Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jessica and Luke Host Christmas Dinner

Luke came to Fresno for a visit.
So we put him to work right away.
Practicing working in the kitchen together with Jessica.

They did get some occasional input from Sue.
But not much.

Jessica cooked the turkey, the potatoes, the gravy,
the cranberry relish, the jello, and the vegetables.

And Luke helped.  He cleaned the turkey,
put it in the oven, took it out, carved it, and
said the blessing for the meal.

Valerie set the table and made the salad.

And we're talking first class all the way.

The elders sat and enjoyed ourselves.

Sipped a little wine and encouraged the dinner hosts.

And it all came together without a hitch.
Maybe Luke and Jessica will host Thanksgiving in
Colorado Springs next year?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joyful Christmas Morn

2009 was a hard year, but we have a lot to be thankful for.  This Christmas morning we had sunshine and blue skies, good friends and family, good food spread over the Christmas table, and a honkin' big bottle of  brut champagne.  Here's a few snapshots from our joyful Christmas morn.

Red and greeen girls with red and green surrogate mom, Cindy.

Christmas presence. Two peas and a pod.

Love around the table.  Family, friends and food. 
Who could ask for more?

Similar haircuts, similar smiles, similar devious natures. 
Simlar black and red outfits. Maybe they're related?

Dr. Woof inspects the sedated Christmas scene. 
We were young, once.  But that was then, and this is now.

Treed up.

T'd up. Mamosas and fire-hot eggs. 
Now that's a California Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When It Rains

You'd think having cancer for a year would garner one enough attention.  But some people seem to like a lot of attention.  It's not as if Sue wasn't already getting enough attention from Doctors and other medical professionals.  Still, that is her car, and that is her in the driver's seat, and that is a fire truck and a police car and Sue was interviewed by paramedics as well as the policeman.  And that is the ambulance that took Sue to the emergency room this morning, where she was attended by doctors and nurses and x-ray tecnicians and such.  And that is me dressed for the office Christmas party I didn't attend, and Valerie took the picture and also didn't go to the Christmas party.

However, the Madera Management Company office Christmas party traveled to Fresno and we had a festive exchange outside the Saint Agnes Medical Center emergency room.

Sue did her very best to take out the electric service boxes that control the lights at the First and Herndon intersection.  She got the first one good, but the second box was a little instransigent; It turned out to be on a concrete base.  Sue's car smells like gunpowder now from the driver's side air bag deployment.  The car also looks a little shorter today than it did yesterday.  And a little dehydrated.

Sue 's back home now.  I think she'll recover.  I have my doubts about the car making a full recovery.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Good Am I?

Sunday December 13, 2009. University of California at San Francisco.  Sue's back in the hospital here, and I am reacquainting myself with some of my old friends, like Ms. Blood-bot.  I said I was done blogging but as they say, never say never.

A month ago Sue had scheduled a routine follow-up exam with Dr. Wolf for Friday, December 11. It turned out to not be routine. About a week ago Sue started experiencing pain in her lower back again. By Thursday night Sue was experiencing extreme pain in her lower back and increased neuropathy pain and weakness in all four extremities (feet and hands). She was discouraged, in a lot of pain, and emotionally wrought.

Until recently Sue had been doing very well, so I booked one of our favorite Christmas vacation spots, the Grand Hyatt at Union Square.  Union Square at Christmas is usually festive. This weekend it was rainy and cold.  While we managed to squeeze in a nice late dinner Thursday night with David Carico and his friend, Rhonda, at Zuni's Cafe on Market Street, Sue was uncomfortable the whole evening.  Sue did not sleep much on Thursday night.  She paced around and cried a lot.  Some of the crying was from the pain, and some was from the emotional stuff, mostly unspoken and inferred by me:  Why me?  Why now?  I was getting better.  I was planning to go back to work in January and get back on with my life.  I can't keep doing this.  It isn't fair.

So on Friday she was also quite exhausted, both physically and emotionally. As we sat in the exam room at 500 Parnasus, waiting for Dr. Wolf, a young woman walked by with an older man. Normally the exam room doors are closed, but this time it was open.  The young woman looked at Sue, stopped, backed up, approached the room and said, to Sue, "You're my oh my myeloma, aren't you?" My Oh My Myeloma is Sue's blog "handle." The young lady, I'll call her "SFL" for San Francisco Lady, had recognized Sue from her blog. SFL had been reading myeloma blogs because her father had been diagnosed with myeloma.  SFL's father had a stem cell transplant at UCSF just after Sue had hers, and so Sue's blog (and mine) about her STC experience was of particular interest to SFL. SFL's father doesn't speak english, so she has been his primary assistant through all of his medical treatments.

Sue was delighted and encouraged by our brief encounter with SFL and her father. We had but the briefest hint of the struggles SFL was going through.  She was in college at another UC campus, she'd said, and it was hard for her to concentrate on her studies.  Further, she really didn't have anyone to talk to about her situation.  SFL is from a private family and from a private culture where talking about such things is not usual.  Just the day before she had decided to start a blog. 

We have been extremely blessed by the many caring friends we've encountered on Sue's cancer journey.  Our blogs have brought us in contact with many good people outside our normal circles.  We've developed friends and prayer partners throughout the world.  You blog readers have been a community for us.

Sometimes when you are knocked down you think thoughts like, "I'm broken.  My life is over.  What good am I?"  There are times of experiencing sadness and loss.  We had prayed for God to show us what good could come from Sue's cancer experience, that is, what good we could do.

We don't think our encounter with SFL was a chance encounter.  We think it was an answer to our prayer. SFL's blog is titled: A Daughter's Perspective, and can be found at:

I invite you to read SFL's blog and then to join Sue and me in being in community with her.  I specifically invite you to pray for SFL and her family.