Sunday, April 3, 2011

Counting Blessings

After listening to general conference today from Salt Lake City and feeling inspired by the uplifting messages of hope, encouragement, and many other needful topics I feel an urge to resume blogging. We have as a family and couple, been blessed in so many ways. Its always easy to complain about our problems and trials that tend to get us down, but there are so many blessings to more than offset them--all we have to do is look and they are everywhere. Another year has passed and Frank is still able to get around and do many enjoyable activities, despite his diagnosis of multiple myeloma more than 2 years ago, a cancer of the blood, located in the bone marrow. A year ago he found it had invaded his spine and had made multiple large and small holes in it. He started chemotherapy and then because of severe pain, was given 10 radiation treatments. Many more months of chemo followed to knock down the malignant count (M-spike). In between treatments however, we were able to do lots of fun and enjoyable activities.

The end of May we gathered as a family with our kids at the Worldmark Resort in Tucson (Oro Valley) for a 5 day vacation which was fun and memorable for all as we swam, ate, visited Kartchner Caverns, took family pictures, played games and other relaxing activities. During the time we were there, our oldest daughter Wendy was able to connect with her birth mother, Shawn, with the help of a volunteer organization called Search Angels. What an exciting time for her and us. She had desired this for years but had hit only dead ends.

In July we flew to New York for the Hill Cumorah Pageant and again served as volunteer hosts at the historical Peter Whitmer farm in Fayette for two weeks. What an enjoyable time we had. Its good to know that even though Frank's health isn't such that he could serve a full-time mission, yet we can still offer our services in a small way to help the thousands of people who come through at that time have an enjoyable visit. We enjoyed spending time with Lance and his family when they flew back to NY and had the opportunity to go with them to Palmyra to watch the pageant, Niagara Falls, cruise the Erie Canal as well as travel to Kirtland, Ohio and surrounding area, and many other scenic and historic places. We also enjoyed visits from Dustin Franco and family and Paul and Chantel Reidhead while we were there. We again signed up to return this year, have made our plane reservations and are looking forward to that assignment.

During August we traveled by car to Salt Lake City to visit Kristal and her family a few days and then went to Orem to stay with long-time friends, the Judds, while we attended the annual Education Week classes at BYU in Provo in the Marriot Center. That is a choice opportunity to sit in the presence of very knowledgeable scholars of Church History, ancient religious studies, etc. and to be edified and rejuvenated by them. This year we have made campus reservations and will stay in an apartment with my sister Carol and her husband Pat as we attend classes.

Frank was taken off the chemo in October because he could no longer fight off infections. Not only does it wipe out the good cells with the bad but it turns out that the radiation had basically paralyzed the right lower lobe of lung and diaphragm which allowed fluids and infection to build up and he was unable to fight it off. The reprieve from chemo was a welcome break and by continuing to take antibiotics interspersed with the many (uhg!) alternative supplements I have researched and determined to be helpful to him, and with his great determination, he has kept relatively healthy most of the time and has continued to go and do many worthwhile things.

With October came the birth of another beautiful grandson, Lance and Shannon's baby Porter Dallin, and another opportunity to travel to St George to help out for a few days and then to return in November for his blessing. New babies bring such a sweet spirit into the home! The kids all came to Heber in the fall to help with the annual wood splitting-and-stacking-under-the-patio project for good ole' Mom and Dad. It is so nice to have it stacked neatly just outside our back door instead of having to worry about getting wheel-barrow loads from our woodpile all winter and splitting kindling regularly. It was good to have a visit from most of the family at home again for Thanksgiving. There is nothing like family!!

December was busy and eventful, this time for Kandra in Las Vegas as she gave birth to Brett Franklin, our 7th grandson and 14th grandchild. We were privileged to be in attendance and witness this exciting occasion. The Christmas season was special and again reminded us of the importance of the birth and life of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. When we consider what he sacrificed for each of us that we might obtain Eternal life, our trials seem trivial in comparison. Visits from children and grandchildren helped to keep our spirits bright!

Because Frank seemed to be doing better and said he felt good, we agreed to go to Lance's in St. George in January to babysit his four older children while they made a brief get-away in San Francisco to celebrate his landmark 4-0 birthday. It was to be a surprise to him. However the night we arrived, Frank began feeling ill, got the chills then high fever and began coughing up blood during the night. Needless to say, he ended up in the E.R. and was admitted to Dixie Regional Medical Center where he spent nearly a week. . .and Lance and Shannon stayed home :-( We were very impressed with the care we received at DRMC and were glad that we were there when he became sick.

For several months our ever-scheming children planned a surprise 70th birthday party for Frank which happened the 19th of March. They used a 50's theme with lots of nostalgia. To get the scoop, go to Kandra's blog. They did an awesome job and Frank claims he was truly surprised. It was very uplifting for him to have many family members and friends there for him.

The last three months have been filled with doctor appointments and other usual activities including regular attendance at our usual Sunday meetings, frequent visits to Mesa to witness the courtship of Frank's brother Paul to a wonderful lady, Lee, and her baptism into the church. They will be married this weekend and we're really happy for both of them and the opportunity for happiness together.

Frank has resumed chemo this month and it will continue indefinitely because the M-spike is rising (not good). Even though he has frequent ups and downs, yet we feel very blessed that he is still with us and not confined to bed or with severe disabilities. We look at our children and are so grateful for the love we all share and for their good and productive lives. We feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity and privilege of being their parents and the wonderful grandchildren we have been blessed with. We are thankful for great neighbors that are always here and willing to help out whenever needed. We appreciate the warm spring days that are finally arriving and the cheerful daffodils blooming outside our door.

We know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and loves us unconditionally. We trust Him and can accept that our time on earth may be shortened but are willing to accept His will. I've been blessed with a wonderful husband for nearly 46 years and counting. . .

Maybe next post, I'll try to add a picture or two here or there but that seems to be where I got into trouble before--they wouldn't upload after waiting and trying over and over so I finally gave up.

Life is good.


Becky and the Boys said...

Pictures or not, it's nice for an update and your positive attitude! We're hoping Spring is coming here in Seoul, and they've planted pansies around the city which is nice for some color.

Rachel and Jake Squire said...

I was just asking Jake if he knew how you guys were doing.. I am glad to hear an update. We love you guys and pray for you!

Kristal said...

Glad you are posting! Nice to read your thoughts even if I do talk to you often. Love you mom!

Skousen Seven said...

Finally, an update!!!! We are so grateful for Heavenly Fathers grace for dad! It is so hard on dad, but he takes it for what it is and makes each day memorable. I am in awe of both of your strengths. I love seeing how you both have such an enduring love for each other, I hope that Dave and I can be that way always too:)
Love you both!!!

Shawn Becker said...

I was thrilled when I saw you had posted and could not wait to come by for a visit.
You, and Frank, are such an inspiration to me. You have such a sweet spirit and positive outlook on life.
I am so thankful the two of you raised Wendy. She was placed where she belonged.
You have enjoyed an amazing year with the blessing of two new Grands. Now, soon the Great Grand will be here!
Give Frank a big hug for me and tell him I will keep him in my prayers.

KaNdRa and JaReD said...

Yes,it is nice to have an update. I will see if I can help you with the pictures.
I too am amazed at your strength. I know that when we visit there is sometimes a face being put on because either dad is feeling worse then he is showing or you are more worried then you want us to know. I do love your outlook on life and it can only intensified with a little vitamin D! :) Love you guys:)

Aunt Tiff said...

Thanks for the update! I hope you know that your family, especially you and Frank have been in our prayers. We sure do love the Greer Family!!!

Jami said...

What a beautiful post and a beautiful family. We sure do love and appreciate you!!