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Posts tagged ‘Little Dog Diaries’

Bingo Balls…..

Paul had his 3rd chemo treatment and the side effects are getting weirder and weirder. Neuropathy is a new one of course. That’s cold sensitivity in the extremities.  Pain and tingling in his hands when he reaches into the freezer. Taking things out for dinner is no longer an option without using a cloth to pick it up. No more ice in drinks since it causes a sensation like his throat is closing up. Never a moment without socks and slippers on our tile floors. At the moment it only lasts about a week. That may change since chemo has a cumulative effect so we expect it will eventually last from treatment to treatment. There is a chance this could become permanent….a big fear for Paul, especially since he is a musician. Tingling fingers do not make for easy flute or saxophone playing.

A new one this week is cramping in his hands. It doesn’t hurt apparently but his hands will start to curl up on themselves. It happened while one of the chemo drugs were being administered and happened once more when he got home. All normal side effects according to his nurses. Just another interesting adventure in chemotherapy….

You wonder where it’s going to end. I spent some time last night searching Ampullary Cancer and found some sites with some survivor stories. It was good to hear some people in their 60’s and 70’s (since that is the median age for this type of cancer) speak of having their Whipple Procedure and chemo/radiation 3 years, 5 years, 7 years ago and how well they are doing. Sadly there are more stories of loss and suffering….being told you have 6-8 mos. to live…..burying your father 6 mos after his “life saving” surgery….

Even the long-term survivors spoke of the long and slow recovery. Taking a year to regain 10 lbs. another year to get to 15 lbs. back. Paul’s weight loss is difficult for me to see. My once robust strong husband is a shadow of his former self. But his eyes are bright and his life force is strong……and of course, I wonder how long he can hold on to that.

I KNOW he will hold on to that until the bitter end….there is no doubt….but sometimes that “will to live” just isn’t enough. If it was, a lot more people would have defeated cancer…especially pancreatic cancer….and Ampullary is so rare they treat it and lump it in with Pancreatic. So I browsed through support sites among pictures of Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze….knowing those guys didn’t give up either but…..they still lost….

I’m sure I will have a change of heart when I hear the doctor tells us Paul is responding to the chemotherapy. I know that is the catalyst for all of these thoughts…negative thinking?….I don’t know if I would call it that….but I am even more consumed than usual with Paul’s health.  Getting the PET scan results next week is all I can think about. Like a marble tumbling around in my head…cancer still growing? looks like it’s improving? “I’m sorry Mr. Klemm there is nothing else we can do.”? Like a head full of Bingo balls each with a different result. So until next week those balls will keep tumbling around, keeping me up at night…keeping me occupied…..


More tears…..

More tears today….came out of the blue to be honest. Paul and I were talking about the physical effects his treatment has been having on his body and he says, “not to mention the psychological aspects. I’ll confess, I’m a little worried about Friday” ….Friday? What’s Friday?……his first PET scan. This is where we find out if the new treatment is working.

Paul and I were both surprised when he didn’t have regular scans with his first treatment but his doctor insisted it was ok not to. I’m sure they take everything like his age, health into consideration when making these decisions…..but it did seem strange not to get regular updates on how this was going. Sadly it took a medical complication like a bowel obstruction to show us it wasn’t working.

Anyway, this” before church conversation” of course set the wheels in motion…..almost like pre test jitters……is all this working? Are they even going to really be able to tell from this scan? and of course the one question that weighs the heaviest….what if it isn’t working?

That question alone is enough to send me spinning out of control into this incredibly vivid scene of life without my husband. The awfulness of it is unbearable. And let’s face facts…..it’s a distinct possibility.  Looking at him, standing at the podium at church reading the opening prayer with the congregation…..I am overcome with emotion. Eyes keep welling up and spilling over. It got embarrassing after a while since I sit in front of our entire church in the choir loft. My friend’s hand me tissues but I just can’t seem to get myself under control. Wave after wave of grief, fear, uncertainty…….sigh…..it was a rough service. But I made it through, gathering myself together when Paul went up to sing a jazzy little number about Jesus being the rock in the storm……

But even after a nice lunch with Paul and Daniel and my traditional retreat to the bedroom for my Sunday nap….I still can’t shake it. A little more crying then finally…sleep…..where I wake up with a little more perspective on things. I look around my home, noticeably empty after a successful pre-moving yard sale, and there is no time for tears. There is much to do and time is running short to do them. Packing, organizing children before they leave for summer adventures, more packing, more selling of unnecessary things, home hunting and of course, cancer fighting……always fighting……


LDE is Getting Off the Ground!

What a great couple of days for Little Dog Entertainment! Our meet and greet went GREAT….actually….way better than I had expected. We ended the day with SEVERAL booked gigs for Paul and a few other groups we represent. We sold a 4th of July show to the retirement centers…..how can you NOT love a flute playing Stars and Stripes Forever on the 4th of July!! Best of all he isn’t a “budget breaker” so our Activities Coordinators LOVE that!

But it was a thing of beauty I have to say…….strolling out of there with them calling behind us  “be sure to send us an invoice”…..music to my EARS! And music for THEIR ears too! It was just awesome! Yes, yes….I know I get a thrill from the close….I know I do……I know it makes me happy knowing there are more pennies hitting my bank account…..but the best part of the entire thing was seeing their eyes LIGHT UP when we spoke to them….the realization that these 2 people are here to HELP me? Make my job EASIER? and you can see it in their eyes…..they are going to look like a GENIUS to their GM! They love the idea of getting their residents more VARIETY and it doesn’t cost any more than what they are already spending…..

it’s GENIUS I tell you…..GENIUS!

And this is just the beginning……we have so many people to talk to! Funeral directors, event planners, chambers of commerce…..the list of potential clients is endless……even individuals looking for a band for a party or a barbershop quartet for a birthday party….we have it!

I am falling in love……..with MY JOB!

Why Are These Things HAPPENING????

It is the question so many of us ask when things don’t go our way…..we lose a job or your car window gets busted out or your husband gets diagnosed with cancer…….it’s so EASY to ask why these things are happening….like we are entitled to an easy, stress and drama free life…..

Sorry kids…..it just doesn’t work that way……

I have heard this message over and over the last several years courtesy of my wonderful Pastor and it’s taken 40 (something) years to finally figure it out…..God isn’t “doing this” to you…..He just doesn’t work that way… ….it’s so easy to slip into the “woe is me” and “why is God doing this to me”  mode when things go sideways……

I know I used to do it…..I spent a lot of time in my early 20’s pretty pissed off at Him…….but I grew up and learned to see things in a different way…..that we ALL have trials and tribulations and it’s not going to stop…..it’s US that needs to change….change how we look at it all……

A friend of mine posted this article and that is really what prompted this post. It’s titled “What to do, what to think when crisis arrives”  I especially liked the quote at the end…

Perhaps the best way to meet the crises of our lives is to admit them and their accompanying feelings, spend time in genuine reflection, and be painfully honest with ourselves.

I know when we are hit with some big news I go into about a 24-48 hour funk……I may cry all day or lay in my tub for 5 hours but that is just the processing taking place……and that is my time of reflection…..I allow myself to feel it all and I take that time to express all my fears and sadness and I can give it all away……and He takes it every time……and then I can let it go…… and that’s the hardest part…..letting it GO……sure, it comes back and rears its ugly head again so you give it away….AGAIN….and again and again and again…..whatever it takes……

It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of tears to make it here……it’s what works for me…….but spending my life moping around and complaining how hard my life is isn’t the answer…….for me or anyone really……what makes me so special that I should be exempt from the tragedies of life? Saint or Sinner….. none of us makes it out of here without trials and tribulations……and it’s learning how to deal with it that makes your life wonderful or unbearable…….

make it wonderful…….

Rained Out…..

Well….I will NOT be taking LolaBelle’s Treats to the Corpus Christi Southside Farmer’s Market today…..made it half way across the causeway and it was just POURING…..

I really HATE missing Market days…..first off, it’s a good source of my income….secondly, I really like my Market friends and I miss them! We always have a great time there….meeting new people….meeting new dogs friends….and talking with people about something very dear to us……DOGS!

We are big dog lovers here in our home…..but Paul and I are really the worst….we both “crush” so hard on our dogs! ha ha! But my dog friends, and I have a TON, totally “get it”.  So starting this dog treat business 3 years ago was such a natural fit. Paul and I really love getting out there with folks and “talkin’ dogs”! So to miss that this week is disappointing.

I even made our first batch of “doggie ice cream” and was all ready to hand out free samples……wahhhhhh….ha ha ha ha! “Oh woe is me my name is Lisa!”  Really, today just wasn’t the day for doggie ice cream….people probably would have looked at me like I had 2 heads……of course, when you are in the dog treat business lots of people do that anyway! HA!…..but I need a warm and sunny day for the ice cream debut and today just wasn’t it.

So thank you God….for giving us this rain! My grass REALLY needed it……and for some unknown reason I am not supposed to be at the Market but we trust in you to Provide!!

Mobilizing the Troops

So my mom is still 1300 miles away….Cincinnati….our hometown. She has been trying to sell her condo and move here for almost a year now…..and she worries about us…..

When i told her of all the wonderful people who have been praying for us and offering all kinds of help, it makes her feel better. She hates the fact that she is so far away from her only child and her beloved son in law…..especially now…..and of course I miss her……but the truth of the matter is….the troops are mobilizing…..

Paul’s name is appearing on prayer lists all over the country! And we have been surrounded….I mean SURROUNDED….by love and offers of assistance…..our Choir family, our church family, our Rockport church family, our friends and of course, our theatre family……all offering to help….and these people aren’t just saying that….they MEAN IT!

I know probably a dozen people I could call right now to drive us to Houston to MD Anderson….I have a dozen people I could call right now to go pick up my kids from school, feed them dinner and set them up in guest rooms…..I have a dozen people I could call right now and say “I just can’t get dinner together for my family” and I would have a casserole within the hour……and we are so very grateful!

God has provided help in the form of all these people…..they are doing the work of His hands and feet…..He has surrounded us with love and comfort and assistance….He has given us friends who want to help…who are at the ready….who are mobilizing the troops because they know the road well….how long and arduous it will be…..

He will provide….He WILL provide…..He DOES provide!

In His Grace,


It’s Going To Be a Sad Day…..

 It’s a sad day here in our home today…..we are going to the funeral service of our very good friend Ed Chapa today. Ed was the owner and Executive Director of the Aurora Arts Theatre. As many know, Paul walked into that little theatre last summer and changed all our lives! He went in to see about renting it for an Absoflutely! concert and ended up in the “house band” for the show Cabaret.

Needless to say, Paul LOVED it! This was really his first regular gig since becoming a “full-time musician” at the beginning of 2010 and he really felt at home there. Of course, we all went to see him and were AMAZED at this wonderful little community theatre and this incredible man with this booming voice and big bear paw hands! Ed Chapa was so happy to meet us and went on and on about how great Paul is……that’s MY kind of guy! lol!

So Cabaret ended and the next show was Rocky Horror. Growing up in Cincinnati I had been to the downtown midnight showing of Rocky back when I was….uhhhh….YOUNG….anyway….it’s iconic and so much fun! Paul, of course, signed up with the bad again and I became the “Professional Volunteer” selling popcorn, drinks and such……Then I ended up the “Shout Out Queen” sitting in the audience every show and doing “shout outs” at the cast…..there was dressing up in crazy costumes, yelling out obscene things in a sold out theatre, fantastic music and lots of Time Warping…..it was the BEST……

By this time we were full-fledged adopted children of the Chapas…..I learned the recipe for Chapa Corn (the best popcorn you will ever eat!) and I would sit in “Chapa Row” in the back, reserved for the staff…..and Paul and Ed developed a friendship …… a good one…..and for those that know my husband….REALLY know my husband….that is rare. He has lots of friends and a few select “buddies” and Eddie was one of them…..

Paul would just pop into the theatre on a weekday afternoon and sit and “shoot the shit” with Eddie…..theatre, music, life….no topic was off limits…..and Eddie confided in Paul as well….sharing his frustrations of opening a brand new venture….(the theatre celebrated their 1 year anniversary last month). They were friends……and we are crushed…..

The next show was Footloose and I gave serious consideration to auditioning (note: I have NEVER considered auditioning for a play in my LIFE!) but the timing wasn’t right…..kid drama kept me at home…..and I feel it was God’s hand saying “not yet…”…because I swear that show as cursed the moment it started….

It was just a rough show…..went thru 3 directors and the last one walked out the day before opening night….went thru one or two choreographers….2 stage managers…..everyone hated the set design and the cast was very inexperienced…..one of the cast members had to be replaced 1/2 way thru the run…..drinking problem apparently…..sickness and laryngitis ran thru the cast like wildfire……it was just HARD…..it was like it was being FORCED into being……and it ended in the most tragic way…..

Last Friday night we all went to the show….the kids helped with crowd control….I was working the concession booth and of course, Paul was in the band……last Friday night show, we all had Saturday off then we would come close the show on Sunday with the matinee……I spent the evening huddled in the office with Ed’s wife Mary and his sister-in-law Norma, telling them our tale of misdiagnosed gall stones and biopsies and possible cancer…..Mary shared some of the trials and tribulations of Ed’s recent knee replacement surgery (done 2 weeks before). Little did we know when we said goodbye and handed out all our hugs what was in store for the next 24 hours……

Eddie was sitting at his computer around 3:30 Saturday when he had a ….. we don’t even know….heart attack? aneurism? does it matter? His sweet Mary was there by his side as he was rushed to the hospital but their efforts were futile……Eddie was gone…..

Sudden……tragic…..and a great loss to our family as well as the community as a whole…….we are just crushed…..

We sure could use you right about now Ed! And I know he was very concerned about Paul’s health…….but I know there is an advocate in heaven right now pulling for Paul and that brings me some comfort…….

Please say a small prayer for us today as we weep and say goodbye to our dear friend…..

“Live theatre Baby! Live theatre……..” — Eddie Chapa

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