Archive for the 'Ricky' Category

February Snow

The kids were so excited to get out and play in the snow today!  I was more excited to get out and play with my camera.  They were so good and let me snap a few pictures inbetween snowball fights.  Enjoy!

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What a Difference a Year Makes

As we are embarking on another trip to Houston, trip number 8 to be exact, I am flooded with memories of the past 18 months.  Where we started, where we’ve been, and most importantly how far we’ve come on this journey! 

In February of 2008…

Lily was 4 and Riley was 2. Lily was in Pre K and I was worried about her missing too much school when we were in Florida.  Riley still wore diapers and had a shousha(aka pacifier).   Ricky and I were celebrating our 29th…ahem…or maybe 33 birthdays.  We were heading down to Florida for Spring Training.  He was a professional baseball player pursuing his dream.  I was a stay at home mom and couldn’t be happier!  We spent February in the pool and at the beach.  Not to mention catching a few spring training baseball games. 

In February of 2009…

Lily was 5 and Riley was 3.  Lily was in Kindergarten and a love of gymnastics had blossomed in her life.  Riley was in preschool and  reminded me how being 3 was way worse than being 2!  We were headed to Houston for the third time to meet with Dr. Yung at MD Anderson. 

Ricky was on his second round of chemo.  He weighed 30 pounds less than he does now. He was sick and nauseas from the chemo. He had a funky hair loss from the radiation that was just starting to grow back in.  He was keeping his head shaved until the patches of hair grew back in.   He didn’t get out much except to go to the doctor and church.  He was still going to speech three days a week. He had a lot of speech and memory issues.   He got the keys to his Tahoe back on February 7.  He drove across the street and back, but was thrilled to have some independence back. 

I was still a stay at home mom and loved every minute of it.  I had more bad days than good.  The year had it’s toll on me.  I realized how much more I needed the Lord in my life than ever before.  I lost friends that couldn’t handle the situation…at least I guess that’s why.  My friends that stuck with me helped get me through some really rough times.  The Lord placed new people in our life that mean the world to us.

February of 2010…

Lily is 6 and Riley is 4.  Lily is in first grade and loves school.  She is an amazing student who loves reading!  Her passion is gymnastics. She is intense in school and intense in gymnatics.  She puts her everything into all that she does.  She loves the Lord and His light shines through her!  Her giggle and smile are contagious…she lights up the room.  She lights up my heart!  She is a Daddy’s girl through and through.

Riley is in preschool and loves the social aspect of school.  He will finally write his name but chooses when he wants to put the letters in the correct order.  He gives everything 110% and is all rough and tough boy.  He is loving basketball right now but can’t wait for t ball in the spring. He loves singing praise and worship songs in the car and I smile every time.  “Louder mommy”…he likes the music loud so he can sing louder!  Not a bit on key but precious as can be.   He also loves to make people laugh!  He will definitely be the class clown.  He has a ton of girls that chase him at school and he loves it…I’m not as in love with that as he is =)  He is definitely a mama’s boy!

Ricky and I are about to celebrate our 29th birthday…OKAY!!!…35th!!  Wow!  We are getting old.  Ricky stays at home and takes care of many of the household duties.  He is still very fatigued and naps every day.  He has put all the weight back on that he lost and looks so healthy.  He still has speech and  memory issues but has learned how to cope with them.  He is no longer embarrassed to speak to others, he is who he is!  He still keeps his head shaved but not because of the hair loss.  He likes his scar.  It is part of him.  It is part of his testimony.  He wants people to ask so he can share his love of Jesus.  Oh my, and how he loves Jesus!  He is consumed with the Word and all that it has to offer.  His life is Jesus and his family.  He has slowly began to share his testimony as the Lord has allowed. 

I am teaching a pre K class at The Potters House. I have thirteen amazing students who make me laugh…and sometimes cry…three days a week =)  They are really wonderful.  The staff I work with is amazing and I am so thankful that the Lord has placed me there.  There are supportive and so positive.  It is a wonderful Christian environment to be in!   I am going to school for my Masters in Educational Leadership. I cried through much of the first term but have found the first few weeks of this term much more bearable.  I am actually enjoying my classes now!   Staying busy is good for me…it keeps my mind focused on where I am and where I need to be.  Too much time to think gets me in trouble…  

We have amazing friends and family that help keep our family running smoothly during the craziness that is our life.  The trips to Houston every two months wouldn’t be possible without my mom, Meemaw, holding down the fort while we are gone.  Not to mention Becky taking Lily to gymnastics at 6 AM on Tuesday mornings and Amy bringing her home at night.  The kids stay on their regular routine and that is priceless.  The Potter’s House being understanding of my taking off so much for our trips and my professors allowing me to miss class is also a huge burden lifted.  Have a mentioned the most important thing…a God that gives me enough grace every day to get through!

As we head to this next appointment I would be lying to say that I don’t get nervous.  I try to keep it real here, and for real, I get nervous.  I trust God completely.  I gave up a long time ago trying to carry this on my own.  However, my flesh takes over and doubt and fear do creep in.  That is when I must remember that He has got it all under control.  Then I remember this verse…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

The peace of God takes over and there is a calmness.  One that I cannot describe.  You only know it when you’ve felt it. 

Please be in prayer for us as we head to Houston.  Some of Ricky’s blood counts were off a bit but nothing that seems too worrisome.  I have the MRI in my hand but we won’t have it reviewed until Tuesday.  I will try and update sometime on Tuesday with the wonderful news…you wouldn’t expect anything other than wonderful would you?!?

Love to you all!!

Snow Day

What a crazy day!  We went to bed last night and there was not one flake of snow, but school was already on a two hour delay.  We got the phone call this morning that school was cancelled, but still not one flake.  Well, the predicted snow did come down throughout the day.  We ended up with about 5 inches and the kids couldn’t wait to get out and play in it.  We had a great time!

Snow angel time

Best Buds!

Snow tackle

My sweet boy…

My precious girl…

Time to eat the snow

Monkey see, monkey do. 

What?!?

It started to snow again right before we went inside.

Hot cocoa time!

Happy Anniversary

003

We would have thought that 17 years ago, at the age of 17, that I would meet the man who I was going to marry.  A simple blind date at McDonald’s turned into something amazing.  I realize some of you may not know the story, so I’ll start at the beginning.

I was working at McDonald’s and one of my friends that worked there went to school with Ricky.  She took my senior picture to show him and said she wanted to set us up.  A couple weeks went by and nothing happened.  He finally agreed and so we met at McDonald’s over chicken sandwiches and fries.  I had on my finest two sizes too big colorblock sweatshirt, pegged jeans that were so high they probably touched my bra strap, and the biggest curly hair you have E V E R seen.  I’ll have to dig the pics out so you can see them.  My words do NOT do it justice.  Ricky had on a striped button down shirt tucked into his navy blue guess jeans.  OH YEAH BABY!  He had on a braided belt to hold those bad boys up too!  We were quite the striking couple that night.

Our first official date was on November 20, 1992.  That means that next Saturday will be our 17th anniversary of dating.  That also means that we have been officially together for half of our lives.  Crazy!

After our blind date, we continued to date nonexclusively for a while.  After a few months we made it official and were only dating each other.  I was a senior and he was a junior, so he still had another year of high school.  I went to school at Miami University but lived at home.  We still got to see each other quite a bit.  Then, he signed with the LA Dodgers in June of 1994.  My heart was crushed.  He was going to Montana to play rookie ball for the summer.  I truly had NO IDEA what I was in for when I decided to date a ball player.  He did give me my first promise ring that summer.  It was a gold ring with an opal heart.  It had two teeny tiny diamonds on both sides of the opal.  Awww…..

After we dated for 3 years, I gave him the ultimatum.  With all of the traveling he was doing, I wanted a committment.  I was busting my tail in school and at work and he was out having fun playing ball!  I wanted a real ring…a diamond ring =)  He proposed when we were 20 years old, but we didn’t set a date.  I wanted to finish school first and get a house.  We certainly get a house on his income.  He was making around $750 a month for 5 months out of the year.  Yikes!  He continued on with ball and I was pleased to have a ring and call him my fiancée!

Then I graduated in December of 1997 and got my first teaching job in the fall of 1998.  I pinned him down and made him set a date! LOL  We decided to get married in November of 1999.  We closed on our first house in January of 1999 right before he headed off for another ball season.  I was teaching first grade so I couldn’t go with him.  I planned the wedding and he played ball!  On November 13, 1999, we finally tied the knot!  After 7 years of being together, we were finally official.  However, we weren’t going to get to be together like we hoped.  We needed my job to be able to pay the bills.  So, we spent the offseason and parts of the summers together.  We would go months without seeing each other.  That just stunk, but it was the way it had to be.

Then he got the call he had waited his whole life to get!  In September of 2001, he came home at the end of the season.  He had been home a couple of weeks and was watching the Astros game on TV.  His buddy Roy got hurt.  That night he got a call and they asked him to fly to meet the team.  He got his first shot at the big leagues!  I was still teaching and in school for my Master’s, so I was only able to go visit him on the weekends.  Once again, we realized how tough it was to be apart.

He had an amazing month and I loved my weekend trips to meet him wherever he was.  In December, we sat down and made a decision. I was going to take a leave of absence and put my Master’s on hold.  We were going to take a leap of faith and I was going to join him for spring training in February of 2002.  It worked out great as he made the team out of spring training.  We had a wonderful summer and truly enjoyed getting be a family.  We sold our tiny house and bought one a little bigger in October of 2002.  We also had a surprise…I was pregnant!

Lily joined our family in May of 2003.  She was born 5 weeks early in Houston, Texas.  She was such a blessing and I can’t even begin to tell you the joy that she brought into our lives.   She was my little travel buddy as we moved quite a bit when she was little.  Before she was two, we had lived in Florida, Texas,  Louisiana, Ohio, and California.  She even lived in Portland, Oregon for a few hours, but that is a story for another time =)

Riley joined our family in September of 2005.  Another blessing from the Lord that just fit into our family seamlessly.  He was a great baby who didn’t live the baseball life for a full year.  Ricky retired in  2006 so Riley got to enjoy being at home.  It was such a great experience for us all to be home…for a whole summer!  That didn’t last long when Ricky decided he wanted to play ball again.

So, in February of 2007 we headed to Florida.  We had such a great time.  The kids loved Sarasota and so did I.  6 weeks at the beach and in the sun.  Riley loved getting to see Daddy play ball.  It was a first for him!  Ricky had a great spring and we spent that year between Louisville and Cincinnati.  It was an amazing summer filled with lots of wonderful family memories!

Ricky decided to give it a shot in 2008 again, so we had another fun trip to spring training.  This time was even more fun!  Riley was two and Lily was 4, so we had tons of fun at the beach.  Every day was a new adventure and we just loved every minute down there.  Unfortunately, baseball in the US ended two weeks into the season and the rest….well you all know what happened after that!

So, that is the journey of how we got started and where we are now!  We are a blessed family that does not take one single moment together for granted.  It amazes me that the Lord knew 17 years ago what a testimony he was building in our relationship.  That one day these two awkward teenagers would share an amazing testimony about God’s love and faithfulness.  It gives me chills to think of how he weaved it ever so perfectly.  I won’t go into detail, but the fact that Ricky played with the Astros for 3 years and the relationships we formed when we were there.  Relationships that years later have become a second family for us.  The fact that He knew we would need those people in our lives to help us get through these rough years of treatments and visits to MD Anderson.  That is just one of many ways that the Lord has shown Himself through our 17 year story!

I am so honored to be your wife!  I admire your strength and courage every day.  I admire your passion for the Lord and the strong spiritual leader that you have become in our household.  I love you with all my heart and I am so thankful that the Lord placed me in your life.

All Clear!

Ricky’s scan today showed no regrowth.  Everything is in place for his LAST ROUND OF CHEMO!!!  The first week in November is his last round.  I cannot even begin to tell you how excited we are!  God continues to amaze us with His faithfulness!

Dr. Yung wants us to continue to come out to see him every 2 months for the next year.  We thought he may bump it to every 3 months, but he wants to keep a close eye on him.  He said that it is especially important since he won’t be on chemo anymore.

Please continue to pray that there is no regrowth.  Please continue to pray for strength as Ricky has a lot more responsibility at home with me being in school and at work.  Please continue to pray for peace as we will be moving to the next phase without any treatment.  Please continue to pray for complete healing!

Love,

Tracey

Prayer is Powerful

Prayer is powerful and we are so thankful for all of your prayers.  When we come together to pray, wonderful things take place.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:19-20

Ricky’s appointment yesterday was great!  The remaining 10% of the tumor seems almost nonexistent.  Dr. Yung was very confident that he will end his chemo with the 12th round in November!  That means only 3 rounds of chemo left!  We were both thrilled because we thought that they were going to encourage him to continue on past the 12 rounds.  However, after reviewing the MRI, Dr. Yung felt no need to continue after that!

Let me explain the tumor part a little more clearly.  After his craniotomy, we found out that there was 10% of the tumor remaining.  After a couple of MRI’s, Dr. Yung wasn’t sure if what he was seeing was remaining tumor or necrosis from radiation.  So, he just made sure that there was no regrowth.  However, the past two MRI’s have shown a steady decrease in size of the little spot that he had been observing.  This last MRI showed such a decrease, that it is pretty much gone!  GONE!!!  How stinking exciting is that?!? 

While we waited two and a half hours for our appointment, ahem, we were really blessed by the people we met in the waiting room.  First, we were listening to two couples discuss their own situations. 

One gentleman was a 7 and a half year survivor of a Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma.  That is the same grade tumor as Ricky’s but a different type.  The lady is a  5 year survivor of a Grade IV GBM, which is the worst malignant type of tumor.  Her smile was contagious and her spirit was amazing.  She was talking about the Almighty Healer and how He has been known to just make those tumors disappear. ( I smiled as I typed this knowing that He snatched the remaining portion right up out of Ricky’s head!)

 It was such a blessing to hear her give all the glory to God and just lift Him up in this room full of people who need to hear His name during their trials.  It is hard to sit in the waiting room and look around.  You see all types of people and situations.  Young.  Old.  Female.  Male.   Scars. Wheelchairs.   Worry.  Fear.  Sadness.  But you also see Hope. Faith. Understanding.  Kindness.  Joy.  Love.  However, the start of our wait was blessed by those two couples.

Then, as we were entering our second hour of waiting time, I looked over and saw a young woman sitting at a table working on a puzzle.  I nudged Ricky and told him she looked familiar.  He said she didn’t to him, but I struck up a conversation anyway.  She was  a fiery little thing and her mom was with her.  Then it hit me, I had been on her carepage.  Her mom updates it for her.  I asked and sure enough it was her. 

She is going blind due to a very unruly Grade I tumor.  The doctors are baffled and her mom came with her for a biopsy.  We had such a good time with them.  Another blessing for us that day.  We prayed and continue to pray for her complete healing.  I hope that they leave a message on here so you two can read her story from their standpoint.  They are Christians who believe in the power of prayer as well!

So, the Lord blessed us with a two and a half hour waiting time, ahem, filled with fellowship.  Then He topped it off with a great report of healing and an answer to prayer!  I would say that’s a pretty good day!

Round 9 is over and the countdown is on for the last 3!  Keep praying…

 

One Year Ago…

One year ago…

   I woke up like any other normal day.  I headed out to talk with The Potter’s House about an upcoming  job opportunity and accepted the position.  The new job was going to offer the insurance my family needed since we had just returned home from Taiwan.  I headed back home happy and upbeat…things were good!

One year ago…

   Ricky met me at the door excited about the next step in our lives.  He had started teaching pitching lessons and enjoyed it tremendously.  The first boy he taught had called that morning to schedule an appointment for the next day.  He headed down to the Reds stadium to see all of his friends.  The Astros were in town and Roy was pitching.  He said he would be back in time for me to go the grocery store.

One year ago…

   Ricky returned home and I headed off to the grocery store with my older sister.  We spent a couple of hours getting groceries for both houses.  I dropped her off at home and was then greeted at our  door by Ricky.  He helped me carry in the groceries and put them away.  We snuggled up on the couch to watch  some cartoons.

One year ago…

   The kids were tired but I told them they could finish the show they were watching.  It was 8:20.  Ricky got up and sat down at the table to read his bible.  At 8:30 I turned off the tv and went to kiss Ricky on the cheek.  I peeked over his shoulder to see him reading Genesis and writing the ages of people in the bible.  Weird I thought, but I turned around and took the kids up for a bath.

One year ago…

   I got out jammies and took elastics out of Lily’s hair.  I started running the bathwater and plopped the kids in the tub.  As I leaned back Lily to wash her hair in the running water, I heard “Say his name.”  It took me a second, but I immediately shut off the water and ran to the corner of the stairs.  I shouted down “RICKY” and all I heard was a silent gasp for air.  I yelled to the kids to stay in the tub and leaped over all the stairs in one jump. (Okay, not really, but it felt like it)

One year ago…

   I made it around the corner to see the baseball game on tv and Ricky tensed up in a sitting position on the couch.  His body was jerking and his eyes were rolled back in his head.  His right arm was firmly grasped on his left.  I called 911.

One year ago…

   I thought Ricky was going to die on my living room floor.

One year ago…

   I got him on the floor and on his side.  His breathing was labored and his chest and face were speckled with broken blood vessels.  His body was still tense and his eyes were rolled back in his head.  He started foaming at the mouth.

One year ago…

   My naked kids ran down the stairs to find their daddy laying on the floor with their mommy praying over him.  I was trying to clean all of the dip out of his mouth (he has since quit dipping).  They ran to his left side and held his hand.  He was still seizing, but Lily still thinks to this day that he was intentionally holding her hand.

One year ago…

   I thought Ricky was having a heart attack, not a seizure.  Foolish, I know.  But I was so shaken up!  The 911 operator kept asking me if he was breathing.  He was, but barely.

One year ago…

   The kids and I prayed over Ricky’s jerking non responsive body.  Not knowing if Daddy would ever be with us again.

One year ago…

   Ricky’s body became motionless and he rolled onto his back.  His eyes came forward and there was a complete blank stare.  Everything stopped, even his breathing.

One year ago…

   The 911 operator told me to perform CPR on my husband with my kids at his side.  After two sets of rescue breaths, he was breathing again.  However, it was more labored than before.  But praise God that he was breathing.

One year ago…

   911 told me to go open  the door and get ready for the ambulance.

One year ago…

   The EMT’s told me, “You’ve done your job, now let us do ours.  Please do NOT come back into this room.  You can see him in the ambulance.”  I honestly didn’t know if I would see him again.  I took my naked children out on the back deck to look for help.

One year ago…

   We are in the ambulance headed to the hospital.  Ricky is still unresponsive.  I am praying out loud in the front and wondering why people arent’ moving faster or getting out of our way.  Don’t they know what is going on inside this ambulance roaring down the by pass?  I keep asking if he is responsive, and nothing.

One year ago…

   I asked for the millionth time if he is responsive.  I look back to see him lifting off his oxygen mask.  I ask him if he can hear me and he raises his arm. I praise God that my husband is alive and can respond.

One year ago…

    The doctor at the ER performed a CT scan on Ricky.  He told us that Ricky had an old fracture and he needed to be put on anti seizure medicine.  He tried to send us home.

One year ago…

   I thought that doctor was a nutcase.  I was not taking him home.  He needed a night in the hospital after all that had transpired.  We argued.  I won.  Ricky spent the night.

One year ago…

   I spent the night in a chair in his room.  It was cold.  I was alone.  I had peace knowing that it was just a fracture.  I quick fix with just some medicine.  He was going to be just fine.

One year ago…

   They wheeled him off for his MRI.  I called everyone I could think of to let them  know the good news.  Just a fracture with an easy fix.  They were doing an MRI just to confirm the fracture.

One year ago…

   My world stopped.  The MRI results showed a large tumor.  He needed brain surgery to remove it.  It appeared to be benign, but we would have to wait for pathology results.

One year ago…

   It hit me that we had no insurance. 

One year ago…

   Our amazing friends set up an account to cover all medical expenses and household through Helping Hands Ministries.  Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) also agreed to help us out financially.  Other friends set up an online auction.  Major League Baseball came together and donated so many awesome items for the auction.  God provided for our family in our time in need.  He is good.

One year ago…

   We scheduled a craniotomy for August 22.  Never thought I would be saying that =)

 

I could spend forever writing about the entire year, but I welcome you to look through the archives.  I’ll save that for another post!

 

Today…

   I thought would be a hard day for me.  It is the day that changed our world forever.  It is not a hard day though.  It is a day of celebration.

Today…

   We celebrate that Ricky does not appear to have any remaining tumor in his brain.  The MRI’s continue to be clean and show no regrowth.

Today…

   We celebrate 8 rounds of chemo down with round 9 to start on Monday.  The side effects have been minimal compared to others.

Today…

   We celebrate that although Ricky is fatigued and must nap everyday, he is able to do most activities with our family.  We have been able to go on vacation and go to Kings Island.  We took a mini trip to Louisville for his first bull pen in a year. 

Today…

  I have realized that it is okay to mourn the loss of our old life.  I miss many of the things that we used to be able to do but can’t now that cancer is a factor in our household.  There are days when I wake up praying it has all been a bad dream.  But, it’s not.  And I move on. 

Today…

   We celebrate the new normal in house.  Ricky is able to help out more, which gives me some time by myself.  I can go to the grocery store or run an errand while the kids stay with him.  He is able to get out and go visit his dad or go on a visit with some friends from church.  There were days like this one when it was hard for me to even think about life in a year.  However, we have slowly become our new normal.

Today…

  We celebrate God’s goodness.  He continues to amaze me with all that He has done for our family.  There are have been so many God things that have happened over the past year. 

Today…

   My faith is stronger than it has ever been.  I wrote this last year and it holds true today.  Our future is still unknown.  Ricky’s cancer is still an uncertainty.  We never know what tomorrow will bring.  But I do have faith that whatever happens, it will be in will with the one and only God.  I have faith that He will not put more on me than I can handle. 

Today…

   I am going to spend the day with my family and celebrate today!  We never know what tomorrow may bring, so celebrate today!

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

James 1:2-4