Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A hysterectomy in December

Dear friends,

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

Gynocologist news

Dear friends,

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

Tomorrow is a big day

After a month of waiting, I am going to see my nre gynocologist tomorrow at 1:00. My Oncologist ordered a test a month ago which showed something suspicious in my uterus.
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

Something to pray about

Hello friends,

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

A poem to share with you

Dear friends,

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

The stitches are out and lessons learned

Dear friends,

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

Shoulder surgery done

Dear friends,

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