Monday, January 16, 2017

Belated January Christmas Letter

It has been many years since one of those self aggrandizing family update Christmas letters has come to our mailbox. You know the type letter I am referring to: how the friend has received yet another Important Promotion, with each child in the family excelling in his own way via achieving Most Grand PooPah of academic excellence or athletic acumen. People must have caught on that type letter is in bad form as none has graced our mailbox in a long while.

Narrowing down a Christmas letter to include only the month of December, I will give an update. Let's see if I can win the prize for celebrating the month with sickness, then an upturn. I will merely report the facts, you can determine if we win the Most Miserable December award. To add drama to the following diatribe, Christmas Day was spent in bed with fever and chills with several forays to the bathroom requiring a fortitude of strength expended in merely crawling to the other room. You get the picture.

Three times in the course of three weeks in December and sloughing over into January, I was taken either by husband or friend to the hospital Emergency Room or Infusion Center with severe flu like conditions, more baffling symptoms than straightforward flu, however. At each ER visit, two weeks apart, a gambit of tests were performed on my heart, kidneys, lungs, etc. Upon discharge, no diagnosis of flu could be typed into the diagnosis tine on hospital forms. "Virus" and "Mutated Virus" were guesses as to why I was ill. Several Bad Bugs have been noted as living on the western slope of Colorado, and my immune system was at an all time low from the Ibrance/Letrozole combo of cancer fighting drugs already on board my system. My body was a petri dish of germs and that perfect storm created a hellish holiday for us, while viruses and bacteria had a hay day.

But after last month, I come to you "healed" and much thinner, still eschewing any meat protein because it tastes and smells so awful. Thanks to friend Beth who has made various grocery runs and provided soups, I can enjoy Ensure and be grateful for it. Other friends have also called to assist, and I do appreciate it. The palliative cancer treatments were put on hold until February, giving time for the body to heal before assault with more CA fighters brought on board.

And now is the time in the Christmas letter update to tell you about Gene. Instead of talking about myself first, I should have led off with him, but I had to give you the background of the Bug/Bugs in order for Gene's own round of issues to be addressed. Gene came down with this virus about two weeks ago. When he was feeling a little better, last week he was trying to provide a pasta dinner for us and was leaning over a pot of hot water on the stove waiting for a rolling boil before throwing in the spaghetti. I was in the recliner and heard a cracking noise, thinking he had dropped something, but no expected expletives after the strange sound. Not even turning around I called out "Gene, are you OK?" In a weakened voice calling from the floor he replied "no." And I found him crumpled on the floor where he had fainted. He hurt his back. And it is still giving him fits (he also has ankylosing spondylitis which exacerbates the problem). But between his coughing and his aching back, he, too, is on the mend.

Now for Julie: she caught an upper respiratory infection last week, and the manor staff has been on top of it all along. Breathing treatments, oxygen 24/7 and three doses of prednisone have helped her over the weekend. She hopes to be out of her bed and back in the Activity Room tomorrow playing cards, with less than a week confined to her bed.

Jolly times. But we are all getting better and I am back to getting outside and driving again, so the month of December was just a hiccup in the year of 2016.

Sorry to send you this depressing letter, but some of you have asked.

Drinking a glass of healthful orange juice to you! And I am keeping Thieves in the water of my Young Life diffuser!  Sheldon knows how to keep well! 

How goes the start of YOUR new year?

Friday, December 23, 2016

It is Almost Christmas

Christmas will be here in two days, so now is the time to record photographs and what has been happening in our neck of the woods this month.  We have not put up a decorative tree in years, but I do make displays of angels and votive candles and Madonna and Child icons to commemorate the season.


On Tuesday, friends came over for coffee.  I was so bold as to ask that each bring a refreshment, otherwise I just did not believe I could host a small coffee.  Why, getting up from bed or resting would have required an hour of standing! I am only half kidding here, because I do spend most days fatigued and prone on the bed. Thank you, everyone, for bringing tasty treats.


This is Marianne and Janice's boys putting together origami trees. Marianne brought tasty biscotti and entertained the young guys for quite a while; the boys seemed to enjoy playing with the papers.

This is Janice, the boys' mom.  We lost her mom, Maureen, to metastatic breast cancer (mbc) almost three years ago.


The ornaments above are like ones that Julie chose to give to the workers at the manor.  Every one of the workers at Mesa Manor received this small gift, along with a candy cane.  After going back four times to Michael's to supply the goodie sacks, ensuring no one was overlooked, we made a total of 52 sacks.  Julie and the last few bags are posing below.


This picture was taken prior to our holiday lunch last week and pasted on FaceBook by Verda, so I am reposting it here.


Healthwise, it has been a rough couple of weeks since pneumonia germs seemed to have found a nice spot to multiply in my lungs. Talk about a fatigue maker, pneumonia and its fighter, capsules of Leviquin, combined to create an atmosphere for feeling awful.

A PET scan and an MRI are scheduled next week to determine if the Ibrance is working to keep tumors at bay.  The oncologist decided to change medicines and will make further decisions after he reads results of the scans.  "Scanxiety" is the term for wanting to know, yet not wanting to know results from tests scanning for cancer growth.  Actually, I do not have scanxiety. as I will never be abandoned or lost (Hebrews 13:5).

Leaving you with a favorite Norman Rockwell Christmas painting:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Afternoon Tea


Wine Country Inn, located in Palisade, Colorado, offers tea during the Christmas Season and for Mother's Day in the spring.  This hotel is a luxurious hotel nestled among its grape vineyards and is a popular resort during all Colorado seasons.

Accomplished, elegant, savvy friend Beth invited me to attend one of the seasonal teas yesterday.  (Note I did not characterize Beth as "sweet," although she is a very sweet woman.)  We both recognized other friends there (hi, Shirley!).  There was not one space available for the 11 AM seating.  Needless to say, it is a popular Christmas venue!

We were served tea and four courses of sweets and savories, oh my!  What a lovely time!  From Wine Country Inn,

... If Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, had not been a little peckish one afternoon in the 1840's we probably wouldn't celebrate a proper British Afternoon Tea.....Soon the common folk emulated the Upper Crust, and a new custom of having afternoon tea was common place.  It was an occasion to entertain friends and relatives for simple conversation, and maybe a little gossip. 
The First Course: scones, crumpets or nut/fruit breads, served with Devonshire cream, jam and Lemon Curd. Second Course: cress or cucumber finger sandwiches, chicken salad pastries and other imaginative small treats, and delicious nuts with herbs and sugar glazes.  Third Course: bite sized cookies, small cakes, and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

It was a sweet treat.  Thank you, Beth, for a lovely time out.