Friday, November 25, 2011

Peanut m&m's and Kidney Stones

What does a peanut m&m have to do with a kidney stone, you ask? Well, on Monday, November 14, my husband, Bob, finally had surgery to remove a kidney stone, a very large kidney stone that the doctor told him was about the size of a peanut m&m (and no that is not the actual stone in the picture... that is an actual m&m). This stone has been giving him pain since the spring of 2008! It has been a long journey through already troubled times as most of you know. And if you don't, just go back in my blog and you can read all about them. We do very blessed that his treatment was able to be done at the Mayo Clinic here in Phoenix. And Monday, November 14, 2011 turned out to be an eventful day in another not so great way, as well. So here's the story....

We left our house at 6:15am in order to get up to where the Mayo Clinic hospital is by 7:30am. We decided to take both our cars since Sarah had to be at work in the afternoon. So off we went, Bob and I in one car, and the girls with Sarah driving in the other car. When we were about 15-20 minutes away from the hospital, Rachel called us to let us know that the car's clutch was slipping majorly, and they couldn't go any faster than 50 mph. I immediately felt knots in my stomach and completely helpless since we HAD to get Bob to the hospital on time! We kept communicating by cell phone with them as I was driving as fast as I legally could to get Bob to the hospital on time so that then I could deal with the girls' situation. Rachel called us again and said the car was not moving at all and they were pulling off to the side of the freeway. By this time the knots in my stomach are tying themselves into knots, and I am ready to cry! Thankfully, a pastor from our church was coming up to be with us at the hospital, Pastor Jim, and we were able to connect with him and he went and found the girls by the side of the road and stayed with them until I was able to get back to them. Also, thankfully, they weren't a real long distance from the hospital, so I didn't have to go far to find them. We called Triple A, and they put us on high priority since we were on the side of the freeway, Pastor Jim took Rachel and Hannah to the hospital, and Sarah and I sat and waited for the tow truck. It finally got there (would hate to think how long it would have been if we hadn't been "high priority"!) and after giving the driver instructions about getting the car back to our house, Sarah and I were off to the hospital. Whew! First crisis taken care of. The knots in my stomach start to lessen. This entire time I'm also praying that we get to the hospital before Bob is taken into surgery!

We get to the hospital, and I expected to find everyone on the 2nd floor which is where their surgical unit is (which we knew from Bob's emergency trip there last week), but no, they were all downstairs and I was handed a pager and told we'd be paged when we could see Bob before surgery, which should be about 30-45 minutes. After about an hour with no page, I went to inquire about what was going on with Bob and they told me he was already in surgery! What??!!! I couldn't understand why we weren't notified of that before, and I was disappointed that I didn't get to see him before he went in. However, I figured that they wanted to get it done and over with, so I updated my Facebook status saying that Bob was in surgery and sat for the next hour with my stomach in knots again and praying. I had also asked that they let me know how long he'd been in surgery already, and since they never got back to me about that, I went and inquired again. This time they asked me to wait while they found out and then told me he was in recovery and to go upstairs to a department I'd never heard of! Turns out it was the surgical unit that we were familiar with, I don't even remember what they called it downstairs. So I get upstairs to the surgical unit, and I find out that not only is Bob NOT in recovery, he hasn't even had surgery yet and is in pre-op! Wow! Where did the people downstairs get their very wrong information?! As a side note I'd just like to say, that overall, I've been super impressed with the Mayo Clinic and their employees have all been more than kind and helpful. So this whole fiasco with the wrong information and their dismissive attitude in what I later learned was the admitting department, was rather disappointing to me. However, the people in the surgical unit were MOST kind and very helpful so I focused on that, and of course on Bob. I was able to go back to his room in pre-op and "hang" with him until they came and took him to surgery. SO glad I was actually able to see him before surgery! By this time, also, Pastor Jim had left with Sarah to take her back to Queen Creek so she could get to work, so she never saw her dad before he went into surgery. In fact, I had to text her to let her know that he actually hadn't been IN surgery and that I was now with him in pre-op.

To clarify what was happening when I was told Bob was in surgery when he actually wasn't... his first procedure of the day was to have a scan so that they could take another look at his kidney stone and also insert the tube, using a local anesthetic, that they would use during surgery. I can't imagine having that done while being awake, but Bob said it was pretty cool to watch it on the screen. Makes me kind-of shudder! Anyway, this took longer than usual because the first machine turned out to be not working and they had to change rooms and re-do some prepping on him for this procedure. So then when he was sent up to pre-op after this procedure was done, that is when people downstairs told me he was in recovery. Well, if you stretch it, I guess the pre-op COULD be considered recovery from this first procedure! [rolling eyes] Still irritates me that they couldn't get their facts straight. :/ But moving on....

Since I was with Bob as they wheeled him off to surgery, I now KNEW that he was, in fact, in surgery! So the knots in my stomach were back as we waited and prayed. The surgery lasted a little over an hour and then I was called back so the doctor could talk to me and tell me how it went. Thankfully everything went well, and he was as certain as he could be that they got all the pieces of this stone that decided to break in two last week! I was also told that he'd be in recovery for a couple of hours and that because he had to be on his stomach during the surgery, it would take longer for him to wake up. So the knots in my stomached lessened, and we waited now while he was in recovery...

Around 6pm MST, Bob was finally settled into a room. I LOVED his nurse! She was so personable and was also very good about explaining things to me. Bob was in a lot of pain when I first saw him, and he looked very pale with several tubes coming out of him. Kind-of tied up the knots in my stomach again seeing him like that. The nurse explained to me that they had to be really careful about giving him more pain meds at the moment because his respiration rate was low, and if it went any lower, he would not be able to stay on that floor. So if they gave him anything for the pain that further slowed down his respiration rate, that would not be good. They finally were able to give him something that wasn't a narcotic (which, to my understanding, is what could have slowed down his respiration to the danger level) and he finally seemed to be comfortable and was able to sleep. I heaved a big sigh of relief because I really didn't want to leave for the night knowing he was in a lot of pain. About this time it was the shift change, so I waited to meet his new nurse, and she, too was great! So I talked to her for a few minutes, made sure they had my phone number, and finally was able to leave the hospital knowing that Bob was sleeping and that he was in good hands for the night. :)

Next day, I headed for the hospital all ready to bring Bob home only to get there and find out they are keeping him another night because of a bleed on his kidney which was causing his hemoglobin levels to be too low. He looked much better then he had the night before, though, and seemed in much less pain. So I settled in to spend the afternoon and evening with him.

Finally, Wednesday, the 17th, he was released! The kidney bleed had stopped on it's own and his hemoglobin levels were back up to normal so we were ready to GO! The only thing I wasn't too excited about was the fact that they decided to leave a tube in him and I was going to have to clean and redress it everyday. I am NOT nurse material AT ALL and just looking at this tube coming out of him made me a bit nauseous! HELP! LOL. The tube being left in has definitely slowed down his healing a bit. And actually, on Monday, the 21st, he got the tube taken out. YEA! :)

So now the healing begins and NO MORE KIDNEY STONE! He will still have a stent in for a while as his kidney was pretty inflamed from this huge stone bumping around in it. So it needs to heal, but the doctor didn't think there was any permanent damage, thank goodness!!! Bob will also be taking some herbs for a while that are supportive of a healthy kidney and also are supposed to keep new stones from forming, so we are praying that they will work.

All in all, I am so grateful to God for getting him through this, and I trust Him that He will help Bob heal and get back to good health again. I am also SO grateful for our church and how they have come around us and supported us and loved us through this! I don't know how I would have gotten through this past week without them! Especially Jim Herzberg, our associate pastor, and Meredith Bryant who was my angel last Tuesday during Bob's emergency treatment. And I have SO felt all the prayers from everyone who has been praying us through this! Thank you SO much and please continue to pray as Bob heals from this surgery. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just Wanted to Share....

My daughters and I sang at our church today.... "I Can Only Imagine", which was the same song we sang at my brother's funeral about a year and a half ago. Today was much more fun singing, especially after hearing a wonderful message from our pastor on heaven. :)

A few comments about the video... the beginning is a little topsy turvey as Bob had to change his camera position at the last second and I am somewhat horrified  at my appearance, nothing like seeing oneself in a video to be reminded once again that I REALLY need to get out and exercise! [sigh] Hope you enjoy the video, though. :) It's a song that will always be special to me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeschool Convention = Good Times! :)

What a blessing last Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23 were! It was our big AZ homeschooling convention put on by our state homeschool organization, Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE). Our keynote speaker was Ken Ham ( and my girls and I were SO blessed by his speaking and teaching this weekend! My parents went with us for the first time, and also really enjoyed Ken Ham and just seeing the huge crowd of homeschooling families! :)

And every year, as part of the convention, AFHE also puts on a junior high graduation ceremony for those who want to participate, and Hannah took part this year. It was a beautiful ceremony and was a great way for her to celebrate graduation from junior high! :) The girls also went up to Ken Ham with a childhood book that Bob and I bought for them back in 2000 at the homeschool convention we attended that year. It was the first time we ever heard Ken Ham speak, and as a result we bought his "A is for Adam" book which ultimately helped lead all three of our girls to Christ. So this past weekend they wanted to meet him and ask him to autograph it. When they did this, not only did Ken autograph the book for them, he had his picture taken with them and then posted it with their story on his Facebook fan page, and also on his website! (look for his blog and the post titled "Photo Gallery".)

All in all, it was a a great convention and I feel spiritually filled and fed and ready to start another year of homeschooling! The only thing that would have made it better was if Bob could have attended with us. This was the first year where we didn't attend together, but his work schedule wouldn't allow it... something we're still not entirely used to! A work schedule, that is.  However, we rest in the knowledge that God is in control and that He has a plan. So we continue to trust Him, work schedules and all! :)

Here are some pictures. I hope to have a few more posted on Facebook soon:

The girls with Ken Ham at the AFHE convention.

Hannah receiving her "diploma"

Three beautiful girls! :)
"I DID it!" :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Time Does Fly!

Yes, time does fly. My last post was almost 3 months ago, and I had every intention of being a better blogger than that! I am going to try to post more often from now on, and just keep the posts shorter so that it doesn't take me so much time. We'll see how that works....

In the meantime, life goes on. We are more or less settled in our little rental house. God is teaching me big lessons on being grateful for the moment and with what He has provided us with, no matter how big or small. This seems to be a hard lesson for me! But with God's strength, I will learn it! :)

In other news.... we have had fun with our community theater this past spring and early summer. Rachel and Hannah were in Hairspray in April, and then Rachel was in Annie in June. I did makeup, as always, for both productions, and what fun it was! I'm including a couple of pictures below from both Hairspray and Annie. One of these days I will get more pictures posted on Facebook...maybe even before the next show! :)

More later......

My 1960's girls in their Hairspray costumes

Me, the makeup artist! LOL

The Boylan Sisters! Rachel is in the middle. :)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Bob! :)

About 50 years ago! Isn't he cute?! :)
Today is a special day. It's my husband, Bob's birthday and it's a big one... the big 5-0! I am SO glad he was born and I am SO blessed to be married to this man! I am truly thanking God today, first of all for bringing him into this world 50 years ago, and for bringing him into my life to be my husband and my best friend! I love him with all my heart! :)

And he's still pretty cute now! :)

Here's a few more pictures....

Our dating months (can't say years because we didn't date that long! LOL)...

Then he became my husband...

He loves his daughters....

Yes, that's a snake... a rattlesnake that he killed in our yard!

He loves to cook a good turkey....

He loves being on the stage....

Yep that's Bob underneath that Santa suit! :)

He likes to take naps... anywhere...

He's my handsome fun-loving man and I love him... even if he's half a century old now! LOL :)



Monday, March 28, 2011

Time to Stand Together in Prayer...

This post is mostly for my "fellow" Christian homeschooling friends, but ALL of us who consider ourselves to be followers of Christ need to be aware of what is going on and stand together in prayer over a man whom I consider to be godly and wise and passionate about spreading the biblical truth. Most of you hopefully already know who Ken Ham is. He started an organization called Answers in Genesis several years ago, and I feel he is a beacon of truth in a very dark and deceived world. My husband and I heard Mr. Ham speak several years ago at a homeschooling convention in CA and were extremely impressed and encouraged by his talks about viewing the world, especially the origins of man, through biblical "glasses". We felt he was speaking the truth and very much appreciated all that we learned from him! Shortly after that we became supporters of his ministry and the creation museum he has built in the Cincinnati area.  One of the main things I appreciate about Ken Ham is his passion to speak the truth and call out the untruth that is found even in Christian circles and churches. And because of that passion, he is under great enemy attack right now. As Christians, this is a time to band together and pray for this man and his ministry. The enemy does not want him spreading the truth. Here are some links where you can read more about what has taken place and why it's so important to pray for him, and to make sure that we are staying biblically grounded so as not to become confused by what other "Christians" are teaching as "truth".

If you are unfamiliar with Ken Ham and his ministry, you might want to start by checking out his organization's website:

Here are links regarding the most recent attack on him:

I am happy to say that Ken Ham will be speaking at our AZ homeschool convention this summer. I cannot WAIT to hear him and look forward to learning even more from him! I also continue to lift him up and his ministry in prayer, as I'm sure he will continue to be attacked as the enemy does NOT want the truth being taught and spread around the world! I hope you will join me in praying for him! Also, if you want to share this with other Christians and homeschoolers, please do! :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time and Gratitude

Wow! It's February 15 ALREADY???!!! How can that BE? Didn't I just update here with our Christmas/New Year "blog-card"???? Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest, here's what's been going on with us since the beginning of 2011. Actually, I've decided that this year I am going to work on having a better attitude of graditude, so here's what I'm grateful for so far this year....

The Birthday girl with her birthday PIE?! :)
Well, I'm tempted to jump back on the "where-does-the-time-go" topic, but I'll refrain and instead say that I'm so grateful for my 2nd daughter, Rachel, who celebrated her 17th birthday on January 8th! :)

Enjoying eating birthday apple pie ala mode

It's hard to be grateful for my brother's untimely death, and especially when it happened on Rachel's birthday, making it a happy/sad day for the rest of our lives. And this year it was the 1st anniversary of his death. SO hard!  But I am grateful that I am comforted that he now doesn't have to deal with stresses of this old world anymore! And he definitely had more than his share to deal with. He's in SO much of a better place now!

I am grateful for and also so proud of Sarah who just played the role of "Olivia" in a Shakespeare play called "Twelfth Night". I know that I'm her mom and somewhat biased, but I was really bowled over by her performance! And she had to learn her lines in less than three weeks as she took over the role from someone else who ended up not being able to do the play. And Twelfth Night is really a very funny and entertaining play! I highly recommend seeing it if you ever have the opportunity. Of course, the part of Olivia won't quite be the same without Sarah playing it. I'm just sayin'! LOL.

"Olivia" and "Sebastian"... or is it? Maybe it's "Viola"? But WHY is she dressed up like Sebastian?!

Ok, THERE is "Sebastian" and "Olivia" - You gotta see the play! :)

I'm grateful that we live in a place where our winters are beautiful and that we don't have to deal with snow and ice and can actually go out and do things such as spending an afternoon at the park in Fountain Hills, AZ, where the tallest fountain in the world is. Or going to a fun place called Rawhide, a place set up like an old western town and where they have fun shows with "cowboys" and gun battles and horses who are beautiful and do entertaining tricks, stage coach rides, fun shops and GOOD western-style food! We had a blast there recently... well, Sarah & Rachel and I did. Poor Hannah was sick and had to sit this one out, and Bob was working, but we definitely want to go back again when the whole family can go. Really fun place! :) Oh yes, and please feel free to remind me of how much I love living here when it's summer and 115 degrees outside and I'm complaining about the heat! LOL!

Sarah and her new friend. LOL

Wow! Pretty talented girls! LOL

Rawhide - 2 cute cowgirls posing with some cute cowboys! :)

Stage coach coming into the station at sunset

Stage coach ride at sunset - SO beautiful!

I'd like to say that I'm grateful for the lizard who decided to take up residence in our kitchen light, but I can't honestly say that! We last saw him dive out of the light and run under the refrigerator, so I'm grateful that he seems to no longer be in our house and that hopefully he's found his way back outside by now! [shudder]  And yes, I know, they eat spiders and bugs, which I've been informed of by many. But he can do that OUTSIDE, not INSIDE! LOL. And speaking of our house, I am thankful as we're SLOWLY getting settled in a little more each day. The downstairs is pretty much done, but then there's our loft upstairs....UGH! It's hard because we still have too much stuff and no place to put it. Gotta get that garage sale planned... SOON! Probably should call the Salvation Army for a pick-up or two, as well. [sigh] It will happen, all in good time.

SUCH a handsome guy! :)
I'm grateful for my husband, and how hard he's working to provide for us right now (lots of overtime). And I'm also thankful, as is he, that he passed his 3-month review and is now hired on permanently! YEA! And in a couple more months he will be eligible to transfer out of where he is now, so we're praying that he will soon be back to doing what he loves to do and is trained for... computer programming and software development with hopefully a bigger salary, as well. And most importantly, I'm grateful for our marriage of soon-to-be 23 years, and how we've grown closer and more in love even with all the hardships and severe trials we've gone through in the past couple of years. :)

And I'm grateful for today and the blessings it brings and for God's ever-steady presence in my life.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34