Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have a wonderful life!

Dear friends,

What about you? Is yours wonderful? I have a loving husband, fun kids who are thoughtful and love each other, a nice home to live in, a computer to type on, sweet neighbors who snowblow our driveway off from the last 8" of the five feet that have fallen here so far this month. (We just broke the last record for Dec. which was in 1880! When backs were breaking and fatigued, along came Sean and his snowblower from across the street! )

I have a loving Heavenly Father, a relationship with my Messiah and know the peace of the Holy Spirit. I have had the privilege of meeting people in many countries around the world and have many amazing friends and extended family members. I have learned enough to know there is still much to learn. I have had excellent health care and have survived almost ten years so far after discovering breast cancer for the first time and have lived through a recurrence almost 3 years ago. I have a wonderful church home in Spokane currently, and have in every place I have lived since giving my life to the Lord at age 14. I have had the privilege of being involved in the evangelical missions endeaver and Greg and I have seen the Lord provide for us and our family since 1980- 29 years! That provision has included a partnership with scores of personal ministry partners who shared our vision for reaching the lost with the Gospel in the hardest places in the world.

I have walked the streets of Jerusalem and Telavive, of the soukhs in Uzbekistan and have ridden up a Kyrgyz mountain on the back of a horse and shared food with a cow herding family at the top. I have gotten the most sunburned in my life and had a snake draped over my shoulders in Malaysia. I have ridden bikes in Amsterdam and walked through the streets of Frankfurt. I have attended a missions conference in Edinburgh and spent New Year's eve walking with Greg along the edge of the Dead Sea. I have bartered for shalwar camises in the underground shops of New Delhi and felt a demonic presence in a hindu temple there. I have had the privilege of teaching kids about missions all over the U.S. as well as in El Salvador through a translator.

I have experienced hospitality in many homes of those who didn't share a word of my language. I have dialoged with university students in Indonesia, and shared missions vision with those in my own country. I have had the honor of hosting international friends in our home. I have mentored younger women, and been mentored by older ones. I have participated in a community house for 7 1/2 years and given birth at home to 4 healthy children. That is a lot to be thankful for, and is just part of why I think I have a wonderful life.

As tomorrow eve brings in the inevitable start of the new year, I pray that I will receive all that the Lord brings my way with a grateful heart. He is the Author and Finisher and I look forward to what He will write on the pages of my life in 2009. Thanks for hanging in there and reading what I have written. The fact that anyone reads what I write here, amazes me. I am honored. Email me at nancyfritz@aol.com if you'd like to be in touch personally.

Nancy Fritz

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The girls are home!

Dear friends,

I am feeling so very blessed. My girls are all home and I just set the table for 6! God was so good today to let us be together! Merry Christmas to you!

Nancy Fritz

My girls are coming home today!

Dear friends,

Greg got home with Jenni at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Everything went well after they found each other in Seattle at the correct bus station. Apparently there were two bus stations and Greg was looking for her at the one she wasn't at. Greg was also running on fumes in the truck and couldn't find a gas station. Finally, after finding Jenni they found gas and got on the road home. They flelt the Lord's presence with them. Thank you for praying.

We wondered if today would be a similar story. Allison is coming from Buson South Korea and Laura from Baltimore. Allison is in Portland and as far as she knows now, her flight to Spokane is on time. (She just let us know she is delayed 40 minutes as of 11:00 a.m.) Laura is in flight and so far, so good. It is snowing right now, again. There is already 3 to 4 feet of snow on the roof. Several days since Thursday the airport has suspended flights due to weather and I am holding my breath and praying as I wait to hear that they both have landed. Laura only has until Monday, so it would be very sad for her to end up sitting in an airport. I will let you know when they land.

Greg and Jesse are down at the townhouses where the drains are full of ice, the rooves full of show and huge ice cycles. Their goal was to get the ice out of the gutters and put some kind of heated tape in them to keep them from refreezing. The ice cycles could kill someone and right over the doorways of the units. They also have to shovel- again. Greg is tired of shoveling and paying Jenni and Jesse and his friends to help him, but there are no snow blowers to be had.

Tomorrow we plan to have a Christmas dinner that will look very Thanksgiving-ish. That was Allison's request. One girl from our townhouses, maybe a student from Ghana, a family from Partners and maybe another couple from Partners. Things are already well on the way and I have all these helpers and we are looking forward to getting it all on the table together.

I got my catheretor out on Monday. What a relief! I thought about the fact that my father had a cathetor for 18 years! And I had a hard time getting to 5 days. I am gradually healing and the soreness is subsiding. I am taking it easy and following doctor's orders. I am not aloowed to drive until January 5th. That is a little tough because I have to be patient and less spontaneous. I haven't gotten our Christmas cards out yet, but will as soon as I can. I just ran out of energy and time. I thank you ahead of time for understanding. We are enjoying the cards and letters we are receiving from so many of you. Our address is 805 E. Huron Dr., Spokane, WA 99208, in case you'd like to send us one.

I have somehow misplaced our camera and hope that it shows up soon. It is a memory thing- chemo brain. It is a mystery to me how I could have lost it so thouroughly. Fortunately, the girls have cameras, so I can still have pictures of the holiday. I hope that you have been able to get to those you plan to spend the holidays with. Jesse is going to be Joseph in the Christmas Eve service tonight. May the Lord bless you and those you love. Nancy Fritz

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jenni stuck in Seattle

Dear friends,

It is Friday and Greg left a few hours ago to go to Seattle to get Jenni. She flew from Baltimore to Las Vegas yesterday. Her connecting flight to Spokane was cancelled due to weather and they told her it would take a few days to get another flight. She figured out a way to get to Seattle on another flight last night since we know there are lots of shuttles between here and there.

Once she got to Seattle last night, she slept in the airport and was unable to get a flight to Spokane today. They told her maybe Monday there would be one. She tried the bus station and there are no bus seats either. So, Greg and I decided that the only way to get her home was to go and get her. So he is driving over the Cascades now. After getting her he will turn around and come back. It is a 5 hour drive in good weather. Greg has chains for the truck with him.

I am doing pretty well. The pain meds are working well and I am taking it easy. I will go to get the cathetor taken out on Monday. If I can produce enough volume they will leave it out. If not, they will have to put it back in and the doctor may have to loosen the sling she put under my urethra. We'll see.

Christmas blessings to each of you! Nancy

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Home from the hospital

Dear friends,

Thank you for praying for my surgery yesterday. Everything went well. They put me in a nice private room for recovery for the day. At 5:00 the nurse who came on shift did what she needed to do to get me checked out last night. I came home with a catheter so I will need to go to the doctor to get that out at some point. I have to take antibiotics because that too.

My doctor checked my bladder carefully and could see no problems in there at all. So the next step is to see a urologist or nephologist (kidney) doctor in a month or two if there is still blood in my urine.

There is a major snow storm here, so Greg had to come get me in the truck with 4 wheel drive. It took him a while to get there since so many of the streets were blocked off because of ice and snow causing sliding. We got home about 8:30 last night. I plan to sleep and rest today! Blessings- Nancy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nancy in hospital

This is from Greg, Nancy's husband. Surgery went well this morning, but Nancy was slow in recovery and in pain. So, the doctor elected to keep her in hospital care overnight. She asked me to give this quick update. I expect to bring her home tomorrow. We are having a significant snowstorm in Spokane today that has made the roads very slippery and it is very cold.

Surgery on Wednesday 12/17 at 7:30 a.m.

Dear friends,

I just drank my last drink of water and finished a snack. I am not allowed to eat or drink after midnight. Greg and I leave for the hospital at 5:30 a.m. I check in at 6:00 and surgery is scheduled for 7:30. It is supposed to take about 1 1/2 hours. Everything is straight forward and my doctor will also take a very careful look around inside my bladder to see if she can determine the reason for the blood that has been showing up in my urine. If she notices anything, she will call a urologist to come and look and take care of whatever is wrong. Other than that she is fixing the anterior wall of my pelvic muscle which has a hernia in it, allowing my bladder to colapse in. She will put in Bovine mesh which heals well and will also put a sling under/around my Urethera to prevent the sagging of that also.

We expect to be done and home by early afternoon, and I plan to just lay low and rest. Jenni is coming home ready to help me Thursday night and I was able to get most things done today that I needed to. Surgery eve is always a strange time for me. I have to keep telling myself not to drink or eat before we leave. Putting trust in the team of medical folks tomorrow is a little strange, but I like to just rest in the Lord as I put my trust in them. Often we get to share our lives somewhat before and after the surgery. I hope Greg and I can be an encouragement to someone tomorrow.

Please pray for my surgeon's skill to be in top form, and that the Lord will guide her hands. Pray for me to recover well and it would be nice to come home without a catheter. Pray that if there is anything for them to find in my bladder, that they would see it. Pray for me to have no clotting problems now that I am off Coumadin. And pray for speedy healing and also for Jenni to be able to get in even though they are expecting snow Wed. and Thurs.

And please pray for those in Arrissa, India who are suffering tremendous persecution.

I will update you tomorrow on how it went. Thank you again for praying! Blessings- Nancy

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey, I,m back!

Dear friends,

Wow. It has been a loooong time since I wrote. Since last time I have been to the east coast for almost 3 weeks and had my computer "scrubbed" after backing it up. (That means my computer was emptied of all files and then carefully reloaded with programs.) It seems faster, but this is the first time I am using it since I got home. On the road I had little access to a computer, so I didn't write. I appreciate your prayers for my trip. We only hit a little weather in Pittsburgh last Sat. and I stayed healthy the whole time. Let me catch you up now...

Medical Update
I had told you that I would be seeing some doctors before leaving on my trip. I did get answers to many questions. My sore knee puzzled the PA at the orthopedic surgeon's office, and eventually she and my surgeon decided that it probably is a ruptured plantaris muscle. I had an MRI done on Tuesday morning to confirm that and I haven't heard the results yet. The good news is that it will heal without any surgical repair if that's what is wrong. It will take physical therapy and I am not supposed to go walking while it heals. I should find out tomorrow what the MRI showed. I can walk just fine, but certain movements set it off and it aches if I stand for a long time.

I am scheduled to have surgery next Wednesday, Dec. 17th at 8 a.m. I saw my gynecologist before going on my trip, had some tests done, and she said my bladder has gotten worse. It is sagging since my pelvic floor is not able to hold it up anymore. It has moved into the area where my colon was before it was repaired about a year ago. My doctors are also concerned because I have blood showing up in my urine. That count is up to 50. I was supposed to see a urologist who was going to put a camera into my bladder to look around since the CT scan of my bladder and kidneys didn't show any reason for the blood. My gynecologist is planning to do a cystocele repair, and put a sling around my urethra. This will prevent ever increasing leaking problems, and put my bladder back where it belongs. While she is doing that, a urologist will come and look around inside my bladder to try and solve the mystery. The concern is that something has to be causing this blood in my urine, and we are hoping that it isn't cancer. Also, a factor that plays into me doing this now, is that I have already paid all of my out of pocket insurance deductible money for the year. Please pray that I stay healthy between now and then.

I told you before that there was no cancer on my left chest wall, and all the lumpiness there is scar tissue. So this week, I began having massage to break up the scar tissue. Boy, is that painful! I have a long way to go, but I really need it done so that I can avoid the complications of the scar tissue causing lymphodema in my left arm. So please pray that I will be brave or numb or something! I held my breath and didn't talk much yesterday.

I had my dental check up and my dentist sent me to an endodontist since my jaw has been sore and one of my back teeth is loose. The endodontist thinks the jaw pain is caused by the fact that I had several teeth pulled on the top and bottom of my right jaw, and the top of my left jaw a few years ago because they had infection under them- osteomyelitis. My jawbone is still clear of infection, but because I have missing teeth, the muscles in my jaw are imbalanced and getting pulled. He said it is kind of like having a pulled muscle in your leg. Since there are no teeth on the right side, my bite isn't even and that is stressing the joints. The jawbone has also lost mass since there have been no teeth there for so long. My sinus cavity is literally millemeters from my gum. His solution is to do some major rebuilding of the jaw bone and then make teeth and get them in before I loose more teeth. Feel free to email me if you know anything or have gone through this. nancyfritz@aol.com

I started having these infections 10 years ago, and then got breast cancer. Then I didn't get teeth because I figured it would be a lot of money to spend, and what if I did and then ended up dying of cancer? I took the 'wait and see' approach. Then I got cancer again, then I moved, and now my jaw hurts and I have to deal with this. Greg and I decided that we need to spend the money and do this. Why not assume that I won't get cancer again? There is no way to know, and I guess I need to have teeth, right? So my dentist and endodontist are talking and will get back to me about how to proceed.

As of last night, I am off Coumadin! Yahoo! I am going to eat a grapefruit as soon as I can get my hands on one! I have taken this blood thinner for 6 months because of the DVT's in my legs this summer, and 6 months is the usual time to take it. So I said good-bye to my pharmacist at the anti-coagulation clinic yesterday. She has become a friend over these months. Until surgery, I am not allowed to take several supplements and only certain pain relievers. We are expecting a foot of snow here starting tomorrow, and every joint and muscle in my body knows it!

Greg is fogged out
I got home about midnight on Monday and Greg stayed in Pittsburgh to teach Perspectives for another few days. Today he spent all his time trying to get home. First he flew to Denver and then on to Spokane. Spokane was fogged in, so they landed in Seattle. They put special equipment on the plane to help with the fog, and flew to Spokane again. It didn't work again. Now he is in a hotel in Seattle and should get into Spokane at 8 in the morning. I just want him home- and he wants to be home!

Other stuff
Is Christmas really 2 weeks away? The wedding Allison was going to be in has been postponed, but since she already has a non-refundable ticket to come home, she is coming on Christmas eve and goes back on the 4th. Laura will get in for 5 days on the 24th also. Jenni gets home from Grove City on the 18th. Friends from church have offered to bring meals for the days after surgery. I am almost done putting up the Christmas decor and tomorrow will concentrate on helping Jesse get his letter about his trip to Africa out. It is hard to believe that my youngest child is about to graduate from High School (January 23rd). He is quite a young man! He received 'the most improved' award at Starbucks which was quite an honor his boss tells me.

Our trip was amazing. We enjoyed all the connections when Greg spoke. He spoke in a business class at Grove City College, at his home church briefly, at a citywide meeting in Pittsburgh about Partners International, and then 4 Perspectives classes. We enjoyed our time with Greg's family and 19 of us skyped Allison in S. Korea on Thanksgiving. She was overwhelmed when she saw 4 generations all on her screen at once, including Michael, our nephew's son- the first of his generation.

We visited my mother and brother and aunt and uncle. We went to Niagara to visit with friends for a few days. Through connections they have, I actually talked on the phone with a worker in an African country who was driving through the jungle at the time. Our mutual friends in Canada felt that the Kidzana ministry would be fantastic in that country and wanted us to talk. I would ask you to pray for the logistics of that happening. Many in Pittsburgh were interested in getting Kidzana training as well. (See last blog.) I got to connect with a friend of the Canadians who is just finishing her treatment for breast cancer. We were both encouraged by each other. We also stopped along the way and visited with a guy Greg lead to the Lord in college at Penn State who teaches at Moody Bible Institute. He told Greg of the many spiritual generations who have come through that branch of the family of God.

I got to visit Laura and meet her friends. I cooked a turkey, stuffing and sweet potato and green bean casseroles for Laura's international friendship group the Monday before Thanksgiving. That was really special. And I won't even talk about playing Guestures with a bunch of 20 somethings!

Greg and I had dinner with a group who are beginning a focus on a specific people group of 3 million that has only a small handful (3?) of believers so far and no one reaching them. Greg had some good wisdom for them. I met with the children's ministry director and a few staff in Pittsburgh at a church which is doing a great job teaching missions to kids. Greg's uncle let us use his Lexus for all this traveling and I must say that I miss that woman's voice telling me where to turn now that I am home!

I sure hope to get a Christmas letter and card out before surgery. I basically have to have everything that needs doing, done before the 17th that requires any legwork. I will write again before surgery. I deeply appreciate your prayers and congratulate any of you who actually made it to the end of this entry! God bless you! Nancy Fritz

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Cancer on My Left Chest Wall!

Dear friends,

It is Sunday evening. The last time I wrote I was on my way to Seattle for Kidzana training. The training was excellent. We were trained for 2 ½ days in how to do children’s ministry in a way that is transferable to any culture in the world. Many times Americans go overseas and take all of our “stuff” to do children’s ministry or VBS’s. We learned that doing this can discourage national leaders in other countries. They know they can’t compete with American bells and whistles, and don’t feel empowered at all. This training covered all the basics of evangelism and discipleship, parenting, special needs kids and how to be creative in planning lessons without the stuff. One strategy they have is to go on a trip overseas to train teachers rather than kids. The teachers can then teach their own children, and you have multiplied yourself in them. The teaching can then go on as they train other teachers as well.

I guess you can tell that this was exciting for me! I went with Arlene who works at Partners International with Greg. What a perfect match this ministry is with our focus on indigenous ministries in the 10/40 Window! Many of our partner ministries have probably gotten some of this training, but we plan to be purposeful in getting it to the rest. I was told tonight that China is asking for exactly this kind of training. Now, that excites me even more! We are making arrangements to have the Kidzana director visit our headquarters in Spokane and we will talk about Kidzana becoming a “like-minded ministry.” That would give us a formal tie to this great training. We will have to see where this leads, but for now, I have been invited by our family pastor to give this training to our youth group in preparation for their mission trip to Mexico next summer.

Jesse to Africa
Someone else I am arranging to teach these concepts to is Jesse, my 17 year old boy, Allison, my 22 year old English teacher in S. Korea and Jesse’s friend, Taylor. Jesse and his Taylor have bought their tickets to go to French speaking Africa. Jesse is scheduled to leave on February 1st and return on June 17th, 2009. They will have amazing opportunities to serve under the leadership of our ministry partners in several countries in West Africa. Jesse is starting to feel like this will really happen now that he bought his plane ticket and has appointment for his shots! Anyway, Jesse, Taylor and Allison, when she is here for Christmas to be in a friend’s wedding, will go through the basics to have some great resources to take with them.

Allison was on Skype with us last night for an hour. We had such a nice visit and asked each other lots of questions. She is learning Korean two nights a week and the class happens to be at her own school. Some others are traveling an hour to get to there, so she is grateful to be close. Also two teachers from her school who she really enjoys are teaching it. She said she can phonetically read anything in Korean now, and sometimes she even knows what it means! She can say the basics and get around and figure out prices at the store, etc. She is doing very well.

Medical update on me
I saw my excellent surgical oncologist on Tuesday last week. She checked the scar tissue I have been noticing on my left chest wall, and agreed that it has changed since June. She asked me to go for an ultrasound of that area and explained that any cancer cells would have a blood supply. Scar tissue would not. My concern was that if there was already a blood supply, aren’t we already looking at cells traveling, etc? She explained to my satisfaction that the blood supply they would see is 2-3 mm. That is extremely small! No cancer growth would even be discernable to the touch until it was much larger than that. So this test was REALLY a good way to make sure I don’t have cancer on my chest wall right now.

I had the test on Wednesday and ended up with two ultrasound techs and a radiologist. Everyone looked very carefully and there were NO BLOOD VESSELS there! We had a happy time in there! I just can’t help praising God at times like that and one of the lady techs even gave me a hug and told me how happy she was for me. I am so grateful I don’t need any surgery there (or chemo, or radiation, etc!)!

This Tuesday I have several doctor appointments- dentist, gynecologist, and my orthopedic surgeon’s Physician’s Assistant to try and solve the problem of what is going on with my left knee. When my leg folds/bends at the knee it is fine to a point, and then when it gets past that point, it shoots with pain. I’ve tried extensive icing, no daily walks for 2 weeks, etc. There is a small swelling there. We know from an ultrasound that it is not a Baker’s cyst and that it isn’t vascular. But what is it? This orthopedic surgeon is the one who did my shoulder last year and he is the best in town. I have no idea what needs to be done, but if it requires any surgery, I need to try to get it done before the end of the year since I have paid my whole deductible for the year. My gynecologist may do a small surgery before the end of the year also- a cystocele. I did 2 ½ months of pelvic floor therapy over the summer which didn’t fix my worsening bladder problem. The tricky part of all this is that I get off of Coumadin on December 6th, so that it will be out of my system on the 9th when I get back. My INR (clotting indicator) was 4.3 the other day. My blood looked like pink water when she took a drop for the test! So I decreased my dose for a day and skipped another day, and get that checked on Tuesday also. I am relieved that I get to stop taking it and that I can eat what I want to again! Grapefruit and mangos and ginger cookies and green tea! Anyway all these appointments are Tuesday because on Wednesday…

East Coast Here I Come!
I leave on Wednesday for Pittsburgh. I will see a few folks, get Jenni who finishes her last test at 2:30, and weather permitting, drive to Baltimore to stay with Laura for a few days. On the 26th I will pick up Greg in Pittsburgh and we will head to his parents’ for T-giving. Laura and Jenni will get Jesse at Baltimore airport and also head for Greg’s parents. So we are looking forward to a fun time with everyone. We haven’t been together for a long time. I have a grand nephew to meet.

Greg and I will go see my mother on Sunday the 30th, Jenni will go back to school and Laura will take Jesse back to the Baltimore airport. He will be home with a college guy we know until I get home on the 8th. Greg and I will go for a day up to Niagra/ Hamilton to see friends for a day and then down to Pittsburgh to do some speaking. He has 5 engagements. I might meet with some people also. I will head home after he begins his Perspectives classes on the 8th, and he will follow me home a few days later.

Since I didn’t know when medical things might be happening when I get back, I asked Greg to help me put up the Christmas lights outside the house today. I still need to do the front porch, but he did a great job on the high stuff. We have offered our home to the Moody Bible Institute Spokane girls from one of our townhouses for Thanksgiving. One of their dads is coming and they are excited to have a place to cook with all the equipment they need and a place to relax. It is nice to have our home be a blessing to them.

Well, I need to sleep now, finish packing tomorrow and take care of little details, do the doctors on Tuesday and fly out on Wednesday. My 51st birthday is approaching. I was thrilled that there was no cancer showing up, because I just don’t have time for cancer now. There is too much on my plate. I would love to mentor other young teachers in teaching missions to kids, and I am finding them gradually. Again, our days are in His hands! He knows how many I have, and I pray I will use them for his Glory. I will try to write before I leave about my knee mystery. God bless you! Nancy

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Off to Seattle tomorrow

Dear friends,

What a busy day! I went to Bible study this morning, and then home to work on the curriculum on Money and Missions I am writing for 2 missions organizations. I am close to done with what I have to get done before leaving at 10:50 for the airport in the morning. I am going to a training conference by a group called Kidzana to learn how to teach children in other cultures. Hopefully what Arlene and I can learn can be put to use at Partners International with our partner ministries working with children in the 10/40 Window.

I have been making lots of doctor appointments. The swollen area behind my knee is going to be checked next by the orthopedic surgeon who fixed my shoulder last year. I have an appointment on the 18th. If it isn't vascular or a cyst, what is it that is causing the pain when I bend my leg? He will decide what test to do to figure it out. Hopefully it will heal on its own or be easy to fix. I have been told a few times that the chances of it having to do with cancer is very, very small, but I do know someone who had cancer in his knee. I just can't let my mind go there.

My left side scar tissue (due to radiation mainly) which is getting ever lumpier and more sore, will be checked next Tuesday by my breast surgeon. She is an excellent doctor. She has had me have 2 MRI's this year. She says that if it is cancer it will develop blood flow. My main question for her is, if there is cancer growing there (my particular type of cancer looked and felt like scar tissue) and we wait for it to develop a vascular system, hasn't it already got a highway to metasticize all over my body? I think the cancer we found 2 1/2 years ago was small, and that was in my favor. I am wondering if she can talk to my Denver surgeon to get my background. I guess I will see on Tuesday.

I am also going to the dentist for a check-up and then to a dental surgeon to get checked as I have some sore areas in my jaw. My INR was high the last 2 times I went, but I think it was due to my eating some Newman's ginger cookies. They have a lot of ginger in them and it never even occured to me that I am supposed to stay away from ginger while on Coumadin. It is on my "never eat" list. So, hopefully the mystery is solved.

Greg and Jesse brought home no plunder from the mountains, but they did have a great time together. They are not excited about cooking for themselves this weekend, but I left them well supplied. I need to finish packing. I hope you are well. Blessings- Nancy

Friday, October 31, 2008

October is over and November is coming!

Dear friends,

I must admit that I am glad October is over today. I am not crazy about Halloween. I will welcome my little neighbors and then hybernate in the back of the house. I am keeping my knee on ice for 3 days to see if the pain and swelling in the back of my left knee goes away before going back to the doctor next week. It has been hurting for 5 weeks. Since the ultrasound showed it wasn't a cyst or vascular problem, we still need to figure out what it is to figure out how to make it better.

I will be seeing by breast surgeon on Nov. 11th. I have so much 3 dimensional scar tissue under my arm and on my side where I had radiation, that it is beginning to concern me. The cancer that recurred 2 years ago was very small and felt the same way. How do we KNOW that this is just scar tissue and not cancer? My cancer looks and feels like scar tissue, which makes it tricky. I just don't want to miss an early diagnosis by waiting for a vascular system to develop if cancer is happening. I hope that is understandable. I already wrote about this in the summer in more detail.

I am scheduled to see a urologist in Dec. about the blood showing up in my urinalisis. I might get in sooner. They will probably do a scope to look around and don't want to do that until I am off of Coumadin. My oncologist is letting my off Coumadin on Dec. 6th so I am ready for these tests when I get back from Thanksgiving in PA on Dec. 8th.

I had a Taiwanese lady who is a missionary in Central Asia over for dinner last night, a Wycliffe missionary and our adopted daughter, Lindsay, who got engaged last weekend. She is the one who lived with us last summer. Greg is in Denver for the OMF board meeting and Jesse held his own at dinner as the only guy. What stories we heard! I wish I could have had you here as well! Joanne and I had a wonderful time of prayer when I took her back to her host home. I feel so very blessed to have these relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ from other parts of the globe...

Next weekend I will be in Seattle for a conference to learn how to do children's ministry cross culturally by an organization called Kidzanna. Partners is sending me with another Partners staff member who has a heart for this to see what we can learn and then pass on to our partner ministries in the 10/40 Window. There are many doing children's ministry who have not had much training. The catch is that they aren't asking for training because they have no idea that there are things to learn! So Arlene and I are going to at least get started with these resources and get ideas to present to the leadership at Partners. I don't have to teach or lead anything, so I will be able to enjoy learning with no pressure.

I am diving into curriculum writing for the next 2 days to finish my Dalit curriculum. I would appreciate your prayers that I will be able to make fast progress on the various segments of the curriculum and get them turned in to the Dalit Freedom Network and Partners. The DFN has a conference coming up and need several things done in time for that. Thank you for praying for God to give me creativity and clarity of thought as I work on writing these ideas down for others.
Happy All Saints Day on November 1st! Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back from Colorado!

Dear friends,

It is Thursday afternoon and I got back from Denver on Tuesday evening. I am sitting in the waiting room at Inland Imaging to have an ultrasound done of my left leg. I saw my oncologist yesterday, and he felt we should look at the swelling behind my left knee right above the initial clot location in that leg. Since I am on Coumadin, it is very unlikely to be another clot. My INR right now is 4.1. It is supposed to be between 2.0 and 3.0, so it is very high. This level indicates how long it takes for your blood to clot. Coumadin thins my blood to keep it from forming any more clots (DVT’s) in my legs. Apparently, even after my 2 clots dissolved, residue can remain on the walls of those blood vessels, making rough spots which can attract new clots to form. Taking Coumadin for these months gets rid of the clots as well as the residue. I won’t take any Coumadin tonight and then will resume my dose and go back for a check on my INR level next week. I learned that it only takes 3 days for Coumadin to get out of your system.

As I have mentioned recently, there has been a count of 25-50 of blood in my urine. There should be none. 3 weeks ago I had a CAT scan done of my bladder and kidneys looking for the cause, and it showed no tumors or stones. Since the oncologist found a 50 count of blood cells in my urine again yesterday, he is talking to my internist about me going to a urologist for further investigation. I have had some level of blood showing up in my urinalyses for years, so since it has increased, my doctors feel it is time to find out why it is happening. The Coumadin might make a difference, but not this much. I should be talking to my doctors this week.

Now it is Sunday evening. The ultrasound showed there is no baker’s cyst or vascular problem behind my left knee. They will call me about that this week too.

Colorado trip
I went on the 14th and came back on the 21st. I visited a lot of friends, attended a few meetings and I want to tell you about the program I did last Sunday morning at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch. On Saturday I went and set up for Sunday with Greg’s cousin, Keyley, for 1 ½-2 hours. We set up pictures with descriptions of Partners International projects on the walls all around the room. We also put up maps, posters and got all the supplies organized. I had very little to do on Sunday morning when I got there.

Well… you can probably expect a story is coming! On Sunday morning I learned that the class I was going to be with has 300 kids over the 2 hours. Last I had heard it was 150, and I usually had 60-70 per hour- max. So I had ½ hour to adjust my approach for the extra kids I would have. When I got upstairs to the room I walked in with a friend and the room was EMPTY! Through a miscommunication, the building staff guy took it all down that morning. The friend I was with prayed with me, an honest call to God for “HELP!” All my things were neatly piled on a table in the corner. We started to put it back together and as parents dropped off their kids, Shelby, Greg’s sister and my neice, Natalie, came, and everyone helped to put it all back on the walls. What a flurry of activity! I think we were done with about 10 seconds to spare! I will never forget that experience.

The lesson itself went extremely well. The lesson on Money and Missions was fun and educational. The kids seemed to really “get it.” They learned about international exchange rates, the need to pick what they are giving to strategically, and they learned how to figure out their tithe. Watching them “shop” for their projects was fun and hearing them share why they picked the ones they did was great as they had thoughtful reasons.

So after sharing about Partners International at the Outreach Leadership team meeting on Monday evening, I headed home on Tuesday. Greg and Jesse are hunting this weekend. I had 9 Ghanaian Whitworth U. students, the father of one of the students who is one of our PI partners, and 2 other families over for dinner last night. It was a nice time. Feeding college students is always satisfying, and it was nice to get to know Kofi Papa better. Today I took a long nap and talked to my mother for a nice visit. And now I am catching you up on these adventures.

I often meet people who tell me they read my blog. Thank you for doing that. I am humbled and blessed by your interest and prayers. I will let you know when I hear more from my doctor. God Bless you! Nancy Fritz

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ghana or Denver- Where am I?

Dear friends,

Last night I did a program with 60+ kids at our church about Ghana. Are you ready? We played Mancala which is called Oware in Ghana. The kids learned 2 praise songs in Twi. We ate pineapple, bananas, FuFu and something that starts with a B, both made from flour with cassava, plantains and yams. We did dances from Ghana (courtesy of a DVD from our public library) learned Twi words, prayed, played a tag game called, "The Big Snake," and learned facts about Ghana. Our church has a Ghana focus and we have several Ghanan students who attend our church while going to Whitworth University. One of these guys is Kofi. His father is coming next week and is one of our Partners International leaders in Africa. So we have church and Partners connections to Ghana. A guy at Partners gave me an outfit from Ghana, which is comfortable and pretty. The kids call me, "Hannah from Ghana." Our Ghana guys came and helped me cook the FuFu and teach the words, etc. We had 4 year olds to 5th graders and it was fun for all. Whew! I thank the Lord for staff at the church who help me execute my ideas with the kids. And the kids love learning about other cultures. I am tired today and have a pretty awful headache, but I had the strength when I needed it. My medicines have helped it tone down to tolerable now.

Next week on Tuesday, I am leaving for a week in Denver to visit our supporters and church there. I have been invited to do a lesson in Sunday School for the Bible Blast class. Our family has been adopted as their class missionary. Each S.S. class has an adopted missionary at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, CO.

I have an idea for the lesson I will do with them next week in Denver. I will have about 60 kids two times- so 120 total. I am planning to call it "Money and Missions." It is coming to me bit by bit from the Lord. That sounds strange probably, but during the day an idea will drop into my mind and it is like puzzle pieces falling one by one into place. The lesson will deal with issues about money and tithing, the economy, currency exchange rates and how that affects missionaries and the kids will also receive an allotment of pretend money to spend at the Partners International Store on projects featured in our current Harvest of Hope Catalog. I will have them posted all over the walls. They will each get a HOH catalog to take home as well. I think a song is even making its way into my mind today from the Lord to go with the lesson. You just never know with me! I liken myself to a combination of Dori from Finding Nemo, as my memory is about that bad, and the squirrel in Over the Hedge, when he drinks caffine and gets really hyper and moves at super-sonic speeds!

Medical Update
I had the CAT scan of my kidneys and bladder last Wednesday. I think because of my blood being extra thin due to the Coumadin I am on (last INR level was 3.7), it was very hard to get an IV in for the contrast. I think I had 5 stressful and painful tries before it finally went in. I was about to have the 3rd person try. I layed down after it had gone on for a while and didn't faint. I won't say more, but some of you know what I mean.

Anyhow, after the IV was in the test was pretty fast. My doctor called to tell me that nothing of concern showed up on the scan. He didn't see any tumors or stones or anything like cancer. Hallelujah! He said a lot of contrast accumulated in my appendix, but that it would dissipate over time. So, where the rubber meets the road, the blood in my urine has no obvious cause, so we don't need to be worried about it. Some people just have it, I guess. Just like some people get DVT's in their legs for no reason.

I'd appreciate you praying that my INR number, which indicates the blood clotting ability of my blood, will get down to the 2.0 to 3.0 range. I have it checked tomorrow. I haven't been wearing my compression socks because they have caused me to get a "bakers' cyst" behind my left knee. This pocket of fluid causes pain when I bend my leg too much. I ice it once or twice daily and that helps it to hurt less. Maybe I can get compression stockings instead of socks...I'll have to ask tomorrow.

Family News
I got to Skype with Allison last Saturday night for 1 1/2 hours! It was wonderful. Not as good as being with her, but a treat none-the-less. She met and spent time with the Australian drummer who played for Hillsong on their US tour. He and one of the teachers in her city is a Christian, but she is having a hard time finding English speaking Christians. She is going to try downloading church from the internet for her spiritual growth. She loves her students and teaching is going well. She MIGHT get to come home for Christmas and to be in a friend's wedding. Please pray for God's will about that. It comes down to money, as it usually does, but God can do it if He feels it is best for her.

Greg and Jesse are heading up into the WA mountains to hunt this weekend and for the next several weekends. I personally am hoping for an elk, but they haven't seen any animals on their scouting trips recently. I think this weekend, they only have tags for deer.

Laura, Jesse and Jenni are doing fine. And Greg is doing great. I sure do love him! Well, I should let you get back to your life. I need to make plans for my trip to Denver. I was so focused on Ghana for the last week or two, I haven't even arranged where to stay or a car to drive- Yikes!
May the Lord bless you as you bless others He brings into your life. Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A beautiful fall day in Spokane!

Hello friends,

It is a beautiful fall warm day today. This is one of Spokane's best ones! This morning Greg and I went to a meeting of leaders where we discussed having a city-wide missions conference. When we talked about what time of year to have it, and we all agreed that winter is the only good idea. It is dark here in the winter, so why not go to a conference? Now we are beginning to meet for prayer about this and to figure out how to ramp up (gear up) to do this in Spokane. Another thing that is being done in Oregon is a kids' missions camp. We got to hear about that program and it was so exciting that we are hoping we can also bring that idea into reality here in Spokane. I am getting a lesson ready for October 8th's Kids' Country Club featuring Ghana. I stopped at the library to get some books to use in my curriculum writing.

Our time in Montana last week was very good. The Prairie Bible Institute students seemed tired as they had just rafted for 5 days, but they still appreciated the testimonies and teaching we and others did for them. It was a good time to connect with the PBI leadership folks too.

We have had two of the five townhouses of Moody Bible Institute girls over for dinner this week. So we have gotten to know 11 of them better. And you can't get more satisfaction than cooking home cooked food for college students. They are so sweet! A few of them are planning to come and help out at our church Ghana night next week.

I was invited to a women's retreat this weekend and it was wonderful! The speaker gave us lots to think about amidst much humor. I got to know many from our church and several other churches better. Jesse and Greg survived fine without me, but don't want to make it a habit.

Tomorrow I am scheduled for a CAT scan of my kidneys and bladder since I have blood showing up in my urine. It is enough to cause him concern and has been happening for quite a while. My doctor said he has to figure out what is causing it, and it could be serious. I know that they will be using a contrast. It is scheduled for 4:15. I will let you know when I get results. I know something strange is going on in my abdomen. It feels strange intermittently. My INR was 3.7 yesterday, so still too high. And I have a swollen area behind my left knee where one of my clots was. The thinking is that it is a fluid cyst caused maybe by my compression stockings. I have to ice it twice a day. I can still go walking, but only a mile for now.

I am getting ready for a trip to Denver October 14-21. I will be teaching kids on Sunday when I am there. I am working on Dalit curriculum to take with me to give to the Dalit Freedom Network also. I am working out my schedule and figuring out where to stay and a car to drive while I am there, etc.

Allison was on skype with us last week. We were able to see each other and talk for over an hour. It was wonderful to see her. She is adjusting and enjoying her time there. Laura just moved since her roommate is getting married this weekend. Jenni calls to tell us about good grades. Jesse just wrote a proposal for his trip to Africa in the spring and turned it in to the short term missions guy at Partners International. He plans to go to Senegal and Mali in late January-May.

I am still working on a pictorial newsletter, so watch for that sometime soon. Blessings- Nancy

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Montana- Here we come!

Dear friends,

It is the end of Saturday afternoon and dinner is cooking. Today I did lots of cleaning and switched the porch decorations to fall colors. I held off as long as I could, but the weather is beginning to change, and I have to keep up with the neighbors, right?

Also today, I got things ready to take to Montana. Greg and I will be doing 4 hours of missions training with 15 Prairie Bible Institute students who are preparing for a mission trip. We are doing much of what we did this summer at a Christian camp near Spokane. We will share our stories, do a few skits and demonstrations, share media and our passion for the lost. Our time with the 13 students this summer was amazing. We received encouraging feedback from them and the camp leadership, so now we are taking the "show on the road." The hardest part of planning our 4 hour time, is trying to figure out which things to do, when we have 100+ hours of things we could do. I think this is what defines missions mobilizers. I can hardly put on paper the depth of passion I have for doing these kinds of trainings. And we live in a city full of college and university students...Hmmmm...

Tonight we are going to meet with the girls (Moody Bible Institute mostly freshmen) who live in our townhouses. We are making plans to have them over to our house for dinner in the next few weeks. Tonight we are deciding of the name of the townhouses. We would like to ask you to pray about unit #6. One of the former tenants has a lease through the end of October, and at this point we don't have a waiting list on that unit. We can't afford to have her move and flip it unless we have new renters lined up. We see God's hand in having her there with her 2 children. They have gotten to know the Moody students who have been genuinely loving them in a way that seems to be new to them. So what is the Author intending for this situation? Thanks for praying with us about this.

I went to the anticoagulation clinic yesterday and my INR was 3.9, which is high. It is supposed to be between 2 and 3 and a normal level is 1. So we made some adjustments and hopefully it will come down to where it should be. My legs have been sore, but I have still been able to walk in the evenings with Greg. Yesterday I got some new understanding from my chiropractor. My neck has been hurting a lot and I have had some days that I have to take migrane medicine due to headaches. Mike explained that at the left side of the base of my neck, where they did radiation 2 years ago, there is a lot of scar tissue developing. The scar tissue is grabbing onto my neck muscles and pulling on them. That makes my muscles sore and my neck go out of place more often. I have been going about one time a week. I think I am functioning at about 60% of what I was able to do before my cancers.

Jesse has healed very quickly. He was back to school in 5 days after his appendectomy and was participating in his tumbling class in 7 days! He had his post-op appointment and the doctor said he seems fine.

Well, it is time to go. Blessings to you! Nancy Fritz

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My boy had his appendix removed tonght!

What a day! My friend Mary who is visiting, and I have been enjoying our time together so much! We have gone to the South Hill Botanical Manito Gardens for a picnic, went downtown for "Pig Out in the Park" on Monday night, we sat and talked with Greg last night, we have slept in and had coffee and tea together. Nice, relaxing...

Today I found out that Jesse had been naucious during the night. He had stomach pain that went from the middle and settled on his right side. And that kept getting worse. Mary looked online and we figured he was tracking with all of the appendicitis characteristics. So I took him to the urgent care center, and when the doctor walked in, it was his friend! Jesse works sometimes at a certain Starbucks store, and this nice man had come in last week and they had talked for 10 minutes or so about Jesse going to Africa and about their faith. Steve Johnson had also been to Africa, so they enjoyed their conversation. Jesse had no idea he was a doctor or where he worked. And Jesse could have been given one of 3 dotors today, and ended up with his"Starbucks Buddy!"

After getting examined there, from noon to 3:00, with 95% certaintly that it was indeed appendicitis, our insurance carrier made us go to another clinic for a CT scan of his appendix. We were there until almost 5:3o, until the radiologist had read the scan. Jesse was able to sleep for a while until we got the word that he did have appendicitis. In another 1/2 hour we were at the hospital and heading for his room on the 5th floor.

He still felt awful and it was sad to see him in so much pain. He met all the doctors and answered all the questions they had and finally at 8:00 they did the surgery. It took about 1 hour. Dr. Olson said that half of his appendix was inflamed and infected and that it was so great that we brought him in before things got worse. Jesse did well and was awake afterward when Mary and I headed back home. Greg had come too, and we got to be with Jesse while they got him ready to go in. All his doctors were excellent and kind and did a great job.

Tomorrow they expect that he will be able to come home. The procedure was laprascopic which makes it much quicker healing. His dreams of X-country this fall are gone, but he should be able to participate in his tumbling PE class in 2-3 weeks, and ease back into school and work as soon as he feels able.

We are so thankful that this happened now and not next spring when he hopes to be in Africa for several months. God is certainly looking out for Jesse and showed that in so many ways today! I think I will send Mary to Coure 'd Alene tomorrow for a restful day by the beautiful water.

I got to instant message with Allison a little tonight from South Korea. She has her own classroom and is getting into the swing of it. She is struggling with the very spicy food. She sais she is doing OK, but I know she is lonely and doesn't get the computer line into her appartment until September 20th. I know she would appreciate your prayers.

Well, I am tired, but really wanted to get this news into my blog so you could pray for my boy to heal quickly. Since Mary is a hospital Chaplain, we were pretty excited that we could take her with us to do all the praying and encouraging she is so great at in that setting. That was ironic to have here here when this happened to Jesse.

I wish you a good sleep the next time you are planning to do that. And thank you for your prayers and concern. God Bless you! Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Friday, August 29, 2008

3 came, 3 went and 30 others came!

Hello all!
Ahhh…Less pressure. The five townhouses we needed to get done, are now occupied by 30 Moody Bible Institute Spokane female students- mostly freshmen. Last week there were parents everywhere, arriving from all over the country and helping their daughters set up their apartments. I have been there- last year actually- with my own, so it was exciting to watch them in full swing. We received lots of thank you’s from the parents and girls. Greg was told by 3 parents, that if it weren’t for our housing option, they wouldn’t have let their daughter come to the school. Generally, students here just live in miscellaneous apartments around town. And the girls are sweet and kind and cute. But if you know me lately, with chemo brain, Crestor brain (short term memory issues), and age memory challenges on top of that, I was just like Dorrie in Finding Nemo! I am slowly learning their names. They are giving me hugs since I am missing my own girls. There is one unit that still has a woman and her 2 children in it. The kids are really bonding with some of the Moody girls, and the whole family came to the barbeque we gave there Sunday night. We dedicated the townhouses to the Lord and had a worship time. I am happy that Lena and her children get to be around these amazing Christian girls. I know they haven't ever experienced anything like it before. She plans to move at the end of October and we have a waiting list of Moody girls who want to move in. So that 'flip' will probably happen in early November. We would appreciate your prayers for Lena, Freddy and Taylor.

Our own kids came and we had 5 days together. We had fun as fast as we could. Tubing and swimming in the river, picking berries at a farm, the girls and I went for “tea” at Mad Hatties, Laura and I went to the gardens on the South Hill (new picture on my blog!). We took walks, went downtown and watched a movie at the IMAX Theater, the kids tubed some more, church, and we talked and laughed a lot! On Sunday evening we went with one of our Moody girls who is a photographer and had family pictures taken. You will be seeing those as time goes by. It was a wonderful time and I thank you for praying. There was some townhouse work in there too, but we were able to do all this besides.

Allison’s paperwork from Footprints, the international teacher recruiting company, came at 5:30 last Tuesday afternoon-10 days ago. On Wednesday morning, Jesse, Jenni and Allison drove to Seattle to the Korean embassy and at 3:30 that afternoon, they were handed her visa and drove back home. The lady at the embassy who processed her paperwork told her that her own daughter had left for Korea the day before to work for the same company! And she knew Allison was late for the training. She expedited things and even gave Allison her daughter’s name. Allison flew out early on Friday morning and after loosing a day in travel, got to Seoul on Saturday evening their time. She is in traing this week and goes to Olson, near Busan, soon to teach English in a public elementary school.

Jenni left for Grove City that night, and after spending the night at Denver airport for 6 hours, got to Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon where Uncle Fred met her and took her to college. Thank you Uncle Fred! She lost her phone on the way from Seattle to Denver, but the man who found it has contacted us and mailed it to her. I had to FedEx her new guitar to her. It was the first time they wouldn't let her take it on with her. She has a retreat this weekend that she is leading music for, so I hope it got there in time. She doesn't have her phone yet, so I can't call and ask!

Now, a note about Allison and Jenni’s Denver parents- Sean and Janet…I was told when they got here, that the entire time they were with them, there was a container of quartered strawberries in the fridge for them at all times, so Jenni taught me how to be like her other mother! They told many fun stories of their time with the Willcoxes. We enjoyed those stories immensely and laughed a lot! Thank you for the home away from home you provided for our daughters this summer! And Caleb is a ‘precious dew drop’ according to my girls! They love, love, love your grandson!

We are still working on my Coumadin levels. It was low yesterday- 1.8. It is supposed to be between 2 and 3 and the best would be 2.5. So I am wearing my compression knee socks and trusting God to take care of all that. My other blood work from my oncologist was all normal, and my recent cholesterol test showed that the Crestor 5mg I am taking has worked well. I have a little more to do on one of my levels, but the rest are coming down. 5mg is half the regular dose, but my naturopath doctor wanted to try the lower dose first and it worked.

I am feeling very achy and have had 3 headaches in the last month that have lead to nausea. I don’t get them that badly very often. All the meds for treating those interfere with the Coumadin, so we picked the least threatening one, so if I have to use it I can just call and let them know I am using it so we can adjust my Coumadin. I seem to be getting arthritis in my right had, so my naturopath also has me doing condroitin as that can help prevent the tissue from deteriorating more. We are trying some ideas for the aches and pains I have been having all over also. I am able to do things, but more slowly and with some growning.

Greg, Jesse and I are going camping this afternoon where they plan to go hunting later in the fall. I don’t think I have camped for 2 years! Last year we were moving and this year it was townhouses. We are going for 2 nights. Jesse starts school on Tuesday and will be going ½ days and working the other half at Starbucks. We met with our friends the other night about Jesse and their son going to Africa in January-May. The boys now have a plan for their preparation. Jesse graduates January 23rd, and plans to go ASAP after that.

And Sunday night Mary, my best friend from college, is coming for 4 ½ days. We are excited to be together and relaxation is the main goal. She has been working hard as a hospital chaplain and I get to pamper her! She hasn’t taken a trip like this for 5 years, so we are excited.

Well, I need to finish up the food preparation for camping, so I will let you go. Thank you for your love and prayers for me, and as always, your hard work reading all this! Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Extreme Townhouse Makeovers!

Well, it has surely been too long since I have written. My computer has been broken for 2 weeks and it is only tentatively working right now. I was told to back it up this week and then the IT guys are going to clean it and reset it after they get back next week. So here is a catch up on my life. On Tuesday I pictured myself being on a beach with a hurricane blowing, with me holding onto a palm tree with my body suspended straight out by the blowing wind. That is how stressed I felt. Why? you might ask...

Here were my pressure points:
We were cleaning one of the townhouses we had had trouble getting the last renter out of. It was so filthy, the painters said they had never seen anything like it. Animal and human filth and it was so bad I didn't even go in until the carpet guys put an enzyme treatment down to kill the smell before laying the carpet. Greg went in with a shovel and just shuddered when telling me about it. (He is doing this in the evenings while working at Partners all day.) Greg had to fix all the holes in the walls including the results of an apparent paint ball game and knife throwing contest. Almost every door had holes kicked into it and had to be replaced. The tenant walked out with our washer and dryer too. So we had to get new ones (referbished). BUT they got out and we had until this last Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. to get it ready for the first girl to arrive.

So on Tuesday I called a friend who agreed to come and help me on Wednesday to do the final cleaning before the girl showed up with her family at 6 p.m. on Wed. We worked hard and fast and finshed the last touches right before they got there. So that pressure was on. That day the next unit emptied out, which meant we had to start all over again, but fortunately it was much less dirty. And we only have 5 days to get that one ready!

So when Lauren, a Moody Bible Institute freshman, arrived from Kansas City with her mom and sisters, she came in and exclaimed that the townhouse was fantastic! She loved it! It made us feel like it was all worthwhile.

Now 4 out of 30 have arrived and we expect 3 or 4 in the next few days. That includes one moving into the 4th townhouse which is getting carpeted on Monday. I have college and high school kids recruited to help Monday evening and a friend on Tuesday. Basicially, we are wiping down and cleaning every surface in the place. So we think by God's grace, we will be able to get it done in time.

Meanwhile, Allison came home on Wed night and she has been getting things done so she will be ready to leave on the 19th or 20th for Busan, South Korea. Orientation begins on the 22nd. They are asking her to get there on the 21st, but she looses a day traveling. She should get her school posting on Monday and then has to send off her passport for her visa. So lots of details still to take care of, and the mom always has to help! Right?

Jesse flew to Denver on early Tuesday morning, so it was some work to help him get ready.

And I saw the chiropractor 2 times this week since my neck and back was hurting so much from all the bending and muscle work of cleaning the townhouses. My left arm has gotten a little more swollen from all the exercise also. So I wore my arm sleeve this week. So, another alert that I need to be careful to not over do it with my body. The pain in my right leg where the clot supposedly was from what the tests showed, finally stopped hurting a week ago. I get my INR number checked at the anticoagulation clinic on Monday morning. I will see how I have done in keeping my number in the mid 2's for the last 2 weeks. The number tells how much Coumadin is in my ststem. That is another pressure point, along with writing a newsletter for the women's ministry at church this week.

So, Jenni and Jesse drive back to Spokane on Monday and Tuesday, and Laura comes Wednesday afternoon. We had hoped to camp, but there is still so much to do on the last townhouse which will be empty on Tuesday. So we will see how the week goes. We would love to take some days for focusing on time together as a family. But the Moody students are arriving and we have to be ready for them when they come. Please pray for us as we make daily decisions about how to spend our time together this coming week. We have 5 days with Laura here.

I will sign off as I need to get to bed. I will tell you more next time. God bless you for you interest and prayers. Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Medical update, and VBS ideas

Monday evening
We are having a quiet evening at home after spending a lot of time at the triplexes over the weekend. I wrote last time about the 6 townhomes Greg and I have bought as a retirement investment. I helped clean on Friday evening and painted on Saturday afternoon. I stayed home to rest yesterday, partly because of a stomach ache. Two of the older girls have moved in and are so excited. They plan to mentor the younger ones. We are emailing back and forth with parents and they are so grateful for this set up for their daughters just a few blocks from the Moody Bible Institute campus at 4th Memorial.

I was tired yesterday, but have been limiting myself when I feel tired. I see my oncologist tomorrow and will get the CAT scan results- more than "stable" and also the blood work results. Maybe he will be able to figure out why I got the blood clots. I am supposed to be in little danger of them traveling now that I have been on Coumadin for over a month. I am allowed to go on walks again, but we do go shorter distances, don’t go up or down hills, and we walk more slowly. My right leg is still having pains sometimes, so I put my leg up a lot and am resting it more. I am also wearing my compression stockings quite a bit. They are supposed to keep blood from pooling in my legs and forming more clots.

Wednesday medical update
I saw Dr. Sienko, my oncologist yesterday. It was a VERY encouraging appointment. He said all of my blood tests came back normal. I have no blood condition causing clots that they can test for. There a few other tests they can do after I get off Coumadin. He plans to have me on Coumadin for 6 months, so I get to stop in mid Dec. He explained that since my clots are just happening without any discernable cause, he wants me on it for a while, but not indefinitely. Some people just get clots for no discernable reason, and I am one of them. My CAT scan showed only little things that I have had for a long time and haven’t changed, and my MRI showed no cancer either.

We had a conversation about my last cancer being considered a metastasis as opposed to a recurrence. Recurrence would be when your cancer comes back in your beast tissue, and is much less threatening than a metastasis or growth of it in a different part of the body. He told me that we could think of mine as a recurrence. It was near my original cancer-in my left armpit, near my left breast cancer, and it was removable and treatable with radiation, chemo, and Femara- a type of hormone therapy. A metastasis would be something like brain, bone or liver cancer that wouldn’t be as removable and that is farther from the original tumor. A metastasis is automatically called stage 4 (out of 4) and can only be treated but never cured. So although he will see me again in 3 months, and we will remain vigilant and watchful, I am encouraged. My initial cancer was stage 2B or 3A, depending on how certain factors were considered. I had two types of cancer- both invasive (lobular and ductal), moderately aggressive and hormone receptive for estrogen and progesterone. My tumor (or the string of them) was 6 cm long, but it was also skinny- the largest one was about 2 cm’s. So that clarification on how to think of metastasis was very helpful. I just feel less “stage 4” than I did yesterday before talking to him. Thank you all for praying! God, as always, is the author of my days and for now I get more of them free from cancer!

About VBS-
I was asked for a description of what we did to promote missions during our VBS
this summer at Whitworth Pres. here in Spokane, Washington. We did a missions focus on Ghana, since we have adoped Partnership International's work there as a focus. We decided to aim for getting a plow, two bullocks (cows) and seeds for a church planter in Ghana through the Partners International’s Harvest of Hope catalog. A plow and cows would provide an ongoing income for a church planter's family. They could use it for their own plowing, but also rent it out to earn more income. The female cows also provide milk for the family. And seeds would get them started with food to eat and I assume, more seeds. This project of $1555 was pretty ambitious for the 275 kids in our VBS, but we thought they could do it. And why not try?!

I made a coloring sheet of the picture from the HOH catalog for the preschoolers to color. Greg spotted an old plow in a garden in our neighborhood and I asked the people if we could borrow it. With their permission, we brought it to church and put it on the lawn outside the door where the kids came into the building. It looked very much like the one we were trying to earn. We put it into the church shed every night to keep it safe.

I put up our camping screen room and we pinned signs on it like, "Ghana Hut," “Plow now brown cow!” and, “It’s no yoke, we’re earning a plow!” There were other decorations also- missions related. We put 2 card tables inside and on one had a 3-fold board with pictures of the project and a map of the world with Ghana on it and giving sheets from the Harvest of Hope Catalog. On the other table we had packets from Compassion International for families to choose a child to sponsor from Ghana.

I wrote a ½ page note to go home with the kids every day that tied our giving project into the VBS curriculum. We made bookmarks for the kids that had “B2baB” (Blessed to be a Blessing) on them, and Ghana ’08 on the back. We have 2 Whitworth students who also go to our church and asked if they could be around as much a possible at the beginning and end of VBS each day. At least one of them is the son of one of our Partners leaders in Africa. We made these two college guys the stars of the week. They played the drum when we did our skit and also out in the Ghana Hut, where they also autographed the kids’ bookmarks for them and let the kids play their drum. Kids were lined up at the door of the “Ghana Hut” to meet these guys! It was amazing. They each had a folding lawn chair to sit on, and I had one outside the door. As goofy Hannah from Ghana, I had our drum from Uganda there and let the kids play it while they waited on line. Kofi and Elam have been at our church all year, but now the kids have gotten to know them.

Julie and I were the “Ghana Sisters.” Julie was Gerti and I was “Hannah from Ghana” (pronouncing Ghana like you would pronounce Hannah) and they corrected me every time, telling me that I was “Haaaannna from Ghana” (pronounced like Ghana). The goal of this was to get them used to pronouncing and remembering the country name.

Also every day I wore clothes from different countries that I have collected over the years. India, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Japan (borrowed) and at last on Friday I got it right and had an outfit from Ghana (also borrowed). So every morning during the opening we would do a skit. I would model my amazing outfit for the kids and then tell Gerti where it was from. We had a map on the power point and pointed out the countries my clothes were from and Gerti would patiently correct me and show me how far away from Ghana I was. The idea here was to get them to know where Ghana is in the world. By Friday they really knew! They would correct me every time I said it wrong and encourage me to try and find clothes from Ghana.

I came out for our skit with a big bag with something in it every day. The first day I had little things I thought they could give a bunch of- toothbrushes or toothpicks, or little plastic tops, etc. Gerti insisted that they could give BIG. So I acted doubtful all week and told them I didn’t think they could do it. I also had in my bag a stuffed animal from the thrift store for each day. Monday was a large pink elephant, Tues. a squirrel, a kangaroo, a moose and finally on Friday a stuffed cow. So each day I would go stick it into the plow outside so they would see it when they went to their activities. They were concerned that its’ feet couldn’t reach the ground and enjoyed the goofiness of it- always telling me I needed to find a COW.

On Thursday a mom helping with music came and told me the Lord was prompting her to bring her cow on Friday. We have farms in our area and they have a Scottish Highlander white long haired cow with horns like the ones we were earning. The long hair was the only major difference. They set up a pen, got a friend with a trailer to help, and the kids were extremely excited on Friday to see a real cow! Of course, Hannah from Ghana took most of the credit!

We gave the kids the idea of doing a lemonade stand with a Ghana promo sign on it. Tuesday morning 2 girls came in with $75 from their lemonade stand! They went to neighbors around their house and told them about the stand. Most gave $5 or $10 and told them to keep the change for Ghana. They shared their story Tuesday morning and others did the same. It was a hot week. Someone told me she spotted a few more Ghana stands when she was driving around. By Friday we had over $2000 dollars, and on Sunday, with some extra giving from the congregation, we ended up with $650 over our goal- $2205! We were able to give enough for Partners ministries to start a small business in Ghana also. WOW! It was a memorable week. I do think the pastor who offered to get “slimed” if the kids raised the money didn’t hurt. He had 4 gallons of apple sauce from Costco dumped over his head on Friday when Hannah from Ghana made the announcement. Partners staff came over from our office and took pictures of all this to go onto our website and maybe into a publication to give other churches an idea of how to pick a project and make it part of VBS. I also wrote up a few ideas for a VBS focus on giving to one of our Dalit HOH projects for Partners. Check out the Partners website (www.partnersintl.org) to get a hold of that. Let me know if you have trouble finding it there.

Well, enough for one day. I figured you would either want to know all about VBS or nothing, so you could skip that part of you weren't interested. Allison's job is requiring her to be in South Korea by August 21st, so she is going to fly home on the 6th so we can get her ready. Jesse is in Los Angeles right now in the inner city doing his mission trip. Please be praying for them this week. His leaders told me they were going to rely heavily on him for music for VBS and other leadership things. Thanks as always for your interest and prayers. God bless you- Nancy

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some test results are in- no cancer!

Dear friends,

I saw my breast surgeon about some new lumpiness on the left side of my chest. She agreed with me that it was new since I was there in Feb, and she ordered an MRI to help us know whether or not it is cancer or scar tissue. I am so happy to report that the MRI came back showing that the area of concern does not have a blood supply feeding it. She said that cancer always does, so we can continue to watch it, but no need for surgery. My left side is sticking out an inch further than my right, and this has just transpired in the last few months. That is why I went to see her. This wait and see method is different than I am used to, but I do trust her, so I am trying to let go and not worry about it.

Meantime, the DVT’s (deep vein thrombosis) showed up in my legs. Cancer is the one and only risk factor that I have for why I got them. The Femara I suspected at first is not a clot propogator like Tamoxifen is. Either current cancer happening or if a person has ever had cancer treatment can cause them. I hope I don’t have cancer now, which is why my oncologist ordered a bunch of blood tests and a CAT scan of my trunk. The short answer of the nurse to my inquiry about the results last week were, “stable,” and, “Have a great weekend.” I know there were very little things we have kept an eye on for years, and stable probably meant that none of those have changed, and there is nothing new to be concerned about. I will see my oncologist on Tuesday to find out what the blood tests showed, if anything. There are blood conditions that can cause clots that he was able to check for. I haven’t heard any results on those. The only one I heard mentioned specifically was lupis. I do know that they messed up a few of the tests and had to poke me again to redraw more blood. What 's another poke at this point. I have lost count!

I have been to the Anticoagulation Clinic a lot and went a week in between visits last week and get 9 days this time. I am doing 7 ½ mg 4 days a week and 10mg the other 3 days. It has been in the 2.1 to 2.3 range and they want it a little higher. I eagerly look forward to my 3 salads a week. . Vitamin K is the enemy of Coumadin, but a whole summer without K laden broccoli is torture. But seriously, God is giving me grace.

My right leg is still painful, which could mean there is still a clot, or another clot there. They said all clots will eventually dissolve themselves in 3 weeks or so, but the Coumadin thins the blood to prevent it from happening again. Apparently, once you have had a clot, a rough spot remains on the side of that vein at that location. Then future cells going by can hook onto that rough spot and form another clot later. There has still been no discovery yet regarding what has caused these clots all of a sudden in my calves. Hopefully Dr. Sienko will have some ideas when I see him Tuesday. I am very sore and achy in my back and neck and generally all over. I can still do things I want to do, but running or jumping is out. We walk every evening we are home, but don’t go as far as we did before. This has been going on for a long time. Probably since cancer treatment 2 years ago.

Last time I wrote, Jenni had just gotten a job at Chipoltle in Highlands Ranch, CO near Thunder Ridge High School. She is doing well with that and is using her high school Spanish to communicate with her co-workers. She is also pricing guitars. She is doing serious worship leading at college this year and it is time for her to get more than a low end instrument. She starts school on August 25th at Grove City College, so we are looking for her plane ticket to get back. I know Sean and Janet Willcox are going to miss our girls when they leave. They have enjoyed their summer daughters as much as we have enjoyed Lindsay.

Now it is Allison who has gotten a job. And not just any job! Allison was recruited to become an English teacher in a public elementary school in South Korea! She will be the English teacher for the entire school and will have all the kids in the school learning from her. There are several others from her college who are also working for the same company there in varius schools, so she felt confident enough to pursue the interviews. She found out yesterday that it is done. She has been officially employed by the department of education there. Now she is filling in all the paperwork ASAP and has to report for work on August 21st. She has a 12 month contract. They pay for her travel there and back and provide housing free. She hopes to get some great experience under her belt and begin paying off her loans. She is very excited!

Laura is still with AT&T. She got her I-Phone last week- a fun perk. She and some friends have started an international student fellowship group which is going well. She is planning to come visit us from Aug. 13th to the 18th , before Allison leaves. So we are hoping to spend those days together as a family.

Believe it or not, we are sort of “adopting” 30 more daughters this fall. Greg and I have invested in getting a property of 2 triplexes here in Spokane. There are 3 rooms in each of the 6 townhouses. Our plan is for it to be an apartment for Moody Bible Institute women freshmen to live in. Moody here doesn’t own dorms, so the students just hunt for apartments. Our units are just a few blocks from the church that houses their campus, and they can have community with each other with a few older students living with them to mentor them. There will be 30 this fall, until the last of the units is free from the current renter, and hopefully 6 more girls for a total of 36 next year.

So we are cleaning, patching walls, changing out doors, sinks, furnaces, painting, carpeting, etc, etc. as the current renters move out. I have helped some with the cleaning and Greg has been there a lot. He has people doing the various jobs. We have used our retirement money to invest in this, and we believe it will be a blessing to the Moody student women as well. The administration is very excited although we don’t have an official agreement with them. Please pray for the other 3 tenants to move out as scheduled or before schedule, so we can get in to do the repairs before our 30 adopted daughters move in by mid August. These townhouses are near Gonzaga Univ. campus as well and are about 20 minutes from our house or 10 minutes from Partners. We sense the Lord's hand on this whole endeaver and would appreciate your prayers.

Lindsay, our honorary “Exchange Daughter” of summer ’08 has only one more day with us before she is gone for the summer. She has been a delight and has filled the gap we were feeling about missing our girls. She will begin her sr. year at Whitworth this fall, so we still look forward to seeing her during the year.

Jesse is planning to leave for his youth group mission trip to inner city LA at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I know he would be grateful for your prayers for that week. He has n eight hour shift at Starbucks both Friday and Sat. before leaving. He will be leading worship for the group during the trip, and I have heard from the leaders that he will play a major role in the VBS they will be leading. He then plans to go to Denver August 5th and see friends there, and then drive back to Spokane in Allison’s car with Jenni. Allison is going to fly home sooner so we have time to get her ready to go to S. Korea.

So, health issues, children coming, children going, property cleaning and prepping, meeting 30 new girls, and doing our “regular” jobs. I still need to tell you about our camp teaching time, VBS missions at our church and the cow, the African children's choir, and so much more. More on those later. Such amazing things are happening at Partners International!

God Bless you! Sorry this is so long. I shouldn’t have waited so long to write an update. Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My 25th Anniversary today!

Dear friends,

It is July 2nd and 25 years ago, about now, Greg and I got married at his parents’ house in Benton, PA. It was a hot day, like this one in Spokane, but a lot more humid. I remember waking up that morning and hearing thunder clapping- and then I thought of the piano we had moved out there to the lawn the day before. We had covered it well, but actual rain? We discovered later that morning that it had gotten so humid that the piano made no sound when played. So several took turns out there with a hair dryer on an extension cord blow drying the pads. It worked, praise God!

We have been nostalgic this week remembering who was there, our gift of a honeymoon in the Poconos, driving across the country to our new home in Pasadena with our German Shepherd puppy, Jedi, in the Chevette with us. Those were exciting days!

I also remember all who prayed for our union. God has blessed us in huge ways. He provided a home and great housemates to live with in community for 7 ½ years, a home in Denver and now one in Spokane, WA. We have been privileged to work in amazing ministry all these years as well. Our focus on the unreached peoples continues to be at the heart of what we get to do as a job, and that is a true and ultimate gift from God. We have four beautiful and healthy children who love the Lord and who have hearts for the nations. We have friends serving all around the globe as well as friends everywhere we have lived.

Ten years ago we actually commented on how blessed and relatively easy our lives had been. We knew that was unusual and just thanked God for the smooth times and asked Him to get us ready for any hard ones coming up. Nine years ago right now, I was beginning chemo therapy for breast cancer. Two years ago, I was going through the same thing with radiation thrown in. Currently I have DVT’s (deep vein thrombosis) in both calves and am getting “titrated” on Coumadin and retested for cancer as the doctors can’t think of any reason other than that for me to be getting clots with no history or incidents to cause it. So it is sort of a “Here we go again…” but I have to tell you what I am thankful for. It is me and not one of my kids or Greg going through this. Also, I have gotten to experience the ‘fellowship of His sufferings,’ and the richness and intimacy of that place I wouldn’t trade for anything. We have learned much and are so grateful to a God who loves us beyond comprehension.

I am also thankful for a great husband. We have had so much fun together. Memories on top of memories! He is godly and disciplined and I am less disciplined but very creative. We complement each other and are committed to working through even the disagreements. Divorce is not an option for us. We promised 25 years ago, and by the grace of God, we have been able to keep that promise. Thank you to all of you who pray for us. We are so thankful for you also! Where would we be without friends and family?!
I hope you have a nice day. Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blood Clots #3 I feel like a pin cushion!

Dear friends,

I am grabbing a few minutes to give you an update. The short version is that there seems to be no reason for me getting blood clots in my calves that the doctors can discern. My thought that the medication I am on was causing it fell through when my oncologist told me that Femara hardly ever has that as a side effect. My naturopath said that maybe I am one of those 2 in a hundred that does get that side effect. So 8 tubes of blood were drawn and some testing is being done. I will find out the results in about 2 weeks.

I figured out that I have been poked 28 times in the last 10 days. I have been going to the anticoagulation clinic daily to have my Coumadin levels checked. Until my number was over 2.0, I had to give myself shots of Lovenox in my stomach 2 times a day. It is a faster acting anticoagulation med. That was so PAINFUL! The needle wasn’t too bad, but the medicine itself felt like a punch in the stomach. Then it hurt less after about 20 minutes. In general, my stomach is just sore with purple bruises at most of the shot sights, and I have been having flashbacks to chemo fatigue days. I am very tired

The Coumadin finally went from 1.9 to 3.7 on Wednesday night, so I was allowed to stop doing the shots. I am doing various amounts of Coumadin every night as they try to get my levels regulated. My legs are sore, but the compression stockings actually feel pretty good.

One thing that could cause all this is cancer. So they are scheduling me for an MRI and a CT to make sure things are OK in there. That should happen in the next few weeks. One other thing to pray about is that my white count went from 6.6 to 2.9 in 2 days when I began these meds. Five days later it was down to 2.5. They don’t know why this is happening either. My fertile imagination has me remembering those painful Neupogen shots I had to do during chemo for a low white count, so pray that I don’t have to do that. My oncologist is watching my levels pretty closely.

I am teaching 4 evenings this week at a Christian camp- missions to college freshmen in a leadership program. We have been preparing for months and are planning to go ahead. I also have a 3-5 minute skit for missions at VBS each morning this week and in between I plan to SLEEP! Tomorrow morning I have to be at the Anticoag. Clinic at 8:10, and then over to VBS by 8:30ish. We will drive back from camp tonight as it is only 35 minutes. We might stay there some of the other nights.

I so appreciate your love and prayers. Here we go again! Blessings on your day! Nancy

Monday, June 16, 2008

Clots are complicated!

I found out last Thursday morning that I have two DVT’s (deep vein thrombosis) – one in each calf. The one on the left, with the large bruise above it, is high in my calf and can been seen clearly on the ultrasound test. The suspected clot in my right calf is several inches above my ankle. It is hard to see clots there, but there were indications of it on the ultrasound with the various pressure tests they did. And the pain I have been having is right where they think they found the clot. So they are pretty sure I have two clots, but are sure there is at least one.

I have been to the “Anticoagulation Clinic” 3 times so far, and have to go tomorrow and Wednesday mornings also. They are carefully tracking the amount of Coumadin in my system. It takes at least 5 days to “ramp up” to a safe amount of thinner, so while that is happening, they are having me give myself 2 shots of Lovenox a day, 12 hours apart.

The shots go into my love handles. The needles themselves aren’t bad, but the medicine really hurts for about 15 minutes. Lovenox absorbs into my body more quickly than Coumadin, so they want me to do it to get my blood into that safe zone ASAP. My number needs to be at 2 or above for two days before I am allowed to stop the shots. My number was 1 when I started, was 1.1 on Saturday and was 1.6 this morning. So I am getting closer. I will have to do extra shots, but I find out tomorrow morning how many. My co-pay is $25 for all 10 shots, but I was told today that they each cost $90! My stomach is covered with bruises from the shots I have done so far.

I think going on Coumadin is almost as complicated as chemotherapy. Everything affects the level of absorption. Food with vitamin K in it has to be either eaten consistently or not at all. They went through my supplements and I can only do about 1/3 of them. I fell like my supplements help me fight cancer and having to stop doing them makes me feel vulnerable. My oncologist is on vacation and he is the one who has to decide whether I stay on the medicine that may have caused the clots. After 3-6 months of Coumadin I will stop using it and then my doctor has a test he can do to see if Femara caused the problem or if it is genetic.

So I have a list of 100 foods to remember and can take absolutely nothing medicine or supplement related without getting permission first. The doctor at the clinic this morning told me that in the 18 months he has worked there, only 1 person taking Coumadin has died from a pulmonary embolism (a clot traveling to the lungs from the leg or somewhere else). So the odds seem to be in my favor.

I am also now the proud owner of 2 pair of surgical strength compression stockings that go up to my knee. They are VERY TIGHT and hard to get on and off. I am supposed to wear them 24 hours a day- even to bed. They actually do make my legs feel better. So much to learn…

I see Dr. Valley, my integrative medicine doctor on Friday to talk about my cholesterol, which has not come down enough doing natural things. So he may put me on something for that too. Then they have to balance THAT with the Coumadin. Yikes! This is complicated! Please pray that the clots dissolve soon and stay where they are until then. Pray that if anything happens I would realize it and get to the ER in time. And pray for wisdom for my oncologist to make a good decision about what to do about the Femara which might be causing this clotting and cholesterol problem. Is it worth it? Is there something else I can take instead with less side effects?

I am tired and need to get some sleep so I can get up and go there to take my next shot at 8:30 a.m. It is about 20 minutes away from our house.

Blessings friends and thanks for reading and caring! Nancy Fritz

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blod clots in my legs

Dear friends,

After taking a shower yesterday, I checked a sore spot on the back of my right calf in the mirror because it had been hurting without any reason for a few weeks. I realized there was a big bulging bruise just below my left knee. I am on Femara, a cancer prevention drug that can cause blood clots, so that is why my antennae were up. I had been debating whether to call the doctor about my right leg, and the bruise made me stop wondering. It just happened without being traumatized it any way.

I called the doctor yesterday morning and asked if I needed to come in or if they could tell me what to watch for, and I was there within the hour. Later in the day they did ultrasound on both legs and I got a call this morning from my doctor telling me that I have a clot in my left leg by the bruise, and they strongly suspect one in my lower right leg also. Because they are both below the knee, they are much less dangerous than they would be above the knee and probably won’t break loose. The chance of that happening is low, he said.

So I am to run to the ER if I have chest pain or trouble breathing, and to greatly decrease my physical activity and maybe even use the motorized carts at the grocery store! I don’t think I could bring myself to do that, but we’ll see. He is putting me on Coumadin starting tonight, and I also need to do 5 days of 2 shots a day to carry me over until the Coumadin gets into my system. I sure do hate shots! I miss having my nurse neighbor and other friend in Denver! (Wanna come visit Janet or Lisa?)

Life is never dull! I sure would hate to die of a loose clot after fighting cancer twice! So please pray that the clots would dissolve and not cause any problems. I am not feeling worried or stressed about this, other than the time it will take to learn everything. I am supposed to go to the Coumadin Clinic today or tomorrow for orientation. I’ll know more after I have gone and will let you know.

Here is some great news! Jenni got a job yesterday at Chipotle near Thunder Ridge High School where Laura and Allison went. (They make delicious burritos like Qdoba, but better!) She decided she would go to the strip mall near where she and Allison are staying and go store to store until she got a job. When she walked into Chipotle, she addressed several men sitting at a table and asked if they had any job openings. The men looked at each other and back at her. The store manager and district manager had just finished saying as she walked into the door, that they needed to hire someone over 18, because the 17 year olds working there weren’t allowed to do the register, etc. They asked her how she had heard about the job, and were amazed that she hadn’t, but just showed up at that moment. And when she told them she is 19, their faces lit up! So she started this morning at 7:30 and works until 4. She is very excited. If you live in that part of Denver, she at Wildcat Reserve and Highlands Ranch Parkway. It is close enough to where they are living this summer for her to get a quick ride or walk. Yeah God!

I am preparing our latest prayer letter for the mail and would be happy to add you to either our email or snail mail list if you email me at nancyfritz@aol.com. God bless you! Nancy

Saturday, May 31, 2008

God's surprises as He takes cares care of us

Dear friends,

I have heard from a few of you regarding my last blog entry that was pretty emotional- for me to write and for you to read. I will give an update so you know I am OK.

Just after writing, the girls got a call from a friend and former Caleb Project staff member. She let them know that one option for a place to live this summer in Denver (that they had heard about many weeks ago) was still a possibility. They contacted the owner and it was all set, for 1 1/2 days! The owner sent family in to check it out, and there had been a significant water leak. So, she called to tell them it needed to be repaired and was unlivable for the time being. So, as of Tuesday, they were homeless again. Jesse still thought Allison's car would be adequate.

On the same day, a friend of mine from Denver called to encourage me, and she did! She reads my blog regularly and they pray for us faithfully. Her daughter and Laura "happened to" share a locker in middle school. Laura and Nickie have remained friends all this time, and we got to know Janet and Sean through the girls. Janet mentioned that if Allison and Jenni needed a place to stay this summer, and that they are totally welcome to stay at their house. I assured her that they finally had a place to stay and thanked her for her offer.

Several hours later, Allison called to tell me about the other option falling through. I talked to Janet again, and she was excited about the idea of the girls staying with them. They are empty nesters and have room, in our old stomping grounds. So praise God for His provision! You can imagine that this mother's heart is deeply grateful! I told the girls God would do something amazing! This is a blessing for the girls and Janet says it is for them too.

Allison and Jenni started driving on Thursday and arrived in Denver today. They had a smooth trip, and didn't even complain about the lack of air conditioning in Allison's car. Jenni is already out applying for jobs today. Allison has a nanny job with the same family she has worked with for many years. The two girls she cares for have become like family to us. They are growing up fast!

Another exciting thing happened this week. Jesse has gotten a job- at Starbucks! He has wanted to work there all year and starts on Monday. He has definitely been persistent and it finally paid off. He also has been doing some other odd jobs and has taken up golfing. 6-8 of his friends were over last evening hanging out with us. All of them are seniors and graduating next week.

We got our church newsletter yesterday, and I had Greg check to see if the Women’s Ministry article I wrote got printed or not. They printed the article and included a picture I didn’t even remember them taking of me! So I guess that makes me a published author! Hmmm…

We are going to a farewell party tonight for our backyard neighbors. He is in the Air Force and was here to get his doctorate at Gonzaga University. They leave in a few weeks and will be very missed. Our gift to them is going to be a copy of a book I have read called The Shack, by Michael P. Williams. It is an excellent fictional allegory dealing with who God is, the problem of sorrow and pain, etc. The main character meets God face to face and gets to ask questions and get to know God intimately at the same time. I am reading it for the second time to prepare for a book discussion with my Bible study ladies. I highly recommend it to any of you. Some of the scenes in the book have come back into my memory when I catch myself judging others. If you read the book, you will know what I mean! They are having a hard time keeping it on the store shelves here in Spokane.

I am doing OK physically. I have had a few late rises in the morning and one in the early afternoon due to tiredness and aching. Those days seem to occur with or shortly before the rain arrives so I suspect “rhuematiz.” I am seeing the chiropractor about every 5 days. I tried a week and was really hurting by the time I went...I have made progress on the curriculum this week and turned some of it over for editing to a friend. Greg and I are preparing for 5 days of teaching at a Christian camp 45 minutes from here the last week of June. We will be with 13 eighteen year olds and teaching about missions.

Yesterday another friend and I took Madeline, my Swiss friend who is moving to Stockholm soon, to the Lilac Gardens in town for a last picnic together. What a whiff of heaven!...Laura is doing well in Baltimore, and Lindsay Reitsma is moving in on Monday for 5 weeks or so. We went hunting for a sister for Jesse so he won’t be so lonely until Allison and Jenni come in August. Lindsay will be a senior at Whitworth Univ. in the fall.

I need to go since I am feeling the urge to write a poem for Brian and Jessica, our backyard neighbors. Blessings, and as always, thank you for reading, caring and praying for me and my family! Nancy Fritz