Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This holiday weekend seems to have been a weekend of death.  Saturday we learned that Steve Richards had passed.  Sunday it was Kuin Tattersall in Australia.  Monday my aunt, Velma Holland, died of brain cancer.

Aunt Velma was a remarkable woman.  Had she made it to August 8th she would have been 86 years old yet  until quite recently she still lived alone, made her own garden, and drove herself wherever she wanted to go.  It wasn't very long ago that she was still working as a seamstress in a factory and she drove herself there, too - not across the small town in Tennessee where she lived, but across the valley and up another mountain.  Aunt Velma canned, made her own clothes, and (like most of my aunts in Tennessee) outshone any TV chef when it came to cooking.  I have recipes in my kitchen now that I learned from her.  Some probably would have called her a country hick, but I think that just means she was unpretentious, practical and plain spoken.  She was also very, very sweet.  When I think of the pioneer women who faced such hardships to settle this nation I think they must have been something like Aunt Velma.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Round 2, Week 2

Well, we may have identified the new side effects for this round of chemo - heartburn and high blood pressure.  Both are on the common list for this drug and both showed up just a few days ago.  Jimmie had his monthly chat with the oncologist on Friday rather than the usual Monday since the doctor's office will be closed today for the holiday, and Jimmie's systolic reading was more than 40 points higher than usual.  We came home with a prescription to bring it down but don't know yet if we will need to fill it.  These side effects are often short-lived (one week Jimmie's platelet count had dropped to almost nothing, but the next blood work it was right back to normal), so we will have to get his BP checked a couple of times this week and see.

Of course, I still went to the drug store.  They know me by name now.  My search Friday was to find a heartburn fighter that wasn't made of calcium since Jimmie's level there was slightly elevated as well.  The doctor said "No" to Tums.  The pharmacist said what I needed was Rolaids, but they don't make them anymore.  I didn't know that. I checked the Internet and it seems that some lots showed up with metal shavings and wood chips in them so the company recalled the whole lot.  But that was some 18 months ago and they are still not back.  Luckily, I found a liquid that should work.

I have sad news to pass along.  A couple of weeks ago I asked for prayers for two other families who are going through the cancer ordeal as well.  This weekend Steve Richards (in Georgia) and Kuin Tattersall (in Australia) both passed into the next world.  Please remember the families of these two Christian friends as they go through this difficult time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

1 Down, 3 to Go

Jimmie finished the first week of round #2 today and so far, so good.  The prescription insert mentioned that the side effects for one round may not be the same in the next, and that's turning out to be the case.  Jimmie's constant headache has finally cleared, the mouth sores are gone, and the metal taste is decreasing.  (He ate a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup yesterday and could actually taste it for a change.)   And thankfully, no new side effects have cropped up . . . yet.  So this week at least has been one of improvements.

Now the problem will be trying to keep Jimmie from over doing it. Take yesterday for example.  He had put in several hours at his desk so after a late lunch he told me he was going to take a break and rest in the back yard for a bit while I went to do an errand.  I thought that was a great idea - until I got back and found him installing a new pump in our pond.  That is certainly not my idea of resting!

- Linda

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chit Chat

I can't believe that Julie is now officially 35 weeks.  I also can't believe that I said "weeks".  When I grew up pregnant ladies reported their progress in "months".  Hearing "I'm 3 months" or "I'm 8 months" was a whole lot simpler than the current "I'm 13 weeks" or "I'm 29 weeks".  When did this happen?  I always have to mentally convert and sometimes lately my mind just isn't up to the math.  But we are very excited and looking forward to meeting our second grandchild in June.

No, we don't yet know if Cole is getting a brother or a sister, although Cole continues to declare that it had better be a brother.  Cole actually got to see his sibling on the ultrasound monitor this week and was very excited.  He also offered to keep it a secret if the technician would just whisper to him which it was - boy or girl - but no one believed that for a instant.  Bronson and Julie decided early on that they preferred for the baby's sex to be a surprise, so the suspense is building.  It is also making shopping for this grandchild a tad more difficult.  Finding gender-neutral newborn items is a lot harder than it used to be.

Jimmie had a difficult week after we returned from Mississippi but is finally feeling better.  I have been extra busy juggling projects in addition to the usual work I do with the Internet teachers and students.  I managed to upload about 15 new Gospel tracts to our website finishing off all those I had in electronic form already.  The remaining 11 that I have permission to use will have to be typed from scratch.  Then I have to go back and format a printable version for more tracts than I want to count. Just this week I started refinishing a chest of drawers for Cole.  And sometime before we head to Mississippi once more in June I really have to finish at least another couple of chapters of the book Cole and I are writing together . . . before he adds more characters again.

- Linda

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Round #2

Jimmie began his second 4-week round of the new chemo today.  The relief from the side effects that the doctor assured Jimmie he would get during these past two weeks without the drug never arrived, so we aren't really sure what to expect now.  I just hope that all of the thrilling byproducts of this chemo that are going to appear have already appeared and we won't get any more nasty surprises.  Please keep Jimmie and me in your prayers.

A few weeks ago Jimmie said that it really would not have mattered which one of us got this deadly disease . . . the devastation is the same.  I certainly concur. It feels like we both have this cancer.  But we are not the only ones paddling this boat  So while you are saying one for us, please add a plea for some friends who are going through the same ordeal - Steve & Becky Richards here in Georgia, and Glen & Kuin Tattersall in Australia.

- Linda

Friday, May 11, 2012


Does anyone know how to hire a Brink's truck?  I just made the monthly run to the drugstore for Jimmie's chemo pills and blood-thinner injections and once more felt very leery of walking out the door without an armored guard escort.  The two meds together in that little brown bag were valued at over $15,000!  Do prices get any crazier than that?  Unfortunately, probably so . . .

- Linda

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I know that I do most of the blogging on here so the posts are primarily from my perspective when many of you who read this want to know about Jimmie.  Well, from my perspective I really need to brag on him for a moment.

Jimmie has been pretty fantastic through this cancer ordeal.  He follows the doctor's directions to the letter, even on the mornings when I know he would like to chunk that daily blood-thinner injection in the pond out back.  He has dealt with headaches, backaches, nausea, hiccups, swelling, mouth sores, yeast infections, skin rashes, fatigue, everything tasting like metal and the ever-present pain from the blood clots in his lungs without anger or self-pity.  On the rare occasions when he has complained or become irritable momentarily he has quickly changed his attitude and apologized.  Jimmie is the one who keeps the humor in our house and reminds others - like me - that God is always in control and we have to put our trust in Him.

Jimmie has also kept going.  Take this morning, for instance.  Despite the fact that his chest pain was unusually bad during the night, this morning he was working at his desk by 8 AM.  Having his office at home and the majority of his mission work accessible by the Internet has been a blessing, but it is still work that has to be done.  And take last week.  Despite the fact that car travel is brutal to him he still took that 7 hour drive to be there when Cole turned 6.  Jimmie has said that he is not ready to lay down and die.  There is still more he wants to accomplish.

I seriously doubt that Jimmie has any idea just how special he is.  I am very, very proud of him.

- Linda

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birthday Trip

Brimming.  Chockablock.  Teeming.  Crammed.  I'm looking for a word to describe just how full of activity the past week has been, but having a hard time picking just one.

We got to Mississippi last Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday Julie and I tore her house apart then put it back together again.  Our primary goal was to reorganize her bedroom to make room for the birthing pool that will be needed in June, but we also packed and stored anything not currently essential to give her some extra space for baby stuff.  Jimmie lent a hand with more manly chores, such as household fix-it jobs and taking Cole fishing.   Friday was Cole's birthday but we were on the run from early to late getting ready for his party.  Saturday was party day with a nerf war in the yard that was a huge success.  Sunday was worship followed by a baby shower for Julie in the afternoon, then jumping in the truck to head toward home again.  A horrendous thunderstorm in Alabama had me stressed for a great portion of the drive, so I was very glad to stop for the night again outside of Birmingham.  The drive on through Atlanta yesterday was a breeze in comparison.

It felt good coming home knowing that we had accomplished everything that had been on our To Do List. And when I took a break it was at Julie's computer to keep up with assigning the Internet students who never pause for weekends, holidays or mini vacations, so the work also continued.  Catching up on the record keeping this week will be horrendous . . . but that's another story.

Cole created his own cake topper with Legos.

Julie's homemade Oreo cake with Cole's Star Wars creation - yum!

Prepare to be shot!  It's Nerf Wars!

Jimmie using his "tuning fork" before leading the Happy Birthday song.

Happy 6th Birthday, Cole!

- Linda

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

End of Round #1

If I knew how to ring a boxing bell on here I would.  Jimmie takes his last pill of this first round of Sutent this morning and he is definitely looking forward to the break.  The oncologist yesterday confirmed that Jimmie should get some relief from the side effects in the next two weeks without the harsh drug.  I hope that relief happens quickly because we are on our way to Mississippi to help our grandson, Cole, celebrate his 6th birthday.

Travel - we used to love it.  Now it is torture for Jimmie and we are not exactly sure why.  The oncologist has reminded Jimmie several times that all of his innards were shifted around quite a bit during surgery.  Jimmie just jokes that he was like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.  "Part of me was over here, and part of me was over there!"  Since the team of surgeons went in from the front with a long incision from his diaphram to below his belly button they had to literally scoop out all of his intestines and other organs in order to get to his kidney in the back.  Jimmie still has a few problems because his guts did not appreciate being manhandled, so perhaps they are the reason being joustled in the car is so painful.  I wish Jimmie could just take a pill and sleep the whole journey - ah, not while driving, of course - but nothing seems to knock him out anymore.  So we chopped this trip into chunks, going only halfway yesterday afternoon after leaving the doctor's office.  Now it's straight ahead to Cole . . . and Bronson & Julie, of course.

- Linda