First, as I promised, I will keep Mike at the top of my blog to update everyone. Mike went into the hospital this past time (July right after his birthday) with an FEV1 of 28%. Heartbreaking. He was disappointed that his function got so low. He was trying to get in before they got so low, hoping that he would be able to stay more on top of things in hopes of coming up higher at the end of his course of IV antibiotics. Unfortunately, his cough started getting so bad he couldn't keep much food down. He dropped a lot of the weight he had been working so hard at gaining. He said he could not handle another two weeks in the hospital in isolation. He did one week inpatient and came home and did another week at home. He is a fighter. I was overwhelmed by my new job and didn't help him at all. I know Missy is a big help and I so appreciate others that pitch in. Thank you all. Thankfully, when Mike returned to have his port flushed and do PFTs his FEV1 had come up to 50%. While living daily on only 50% of the lung function we are all used to, Mike is always so thankful to be out of transplant range. There is a big difference between that 28 and the 50%. That is for another blog post. We continue to appreciate all your prayers of support and words of encouragement. Mike is dancing again. He has been doing protein shakes and using his feed tube and has gained back some weight. He looks good. He has a couple of great opportunities with dancing coming up and I'm hoping to find some balance so I can see him dance. God willing. And if you ever get the chance to see Mike and Missy dance, take it. It is awesome. They dance as one and it takes my breath away. I am going to try and video tape it soon. Frank and Julie you have done an awesome job! Missy and Mike - keep up the hard work!
My new job is great and hard and overwhelming and fun and . . . The learning curve is difficult. Partially because I am a bit of a perfectionist and I want to know it all now and be as productive as possible. The other part is because it is a new position so there isn't someone there to "train" me. I am trying to find out where I can best help and support my boss. I'm learning as much as possible and applying my experience. I have to say I have a wonderful boss who is very supportive and complimentary. We seem to really connect and work well as a team. I am also blessed to work with some incredibly talented people. It truly amazes me. Most companies I've worked for have at least a couple people who can kind of be annoying because they don't care, or they just lack skills or drive. I still haven't met anyone like that where I work. I am in awe of the talent I get to work with on a daily basis. I'm learning a ton from all these people. What a blessing for me.
In July this beautiful couple got married. Congratulations to Gary and Chelsea. It was just a beautiful day, a beautiful ceremony and a memorable day of family and fun. Gary and Mike were in the same class in grade school. During the video when I saw pictures of Mike and Gary together as kids I got choked up. I looked over at my sister and could see by the look on her face the emotion that only another mother could sense. So happy for your child and his accomplishments - all tangled up with the emotion of closing a chapter in your life while another one opens. Gary will always be special as I got to see him grow up more closely than I have gotten to with other nieces and nephews. I remember the computer lab I monitored while Gary and his friends practiced typing. Seems like yesterday. May God bless your life together Gary and Chelsea!
The end of July a friend of mine came to visit from Dallas. We haven't seen each other in years. It was difficult to try and plan time together given all the things that can come up that can't be controlled in my life right now. But Jean and I decided to just go for it. We set a date and she got airline tickets. It was funny because sure enough, as soon as the flights were booked I was offered my job. Mike was in the hospital when she came but we planned for this too and Jean flew into Madison. I picked her up at the airport and we headed right to the hospital to see Mike. I had been at work all morning and then at the airport. Jean had just been stuck on an airplane for a few hours so we needed to gown up to be sure Mike was safe from germs. I didn't want to take any chances. But we still had fun and grabbed a quick picture. Of course there wasn't a nurse around but we got a goofy picture. Thanks, Jean and Mike for putting up with my photo fetish. Jean and I left the hospital and walked up and down State Street. Jean bought me dinner and then we ran to the grocery store and she bought some excellent wine and beer and we came home. We just hung out and had such a wonderful time. It has taught me that I need to take time to refuel. I am so thankful to have friends like Jean who help me slow down and smell the roses (or the incredible red wine ;)). On Saturday I allowed myself to be pampered. (Thank you to Angie and her family for the gift certificates - they were finally put to good use!) We had massages and I got a pedicure and Jean got a manicure. We laughed and caught up and reminisced. It was awesome. On Sunday she helped me figure out my benefits for my new job. That was so kind of her to help because I was overwhelmed with it all at the time. The advice she gave to Paul and I is so appreciated. Thank you so much for all you did Jean. Love, love, love you girl! I can't wait until you come again!
The beginning of August was hectic with Mom working full time. David needed his fourth eye surgery and I was torn. Again, God provided. My friend Gail came over and spent the night and she and Paul left with David at 5 O'clock in the morning and headed to the hospital in Sheboygan. I went into work. This was such a difficult decision. David came out of surgery kicking and screaming like he did the last three times. Gail's help was immense. She and Paul worked together to keep David from rubbing his eyes and settled him down. After being drugged and taking a long nap they were able to bring him home around lunch time. Gail is a saint for giving her love to my child in this way. God has blessed me with such awesome friends. David was bright eyed and untraumatized by the experience by the time I got home from work. While I wish I could say his eyes are perfect now they are still better than they were. We are praying he won't need any additional surgeries and that too is a blessing. Thank you for all the help Gail! Love, love, love you!
August means the beginning of school for us. This also meant another transition. Paul went back to work and the boys are all off in school now. Here are some pics of the yearly tradition in our house.
Richie is a big "upper grader" now. He started 5th grade with Mrs. Albrecht.
Gage is 7 now and in 1st Grade with Mrs. Lauber. I also got a picture of Gage, with his Mom (my daughter Katie) on the first day.
And yes, my baby started Kindergarten. His teacher is Mrs. Wilsman. God bless her!
The blessings we have been given are immeasurable. God has seen us through so much and continues to provide for us on a daily basis. We are thankful. These past few months have been particularly hard for me as I have started my new job and so much has gone on. So many people have been there for me. A couple of friends of mine, Leslie and Pam, brought over dinner one night. I was almost to the breaking point as Mike was getting ready to be admitted to the hospital and things were so hectic at work. What a blessing to come home and find a kitchen full of food and goodies. Thank you ladies! You are the best!
The demands on my time are greater than they have ever been. I have a lot of work to do. But I am having fun. I have the most awesome friends and some of you I have neglected lately. I thank you for your understanding during this trying time. I hope to be able to connect soon. Peace and love to all of you! Your support means so much.
To an old acquaintance, Joyce, please know I am praying for you as you again battle cancer. God give you peace, strength, and healing.
And in closing, if you have a moment please watch the following clip. And please consider being an organ donor. THANK YOU!
Blessings to you!