Monday, July 06, 2009

The Captain's Bride

Today was incredibly long and exhausting. I left home at 9 am to pick up my uncle Howard in Dunbar and take him to Green Bay to get a second opinion on his cancer treatment. Dunbar is about 1-1/2 hours north of me, and Green Bay about 45 minutes south. I hadn't offered an update here until I had some specific information to share.

About a month ago, Howard was experiencing horrific pain and even shots of Demerol weren't helping. The doctor suspected a recurrence of cancer, so he performed a bone biopsy. It was a very long three days waiting for the results to come in, and they weren't good. Howard's squamous cell carcinoma had returned and was in all of his bones, that was the source of the pain. The doctor recommended 10 treatments of radiation to help with the pain, and gave an estimated life expectancy of 5-9 months.

As you can imagine the entire family was devastated. We had been so hopeful that the cancer was gone for good, but it wasn't to be. The doctor recommended that Howard get a second opinion from the Bellin Cancer Center in Green Bay, which brought about today's trip. Today's doctor was matter of fact, but offered some hope in the form of a treatment that may give us more time. Unless we experience another miracle, Howard's cancer is not curable, but we have hope that we can spend more quality time with him. The way he's living now is no way to live. Please pray for both his pain and his treatments.

The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren is the first in the Northern Lights Trilogy about Norwegian immigrants to the US in 1880. Elsa Anders has been in love with Peder Ramstad since they were children together back in Bergen. The day of their wedding, they, along with several neighbors, boarded his ship destined for Camden, Maine to begin a new shipyard there. Tora, Elsa's strong-willed younger sister, stows away onboard and begins an clandestine relationship with with Soren, who is married to pregnant Kaatje. Karl, Peder's first mate and best friend, is trying to fight his feelings for Elsa, but close confines only bring them to a boil. I'm not always a fan of historical romances, especially Christian ones. They all too often are saccharine and predictable, but Bergren's tale of these tempestuous Norwegians is compelling and fantastic, a true joy to read. Peder struggles to juggle his roles as husband and captain, while Elsa tries to practice submission without giving up her dreams. Tora is feisty and unforgettable, and while her actions are at times shocking, she's never boring or a stereotype. Even though this book is over ten years old, it's incredibly relevant. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the books in this series!

Molly's party last night was...interesting. Not an experience I want to repeat any time soon, but we did get some great pix! We made walking tacos for the kids with a huge taco bar.