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 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!

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/18/2009

28 06 2009

The grandsons brought their bikes with them today.  I got plenty of exercise race walking to keep up with them. ( I don’t allow them to venture out on their own)

We spent an hour visiting our elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. C. The boys like to follow Mr. C around.  At age 86, he is still working on his truck and car.  His truck is 25 years old.  It was a gift to him –brand new–when he retired as a trucker.  It continually breaks down.  Mr. C has a huge water tank in the back of his truck.  He takes it down to the water treatment plant and fills it up  to water his 300 tomato plants. 

It drives Mrs. C crazy that Mr. C is still trying to manage so many tomato plants.  “Next summer, I won’t allow it.  This is the last summer for this foolishness.  I’m the one who has to worry when he the truck breaks now.” 

Mrs. C. broke a hip in spring of 2008.  She hasn’t gotten back to driving until….this summer. Mr. C.  has called her a couple of times needing to be rescued.  This couple does not have a cell phone.  Mr. C. has to walk to find a phone in order to contact Mrs. C.  This worries her to know end.  I told her that she should call me.  I’m home most of the time this summer.  I would be glad to rescue Mr. C. 

After we got home from the C’s. –Jim went to help serve lunch at The Salvation Army.  He enjoys doing this each week.  We haven’t had to buy or bake bread since he started volunteering.  The table is always full of donated bread.  It is good quality bread–most of it pound and a half loaves that are whole wheat and not made with fructose or bad cooking oils.  Jim usually gets enough to share with others.

Maria came to town for her weekly trip to the nursing home to visit her friend who had a serious accident when she was a young woman.  She is in her late 40’s and has been in the nursing home since she was 18 years old.  John likes to go with Maria to visit  Debbie.  When they got home, I noticed he had a orange soda and some chips.  The recreation leader gave them to him.  Naturally, little brother was a little jealous.

That afternoon we also took Mary, my friend, on an errand.  Then she treated us to an ice cream at McDonalds.  We went back to the home where she is staying and the boys played with water guns in her back yard while we sat on the patio and visited.

In the heat of the late afternoon, the boys wanted to ride their bikes again.  So I got another racewalk in.  At last, Sandy, their mother came.  I didn’t have to cook as Maria had brought me some of her leftovers to heat up.

After supper I went to water T’s flowers.  It is now 8:10 p.m. I’m very tired!

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 2009 Lake Malone

25 06 2009

We’ve been taking care of our grandsons three days a week.  The other days, Jim and I have been trying to find everything of interest in Christian, Todd and Trigg County in Kentucky.  Each night I write a short journal entry.  This is my entry of June 16, 2009 about our visit to Lake Malone.

We left our home about 8:45 p.m.  We ended up driving through Russelville.  We had stopped in Elkton and asked about getting to Lake Malone  on the two lane  highway 106.  We couldn’t get any real help.  It was a 57 mile ride one way .  The last 12 miles were two lane. 

We stopped at the camper site and asked directions to the lake.  What a beautiful lake it was.  We had to walk down an incline to get there.  We stopped and rested at a picnic table and were entertained by two young deer who were playing right in front of us.  Suddenly, they noticed us and fled. 

The  walking back uphill was very hard on Jim.  We ate our lunch at the picnic shed and then read our books.  It was so wonderful to be away from pets, phones and visitors.  I read my book , Simple Living by Frank Levering and Wanda Urbanska.  Jim looked through all the brochures he had collected on Kentucky. 

We left the park at 1:00 p.m.  As we headed out of Russelville, a terrible storm started.  I could hardly see the highway.  Thank goodness, it was not full of cars.  We had the highway mostly to ourselves. 

I turned off at Elkton and drove another 10 miles in the storm to visit The Country Pantry.  I was out of my dried pineapple and dried papaya and craved some.

We took another highway which led us through Trenton and Pembroke and arrived home at 3:00 p.m.  Jim was exhausted.  He learned from this outing that he can no longer climb hills.  He had to go to bed and rest before our Tuesday cancer meeting.

We were disappointed that the doctor who was supposed to speak to us didn’t show up.  We went home and ate beans and rice for supper.  What a nice full day.