Sunday, December 14, 2014

Our Baby Girl Graduated!!!

Warning!!!  Another post with LOTS of pics!!!

This weekend we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating our awesome daughter, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music -- Vocal Performance!

It all started with the 400+mile trek through west Texas, to Sul Ross State University in Alpine!

We frantically gathered Saturday morning and anxiously awaited the commencement of the ceremony.
The cheer squad was poised and ready to make some NOISE!!!

The graduate made her appearance and that smile melted my heart!

She graduated with Honors, Cum Laude, and recieved gold cords from the Provost.

Then, received her diploma from the University President!

Walking back to her seat!  She was ALL SMILES!!!

And for those super observant types...the blue and green cords are representative of the Honor Society she belongs to!

The group pic after the ceremony:

Followed by a pic with her MVP, Most Valuable Professor!!!!

On the way to the reception, we picked up her doggie daughter and Toby!  They may have been excited too!

We then had a wonderful lunch reception with the whole gang!!

All in all, it was a terrific celebration throughout the weekend!  We had lots of quality time with the friends and family who were able to make the long trip, laughed way too much!, ate way too much!, some of us drank way too much!, and none of us got enough sleep!!  So I'd call that a SUCCESS!

Who knew in 2009 when we took a train to Alpine to visit the Big Bend National Park with myself, two other moms, one grandma, and 9 kids among us...that Kasey would end up LOVING this area and become so attached to it, that she now calls it HOME!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

New day, new scans!

The most recent visit to MD Anderson was (in Albert's words) anticlimactic!

He got new chest and body scans.

Also new lab work.

Apparently, all is well.

Very little fluid around the lung, and practically NO fluid around the heart.

Good news, probably even great news.  However, he still has this dang cough.

So, the next question is, how do we get rid of it?  Of course, steroids are not good for long term use, and the cough med he's been taking is no longer very what do we do now?

Apparently, we wait until the radiation oncologist is back from vacation next week and see what his opinion is.  The good thing is that he will already have all the scans he needs to make a decision.  The bad thing is that this cough is pretty nasty.  So this means a few more days to tolerate this late onset symptom of radiation to the chest.

Also, we only saw the PA this time.   That's more good news, right?  That means his case isn't as critical as others, right?

Speaking of which.  I recognized a couple of newbies in the waiting area.  That bundle of nerves, the fear in each family member's eyes, not knowing what the doctor is going to say, but hoping against all hope that there is SOMETHING they can do!  The mom was the patient.  The grown daughter was home (maybe from college), doting on mom, the daughter still at home was glued to her social media on her phone.  Dad was doing everything possible to appear OK, but was just a jumble of bungled nerves...even forgot his backpack when they called the wife's name.  My heart went out to them.  Thinking of how scary that first visit is; and oh, how far we have come.

Lately, I find myself helping people find their way around the maze of hallways and buildings, giving directions to the pharmacy or the post office...helping them find the cafe that's open at the current time of day.  Yep, we've been there a couple of times!

I've chosen to think of our visits as quality time with my best friend.  Because, in truth, I'd rather be there with him than anywhere else by myself.  Every day together is a gift.  And if I'm still visiting MD Anderson in 4 years, I'll know that my guy beat the odds!!!!  He'll bust through that 0% that have survived before him!

Anticlimactic?  Yes!  and I'll take it ANY DAY!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thank you so much, to everyone!

This week, last year, Albert had his big surgery to remove Walter White from his chest!

A year later, we can only be thankful.

Thankful to co-workers, friends, and family who visited the hospital...brought food, gifts (including grocery cards and restaurant gift cards), flowers, plants, kind words, and shining smiles!

Thankful for our close circle of friends that took tremendous care of us for several weeks after...brought us food, cleaned our house, and kept us company!

Thankful to my sister and one of my besties for caring for our dog and cat children, EVERY TIME we had be away...including the long months in Houston!!

Thankful to our brother-in-law for keeping the lawn under control for a whole year now!!!

Thankful to co-workers who donated weeks upon weeks of sick time so that Albert could be getting treatments and still support our family!

Thankful to our friend in Houston, who is really more like a mom to us, who insists we stay with her, providing the MOST luxurious, relaxing, amazing suite of hospitality we could ever dream of; a home away from home!

Thankful to everyone who signed up and helped on the care calendar, with our yard and our trash cans, and the multitude of kind acts that were unexpected and so thoughtful!

Thankful to everyone who reads the blog and writes comments here or on Facebook!!!

Thankful for the entire team of folks on his medical journey!  Exceptionally gifted people whose compassion and expertise gave us hope...over and over again!

Thankful for our puppies, our most trusted therapists!

Thankful to RA for forcing me to stay home and be able to care for both of us!

Thankful for our children...they went through hell too...but lived to tell the tale.

Thankful for every new day that we are given to be together! 

We are thankful!  Oh, so very thankful!