Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 27, 2009 The Descent

surgery: 21 days ago
pain medicine: none
laxative: none
blood flow: Levitra 3 times a week, 20mg
adult pads: as required, 6-8 per day
exercise: 2 mile per day walking, 300 kegels
follow up: 6 weeks (5/27 Orlando)
psa test: (5/20)

Well, I 'm not sure where to begin, it's been two weeks since I've blogged and provided any update. I am not going to lie and tell you that it's been easy. It actually has been very difficult physically, mentally and spiritually.

I am continuing to heal physically, the physical exhaustion has subsided although I do tire easily. Internally all systems are back to functioning and the anesthesia effects are gone.

As for the urinary function; it has been a difficult few weeks, Friday (4/17) I woke feeling lousy, when I was urinating it felt like I was passing razor blades, obviously not good. I went to my general physician begging to urinate in a cup - the Bayer results showed traces of blood and bacteria present, looks like a urinary tract infection. I was prescribed Cipro for 5 days and they sent the sample to the lab for a culture.

The 6 incisions are less painful except for the one above the navel where they removed the prostate, Monday (4/20) I woke to an infected incision, back to my general physician, he was concerned that the Cipro may not be strong enough and prescribed Levaquin for 10 days. Let me add that it has now become protocol for me that any drug or diagnosis must also be run through Dr Patel (Orlando) and Dr. Jenkins (Panama City), so it's a 3 doctor balancing act. Dr. Patel advised against any more medication and to see Dr. Jenkins for it. Jenkins inspected it (4/21) and suggested we watch it for a few days. So Monday (4/27) Jenkins felt it was subsiding and offered two options, watch it or drain it and pack it until it clears. I chose the watch it method, it could impact my run in 6 days.

During the (4/21) Jenkins consult we discussed my urinary control, as I looked at my urologist (and friend) who feels responsible for my current situation, I finally lost control and broke down in tears. I explained to him that I was so prepared for the surgery, the minimally invasive, faster recovery surgery, that I forgot how hard it would be on the backside. For the last 11 days since the catheter removal I have been fighting this minor problem I have with leakage. I am totally able to sleep through the night with no issues, no pads, waking up urinating fine. But during the day with increased activity it's like a "leaking faucet" In fact this is my new Indian name "leaky faucet." But I cannot tell you how the most normal function to a man (urinating) can become the most humbling thing I've ever experienced. It consumed me for 11 days and filled me with anxiety, impatience and frustrations. Until I met with Jenkins, another man who just reached out wrapped his arms around me and said he understood, he loves me and it will be fine. The surgery was amazing and it just takes time, your stress and anxiety is going to increase your recovery, you have got to find a way to relax. And by the way, Jenkins you're responsible for saving my life.

The plan is to manage, exercise and control the bladder over the next two weeks and if things do not get better then we will discuss the bladder control program at the urological center. Jenkins feels that the results would/should be the same but to let him know.

As for physical exercise, NONE for 4 weeks, this magic date is approaching (5/4) with much excitement and anxiety. What will that first stride be like? Will it hurt, will I run differently to modify my rebuilt bladder neck and urinary system?

As for medicine, the 100 mg Viagra caused vision problems and diarrhea (took it twice), switched to 10 mg Cialis, it caused the most debilitating migraines and leg cramps (took it twice) and now I have 20 mg Levitra. It is the last medicine they can prescribe to keep the blood flowing. I can tell you some promising news, during the non-medicinal periods the male function that is so important has returned. I won't provide too much detail but what is factored is whether or not it could be utilized for sexual functions. You have to provide a firmness scale of 0-10 with and/or without prescription meds. Remember this is all medicinal at this stage of the recovery process.

In the infamous words of my lovely wife, "You are cancer free, your able to have erections, what's a little wee on yourself."

Things are beginning to gradually get better;

I received a phone call from another prostate cancer survivor, Darren Ritch (4/23), he explained that all these things are normal and that the frustration, the anxiety, the leaking, all normal. He also said that because of my physical condition going into the prostatectomy that I am recovering much faster than he did and that it won't be long until these little speed bumps will pass. My friend Darren has been such an inspiration, his ability to share via blog and his compassion for others has been unbelievable.

I also received a phone call from Dr. Patel (4/20) asking me how I was, I think he could discern the anxiety in my voice, he said that the surgery was a success, now relax and heal.

God in his providence has filled my journey with many wise and inspiring resources. He has blessed me throughout, He was with me through surgery but when I needed him most these past two weeks I forgot about Him. I climbed Everest April 6th praying for his safety, but then I went running down that mountain thinking I had control again. I cannot help but listen to the repetitive lessons for me directly; CONTROL. Ironic that this is now my last hurdle, my last humbling of this trial, CONTROLLING my bladder. God is GREAT, He placed two scriptures in my life during my devotional (4/22);

Do not be anxious about anything..Phil 4:6

Cast all your anxiety on Him..1Peter5:7

In my descent down the mountain, through cancer, through recovery, I am back to having a sense of peace and feeling of ease. I feel like I have my head back on straight and the few days of darkness is gone and there is only light ahead in this trial. It is a trial that requires support; from God, friends, family and physicians.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 13, 2009 Recovery Begins - Docs orders

surgery: 7 days ago

catheter removal: 3 days ago

pain medicine: tramadol every 6 hours for pain

laxative: docusate sodium 2 daily for 10 days

blood flow: Viagra 3 times a week, 100mg

adult pads: as required

exercise: 1 mile per day walking, 300 kegels

follow up: 6 weeks

At this point the physical exhaustion is still there sleeping 10-12 hours, the pain is starting to subside and become more localized in the incisions (muscles) and the pelvic floor, most of the anesthesia physical effects have subsided, still awaiting the bowels to activate.

The key is to stay hydrated, but mentally you want to control urine flow so obviously you are automatically drinking less, DRINK. Hydrate and manage your trips to the restroom, plan on one every 30-40 minutes. Attempt to stop and start flow while urinating as well. Be aware, if the urine flow stops either you're dehydrated or you may have blockage. If it is blockage notify your surgeon immediately, you will be reinstalling the catheter. If your urine becomes bloody, this is a key sign that you are doing too much, back down and rest. It is nothing to be too concerned with unless it is a measurable amount.

As for physical exercise, NONE for 4 weeks, I assume each patient may be different. No running, no lifting more than 5 pounds, no core exercise, no stretching, no sexual stimulation. The walk is prescribed for at least one mile per day, the more you are stationary the sorer and tighter you become. The kegels which exercise the pelvic are key for the urine control, 300 per day. This is not an easy goal to meet. I did this prior to surgery so I was somewhat prepared for the tenacity of these exercises, they become much different post-surgery.

As for medicine, down to 1 pain pill as needed, the laxatives are must at this point and the Viagra is prescribed to increase the blood flow in the surgical region. I must add that the Viagra is only for blood flow at this point, directions were explicit that if anything were to occur it was not to be utilized - cold shower - this is medicinal recovery time - 4 weeks.

Incision care, showering is fine, no hot tub, bathtub or swimming pools for 4 weeks. The incisions are sealed up with glue. I have four incisions for the daVinci robot, 1 incision for the removal of the prostate and 1 drain hole for post-op.

Using the restroom for bowel movements, DO NOT FORCE anything (not gas nor excrement), you do not want to stress your bladder reconstruction during the healing process. Just let the laxatives do their job, if you slowly lean forward and then sit upright, alternating this will assist the laxatives and bowels.

The key is to relax and incur as little outside stress as possible. Stress will become your worst enemy. And I promise you this is not only physically stressful but psychologically and emotionally as well. So you will need to find ways to manage the stress.

I don't anticipate that this phase is going to be an easy trial.

April 12, 2009 Family Reunion

After 7 days in Orlando we returned home the eve of Easter. We were reunited with our loving children and were able to attend Easter Service @ our home church (NorthStar Church, http://www.northstarpc.org/) I've attached a few images to show you how grateful, fortunate and blessed I am. God certainly has given me three of the most incredible gifts that any man deserves.

As we close out Phase 1 (pre-op stage) and head into Phase 2 (recovery stage) I want to thank all those that have been so instrumental through prayer, support and love. We couldn't have made it this far without you. We have had incredible friends, family, surgeons, urologists, pastors, survivors, prayer warriors, house sitters, this list goes on. I also want to thank those of you who have had the courage to share your stories through blogging; Darren Ritch, Michael Vinecki and family, Rabbi Ed Weinsberg, through awareness; Athletes for A Cure (Zagarinos), Prostate Cancer Foundation, and Livestrong. I'm sure I missed many more.

I feel that the blog lost it's way and became a story this past week, understand it was a story, our story. But I want us to get back to the facts dealing with prostate cancer awareness. My intentions will be to keep posting my recovery updates on a weekly basis for those of you interested and searching for some answers. I can tell you ahead of time that this will be based on the struggles of recovery for continence and erectile function (and we may have to be black and white in our blogging.) I promise to do my best in using appropriate and discrete language.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 12, Easter Sunday

I want to apologize for the late posting, this should have been posted yesterday! I also want to shift the momentum of my condition to the condition of the cross.

The cross is consistent, conquering, powerful and rugged. The cross's power is life-changing for all those that acknowledge it.

Easter is a season of promises fulfilled and promises waiting to be realized. It's about the cross, it's about the resurrection and being resurrected.

The Easter story is a message of hope, a message of Jesus conquering the grave, which means His followers can too.

God promises 3 types of life; changed life, abundant life and eternal life. For us we have most certainly experienced changed life (which is a daily struggle), we are certainly living in the abundant life (God has blessed us in so many ways) and the eternal life is just an instant away.

This season has certainly given us many reasons to rejoice in the resurrection of our Savior. We hope and pray that all is well with any person that may come in contact with this blog. If you have any questions regarding just how God has guided us through our experiences or any questions directly regarding treatment, surgery or recovery please feel free to contact us through the blog or via email. troiabj@knology.net Brett & Kim Troia

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11, 2009 he has risen indeed (a fitting pun)

After a relaxing afternoon at the pool with good bladder control, we thought, "Man, this is going to be a piece of cake!" By 11:00 that evening, we were having second thoughts, actually Brett was thinking - fearing, cringing at the thought, - "It would really stink if I have to have the catheter put back in." From about 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 there was no urge to empty the bladder, and no success when he tried. He began to worry, anxiety roars it's ugly head again. I am sure his stress was not helping. Blockage only occures in about 5% of the cases and since he had been going earlier in the day, I felt that he would be ok and knew that he needed to relax. Very easy for ME to say. I remembered the PA at Dr. Patel's office telling us that sitting in a warm bath may help. He sat in the tub for a few minutes - frustrated so he didn't stay long. I did my best to get him to relax, but found myself falling asleep. Brett took his medicine and went to sleep pad free. Next thing I knew it was 2:00 and Brett woke me up to tell me he was going "potty". Yeah!!!!! Actually, this was the second time he had gone. (He was also experiencing other things that you men out there can relate to - the natural male functions with early morning urinations - yeah baby!) Things are looking good. :) Baby New Year is making progress! Relieved, we both went back to sleep. From that point on, he went two more times before we got up at 7:00. I'm so proud of him - AND the awesome thing is that he has excellent bladder control and very little leakage. But, wait, there's more. We were lieing in bed watching a movie and off he goes to the bathroom. Yes!!! He finally had a movement, six days later! He's such a big boy! The moment was a monumental as Allison's and Kari's first bowel movement in the pot! Seriously though, he has to retrain his muscles as his body adjusts to the removal of the prostate. He is doing remarkably well. His stress is his worst enemy.

We're waiting to see what the weather is going to do. It's very foggy - zero visibility - so we haven't decided if we are going wait for the fog to lift and get a little pool time in or just hit the road back to Panama City. I'm not sure exactly what the drive home has in store for us. I anticipate a lot of pit stops!

April 10, 2009 Walnut

Meet "Walnut," a gift from one of my very best friends. Ken found this little fella, shaved him down, bandaged him up and sent him to Shingle Creek to be with us. I must admit he is appropriately named, I lost one and gained another. Thanks Ken, you always are able to find the positive and humorous spin in things.

Friday, April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009 Home Free

The morning was filled with a lot of anxiety and waiting, more anxiety and more waiting. Brett's past experiences with the removal of foreign objects has not been pleasant - wicked bladder spasms. So the thought of removing the catheter was bitter sweet -really making him anxious. Having to wait at the hospital for the cystogram was torture! He felt nauseous, his hands and nose were freezing, and was loosing the color in his face. Not a good scene! Not even my humor could distract him! Apparently, "they" were behind - like that never happens. Finally an end to the wait and off to X ray he goes. Good news, the bladder reconstruction is good - no leaks present. Next stop, Dr. Patel's office. Unfortunately, we had to wait there too. Yep, you guessed it, more anxiety. Now, he's really freaking out! I tried everything to keep him distracted. While he lie on the table looking so fashionable in his hospital gown and socks I examined his incisions (they look good by the way), I examined his ears, eyes, mouth, nose, and checked his lymph nodes. That worked for a few moments. Next I played with his toes and sang, "This Little Piggie" and had to laugh when I got to the last one who went wee wee wee all the way home. Oops - sorry Brett! My bag of tricks was about empty. At last, a knock at the door and in walks the nurse. Let me tell you, she was GOOD. She was talking to him and asking him questions, and unbeknownst to Brett, removing the catheter all at the same time. He didn't even feel it! No bladder spasms, no nothing! What was all the anxiety about! I told him he would be fine! Dr. Patel's visit was the grand finale. He expects Brett to recover much, much more quickly than the average patient and I so do I! He will need to refrain from physical activity for at least four weeks and follow up with a visit to Dr. Patel in six weeks. So it looks like we are HOME FREE! What a blessing!

April 10, 2009 Back to Reality - Phase 2

Although the circumstances for our mini-vacation were not the greatest we sure have had a wonderful week together. We have spent a lot of quality time; walking, talking, holding hands, being intimate. Something that we seem to take for granted in our busy hustle bustle lives. Another lesson learned, make time for those most important to you. But as our time of recovery ends, we must get back to reality, so.....

We are headed to Celebration this morning for a cystogram (a leak check of the reconstructed bladder and urethra) and hopeful removal of the catheter. I cannot lie, I am feeling a bit of anxiety this morning based on my historical physical reactions with bladder spasms. Kim also wanted to remind me that with the removal of the catheter comes a whole new set of issues, at this stage mainly continence and then of course erectile function. So we will manage one goal at a time, one day at a time, one prayer at a time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009 Recovery Room View

This is the view from our Rosen Shingle Creek recovery room and an early morning photo of my 4:30 am walking attire.
Kim and I again want to Thank You ALL for your love, support and prayers throughout. We also want to thank you for your comments on the blog, we really look forward to reading them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8, 2009 Cancer FREE

Today's update start's with a blessing, the pathology report is back and Brett is cancer FREE. The report showed 15% of the prostate being cancerous, a gleason score of 6 and the margins as zero. Both Dr. Patel and Dr. Jenkins were quite suprised with the percentage of cancer. You would expect 15% in someone much older than 41. Brett's prostate wouldn't have made it to 60, so the prostatectomy was definitely the best way to go!

Although we had a great day with great news, the 3:30 a.m. start was not very promising. Brett woke up with a lot of discomfort and was feeling pretty low. As he lied on the couch absorbed in his discomfort he was definitely feeling the effects of his surgery - finally feeling the "cancer". As you know, he never had any symptoms of the cancer growing inside. Although I could sympathasize with his discomfort, I had to remind him that it could be much worse. At one point I told him to suck it up and move on. What you are feeling right now is only temporary. With that said, we were off on our 4:00 walk. We cruised the halls of the 11th floor for about 30 minutes and then went back to sleep. The next time we woke up, he had a better attitude and a craving for a Chick-fil-A biscut and a cup of coffee with his urologist (Panama City doctor). So we were off, but not before a quick call to Dr. Patel's assistant just to let her know we would at the symposium. Long story short, Dr. Patel invited us to watch a live case at the symposium. So here we are - in the conference room at the World Robotic Urology Symposium eating parfait and watching a live prostatectomy in Chicago. Dr. Patel introduces us to the crowd and asks Brett if he wants to ask the surgeon performing the procedure any questions. As the surgery is being performed, all of the conversation between the surgeon in Chicago and the panel of doctors at the symposium is heard by all in attendance. Pretty darn cool. Next, we were off to see the DaVinci system up close and personal. The manufactor had a system on display and Dr. Patel let us try it out. Brett was in the surgeon's seat and I was in the seat of the assistant. There was a tray with several objects on it located where the patient would be. We were able to pick them up and pass them off to each other. It was so darn cool. I must admit, I was a bit shocked when we turned around and saw the crowd that was gathered behind us - cameras and video cameras galore! After a few photo opps, a rep for the manufacture of the DaVinci system wanted to interview Brett. So, off we go to another break-out room for the interview. They interviewed Brett for about 10 -15 minutes and then brought me in as well. While this was going on, Dr. Patel got the text message regarding the pathology report. What a great way to end the morning.

Tonight Leslie and John (sister and brother-in-law) came over for dinner. We ordered room service and watched a movie. Leslie has made our "comfort and care" package absolutely awesome!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 7, 2009 Recovery

We have been discharged from Celebration and returned to our honeymoon "recovery" destination, The Rosen Shingle Creek.

I look forward to my room service meal, it will be my first real food in 60 hours. I don't look forward to some of the medical issues ahead; no bowel movement for 4-5 days (+ the previous 2), some possible swelling in the male anatomy based on the catheter, abdominal soreness at the incisions and overall discomfort from the catheter until friday morning. I'm mainly dreading the bladder spasms and flank pains, excruciating discomfort.

We are scheduled for the Cystogram @ 9:30 Friday morning followed by the catheter removal provide there are no leaks in the reconstruction of the bladder to the urethra.

April 7, 2009 Baby Steps

We have come a long way in 12 hours, thanks to the outstanding care I was able to get at least 5 hours sleep and controlling the bladder spasms. I woke Kim up at 4:30 am and wanted to walk, we walked 20 laps down and back which was a huge feat compared to 12 hours ago. Due to the anesthesia I made it 1/2 the way down the hallway and experienced vertigo, the nausea, the shakes, the drop in heart rate and blood pressure and sweating. I had two issues to contend with vomiting (knowing how much that would hurt) and fainting (knowing how much more that would hurt.) All in all it was pretty humorous after the fact, my nurse gave me kudos for the determination to not do either of the aforementioned and making it back to the bed safely.

Dr. Patel just made his rounds at 5:00 am, he said, "everything looks great, take it easy, it's not a race anymore." He provided sound directions of light duty for a minimum of 4 weeks; no lifting, no jogging, but light stretching.

The nurses just removed the drainage port, it was a bit uncomfortable on the way out and led to instant bladder spasms again. Thank goodness for the Toridol injection, it seems to subside the pain and spasm within minutes.

We expect to be discharged about 10:30 and headed to Shingle Creek for the remainder of our honeymoon, this is the first time we have never been away from our children for longer than 2 days. We miss our little angels immensely but know that they are in good hands and being well taken care of.

Most important of all, thank all of you for your prayers they were certainly felt and heeded. God was in control and has provided Dr. Patel with such a gift to promote peace and healing in this broken world.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Surgery Day Photos

April 6, 2009 Post Op

It's been a long day - definitely a good day - but a long and emotional day for Brett. Luckily, we were "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses", family, friends, and hospital staff. God's presence was definitely felt.

The producer and his film crew were in the hospital lobby awaiting our 5:15 a.m. arrival. After some brief paperwork, Brett was off to prep for surgery. He had a few "race day jitters" but, heck, who wouldn't? Once his local urologist (and personal friend) showed up, you could see his relief; he was now at ease and was soon off to the OR. Mike was here for the symposium, but his first order of business was to observe Brett's surgery. As sister Leslie and awesome friends, Jeff and Bonnie, and I patiently waited we got updated texts from Mike in the OR. How awesome is that! Surgery was absolutely flawless - as good as it gets! You can't ask for better than that! Once out of recovery, Brett was rolled into his VIP room on the fourth floor. He was greeted by awesome nurses who took wonderful care of him. I can't put his feelings into words, but I am sure he will blog about it when he's got the energy. Like I said, we were surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses...

How's he feeling. He's hungry, very hungry. No food since Saturday night! He can start having solid food in the morning. Within the last hour or so, his bladder has started to spasm. Not fun - a lot of sharp pain and discomfort. It's difficult seeing him in so much pain knowing there is nothing I can do. Hopefully the meds will kick in and help ease the pain. The nurses say it usually subsides after the first twenty-four hours. He's been up for two walks. The fist one did not go so well. The combination of nausea and dizziness took its toll and he almost face planted. After five hours, he was up again. This time was much better, but a second nurse followed close behind with a chair to catch him just in case! Hopefully he'll be able to get some sleep tonight. The doc will be here bright and early in the morning and we are anticipating discharge by noon! We'll be off to the hotel to relax - by the pool of course!

April 6, 2009 Surgery is over!

Surgery was flawless - perfection from start to finish!
Brett is still in recovery so I have not seen him yet. He was bright eyed and bushy tailed this moring and had a great attitude.
We'll update later!

April 6, 2009 Ironman FL 09

All of you, many thanks for all your love, prayers and support the last 120 days since the prostate cancer diagnosis. Today is what we've been training for and tomorrow brings new challenges. Today is our first Ironman FL.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 5, 2009 Perspective

To the cross I look. To the cross I cling. Of its suffering I do drink. Of its work I do sing. On it my Savior, both bruised and crushed, showed that God is love, and God is just.

At the cross You, beckon me, draw me gently, to my knees and I am, lost for words so, lost in love I'm, sweetly broken, Holy surrender!

What a priceless gift: undeserved life have I been given through Christ crucified. You've called me out of death. You've called me into life. And I was under Your wrath, now through the cross, I reconcile.

At the cross You, beckon me, draw me gently, to my knees and I am, lost for words so, lost in love, I'm sweetly broken, Holy surrender! At the cross You, beckon me, draw me gently, to my knees and I am, lost for words so, lost in love, I'm sweetly broken, Holy surrender!

In awe of the cross I must confess, how wondrous Your redeeming love and how great is Your faithfulness!

At the cross You, beckon me, You draw me gently, to my knees and I am, lost for words so, lost in love, I'm sweetly broken, Holy surrender! At the cross You, You beckon me, draw me gently, to my knees and I am, lost for words so, lost in love, I am sweetly broken, Holy surrender!

Yeah, Yeah! Broken for You...I'm broken for You, my Lord. Jesus...All that's left, ooooo I am sweetly broken.

Sweetly Broken..Jeremy Riddle

Sweetly Broken Video

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 4, 2009 Medically Speaking

The medical nomenclature of my upcoming surgical procedure is called, "nerve sparing robotic prostatectomy - athermal retrograde early release of the neurovascular bundle"

below are some you tube links if your interested;




Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009 Reflection

As the torrential rains fell on the Panhandle of Florida today I was forced to spin on the Cadillac of all stationary bicycles, "The Spinner NXT." It was actually designed by a BMW engineer who had comfort, speed and climbing in mind. Manufactured by Star Trac the Spinner NXT is the top-of-the-line in indoor cycling bikes. It truly is a great ride for an indoor workout, the only stationary that you can really get out of the saddle and climb for real.

The downside of the ride was I had to stare at myself the whole time in a wall mirror, interestingly enough the image never changed whether I was seated in the arrow position, the seated climb or out of the saddle.

So during my ride my image was based on my reflection, which led me to wonder;

"What AM i reflecting?"
"What AM i reflecting to others throughout this trial?"
"What AM i reflecting to God throughout this trial?"

Hopefully I have reflected strength, courage, understanding and perseverance through my faith in Christ Jesus. James 1:2 reads, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

As I continued to climb I wondered if people actually listen more to someone with a trial, a crisis or a diagnosis of cancer, like my cancer becomes a megaphone? People are watching the testament, people really want to know what holds us together when the storms come. So how does one maintain and reflect the hope, faith and belief in our God?

Throughout each pedal stroke and every bead of sweat it kept coming back to me that it's not about me and all about HIM and my life counts most when it counts for HIM.

We should all consider our reflection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March 30, 2009 Dahlonega Retreat

We just returned from an AWESOME weekend of relaxing in the Appalachian foothills of Dahlonega, GA. Some very good friends of ours invited us to spend the weekend away at their family cabin. We got to hike, eat, play games, eat, laugh, eat, fellowship, eat...etc. More importantly we got to just BE. Sometimes it takes the calmness and quietness of nature to really see God, the hustle and bustle has a tendency to crowd him out when we need him most.

It was a very nice retreat with no worries, no timeline, no schedule and no commitments. A great way to connect and start the 7-day countdown.