Saturday, July 11, 2015

7/11/15 Happy news!

Dear friends and family,

   I apologize for taking so long to blog.  I was having technical difficulties with my new computer and today, Daniel fixed them for me!     Let me bring you up to date.
  When I had my two-month visit to the oncologist in May, I learned that my ovarian cancer tumor marker, the CA-125, had DROPPED from 24 to 16.5! Normal is 0 to 30, so I am right in the middle of normal. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, and THANK YOU for praying for me!!!  My physical exam was also good and I have had no cancer symptoms, so the doc told me I don't need to see her again until late August!  Thus commenced a wonderful summer.
   First, Steve and I went on one of our "life list" trips.  I don't like to call it my bucket list, because I don't like the association with kicking the bucket!  I want to focus on living life to the fullest.  So off we went to southern Utah for nine days in the national parks there.
   Our favorite park was Zion, though we also loved Bryce Canyon and Arches. Thanks to no cancer, I was able to do a lot of hiking on this trip. Everyone had told us that the "must do" hike was Angel's Landing in Zion.  It was 1,500' up, with many steep switchbacks and the last part you have to climb the ridgeline of a peak while holding onto chains so you won't fall off the mountain on either side of the ridge!  Steve remarked to me after that he had no idea I was so fearless.  I hadn't noticed that the hike hadn't scared me.  But my only conclusion is that after battling ovarian cancer twice, my courage meter has increased!
  In other news, Daniel just finished part one of his national physician board exam on 6/30.  We are so proud of him!  He will be taking a year off before his two clerkship years to do research on babies receiving cochlear implants for hearing loss.  I wish the NIH would pay me to hang out with babies all day!
   Renee is shining in her job as a trust and estate administrator, and tries not to rub it in too much that "I" never had a window office on the 60th floor of the Columbia Tower building!  Who knew that a theology major would be setting up complex trusts, doing trust tax returns, depositing $1.7 million in the bank and sending out $46 million trust distribution checks.  She also officiates weddings on the side.  We are very proud of our daughter of many talents!
   Filling in the rest of our summer, we have been boating, crabbing, swimming in lakes, hiking, and eating ice cream.  All bets are off for me when Ben & Jerry's goes on sale.  At last count, we had 15 tubs of ice cream in our freezer.  Come on over and have a bowl!
   I want to close with sharing with you how I start my prayers each morning.  The first words out of my mouth are "Thank you, God, for the gift of life today."  I next ask the Lord to let me not be an ovarian cancer statistic (as in having 2-3 years left to live), but to let me be an outlier--a miracle of His hands.  Then I ask Him to let me live to see Daniel graduate from med school and residency, to see both the kids get married (not to each other, of course), to kiss my future grandbabies' cheeks and tell them that I love them and God loves them, and to be there for the love of my life, Steve, as he ages.  Will you join me in this prayer?  :-)
   I wish you the very best summer, and a feeling of wonder as you wake up each morning to the gift of another day.  And in even your toughest days, may you find a glimmer of joy.  

Grace and peace,


Steve and Gabrielle at Arches National Park, Utah

Gabrielle on top of Angel's Landing at Zion National Park--a hard hike!

One of the sweet babies I babysit each week!

Renee playing in "our pool" with our other sweet baby--my great-nephew Jericho!

OK--so I know perms are "out."  I just did this to help a friend in salon school!  I'm so lucky to have hair to perm!!

Hike to Talapus Lake with friend, Laura (and Steve, the photographer).  Great swimming!

Daniel, Steve, and I caught 10 crabs on opening day!  Best crab cakes ever that night!

Gabrielle at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.

One last picture of my sweet Jericho.  His favorite bath toy is the plug!

Yep, I love ice cream!