Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Outreach 2015

Love Fall!

Hate Halloween!

BUT, Halloween is a good time for outreach.  In years past Halloween was unheard of here in Japan.  In recent years it has, sadly, gotten bigger and bigger.  Every year brings a mental battle of doing a Halloween out reach or not, but so far, we keep coming to the same conclusion.  Halloween is one of our bigger events and the Gospel message can be shared, so Halloween Event it is.

The last few years we have rented a room or the gym at a Bible Camp.  This works out well.  It give us extra space and it lets people know where the camp is.  This year we had nearly 30 people, mostly families.

There were  relay games...



There were costumes...


There were snacks & prizes...

There was bobbing for apples (no pictures) & a pinata...

But most of all there was a story of a farmer who brought in a pumpkin, lovingly clean it up inside & out and gave it a new face... much like God does for us.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Charity Marathon

If you are like me when you hear the word marathon your 1st thought is of a long, growling 42km/26 mile race.  In Japan the term marathon has a slightly different connotation... preschools & elementary schools have "marathons".  Each age or grade level has a different distance they strive to complete.  Joshua's special needs school even has a "marathon" where the children compete in the gait trainers, walkers, or wheelchairs.  Yes, there are actual long distance marathons, in fact, today was the Kashiwazaki Marathon, but at this time of year not all marathons are long distance.

Saturday was the 7th Annual Takada Church sponsored Charity Marathon.  This was our 1st year to participate. The Charity Marathon is simply a fun walk/run full of fellowship and LORD willing a way to raise some money for a local Bible Seminary.  The participants have 2 hours to see how far they can go.  Each lap is 5.5km (3.4 miles).  There are some serious runners and some not so serious, it doesn't matter because everyone is there for the fun & fellowship.

The start...

The goal and/or checkpoint for those making more than one loop...

Along the way...

Keep it fun with costumes...

Kei did 1 loop while Jerry did 2 loops (11km/6.8 miles), and I did 1.5 loops (8km/5 mile).  Not bad, especially considering we have been fighting asthma & bronchitis. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ups & Downs

This week has run the gamut in ups & downs, but at the moment things are looking up :D 

We are all still struggling with asthma, bronchitis, allergies, or colds... and yes, I mean ALL of us, but the boys seem to be taking point this week :/

On Sunday, Jerry spent the day resting.  He even broke down and took cold meds!  He has struggle through the week, but seems to be on the mend.

On Monday, I almost didn't take Joshy to therapy because I was coughing.  I am so glad I did.  He had such a good time, I mean, what can be better than a room with black lights, a waterbed type thing that lets you feel music and twinkly fiber lights?!?

On Tuesday, the teacher said Joshy had sneezed a couple of times and had a little bit of a runny nose.

On Wednesday, he was down for the count: congested, coughing, low temp, moderate stats.  He slept the ENTIRE day and, when he wasn't coughing, the whole night. 

On Thursday, I was torn between taking him to the hospital or waiting just a little longer.  The only thing that kept me from taking him was the fact that his stats we still in the mid 90's and that he had been awake & sitting up for a few minutes when I was trying to get a little bit of sleep after being up much of the night monitoring temp, stats, & his choking cough.   He slept much of the day but unlike Wednesday he did have a few times when he was awake and would play some.

Today, Joshy is awake and playing, not his normal energizer bunny self, but an improvement over the last couple of days.  He has joined the rest of us who are a various points in recovery.

Life Lesson:

Life is full of ups & downs.  Try to take time to find the beauty in whatever point you are in:

 be it up

or down

or somewhere in between

Monday, October 19, 2015

Life Lessons

Walking helps me maintain my sanity.... 
Stop laughing! Yes, I know I need to walk a whole lot more ;) 

This past month with my asthma acting up & going into bronchitis, then adding an allergy attack just to keep things interesting, I have not been walking much.  However, today I found myself with some actual me time.  It is a lovely fall day, so on the way home from dropping kids at school, I stopped at the park for a short, leisurely walk.  As I strolled through the park I was reminded, again, of a life lesson.

The park is a long narrow park along the sea that serves as a wind break.  Most, if not all, of the trees are growing at an angle.  The storms, the gales, the typhoons had made them grow this way.  But they are alive and growing.

In one particular area of the park the tree trunks are crazy.  I find them to be like art work.  Their trunks are twisted and knotted, but most of the trees still reach toward the sky.

This is a lesson for me, for us all.  When the storms of life come, which they will, we can be battered all the way to our base.  We can be knocked down to the ground time & time again.  But if we have strong roots, in Christ, we can over come, We can continue to reach toward the sky.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Futo Falls

A few months ago, I went on a community walk with some students.  Futo Falls was on the walking route.  In the 20 some years we have lived here I never knew this waterfall was in our "backyard" so to speak.  Today Jerry & I went to see what the falls look like in early fall.


It was a beautiful day to get out and about with my honey <3

It is fun to get out and see the wonders as the LORD starts painting the fall colors.



Thanking the LORD for beauty filled autumn days!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

B is For

I seriously believe my sons main goal in life is to Baffle, Befuddle, & Bewilder as many people as possible.  I am also sure it fills him with even greater joy when he can baffle, befuddle, & bewilder medical staff.   

I am not amused!

Four time in less than 3 weeks, Sir Joshua has started the morning hypothermic and sporting low heart rates.  Hypothermic as in temps that will not register on a normal thermometer... as in below 32C (86F)... you know, the numbers you see on emergency medical shows where they patient is all but DEAD.  To go along with the temperature, his heart rate has dropped into the 40's (60 is considered low normal).  To be honest, having this happen from time to time has become the norm in this house (I am still wondering about my sanity when something this odd doesn't feel odd), however, twice in less than a week, is a bit much even for me.

Today, for once, Josh did not play the low numbers game on a weekend or a holiday!  It was his school "marathon" day, which might have been special enough to give him an added thrill?   I went to the hospital to talk to the nurses - W.A.Y. easier than trying to explain it over the phone.  The nurse, who knows Josh, took notes and called the doctor.  Doctor said to bring him in @ 11:00.

Did I mention that he will sleep until 11 or 12 and then wake up as happy as can be?

Joshy was still sleepy & lethargic at his 11:00 appointment.  His temp was up to 33.4C (92.2F) and his stats were looking better.  Chest sounded fine, throat was clear.  I was/am concerned that his low temperature will cause issues with his blood production.  With fighting Aplastic Anemia low blood production is the last thing we need.  Doctor ordered labs which were all FINE.  His WBC & Plates were a little lower than 2 weeks ago, but no where near the danger zone.  Ummmm... maybe it is weather related?  Just try to keep him warm...

**His bed has a thermal mat over the mattress, then an electric blanket under the waterproof sheet.  He is then covered with FOUR layers of fleece blankets.  Temps are only getting down to the upper 40's so I haven't pulled out his down comfort yet...maybe I should?

We have NO IDEA why he does this.  We are totally  Baffled, Befuddled & Bewildered.  Joshua is currently rolling around on the floor laughing himself silly.

I am not amused!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


This week my mind has been drawn to the past 4 years.  This morning I took a few moments to look over my blog from October 2011... this week, this month that will forever be etched in my mind.  The week/month the roller coaster ride into the hell of Aplastic Anemia began.

- October 11th Joshy was admitted to the hospital.
- October 12th Joshy had his 1st transfusions.
- October 13th we were introduced to the word Pancytopenia

At that point we had never heard of Aplastic Anemia.  We had no idea that transfusions would become common place.  We had no idea we would be hospitalized for 6 months.  Somewhere during the first 6 weeks at the local hospital Pancytopenia was replaced with the word Aplastic Anemia, but we were not given a firm diagnosis until after we were transferred to the Cancer Center in Niigata city on November 21st.

During the first 6 weeks we took a hit & miss approach to a find a solution to the problem... We were hopeful that the pancytopenia was caused by one of Joshy's medications so we took him off one and waited.  Took him off another and waited.  Took him off a 3rd and waited... Nothing seemed to make a difference.  It was at that point we were transferred to the cancer center where more tests were done and one last med was taken away.

Mid December we reached the conclusion that it was not medication related and a more drastic treatment plan needed to be made.  On December 19th Joshy started a 5 day round of ATG, a chemo type drug.  This took his counts to zero, in an attempt to reboot his bones marrow.  If the treatment is successful one should see a turn toward normal within 3 to 6 months.  Joshy being Joshy it has taken years rather than months.

Today Joshy's levels are finally at the near normal level.  We are now starting a ween from the immune suppression medication.    We can now get out of the house more, provided we take some precautions.  We were even able to make a trip to the states in September.