Sunday, November 26, 2006

16 done and Happy Thanksgiving! 11-26-06

11/26/06 (My 49th birthday)
Dear friends,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had 15 here. Greg’s sister, Shelby, and her family came, 2 close family friends (Deb- SisterLuke, and Marti), our 5 (minus Laura in Turkey) and 3 Taiwanese students, Heng Hua, Wendy and Paul. Since Shelby’s husband is “Big Paul,” and our nephew is “Little Paul,” we re-named our new Taiwanese friend, “Medium Paul!” It was lots of fun. Wendy and Medium Paul have never experienced Thanksgiving before, so it was fun to explain the customs and foods. They also brought a few dishes that were fantastic. Everyone brought things, and my kids helped cook, so the load on me was less than usual. We had a very full table and enjoyed leftovers for the next few days.
In the afternoon we went to the park for a game of touch football. Deb, Marti and I sat in chairs on the sideline and made up cheers- (too corny to repeat). It was a fun and memorable time for all. We won’t talk about the football game on TV that night. It is best to forget that part! We also taught and learned card games with our international students. The newest one is “James Bond.”
Laura wrote on Friday that her trip to Turkey is going very well. She had her backpack stolen on Wednesday in a government building in Ankara. Along with the backpack itself, so lost her glasses, digital camera, phone, Bible, Good to Great book and I think a few extra Bibles. She is thanking God that no one got hurt and that everything will be replaceable in time. Fortunately her cash and passport were not in there. She said that the trip is making a huge impression on her and feels the timing is good as far as her deciding what to do next with her life. We’ll find out more when she gets back tomorrow. She will leave early Monday morning, Turkey time. She finishes college on Dec. 20th.
I am getting a little redder from the radiation. My doctor told me that the skin burning goes on for about 2 weeks after radiation finishes, then peeks and begins healing. I am feeling that it helps to wear soft clothing that doesn’t rub me there. When there is itching I am supposed to use hydrocortisone cream. Scratching would irritate the skin and make everything worse. I use caster oil every night also. So I hope the blistering doesn’t happen like it has to some of my friends at radiation.
I have discovered that although my hair and eyebrows are growing back, by bottom eyelashes are falling out. I also have overall body aches that I think are still side effects of chemo. I’ve been taking daily long naps and am sleeping all night. Thank you for your prayers and love. Please keep praying fervently for a miracle for our ministry. Initiative360 will only make it to the New Year by God’s grace and provision. We need to see 100’s of $1,000’s come in. God bless you and your families! Nancy

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Half done and Thanksgiving greetings

It is November 21st today- the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This is my favorite holiday of the year.One key factor is that I get all my favorite foods right around my birthday which is on Sunday this year. Sometimes my birthday falls on Thanksgiving and that is very special! I have completed 15 of my 30 radiation treatments, so I am officially 1/2 way there. I have every lane change and pot hole between here and the hospital I go to downtown memorized now. It seems pretty automatic. I am definitely getting more tired by the day. I am sleeping in until 9 or 10 in the morning and going to bed by 10ish most nights. If I miss that sleep I take a long nap. If I do that, I am keeping up alright. Allison went with me to radiation yesterday and enjoyed Sister Marie (I think) while I did my treatment. I am getting redder where the radiation is hitting- especially under my arm. My new friend Kelly, who has done about 22 of her treatments, is swollen and bleeding under her arm. After getting permission from my radiation oncologist, I have begun using caster oil and think it is helping me to not itch as much, and maybe to slow down the damage to my skin. I am looking forward to having Thursday and Friday off for the holiday, but will have to make those days up at the end for a total of 30. Here is the written copy of the prayer letter I just mailed out yesterday. If you are on our mailing list, you should be getting it soon. I wish you a wonderful holiday and thank you as always for your interest, love and prayers. Nancy Dear friends, November 18, 2006
With this holiday focusing on thankfulness to God, our thoughts turn to the things we are blessed with in our lives. We think of our family, our ministry, our friends and God’s faithfulness to us every day of our lives. He has provided for our every need, and has chosen to do that through His Body.
We have had the unique privilege of experiencing that provision monthly for 26 years. You are partners in what God is doing through our ministry. You share in a very tangible way what the Lord is doing through Initiative360 (formerly Caleb Project). Your participation allows us to be involved in strategic ministry to those least reached with the Gospel. Thank you for being part of our team. We highly value you and your connection to us. So on Thanksgiving, when we go around the table to share what we are thankful for, you will be thought of and mentioned. Thank you!
Medical Update
Here is an update on my (Nancy’s) cancer treatment. I had surgery in May and June, had 5 chemotherapy treatments in July, August and September (3 weeks apart), and began radiation on November 1st. Radiation is much easier than chemo was. It doesn’t hurt. I am still dealing with some side effects of the chemo, but radiation’s main short term side effects are skin burning and fatigue. I have begun to experience some of those, but not too badly. Radiation takes only 1 minute on 3 locations, and 12 additional minutes to adjust the table for those doses. The main cost is time, as it takes me 1 ½ hours to drive each week day to and from the treatment. I have done 13 out of 30. As far as we know, all of the cancer was removed during surgery, and what we are doing now with chemo and radiation is to prevent further metastasis (traveling and growing elsewhere) of the disease. Once I am done with radiation, I will focus on rebuilding my immune system. Our network of friends and family here is awesome & we have been well cared for in every way. Thank you for giving extra for medical costs if you did. That was a huge help.
Ministry Update
Initiative360 is born. Caleb Project has merged with ACMC. Greg is the CEO of the new organization. We have been working very hard on merging the finances, ministry goals and staff of both ministries. We are in a financial shortfall as a ministry currently due to the merger, and ask you to join us in concerted prayer. The cost of the merger was high, and if $500,000 doesn’t come in to cover this in the next month, we will be faced with very difficult decisions. With careful planning and much prayer, we have stepped out in faith and obedience to do this merge, and trust the Lord to do His perfect will. We don’t believe this is the time for our ministry to end, so we are seeking God, working hard and waiting on Him. Pray for Greg as he leads the ministry. We serve a BIG and powerful God! He is able and we trust Him.
Allison is home from college for the week. Laura left yesterday for Turkey on a 10 day ministry trip for her college, and will finish at Grove City in a few weeks with her entrepreneur business degree. Jenni just learned that she made it into All-State Choir and is finishing up college applications. Jesse is working at King Soopers grocery store and is planning to go on a ministry trip to Kenya next summer.
We will have 15 people here for Thanksgiving including Greg's sister and her family, two long time friends and 3 of our Taiwanese student friends from the University of Denver. Selina who recently went back to Taiwan, told me that her favorite memory of her time in America was playing football after our Thanksgiving meal last year. We go down to a field at the park and play touch every year. I took Selina and our original adopted international student, her roommate Heng Hua, to Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park to see the elk in Sept. and there is a picture of us with an elk in the background on the prayer letter we just sent out on Monday. We enjoy our international student friends tremendously.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Fritz family! Greg & Nancy Fritz, Initiative360 (formerly Caleb Project), 10 W. Dry Creek Circle, Littleton, CO 80120 nancy's cell: 303.885.7545 Office: 303.459.5400 Home: 303.791.9306

Friday, November 17, 2006

11-17-06 12 out of 30 radiations treatments done!

Dear friends,
It is Friday morning and I just got back from picking up Allison at the airport. She is home until the 27th. Laura left Pittsburgh this morning for the same amount of days in Turkey. She will be in 3 cities and in the 3rd one, she will celebrate Thanksgiving with the folks there she’ll be visiting. Greg is on a short trip to Ft. Wayne, IN and gets home tonight. He is visiting some of our staff who are based there.
We found out on Wednesday that Jenni made it into All State choir. I think 4-5000 tried out and 600 made it. She is excited. She still has to finish up several college applications by the end of the month, so please keep praying for her to get that done. She is trying to keep up with her current AP classes while getting that done as well.
I have finished 12 radiation treatments out of 30. I am beginning to turn a little red at the radiation site, and it is itching some. I use a special cream right after my treatment and when it itches I am NOT to scratch. I am to use cortisone cream on it. Irritating the skin will do more damage in the long run. I am going to get some caster oil to put on that area at night. I have testimonies from others who have gone before me and permission from my radiation oncologist.
Yesterday I left home at 1:20 p.m. for my 2:00 treatment and ended up going in for my 15 minute treatment at 3:20. There was an emergency new patient in room #3-my treatment room, so we all waited. I got to meet the folks who had the time slots after mine. When they finally called my name, everyone waiting applauded. We knew that meant things would start moving again. I got home at 4:30. That is the first time I have had to wait more than 10 minutes. I had nice visits with 3 different women. We shared our lives.
I am tired and think I need to pile up some sleep in the next few days. I have been able to drive myself this week just fine as long as I sleep in in the morning and go to bed early. Our friend visited from CA and we had a nice couple of days with her. She went with me to radiation on Wednesday and even got to see the room and machine. Anyway, I think the tiredness in increasing but is still manageable for now. I have a sore throat today. I am still having lots of hot flashes, but am sleeping a lot better.
I asked you to pray for my hurting tooth/jaw. My dentist took a look and sees a swollen area on my bottom right jawbone near that tooth. I need to go back to where I had my jaw surgery last year to see what he thinks is going on. The tooth seems OK, but something is swollen and sore. I’d appreciate your prayers for wisdom in how to deal with this. It is possible for insurance to cover this if it is jawbone and not tooth related. That will take some effort to figure out. My CA friend asked me how I am coping with all of this cancer stuff. I am feeling confident that although the treatment itself is a lot of work, I do believe that all the cancer is gone. I expect tests early next year will confirm that. God was truly authoring the situation that allowed me to find it so early. He continues to be good. I am continuing to meet lots of amazing folks I would never have met otherwise and I have amazing friends and family who are standing by me every step of the way. Life is good and we have much to thank God for on Thanksgiving! Thanks for your love and interest! God bless you!Nancy

Saturday, November 11, 2006

11/11/06 8 out of 30 done!

Dear friends,
It is 2 days after the election and I have finished 7 days of radiation out of 30. I am doing well. I was able to go with Jenni and her friend Jenny, to visit DU (Denver University) on Monday. I stood in line to vote for almost 3 hours and can only think that it was a divine appointment to meet Beth who was on line in front of me. We talked about every part of our lives. She is a newly married 25 year old. The woman in front of her talked with us for a while and it turned out that her sister is also going through radiation at the same place I am, and at almost the same time. We figured out that I had actually seen her several times this week. Now that I am changing times to 2:00 p.m., I won’t see her again. It is a small world isn’t it?
It is now Saturday and I just finished feeding Greg and 2 of the board members lunch. Greg just went hiking nearby with one of them and the other just left for the airport. This was the first board meeting in 25 years I can remember that I haven’t taken care of the food for the board when they have met in Denver.
I have now finished 8 of my radiation treatments. I am now going at 2:00 every day for the duration. I am starting to notice fatigue now. Yesterday I was very tired driving home. I am sleeping better at night for which I am very thankful. But tiredness seems to be setting in. My skin is a tiny bit red at the radiation sight, but I am putting special lotion on it and am being careful to wash it carefully and not irritate it. Tiredness and skin irritation are to 2 most common side effects of radiation. My morning nuns from last week were on the news last Sunday night as they watched the Broncos game at the hospital.I met the afternoon nun. I think next week they will initiate me. Then I will graduate at the end. I am looking forward to getting to know the people there the same time as me. We are making plans to have our international student come with us to a wedding on the 18th. She has never seen an American wedding before. Laura leaves next Friday for Turkey and Allison leaves to come here from FL! I trust you are enjoying your Fall. It was 81 degrees here on Wednesday, and 2 weeks ago we had a snow storm. Never a dull moment in CO! Have a great day, and God bless you- Nancy Fritz

Saturday, November 04, 2006

3 radiations down and 27 to go!

Dear friends, I have now been downtown for 3 radiation treatments. It turns out that they are only doing 3 fields, not the 4 I thought. Once they did an actual treatment, it was obviously only 3. I asked the radiation oncologist about it when I saw him Thursday and he explained that they are covering all of the area with the 3 fields just fine and didn't see a need for the 4th. That is good because it makes the lymphodema risk in my left arm smaller. Here is what the experience is like when I go for a treatment...It takes almost 2 hours to get back home from when I leave to go there. I drive 40 minutes, go inside, change into a gown and sit in the waiting room until my number shows up on the screen. Then I go to my treatment room where they are waiting for me. Once on the table, they take a few minutes to get the settings on the table, machine and my little dot tattos lined up to make sure I am level. I can count to between 40 and 50 seconds for each dose to each of the 3 areas. After they do the first one, the machine and table are reset for the 2nd one and then again for the 3rd. The machine is at about 2:00 when I am looking up for the beam across my front, about 7-8:00(next to and below me) for the one to get my left side, and 12:00 above me for my clavical node area. All of that takes about 20 minutes. It doesn't hurt. I actually can hear but don't feel anything. Then I get dressed and go home. There is valet parking for patients if I want to use it. I had been told that I would get to meet everyone having radiation about the same time as me each day, and that we would really get to know each other. I got there early enough to do that on Thursday and Friday. There are 2 nuns at this catholic hospital (St. Joes) who are there to visit with the patients several days of the week. They are delightful. They "induct" and "graduate" patients at the beginning and end of their weeks of treatment. Since I am moving to the afternoon from the morning next week, they didn't induct me. They will let the afternoon nuns do that next week. I had to skip out for my treatment during another person's graduation on Thursday and one of the nuns asked me afterward what happened to me. I told her my number had come up and I had to go. She told me that if I ever say that again, I have to pay a fine and put it into the mouse shaped piggy bank sitting on the table. So, all that is to say, everyone is friendly. When I realized I would be missing some lunch appointments to do my 1:00 treatments for the other 5 weeks, I asked if I could move my appointments later in the day. They are giving me 2:00 instead, which is much better. That will start next Thursday. I am grateful for that. I can come and go in between rush hours. I am going to the dentist on Tuesday to get a check-up. I have an infection under another tooth (it is swollen and sore) and we need to decide what to do. I think I will need this tooth pulled also as root canals always go bad on me. I am allowed to do my dental stuff now that chemo is over and my blood counts are back to normal range. Please pray that these dental issues will be resolved. I know I have 2 areas of osteomyelitis still in my jaw bone that I need to have cleaned out, but I need wisdom about when to do what, and what to do. Also I would appreciate your prayers about my tiredness. It is too soon to be extra tired from radiation if that is an eventual side effect. (For some it is, and for some it isn't.) But I am not sleeping well due to hot flashes all night long. They wake me up hourly it seems, and then I have a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. I am trying different things, but would appreciate you praying that I would find the right combination to work. Jenni ended up driving me Friday since I was so tired and she didn't have school. Thanks much for your interest and prayers- God bless you- Nancy