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