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Exploring the Beauty of Ohio and Beyond...



Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Bear with me, before we get to the exciting news in the health update, I want to talk about the title (which is also the title of the photo)…Make Hay While the Sun Shines.

Growing up on a dairy farm, this saying was more than just a cliché to us. Hay must dry before it can be baled and brought into the barn, and sunshine is what dries it. So fair weather often brought a flurry of activity. The saying can go further into almost anything even unrelated to farming. However, there is a side of this saying that is never talked about…fires. If you try to push things a little too much and don’t let the hay dry before bringing it into the barn, it can spontaneously combust. Yes, I’m not kidding you, excess moisture in stacked, baled hay can cause a barn fire. So, if we are applying this to other areas of our lives, especially me when I get a stretch of feeling decent, I will tend to work late and try to do too much and end up burning out.

Many years ago, I attended a retreat where we took a look at the familiar Bible story of Creation. One thing that stuck out to me when reading it again was the concept of daily work. Even our God didn't work 24/7. He didn't just say let everything be at once. He did it in pieces. He rested each evening. He rested on the seventh day. How much more are we NOT expected to try to accomplish everything in one day, one week, one month, or even one year. Our lives are a work in progress and much like we ask for our daily bread, may we also ask to understand better our daily work.

Since my last update, in addition to the many medical appointments I still have, I've been gone back to work in-person a few days but mostly continued to work from home, as well as taking some time off to deal with some side-effects and some procedures. Was able to attend the the June, July, and August Hilltop Art Hops and met my sister and brother in Upper Sandusky for lunch and a little shopping. We met with friends in August at Kokosing Lake (watch for photos). I've also been to church, worked a few shifts at 3060 Gallery where I'm a resident artist, and have done a little bit of shopping. I've also began writing 3060 Gallery's Press Releases and took over the monthly newsletter, tasks I've surprisingly come to enjoy. I re-decorated and organized an area of our master bedroom and replaced a very old dresser that wasn't the best solution anymore. This has given me an organized and relaxing master bedroom I've wanted for a long time. I’ve got some plans for other areas of the house, but nothing big. So, a lot of firsts since Covid-19 started. First time back in a restaurant. First time back in a big retail store. First time working in-person. First hugs and handshakes.

I've been slowly getting better in all areas. However, there have been a few setbacks, especially in August. Because of the abscess mentioned in the previous blog, I was tethered to 24/7 antibiotics till July 27 and took oral antibiotics for few weeks after that. The big problem has been trying to stay on both cancer medicines consistently. I say "trying" because Keytruda, which is an immunotherapy drug, in the last few months, has attacked my joints, especially my hands, wrists, and shoulders. The bed sheets rubbing against my wrists would hurt and I couldn't lift my arms very high (think T-Rex arms). One morning, Jim had to help me dress which has not been the case for several months. The nurse at the infusion center, who knows me well, took one look at me and had the oncologist's assistant come over. After some blood tests, we decided on a short course of steroids. That helped a lot. But after our outing with our friends early in August, the pain returned. This time I ended up having to take some time off of work given everything that was going on pain-wise and some procedures I had scheduled. I  did a longer taper of prednisone and right now am on a daily 7.5mg dosage, which seems to keep most symptoms tolerable, but still allows me to get the Keytruda infusions. I’m hoping we can try tapering off it soon as steroids have way too many side-effects. To that end, I’ve pursued acupuncture, gone back to the chiropractor (as I'm also still dealing with some very painful lower back issues), and scheduled a massage here and there. I’ve also been eating more anti-inflammatory, prebiotic and probiotic foods. The most interesting thing has been some essential oils, but I’ll save that for a later blog.

But the “trying” has paid off!!!...

I won’t tease you any longer…I had a CT scan on August 31 and it revealed that two of the three tumors have shrunk, the third stayed about the same. The abscess(now being referred to as a fluid/gas collection), which caused all the problems this past spring has shrunk significantly. I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like to have some success again. One simple phrase is all I can say;  "Praise the Lord!"

Heading into the Fall, I've started to tentatively think about a few day photography trips and possibly one longer one. A lot of it depends on the next couple weeks and how my strength level progresses and whether we keep the inflammation under control . If you are interested, "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" is currently available as a 8x10 matted to 11x15 $25 or framed (black) for $55. It's also available for custom order in other sizes. Click here for more details.

As I was writing this, I could not get this old hymn out of my mind and thought it was fitting to quote it here...

Work, for the night is coming:
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling:
Work mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter;
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming
When man's work is done.

Work, for the night is coming:
Work through the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor:
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.

Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work, while the night is darkening,
When man's work is o'er.

Anna L. Walker 1854

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