Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Good News!

In the midst of all the not-so-fun stuff we’ve experienced this week, there is good news to report about something that has been worrying us for many months now.

Many of you may remember that today has been an important deadline in our lives concerning our housing situation.  We needed to sell our house in Smithfield by this date (to qualify for a $6500 rebate) and we absolutely needed to buy the rent-to-own house we’re in by this date, as well, or it would be sold to someone else who was ready to buy it instead.   Unfortunately, we couldn’t buy this house until we had sold the one in Smithfield. 

By Tuesday of this week, it didn’t seem as though anything was going to work out. Numerous people had looked at our house and we had even gotten one (ridiculously) low offer.   But nothing was being accomplished and the time was about gone.  So we had the stress of a housing situation to cope with,  on top of the stress of my cancer and surgery.  It was a lot.

However, on Wednesday, at the last possible miraculous moment, someone came to see the house in Smithfield.  Who liked it.  Who already had financing in place. 

He made an offer.  We counter-offered.  He accepted.

And as of today?  The deal is complete!  (We actually knew the news on Wednesday but I couldn’t post about it because of a few loose ends that had to be tied up.)

I have some wonderful pictures and an extra story to post about it that will really warm your heart, especially when it came to the way Sarah was dealing with all of this.  She was so sad about the possibility of losing the house and when she heard the news?  Well, it was wonderful to behold.

So anyway, before I go back to bed (for the 78th time today) I did want to share that Most Wonderful News.

By the way, someone asked when Nathan would be home; he’ll be here in about two weeks.  Unfortunately, he lost the job he had gotten at the yacht building company because the company lost two orders in the past few weeks and has had to lay off workers.   But it will just be lovely to have him home for the summer.

Later. . .



Not such a great day, so far.

I've spent most of it asleep, after being awake briefly for meds and breakfast. My (four, ugly, annoying, gross, uncomfortable) drains are bothering me more than usual; I guess I'm just so ready to be rid of them. We're scheduled to go to Greenville to meet with both surgeons on Monday for a post-op visit and let me just say that if they don't decide to remove the drains on that visit--well, I will not be a happy woman. Can't shower, can't dress normally, can't move normally. Can't be normal.

The weather outside is gorgeous. Manteo is springtime is unbelievable with hundreds of varieties of trees and flowers and plants of every description. I look out the window and see women my age, walking, jogging, looking "normal" and fit and lovely, and I sigh and drag myself back to bed, arrange my sad little body into the bed's contours and give myself over to yet another nap.

I can't do much of anything for Steve or Sarah and they are so patient and loving about it all--it's just that when you're a mom and wife, you WANT to be a mom and wife.

Debbie and I removed the dressings from the surgery site on Tuesday (I just happened to get the courage to do it when she was home and Steve wasn't--otherwise he would have helped) and I'm still getting over the emotional and psychological wham-o of seeing the reality of the type of surgery I've had. Nothing prepares you for that sight. That first look. The reality of what was and what will never be again.

Loss would be a good word for what I'm feeling today.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Friends. Two Legged. Four Legged.

Last Friday morning the waiting room at the surgical center was peopled with lots of, well, people! From left to right: Debbie (my sister), Jo Ann (my Mom), Debbie Daniels (from our church), Ken (Steve’s dad) , Vernie (Steve’s mom) and Sarah. Not shown are my hubby and Steve Daniels, a board member from our church.


This young lady showed up in various places throughout the waiting room—she seems to be a bit of a bookish sort, don’t you think?


As the morning went by, The Smith Waiting Crew was joined by Rev. Ferrell Hardison. We met Ferrell over twenty years ago and sang at his church many times over the years. When we first met him, his church ran about 80 people; right now his average membership is around 1300.

Now don’t you know that someone who is as busy as Ferrell is would have a few things to accomplish on his day off? We were so touched that he would show up to be with our family instead. (He was also with us during Sarah’s surgeries seven years ago.) Ferrell came back to the Recovery Room with Steve and prayed with me right as I came out of surgery. So glad for good friends!


Now I must say, I wasn’t the most inspiring sight to behold when I was newly arrived in the Recovery Room. And believe me when I tell you I felt twice as bad as I looked.


Here’s Sarah getting to return the favor of “cup holding” for me which I performed for her so many times over the years.


Happily, the overnight rooms at the surgical center were lovely and very unhospital-like. I could have hung out there for at least a week. But alas, all too soon, it was time to head out.


When we arrived in Manteo, we were greeted by these sweet words on our church sign.


I got settled into my bed while Steve and my sister got the meds all lined up.


And then they made sure that I was being cared for by an exceptionally skilled nurse.


Recovery doesn’t get much better than that!

Imitation of A Tortoise

I spent most of last night in Hallucinogenic Land due to my pain meds and ended up feeling pretty unrested when I awoke. As a result, I've decided to try and wean myself off all the prescriptions and just alternate between Tylenol and Motrin for pain control. It's almost 4 pm and I'm still feeling fairly comfortable; better yet, my brain has cleared and I think I am starting to see the light of day.

I always hear about people getting addicted to pain meds and I thought that must be because they made one feel all light and billowy and happy. I could understand getting addicted to that feeling; however, I can't imagine getting addicted to these feeling of being so confused and bleary. Yeck.

At any rate, I just wanted to let you know that I am feeling a bit more normal and am working on a longer update to be posted later today or tomorrow. I'm still needing an inordinate number of naps each day, so any task I embark upon tends to be mind numbingly slow and tedious. But I'll do my best imitation of a tortoise and eventually arrive at my goal of producing a longer, more informative post.

Thanks so much for the comments and e-mails and encouragements sent my way this week; it's always a highlight of the day for me to check the computer and receive that lovely infusion of support.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Still feeling miserable. Didn't sleep well last night. Had some problems with my meds. I still hurt. I'm still wondering if I will make it through this whole experience. Wondering if it's all worth it.

Tired. Crabby. Sad.

I have a very patient family.

In other news, Steve is doing everything in his power to get our housing crisis resolved by Friday, which as you know is our Big Looming Deadline.

At this point it looks as though we may have something in the works, but there's no done deal until a signature is on the paper.

For now, though, I'm taking my miserable, morose self back to bed.

Maybe things will get better soon but I just don't feel like I'm making progress toward getting better. And it's discouraging.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Draining Experience

I’m trying to wean myself off of pain meds, but it’s a slow process. Never thought it would take this long to start feeling slightly normal. My dressings are tight and full of ouches and my drains, well, I never thought I could dislike anything as much as I dislike these little fellas. (These are not my own personal drains, by the way, although they are identical to mine.)


I currently have four of these lovely things snaking out of various places on my torso which have to be emptied, the fluid measured and then the drains re-capped. Debbie has done a marvelous job dealing with this distasteful project at any hour of night or day. And not only are the drains uncomfortable, I can’t shower until they’re gone. My next appointment in Greenville to have the dressings and drains looked at is not till next Monday. Sigh.

Well, I’m sorry to say that I just used up my last dose of energy and my head is lolling to one side, trying to focus on the screen. Sounds like it’s time for Long Nap number Three.

Thanks so much for all the sweet emails and comments you've sent; they really make my day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My goal is to try and stay awake long enough to get this post written.  I’ll let you know how that works for me. 

Since I got home Saturday morning, I’ve been asleep at least 90% of the time.  The sleeping is wonderful---it’s the whole getting out of bed thing that is not so wonderful. 

Ouch. Ouch.  Ouch . .  .

Debbie posted earlier saying I had a good night, and I really did!  I’m so thankful for that, especially since the night before I was downright miserable.  I had several vomiting episodes so I swallowed an anti nausea pill to help.   Which I immediately threw up. By then, I was needing additional pain meds rather desperately, but one of the two meds I’m on is not supposed be taken on an empty stomach.  And my stomach was as empty as a stomach could be.  But if I ate something--in order to NOT  take the meds on an empty stomach, I threw it right up again. 

Let me just say that it was not one of the most pleasant evenings of life.

For now, I can feel the pain med kicking in so I supposed I’d better lie down for my second, four-hour nap of the day. I’m so thankful to have meals being brought in from the church and also for Mom and Debbie’s cooking, cleaning, nursing skills. 

I will leave you with a few pre-surgery photos in which I am not wearing make up.  I hope they’re not too terribly alarming for you.

My loving, patient, supportive husband.




Debbie coming in for a sisterly visit to pre-op.


My surgeon.


It’s time!



Debbie Reporting Again

It's Debbie again just to let you know that Becky had a good night. She was able to sleep from about 10 last night till 5:30 this morning. She just ate a little, did meds and then as a reward, took some time to read your messages! :-)

She said she will try to write a little something later today. I have to tell you, it is very intimidating to be writing in Becky Smith's stead--I, along with all of you, will be very glad when she's back in the saddle!

Your love and concern mean so much to all of us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Debbie Reporting

Just a quick update from Debbie.

After a very rough evening yesterday, I am happy to report that Becky is doing much better. For a while last night, I thought we may have to take her to the hospital because she got in a cycle of throwing up every time she took medications which made it hard to control the pain and the low-grade fever she had been running. Dehydration was a concern as well. But finally at about 9 or 10 last night, she was able to eat a little bit and the medications stayed down. She slept pretty much all night except for getting up once to do the meds.

Steve made up a handy dandy chart to help us keep track of the amounts and times of when stuff needs to be taken and that has been a huge help. I told him he should send a copy to the clinic where Becky was at and suggest they send it home with families. (and yes, I am bossy) :-)

Today, there has been no vomiting and she was able to sit up in a recliner for several hours and eat something. The fever seems to be gone and we believe she has turned a corner. God is faithful and Becky, Steve and Sarah continue to amaze us with their good attitude and sweetness of spirit in the midst of all the Yuckiness. And this kind of Yuckiness definitely requires a capital Y!

Your continued prayers and expressions of support are such a gift--thank you. Becky has been able to take few minutes here and there to read your messages and that is so therapeutic for her.

More later...