Saturday, July 20, 2013

A good day so far..........

Penny went to Administer Justice's Funfest this morning as a volunteer to do face paintings for the young children attending (what a trooper considering how she is feeling after chemo yesterday). I originally was going to DJ the event, but my gout attack prevented me from committing as I didn't know what my condition would be this week (at the time they needed a decision). One thing that amazes.... is Penny's can do spirit to help others. She has sponsored a child for Compassion where she has sponsored a child in Haiti for over 3 years  (no matter how broke we have been, she refuses to not take care of this one child financially as best as she can). She does this without telling others (she would be embarrassed to know I have shared this), but I hold it up as an example of her heart and giving spirit. And it also fills the emptiness of her heart since we don't have any relationship with our own grandchildren or nieces/nephews (an unfortunate and long story which will have to be shared down the road).

I picked up a laptop from my brother's house yesterday evening that he left behind his home's screen door (one that he took from me to repair since my patience was "nada" while I was going through my gout attack over the past 6 weeks and also because he is intimately familiar with this particular laptop / issue). I am very happy with the results (and hope he reads this to know that I do appreciate him despite our fallout). I have been and always will be very lucky to have him as a brother (despite everything).

Today, the oppressive heat has abated to the low 80's (and less humidity) so I am hopeful I can go fix our minivan's brakes this afternoon.... which depends on any storms popping out of the west. I just have to go to AdvanceAuto Parts to get the rotors/disc pads and hope that my joints can handle my effort.

We are looking forward to church tomorrow (we need a lil Religion in our lives and Fox Valley Church never disappoints in that department). :-)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, July 19, 2013

I am re-gearing this blog to be more about our effort at beating Penny's cancer

Some people are afraid to discuss the bad (along with the good) while going through adversity and that isn't the purpose of this Blog. While families face this type of adversity, life continues and some people who would rather have their privacy can occasionally get put off by a post. Given that no one is perfect despite some trying to give the impression that everything is hunky dory, we know that everything isn't (that chaos and the enemy are always pursing us). Given how much adversity has been seen by this family, we feel people will learn more from our honesty than leaving out things that just may provide insight to how to deal with said adversity.

Given our journey has a purpose, we are no longer afraid of our being seen (warts and all) by those who are there for us or may learn from our experiences... as we have come to a point in our lives that we believe honesty is the best policy (and some people just can't handle that). Be as it may, our faith in God sustains us, and in the end.... we are the ones who will meet our maker on our own accord.... so at this point... we choose to put behind that which only makes things harder on us.

I will be showing Penny how to interact with blogger/BlogSpot (she is new to interacting with a template based website) so she will hopefully post from time to time if she wants to. I've been posting up to now as this was a way for me to share with people I know... what we are dealing with (a central location for information outside of Facebook).

We've eliminated "Anonymous" comments as trolls are usually behind those type of comments (as we are avoiding needless angst). Penny and I both have people who are not our fans that have accumulated over time and given the open nature of the Internet... look for any opportunity to stir the pot. They will be unable to do so (at least on this blog site).

We've added multiple cancer blogs to the list of blogs we follow (on the right column beside our blog posts) so people interested in what is involved with Cancer Treatment will have multiple options to choose from for information. I have read every one of them, and there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from them). We recommend each one of them (and please give them the occasional "comment" of support so they know they are reaching people.

We hope that people do appreciate what we are writing about, and will chime up now and then and let us know how we are doing. In the interim, let me leave you with these thoughts:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear My voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"   Isaiah 30:21

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5

Thursday, July 18, 2013

5th Friday of Chemo tomorrow

Well, week 5 dose of chemo is tomorrow.

The longer this type of treatment goes, you start seeing the extent of one's support network regarding those who truly are not there in the long run and those who are.

Tonight, Penny and I decided to eliminate as much stressors in our lives as possible.

There are just some people who do not understand just how stressful the road we are on actually is and still interact with us as if things are status quo (and not realizing how much stress we are actually under and by their very actions of "piling on".... we are bound to "crack" at times). This doesn't make our reactions right, but they are a fact of our lives considering the pressure we are under. When some people peck and claw at you regarding truly irrelevant "stuff" that only brings one down in a sea of negativity (despite knowing we had made a final decision years ago) and despite their knowing nothing good will come of it, sometimes in order to make it through the day...... one has to then make a conscious decision to eliminate all distractions from our ultimate goal (which is both my successful employment and Penny's successful treatment / beating cancer).

I was at a VA meeting this afternoon trying to pay attention to what the meeting was about (starting a Vet support Network to help Servicemen regarding assimilation within the Civilian workforce)...  and the texts which had nothing to do with me would not stop coming into me (to the point I had to turn the phone off so as to pay attention to the issue at hand). As a result of this, I missed 2 phones calls from IL. DHS (which were VERY important and now has to wait until next Wednesday when they have another opening for an appointment). Given both Penny and I have been on major medication for the past 2 months (with my also taking medication to deal with my stress / pain), I will admit to us not being perfect in regard to my reactions. Considering the pain I've been in the past month... I think I've done as best as possible considering the circumstances. Am I perfect? No (and admit to being so). However, when backed into a corner..... I will defend myself and my wife and I did so today. I don't regret it for a moment.

Penny and I both come from backgrounds where there is a lot of chaos regarding our families. We both have hardly anyone left in our families who are there through thick and thin (maybe 2 to 3 people on each side of the family). I have yet to see any of Penny's siblings being there for her in her time of need (my family has been there more than hers when Penny has been having medical issues). I'm not keeping tic marks mind you, I am just factually speaking of the issue. We both are our best supporters and are there for each other no matter the cost (ours is not the perfect marriage, but we have each other's back).

We are both also paying a price for inserting ourselves into familial issues for which there is a decided lack of appreciation despite sacrifices made (scrutiny seems to be the more important issues to some others). Tough love has been applied in a couple of cases, and yet others expect us to be as accommodating as they are even though they did not put their own skin in the game regarding helping someone as we did. We are not playing martyr here, but we have done a lot for our family (on both sides). Penny continues to try to help her father despite the fact she has days when taking care of herself is hard enough.  But when one is not acknowledged (as a human being or being in the area) when one comes to visit, it is a sign one is not wanted. I finally got the hint on my last visit. I can't tell you how it hurt me to not even get acknowledgment I was alive while I was hobbling out of my car trying to find a comfortable place to sit. I understand that those people may not have good days themselves, however... it happens more often than not. "Message received".

So, we've decided to just surround ourselves with people who actually want to interact with us instead of hoping to occasionally interact with those who are too busy or who feel the need to pile on drama just so they feel better about themselves having expressed their convictions to the point they feel better for having done so (while leaving a path of destruction in their wake which includes our very precarious effort at stability).

We will have to pray for guidance on this issue, as I certainly failed today in being the best Christian I could possibly be. When it comes to family, I frequently fail in this regard. Too bad, that this time.... it may be too late to fix.

Alas......... I will have to dream of a family who takes me at face value versus what they think I should be like.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wow, is it HUMID or what?

So, I attempted to clean the front porch and to put foam in the window frames to ensure they are able to keep weather out of the porch (a job needing to be done for 3 months since I installed the windows).

Bad idea........

The foam reacted to the heat and started to go beyond the frame (and got onto the actual face of the new window and the lower left corner of the screen). Rats.......

I spent the next hour constantly cleaning up what turned into overspray and cleaning the foam off the corner of the screen. Note to self, wait until the heat/humidity reduces by this weekend. And since the foam is yellow, I have to fix it and soon as it is unsightly. So when done, I sat on the recliner sweating from being outside and turned on the fan....(Penny had found a black fan in the basement 2 days ago and I put it on the speaker next to the TV stand and pointed it at me since she does not like fans). Bliss.

Please note, we have a 110 year old farmhouse that actually HAS Central Air so we are very lucky. However, ceiling fans accentuate the A/C and the living room is the only room downstairs without a ceiling fan (so the Black fan is a welcome addition to add to comfort).

One thing is for sure, the Heat Index was 100 today..... and I am thankful we are not living more than 60 years ago (when A/C was just a dream and people just toughed it out).

I've been fighting our TV Antenna (and we won)

Our goal since Penny was in the Hospital 18 months ago is to get & keep our costs down. So we've been fighting a battle with our External Digital TV Antenna for the past few months (trying to keep Comcast - Direct TV - and Dish Network out of our home - specifically the excessive monthly costs). The picture would get choppy or go away all together at the strangest times (and Deans Food semi-trucks driving by constantly would affect the signal).

It mattered not if I changed the position of the Antenna, it would be fine at any given time and then get bad (and its been very bad for the past 2 weeks). It was irritating us to the point that I ordered "Basic Cable" at $25 a month this afternoon (they are supposed to be here tomorrow for the "install"). I did NOT want to do this, but the lack of TV for getting News/Weather/Sports was coming to a head due to the humid weather the past 2 days.

Since my gout has affected me for over 2 months, I haven't been able to do any physical moving of the TV cabinet/enclosure to investigate. Today, I was healthy enough to move the cabinet and disassemble the wiring to trace everything (I had a Surround Sound receiver go askew also, so I was changing it out also with a Sony STR-K502P that I've had in the Garage for a couple of years). When I was checking another Digital Antenna with TV, I noticed that the other 75 ohm cable wire actually on a signal splitter. Sure enough... "Made in China"). To explain, it most likely was a "cheap" splitter that Comcast used when they did the original install 2 years ago. I took that splitter out of the loop, and connected the cable directly into the TV.

Lo and behold, almost perfect signals (and 51 Digital Stations picked up). As a matter of fact, that splitter seemed to affect all of the TV's as all of a sudden, the picture was great on them also (they all interconnect in the basement, but a corrupted signal can affect all locations on the same line).

I will be making a call to Comcast first thing in the morning cancelling the installation service so we can continue of getting Free TV  (woohoo). :-)


Sunday, July 14, 2013

We went to the Lake In The Hills "Rockin' Ribfest" yesterday

Penny and I enjoyed a nice late afternoon and evening at the local festival (LITH Rockin' Ribfest). We drove to it in the convertible with the top down (so we enjoyed the nice 75 degree non humid weather and the sun shining down on us). 

Since Penny is disabled and has a Handicapped Parking placard, we got lucky and managed to get the last available parking spot close to the venue. I was actually able to walk from the car to the stage grounds with not too much trouble (we carried our camping chairs with us). We then watched "Heartbreak Tonight" (an Eagles tribute band).


Penny picked up some Iced Lemonade for us plus corn on the cob for each of us, and summer was officially "on" for us. It reminded me of seeing the same band when my mother was still alive in 2009 (she saw them with us at the "Sunset Fest" and enjoyed them immensely). I haven't spoken about my mother yet on this blog, and I will when I find the words to honor such an incredible plus amazing woman (it will take a lot of paragraphs to do so). She LOVED much of the same music her children did and she lived for going to Festivals with us (and we went to many during the last 10 years of her life).

My mother (Anita Fletre Andersen 12/07/1940-11/29/2009). 

So, the second group was "Soul Asylum" (director Kevin Smith's favorite group). Penny was definitely not taken with the group:

As you can tell, they are LOUD.......... (I was fine with it, Penny was not). Think pre-Nirvana alt rock / grunge......

We enjoyed a BBQ sampler from "Candy Red BBQ", so that kept costs down while providing us some serious BBQ goodness. It then started to get too cold for Penny, so we went home after that (with the top up on the convertible).