Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chemotherapy Update

I start the next round of Chemotherapy on January 15, giving me time to recuperate from the allergic reaction. The doc has decided to change the med to Taxol and to use reduced amounts but with more frequency. So beginning January 15th, I'll be going every Monday for Chemo with additional steroids to try to prevent a reaction to this one. There's a very real possibility that I will react to this one as well, since they are they same class of drugs. So....time will tell.

I have no idea how I'll feel during this time with the infusion weekly and additional steroids.
I guess this is a wait and see thing as well.

I appreciate your continued prayers.


The End of 2006

What a year!! I started this year in the hospital at UIC in Chicago recovering from a liver donation, and I end it recovering from Chemotherapy and waiting for the next round. So many things between. A year of incredible blessing and a good share of suffering. I've learned much, but it's not a year that I wish to repeat.

Tonight, my granddaughters are here. They're working on scrapbooks. At age five and almost seven, they do a very good job. I got them cameras for Christmas, so we'll probably see many more scrapbooking days.

This is a lovely way to finish the evening with the girls. They'll sleep over and then we'll have breakfast at "Bacon HIll" (Baker Hill Pancake House) in the morning. A serene ending to a long, long year.

May you also find peace and joy as this year draws to a close!

Jehovah Jirah!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another look at the twenty-third Psalm:
One of my favorite email buddies, who also is my nephew, sent this to me some time ago. Thought I'd share it.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd ----- that's Relationship!

I shall not want ----- that's Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ---- that's Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters ----- that's Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul ----- that's Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness ----- that's Guidance!

For His name sake ----- that's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ----- that's Testing!

I will fear no evil ----- that's Protection!

For Thou art with me ----- that's Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me ----- that's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies ----- that's Hope!

Thou annointest my head with oil ----- that's Consecration!

My cup runneth over ----- that's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ---- that's Blessing!

And I will ! dwell in the house of the Lord ----- that's Security!

Forever ----- that's Eternity!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas has come and gone. A few shots of the Huerta Christmas

M&M sing in the JCC Children's Choir.
On Christmas Eve, M1 sang her first solo.

Ta-Ta! Let's Open Presents

I can help you, Papa!

Bob and Phylis open presents!

M&M and checking out the loot!

Let's see what you got, Uncle Rob!

Brad laughing at the blank card I forgot to write in.

Here are the girls with bows on

The Huerta Hombres

I am cooling off -- Those are not really ears -- Just my ice pack.

Chow time!

Mommy & Aunt Christy wearing the package bows

Can't we start soon?
Excited Little Girls, M&M before gifts are opened.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just for fun, thought I'd post some pics of me...before and after. Hmmm. Let's see if this works. I think the "sickest" picture of me was the one Rodney took at the church Church Christmas dinner. However, when I exclaimed how "sick" I look, I was informed that at that point (at the beginning of the party) I looked good. I got really sick later -- I think I startled everyone. (The picture startled me!) Most had only seen my "well" chemo look at church. (Which is pretty "sick", actually!!)

The one of Bob and I is a "well" picture -- while I'm on chemo. It was taken two or three weeks ago. The purple shirt picture is from the weekend of JCC anniversary -- a couple of days before the lumpectomy and before chemo. It's amazing what four months can do with three surgeries and several quarts of poison (The doctors call it Chemotherapy) in the bloodstream. :)

(Have to go to the JCC computer and retrieve the "sick" picture. Patience!) If I get really brave, I'll put up a bald one too. :)


Friday, December 22, 2006

And one more shot of my girls. Aren't they the cutest?

I didn't realize it was 10 days between the last two blogs. Probably the longest since last Spring. I think it has been the irregularity of my hours. I prefer blogging in the morning, but without a set time, it sort of gets shoved aside. order to be ready for Christmas, I've used every hour that I feel decent in Christmas prep. Hmmmm. Maybe holiday stress clogs my blogger. :) That sounds like a story title, The Clogged Blogger.




Caffeine is a wonderful thing. It's my next defense for headache. The other day I had had a couple of pain pills, drank a ton and a half of water, ice packed myself for awhile and everything else. But...I wanted to be there for the little girls pictures, so I had a Iced Mocha Cappuccino, blended. Not only did my headache go away, but I got really talkative! :)

These last three and a half weeks has been different. The days don't follow any pattern (You know, they're random, first Thursday, then Tuesday, etc! Ha! Just kidding) That is my well being doesn't follow any pattern. Randomly, I may be ill as can be all morning, then productive in the afternoon. Occasionally I'll get ill about 5 p.m. or 6 and be sick as a dog half the night. Sometimes it hits in the middle of the night. Right now, it's 2 in the afternoon and I just had to stop and take a Zomig for a pending headache. (Hopefully that will take care of it.) It doesn't seem to be related to activity, stress or any pattern at all. Perhaps the allergic reaction is irrational. My hands are much better now. Still peeling. And my feet are peeling like crazy. I have about three more weeks before anymore chemo. That's good.

So, I just take each day as it comes. If I spend the morning in a dark room with an ice pack, so be it. If I spend a night sleeping in my "sick chair" (That's what the girls call the comfy chair where I sit when I don't feel good.), then I just adjust plans for the day. Flexibility is the name of the game. But all in all, it's been good. I'm just about ready for Christmas. One more trip to the mall for a couple of small items and I'm done.

Here's for a Blessed Christmas to you and yours,


Thursday, December 14, 2006

M2wrote a book. All by herself, at home she illustrated and told a story of an egg that falls out of a nest just in time to become a baby bird. The bird spends all day looking for its mother. The story has an introduction, rising action, complication, climax and conclusion. Can't believe she's almost seven and a little author already. Chip off the old block??? (I like to think!!) Should I buy her a Thesaurus for Christmas???? :)

Speaking of books, I've read two very good ones lately. Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore is written in a very conversational easy to read style. (Integrity Publishers, a division of Thomas Nelson) Available at your Christian bookstore. I've already bought another one for a friend because I want to hang onto mine, but want to share the ideas.

The other is The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere. (Publisher: St. Martin's Press, New York) I bought mine at Sam's Club. It's a novel about a small town in Tennessee right after World War II and how that town deals with discrimination, poverty, tragedy and learning to live and love. Easy Read. Restores faith in humankind.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The girls on M2's birthday just before she opened her Bitty Baby Twins. M2 was convinced that morning that she was now bigger because she is five! M2 will turn seven in January.

This allergic reaction has complicated things considerably. I haven't recooperated with my usual speed and panache. These weeks to rest and heal are needed. I don't actually feel terrible, I just don't feel all that good. My energy is low and I find myself spending much more quiet time than has ever been my custom. Quiet time is good. My propensity toward activity can become obsessive. (I hear family and close friends chuckling as they agree! Even as a toddler, my Dad said my middle name was "Go") So I'm learning to be still.

Is it really less than two weeks until Christmas??


Friday, December 08, 2006

Last night as I was falling asleep, I realized again just how fortunate I am. I'd had a bit of a rough day and went to bed early. Bob sat down and was reading the Bible. This is the last Psalm he read to me. It echoed in my Spirit. Hope it does the same for you.

Psalm 61

(The Bible in Basic English)

1 Let my cry come to you, O God; let your ears be open to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I send up my cry to you, when my heart is overcome: take me to the rock which is over-high for me. 3 For you have been my secret place, and my high tower from those who made war on me. 4 I will make your tent my resting-place for ever: I will keep myself under the cover of your wings.

5 For you, O God, have made answer to my prayers; you have given me the heritage of those who give honour to your name. 6 You will give the king long life; and make his years go on through the generations. 7 May the seat of his authority be before God for ever; may mercy and righteousness keep him safe. 8 So will I make songs in praise of your name for ever, giving to God that which is right day by day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A sartorial disaster

Anyone who knows me know that I like to accessorize. I have a significant collection of shoes, scarfs, hats, watches and costume jewelry. Everything MUST fit (not exactly match, but blend). There is a purpose for every accessory.

So when I say that on Friday night I showed up for music practice in a sadly mismatched get-up (there's no other word for it), you'd know there is something wrong.

Friday night music has become a weather vane for me. If I can make it to practice, and to church on Sunday morning, my life is on track. It provides a rhythm to my week. So my attention was on just getting there.

Before the excuses, let me describe my costume.

I had on a pair of navy fleece pants (I rarely wear fleece out of the house--only if I'm confident it will be covered by a coat) with a Kane County free-bee tee shirt with some kind of alien looking heads on the front. This was topped by a patchwork flannel shirt (Also not something I wear except to refinish furniture or plant flowers). I had on my old Ugg boots (Now Sheepskin boots are a must in certain kinds of weather up here. All sartorial concerns are off -- but I have a very stylish pair of purple Uggs) to keep my feet warm. I was doing well to even make practice, so I dispensed with the wig and wore a really cute hat that a friend just got me for my birthday. I wore the matching scarf and gloves. They were leopard skin fabric. The hat really would be better OVER a wig, it doesn't come down far enough to conceal the fact that I am very bald, but the scarf sort of covered the neck. Now the crowning jewel. I still had on two pair of dangling silver and purple earrings that I'd used on Wed and Thursday when they matched my outfit.

Did I mention white cotton medical gloves for my hands? My hands had to be kept covered with a steroid cream, so the gloves were necessary whenever I went anywhere or touched anything.

All in all, a classic bag lady outfit. (And my sincere apologies to any bag ladies in the vicinity.) The funniest things is that I was blithely unaware of my odd appearance. I was concentrating on trying to behave normally.

Okay...THE EXPLANATION...The fleece pants....I had had on a matching pullover shirt earlier (cranberry with navy trim). The odd t-shirt wasn't supposed to show, it was just under the fleece. BUT...I'd gotten warm earlier and taken the fleece off when I took a nap. When I got dressed for practice, I wanted something I could get off easier than a pullover in case I got hot at practice too.

The Patchwork Flannel...was just something handy to wear for the warmth of long sleeves over the t-shirt. (It did NOT blend with the pants)

The leopard print scarf, gloves and hat . . . were for warmth AND they were new and very cute (with the right outfit). I did have on a black leather coat that were okay with the hat and scarf.

The earrings . . . AH, here's a story. I've tried to be careful to keep earrings in both piercings. I don't want them to grow closed during this time. I'd used those earrings when I went out on Wednesday and Thursday (On Thursday I picked the outfit to match the earrings because my hands wouldn't work well enough to get earrings in.) So silver and purple they were.

The funniest part is that I wouldn't even have realized how bad I look except that one of my daughters said something on Sunday. At first I was startled, but then slowly realized just how out of character I looked. I must say I've had more than one moment of laughter.

And I'll never look at a bag lady the same again. She, too, is probably concentrating on just doing something normal to feel alive.

I have come out of hypernation or coma or whatever it may be called. Still a bit sore and slow, but alive and kickin'. I had an allergic reaction to this last Chemo. It's called hand and foot syndrome. My hands have been little more than clubs for the last week; thank God my feet aren't so bad. I've been able to walk, just very carefully. When it takes the palms of two hands to hold a phone or a drinking glass, one becomes very thankful for the use of fingers most of the time.

Chemo on the 27th was the first of the second set of treatments. Taxotere. I reacted significantly differently to it from the beginning. Less intense nausea, but I just felt worse. Than on Thursday night, my hands swelled up like paws. So for the last week, I've been on steroids and steroid cream to counteract the allergy. I now have fairly good use of the last two fingers of both hands and reasonable use of the first two fingers. Opposable thumbs are still stiff and not working too well. But it's much better.

My next treatment is now postponed until I recoop from this reaction. My throat is sore too -- it feels like my insides may be as stiff and swollen as my poor fingers. But...the good news is not more chemo until after the holidays. The Doctor will come up with another option for my last three treatments.

So time marches on. I'm not sure where the last ten days have gone. I have spent most of the time sitting and snoozing. But I suppose the rest is good; it allows my body to keep up the battle.

Thanks for your prayers,


P.S. I thought about gathing up those items and taking a photo -- but my energy is not that high today!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Things not to do on a snowy Morning!

1. Try Horse Radish flavored Oatmeal (even at your favorite restaurant!)
2. Drive more than 20 mph in a white out
3. Drive through Lord's Park (or any other scenic route!)
4. Try being efficient in making appointments or picking up meds
5. Skid left in your driveway into a snow bank.

Okay it's not as bad as it sounds. I followed most of my own advice, except 1 and 5. We were awake at the crack of dawn to get the jump on the snow storm (HA!). Bob had to get to work; I had a Dr. Appt. (An unexplained allergic reaction in my hands...I'm sitting here with steroid cream and white gloves on my hands trying to type.) But we made everything in time to stop for a bite at our favorite little spot. When the oatmeal came, it tasted funny. More than the usual coppery "chemo" taste I always have. So Bob dutifully sampled it for me to be sure I wasn't having hallucinations, and he said it was spoiled. We sent it back to the kitchen where we could see them checking the oatmeal. Then I decided to check the little plastic containers of brown sugar --- one wasn't sugar. Horse Radish does not work as a brown sugar substitute!! :)

Number 2, I followed faithfully and made the Doctor's office before he did. No difficulties except recognizing where to turn when the whiteout obscured the three-story building that was my landmark. I have now learned the name of the street!

I wisely avoided all scenic routes. Good ole thoroughfares for today with stoplights!

It took me from 7:30 until11:30 to make 1 doctor's appointment and 2 pharmacy stops. (My usual pharmacy only had one med I needed --- Natch. It was snowing today!)

And then for a safe landing at home, I missed the ruts which could not be seen anyway since the snow had recovered all the plowing and driving from morning and landed in snow that came up to the running board (dates me huh?) of the car. The car decided to stop. Fortunately our guys came along to shovel the walks and shoveled me out too before anybody decided to come into the drive behind me! Or into me!

Actually my little Taurus, purchased this summer, made a pretty good snow vehicle. It didn't slip and slide like the bigger cars were doing...It just refused to navigate thigh deep snow in the drive! (I just got an email from a friend reminding me that my car is a Stratus!!! -- Thus "little" --Just for the record it was a FEMALE friend who happens to know cars and,,,gives good directions!!) LOL

So goes the adventures of a snowy morning! Maybe I'll really get out later and take pictures for those tropical friends of mine.

I talked to my Granddaughters this morning. M was up at 5 a.m. helping Daddy shovel the walks and use the new snowblower. Exciting things for a 7 year old. M2 was mostly distressed that her snowballs were "crooked". She said she couldn't make a round one. I assured her that crooked ones work equally well, but she still wasn't happy with them. Her five year old brain is positive that round snowballs are better!!

Happy Winter!! (Oh, it's still Fall, isn't it???)


Pictures: Inside my living room; A peak out the front door while the guys are shoveling!!; The back patio from the comfort of my kitchen!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Photos from Grandparent Day at the girls' school last week. Both Grandmothers visited school and then went to McDonald's for lunch. Aren't they the cutest little dolls??? I felt pretty good...although after the McDonald's stop, I did go home and nap! Too much excitement.

This week, I had chemo on Monday. A new drug, Taxotere. Supposed to have less side effects...and I suppose it does. But I had a nausea episode today, right on sschedule. Noon-ish it hit like a ton of bricks. I had taken a quick trip to Ellis this morning...feeling tired, but okay. I got home in time to be sick. I plan to go back to Ellis for lunch tomorrow. We'll see if I can hold up!! The nausea from this one seems less severe than from the last, however. I still have really sore, red hands...I assumed from putting up Christmas trees -- I nicked my hands a bit on the branches. But they are read and swollen...I wonder if that's a side effect of this Chemo? If it doesn't get better I'll have to call the doctor.

I'm planning to rest more this week, then try to hit Christmas shopping next week. We'll see if these plans work out. I do have something bought for the little girls already, just in case I can't handle shopping between now and Christmas. I have one more infusion before Christmas.

Then one in January, one in February, a couple of surgical procedures and I should be out of the woods!! Thank God. I'll be so happy to be off the sick rolls for awhile.

God Bless!


Monday, November 27, 2006

I had a really good week last week with only two down days. Tuesday was a wipeout. But I was active and felt good the rest of the week. I helped my granddaughters make a gingerbread house; M did the little tree in the entry way all by herself; I decorated the tree for the living room; Friday night the choir decorated the church. My contribution was the tree in the Narthex with the help of Christy and Bismarck. Saturday I finished the stuff at the house.

It caught up with me Sunday afternoon though. After lunch I took a really long nap (uncharacteristic for me) and didn't do anything else all evening, except eat. I started taken the steroid prepping for today's treatment and did it ever give me the munchies!!

Today is the first of the new set of treatments. The Doctor is positive about this med. He says it has less side effects than the first. (But then he said the first one wouldn't cause nausea! Ha!) So...we shall see. These are also supposed to be further apart, three weeks instead of two. I'm not sure how to reconcile that schedule with the idea that this one is less toxic. Hmmm.

Wednesday was Grandparent day at the girls school. One advantage of disability is that I'm usually available for such events -- if they fall on a good week. Both girls' classes sang a couple of songs. And we visited in the classrooms for awhile. Fun.

M's birthday is today. All week she's been saying that when she wakes up Monday she won't be four any more, ever again. That seems to be an important and happy thing for her.

Pictures later. My default picture editor got set for Nero instead of Windows and blogspot won't accept Nero. I'll see if I can change things. (fixed it! Pics are up, but the "I" is floating up by the picture of M! Computers!!)


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This came to my box yesterday...a relevant devotional. Thought I would share it.

A Question of Ownership
TGIF Today God Is First, by Os Hillman

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. - Matthew 10:39

Otto Koning was a missionary in New Guinea. He worked among a native tribe that had known only their village ways. One of those village ways was stealing from others. When Otto and his wife arrived and moved into a hut, the natives often came by to visit. The Konings would notice that after the natives left the missionaries' home, various household items had disappeared. They saw these items again when they went to preach in the natives' village.

The only fruit Otto could grow on the island was pineapples. Otto loved pineapples, and he took pride in the pineapples he was able to grow. However, whenever the pineapples began to ripen, the natives would steal them. Otto could never keep a ripe pineapple for himself. This was a frustration, and he became angry with the natives. All during the seven-year period in which this took place, Otto preached the gospel to these natives, but never had a conversion.

The more the natives stole, the angrier Otto became. Finally, one day Otto had a German Shepherd dog flown in from another missionary to protect his pineapple garden after other frustrated efforts failed. This only further alienated the natives from him.

Otto took a furlough to the United States and attended a conference on personal rights. At this conference, he discovered that he was frustrated over this situation because he had taken personal ownership of his pineapple garden. After much soul searching, he gave his garden to God. Soon the natives started having problems among their tribe. They discovered that Otto was the reason for their problems because he gave his garden to his God. The natives saw a correlation between what Otto had done and their own lives being affected by calamities in their village. When Otto gave his garden to God, he no longer got angry and was free from worry. The natives started bringing him fruit from the garden because they didn't want any more calamities to come into their village.

The light came on one day when a native said to Otto, "You must have become a Christian, Otto. You don't get angry anymore. We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian." They had never associated Otto with the kind of person he was preaching about because his message did not line up with his life. Otto was broken in spirit when he realized he had been such a failure.

At the end of seven years, he witnessed his first conversion, and many began coming to Christ once he fully gave his garden to God. The fruit grew so abundant that Otto began exporting it and growing other types of fruit, such as bananas. His village became the most evangelized in the whole region, yet for seven years he had not one convert.

Otto realized something each of us must realize: To gain your life you must lose it, along with your possessions. It was only when he gave all his possessions to God that he became free from them. God measured back to him manifold once He had complete ownership.

Do you have some possessions that you need to give up to God today? Let God have all that you have. Become a steward, not an owner. You will be surprised at how well God can take care of His possessions.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Capturing those memories! (This family is a bit camera nuts. That's almost 5 year old M2 with the digital, almost 7 year old M1 with the video, Rob and I both also manned cameras...Creative Memories here we come!) It's Bob's birthday!
We've been married for more than 37 years and during that time have had a variety of Thanksgiving experiences. The first year we spent in the jungle (1976), I didn't have a stove yet, so for Thanksgiving we ate fruit, salad and chicken I grilled in an electric skillet. Some years we've had Thanksgiving with my Dad and eaten wild turkey, sometimes fried instead of baked, and venison for dinner. Or other times we've spent with Aunt Lois and had traditional turkey and all the trimmings. Last year my sister and her kids and grandkids were here and we had a traditional meal here.

I was just looking at the words to "Inconvenient Christmas" and began thinking about Thanksgiving adventures. This year will be calm. The kids are coming Wednesday night -- They're cooking. (No one lets me cook these days. They say I look too tired.) Then Thanksgiving Day they go to their in-laws and it will be Bob and I with Bismarck. Should be very laid back and easy...Except in the evening the little girls are coming to spend the night so Mommy and Aunt Christy can hit the early morning shopping of "Black Friday". (I'd rather poke a stick in my eye than brave the crowds that day!) But we've had our share of "inconvenient" Thanksgivings. But somehow they turned out to be Thanksgiving blessings!

I can't remember exactly which year it was that we got stuck in Bloomington on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. The boys were young -- high school students -- and Wesley was with us. Our car broke down as we were taking the bypass through Bloomington intending to stop and eat. Instead we just stopped. It was right in front of a car lot. So while we tried to decide what to do, the boys played hide and seek in the car lot and the ditch beside the road.

We finally got the car started, and it sputtered to the nearest hotel. Early next morning we were trying to get it started again and decide whether to try to return to Elgin or keep going to St. Charles, Mo. Another guest ready to leave the hotel helped...he actually knew a bit about car mechanics. We mostly stood around with the hood open and looked on in despair. He said it was the alternator, helped us find a mechanic shop open that would sell one and he put it in. Come to find out they lived in St. Charles and were headed to Chicago. For several years afterwards we exchanged Thanksgiving cards, but have since lost track of such nice people sent by God to be a blessing to us.

Then there were a couple of snowstorm Thanksgivings. When Rob was just a baby we were driving back to Chicago on Sunday. A huge snowstorm hit. We had to park for awhile. Then ran out of milk for the baby and nearly out of gas for the car. Nothing was open on that deserted stretch of Rt 55. Finally in desperation we pulled off into a small town. A restaurant was open, but had no milk. The lady went to her house and got some for us. Then she called the owner of the gas station alongside who came and let us fill up the car. (This WAS 35 years ago!!)

Another snowstorm, the boys were elementary school age. The snow was so bad, again we had to pull off. But this time we cut off the car for awhile so we wouldn't run out of gas. That time it was also terribly cold....waaaaay below zero. I remember reading later that several stranded motorists had died from the cold. We did have blankets in the trunk. So we wrapped up and huddled together in the car for awhile to let the snow clear a bit. God was merciful. The snow cleared and we made it through without further incident.

Another year, another adventure. May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings. May you find adventure and blessing in those unexpected events. Look for God's hand in all things, even the apparent disasters. You will find that his blessing is there, just reach for it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Did you know that as of tomorrow there are five more Saturdays before Christmas? And there have been 47 Saturdays since these picutures?
I know this because the Christmas season just arrived at my house...It's arrival was signaled by "The Most Inconvenient Christmas." Now I know my non-Southern Gospel friends will sneer a bit...but that song is still one of my favorites since I discovered it a few years ago. Somehow at Christmastime I need a bit of my roots to remind me just where I come from. While "The Oak Ridge Boys" may not be your cup of tea, you really should listen to that one song at least. I must confess though that the hard rrr's on the "forever" in the Hallelujah Chorus does strain even my Southern a bit. My older granddaugahter (with all the wisdom of her six years) reminds me occasionally when those rr's trip me up! But I'm with her, on a recording "foreva" just seems more appropriate, linguistically speaking.

I think I have welcomed the Season early this year for several reasons. (Can you believe I'm actually contemplating getting out my decorations before Thanksgiving??? Or maybe on Thanksgiving Day since we're celebrating Wednesday night and the kids are dining with their inlaws on Thanksgiving day). Today I'm working on a narration for the Christmas program, perfecting timing to the track. Since my computer crashed last month, I had to reload all the music. While I was at it, I loaded another Christmas CD. So I have the background for Christmas. And then M2's birthday is the week after Thanksgiving and her "Bitty Twins" arrived yesterday. Just having presents around reminds me of Christmas and children's laughter.

But more than that, I don't think I've ever been more grateful or happier to celebrate the Season. This year has been full of such ups and down. So many times I thought that emotionally (or physically) I would crash and burn...but just at the right time, a Word from God arrived. Sometimes it was an email, sometimes a card in the mail, sometimes a plant or bouquet of flowers reminding me that someone cared. Sometimes it was the kind act of a friend or acquaintance that reminded me that He is still in control. More often, it was Bob offering to get me a fresh glass of water, or bringing me a freshly peeled orange when I couldn't sleep at 2 AM. Sometimes it was the pitter patter of small feet and a "Grammie?" that came rushing in the door of the house or the church that lightened my heart and made me realize that though this has been an inconvenient year, I'm here. And I'm grateful.

Okay....just for you really non-Southerners out there who will never listen to the song even for a minute, here are the words from "The Most Inconvenient Christmas". Prepare to belly laugh!! It comes across much better WITH the music. Trust me!

"Among the bills that I'd received
Was a postcard marked "Apologies"
The Christmas gifts you've ordered aren't in stock
So I packed up the kids for Grandpa's House
Then a blizzard blew in and the car broke down
So we shared a quart of eggnog at a truck stop
And I said; Kids, this is unfortunate
You think it's bad? Well, it's inconvenient

But the most inconvenient Christmas ever was
Was the first one when God came so far
To give Himself to us
So when stress hits each December
How it helps me to remember
God is with us most when things just can't get worse
The Most inconvenient Christmas ever was...
Was the first

By the time we got to Grandpa's house
His Christmas lights had burned it down
So we had to take him home to live with us
But he couldn't stand to leave the farm
So now there's cattle in our yard
Sheep on the rug, Pigs in the tub and a rooster at dawn
And I said: Now Honey, this is unfortunate
You think this is bad? Well, it's inconvenient

(Repeat Chorus)

A young girl expects a child she can't explain
Forced to walk a hundred miles just to give birth in the hay
Wile the king at that same hour
Fearing challenge to his power
Sent his troops to track them down and wipe them out
Yep, hand down...

The most inconvenient Christmas ever was
Was the first one when God came so far
To give Himself to us
So when stress hits each December
How it helps me to remember
God is with us most when things just can't get worse
The most inconvenient Christmas ever was...
Was the first.

A a very Merry 5 Saturdays to you!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I said someday I'd post the hair cut pictures. So here they are. At the top I had cut my hair really short because it had just begun to shed. The picture is when it was shedding still more, even short. The short "do" lasted for a week. (I lost the pictures of the first hair cut when my computer crashed). That night it was bald on the right side where I sleep. So I just stood over the sink and combed and patted the hair out. It came out by the handfuls, leaving me with about 20 hairs. I asked Brad to come with his shears to finish the job. M1 helped while M2 recorded it all! The last photo is of me the evening of Oct 31st at the girls' celebration. My "chemo" eyes are evident. That's about what I look like today.
Later I'll post one with the wig...I don't have one handy at the moment -- and maybe one now, when I'm totally bald. :)


I have arisen! As usual nausea and illness hit 36 hours after infusion...that was about 4:00 a.m. today. I spend the morning in a chair, napping and trying to keep various nausea and headache pills down. About noon, after Bob came in with iced tea from Panera (I don't know what they put in their tea, but it is very mild and calming) I graduated to the couch with enough energy to watch TV Land for awhile. (Bonanza still reruns!) Before I went totally braindead from old TV, I managed to stagger to my computer and answer a few emails. Voila' I have arisen! Hopefully, the worst of this episode is behind me.

Monday was the last of this series of four. Now there is a new series of four that I will learn about on Monday. (Along with more booster shots for red and white blood cells! I am a veritable pin cushion -- correction, that would technically be needle cushion!)

I'm so hoping that the effects of the next series are less severe. I really need to get back to work after Christmas. One semester is all I can do on disability. After that it's the poor farm. But God has it all in control!

Now the holiday season is upon us. First Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Not to mention that four of these eight Huertas have birthdays in November with one in October and one more in January. Christy and Bradley had the good sense to be born in June and July! So we shall be celebrating regularly for the next several weeks.

Last Sunday was our "Christmas Child" shoebox collection. That's always a precious time. Filling shoeboxes to be sent to all four corners of the earth as gifts for children who have not even the basic necessities.

And speaking of basic necessities...Bob is here. So let's have a cup of soup for dinner!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

There is something wonderful about a good night's sleep. I've actually had four consecutive nights. Not last night, but that's okay. I'm still feeling better. Yesterday I had the last infusion of this protocol. I see the doctor on Monday, and we'll set up the next protocol. Change of drug...maybe change of timing. But this week is the last of the hangover from this particular drug. In two or three weeks, it's a new ballgame. I'm now halfway through the infusions, although the next set may take more time. He's talking about three weeks between treatments.

(The picture is from summer--when I had hair. I tried uploading a different one and it didn't work. More pics later.)

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