Sunday, January 08, 2012


A couple of weeks ago we thought Betty would have emesis every day, but after a string of five tough afternoons, it subsided for a brief time; Then it was back for three days, but as of Sunday (the 8th), we are again “urps-free” since Friday. I know it may seem strange to measure good days and bad by the need or freedom from “pink plastic tubs”, but that’s exactly where we are when the primary characteristic of this bone metastasized cancer is doing its deadly damage. Still, after an early morning which didn’t start out too promising, Betty rallied and we were able to attend morning worship to begin this week. On the strength of that time with God in company with our church family, we will make it until Wednesday evening when our small, home-study Bible group will gather here and we will again be refreshed and nourished for the balance of the week.

Last Thursday morning was given to receiving the monthly infusion of Palmidronate Disodium, a medication designed to capture and fix calcium in her bones in hopes of forestalling any quick depletion of this vital material and to possibly minimize bone fractures or outright breaks which would almost certainly hasten her demise. That outing was extra hard on her since it took more than four hours instead of the more reasonable hour and a half. It took over a day to recover from the effort and stress. Wherever we are and especially at home, we are being extra careful to avoid falling or attempting any other physical activity which might endanger her bones since they are now at great and increasing hazard. Part of this protective mode calls for long sessions just sitting in the (plush and overstuffed) “Dream Chair” or taking ever more frequent naps throughout the days and evenings. As always, the favorite pastime is reading your cards and letters, folks, and visiting or ministering to others by telephone.

Last week we made it to and through our mutual birthdays with many cards, greetings, calls, and some really thoughtful gifts. The 3rd (hers), the 4th (ours) and the 5th (mine) were celebrated and shared and thoroughly enjoyed. David came over from Kennewick for Friday and Saturday and as always is great company. In his usual helpful way, he took on some house and cleaning projects which were appreciated, provided some fine company, but best of all presented us with the product of some special labors he has been conjuring over since late November. David used many (most?) of the 528 photos he took at the family photo session at Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa on November 26th to create a DVD movie of each of our fifteen individual family members in family groupings and all together in the pictures that include everyone, warts, winks, blinks and all. It is a masterpiece of art, photography, humor, and insight set to Muppet Music and other tunes. Even the “shut-eye" shots were included as the song “Don’t Blink” plays and explains how quickly time passes as kids grow up and marry and have their own families and it is all going by so rapidly one shouldn’t “Blink” for fear of missing out on so much. To match this talented gift David also presented us with a book he based on Psalm 23 and illustrated with his own aerial photographs; it is gorgeous!

David and his Mom spent more than eight uninterrupted hours together Friday night while Patty took me to the River City Bluegrass Festival to see some of the top-rated musicians in that finest of American Music genres. We were in or near the front rows at three of the individual concerts given by some of the greatest talents of today. Although we heard perhaps fifty or sixty different songs by five or more “sets” of artists, I have stored away in mind and heart several specific performances which were completely amazing to experience “up close and personal”. The most incredible example was played by the fiddler for the Steep Canyon Rangers, Nicky Sanders, whose rendition of “The Orange Blossom Special”, the classic fiddlers train song, I have heard hundreds of times, and many times live. This stunning performance outshined them all by far! Even recalling it now to mention it in this blog has raised my pulse, caused me to choke up, and filled my eyes with tears. Well, we also enjoyed an up-and-coming young group, the Bluegrass Regulators, a remarkable demonstration by Tommy Emmanuel, an extraordinary guitarist, and a rollicking round of more traditional Bluegrass by the Travelin McCourys, a top group Internationally. If you follow Bluegrass (or know how to Google) you might appreciate how special and exciting this birthday outing was for me.

Betty and I continue to appreciate and remark upon your expressions of love and concern which are a comfort and a solace to us. We will have additional family coming next weekend and beyond, so we are not without activity nor are we pining away alone at home. Life, even when severely threatened, is to be lived and shared and enjoyed. It is full of blessings, everyone a welcome experience or a gift of delight, and we are thriving upon the friendships we have gathered over the years while we relish the days which remain for Betty and me to share together with family and with you.


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