Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From an Earthquake to Irene - What a Week!

My mother, Tara,  EZ and I spent the morning of August 23rd at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary attending convocation and celebrating my son-in-law, Jamie, and his appointment to the faculty there. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed being back on the campus where I had worked for four years!

Later, we enjoyed a nice lunch at home with Mom's good friend Marilyn. We had just finished our Fudge Crinkle Cookies and Black Raspberry Ice Cream when we felt the entire house shaking. It only lasted 12 seconds, but it seemed longer and certainly had us scared. Reports started appearing on Facebook long before the TV stations aired anything about it. We would soon learn that it was indeed an earthquake that had originated in Virginia, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale.

Mom and Marilyn, shaken but still smiling
As the week progressed, we prepared for Hurricane Irene, though we were pretty far inland. We lost power early on Saturday morning in the rain and wind. I loved how the humidity made Natalie's hair turn to ringlets!

Little Samantha had ringlets too!

The Dews' front porch provided the perfect place to play while the lights were out

Power still out...McDonald's by candlelight for dinner!
The rain had stopped and the sky looked ominous

The sunset was beautiful...the calm after the storm

The morning revealed lots of leaves and branches, but no damage to our home

All in all, other than the inconvenience of having no power for about 24 hours and lots of sticks to pick up, we fared very well and are most grateful! Our prayers go out to those who suffered much from NC to Vermont at the hands of Irene.

It had been a busy and exhausting week for EZ, so we took the first opporunity we had to retreat to the cabin for some rest and relaxation. The morning sun, calm setting, cooler temperatures, and slower pace are something we never tire of.

We pray everyone we know stayed safe in the events of the past week. Who would ever have thought that we would experience both an earthquake and a hurricane?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy First Birthday (Post Transplant) Big EZ!

If you read his post last week, you know that August 25th marked EZ's first birthday post transplant! Of course we wanted to celebrate, so the Dews headed on over for some special Grandpa/grandchildren time and a dinner full of EZ's favorites, followed by a German Chocolate birthday cake. We feel so blessed by how well he has done with his treatment, and pray we will celebrate many, many more post transplant birthdays in the future!

Happy 1st Birthday...we sure do love you!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Beautiful Bed & Breakfast - The Granville Queen Inn

I pray Hurricane Irene does little to damage the areas around the Albermarle Sound...especially the Granville Queen. Though we weren't able to stay there on our recent trip, we toured it before we headed out of town and found it to be everything you would dream of in a Bed and Breakfast. Its historic beauty, casual elegance, friendly innkeepers, exquisite antiques, central location in the heart of the historic district, manicured grounds and delicious menu couldn't possibly leave anyone disappointed. We hope to return one day, just to stay at the Granville Queen! Be sure to click on the link above to see it for yourself!

So grand!
Side view

Love the fire escape!

Beautiful grounds

Cozy porch makes you want to sit down and stay a while

 The sunny Victorian plantation porch is a perfect place for breakfast
Huge built-in china cabinet reflects antique chandelier from old movie theater downtown

Gorgeous is the only word to describe the ceiling downstairs
One of the beautiful guest chambers. Antiques are exquisite!

I pray you have a safe weekend as Irene makes her way up the east coast. We in NC are certainly taking precautions and will get back with everyone on Monday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Stem Cell Transplant Anniversary #1!

One year ago today I received my Stem Cell Transplant at the Duke Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic.   It was special as it was the day I got my 'clean' stem cells thawed out and reinserted back into my marrow.  The prior days and weeks had been difficult with insertion of a Hickman catheter, melphalan chemo treatments and hair loss, but on August 25th, 2010 we started anew with a clean 'reboot' of my bone marrow (a computer term used by us old hardware types describing restarting a PC ).
2nd of two syringes full of stem cells being injected

365 days after my SCT and my numbers continue to look very good and the side effects of my Revlimid chemo are minimal. This past year I have graduated from a four wheeled walker, to a three wheeled Winnie-Walker, to a cane, to an optional trekking pole. From a hospital bed to a regular bed.  From no hair to hair!   I survived a hip pinning operation (to strengthen an area with a 1 inch myeloma lesion), a week long trip to Disney and a Florida wedding for a nephew, multiple trips to Boone and Black mountain, and one trip to Marietta. Whew.  

More importantly, this last year has been a year of looking at what I have vs what I don't have. Of recognizing body parts that don't hurt vs those that do. Of thanking God for what I can do vs what I can't. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who is a loving and patient caregiver. A family who sacrificially gives of their time and unconditional love. It has been a delightful year of a four year old grandson who thinks that grandpa lying on the floor is a time for wrestling and tickling. Of a four year old granddaughter who loves nothing better than climbing up into grandpa's lap for a book or movie time. Of a 18 month old grandson who loves nothing better than to hold  grandpa's finger and walk and jabber and walk and wave and walk, or an 18 month old granddaughter who likes to climb on grandpa and put her head down and give me lovin'. Of five kids (2 by marriage) who I could not be more proud of, and a little 5 month old granddaughter who is cute as a button. Of a mother-in-law who moved in to help us and who is a wonderful example of giving of one self for others. Of parents who encourage, love and support me every single day. I am truly blessed with a wonderful family!

I am so thankful for family, friends and a church family who continue to lift me up in prayer on a daily basis. Of a very caring staff of doctors and nurses at  the Cancer Center of North Carolina and at the Duke ABMTC who provide me with outstanding advice and treatment for this cancer within.

So this last year has reconfirmed that life is made up of a series of days strung together and with each day we need to focus on what we have, to seek out and enjoy every  moment with loved ones, and to thank our Lord for the day that He gives us.  We all have a choice each morning of what we are going to make of that day. I  choose to celebrate!

EZ - 8-25-2010

EZ 8-25-2011
Have a blessed day celebrating life with your friends and loved ones!