I normally take a bunch of pictures of all of us at Christmas time, but this time I evidently only took 1 of Nathan and someone took 1 of me with the gift Nathan gave me (a flower in flour - wow!). At least we got a picture of all of us at the Christmas service! And you can see the guys even put up some Christmas lights outside so we didn't look like a bah humbug house as we like to call those with no lights. So grateful for that! It was a great day with a great family I'm so grateful to be a part of!
Our neighbors' (from our old neighborhood) daughter got married today and we were all invited. The daughter's twin brother was Nathan's best friend growing up, so it was great re-connecting with him and celebrating his sister's wedding! I did pretty well for my first big outing - I just needed to take a 45 minute nap in the van between the service and the reception, but there was a lot of lag time so it worked out great. Here are a couple of pictures of the fam.
Today was an extra special birthday for me after all that has happened over this past month in my recovery. I've become so grateful for the little things. My sister had sent me a gift card to Bonefish Grill so we ordered dinner from there tonight and ate it at home all together. It was a precious gift to be with the family tonight. We only took 1 decent picture from today, so here it is.
I really enjoyed this past weekend. I had kind of given up on the hope that we would have any Christmas decorations in our house this year because I'm usually the driving force behind that every year during the weekend right after Thanksgiving. But since I was pretty incapacitated, I just didn't think it would happen. And then, low and behold, Saturday night I see my wonderful husband putting up our Christmas tree!! He even put on a Santa hat and played Christmas music, which totally brightened my spirits! Then Sunday morning my pastor referenced my battle with cancer as a message of hope for others. I sincerely hope it helped inspire others that cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence and that trials don't have to rob you of peace of joy unless you let them. Anyway, then Nathan surprised me by coming to see me from college for a couple of hours, so we had a wonderful late lunch with him, Nicholas, our other 'daughter' and her fiance! A very nice weekend, indeed!
Life altering. I remember 3 years ago when I was leaning towards not trying any more treatments and just getting my bladder removed the doctor said those 2 words to me. He wasn't kidding! I don't regret opting for the clinical trial instead of bladder removal at that time (even though I ended up losing my bladder anyway) because I was able to experience so much Michigan family time and I think I would have always wondered if I really did everything I could to save my bladder. I don't like the pneumonitis and hair loss that ensued after the clinical trial, but since those resolved, I'm left with good memories with family that I wouldn't trade. But regarding this cystectomy procedure, there are so many things that I was woefully unprepared for it boggles my mind! I thought I had done my research, but it still kind of blows my mind all the things I didn't know about it. For a thorough and detailed account of everything you never wanted to know about a cystectomy, click over to the tab on this blog entitled 'Cystectomy Journey'. For the purposes of this part of the blog, I'll try to 'sum up' as Indigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride and mostly include pictures.
I went into the hospital 2 weeks ago (the Thursday before Thanksgiving), and long story short, a 3-5 day hospital stay turned into a 7 day hospital stay due to complications requiring a 2nd surgery. I was NPO (nothing to eat or drink - see picture of my chart below) for 6 of those 7 days, but I was so out of it I don't remember most of it. Tim was a total Rock Star, and I can't say enough about how thankful I am to him for his incredible care of me! But I think the moment that stands out the most to me during that week was when my friend Holly came and helped me walk outside 6 days after entering the hospital so I could feel the sunshine on my face. Even now it brings tears to my eyes as I remember feeling so grateful for the sunshine that tears rolled down my cheeks unashamedly! I don't have many pictures from that week (thankfully, because I looked like a train wreck!), but below is what I have. I really regret that I don't have ANY pictures from Thanksgiving, because that was the day I came home from the hospital and our dear friends, James and Linda Boswell, brought a full Thanksgiving feast for our family of 6. It was the most thankful of all Thanksgivings that I can remember for me! But I did get a picture of all the flowers we brought home from the hospital - I felt very loved!
Tim & Jodie