Category: family

People, I just have to tell you, we are some happy folks in the old House of Nebel tonight.

Grandmother Nancy’s oncotype testing has finally come back from the lab, and it shows that the tumor she had is in a very low-risk category for recurrence. This is awesome news – it means (obviously) that there’s only the tee-tine-einsiest percentage of a chance that the cancer would come back – and more immediately and practically speaking, it means that she does not have to endure chemotherapy treatments.

 She will still be having radiation, but her doctors are waiting until her surgery incision site is fully healed before they begin that course of treatment. It probably won’t be much fun, but it will definitely be easier than chemo.

 Thank you for all your prayers, for her and for all of us, so far. I’ll keep you posted as to when the radiation starts.

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Well, I’m sure it’s not news to you: life is full of twists and turns and the inevitable ups and downs. It’s just not often that you hit both a high and a low in the same day.

Yesterday evening, we found out that Grandmother Nancy’s pathology report came back. It was a good-news, bad-news situation all on its own. The good news is that the lymph nodes that were taken out during her surgery all came back clear, no cancer! This is great, because it indicates that the cancer was localized in the tumor and had not had a chance to spread. YAY for early detection! (Reminder, ladies: do those Breast Self Exams and if you’re of age, you’d better be having your yearly mammograms.)

The bad news is that the tumor was 2 centimeters in size. Surgeons use the size of the tumor to place patients in the “stages” of cancer (Stage 1, Stage 2, etc) and to help them determine the appropriate course of treatment. If you want the long, complicated version of that information, email Chris – he is actually in the midst of a breast cancer research project right now at the hospital, so he knows LOTS about this subject. A tumor that is less than 1 centimeter is the best, lowest stage of cancer and often requires no chemotherapy — so that, of course, is what we were all hoping for. As it is right now, it looks like Nancy’s doctors are going to coordinate both radiation and chemo treatments for her. She’ll meet with them soon and I’ll have more information about the length of treatment and exact dates at that time.

For now, please continue to keep Nancy and the family in your prayers. Pray that she will be free from any anxiety about the treatments and that she will continue to mend and recover after her surgery. (She’s already gone back to work, so she’s feeling pretty good – she’s a trouper, that one!)

So that, dear friends, was our low last night. But then a few hours later, we hit a high! (And I saw it on a certain someone’s MySpace page this morning, so I know it’s okay to post about it. 😉 )

My brother Jason is engaged! 😀 It’s so exciting. He bought a beautiful ring a while back – oh, this boy is so romantic, you just wouldn’t believe it – and had the jeweler ADD more diamonds to it (girls, are you swooning yet?) so it was (a) a completely one of a kind, customized ring, and (b) he had to wait to pick it up. While he was waiting, he hatched his proposal plan (actually there were several and I’m lucky enough to have heard most of them! It was so cute!) and met with Sharon’s parents to ask for their blessing ask for their permission to propose (he corrected me in comments!) (again, with the swooning, right?) Last night, he proposed over a game of

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We got an update last night – Grandmother met with her surgeon, and she is scheduled to go in for the procedure on Thursday. The doctor feels good that they caught it early, probably at Stage 1, and that she’ll be able to go home Thursday afternoon! The plan is to remove the lump, and inject the sentinel node (which will tell them if any of the lymph nodes are affected with the disease).

After the surgery, she’ll do six weeks of radiation treatments. (If the lump turns out to be larger than 1 cm, or if any of the nodes turn out to be affected, then they’ll add a course of chemo treatments to the plan. Let’s pray that that is NOT the case.)

Please keep the family, the surgeon, the nurses and support staff, and of course Grandmother Nancy in your prayers this week.

…and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b

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Well, it’s taken me two weeks but I’m finally getting around to telling you all about our Christmas. Settle in, this will be a long one.

Christmas started early for us, with an impromptu visit from Nonna, Poppa, Grandmother, and Pop. Jonas remembers Nonna & Poppa, of course, and made a beeline for him right away! (They play a game they call “Go, go, go!” where Jonas runs into Poppa’s arms about 90 miles an hour and Poppa pretends to be knocked over. After a while, poor Poppa is worn out and starts saying, “no, no, no!”)
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He didn’t take long to warm up to Grandmother (or, “mah-muh-mer” in Jonasese) and Pop. The new game he discovered with them, was pulling his hand inside his sleeve and then popping it back out! He thought it was HILARIOUS and Pop played along, laughing and clapping every time.
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We opened presents while they were here, and Jonas just LOVED his new choo-choo train and wooden vehicles. Plus, he finally realized what all those pretty boxes under the Christmas tree were doing there. (It was quite something to persuade him to wait to open the others!)
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It was a great visit -too short, but don’t all visits sort of feel that way? For the next several days, Jonas asked for all of them repeatedly. I think he finally figured out the answer was always going to be, “Nonna and Poppa are at their house. Grandmother and Pop are at their house.” Then, he started signing “telephone” and saying, “Hah, Poppa! Hah, Nonna! Hah, Pop!” …his way of asking me to call them on the phone. 🙂 He’s a smart one!
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Chris really hit the schedule jackpot, since he was off for Christmas Eve night, and Christmas all day! On the 24th, we opened presents from the other extended family members and friends. Aunt Laura & Uncle Scott sent a couple of cutie-patootie Gymboree outfits.
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Jamison (and Barb & Dave), our good friends in Nashville, gave Jonas a big “collection” book of several Backyardigans stories. I took this picture a second too late – you should have seen how big his eyes were when he first saw the cover!
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Grandmama & Granddaddy (a.k.a. Michelle’s parents) sent a set of dishes for his kitchen, a Hermie DVD, a big stuffed Uniqua and a Backyardigans lunch box. Again – I wish I could have captured the look on his face. Seeing that enormous “Kooka” doll pop out of her wrapping and then opening that lunch box, he was so funny. It was a look of total shock and joy.
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The great-grandMaxwells (Michelle’s Grandmama & Grandaddy) gave Jonas a cool set of aluminum pots & pans & utensils.

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We’ve had snow, lots of snow, fast and furious this morning. There was a brief lull around 10:30 when I went out to shovel our driveway and front steps (thank goodness for baby monitors and Baby Einstein). Now, at noon, it’s switched to a sleety rain mix. We’re supposed to warm up this evening and have more rain, but then between 1 and 3 more inches of snow tomorrow. (Between the forecast, and the fact that Jonas threw up on me AGAIN last night, I’d wager we won’t make it to church.)

Here’s our little piece of winter wonderland:
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It took me until naptime, but I did finally get our pictures uploaded and ready to go. You can see the whole album by clicking here.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we had a suprise visit from Grandpa Karl & Marty. Chris’ grandfather & his wife live in the D.C. area, and though we’ve sent pictures, they had never met Jonas in person. We’d talked about a visit this fall, and finally this weekend presented itself as a good time for them to get away. Chris’ dad and stepmom decided that they wanted to be here to see the introduction of Jonas to his great-grandpa, so they came up to visit at the same time!

It was so great to have a house full of family. Jonas took a little while to warm up to Grandpa Karl, but once he did, they had so much fun together. The giggles were non-stop, I tell you!

Friday night, I made a roast with mashed potatoes, corn, & carrots. I’d built a new table leaf for our little table (which we got from Sharon Ellis a million years ago back when we were neighbors at the little apartments in Rome, remember that!?) with some phone consulting help from my dad, so the kitchen was full to bursting with all seven of us crowded around the table. What a wonderful feeling, to have all that laughter and conversation and a nice meal together.

We went out for breakfast on Saturday morning, and then ran over to Home Depot (it’s always something, isn’t it?) before coming home to put Jonas …and Nonna!…. down for their naps. 😉 Chris and Karl went out to the mall to shop for my birthday gift, and when they came back, Donna and I went over to Jo-Ann’s for some felt and embroidery thread for my latest project. (More on that another time!) Grandpa Karl and Marty were there when Jonas woke up, and we played and took more pictures for a few hours.

It was really important to us to take a “Four Generations” picture of the Nebel guys. Here’s Karl Wendell Nebel, Jr (Grandpa Karl); Karl Wendell Nebel, III (Poppa); Thomas Christopher Nebel (Daddy); and Jonas Patrick Nebel together. Aren’t they a fine-looking bunch?

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Grandpa Karl & Marty treated us all to a delicious dinner at Hoggy’s, a local barbeque place, that night. We celebrated his birthday and mine (we share the day! And, as a funny coincidence, Chris and Grandma Marty share a birthday, too! What are the odds of that?). Jonas got a balloon, and we all got totally stuffed! That’s a good night in any book.

The next morning, everyone had to leave – Chris for a day/night on-call, and all the grandparents for their homes. Jonas I headed to church, and the house felt SO empty when we got back home.

I spent Monday cleaning and cooking – I made a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie to freeze

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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