Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photo from 2011-12-29

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Photo from 2011-12-14

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo from 2011-12-06


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Late November Cottage Visit

November 2011 A Month to Remember

Our plan for November had been to have a quiet time at home with only a couple of trips to Sudbury for treatment but for the most part we would just try to stay in Thessalon or maybe go to the cottage.  As it turns out it is better not to plan.
The month started with a trip to Sudbury for a treatment on Nov 1st. and we did get out to the cottage that week.  We pulled the dock in and cleaned up a bit.  I am still working on the renovations of the bathroom.  Mary wanted an indoor shower so I have been working on that. 
On Nov. 9th Marys brother  Tim Stewart had an appointment with his doctor and she promptly sent him to the hospital and it turned out that he had a heart attack.  He was shipped to Sault Ste. Marie the next day and it was discovered that he had 4 blocked vessels and they put him on a wait list for surgery in Toronto.  So we made three or four trips to the Soo during his stay there.  He was taken by medical aircraft to Toronto and St.Micheals Hospital on Nov 15th and Mary and I drove down to be with Judy at the Bond Place Hotel near the hospital.  The surgery was done on the 16th and was very successful.
We had quite a reunion in Toronto as Katie came over from  Waterloo, and Aly and Matt made the trip south from Moosonee. 
Recovery for Tim was going well but the doctor did not want him to make the 7 hour trip home by car so we put him and Judy on the Porter flight from Toronto Island the 22nd of Nov and we drove to Sudbury for Marys treatment on the 23rd. We made it back home late on the 23rd just happy to be in our own bed again.  Tim  S and Judy made the trip home very well and he is recovering very well at home.  He is to rest for 4-6 weeks but I think we will be lucky to keep him down for 2weeks.  It seems amazing to me that an active healthy guy can have a heart attack, a week later have open heart surgery and the following week be home walking around.  As my uncle Tom said on Sunday, How can you not believe in the Power of Prayer.
Anyway the month is over and hopefully December will be a bit slower (Did I really say that).

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Update

 Update October 24th

It has been a while since I have updated so I will give you a quick run-down of the last month and a half.

In early September we made the long trip to Red Lake to see Josh Lynne and Ivy.  We decided it was a good opportunity to make the trip with Kate as she had not been to Red Lake yet.  We helped Josh move his stove, change the counter top in the kitchen, install a dishwasher and new faucets.  The highlight of the trip was constructing a swing set for Ivy.  It was Kate's birthday but Josh took the day off work and  we built the structure together while Ivy and Grama kept a watchful eye.  We returned home bringing Gloria as well for a visit.

The Retirees Retreat at ABK, was the next event and we really enjoyed catching up with some old friends and making some new ones.  ABK provided some good activities and excellent food.  Jack Correll gave us some great Bible teaching. 

We are still making the trek to Sudbury Hospital every three weeks.  The Herceptin treatment seems to be going well.  The treatment take about 2-3 hours and we come home the same day.  Mary is tired for a couple of days but tolerates the stuff okay.  She is also taking the clinical drug every day.

On Sept. 24th we made a surprise visit to Kingsville for John's birthday.  He was turning 60 so we had to make it for that milestone.  We celebrated and finished off the deck we had started in August.  Ruth treated us to some very good meals and we got to try out Michaela"s new car.  We had a nice visit  with Katie and Amy as well.

We returned home and managed to get a few jobs started and done at the cottage and on the farm.  We helped Mary's older brother Harold with baling straw and butchering chickens.  My job was to catch the chickens in the coop and help with plucking and cleaning.  Mary was in the kitchen preparing the chicken for freezing.  We prepared about 25 chickens with more to be done later.

Ruth and Gordon Hanna from Chitokoloki dropped in for a visit on their way to Sault Ste. Marie.  It was wonderful to catch up on all the news from Zambia and just enjoy  the time.    They will be in Canada til mid November then return to Chit for some warmer weather.  They have a lot of projects on the go as well as day to day running of the Mission Station.  They are amazing folks!

Thanksgiving was really nice as the weather was great.  Katie made the trip north with John, Ruth and Michaela.  On the Saturday we put them right to work as the cattle needed to be brought home from the summer pasture.  The OPP came in force to stop the traffic as the cows made their way across the highway.

Over Thanksgiving Katie found out that she had two job offers and after much deliberation she decided to take the job in Kitchener.  We needed to deliver 48 boxes to the south for shipment to Africa and decided to take Katie as well.  We needed to  take Tim's truck as it was a big load.  We dropped the boxes off at Ken Wagler's in Tavistock and had a nice visit with them.  We then travelled to Hanover for a quick visit  with Harold,  Muriel, Johnnie and Betty.  We arrived back home in Thessalon exactly 40 hours from when we left.    

On October 18th we set out for Red Lake but by a different route than normal.  Josh needed windows so we decided to travel through the States and pick up windows at Menards.  After crossing at Sault Ste. Marie we travelled to Marquette Michigan,  bought two windows then continued on to Duluth MN.  We crossed back into Ontario the next day at International Falls.  We arrived in Red Lake Wednesday night and started work on Josh and Lynn's house the next  day.  A week  later we have installed two windows, strapped the house and installed vinyl siding as well as getting to spend time with Josh, Lynne and Ivy and Gloria, Mike and family. We leave to go home Friday morning and hopefully we will stay close to home for a while.  We have a trip to Sudbury on  November  1st  for Herceptin treatment number seven.  Thanks for  reading our blog and for your prayers as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Trip to Red Lake

New siding job on Josh and Lynn's house in Red Lake.

birthday surprise for John

Trip to Kingsville for John's birthday, new deck and a Bug for Michaela.  Sudbury Regional hospital for Mary's treatment and a chicken thief.

September trip to Red Lake

Ivy and Katie trying out the new swing and an ABK shot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip to Moosonee Part 2

The visit to Moosonee has been great!  We have had a tour of the town, and now understand the subtle names for different sections of the metropolis. "The other side of the bridge" south east, "The Base"  northwest, "Way Down" south of Moose Factory and "Way Up" is the north of Moose Factory.  Aly and Matt live at "The Base" near the airport and Matt's parents live on "The other side of the Bridge".  We toured the town walking and riding in the Jeep.  Eventful was the tour of Northern, the shopping experience of Moosonee.  The history of the Northern has it's roots in the NorthWest FurTrade Company, which merged with the Hudson's Bay Company.

On Friday, Matt borrowed his father's Nor'west canoe and took us for a ride up the Moose River.  It was interesting as the water was running up stream.  How is that possible you ask?  The tide was coming in.  The tide level of the river fluctuates by over 2m.  The Moose River is quite wide, with many islands and sand bars in the delta area.  We were hoping to see a seal but the only major wildlife we saw was a Bald Eagle.  We stopped on the bank of the river for supper and enjoyed some exploring.  On the way back down the river we went by Moose Factory on the Island.  A storm was brewing and we watched the clouds and lightning in the distance.  Just as we pulled up on shore the storm hit, high wind and rain. We were glad that we had made it safely to land before the storm.

On Saturday we had more exploring in Moosonee in the form of Yard Sailing.  Aly and Matt returned home with two sets of cross country skis, while Katie found a tennis racket and I got a pair of hockey gloves.  That evening we had a great meal of pizza and conversation at Wendell and Sue's home.  On Sunday we had opportunity to go to Church with Matt and Aly and meet some great people from Moosonee.  During the Adult Bible Class, Mary and I shared some of our experiences in Africa and more specifically the work at Chitokoloki.  The afternoon was restful and then we had a birthday party for Matt's brother-in-law Pete. It was another party and a great meal.

Monday, Matt took the afternoon off work and gave us a tour of Moose Factory.  It is about a 10 minute boat ride across the river and we spent some time walking around "Way Down".  We visited some of the old fort buildings and graveyards.  The settlement was established in 1673 as Moose Fort and was the main trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company.   In 1821 The Hudson's Bay Company merged with it's rival, the North West Company, and the name of the settlement was changed from Moose Fort to Moose Factory.  Today Moose Factory is a Cree community of 2700 people.  On the tour we visited the hospital where Aly will begin work in a couple of weeks.  Before heading home we stopped at the EcoLodge for supper of Pickerel, Chicken and Bison Burger.  The food was good.  On the way back to Moosonee, Aly manned the tiller and guided us safely back to the landing.  That night we had another party at the Clark's and a bit of a marriage celebration for Matt and Aly.  The highlight was a wedding slide show and more good food.  Check out the picts below.

Moose Factory

Moose Factory, Ecolodge, and the Hospital where Aly will work.

The Base

Aly and Matt's home and the trip up Moose River.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trip North


Moosonee Trip p1

This week we made the long awaited trip to see Aly and Matt way up north in Moosonee.  On Wednesday Aug. 17 we left Thessalon travelling north on Hwy 129 towards Chapleau. We were driving in two vehicles as we were taking the Jeep up for Matt and Aly to use.  The road follows the Mississagi River with lots of bends and turns, but it is very beautiful through the Algoma forest. We stopped for lunch in Chapleau having a quick tour of the town museum. The road straightens and we made our way to Timmins on Hyw 101.  The travel was good and we watched the blue sky and amazing cloud formations as we traveled through that rugged country.  When we got to Timmins we stopped in at Walmart to make some last minute purchases.  The greeter told us that a tornado warning was posted for Timmins and Cochrane.  No wonder we had those amazing clouds.

We watched the weather all the way to Cochrane but no Tornado.  In fact it was a bright sunny day and we made the trip in just over hour.  We checked into the Golden Gate Motel and toured Cochrane a bit.  It is a nice little town, but the most important thingis, it is the birth place of Tim Horton.  We checked out the train station , purchased our tickets for the trip to Moosonee and found where we would drop of the Jeep later that night.  Supper was at A&W and then back to the motel to load up the Jeep with food, luggage and parcels for Moosonee. At 1030pm we took the Jeep over to the train yard left the keys with a train man (we hoped), for loading on a flat car in the morning.

We made our way back to the motel for a good night's sleep and then off to the train at 730 am.  We boarded the train and left for Moosonee at 900h.  The train travels slowly but we  enjoyed the scenery and atmosphere of the Polar Bear Express. Trees, trees and more trees!  It is quick interesting to see the change in vegetation as you make the trip. Very few people as well, Cochrane district has a population density of about ½ person for every square kilometer. We arrived in Moosonee at 230pm, Aly met us at the train and we got a tour of the town. Check out the pictures of the trip north.

Google Maps Link for Our Trip to Moosonee

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Here is the map showing Thessalon and Moosonee. Notice that we travelled from the North shore of Lake Huron to the shores of James Bay.  Ontario is a big province!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Old Pictures


A new grandson for Mike and Gloria.

August Already!

The summer seems to be flying by and we are staying very busy.  Haying has been going well but seems to be dragging on.  Hopefully we will have the feed for the cattle all in next week.  We are planning on making the trip to Moosonee to see Aly and Matt the end of August.
Mary has been feeling well but we still make the trip to Sudbury every 3 weeks for "Herceptin", the treatment for the HER2 gene.  We were worried that this treatment was damaging Mary's heart so we had an ecocardiogram this week.  The doctor tells us that it is okay so we will continue with  that treatment.  The next date is August 9th, so we will make another trip to Sudbury.  I have been trying to make Mary take it easy but that is like trying to stop the wind.  She has been picking berries, beans, potatoes and anything else that she can see to pick, as well as driving the tractor.  Last Saturday I got hope from the field for supper and Mary's brother asked me, "Is it better to ask forgiveness or permission?". I wondered what he was taking about and he said to ask Mary.  Turns out she spent the afternoon in the hot sun driving the tractor while Mark baled hay.
I was planning to post some pictures but it turns out that our camera was stolen  when  our car was entered in June.  I will post some old pictures just to brighten up the post abit.
Thanks for prayers and concern.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 2 Canada Day Weekend

Hope you had a great Canada Day.  We kept the celebration low key this year.  I worked at building a gazebo, Mary spent most of the day resting.  We did get out to the farm for a bit.  She cut up some rhubarb and bagged it to go in the freezer.  John, Ruth and Michaela are up from Kingsville, along with John and Heather Bender (and family) from Hanover for the weekend.  They are staying at the cottage, maybe some fishing, swimming and hopefully boating.  Katie and I took the boat out to the cottage last night but when we got there, the motor tilt would not work so we have to bring it back and fix that this morning.
  Mary had her 6th treatment on Tuesday.  That will be the last of the chemo treatments as now she will have the gene therapy (Herceptin) every three weeks.  She has been feeling okay but gets tired quickly and her stomach is tentative.  I gave her needle #3 of Nuprogen this morning hopefully she will be able to stay out of the hospital.  I learned a new term this week from Zoe,  "febrile neutropenia"  which means the temperature spike that sends Mary to hospital.  Officially it is, when a patient has a fever and a significant reduction in their white blood cells (neutropenia) that are needed to fight infections. In any case we hope to forego that this time.
  Today we I am hoping that Mary will feel up to a visit to the cottage to see the gang.  Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Canada Day Weekend and for some a Happy Fouth of July.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mary is home from Hospital

Just a quick post to let you know Mary is home from the hospital.  Her temp was stable at about 37 celcius and the doctor allowed her to go home on oral anti-biotics.  She is feeling okay, tired but happy to be home.  We have a video conference with the oncologist tomorrow and have the 6th chemo treatment next week.  Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mary is in Hospital

We got home from Sudbury last Thursday and the weekend went okay.  Mary had been tired and weak but did manage to get out to Grama's for supper on Saturday and to her doctor's appointment on Sunday.  On Monday she was tired but restless and wanted to get out.  Her temp was 37.1 and a BP or 102/62.  She convinced me that getting out to the garden would be beneficial.  I took her out to the garden and she spent an hour weeding etc.  She loves just sitting in the garden getting her hands dirty.

When I picked her up she was tired so I took her home to bed.  She spent the afternoon in bed, her bones were sore and she was beat.  I was working on a new planter for Grama's patio so when I got home at 5pm, Mary temp was up to 37.7 and the doctor has said 37.5 was the signal to take her to the hospital.  I loaded her in the car to her mild protests and took her to the Thessalon hospital.  Needless to say they admitted her and started IV anti-biotics.  She has been in the hospital since Monday with low blood counts and a temp that fluctuates from 37.1 to 38.8.  The doctor says her blood count have to be above 1.5 and a temp less than 37.5 for 24 hours before she can go home.  We are praying that she has some good readings.  This morning her blood was up to 2.8 but she had a temp of 38.8 in the night.  This morning her temp was 37.1 so hopefully that will continue.  We really appreciate your prayers.  We are very thankful to have the hospital so close and wonderful care.  I am on my way over to the hospital now with some fruit and a smoothie. Take care.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 10 Update

It has been sometime since the last update so I thought I would recount the last 3 weeks or so.  After coming home from Philadelphia,  we went directly to Sudbury for treatment  number 4.  Mary wrote the following to a friend so I thought I would include her words.
"The chemo is definitely harder than we expected. But we are kind of finding a routine. The treatments are every 20 days and i have been feeling pretty rotten usually for the first 10 and then have about 10 days of feeling pretty good. The effects are cumulative and so with each treatment, I am more exhausted and find myself doing less and less but i sure do appreciate the good days.  The last treatment I had 2 weeks ago, they changed the type of chemo  drugs and I came through much better- no nausea or vomiting which was so great but then I ended up in the hospital for 5 days this past week on intravenous! I came home yesterday and today made supper for the first time in 2 weeks!  I think Tim appreciated it!  He has been spending days at the Lighthaven home in Bruce Mines helping to put on a new steel roof. I think he is hoping they will finish next week. He never seems to run out of jobs to do .
Aly's wedding on May 7th went really well. The day turned out to be beautiful and warm and no bugs yet! We had the wedding on my brother's farm. People sat around on hay bales and lawn chairs and it was very relaxed and enjoyable. She wore her running shoes and a knee length dress- definitely an Aly wedding.  A friend of ours bbq 150 lbs of beef- overnight on a spit over a wood smoke fire. It tasted great! So everybody had lots to eat. When they said their thank you's- aly said it was the wedding of her dreams!  It so great to see the joy in their faces all day. We were excited and happy for them! They are now living in Moosonee. Matt has a job as a youth/probation worker and Aly is hoping to get a job at the hospital after she writes her RN exams in June. Josh and Lynne were able to come for the wedding and we got to spend a couple of days enjoying our little grand daughter! I was so thankful that I was able to enjoy the day although i was pretty tired.  Tim then flew down to Philadelphia the next week and was able to be there for Katie's graduation from Eastern University with her Master's degree. She won outstanding thesis of the year. Now she just needs to find a paying job!! " 
Katie had a wedding to go to in Toronto and then has come home to Thessalon.  Her boyfriend, Jared came for 10 days to visit and Aly came home for a few days after writing her RN exams in Sudbury.  It was nice have everyone here and we spent a couple of days at the cottage.  After being in the hospital Mary was weak but I think enjoyed the time and some good talks with the girls. 
This past week has been eventful as well.  Aly made the long trip back to Moosonee on Sunday.  She left here about 1:30pm and arrived in Cochrane about midnight.  There was an accident on Hwy 144 so she had to make a long detour.  She got a motel room and be ready to board the train (polar bear express to Moosonee) at 5am Monday morning.  In Thessalon we snuggled into our beds only to wake in the morning to find that our vehicle was entered an Mary's wallet and some change was stolen.  The thief took the ashtray as well as the change, but the worst was Mary's wallet as she had medical info, drivers license, health card, credit cards etc.  Not a great way to start the week!
Tuesday we started the trip to Sudbury for Chemo treatment number 5 but the highway was closed due to another accident near Nairn Center.  We waited out the delay but missed the chemo appointment so stayed in Sudbury and had the treatment on Wednesday.  It is a four hour treatment and following we just found a bed at the Daffodil lodge and went to sleep.
Thursday we made the trip back home in time to say goodbye to Jared as he started his trip back to Memphis.  It was a good chance for us to get to know him and show him some Northern Ontario hospitality.  Mary was feeling tired but okay.  Friday I started giving her the injections of Neupogen.  I give her 8 injections to try to build up her blood.  This drug makes your bones ache and tired with fever sometimes.  We hope that she will not end up in the hospital again.  I keep close eye on her temp and BP.  If I notice any signs of infection,  I must get her to the hospital. Mary has one more treatment of this kind of chemo the end of June.  Then she will have a year of  Herceptin every three weeks.
 It has been great having Kate home as she spends time with her mom and they enjoy each other's company.  Kate has also been doing odd jobs around.  Friday she cut grass at Tim's and she helped Harold,  Rick and I lay out patio stones at Grama's.  Kate will help me build some planter boxes next. 
I am missing Mary's hair.  Although I am getting used to baldness she will always be a teenager to me.  I thought I would include a picture of Mary, when she was Mary Stewart.  This is how I see her and her hair is beautiful.
I will try to update the blog sooner than later.  Thanks for your prayers, notes and email, they really do make a difference.  Tim

Teenage Mary


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Philly Grad

Kate Graduates!

The day has finally arrived and Katie donned her cap and gown for the presentation.  She looked so beautiful and Mary and I are so proud of her.  She is now  Kate Elizabeth McDougall  BA, MA., but the titles mean very little because she is Katie, our Katie. It was most important that she was a friend and made friends, she was a student and honoured her professors.  She loves God passionately and loves others.  She extended her love to all she worked with  and they responded to her as well.  We thank the Lord daily for saving her life when she was only a week old and know that God has special things in store for her.

The Urban Studies Department of Eastern University Philadelphia recognized her work and she was presented with the award of Outstanding Thesis of the Year.  I know that she would like to thank all of her professors, advisors, clients, and friends in this accomplishment.  We are so proud!  I guess I already said that.  We  can never say we love her too much.

Mary was unable to travel to Philly for the grad but Katie's Aunt Mary-Jane and Uncle Dennis as well as I made the trip.  I took some pictures of the event for Mary and would like to share them with you.  We arrived in Philadelphia Friday morning (May 13) and meeting Katie and Jared at "MugShots" across from the penitentiary. We spent the day touring and seeing where Kate lived during her time in Philly.  We met a lots of fellow students and family as a get together Friday evening.  It was great!  The music excellent.  Saturday we woke up to a dull overcast day but that did not dampen spirits as this was graduation day.  After a short tour in the morning we made our way to Eastern University Campus in St.Davids.  The campus is beautiful and we had a chance to look around.  Just before the graduates arrived for the presentations, the rain began.  Quickly rain gear was used to protect us from the elements and we went on with the presentation.  Thousands of students graduated that day but we only saw one  and she was most important to us.  That evening Jared's mom and dad, Charlotte and Dan took us all out to the London Grill for supper.  It was so nice and we would like to deeply thank them . 

Sunday morning we headed back north arriving in Thessalon  about 8pm.  It was wonderful to see Mary and give her all the news.  We looked at the pictures and went over every part of the trip.  Mary and I pray that Katie will continue to follow her heart and love God with all her might.  We love you Kate!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring Wedding

May 7th 2011 was a milestone in our family.  Our baby  Alyssa Mary Rose got married today.  How can that be?  It seems that it was only yesterday that I held this little baby in my arms coming home from the hospital in Sault Ste. Marie.  This little girl had changed our lives as Josh and Katie were almost teenagers when she came into our lives.  We had almost forgotten about diapers, baby bottles, tricycles, kindergarten and childcare.  We must say however that this little girl was the best for us, helped us to stay young and extend our joy. 

The wedding was another joyful experience for us and a wonderful time.  Aly said it best "This wedding is all I've dreamed of".  The day was beautiful and seemed to be ordered.  Friday had been a cool wet day, dull and overcast.  When we woke Saturday morning it was evident from first light that this day was special.  The wedding was held on the farm of Tim and Judy Stewart in Thessalon.  The ceremony was on the front yard, with hay bales as seating and cows grazing in the field adjoining.

Matt, our new son-in-law was nervous and excited.  Matt's family, "the Clarks" from Moosonee,  were present in force, helped so much with the preparation and the wedding from start to cleanup. As you see from the pictures it was a joyful, casual and wonderful occasion. 

Mary and I would like to thank every one who helped with the wedding and it made the day so special.  It was the eleventh day since Mary's last chemo treatment and she was feeling well but tired quickly. At the end of the day she was just elated that things had gone so well.  It will be a very special memory for us and time when we saw the blessings we have in our Lord.  Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mark back from Chitokoloki

Mark returned home Saturday night with tales of a long trip to Africa and back.  He was tired but enjoyed the six weeks at Chitokoloki.  He spent most of his time drilling wells with Ken and Steve but was able to use his welding skills fixing ox carts.  I have included some pictures.  It is a nice change from talking about Cancer.  Mary is doing well but seems to be tired more than last treatment.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beginning of April

This has been an eventful week and overall a good one.  We are official resdients of Thessalon now with the papers signed and keys in hand.  April 2nd was packing day for Chitokoloki.  The folks here at Thessalon had been collecting clothing, food items, shoes etc for Africa and some got together on Saturday to pack the boxes.  We sorted everything in the gym at the Bible Chapel and then sealed up the boxes.  Turns out we will need quite a few more boxes to complete the job.  I hope to deliver them to Toronto on the 21st of April.It is great to see the believers here get behind the Malnutrition Program at the Chitokoloki Hospital.
It was a bit of a tearful week for Mary as on Tuesday and Wednesday she noticed her hair coming out in large clumps. On Thursday I did a bit of a barber job to even things out.  She said that the hair loss was more traumatic than the mastectomy.  I guess your hair is a visible thing and so much a part of your visage.  For me hair loss is a slow gradual process.  Mary says she thinks it is a pride thing.  She was alway kind of proud of her full head of hair.  She says the Lord must be teaching her something in this.  Anyway our shampoo use will decline and I am glad the warm weather is coming.
We head to Sudbury tomorrow for treatment #2 and are praying things go well.  They want us to stay at the Hospital at Daffodil Lodge overnight Monday.  I am really glad about that as perhaps they can help with the vomiting.  I am not looking forward to next week very much and I am sure Mary hopes things go better than last time.  Thanks again for your prayers and kind notes.