JohnD with his Chloe (above)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
JohnD with his Chloe (above)
Friday, December 25, 2009
We couldn't wrap the horses though...
Our thoughts cross over the miles to you all, and we wish you all a very special day. Merry Christmas. We have so much to celebrate - the gift of our Jesus to us, and what his life means to us each day.
Love Ken, Jo, Micaela, JohnD, Dennis, Carol, and the rest of the family!
Jasmine, Chloe, Champ, Lady, Kit-Kat and Molasses xxx
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday JohnD and I went to pretoria for his 3rd last chemo... came back Friday afternoon, and he has been quite well.
While we were on the road, Ken called to say that we had an opportunity to buy two resuce horses who could be trucked up from the Freestate on Saturday. (Months ago, we had called this dealer, looking for very tame and managable childrens horses.) They needed an answer immediately, as they were loading early the next morning to come to Pietersburg to deliver other horses. They had space in their box, and we would not have to pay for delivery.
We were all a bit aprehensive about buying horses that we know are in bad condition, that we have not even seen. ! GULP. Are we sitting ducks for "being taken for a ride???"
We took the plunge / bait / challenge, looking at it as a marvelous opportunity (for Micaela especially), to build a relationship with a horse who needs her T.L.C., and she really needs a horse to love! :) The white mare is definitely pregnant, and the brown mare is possibly pregnant, but we do not know for sure. Both horses have not stopped eating all of the green grass since they walked off the trailer. Shame. Our hearts break to think how badly they were treated. But, we are happy to know how much they are going to be loved!!! They both appear to be VERY GENTLE, managable, easy to approach, and used to being handled. We will only be able to even THINK about riding them in about two weeks or more - once they have regained some of their condition.
The horse dealer said that she will come and collect them in a month if we are not completely satisfied, and she will replace them with others. So - we are now on a fast track learning curve... with yet another rescue animal.
Big hugs from us all in the green, lush, sunny, alive bushveldt!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
JohnD has been a little blocked up still and his chemo went ahead with no surprises. His full blood count on Thursday was very good, and his Dr has decided to try and see if his bone marrow and while cells will be as strong without all of the neupogen injections, so we are giving it a try this time. He and Ivan managed to keep up with the girls, but by Sunday afternoon, after dropping Bianca and Ivan off... he slept from 1 to 4pm!The rain has transformed our place into the garden of eden! :) Much love, Us all xxx
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We back on the road tomorrow taking JohnD for his 4th VAC treatment. He developed a mild fever this evening, so I don't know what awaits us... I do hope that we will not be delayed in coming home on Friday. Micaela turns 12 on Sunday, so she has big plans for this weekend!
Their lessons with their Afrikaans teacher "Tanny Kobie" are going so well. She did art with them this afternoon too, and she is just amazing with them. A born / natural teacher.
Micaela's little kitten is officially called "Kit-Kat". What a cute little thing. It has figured out that the dogs actually run away if they are chased! It's too funny to see.
We have busy doing some much needed maintenance at the lodge. Golly - I sure hope we get through it all before the Goldfinch group arrive after Christmas! :)
The much needed rains came and have worked their magic. Thank you Lord!!! We still need much rain, but at least the green is through!
Love you all, us xxx
Friday, November 6, 2009
My goodness, what a busy week! JohnD's third treatment went without any glitches or surprises ... all very smooth! We drove down on Thursday and came back yesterday. We had an Air Force Base function last night too, so it was a pretty long and busy day.
We had one really GREAT thing happen... the night before we left for Pretoria, JohnD called me to the bathroom to proudly show me that he had finally won his war on the varruca that has plagued him for the past four months!!! We had booked an appointment (during the last session of chemo) with a skin Dr to cut it out while we were there this week... and so it was wonderful to not have to have that proceedure done! THANK YOU LORD! For the past three weeks, he has cut and scratched and irritated it so much, and when the whole thing came off in the bath - it was an answer to prayer!
We were all was very sad to say bye to the Jakobson family, as Sofie and the kids left on Sunday to return to Sweden. On Tuesday, we came home from town with Agnes' little black bunny rabbit - MINI (he's a boy), and a new kitten for Micaela. This is the first time we have actually had a little rabbit... so there was great excitement for ALL of us - not just us people!!!
Early Wednesday morning, we woke to see that Lady had found a way into Mini's cage, and was curled up sleeping with Mini!!! I guess we no longer need to worry about her hunting instincts!
Micaela is totally undecided on a name for her new little kitten, so she asked me to have you all VOTE!!! :) The two names she can't decide between are "KIT-KAT" or "ASTRO". So email us your opinion.
JohnD has a little friend here today. Maurits. It's overcast and cool, so they are quietly playing with the lego. Big hugs to you all, and lots of love xxx
Friday, October 30, 2009
We are enjoying some cooler weather and trust it will bring with it the much needed rain.
Hugs to you all.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Guess I should put a caption under this picture... "impatiently waiting for breakfast!!"
We are so very pleased to report that JohnD's chemo at the end of last week was a "breeze" ... really he just sailed through. We had a fairly busy weekend, with both Micaela and JohnD needing to write their Gov exams on Saturday morning. I was concerned that with he chemo having been so recent, he may not have been up to it, but with the ample supply of children around him... he just went with the flow and didn't bat an eyelid! :)
We are thoroughly enjoying a camp full of family from the UK and from Johannesburg and the Cape... 3 little babies to play with and a small toddler. I have not seen some of my cousins for about five years! It is good to catch up with them all.
Hugs to you all from the bush!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Micaela and JohnD have swapped bedrooms! The house still has not recovered from the major shaking!!! Micaela has been in her room almost 12 years, and he has been after it for at least 6 of those years.
JohnD and I head back to Pretoria again tomorrow for his 2nd session of VAC. The van is all packed up and we will leave early tomorrow. Hope to be home before dark on Friday. Fortunately he really knows what it is all about, and does not seem phased by it any more.
Just love your emails - thank you so much for sending them. Big hugs from us all.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Dad and Mom got off okay. :( I managed to get to the airport and back (without the GPS! - Ken has it with him in Namibia!!) without any loss of time.
It was really fun having Micaela with us this time... the two of them both on JohnD's bed, kept themselves thoroughly entertained. It was good to see. I have to keep reminding him that he is not helpless - he can get up and help himself! The lighter dose is so much easier on him, he hardly knew that he had even had it. He was a little uncomfortable on the road trip home, but he ate a good supper - and he is just fine!
I love hearing from you! Thank you for all of your little messages. They mean so much to us.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Dad and Mum fly back to Austraila tomorrow evening. JohnD's VAC treatments are only 24 hours in hospital now, so it's down one day and back the next. He has been so well. We went for a walk yesterday afternoon, and he rode his bike the whole way. He has not had the strength to do that at all! His hair is also trying so hard to grow back now. I'm glad with the school holidays, Micaela is able to go with me this time.
Ken is still in Namibia with Rick. They are having a wonderful time. We are missing them! They will come home on Tuesday.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
GOD IS FAITHFUL.
As I'm sure you can imagine - it's going well with us all. Micaela and JohnD are both working hard in school. They have their school holiday break coming up soon, so they are working to finish their books.
The ranch is dry, but we have lots of grass. It's warmed up nicely, and we are all excited about the summer coming. Winter is pretty much over.
We have a young man helping here until the end of the year. His name is Helgard - he is Abraham and Ilse's nephew (from Tzaneen).
Ken leaves for Namibia on Monday and will be away for two weeks, hunting with Rick! :)
My folks come to visit for four days on the 20th of this month, and then will fly back to Australia on the 25th, when I take JD for his next chemo session.
I guess this bush bulliten is updated!!! :)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
With the lighter dose, he has started eating right away, so that is wonderful, as usually it's several days before he can eat again.
Thank you for your prayers.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Last year, when Walter and Barbara Bailey were with us, we took them to the Louis Trichardt "show". With our entrance tickets... we were fortunate enough to win a weekend in Kruger for four people. It was valid for a year, expiring the 31st of Aug. We had wondered if we may land up not being able to use it - with all of this year's unplanned events. Thank GOD - it worked out that we were able to go. After his op, JohnD really recovered quickly, and with the blood he received - his whole resistance and immunity has been so boosted! We took the opportunity and gapped it for the weekend. We had some lovely sightings. We stayed at the Mopani camp, and it really was just way too short! Kids loved the pool - as it was pretty warm!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Left - just before he was wheeled into theatre. He asked Dr Stevens if he could please go without 'gas' - and also to please take a picture of his rib. He knew that we couldn't bring it home with us... we left the camera in theatre and they snapped a few pictures for us.
Friday, August 21, 2009
My Aunt and Uncle (my Dad's brother) had collected my parents from the airport on Wednesday afternoon, and so they brought them to the Zuid Afrikaans Hospital for me... we spent about half an hour getting everything loaded, finalised, and organized - and we were on our way home. It is wonderful to have my parents here - we last saw them in November last year.
JohnD is weary and tender... but he is doing so well. We are very proud of him. I'll try get some of the photos loaded tomorrow.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Thank you so much for all of your messages and your prayers.
God is wonderfully faithful! :)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
He went in strong, smiling, and ready. He asked the Doctors to please not use any happy gas on him (as it makes him naar), and also to please avoid using a cathether if at all possible. He asked them to please keep some of his rib for him, or if that was not possible - to please take a photo of his rib, so that he would have SOMETHING of it. So, I went into theatre with him and was there till he was asleep. We left our camera there. They took five amazing pictures - that I wish I had the ability to put on now (but this is a borrowed computer, and I don't have my card reader with me.)
He was in for an hour and 10 minutes. Dr Stevens was amazing, and despite struggling to remove the end portion of it that is attached to the cartilage - he left the "skin" of the bone - so there is the slight chance that when it is all healed - the bone may even re-grow!!!
The nurses and all of the staff here have been amazing.
He is resting peacefully in the Paed.ICU. He is currently on a morphine pump, and there is a drain on the wound. They did not have to enter the chest at all, so we are grateful that no chest drain is required.
God is good! All our love and thank you one and all!
Monday, August 17, 2009
They gave him 1 unit of blood last night, and the necessary neupogen injections to boost his white cell production. He will get another unit of blood this afternoon. They now plan to operate on Wednesday morning at 7.30 am.
When we arrived here at Zuidafrikaans Hospital, Dr Stevens took more x-rays, and even we can see the abnormality on the 10th rib, that is the cause of concern. We are very glad for the decision they have taken. The 10th rib is the only one attached to the cartilage, so it is not going to be a cut all around - only along the rib from the spine, to the side where the rib ends.
From his check in here - I can't believe the difference that the blood has made to his colour and his general well being. He is feeling and looking more like the JohnD we know!
Thanks for all of your messages and prayers. We are so grateful for them all, and we cherish all of you so much. We are all very positive and looking forward to this part of his treatment being behind us!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
We will be away for approximately a week. They do not anticipate needing to enter the chest cavity, so it will hopefully be less painful and less traumatic as last time.
We covert your prayers and messages. We all really believe that this is the right decision.
Friday, August 14, 2009
They have scheduled us for surgery on Monday afternoon the 17th August, at the ZuidAfrikaans Hospital in Pretoria. He will be operated on by the same surgeon (Dr Mark Stevens) who did his original operation in March.
We are very relieved that the decision has been made, and that we know what is ahead. His chemotherapy will continue approximately 13 days post op, and we believe that no radiation will be required.
We have our next hunters arriving in camp on the 17th too, so I have much to arrange as we will be away for approximately a week.
This proceedure will be less invasive as his previous surgery, and Dr Stevens does not anticipate having to enter the chest cavity at all. We trust that this will be the case, and that his recovery will be uncomplicated.
We covet your prayers, and we know that our Heavenly Father is in control. None of this is a surprise to Him. We are very glad that we do not have to face the radiation.
Monday, August 10, 2009
JohnD's Oncologist is in the process of consulting with the necessary specialists to establish if it is possible to remove the piece of the #10 rib affected, or if necessary the entire rib. If possible, they would want to schedule it for next week.
From what we understand, radiation of the ribs will affect the growth of the ribs, as well as some of the lung. Radiation would be done if they are not able to operate, in which case we would begin early next week.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
He will continue to have chemo even during radiation, but the sessions will be much shorter. The initial one will be about 30 hours (VAI x1) and thereafter about 24 hours (VAC x7) in hospital each time. There will be a total of 8 more chemo to go through.
All of his other sessions of VIDE he really did cope very well. This time he really struggled. He couldn't overcome the nausea and vomiting, he developed a temperature, and very bad diarrohea... They landed up keeping him there an extra day to keep him on the drip, and so we only came home yesterday lunch time. Noodles last night was the first time he has eaten since Wednesday morning. :( At least it stayed down. :)
On Tuesday morning, the did a CT scan, and established that surgery is not necessary! PTL!
Friday morning they did the Bone scan, and it came back clear - confirming there is no spread, so we are all very excited about that.
I had a horrible incident with someone smashing a window on the vehicle and grabbing our laptop. I had parked / locked left the vehicle to take all of JohnD's bags up to the ward. 3 minutes later when I went to collect the second load, it was gone, and there was glass everywhere. A bit nerve wracking to think that they got away with it... and must have been watching me. :( As the laptop had been hidden behind the driver seat, underneath the bags, they must have spotted it when I was offloading... as the vehicle had already been there over an hour without any incident.
It's wonderful to be home again. We have a beautiful sunny day. The lodge is full, so I've got lots to catch up with there. Must go for a quick run, while he is in the bath.
Micaela has been absolutely amazing... so wonderfully helpful and we are so proud of her. Got so many compliments from the guests!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Debbie Pedersen (our guests visiting from Grand Rapids) celebrated her 50th birthday with us today. It's wonderful to have a good excuse to bake a cake! ;) Her daughter Sara got a lovely Impala today.
It's turned cold again... brrr
Micaela & JohnD each have a friend visiting tonight, so everyone is happy! His little friend Maruits is turning 9 on Monday, so we need to celebrate his birthday here too - as JohnD couldn't go to his birthday party this afternoon.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Micaela had a nasty scrape on her leg last week Thursday with her horse charging off and running her into a post. She lost quite a bit of skin... It's finally healing nicely - but I guess she has had her first INCIDENT with her beloved horses.
We have the Pedersen family arriving tomorrow - so got lots of cleaning to do, menus, lists, and planning. I'll be in Pretoria again (if his bloods are up to it) from Tuesday, while they will be in Kruger.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
JohnD pretty much goes into a kind of tunnel with his 4 day treatment, and just "zones out". He doesn't talk much, eats only a very small bowl of oats first thing in the morning. He drinks nothing, and vomits quite a bit. He watches tv, dvd's and sleeps. He doesn't have the energy to play games. I read to him quite a bit in the evening when he is just too low to even sit and watch tv anymore.
He has spent today in bed, and my guess is that by Sunday he will be up and about again, starting to eat little bland meals.
Thanks for your continued prayers and messages!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
We head back for JohnD's 5th chemo session early Monday morning again. He has been quiet well. He was glad to have his good pals Maurits and Ivan here for a few nights this week. He always enjoys all of our guests, and both he and Micaela have been joining us for dinner and lunch at the lodge - so it sure breaks the monotony of their day. It's school holidays here now, and they are enjoying just 'hanging'. :)
While I'm on the road to Pretoria, the folks we have with us will head up to Zimbabwe, and we will have David and Janell Brantley join us from Charleston.
Will update again on my return.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The lodge is busy and pretty full, so that keeps him interested and side tracted. Micaela is delighted to have the undivided attention of Delaney - who is just a year older than her. They certianly have been having fun.
His next chemo session is scheduled for the 6th of July, Lord willing. Ken and I are well - as are Dennis and Carol. The children are looking forward to the July school holidays!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
He is now intent on going hunting with Ken this afternoon! The bad weather we have had all week has meant that the hunters have been struggling.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
He has been keeping extremly well and has had a good appetite of late. He is now starting to lose his eyelashes too.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
The distraction of having the game capturers here also kept him preoccupied - which was a REAL blessing. He motored through his school work too - in anticipation of being able to go to the site where they had the bomas all set up. They love to get onto the lorrys and watch what is happening. On Sunday I joined them - taking a picnic basket and a shade umbrella. I also took my mending basket too!!! It always lands up being quite a long day, sitting around waiting for action... then when the animals come it - it's always so quick you hardly see anything.
On Friday, Micaela and I were able to go to Tzaneen to spend the afternoon and evening with Ilse. Her daughter Julise, was performing in several dance items their school's Culture Evening. It was a real treat for us to be included in this special evening! Julise danced so well, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening. On Saturday morning, Micaela and I spent a few hours at their Mall, looking for some winter clothes for her. Louis Trichardt does not have the same choice and variety as Tzaneen!
Got a busy week ahead - looks like Jen is coming down for more shopping in a few days, so it will be nice to see her again.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
The biggest small victory for me was overcoming the challenge of driving in Pretora for the very first time, on my own... without a GPS! I didn't get lost or make a single wrong turn - either going there, or returning home. "Well done me!" Now we won't mention the contents of the call to Ken at 8am in the six lanes of rush hour traffic, with all of the road works on the go!!!
The kids had a ball with some of the tatoos that came in a parcel from the States, and we certainly giggled when JohnD stuck them where he has never been able to stick them before!
Friday, May 1, 2009
On Feb 27th, JohnD had a severe attack of pain over his left side of his chest. We immediately rushed him to the hospital, very anxious that something was seriously wrong. On examination of him, the Dr could not find anything of concern, and suggested that x-rays be taken, to rule out possibilities of problems with the lungs. On the chest x-rays, the large tumor was easily visible, located behind the heart, above the spleen, and inside the lung area.
On the 4th of March, we were referred to a thorasic surgeon at the Zuidafrikaans Hospital in Pretoria. He placed JohnD on the theatre list for the next morning. He removed the tumor, and we then waited for five long days for the diagnosis. My sister, Claire, flew in from Sydney to come and help. She was an angel in all aspects. Her training as a ICU nurse was a tremendous source of comfort to us. While waiting for the results, JohnD had to be taken back into theatre a second time, as there was a build up of fluid on his lungs . While he was under, they did the lumber puncture - to establish the condition of his bone marrow.
After 11 days in ICU, he was dismissed from Hospital, and we came home for four short days. Ken then took JohnD back to Pretoria on the 19th of March to have a port-a-cath put in, and to start with the first session of Chemo. Claire returned to Sydney, and Jenny was able to come and spend a week with me too. She was such a help with both Micaela and JohnD, and also in the office!
Since the first round, he has lost his hair and had some rough days, but we moved on to the second round with more of an idea of what to expect which definitely helped. Another big blessing this time, was Samantha’s home. (She lives in Botswana currently) The house is located just 5 minutes from John D’s room, which as you can imagine, was ideal for us and our family. We were very comfortable. God has been extremely faithful in putting us in the proper hands. John D’s doctor has been tremendous. He has spent immeasurable amounts of time with us answering our questions and addressing our concerns and he is especially good with John D. I have never experienced a more attentive and caring doctor, truly a blessing to us.
After four days of all the various medications, it takes about 2-3 days for John D to start feeling somewhat normal (whatever that feels like). He has the common side effects that he battles with the most, but he is being strong. His friends and my cousins came to visit while he was in the hospital which is always a treat for him. He has gotten to have some play dates here at the house, where he still plays like a 9 year old boy, with a few precautions of course.
We are all doing a bit better as we settle in to a new routine. After giving up pets and making double sure not to spread any outside germs, we are beginning to be able to find a new normal. God has provided strength and a renewed peace of mind with time. For that we are grateful.We are all counting down, only 4 more rounds of treatment to go, and we trust that this battle will be finished. We trust that it has already been fought and won; we just have to make it to the end of this road.
The ranch is showing signs of the change of season, with winter approaching. We are delighted to have four new baby buffalo, and we are looking forward to the arrival of our first hunters from the USA this coming Sunday. We have BIZ with us from the US at the moment, for a month, and she is a tremendous help. She arrived while we were in Pretoria, so that was a lovely surprise for both children. She spent three months with us last year, and is like one of the family. The children continue diligently with their schooling at Dad & Mom’s, providing a much needed haven and sanctuary for them.
Thank you again and God bless Love Ken, Jo, Micaela, JohnD, Dennis & Carol