Day 33, 34, 35 & 36
December 6, 7, 8 & 9th, 2018
Last Day in Santa Barbara
Travel Days & Home
Thursday, December 6, 2018…
Glen was exhausted. The night was the same as usual – brutal. We wanted to make it to the comic book store together so Glen gathered all his strength (and I truly do mean all his strength) and together we drove to the comic book store. We browsed a bit but Glen was almost falling over so the browsing was limited. We picked out a whole lot of “Marvel” comics and while I went to pay Glen went back into the Santa Fe to rest. I then went to the “Youth Initiatives” store where youth make paintings, jewelry, leather goods – all kinds of crafty things – and sell them. It is an initiative to get youth at risk off the streets and doing something good and productive. It’s an initiative I don’t mind supporting when buying gifts for the friends who have helped me out so much. It’s too bad money is tight because I couldn’t buy the things I wanted – but I settled on a nice pottery piece for my “personal assistant extraordinaire” Rowena and a silver shell necklace for her daughter and my friend Genya who has also been so helpful and generous with her time! They even set up the Christmas tree downstairs in my client waiting area. Above and beyond the call of duty are friends like that! We made another stop at the pharmacy to pick up some pharmaceuticals for Glen. This took longer than anticipated because they weren’t allowed to give it out until December 11 – could we wait until then? Well… no actually! We are leaving tomorrow… The pharmacist made a call to Dr. Kim and then thankfully over rode the State law!
We drove back to the Casita where I made a quick lunch and then ran out the door again. I had to go to “Ross Dress for Less” and buy another suitcase for the extra gifts, extra supplements and a few border worthy food items we were taking home – yes, an entire suitcase for that! Walking in there were hordes of people and I remembered that people were actually doing Christmas shopping! Imagine that! It’s almost Christmas and it feels nothing like Christmas to me with the warmer Santa Barbara weather and the pain of seeing Glen so very ill and near death… I don’t much feel like celebrating a “season” – yet I am still so very thankful that Jesus came! It’s a weird mix of feelings for sure.
I grabbed a suitcase as fast as I could, then ran to another pharmacy to pick up items Glen needed for the trip that the other pharmacy was out of stock for. I hopped back into the Santa Fe and found myself speeding for a few seconds and thinking “Wow! I must be feeling at home here in Santa Barbara!” and promptly slowed down. It wouldn’t be wise to get a speeding ticket nor into an accident because I was rushing around! I made a quick stop at Whole Foods Market and bought a few grocery items (one of which we forgot in our Casita when we left – the Glenn flour sour dough bread! ☹). I also said goodbye to the young man I saw most of the times I went into the store. He was always very friendly and asked how Glen was doing. Saying goodbye to people is actually really hard because for the most part we know we won’t see them again.
I made a beeline then for the Issels Clinic to pick up more of Glen’s supplements and bring back our Kangen water bottles. Doris could tell I was rushing and feeling stressed. Saying goodbye to her was hard too… I drove back to the Casita and hurriedly unpacked the groceries and then was out the door again to my appointment with Katya with the magic wand (lymphatic wand) treatment. Ah! An hour and a half to relax before I packed everything up and tried to figure out which suitcase to put what! Walking out of Katya’s there was still some light left so I took another drive to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bouquet of flowers for Jan and Joanna.
I arrived back to the Casita and got the flowers ready. Joanna wasn’t feeling very well but was ok for me to stop in quick. I wanted to say an in person goodbye and thank you. Delivering the flowers and a thank you note I was met by Shelby, their golden retriever dog who is only 9 or so months old. She is the sweetest dog and immediately stuck her head into me for a good pet and began licking my fingers. I love animals and golden retrievers are definitely up there on the list! We said our goodbye’s making sure that they knew that they have a home with us in Canada if they ever come for a visit. They are very sweet people and we are absolutely blessed to have met them and been allowed to stay with them on their property for close to four weeks. I know that everyone we met, including Jan and Joanna, were preordained by God. It was a huge gift from God to stay in such a place of peace and solitude.
I went back to the Casita, made supper, and spent the rest of the evening packing. Glen was not well…hopefully he would be okay for the trip tomorrow. His stomach was now hurting and this was something new. “It’s just the treatments,” I kept telling myself. “This will get better. In Jesus Great Name, this will get better! Glen will get better!” I will strike the ground for Glen a million times in prayer because I know a God who heals!
Friday, December 7, 2018
We awoke to a sunny morning in Santa Barbara. This makes it all the more difficult to leave because we know that it’s raining at home in Abbotsford! I hauled the four suitcases to the car and we both did a last minute check. Glen ate a very sparse breakfast because he was worried about his bowels – I don’t blame him!
We made it to the airport with no problems and after standing in line at Enterprise handed back the keys and got the bill – yikes! I was taken in by the “extra insurance” that I’m sure, in hindsight, I didn’t need. Glen told me I didn’t need it but the guy convinced me that my credit card insurance would not be enough. Live and learn – to listen to Glen!
Next we stood in line to check in. Glen managed to stand there because it was reasonably quick in the small Santa Barbara airport. It reminded me of Abbotsford airport. Santa Barbara is actually only 88,000 people (I think that’s right) so definitely not as big as I thought it might be. We waited for our plane and then boarded with a request for a wheelchair when we got to San Francisco. I’ve never been to any of these places but the quick change from plane to plane in San Francisco doesn’t really count! It was another half hour before we boarded the second plane. Glen was doing decent but was definitely tired and still a bit feverish. As always, I was concerned. I gleaned the window seat on all the flights because the planes were very small and Glen still needed frequent trips to the small little bathroom on the little plane. There were only four seats across on all our flights with the aisle separating those four seats down the middle so it was a tight flight. I watched the scenery change from blue skies and sunny beaches to colder weather and then to snow topped mountain peaks and rooftops as we landed in Calgary.
By the time we got to Calgary it was dark and local time was 5pm ish. I was beyond exhausted and Glen looked about ready to pass out. Though we both just wanted to keep flying home we were thankful that we just had to make it to the airport Marriot hotel for the night. I hijacked a wheelchair for Glen because they forgot even though all along everyone said they would have one for him. I then pushed him to customs where I filled out the forms making it through the customs with no problems. I think it helps when we both look so utterly helpless though that’s certainly not how we were trying to appear!
I gathered all four of our suitcases and loaded them on a cart while Glen sat in the wheelchair – helping where he could of course. Then the daunting task of pushing all the luggage AND Glen. Oh boy! Sadly, though we asked directions to the airport hotel people were more than willing to direct but no one offered to help me push the heavy load. Glen was too weak to push himself in the chair so he held onto the luggage airport cart and I pushed all of it all the way to our hotel room. This was no small task as the hotel hallway turned into rug and was extremely difficult to push around 350 pounds all the way there. We walked in and I collapsed on the bed exhausted and thankful to make it that far. Glen collapsed in the bathroom and shower also completely exhausted. The pain level in his stomach was getting worse and worse in awful cramping waves.
I ordered supper and then welcomed Glen’s parents and sister in law Dianne in for a little visit to our room. Glen is originally from Alberta so that was part of the reason for staying in Calgary a night as well. The visit was good, just heart breaking because we are all so concerned about Glen. I am holding to the hope that the treatments in Tijuana and Santa Barbara will actually work and that Dr. Kim is right – that the cancer spiking will then decrease just as rapidly. It is difficult to hold onto hope when what you see with the naked eye is really bad. This is nightmare material. We are literally warring in the spiritual realm and physical realm for Glen to not only pull through but to be completely restored to better than before health, strength and wellness physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Our precious family left and we were left alone with our thoughts and words. We talk a fair bit but at that point our words were not much. Glen fell asleep on top of the covers of the bed so I got ready for bed. I tried waking him but it was an hour after I climbed into bed that he roused himself and crawled under the covers. I lay awake a few more hours until sleep finally had mercy on my brain.
Saturday December 8, 2018
We both awoke around 8:30am after a few times of being awake during the night. I called the number we were given for breakfast, a direct line to the kitchen. It appears it is no longer possible to get a simple breakfast, as everything is so gourmet. We would love gourmet but just can’t do it so I was able to order a breakfast of just plain eggs and plain toast…it’s the best they could do and we were thankful for it. I did however send the man back for jam – I’m plain but still need jam! ☺ He was gracious in running back and forth and making that delivery.
We packed up quickly because we had not unpacked much and headed downstairs. I had already checked out so we just needed directions to the West Jet departures. The concierge looked at the heavy load I was again pushing. “Do you need help Ma’am?”
Why yes I certainly do please! He pushed the luggage cart and I pushed Glen all the way to West Jet which was a huge blessing in many ways as then I didn’t have to figure out where to go as well! We checked in for our flight while having a conversation with the check in lady about her elderly mother who has cancer. She took a fall and looking at the picture it didn’t look pretty. Everyone has a story. I love hearing people’s stories even though it is heartbreaking I am glad to be able to listen with a caring heart and hopefully give encouragement.
The flight was again on a small turbo prop jet plane. Apparently it’s more economical. We were sitting right by the propeller so it was a loud flight. I was thankful for a short flight. Our son Donovan met us at the airport and I was again thankful that he is a strong man. He hefted the suitcases into his vehicle and off we went. Home. Home is a wonderful thing when you are sick and haven’t been home for awhile. We walked in and took in our surroundings. We have a beautiful home and the best part was that both Donovan and Joshua were there with us. Josh had come home from CBC and was waiting to see us. That blessed my heart more than anything ever could in this world.
I spread out lunch, which consisted of a cooked chicken I had picked up on the way home from Save-On-Foods knowing I, if no one else, would be hungry. We visited and I ate, Glen ate some, and the boys had already had leftover pizza. Glen retired to the easy chair for the next twelve hours collapsing into sleep except when he had to run to the bathroom. Other than that he was out. I changed into my barn clothes and drove to see my horse. Other than my boys my horse was deeply missed by me! I was met at the barn by Lauren who enveloped me in a big, long hug. It was wonderful and made me feel very loved. I then walked into the field to see DeOrro (after saying hi to Zoe who came running to stick her head into the aisle when she heard my voice – the rest of the horses were outside). DeOrro looked up as I walked purposefully towards him. I think I may have even broken into a jog a bit and then remembered he’s still a horse and they don’t like to be run to. He looked for a bit as I came towards him and then he walked quickly to me and nuzzled my hand, then nuzzled into my neck a bit. That was all I needed. The smile was huge as I hugged my buddy and communicated to him how much I missed him. We “talked” a bit and then I walked around the pasture with DeOrro freely walking beside me and following my every move. I love it when he “joins up” with me and follows without a halter. Some days I have to work harder for that to happen but not this day. He missed me too, which warmed my heart to swelling. I put his halter on after a bit and lunged him, then walked into the barn to grab his bridle and my helmet (safety first!). I couldn’t resist a ride. I hopped on and felt his body energy swell and said a prayer for safety. I don’t have time to be injured. The other horses by now had heard my voice and come running so DeOrro’s energy was up more as well. I chose to just ride in the pasture. I had already brought Shorty in, the little cute as a button pony that is also at the barn. Because we all help each other out in our awesome self board barn Shorty and all the horses are deeply loved by all of us. He also seemed happy to see me and was following me around. This is unusual for Shorty because he gets less pasture time (ponies tend to gain weight quickly which is detrimental to their health) when he is outside he generally just eats and does not pay attention to anyone else. This time I was honored that he was indeed happy to see me.
As I rode it was clear that DeOrro had a lot of energy. He wanted to run but I know that he has a fair bit of pain from navicular (his navicular bone under his hoof is degenerated which is very painful) so he tends to buck when we go into a canter. I took the advice of my very good friend who also is a horse trainer and sold me DeOrro and asked for a canter riding in a small circle. It’s harder for a horse to buck going in a circle and I was riding bareback. Sure enough he gave me a few little bucks so I slowed him down right away. I knew I would be stiff just from having not ridden in five weeks and now holding on tighter. I hopped off after twenty or so minutes with a smile on my face and walked along beside him for a bit. He was anxious to be beside me so I brought him into his stall. It was close to supper anyway so I brought him his food and then cleaned out Kenny and Shorty’s stall. It was cold and dark by now so all the horses wanted in. Lauren had already done my stall. I love all my friends at the barn! So supportive! I then let them all back into their stalls and they all gave me snuggles (except Kenny – he can be a bit stand off-ish sometimes especially when he is mad at you and sometimes horses get a bit miffed when you haven’t been around for awhile – he’ll warm up again, the silly boy!). Chilco, who just had to have his eye taken out, came and greeted me too. He doesn’t see very well with the other eye either but he is such a beautiful and gentle big boy. Elizabeth was there before I left and I got and gave another hug. She informed me that Zoe was sold and leaving tomorrow or the next day. She was heartbroken and I was feeling her pain and loss right with her. Saying goodbye to our beautiful animals is always difficult even if the reasoning is logical. I mourn Zoe with her.
I headed to the other barn to give Susanne a hug and was again enveloped in a bear hug. I feel loved and supported by this barn family. I am very blessed to have so many people in my court.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
I awoke after a restless sleep. Glen was still in bed so I simply assumed he was not well enough to go to church with me. He had passed out into a sleep on his favorite chair half an hour after we got home only to be awakened by his bowel and the pain. There was no way I was going to wake him up. I headed to church feeling uneasy about leaving Glen and the week of work that was planned for me. He was not well. Glen was in a lot of pain and not eating unless I brought him food and drink. How was I going to care for him while working and seeing clients? Arriving in church a few minutes late I looked for a place to sit. Donovan was by himself to the side, probably waiting for me as his friends were sitting farther down. I plopped down beside him, grateful for his presence. Half way through the service Josh came in on my other side. Better late than never and I was feeling surrounded by my boys, now young men who felt protective and loving over me. My friend Iona was speaking on this advent Sunday about hope. It was a good sermon that I enjoyed because hope is what I have right now. Hope is the thing keeping me going. Hope that God will do a miracle for my beloved man who I can’t bear to even think about being without.
The service ended I chatted with people trying to give a positive update but the reality is still that Glen’s cancer numbers are up and now he is even more weak and in pain. We are still holding onto the hope that Dr. Kim said – that the numbers will start to go rapidly down. And that God will intervene. I made my way down to Iona and as with any good friend who loves you I felt safe so the tears began to flow and flow hard. The entire church I’m sure witnessed me breaking down. I sobbed on my friend’s shoulder and the worries for the week and care-taking Glen all came out. She cried with me. She empathized with me. She put to words some of what I was feeling – utterly and completely alone and helpless. We feel God and then we’re numb at times. That’s ok. I know He is holding us.
I went home to find Glen somewhat conscious. I went out to do chores and enjoyed my time at the barn. Dad and my step Mom Margaret came over for a bit when I got home to see us after our time away. I thought of going to see Aunt Melinda who lives in a nursing home and I am her POA (Power of Attorney) so I take care of her. I was too exhausted. Tomorrow would be a busy day with chores, a doctor’s appointment for me (the dermatologist checks me every year for cancer spots because my Mom died of melanoma in 2010), and then six scheduled clients. I tried unpacking and making sure things were somewhat in order for the next day but the house still looked in disarray when I collapsed in bed with a still very tired and in pain Glen. Lord, hold us please! Heal my man! We petition before the throne and the courts of heaven, heal my man and extend the boundaries of Glen’s life to a healthy old age!