For those who have asked via email or voice mail...
Dad's viewing will be Thursday, August 2 from 2 - 8 at my church, Jerome Christian Church, and Friday, August 3 from 10 - 11 AM. His funeral will also be at the church at 11 AM on Friday.
Directions from 31 (Kokomo) to the church:
Turn on Markland (which is also 22 and 35) like you are going to Walmart (east). Go through the light at SR 19 and through the ONE stop light in Greentown...yep, we're proud of only one light, too! :) You'll pass streets like Indiana, Hunt, and Cobalt. The next one is SR 213 and Maple Street in Greentown. Turn South (right) and go one mile to 100 S. Turn left. About a mile down the road you will come to my church. It will be on your right.
(click here for the obituary)
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
For those who have asked via email or voice mail...
Posted by mi*chelle at 11:51 PM
At 8:15 PM, Dad heard the words we all want to hear one day, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Dad entered the arms of the Savior peacefully. Although we will miss him terribly, we rejoice in the fact that we know he is singing with the saints....and SAVING ME A PLACE IN THE CHOIR! :)
Dad has touched countless people, and his legacy of love for Christ will live on in all of us. Learn from his example and live unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement. We will always be grateful for the blessings of the past 26 days.
Faith is the victory, Faith is the victory,
Oh glorious victory that overcomes the world!
Posted by mi*chelle at 2:49 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2007
HARD FOR ME...
1. To imagine life without my Dad's laughter
2. To hear the song "It Is Well" or "Faith is the Victory"
3. To stop seeing the image of a funeral
4. To stop praying for a miracle
5. To be unselfish
6. To think of a day when I can't ask him for advice
7. To envision my children growing up without their favorite pappaw.
8. To not wonder what this all will do to further the Kingdom
9. To hear Joyful Noise sing without him
10. For this to be real in my mind
11. To not feel guilty that I forgot about it for one second
12. To not feel guilty that I want everyone to be sad
13. To not feel guilty that I'm thinking of myself when Jenny's husband is dying and my father is fighting for his life
14. To ignore the fact that unsaved men are being touched by my dad's endless witness
15. To see the big picture
16. To feel happy
17. To feel like I'm not going to be naseated for the rest of my life
18. To see people with their fathers or children with their grandfathers
19. To hear the word "death" or "die"
20. To be honest with myself sometimes
EASY FOR ME...
1. To love my dad
2. To laugh in a hospital room with family I haven't seen in a while
3. To hold my niece and kiss her cheeks
4. To allow doubt and anger to creep in...
5. To ask why
6. To feel closer to my husband than ever
7. Journalling...getting it all out
8. To listen to stories told about my dad...from stories that happened yesterday to stories of his childhood
9. To grow closer to my uncle
10. To see Jesus in my Dad's eyes - even when they are distant
11. To lose my composure
12. To wonder why it isn't someone else...after all, hasn't my family suffered enough in the past 7 years?
13. To have a short fuse
14. To cry
15. To feel lost and alone
16. To love my Jesus
17. To feel the prayers being lifted up on our behalf
18. To assure others it will be okay, even when in the quiet times I wonder how I'll get through this
19. To look on my father with love...even when he is so distant
20. To look to my Father for love...especially because He is so near
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:10 PM
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Luke got to visit his grandpa and say goodbye the other night (7-26-07)....it was heart wrenching to watch, but he wanted to go. He drew a beautiful picture when he got home of him and Grandpa Bob holding hands (with Dad's hair a mess - ha!), and I hope he always remembers the time as special. (I know the picture is a little blurry...it's the only one we have of that moment. Luke was showing Dad his missing tooth.)
Yesterday (7-27-07) was a GREAT day! Dad slept better the night before and awoke at 9 AM to take a shower! After his shower, he continued to be quasi-normal! Among the small victories yesterday was the coherence. It seemed like he was with us all day, and in to the evening. He actually fed himself for lunch (mashed potatoes and peas) and dinner (Bob Evans mac and cheese and biscuits and gravy). Later, my cousin Greg brought him a McDonald's chocolate milkshake. He perked right up for that! :)
We had real conversations with him yesterday - not just him answering yes or no questions. He even told Jenny he thought the Lord was healing him.
He kept asking Jenny and me if he had missed something because we were making such a big deal about the normal, every day things like holding his own cup. He said he remembered a lot of the days before when we thought he was in a fog. I told him we were amazed because the doctor had only given him the 2 - 3 days to live. He got quiet then. I finished with, "Dad, it's the third day." He looked up and said, "I serve a great big wonderful God." I got chills...
He joked with us, and we had a great day. It gave us hope.
Today he slept most of the day. When I left at 5:30 he had only woken up to change clothes and answer a few questions all day. He hadn't had much to drink and hadn't had anything to eat. I think yesterday wore him out.
Even if he takes another turn for the worse, I will always remember yesterday and feel blessed. We prayed for a miracle, and maybe that was it....maybe there is more in store....whatever the case, God will be praised - even when I don't understand...even when I can't see His plan.
Posted by mi*chelle at 7:45 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I asked Jenny what to update you all about today...there is very little change. Dad asked for all of us this morning. He was "of sound mind" for a moment. It was nice. He asked Jenny if he was getting better. Her answer was great. She said she didn't know. It was up to God. If God told him to get better, then Dad needed to get better. But if God reached out His hand for Dad, she told Dad to take it because he has to do what God wants him to do.
This morning during that time, I was up tending to him, and he looked at me and sighed, "Oh sweetheart. I love you." It was beautiful...and I am so thankful for these glimpses of my dad.
He slept better last night. He seems to be more restful during the day as well. We're still waiting on God. That's all we can do. God is going to wow us - either way.
Posted by mi*chelle at 5:36 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Yesterday was a trying day. Dad was uncomfortable for much of it. However, in a moment when he and I were in the room alone, he looked at me and said, "Michelle, I'm not scared." I knew he wasn't, but hearing it was a big relief. His last coherent moments yesterday were spent trying to comfort me, and I will always be grateful for that.
Last night, we had some wonderful Christian men come to Dad's bed side and pray (James 5:14). We knew Dad would want to follow God's Word to the last moments possible, so we thought we should heed the words James wrote and ask men from church to pray. It was a wonderful time of some really touching prayers. I know God heard them.
Dad is sleeping very comfortably. He has given us his best fight, and we are aware that medicine is done at this point. Science can only treat the pain. So we have had them up his medicine to keep him comfortable. We don't know if we have a few hours, a few days, a few weeks...but we know that he has left a wonderful legacy.
I'm not saying this to count God out. God is still in control, and if He feels that my Dad still has work to do, songs to sing, or people to touch for His glory on this earth, God will heal him. Nothing's too big.
But we, as a family, also know that Dad doesn't want to go on in this state or cause any pain for the family.
We are leaving it at the feet of the Savior. He'll know what to do.
Posted by mi*chelle at 3:52 PM
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Last night, Dad's feet starting turning purple while he was at home. After talking to Dr. John Dean on the phone, Jenny took him in to the ER where they said he had a blood clot in his aorta. He was put on an IV blood thinner. This, to our understanding, is the last kind of thinner that they can try. His feet are no longer purple. This might mean the clot is on the move. We finally left there around 4 AM when he got a room. He is not accepting visitors except family, but he would greatly appreciate more prayer.
These three weeks have seemed like an eternity, and at the same time just a blink of an eye. Dad still needs our prayers. He is having much difficulty at night. The pain is controlled, though, thank the Lord. They put in a picc line yesterday to make things a little easier, so we are hoping that this will help.
My mom has come home from Montana, and it is very nice to be with her right now. All of my family in one place!! :)
Please continue to pray for us and for my dad. It seems we need it a little more each day.
Prayer Warriors, it's time once again! :)
We were told last night that Dad has just a few days or MAYBE short weeks to live. We are obviously upset, but happy to know God is in control.
Thank you to all the people who have helped. Please pray that Dad will go peacefully or - even better - that God will heal him. He said he was ready to go be with his mom last night. But then he sits up in the middle of the night and advises Todd and I to be saving money for the next 15 years! :)
We love him so dearly, but we know God loves him more and has the total picture in mind.
To leave a message for Dad or the family: www.carepages.com (search for BobNicholson - no space between words)
Posted by mi*chelle at 12:08 PM
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Dad got to come home (again) tonight. He is so thankful to see his new granddaughter, Grace! :) She is ADORABLE! Such a sweet 10-day-old baby!
Todd and Micah arrived safely, which is a blessing!
Dad is feeling a little better today. They have started him on a new blood thinner (again- this is like the 3rd one) and an entire regimen of pills...it could be overwhelming, but Jenny is all over it!!
The effects from the stroke are not the most comforting to see, but we are praying God will continue to help him with his face (left side) and the other lingering results.
The family had a tough meeting tonight to discuss some hard questions, but it was so great to see Dad come out of the medicine fog and be "dad" again. That, in and of itself, was probably the best thing that has happened in several days....
He continues to be in good spirits despite all the doctor's news. It's comforting to see a peace come to him. He is relentless in his praying and praising! I am learning so much from him.
Please continue to pray. He has some more difficult days ahead, but God is good....now and always. We know He will see Dad through this. Jenny is doing well, too. She continues to treat my Dad like the treasure he is! We're so thankful for her!
God bless you all!
Posted by mi*chelle at 11:54 PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Praise God for the small victories! We are happy to say that at the same time the prayer meeting at church was being held tonight, my dad was told that the stuff in his brain was NOT cancer!! SO PRAYER DOES WORK!! KEEP IT COMING! They are going to change his blood thinner to cumadin and hopefully get the clotting under control. Once the clotting is controlled, he can start chemo treatments. I am overwhelmed with the amount of prayers and support we are getting! Thank you all so much!
Please pray that Todd, Micah, and Grace will arrive safely. They started the drive at about 12:30 AM and we expect them to be home in the middle of the night.
Thanks for everything!
(don't forget the carepage....it's been really uplifting! thanks to all!)
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:05 PM
PRAYER WARRIORS NEEDED
Dad was taken in after his appointment with his oncologist because they were suspecting another stroke. He had an emergency MRI done, and they found several spots in his brain. The neurologist believes them to be blood clots. Tomorrow (Wednesday) he will have a spinal tap done to determine if the spots are clots or something cancerous. The neurologist believes that they are clots, but they are making sure.
As far as the cancer goes, it has been confirmed that he has pancreatic cancer. The prognosis is not good. He has been given a 20% chance (with treatment) of surviving a year. Anything beyond that is 5%. Any chemo treatments are to improve the quality of life, and not necessarily lengthen his life. If the treatments actually lengthen his life, the doctor said we were talking about a "few short months."
Because of the suspected clots, he cannot start chemo, and he will not be able to start chemo unless the clotting goes away. If a clot moves to the part of his brain that controls breathing, he will be put on a ventilator. If he is on a ventilator, he cannot have chemo....it seems to be a no-win situation. My brother, Todd, has been called home. He is arranging travel and finalizing it tomorrow morning. We're hoping that Micah and Gracie will be able to come home as well.
I keep reminding myself that God is bigger than this and He is the Healer we can turn to. Please pray!!! UNCEASINGLY!
At this point, Dad is only taking family visits, so we are not releasing his room number, but you are welcome to leave him messages on his carepage at carepages.com (search for BobNicholson - no space between names) or send a note. WE SO APPRECIATE THE PRAYERS AND ENCOURAGEMENT!
On another note, Chad and I talked to our boys tonight about the situation. Luke is fully aware of the danger, and he is very scared, as are we. Please pray that our little boys will handle the upcoming days well. As you can imagine, it was a difficult conversation.
We are so thankful for Chad's parents and our family (church or otherwise). They have been very good and supportive. One of the last full sentences my Dad said today that I heard was to Todd. "You keep praising God, Todd, because I'm going to!" He is truly amazing....
Thanks for the prayers!
Posted by mi*chelle at 12:03 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
If you would like to see the updates on my dad, or even sign up for emails when the site is updated, go to carepages.com. You can find my dad by searching for a BobNicholson (there is no space between first and last names). Go to www.carepages.com.
Posted by mi*chelle at 10:04 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Well, we'll start with bad. Yesterday, the preliminary reports of Dad's biopsy indicate that he has pancreatic cancer. Cancer is never what you hope for, but pancreatic cancer is definitely not the cancer we would want if he had to have one....I made the MISTAKE of looking it up on webmd tonight. I had said I wouldn't but I did. Oh God help!
But God is bigger. And He's able. And He is merciful and He has a plan. Yesterday was extremely emotional, as I'm sure you can imagine.
...some positive news....
Dad's heart cath today came back with good results. It seems the doctor believes that if the oncologist decides upon chemo for Dad, the heart will be strong enough. PTL for a small victory today.
It's funny how one day I can barely stop crying, one day I'm mad as all get out, one day I'm optimistic and trusting....
God, forgive me when I don't rely completely on You. You have our best interest in mind. If in some way, I can glorify You today through this, show me, God. I know You are good and Your love endures forever. My strength rises as I wait upon You, Lord. Give me and my family the strength and the courage to face it again in the morning. God I pray that You choose to heal my dad. Take away the pain. Take away the cancer. Take away all blood clots. God, You will be praised in all things. I trust in You because You said I can...because You said Your burden is light...because You said that You will never leave or forsake me or my dad...because You show me Your love every day...because You have blessed me beyond what I can imagine and Your Word promises that You will bless me even more...because You have never failed me....because You have delivered me from death....because You bought me with Your blood...because You show me Your power with every sunrise...because You brought Lazarus back to life....because You are too awesome for words. Jesus, I lift up Your name, and I ask that in Your name You take all of this away from my dad. Heal him with the touch of Your mighty hand. We will give You all the glory. Amen.
Posted by mi*chelle at 11:12 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
My dad is still in the hospital and will be there until at least Wednesday of this week.
Tuesday he will have a tissue biopsy done because the doctors have found a mass on his pancreas a little larger than a golf ball. Whatever this is has spread to his liver as well. Please pray that they will find that this is only an infection and not cancer (especially not pancreatic cancer). Since it's in the liver, the news of cancer would not be good.
Please pray for our family. Dad could really use the prayers. He will also have a heart cath some time this week. If this is cancer, the doctor wants to make sure that his heart as strong as possible.
ON THE OTHER HAND our family has a huge praise!!
Todd (my brother) and his wife, Micah, had their baby girl...I would give you the details...especially her name!! but I can't because I think they should announce it on their blog....so check it out! (But they hadn't put it on there as of today when I posted this entry.)
Thank you for your prayers for my dad and visits and offers to help!
Posted by mi*chelle at 9:34 PM
Friday, July 06, 2007
My dad still could use your prayers....
He has scored some victories today. He will not need open heart surgery at this point, but will need blood thinners....that's doable.
He will have another test tomorrow to determine whether the big "c" word is involved, and to be completely honest, I am scared to death.
My dad and I are EXTREMELY close, and it's very scary to see him in this situation and be in so much pain and be so scared and emotional himself...
Please keep praying!!!!! For those of you who have emailed me, THANK YOU! Your encouraging words are exactly what I need right now.
Posted by mi*chelle at 10:33 PM
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wow. The last 40 hours or so...sheesh! It's been a whirlwind, really.
So I'll set it up, spill it out, and leave it here...
A few weeks ago, I noticed when Luke came to sit on my lap at the end of a hot day that he was rather...uh...well, stinky. Not just dirty little boy stink, either. Like 7th grade pubescent nastiness. Well, I chalked it up to the temperature and the outdoor activity and moved on. A few nights later, our family had been out until dark, which here is around 10. The boys were so tired when we came in the house that Chad just told them all to go to bed and they could get baths the next day. I wasn't arguing because I was quite worn out and didn't especially relish the thought of bathing 4 kids. Luke began crying at this order from his dad and when I asked him why, he cried, "Because I stink." Trying to lighten the moment, I said, "No way! You don't stink!" And not thinking of the previous situation explained here, I lifted his arm and comically started sniffing his armpits. Much to my chagrin, he was, in fact, correct. He smelled like onions. Not wanting my 6-year-old to continue crying, I told him to go ahead and take his shower that night because he DID smell. But this time the incident didn't escape my memory as quickly. Over the next few days, I tried (from afar) to notice his aroma....and the conclusion was not good. He did, in fact, need deodorant. I talked to a friend who has two older boys and asked when her boys had started using deodorant. One of them did start using it at about the age of 7. Well, Luke turns 7 on August 4. So yesterday, after a 4th of July picnic, we were having some friends over. I decided to run to the dollar store and pick up some drinks for the evening. The house was quiet, and so I let Luke come with me, knowing the other boys were content and wouldn't throw a fit about not being able to go.
Luke and I headed to the dollar store. Instantly, he took on the personna of a much older kid. We got to the store and walked in. To the right were the shopping carts, and he automatically headed to get one. Seeing his puffed up chest, I knew he wanted to push it, but he confirmed my thought by announcing (in the grown-uppiest voice he could muster), "I think I need to push this cart." I didn't argue. We headed to get the drinks. We walked to find the deodorant next.
As we approached that section, he got a little more excited, and his step sped up slightly. We got there, and he wanted to grab every bar. I told him to slow down, and then gave him the limits. We were at the dollar store, for heaven's sake, so he could get a deodorant that was an antiperspirant as well and had a 1 or a 2 at the front of the cost. I didn't see the need for the most expensive ones...I also steered him away from the sprays because I knew the spray would last for all of about 2 minutes.
He diligently stood and took off caps, smelling each one with the long a word (antiperspirant) that was within his price range. He decided upon Speed Stick. He was soooo proud. He put all the items on the check out counter, and he bagged the items. He loaded the cart; he pushed the cart back to the van. He also loaded the bags in to the van, but before shutting the door, found the bag with the beloved deodorant and got it out to hold it on his lap. He was growing up in front of my eyes....what a milestone.
But his true age came quickly back in to focus....we went across the street to the gas station so I could get a fountain diet coke (mmm). As I got out, his friend from T-Ball had pulled up and had seen Luke, so he came running to Luke's door. When Luke saw Parker coming, he opened the door, held up his deodorant like he was the model in the commercial itself and proclaimed: "Parker! Look what I have! Deodorant! Because I STINK!" He had the biggest Chad-grin on his face I have ever seen. So proud to smell!
When we got home, I discussed how often he would have to turn the bottom dial to move the deodorant up and that it might be 4 or 5 DAYS before he would need to do so. I also showed him the right way to apply it. (Because I could see the future and know he would cake about 3 inches of deodorant on.) He practiced swiping 5 strokes under each arm, replaced the cap, put it on its shelf, and promptly sniffed under his arm.
It was quite comical.
Later that night, we had friends over. They have 4 kids like us, and they also have twins in the middle like us. We were all hanging out doing fireworks in the back yard. Chad's dad is an EMT and whenever there is an issue we need to hear about (weather-wise), he calls.
Well the sky had some pretty orange lightning to accent the fireworks, and 8 children were getting a little edgy about it. I persuaded them that we would hear sirens if something was wrong. About 5 minutes later, we heard ambulance sirens. The kids tensed up. I then explained that if something bad were to happen that Chad's dad would call. He always did.
We finished our fireworks and headed inside. We were just walking in when the phone rang. The caller ID said it was Chad's dad. So I told him it was for him, and he answered. He disappeared a minute later. He came back with my cell phone, and he said, "Check your voicemail." I asked why, and looking at my phone realized that I had missed a call from my dad. Chad didn't answer me and just kept repeating, "Check your voicemail." So I did. There were 3 messages. Two didn't matter, and then I got to the third one. It was my dad's neighbor. After she introduced herself, all I heard was "I'm calling because Jenny asked me to call" (Jenny is my stepmom) "and they are here with the ambulance to take your dad...." I hung up my phone and looked up. Without thinking of who was in the room and who would hear, I blurted out, "I have to go. I'm leaving right now." Chad hung up with his mom and dad (who had obviously called to let me know that the EMT radio had ordered an ambulance to my dad's house). He looked at me and just said, "WAIT! I'm going with you."
Now I pause to tell you that this meant a delay. I wasn't happy about the delay. He had injured his knee wrestling with our kids and the other family's dad earlier that night....he's probably hurt his MCL or maniscus.
The delay of his hobbling didn't make me happy...Luke in the meantime had heard me say I was leaving. His radar went off. He got teary and started asking "Where are you going? I want to go with you." I told him he couldn't. "Where are you going?" I paused, thinking of what I could say. Finally I answered with "I have to run some errands."
We got in the van, and we left the kids with our friends. Chad drove about 110 mph to the hospital, passing all the fireworks gawkers with flashing lights and horns. We beat Jenny to the hospital, but on the way I had talked to HER on the cell phone. She said Dad had been exercising on his eliptical machine. He always does this for 30 minutes while watching tv. Jenny was cleaning my old bedroom, which is right beside his exercising room. She heard the tv go to a channel that doesn't have programming and she heard the static. The static didn't change. She went to check to see why Dad hadn't changed the channel, but he sat slumped down in a chair unable to communicate effectively. She asked several questions and got answers like "What are you going to do?....Where did I put the front of the disk?....I have to empty the washing machine water.....Where is the hot fudge sundae?..." When she asked him her name, he looked blankly at her and said, "Honey? Swee--?" She told him to sit right there and called 911.
The next hour seemed like an eternity to me. I finally was called back with Jenny to his room in the ER. He was able to talk, but was extremely emotional. He remembers being confused and unable to find words. He is coherent now, and they have ruled out stroke and brain bleeds and heart attack. He remains in the hospital again tonight. They are running several tests.
I am so thankful that he has been cleared of some major biggies like stroke and such, but the fact that he has not been able to use his right hand since May and he has had excruciating back pain since like Christmas (I think) is scary, especially topped with last night's episode.
Please pray for him. He's probably going to be okay, but he has some real questions that need to be answered, and he's been to doctor after doctor. Hopefully he will start getting some more intense treatment so they can get to the bottom of this.
I was amazed at the amount of people that showed up in such a little time. Two men from our church, our preacher, my grandpa, two family friends of Jenny's, my uncle and his wife all came to support our family that night...even though it was really late. It was such a comfort!! I have such a deep respect for all of these people....
Thanks for your prayers. God is in control, and I have to remember that...but no doubt about it, I'm a Daddy's Girl, so last night completely rocked my world.
Posted by mi*chelle at 6:45 PM