Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
Celebrating Christmas at Grandmor & Grandpa Bob's

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Bob and Terri!

Christmas Eve at the stuga

Getting Ready for Christmas!

Spending a couple days at our stuga (Swedish for "little home") in Michigan, relaxing and finishing up the last of our Christmas preparations. As you can see, Terri is really into baking cookies and I am her first assistant. We baked up a number of our favorites, including Swedish pepparkokar and gingerbread boys. We did a little hiking, too. We'll spend Christmas Eve up here, attending services at our local church, before heading back in to the city on Christmas Day for the Douglass Family party at my sister's home. That should be quite an old-fashioned fun-filled Christmas celebration! Anna and her family will come in on the 26th to spend a couple days with Grandmor and Grandpa Bob, Auntie Liz and Uncle Mike. What fun that will be!
Once around the pond

Out for a walk
Unfortunately, my back pain returned about 2 weeks ago. It has been most challenging when I get up in the morning which takes a fair amount of time and something I cannot do by myself. Quite frustrating! Doctors have adjusted my pain meds to deal with the pain which is their main concern rather than the source, but it remains a challenge for me. Hopefully it will clear up once I begin the transplant prep which will start on January 3.

In the meantime, we look forward to a very joyous Christmas and wish for you the happiest of holidays! Keep in touch!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Ready to go!
That's the one!
How about a wreath?

Grandmor and Anna

With Christmas coming and managing my illness, I find that the days are filled with things to do, but it has kept me from writing in my blog so now I am playing catch-up. The good news is that I have responded so well to the chemotherapy that the last round of treatments was canceled. The last treatment was this past Wednesday. Hallelujah! The schedule has now been set for my stem cell transplant and I will begin initial preparation for it just after the first of the year. (There will be some heavy-duty chemo treatments during that time so we will see how those go.) I'll be hospitalized off and on for about 4 weeks in January and February for the procedure. Most of that time will involve the transplant of the stem cells back once they have been harvested and cleaned up.

Unfortunately, in the midst of this good news, my back pain did return so I am working with the pain specialist to bring that under control. It is most painful first thing in the morning which makes it very difficult to get out of bed. Hopefully I will have some success there as I had been getting around quite well just 3 weeks ago.

Terri and I had a wonderful time in MN for the St. Olaf Christmas Fest. The concert was filled with many of our favorite selections from over the years which seemed especially appropriate this year. It really set the tone for the Advent season for us. As you can see from the photos, we also had a chance for a photo opportunity with little Anna as the family went out to pick their first live Christmas tree. What fun! Grandpa Bob helped to set the tree up and get some of the lights on before we had to leave.

Since that time Terri and I have been doing what I can to get ready for Christmas. Even though we have tried to cut back this year there still has been lots to do. Today, though, I feel in a good place as it appears that all is just about ready. Sometime in the next week we'll head up to MI for a few days of rest and relaxation. We are really looking forward to that as they got about 14 inches of lake effect snow in the last week. It'll be a winter wonderland. We'll celebrate Christmas Day at my sister's house at the Douglass Family Christmas party and then with our kids just after Christmas. It should be a wonderful time, especially with little Anna around, and we are looking forward to a joyous Christmas.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Powerful Piece

If you haven't had a chance to view the Today show interview with Kathy Giusti, the founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), I encourage you to do so right away. Kathy is an amazing woman, a multiple myeloma survivor, who spearheaded an effort to take the disease from a rare and relatively unknown cancer 10 years ago to one that today is at the forefront of cutting edge technology and treatment. As part of that journey, she raised over $150 million dollars to fund the research. It truly is a riveting story and I am so thankful that I will directly benefit from her efforts.

As my cousin wrote to me immediately after seeing the segment, "Just finished watching the Today show and wanted to tell you how wonderful it was to watch this segment on MM. An absolutely powerful, uplifting and positive message from a wonderful and courageous lady. It gives others hope and encouragement that someday there will be a cure but in the meantime, they are progressing with positive results."

Here is the link to the video which I will also post with the links at the bottom of the blog.

I'd be very interested in your reaction to Kathy's story, so, if you'd like, please post your comments here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Christmas Tradition continues

Terri and I will be flying up to the Twin Cities this weekend to attend the St. Olaf Christmas Festival with Andrew and Katie. It will be the 14th consecutive year that we have attended the festival beginning in 1997 when Elizabeth was a first year student at the school. We were fortunate to attend a total of 7 festivals from 1997 to 2003 when Elizabeth and/or Andrew was singing with one of the choral groups, most notably the St. Olaf Choir. For us it has always been the perfect way to usher in the Advent season as it reminds us of the real meaning of Christmas with the birth of our Savior and the joy and peace which He brings to us. Terri and I felt it was important to attend the festival this year as it will have special meaning for us with the joy we have felt with the birth of little Anna Evelyn and the peace He has brought to us as we have faced the challenges of my disease.

Peace and joy be to you and your family this Christmas season!

(NOTE: If you are interested in seeing the festival on TV, it is broadcast on many PBS stations around the country, most often on Christmas Eve around 11:00 P.M. Check your local listings for broadcast times. The festival is taped once every 4 years and then rebroadcast the following 3 years so the festival you see on TV will not necessarily be the one that we will see live.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Return to Normalcy

Terri was off Thanksgiving week and I was feeling better so it was almost like a return to normalcy for us that week. We had our last raking party of the fall to finish up all of the outdoor work around the house and I want to thank everyone who came for the parties to help out Terri and me. From what I can tell a good time was had by all and the food was delicious! Brats and homemade German potato salad and taffy apple salad! Yum!

Bob and the bird feeders
Terri and Wes by the front door

Clear but cold
Terri and I spent the first part of the week up in MI, just relaxing and getting the house ready for the holidays and for winter. Enjoyed watching all the birds come to the feeders, including cardinals, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, and chickadees, and was glad to get some long-awaited electrical work done so the house will be a little brighter during the long dark winter months. Even enjoyed a walk on the beach, although it was a little on the cold and windy side. 

I was asked by the pastor of our MI church to speak about thankfulness at the Thanksgiving service while we were there. At first I was thrown by the request but the more I thought about it the more I thought I have much to be thankful for, especially when I think of the large and strong support group of family and friends that surround me. Thank you so much for all you have done, especially your good wishes and your prayers. They have meant so much to me during this challenging time of uncertainty.

Grandpa Bob and Anna
Grandmor and Anna
All smiles

Thanksgiving was a wonderful time filled with good food and good times--just like in past years. The whole family, which this year included our little granddaughter Anna with her mom and dad, Katie and Andrew, was here for a traditional dinner with all the fixings. Terri outdid herself! She and I had not seen Anna since September so we were thrilled to have her here for 3 days. She was a perfect little angel, happy to be with Grandmor and Grandpa Bob and Auntie Liz and Uncle Mike. She was all smiles and slept well at night. We must have worn her out with all we did. We all had fun watching football, Christmas shopping, picking out and putting up the Christmas tree, going out for brunch, and playing games. We have much to be thankful for.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving as well.

MMRF Featured on the Today Show, Dec. 2

Thought you might be interested in this news:

The MMRF will be featured on NBC’s Today Show this Thursday morning, December 2!
This special segment, which includes Ann Curry’s up-close and personal interview with Founder and CEO, Kathy Giusti, will highlight the powerful progress the MMRF and its partners have made in bringing patients new, life-extending treatments and closing in on a cure. 

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is the organization which has made significant advances in the treatment of my disease. Their founder, I believe, is a multiple myeloma survivor. From information I have received, I believe they are on the verge of releasing some advances in the treatment of the disease. Let's hope and pray that that is true.

If you are unable to watch the segment when it is on, I think you should be able to track down the video clip at the Today Show website. I will post that information when it is available.