I have decided to put the previous monthly updates on here as well. I hope you enjoy reading them, or at least get to know me a little better. It should be noted that I am unable to find the August 2008 update.
Well good warm sunny afternoon to you all! Just a quick email to keep you all updated in my progress.
The counts continue to drop between transfusions but the Doctor here says to give the new meds time to "kick in". Last week I was at 6.6, and this week 7.1, that's up from 5.3 the previous week. My energy levels are up and down, but I think that is due to some difficulty sleeping. As some of you know, I have begun contemplating some rather deep spiritual questions and trying to find my way along that path, whatever it may be. I don't know where I'm going, but I know someday I'll get there and I am sure to enjoy the journey!
On a lighter note, we celebrated Molly's 6th birthday last Friday. Cupcakes and ice cream all around with some friends and family. I know you were not all invited, but we like to keep these things kinda low key so please don't be offended. I have some pictures I'll post to my Flickr page later on this week as my energy permits.
Until then, I'd love to hear about how you all are doing... really I would. How about letting me know what you think of the quote at the bottom of the page. I found it while at the doctor's office last week. I think it says nicely how I feel about life.
All my love to you, and as usual, please pass this along to those not listed in the "To:" section.
Well I met with the Vascular surgeon today to get the results of the MRI and the ultra sounds. If you recall I was sent to him after seeing the Ophthalmologist. Neither of them could find anything wrong with either my eye itself or with the veins. The surgeon said there was one vein that made a weird (not quite normal) curve in the back of my neck and therefore they were unable to see any flow through it. It could be blocked he said but it didn't feed the eye and there is another twin vein on the other side of my neck and it is functioning perfectly and even if the other is blocked, it's capable of handling things all on it's own. Long story short, I guess all they could tell me was that it was "likely" a clot that worked it's way to my eye and then "dissolved" 2 hours later. So, another scare. Another close call, as it could have gone to the brain... but all in all, nothing to worry about.
Things around the house are going pretty well. We have two and a half weeks until the big trip to Cali. and I for one can't wait. With the recent deluge of rain, nearly 12 inches in about three days, everything has greened right up again... which means I have to mow. We found a few week points in the roof bringing that need into sharp focus again. The stuff needed to keep a house up never ceases to amaze me, especially one as old as ours. We are all dry though and didn't have any chickens sprout webbed feat, that would have been something.
Everyone else here is in good health with the exception of Sarah's nasty cold. I seem to have gotten it too, but with the elevated white blood cell count (think immune system) it seems to be unable to penetrate my defenses.
Not much more to tell. I am glad for that as there could be lots of bad news to spread around... Thank you for keeping my family and I in your prayers, I believe that they have helped considerably, especially with the "eye" issue.
I hope that all of you are well and know that I think of you often and I am grateful that you are in my life.
Take care, Love,
Greetings all! I am sending out this months update a little early. As many of you know, Sarah, the kids and I are traveling to California next Tuesday for two weeks for a long over due vacation. Therefore I will be gone until the end of the month, so I'm sending the update now. Plus, I have a bunch of pictures of a little trip I took to the U.P. last weekend to visit my brother Joe and clear my head a little.
As for my health, I was doing well until today... While taking the dogs for a quick visit to Uncle Bill, they spied an enemy... a CAT! and decided that they should give chase. I kept up for maybe six or seven strides and then hit the deck, which was wet with the dew. My foot made brief contact and apparently decided that it too would like to chase the cat and I was not going fast enough, so it tried to go faster and down on my rump I went. My back is very stiff now but the cat is safe and the dogs have been duly scolded.
Other than that, I am trying to work through some emotional issues one at a time. So far so good. I have gotten some things off my chest and resolved the ones I have tackled so far. My biggest problem is getting up in the middle of the night and having these sorts of things creep into my brain and keep me awake, hence my strong desire to work through them.
I would like to take a moment to say thank you to all those who continue to send prayers and positive energy out for me, I really appreciate it.
Well, not a whole lot more to report about this time around (and that's a good thing!). Please feel free to check out the new photos on the Flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodaholic/ and also leave your comments on them.
Love you all,
Hello all, I trust you are all up and mobile again after partaking of way too much food for thanksgiving. I would like to apologize about this being just a little late. I was just a little bit under the weather the last few days of November when I'd have liked to have gotten this out to you all. But then again, it's not like I have an editor hounding me about deadlines, so I guess it'll get done when it gets done.
I will try to post some more photos in the next day or two as well. I continue to have a ton of fun playing with the camera and have even completed a small "job" taking photos of Martin for his yearbook. It was fun and challenging just trying to get him to smile, doesn't that boy know how to relax? Well, hopefully I can continue to grow in my knowledge and skills with this and maybe make some money on the side, it would at least be nice if it could pay for itself... some of this stuff is expensive! I have even started inquiring at the local colleges regarding taking some classes, we'll see how that goes. Truth be told, as long as I am having fun with it, that is what is most important to me right now.
As regards my health, I seem to be at a standstill, neither losing nor gaining but physically holding my ground. Emotionally I will admit that I have been struggling of late though. I think that the mental aspect of having something like this has caught up with me. I have been having what I would call mild depression and a few instances where, what later seemed like rather simple things really made me angry and upset. Unfortunately I took a lot of that out on my wife and that really pains me. She already has a lot to deal with and certainly doesn't deserve that type of attitude from me. I have spoken to the doctor about it and he says this is typical for people dealing with such severe sickness (I just can't bring myself to say the "c" word...) and that he could put me on an anti-depressant but that would mean more side effects. So for right now, I am aware of what's going on and I am trying to keep a handle on it so as not to have another medication to have to take. Sarah and I have talked about this and it is of great comfort to know that I have someone like her to keep an eye on me and keep me in check, so no worries from any of you. I am living life to it's fullest and trying to do it with as few modern "medicinals" as is possible.
On a slightly related note, I am looking into what hobbies I have had in the past and what still interests me in order to try to find something to occupy my time. I am going quite stir crazy just sitting around here with nothing but the computer or the tv to occupy my time. I have been reading some rather good books by Jack Whyte about the Arthurian legend with a lot of historical information written into them. More of a late Roman, Celtic, Saxon viewpoint and I really like his style of writing. Sarah and I are also thinking real hard about getting back into the SCA. Though I don't know if I will be able to fight, it at least will be something I can do with her and even bring the kids along with the added bonus of rekindling some previously established friendships. I'll keep ya posted on how that pans out.
So... what else... I had a really good Thanksgiving dinner (actually two) and it was good to be able to take some time to reflect on what I had to be thankful for. Chief among those things are all of you, my family and friends. The wonderful support and comfort I receive from you all on a daily basis is a huge part of what drives me through all of this. Thank you, from every fiber of my being, thank you.
I am also looking forward to x-mas. Not only being with family, but that also means that I made it through the first year since the initial diagnosis. WOOHOO!!! In the upcoming year, we would like to be able to tour the Eastern states and see the sights up and down the coast. The trip is in the initial planning stage right now, no date set or exact route planned, but we'll get there. I also look forward to getting my '71 truck back on the road. I really miss driving that thing, I have made a lot of good memories in that and won my fair share of street races also. Now with a new engine (new to the truck anyway) I am very anxious to see what it'll do. With the last engine in it, she ran very low 16's in the quarter mile at the "official" track. I'll keep you posted on the progress of that as well.
Well, I am running out of things to say, I know that seems shocking to some of you but it's true. So in the interest of keeping this short and interesting so you'll all want to read the next one, I am going to close this now and wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Joyous Hannuka or whatever you are led to celebrate at this wonderful time of year. I look forward to seeing you all in 2009, even if I have to buy the beer. First rounds on me, come sit a spell and lets talk a while.
With all my love,
Well, it's been one year now since I got on this crazy roller coaster, I am more than ready to get off now... I will say that this x-mas was by far a better one than last year. Not so much in terms of what I received, but more so what I watched others get. I am certainly thankful for the gifts I did get, make no mistake, but I was far more aware of watching the kids open their gifts and the joy on Sarah's face. Much more in the moment if you will. I also am very grateful for the things that didn't come wrapped up in boxes with fancy bows attached. Things like your prayers and well wishes. I don't care who you are, I don't think there is a person alive today that fully appreciates what their friends and family truly mean to them until they have gone through something like this. I cannot be any more sincere when I say that I love each and every one of you and my most heartfelt wish is that you all might know the kind of love and friendship that I have come to know with out having to go through something like this. I am truly blessed, give yourself a big ole hug from me.
Well, on to more lighthearted things. I received a new lens for my camera, it'll go out much further than the other two so I am anxious to try it out on some of the local wildlife. I haven't taken a lot of photos this month, but it was pretty busy around here. Sarah and I along with Jeff and Desiree went to South Bend on the 5th and met up with an old friend from high school for dinner and some Irish music at Fiddler's Hearth. We all had a really good time. I have recently reconnected with a number of other high school friends through Facebook. I've had a page there since last winter and all of a sudden people started sending me friend requests. It's funny how it just sort of happened all at once. It's nice to see how they all have progressed throughout their lives as well. My twenty-year reunion is coming up this year (2009) and it'll be interesting to see them all in person too.
We also drove to Grand Rapids in some of the worst weather I have seen in recent memory to welcome home my friend Ryan and his brothers in arms from Iraq. They completed a one-year tour and got home the Sunday before x-mas. Wow! What an awesome x-mas present that was. I am so glad that we (Sarah, my friend Chris, and I) braved the foul weather to see him home, that is something I will never forget. I am so proud to have known someone that brave, you are truly my hero Ryan!
Work on the house continues, albeit it at a snails pace. The drywall work in the downstairs bedroom is now done and it needs paint and carpet, some trim, the doors stripped and refinished and then it's done. Then on to the parlor, the bathroom and the kitchen... will it ever end? We have also started to de-clutter the basement and a huge load of unused stuff went to Goodwill to find a better home. The truck is also almost full for the dump and maybe one more load to GW then she's done too. Then on to the barn and all the projects therein. A piece at a time, one foot in front of the other.
As I try to reflect back on 2008, it all seems like a blur. There were certainly a few highlights, some that I will cherish for a long time and some I'd rather forget but I guess we don't always have that option do we? I think that they all happened for a reason, and I could spend countless hours contemplating why, but in the end, it doesn't change the fact that they did happen. I think what is important is to look back on all those things and see what good I can take from them, for if we look hard enough, we can find good in all things. Sure it's not always the easiest thing to find, but it is certainly the most rewarding. For example, being unable to work was a really hard thing to accept, but it has given me so much more time with Sarah and the kids. All the trips to Minnesota for the clinical trial that turned out to be ineffective also gave me the opportunity to visit with my cousins Marcie and Kathy which I would not have otherwise had. Even just going through this whole sickness thing had brought me so much closer to all of you and had I not gotten sick, I honestly probably would not have even been in contact with some of you at all. For all these things and so much more, I am thankful. I certainly hope that I have touched your lives in a positive way as well. I look forward to 2009 with the utmost excitement. Sarah and I are planning a trip to the East coast and the nations capitol this year. I look forward to finally finishing this house, getting my shop set up here again and building some furniture, working in the garden, driving my old truck. I thought for a while that all my dreams and goals had been taken away from me by this disease, but I see now that I simply had too many irons in the fire. This has forced me to shed some of the things that were holding me back and focus on the things that are truly important to me. And with the help of some of you, I may just realize my dreams. You know who you are, be ready for my call... we are gonna have a blast in 2009!!! I promise. I told a long time friend of mine last year that I wanted to have a big party for my birthday and his response (along with his puzzled look) was "This isn't your 40th is it?" I said heck no, is there a rule that says I can only have a big party on certain birthday's? I told him, if it's going to be my last, I would like for it to be one to remember. Well, it ended up not happening, but I think I can make a more concerted effort this time around. Roast pork anyone?
I did have a lot of opportunities to get to see many of you this past year. It is my hope that the ones I didn't get to see, I'll have the chance to see in the year ahead. I think we should all make a more conscious effort to do so, anyone with me? You know where to find me and I am certainly willing to come to you, just let me know when and where (wink).
In closing, I would like to thank you all again (I don't feel like I can ever do that enough so get used to it) for all that you have done. Some of you went far above and beyond what I think would normally be expected of you and I don't know if I can ever repay you for that, though I will certainly try. It's certainly not a competition so if you didn't get to go above and beyond, that's OK, know that what you could do, can do and have done is enough for me, I gather strength from it all, large or small.
I love you all and I look forward to seeing you soon. Until then, I bid you peace and prosperity and send you all my love.
Ps. Keep a weather eye on the Flickr page for more photos, I should have some there in the next couple of days. (wink)
I will put the 2009 updates in another post.