Sunday, January 20, 2013
What a nice day we had yesterday. It was our grandson's 4th birthday and Landon wanted a pirate party. His mom went all out fixing pirate party bags for each child (and for Tommy, because he's a big kid at heart) and decorating the house. She asked me to make him a treasure chest birthday cake (I used to make and decorate cakes for a living many years ago).
Their home was filled with more small children than I could count. They were all running and playing with their little rubber swords while donning their pirate hats and eye patches. I think it's almost impossible to be around a lot of laughing children and not smile. Tommy was having a great time, as he always does with his grandchildren.
The food was also scrumptious, and I was pleased to see that she had lots of cut up fresh fruit - yum! Everyone was having a great time.
Landon's treasure chest birthday cake. I'm not sure what they liked the most - the cake or all the candy it was filled with!
I loved this shark that she carved out of watermelon, and refilled with fruit.
Tommy (left) with his oldest son Jeff
Landon preparing to sword fight with his Papaw Tommy
The party was a nice break from a stressful few days and also took Tommy's mind off of his concerns, at least for a little while. He had his three month scan last Tuesday and has an appointment tomorrow morning to see his oncologist. They always do blood work when he first arrives, but his doctor's nurse called him Thursday evening and asked him to come in Friday morning so they could go ahead and do his blood work. When he asked her why they wanted him to come early, she told him the scan shows something new in his abdomen. He didn't ask any questions, but we went to the lab Friday and they drew blood. We are both very concerned that his cancer may have spread somewhere else. Needless to say, it's been a long weekend with little sleep. We are both very nervous about tomorrow and praying that our worst fears are not confirmed.
Please keep Tommy in your prayers, and thanks for all of your support.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Well, Iíve been away from SparkPeople for the past couple of weeks, only taking a minute or two to look quickly each day. Thereís been so much going on, and Iím really ready for some relaxation time. Iím so glad 2012 is over along with all the stress the end of the year brought.
First, my job as a magistrate is an appointed position that automatically expires at a certain time. The end of 2012 was when my term, along with the term of several other magistrates, was ending. Itís always a stressful time as they can choose to replace you or reappoint you. Thankfully, I have been reappointed for another term so I donít have to start stressing again until the end of 2016 (at least about my job). Being sworn back in on January 1st was a huge relief. We did, however, lose one magistrate, so we have been short and working an adjusted schedule to make up for his absence until a new magistrate is trained and on the schedule. Between the crazy schedule at work and the holidays, Iíve stayed tired. Even so, I managed to enjoy the holidays, at least the food, a little too much. While I only gained a little over a pound, it still bothers me and Iíve got to get back on track.
Today Iíd had enough. I was off work and feeling crummy, so I decided I really needed some outdoor activity and headed up to Pilot Mountain for a hike. It was the first time Iíd been up there since they had a fire up there last fall (a controlled burn that managed to get out of control). Tommy went with me and together we hiked the loop around the knob on Jomekee Trail. When we finished, I headed on to the Grindstone Trail while he drove to the park entrance to meet me at the other end.
I was so surprised and saddened to see how much of the area had been burned, but it will come back quickly when warm weather returns. It was in the 40's, which was perfect. I saw very few other people on the trail, which is the way it usually is on a weekday. All in all, it was a great day for hiking, and I feel so much better tonight. Now Iím ready to get back to my daily walking routine and hopefully do some biking sometime soon.
I don't make New Year's resolutions - I stopped doing that years ago. I have decided though that I WILL reach my goal weight by the end of 2013. Less than 1 pound a week will get me there, so no more excuses. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to be healthier by the end of the year.
Now for some hiking pictures:
Slightly charred area along the Jomeokee Trail.
These two trees looked like they fell burning, leaving holes in the shape of each tree.
A badly burned area along Grindstone Trail
Self-portrait! Note my Darth Vader hat - LOL. No, I'm not really a Star Wars fanatic; my son gave it to me, but it's warm.
The trail ahead with the Pilot Mountain knob in the background. That's the knob that Tommy and I had hiked around earlier.
Not sure what the rock cairn is about. I can understand these in the desert where trails are much harder to recognize, but with a large blue circle nailed to a tree every 40 - 50 feet, I hardly think this is necessary. Oh well, I guess somebody was bored.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Christmas is a special time of year celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time that brings families and friends together exchanging gifts, sharing wonderful meals, and just enjoying each othersí company. We often think of all we have to be thankful for on this day, but maybe we should try to appreciate the things we have all year long.
During the course of everyday living, it is easy to dwell on the things that are wrong in our lives. There is always something to worry about and whatever those worries are, they are often hard to put out of our minds and can tend to occupy the majority of our thoughts.
When Tommy was diagnosed with cancer, that was one of the worst days of my life. All seemed hopeless and I felt lost. I looked at all of the family members, and I saw those same feelings of shock and helplessness in everyone elseís eyes also. The pain was unbearable and I was scared for Tommy; I couldnít begin to imagine how he must feel. I wanted to take away his fears, but I couldnít. All I could do was be there for him. Those thoughts still creep into my mind on a regular basis, but I have learned so much from Tommy that it is becoming easier to drive away the negative thoughts. Of course, I still wish I could snap my fingers and Tommy would be cured forever, but since I canít, I can only trust God that there is a reason things are happening as they are.
I was cooking dinner the other night when Tommy made the remark, ďIíve always been lucky in life.Ē I paused for a moment as I tried to understand how he could consider himself lucky when he is battling pancreatic cancer. I didnít say anything to him, but continued working in the kitchen while trying to process this in my mind. It took some time, but then I began to realize that he was right. Despite his diagnosis, he has been lucky in life, and so have I.
What we are dealing with is part of life, just like the countless others we see every time we go to the cancer center. To us they are nameless faces, but to someone else they are the world. They are all someoneís family member, someone who is loved, someone who received the same diagnosis of cancer that left another family also feeling devastated and scared. Yet, they are all there, brave souls who are moving forward and fighting for their lives. Most importantly, they are living their lives. These people truly appreciate every day of life.
I thought about when we were told that Tommy probably had six months to a year to live, and then I smiled - he is now enjoying his fourth Christmas since his diagnosis, without being hooked up to a chemo pump. He has become the poster boy for the cancer center on how to live with pancreatic cancer. God is good and we are truly fortunate.
I started thinking about how lucky we both are to have such supportive family members in our lives. I thought about the last three years and the amazingly wonderful times we have had. Weíve made several trips to the southwest, several trips to Florida and to Myrtle Beach, and numerous trips to the mountains. Weíve gone hiking and bike riding, been out on boats, been to several races that he loves so much, and he has watched his grandchildren continue to grow. We spent his birthday in Andy Griffithís childhood home and we got to meet Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), a highlight for him. I could go on and on because there are so many things we have done, and I plan for us to do a lot more. My goal is to keep him encouraged and looking forward to his next adventure. We still have our bad days, but the good ones far outnumber the bad. And most importantly, we laugh, a lot. Despite his illness, we are continuing to live our lives with new hope for each day.
Last week, we received a Christmas gift from a family member that was almost unbelievable to us. Because of medical bills, we have both been driving older cars hoping that they would keep running. We received a gift of a car, the very kind that Tommy had been wanting to buy but we simply couldnít afford. We are both so excited, but thought and thought about how to repay someone for this. We walked around the stores trying to find the perfect gift for this person. We finally settled on a nice gift, but it still didnít seem like enough. We know she doesnít expect repayment; she doesnít even want others to know what she did for us. Itís just the type of person she is, always doing for others. So how do we repay someone for always being there when we need them? We canít. We can only say thank you so very much to her for all she has done. Yes, Tommy was right. We truly are lucky in life and we need to remember this every day.
Enjoy your day today with all of your loved ones; hug them and tell them you love them. Appreciate all that God has given you. Life is short, so we have to live and enjoy every day.
Merry Christmas my friends!
Our Honda Fit
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
We've been many times before, but it makes no difference. Every year we have to head to Tanglewood Park to drive through and enjoy the holiday lights display. It's tradition. Sometimes we even go more than once during the season.
Tonight we took Tommy's son Derek, daughter-in-law Sonya, and two grandchildren, Lindsay and Landon, with us. It was so much fun as we listened to Lindsay and Landon squeal with delight at the sight of Rudolph flying across the road above us and at the lighted Santa waving from the side of the road. Halfway through the drive, we stopped at the Big Red Barn where you can go inside and see all the local crafts for sale, and outside is the traditional big bonfire where you can roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate or cappuccino.
So here's a little taste of the Festival of Lights that we look forward to every year!
The entrance to the park.
The Big Red Barn
Tommy clowning around and Lindsay eating her marshmallows at the bonfire.
I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy some nice light displays, and seeing them through the eyes of a child makes them even more special.
Good Night my Spark Friends!
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