For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Christmas Letter

December 25, 2011

Now that Christmas is here, I suppose I should get our letter written and cards in the mail! The past year has been a wild ride with many ups and downs!

Rachel has been accepted to UNCG – University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She called me in tears when she received her first scholarship letter. She is very excited about attending college and beginning her adult life. She teaches 2nd grade Sunday School at church and serves on the Student Leadership Team for the youth group. She works very hard in school and is a member of the National Latin Honor Society and National Art Honor Society.

Rebekah is a sophomore and beginning to think about college. She wants to be a writer and editor. She is a creative, imaginative writer. She enjoys spending time with her friends and being a part of the church youth group.

Katie is in 5th grade and is still homeschooled. She enjoys playing the piano and Irish dancing. There is an Irish pub in Raleigh where her dance academy performs about once a month. She competed in feises (pronounced feshes) in Raleigh and Charleston this year where she won several medals. She was very excited to start hard shoe dances a few months ago.

Roger continues to hold down the fort at home and run the girls to school and their activities. He has also done quite a bit of carpentry work this year which has allowed him to add a few things to his power tool collection. :-)

We were blessed to go home (Accident, MD) in June for the family reunion. Thank you to my sisters Dorothy and Juanita for making this an annual event! In September, we spent a few days in Myrtle Beach while Rachel and Rebekah were tracked out of school. It was still warm enough to get in the water and lie on the beach, but there were few people there. It was a very relaxing vacation! We spent Thanksgiving in Baltimore where many family members gathered at Dorothy's house. We enjoyed visiting the Baltimore Aquarium and eating dinner in Little Italy the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Roger also enjoyed fishing in the Gunpowder River.

Most of you receiving this letter know that I was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia on June 30 following a routine physical. I went from shock and fear at being told, “we think it's a leukemia type thing,” to giddy relief when told that the type of leukemia I have is the most treatable type, to despair when admitted to the hospital two days later, to joy at being told I could return to work and “live your life,” to disappointment when realizing how much leukemia affects my daily life in spite of being treatable and manageable. The roller coaster is beginning to level off as I adjust to living with CML. I was told that a time would come when every waking moment would not be filled with, “Oh my gosh, I have cancer!” Now that I'm reaching that point, I'm finding it difficult to remember to take my medicine. :-) It's always something, eh? If you want to read the details of the past six months and follow my future progress, I have a blog at

We are thankful for the many blessings we have experienced in 2011. We have felt God's presence during the valleys as well as the mountaintops. So many friends and family have supported us with meals, prayers, cards, and encouraging words. We wish all of you a happy, joy-filled 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A long overdue update...

November was my best month so far and hopefully more months like that will be in my future.  I felt normal for most of the month. I traveled three times (to Washington DC for a tax conference, to Charleston, SC for Katie's dance competition, and to Baltimore for Thanksgiving with family) and didn't feel worn out from it.

On November 29, I felt myself beginning to spiral down.  During December, I have felt tired and sluggish, and I have struggled to be productive at work.  "Cancer fatigue" is different from normal fatigue in that coffee, vitamins, and rest do not offer a reprieve.  I am thankful that I am not experiencing pain, nausea, and other symptoms that often come with cancer and its treatment. But I do get frustrated when I can't be productive or do all the things I'd like to do. 

Sometimes I think that Roger will think I'm just being lazy and not wanting to help around the house, but he often tells me that I sound or look tired before I say anything about how I'm feeling.  He encourages me to take it easy and get more rest.  I am thankful that he is understanding and supportive.

We are blessed to see how God provides for us in spite of my struggles.  As most of you reading this know, I am the breadwinner for our family. But in months that I've struggled and my hours were low, a carpentry job seems to drop in Roger's lap and he is able to make up the shortfall. 

My monthly doctor appointments have become rather routine.  My blood counts have been stable for several months now.  In January, I will have my six-month appointment, so that one is a bigger deal.  I will have my pcr checked again, and we really want to see a decrease this time.