Thursday, November 20

Focus

The word of the day is focus. In the next month or so Steve and I have a lot of things to decide, do, and weather.

Scan
His first scan since starting treatment will be on December 2, and the results of this will determine whether he continues treatment as is or discusses a change. As you know from the past, scan dates are stressful at best. This time we at least know that his symptoms have decreased so the scan should show favorable results. Still, human as we are, we also brace for the not-so-good.

Employment
Steve also needs to make a decision regarding employment. His employer has been generous, faithful, caring, compassionate, and a hundred other positive words, but the time has come to face the reality that Steve may not be returning to work. This hits a person hard, a Zieser doubly so due to their extremely strong work ethic. Ending employment comes with applying for disability, deciding on insurance, figuring out finances, etc. Fortunately for us, we have been given the gift of financial security so our concerns lie more with insurance coverage and a high quality of available care. I mention this only to assure those tenderhearted team members who may read this section and want to help. As always, our need lies in emotional support, prayers, and companionship, of which we are so grateful.

Holidays
Even under the best of circumstances, holidays bring added pressure to our lives. Pressure isn't always negative, but to say that we all just treat a major holiday as another day is silly. Extra planning, extra personalities around the table, even a lack of something to do brings pressure. Endless commercials showing happy families in perfect clothing around perfect trees with perfect gifts doesn't help much either. Notice they never have real families in the commercials, they have to hire actors. We are blessed to have wonderful family in our lives, but holidays also tend to highlight our needs, losses, and struggles. (sigh) Happy Holidays to all! (laugh)

So back to my original word: Focus

I realized this morning that instead of focusing on today, I was trying to handle the entire next month all at once. (Note to those who try this: It never works.) I was also focusing on the struggles we face instead of on the God who loves us unconditionally. I mean, sometimes it seems I spend more time focusing on the people who don't like me than the God who does. That is not gratefulness, that's dwelling. Don't dwell...it never turns out well.

Before I lose my train of thought, I just want to encourage everyone to really focus on the things that are important. Spend time with the people who love you and who want good things for you, eat good food, move around in happy ways, pet a dog. Focus on today and the good things you have in your life. The struggles will find you when they need to be addressed, but we don't have to take on everything all the time. Relax a little, enjoy a lot. Focus on the positive things to gain strength and energy to face the difficult times. Add love, peace, hope, compassion, and charity to the world and you will attract what you sow. Our lives are created by our focus. Your choice. I choose happiness. What about you?

Tuesday, November 4

Teamwork

The word of the day is teamwork. When we got married, we agreed that we would always be a team. Through the adjustments of a new marriage, Steve often reminded me that he was on my team and the tension would dissipate. Like all successful teams, we've learned to identify and utilize our individual strengths to accomplish goals. Sounds romantic, huh? (laugh) Maybe not to some, but for us, there is nothing that feels more loving than having knowing we are working for and not against one another. Today is a good example of that and I wanted to share.

We are making another trip to Mayo today for blood work, a check up, and to pick up meds. Nothing emotional or nerve-racking, just the beginning of a new routine. Neither of us felt like checking into a hotel and then packing up to come home in the morning so we're making this a one-day trip. We were not looking forward to this very long day (3 hours up, four hours there, 3 hours back), but it seemed easier than the alternative. The drive seemed doable to me, the appointments seemed daunting. Steve had mentioned that the drive may be too much and this got me thinking about teamwork.

I suggested that I do all the driving and when we get to Mayo, I sit in a coffee shop while he goes to appointments...then, we meet up and I drive back home. This will give him the opportunity to sleep in the car and give me the opportunity to relax a bit before driving back. Ideal, huh? Well, only if we abandon pride, guilt, expectation, and focus on working as a team...which is my point. If we each tried to do everything, both of us would be overwhelmed and, if you're anything like us, that does NOT make for an enjoyable car ride. However, if we both admit that we feel unable to do it all, we can work together to complete this task while both maintaining some sense of sanity.

That's what I wanted to share. A real-life example of how teamwork in a marriage can function...at least for us. The key is letting go of the pride of having to do it all, the guilt of not being able to do it all, and the expectation that we SHOULD be able to do it all, and just work together as a loving team. This doesn't apply just to marriage, but to friendship, families, offices, churches, etc. Put love and function above pride and see what happens. We're not perfect, but we have figured out that teamwork is one of the keys to a happy marriage and I thought that was worth sharing. (smile)

Saturday, October 25

No Cough!

Steve and I are sitting here watching recorded episodes of Top Chef and realized that after probably 8 months, his chronic cough is gone! He also noticed that he's breathing much easier. This is such a wonderful realization, we just had to share. (smile)

Monday, October 20

Back to Mayo

Heading back up to Mayo this morning. It will be a much shorter trip this time. Will be spending nine hours in a chemo room tomorrow, but we'll have internet, a tv, and each other so we'll be fine. Steve feels bad that I will be spending my birthday this way, but I feel honored to be there to support him. There is joy in doing what we are meant to do.

Steve has been managing well and treating the side-effects to keep his electrolytes, hydration, and energy balanced. He doesn't complain, but I do get bossy pushing fluids and naps...that's a balance I need to work on. (laugh)

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I haven't been good about answering emails, but know that we love and appreciate you and everything you write. Now go out and do something today that makes someone else feel loved. Until later... Jenn