Nichole’s Slices of Life–Visit To The Cancer Doctor

15 07 2011

I have 3 checkups a year to make sure my cancer is not active again.  Today, was one of those check-up days.  In 4 months, they’ve changed quite a bit at the center.  They usually call us 3 at a time to take our weight and our blood pressure.  Today, I got called without any company.  They have ditched the blood pressure cuffs for a gadget that goes around the wrist and is held on the heart.  The nurse said that their new system is more efficient. 

Next, I went to the lab to have two vials of blood drawn.  The cancer doctor saw me within 20 mintues after my blood was drawn.  Everything seems to be fine.  I have just the right amount of white and red blood cells.

He did caution me to follow-up next April with another colonscopy.  I had one done this past April and it showed that I had a serrated polyp consistent with Sessile serrated adenoma.  I was upset at first because only 2x was taken from the growth for the pathologist.  Later, my surgeon explained that unlike other polops which are easy to remove–mine was on a thin section of the small intestine.  I could have ended up in major emergency surgery if they scraped it all. 

In fact, if it doesn’t go away–cancer or no cancer–it will probably have to be removed by major surgery.  But, that is on next Spring’s agenda.  I will try not to worry about it.  Meanwhile, I will keep my regular quarterly appointments with my cancer doctors. 

We have a wonderful cancer center here in Hopkinsville, Ky.  It has been going strong for 20 years.  I’m so thankful that I don’t have to travel to get good treatment. 

God Bless each of you!


A Birthday, An Anniversary, A Stepson, Fudge and A Fish

14 07 2011

I made 4 lbs. of  fudge yesterday with Steven’s birthday in mind.  He is Ruth’s husband of almost 8 years.  He loves my fudge–which I give to him for his birthday and Christmas.  Steven also had another birthday present.  His son ,William ,flew in for a month from California.  William has never been to Kentucky.  Ruth has only met William once.  Last summer, Steven and Ruth went to California for the funeral of William’s great grandmother. 

It was fun to meet William today.  He is 11 years old and has blonde hair.  He is a slim little fellow and very quiet.  Our dogs immediately took to William.  We’re looking forward to spending more time with our step grandson.

Anna ,our oldest daughter, and her husband, Jeff, have been married 16 years.  They are in the Great Smoky Mountains as I write –for their wedding anniversary celebration.  We’re taking care of their fish.  I don’t know what kind of fish it is.  She told me that I should probably clean out the fish bowl today.  Poor little fish didn’t know what to think when I took an ice  cream scoup to get him out of the dirty water into a glass of clean water–while I cleaned his bowl out.  He, She , whoever, is very happy and content now.

I also made my bread today and gave Ruthie some for their dinner this evening. 

I saved a little fudge to take to our coffee hour after church this coming Sunday.  A friend who dropped by yesterday –also got a chunk to take home. 

To me– these small celebrations make life worthwhile.  God Bless each of you!

July the 4th, l961

11 07 2011

I can’t let July gain too many more days before I write of my 50th anniversary of arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky.  My mother is a native of Hopkinsville.  She married a soldier from Camp Campbell in l943.  My parents moved to Lansing, Michigan so that my father could attend college to study to be an engineer.  Mother taught school in Lansing until her first son was born.  Then she became a homemaker.

I was actually born in Detroit.  Early in l960– my father pushed my mother to update her teacher’s certificate.  We all sensed things between my parents were not good.  By June l960– my father left.  My mother had already made arrangements to take classes at Wayne State University that summer.  She already had a babysitter lined up for us.  I can’t imagine how she managed all of that.  We didn’t have a car.  Mother took the bus to her classes each day. 

She did gain employment for the l960-l961 school year.  My youngest brother wasn’t even old enough for kindergarten.  So mother hired a sitter for him and she was at the house for us as well–when we arrived home from school.  Later, I found out that one particular couple befriended my mother and loaned her the money to accomplish all of these feats.  This couple had been friends with my parents for a very long time. 

I have the actual letters of correspondence between my mother and grandmother about the pros and cons of moving back to Hopkinsville.  In the end, mother decided that she needed to be where her family was living. 

We were renting a house –so it made it a little easier to uproot.  We left by train on the afternoon of July the 3rd, l961. A train ride from Detroit to Hopkinsville was a great adventure to four children.  The stop in Chicago was especially fun.  Mother let us have soda fountain treats and she bought us plenty of comic books. 

Arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky about 8:00 a.m. on July the 4th–we were met at the train station by my mother’s brother and her sister.  Grandmother was waiting for us with open arms.  She had buckwheat pancakes already made up.  We were to live with Grandmother in her part of the house until school started.  Then we would move upstairs.  There was a young married couple who had planned to leave that apartment the end of August.

Grandmother had endured a mastectomy the summer of l960.  Now that I am 59 years old and a grandmother myself–I can’t imagine how she took us into her home.  That was a very generous deed!

Grandmother made sure our lives were full of structure.  She never allowed us to sleep in or be lazy.  We always had to help with chores around her home.  And church was a part of our education, too.  Not only did we attend church on Sunday mornings–we also attended all the youth activities on Sunday and Wednesday nights, too. 

Mother taught school at the old Westside School the first year.  After that first year, she taught at the old Virginia St. school.  That was just a few houses from our home.  Her last year of teaching was at the brand new Holiday Elementary School. 

Mother died of breast cancer in l985.  Grandmother died when I was 25 years old of heart problems. I left home when I was 19 to attend Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Al.  I met my husband there.  He was raised in Iowa.  We moved back to Hopkinsville in l985. Hopkinsville has been a great place to raise our four children.

The structure and love my grandmother gave me as I was growing up has stayed with me my entire life.  I’m not much of one for sleeping in.  I always see my dear grandmother’s face.  I feel her with me all the time.  I keep pushing on in life because of the building blocks of love and leadership that she provided for me.

My brothers have often spoken of the same sense of grandmother’s influence. The four of us have done well in life.  One brother is a college professor, another is a lawyer, another works for  the state in Denver, Co.  I have been a teacher/homemaker.  Together all of our children have grown up to have multi-varied talented careers.  My children love to hear about Grandmother B.  They cherish her memory even though they never knew her. 

I, too, have survived a mastecomy.  I am a 4th generation breast cancer survivor. 

Today the old train station is now the center of Art’s here in Hopkinsville.  I drive by the old station several times a week.  Always, the memories of arriving on that train in l961 flood my mind.

Thank you Grandmother B for taking such good care of us.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices of Life, 20

10 02 2010


We’re digging out of our second big snow storm of the winter.  We haven’t had this kind of snow in Western Kentucky in quite a few years.  I always enjoy the first day of a good snow storm.  Provided that is—I have everything I need to survive.  I’m well stocked on food thanks to the great deals I get at the Country Cupboard in Croften, Kentucky.  We discoverd this wonderful store last July.  They buy a truckload of all kinds of goods that are slightly outdated.  Some of their goods are not outdated but are sold cheaply because they are seasonal items or have dents. 

We always take our friend, Mary, with us when we drive to Croften.  What a blast we all have.  Mary loves the coffee deals.  The past two months there have been plenty of name brand bags of coffee for about a third of the price.

My eye is always looking for the organic goods.  I have found organic  items like organic canned beans, organic cereal and toaster pastries–and some treat items like Neuman’s organic cookies.  I have also found many Kashi products like cereal and already prepared 7 grain dinner pouches. 

Many times we get good items for a dime or a nickel apiece.  Lasst week they had boxes of PowerBar brand energy bars for a nickel apiece.  They were not outdated.  I bought 120 of them and shared them with my grown children. 

There is always a great deal of variety in the foods they carry.  Jim, Mary and I look forward to our adventures at the Croften store each month.  Last week I paid only $58.00 for 4 huge boxes of groceries.

So I’m well prepared for the snow this winter.  Our pocketbook is not depleted either.  I don’t know how folks pay such high prices for the types of food we buy at the Amish store.  It is fun to get a box of cereal with the orginal price of almost $5.00 marked on it–and I pay on .50 cents. 

We’ve also saved money this winter by keeping our thermostat at 61 degrees.  We’ve gotten used to a cooler house.  We compenstate by drinking plenty of hot coffee, tea or chocolate and dressing in layers.  In fact, when I’m in a place where the heat is 72 degrees–I get too hot.  Our bodies have  adapted quite well. 

I’ve been healthier this winter.  Last winter I made about 4 trips to the doctor and stayed on antibiotics.  My nose was constantly bleeding and I always had a cold.  So far—I’ve been very healthy!

Well, this is enough excitement for a while.  Hope to write again next Week.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 19

1 02 2010

My new beginnings never got off the ground.  I think that I just have goals that are too lofty and then fail.  Blogging was fun and easy in the beginning of my journey.  Plus, I had a passion about my path with breast cancer.  I will try once again…..

I’ve snuggled the fall and the winter away thus far –with plenty of reading.  When I have free time that is where my heart always leads.  We’ve also been very busy with our parish.  Having a full time priest has put demands on us that we were not used too.  We attend Vespers each Saturday evening.  During the Nativity fast before Christmas we were busy with many extra services.  Now we are getting ready to enter Great Lent in a couple of weeks.  We will be busier than ever with special services.

When we traveled 100 miles to St. Elizabeththe New Martyr Orthodox Christian Church in Murfreesboro, TN. –we only attended services on Sunday.  Having our own parish within 30 miles of home with a our own priest is an answer to prayer.  However, it is also a call to a deeper understanding of our Orthodox Christian life. 

We really don’t have much of a weekend anymore.  We leave our home  at 3:00 p.m. each Saturday afternoon and don’t return until 9:00 p.m. most of the time.  We attend the catechumin class because we never had the opportunity to do that when we were catechumins living so far from a parish. 

On Sunday mornings we arrive very early to help set up coffee hour.  Mary, our friend who also lives in Hopkinsville–sets up the bookstore.  Jim, my husband helps set up the alter for Divine Liturgy.  Of our own choice–we often stay until 3:00 p.m. most Sundays enjoying a very long coffee hour and then helping to clean up.  We wouldn’t trade the opportunites we have now for anything.

On a more domestic note– Patrick, our 3rd grandson is 4 months old now.  He has gone through a long bout with RSV and had to be in the hospital a couple of days.  My children all were sick at times with RSV but we didn’t have a name for the condition in those days.

John, our oldest grandson, has worked with me to rearrange all of my rooms.  He came up with a plan and I just helped shove furniture around.  I think it is the prettiest our home has ever looked in the 24 years that we have lived here.  John has a real gift for what looks good.  He no longer likes to be around small children that much.  Often, he will spend the day with me on holidays but Alex still wants to play with the children at his neighbor’s home. 

I told John that we can’t move any more furniture for awhile.  I will have to teach him to cook now.  He is very excited about that propect.

I’m going to try to write short blogs and try once again to stay online.  I was extremely tempted to close down my blog but just thought I’d give it one more try.

Thanks for still browsing my blog site!

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 18 When the Kettle Whistles

16 11 2009

I didn’t have any problem getting up early during the summer. It was light at 5:00 a.m. and my body responded. My body also responded when it started getting dark between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I just didn’t want to get out of bed until it was totally light.  However, that messes my day up big time.  We like to take a mile walk each morning.  It takes a long time to walk as Jim is a very slow walker these days.  It takes us about 45 minutes to accomplish our walk.  When we get back to our home-we  like to   eat a nice breakfast and say our prayers. My day was not really starting until 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t like that one bit.

You might say my day is over as far as household accomplishments are concerned— by about 2:0o p.m.  For you see—-I have to pick up my grandsons from school and take care of them until 5:00 p.m.  Thus, the whole situation was getting to me greatly.

We also have had many evenings during the late summer and fall where we had extra church services.  My days and nights were most unsatisfying to me.  I guess I’m just to0 perfectionistic in my expectations.     I’m silly to behave this way.

Finally, when I got Jim to the VA hospital in Nashville on October 20th by 8:00 a.m.– I knew that I could do better.  Actually, I decided to start drinking coffee again. I had given it up for over a year.  But I didn’t know any other way to jump start my body. 

Jim and I came up with a plan for him to bring me a cup of coffee at 4:30 a.m. (Jim gets up at 4:00 a.m.)  I sip it slowly and enjoy some time with my two dogs.  The dogs like  to cuddle with me in the early morning.  Jim comes back into our room at 4:55 a.m. to listen to the hourly news on the radio.  He then puts the tea kettle on so we can have hot water for our oatmeal.  It is my job to turn the kettle off when it whistles.  So I’ve been making it out of bed about 5:10 a.m. for almost a month now.  My days are going so much better.

The caffeine is not bothering me nearly as much as it once did. I take a powdered calcium and magnesium supplement that I drink as a tea twice a day.  I’ve been doing this for several months.  It relaxes my body.  I’m able to drink some coffee and still sleep these days. Wonderful! 

As far as other tid bits of life are concerned–I’m enjoying my new little grandson a great deal.  I’m so amazed by the miracle of human birth and development. Children are such gifts of God.  I’m so thankful to be a mother and a grandmother.

I’m enjoying my fall baking -especially the challenge to bake quality food that fits within the bounds of our Nativity fasting season which started yesterday.  This is one of my favorite Orthodox seasons of the church year.

I’m going to try to be more faithful to my blog.  Yes, I know I’ve said that before.  Well, I’m picking myself up to try again.  I need another kind of whistle to prompt me.  My inner whistle of connecting with other human beings.  Here is a  toast to another new beginning.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Summer Journal, August 21–Changes

21 08 2009

Wow!  I’ve been away from my blog for over 6 weeks now.  Sometimes, I just go through seasons where I don’t want to write anything at all.  It is certainly not because life has become boring or that anything bad has happened.

Life has been very full and beautiful these days.  Jim has come a long way since he had a terrible crisis in April.  At that time, it was thought he might need home health care.  Now through the counsel of his new heart doctor at the Veteran’s hospital in Nashville–his medicines are more balanced.  Jim has been able to live a fuller life.  He will always be disabled in that he can’t be operatated on but the right balance of medications, some exercise and a good diet has done wonderful things for Jim.  We are both very grateful!

During the summer–we always had Tuesdays off from the responsibilites of our two grandsons.  We did a great deal of driving around Western, Ky and our own county.  One day we put 95 miles on our car just driving around our county.  The farm land in our county and the other counties of Western, Ky is so beautiful and peaceful.

Alas, we are having to cut down on our field trips because I decided not to go back to work as a substitute teacher.  I spent a month going over the pros and cons of going back to work.  I have a hearing problem–especially with consonants.  If you say to me:  “Will you get the rake?”  I’m probably going to get you the cake.  Rhyming words are especially hard for me.  I have no problem hearing music or loud noise but getting those consonants straight especially in rhyming words is a real trial to my ears.  Thus , for that reason alone –I decided to give up the classroom.

I have enjoyed being with Jim all summer.  We established a routine of walking our dogs each morning.  I hated to give that up , too.  We are frugal people so we will make it.  I still have the responsibility of picking our grandsons up from school and keeping them for a couple of hours.  We did ask for Tuesdays off.  Even if we can’t go on one of our traveling excursions we can still play table games or watch some movies.  ( We get all of our movies from the library)

We are changing our internet service to a wireless service.  It was supposed to be changed this week but when they came out –it was decided that an outdoor antenna was needed.  The company will do that at their expense.  This new service will cost us $30.00 less a month.  Hopefully, that will happen by the end of next week. 

I’m also washing less and hanging out my jeans , towels, and sheets in the sun.  I’ve turned my central air up to 77 and I shut if off at night.  I’m excited about cutting costs.  I think it will be fun to learn how to live more frugually.

We are also excited that our third grandson will hopefully be with us by the end of September.  I’m looking forward to being around a newborn baby again.  I won’t be caring for the baby.  Sandy’s next door neighbor will be doing that but still there will many opportunties to adore this new little baby boy.

Things are going very well with our new priest at our parish.  This summer three new families have come.  Last Sunday, they were made catechumens which was very exciting.  Our priest is full of life and vitality and we are really enjoying him very much.

So these are some of the changes that have been happening.  After we get our new internet service–I hope to be blogging more.  For new readers, I recommend that you read the 25 chapters I have written about raising my family under the Vera stories.  I hope to get back to writing more stories in that category soon.

So for now–may God’s peace be richly and fully with each of you!