Monday, October 24, 2016

Mary Prayer Garden Establishment

Two enterprising Mesa State University coeds worked over the weekend in our new back patio area to help create a meditation garden. "Before" pictures three days ago would have shown aspen tree branches hanging down to the ground, completing obliterating the view of a raised tree bed area. If only pictures had recorded progress from Friday through Sunday... 
(Friday afternoon, half way finished pruning)

Megan's dad, a horticulturist, Face Timed with her and helped us decide which aspen branches to remove (all below fence line). Then Allie and Megan put their shoulders and backs to the test and trimmed branches, hauled gravel away from the bed, raked in a dozen bags of topsoil and compost, and planted a stature of the Virgin Mary in an elevated pot, placing St. Frances in another small stand of trees in the corner.  Water added, task completed!

(birds and bunnies placed beside St. Frances)
The young women are helping to finance their Alternative Spring Break to El Salvador in 2017, sponsored by The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish.  What a win-win proposition for us! 

Allie and Megan did excellent work and created a peaceful, spiritual, meditative space. We are all anxious to see how this space looks after the ajuga gets rooted in for the winter, with future herbs to be planted around the border of the bedded area. Thank you, girls!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Kinsey Visit; Furniture Replacements

Gene's brother, Pat, and Pat's daughter, Jackie, came from Missouri for a weekend visit.  The two of them, Gene and Pat, used to really look alike in their younger years but not so much now.
(1994: Pat and Gene)

(2016: Pat, Jackie, Nancy, Gene)
Furniture Front:

Last week, friend Beth and I went to several re-store places in the Aspen area.  She convinced me that I could find beautiful old, used, and even restored or replaced items for a song.  Was she ever right. 

A new (old) mirror that we both really liked.  The margins of the mirror are painted in what appears to be Swedish, or rosemaling flowers.  The outside dimensions of the mirror are 32"x 39" and it will be hung atop a new (old) sideboard previously belonging to its former Aspen area owners.

(close up of mirror corner)
Then we picked up this piece six foot long sideboard and brought it home in the back of her SUV:

(close up of middle section front)

Tuesday, I bought a few factory produced furniture items for our newly established homestead that are to be delivered today: two end tables for the bedroom and a desk and filing cabinet for Gene along with these two pieces for the living and dining room area:

TV console

curio cabinet
Medical Front:

Just to keep a sort of medical diary, here are excerpts of emails sent to a new virtual friend in New York who also has cancer, and we have become a sort of support system for one another (as least she has become one for me)...

Today I have an appointment with a RO to map out the next two weeks of radiation treatments.  But I am having second thoughts about this and will discuss my concern with her, of course. Maybe it will help to clarify in my mind why we are doing this, so here goes my thought process:

1.  Yes, hips are hurting but in three weeks since MO suggested radiation, things have changed.  Three weeks passed and that was a necessary delay because I had another PET scan, then another MRI to further delineate where the Rays should be targeted.  But now, ribs are hurting as much as hips.  Question is " how do you decide where to put radiation and why, if there are more than one or two spots giving trouble?"

2. PET scan did not prove anything was worse, and that the Ibrance medication was helping the rib tumors to remain stable, perhaps decreasing in size, but also showed a new lesion further down, where it now hurts, 9th rib.  Question: "radiate here now?  Benefit?  Radiate both hip and rib, BOTH places ( on left side where original cancer was found) ?  Again, three weeks since MO said radiation would help hip pain.  Things change.

3. Hip pain is tolerable, ditto with rib pain. It seems we are doing radiation too soon.  Should I not wait until pain level increases to start radiation?  And how many times can you radiate same area?  Does more radiation help or hurt the same areas of concern?  Will I be back in another six months for more radiation?

As you can see, Sue, I am a bit troubled by jumping in with rads too much, too soon.  I don't expect you to have any answers, but am kind of wondering if you had or have any of these thoughts, or similar ones, as you trudge through this.  I believe you, however, are having many more and deeper issues with pain since you are pretty much home bound, as you say.

Thanks for being a sounding board.  You and the onsite cancer board are now my support group of those who have cancer, Sue.

Then, yesterday afternoon, this email was sent to my friend:

After brief discussion with the RO, it seemed that the prudent thing to do is to have rads to both lower rib and the hip and the base of spine.  I got mapped out with markers and clear sticky tabs that are supposed to stay on for the two weeks.  Ten days of twenty minute sessions.  Side effects are fatigue and diarrhea, oh my.

How are you? What are your medical treatments now? Are you a reader? Books have been neglected for too long here.

Thanks for your emails, Sue.

Long story short, I am mapped out for radiation and will start a ten day regimen beginning October 17 targeting left lower ribs, pelvic area and spine.  Side effects will not be much of a treat come Halloween, given the optimistic fact that I can answer the door for trick or treaters without interruption from bathroom breaks.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Moving Accomplished

Two dogs are looking up at my mug of canned chili with extra added tinned tomatoes, microwaved to perfection, their salivary glands on overtime, trying to convince that they really do need just a morsel of meat from the mug.  "Just a minute" means nothing to either of them.  There.  They each had a bite and now are off to their other person for an additional sniff in a different room where more unpacked boxes abound.  All of us were up at 4 AM, and morning nap time now looms.  As do the unopened boxes.

The move of households has been accomplished.  Yesterday was the final hurrah as the last of the plants were loaded up, the patio hosed off, and garage hoovered out.  A few cob webs are likely still lurking in the corners where the cars spent their evenings over the past nineteen and a half years, but the new owner will be too busy moving himself in to notice such a minor detail.  I hope.

September was hard on the husband: I vacationed and dined on luxury cruise cuisine while he ate from cans and used up frozen foods.  He made note of that fact more than a few times as he made up lists of tasks that had to get done involved around changing addresses.  He packed up and labeled boxes with tons of accumulated house hold items.  And he discarded many items, he tells me.  Changes are hard for him, and this move about used him up. He is resting now and well deserves a month or so off from Honey Do's.

Julie fared well over the past month.  Last week, Activity Director Linda at the manor took her (and Louise) up in the van and over the mountain to see the changing of colors in tree leaves, especially the aspen, in the high country east of Grand Junction.  She had no health crisis this autumn!  Playing Phase 10 continues to be her activity of choice, as well as dinking around with Word Chums, and throwing in Bingo on the weekends.  Gene finished reading to her the 11th book in the liturgical mystery series book on those September afternoons while I was vacationing. Eye surgery for Julie is scheduled with the ophthalmologist for October 12 to pull in eye muscles, helping to correct the crossing of both eyes (strabismus). She is actually looking forward to that surgery as she knows it will improve her appearance.

My health is holding, and the PET scan from last week proved Ibrance is doing its job since the metastasis in ribs has not increased.  On the breast cancer web forum, reports are coming in that Ibrance has helped other women keep mets at bay for up to 18 months, on average. However, MRI's are scheduled next week for suspected growth in cancer activity in the femur. We will deal with that when the time comes.

In the meantime, have a lovely first week of October.  What do you have planned for this new month?