Saturday, September 21, 2013

9/21/13 Happy Fall!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, the gray skies arrived today, after a most beautiful summer and early September, as we welcome in the first day of Fall tomorrow.  After a very active summer, I am ready for the cooler days, big pots of soup, and curling up with some good books.

After my GLORIOUS normal CA125 blood tumor marker test in July, all four Dudleys had a fun trip to the San Juan Islands on our boat in August.  We spent one night with friends, Howard and Nancy, having fun eating great food and fishing, and then explored on our own for a couple of days, with hikes at Sucia and Jones islands.  Last weekend Steve and I went to Crater Lake for the first time.  Below are some pictures from that trip.  We were blessed with nice weather and we SWAM in that cold lake, jumping off rocks into the cleanest, clearest water we have ever seen.  You can drink the lake as you swim!  It's that pure.  You can't look at Crater Lake without seeing the majesty of God's design and creativity.  It was spectacular. 

The final picture below is of my one little inch of new hair.  Man--I never knew how slowly hair grows!  It is growing in thick, and brown (not gray!), but totally straight.  My previous hair had been kind of wavy.  But believe me, I don't care at all.  To have any hair is a wonder to me and I will try to never complain of a bad hair day ever again!

In other Dudley family news, Renee is interviewing for jobs with nonprofits in town.  Please pray she will get just the right one.  She is pretty awesome at interviews and already got offered one job.  Unfortunately, after learning more about it, she needed to turn that one down, as it didn't feel like the right fit to her.  And Daniel is already in his fourth week of medical school!  He had a huge anatomy exam yesterday on everything you can find in the head and neck.  I guess there is a LOT of stuff in there!  Afterwards, the school hosted the first year students for a pizza party to celebrate their survival of that exam.  So it's off to the races for junior doctor Dudley. 

As to my health, I am feeling pretty well, overall.  I am at about 90% energy, and have been so delighted to be able to hike and swim and travel this summer.  Thanks be to God!  Though I'm physically doing well, emotionally, the post-chemo days have been pretty rough.  Once you quit chemo, and there are no more drugs killing cancer cells, you begin to fear that any "chemo-resistant cancer cells" that might be in there are beginning to grow again.  Every ache or pain you experience, you get a pang of fear that cancer is returning.  It is a constant psychological and spiritual battle EVERY day.  I tell myself "you don't have cancer TODAY."  "You are not going to die TODAY, so quit worrying and enjoy the day."  And of course, I pray continually and ask God to help me "run with perseverance the race marked out for me, looking unto Jesus..."  It always comes back to "eyes on Jesus" to get through each day.  And of course, I am fully engaged in looking for joy in each and every day, and with seeing each day as a total gift from God.  I hope you are too! 

My next CA125 test is October 25.  Please pray for another normal test and for continued remission.  Thank you!  May God bless you and hold you close through whatever trials you are facing.  If I can pray for you for something specific you are going through, I would be honored to do so, as your prayers and support were such a lifeline for me.  Just let me know!


Steve on the rocks at Crater Lake.  Chilly, refreshing and so pure you can drink it.

Toketee Falls, along the North Fork of the Umpqua River.  Many people think this is the most beautiful waterfall in Oregon.  A "must see"!

Some guy I met on the crater rim drive.  He offered to show me a good time.  Wizard Island in the background. 
A few of the many pinnacles we saw along one of the drives just below the rim.  They are actually fossilized fumaroles.  Has something to do with steam vents when the volcano erupted.  They are hollow inside and the most bizarre things you could ever imagine.  We thought we had stepped into a Dr. Seuss book and kept looking for some guy named Sam I Am holding a plate of green eggs and ham.

I love my hair!  Sure beats the "fresh from chemo" look!  It is coming in straight, a little lighter and not one gray hair in the bunch (but if there was, I wouldn't tell).  But, boy does it grow slowly!  Anyone got some Miracle Gro I can try?