How Are You? (Guest author: Billy)

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The post that follows was written by Billy Tiemeier, Vanessa’s husband. You may remember that he wrote a first “guest post” for us back in November, and I’m happy to report that we’ve convinced/motivated/bugged him enough that he has continued to write a few more posts for us, to share his valuable perspective. :)

This post below he originally wrote in February, and in it he tackles an oh-so-common question, “How are you?”… which is not so easy to answer.

It seems a simple question with a simple answer: “How are you?” “Good, fine, alright” to give the one word answer and call it a day, rather than burden people with your problems, or brag about how great life is and come across arrogant.

Just how important is it to be honest when people ask? What are we holding in that should let out for others to understand? A friend once told me to talk about our problems is to cut the problem in half. So on that note, maybe it is time for everyone to be more honest and open with each other.

Bills to pay, papers to files, things to keep, things to do, people to call....

Bills to pay, papers to files, things to keep, things to do, people to call….

How am I? Tired! The end. Thanks for reading everyone. Just kidding. Everything about Vanessa getting breast cancer has been a challenge, leading to burnout, mental fatigue, and tiredness. Most days I go to sleep and wake up feeling just as tired as when I went to bed.

Luckily with caffeine I try to get as many projects and errands finished in the morning and afternoon before submitting to the TV in the evening. However even that time is tiring as I try to help Vanessa with her various projects. She seems to have enough brain power to start lots of projects but not enough to figure out how to finish them.

One of Vanessa's current projects: She has meticulously arranged and taken 20+ different pictures spelling out "LIVE SINCERELY" out of random items (M&Ms, peanuts, fruit snacks, etc.).

One of Vanessa’s current projects: She has meticulously arranged and taken 20+ different pictures spelling out “LIVE SINCERELY” out of random items (M&Ms, peanuts, fruit snacks, etc.).

Lately Vanessa’s project has involved taking many pictures, and then trying to load them to the computer and facebook (as people have probably seen on facebook). For the most part she has no problem taking pictures, but struggles to load them to the computer and facebook, and this is where I need to step in and help her. This task was a struggle for me too the first time, to figure out how to do it on a Mac computer when I am used to a PC. However after the first few times, it has now become a tiring and repetitive task to do almost every day.

Vanessa has always been a night owl and this has not changed with her current condition. I am not a night owl, making that rule of caregiving “Sleep when the patient sleeps!” difficult. I cannot be sure what she will try and do if no one is watching.

One morning recently Vanessa woke up before me and said she was going downstairs to make waffles for breakfast. Since normally she has no issues making her own cereal I figured this would be a good test to see if she would be able to make waffles. Easy enough, a cup of mix from the box, a cup of water, mix together, dump on the waffle iron, wait for it to ring, and ta-da, waffle! However, 30 minutes go by, I am upstairs not smelling any waffles. So I go down to find a huge mess of water and waffle mix all over on every counter in the kitchen. We are still not sure how this went wrong but some theories include too much water added to the mix, or the water and mix were dumped directly on the waffle iron without being mixed in a bowl first. Either way we ended up eating breakfast at McDonald’s and cleaning the kitchen afterwards. This event is now known as the Awful Waffle Debacle.
B- waffles

With all the regular everyday items to do as previously discussed in my last blog, and helping Vanessa with her projects, lack of motivation sets in for things I want to do, if time is even available to do anything I would like. I am tired of having to deal with all of this, how my life has become dominated by cancer. No one wants to be known as the husband of the girl with stage 4 hospice breast cancer. It is tiring just to say and make people cry to think about.

Well that is all for now. My next blog may focus on the ways I have tried to Live Sincerely and improve myself. Till then, Live Sincerely everyone.


  1. slbarto says:

    Billy~ you will always be my friend who takes pictures of himself when I ask him to take a picture of me…I can’t wait to read your next blog. Love you

  2. Sue says:

    You are truly a blessing for Vanessa. I know as detail oriented as you are ,that you can appreciate how meticulous Vanessa is with her projects. Please know that many people are praying for you as well as Vanessa.
    It is good that you can have a sense of humor after incidents such as The “Awful Waffle Debacle” Enjoy the Sunshine!
    Mom and Dad

  3. Vicki Hatton says:

    Billy, you are a wonderful person. I have dealt with Breast
    Cancer myself (currently in remission!), and I can relate to
    Vanessa. You try to keep a smile on your face, but in reality you
    are feeling soooo tired and it is a struggle to make it through
    each day. Both of you seem to be doing great. I believe that God
    made you Vanessa’s angel to take care of her here on earth. I know
    that it can be quite difficult at times for both of you, but just
    remember that “attitude is everything”. This is a speed bump in the
    race of life. Just keep your spirits high and leave it in God’s
    hands. If by any chance either of you need help or just someone to
    talk to, I am here, just call. Vanessa, you are in my prayers and
    on the prayer list at Oldenberg (my friend lives there). Take care
    and we love you. Vicki

  4. Angel McIlwain says:

    Billy, I admire your loyalty, steadfast care and deep love you have for your wife. Cancer sucks. I think though that it is harder for those who love us than it is for ourselves. Cancer does define us. It becomes a thing that has a hand in everything we do everyday. You are a hero and so glad I met you. Love to you and Vanessa.

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