Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Holly Jolly Time....

Well, I decided that since I've blogged maybe...ummmm.....3 or 4 times this year (maybe.... I honestly didn't even look), I should end the year with one last blog. What better to blog about than Christmas.'s the most wonderful time of the year...right? It sure is for one BIG celebrate Jesus' birthday. It's so important to make your children understand the reason for this special day. We try so hard to make our kids understand, and for the most part they do (Sydney especially does)....although the 4 year old still ask "is that all?" as we are opening gifts...ughhh He is still learning, but he will get it.
How about a little Christmas decor'....
The ole Christmas Tree
This is my favorite tree out of the 4 I put up. This is a small tree from Old Milo Tree Farms. This is the first real tree I've ever had and I love it! I think I will make this a tradition for our sunroom.
The mantel.....nothing real special....a bunch of stuff
Yes, I know....our kids get way too much (this is just Santa), but Dave Ramsey would be happy to know that I save up all year for Christmas and pay all in cash. This is the one time I splurge. I love Christmas. The best part of this picture is the TV favorite!!!
Here's a close up of the best scene where the wife is snickering in the funny!! Will always be a classic. My mom gets me the newest "A Christmas Story" hallmark ornaments every year, so I have a pretty nice collection, but I forgot to take a picture.
Rabbit food for Thumper. Yes, Sydney also got a new bow she can hunt with.
Carson and Alan.
Sydney decked out in her new stuff and bike. Loving the hat.
Carson and his new bike. Looks like he is about to go hunt something...camo head to toe.
And last but not least, we lost a very special family member Friday. Our lab Bealle went to doggy heaven Friday. She was 12 years old and we have raised her from birth. I boohooed over her was so sad. Alan and his dad were just about to take her to the vet when I went to go check on her one more time and she was already gone. It was so hard to see her laying there just limp.....ughhhh....awful. Thank goodness Alan's dad was here. He and my dad dug a grave for her behind our house, so we can visit her anytime and she is close. We put flowers on her grave and we are going to hang one of the crosses that Alan makes on our fence. Any's not been the best Christmas weekend. We love you Bealle.
Well, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and got every gift you asked for. Carson keeps saying "I guess I was on the nice list", so I hope you were all on the nice list too. It's been a long day/weekend and I'm pooped, but I wanted to do this last 2011 blog! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. O, we are headed to Houston in a week, so prayers are always welcomed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy always!

Well, I continue to put my blog on the back burner. Dang Facebook!!! So I guess I have not updated all summer. Since my last update we have really not done that much. Our highlight of the summer was our beach vacation. Interesting in more ways than one. Now, we are back to school, extra activities and much much more! Sydney is doing competition cheer, gymnastics, Awana's, girl scouts (if we ever get any information)...seems like there is more, but that is sure enough!! Carson is just along for the ride. He does church on Wednesday and that's about the extent of his activities. Alan and I just started the Financial Peace University with our church by Dave Ramsey. There are no words as to how excited I am about his class. I am so ready to be debt free and make smarter choices about where our money goes and pay for everything in CASH!! I've got my cash flow statement ready and to be implemented for October!! Exciting stuff!! HA I'm such a nerd about all of this. The Dave Ramsey videos are funny, entertaining and full of Dave Ramsey knowledge about money. I laugh through the whole would you think it was possible to have a sense of humor when it comes to money, but he keeps it very entertaining and captivating.

Since my last post also, Alan has hit his 3 year mark with Cancer. WOW, he has been living with this stuff for 3 years. That is absolutely amazing. We continue to give God all of our blessings for such a miracle and we also have some pretty awesome doctors to thank as well! This was my post on Facebook about Alan's 3 year mark:

"Dear Cancer,
It's been 3 years since our 1st date. During these three years, you have bruised, broken and ravaged my husbands body. You have made his appearance change many times. So much at times, that some didn't even recognize him. Basically, you have turned our world upside down. But, let me tell you what you haven't done and never will....stole our faith in the ultimate healer or broken our spirit. We will never stop fighting or believing. We know God has a plan for all of us!"


Also, I'd like to announce that Alan and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary Thursday, September 22nd!! WOW Actually, it will be 15 years together....WOW...ha!! Happy Anniversary Alan! I love you! Every year on our anniversay, I think of 9/11. I will never forget getting ready to go make the final food arrangment for our wedding when these crazy planes started hitting the towers. It was awful watching it and disbelief was everywhere. Alan and I had a candle lit during our wedding in honor and memory of the victims of 9/11. That was the least we could do.

Hopefully a new post is on the Horizon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just Life!

As we are finally rounding up the busy months of April, May and soon June, I finally have a moment to do a blog update. I'm going to start this update with the beast....Cancer.

About 3 weeks ago Alan and I decided together that it was time to get off the Interferon and let him have his life back. This medicine had just completely taken over his life and the side effects were never slacking or getting any better. Even when he tried to take it every other day and off on the weekends, it just continued to to make Alan's mental and physical state deplete. We did discuss this with his Dr., but basically we just told him it was time to have some quality of life back. You can't fight cancer and be in the state of mind that Alan was daily. Alan really tried to fight through one can say he didn't. Anyway, it was just BAD. Like we told his Dr., we will NEVER give up, but we also have to have a life...esp. when you have a young just can't lay in the bed for 3+ days at a the dark. Alan is still taking the Thalidomide, Nexavar and Metformin. I think the Thalidomide and Nexavar are really causing some sluggishness and extreme tiredness in Alan....beside the heat! O lord, the heat. It's been pretty hot in the south. Anyway, we are back in Houston the last week of June. Please pray that Alan's scans still look ok....esp. since he is off the interferon.

So, recently we have had Sydney's birthday, finishing up softball, end of the year school awards. Sydney had all A's and B's (she finished the year with an 89 in Literacy, yeah, I was a little upset about this...I'm trying to get over it...she is an all A student. Maybe next year, but we were still very proud of her), and she also received a very nice trophy for not missing one day all school year. For our family and as much as Alan and I are gone and everything else....that's pretty dang good!! I was shocked. I guess all of those mornings dragging her out of the bed paid off. She was WAY more excited about that award than the all A's and B's....I was pretty proud myself! ha Alan and I took the kids fishing last week and today is the first day of VBS! No rest for the weary!! Hopefully my next post will be pictures of all of these things.

We are headed to the beach the first week in August. I CAN'T WAIT!!! We have tried to plan a beach trip for the past two summers and well, life kept continuing to get in the way, but this is the kids are super pumped....and so is their mama...the condo is booked!!! Alan just wanted somewhere with a good view and big balcony. ha Hopefully we will all be happy.

Wishing you all a wonderful day and praying for all of our cancer friends and KCW!!! Thank you everyone for your continued support and friendship! We are blessed!
I'd like to ask for prayers for two special friends that just had babies....Leigh Carter and Robin Robinson. Creed Carter is doing very well...I got to hold him for a while last night..hehe and Eli Robinson is still at Baptist in the NICU, but doing well.
Also, continue to pray for our precious nephew Cannon. He is still at Children's, but making great strides daily. We are hoping they will be home the first part of July! We love you!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Houston Report...God continues to deliver miracles!

Alan and I returned Wednesday evening from Houston. Went through all the normal motions....blood work and scans Monday, wait 4 hours Tuesday for know...same old same old!!
Alan had another very good report. Still no visible signs on cancer in the lungs. There is a small spot on the liver and in the abdomen, but it's all continuing to get smaller!! Praise the Lord!! Seriously, after dealing with all of the ups and downs we have for the past 2 1/2 years, we will gladly take all of this good news. The only downside to the appointment was Alan's thyroid is all out of wack. He has Hypothyroidism, which is due to his chemo. Dr. Amato put him on some meds to hopefully control this. Since we just found out about Alan's thyroid issues, we are hoping that some of Alan's pain, etc he has been having might be due to his thyroid, so hopefully this new med will bring some needed changes. He will do blood work in a month to check the levels and go from there. Poor Alan is continuing to deal with the awful side effects of his chemo drugs. Some days are ok...other days...well, they just suck (that's about as nice as I can say)! We will return to Houston in 8 weeks...going through all the motions again. Dr. Amato did say that at the next 8 week appointment, he may decrease one of the meds that is causing Alan's medically induced depression. That would be wonderful. He also said that at the end of summer, he is going to have Alan do a PET scan. He said if there are no "hot spots" showing up, then he is going to possibly start tapering Alan off of some of his chemo!! This is MAJOR!!! Holy cow...scary, but exciting too. Anyway, we won't count those chickens before they hatch, but it's something to push for and most definitely pray for!

Dr. Amato said that out of all of his kidney cancer patients, Alan has the best "quality of life" if you can believe that. Apart from the side effects, I would say that Alan does have a better quality of life right now than from where we were last year. He has responed so well since January to this last treatment. Dr. Amato, whom is also a professior, is even writing papers about Alan. I mean...that's pretty impressive I think!

Please continue to pray for our little nephew Cannon. He is still in the hospital but gaining weight and doing very well. Christian's blog is on my blog roll.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Carson's 4th Birthday

First, lets note that I finally changed my banner. It's nothing fancy, but at least it's not Christmas! ha

Why this big blank space is here, I don't know....this post is on my last nerve!! Everything is spaced out all crazy...sorry!!!

Back on April 2nd (yes, that would be 3 weeks ago), we celebrated Carson's 4th birthday at Old Milo Tree Farm. He wanted a cowboy birthday party, so of course, mama game through. I'm sure the pictures will speak for themselves, but I think every kid enjoyed themselves. It was a GREAT place to host a birthday party. They also had a petting zoo, but I never made it over there for pictures. I love a party where I don't have to clean my house or clean up afterwards. In my book...that's the best kind of birthday party!

Once again, Beth came through with our birthday cake. So cute!!

"Circle C Ranch"
The birthday boy.

Cousin Ethan

Cousin Grant

Friday, April 1, 2011

What can I say....

I am absolutely the worst blogger! I did so good for such a long time and now....blaahhh!! I keep waiting for life or something to slow down, but so far, we are still just as busy. See, I told you I would still have that Merry Christmas banner up!! I think actually what is keeping me blogging so much is facebook. It's so easy to update FB so I totally neglect my blog. Let start with our last Houston trip which was (hold's been so long I have to check my calendar for the dates) o yeah...March 7th and 8th. Alan received an AWESOME report from our scans. The only visible sign of cancer was only in the liver. I mean, if that's not some answered prayers and a miracle, I don't know what is. I mean, we weren't just stable, we were NED is some areas. Yes, that's right NED...say it again...NED!!! After 2 1/2 years of fighting. We will be heading back to Houston the first part of May and praying for the same results!! We did have to tweak some of Alan's treatment b/c the side effects were just at a point of being unbearable, but praying that the tweak is ok and we don't have to find a different treatment. This is what's going on in our life for March, April and May...birthdays and ball games!! O me get through these months!! I have a friend that has a senior in HS and a daughter that is 7 (like Sydney and just as active) and she seems to be a little more stressed, so I'm going say she is winning the "see who's stressed out the most" contest! Carson's birthday is this weekend...turning 4. We're having a cowboy birthday so this should be interesting. Maybe I'll post some pictures. Next weekend our relay team is hosting a softball tournament in honor of Alan. All proceeds will benefit our local Relay for Life. Can't wait for this. It's going to be a blast....and a very long day! ha My SIL has started a be in prayer for them. Christian delivered their baby boy Cannon (our nephew..;-) about 10 weeks early last night. I don't feel it is my place to give all details, but just know that Christian and baby are doing good, but we all know they have a long way to go. We love them dearly and can't wait for the day Cannon gets to come home. Well, I'm sure there is alot more to talk about, but for now that's all I got. Thank you Lord for these beautiful days and thank you for giving Alan the strength and ability to enjoy them! Praying for many families on my mind today. Melissa

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm so behind.....

...with updating my blog!!! How many times can I say this. I have just not found the time this past month to do any updating, so I'm making myself sit here and do this. It's not that I don't want to, it's just....there is just not enough time it seems. Unfortunately things like cleaning the kitchen, picking up the house, washing clothes....washing KIDs for that matter. These things must take priority! And then all of the other things play a big part like family, work....that kind of stuff...;-) Maybe one day I'll change my header so it won't say "Merry Christmas" for the rest of the year...HA!!

Ok, so since my last update, Alan and I have been back to Houston....February 7th and 8th. Alan only had a CT of the abdomen b/c we were checking his liver. The liver met had shrunk some and everything else we could see with that scan was still stable. Praise the Lord...some good news!!! The bad news was two of the drugs Alan is on is causing him a medically induced depression. It really doesn't matter what he takes to treat the depression, it's not going to help. This was disappointing news b/c right now we really want to be able to enjoy what Alan's treatment is doing and instead the side effects from the meds are making it worse. He is also having EXTREMELY bad abdominal cramping (from another medicine) and basically just feeling like crap....everyday! The weather is finally getting nice.....the time to get outside and be with family, but Alan doesn't feel good and just wants to be in bed. It's like you can't win for frustrating! Alan is tired of it. He NEVER complains, but lately, it's really getting to him. Seriously, if this was me that had cancer, I would be the worse patient!

Right now Alan is taking Interferon Injections daily, Nexavar, Thalidomide and Metformin....all to treat the cancer. All 4 of these drugs target the different areas that the cancer is at in his body. Honestly, can you imagine having to take all of these drugs daily....and this is just some of the meds Alan has to take. Alan is such a fighter. I know there are days he just wants "stop" everything, but he pushes on for his family b/c we really want him here with us.

Well, I guess that's about it. We are back in Houston March 7th and 8th for full scans. Praying everything continues to be stable or shrinking and this treatment continues to work. Praying for all of our kidney cancer friends and our cancer fighting friends. Having cancer in your face daily will really open your eyes up and you realize there are so many "non-important issues" people are complaining about and these people do not have a clue. I pray these people never have a "clue" b/c I would never ever want anyone to go through what we are, but people should understand that there is so much more going on in the world than.....well, anyway.....I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this. I'm sorry, I get on my soap box. I guess b/c this my outlet and I vent to the world.

Also this month, we've had snow in SE Arkansas, I've started a new job (still with the same company), Sydney got Star Student, our twin nephews turned 2, Sydney had Kiddie Kamp, and I forgot Carson's snack day at Wee School (go me)! So, needless to's been a busy month and it's not over yet...HA!

God is Good...All the Time!
Praying for Miracles,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alan's Houston Update

While I'm sitting in the hotel room doing nothing, I thought, this is the perfect time to update about our dr. appointment. Can you believe it....I'm actually updating the same day. It's a miracle!!!

All in all, it was a pretty good appointment! Dr. Amato was VERY pleased with Alan's progress from these past two months with his new combo treatment. He said it was "astounding" and he also said that is not a word he uses alot, lol. Pretty much all spots in Alan's lungs have either disappeared or shrunk, the spots in the abdomen and bones have shrunk tremendously and apparently there is a spot on Alan's right kidney that we knew nothing about, but it has shrunk as well. Let's talk about this right kidney briefly. I think Alan and I both know that Dr. Amato does not fully give us the full report each time...especially if things are bad. I know he sees us as a young couple and I honestly think Amato thinks we might not need to know everything and maybe we don't, but I like to know everything. That's just how I am. We have never been told about the tumor on the right kidney, but it was there and it was pretty big, but it's shrinking, so that's great. Dr. Amato did say that these results might be all we see with this treatment, but again, that's ok and that's good....stable is the word. Just understand that it is very rare for kidney cancer to just disappear at stage IV. I'm sure it can happen and possibly has, so that's why we are satisfied with stable.

Our only big concern coming from this appointment is Alan's liver. We have been monitoring a spot on Alan's liver for many months now. Well, instead of it shrinking like everything else, it is actually growing. We are scheduled to come back to Houston in 4 weeks for another CT to see how the liver looks. If the liver area has gotten bigger, then Alan will have a biopsy done and we will go from there. We might have to tweak Alan's meds some. You know, nothing can be simple.

But honestly, we feel really good about this appointment! Alan is feeling good so now we just pray that this medicine treatment is right for Alan and he is able to be stable on this for a long time.

2011 is starting off really good. We just pray that all of these good things continue and we pray for complete healing, but hey, with kidney cancer, we will take stable! Praying for all of our kidney cancer friends and all of our cancer fighting friends.
FYI....Ashley County Relay for Life - May 13, 2011 in Crossett this year!!!! YEAAAA
God is good...All the time!

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm titleless!!

Once again, it's been so long since I've blogged, I couldn't even come up with a title. I think this post is going to be collage of events from the past month or more....probably more. I think I'm going to include some house pictures.

First, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I think our family had an awesome Christmas, the kids especially, but health wise, it was just a great holiday. Alan is feeling really good right now and that makes this holiday season more special than anything! Here are a few pictures from Christmas.

Here are the cousins....Grant, Carson, Sydney and Ethan. These are our twin nephews. Let's just say this years Christmas at the McCone's was a little more....ummm....loud! This was the best picture I got. Ethan didn't want to slow down for the picture. We are expecting another nephew in May. Alan's brother and wife Christian are expecting their first. So exciting!!!

Special little girl to get such a nice gift. I guess she's been pretty good! (no, it's not a phone..ha)

Carson's new gator.

My parents house for Christmas. Good ole self timer button.

Just thought this was a good pictures of the kids. Wish I would have had it for the Christmas card. O well!

Let's move on to Alan. Alan has been doing sooooo good lately!! Feeling good...looking good...being able to enjoy what he loves most...hunting! There are really no words how wonderful it is to see him like this. These past two years have been so difficult and there were times we didn't know if he would ever walk again without that walker. Well, he is without that walker. That right there is an awesome Christmas gift. I guess Alan kind of looks like his old self again....the red hair is coming back and he has lost some weight. Finally getting some of that steroid weight off. I think that is also helping him get around better....less weight. With the help of the Lord I feel so strongly that 2011 is going to be a good year.

Alan's 8 point he recently killed. Somewhere in our new home this head will be perched on a wall. Along with the fish, other deer and bob cat! O goodie!!!

So, I've been promising some house pictures for about 3 months now, so here are a few. They are backwards, but I got frustrated with downloading these pictures, so I wasn't going to redo it. I'm sure you can figure it out...HA!!

Ok, so this is the finished product....kind of....minus the tile that still has to go on the hearth. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do.

Here is the middle of the project. We had a friend come in and float the drywall for us. Something Alan and I know nothing about. Jeff did the drywall and Alan and I did the texturing (which is the phase you see above). Yes, the insert is vented just like a fireplace. They run a pipe through the ceiling.

The insert is a pellet insert. It runs off of pellets that you buy at Atwood, Lowe's...stores like that. You just pour them in the top and walla.....start that baby up and you have a fire and wood chopping involved at all!! It's great. Even I can do it.

And, here is the beginning. Of course there is an interesting story to our pellet insert, but that happened back in October, so it's in the past and that's where we'll keep it! Nothing is ever simple.

We are off to Houston next weekend. We will leave on Sunday. Alan will have scans on Monday and we will see Dr. Amato on Tuesday. This will be Alan's first set of scans since he started his new treatments. It's been a little over two months since our last Houston trip. We should have already been back, but we had a little issue with getting Alan's Nexavar, but that's in the past too, so we will move on and not worry about that now. Anyway, please pray for our trip, Alan's scans our report. We know and we feel God all over our life. He is always in control.

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asking Hard Questions

Recently a very sweet friend sent me this small little book entitled "What Cancer Cannot Do". I haven't even read all the way through it yet, but I wanted to share a little bit of it. I started in to the chapter about "Asking Hard Questions". If I said we have never asked the question "Why" about Alan's cancer, I would be a big fat liar! "Why did my husband have to get cancer", "Why does my husband have to suffer daily", "Why does my husband have to take all of this medicine daily", "Why do my children have to watch their daddy suffer"...SO....., with that said I'm going to quote what I just read in this book....
"There are no easy answers to such "Whys." What is comforting, though, is that God does not forbid us from asking. Job, David, and Jesus himself asked hard questions about suffering, and were not discouraged from doing so. We may even get glimpses of the answer to why we have cancer: Perhaps to give us time and the impetus to restore relationships with family, to shift our priorities in life, to help us appreciate each day, to see health as a gift, to reach out to others in need. But the greatest response to such questions is to turn our eyes away from ourselves and lift them to God."

It's Thanksgiving people....please give thanks for your health, family, friends. Never take anything for granted....we never know what tomorrow will bring.
I hope you all have a Wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm so thankful for my family and friends, but more than anything, I'm thankful for my God b/c without him, I'd be lost in this cancer journey and just every day life issues.
Much Love,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alan's New Treatment

Ok, I'm so behind. I'm just not doing well with keeping up with anything these days and my blog has definitely been put on the back burner. Maybe once we are completely settled in our new house (probably after Christmas), I'll do better.

I just wanted to give a quick update about what Alan's new treatment will be. He will be on Interferon, Thalidomide and Nexavar. He actually started the Interferon injections this morning and will start the Thalidomide this evening. We are still waiting for the Nexavar to arrive.

Alan has not felt good at all the past three weeks or so....running fever daily and many other issues. He did go to the Dr. yesterday and we got a few answers. For now, I just ask you to pray that he gets over this before the side effects kick in from his new meds.

Maybe my next post will be pictures or something really fun!!! We have made a few changes with our house and some still in the works. Maybe I'll show pictures of those changes. I keep saying that don't I...HA!!

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Houston Report

It's been a week since our last Houston trip. As always...sorry for taking so long to post. I still do not have my wireless hooked up at our new house (b/c I'm lazy and just have not called the phone company). I have looked up their phone # a couple of times and then start doing something else. O day and I can get to work on the ole laptop again!!

Any who....our Dr. report was not what we were hoping for. The tumors in Alan's lungs have started increasing in size and there were also numerous new spots. So that means....our chemo combination is not working any more. The abdomen and other places are still stable, but not the lungs. Wednesday morning the hospital worked us in for Alan to have a biopsy of one of the spots in the lungs. I'm not going to go in to full detail, but lets just say it was more invasive than we were prepared for and apparently they hit an artery with the VERY large needle. Alan coughed up alot of blood afterwards. He told me later he was really beginning to hate that room. The room they did the biopsy with CT is also the room they did his Vertebroplasty in...neither one great experiences!! With this biopsy they will take it and do a Proteomics test which is where they work with the tissue and do basically different drug combinations or trials on the tissue and see what might work. This is the second time Alan has had this done on his tissue. And can I just add that insurance doesn't pay for this test. I'm not trying to have a poor pitiful me party, but dang....why would they not cover it??!! Why do I feel like insurance controls my life!!! Honestly, I don't even need to get on this subject!! Sorry...had a weak moment, lol.....we should hear something back in about 10 days from the Proteomics test and hopefully get Alan's new chemo started. Right now he is off all chemo so it will all get out of his system before he starts something new. PLEASE say a prayer for Alan. Mentally/Physically things are hard. We always try to keep a positive attitude, but you feel like you work soooo hard and then the blow!! Spiritually, we are great!! Yes, we questions this, but who wouldn't! We know God is in control though.
I guess that's about it! I do want to add this. Even though cancer is so bad, I have to say, it has brought some amazing people into our life. I have met people through my blog and facebook and it's always encouraging to read others stories and just to know you are not alone....esp. the ones that have a similar life to ours....young kids, disability, working full time, cancer....just trying to juggle it all. It's hard....maybe that's why I always look tired and my eyes are always red!! HA

Have a wonderful week!!