Hi All - Sorry for the long silence over in this little corner of the internet. So we fell off the face of the earth for the summer, but the good news is that the views are spectacular!
I hope to write a few more posts in the coming days (but those of you who know me can shrug those off, "promises, promises..." and then be pleasantly surprised if I actually come through, teehee!).
Since I last wrote, here's a few highlights...
1. James just completed 5 treatments of SBRT radiation to his hip on Friday. Ever the unusual patient, James's pain actually increased on this treatment, though yesterday and today he has been able to have several hours pain free. (I think this is a good sign, as we've learned that cancer pain comes and stays...it doesn't comes & go. It's possible that the pain he is now feeling is the effects of radiation and not from the tumor.) We are hoping and praying that as the days pass post-treatment, his energy will return to previously high levels and that the pain will stop completely. There's also the possibility that even though doctors only radiated his hip that this treatment can have a synergistic effect with immunotherapy, actually increasing immunotherapy's effectiveness. Also, James is off of his inhalers and coughs pretty minimally now. Wow - how did we get here?
James's next CT scan will be sometime this month...I'll be sure to keep you in the loop on that humdinger.
2. We are now a family of six! We returned from China with our 16 year old niece, Haoping, who will go to high school here in Indianapolis. She starts school in just a few days and has been busy back to school shopping, getting immunized (ouch!), enrolling in classes, eating American food (which she says is much better than her Uncle James led her to believe!), and acclimating to air conditioning. Hat tip to all the large families out there who manage to seemingly effortlessly stay on top of the lives of their children ranging in ages from preschooler to high schooler. It's an impressive feat, let me tell you! (After this last month, the only reason we might still be functional is because we don't have middle schoolers in the mix - ha!)
3. We had an absolutely wonderful summer back home in Dali. We had fabulous weather (siiiiiigh), too many ice coffees to count, hours of fabulous conversations connecting with locals (yeah for my brain that quickly recovered my Chinese!), incredibly blessed (and delicious) weeks spent in the restaurant kitchen, swimming with friends, a week spent relaxing with James's extended family in the village, perhaps the best tiramisu in the world (come to The Foreign Wife!), got drenched in the pouring rain, and....everything in between. I think one of the girls favorite parts was getting to go to the corner store on their own to buy bubble gum, ice cream, and various other sundries. It was a whirlwind of a trip with very little downtime for either James or me, but it was very, very good. God truly blessed the weeks that we had, and we saw Him accomplish and do things in those short weeks that many times we would wait a year or more to see.
4. Our restaurant did something of a relaunch the last week I was in Dali. Our staff has new uniforms, we installed a new China Town style sign out front that glows in your sleep, our menu was updated and reprinted with heaps of new dishes, staff assignments were realigned, we hired a couple new staff members, we sent out an advertisement via social media that got 18,000 views in the first 24 hours....and naturally got wind in our sails from being all together again. By the time I left everyone was feeling recharged and excited, and proud of the work they do. (They know how to make Italian pasta from scratch! What's not to love?!) Not surprisingly, our July sales were the highest they've ever been. Exciting stuff.
5. We are looking for a place to live. With the addition of our niece + the uncertainty of our time here in Indy (will it be another year? another two? three? ten?), we have started the house hunt. Kind of exciting and definitely overwhelming in it's complexity. The cultural differences are absolutely astounding and either make you laugh or make your head spin. But it's all good, and we are thankful.
As always, thanks for your love & prayers that continue to bless and sustain us. Since our return to Indy we are finding grace to persevere through this season of our lives. In the last couple of weeks, James has had some of the worst pain he's ever had, and many nights of disturbed sleep. After our time in China it feels like a real setback, and is all things scary and depressing all rolled into one. But we find that as we draw near to Him, He strengthens us so that we do more than plod. Some days it feels like a plod (and that may be all you have the strength or energy for), but if you can just look up...you see there's just so much to be thankful for.
Enjoy this beautiful day...
~james & kristen