February 24 2022

Home and Health Update

It’s hard to believe it has been almost a year and a half since my last update on both my health and the house.


I’ll start in September 2020.  We sold our house, but unfortunately, the lot on which we wanted to build was no longer available.  We still moved in with my parents, but we knew that the three months we were expecting to live with them was going to be a little longer.  We immediately started working with an architect who told us our plans would be ready in December, so we figured we would start building in January 2021 and would definitely be in our house by January 2022.  Of course, right?


In October 2020, we found a lot after searching everywhere for property.  Yay!


The first pulmonologist sent me to a LAM (lymphangioleiomyomatosis) specialist.  Apparently, there aren’t a whole lot of them.  She conducted a pulmonary function test on November 12, 2020, and I met with her to discuss the results on November 17th.  The results came back stating that I have amazing lung function despite my lungs being covered in cysts.  She assumed that I must exercise regularly to have such great function.  I disappointed her by telling her the truth.  No, I don’t exercise regularly.  I wish I did.  Unlike the first pulmonologist, she wanted to put me on two different medications.  I proceeded to ask all sorts of questions regarding these medications and found out they were both a form of chemo.  I told her I would go home, talk things over with my husband, pray about it, and I would get back to her soon.

After doing more research on these meds and praying about it, I replied to her letting her know I didn’t feel comfortable at all getting on these medications, and I wanted to see what my scans in 2021 look like to see if any major changes were found and based on those findings, we could discuss medication.  With much hesitation, she agreed.  However, I didn’t want to be on something that would completely compromise my immune system during a pandemic.  Yes, if this would have been cancer, I would have taken a chance, maybe, not sure about that 100%.


Fast Forward to January 2021.  My mom came down with Covid and so did my dad a few days later.  I took care of her for the two long weeks she was sick, and I eventually also came down with it.  Can you imagine if I would have started that treatment back in November?  By now, after two months, my immune system would have been non-existent.  Would my body have been able to survive Covid?  Maybe.  Maybe not!  I am just glad I chose not to do it and instead did everything I could to strengthen my God-given immune system.


January and February were our Covid months since we all ended up getting it: my parents and all four of us. In February, we experienced the freeze in the middle of sickness, but praise God we didn’t have any pipes burst.  Oh, and it was also when Kobe and Kylee began competition season for Tumbling and Trampoline.


For the rest of that winter and spring, we continued to work with our architect which, by the way, was not done with our plans.  Yes, he promised they would be done by December.  We also traveled a lot for all the different competitions.  It was fun to watch the kids compete and continue to improve their skills, but it was also frustrating to not have our final plans finished, especially because the price of building materials just kept rising.  Spring came and went.   Summer arrived, and we still didn’t have the final plans!  However, we did have enough of the plans to get a quote from the Owner Builder Network.  Unfortunately, a lot has changed since we built with them back in 2004, and we felt it was not a good fit for us.  We contacted another builder with whom we felt could work well together and started the bidding process.


Summer came and went, and still, no plans!!!  Can you sense my frustration?!  Oh, and the prices of building materials were still rising.


I did get some great news in August 2021.  I had my yearly scans, and because all looked great, my doctor at MD Anderson didn’t want to see me in a year.  He said we could wait two years!  Oh, and by the way, according to the radiologist, there was no change in my lungs after Covid.  God is good!!!


In the fall of 2021, we continued to work with the builder and the architect to see if we were even going to be able to build this house that at one time was possible, but now, with the prices continuing to rise, maybe not.  One of the issues with the lot is that it slopes.  This makes it both unique and beautiful, but also expensive to build on.  We had no idea this was going to be the case.  We contacted our real estate agents to help us find a different lot.  One that was flatter and maybe even smaller.  After much searching without results, we started to also look for houses.  After not having a home for over a year, we were ready to have our own space.  While we were and still are extremely grateful to my parents for letting us stay here for over a year, we need our own space, the kids need their own space.  My parents need their own space back.


We searched and we searched, but either we would find something and the next day it was sold, or we just didn’t like a house enough to make an offer.  Patiently, we continued to wait and search, and wait, and search.


In December 2021, I went to my PCP for my yearly intensive blood work.  I have always been anemic, but she was extremely concerned this time.  So, she had me do additional tests which I finally got around to doing this month.  Yes, as in February!  Come to find out, I am so severely anemic that I will need to undergo iron infusions accompanied by B12 shots.  She said she has no idea how I still have the energy to continue functioning.  So, I was referred to a hematologist.  I prayed that I would really connect with her.  So far, I have absolutely loved all the specialists that my PCP has referred me to.   I went to go see her last week, and I am happy to report that I really, really liked her.   To be able to prescribe exactly how much and how often I should have these iron infusions, she conducted additional testing. Thank the good Lord I live in an area where there are such amazing doctors.  With these additional testings, it was also concluded I was not low on B12 and folate, so I will not need to get those shots. I will keep you posted on what happens there.   Within one hour of arriving home, the doctor herself called me and asked me how I was feeling. She was very concerned because my numbers from the blood work of that day were worse than the ones I brought in from my PCP.  She told me she was going to get her office on top of it so this could be expedited through my insurance.


Let’s back up some.  In January, we found a house we really liked.  We will call this the “Ranch House” because they had cows.  While it didn’t have some of the features we wanted in the house we designed, it had everything we needed.  So, we decided to ask more questions to get more details and hopefully make an offer by the end of that week.  Well, when our agent called the other agent, he was told the owners changed their mind and decided not to sell.  “Ok!” We thought, “God is in control and he knows why things happen.  It is well with our soul”  We continued to look and look and look to no avail!  Then, about a week and a half later, our agent tells us the owners of the “Ranch House” have decided to put it back on the market.  We requested to look at it again, ran into the owners, and had a great conversation, but in the end, they didn’t accept our offer.  That’s ok, it wasn’t meant to be.


Good news!!!   I literally, just now, heard back from my hematologist that my insurance has approved the infusions treatment, and I should be hearing back from the infusion center within hours to schedule my first appointment!   While I am not looking forward to being hooked up to an IV for over an hour each week, I am so looking forward to feeling normal that I’m crying tears of joy and hope.


We covet your prayers as our search for a home continues.  As I always say, “It could be worse!”


Maybe in my next update, I will be telling you about our new house and how amazing I feel.


In His amazing grace,

Fabi Richards

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September 6 2020

Where Do I Begin?

Where Do I Begin?

Well, I need to begin by giving thanks to the Lord Almighty. I am thankful for his grace, mercy, provision, and protection!

As many of you know, the tumor on my right kidney came back, and I was scheduled to have an embolization in March. However, due to Covid, that didn’t happen until June. Well, I am happy to tell you everything went well with the procedure. My experience during my recovery was actually much better this time. By not having anyone allowed to stay with me in the hospital, I actually felt I was able to rest better. Last time, after coming home, my pain shot through the roof. It was unbearable! I was so afraid that was going to happen again, but thank the Lord it didn’t, and my experience was much better.

I am also thankful for all my amazing friends and family who took such good care of me and brought me such yummy meals. God is good for providing me with such an amazing support group.

A couple of months after the embolization, in August, I had another CT scan. Fortunately, the CT scan showed that the tumor is shrinking again; therefore, I don’t need to be back to MD Anderson for another year. The CT scan performed in August included my chest per my pulmonologist’s request. When the original CT scan was taken two years ago, the one in which the kidney tumor was discovered, the radiologist also found nodules in the parts of my lungs that were visible on the CT scan, and it was highly recommended I follow up with a pulmonologist about this. My PCP and my doctor at MD Anderson suspected LAM (lymphangioleiomyomatosis) due to all my other symptoms and test results. When I finally got an appointment with the pulmonologist, he looked at the scans and stated that despite the fact that I do have LAM, my lungs look great. There are three other tests he wants me to have done, but unless something unexpected shows on any of these tests, I don’t have to see him for another six months. For now, the only restriction I have is no scuba diving! He asked me if I had ever gone scuba diving, and I told him I was working on my certification in college but didn’t get to finish the course. He said I probably would have ended up with a collapsed lung. It hit me as I was sharing this with a friend how God’s protection was over me even then. God is so good!

So that’s what’s going on with my health. Now, for an update on our house.

If all goes well, we are scheduled to close on September 30. We are currently looking for a lot in our neighborhood that we can purchase and start construction. In the meantime, we will be moving in with my parents. We will definitely keep you all posted on all of this.

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April 21 2020

Chaos in the Calm

A lot going on and not a lot going on!


Chaos in a still world.  How?


Due to COVID-19, many communities are on “shelter-in-place” orders, so the streets and roads are not as crowded.  The stores, at least the essential stores, are only allowing a certain number of people inside at a time, and because most are going to the store by themselves, no one is talking to each other.  Walmart is so scary quiet! Restaurants are closed and only taking curb-side and to-go orders. Non-essential stores such as Hobby Lobby (essential in my thinking), Ulta, James Avery, etc. are closed.  There are no sporting events, no entertainment events, no movies, no plays, no meets, no tournaments, NOTHING! And yet, a lot is going on. A lot is going on inside our homes and ourselves, good and bad to be perfectly transparent.


For some of us who were already homeschooling and whose husband works from home quite a bit, this wasn’t too much of a change.  What has been different is to actually be home, to actually take time to breathe, because normally we are going to classes we have outsourced, to extracurricular activities, Bible study, competitions, etc.  The only place I’m really going to at the moment is the grocery store, and most of the time, I don’t need to go inside because I’m doing curbside pick up.


So, not much is happening, and yet, a lot more activity in our homes.  Because I like to leave things on a good note, I’ll start with the not-so-good.  Here is where I get pretty transparent.


The uncertainty of it all may be making many of us a little more irritable.  Uncertainty of the virus itself and our economic decline. Suddenly, the irritability feeds on itself from one person to another, from sibling to sibling, from parent to child, from child to parent, and from spouse to spouse.  Before you know it, you-know-what hits the fan. We have to hit the reset button, take a deep breath, apologize, recognize what just happened, and start all over again. I know this is not just happening in our home.


However, in the midst of all the craziness, we as a family have spent more time together.  We have played more board games, we eat meals together, we watch movies together, we talk, we engage.  We ENGAGE!!! Did you hear that? We engage, sometimes not so nicely, but most of the time, in a very positive, constructive, and encouraging way.


So even though we, including us introverts, can’t wait to put this all behind us, we need to remember to savor the moment!  This has been and continues to be a chance of a lifetime. We will probably not ever, ever get an opportunity such as this. How many times have we told ourselves, “I wish I could hit a pause button on life!”?  Well, this is it. The pause button has been hit. Savor the moment!!!


The reality is that no matter what, God is still in complete control.  I heard this quote a while back and while it is applicable all the time, it is perfect for what is happening now.


“I don’t know what the future holds, but I DO know WHO holds the future.”


I pray that you take this time to not just physically stay put, but that you allow your soul to be still and regroup.  Ask yourself what is really important. What do you REALLY want to add back to your schedule, and what have you been able to live without?


I leave you with this song and Bible verse.  I pray it speaks to your soul.

It Is Well – Kristene DiMarco | You Make Me Brave

James 1:2-4

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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