Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lookin Old, Feelin OK

I had an Oncologist appointment on Friday afternoon. Blood work still improving and blood pressure improving with medication. Thank goodness the blood work is still ok...therefore the food possibilities are still wide open. Or so I thought !!

After that comment last time about the width and breadth of my integumentary system (skin area) it is noted that weight is increasing. Doc said, "What's with the weight?" There seems to be a steady increase going on there too. He said something about, ". . . all gut, no butt." Soooooo , get some of it off. Get under 199.
By my interpolation of the skin-area data, that should be about 2.08 square meters. I didn't give the excuse that during my off Sutent week I retain maybe I have an ace up my sleeve. The next appointment will be at the end of two on Sutent weeks. I think I'll make the weigh-in, but to make sure I'll step up the exercise and drop the pie and bread.

The eyebrows are white as are the lashes. I included a picture here. Geeeze I look old, but since being old is the goal of all this, I might as well look the part. Maybe the exercise and the vacation from pie will take care of those jowels.

We finished the out-of-town football game schedule this weekend. We do enjoy it, and especially seeing those out-of-town grandbabies makes it special, but I'm looking forward to being home for a while. I'm feeling good, not particularly bothered by any side effects at the moment.

I'm working every day which is mainly talking to customers and scheduling the factory. I hope this week to secure a building permit for the expansion of the factory. I want to pour concrete by early December at the latest. The building is already on order and will be delivered by about the 10th.
We're hanging in ! Life is good ! I feel the strengh of your thoughts.
Great Speckled Byrd

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Fast Lane

We don't seem to be slowing down any. I took a couple of personal days on Thursday and Friday. It was nice to be able to take care of errands in a more relaxed time frame. Thursday afternoon Bryan went to get Eli; they had a Home Depot date. They've been designing and planning an addition to our new deck that would include a slide, swings, etc. Eli also says that we need to find four trees around which they'll build a tree house. He's very adamant about the number. Bryan suggested that one tree might be enough support along with other lumber. No. Four trees. His other plan is to have a hinged ladder so he can raise it up into the tree house, preventing someone (little sister? little boy cousins? Nana?) from entering his space.

So, they drove up in the truck with the back open because the big box containing the Tunnel Twister slide was so huge. It took the whole afternoon to remove part of the deck rail, frame in the slide barrier, and begin to put the slide pieces together. Eli's job was to hand me sets of one bolt, two washers, and one loc nut for each of the fourteen connection points. Sorry, no pictures of that engineering feat. While we waited for Pawpaw's construction part to be done, Eli and I swept a mountain of leaves off of the deck. Kid power is amazing. We were almost late for dinner back at their house. Emily was holding court with Mary Helen and Joe, showing off her new room. She was ready to have Mary Helen start reading stacks of books.

Friday we went to Fayetteville just in time for Bryan to change clothes and head to a meeting at the Fay Jones School of Architecture. I stayed at Erin's house and played with Ethan and Elliott while she finished packing for their weekend trip to Branson. Ethan has transferred his focus from football uniforms to superheroes. He greeted us in a Batman costume and changed into several others within an hour. Rachel made a cool birthday party invitation for him that superimposed his face onto a Spiderman body. He thinks he gets Spiderman boots and gloves now. Where on earth can I find those?

My favorite sister in the whole world (Cheryl Dawn) came by for a visit. She lives up in Bella Vista. We always have trouble getting all of our catching up done with each other. We talk about Daddy a lot. We enjoy watching him enjoying life but worry too. Mama left us with that worry gene.

Friday night we had a lovely dinner with the Dean's Circle group (folks who support the Architecture School). Leslie Belden is the minister who married Rachel and Matt. She's also an architect. Her husband, Ted, and she are active in this group. Steve Kinsler is the chair of the group. He was a Scouter when Sam was in high school. Arkansas really is a small state.

Today we had fun at the game then drove home so we can have a day of recuperation from all of our fun before the new week begins. We joined the line of cars going back over the mountain. There were two choices--the slower lane was going about 60 mph and the fast lane was pushing 80 mph. Which do you think we chose?

Bryan's lifelong friend, Mike Roller, and his wife, Dianna, are coming to see us Monday and Tuesday. Their beautiful daughter has taken a week off from her medical residency in Rhode Island to come home and to make the Arkansas Bride's Pilgrimage to Lowe's Bridal Emporium in Brinkley. I've given them enough information to give them guidance without scaring them to death about weddings (I hope). My best advice is to hire Jessica the Wedding Planner. She saved us much more money than she charged, plus she took care of everything!

Today began the off-week ending his second round of Sutent. The current side effect is sore feet. He says they feel like blisters that have popped, grown new skin, and are being abraded by his socks and shoes. For that reason, we used the handicapped parking lot and rode the shuttle to and from the stadium today. I insisted. Foresight is not his forte. He told me later that I was right, of course. New scans will be scheduled for the end of November. We pray that this drug is doing its thing on his lung mets.

Between Razorback games and grandchildren's events, Bryan continues to go to work, keep his customers happy, and supervise the work on our house. While I was driving to Fayetteville, he was on the phone, arranging for gravel to be delivered and spread on our driveway. I'm tired just recapping all of our activities! I need a trip to the beach.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Had a Loaded Baked Potato and a Diet Coke for Supper

My oh My ... we had a busy week

We had dinner with Eli and Emily on Wednesday.

Emily is a squeeler...especially when PawPaw walks into the room. At dinner she wanted to

know why PawPaw had a sick kidney. Those little ears hear it all and they deserve explanations. They learn from us constantly.

Eli is quite a writer. He has made a big list of things to get from HomeDepot. He and I will go next week and get materials and start construction of the best ever swingset/monkey bars/ playground. Photograph attached.

Another Razorback weekend in Fayetteville. Homecoming is fun, but the game was too easy. We actually left in the 4th quarter (unheard of) when we were ahead by about 50 points. I'm always amazed at how tired going to a ball game makes me. Ethan reminded me Sunday morning when he asked me to play football with him. A couple of throws, catches and soft tackles and I was ready to ride the bench for awhile. Moonpie ( Elliot ) can say DaDa and I was encouraging PawPaw but didn't get very far. He's pulling up and looks poised to take off soon.

Then we went to Mtn. Home on Sunday afternoon for the visitation and memorial service for Don Bell's mother. Although those are sad occasions that we all must attend to, they are also joyous and grounding occasions when we reconnect with our friends and families. It was great to sit with a pew full of friends who go back five plus decades. We weren't there to see each other; we were there to hold up Don and his sister Patty. It was a very nice service. The women in Mrs. Bell's Faith Group each spoke about her memories of Winifred and read favorite bible verses.

Y'all have heard all the moaning about what I was going to have to eat and live on forever and ever. have to go way back for all of the connections in this story, but this is how things work in Arkansas. My next door neighbor growing up, Laurie Ahrens Townsend, about 5 months my senior, started first grade a year ahead of me because I was a January baby and missed the cut-off, so we were separated all the way through school, then she went off to college and became a dietitian, practiced 27 years in New England, retired and then moved back home about 5 years ago. Laurie was in a Bible study class with a classmate of mine, Julie Gustafson Williamson. Julie told Laurie about the blog and the hell-of-a-diet we were looking at, and Laurie called me and offered to review. I sent her all of the blood work data for the last two months and the diet information we had received.

Debbie and I stayed with Mom on Sunday night and Laurie came over for supper. We laughed a lot over old childhood stories, then we had a consultation about my dietary needs that made a whole lot more sense to us than what we had heard before. Maybe it's that we trust our peer group more, but with plenty of time and discussion which is sometimes missing or misunderstood in a medical setting, Laurie gave us lots of information. The new analysis... blood work indicates there are no problems with calcium, potassium, phosphorous. All current and recent past indicators of kidney function are in the normal range or explainable because of the recent surgery. Sooooo.... eat normally, but be aware of what is going into your mouth...particularly the sodium. Pay attention to the blood work...if something starts trending the wrong way, then make a change. Diet Coke....made with the purest of water...can't hurt. So now I go from a pie-with-cool whip diet to something more logical.

I was sitting in the oncologist's office waiting and I have access to my electronic charts. I learned that my integumentary system (skin ) is 2.13 sq. meters in area. WHO KNEW !!!!! That is up from 2.11 sq. meters about 6 weeks ago. I musta dozed off when they measured that...I haven't a clue. I think the 0.02 sq. meter increase must surely be from the pie diet. Does anyone else know how many square meters of skin you have?

I'm of an age where I scan the obits along with the sports page. I've noted that some folks die
after a long battle with cancer. I don't get the feeling that I'm battling cancer....I do not say that lightly, because my situation has not been what I would consider to be a hard road. I may not know what a hard road is. We are extremely fortunate to have found a warrior, Dr. Baltz, to do the battle for me. He's the warrior who encourages me and hands me this little pill about the size of a pinto bean to lob daily at the cancer cells. He knows what the Sutent is doing and isn't pulling any punches with it. My job is to keep the battleground tilted in his favor. I have great respect for the cancer, and I'm ready to have it gone.

Great Speckled Byrd

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaaaAyck. I understand there have been requests for my return, and for this I am honored.
Quick reminder that this wee lil' blog is my perspective only. I could always be way off... I used to get the answers WAY wrong in English Lit when asked what some reading passage meant. WAY OFF. Disclaimer done.

My heaviest perspective right now is that of a parent, a mama. That perspective that we would do anything...everything... just so that one of our own doesn't have to experience a pain, a disappointment, a loss.
My darkest worry is having to explain any of this to my children, or to see a change in PawPaw affect their perception of him. Ethan told PawPaw this weekend that he was gettin' old. Now, Ethan thinks that if you have a beard you are old, so.. I don't know what tipped him off that Dad is aging, and we'll probably never know.

Back to my point... my dreadful pairing of Middle Child and Mama-Guts, all mixed about, hates that I can't take this all away from Mom, from Dad, from my sibligs, from the babies, from Granny... because I know that I would be fine.
I'm aggressive, I'm strong, I would fight it down and everything would turn out fine, 'cause I'm me... and I would feel like crap, but I'd keep doing and going, and be positive, and work, and sleep when I could, and I'd form my team, and trust them, and do what they said, and show up like I always have, and assure my family that I'm just fine. It'd just be better if it were me because I have no doubt that I could do it.
And then it hits me.... he's not glad it's him, but he IS glad it's him. Because its not his Debbie, and its not his Sam, or Erin, or Rachel, or his Alicia, or Shaun, or Matt, or Eli, or Ethan, or Emily, or Elliot.

He's glad it's him, because he knows he can do it.