consider family who are of no blood relation. People are constantly taking their time to not only let us know they care, but to also bring our names before the throne of the Almighty.

I have learned so much about love this year from selfless people. I’m beginning to understand what true love is made of, not just being drawn to someone but making sacrifices for another’s benefit that they couldn’t possibly repay…or even know about in this life. Jesus, the embodiment of love, said: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Sorry, but it often takes life experiences for lessons like this to sink in for me.

I’m very proud of my husband. Since his Lymphoma appeared in July, last night was the first time he’s missed church simply because he felt too bad to go. When I think about what he’s been through, any complaint or excuse I make sounds empty. I mean, the week after his mass became visible, he drove an overheated van full of youth to Memphis, worked in the heat all week long, slept on the floor and stretched out on a concrete driveway for a day to replace an alternator. I’m also very thankful we have people at the church who will step up at a moment’s notice and fill in for us (Shelia S. was willing last night, as always).

In other news, things have really picked up at work. My company is now officially sporting a new corporate identity, complete with a new name and a new employee newsletter. Helping with that project has been fun, but now it’s getting hectic as we field more and more questions. I expect it’s probably just a warm-up for the rest of the year. Lots going on, lots of changes, lots to be learned.

I don’t know what God’s plan is for 2008, but I am certain He will be faithful, just as He always has been. I want to be closer to Him, love Him more and live out His mission for me every day. I like to look back and see the traces of His hand in every situation. I want to recognize that more in the present, to open my eyes and see where He’s working.