Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch!

Hard times aside and accounted for, there has been SO much joy at the same time!

Hugs with Bud and Gus - wearing a crazy clown nose!

And backyard chats with some of the grandsons -
Celyn and Treavor here.

Grandma got to take a zoo trip with some of the little ones.
Jack loved his icee as much as Grandma!

Mae couldn't wait to ride the

Buddy loved petting the sting rays!

Chelsea & Amy & little Bud

And some crazy cousin time at Aunt Chelsea's - yep folks from the colder climates, THIS is what we do in Arizona in the springtime:)

And while all of this fun was going on, our son-in-law, Alex, successfully defended his thesis and is now officially Dr. Alexander Petersen!
Many years of being "starving students" have finally paid off for Alex and Bee and their three little boys!  Dr. Petersen will begin his position as Associate Professor of Statistics at UCSanta Barbara in July!!

And just in case any of you think I might be bored at home when I'm not visiting Lothaire in the hospital . . . . . .

These just arrived from Chile!!  Our incredible friends, Ingrid, Kent & Michele Arrington, and Terry & Lynda Lee, went to the Mission Home and helped me sort what needed to come home to us via FaceTime.  Friendship doesn't get much truer than that!!!


April 14th came mighty fast!

That first week home, after his March 31st release, Lothaire was a little queasy and pretty low on energy. But then his cells began to rebuild, and he became stronger and stronger.

We felt blessed to be able to see every session of General Conference in the comfort of our own home.  We were reminded of the purpose of adversity in our lives - yes it IS a part of Heavenly Father's plan for our growth and development!   We were also reminded of the deep love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us.  We were strengthened once again.

We were also able to enjoy eating out a bit, and we even made it to a movie!
Plus some great family time - the best!!

Just about the time he was starting to get his energy back and feel pretty good, it was time to go in for round two!  Two days before, on the 12th of April (exactly 46 years from the day we met for the first time - a story for another time!), he went in as an outpatient and had a central port installed under the skin in his upper left chest - just under the collarbone.  The port is a quarter sized rubber device that has 3 raised bumps on it (which you can see and feel from the outside of the skin!), and the needle for chemo and blood draws and whatever else is needed, is inserted right in the center of these bumps.  There is a tube (catheter) that goes from the port to the jugular vein (still under the skin - don't get queasy on me!), then goes down to the vena cava where it dumps the medications for the best dilution and distribution.  This way, the veins on his arms and hands will not be poked and damaged over and over again.  I know that it is a good thing but I just can't dwell on it very long or I get a little light headed!!

He did not have the same shaking reaction to the first medication - the Rituxan - and he has handled the chemo quite well, even though they bumped up the strength to the next level.

As bored as he is, it does give him time to read which is something he LOVES to do and has not had much time to do in the last 40 years or so:).

And he has a lovely view from his window:).
For those of you from verdant areas, this may just look like ugly desert.  To us, it has it's own beauty:).  The mountains in the background are the famous Superstitions - often hiked, and occasionally explored for the Lost Dutchman's Goldmine!

There have been many wonderful visitors to help pass the time - I didn't always have my camera at the ready.  But here is Lothaire's sweet mom, LaRee, and her husband, Dale.  They are both 88 years young!!

And just this afternoon, these 5 amazing missionaries popped in for a great visit with their President!  Hermana DeGroff and Elder Cupello - far left - live in the area and have been a great support.  Elder Faas - center, striped shirt - recently returned from the mission and gave his "homecoming" report in his Sacrament Meeting today.  I was able to attend, and he gave SUCH a fine talk on how the Holy Ghost provides safety, guidance, and comfort in our lives!  Thank you for your great service as a missionary and your great testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Faas!  The two awesome young men flanking Lothaire live in Utah and drove down especially to support Elder Faas today!  Elder Casperson (left) and Elder Clay have been home a little longer than Elder Faas and are getting readjusted to "normal" life, whatever that is!  I need to practice calling them all by their first names, now that they are home.  But to President and I they will always be Elders and Hermanas!

Our sweet kids in Hawaii  - Jonas, Priscila, Apollo & Adonis (5 year old twins) sent a chemo care package to Grandpa!    Some reading material, some dry mouth care, some body lotion, and some anti nausea ginger candies - Grandpa loved it all!!

Hang in there Grandpa - you will be back home on Tuesday!!!

Hair is Overrated !!

They mentioned that his hair would begin to fall out between 2-4 weeks after the onset of treatment.
Sure enough!  About 2 1/2 after the beginning of the chemo, Lothaire's hair began coming out by the handfuls.  We decided to go for it:)




I think he has a great shaped head!

And now he has an excuse to wear his Chile hat everyday:)


Son, Jordan, was the first to jump on board!

Followed by son, Jonas, who lives in Hawaii.
Better break out that sunscreen!

Surprise visit from cousin, Oscar - joining the club!

I just love all of these handsome bald men -
Especially the one in the red shirt!!