Friday, October 21, 2016

Checking Back In Quickly

Just a quick update.

My cancer was progressing in spite of being on the clinical study, so my doctor has withdrawn me from the study and started a new chemo regimine. I've already had one treatment. If the amount of fluid that accumulates in my abdomen is any indication, it's working already. Hopefully it's killing cancer cells, too.

I just finished 16 days in hospital. Without going into too much uncomfortable detail, I couldn't hold anything down - liquids or food. We seem to have found the magic combination of meds and care. Unfortunately I'm on TPN (nightly feedings through my port) while NPO during the day (other than sips of clear liquids for comfort and taking meds). It's not fun, but I'm home! And I'm trying to do as much as I can to regain as much of the strength I lost in hospital.

DH and I have a move to get ready for. I won't be any help so we will have to have this move done professionally, with the help of friends to box and pack. I feel so helpless - not a feeling I'm comfortable with but one I'm learning to get used to. The hard way. Of course.

I hope to be able to get some time in sewing room this week ... we'll have to see if I'm up to it. I definitely plan to go to the Ts' swim meet this weekend. Not every single event like in the past, but I will be there! Seeing them swim is one of the things that keeps me going! ;-)

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Quick Check-In

I'm still taking a blogging break, but I did want to pop in and give you all an update.

On the 19th, I had my monthly blood draw, and my cancer markers came back high ... Dr. Powell was concerned about the increase and ordered a CT scan last Friday. Yesterday DD, DH and I met with him to discuss the results. As we suspected, the cancer is back ... the good news is that it's early and there isn't a lot of cancer or fluid built up.

Dr. Powell recommended that I participate in a clinical trial designed for women like me whose cancer came back within 6 months of finishing the first round of chemo. The options in the study include oral meds that target the cancer cells or standard chemo. The treatment I will receive will be chosen randomly. I'll be having several tests over the next week to ensure that I'm healthy enough to participate and establish baseline levels for future labwork. I will be closely monitored and can withdraw if it becomes obvious that the treatment I'm receiving isn't helping. Not to worry, though, as there are still lots of other treatments available.

We're hoping that we'll still be able to go to Hilton Head as planned next month, but it's already looking like we'll be leaving later than originally planned. Obviously our priority is to get this cancer under control.

I would really appreciate your prayers that the treatment will be effective and that I'll tolerate the treatment with minimal side effects.

Sunday afternoon I headed back to my sewing room. If you all remember, I've been debating what to make next. I had so many ideas that I was suffering from "analysis paralysis" ... plus many of my choices would require some stash enhancement (aka a trip to Homestead Hearth). As I was checking Facebook Sunday morning, I saw a granny square quilt that I fell in love with. It was an "aha" moment ... #1 it is a perfect scrappy quilt, so I could use my stash - #2 I have a 2" (finished) square die so cutting my scraps into usable pieces would be easy peasy - #3 it will be perfect for quick and easy chain piecing which will be perfect considering I may not have large blocks of time to spend in the sewing room (what with getting ready to move). I pieced together 3 blocks Sunday afternoon. Here are two of those blocks.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another Blogging Break

If you remember, DH and I stayed with DD and her family when I was first diagnosed. It was a little crowded and no one had any real privacy, but we loved being with them and miss being actively involved with them on a daily basis. We've dreamt about finding a large house with a separate in-law suite or cottage (with a little acreage and of course a pool! if we're going to dream, why not dream big - ha!) ... only to realize that we'd need to win the lottery first to be able to afford it. We have managed to find an alternative ... we're going to buy the house right behind DD's house. ;-)


We will be closing at the end of October, which seems like a long time from now, but I think most of you will agree that the time will pass by entirely too quickly. So DH and I will need to get right to work on packing and getting this house ready to sell, as well as planning the improvements and upgrades we'll be making to the new ... unfortunately that won't leave much time for blogging (especially since we are still planning to be in Hilton Head for two weeks next month). Suffice it to say, we're going to be busy as bees. ;-) Once we get moved and settled in, I plan to be back with a full report.


So until then, I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trip Report - aka the Best Week of My Life

I have to admit that I was a little concerned whether I'd be able to tolerate the drive (12-1/2 hours) and whether I'd be able to enjoy my time away and whether I'd be able to keep up with everyone else and not be a burden.  Thankfully my concerns were for naught ... I really didn't have much pain and was able to do whatever I wanted.  The only activity I wasn't able to participate in was the snorkeling ... and only because I couldn't wear a mask over my glasses and I'm as blind as a bat without them.  ;-)

The beach in the panhandle is absolutely the most beautiful beach I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, it's not the flat, solid beach conducive to walking (like the beach at Hilton Head).  Even so, it was the beach, and we loved every minute of our time. 

We were blessed with beautiful weather the first 7 days ... sunny and warm in spite of rain in the forecasts.  Alas, the rain finally materialized the final 3 days ... thankfully there was a break in the rain each day so we could get back out to the beach. 

This was our view crossing over to Destin - our first view of water.  I was practically giddy with excitement, and this was just the bay.  ;-)

 Our view at lunch that first day in Destin.

 The beach at Destin.

We got to the condo in Navarre Beach an hour before we could check in ... so we spent that hour out on the beach.

Just minutes after we checked in, we saw this fly-by.  This was taken from the balcony of our condo.

 Another pic taken from our balcony.  The view was spectacular!

T#2 and I went for an early-morning walk along the beach and saw a sea turtle nest.  Speaking of sea turtles, DD, DSIL and I were out in the water later that morning and saw a sea turtle swim by - no more than 15-20 yards from us.  It was spectacular!

The sun was too far north to get photos of a sunrise or sunset on the Gulf, so this was the best I could do.

As I mentioned, I couldn't snorkel, but that didn't mean that I didn't see anything while on the boat waiting.  That's a jelly fish.  Yes, some of our snorkelers were stung, but the stings were minor and alleviated with a spray of vinegar.

 T#4's artwork our final day on the beach.

 <3 <3 <3

 T#4's artwork at dinner our final night.

DH and I didn't head straight home Saturday morning.  We decided to go check out Ft. Pickens and were treated to a show by the Blue Angels (stationed over at Pensacola Naval Air Station, just across Escambia Bay).  I got a video which you can view here: 

The shells I found on my walks along the beach.

Don't forget that you can click on the pictures to see them even better.  ;-)

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the best week of my life.  The memories we made are priceless, and I will cherish them the rest of my life.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preparation ...

That's the mode we're in here at Chez Nana. Preparing for something fun ... a long overdue trip to the beach. Not our favorite beach (Hilton Head Island), but we've never been able to say "no" to the beach, any beach. DD and her family and her (step) sister and her family have been trying for almost a year now to get away together to the beach, and they've graciously invited us and their dad and his wife to join them.


Since I've been given a respite from ongoing treatment and since DH and I are, as I said, way overdue for some time at the beach (we had to cancel our two weeks in Hilton Head this last May), we decided to leave early and get in a few more days on the beach. We'll be leaving Tuesday morning, so the last few days have been busy ones ... as will today and tomorrow ... as we prepare for this trip.


Unfortunately that means that there's been no trip to Homestead Hearth (it's over 2 hours one way), so there's not been anything going on in the sewing room. I'm still debating what quilt block to use in my next quilt. I'm not sure that I'm any closer to deciding ... I change my mind every time I think about what block to use. Suffice it to say that I've got 3-4 blocks that are really high up on my list ... I suspect I'll choose whatever is at the top of the list on the day I head to Homestead Hearth. I do plan to take my Martha Washington's Flower Garden project with me ... even if I don't have time to stitch there on the beach, it'll keep me busy during the 12-hour drive there and back.


I also don't know how much time I'll have online ... after all. I've got a lot of beach time to get caught up on, and of course plenty of T time to enjoy as well. But I promise to get you all caught up when we return.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

OK, Maybe It Was a Bit of a Blogging Break

My next to last blog post mentioned taking a break ... but not a blogging break. But as it turns out, it really was both.


About a week after I finished up my last chemo, I started to exhibit some symptoms that I initially chalked them up to that last intense chemo treatment. But over time the symptoms have gotten more intense and enough time has passed that I should no longer be experiencing any symptoms of this magnitude, so I've consulted with my oncologist. He and I are working on figuring out what is going on so we can get them resolved.


He moved my CT scan up from the end of the month to last week and moved our follow-up appointment to Tuesday. The good news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms ... the bad news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms. ;-) But there was more good news with the scan - everything looked the way he was expecting. And with my cancer marker staying stable, he doesn't need to see me for 3 months. He's ordered monthly bloodwork between now and October and another scan prior to my visit in October, but other than that, I'm a "free woman" for the next 3 months.


I haven't been doing any quilting since my last post, nor have I made it to Homestead Hearth to get fabric for my next project. I haven't even finalized what block I'll make my next quilt from ... I'm waffling between pinwheel, cake stand, scrap jar star and single wedding ring. Obviously triangles will be an integral part of whatever quilt I make next.


Since my last post, I have been watching the Ts swim ... their last regular season meet was last night, and they finished the season undefeated. League championships will be Saturday ... when it will be in the upper 90s with a heat index of around 110. :-o Gotta love summertime in southwestern Illinois. Ha!


Things should be slowing down next week, so I'm hoping that it will include a road trip to Homestead Hearth and some time back in the sewing room. I've enjoyed a bit of a break from the back-to-back-to-back sewing in May and June and am ready to get back to my needle and thread.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

My good friend Katy at has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Normally, I’m not a fan of blog awards, but I have to admit that I like memes that allow us to share a few previously unknown facts so we can get to know each other a little better.  So, I’m going to make an exception and join in.

Like Katy did, I have pasted the award photo and the rules directly.  Here they are:
The Rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.
*List the rules.
*Display the image of the award on your post.
*List seven facts about yourself.
*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.

Seven Facts About Me:
1. I started piecing my very first quilt on January 30, 1982.  How do I happen to know the exact date?  It just so happens that we had a blizzard in 1982 that began January 30, 1982.  We got 24” of snow.  I remember starting the quilt after dinner when the forecast was for light flurries.  The Blues were playing in Los Angeles that evening, so I was sewing while listening to the radio broadcast on KMOX, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis.  They kept interrupting the broadcast to announce that the forecast was changing … after several changes, it became apparent that we were in for a significant snowfall and that there would be no way that I was going to try to get out to go to church the next morning.  So I kept sewing … and stopped periodically to take a look at the snow falling. 
2. When I was a child, I wanted to be a groundskeeper at Busch Stadium when I grew up.  I thought it would be a good way to be able to watch the ball games and get paid.  Ha! 
3. I like food that most people don’t: braunschweiger, liver and onions, oysters on the half shell to name a few.  The list of foods I don’t like is a pretty short one: beets, parsnips, radishes, swordfish, tuna. 
4. I flunked chorus tryouts in junior high … you know, the ones where they feel obligated to pass you as long as you can carry a tune. I thought, for some obscure reason, that I’d have a better chance if I sang soprano.  I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t read music at all back then, so I couldn’t carry a tune and most likely wouldn’t  have passed anyway.  But I couldn’t have failed more convincingly if I had tried.
5. I am an anti-pack rat.  I save very little and have no regrets.  DH and I have moved about every 8-10 years of our marriage, and my philosophy on moving is “let’s move as little as possible”.  So when it comes time to pack, I’m ruthless in giving away/throwing away anything that doesn’t have sentimental or legal value or that I haven’t used/worn since our last move.  DH is, on the other hand, a quintessential pack rat and doesn’t allow me to pack anything for him.  ha!
6. After listening to my dad replay his round of golf, shot by shot, to my mom as I was growing up, I swore I wouldn’t marry a man who played golf.  You guessed it … DH enjoys golf.  At least he doesn’t regale me with play-by-play of his rounds. 
7. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old.  Prior to having to wear glasses, I used to dream about wearing glasses, even poking out the lenses of sunglasses so it looked like I was wearing glasses.  Needless to say, I now dream of not having to wear glasses or contact lenses. 
I’m going to be a rebel and pass on nominating any other bloggers … if anyone wishes to play along, join in!
I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!