Beauty is not so much what you see, but what you dream.
~Old Proverb~

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It has been so long since I last wrote that I hardly know where to begin!
  As most of you know, Andy and I got married a little over seven months ago. I suppose it was very much a whirlwind courtship and engagement and I am happy every day that it was exactly how it was, I wouldn't change a thing! :)
  We had met online in September of 2012. He had "winked" at me and I replied via email about a week later. I liked him right away with his simple, down to earth personality, and could see his love for the Lord immediately. We emailed for a few days before my Dad gave him permission to call me. I was so nervous before that first call! ;)  I answered the phone to the most country accent I had ever heard...right away he was dubbed "the mountain man" in my mind and to every one that I talked to about him. Because we were right on the cusp of hunting season I didn't actually get to meet Andy for about a month or so, although he did write me letters and call EVERY night except when he didn't have cell service in the mountains. :) A few weeks after we started talking he told me that "he kinda liked me" hee hee :) and wanted to meet with my Dad about pursuing me. Needless to say, I was THRILLED. He and Dad had a wonderful conversation, I was later told, and showed up at the house a few hours later. He strolled through the door looking nervous and oh so handsome! My heart definitely went a mile a minute. :)  We all had dinner that night and I introduced him to my family and we sat around the living room all jabbering and enjoying each  other. Thus was the start of many sweet visits. Andy would brave storm after storm that winter coming over the mountain passes  just to come see me, even if it was for only a short time. Once he came over early just to take me to see the doctor and then drove home. A four hour round trip! I felt so blessed I couldn't even describe it.
   In December my parents had planned a family shopping trip and banquet type dinner with our whole family, Andy came down for the weekend and after dinner we all went driving around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. I knew that Andy had wanted to talk to my Dad that weekend about asking me to marry him and he did...they went away to talk at the mall and Andy came back with a  big smile, but NEVER said a thing! :) You that know me, know that I'm not terribly good at waiting on things, but wait I did. I didn't ask and he didn't offer up any information. Even my Dad wouldn't say anything! By the end of the weekend I had pretty much given up that I was going to hear what happened in their mysterious conversation. Right before Andy was to leave we usually always took a quick walk down the lane so he could stretch his legs before the long drive. As we were walking Andy stopped at a road sign where I had once stopped to "get a rock" our of my shoe. He reached down to "get something out of his shoe" with me standing beside him completely oblivious to his plan. There it was....the most beautiful ring ever made, and his handsome smiling eyes, and his voice asking me if I would be his wife.  "YES, YES, and ABSOLUTELY YES! :D
   The rest of the story you all know. We got married! It was a wonderful day, we look at the pictures of that day often and remember the sweetness and blessing and how good the Lord is to his people. :)
    After I married Andy I moved to Bend. I loved and hated it...sometimes it hard to decide! :) I mostly missed my green valleys and lush forests and abundant water, but I am definitely getting more used to it and learning to love it here. It just takes a while for a place to become home.
   In June Andy began having some back pain which he thought was because he had pulled a muscle, perhaps that was in part what it was, but it persisted into July when I finally took him to see a chiropractor. The chiropractor made some adjustments and that seemed to help, but by this point Andy's appetite had decreased dramatically and he had lost about fifteen pounds. He woke up one day throwing up blood and I rushed him to the ER.  "An Ulcer, A peptic Ulcer." They said. They put him on some antacids and pain reliever and sent him home. About five days later the throwing up had still not stopped and one night he was crouched over on the couch in so much pain that he couldn't even straighten up. Back to the ER we went. It was a miserable four hours for him as they ran the same blood tests as the time before and then sent him home with a new antacid and an over the counter pepto as well. For a few weeks he felt better although the throwing up continued off and on...every one told us that it was just taking time for the ulcer to heal and we thought it must just be normal, so he endured. No one had any idea yet of the disease lurking beneath the surface.
    All the while Andy was still having pain and nausea and was quickly losing weight at the rate of 5-7 pounds a week. I was beginning to get very concerned. Andy had decided not to go back to school in the fall and take a job at a Ranch where he had been offered, what we thought, was an excellent opportunity, so in the midst of all the sickness, that we thought was getting better, we gave a months notice at our apartment and he gave notice at work. As the end of August approached Andy's conditions was really no better. We could keep the symptoms under control for a while, but that was all. Two days before we were to move out to that Ranch and he was to start work, we got some information that the Ranch was involved in some tax evasion and some other illegal matters. I called the state to get some clear answers and they told me that the ranch wasn't even listed as a business and was clearly not licensed. Needless to say, we DID NOT sign that contract. Andy talked to the manager and pulled out completely. At this point Andy was feeling pretty much awful, physically and we had to be out of our apartment in a day. My friend from work offered a part of her big beautiful house to us to rent and stay as long as we wanted. My parents came up and moved us and we settled in over the weekend. On Monday morning I went back to work and Andy went job searching. He searched diligently for days and even worked some temp jobs, but he was daily feeling worse and losing more and more weight. We had been recommended to a gastroenterologist in Bend, but it was 400 dollars just to get in the door and 2000 for the endoscopy that that they wanted to do. We couldn't afford any of it as we were barely making bills at this point. After a hunting trip where Andy was sick the whole time, I had had enough. I called around until I found a MD Naturopath that we could afford. I told them the situation and they made him an appointment as soon as they could. It was for a week later.
  The doctor was concerned for Andy right away, mostly because he had lost so much weight in such a short time. At this point Andy had lost nearly sixty pounds. He ordered a CT scan for the following Monday and gave Andy some things to get him through the weekend. He called every day and checked up on us. On the Tuesday after the CT scan the doctor called and told us about the mass in Andy's abdomen that was "likely cancer" . We cried for hours that day...we were scared. The doctor was awesome and said that he was pulling some strings to get the doctors in Bend on our side and set us up with an appointment to see an Oncologist the following day. Enter Doctor Kornfeld... the amazing, compassionate guy who sat down with us and explained the CT scan slide by slide until we understood what we were looking at. He encouraged us and told us that we were gonna lick this thing. Also, on this day, we discovered that I am pregnant. We cried some more . God is so amazing in His plans and the care of his own, we just have to trust him as Andy encourages  me to remember every day.   :)  So basically that catches you all up to where we are right now...we are still waiting...waiting to find out what kind of cancer this is, what kind of treatment Andy will need, where we will go next, what we will do next...All in all we are still giving thanks and praising God. Not that we don't have our down days, the ones where fear almost wins out, but we are getting better about not letting the enemy get the best of us, because after all God is still in control! He still has a plan! and it was he who said:

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