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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Des Moines, IA 11/27/12

Cynthia headed for brother Bill’s in Louisiana for Thanksgiving, she left early Thanksgiving morning and was in New Orleans by noon. She flew from here to Atlanta and then to New Orleans, changed time zones twice that might get confusing.

We had a great Thanksgiving, thanks to Norma & Orren, they invited us to their house for dinner and their son Gentry, wife Christa and their three kids, Cali, Zane and Reece ( I hope I spelled everyone’s name right). There was more than enough to eat and of course, I ate too much, but hey, it was Thanksgiving. Norma set leftovers home with us too, I love leftovers.

There are times when Orren buys a new gadget and doesn’t hook it up for a while, well Gentry hooked up the new Blue Ray player to the internet and we watched some You Tube videos on the TV. I got to thinking; I have a Blue Ray player and an internet savvy TV so when I got home I messed with them until I was able to get internet on both.

We spent all day Friday reading and listening to music from Pandora radio on the TV. The wonders of technology.

Saturday we ventured to North Liberty and Carl & Merilee’s, we missed seeing Amy and family but did get to see Steve & Lynne and family. We also got to see Rusty; he is a surgical nurse at one of the hospitals in Omaha. He was moving on Sunday and invited me to help him but alas, I had to decline for fear of killing myself. Daniel helped him though. He got an apartment within a block of the hospital he works at so he doesn’t have to battle the traffic to and from work. We had a nice visit; I even ate a few of Merilee’s brownies and pumpkin bars, delicious.

Sarah gets tired easily so we left around four and headed home. We had planned to go to Omaha Monday to look at the model of the townhouse we made an offer on but the realtors could not get together then so we decided to go on Sunday.

We went to early church and headed west, arriving at Daniel’s about 11:40, they had just gotten back from a week with Marie’s brother in Colorado so they didn’t want to go with us to see the model.

Our appointment was for 12:30 and we were a couple of minutes late, I misjudged the time it would take to drive from Daniel’s house.

We wanted to go through the house again to make sure we didn’t want to do any upgrades to it. We also found out the developer had been out of the country and therefore did not sign our offer etc. and the price was now 5k higher on our home. We resubmitted the paperwork with only a 2k increase so we will see what happens.

I hadn’t thought about it but the storm in the northeast is causing the price of building materials to increase and in some cases skyrocket out of sight. We are adding insulation to the interior walls for noise reduction purposes and were quoted $820 but that number could go up by the time they install it. We believe that even with the higher prices it is still a buyer’s market with low real estate values and even lower interest rates.

Our visit reinforced our decision to buy now, even if we don’t spend a lot of time in it for a couple more years, I feel comfortable knowing Sarah has a place to go to if something happens to me or one of us becomes incapacitated in any way.

Tomorrow Sarah has her second chemo treatment of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, so we know she will be tired and not be able to do anything for a few days. We went to the store yesterday and bought food we know she will be able to eat, mostly bland and soft foods. Today Sarah met Bridget Pagulski, a friend of a friend Debbie Mason, who Sarah has been talking to on the phone and via email. Bridget has just finished her treatments for breast cancer and since it was the same drugs, as Sarah will have, she knows all about what to experience. They met at Panera Bread and talked for over an hour, Sarah says it was great to meet her and she learned a lot of what to do and not to do. Sarah has a difficult time saying yes to people helping her but she is beginning to get better at it. That’s what I am for, I see myself as Mr. Belvidere, the manservant, at least until Sarah has gotten through all of this, actually she’ll probably like it so much she won’t let me out of the role. Oh well, I am glad to do it.

We are going to see the new Bond movie this afternoon with Norma & Orren, the last big hurrah before the treatment.

So until later, Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Update 11/20/12

We are ten days past Sarah’s first chemo treatment and she is doing great. Granted it was the first of four treatments of Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). These are suppose to be tough on the body, which was proven by Sarah sleeping most of the time after her treatment. Another side effect is not wanting to eat, nothing tastes good, your taste buds are not working and we use plastic spoons etc. because she tastes the metal in the silverware. Twenty-four hours after the treatment she had a shot; I don’t remember the drug, to assist the body in building up the immune system. After 3-4 days, her appetite and energy began to improve and today she is feeling normal. The downside is a week from tomorrow she has another treatment of the same drugs and she will go through it all over again. She will have two more treatments of the same drugs for four treatments.

After the first of the year her treatments, as far as we know at this time, will be every week and consist of the drug Paclitaxil (docetaxel). These treatments will go for fourteen weeks followed by 5-6 weeks of radiation. So somewhere, around the third week of May, she should be done with the treatments and she will be able to get back to her “normal” life. She will have to take the drug tamoxifin for five years but that is a small price to pay for being cancer free.

As I have stated before we have bought a townhouse in Omaha and will move into it the first of June or sooner if we can, Sarah will then be able to recover from all of this. We are planning to go south for the winter of 2013 and every winter after that for as long as we can drive.

We are grateful for all the positive thoughts and prayers sent Sarah’s way, please keep them coming.

I have been keeping busy taking care of Sarah when she isn’t feeling up to par and trying to have patience. I did walk down to the library the other day to see if I could get a library card and I succeeded. I didn’t think they would give me one because of not being a permanent resident of Des Moines. We live on the 16th floor of the apartment building and have a northern view. It is a studio apartment, not much bigger than the camper is, but it is home and we are making the most of it. Here is a night time view from our balcony:


We have been out to eat a couple of times with friends here, Mike & Shari a week ago and Russ & Candi last night. Thursday we are invited over to Norma & Orren’s for Thanksgiving dinner. We have been shopping with Cynthia, if fact we went to Sears Sunday to catch a sale. It seems we both were in need of winter coats because I hear it still get cold here in the winter. We bought coats, which should last us a long time.

Tomorrow Sarah and Cynthia are going out shopping or something like that. I am going, I really don’t know what I will do, but I will find something to do.

That is about all we have been up to for now. I will let you know how Sarah does with the next treatment.

Dreams Do Come True

Friday, November 9, 2012

Des Moines, IA

Wednesday we took the camper over to Shorewood RV, Des Moines, to have it winterized. I was able to leave the truck with it because I really don’t have a place to park it yet. We are totally moved into our apartment and we took a parking spot in the apartment’s underground parking, I had hoped to park the truck there also but it may be too tight, height wise we are ok, but length will be the problem. Therefore, we may have to park it outside and run it once a week or so, as long as it will start.

Sarah had an echocardiogram on Thursday and they said her heart was in good shape. So today, she had her first chemo treatment. She was a bit nervous but she didn’t take any type of sedative, even though it was offered. The treatment took about two hours and then we came home. She is doing great, but she is tired and is currently sleeping. They said she might do a lot of that.

I can see the biggest challenge I will have is keeping her from doing all the things she has always done, I am sure there will be days she will be too tired but other days I will have to help her keep from over extended herself. It is time for her to let me and others help her, at least for the next six months or so.

We received our mail from SD today and she had some cards in it, she did enjoy them, Thank you.

Dreams to Come True

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Des Moines, IA

What a week we had last week. We took another load of boxes out to the condo and decided to call the complex manager to get the key to the mailbox. First, we tried to find his office but that didn’t happen so I called him and explained what I wanted, he listened and said he needed to call the condo owner. I didn’t like the sound of that but there was nothing I could do so I said ok. A couple hours later the owner called me and said he couldn’t lease the condo to me, the association had a limit of how many condo’s could be leased at one time and they were at that limit. This isn’t what I wanted to hear, so now into panic mode, we have to be out of the camper by Wednesday the 7th because it is going to an RV dealer to get the washer repaired and winterized for storage.

So, here are Thursday, November 1st, and no place to live and tomorrow Sarah is having a port put in for the chemo treatments, we have to be at the hospital at 5 am. I get on the computer and begin searching, I call a few places but the problem is twofold, most complexes won’t lease for less than 6 months and I would have to rent or buy furniture. I would buy furniture but then I would have to rent a truck to take it to Omaha to put in the townhouse. It does get a bit frustrating.

Friday we are at the hospital bright and early. Sarah’s surgery doesn’t take place until seven but you have to be there early for all of the preliminary preps etc. When she goes into surgery I head for the cafeteria, Cynthia calls and we meet up and go get breakfast. Hospital cafeterias must be the same all over, they aren’t expensive and the food is good but it isn’t somewhere you would go eat if you had another choice.

Sarah’s surgery went off without a hitch and we were able to leave about ten. I took Sarah home and she slept most of the day, which was good because I was on the phone looking for a place to live. We met some folks from Des Moines last year while working in Mesa. Bob & Judy Van Cleave, they have a home here and in a prior conversation offered to rent us their house, so I called them and set up a time on Sunday to meet their daughter at the house and take a look. Their house is on the east side of Des Moines and would be inconvenient for Sarah and Cynthia to get together, but I would deal with it. However, I still had hopes of finding something closer to the hospital and Cynthia’s.

Our friends Orren & Norma sent me an email with the phone number of an apartment building downtown Des Moines that had a couple of furnished apartments and would lease for three months or longer. I called them and visited with Connie about what they had etc. Sarah and I decided we would go look at it tomorrow.

Saturday morning I called the apartment complex and said we would like to look at what was available. We toured the apartments available, a studio and a one bedroom. The studio is a bit bigger than the camper but is just one big room, with a queen bed and to chairs, a cabinet with a TV in it and drawers on the bottom, a table and two chairs and a full kitchen, fully stocked with pots, pans and dishes, a bathroom and lots of closet space. The one bedroom was very cramped and even though it had a couch, it was too small. We opted for the studio, all utilities, cable TV and internet, we don’t have that much to put in there but we should fit. The building has a community room with library and computers and a big screen TV, there is also a nice exercise room, so we said we wanted it. Not so fast cowboy, first we have to fill out an application, $35 each, and then we have to see if we are approved. So we did all of that and left. About four in the afternoon, we receive a call saying everything looks good but they are waiting for a criminal background check on us from South Dakota.

It is now Monday, November 5th and the only person I have heard from today is Pat Boone, the singer, and I thought he was dead, to tell us we should vote for Mitt Romney. I did call the manager this morning and she said she had no news but to call this afternoon about one thirty. So we are back in the waiting mode again.

Today is election day, Hooray no more political commercials. We also heard from the apartment complex saying we are approved for the apartment. We spent the afternoon moving our things from the condo to the apartment, then it was out to the camper to get the food out of the fridge and some our clothes. I also dumped the tanks of all water etc. in preparation of taking the camper to the RV dealer to winterize it before storage.

Thursday Sarah has an echogram on her heart and Friday afternoon she has her first chemo treatment. Hopefully it won’t make her to sick.

Even though many won’t agree, Dreams Do Come True.