Friday, December 4, 2009

Prayers For Testing Today

I'm a bit tardy on getting this posted. It's a good thing God doesn't work in the confines of my time sequence!

As I write, Jack is having his scans to determine if the cancer has spread anywhere inside his body. Of course there won't be any information today but soon, hopefully.

Please pray for Jack as he recovers from the procedure, medications etc. And pray for peace for Ruth and Jack as they await results. Also for wisdom for the docs as they interpret the results.

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

California Here They Come & A Long Overdue Update

Hello Everyone! Blogger is in one of its crazy moods tonight so the pictures are going to be all out of order. It has been so long since I've updated for you, that we are including lots of pictures and at the end, I will include a letter from Mom (Ruth) to update you on Jack's progress and health. Tomorrow morning they are beginning the trek down to California to visit us. My son, D said today, "Mommy, do you want to know how excited I am to see Grandma and Grampa?" His answer, "One Million Percent!" :-)

Jack and Bill... Brother Survivors... or is that Livers? :-)

Jack helping in the garden. This is digging some kind of hole.

In front of the van they rented to come down. (They are bringing us some "stuff"!)

Eating noodles at David's! (We always call it David's so I can't remember the real name! LOL It's the Chinese restaurant in the Fountain District )

Grandma Doris (Jack's Mom) and Jack.

Jack enjoying the sun on a trip to the mail box.

Watch out, here he comes! :-)

Jack with his Bible study Buddies. Sorry Gentlemen, I don't know all your names, or I would label you!

Armed and Dangerous!

Greeting Bill, also a Survivor, on a recent visit at church.

Making Plum sauce.

Picking plums in the yard.

Jack gathering the hazel nuts off the ground.

Driving the tractor in the yard.

Snoozing on Facebook (?) LOL after a long day.

Another tractor shot.

Greeting at church.
Now, I will attempt to paste Ruth's letter in the space below if Blogger isn't too ornery! Okay, Blogger will not accept a paste. Let's see if I can hit the highlights...
Jack had a successful tube replacement (after experiencing significant pain) on September 25th. They used a new type of feeding tube and that has been much more comfortable. The feeding tube must stay in place until Jack is able to eat on his own and maintain weight. This will take awhile and you can remember this in your prayers for him. The doctor also gave him a new kind of pain medication that also helps with increasing his appetite and Jack has been "practicing" for travel, by dining out and trying foods.
The last visit with the chemo oncologist went well. Basically Jack is in "surveillance mode". In other words, "wait and see". No secret cameras watching his every movement as Jack joked! But he will have a scan again in December and they will "scope" him in February. The first two years are critical with stomach cancer.
Slowly Jack and Ruth are re-learning how to live. Much has changed and yet much is the same. They are just figuring out new ways of doing old things, or learning new routines. Please pray for them as they adjust. Sometimes after the crisis is over, that can be the most difficult period in other ways. I haven't experienced Cancer but I do know this to be true in other types of grieving and crisis experiences. Ruth has been encouraged by a verse (which she doesn't know was a favorite of mine that I clung to for several difficult years in the 1990s) lately:
See, now I am doing a new thing; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV
So, Mom and Jack ask for your prayers as they travel, especially for Jack's strength. (And I might add his endurance once he is here with the kids!) They are driving a Uhaul down, so graciously to bring two pieces I inherited... an oak veneered roll top desk made by Uncle Ray, which will find a new home in my kitchen, and one of my Aunt's paintings which hung over the fireplace at my Grandma's for years and will do so in our new home as well! Since it was cheaper to get a Uhaul than a van, they are bringing some other things as well (since Jack is so great at finding free/cheap stuff... we gave him a "wish list"). Please pray that they will not have snow in the Siskiyous!
We are really looking forward to sharing our new home with Mom and Jack. It was quite surreal to be excited, making an offer on our first house while Jack was recuperating from major surgery in Seattle. There was such a strange mixture of joy and grief. We will be having Tim's sister and her husband over and enjoying an early Thanksgiving on November 7th. After all we have a LOT to celebrate, especially Jack's LIFE! This will be the first time since being married that I will have celebrated Thanksgiving with my family! I'm very excited.
Thank you all if you read this far and God bless you for your faithfulness to our family. We all love you. And we are so thankful for YOU!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update and Prayer Requests

Hello Everyone. I haven't updated here for awhile because nothing too exciting has been happening. That's a good thing though. Not to say it's been all easy, because it has not. Making it through each day or sometimes the night, is really a small victory each time. As time passes Jack is growing, by baby steps, in strength.

Recently, Jack has had some abdominal pain and he went to see Dr. Levenson. It seems that a possible cause is a deteriorating feeding tube. They are meant to last 2-4 months and his is 4 months old! So, tomorrow, Friday September 25th, Jack will be having the procedure to replace his feeding tube. This will take place at the hospital in the early afternoon. Please pray for direction for the doctor and assistants and that it will go well for Jack. Also, please pray for healing from the pain.

Again, the battle is not over, any continued prayers for Jack's healing and for Ruth as she cares for Jack, are greatly appreciated. Thank you to all of you who have been so kind and loving.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Move That Mountain!

Last week I entered a challenge at Faith Sisters using a new collaboration kit on Faith, created by Eva Lindqvist and Emma Moore. I loved this picture of Jack and Chassidy at church after she got another Gold Medal in the Special Olympics. And this picture to me shows the spirit of Jack, the essence of the Jack we know and love. And he is wearing his survivor shirt!
God unfailing mercy and goodness has been heaped upon us with great measure. We are thankful that this last stage of the journey (chemo) is over! Naturally it's hardest on Jack, but it's also hard on Ruth and everyone else who loves him. Jack's chemo doc says he is at the bottom. The good thing about being at the bottom is that you can only go up from there. I am reminded of something Corrie Ten Boom said, that no pit is so deep that God's love is not deeper still. Having survived a concentration camp, Corrie knew whereof she spoke!
So, where do we go from here? Up! Jack is physically weak, but doing well. The doctor says to double the treatment length time and that is how long it takes to be "normal". So, the business at hand is healing and learning how to be a live-er! His lab tests were "remarkably normal" per the M.D. and his scan was clear. Scans will happen periodically for quite some time. The first two years are crucial. Please don't stop praying!
I'll try to keep posted here periodically for those who want to know. THANK YOU! to everyone who visits, comments, prays, encourages, supports and comes alongside Jack and Ruth.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Halleluia! He's a Survivor!

Jack is all DONE with his last chemo treatment! To celebrate he had an ice cream cake. My pictures are actually in reverse order... this was after church today. I love his smile in this picture. This is the Jack I know and love! :-)

In case you were wondering if he went hog wild... this is his portion of the cake! :-)

It was such a blessing for Jack to celebrate Sabbath at church and see the ones he loves and the ones who love him. Fellowship is sweet! Here is Jack and Chas. She is sporting one of her latest Special Olympics medals! What a special and wonderful friend she is to our whole family.

Here's Mr. Jack getting ready to go to church... all dapper in his new clothes.

He says he is not only a survivor but a "Liver". He is going to LIVE! Praise God for the ability to wear the survivor shirt!

Ready to go... with HOPE. The battle is not completely over. But the does of poison are! Please continue to pray. We can't say enough how much we appreciate your prayers. I will close with a verse that has been encouraging Jack:
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here We Go Again!

Last week was a false alarm, not the beginning of the last week of chemo. Jack had not had sufficient time to recuperate from the other chemo treatment, so his doctor did not feel it was wise to begin the process all over again! This week has been a good time of recuperation for Jack and time for Ruth and Jack to spend together.

The great news is that while he was waiting this week, Jack had a body scan and it came out clear, showing NO signs of metastasized cancer! Praise God!

So, here we go again, tomorrow, Monday, will begin Jack's last week of chemo. We are praying with HOPE and asking for God's mercy and healing. Please pray for Jack as he heads into the battle again. Also pray for Ruth as she cares for him and all those who are helping.

THANK YOU! I'm looking forward to sharing pictures later in the fall of us celebrating Jack's recovery together! We already bought some sparkling pear and sparkling peach juices at Ikea for the occasion. We're looking forward to just being together.

We love you Grampa!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Beginning The End!

I know the title sounds ominous, but it really is reason to rejoice! Tomorrow, Monday, August 10, 2009, Jack will begin his last chemo course! Yeah!!!!!! This of course means that he is standing in the need of prayer. He will go five days, Monday through Friday.

Jack would never complain and probably doesn't like me typing so here, but I have to say that this has been very HARD. (It has been hard on those of us who love him and we aren't the ones having it!) I thought of him this morning when we began our Sunday School study of James with "Consider it pure joy brethren when you face various trials..." I'm sure that there is little joy in chemo or radiation or dry heaves or exhaustion beyond belief. But through it all, I do believe God has been giving both Jack and Ruth moments of Joy. These moments will be their "ebenezer" stones that they can look back on and see what God has done in them, through them, to them and for them. And in this, they certainly will be able to rejoice. (In the photo above, Jack is tending their grapes.)

As Jack begins his chemo this week, please pray that God will heal him totally of the cancer and if you feel led, that somehow miraculously he would not have to endure more side effects. Pray for strength, encouragement and endurance. This is the heat of the battle! It will feel endless while he's in the middle. Please lift him up to the Father daily and moment by moment. (Photo shows Jack with his cousin Dwight and wife Mary looking at the scrapbook of Jack's life that I made for his 60th birthday.)

As Jack faces this battle, please pray for those who love him... his wife Ruth, who is still working during this time, his mother Doris (in the photo above) and for all those who are helping out with rides, visits, meals and care. Pray that they will endure, encourage him and be strengthened for their parts of this battle too. Please pray an extra measure of strength for Ruth.

This is the beginning of the end. This is a reason to rejoice. There are good things to look forward to. We are selfishly excited for a late fall visit with Mom and Jack in our new home. Here Jack is having fun at one of his favorite things... a garage sale!

Thank you to all of you who have touched our lives. Thank you for all the prayers. They are appreciated beyond what we can express. (Here Jack snuggles baby Ezra Jack in church.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Please Pray

It's day 3 of chemo and the side effects are hitting hard. Please pray for courage, encouragement and healing. We appreciate your prayers!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Jack's procedure today was quick and efficient. They were able to easily widen the esophagus a little more. While 'in there' they could see a little irritation so the doctor gave him what I presume is some type of ulcer/acid preventative medication. He's home resting now and has this week to gain strength before chemo begins next Monday. Thank you for prayers!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Update On Jack

Happy Independence Day Everyone! I'm listening to the fireworks go off... we can't see them through the trees. I'm a little late getting an update on Jack.

THANK YOU for all the prayers! The second stretching procedure for his esophagus went much better!

Mom saw Dr. Levenson in his yellow scrubs and hot pink radiation guard and said, "Oh, I need a picture of that!" And Trevor, a RT told her they needed a picture together! LOL If you look closely, you can see it is embroidered "Poopsie Levenson, M.D." Hmmm... So Trevor took the picture and then Barry said, "Now Get Out!" lol

Add Image

Jack gets good attention wherever he goes. He always did know how to sweet talk the waitresses and store clerks... guess it works on nurses and techs as well! :-)

This is the picture of the "A Team" as they put it. They told Mom and Jack not to worry that the A Team was on duty that day. Trevor is holding the camera and that of course is Mom/Ruth. the gals are peeking behind.

When you go through something like this it really means a lot to have people helping you and working with you who have a good attitude and who are kind and respectful. It's hard being a patient!

L to R Jessica, Jack, Lynn, Ruth and Lori.
So, the procedure on 6/26 went well! They were able to increase the esophageal opening a bit and Jack has managed to keep down some soups and "mush". Another piece of good news is that the Candida yeast in his mouth/throat is gone! This last week they had checkup appointments and so far everything is looking "normal".
The next procedure will be Tuesday, July 7 at 7:30 AM to stretch it open a little more, hopefully this will be the last time.
Then another round of chembo begins July 13. This will be daily for five days like he did in March. He will do this in July and again mid August. Then hopefully everything will be done for good.
Please continue to pray for healing of cancer, for the esophagus to stay open, for him tobe able to progress in his eating and that he will have little or no side effects with this chemo round!
Thank you so much for all your prayers. We all appreciate them!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Prayer Request and Pictures

Here's Jack with his Relay For Life shirt on. He was not able to walk, but he's a big supporter! It's funny for me to see pictures of Jack now since I am so far away and don't see him in person. I can see that his face is thinner and his arms look like they shrunk in half! And his beard looks whiter. He sure looks good after all he has gone through!

This is Barry, the gastroenterologist. Um, Barry, most of the things you do... noone is even *thinking* about doing at home! LOL

As anyone who knows Jack knows, he makes friends wherever he goes! :-) This is one of his nurses Sandra. They "matched". She is also a survivor!

Jack's last procedure was on my birthday. When they got home, this is what they saw. Mom says it's my birthday present! I'll accept that!
So, yes, on June 19, Jack did have another procedure to widen his esophagus. It had shriveled back down to about 8mm, mostly due to the "nuking" it got with the radiation treatments. In the procedure they widened it to about 12mm. He will need to have it widened in two more procedures, in fairly quick succession.
The procedure did go well, but was difficult for Jack. There was an issue with the anesthesia, possibly too much and it was hard to come out of it. So one of the requests is, that the anesthesia will work right and that Jack will be safe during the procedure.
Next procedure is this coming Friday, June 26th. The following will be July 7. And then it will be time to start chemo all over again.
There have been some residual side effects of either the treatment or the narrowed esophagus. Please pray for relief and complete healing. Pray that Jack's body would strengthen and build back up before the next treatment and chemo. Pray for encouragement and energy for both Ruth and Jack for all that needs to be done, dealt with and endured. God has been faithful and encouraging them both through Scripture and song, but we would be lying if we said it wasn't a difficult journey. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prayers For Jack Update and Blog On The Move

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been hear to blog much the last few months and especially lately. After a lot of frustrations, I have decided to try Typepad for blogging and so far so good. Hopefully this is the last time I have to move. If you look around the blog you can see it is pretty spare... I lost all your comments, my links, widgets etc. But I'm starting over.

Jack's updates will stay right here. That way we dont' have to worry about a lot of people switching blog addresses to check.

My Blog is now at Along The Way. I invite all my friends and family to join me there.

A long overdue update on Jack. First of all he did complete the six weeks of chemo and radiation and it was NOT fun. Lots of side effects, most, but not all of which are subsiding. That is something he will continue to need prayer with in the long haul.

A week or so ago he had testing done on his heart to make sure that the radiation did not cause damage and it initially looks okay! We are praising God for that. They will have the full report from the doctor next week.

The next step in the journey is tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2009. Jack will be having another balloon procedure to stretch his esophagus. At that time the doctor will also be able to view what or if there is any damage from the radiation to the esophagus and the throat as well as sort out any other issues that may be causing or compounding eating issues. Please pray for Jack in this procedure that involves anesthesia, as well as for wisdom for the doctors in discerning what to do.

After these things are all sorted out, Jack will be chemotherapy again in a couple weeks. This will be the type that he receives via IV at the infusion center for five days. Then there will be another month wait and then one more round of that... then hopefully the "torture" will be done!

Thank you all for praying. I'm sure you know this has not been easy at all, BUT it's nice to know there is a whole army of prayer warriors around the world interceding on your behalf! We love you!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Possibly Moving Blogs

As you know I have been having problems with my comments and now my templates being temperamental. So, I have been trying a free trial of Typepad. So far I like it and am considering keeping it. It may fall under the category of "You Get What You Pay For"! :-)

So, would you mind checking for me and making a comment if you have time, the new blog I began for my digital scrapbooking called Forget-Me-Nots ? Let me know what you think of the format and ease of use. There is just one post there so far. Later today I will also link to my new personal blog. It will help if I get comments because that is one of the issues I am trying to work out and would like to see if it is going to work! Thank you!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I am having multiple technical difficulties with the blog... sorry for any inconvenience!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

103 Years Ago Today

103 years ago today Holly Mabel Tisdale Hopkins was born in Sherwood, Edens Valley Township, Ward County, North Dakota. She was born the day after her mother, Winnifred Kirkland Tisdale's birthday in a shack on the prairie where her father Fred Tisdale had a homestead claim. Lately I have begun doing a "Life Book" at Heritage Scrap where I am working. There is a fantabulous challenge series going on there that a person can join at any time and when completed have the life story of an individual. I've been working on Grandma.

Since we have been moving in and unpacking boxes in our new home, I have bee thinking of Grandma a lot. I find bits and pieces and reminders of her life and her love as I unpack my books... many of my cookbooks, recipes and information came from her, school resources, reading books and several Bibles. Every once in awhile I discover a new paper... little notes in her writing filled with things she wanted to remember... quotes, ideas, recipes, menus. Grandma Hopkins was definitely a Titus 2 woman in my life. I speak of her so often you might think I idolize her. I know all too well her human side, yet still I don't think I could overemphasize the value of the impact she made on the person I have become. I thank God for her!

3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2)

To honor Grandma's life, I thought I would share some layouts I have created recently. The one above tells a humorous story from Grandma's girlhood and was created using Artful Dreamer's beautifu altered art work at Heritage Scrap.

This will be an opening page and overview of Grandma's life. It was really fun to put together.

Here is Grandma and her SIL, our Aunt Vera Hopkins Rehbine when they graduated from high school, May 1924. The kit is Timeless from Ana Flor and is from Faith Sisters.

Last summer I was able to visit Grandma's house which is now a rental and owned by someone outside our family. While it was hard to see many of the changes, it is nice to see it taken care of. I created this from Morning In My Garden by Dielle Designs at Faith Sisters.

This layout shows 6 generations of my family and the heritage of faith they have given me. Grandma's wedding photo is on the left. The word art and kit come from Faith Sisters but I don't remember which designer, perhaps Eva Lindqvist.

Grandma's Bible is the background for this page with her wedding photo and elements from Digizines by Teri's Faith kit.

This one is so precious to me because it shows my little brother Danny helping Grandma snip beans. She always taught hands on and was never afraid of having children in her way. Kit from Jean Daugherty at Heritage Scrap.

Photo of my Grandma taken by my Grandpa during their courting years. Kit from Kate McClellan at Heritage Scrap.

This was another fun one to do, using more altered art work from Jen of Artful Dreamer at Heritage Scrap. This is Grandma with her little sister Dorothy.

And this is another one from Artful Dreamer using the lace/ribbon from Digizines by Teri. This is Grandma's graduation photo from May 1924 - 85 years ago! We were 6o years apart.

Thank you God for the awesome Grandma and all the memories.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thank You For Comments

Thank you everyone for all the comments. I am still having commenting issues. It's not because of blogger but because of having the other company who did the comments, be bought out. Now it won't recognize my pass words and instead of sending me comments in email, I only see them on here and so if I don't know y our email, I can't contact you and I also have to do it manually.

I don't want to use another blog system. Do you know of any other commenting options? If I can't get it direct to my email I'm just going to go back to the regular blogger commenting, but then that means I will lose all the comments! :-(

I'm off to women's retreat at Lake Tahoe this weekend, but while hubby is off on school break, I'm hoping to revamp the blog. It seems I have had problems ever since moving to a three column format that is from a non blogger source.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

79 Years Ago Today

These are my Grandparents and I believe this to be upon their engagement which was announced at Grandma's parents' Silver Wedding Anniversary January 1930. Here they are, young and starry eyed, though they had been "together" already for 9 years. I used Kate McClellan's A Fine Romance kit to create this layout. Alden and Holly met at the Everett Methodist Church, originally on Colby Avenue, the summer before their Sophomore year when their fathers became friends. Soon the families were going on outdoor adventures together and attended school together. Both Alden and Holly were first borns, committed to their relationship with God and to their families. They seemed a "perfect match" right from the start.

This is the right hand side of a two page layout which I created with components of kits from Bubbly Kori, Digizines by Teri and Veronica Spriggs, all available at Heritage Scrap. The Bible is Grandma's and I have used it on another layout I shared here, but these layouts are going into her Life Book, which is an ongoing challenge at Heritage Scrap (where I work and play). Grandma always told me about the stained glass window at the church which had this Psalm written on it. In her own writing, you can read her wedding date and she also wrote my Aunt's wedding date as she was also married at the same church. Sadly the church burnt down so I have never seen the window, but "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness" is engraved on my heart. This photo was their official wedding portrait. Grandma said that Grandpa requested her to take her glasses off for the pictures. For some reason that has always rubbed me the wrong way... maybe because I can't see without my glasses and I don't think Grandma could either!

This is the left hand side and the page also inclues a journal and flower cluster from Jean Daugherty. These are the photos that were taken by either Grandpa's father, George Hopkins or Grandma's father, Fred Tisdale. A teacher friend, Dorothy Pease, was Grandma's Maid of Honor and Clifton Tisdale, her brother, was Grandpa's best man. The reception was held in the garden of a family friend in Everett and the pair honeymooned in Skykomish, Washington.
I always think of Grandma in June because of her wedding date and because our birthdays were 9 days apart. She's been gone 7.5 years now, but I see touches of her in my life daily... in the books we use for school, in the recipes I cook with, in her Bible notes and notes she left in books here and there. It's like having a visit from an old friend when I come across her writing. Thank you Lord for giving me an awesome Grandma!