Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Zombie Day

I pretty much just phoned it in today.

The phone rang at 3:30 this morning.  Caller ID said "blocked call".  I answered and nobody was there.  Hung up, and it promptly rang again.  Same thing.  I let it go to the answering machine next time - same thing.  So I just left the phone off the hook and we went back to bed.  John got to sleep, but I never did.

John went to radiation, saw the radiologist, and had his consultation with the dietician.  I went to the post office to mail the tax stuff and then to the grocery stores.

I thought for sure I'd be taking a killer nap, but got only a short one.  So I think I'll go to bed early tonight.

Monday, March 30, 2015


After the usual Monday stuff (now including John’s 7 a.m. radiation appointment), we came home to find the TV not working.

NOT WORKING?!?!? How can this be on a day when the Lady Vols are playing in the Elite Eight? I got on the phone with our cable provider. We tried lots of ons and offs and do-this and do-the-other. Nothing worked. Finally he set up an appointment with a tech house call tomorrow afternoon.

TOMORROW?!?!? OMG! Having to watch the game on the little non-HD television in the room without comfortable chairs. ARGHH!

John went to take a nap to rest up for the game, and I watched the news on the little TV. After UConn had annihilated Dayton, I woke him up. The first thing he did was try to do something with the TV. As an old electrical engineer, the first thing he tried was a total reboot, i.e., unplug the cable box from the wall and then turn it back on.

Well, damn! After some “whirring” and “thunking”, the stupid machine popped up a picture, with the Lady Vols and Maryland going at it. The old man still has “it”! Unfortunately the Lady Vols didn’t - and Maryland is going to the Final Four. I hope they give UConn a good game.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

RIP L'Empress

One of my favorite blogs has been "A Place of My Own".   L'Empress was a lovely Connecticut lady.  I met her online, but never had the joy of meeting her in person.  We found an immediate connection over our passion for women's college basketball.  Unfortunately our two favorite teams were mortal enemies.  She was a graduate of and obvious fan of the University of Connecticut - the arch-enemy of our Tennessee Lady Vols.  We never let that stand in the way of our virtual friendship.  She had just moved into a retirement community and was hoping for many more years of life.
I wish she had been able to see her beloved UConn Lady Huskies win a 10th national championship (as it's looking likely they will do).  I'm sure she will be cheering for them from her new vantage point overlooking the basketball court.
RIP, L'Empress

Sunday Stealing

The Dirty Dozen Meme

Stolen from: The Archives

1. This weather is really..... changeable - just like Spring

2. You think you've seen it all, you should see me....

3. I'm sure you would still love me even if...
you knew me better.

4. I think I have finally realized...
that life isn’t perfect.

5. Since the last time we linked up...
a week has gone by.

6. I get super embarrassed...
at my birthday party last week.

7. I really thought by now...
I’d have learned more than I have.

8. If I thought no one would read it, I would write about...
a few secrets.

9. I knew I was in the wrong place...
when I woke up in a high-fashion, high-dollar store in my dream.

10. I am so not above...
doing dumb things.

11. Let's pretend...
was a children’s program I used to listen to on the radio on Saturday mornings. (DAMN, but I’m old!)

12. Just you wait... 
"‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait!" (What else could I say)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Simply Saturday

We had a lovely day, albeit cool. John's still doing well. He did have some problems with his a-fib when he tried to exercise today, and will have to check with his docs on Monday about that.

Tina and Carol fixed dinner for us, Stephen, Missy & John (7 in all) - pasta and meat sauce, caprese salad, bread, green beans dessert. What special friends! And delicious food!

Almost forgot to mention the nail-biter ballgame. While dinner prep and post-dinner cleanup was going on the Lady Vols were doing very poorly against Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen ballgame. And then they managed to come from 17 points behind to send the game into overtime, and finally pull out the win. Now on to Maryland in the Elite Eight on Monday.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five for Friday

1. Radiation treatment #3.
2. He took donuts for the techs and nurses.
3. I got my delayed massage this morning.
4. John’s a-fib kicked in when he exercises this afternoon. He doesn’t need this, too.
5. Women’s Sweet Sixteen started tonight.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

First chemo

We got up before 6, and got to the cancer center just in time for his 7 a.m. radiation appointment. He was finished with that at 7:20. We had to wait about 30 minutes for the Oncology office to open, and then got started with signing in, taking vital signs, and a little more waiting.

Once into the treatment area, he picked out a chair and we settled in for the duration. This appointment was longer because there's extra stuff with the first session. The nurse had to get signatures and give instructions and information, etc. She finally started the drips about 9. I think he wound up getting five bags of stuff (saline, anti-nausea, benedryl, and the two medicines), and was finally unhooked and dismissed about 12:30. The nurse said the subsequent sessions would not take that long.

These folks do everything they can to make the patients as comfortable as possible. In the treatment room, the chairs are recliners; there are blankets, coffee, water, snacks, bathrooms, and no overhead music or TV.

But then we were home for some lunch and naps. Tomorrow he'll go by himself, just for the radiation treatment. So far, no side effects. We'll see what the next few days brings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It begins

We had another gorgeous day today, with sunshine and highs in the high 70s. It's all-day rain tomorrow and then back to below freezing over the weekend. We are enjoying all the gorgeous trees in bloom, though (and the pollen and sneezing that go along with them).
We went to the cancer center this afternoon for the set-up and first radiation treatment. They hade a mold for his body to rest in on the table, and gave him three tattoos. He's currently set up for 7 a.m. appointments. We're both morning people, so that's not a problem. His first chemo is tomorrow and will follow the radiation treatment. I’ll drive him on the days he has chemo, but he’ll probably go to the radiation by himself (unless he starts feeling bad towards the end).

So it's started.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It goes on...

Last night, all my parts decided to ache at the same time, so I took a muscle relaxant and a pain pill. I went to bed (and to sleep) at 9:30, and slept until after 7 this morning (with only a few potty breaks). Obviously I really needed that.

We went to the oncologist this morning, and John’s treatments will start tomorrow. He will be having 7 weeks of chemo and radiation simultaneously. The radiation will be every day and the chemo once a week. He has his radiation “dress rehearsal”, which will include the first treatment Wednesday, and then the first chemo treatment will be on Thursday.

The doc says some people have almost no side effects, a few might have to be hospitalized, and all points in between. Whatever, John was definitely ready to get started, so we’re off to the races. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Normal" Monday

Today was just a “normal” Monday - Y, Panera, home, bridge. Tomorrow we have what we hope will be the planning and schedule-setting appointment with the oncologist.

The Lady Vols are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.

I’m achy and am having a hard time staying awake. I hope to get to 10 pm before heading to bed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend visits

Jean went to visit with Margaret and Bobby Saturday morning. She and Sue overlapped there, so got to visit with each other. Sue came here Saturday afternoon. She left here midmorning, heading back to SC. It was great to have visits with them - just don't see them often enough. Next time will probably be at the beach the end of June.

John has borrowed a recumbent bicycle and an erg (rowing machine) so he can get some exercise here at home. To my surprise (but not his), they both fit in our living room without moving too much stuff. I wouldn't want them there permanently, but it'll work for the duration.

Accomplishing that, plus laundry is about all we got done today.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The I Meme

Stolen from: The Archives

I am... Mary

I want...
to be healthy as long as possible

I have...
the best family and friends

I wish...
people would just be nice to each other

I hate...
hatred and prejudice

I fear...
that Congress will never be able to accomplish anything

I hear...
birds outside in the morning

I search...
for information on Google

I wonder...
if people will ever learn to get along

I regret...
I don’t regret - it’s a waste of time

I love...
my family and friends

I never...
say “never”

I ache...
all over sometimes

I always...
try never to say “always”

I usually...
try to make peace

I am not...
ready to stop traveling and seeing new things and learning

I dance...

I sing...
when I’m alone in the car

I sometimes...
like to be alone

I cry...
much too often

I am not always...
as calm as I look

I lose...
my temper over stupid things

I am confused...
about why people do the things they do

I need...
more time

I should...
lose weight, exercise more, otherwise take better care of myself

Friday, March 20, 2015

Good friends, good food, good times.

I had the greatest morning. The swim class had a post-class party (covered dish goodies and coffee) for my birthday. Just getting together is special. But the hostess had everybody tell some tidbit about me. So unexpected and so emotional for me and something I'll keep with me forever.
I think John has had enough of doctors for a few days. He cancelled this afternoon’s appointment for a second opinion. His cancer is not something unusual, and he is happy with his team. Now the next appointment is on Tuesday with the oncologist - the quarterback of the team. We’re hoping that the treatment schedule will be set up then.

This special day ended with a special dinner. Missy, Tina, Carol & Stephen joined Jean, John, and me for a carry-out Chinese dinner. Great company, great food, and just the right amount (i.e., no leftovers).

Life is good!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today was a lovely quiet day. It rained off and on all day, but no doctors’ appointments.

Jean came - first time we’ve seen her in several months, so it’s special to have her here.

We went to String Theory tonight. It was an unusual program - all percussion. Neither of us particularly likes drum solos, so we were apprehensive about the music. But this was not what you normally think of when you say “drum solo”. It was SO much more.

The three musicians played a variety of percussion instruments, as a group and solo. There were six or seven pieces in the program, none more than about 5-8 minutes long.

Far and away, our favorite piece was Musique de Tables by Thierry de May. It’s about 6 minutes long and is not like anything we’d heard before. Click here to listen. Please listen to at least a few minutes of it - it’s amazing. The sounds are very subtle, so turn the volume up on your speakers (I promise it’s not one of those things that will jump out with a loud noise). Just remember to turn it back down later. I’d love to hear your comments about the piece.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tough day

We were gone for nearly 12 hours today - starting at the Y and finishing up at the hospital.

In the morning, John had the CT scan for the set-up for his radiation treatments. Then we killed about an hour until nearly noon, waiting for time to go back to the hospital for his biopsy.

The preliminary pathology didn't show any abnormality, but the doc is waiting for the final report in five or so days. John is not happy about this procedure or the doctor. He had a really bad coughing spell in the recovery room and feels like he got no help at all for it. By the time I got called back to the post-op area, he was still doing some hard coughing, but not like he said he had been doing before that. In any case, we finally got home about 5:30, and his coughing has been minimal.

He got some coffee and some ramen noodle soup, and was feeling better by bedtime.

Tomorrow Jean comes and we go to the String Theory concert. Should be a better day.


Remember a couple of months ago when I so highly recommended the book, Being Mortal? Please click here for an short exceptional article on the question every doctor should ask.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ten Things Tuesday

1. Tuesday is for the grocery stores. My time at Aldi and Walmart keeps getting shorter, though.

2. John went for pretesting for the laryngeal biopsy tomorrow, then did some exercise time.

3. John had to do some phone calls about tax questions.

4. I called to the repair service about the dishwasher that wouldn’t start last Sunday. They set up an appointment for Thursday.

5. The repair service called to say they’d had a cancellation and was it okay if the repair guy came today. Well, duh!

6. The dishwasher was working an hour later!

7. I had gotten a box of leftovers out of the freezer to thaw for supper. It was unidentifiable, so went down the disposal.

8. I tried another package of freezer leftovers, plus an Idahoan mix. This one was a winner.

9. John is npo after midnight.

10. It looks like Sue and Jean will be here at various times over the weekend. Yea!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Birthday miscellany

We met with the radiologist this morning, and finally met with the Nurse Navigator. These are all such nice people. They really do everything they can to make this difficult journey as easy as possible. He scheduled one more appointment this week. John will come in before his laryngeal biopsy on Wednesday for the specialized CT scan to set up the radiation treatments.
We finally got to play bridge this afternoon. Not that the cards were all that good, but it was still good to get out. We went straight from there to Bonefish Grill for my birthday dinner. John always has the same thing - the appetizer of mussels for his dinner. I had grilled scallops and shrimp this time. Whatever - it's all good.
Then home to watch the women's basketball selection show. The Lady Vols are(is) a #2 seed, and the Lady Mocs are (is?) a #7. They're in the same bracket and play the first two games in Knoxville. This means that, assuming both of them win their first games, they will play each other in the second game. Not our favorite scenario, but …
We talked to Margaret tonight. She’s having a tough time. I wish we could help her more. Mostly all we can do is listen. Love you, Babe!
Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Stealing

The One Thing Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven

One Thing .....

that makes you smile:
seeing family, puns (oops, that’s two)

that makes you cry:
I never know - crying is usually a surprise

that you love to do on the weekends:
get together with friends and/or family

that you do for only yourself:
get a massage

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear:
actually, there’s just underwear there

that you do before going to sleep:
put eye drops in my eyes

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking:
turn on the coffee

that's in your purse:

that you actually LIKE to clean: nothing

that you DETEST cleaning:

that other people would find odd about you:
that I like going to a movie by myself

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill:

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die:
live every day to the fullest.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


This is birthday time
For us. Alison, Sarah,
And me. Wish us well!

Friday, March 13, 2015

A pretty good day

A plan might be coming together.

John was getting very frustrated about a lack of movement in various events that needed to happen before he could start his treatment. While not sleeping last night, he decided that he would go to the Cancer Center this morning and talk to some folks “face to face”.

His pulmonary function test was scheduled at 8 a.m., so that was first. After that, we went next door to the Cancer Center to see what we could accomplish.

It was amazing. John talked to the scheduler (twice) and to the doctor’s nurses. They agreed that Dr. A would want to have the laryngeal biopsy done before setting a treatment plan. While those folks were talking and planning, I got on the phone to Dr. L’s office and through several phone calls, got the biopsy set up for next Wednesday. John will see the radiologist on Monday, and see Dr. S for the second opinion on Friday.

All of this is to be followed by an appointment with Dr. A the following Tuesday to review all the findings and to set up the treatment schedule. Hooray!

And all this was done before 9 a.m. So we had time to get to coffee with the swimmers and get much-needed haircuts. We were definitely not great at duplicate this afternoon. But we get to have Kate and Wayne here and had lasagna for dinner.

All in all - a pretty good day!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


A Word A Day has been about poetry this week.  And today's poem form was the limerick.  This is my first attempt.  The best, funniest ones are usually dirty, and this one is neither funny nor dirty.  But it is description of our life nowadays.

There was an old man from Hixson
With bad lungs. We’re tryin’ to fix ‘em.
He goes in for test
Along with the rest.
Chemo and radiation to mix in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Roller coaster

We went for John to see the ENT doctor this morning. Dr. L wants to do a biopsy of the lesion on his larynx. We're waiting to see what the oncologist recommends as to timing.

We're still working on phone calls, trying to get all things scheduled. The second opinion hasn’t been set up yet. And I guess that needs to happen before they can set up a treatment schedule.

Pulmonary function tests scheduled for early Friday morning. Plus he got a call about an asbestos study being done by his 30-year employer, so they're going to be paying for some of this testing.
In our “normal” life - if anything can ever be considered “normal” - I had my mani/pedi this afternoon. And a special treat - Jesse and Caroline came by for a little visit this afternoon. He’s out of the Navy now and is job hunting in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

This week has been one wild roller coaster! And it's only Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day two haiku

More rain today, but
No appointments. Some phone calls,
Nothing definite.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Not the best, but not the worst, either

Well, today was the day for information from doctors. The first visit was to the oncologist. Dr. A is to be the captain of our team.

Not the best of news, but not the worst either. John has Stage III-A squamous cell carcinoma (non-small cell carcinoma) in the left lower lobe (LLL) of his lungs, with 4 left lymph nodes involved. His PET scans and brain MRI last week were clear. Dr. A says this is “curable” with treatment with chemo and radiation. His recommendation is for radiation with chemo give at the same time, weekly for seven weeks. The drugs would be Paclitaxel and Carboplatin. And he said the treatment would be “tough”.

John asked about getting a second opinion, so Dr. A’s office is going to set him up with a visit to another top oncologist here. We’re hoping to get that done in the next few days, so the treatment schedule can be set up and started.

Next we went to see the pulmonologist. Dr. B told us again what he had found. He’s going to set up full breathing function tests, and see John again in 3 months. He said he was 100% sure that this was due to John’s many years of smoking - even though he quit 30 years ago. Dr. B is also concerned about the possibility of a lesion on his larynx, and wants to be sure John sees the ENT doc. This is set up for Wednesday.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

UTC Lady Mocs win!

Lady Mocs again!
Conference champion!
Ranked seventeen. Yea!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Sunday stealing

Threes Meme

Remember the Stars

1. Three things that scare me: The current Congress, people carrying guns, getting Alzheimer’s
2. Three people who make me laugh: David Hyde Pierce, Robin Williams, can’t think of a third one right now.
3. Three things I love: My family, my friends, springtime in Tennessee
4. Three things I hate: Hate, stupidity, intolerance.
5. Three things I don't understand: The current Congress, intolerance, ignorance
6. Three things on my desk: Desk calendar, calculator, pencil cups
7. Three things I'm doing right now: Watching the Lady Vols win over Kentucky, answering these questions, I’ll be knitting when I finish this.
8. Three things I want to do before I die: Clean out a lot of this mess so the girls don’t have to do it, continue to travel, watch the grandchildren get settled into their lives.
9. Three things I can do: Knit, cook, love
10. Three things I can't do: Play a musical instrument, run, understand people who hate
11. Three things you should listen to: Your heart, your head, your gut.
12. Three things you should never listen to: Someone who tells you to do something you know is wrong, gossip about a friend, Fox news.
13. Three things I'd like to learn: I’m not really in a learning mode right now. I like to improve things I already know how to do.
14. Three favorite foods: Ice cream, salads, soups
15. Three beverages I drink regularly: Plain water, coffee, tomato juice
16. Three shows I watched as a kid: Remember, I’m old! We didn’t have a TV when I was a kid.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Five things Friday

1. The setting full moon this morning was awesome!

2. Sunshine and blue skies brightened everybody’s spirits.

3. John’s cardiologist doesn’t need to see him again for a year. The medication prescribed for his A-fib is working as expected. One doctor off the list, at least for a while.

4. The UTC Lady Mocs easily won the semi-final game in the Southern Conference tournament.

5. The UT Lady Vols easily won the quarter-final game in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Enough of winter, already!

I absolutely crashed last night. I gave up at 9:30!!!! I left John with basketball games and he was a happy camper. I didn't get up until after 7 this morning. That kind of sleep doesn't happen unless it's really needed.

Today, basketball started at noon and continued until nearly 11. The Lady Mocs won their first tournament round handily, beating UNCG 78-44.

We met Carol and Stephen at Red Ginger for dinner. They’ve been in FL for several weeks, and it was good to visit with them.

Today swift and severe storm hammered Kate & Wayne in KY and Jean in Nashville. Margaret and Bobby got ice. Our valley got rain.

Spring WILL come soon!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wednesday testing

John had a PET scan and brain MRI this morning, and all went without incident. We were at the hospital at 6:30 and, to our surprise and pleasure, were home by 9:30. Naps were necessary, to be sure. But not before Missy had come by to visit and brought lunch.

Next visit is to the cardiologist Friday (previously scheduled for routine check for his exercise-induced atrial fibrillation). Then I'll go with him to the oncologist Monday morning and pulmonologist Monday afternoon. That should be, I hope, when we find out just what we're dealing with. And I assume they'll have treatment options and recommendations. So that's the big day.

Weather has definitely been the big news everywhere. It was 71 here at 7:45 pm, and has now (8:30) dropped to 62. Sleet/freezing rain/snow is supposed to start sometime around midnight. Kate & Wayne have already gotten several new inches of snow (on their way to possibly 12"). We shouldn't get more than 0.5" or so, which I hope will melt tomorrow. Crazy!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Rainy Tuesday

We’ve had rain all day - but it is needed. And at least it’s rain, not snow. Although that’s due to change tomorrow night. Jean has postponed her visit, and will come down a week from Friday with Kate and Wayne.

I had my routine visit with the optometrist today. My glaucoma is holding steady with the drops. I ordered a new pair of glasses. The ones I’ve been wearing are in pretty rough shape, and with a slight correction, the insurance will pay for most of it.

One of John’s friends has been in the hospital for nearly six weeks. He went in with pneumonia and and developed MERSA. He’s finally on the road to recovery and has been moved to a rehab facility to regain strength. John went to visit him today, so that got him out of the house.

We’ll be out and off early in the morning for his first test (PET scans) at 7.

Monday, March 02, 2015


Since John’s tests were postponed, Monday went off pretty much as usual. At bridge, the cards were mixed, my bidding was not the best, and I did play a few good hands.

After swimming, I called Nurse Betsy to tell her why we weren’t at the hospital. She said she would check on things for us. When she called back, she said that more reports had been sent, and that things should be moving along. When we got home there was a message saying we should call to set up the tests.

Surprisingly, there was someone there at nearly 5 pm to do the scheduling. John's tests have been rescheduled for Wednesday morning early (be there at 6:45). I've had to reschedule his appointment with the ENT doc, but it's more important to get the testing done. One additional question we want to ask when we see the various docs after the testing is “Who is in charge of the treatment regimen?” Always more questions.


We're getting predictions for more bad weather Wednesday night, but not to last too long. At least it shouldn’t interfere with medical stuff.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday haiku

Warm Sunday; snow all gone.
Monday tests postponed. Waiting is
Hard. Just basketball.