Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking Up...

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. ~Psalm 5:3~

I always want to remember to look up.....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Springtime in Kentucky...

I don't know that I've ever been anywhere as beautiful as Kentucky in the springtime. It is such an amazing transformation from the drab hues of winter to the vibrant beauty and allure of spring -- so full of sensational colors as newness comes calling.

I love the quote by Hal Borland:

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn."

Thankfully this is so true! If spring ever skipped its turn imagine the loveliness that would be missed!

Cat Mail...

When Tim got out of the hospital a few weeks ago he was stuck upstairs in our bedroom in his hospital bed attached to his feeding pump. It's a continuous feed pump so it's a hassle to detach from it.

One day we were all downstairs and Tim was upstairs when suddenly our cat, Mystic, appeared in the downstairs hallway. My sister, Cretta, was here then and she called out,

"Look at the cat! Look at the cat!"

We all looked and then took a closer look...... Mystic had something on her back....a paper....taped to her back....with writing on it that read:

"Can my Daddy have his computer please?"

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! We all laughed so hard over seeing that note taped to the cat! We went upstairs to see him (and give him his computer, of course!) and we asked how he did that. He had all the supplies he needed -- pen and paper (to write notes with), tape (he uses for his feeding tube) and the cat, who likes to hang out with Tim when he is not feeling well. He explained (typing on his computer) that he rolled his IV pole as far out the door as he could then he stretched as far as his feeding tube would let him down that upstairs hall then he "lovingly tossed the cat down the stairs"!!! We all did get quite a laugh out of Tim's "cat mail'!! :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Sometimes it's easy to feel sorry for myself with the events of our life right now.

Sometimes I cry at things that one would ordinarily think would not provoke tears -- like the first day I had to tend to the litter box after Tim's cancer diagnosis. That was something that had been Tim's job since the beginning of our married life. It's not that I've *never* done it but it was typically Tim's domain simply because I spent so many years pregnant and we all know pregnant ladies don't clean litter boxes! Twenty three and a half years later there I was cleaning the litter box and crying. Now he's the one that can't do it. It wasn't about the litter box but rather what it symbolized -- a shift in our life -- a huge shift that involved more than kitty litter...much more.

My tears seem to have many origins.

Sometimes they are tears of sadness as I mourn the life we once had. I know that we will have a "new normal" one day but it is still immensely sad.
Sometimes they are tears of loneliness because while Tim is here, he is so quiet -- it hurts him to talk and it hurts me to not hear his voice. I miss our talking with each other. I miss our date nights. I miss the humor we shared.

Sometimes they are tears of fear for what is ahead -- you know, you can never really "relax" once cancer makes an appearance because you just never know if, when, or where it may show up again.

Sometimes they are tears of exhaustion when I have more to do than hours to do it in -- each day it feels like that.
Sometimes they are tears of anger -- anger at the invasion of our lives and our souls by the cancer dragon.

Sometimes they are tears of jealousy at the lives of people not traveling the cancer road.
Sometimes they are tears for our children who have to see things that young children should not have to know about or experience.

Sometimes they are tears of frustration at one more thing that has to be remembered (that I forgot) now that I am completely the "mother brain" for the family.

Sometimes they are tears of missing Tim giving me a hug, rubbing my feet or just laying beside me. We do still hold hands though. :)
Sometimes they are tears of a little girl that just wants to scream that life is not fair. Maybe if I kick and scream enough I will get what I want -- our life B.C. -- before cancer.
Sometimes they are tears of everything mixed up together and there is no sorting out which tears belong to what emotion.

But sometimes, many times, they are tears of profound gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings we have seen -- for the people who have rallied around in love to offer what is needed -- even when *we* don't always know what is needed. Even in the midst of this trial there are blessings to be found. If I am watchful I can see them.

I feel such gratitude at the "little" evidences that we are watched over, ministered to and taken care of by angels, seen and unseen, over and over again. The evidences that whisper "I know you", the evidences that Heavenly Father is reaching my reaching.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nature's Rainbow...

Today the girls and I planted the pretty pansies that Cretta got for me when she was here. She thought I needed a little "happy" and pansies are definitely happy with their bright colors and their little "faces". :) (Thank you again Cretta for our pots of "happy"!)

I like happy...I need happy. Happy is good!
The springtime is such a happy time as everything is new again. The brown grass turns a brilliant green, bare branches sport bits of vibrant green that are more abundant each day. I think that green is nature's favorite color. But then there are the forsythias that awake seemingly overnight with their bright yellow blooms, the Dogwoods that show their snowy white blossoms, the Red Buds dressed in pink! The fruit trees, the magnolia's and more....Nature's rainbow awaits any eyes that will behold.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guest Writer - My Sister the Pirate...

I am Loretta's sister, Cretta, and I am a guest writer for her blog.

When I offered to come down to Kentucky to help out, I really wasn't sure what I could do except provide some comic relief. On the long bus trip down I played over and over in my mind what the situation might be and how I might possibly be adding to an already maxed out work load for Loretta or pushing in on a very personal thing for Tim. I did NOT want to do that.
I felt that the great distance between Loretta & Tim from family had to be very difficult for them and that they needed family.

I arrived Saturday night at about 10:30 PM. By Sunday afternoon all my bus trip thoughts vanished into the rainy Kentucky air. Tim was admitted into the hospital. I knew what I was there to do. An army of compassionate, kind people stopped by the house and called on the phone offering assistance. Not the open ended "if we can do anything..." but real suggestions and I only had to say yes or no. I like that, no thinking. I got the kids up and ready for school. Someone picked them up and took them to school. I did some laundry, a little house work, someone brought dinner. Loretta spent 2 days and nights at the hospital with Tim. We all ate wonderful dinners, played cards, and I told funny stories. We talked about what was happening to their father. Loretta called every few hours to fill us in from the hospital and to check in on the kids.

After Tim came home Loretta and I talked many times about the difference between "service" and "compassionate service". I saw first hand what compassionate service is. Like many horrible events in life, we often take away a lesson we have learned in the throes of a tragedy. Tangled up in this cancer there are moments of hysterical laughter, many tears and wonderful people.

I would not have traded my week in Kentucky for anything. Unless it was for Tim not to have cancer at all.
*This is a picture of Cretta playing dress up in the garage. She was suppose to be out there cleaning but instead she was playing...never trust a woman in a pirate wig! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waiting for Tim....

It has been a long time since I've posted on my blog. Many have commented and/or emailed me about the fact that the blog has not been updated and they wondered what had happened. Things are still quite chaotic on the home front but I am little by little trying to squeeze in a therapy session or two.... a.k.a. writing on my blog. :)

My last post was "Celebration" which was Tim's last day of radiation. Perhaps it was too soon to celebrate as two days later he ended up in the hospital because he had trouble breathing. It is never a good thing when someone tells you that you need to be ready to possibly call 9-1-1 for them in the middle of the night as Tim told me. That night I laid out my clothes, shoes, keys and cell phone so I could be ready in case I had to make that call. As it turned out, thankfully, I didn't have to call 9-1-1 but I did take him to the hospital the next afternoon and they admitted him. He was in such distress there was talk of doing a tracheotomy on him and he felt so bad that that option actually sound like an option he wanted. Fortunately, it did not come to that. Instead many medicines later he began doing better and was released from the hospital two days later.
The day before Tim was hospitalized my sister, Cretta (pronounced Cr-ee-ta), came from New York to help with things here. She arrived by bus -- a 30 hour ride (she's afraid to fly). She wasn't even here 24 hours before the fireworks began with taking Tim to the hospital. She is a quick study in the dynamics of a hectic household that is in stark contrast to her much quieter "life on the Old Saratoga Road" in upstate New York. She found plenty to do from making a "meatball meatloaf" using leftover meatballs from our meatball subs the day before, to finding her way to Walmart which she rarely, if ever, goes to in New York. She even cleaned and organized our garage when she was here -- a job that *really* needed to be done but did not make my priority list in the few months before cancer entered the picture, let alone after. So the garage has had it's spring cleaning and in that spring cleaning Tim wanted to get rid of his radiation mask, never wanting to see it again. So Cretta and I threw it out the mesh figure that represented something that was so brutal. True to the family humor gene we both possess, we find something funny in most everything and disposing of Tim's mask was no different.

Among the many treasures in the garage we found a pirate wig that never made its way back to the Halloween box so we decided to dress up mesh man in the can! Go ahead and say it, we're sick -- we know it! :)

The reason my sister came to Kentucky is not a very pleasant one but it was still good to see her. It was good to laugh and have some lighter moments. Like the night we were at Walmart... (I tell her that "all roads lead to Walmart"!) She pushed the cart into me (I think by accident..but maybe not!) when we were in the checkout lane. When she did that she said, "Oh sorry! I didn't mean to run you over. I meant to poke you in the eye!" Well talk about laugh! Not only us but the guy who was at the checkout! He was so taken by what she said he asked, "What did you just say to her?" When Cretta repeated it he laughed as hard as we did and shared it with a fellow co-worker on the next register over who also laughed! So things like that help to lighten the mood around our house these days. I am use to having laughter in my life and while Tim's sense of humor shows up every now and then, I do miss it. Having Cretta here helped bring that back for a while.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Cretta! :)
So Cretta stayed until Saturday afternoon when I took her to the bus station to hitch her ride east back to her home. I was grateful she come and stayed for a week. She brought with her lots of laughs and she leaves behind some fun memories for the kids and I....as much fun as a poke in the eye! :)

When Cretta left, things seemed to be going well and Tim was able to get more sleep (something he has had so little of for weeks now). This past Sunday he felt dizzy all day and by evening he was throwing up. I stopped all meds and his tube feeding and just did a very slow water drip all night so he wouldn't get dehydrated. He didn't get sick all night but as soon as he began to move in the morning it started all over again. The doctor wanted to see him and do an MRI of his brain because they fear with the dizziness and throwing up that perhaps the cancer had spread. I was more than a little freaked out by them saying that to me on the phone. Some tense waiting time and an MRI later they say the MRI looks good but they don't know what is causing his latest symptoms. We spent all of yesterday in hematologist's office where they were giving Tim lots of fluids, potassium and Zofran for the nausea. We came home with yet more prescriptions to fill and more questions than answers about what Tim is experiencing. Each day we hope to see progress that tells us he is better than the day before -- kind of like a taste of spring that comes with warmer days. You know spring must come but sometimes it takes its sweet time and teasing you each day. By my calendar spring arrived last week. Now I am just waiting for Tim to arrive.

*Tim is my proof reader for my blog. Since he is not up to "proofing" for me I cannot be held responsible for any grammatical errors or anything of the like!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009


We arrived at the cancer center this morning and while gathering our things to go in there was a tap at the window. What a surprise to see Jordan who was on his way to his morning classes! His dorm is just across the street from the building we've gone to each Monday thru Friday for the past 7 weeks. It was good to see him and share with him the happy news -- that today was his Dad's last day of radiation. Everyone is so happy to hear that although no one is happier than Tim.

After seeing Jordan we make our way one last time into the Whitney-Hendrickson building and take the 3 mile hike that begins with the elevator taking us to the basement.

One last time we go down that long hallway and through the double metal doors that bring us past the vending machines that are still sporting "Chuckles" just for us. :) Turn left, then right, and continue straight ahead to the waiting room where each day Tim pulls out his flashy blue card that, once scanned, identifies him as having arrived. It is there we wait to be called down for his daily meeting with the radiation machine.

Once the call comes that they are ready for him we go back through the same hallway but not through double metal doors; veer to the left and then straight ahead to another waiting area. It is there that everyday I wait for my knight to be brought back to me, praying each time that he can get through another day of damage done to his armor. Today's prayer is different because it is the last day. Now I pray that he can begin to heal -- in body, mind and spirit. I pray that the radiation that has systematically destroyed him can now let his body rest and rebuild, minus the cancer. That is the prayer today.

So I wait one more time. Today he takes longer than usual. I've come to know that that usually means he's having trouble on the table. In the laying down position his air is cut off and that begins his coughing and choking. He has to wave to the technicians to stop so they release him from the mask where he can recover from the lack of air and the fear that induces.

When he finally appears he is carrying his trophy -- his mask that has been his companion through 35 radiation treatments. He tells me that he is not sure he wants to keep it. I can't blame him for not wanting to hang on to a symbol of something that has done so much damage to his armor.

So today is a day of celebration -- celebrating Tim's completion of radiation and celebrating the next step on the road, his healing and recovery. Now we can focus on buffing his armor once again to its familiar brilliant shine.

Lucky Friday the 13th....

Tim has one remaining radiation treatment that takes place this morning at 9:00 am. He is so happy to have radiation come to an end. His body can't take any more of the daily treatments. He told me last night (by way of typing on the computer and then it speaks what he writes) that it is a good thing that this is the last one because if it wasn't he would have to tell them to stop.
But today, none other than Friday the 13th, he will see his last 9:00 am appointment with radiation medicine -- what a lucky day! I remember years ago Tim telling me that Friday the 13th was his lucky day because it was the day that he finished his 6 years in Navy and he got out on that date. I would say that Friday the 13th IS his lucky day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friday's Coming...

Tim's radiation is nearing an end and it can't come soon enough! He still has his sense of humor! :) These pictures were from Tuesday when he had 3 days left... WOO-HOO!

And today..... TWO days to go!!! :) Come on Friday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Have You Seen My Life?

Annah woke up last night having a bad dream and whimpered for about 30 minutes after coming into our room to wake me up asking me "Where is the little cup?" and she tried to describe it to me...she was talking in her sleep. Then she asked me as if she was wide awake, "Have you seen my life?" I had to smile. I've been thinking the same thing lately...Have you seen my life?

On that same note my friend Julie tells me that she thinks I should rename my blog to What the @#%#@% Happened to Loretta’s Little Life???

BWHAHAHAHA! Yeah, I'm thinking she's right! Her suggestion got me thinking back to my very first post on my blog back in September 2008....this is it:

Who Knew?
Wow...me blogging....who knew? At the encouraging of my good friend of many years, Patty, I decided to give this a try! Coming up with a name proved to be most difficult. It occurred to me that I lead a very boring life when I can't even come up with a catchy name for my blog. My first thought for a name was "I Got Nothin' " but wouldn't you know it, it was taken. Apparently others have nothin' too....how comforting....I think. Then I tried to fill in my interests, favorite movies, favorite music, and whatever else. Again I struggled to even remember what I thought were my interests or come up with a movie title. I concluded that I live a little life....thus the name Loretta's Little Life. :) Maybe this blog will inspire me to make my life bigger than it feels right now....what do you think?

Interesting..... The start of my blog was not all that long ago...September 2008...but it feels like much longer ago! Little did I know that 6 months later my whole "little" life would change in a rather big way. My life has indeed gotten bigger -- no thanks to my blog but thanks to cancer. Cancer -- the brush with extinction, the expanding soul, the shoring up of faith, the pulling of courage to the front line and anchoring our hearts to what is most important in life.

Then I re-read the "About Me" section just under my picture on my blog....
"I am Loretta..wife to Tim and mom to 6 great kids. Tim (the younger), Andrew, Jordan, Jacob, Abigail and Annah and mother-in-law to Lisa. Tim and I have been married for 23 years and have lived in central Kentucky for 13 years now. I am grateful for my life, all I have come through, all I am going through and all that is yet to come because I believe that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Wow. I have loved that quote from the first time I heard it....what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I would be the first to say that I never expected Tim and I would meet something the likes of cancer in our walk through life; nevertheless, here we are. I think it's things like this-- the reality of life -- that make you look inside and see what you're made of. I hope I am made of the right stuff. When all is said and done and the stretching of my heart and soul are complete, I want to be made of the right stuff. I know Tim is made of the right stuff. I want to be just like him when I grow up.

Friday, March 6, 2009


What a beautiful sight this morning as we were leaving the house for today's rad appointment.... my rose bush is sprouting newborn leaves!

Anybody that knows me will attest to the fact that I am a winter girl. Born in late January and raised in New York with lots of winter white, I adore the cold, the snow, and the unknowns of winter weather.

As much as I love the winter, I also love the spring, especially THIS spring. The renewal of life after the harsh cold is so fascinating. Sleeping plants stir to life with expanded, warmer days, and share their new life with the world.

So it is with every spring but THIS spring has renewed meaning.

It was in the cold harshness of winter that cancer stepped into our lives. Darkness comes earlier in the throes of winter and so it did with Tim's cancer diagnosis -- darkness came and seemed to consume us. But now, just as the evidences of spring begin to stir, so stirs our hope ~ the hope of life renewed.

As Tim's radiation appointments are nearing their conclusion, our hope is renewed that all will be well. Just like spring renews nature, we want for the same renewal ...welcome spring.
Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Who Parked First?

So what do you think either one of these people had to say when they came out and saw this????

Now I'm just guessing here but I'm thinking that the red car parked second since if they had parked first the driver of the tan vehicle would have never been able to get OUT of their car! AMAZING!

This is just one of the many things that ratcheted up my impatience today -- and it's not even MY car! Although I will say that it instantly threw me back to when I was pregnant (who even knows which time?) and someone parked next to my driver's side like that!!! Okay, I will admit that I took the time to leave a note on their car when it happened to me. I described in detail for them what it was like to be a pregnant woman crawling over the passengers seat to wedge myself behind the steering wheel of my car!

Another chuckle, compliments of the cancer hospital...... :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Happened Upon An Angel...

It is a weepy day here in Cancerville. Just a lot of stuff going on, things that need to be done, feeling sorry for Tim, feeling sorry for myself, stresses over everything you can imagine.
In the midst of this stressful time I had gotten in the mail a vehicle registration that said it had to be renewed by Feb 28. Okay...I didn't look at the card closely to know WHICH vehicle it was and I couldn't figure out why I was getting that in mail when our vehicle registrations are typically due in January or September (we go by birth months here and you can pick your own birth month or your spouses). So I was confused by the Feb time period. I HAD the card but now I don't -- I hate it when I do that. Typically I think I am a very responsible, organized person but my brains have been scrambled as of late.
So, I can't find this card and now we are into March so I decide to call the county clerk's office to ask them if THEY know what car the renewal was for (BWHAHAHA!) and how much it costs and could I somehow take care of the registration renewal without the card. I was dreading this because our county clerk's office is not known for their friendliness factor. In fact, they are down right rude right to your face, let alone over the phone! So I muster up the courage to call and a friendly voice is on the other end -- that alone was a surprise!

"Paula? Is that you?" I ask.

Turns out that Paula, a lady that I know who heads up all the election stuff, answered the phone. I worked the election polls so that is how I know her. She isn't typically one who answers phones for the DMV....

I KNOW Heavenly Father put me through to her. I tell her what a spaz I am in losing the card and how I don't even know WHAT car the registration was for. I tell her that my brains are mush because of everything that is going on with Tim. She didn't know about the cancer, cried with me on the phone and wanted me to know that she would keep us all in her prayers. She sweetly looked up our three vehicles and finds out that the registration is for Jordan's car, tells me that the state goofed on calculating tax and the registration was normally due at the end of January (just when I thought it was supposed to be due -- thankfully I am not completely out of my mind...yet!) but because of the mistake they moved it out a month to the end of February -- explaining WHY we got this renewal for Feb. Are you with me so far?

I ask Paula if I came in to renew can they do it without the card. She then tells me that SHE will take care of it. I asked about who I would mail the payment for the renewal to and she tells me "No one. I'll take care of it." I insist I can come and take care of it and she insists that SHE will take care of it and send me the registration slip and the sticker for the license plate -- she will put it in the mail today. I thank her and she thanks me for letting her be of service. Wow.
I hung up the phone and bawled. You can't imagine the blessing this was to us in so many ways. The obvious is the hassle it was going to be to go to the court house to take care of this but, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story"...financially, what a blessing.

I am sure that there was divine intervention. I know Heavenly Father put me through to Paula. Paula never answers the DMV phones -- she doesn't even work in that department!

I think there are many angels in waiting hanging around the world. I happened upon one today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Does anyone remember the candy Chuckles from their childhood? I was so excited to see Chuckles in a candy machine in the basement of the cancer center near where Tim gets his rad treatments. I didn't know they even made them anymore! Of course I had to buy a few to stir my childhood memories and to remind Tim and I that we need to have a few "chuckles" in our day as things get harder and harder for him. His reply to me was, "Chuckles are NOT coming my way!" That was a throw back to the "Lucky is coming your way" fortune in his cookie he had at the Chinese restaurant what seems like many moons ago. :)

Little did Tim know that he DID have some "chuckles" in him.... he's full of surprises....

Today we had a follow up appointment (from when his lymph nodes were taken out) with the Fabulous Dr. O. The appointments with him make me long to have HIM as Tim's doctor through this whole ordeal. But we are down to 8 more dates with the rad machine before treatment is called complete and then we want to have the Fabulous Dr. O overseeing Tim. :)

Dr. O asked some questions about the peg (a.k.a. feeding tube) that Tim had put in. Then the following dialog took place:

Dr. O: "Can I see your peg?"
Tim: (hesitantly) "Well....okay, we're friends."
Dr. O: "Well, that IS a handsome peg!"
Tim: "I've had a lot of people tell me that!" :)

I don't know about you but I had a good chuckle over that conversation!!! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Waking The Sleeping Tiger...

Tim had a really hard weekend. He is feeling so miserable and has expressed more than once how he is not sure how he can do another two weeks of radiation. He is in so much pain, struggles to sleep, and is tied to the clock, medications and the IV pole to eat every few hours.

Today he saw the doctor after radiation and it was a good thing. Dr. K put him on several medications for things that are being a problem. Along with that his skin, particularly on the left side where the strongest radiation is delivered, is blistered and so red and irritated. Day after day his skin continues to be burned. I can only see the outside -- I cannot imagine what it would look like in his throat. Even water going down burns him now.

As the appointment was wrapping up Tim said to the doctor, "Are you thinking about backing out yet? 'Cuz I am!" To that Dr. K said, "We cannot stop. The radiation is like waking a sleeping tiger. You HAVE to make sure the cage is strong enough."

All day I have thought what if the "cage" isn't strong enough? What if the tiger has been awakened but can't be contained? That fear lies within me. It seems that we can never be really sure that we've made the cage strong enough. How do you ever know? I don't think you do and that is the relentless uncertainty that cancer introduces into your life.