Sunday, March 15, 2009

Update on Wes, Birthday Party, and Miss Smarty Pants

Wow! What a month! I have to admit that part of the reason I have not posted in a while is because Wes set up a Facebook account for me, and I got a little hooked. He had been telling me for a while to set one up. He said people kept asking why I didn't have one. Being the sweetheart that he is, he just set it up one day for me. The first profile picture he chose was of us smooching. Ha!

Wes is doing well right now, thankfully, but there have been some rough patches. We had been told there would be, but I guess I was just hoping Wes would be wonder boy or something. It still seems unreal that we are going through all this. He has been such a trooper through it all. God has been good and we are so thankful for the blessings of friends and family.

The first couple of weeks, his main side affect was fatigue. He needed lots of sleep which I was perfectly fine with. I would rather him be sleeping then uncomfortable or throwing up. Another side affect he experienced early on was just an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach.

During his third week we were disappointed to find out that he could not get his chemo treatment because his white blood cell count was too low. We were surprised since he had been feeling pretty well. We kept him away from crowds and from anyone who might be sick. People with this sort of treatment can catch something minor and end up in the hospital for a couple of days. Pretty scary stuff, but like I said, God is good! He didn't end up catching anything during that time. He had to get three neupogen shots over the course of three days to boost his white blood cell count. He had been told that theses shots could cause severe pain in his bones. The first couple of days he didn't feel anything and then on the third night excruciating back and hip pain hit him in the middle of the night. I felt so sorry for him. He was just moaning and groaning in the fetal position with no relief. It took several hours for the pain medicine to finally kick in. I tell you, it is so hard to see someone who has always been so strong look so weak, helpless and in such pain. I pray that he doesn't have to get those shots again!

During the third week we noticed his hair was falling out, so he shaved his head himself. (Blake, his brother, shaved his head as well.) It really looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I know I am biased. Several people have commented on how great he looks. Some ladies at church have even kissed his bald head. I am wondering if I should be worried. He still has his eyebrows and eyelashes. The girls like to touch his head and Abby went around singing, "Daddy has a bald head. Daddy has a bald head." There are some pros about him having a bald head. He spends less time getting ready in the morning, and I have found that I don't have to clean our bathroom as much.

The 4th week (his second full week of treatment) brought good news and some stronger side affects. His blood work revealed that his cancer markers had gone down to normal which means that the chemo is working and prayers are being answered. He has a CT scan on Tuesday which will check the enlarged lymph node in his chest. Hopefully that has shrunk as well. He was hit with more fatigue than the first time. He also threw up some which was not fun!

The 5th week brought some more side affects. He experienced some chest pains which gave us a good scare. His tongue swells from time to time now and his mouth creates a lot of saliva. This can be both humorous and frustrating. His speech can be extremely slurred at times and if you didn't know him better, you would think he was drunk. Benadryl was recommended for that, but then you have to deal with the side affects of being knocked out by the Benadryl. It is like he can't win. On Wednesday he was in the middle of teaching the youth group when his tongue started swelling again. We all felt so bad for him. He didn't want to stop teaching (which was my advice) because he had prepared some "good stuff" he wanted the teens to hear. Well, I started to get emotional and so did some of the others. It is just hard to see him like this. I know he is not dying, it is just hard to see him suffer. Four more weeks - he can do it - I know! He has lost 10 pounds or more. I really am trying to put some weight on him every chance I get.

The girls have had some cute things to say during this whole process. One day while Abby was on Wes' lap she said, "Daddy, why don't we just cut some of my hair and put it on your head?"

At a friend's birthday party one of Avery's friends noticed bandaging from the IV on his arm. She asked, "What is that for?" Avery responded, ever so nonchalantly, "Oh, that's my dad. He has chemo." (She keeps getting cancer and chemo mixed up.)

What a hottie! The gotee didn't last long.

On Saturday, February 21, we had a cooking birthday party for the girls. We usually have a party for both of them since their birthdays are fairly close and they have so many of the same friends. The kids got to decorate their own aprons, cups, create fruit, cheese, and ham kabobs and decorate cupcakes. We also played some cooking games. We had a wonderful time with family and friends and made some great memories.

Decorating the aprons as people start to show up.

Abby eating her fruit, ham and cheese kabob.

Abby, about to blow out her candles on her cupcake creation.

Look at that sweet face!

Avery, about ready to blow out the candles on her cupcake creation.

Dad and Carson competing against each other during the marshmallow game.

My Aunt Cathy and my cousin, Scott, came to visit for a couple of nights during the next week. She had flown to Abilene from Alabama to be with Scott for his birthday. We had a lot of fun catching up and playing with the girls. It is always fun reminiscing about all the fun times we had together growing up. Mom was so lucky to have such a sweet and fun sister who liked to play around with her nieces and nephew. It was always neat to see Cathy and Mom together growing up. They would tell some great stories and we always enjoyed playing Progressive Rummy, our favorite family card game. Maybe, we can all play that again in Heaven.

Abby and Scott "cooking".

Cathy doing what she loves - videoing! Abby is doing her puppet show behind the chair.

Abby, in her element - ACTING!

The next weekend was Park Avenue's annual ladies retreat. Wes was still feeling pretty good at this point. He and the girls went to visit his family for the weekend. 78 ladies went this year to Sky Ranch and we had an awesome time. Several ladies shared their testimonies (making us all cry, then laugh, cry, then laugh some more). My spirit was refreshed and renewed. Relationships were strengthened and new friendships began. I am so thankful for such neat group of ladies that I can call friends and sisters in Christ. One afternoon we had the opportunity to do some daring activities, such as the zip line, bungee swing, a gigantic trampoline pillow and some other climbing activities. It is so fun to see 60 and 70 year old women do some of these things. I hope I am that fun when I am there age. Sky Ranch is an amazing place. I would highly recommend checking it out.

The whole gang. I am on the front row on the left.

Amy (Russell) Johnson. She was in our youth group when we first moved here. Now she is married. Time flies. Love ya, Amy!

Great friends, Carrie and Wynn. We are getting ready to do the zip line.

Wynn at the top of "THE POLE". You amaze me, Wynn!
(The object was to climb an extremely tall pole then jump to a trapeze.)

Karla and her mom waiting their turn to try the zip line.

Karla, climbing "THE POLE". She was awesome!

Karla and I doing the zip line for a second time. Karla was in our youth group too and is now married to a youth minister. Love ya so much, Karla!

Me on the bungee swing. That was a rush!

We found out some great news about Avery this past week. Her teacher gave her the STAR test this past week which determines what level they are reading on. Her teacher emailed me with excitement to let me know that Avery is reading on a 1.7-2.7 reading level. For all of you who are not elementary teachers, this means she is reading between a first grader in their 7th month of school and a second grader in their 7th month of school. She is such a smart girl. And yes, I love it! We are so proud of her! She now has her butterfly and ladybug on the wall in the cafeteria which means she has over 60 AR points. The students get points from reading books and doing well on the computer tests over the books. She was the first kindergartner to get her ladybug on the wall and there were some 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes who didn't have a single student with a ladybug yet. OK, I will stop bragging. I am just proud! I prayed (and still do) that she would enjoy learning and I am so thankful that she does.

I have to brag on Abby too. She loves being read too and can read several three and four letter words by sounding them out. She wants to be like "big sister". It is too cute! She also can write some of the letters. Her coloring has been great lately. She stays in the lines so well and she has begun drawing her own pictures more and more. (We can actually tell what things are now, it isn't just scribbling.)

This week is our Spring Break. Yippee! We are supposed to have some good weather. I plan on spending a lot of time outdoors with the girls. We hope to enjoy some long bike rides, picnics and maybe even a trip to Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch.

Keep those prayers coming!


Shiloh said...

Thanks for the updates. We are praying for you guys (especially Wes) right now. The girls are getting so big - the party looked like tons of fun!

David and Michelle Simpson said...

You guys are definitely busy...thanks for the update on Wes. Tell him that we are all praying for him. Stay strong!

Margo said...

Those are great photo's of aunt kelly and karla. I bet you all had fun. Karla is a monkey isn't she lol.

Jamie said...

That was a great update, thanks. We are thinking and praying for your family. Love you!