Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A new blog has been created

I have created a new blog. The address is: and if you enter that address you will be taken to the new blog that I have written today, Sunday evening. I will blog at the new site from now on. I am not removing this blog due to all the messages that are contained here which are often very interesting to return to.
Thanks so much,

If any questions I can be reached at or
My cell number is 925 998 9855.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Share our trip through photos!

Dear Family and Friends,
Tonight's blog will be mostly photos supplied by Jason and Jo, photos from our trip to Kauai. Keanna and I went to Sabbath School today, then children's church, then Olive Garden where we hooked up with Nikki. Then home for a restful afternoon, a warm fire and this evening some movies. I hope you enjoy the photos as they tell the story of the fun we had in Kauai.
There are photos of the huge canyon, the Na Pali coast line and sunsets, rainbows, ocean and fun photos of Timothy putting his feet into the water, the three Timothy's and several other photos showing the beauty of Hawaii. In spite of some rain every day Jason still managed to find places to snorkel and enjoy some sunshine. As I think back on both my time in Kona with Nikki, Steve and Keanna and then the second half in Kauai with Jason, Jo and Timothy I have many many happy memories, healing ones that bode well for our family as we move forward to meet the challenges of life. I love my family and I treasure every minute I get to spend with them.
I enjoyed having an opportunity to spend a few minutes with Sylvia today and with her mom who is a delightful lady. I think we are all coping pretty well with moments of sadness, moments that can spring so quickly they are amazing in their intensity and brevity.
I sort of dread the week ahead as many have spoken to me of their own experiences with root canals, none mentioned the joy and pleasure of the experience! Yikes.
This evening as I was watching some movies on the cable I also was cleaning out the frig. I only made a start but many items are now in the trash that were either growing or totally outdated and were just taking up space. Next I need to tackle the Christmas tree which is still decorated and very beautiful. The ladies went out and purchased it and then decorated it so Nan could enjoy it from her bed. They did a great job and it was so cute, it made Nan smile. Now I need to return the many ornaments to their correct places, if I only knew where that was.
Many of you have mentioned your weather lately. Ours has been about as bad as it gets around here in CA. Heavy rains, flooding, high winds and huge amounts of snow in the mountains. Measuring houses in driving rain is not a high point in my day but its something I can't avoid either, need to keep the cash flow going. God has granted us some new orders for which I am very grateful so tomorrow I will get them scheduled for the upcoming week. George warned me not to plan to work on Monday afternoon after the root canal so I'm heeding his advice. George gave me a very exciting package today. I now have in my possession the completed DVD sets with the graveside service and memorial service including the power point presentation on Nan's life. I'll get busy and start getting those shipped out to those of you who have mentioned you would like to receive one.
I am looking forward to watching them myself tomorrow. Thank you George and Yvonne for making this happen. Your help is much appreciated.
Good night friends and family,

Friday, January 04, 2008

"The weather outside is frightful"

Dear Family and Friends,
I am writing earlier than usual tonight. In my continuing quest for a new lifestyle I have decided that adequate rest which begins before midnight would probably be a good idea and that drinking plenty of water would also enhance well being. Both of these would require big changes.
I was able to sleep until almost 8 this morning. Being on Hawaiian time really helped as that time zone is two hours behind ours here. I woke without the intense back pain that has been waking me very early almost every day. I woke to a world without hot drink or food since today was blood test day. All night the winds and rain had raged around the house and they continued this morning. I felt a draft when I walked by the upstairs doors to the guest rooms. One door refused to open but with extra effort it opened to a mini disaster. The Plexiglas that I install every summer above the room air conditioners had blown in and waves of water were running into the room soaking the bed, the carpet, the remote for the TV and all else in its path. So I moved the AC units out of the window onto a towel, turned the ceiling fan on, started a little heater and went to the next room. Well this room was not so bad but was taking on water just the same. So out came the AC and once the windows were closed the draft stopped and order was restored. The winds were pretty intense and outside the globe with its air pump and tie downs had blown away but got stopped by the line of rose bushes. We may not be able to use it another year, there could be serious leaks.
As I prepared to leave to go have my blood drawn it dawned on me that the toast I had at 11 last night meant that the 12 hour fast would not be completed until about 11 this morning. Good planning!? So I worked in the office until it was time. Then I filled a file folder with all the items I needed to deal with and drove off into the wind and rain. First was the blood draw in Brentwood, then breakfast but a funny thing happened there. The oatmeal was wonderful but when I started on the wheat toast I was struck with a huge pain, yes the tooth ache which had started in Hawaii came back with a rush. So Nikki directed me to her dentist which was less than a block removed. They took me right in, discovered that my PPO with Blue Cross knows nothing of dental care and seated me for X rays. There are few things in the world that I enjoy less than a dental chair for I am a gagger, that's right one of those who gag over even the suggestion of something foreign being placed in my mouth. The first Xray was problematic since a moving mouth is a hard thing to photograph, the second one was better as I tried to think of anything else than that device with a plastic sack around it was jammed in my mouth. Then a nice young dentist told me that he could not help me, that my condition of tooth #3 was so grave it needed a "root canal". And by the way he could not do it, I had to go elsewhere to have it done, they would try to find someone that could do it today, they tried but failed for today. They set me up with a group that practices nearby but once in the car and $85 dollars lighter I called George Miller, my dentist friend in Tracy. He told me who he goes to and that was good enough for me so I called and on Monday morning at 10:30 I enter the mysterious world of the Endodontics. I'm told that after an hour or so and $1,000 I'll feel much better but will need a crown which will be another $800 or so. My last crown was done in a lowly dentist office in Mexico for just $200 and its worked just fine but I'm not in Mexico, not even close to Mexico so I guess I'll help the local economy this time.
I went to Longs to pick up my antibiotic prescribed by the dentist but they were an hour behind so off to the bank to juggle money. Good old Social Security had direct deposited a check for November and then immediately took it back. They are now considering giving it back but there are some forms to fill out first, they came in the mail today. Some very kind souls had provided money for the recovery fund which was a total shock to me. It was very timely and unexpected. So I was able to move funds around to cover the upcoming dental investments. Thank you very much who ever provided the funds. I did not expect anything more to be provided and while I want to thank you very much I feel I have moved to the time when I need to stand up and be on my own feet now, your generosity has helped a thousand times and in many ways and the family will always appreciate your help. You have made a huge difference in our lives and we are humbled by it. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to each one of you who have helped over the past year and a half.
When I went to Longs today they not only gave me the prescription of meds I needed but also handed me a card from the people who man the pharmacy, a sympathy card. I was so touched by this act of kindness. The group of people who work there have been very involved in Nan's care for the past several years and have given excellent advice, have fought for us with insurance issues and have been very supportive and kind. Its another example of whats right with our society, there are many people who really care and try very hard to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
If I had a piece of advice for people facing serious illness I would find a pharmacy with people you trust, people you can call for advice and discuss your situation with. They can often make sense out of the various prescriptions from a number of health professionals you might have. They watch out for you and help keep you safe. Longs has done that for us and I appreciate it very much.
This evening I went to dinner with Nikki, Steve, Keanna and Kevin. We enjoyed a quiet time of just being together and talked of our Hawaiian experiences reflecting on the warm of the water, the breezes and even the rain there. I had brought Keanna a Hula Doll and she seemed to really love it.
Tomorrow morning I have the honor of taking Ms Keanna to Sabbath School and then children's church in Tracy. It is her decision and I welcome it. This evening I am going to stoke the fire a bit and write some thank you notes that are long overdue. Our family was on the receiving end of beautiful flowers, mounds of good food, checks and letters of encouragement. We have felt very supported and are going to make it through this rough time of loss partially due to the support and love that you have given. As I drove by the cemetery this afternoon I looked out and witnessed a group of people saying goodbye to a loved one, there they stood in the cold rain, huddled together, only about 5 in all. I thought in contrast to the graveside service for Nan, where so many came to say goodbye and to lend emotional support to one another, I also remembered the cold breezy day with the threatening clouds which gave way to bright intense sunshine which beamed on us during Jim's comments. I am grateful that God granted us sunshine and the support of so many friends and family as we said good night to our precious Nan.
We find ourselves waving as we drive by the cemetery and I often just pull in and stand or sit by the site reflecting on the events that led us there, on God's goodness in all in spite of the terrible sense of loss that is inside. Nan was allowed to fall sleep in Jesus without further medical trauma. As Sharon often says, God let her go in her sleep in a peaceful manner.
So a month has passed today since that fateful morning. A month of transition, of adjusting, of mourning, of regrouping and of acceptance that God does know best. You have helped a great deal with your calls, your cards, your emails and your prayers. Thank you for caring.



Thursday, January 03, 2008

Home to lovely winter weather.... RAIN

Dear Ones,

When I last wrote I was sitting in a room at the La hue airport waiting to board the flight to LA. It left on time and every seat was filled. After about half of the trip the air began to be really rough. One time I was in the restroom and I just held on to the little handle they have on the wall and waited. I've heard the stories about people ending up on the ceiling due to sudden drops of several hundred feet by the plane. I sat with two young guys who were experiencing only their second time on a plane. They were very pleasant but wiggled a lot in their sleep. I caught some sleep and was glad when we landed in LA at 5:40 this morning, on schedule. The next flight was at 7:40 to San Francisco but they offered $200 toward a ticket if someone would bump so I did. Then they paid $10 for breakfast too. After breakfast I found a large pillar and a little pillow and sat against the pillar and slept for nearly two hours. Then onto the place at 9:40. My seat mate was a lovely woman who in conversation mentioned that at some point in her past she lost 75 lbs. I was immediately interested and she shared a couple sources she used to learn a new way to live. She went from a size 20 to a 4 to 6 depending on the cute of the clothes now. We talked about losses we had both experienced and she was very insightful. She had just flown in from Australia.

After collecting my bags that had flown on the earlier flight I found the car and amazingly it started. Pay the $130 for parking, yikes! Head home through rain and high winds. Taco Bell for lunch, one burrito, then home to wade through mounds of mail, found one check and a check from a dear friend of our family, Liz Shafqat. She is the sweetest little senior citizen and was a wonderful nursing instructor for years. I opened many cards, letters and Christmas cards. Some made the tears start as people comments on what Nan had meant to them over the years.

I discovered that Nan's reef tank had a total lighting failure. When I left I knew we were down to one bulb and that one failed so I drove to Dublin this evening and got new bulbs for the tank and we'll start over getting it back in shape again. LeAnn was very faithful about putting in the chemicals and water but without light some coral appear to have died. For some reason I thought the lights were hundreds of dollars so had not even tried to purchase new ones, who has that kind of money but today I learned that they are only a few bucks each and then the store gave me a discount since Mom had been a good customer in the past.

Our weather has turned very wet and windy. Driving to Dublin this evening I was glad I had taken the van as it is heavier and has traction control built in.

It was good to hear ideas regarding a possible book from you today. If we can pull it off it would be wonderful to let a wider group of people know just what kind of person mom was and how she fought for life.

On the plane the young guys showed me how to get a photo out of the cell phone, very clever. You just go to the right place and type the email address into the line and then hit send. The photo with this letter is from the beach behind the Marriott last evening. It seems a million miles and a long time ago already. How I love that place and I just can't tell you how thrilled I am to have gotten to be there with the kids. Two loves at the same time, Hawaii and the kids, what a winning combination. I have so many happy memories from both places, Kona and Lahue.
Just for the fun of sharing I've included 3 photos I found in my phone. While they are not perfect they capture very special people.
Sending my love to each of you,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane....

Well good bye Kauai. I'm in the waiting room at the airport and the plane boards in about 15 minutes. I was so concerned that I might miss the flight that I was the first one here. I spent this afternoon at the Marriott on the beach watching the waves and chatting on the phone. What a beautiful place with ocean in the distance and green mountains nearby. As I sat there the sun set which was very nice too.
Earlier in the day I helped Jason, Jo and Timothy get all the needed items they travel with to the airport for their flight. Their first leg of the trip touched down in Honolulu, then Maui and finally in Kona where 3 hours later they boarded an ATA flight. Somehow the airline managed to lose the car seat between here and Kona and it looked bad for awhile but at the last minute the baggage person came up to them carrying the missing car seat. They were so relieved to see it. I had arranged with David, Steve's brother to bring a car seat to them at the Oakland Airport so they could get Timothy home safely and then I would have driven down in the morning from SF to get it and return it to David. Well things all worked out after all, praise the Lord for that.
I have a window seat tonight which should help the trip go a little better. No matter what the seats are tiny and the leg space is created to cause blood clots for sure. But no matter what getting to come on this trip is wonderful. I have enjoyed every minute of it both in Kona and here in Kauai. We've had some rain, some sun, sun clouds and an overload of beauty everywhere. I've gotten to know my precious little grandchildren better than ever and also my enjoyable kids too. What a great way to start the new year. Yes I've had many many happy memories of Nan, even today in the Marriott, she once stayed there with a friend and loved it. Good memories are OK and I am functioning well I think.
Marina emailed me today regarding creating a book from the blog entries. She is a dear friend who not only has GIST but knows more about it than just about anyone else. She is a delight and has helped so many hundreds of people with their questions re: the disease. She helped us a lot over and over again. So what do you think? Would a book of some kind be a good idea? Do you think it would be helpful to people? Inspiring? I would appreciate hearing from you. We would need a medical writer to tie it together and make sure what was said was right and interesting as well. Its an exciting idea to me, a way we can allow nan's courage to inspire and help others perhaps.
Well I board soon and I'm so thankful to Steve for this trip. Once again he touched our lives in a positive manner, like he touched so many others over his life time. Thank you Steve, thank you Sylvia. This trip has been very helpful and wonderful.

I wish I could include some of the photos I have taken with my phone but so far I don't know how to get them out and into the blog, any ideas?

love to all


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Good things come to an end

Dear Family and Friends,
Its getting late here and I'm sleepy. Today we have spent some time at the North Shore and amazingly the rain stopped long enough for Jason to do some snorkeling in an incredible place at the end of the road. All you can see is the endless ocean and the huge waves coming in crashing over and over again. Then near shore there is a quiet place to snorkel. I watched as Jason was caught up in a current and it looked like he might be going out to sea but he was aware of what was happening and turned back. He said he was swimming with fish up to 2 feet long and they surrounded him. Sort of strange but very beautiful. Then the rain started again and we headed back. We had breakfast at a local's place that was outstanding. Macadamia pancakes, omelets, fresh fruit, outstanding. Well mine became awesome after they redid it without onions. That was a rough moment since I gag over onions.
In the afternoon after we went to the hotel room and enjoyed photo taking on the beautiful beach we drove down a bit so both Jason and Jo could snorkel. Just as Jason and Jo were ready to go to the beach the rain started again, I mean serious rain so that plan was changed. We located a really good place to eat, JJ's Steakhouse or something like that. The place was filled flat screens, everyone was watching the Sugar Bowl as for the first time in many years Hawaii was playing. They had a 12 and O year but really got smashed by Georgia today. Hawaii was very quiet this afternoon as the game went downhill.
We returned to the room to rest for awhile, Timothy had a very nice bath, Jason went to sit in the hotel hot tub for a minute. Then be drove me to the airport so I could rent a car for one day. They ask on the phone what I wanted. I said, cheap and little. So I have a nice Pontiac something to drive until tomorrow night when I fly home. The kids fly out in the morning so I'm going to their hotel at 8 am to help them carry all their many items to the airport and then I'll go to museums or libraries or the beach if the weather improves. My plane does not leave until 10:30 tomorrow evening and flys directly to LA. Then after waiting about an hour I fly to SF, pick up my poor little car and head home. This afternoon we found out that the heater did not stay fixed after all. Kent had it working so well but like many times before it did not keep working. It really has a nasty problem I think and while I would love to replace it I don't want to try to find $4000 right now for a furnace.
As I reflect this evening on the events of this month I find it almost impossible to take in or accept. A month ago I lost Nan. Already a month, it seems so fresh and pain inside so real and intense that it could have been yesterday. Why really nags at me. No, I have no problem with the fact that I lost her when I did, no she had suffered far too much for any one person to cope with. I will always love her more for her courage and determination. No, my issue is why she had to get cancer in the first place. We had such a good life and a rational reasonable life and then wham, out of no where comes this huge tumor and GIST which would eventually take her life. I feel so robbed and I feel so robbed for her sake as well. Neither of us deserved this and our wonderful kids certainly did not deserve this. It is very hard not to be bitter about it all.
This morning when I was reading the comments to the blog I began to weep and just cry out. Sharron's gut wrenching narrative of her encounter with nan where nan patted her back is true, it is vintage Nan and it shows what kind of person she was.
I want to tell you, Roger and Carol, Sharon, Connie, Barbie, Wes, Bob and Carrol, I really gain a lot of strength from your comments and the love and support they express. Thank you for writing. I also enjoy the text messages that I receive. When you make contact you provide a reason for looking forward for me and I appreciate that.
I'd like to give a very special thanks to LeAnn who is my neighbor. During my absence she has fed the animals, watched over the house and made sure they did not freeze inside. Thanks so much for your help. And to Loree, thanks for keeping an eye on the business while I've been gone. I've been able to do some of it from here but not much, thanks very much.
I hope your new year is off to a great start. I've made no resolutions but I do have some intentions. God willing I will be able to help others in this year and help myself as well. I am on a quest to find happiness again and I have no idea where that may lead.

In 2007 I lost Nan and in 2008 I hope to find myself. I think she would want it that way.


tim and jason and jo and timothy

A year ends a new one begins

Dear Family and Friends,
Here I am with baby Timothy with the Pacific Ocean in the background. Timothy likes this position with his arm around your back and the other one free to swing and his head and eyes free to roam over everything. He can be amazingly heavy and I am in total awe that Jo can carry him about for hours it seems without fatigue. This was taken yesterday and although we started with a very wet night, heavy rain this morning, Jason found very nice beaches and snorkeled to his hearts content. We also happend on a beach were a Monk Seal was resting. They are really rare so that was especially nice. We had breakfast at Egberts, it was so yummy, glad my new diet does not begin quite yet. Then we found Garden burgers for lunch at a tiny place and this evening we had Chinese and or Thai food. It was really very good tasting. Then back to my little room for rest.
During the day we traveled to a beautiful falls I have seen often with Nan but today it was so full of water it was really amazing. It has rained here every day for over a month so there is no shortage of water anywhere. We visited little towns on the southern end of the island and saw beautiful beaches, had shaved ice with ice cream at its core, seriously good stuff. We've had times of intense rain and then sunshine a few minutes later.
I had a nice call from a client Bob Johnson this morning to see how I was doing. It ended up with two new orders that we did not expect to get. Nice.
I found a really perfect doll this afternoon for keanna and can't wait to give it to her, so cute, just perfect.
All too soon we will have to cut this short and head home but it sure nice to be here. I've been treated with so much kindness and respect by my precious children on this trip to Hawaii. No one could ask for more and I keep remembering how I got here, Dr. Steve sure helped by providing the transportation and with such good arrangements at such a short notice, really quite amazing and wonderful.
I've been experimenting with sending photos from my cell phone to some of you. I'm not sure what I'm doing so if you can't open them I might be doing something wrong. They are photos of the beach, Timothy and this beautiful place.
Well here it is not quite midnight yet but the local fireworks have been going off for the last 2 hours, snap, crackle pop all over the place. I might have a short night of rest, we will see. I continue to be amazed at the find of this room, Nikki found it very last minute and its perfect in every way, cool with a great bed, nice TV and perfect shower. Who could ask for more for $65 a night, pretty amazing. Thanks Nikki.

I'm so humbled by the wonderful support you have given Nan during 2007. It was a tough year for her and she fought for life every day she could. Your help with calls, cards, emails and most of all prayers that God would lead, all this was a huge help to her as she struggled. In many ways she had a great deal of joy this year. In spite of terrible odds, nasty pain, fevers and blockages she continued to enjoy every day in some way. On her behalf and on behalf of the family we all thank you for your warmth and loving support. Nan would want you to know she was humbled by the attention and supported by your love. Thank you dear family, dear friends. I want to say a special thank you to Nikki, Steve, Keanna, Jason, Jo and Timothy for your loving support and also a special thanks to Marilyn who came, who sat, who watched TV and who lovingly ministered to Nan. I will never forget Dana, Sharon, Pam, Jan, Mary, LeAnn, Loree, Sylvia and Steve, Irene, Barb and Gerry, the ladies from the church and of course our nurse, super nurse really, Terry, Art and Connie, Roxanna, Plus there have been so many others who have helped, George and Yvonne, Bob Miller, Bob and Carrol and Roger and Carol from n. carolina. What a team of caring people. Our lives would have been totally different without your help over and over again. And then there is Wes, how could we have gotten through the year without his very special coments to the blog!

I hope to make the most of the new year. I hope to be able to spend time with many of you on a one to one basis and I also hope to open my house for company and get togethers. I hope to travel to Ohio and see my sister Sibyl, to Denver to see Jan, Karen and John Cress, who created such a very special memorial service and Jennifer. I hope to travel to my brothers house in Weed to see the family and I hope to get a whole love of work done and start rebuilding my financial world.

I wish you the best this evening and this year. I will continue to need your help, your words of guidance, of hope and please feel free to discuss Nan with me. I love to talk about her and I love to hear what you remember. It helps a great deal. Come walk with me, run with me, ski with me and we can sing, worship, grow and deepen our friendships.

love to all

tim and jason and jo and timothy

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Timothy has a new sitter

Dear Family and Friends,
Its about 10 pm Hawaii time, the breezes are blowing through my room and its cool and comfortable. This has been a really enjoyable day for me. I finally got to care for Timothy. In contrast to other days here in Kauai this morning started with sunshine. Jason and Jo picked me up and we found a local place for breakfast. It was good food. then we headed to the Blow Hole. We enjoyed watching the ocean come blasting up through the hole in the rock. Then Jason had selected a nice beach nearby and we landed there. I watched Timothy while Jason and Jo went snorkeling. When they came back to the shaded place where we were they called and found a boat for the afternoon to see the back side of Kauai where all the beautiful waterfalls, beaches, valleys exist. So they dropped me off to the hotel room and raced back to the launching splace on the west side of the island. Timothy and I settled in. Jason had said that if he cried he either needed food, diaper or rest. After he ate he fell asleep but an hour later he woke up. Then nothing I could do would calm him down. He cried for over a hour and I tried everything, finally he fell asleep and he slept until they got back at 7 pm. They had a great day and enjoyed taking dozens of photos. The photos were very good.
Jason and Jo brought me Taco Bell and when Timothy woke up he was happy to see his parents. What a cute little guy and so sweet. So I've enjoyed the kind of day I have dreamed of, I've got to care for Keanna and now Timothy. This being a grandparent is a good experience. Very rewarding.
Jason says tomorrow I am to get into the ocean. Not my favorite thing to do but I'll humor him.

So I big you a nice evening and I wish you were here in this place where a cool night is 65 degrees. It is so beautiful and relaxing.