Welcome to Life Through Bifocals

Life is not always clear and easy to figure out. So grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and let's see what we can see.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring, Oh Glorious Spring!

It has been quite of week up here in ther right hand corner of the USA.
More snow (it's snowing while I type this) and more cold weather means out pellet stove is working 24/7 to keep me warm and I am very tired of wearing layers of clothing.  So Spring had better be getting here soon and it will be Glorious!!

I know that you are waiting for the report from the transplant doctor.  We had a beautiful day to drive up north to the Hospital.  The 1 1/2 hour drive was just lovely.  A nurse took several tubes of blood and then we hung around to see the doctor.

He told us that my proteins were climbing and that was not good.  It looked like the ratio of cancer drugs to normal cells was 340/1.  My heart sunk.  He was going to do a test where each protein was counted by hand  to see which protein was off.  If it was only 1 protein, then we perhaps could change drugs and hit that one protein with a different chemo protocol and force it back to where it belongs.

If several proteins were out of wack, then he would want a bone marrow biopsy to see how much of my blood was cancerous.  If that was between 40-50% then I get moved up the transplant list and start preparinging for that procedure.  All I could think of was that my calendar was too full and that I didn't have time for this.  The transplant requires me to stay up in the hospital for several weeks in isolation while my body heals.  I don't want to do that!!

We agreed that we surely needed more tests to see what was going on.  We left the hosptial discouraged and depressed. One thing we both agreed on was to let our prayer warriors know what was going on and to ask them to pray.  So once we got home and told our daughter the news, we got our prayers warriors praying.

One told me that I was a miracle waiting to happen.  Another told us that the test done down here would be wrong.  As it turned out, they were both right.

Six days went by before we got the results of the latest test.  Sure enough, he felt that since the test down here was calulated by a machine, the machine was wrong and the ratio is NOT 340/1 by in fact is 27/1.  The bone marrow biopsy is off, and the stem cell transplant is off, well for at least 2 months.  We head up there again at the end of April and retest.

So for now, we change nothing, we continue with our lives and love each other and those around us.  We laugh and smile and work and live.  We are grateful to all who have prayed for us, and held us up before God.  We are even more greatful that God granted the desire of my heart to stay outside of the hospital for a bit longer.

So after a few short wild weeks, we are relaxing while it snows outside again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another trip up North to Check in

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th we travel up north to Darthmouth Hitchcock Hospital to check in with the Transplant doctor.

One of the issues with living with cancer, is the fact that I have to check in with doctors every so often to find out how I'm doing.  I see a lot of doctors and they all want blood, I just show up and roll up my sleeve and give them blood.   Wednesday, we have to be there for 9 am.  In good weather, it's an hour and a half drive.  In bad, a good 2 1/2 hours. So we leave early, get there for a bunch of blood work then wait a while to get the results, then talk and talk to the doctor's and parts of his team to see where I am and how I'm doing.

At the moment, we go up 4 times a year, I'm hopping I'm doing so well that he tells us we can drop that to 3 times a year.  That would be nice.  

In the meantime, we reflect on what the past year has given us.  A lot of laughter, a lot of love, a lot of dotors, good friends, good food, good prayers and a lot of leaning on God to keep us going.

If you would, please, pray for us to have a good drive up, good results and a good drive back home after a long, emotional day up north.

Thank you


Monday, February 16, 2015

Old Man Winter Wroke Up!

Our front yard in there someplace.

In November, we had snow for Thanksgiving. only enough to kill our power and make the weekend long and interesting.  In December, nothing!  We had a green Christmas and a green New Years.  I was OK with both of those.

And then came January.

Old man winter woke up and must have said "OOPS, I forgot the snow" so he opened the door to the snow storage unit and let it fall.

A lot.

And often.

In the past month we have had snow falling every few days for 3-5 inches, or a dusting to 3 inches, or  6-10 inches.  Until we have 5 feet of the stuff!  Snow banks are well over 8 feet high and trucks are on the corners knocking down the snow and trucking it away.  Where do they take the snow when they truck it out of the city?

We have icicles, or had icicles I should say.  Hubby hired someone to shovel our roof.  The man did a very nice job.  He came when he said he would, the price was fair, he got the roof clean off.

He even left a reminder for us that he was there.  Can you see it?  Look close.  There is a Dunkin Donuts Ice Coffee on top of the chimney.
Yes, we drink Ice Coffee up here in negative degree weather.  It made me laugh very hard.  I think it's still frozen up there.

So we continue to dig out.  Continue to drive slow and continue to be thankful for all we have because as Hubby put it, there are children in China without any snow at all.

Stay warm everyone,  more snow on the way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


With all the snow coming down, Joyce came up with great questions, now for our answers.

1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'?
I can't remember the last time I told someone to chill out or the last time someone told me to chill out.  But when I get upset, I tell myself to chill out a lot.  I take a deep breath, count to 100 (or more) and try to chill out before I make a final decision or say something I shouldn't.  Most of the time it works, but once in a while, I should have kept counting....

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt? 
I love holding my Hubby's hand while we watch TV.  We do it a lot.  I love that but what really makes my heart melt is while we are sleeping, we reach for each other.  We are just old romantics at heart.

3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton  

Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?

A few weeks ago the car broke down in traffic, I was alone.  It was an inconvenience for sure.  It was so cold and I didn't have heat in the car.  A nice police officer allowed me to sit in his cruiser while I was waiting for Hubby to get to me and then we waited for AAA.  It was an inconvenience for sure.

On the other hand, we sometimes just drive around looking at the beautiful countryside we live in.   We get lost on purpose and drive around, talking and laughing.  To me that is an adventure.  I love that.

4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?
Root Beer in a frosty mug on a hot summer day. Hands down. But since it's so cold out, I'm going with the chocolate cupcake.

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.
More of a symphony so far for sure.  Our lives are filled with joy and laughter and love and grand children.  Family, friends and I love ever minute of it.

6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?
The first one I though of was White Christmas.

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?
I love living in the country with neighbors just far away to make it so nice. I would miss the country life.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Well the state shut down. We all stayed in and waited for the snowmagedon.  And guess what?  It really didn't happen.  Yes we got lots of snow, and it blew around a lot, and it was cold.  But it was not what the snow storm of 1978 was and that was the storm this was compared to.  We didn't loose power and we are all OK.  August went out once and fell into the snow.  Since he is 10 inches tall, we knew we had at least 10 inches of show.  He jumped up and into the house in one leap and looked at me with sad scared eyes.  Me, I laughed so hard my side hurt.  

There is another snow event scheduled for the end of the week, We must be playing catch up for all the snow we didn't get in November and December.  That's OK, we're ready. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Anniversary of Sorts

This weekend, the 24th and 25th of Janbuary is the one year anniversary of my Stem Cell Harvesting.  It's been an odd year full of blessings and love.

We were sure that we were harvesting stem cells and getting them back in the fall of 2014.  However, the Fall of 2014 has come and gone and my stem cells are still in a freezer.

I look back and see all we have been through.  The  massive chemo that cost me my hair for the first time.  The growth hormone shots to force my body to make many more white cells and force them into my blood stream.  The port that needed to be sewed into my neck because my veins were not big or strong enough to handle the machine that would suck the stem cells out of me.  The harvesting itself which was harder than I hoped it would be and was as hard as I was told it could be.

I look back at how hard it was to gain my strenght again, to get back to work.  How hard it was to play with my grand girls or even sit at a birthday party and not cry.

It's been a year of up and downs, of illness and health.  Of good days and bad.  Of weeks of sleeping and days of energy.

It has been a year of watching my husband do it all, from cooking and cleaning to shopping and laundry.  Driving me everywhere and holding my hand while I slept.

A year of both dogs sleeping on me, near me, checking on me throughout the night.

A year of co workers helping out, doing my job, taking over at times and wishing me luck all the time.

A year of back and forth to doctors for things not really connected to cancer but still somehow connected.

A year of friends taking me out to dinner, lunch, and breakfast to talk, laugh, ask questions and just enjoy each others company.  A year of gifts, calls, emails, cards, funny stories and prayers.  Lots of prayers.

A year of leaning on God to do what I couldn't and to meet my needs.

It's been quite the year!  I have hair now, I have energy now, I have things to do and places to go. I have a job to keep up with and friends to laugh with.
I have a husband I can cook for, and clean up after and even take care when he gets sick.
And someplace up north are my stem cells, frozen. They can stay there for 30 more years.