Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're Back!!

The boys on the subway
OK, we are back! Vacations rock, don't they?! We had an AMAZING time in Washington DC. We had 2 days for traveling and 9 days for sightseeing. We took a day off right in the middle to rest our weary feet, but we did and saw A LOT.
Dave showcasing some fossils

We had four of the kids with us the whole time, with the fifth coming over for 4 days at the beginning of our trip. It was so wonderful having the whole family together, warms my heart. We all experienced our first subway ride on the Metro, quite the experience. Day 1 we left the hotel with plans for the zoo, as we boarded the Metro we saw tons of people all decked out in St. Paddy's attire. We found out the was a shamrock festival at RFK stadium. Hmmmm, sounds like fun, right? Well, as the train filled with the revelers, some had begun the "celebrations" already and were quite loud and merry. Upon second thought, we surmised it would probably be better to find something to do that didn't involve thousands of drunk people. We got off at Metro Center station and headed for the Museum of Natural History. It was amazing, as I am sure I will describe everything, amazing! After that we had some yummy burgers at Ollie Burgers, the dude reminded me of the soup nazi. :)
Iwo Jima Memorial
Day 2 Davis flew in on a red eye and as soon as he got there we headed out to Arlington Cemetery. It is so beautiful there. Lots of walking up a big hill but we made it up, wheelchair and all, just in time to see the changing of the guard and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. Then we saw the Iwo Jima memorial. I always forget how big it is, and so beautiful.
Day 3 we hit the National Archives, which was awesome. How amazing to see all those documents that birthed our country. Then we headed to the Air and Space Museum. Again, the history is so amazing! I love seeing all the supplies the first astronauts had with them, and the story of the Wright brothers.
Day 4 was spent at the Holocaust Museum. All I can say is wow. It always amazes me that it started with one evil man and that he attained so much power. To think that one evil man is responsible for so much death and destruction, unbelievable. I pray we never let that happen again.
Day 5 was spent RESTING our weary feet! I've never walked so much in my life!
Day 6 was TONS more walking but so worth it. We saw the Washington monument, the WWII memorial, which was beautiful. The reflecting pool was all torn up, redoing the bottom, so that was a bit of a bummer. Then we saw the Lincoln memorial, one of my favorites. Then we walked through the Korean memorial and the Vietnam memorial, again, beautiful. I think that was the day we walked by the White House and I got a great picture of the family standing in front of a big bus (with the White House behind it of course). It drove by at just the wrong time! We also discover a Law Enforcement Memorial that we didn't know was there. Dave found a couple of names of officers he knew and he had attended their funerals. I'm really glad we found that.
Day 7 was spent at the Museum of American History, I loved all the pop culture stuff, Dorothy's shoes, Archie and Edith's chairs, the original muppets, etc.
Molly and Isaiah overlooking the Potomac
Day 8 we rented a car for the weekend and drove to Mt. Vernon, Gen. George Washington's estate. Wow, it was so amazing. The view of the Potomac River is beautiful, they have kept the opposite shore line from being built up and it still looks like it did 250 years ago! I guess at one time someone wanted to build a waste treatment plant over there and thank God it didn't happen. The Mansion and his tomb were my favorite. At one time he had 8000 acres, the property is currently 500 acres.
Day 9 we drove to Gettysburg, PA. My favorite day of the trip. Although we were all a bit tired and grumpy, the pivotal battle there during the civil war just fascinates me. We took a self guided tour of the battlefield with a CD that took about 2 1/2 hours. The battlefield had more than 1400 memorials to different battalions and platoons and companies, some very small and some spectacular. There was also a great museum about the civil war.
Goofy on the plane home
Truly, the trip of a lifetime. Memories that will never be forgotten. It was such a blessing to have spent so much time with my family and the only thing that would have made it better is if Davis could have spent the whole time with us.
P.S. The best food day was s'mores table side at Cosi.
mmmmmmmmm, s'mores

If you're brave, come browse ALL the photos!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Washington D.C.

OK, y'alls, we are headed to DC on Friday, any last minute ideas for must see stuff? Please post your ideas here. Thanks!

Recovery 2

Dave did amazingly well after surgery. He had surgery Monday morning and we left the hospital Wednesday morning. my parents stayed until Friday to make sure we were all settled in, what a blessing they are. It was so nice to know they were here with the kids. I could focus on Dave and didn't worry about the kids at all.
The first few weeks after surgery Dave did great. Almost no swelling, no headaches, no fatigue. He just wanted to get back to work. Then we had some issues trying to get him off of the steroids. Most of that story is in this post ~ ER. Then we had a second trip to the ER, described in this post ~ Flat Tire. I think with the combination of coming off of the steroids and the build up of chemo in his brain he is just a mess. He also started his first round of oral chemo the last week of February, he takes it for five days, once a month.
He is extremely fatigued, won't eat or drink and it takes me an hour to get him take his meds. He is not combative, he just keeps saying OK, I'll take it. Then fall asleep with his pills in his hands. We got some great stuff from Vemma, sort of like liquid vitamins, that I cannot get him to drink. If you could all continue to be in prayer for him we would appreciate it. We leave for Washington D.C. on Friday for a ten day vacation. I think we might rent a wheelchair so he can see everything without totally wearing himself out.
So the last month has been a challenge for all of us to say the least. We had a guest pastor today from San Diego. Pastor Jurgen was amazing, and as God usually does, his sermon spoke directly to me, to our trial. He spoke about breaking through. About persistence, continuing with prayer and praise and requests from God. He taught from Matthew 15. There is a woman who's daughter is demon possessed, she cries out to the Lord for help. When Jesus ignores her and the disciples try to send her away she continues to cry out. When Jesus said I came for the children of Israel she kneels before him and cries out for mercy, when he likens her to a dog she calls him master and says even the dogs eat the crumbs from the table. Then Jesus says she has great faith, then heals her daughter! Had she chosen to leave, or be offended at being called a dog and march away, her daughter would not have been healed. It definitely encouraged me to continue to pray for Dave's healing, regardless of how discouraged I may become, or what the doctors have to say. To press on, to have faith, to be obedient. I did the sermon no justice, but there ya go.
Dave goes for an MRI Tuesday, please pray for a clean scan. Thanks again for all the prayers and support.

P.S. Yay!!! He just drank his Vemma!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bottom of the Second

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The week before his second surgery was a good week. I had spent 16 weeks struggling with "the peace that passes all understanding".

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I had a sense of peace but still wasn't at that point of transcending all understanding. My understanding was that I might lose my husband, and how could any good come of that????
About a week before surgery Pastor Juan spoke about letting satan curse us with our own tongue. It was almost an epiphany for me. I had been letting this go on for years. I was able to take my own thoughts captive, to stop the forever running tapes of "I'm a loser, ugly, fat, failure, etc." they've tried to sneak in a couple of times in the last two months, but I refuse to listen. I am a child of the most high God!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

Also, three days before the surgery we were in Phoenix for his MRI. Now Dave is not a communicator, I on the other hand, can talk communicate all day.  there was lots of drive time, so I tend to ramble. I was going on and on about my struggle with true peace in this whole situation. Dave actually interjected several times with many words of wisdom. About having faith, him knowing all would be as the Lord has planned, and not worrying.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Luke 12:25

So in my passionate ramblings I said "I just want the peace that passes all understanding!" several times while banging on the steering wheel. I guess I finally meant it, because the gracious Lord granted it. From that moment on I have felt peace regardless of the "what ifs", or how Dave is feeling that day, or what the doctors have to say. I now have the faith to go wherever God wants to take us. What I want doesn't matter. I still pray for complete healing for Dave, but I know whatever happens, to God be the glory.
So Dave headed into surgery, he was grateful for the doctors who wanted to be aggressive. He was not into the wait and see thing, he wanted to fight as hard as he could. Both of my grown boys waited with me until surgery was over. They got to see him for a minute or two in recovery before they left. I was grateful for their support.
The surgery was successful, all tumor removed, as well as dead tissue from the radiation. Th surgeon said only healthy pink tissue left. They also placed 8 chemotherapy wafers directly on the tumor bed, the most allowed. Praise God!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Between Innings

Back to Dave's story. Like I said we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the kids home. This always fills my heart. It always seemed cliche to me, until my boys grew up and moved out. Now to have all my kids under one roof brings me more happiness and contentment than almost anything else. And the next few weeks were a nice break from treatments or doctors visits. The Phoenix doc wanted an MRI at three weeks after treatment, but the Sedona docs were not in agreement. They said this was too soon and could produce "psuedo-progression". The brain being so irritated by the radiation that it appears as if the tumor has grown. We were inclined to follow the advice of the specialists in Phoenix so an MRI was scheduled for a week before Christmas.
We enjoyed the break, preparing for the holidays, shopping, putting up the tree and lights. He was also working full time and thoroughly enjoying his job. He had his MRI and we went see the doctor in Sedona. The report said there was a small amount of tumor regrowth and lots of irritation and swelling from the radiation. He recommended we wait 2-3 months and have another one done. In the mean time we were to start his monthy chemotherapy, which was twice the previous dose for five days each month, for a year.
The Zanot Christmas Tree
Christmas came, which was wonderful. We spent the morning opening presents and the spent the evening at my friends house with her kids and some of her relatives and friends. She made a great Christmas dinner, which was a huge load off my shoulders, I wasn't sure I was up to the task. Then we all had a blast singing Glee karaoke! It was perfect, surrounded by friends and family, having a ball, just the way Christmas should be. Dave was feeling good and nearly back to a 100%. There was almost a sense of normalcy.
Lean On Me!
Lean On Me!
But we knew better, we knew this would be a long and hard fight, yet I still wasn't prepared for what came next. Two days after Christmas we went the specialist in Phoenix. She looked at the MRI and asked what the doctor in Sedona had said. Before we could finish telling they wanted to wait and see, she said no no no no no. You cannot take a "wait and see" attitude with brain cancer. If we wait and see and the tumor grows to the other side of the brain, then it becomes inoperable. She said she had seen pseudo-progression before and she did not believe his MRI showed that. This was tumor regrowth and we should operate again, now. She said had the surgeon she preferred been on call she would admit him now. She said not to be alarmed, it wasn't an emergency, but these tumors required aggressive treatment. And praise the Lord the tumor was in a place where they could afford to be been more aggressive. So plans were made for a pre-op MRI on Friday January 7th and surgery for Monday the 10th. My parents would come stay with kids and I would stay at Dave's Aunt and Uncle's home in Scottsdale.
All I could think was, here we go again. He was just almost fully recovered from the first surgery. Now they're going in again?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love and Marriage 5

Well, Dave came home. As I said I was not super fond of him at this time. One thing I had learned from all of this is that Love is a choice. It is not something that just happens to us. There is the initial attraction and passion, but for long term it must be a choice. We had both chosen to stop loving the other, to stop putting the others needs before ours. Instead of listening for God's still small voice I had been proclaiming loudly for two years, once you divorce me, it's over. After the divorce, I made the choice not to love him anymore. So now I had to make the choice to love again. It wasn't all that difficult to start feeling after I had starting acting on it. Sometimes our actions need to precede the feelings. Sometimes we wait around for those feeling to come, I believe acting them out brings them to us faster. God is faithful, I prayed that the love would come, that I would not fight it, and it did. We began planning our wedding and discussing our future. I was confident that divorce would never be an option again, but that takes faith too. I can't make Dave's decisions for him, but I believed his renewed commitment was more than a passing feeling, that he too had chosen to love me, forever.
the newly reunited family
Dad walking me down, with sister Stephanie watching

You may kiss the big tall bride! Mom wiping a tear. I love this pic of the boys. Shows their personalities perfectly.

All the fam with some close friends.

My sister Stephanie, my cousin Angie, GG, Me, Mom, sister Kristi, cousin Mariah.
We were told to be goofy, not everyone complied.....

Click on the pics to enlarge!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flat Tire

I got a flat tire today. Both literally and figuratively. Dave had a visit to the ER early Sunday morning. He got up to get a drink of water at 3am and had a seizure in the kitchen. Miraculously he did not hit his head. I had not been asleep at all and heard him go down. It was a small one but he was confused and weak. He has not had one since the beginning of this whole thing so it was a little scary. It took him a while to collect himself, them when I got him up his legs did not want to cooperate. I almost called 911 because I could barely get him to the bed on my own. We ended up successfully getting him in the car and making it to the ER. After five hours and blood tests, blood cultures, EKGs, a Cat scan and talking to his doc in Phoenix they determined it was a seizure and not just a fall. He had also had the chills earlier in the evening and a high pulse so they infused him with some antibiotics for good measure. He was MUCH better when we left, clear headed and could walk fine. We decided he took his anti seizure meds too late the night before, that won't be happening again. They also upped those meds.
Then Wednesday Dave lost his job. They did not feel he was healthy enough to properly perform his duties. I am grateful to them for keeping him as long as they did. He was a brand spanking new employee when he got sick and they have been very kind and patient. It was a rougher night for me than for him. He knows God is in control, as do I. I just wish I could take it all for him.
Then on the way home today from picking up Isaiah at school we got a flat tire. I managed to pull into a gas station. I went in for a soda and asked the clerk for advice on who I might call. I almost just called Big O, I didn't care about the cost I just wanted to get home. But then I thought I might as well ask for advice, maybe someone who could help would hear me. No offers of help were forthcoming, and I have changed a tire before, so I headed back out to the car. Then the very nice clerk came running out saying she called her boyfriend and he was coming to help. They were my angels today. We also saw someone we knew at the gas station that agreed to take Isaiah home so he could get right on his homework his video games. Another angel to the rescue.
After all that the car kept stalling, we had tae kwon do and I had to help my fifth grader write his rough draft for his paper on an Italian composer that is due tomorrow. Geesh! Like I said, this week was rough, but praise God his mercies are new every morning! Just something about the beauty of the morning, I knew God was with us and we would get through this day, this trial, just fine. So there was no way I was going to let a little ole flat tire (real or emotional) get in the way of that.

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This weekend had me feeling a bit discouraged. I feel completely inadequate to handle the particular challenges of our life right now. I don't know how to do it all. Comfort the kids, help them cope with their Dad's illness. Properly take care of Dave but still be his wife. I don't want to turn into his nagging nurse/mother. I can't keep my house clean, but I've never been able to do that. I'm gaining weight and sleeping to much. And fear has been raising it's ugly head.
But this I do know, when I am weak, He is strong. I've never felt weaker....

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Pick Up Your Cross

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

What does it mean to you to pick up your cross and follow Jesus?

Leave your comments here!