Friday, June 26, 2009

Dad Update!

Thank you for your continued prayers for my dad. He had his surgery yesterday, and although he is not feeling as jovial as pictured above, he seems to be recovering well so far. We are hoping he will be released to go home from the hospital today. Katelyn and I will be going to Austin the week of July 6 to visit and help out while Dave goes to Atlanta for a week.

Here is the most recent update on my dad (from my mom):

Dave's surgery went well Thursday and he came home Friday afternoon about 5:00. He went in visiting and joking with everyone--all the way to OR; however, when he came into his room he didn't think things were so funny. He said he was surprised that it was so tough. That's the reality of surgery. Any of it is tough. The anesthesia as well as people digging around on your insides--kind of takes the strength out of you and is not real comfortable.
The good news is that he really did not have any pain and therefore didn't need to take any narcotic drugs. Although he had some nausea that caused him to have to stay in the hospital through Friday afternoon instead of being discharged that morning, things have been progressing well. His follow up visit with the doctor will be next Thursday to get the pathology report and to see if he has healed enough to take out the catheter, so we will appreciate your prayers for a good report there.
We have had a few visitors today and he has been able to work in some more jokes, so he's on the mend.
I know you are all wondering how I am doing on my caregiving role:). Well, he's pretty independent and functioning fairly well, so I'm trying to be "the assistant", doing anything he needs or wants just how he wants it done, being calm and encouraging. I have learned over the past year or so that it is not about the busyness of talking and doing--it is about presence--being there for each other, caring, and loving. Quite a revelation and very enjoyable.
Thanks for all of your prayers and support for us both.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Precious Moments!

Dave has been in Atlanta this week, so Katelyn and I have had some very fun mommy/daughter time! Last night, we went on a date to Chick-Fil-A. One of her new phrases that she has picked up (I think from her Aunt Brittany!) is "awesome dude!" Katelyn says it like this: "Awe-thumb dode!"

So we were sitting in a booth together, and she was chowing down on her chicken nuggets like it was no body's business. Mid-bite she looked up at me and said with a big smile, "Awe-thumb dode!" I just started laughing and said it back to her with an equally big (if not bigger!) smile! It was such a sweet moment! Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to find joy in the little things!

And while I still have your attention...Katelyn has also been saying another cute phrase lately! Every morning we go on a walk around the neighborhood, and because it has been sooooo stinkin' hot lately, I always express just how hot it is outside by saying "Hot Tamales!" multiple times during our walk. Katelyn quickly responds to this by saying "Hot Mommies!" So cute! I'm not gonna's quite a confidence booster as I'm sweating like crazy, my hair is thrown up in a ponytail, and I feel like the most UN-hot woman on the block!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

She's Done!!

Mamaw and Katelyn (and Eddie the dog)

Katelyn wearing my mom's wig!

Peepaw and Katelyn

My mom had her last chemo treatment yesterday (Friday the 19th)! Congratulations Mom (and Dad!). Check out her final update below, and please pray for my dad who will be having surgery this Thursday (see update below):

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!

Today I had my last chemo treatment, so all I need is my follow up shot on Monday.

No radiation needed--yeah!

Will start a drug in a couple of weeks that I'll take for 5 years. He didn't mention any side effects, so I guess I'll have to learn those from the pharmacist.

Will have a one-month follow up.

After that, a MRI and mammogram in one year.

Thank you so much for all of the cards, meals, phone calls, e-mails, visits, thoughts and prayers--they really all helped bring me encouragement and let me feel God's love through you. I only had two bad days during the first week of my first treatment and had no sickness after that. I felt a peace and joy through it all, counting my blessings. Prayer really works.

When I was first diagnosed, I was reading tons of literature telling me what to expect as possible side effects--a bit confusing, depressing and scary. Then I thought I would call a couple of my friends who had gone through or were going through breast cancer. Much to my surprise they each told me in similar words that they would not wish cancer on anyone, but that it was an exciting journey that had changed their lives. Melony did not have to have chemotherapy, and Louise Gray was 2 months ahead of me on the same chemo treatment. She described the treatment as "very doable" and sent me a care package that had everything in it that I would possibly need. She became my guide and encourager through my experience. These women were so joyful that it started me out on the right track. Others came beside me like Cindy Goldsberry when she was diagnosed with breast cancer; Jill Saufferer and Terry Sewell, as well as the prayer ushers kept me "prayed up." Mossy Minner (who I have heard of for years at Bethany, but didn't really know her) made me a pouch to be placed over my shoulder and under the seat belt, as well as a heart shaped pillow for over my chest or under arm, both for comfort after my surgery. What a blessing! Bethany Flint cut her hair short and donated it to Locks of Love in honor of her mom, her nephew, and me who all have cancer. Louise Gray walked in my honor in the Komen Race for the Cure in Arlington, shortly after she finished her chemo, and Jim Vasek participated in my honor in the Atlas 4000 charity bike ride to raise money for cancer research. My daughter Kristen dedicated Monday's on her blog to me, although I didn't give her much information the past month or so. My daughter Brittany's friend who lives in New York and whom I have never met or talked to sent me two care packages just because she thought I must be a good person since Brittany is so sweet.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the prayer shawl ministry--a very cute pink wrap around scarf, and a pink shawl that I could feel the peace and comfort every time I wore it. The card said "As you wrap yourself in the comfort of the prayers lifted for you, experience the healing grace of Jesus Christ." That is exactly what happened. My husband has been an awesome caregiver and has gone with me for every doctor's appointment and chemo treatment; he's a great cook; he brings me coffee or hot tea every morning when he is not working; and he does mornings and covers for me whenever I am too weak to do what needs to be done.

Many people have been surprised at how well I have handled the whole cancer experience. There are a few secrets that should not really be secrets:

1) I am not afraid of death. I have had a great life; however there is a time for everything according to God's purpose and none of us know when, where, or how that will be. I know where I am going after this life and seek to live each day to make a difference through the love of Jesus.

2) God is with us all the time and He works everything for good. He promises that.

3) There have been many blessings that have come from this experience--the most important is that my relationship with Christ has grown stronger. I had felt a bit distant for 6-12 months which is difficult when you have had a strong and joyful relationship. I wasn't sure where it went or how to get it back. This did it and therefore was worth it all!

4) It is through sickness and other challenging times that others are able to show and we are able to experience compassion and we draw closer to God. If everything was great all of the time, we would have no need to trust in God--in fact, we would think we were making everything happen ourselves.

5) Dave and I have examined and re-prioritized our lives--work can do without us (a painful yet freeing discovery). We are taking more time off and making a point to visit family and friends and spend time with each other. We no longer sweat the small stuff.

As I close out this chapter of my health experience, we would like to let you know that Dave's follow up tests in April showed that he does now have prostate cancer. He is scheduled for surgery June 25. His physician is very encouraged, saying he is young and healthy (the physician's words, not ours, so no laughing); we caught it early; the recovery/non-recurrence rate is very high--96%; his physician does only these surgeries, every day, and has his own special team that works with him, so he is very competent. Dave will only be in the hospital for one night. He will not need any chemo or radiation. I will stay home with him for a couple of weeks, so that will be the biggest challenge--to see if I can match his caregiving abilities. He's a different kind of patient than me, in that he doesn't really like people to make a fuss over him, but when he needs something he wants it then. He anticipates my needs, and to be real honest I'm not there yet. I'm a fly by the seat of my pants reactionary person. We'll see how that works or if I have to call in a home health agency.

Once again, some people would say "Oh my gosh!" We believe that God's timing is perfect and he never gives you more than you can handle. If we would have both received our diagnoses and had surgery near the same time that would have most likely been devastating, and definitely tough. The fact that I am finished and he will start next week is a blessing.

We praise God for our family and friends and ask for your prayers during the next few weeks.

In Christ, Anita/Nikki

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great-Granny-A-Thon 2009!

Some of you may remember last summer when Katelyn and I went with my youngest sister Brittany on the first Great-Granny-A-Thon! We went to Houston and Beaumont to visit our grandparents (Katelyn's great grandparents, thus the name GREAT Granny A Thon). This year, my sister Jessica got to go with us too! It was so much fun! Here are some pictures from our trip! Thank you Granny, Mom and Pop for being such wonderful grandparents and hosts! Can't wait til next year!

For more pictures of our trip (including some really cute ones of Katelyn in her swimsuit and at Dunkin Donuts!), visit

Dunkin Donuts in Beaumont!

Katelyn and Pop

Katelyn and Mom

Katelyn and Granny

Me and Granny

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy (Surprise) Birthday Dave!

Dave turned 32 today! In honor of his birthday, I threw him a surprise party this past Saturday! Almost every Saturday (unless its raining), he enjoys playing frisbee golf and eating donuts (that he brings home for us to enjoy as a family)! I enlisted the help of his good friend James to "arrange" the frisbee golf date, and I set up the birthday breakfast bash to take place at the park where he plays! The breakfast was complete with donuts, mango smoothie (courtesy of my sister Brittany!), and strawberries (courtesy of the Christians!). Dave was really surprised, and it was such a fun time! Thank you to Brittany who served as our on-site photographer!

For a more complete look at pictures from the party, visit

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weekend to Remember

We had such a great time in Austin this past weekend! We stopped in Waco on our way down to have lunch with Dave's mom. It was a nice treat! Dave and I really enjoyed the marriage conference, "Weekend to Remember." If you're married, you should definitely consider going! It was so refreshing, challenging, and encouraging...all in one! Visit, and click on "conferences." Katelyn had an awesome time with my parents too! They took such great care of her that I don't even think she realized we were gone until we came back. The day we left, my mom actually had her 5th chemo treatment. It went really well, and she has her LAST ONE on June 19th! We are so excited! Below are a few pictures/captions from the weekend.

Our lunch stop in Waco to see Granny

Date night during the conference (it fell on my birthday--very fun!)

Katelyn, Peepaw, and Mamaw

Katelyn and Eddie (my parents dog)...they really like hanging out together!

My dad found this little apron at their house, and Katelyn enjoyed (and looked so cute!)
wearing it.