Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary

We’ve shared so much through the years—the triumphs and the heartaches, the special days and the ordinary ones.  In fact, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if you hadn’t been a part of it.

And I just want to tell you that if I had it to do all over again, you’re still the one I would choose to share it all with me.

--My anniversary card from last year

Jeff and I were married 18 years ago today.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure we’d get to celebrate that, but here we are.  Praise the Lord!  In fact, I’ve decided to stop thinking that this is the last birthday/holiday/celebration that we’re going to have him with us.  Evidently, he is a fighter.

In terms of updates, I’ve been lax to write.  It’s not that I want to keep information from you, but that I don’t want to depress you with weekly updates of the latest symptoms or how nothing’s improved.  I’ve been unfair—asking you to pray and then not informing you how things are going.  I am sorry.

The decline has obviously been slower than predicted, but there is a definite decline.  It’s not something you notice daily, but looking back over the last six months, it becomes very evident.  Jeff can only see shapes and shadows now, and only in well-lit conditions.  Eating is a challenge that we handle by explaining locations of food on the plate: Roast @ 6 'o’clock, peas @ 2 o’clock, roll @ 9 o’clock, etc.  He does better with foods he can pick up.

Walking is difficult, not only because the disease is making him unsteady, but mostly because he cannot see where he’s going.  He got a walker a couple weeks ago, and that has helped him so much.  He can now move with confidence through the first level of the house.  And if he does begin to stumble, the walker is supposed to help him catch his balance.  Today it helped him not to trip over the kids’ shoes.  (We’re still working on not dropping things in the middle of the entryway or placing things on the stairs to be carried up later.  Those were bad habits before that are now quite dangerous habits.)

Probably his most significant complaints aside from the vision loss are pain and some loss of taste.  Most days his pain medication does a fairly good job of keeping him comfortable, but occasionally he just can’t seem to get adequate relief.  Those are really rough days.  I was concerned about how summer break was going to shake out with three noisy kids and one person with a constant headache.  I think we are managing okay so far.  (And yes, I have thought about sending them out after breakfast and locking the door after instructing them to ring the doorbell at lunchtime.  But I haven’t done it.  LOL)

The loss of taste is frustrating for him, as he was a bit of a “foodie” before.  Not that I am a great cook, but he did enjoy fine food and the subtleties of flavors.  Some friends have shared some tasty spicy recipes  that he enjoyed.  Fortunately our kids actually enjoy spicy food, too, as long as it is not too hot and they are great about trying new things.  Mainly, Jeff eats pickles and chocolate these days.  Oh, and salad.  His doctor would be pleased to know that he can taste and does eat salad.

I had mentioned hearing loss before.  That doesn’t seem to be any worse, really.  The radiation oncologist had told us that there might be some hearing loss due to the treatment, and since it doesn’t seem to be progressive, I tend to think that’s all that is.  On Friday, I was in the kitchen and he asked “Is that the ice cream truck?”  I had to completely stop what I was doing and hold my breath to hear it, but he was right.  A few moments later, the ice cream truck drove past our house.  So he can actually hear, but he has trouble distinguishing between two sources of noise.  For instance, listening to the TV while someone is talking in the next room is frustrating.  He can’t make out one over the other.  Honestly, I wonder if that is more from the headache than from hearing loss.  But I’m not a doctor, so that’s just my humble opinion.

In all reality, we are very blessed.  I truly thought we’d be in hospice by now if he was still living.  He’s still Jeff which is something he was fearful of losing, worried that the radiation or the leukemia itself would alter his personality.  His speech remains only lightly affected to the point where I wonder if anyone else really noticed the slight change but me.  He’s still able to hug the kids every night and tell them he loves them.

And he’s still my best friend.  Still finding ways to encourage me when I’m supposed to be encouraging him. 

He’s always been like that. :) 


heidiannie said...

What a blessing you two are in each others lives!
And that blessing evident in the lives of your children, as well, that they can remain noisy active children even with their father in this battle.
Thank you for sharing, Adrienne. I know it is hard to share- sometimes hard to admit where you actually are within the confines of the leukemia- yet sharing helps to lighten the burden as well as giving you the opportunity to reflect and report accurately.
God is good- I'm glad you and Jeff are celebrating.

Beth said...

Adrienne, what a beautiful post! You are a treasure. And what a blessing that he is still your best friend. Praying for you all.

Plattner Ranch said...

Thanks for the update. We heard this morning that if you are struggling in a relationship with someone to pray for them for a month and see how your relationship improves. We haven't struggled with relationships with you, but just the same in praying for your needs it has drawn our hearts to you more so than just occasional chats would have done. facebook must be like a great big electronic hug for you. I'm sure we would each love to wrap our arms around you in support and encouragement with each comment left. Still praying for you and thanks for the update!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Adrienne, How blessed to be able to celebrate this day together. Happy Anniversary... You never dreamed that he would make it this far. BUT--it's all in God's hands, not us humans. Jeff IS a fighter and he will stay with you all as long as he possibly can... Bless his heart---and YOURS too (and the kids).

Thanks for the update... I will keep all of you in my prayers.

Valerie said...

What a blessing to celebrate 18 years.
You are a remarkable woman and part of a very special couple God has joined together.

Praying for his continued blessings on you and your family.

Snap said...

Happy Anniversary! Beautiful post.

We are going through the *eating thing* since Mr. Dragon has had to learn to eat all over again. But things are getting better. He was craving fried chicken and went out today to Kentucky Fried ... we'll have chicken for the rest of the week!

Blessings and small miracles each day. Wishing you and yours well.


SaraG said...

A belated Happy Anniversary to you both!
Not sure why this posting wasn't coming up till today. I do check in on you almost daily!
Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am glad you got another holiday/event together. I pray for more!!
Take care

Aspiemom said...

Wishing you a belated happy anniversary! I'm glad to read about your daily life, even if it isn't all positive. You still seem to have a positive outlook.

Anonymous said...

In the busyness of life, I forget to check up on my friends sometimes. I do get the CB updates, so I know when Jeff updates that page, but I need to drop by this one more often to read YOUR words. Mainly so that I can know how to pray for you... and yet, also, selfishly, because I am so blessed after reading what you write. Only by God's grace can such a difficult journey be beautiful...
Walking beside you...

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I came here from your other blog to see if you'd posted since I was last here. I'm glad you let us know what's going on. Congratulations on your anniversary. That was quite the message on your card from last year.

The trouble with not being able to distinguish between people could have to do with a hearing problem, and not the headaches. My husband has tinnitus, a ringing in his ears, and he cannot hear someone talking if there is other noise. Sometimes, he hears something totally different from what was said, too.

I hope the summer is going OK for you. It sounds like you and the kids had fun at that garden place.

You're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by your strength. The Lord will always give you the strength you need, as you trust in Him. I can't imagine how tough some days must be for you. Please know you are always in our prayers.

It has to be so tough for Jeff to have trouble seeing and tasting. Both are things we all take for granted, but we begin to realize all of the senses the Lord has blessed us with, as we read about what Jeff is going through.

Happy Anniversary to you both! I wish you many great days together.

Take care, my friend.

Life with Kaishon said...

Happy Anniversary Adrienne. I love what the card said. I am so glad you have had these blessed years. I have been praying and praying for you. Much love.

Karen from Ohio said...

Your writings are such a blessing to others. I'm late with this but Happy Anniversary!Perhaps you have a book to write someday. You have such a gift for expressing your thoughts and discerning God's working in your life. Loved reading Peace. Be still.