Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2012

Here is our Christmas thoughts for all of you,

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all, and our wish for a Happy New Year.

This Year has been a special one for us, with all the surprises we could want and God’s blessings through all of the year. We didn’t send a letter last year because when I put one together, it seemed much too sad, and in reality, 2010 had some bright spots too, brought into focus by looking backwards over time.

We celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary in 2010 and decided to go back to Montreal and see if anything had changed. Our trip had all the mystery of France, with a convenient North America location, coupled with a side trip to Quebec City, for the crowning Francophile experience. We stayed at the Queen Elizabeth, as before, and got caught up in the Montreal, Philadelphia hockey play off game excitement. Chicago won the Stanley Cup, the first since 1961, and I was very proud to be able to watch the games and root for the Blackhawks.

A year ago Deb was diagnosed with right side breast cancer, confirmed by a biopsy, a shock really, especially since all the exams had been normal. Chemo started in early December and a mastectomy followed in May. The good news is that Deb is doing well and getting her strength back, slow but sure and still working full time. The breast cancer had attached to her liver but is thought to be stable. She will have another CT scan Monday to see how things look.

I had my right hip replaced in May, so for almost a month we convalesced together, enjoying our time together at home. Deb returned to work and eventually so did I, for a week, and then retired on August first. Not only do I really like being home, Strider is thrilled to have me here so she can nap on the love seat next to me.

I was in Michigan in August to visit Kathi, Erin and Kris. Kris and Bud live in the Grand Rapids area so I spent some time with them and the grandkids, Mitchell and Madelynn. Then I went to the Pontiac area to visit with Kathi and Jim and to attend a Pontiac Central High School band reunion. I think my friend Peggy and I were the oldest ones there. I’m glad I wasn’t asked to play anything.

Erin and Quinn were visiting in the area so we all congregated at Kathi’s and later had dinner at the Clarkston Union restaurant. Erin’s husband Rob, a career USAF member, returned from his yearlong duty in Korea, and they have now moved to his next duty station near Pensacola Florida. Erin hopes to be there long enough for Quinn to complete high school. Quinn is sixteen.

Sadly, we put Gabby, our cat, down in June. She was sixteen years old and had come to have just too many health challenges to go on without being miserable. Our vet and her team sent a nice sympathy card and Gabby’s paw prints to help us remember her. It is so difficult to lose a loved pet, after so many years. It’s hard to believe Strider is nine years old now.

We are part of a great small group through church that has helped us keep our balance through all the ups and downs. There have been times and days in the past year that we were scared, overjoyed, angry, in denial and riding the roller coaster of emotions as our situation evolved, but through it all we were comforted by great friends, family and most of all our Lord, who marked a path for us through this year and gave us the strength to survive.

Someone wrote that the secret of happiness is to walk slowly through life, savoring the exercise, and to make no left turns while driving. Three right turns make a left turn, as you all know. And statistics show most senior driver’s accidents come during left turns. I want to be around to continue my driving Deb up the wall.

We have enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to Christmas and New Year. We hope and pray for healing for Mary as she battles leukemia, Jack as he treats for skin cancer and keeps an eye on his lymphoma, currently in remission. We mourn the passing of our friends Jill and Herman from cancer, and the health problems that seem to visit everyone we know.

This year we have tried to look at our life and feel the contentment that comes from knowing that God has given us so many blessings, and that He has only asked us to be good stewards of those blessings and to share them with others. We are certainly blessed by your prayers and petitions to our Lord asking for healing for us and we’ve seen the results of those prayers in the recent positive medical exams.

God Bless each of you in 2012

Dan, Deb and Strider, the wonder dog

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Christmas Reflection

Happy Thursday everyone,

I sit here today looking at Christmas present and back at Christmas past, reflecting on all that has gone on since we started this epic battle with cancer.

I read through some of the past posts and I enjoyed reliving the emotions I felt at various times, certainly a roller coaster, but tempered by the lens of time.

I guess I look at the last five years as a test in some ways. We've tried to meet head on the challenges of cancer and then it's return, and I honestly can not imagine someone with a better attitude and more grace than Deb has shown throughout all of this. Where others may have given in or given up, she has been the epitome of courage and focus. I'm so proud.

The fight has taken it's toll. She is spooked by the cancer that remains in her liver and will always believe that her future is compromised by the probability of further cancer. And that's not to say anything about all the side effects that she has endured and remain.

Her hair has come back beautifully, and everyone marvels at her appearance and energy.

We believe that God has brought us through this season for a purpose. He has blessed us with so many gifts and we must remember to thank Him in everything and be content, because he is our Lord and Savior and will guide us with His word.

He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God. Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain, at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty, on to the judgment seat, the same Christ there as ever, still loving you, still God.

"Although the wor
ld is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
Emmet Fox American Unity Minister, Metaphysician

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. [John 13:35]

We mourn the loss of Herman and Jill to cancer recently, and dear friends Mary, Jack and Logan who are fighting cancer. It seems this fight will never end.

Thank you for your prayers. Having cancer is sometimes lonely, sad too, not knowing the final outcome. But knowing someone with cancer gives each one of us the opportunity to make a difference. So call and be available, give love and hugs as they are the best medicine.

God Bless,