Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do you take this ring?

When my hubby proposed marriage, I loved the ring he gave me. 
I wondered, would he wear the wedding ring that I would give him? 
You see, many years earlier, his father once had an accident having to do with machinery catching the ring that he wore, resulting in his dad losing that finger. 
It seemed, the event stuck in my husband's mind.  In his whole life he had never wore a ring. 

During our engagement, I had bought a mood ring out of a gumball machine
and slipped it on his finger. 
I told him by wearing it, he would have good practice for one day wearing his wedding ring. 
He wore it and it did help; since our wedding day, my husband always wore his wedding ring. 

As a private joke during our marriage, whenever my husband was on the road working,
I would ask him, "Where is your wedding ring?"
He would respond, "Oh, it's on my toe." 
or,
"Through my nose."
or,
"In my belly-button."
We would have a good laugh, but I always knew it was on his finger.

One of the ways I knew something was wrong with his health is that his ring kept slipping off of his finger.  He had lost a lot of weight and although he was never a big man,
his weight precariously dropped down to 110 pounds.  With the help of planned meals and snacks, he is now up to about 118 pounds.  This may not sound like a lot, but it is a comfort to know that it is possible for him to gain weight. 

For Christmas this year, I bought him a chain so he can wear his wedding ring as a necklace.  The chain looks so pretty laying across his skin and the glimmer of his wedding ring still glows. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Sharing- Tracey Kessler

These beautiful paintings are by artist Tracey Kessler.  They are dedicated to her mother who passed away from Pulmonary Fibrosis on October 30th, 2010. 



Eight paintings are within the series entitled "Breathe".  


Each painting has been given names, such as; Chaos, Denial, Present, Reality, Shock, Passing, Pass, and Eternal. 


 
This is such a difficult disease for individuals and family members.  The outlets each of us find to deal with Pulmonary Fibrosis are as truly unique as each of our spirits.

  Thank you Tracey for turning such a harsh reality into beauty and for sharing this with all of us!
Visit her website at http://traceykessler.com/
Family laughing, children excited, puppies excited, hot chocolate, Christmas lights, singing,
kisses under the Mistletoe, playing games, and food...lots of food. 
Many happy memories made. 
I hope your was Christmas filled with everything you love, too!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



"Love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it."
Maya Angelou

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Sharing -Cheryl Hetrick


The following has been submitted to Breathing by:  Cheryl Hetrick

"Three years ago today, my life began anew. I found out that my life was forever changed in ways I could never have predicted. There are struggles but none that over shadow the blessings. I had no idea that so many people would stand with me with their love, support and prayers. Never have my eyes been so opened to the blessings all around me. Nothing makes life so clear as to be told that there truly is a limit on the days you have left.

With the life expectancy of those with PF being 3 -5 years, this three year mark has felt like reaching a milestone both triumphant and tragic. A friend told me that instead of looking at this date as sands going through the hour glass, I should celebrate with big banners proclaiming my victories. So I choose to celebrate this day as another birthday. My first is in March - the first day of my life and Dec 14, 2007 is the second - the first day of the rest of my life.


photo via

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Air


Air. 
We all need it. 
Honestly, I had never thought so consciously about it, 
'til the day my husband couldn't get enough of it. 
Suddenly, I watched my strong, cowboy of a man,
being told by doctors that he would require
additional oxygen day and night,  
due to his sudden diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis
From that day in October, life as we knew it- had suddenly changed. 

The same day he was prescribed oxygen,
he could no longer work and had to leave his job. 
Now, you have to understand, this is the type of person who took great pride
in supporting his family the best he could.  
He had no warning that his health was at such a critical point.
How would being connected to a 30 foot hose
affect his spirit and morale? 
I also wondered, what was going to happen to our family
and how would we get by.



On the bright side, at least now he could breathe a bit better. 
It really amazes me how something, 
that we cannot see or taste, touch or smell;
is essential to our basic function.  
That little thing,
called oxygen.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Upon Kissing

I remember the first time my hubby and I kissed. 

We were sitting on a balcony talking for hours, still just getting to know each other.  I remember we sat on that balcony talking until the sun was setting and in the darkness of night, the moon shone, reflecting light upon his profile.  I studied it while he talked, and my brain went to a whole different place.
 
I was thinking, "Now, that is such a cute, boyish profile!" 

It was the first time that I felt a little tingle inside my tummy as I realized that, more than just conversation, I was attracted to this man. Right at that moment, I tuned back into what he was saying and realized it was about a kiss!  He leaned over and I felt the warmth of his lips. 
When you kiss the right person, you know it. 
It feels like liquid warmth and comfort, like love.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


"There is no answer to any of these questions. It's a matter of time and timing, of seas and seasons, of breathing in and breathing out."
-Peter McWilliams

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Diary Entry "Are You Lost?"


Testing...testing...

When I first scheduled an appointment for my husband at our family doctor's office, the receptionist could barely find his file. She exclaimed, "We haven't seen him in six years!"

It's true. He's what you would call a low-maintenance type of guy. He has always been strong and fit. When he developed an annoying little cough, we both did not think much of it; although, when his wedding ring began to slip off of his finger- due to weight loss, we became concerned.

Our family doctor did an X-ray and asked my husband if he had worked in coal mines. He had been a truck driver his whole life, and we knew that question was not a good sign. The doctor sent him for a CT Scan and indicated it was Pulmonary Fibrosis, scarring of the lungs. He referred us to a pulmonologist. The pulmonologist wanted to find out more about what may have caused the Pulmonary Fibrosis, so he ordered a bronchoscopy.

This was more medical attention than my husband had experienced in his entire life. As a matter of fact, it really tugged at my heart when he looked so nervous when a nurse had to draw blood for a test. I thought to myself, "If this scares him, then how will he feel when he has the bronchoscopy?"

Thankfully, the staff at the hospital was very sweet to him and he was enamoured with the new-fangled hospital gowns that get hooked up to a hose and blows warm air into the gown, in order to keep the patient warm. He loved that and wished we had such "a get up" at home.

The pulmonologist found no more further information from the bronchoscopy and confirmed that it was Pulmonary Fibrosis. He suggested that my husband get a full-blown lung biopsy, which has a higher mortality rate than the bronchoscopy. When we asked him if a biopsy will help find a cure for my husband, he said no, but it may lend some clue as to where this disease derived from.

My husband does not want a lung biopsy or a lot of testing done on him. I let him know that he needs to go with what he feels comfortable doing and just because a doctor may want this; ultimately, the decision is his.


DIARY ENTRY -SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

Are you lost?

It's funny that no matter what highway or back road we have been on together, we have rarely been lost. As a truck driver, you have been able to see most of this country and have understood that everything is interconnected. There may have been times that you did not know how to get to a destination, but you were never lost.

Especially in our marriage. It seems like the only time we felt lost is when we were apart from each other for too long. Are you lost right now? Am I? Just hold tight, baby. It may seem that way at the moment, but we are not! We are on a road, a journey, that we may not know the destination, but we are not lost.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Over the Fence




Whenever my husband explains how we met, he says, "Her neighbor threw me over the fence and she never threw me back."

Which is his way of saying that my neighbor introduced us. I was attending a birthday party at my neighbor's house and there he was. Wearing a tight pair of Wranglers and cowboy boots, looking ever so out of place. I handed him a piece of cake.

Two years later, he attempted to shove cake in my face (in such a loving way) on our wedding day (which I never let him forget).

Whether a husband, wife, mother, brother, sister, or friend- how many times do we think about all the reasons we love that person?

I cannot put into words all the ways I love my husband but here are a few that come to mind...

Since the day we met, we always sit at the same side of a table or booth together.

Hands are warm and a little rough,

Blond hair, beautiful and silky, curls around my finger.

Wonderful little laugh lines surround his eyes.

Hardest worker I have ever met.

Quiet and reserved, although beneath the surface is a wicked sense of humor.

Gives me slippers every year, just as my old pair are falling apart.

Believes in romance.

Always tries to give me the best.

Feel safe in his arms.

Together, the world seems like a nicer place.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everthing is a miracle."
-Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Poem

A beautiful poem that was written by a niece to her uncle who has Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Rested upon my lips, words meant to be spoken,
Slumbering inside my heart, pieces left broken,
Kneeling on bended knees, prayers sent through the unseen air,
Pen within my hand, be the voice to spread the word I need to share..
I forever remember the day, when fate brought me the news,
The world stood still, left with thoughts I had to infuse,
Where was my faith? Had I not done something right?
So many questions the doctor brought to light,
It felt like the Angels song had already been sung,
Breathless I had become, in need of a new lung.

I worried my days into heartache and fear,
First there was denial, then the anger did appear,
Tears began to shed over my dimming, gray sorrow,
Finally revealing, I can still fight for tomorrow.

I felt it in the rain, when my lover and I kissed,
I knew I was more than a fading name on a list,
A new purpose I had been given, a gift to bring love,
To give my family strength, to show them how we can rise above.

My sickness will not become me, I battle with no strife,
For I already breathe the breath of a new life..
I am true to my word, and I strike with all my might!
I am not to be taken down, for I hold the will to Fight!
Author:  Connie Tucker

Monday, November 1, 2010

Diary Entry


DIARY ENTRY: September 18th, 2010
Between you and me I am scared. I have been crying on his shoulder the past few days! This sucks! Not so much his illness (yes, that sucks, too!). Rather, my pathetic mourning process of the life that we once knew. Can't I just keep it to myself? Must I blubber on his shoulder? That's not right, after all, he's the one who is sick.
This is just one of those things that the true spirit seems to take over. I have dealt with loss in my life before and know there is something cathartic in the process of showing emotions. I truly believe that he might benefit from my outpouring of love and sadness.
He has not cried. But, he has put out a very strong shoulder that I may rest my head and, at times, blow my nose. I am crying for both of us. He rubs my shoulder and tells me, "It's alright".
That's is how we fall asleep. I wish I were more noble, somehow.

Did You Know?


Did you know that just like Breast Cancer, 40,000 people in the United States die every year from Pulmonary Fibrosis?

It is time to raise awareness about this disease and hopefully find a cure.
For more information, please go to:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

It All Started in Late Winter

It all started in late Winter, just as Spring was about to break. My husband had a little dry cough. Such a tiny, little cough he was sure was due to the changing weather. The cough was not consistent and just came and went.

Once Spring broke and the weather warmed, the cough still came up occasionally. He tilled the garden and as I was weeding, I heard him coughing a little in the distance. That is when we thought it had to be allergies. All that dust he was kicking up and the pollen in the air. When we were done with our chores and resting, no cough at all. Maybe the Benadryl is working?

Summer we worked. Taking our trips on the truck. He is a truck driver and we traveled the country together. Our favorite thing to do, well, maybe my favorite thing to do. After all, it's still work to him. What a wonderful time! Something we like to do every year.

As Summer wound down- we didn't. In between work and school starting, there was something always to do around the house. That is when I realized, the tiny cough had not went away. So against his stubbornness, I made an appointment to the family doctor.

September 13th, I remember the way we looked at each other before the appointment, silently worried. Never saying our fears out loud. Instead, the conversation ran around the possibility of antibiotics for that stubborn little cough.

DIARY ENTRY
SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2010

Oh Darlin',
Today you were diagnosed with a life ending disease to which there is no cure. Pulmonary Fibrosis. Oh, pretty baby, what must be going through your head and what emotions flowing through your heart? I wish it was all just a bad dream. A mistake. Selfishly, I am stricken with such panic. How will I survive losing my best friend? My heart mind and soul is so dependant on you. But, today you made the comment that "Even when we're apart, we are still together." I thought you were talking about your work, until later, when I realized you were talking about so much more.