Saturday, December 22, 2007
I do apologize for not writing for 10 days. We are almost done putting figurines onto our advent calendars, so I know Christmas is coming fast!
Tonight Laura got home, so we are all here in Spokane now. Laura really likes the new house and is now happily sleeping after a long day of travel from Baltimore. I accidentally got Allison’s ticket for a day earlier than I was supposed to, so she and I used it as an opportunity to surprise Greg and Jesse. I picked her up about 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. Greg had gone to sleep at 9:00, so he was clueless. Jesse was also asleep when she got home, but she insisted on going up and jumping on him anyway. They talked a little and she had mercy and let him go back to sleep.
In the morning, Jesse came into my room and asked for a ride to school since it was a block day and he was allowed to go in later. I asked him if he wanted to go pounce on Allison before going and he got a startled look on his face. He said, “What do you mean? She isn’t here!” I told him about how he had talked to her the night before, and he laughed and told me that he had just texted her on his cell phone to tell her that he had a dream that she had come home early. So he went in and pounced on her and she took him to school instead of me. So nice! And Greg…I left him a note for the morning and asked him to check something in the guestroom. When he went in, he found her and was very happy that one of his girls was home! She and Jesse went on Wed. night and picked Jenni up. It is so nice that it only takes 20-25 minutes to get to the airport here.
I am actually doing pretty well. I didn’t need to take pain meds until 5:00 this afternoon. My shoulder is sore, but we have adjusted my exercises as I was doing a couple of them a little wrong. Also my gynecologist has said I can go ahead with all of the exercises now since I am healing fine. I saw her for my 10 day follow-up and she said everything looks like it is healing well. I have to wait 3 months for my colonoscopy from when I had surgery. Since I turned 50, they are all eager for me to have one now.
My PT is very optimistic that my shoulder is past the potential freezing stage as long as I keep up with my exercises. I have regained the lost ground and am doing pretty well. I have begun the resistance exercises with the rupper band in the door one time a day, and am using a pulley and all sorts of other moves 3 times a day. I pushed a cart the other day at the store, and although I was very tired afterwards, there were no major problems. I am still being careful not to lift or do too much.
When I hurt from the rectocele repair, it is usually hits me all at once and I just have to take pain meds and change position. It hit during Jesse’s band concert last week and during his choir concert this week. I think the seats in the school auditorium are just not good for me at this stage. Dr. Ravacia told me that she didn’t have to fix my bladder as the nurse thought she had. She also said she tried to go as slowly as she could with my surgery and stall to see if they could find the bovine mesh she needed in time. She said she kept trying to think of things that could stretch out the time. She thought she could send the cyst for freezing at the lab, but she couldn’t justify it because it looked so normal. She was running out of ideas when the mesh arrived. It ended up coming on the morning supply truck to the hospital that day and they rushed it up to her. I am still sharing with people about my mesh miracle. (See earlier post if you don’t know what I am talking about.)
Other things going on…
I have sent out most of my Christmas cards and letters, but there are still some of you to go. I decided not to stress over trying to get them done by staying up late. They will eventually get there, and know that I haven’t forgotten you if yours hasn’t been mailed yet and you usually get one from us. I took time out from cards to make elk chili for Greg’s part of the staff for lunch yesterday. I made a big pan of corn bread, veggies and some cake for dessert. It was fun for all. I was a little worried because Greg told them it was “Nancy’s world famous chili!” Setting the bar a bit high on expectations, I thought! Many had never had elk before, and they appreciated that Greg had gotten the meat hunting, we had processed it ourselves, and also imported it from Colorado when we moved. I am glad that they were easy to impress and enjoyed the lunch. We work with very neat people!
Tomorrow Heng Hua will get here in the evening and will be with us until Christmas day. She has been our friend for 3 years now. We met when she was at DU getting her MBA. She has a job now in San Jose and we are very excited that she is able to visit. I think we will have at least one really good Chinese meal when she comes! Our family is lighting advent candles in church on Sunday morning and Jesse is playing Joseph in the play at the Christmas eve service. I hope you are getting chances to enjoy family and friends this week also. I am so grateful for the greatest gift of God’s Son celebrated with this holiday, and how He gave His life for us as celebrated at Easter. Thank you for your prayers and praise God with me that I am doing pretty well. I will sign off and let you get back to your Christmas activities, whatever they may be. Blessings- Nancy
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
It is the end of a long day. We enjoyed church this morning, attended a luncheon, and I worked on our Christmas cards the rest of the day. If you are on our mailing list yours will be going into the mail very soon. We took a walk this evening to look at the Christmas lights and by the time we got home I wondered if it had been such a good idea for me to do that.
I am steadily healing, but would like you to join me in praying that I would continue to be careful not to do anything that would mess up the repairs my surgeon did 11 days ago. I did a little too much with my shoulder exercises yesterday and it is now sore. My PT altered them to keep stress off of my abdomen, but I must have misunderstood something. It is quite a balancing act. My physical therapist told me that it is very important right now to keep going for sessions so he can work with my shoulder so it doesn’t loose the motion I have already gained. It is nice to not be wearing a sling anymore! He advises that I keep coming until the end of the year so he can stretch what I can't because of my other surgery. My 15 visits allowed by insurance will be up before then, but we might have to just bite the bullet on this one. I don't know what a frozen shoulder looks or feels like, but I don't want to end up with limited mobility.
It is the end of another long day. The cards are really almost out the door now, no kidding! I hope you enjoy catching up with our family through our letter. If we don’t have your address, get it to us and I will make sure I mail you a newsletter. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
I got official news today from my surgeon that there was no cancer on or in my ovary. What a blessing to know that there is none there. I walked less today and took it easy on my healing parts. I did go to physical therapy and Marc says I have lost some ground due to not being able to do arm exercises that will pull on my abdomen. He said I am not out of the woods on my shoulder freezing up, so I am taking my exercises very seriously and am continuing to do them faithfully. He has added several in to helpkeep me moving. I am trying not to hurt myself in the process. And still no lifting, pushing a cart, pulling, etc. It is easy to forget or not know the exact parameters of my limitations. So your prayers are welcome and would be appreciated.
Sleep beckons…Send your address if you think we need it. Ours is 805 E. Huron Drive, Spokane, WA 99208. I don’t have many Christmas cards yet, but I check the mail each day hoping! Blessings to you! Nancy Fritz
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Yesterday, my new friend from church, Patti came over. She is a nurse by trade and is a fantastically encouraging person. After eating some of the bread she brought hot out of her oven, she suggested I call my surgeon's office about a few issues I was having. They got me in yesterday afternoon and discovered that I had both an infection in my bladder and also in my vagina where everything is trying hard to heal. So I got the medicine and am doing better today.
I got to attend the last meeting of my Beth Moore study group today and it was a sweet time of sharing. The ladies picked me up and brought me home. I am on the verge of having a hard copy letter with pictures to send out with our Christmas cards. I have been working on it for a long time, and it is finally almost ready to go. Let me know if you would like one but are not on our snail mail list. Send me your address.
Well, I am indeed weary tonight and am going to sleep! Blessings to you- Nancy Fritz
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I am home, she did my hysterectomy and ovaries laprascopically as it didn’t look like cancer. They are doing the pathology on it to be sure. And there was an amazing thing that happened that I attribute to the Lord and your prayers.
After I signed in and did all the question answering, the doctor came back in and told me that there had been a mistake made. For some reason the bovine mesh wasn’t ordered and that takes 2 days. She didn’t want to do the procedure with any other materials as she has had so much success using it and the other methods all create their own problems. She said I could come back next week if I wanted and apologized profusely to me. She said that they were calling around trying to find some, but so far that wasn’t working.
I told her I needed to just do it today and if I couldn’t have the rectal seal repaired today, then that would have to go undone for now. There was just too much planning to set up today. I also said that I was going to pray that they would find some, and that God could do that.
When I woke up, they told me that they had found the mesh and that she was able to do that repair, and that I had the LASH hysterectomy which is the simplest kind for healing. So I told them all what that meant- that God had answered our prayers. Probably not cancer and the mesh was found in direct answer to prayer. I was very excited.
I am extremely sore but am doing well. I passed all the tests to be able to come home. My bladder would not empty enough, so I came home with a catheter. They will remove that on Friday in the office. I just want to sleep, but wanted to tell you the great news first. Isn’t God great?! Thank you for your love and prayers! Blessings- Nancy Fritz
It is the eve before my hysterectomy and removal of my ovaries. My doctor is also planning to repair a sort of hernia in my rectum which causes that bodily process to be a hassle. I have had that situation at least since Jesse was born 16 years ago, and she plans to insert a “bovine mesh” to strengthen that area. Hmmm…It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? This procedure was described to Greg and me on Monday during my pre-op appointment. Dr. Ravacia is clearly a gifted and very intelligent doctor. She knows her stuff!
The main goal tomorrow is to get out especially my left ovary which has a complex cyst on it. We are hoping to hear Dr. Ravacia tell us there was no cancer and that I will only need a laparoscopic hysterectomy, and thus the faster recovery. The rectal repair requires 2-3 months of not lifting more than 10 pounds, but I will feel fine, so again, discipline will be the focus.
I GOT MY SLING OFF TODAY! I saw my shoulder surgeon and he is very happy with the progress I have made with my shoulder. I am even beyond his expectations on my arm movement. I get to begin resistance exercises next time I go to PT. My shoulder is hurting today because who else could put the ornaments on the tree in the right place without the girls here? The house is decorated in and out as I know I won’t be able to do it later. The basement isn’t set up yet, but I have helpers who will help to get that set up for everyone coming for Christmas.
OUR TRIP TO COLORADO FOR THANKSGIVING
Greg, Jesse and I drove on the 11th and 12th. I drove the last 4 hours myself and it went fine with my shoulder. I visited with friends, went to Bible Study, met with a few friends about the curriculum I am pulling together, got to go to our Denver church and be with my girls! I can never get enough of my kids! Greg’s sister and I spent some time together and went to Savers, our favorite thrift store. Sadly, they don’t have Savers in Spokane.
Sunday before Thanksgiving, I was given a very fun surprise 50th birthday party. Thank you to all who had a hand in planning and coming to that. I know you may think so too, but I really do have the most fantastic friends!
Our driving was uneventful and smooth with Greg and me driving in the truck, and Jesse driving the van. On the trip back we left early on Saturday morning and stopped in Montana overnight. We got home about noon on Sunday. The van had to go into the shop yesterday, but is working again. It began having problems when we were close to home, so thank you for praying! That could have been a much bigger problem.
As I put the tree together and put on all the ornaments, the waves of memories that accompany them poured over me. The memories of making many of them with the kids, those that were special gifts from friends, the one that is our house in Pasadena, the ones with pictures of the kids at various ages, and the ones obtained in other parts of the world or at memorable events. It is a snapshot of my and our family’s life in a way. Collections like this are put together over time and tell a story. The new Partners International VP of Development was here tonight with his wife for dinner, and it was fun to have our first Christmas company. Even during recovery, I hope to have many people over this month. The ladies from my new Bible study from church are bringing us meals while I am limited, and we are so thankful for this new community of friends. They are special!
I will try to get an update posted tomorrow night one way or another. Greg’s phone number is 509-990-8479, if you want to call him for an update. He plans to be at the outpatient surgery center connected to Sacred Heart Hospital with me all day tomorrow.
Thank you for your love and prayers! Blessings- Nancy Fritz
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I got a call tonight from my doctor with the test results from last week. She said that the biopsies from my uterus are benign (Praise God!), and the complex cyst is still on my ovary and hasn't changed since 6 weeks ago. So, she can do the LSH ("Lash") type of hysterectomy that is laproscopic and has the shortest recovery. She told me to expect 10-14 days of recovery. So on the 28th of November surgery will be at 7:15 a.m. and she said I will be able to go home at the end of the day or early evening. She said 10% of the time women need to stay over in the hospital, but probably I will be able to come home that night.
I have my pre-op visit with her on the 26th. I'll write again and let you know more details on how to pray after that. We leave late tomorrow morning for Denver. I should be there by Tuesday evening. I am looking forward to visits with friends and family. Allison and Jenni fly in on Saturday and then Laura next Tuesday. We will be with Shelby, Greg's sister and her family for Thanksgiving. I am so excited!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Since it falls near my birthday, that makes it especially fun. And this year I turn 50. I made it to half a century. When I first found out that I had cancer 8 1/2 years ago, I wondered if I would make it for even a few years. So even though I have to be vigilant and had a recurrence last year, I am still here and kicking and appreciating every day the Lord chooses to give me.
I am grateful for my family, for friends and family, for a meaningful ministry, for a lovely home and new friends in Spokane. I am grateful for all of my blessings and am thinking of my connection to the Body of Christ in the hard parts of the world- Africa, Asia, etc. As I have met those who are regularly persecuted for their faith and still stand strong, I thank God for the place He has put me/us. I am sensing my need to be a good steward of the blessings I have been given.
May you have an incredible Thanksgiving hopefully with those you enjoy and love. I will write again after we get back. Our travel days back will probably be the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving if you would like to pray for safety and good weather. Thank you for your prayers! Blessings- Nancy Fritz
Friday, November 09, 2007
It has been an interesting week. First of all on Sunday the Sermon met me right at my heart level. As I listened to Pastor Rob, he told a story of when their son was born missing a chromosome. He is a special needs child, but even though members of their church were offering to help them, he kept telling them no even though they were exhausted. Finally, he said that the Lord used a friend to exhort him to let the Body of Christ bless them. And Rob then let their church help them through that difficult time, and it was amazing for them and for those who were able to bless them too.
As I heard this, I was thinking that after all of my shoulder limitations and friends at the Partners office taking turns bringing us meals, I felt like I just couldn't tell them about ANOTHER malady right on the heels of the last one. It was just too much. Tears were flowing as I was feeling weak physically and like I am getting attention from people we have just met because of those needs. The big word here being "needy." I like to be the one helping others, and especially if I am just meeting them!
On my way to Sunday school I ran into the two leaders of the Bible study I am in on Tuesday mornings. They offered to do meals this time and let the Partners International family have a break. The 21 ladies in that group are stepping up to the plate to take care of me. Their love and care brought even more tears. Marlene and Liz are blessing me like the church did Pastor Rob's family. I have to die to my pride and let the Lord's power be shown in my weakness.
I had a test Tuesday to check the inside of my uterus for any problems. She took some biopsies and I should get those test results Monday. Yesterday was a repeat of the ultrasound I had 6 weeks ago, so she will have a current picture before surgery. I will get those results Monday from Dr. Ravacia as well. Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th at the crack of dawn- 7:15. I need to be there 1 ½ hours early. They told me to expect 10-14 days recovery which means I should be doing very well by Christmas. She expects to be able to do it the laproscopic technique which means I will be able to come home that day and not have to stay in the hospital. Sounds great to me! If the tests from this week showed that everything disappeared, maybe I won’t have to do it at all. I will be sure to keep you posted.
We have a new honorary family member. Lindsey Reitsma knows our family from Denver and she is here at Whitworth. She is a junior and education major. She has adopted our family and we have fallen in love with her. She has offered to help me get the basement fixed up and also to decorate for Christmas. We made cookies and cake on Sunday together and talked and talked. Our own girls said that Lindsey is not allowed to be in the daughter of the year competition, but that we could make a separate category just for her. So now with no time before my surgery to do these things that need doing, I have a friend to help.
I am working on a curriculum for kids about the Dahlits in India- the outcasts. I am planning to be in Denver January 6th to teach this lesson to about 150 kids at Cherry Hills Community Church. It is a hard thing to teach children since the situation with the Dahlits is so unfair and hard. I had a breakthrough this week on how to approach this, and am pretty excited. Please pray for the Lord’s wisdom that I will be able to get across these concepts to kindergarten through fifth graders. Jon Lewis, the president at Partners, also wants what I come up with, as there are Dahlits being ministered to in this PI network also. Many churches that give to Partners are looking for materials they can use to educate their congregations. This may turn into a series of lessons on children in many parts of the 10/40 Window eventually, but for now it is this one curriculum. This sounds strangely like mobilization, doesn’t it?! Since that is what I have done for 27 years, I’d say I am in the right place!!
My shoulder is doing well. I am right where expected on my angles of mobility. I do my exercises 3 times every day and am allowed to wash my hair with two hands now if I bend over. I wear my sling almost all of the time and have only a few weeks to go before getting it off. My PT, Marc, just told me that I will be adding activities gradually by percent, so I need to calm down about my after sling plans. What, more patience? I am grateful that movement is increasing and know that it would never have gotten better without surgery. Pray that I will be patient.
We leave for Denver on Monday and will stop half way there. Jesse and Greg will drive until we get to their hunting turn off and then I will drive the rest of the way to Denver by myself. I have plans to see lots of family and friends there. The girls are all flying in and out of Denver, so we are all going to be together. Yeah!
Blessings to you! I will write after I hear test results from Dr. Ravacia on Monday.
Happy November! Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I have been writing the last few days because things are happening and I welcome your prayers. I would encourage you to look at my last 2 entries to understand why I need a hysterectomy all of a sudden.
I just talked to the HR director at Partners International and she told me our medical co-pay year ends on Dec. 31st. So my wondering whether I should hold off on this hysterectomy until after the holidays is now a no-brainer. I need to get it done before the end of the year- hopefully after Dec. 8th which is the staff Christmas party, and in time for me to be mostly recovered by Christmas when the kids are coming home. Heng Hua, our DU international student dear friend, and her friend are also coming for Christmas. I am very excited about the holidays. There will be lots of women around here to cook, so no worries in that department! We haven't all been together since Jenni's graduation in May. We hope to be together in Denver for Thanksgiving and plan to have a new family picture taken at that time. Laura hasn't even been to Spokane yet, so that will also be fun.
Here is another blessing. We live in a ranch now, so all of my living is on one main floor! No steps required. That is handy for after surgery! I plan to do a LOT between getting my sling off on November 27 (the day after my 50th birthday) and having this other surgery. I will set up a temporary bedroom and family room in the basement which is unfinished but framed. Then we will have room for everyone. I am figuring out how I will fasten fabric to the walls and put carpet down so we can set up our famous Fritz movie theater once again. I will also set up another bedroom down there to handle everyone who ends up here (Smile).
I got a message from someone I don't even know on my blog letting me know that he/she are praying for me every day. Their friend, also Nancy, is also going through breast cancer and has a blog called nancysupdate.blogspot.com. So by "accident" they happened upon my blog and have been praying for me ever since. Thank you whoever you are and tell your other Nancy that I am also praying for her!
So now I need to rest my arm once again. My shoulder is supposed to only have to endure 1 hour of typing at a time, so I need to sign off. Thank you for your renewed prayers- especially that if there is cancer on my ovary we are able to get it out before it gets loose in my abdomen. And if it isn't cancer, that it will either behave itself or go away. I believe in a miracle God.
I am going through a Beth Moore Bible study called "Breaking Free." I have found it to be a very healing time for me. Almost every week I am thinking how I wish the Caleb Project staff could have the benefit of this study to help them heal from all the hurts of the last 11 months. The gem today was about refining fires that God allows in our lives. If He allows a trial, or fire, He also has a plan for how He is going to use it to purify us and make us more beautiful as His bride. BUT, only if we offer it back to Him to make beauty out of the ashes. We won't even smell like smoke if we give it to him and let Him use it for His glory and our growth. But if we choose to hold onto the ashes and damage of the fire (like the closing of a ministry you have given your life to for decades) we will continue to smell like smoke, and set ourselves up for strongholds that will go on and on. Amazing and so very helpful. I highly recommend this study. It takes time to get the homework done, but it is well worth it. She also described how when we get hurt as a child how we hold our hand over the wound and have a hard time letting our parent wash it for us. We do that as adults also, craddling our hurts and protecting them from being cleaned and healed by our loving Father. Great lessons.
I will let you go but wanted to ask you to pray that the Lord use this next surgery as a step in purifying me as His bride even further. Mostly for the internal things He wants to teach me. Sugery itself doesn't scare me like it does some people. I know that is a gift too. I am done with these particular body parts and thank God that they have been the source of growth of 4 absolutely amazing children. Thank you God that I was able to have children and feel them growing within me. I am grateful for 4 healthy babies and for fun home births. I am grateful for being able to stop needing to clip Tampax coupons for myself too! God, you are so very good to me!
Blessings on your day! Nancy Fritz
Monday, October 29, 2007
I told you yesterday that I would give a report today about my visit with my new gynocologist. For background regarding my concerns about this, read yesterday's entry.
Dr. Ravacia was very nice. She spent over an hour with me, listened to me and then explained things to me well. The results from the test that had my mind going for these weeks, is in my hands now and has been explained to me so that I understand what is going on.
I have a very large number of new cysts in the wall of my uterus. They are classic fibroids, and she feels confident that they are not cancerous. There are so many that a number was not given. Most are small. Also, a complex cyst was again on my left ovary. Whether it is the same one I had last year but smaller, or if that one went away and it is a new one, she does not like the fact that it is there when I am not cycling anymore. Chemo shut down my ovaries and put me into menopause over a year ago, so cysts should not be happening anymore. Also, it may have gotten smaller because of chemo. So...
She is planning to do a hysteroscopy next Tuesday morning. Basically she is going to put a camera up into my uterus to look around and take a few biopsies. That doesn't take long, and is outpatient. The Partners office is across the street, so it is convenient for Greg to take me home.
Sometime soon she also wants to take my ovaries out. Then as we talked about it, she strongly suggested that I have a hysterectomy. She can do this through a scope, so the proceedure is out-patient one day surgery and recovery is only 10-15 days. She would like to do it in December. I am in the process of being checked for the breast cancer gene. She feels that regardless of how that turns out, she still feels that there is no good reason to take a risk by leaving things as they are. If I was positive for the gene, I would have a 40+% chance of ending up with ovarian or uterine cancer. But I still have risk now, especially with a complex cyst. Complex means that there are things other than fluid are in the cyst- solid, possibly cancerous things. There is no way to know without taking it out. She said I won't feel any differently hormonally.
I feel like the Lord answered my prayers. She seems like a very good doctor and again I am getting excellent care. Thank you for your prayers! Blessings- Nancy
Nothing should be there and it wasn't there when my doc checked me in Denver before we moved. Since it has come quickly and I am post menopausal and taking meds that can influence my uterus and ovaries, we are supposed to watch them anyway.
So my prayer for tomorrow is that Dr. Ravacia will understand that this is concerning for me and maybe she would be willing to do a small biopsy while I am there to see what is growing in my uterus. My neighbor is going to come with me in case I have this proceedure and don't feel well afterward. I will post again after I know something tomorrow after seeing her.
As far as my shoulder goes, it is healing well. Marc, my PT, said that the degrees of movement are improving steadily and that I am right on schedule. I am doing all of my exercizes and he pleaded with me to believe that I can really ruin everything if I use my arm for anything but exercizes until the 8 weeks is up. Everything is vulnerable inside the shoulder joint. Since my movement is slowly increasing, I am tempted to do a little more all the time, and am getting impatient. Pray that I would be able to be disciplined and not use this arm when I am not supposed to. 5 weeks are done and 3 to go. Then I will be allowed to move it although it will be weak. He said my whole shoulder is pretty locked up because I hadn't used it fully for over 2 years, so I will have extra work to do to get full motion back. I am ready to work and am eager for it to be working again.
My left arm is supposed to be pampered since I had my lymph nodes removed under that arm 8 years ago. Radiation last year upped the odds that I would end up with trouble, so I am having to be cautious. The extra work my left arm is doing now is causing some new lymphodema. I wore my sleeve yesterday and that helped. What I have to do is pay attention to how my arm is feeling and stop what I am doing when my arm is at all tired or tingly feeling. Please pray that I would be aware and catch any problems before they get serious. I have to find out who you call with lymphodema problems in Spokane. I had the best people in Denver!
We figured out that if I drive to Colorado with Jesse and Greg to where they are going to hunt the week before Thanksgiving, I would then only have to drive that last part of the trip to Denver by myself. That would be doable and not too hard on my arm. That will also give me more time in Denver with friends. I should get there about the 13th.
If any of our Denver friends know of anyone who will be gone for Thanksgiving who might be willing to let some Fritz's hang out at their house for several days (Saturday the 17th-to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), we would be grateful. Laura, Allison and Jenni are flying to Denver where Greg, Jesse and I will meet them. We will be having Thanksgiving with Greg's sister's family in Woodland Park Wednesday - Friday, and then heading back to our varius places. My phone is 509-990-8465 if you have any ideas that might work. Thanks much.
I would like to invite you to pray for our very dear friends, Jon and Lynda Hardin and their girls. They were on staff with us at Caleb Project for 15+ years. These are friends we camped, played and worked hard with. Jon is a very gifted speaker. Jon just had a cancerus tumor removed from his colon and now the tests are back that there were positive nodes. Now he is facing chemo. This has all been very sudden and I know they would appreciate your prayers.
Well, enough for tonight. I will let you know what happens tomorrow as soon as I can. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this. You are a blessing to me. Nancy Fritz
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I have an opportunity to trust God for something and thought I would invite you to join me. At the end of last week (Wed or Thurs) I got a call from the oncologist's office here regarding he results of an ovarian ultrasound I had a few weeks ago. My oncologist wanted me to have it done after reviewing my records. This test showed that my uterus has a lot of endrometriosis that wasn't there in March or April when I had this test last time. Anything 3 dimensional and new raises questions for me and the doctor.
I am scheduled to see my new gynocologist on the 29th, but am on the cancellation call list so I might be able to get in sooner. My records have been requested from Kaiser in Denver, and they know that I am concerned.
I was a little teary on Friday last week, and wasn't sure my new friends were ready to handle me in a vulnerable place. So, I was lonely and homesick for my Denver friends. Although not true, I was telling myself that my old friends didn't have time for me. By the time Monday rolled around, a new Spokane friend called me and told me the Lord put me on her heart. She offered to let me cry with her, to go to the doctor with me if I need someone, etc. Just what I was lonely for! That was God's timing and his provision for me. I am doing better now. I am trying not to borrow trouble from tomorrow. I'll just wait and see and not worry in the meantime. And the Lord could heal my uterus and all of whatever it is could disappear, couldn't it? If He chooses to it could.
Well, I will let you know how it goes, and I do appreciate your prayers! Blessings- Nancy
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I wrote this last night to share with those at PI who have been blessing us with meals. After so many different surgeries, it is strange for me to have one that is making me so restricted for 8 weeks. That is longer than any of my other things, but at the end of this one I will be able to move my arm without pain. Yippee! Being one armed has its challenges but also its blessings, like discovering the great cooking talents of our new friends and co-workers. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy reading this...
An Ode to Our New Friends at Partners International
Recently a woman moved to Spokane.
She picked up and moved there for a job with her man.
She was excited to be involved with his ministry too,
When settled and looking for something to do.
She arrived in town with a problem to solve-
Her shoulder was damaged and pain had evolved.
When she got to the area, she met several others,
And one pointed to a doctor who’d cared for another.
He specialized in shoulders and knew his job well,
His reputation preceded him, so she told him how she fell.
He checked and he thought he could help her feel better,
And her insurance company was nice and agreed to let her.
The doctor went in quite carefully with a scope,
And fixed all the things wrong in there, giving her hope.
Now she has to keep her arm in a big black sling,
It is comfortable and fortunately is a fashionable thing!
It’s on her right side, which happens to be,
The hand she uses for all things, A to Z.
Cooking is among the challenges she faces,
As Jesse and Greg come home from their places,
Hungry and ready to eat a good meal,
She hands them a banana and tells them to peel!
But to the rescue are new colleges from work where Greg goes,
From the ministry of Partners International they humbly arose.
One night after another, these new friends are blessing,
Their family with dinners, sometimes with dressing!
They’ve brought all kinds of things, from fajitas to stew,
To Arlene’s creation with almond chicken to chew.
Homemade applesauce and a spectacular pie,
Such care in the making could just make her cry!
She’s thankful that in this new place God has brought them,
He’s using these members of His Body to tend them.
While one armed she is learning the patience of Job,
As Greg has to help her even put on her robe!
Thanks to all who are ministering to them in this season.
They look forward to the time there will be no more reason.
For the special love and care in making these great meals,
When the sling is gone and her arm better feels.
For the time being know they are blessed by your care
It is a testimony of God’s love and provision as you share
Meeting the needs of this one armed lady and her clan-
Her son and herself, and so gratefully her man.
Nancy Fritz, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I went to the shoulder surgeon this morning. They took out my stitches (8 total in 4 small incisions), took an x-ray of my shoulder to see if the bone spur was totally removed and then I met with the doctor. One thing I had to confess to him was that I broke the no lifting rule on Sunday night.
I was looking for some curriculum I needed to put together a lesson for a class a friend is doing for us in Denver next Sunday. Initially I was going to go myself, but my shoulder made me think twice about trying to travel. Rich agreed to teach the Sunday School class for me to introduce us to the 150 kids who have "adopted" us as their missionaries for the year.
Anyway, as I looked at the boxes where the curriculum types of things are in our basement, I knew that if I just moved a few things, I could find what I was looking for. Greg and Jesse were all the way upstairs, and when I lifted it just a little, nothing hurt. Twenty minutes later it was a very different story. The doctor said I probably set my healing back a week, and I promised not to do it again. I am really hurting again. The lessons I am learning are about patience and pride.
The staff at Partners are making dinner for us many nights a week, and that is a huge blessing for a one armed woman and her two men! New friends and co-workers are being very kind. I will call in the morning to set up my physical therapy twice a week for the next 6 weeks. It will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to getting my arm back with no pain. THAT will be a huge blessing.
Last weekend Laura got to see Jenni at Grove City for homecoming weekend. That was an encouragement to Laura. Jenni is doing well and is excited to tell us of good test scores. She is making lots of friends...Now Laura is back at work trying to clean up messes left by her predecessor, plus keep up with existing clients and she is supposed to also bring in new ones. It is a challenge and she asked for prayer that she won't drop any important balls.
Allison has stopped dating her boyfriend of 1 1/2 years and is pressing hard into her relationship with the Lord. She felt there were things she needed to learn that she could only learn single. She is doing well with school and is gearing up for her last semester of college which will be student teaching. We miss Josh, but appreciate Allison's desire to deepen her relationship with God. She has asked for prayer that she will learn all that God wants to teach her.
Last night at dinner Jesse told us about a guy he knows at school who was talking about suiside. We prayed for him and for Jesse as he went to talk to him for a while last night. This boy was going to a counselor today, and Jesse feels like he is getting the help he needs. We were encouraged to see Jesse's maturity in this situation. He is enjoying cross country and is steadily improving his time. He is making friends and is trying hard to get a job at Starbucks near his high school.
I will stop for now. One handed typing takes a long time! Patience, right? Blessings to you- Nancy
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I want to thank you for praying for my shoulder surgery last Friday. They started as scheduled at 9:30 and it took about 1 1/2 hours. I elected to have my arm numbed for 12-24 hours at the beginning of the surgery. That made recovery easier as there was less shoulder pain until it wore off. It wore off at 2:00 a.m. and I am grateful for those extra hours of no pain!
When Dr. VanderWilde got inside my shoulder he found that the rotator cuff was torn 90% rather than the 65% it looked like on the MRI from the end of June. It probably tore more over the summer with the move figured in and all the lifting I did. He said that it as good that some of it was still intact since that made the repair easier. He shaved off a large area of bone spur and also took out some inflamed tissue. Dr. V made a DVD of the camera shots through the othoscopic camera he used, and narrated the surgery for me. I have watched it twice. One of the tools looked like an alligator chomping away frayed tissue and the other was a round cylender that ground and suctioned bone, etc. Then I watched him put in the stitches to hold it all together.
I tried not to take pain meds today and see how I am doing. When it was time to do my exercises, I could hardly move my arm to do them, so I gave up and took the meds. I can't drive until I am off the pain meds at least during the day. Jesse doesn't mind since that means he gets to take the van to school. I am still taking lots of naps. The pain is managable with the medicine and Greg and Jesse are enjoying the crazy things I say when in this mode. My exercises include letting my arm hang and doing pendulum circles and "walking" my arm across the table. I go on Tuesday to have the surgeon take out my stitches and check my progress.
I got a call today from the woman leading my Bible study. One thing we discovered is that I knew her daughter in Denver. Her name was Melinda and she was in my breast cancer support group. She was the first of my friends to die from breast cancer. Melinda's mother and I are amazed at how small this world actually is.
Please pray for Laura. She is in the middle of transitioning to Baltimore, a new roommate, a new appartment, new job and is feeling really lonely. Thanks much! I will write again soon. Greg will be home soon and we are planning to go to new member class at church tonight. Blessings- Nancy
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Summit conference with the Partner International staff was an amazing time for me. I got to hear up to the minute reports from all over the 10/40 Window. I met some amazing nationals from China, India and Africa. God is doing amazing things and one theme was redundant. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering for their faith but remaining strong. Here are a few stories...
In a village in western Nepal, there is a small church. They all share one Bible in their language. They signed up and went to the church around the clock so that every 2 days they would each have some time to read the Bible. Someone visited them who had no Bible and they agreed to give their Bible to that person for 4 months, so they had no Bibles when our area director visited them. He took several modes of transportation and forded a few rivers holding his suitcase over his head to get there. A woman here in the U.S. heard about this need and has already given the money to buy each member of the church a Bible of their own.
In Africa, there was a meeting Partners pulled together of member partner ministry leaders. The Nigerians talked to the Egyptians and compared notes. The Egyptians had the ability to provide much needed aid (doctors, etc.) but were afraid to share their faith for fear of persecution. The Nigerians have no resources for aid, but have incredible boldness in sharing the gospel. They are persecuted regularly (beatings, etc.) for doing this, but know they must. So these leaders are going to do a project together. The Egyptians are going to go to Nigeria and do a health clinic and the Nigerians will teach them how to share their faith.
While at the Summit we had a kick ball tournament both afternoons. Everyone played and great fun was had by all. I managed to trip over my own feet and fell on my right knee, but didn't do any damage to my already bad shoulder. My knee is still healing. My team came in a close second. We also did square dancing which was exciting since for several, English was a second language!
I think I am up to 30 friends in Spokane now. Our Sunday school teacher and his wife invited us over for a meal after church and we really enjoyed that time of fellowship. I found a Bible study at church that feels "just right." We are doing a Beth Moore study.
I met my oncologist last week. I think he will work out fine for me. He ordered an ovarian ultrasound which was done yesterday to see where I am at with last year's cysts. Hopefully they are still gone or getting smaller. I am also doing genetic testing to see if my cancer is in my genes. I hadn't done it before, but he had some convincing reasons, so I am starting that process tomorrow. Friday I am scheduled to have my shoulder repaired. I had my pre-op today and all is fine to go ahead on Friday. I go in at 7:30 and they will operate from about 9:30 to 11:30 ish. I will be wearing a sling for 8 weeks and have lots of physical therapy to do, but compared to this constant pain, at least I have the hope of it getting better.
I have had two people at the office offer to bring meals for us over the weekend which is very kind. I have to get a "ball" instead of a mouse and a special keyboard for my computer if I am going to be allowed to use the computer at all during my recuperation. I need to get things like that done in the next two days before my favored right hand goes down for the count. At least this isn't cancer surgery and will lead to healing after 2 1/2 years of pain. I am grateful!
I have a date to have tea with a friend tomorrow morning. Our P.I. guests who left today were so fun to have in our home. The kids are doing well and so is Greg. We would be grateful for your prayers for Dr. VanderWilde to find and fix everything that is wrong in my shoulder on Friday, and that all heals well- maybe even extra quickly. Blessings to you! Nancy Fritz
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We successfully moved to Spokane, WA. I got here with the kids (minus Laura) on July 31st. The house is wonderful. Three years old, a ranch, nice big kitchen, a big room for Jesse and a full unfinished but framed basement. We have 2 guest rooms up and running and have had 2 sets of overnight company so far. We got our Washington drivers licences and plates, and I know what Fred Meyer is. I got a Spokane cell phone number today: 509-990-8465
We don't have a land line, so that is how to find us. Greg's is 509-990-8479 and Jesse's is 509-990-8448. We just got them changed today.
Our first international Partner International dinner guests were here from the UK on Tuesday and according to them, the elk steak and fresh blackberry pie were "Gorgeous!" We are expecting 3 guests next week after "The Summit." Every 2 years our ministry has a conference where the international area leaders are brought in with all the US staff. I feel so fortunate that we are here in time for that. The Partners family have been very welcoming.
I discovered shortly before we moved that I had a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder. The stress of the move has made the pain worse, but I have found a fantastic shoulder surgeon. He should have it repaired by the end of the month. Then I am sure I will have lots of physical therapy to do. He will also remove a bone spur on the same shoulder while he is in there.
I have found a doctor who does a lot with alternative treatments alongside traditional ones to help me continue to fight my cancer. I will meet my new oncologist next week. We have been to the dentist and I am still looking for an opening with an internist. So the medical stuff is coming together. I am very tired and achy, but that is probably because of the move.
I am getting used to finding things here- everything from things in the grocery store to the library. Jesse started school last week and is running cross country. So far he is enjoying school and is meeting people just fine. Some at school call him "Colorado." Laura just got to Baltimore where she has been placed by AT&T. She is apartment hunting with a friend and starts work soon. Allison and Jenni are at college. Jenni is adjusting well and Allison is in an apartment this year. Greg is enjoying his new job at Partners International and we are settling into a great church on the campus of Whitworth University (used to be College). So thank you for your prayers for our transition. I will write again soon with more details about how I am doing on a more personal level. Blessings to you all! Nancy Fritz
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
We are getting down to the wire regarding the big HUGE move. It is early on Tuesday and Jesse leaves tomorrow around noon for Kenya. Jenni and I will go to the airport with him while Greg stays home and gets the contract on our rental signed by a young family. They seem sweet and may end up buying eventually. Our own home is rented for the year also. We had it up for sale or rent for 3 weeks and then when a renter showed up, we went that direction. After we rented to her, someone came to give us a full price offer, and since our home was gone, they bought the house accross and down the street.
The moving truck comes here on Friday, and they will move the furniture and boxes and take the beds apart and reassemble them, etc. at our new home. It is not a do-it-yourself kind of deal. Partners is helping with the move and we are grateful.
I have a confession to make. I am challenged in the area of paper clutter. My dear friend and mentor, Jeannie, and I do paper sorting nights together and share as we toss and sort. She decided that we are both "people people" and therefore other things generally seem more important than sorting paper and dealing with innert piles when we can be involved in or changing lives, or sharing with friends, or offering hospitality. Those things are gifts given to both of us by God, so we can't help but use those gifts. The end result of this is that I have many boxes to sort quickly through and toss the needless things and find the important ones. I don't want to drag useless things to Spokane. I have had friends help me and have gotten through a lot, but there is more to go. So in the next few days, pray that I would be able to successfully deal with what is left of that chore and not overdue it physically to get that done. I generally procrastinate in this area, but the gig is up!
We have friends coming probably tomorrow, Wed. and Thursday to help pack. Then on Friday evening, our small group is going to come after the movers are gone and help us vaccum, dust and sweep the house. Cupboards are mostly done and 300 boxes or so are already in storage where the moving truck will go first.
Greg will leave early on Saturday morning and drive the 15-16 hours to Spokane and get there in the evening with our freezer in the back of the Tacoma truck. He will plug it in and if possible will get some new neighbors to help him unload it that night. Monday morning he will be back to work at Partners. The moving truck will get there with our stuff sometime next week. There has been a Partners family of 12 staying in our house this week. I am excited that it could be available to them!
Jenni, Allison and I will stay with friends near here after Greg leaves, finish details and last good-byes and leave for PA on Wednesday (7/18) morning- early. We will get to Pittsburgh on Thursday and see Uncle Fred and Aunt Beth and cousins there. We will leave Jenni's college gear in their barn and on Friday the 20th, we will go to Benton and see Greg's parents and his sister and some other family. Saturday we will join up with Allison's boyfriend Josh, who will drive up from Millsboro, MD and join us for our nephew's wedding in Hershey. Caleb is one of the twins Laura's age.
Allison plans to spend the week in MD with Josh's family and Jenni and I will go back to Benton. I hope to go see my mother and brother in Bath, NY on Tues/Wed and then back to Benton, and on Friday (7/27) Jenni and I will go pick up Allison (not sure where yet) and drive back to Pittsburgh for Wels' wedding. He is Greg's cousin and a great friend who has visited us many times. Although I took his request to find him a wife seriously, he managed to find one on his own, and by all accounts, has done a wonderful job!
Then Jenni, Allison and I will take off and head back to Denver. We will see friends visiting from Central Asia (we hope!) and rest on Monday (7/30). Jesse will get back from Kenya on the 25th in the evening and stay with friends until we get back. We will leave again with him on the 31st and drive the 15 hours to Spokane to Greg and our new home.
I think you get the point that this involves a lot of logistics, and we would appreciate prayer for the Lord to give us all safe travels as we go these various directions. Moving alone requires dealing with so many details, and Greg has been a champion at getting all of that taken care of. We had a party with friends and former Caleb Project staff at a park on Saturday. About 50 gathered and it was a very special time. We got to say good-byes to many we used to work with and prayed together. On Sunday our church had a lunch for us and a Partners staff member who lives in Colorado Springs came to give a presentation about the ministry. I think everyone there could understand how the Lord gave us a desire to work with this ministry that helps nationals in the 10/40 Window to do the ministy that God has given them to do in their own countries. It is so exciting! I wrote a poem to express our sentiments about leaving. I ended it by saying:
"You're not loosing us, you're gaining a home,
When in the future to the northwest you rome!"
Maybe I will write the whole poem later. Now, I need to stop procrastinating and do boxes and sleep. My shoulder hurts due to the torn rotator cuff, but I know it isn't cancer and that it can be repaired after we move, so for now I am living with it. My jaw is gradually getting less numb from January's surgery on the infection in my jawbone. My surgery site from mid June is healing, but has a build-up of fluid in it that is occasionally hitting a nerve. That will go down over time and really isn't bad. I am tired, but will get through this week by God's grace and with the help of lots of friends. I am a blessed woman! I will be relieved when I can sleep in on August 1st in our new home at 805 E. Huron Drive, Spokane, WA 99208. We'll leave the light on! Come visit us, you hear?! Blessings- Nancy
Monday, June 25, 2007
Please forgive me for the gap in time since I wrote last. The entire pathology on what Dr. Haun removed was free of cancer. There is much rejoicing over those test results! I just would like to invite you again to join our Yahoo group to receive automatic email newletters from us. We are doing these instead of sending letters through the mail. That would be the most trustworthy way to hear the latest, and it comes to you without you having to come to my blog. Just wrote to firstname.lastname@example.org and my husband will add you to our yahoo list. I will continue writing on this blog too, and I will write different things here than we would put there.
Now, I will give you an update on several things. First of all, thank you for praying for surgery. It took about an hour and 15 minutes. She used scars I already had- about 5 inches worth. She took the lump and surrounding tissue, so I can feel where she started and stopped. Everyone was very kind. I woke up in a lot of pain, but they got that under control and I was home at about 5:00. I had a drain which was taken out that Friday. That did not hurt at all. I still have some bruising that is healing, but I have been able to wait later each day for pain control meds. Now I probably wouldn't need them, except my right shoulder is so bad, I sometimes need them for that.
When I had radiation last November and December, they had my arms up over my head in braces for 20 to 45 minutes each of the 30 times I went. My shoulder has had problems in the past and every day it hurt more and more. When I had a CAT scan and MRI several weeks ago, they had my arms in that position again. That night my shoulder popped half out and then back into joint by itself (if you have had a shoulder dislocation, you know the pain) and has gotten worse since. I talked to my oncologist about it last week when I had my last appointment with him (I am sure going to miss Dr. Bourg!), and he ordered an MRI of my shoulder with an ASAP on the order. I had to drive an hour each way, but got it done last evening. Deb Sanders (Sister Luke) came over while I was there and made a fantastic dinner for me and the kids.
I called the osteo office where I have had an appointment about my shoulder scheduled for 2 months and asked if they could PLEASE get me in sooner than July 9th. When I told her how much pain I am in, she found an appointment tomorrow morning at 8:30 downtown. So at least I will have a consult and know what I am looking at. I am planning to get off of Kaiser at the end of this month (June) and am already on the Partners insurance which is Blue Cross. It will be 5 weeks until the kids and I are actually in Spokane, so I might have a long wait, but I will at least know what movements to avoid, etc. and how to handle the pain. My left side hardly hurts at all in comparrison.
My blood work from last week shows that my white count and platelets are below normal for some reason. He ordered a chest X-ray as there was some congestion in my lung on the MRI I had on my lungs several weeks ago that he wanted to follow up on. Dr. Bourg will be in touch about that. I woke up at 3:00 this afternoon, so I know something is wrong. I am just extra tired. So although I have such thanks to the Lord about having no cancer on my left side, I do have a few other issues to deal with. One thing a cancer survivor has to realize is that what I know is that I don't have cancer right now on my left side, and no where else that I know of. Since I have had a metastasis, we have to be extra vigilent. I am still thankful for every day that I have. There are no guarantees. I don't mean to sound pessimistic. Some would think that this is negative confession or that I am not trusting God. If anything, my faith is more intact than ever. I think it is just realistic to know that God is the author of my days and that He and not my positive thinking, is in charge. If the worse that can happen is death (which is true for all of us at some point), for me that means spending eternity in heaven with my heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and all other believers. Not a bad alternative, and one I am looking forward to in God's timing. When someone asks a cancer survivor if they are cured, the only answer that is accurate is, "I know I will not die of cancer, if I die of something else." So it is a strange mode to be in, but it is really OK. God is still on the throne and I love Him and He loves me dearly. Enough about my medical stuff...
We rented our house last Friday to Susan. She is about my age and I really like her. She has a one year lease. We are thinking we will try to sell again next year when the property values are predicted to increase. We will be on a tight budget this year, but in the long run, it will hopefully pay off. We had the house on the market for 3 weeks and had lots of showings and positive feedback, but no offers.
Greg has 4 more days in Spokane until he comes home on Friday. He has been living in our new home and doing lots of cleaning and weeding, etc. The neighbors are telling him we got a steal of a deal, and the house is lovely. A family of 11 will be staying there before he gets back on the 14th. They are a Partners family with 8 girls and one boy. They will camp out there for a week and then will be staying somewhere else the rest of the time. We are so glad that worked out for them.
Greg took an air mattress, a few dishes and a pot and pan and some tools. So he works at the office in the day and at the house at night. I have the best husband ever! We talk every day and I feel like I am getting to know the neighbors already.
Jesse is getting ready for his trip to Kenya and is learning Swaheli. Jenni is packing for college. Allison is house and dog and cat sitting for a few weeks, so I feel like Oliver and Lola are pre-training for grand children someday. They are little white Malteses (sp?). Laura is still training at AT&T headquarters and is doing well. She finishes training in Sept. and then needs to figure out where to apply for jobs. My friend Kris Storey came up from the Springs on Saturday and helped me pack. I am grateful for that and for those who brought dinners the week of surgury.
Friends are having a good-bye picnic for us on the 7th of July from noon to 3:00. If any of you want to come, email Courtney Orrange for details at email@example.com. There will be a lunch at our church on the 8th for those who attend Cherry Hills. Email MHelton@chcc.org for details about that.
Our new address is 805 E Huron Drive, Spokane, WA 99208. We look forward to having company when we move! Spokane is a beautiful place. We will be a few miles from Whitworth College on the north side of town.
I need to go and get ready for Bible study tonight but wanted to catch you up on what is happening. Thanks again for your interest and prayers. Blessings- Nancy
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Today I am thinking about tomorrow. At 11:30 a.m. I check in for surgery which is scheduled to take about an hour starting at 12:30. I will be sleeping, which is OK with me. Dr. Haun has become a friend. She and I have sons in H.S. together and she has been my surgeon for 7 years. Last year at about this time she and I decided she needed to biopsy a scar that had gotten thick (I thought it might have anyway) under my left arm where my nodes were removed 7 years earlier. Two other times, similar biopsies were negative and last year’s seemed like another routine check “just to be sure.” The next day the startling news came that it was actually a metastasis of one of the cancers I had originally. It was lobular, medium aggressive, loose on my chest wall. It was considered metastatic and therefore “loose” in my body. That is why my treatment was so aggressive.
I did chemo again last July, August and September, and then radiation last November and December. I hadn’t done radiation before. I am still recuperating from all of the side effects of those treatments. Now I (and my oncologist and surgeon) am feeling a lump on my left side in the field where I had radiation near last year’s cancer. I had some tests which haven’t shown anything. My lungs are OK and nothing showed up on an MRI of my reconstructed breast tissue. My original cancer didn’t show up on these tests the first time I had cancer either, and that is why Dr. Haun feels she needs to do this surgery. The only way to be sure is to take it out and check it. Scar tissue could develop a lump like this, or it could be some other cancer growing. It is tender (sore) like last year’s small tumor was. But scar tissue can hurt too…
I will share some of what is going on inside me today. I know that the Lord asks us not to borrow trouble from tomorrow and that each day’s worries are enough for that day. I am hoping and praying, and ask you to join me, that this will only be scar tissue. A friend told me yesterday that she and another friend fasted and prayed for me last Sunday. Wow! I feel honored to have such wonderful friends. I would say that I feel less cocky than last year. Having just gone through it, I sure wouldn’t like to go through it all again. Greg and I are going to take things as they come. We will let you know as soon as we get any information. Hopefully it will be nothing of concern. Last year we found out results the next day, but sometimes it takes several days. Dr. Haun is going to come in on her vacation day to do it tomorrow.
I was in Spokane last week with Jesse visiting our new house, new friends and his new school. It will be nice to have time to develop these new friendships once we get there. We are now about a month out from our move, so things are getting real.
Regardless of biopsy results, we are going to move to Spokane, WA for Greg’s new job with Partners International in July. We are planning to close on our new house in 2 days. We plan to say good-bye to friends at our church on July 8th, and to everyone else on July 7th in the afternoon at a park. Denver folks will be hearing more details soon. Some friends are planning these times for us. We might be loading the moving truck on the 13th of July, and then Greg heads back to Spokane to work the second half of July. Jesse will be going to Kenya on a mission trip the second half of July and will meet us in Spokane. All of his money has come in for his trip to Kenya. Jenni, Allison and I will be going to 2 family weddings at the end of July and then heading to Spokane. So it is going to be a busy summer.
Thank you for your love and prayers and concern. We are blessed by an amazing group of friends! We will be in touch when we know the outcome.
Blessings on you! Nancy Fritz
Saturday, June 02, 2007
I did it again. I got this all written and just deleted it by mistake. I hate when I do that. And with my memory, who knows what I said! I will try to summarize for you...
First of all, Jenni graduated, 100+ people came to her party last Friday night including Laura, who flew in to surprise her on Wednesday night. Jenni was genuinely suprised for the first time ever. We had great family times together for the first time since Christmas.
The house was on the market starting last weekend and we have had about 6 showings this week. It is priced to sell, so please pray that that would happen quickly. Getting everything ready wore me out and I have slept a lot his week. Greg is still getting projects done around the house. It looks nice although I still have boxes in the garage to deal with and some in the storage room.
I am scheduled for surgery on June 12th at 12:30, although sometimes they take me in early. I think it will take Dr. Haun about an hour to 1 1/2 to do what she needs to do to clean out the suspicious tissue. That area has been hurting on and off for weeks, so I am glad it is getting checked. She is planning general anesthesia, but I should be home by dinner time. Last year we all assumed it was nothing, and this year I am less presumptious. I know that God loves me dearly and will take care of this situation in His most perfect way. We might ask friends to bring meals for a few days that week.
My tailbone is healing very quickly. Since I broke it flying backward into a step rather than falling down onto one, the break was higher than I have had before. I had it adjusted over the inch it was out of place the day it happened, and it seems to be healing really well. I can sit fine and just get sore after staying in that position for too long. My right shoulder is causing pain these days and I am scheduled to have it checked in a few weeks. It popped half out and then back into joint last week, and that sure hurt! Hopefully they can figure it out and fix it. Exercizes, PT and a cortizone shot haven't worked so far.
Greg returns to Spokane on June 17th. He will be there until the end of the month, and then back here for the 1st 2 weeks of July. We are planning a good-bye, send-off time on Saturday July 7th in the afternoon. Details will follow for anyone in the Denver area who would like to come. That is our last weekend here all together before movers come.
I probably said lots of other things the last time I wrote this, but I think this sums it up. I am sorry for taking so long to give an update. I will try to do better. Thank you for your interest and prayers.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I only have a few minutes. I have lots of packing to do today. Greg gets home Wednesday and we will be tearing out carpets and moving furniture for a new carpet install on the 21st. Then Jenni's graduation on the 24th, her party on the 25th and the house on the market on the 26th. Then I will take a long nap!
I went to see my oncologist on Wednesday. He feels that one of the lumps I am feeling is definitely nothing to worry about, but one on my side he wanted the surgeon to check. He put ASAP on the order, and I was in to see her the next day. She told me the sad news that she feels that the only way to know for sure if it is something to be concerned about (cancer) is to remove and test the tissue. So that means a surgery, probably somewhere around the week of June 11th- no date set yet. My dear friends Betty and Gene are coming on the 12th and 13th, and I am so excited about that. Surgery will just be an outpatient thing and I have been through it enough times that I know the drill. She wants to do this before we move because she knows that even though usually these things are nothing or just scar tissue, sometimes they aren't. She knows me and my case, but doesn't want to hand me over to other doctors who won't have my history like she does. I also had a heart test yesterday as there are family history issues along with cancer treatment side effects to check out. I feel like my heart has been working hard lately. So that too is just precautionary. I will get results next week. I have a non-contrast CT scan on Tuesday to check my lungs. I have had little nodules in there for years. They hadn't changed in the whole 8 years we have been checking. Dr. Bourg just wants to make sure that is still the case.
So, how to pray? Pray that I would get all the packing that only I can do done before Greg gets home. I am tossing a lot! It is exciting. I have friends coming to help me- even this afternoon, plus Jenni and Jesse, and Allison will get home on Tuesday. Did I tell you we got the hot tub fixed? Jenni and I used it the other night after her AP test and it was nice to sit and talk. She took AP Calculus on Wed., AP English on Thursday and has AP Physics on Monday. Wednesday is her last day of school. Her end of the year concert has been Thursday through tonight. I went last night and am going again tonight. Dancing, costumes, etc. Amazing! I am sorry Greg is missing it, but I spotted a friend videoing it last night. Jenni has severe senioritis. Our Taiwanese students came to visit last night and stayed for an hour. Heng Hua looked startled when I told her Jenni has senioritis and laughed when we explained what it is. She said her room mate has it too! Well, I will stop and get back to packing. Thank you for your prayers.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
As the end of the school year approaches, the kids are on the computer more and more. So after they finished their homework, finally it is my turn on the comupter. I went to the dentist last Monday for a recheck on the surgery he did in January. Since the nerve was damaged, he has been monitoring the healing process. Since the part he didn't remove was still hurting, and the parts he did remove now don't hurt, he agreed to take out about 1 1/2 inches, 3/8ths inch deep of jaw bone- I think the last area of concern. So on Wednesday a week ago I had him do that. I am still somewhat sore, but it is gradually hurting less. I will eventually get a pathology report on the tissue he removed. The good news is that the pain medicine for my jaw, also works on my tailbone and sore shoulder. I can't drive when I use it, but at least I can sleep.
Now for the house hunting update- Greg looked at houses on Saturday in Spokane where he is currently working his 2 weeks for May. He saw 6 houses I think, and at one of them, he took me on a virtual tour while we were on the phone. If was my afternoon break during the women's retreat from my church I was on. He called my during dinner very excited to tell me he had found the perfect house. He and the realitor went and made and offer and after a counter offer, we agreed to buy the house at that price and it was declaired done. We close June 13th although we won't be there that day.
So let me tell you about this house. Another house we looked at while we were there fell through, and this one has almost all the pluses that one did. It is a ranch, 2 years old, the basement is unfinshed, but is framed and the electrical is already in. The first floor has a very open floor plan (ideal for company), a bonus room above the 3 car garage, 3 bedrooms and there is an open kitchen and covered patio. The basement is ready for 2 bedrooms, a full bath a family room and a large storage room. So it meets our goal of enabling us to host the staff of Partners where we will be working as well as international visitors connected to the ministry. We expect lots of friends to be visiting and when our kids are home, we will have enough room too. So we are excited at this answer to prayer. I will try and go see it with Jesse in early June. Greg discovered that one Partners International family lives within a mile of our new house and they have a son in the same school and same grade as Jesse will be. He is excited for Jesse to visit so he can introduce him to everyone before school gets out. Jesse will also meet and audition for the music teachers so they know to expect his barritone next year. The music department in our school here in CO is very sad to see him go. We will possibly go from the 3rd to the 6th.
Tomorrow I go to see Dr. Bourg, my oncologist. I have lots of questions about how you can tell the difference between scar tissue and cancer. I want him to have the gift of interpretation regarding some new lumps I feel. I have no idea if he will order any tests to help him decide, or if it will be clear to him. I vote for scar tissue.
Jenni takes her AP Calculus test tomorrow, and has AP Physics and AP English coming up Friday and Monday. Then she graduates on the 24th. Laura is going to Grove City next week to walk in her graduation. Jesse is trying to end up with a 3.0 or higher so that his car insurance will be lower. So he is working on end of the year projects to try and end the semester well.
Greg has been meeting with all of the staff one by one and getting to know them. The first morning he was there, he didn't have a key and waited outside for a half hour for someone to come and let him in. He is staying at a residence inn where he has a small kitchenette. He has lots to do with his new job and is staying busy. He gets home on the 16th and I am supposed to have all the extra stuff of my life sorted into categories, get rid of it, or put it into storage, only holding back on what we need to have to live between now and mid July. I am the clutterer, so I now have to deal with that. Pray that I would be able to move through these things quickly.
We actually got our hot tub fixed last week, hoping that it wll help us sell our house. It hasn't worked much in the 16 years we have lived here, so that is exciting. Our new house won't have one, but there will be good rivers to play in there.
I thank you for your reading to the end of yet another one of my entries. I shared my testimony at the women's retreat I went to last weekend. I felt that it went well, but was horrified to find out afterward that I had gone terribly over my time limit. I have to trust God that He will use it, but I will need to apologize to those working the schedule. I know that can be stressful when you are on that end. The women I met were just fantastic. Many new and fun relationships, some with women who are trying to find their way to God. Amazing. Thank you for praying for me. I honestly think you are helping to sustain me during this stressful time.
God bless you! Nancy
Friday, April 27, 2007
I don't have much time right now. Tonight is Jenni's 18th birthday party. This morning I collided with some steps in our house and heard the crunch of my tailbone. I am in a lot of pain, and the things I need to do- like packing and walking seem next to impossible. I wasn't carrying anything at the time, just an accident.
Also, the dream house we had seen in Spokane was purchased by the other people yesterday. So please pray that we can find a roomy house that will lend itself to hospitality with a friendly price tag on it. Since we know that we are neighbor kind of people, where we more will make a huge difference in our interactions that way. We want to be where God wants us.
Thank you for praying!
Monday, April 23, 2007
It is a Monday and I spent the day packing, sorting, tossing and generally just getting the house ready to sell. We have a 10 x 20' storage area that we are taking things over to most days. We are also setting things out in the driveway to get rid of, and Greg is delighted when someone takes something and actually pays him for it. Any of you who have known me for a long time, know that I am the clutter type. One way I can tell is that I just packed 10 "How to De-clutter Your House" books! Ironic.
Greg has remodeled our kitchen ceiling, rebuilt the drawers with real wood (thanks Mike!), a laminate counter top that looks like granite was put in Saturday (it looks so nice!), we have a new microwave in and an electric stove to match given to us by friends (Thanks Don and Diane!). A new dishwasher will be put in tomorrow, which is great since our OLD one died Saturday evening and ran it's last cycle with clamps holding it shut! Greg has painted room after room, trying to get done before he leaves next Monday for 2 1/2 weeks. We are getting as much in storage as possible so we can show and sell the house and be ready to move in mid-July. We are planning to have most of the house re-carpeted on May 21, so it will be ready for Jenni's graduation on the 24th and then her party on the 25th. Then the house goes on the market May 26th.
We are in the last weeks of Jenni's high school career and she is down to her final days of deciding about colleges. Stanford turned her down, she was wait-listed at Cornell and Duke (She didn't take the SAT2's in math and science they required, as it was during my chemo and radiation treatment times and we were not on top of the schedule). She was accepted at Swathmore, Syracuse, Univ. of Portland, CO School of Mines, Univ. of CO, Boulder, Univ. of Denver-DU, Grove City and Bucknell. She is deciding on Grove City, we are fairly certain and will send them notification this week. That will be a relief to have finished! Many have offered her scholarships, but only 2 have offered enough to make their cost less than Grove City. She is excited about going to a Christian Liberal Arts school where she can be involved in Music as well as Mechanical Engineering. She will work hard for her degree there, but knows she will also be very marketable for jobs when she is done.
I think I am up to 75% of my former strength. My doctor put a shot of cortisone into my right shoulder 2 weeks ago, and it decreased the tremendous pain by at least 1/3 to 1/2. I don't feel like I have a migraine in my shoulder now like I did. I will check in with him tomorrow and see if that is good enough. These are not days to have an arm I can't move.
My jaw nerve is gradually continuing to heal. After being damaged during surgery January 15th, the area of numbness is getting smaller but the area still affected is now feeling like a bumped funny bone in your elbow, all the time. I am ready for it to finish healing! There was one area in my jaw the surgeon didn't remove when he did the rest. He didn't see any problem visually, so didn't want to take out too much in my upper jaw. The part he didn't remove is now still very sore and achy, whereas the area he cleaned out feels fine. I will see him next week, but I suspect I will have him get the part out that is hurting before we move, since he knows me and what has been going on. There is about an inch -3/8ths inch deep- that is causing the problem.
My back and neck are still healing from the after effects of the cancer treatments. The discs in my back are healing and getting softer and re-hydrated from the bottom up. So I am doing pretty well up to my shoulder blades now. I am getting treatments on radiation scar tissue (Thank you Nancy and Mandy) that seem to be helping. My neck and upper back are the focus now. I am doing some acupuncture weekly and getting good adjustments. I see my nutrition doctor on Wed. to get my body back on track with this now that I am done with the cancer treatments.
Thank you for praying for my heart and spirit. I do feel like I am doing better gradually. I have finished with the counselor for now and will only need to go back if I need to. This morning Greg visited the former staff who still work at the same building but for Pioneers now. He said there were many tears, but it was good to see the 10 or so who work there. We area still praying for a few former staff who are still looking for their next steps. We would appreciate your prayers for continued direction for those needing it, and also for us to be able to do what we can to finish our time here with relationships healthy. Thank you!
Now, for the house question...We still haven't bought one in Spokane as we are waiting for the closing of the one we saw and fell in serious like with when we were there. There is a very small chance that if something goes wrong with the closing of the folks who saw it first, we would be able to get it. That is supposed to happen any time today or tomorrow. We know that if God wants us there, He will make this work our for us. If not, we still have a little time to find something else. With Greg being there for 2 weeks, he will be able to go look at some. We have seen perfect ones online that are in the wrong area, and others in the right area, but are too small. Pray that we would find a home that will lend itself to lots of hospitality. There are features we would each like, so we will have to see how much of what we envision comes true in one house. Always, the neighbors ending up being my friends, so we want God to put us in the right neighborhood. Having a house chosen soon will make everything easier, so we covet your prayers with us for that.
I see my oncologist on May 9th- maybe for the last time. As far as I know I am doing well. He will determine if there are any last tests he wants me to do before finishing with him. Thank you for joining me on this journey. It has sure been a year I won't forget! Blessings to you! Nancy
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I told you last time that Greg and I were going to Spokane, WA for a second job interview for Greg. I went along to meet the people at Partners International and to see the place and visit a church, etc. As much as I didn't want to, I really connected well with the people we met. I could see myself getting involved at Partners, and as I met the staff, I felt like I wanted to get to know them better. The ministry connected with my heart and with our passion for reaching the world for Christ. There was an emphasis on the 10/40 Window that we have been focused on for our entire adult lives of ministry. I met a good friend of one of my good friends there. I met a fellow breast cancer survivor who might start a support group with me. We could at least start with the 2 of us. I met the HR director who I immediately liked, and felt like I could jump in and help. Her personality is similar to mine, I think. I enjoyed my time with the CEO's wife and would love to spend time with her and her husband. So I think I would have a base of friends without having to hunt too hard for them. I loved the city. There are lots of medical things there. People go there from several states around for treatment as it is the biggest city between Seattle and Minniapolis. It is a beautiful place with lots of pine trees and is a fantastic place for those who love the outdoors and the mountains. We'd be 4 hours away from one of my brothers and from Seattle. We looked at houses with a realtor for a day and could picture ourselves living there.
Greg got a formal job offer on Saturday, we met with our group of counselors over the weekend and got no red flags from anyone. I feel peace about this, which surprises me. I even am feeling excited. I know that since I am still feeling tired, that this is something God is doing in my heart. I feel like He is handing me a gift. I still would rather not move, but I have confidence that we can maintain our relationships here. We have family, friends and our church here which we are tied closely to.
Greg told Partners yesterday that he would accept the job. After that we actually also made an offer on a house we saw last week near an excellent high school and near Whitworth College on the north side of the city. We'll find out soon if we got it.
So all that is to say, we are planning to move sometime in July. Greg will be starting May 1st and they want him to be there in the office 10 days a month as we transition, and then full time starting in August. We have written more details on our email update. If you want to receive that, please email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will sign you up for automatic updates.
After 3 months of feeling tremendous loss, I feel like a new chapter is opening up for me. The hard part is that our leaving is creating a loss for our family and friends here. That is the hard part for all of us. Please pray for this transition time and that we can continue to work through the processing of all that we need to. I am still meeting with the counselor weekly which has been a tremendous help. It isn't easy, but I want to heal, so it is necessary. Greg is processing with a close friend of his.
Jesse is OK with moving. He still has 2 years of high school to go. He has lived here all his life and was actually born in this house 16 years ago. He doesn't want to move, but believes he will survive the change OK. The high school we found for him has a strong music program he will enjoy. He wanted a bigger room and lots of trees. If we get the house we are looking at, he will get his wish. We will also have room for company, and I will have my dream storage room among other things. When Jesse visited Allison he actually attended some classes with her and on his own, and can see himself going to college. He also made lots of friends, so I think he will be able to do that in Spokane also.
Laura turns 22 next Tuesday in Atlanta. It is hard to believe that she is so grown up!
I would say I feel a little stronger- maybe up to 70% of my old self. I am still sleeping in late most days, but I think relieving stress by having this decision made has lifted some of the fatigue. The nerve in my jaw continues to heal and the area of numbness and pain is gradually shrinking. My neck and shoulder are still bad from radiation afteraffects, but my back is gradually doing better. I got a new therapeudic sleeve for my left arm and it works very well. I am wearing it to prevent lymphodema some days and when I fly, and my arm hasn't gotten worse. I am going to a PT specialist in radiation massage so she can help to work on the scar tissue growing under my arm. That way hopefully I won't have a big problem. Today I found a 3 inch curly hair on my shoulder- and it was from my head!
If you are a friend of ours in Denver, we are sorry to be causing you loss. Greg promised me at least 4 visits back a year. I must say that Greg has been loving and gentle and listening to me with his ears and heart. He was willing to not move if I wasn't on board. I really truely had veto power. I am so grateful to God for giving me such a fantastic husband. As he says, "This is going to be an adventure!" I am looking forward to experiencing it with Greg, my best friend.
Once again, you are sweet to endure my long entries. Thank you! Have a blessed Easter! Nancy
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
We got home a little while ago from a concert Jenni was in. It was incredible- orchestra, Littleton Chorale and select groups from 3 high school choirs. The high school choirs also each performed in the first half. Amazing! Jenni ended up getting the highest score possible in her voice competition a few weeks ago, by the way. She wants to try and get a minor in music with her mechanical engineering degree, wherever she ends up going to college. She is hearing back from colleges and will need to make a decision by the end of April. Please pray for her decision.
Jesse is at Sea Base, a Boy Scout camp on an island off the coast of Miami this week. He will get back to Miami on Saturday where Allison will pick him up and take him back to Lakeland for a visit with her at Southeastern University until next Wednesday.
Laura is enjoying Atlanta so far. She is making friends and visited a church called Perimeter and wants to keep going there. A few co-workers might join her next week. She went to Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day parade last Saturday with some people from work and had a good time. Mostly she is working hard and getting used to everything.
Greg is working on fixing up our kitchen in between his other work. He was covered with plaster splatter yesterday and had Jenni and me laughing. He and I are scheduled to go to Spokane from Saturday until Wednesday to check out the city and for him to have a second job interview there. Please pray with us for peace and discernment about this for both of us. I am still struggling with the idea of moving at this time.
I am physically not doing well. Tiredness and several other things are going on which could all be stress related, or could be left over from all of the cancer treatments, meds, or from something else. My emotions are also running high. It is hard when people tell me, “to get over it and move on.” I will be honest and tell you that I am worn out and am tired of being in this hard place. I wish I could just, “get over it and move on.” There are lots of reasons that is impossible for me at this point. I will be relieved when we can look back at this time- when it is a memory and not happening now. But I also know that I am in this hard place now, and need to process what the Lord is teaching me about myself, others, and about how to handle in my heart, the recent events that resulted in the closing of the ministry we (and so many others) gave ourselves to for 27 years. I am grateful for the counselor who is helping me through this process.
If you are a pray-er, please pray that I would physically feel better. Pray that I can process what I need to process. Pray that I am not a drag on those around me. Pray that I can know God’s presence and voice when he speaks to me. Pray that Greg and I would be able to discern God’s will for us in next steps and agree on what that is. For several reasons, we (especially Greg) feel that time is running out, and that we need to make a decision soon. Whatever decision we make will have long-term consequences, so a lot is riding on it for us and others. The weight feels great.
I thank you for reading this and for any prayers you offer up for me and for our family. I am amazed and so thankful that there are people who care enough to read these blogs! You are a real blessing to me! God bless you! Nancy
Monday, March 12, 2007
Laura found out 2 weeks ago that she has a job with Cingular Wireless and needed to be in Atlanta today to start 6 months of training. I think she is officially being trained as an "Executive Accounts Manager." She also learned that she is to wear official business dress every day to work. This means expensive business suits, shoes, etc. She got those (enough to get started), and we helped her buy a used 2002 Honda Accord for a very good price. She will pay us back ASAP as we totally scraped the barrel to come up with the money for her.
She learned that she did indeed graduate from Grove City and we had a graduation party on Friday night. There were 50-60 people here and it was a very fun time. She left in her silver car loaded to the brim on Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. with Jenni. They drove straight through and got there in about 21 hours. She is living in furnished housing. It sounds like a fantastic place. Jenni will fly home early on Wed. morning- in time for school. Laura is getting the best Blackberry made and a new laptop tomorrow I think. Some of you know what that means! So far her roommate seems very nice- Lisa. I will send announcements out this week as there was no time before she left.
After all of the energy expended with getting Laura ready to go, I was feeling really achy and tired. Yesterday after church I took a nap from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and then also slept all of last night! I am feeling less tired today although still very sore and achy. I think what is happening is that as the side effects of my chemo and radiation wear off, some new medication (Famara) I am on can cause roving achiness in joints and muscles. I think the symptoms might be overlapping. I am supposed to stay on Famara for at least 5 years if not the rest of my life. I just began getting some accupuncture from a Christian friend to help my body heal.
I saw my oncologist last Monday and we talked for a long time. I haven't seen him since October. He ordered some blood tests to make sure I am OK on several things. I have the results but don't know what they mean yet. He will be letting me know. He thought my high liver numbers could be in part due to my jaw surgery and was testing that. I also saw a PT at Kaiser, who is trained in lymphodema, regarding my arm. She agrees that there is some swelling and wants me to get and wear a new theraputic sleeve on my left arm. I need to do that this week. It hasn't gotten worse. She also taught me some new massaging to do to reduce the problem. She was helpful and sweet, and I am allowed to call if anything more starts to happen.
The nerve in my jaw continues to heal. I am so thankful for the healing, but it sure is sore and wierd feeling as it heals.
I am struggling with how I feel about the possibility of having to move for Greg to take a job in another state. His gifting and talent are unique and in the right setting he is a total blessing to those he works with. He also wants to make a contribution to what God is doing in the world. So, is this job that has come up in another state THE ONE? Or is there something that would fit him that well that he could do from here in Denver, and we just haven't heard about it yet? He still gets calls almost every day about other jobs. I have agreed to go visit the out of state possibility if that continues to open up, but with no promises at this point. I am still so physically and emotionally weary. I have never felt this way before. It is humbling to admit that I am so weak right now. I know that God promises that His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. So does that mean I am supposed to trust Him, and we are supposed to move, or is He telling me we should stay put and wait for some other job Greg can do here?
Please continue to pray with us about this. Transition is hard for me. Dying to self and yielding to God is part of the Christian life. But what does that mean for me/us now? I am tired, but I love God and trust Him too. I will see the counselor again tomorrow and she will help me to think this through some more. Thank you for standing with us at this difficult time. We are so grateful! God bless you! Nancy