Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Today we are suppose to go see Emily, Isabel and Eli in a program at their church and then they were coming over to our house for dinner and open their presents. Well, that isn't going to happen, Sarah may still to to the program, I won't, and the kids won't be coming over here. Sarah will most likely go to their house, she has the fixing's for oyster soup and Daniel requested it and I don't want to waste the oysters.
Tomorrow I'll see how I feel as to whether I go to church and to the kids house. What a bummer.
A bigger bummer is we are suppose to go to WI, Friday, to see Mason and Madyson, I hope I feel good enough to go. Also, Jan 2 is our planned date to head for AZ via Kansas City.
As I said the best laid plans etc., I am glad we are flexible in our scheduling.
Sarah and I want to wish each and everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I am way behind on my blog however with minor changes it is the same each month, chemo, feeling lousy and then feeling good for a while then chemo again. I have had five sessions with one more to go, then some tests to determine the status of the cancer and what treatments etc. lie ahead. I have been fortunate to be able to tolerate the drugs, except for the minor side effects I have already related, the only lingering side effect is the neuropathy in my left fingers and it doesn’t seem to be as bad this time as after previous treatments. Enough of this now for what else we have been doing.
We bought a couple of chairs in August, one for the living room and one for the bedroom, well one of them had a small cut in the leather so Nebraska Furniture Mart said they would replace it, but it wouldn’t be until October. So here it is October and we hadn’t heard from NFM so I called them. “Oh we have one in stock, we’ll deliver it Oct 25”. We found that out only after we called them, so I don’t know if they were going to call us or they forgot, anyway we will get the chair this Saturday.
Eli, Daniel’s son, had a 4th birthday party, Sept 21, I didn’t go but I heard it was a great time.
I did go to the house later in the week so I could see, play, with the toys Eli received.
Oct 25 Rick & Jana Nunemaker, they are full time RVers who stopped in town to say hi. We called Cindi & John Cline to have dinner together at Ragazzies, http://www.ragazzi-pizza.com/, good pizza. We had a great time.
October 1, we went to my uncle and aunt’s house, Ernie & Shirley Ertz, I wanted to go to Offutt AFB to get our military IDs but first we went to Stella’s for lunch, http://www.stellasbarandgrill.com/. Now I believe I have said this before but they have the best burger in town and the biggest, the Stellanator, http://www.stellasbarandgrill.com/stellanator/. Let me know if anyone wants to try to eat this thing, I’ll pay for it just to watch.
Thursday, Oct 2, I got some good news. It seems when the doctors did a CT scan on me they noticed something in the bladder and they didn’t like it so they did a cystoscopy on me. They insert a camera, they say it is smaller than a catheter but you would never know it, anyway bottom line is the urologist said he didn’t see anything in there, I was watching and I concurred with his not seeing anything to be concerned about. Of course there could have been anything in the bladder and I wouldn’t have known if it should be there or not. I am just thankful all is well in there.
Oct 9 Sarah and I went to Des Moines for a few days. We stayed at Cynthia’s, thank you for the hospitality. We left Omaha after Sarah’s dental appointment, she was scheduled to have her six month checkups for her cancer on Oct 13, so we decided to go a few days early and visit as many of our friends as possible. We weren’t able to see Norma & Orren Cairo, they had some nasty colds from the sound of them on the phone, we will try again later. I do try to stay away from anyone who is sick just as a precaution on my part. However, we did get to visit with John & Cathy Evans, Dick & Judi Wichael, fulltime RVers we met at Griff’s RV Park in Altoona, we met them for dinner at Smoky Ds BBQ, then went to John & Cathy’s house in Altoona. They have a very nice place, it is the open concept like ours with an attached garage, Sarah and I liked it a lot.
Friday, Oct 10, we met three young ladies I worked with at Marsh, Laurie Robinette, Marci Mallot and Marie Herring, met them at the Chicken Coop. We had a great visit with them. Marie, I don’t know how we missed having you in the past, it was great seeing you and I hope you can join us next time. In the evening we met Mike & Sheri Cord for dinner at a pizza place and I don’t remember the name of it but the pizza was very good. We always have a great visit with them.
Saturday, we met daughter Tiffany, Matt, Bryan and Alexa at the Olive Garden in Ankeny for lunch. We don’t get to see them as often as we would like but we always enjoy our visits. (Sidebar. Isn’t that the way it is with a lot of parents. The kids grow up, get married, have families and move away or the parents move and you don’t get to see them enough. All three of ours have developed lives outside of our circle and they should, they have to establish their own circle of friends. I am proud of all three kids in being able to establish and thrive in their current situations.) Anyway, Alexa likes to read and I was asking her about the books she reads, she even spent her own money to buy some books at the school book fair, I hope she continues to read a lot. All the grandkids like to read, so maybe they will take after me and become bookworms, I will buy them books whenever they want them.
Saturday night we met Russ & Candi Cerniglia for dinner at Smokey D’s. It was good to see them again, although we had seen Russ when he was passing through from Lincoln. Russ owns Russ and Frank’s BBQ sauce, it is very good sauce, http://www.russandfranks.com/, try it you will like it.
Sunday we hung out with Cynthia. I was able to get Cynthia to buy a new TV, her TV was 15 years old and the picture was so dark you couldn’t see much of the show you were watching. Anyway now she has a smart TV and it is hooked to the internet etc. so she is now enjoying some of the shows she has missed.
Monday, Oct 13, Sarah saw her surgeon and oncologist and received great reports from both of the, the cancer has not returned, she is good for another six months. We will now look for doctors here in Omaha so she doesn’t have to travel to Des Moines for her checkups. It was great news and the thank the Good Lord for that.
Then it was back to Omaha for another round of chemo.
After finishing my chemo on Friday we headed for Wisconsin and Mason’s birthday party the next day. I will tell you right now I know the inside of every rest stop on interstate 80 in Iowa. My chemo consists of 250cc of Saline and 250cc of the chemo drug, now that may not sound like a lot but let me tell you, you best not pass up the rest stops. Anyway we made it to Beloit, WI by six pm and checked into the Hampton Inn. We use to stay at the Holiday Inn Express, I do like their breakfast, but it has not been renovated in the ten years we have been going to Beloit and the Hampton is new and the same price so a no brainer as to where to stay.
We had cake and ice cream for Mason’s birthday at the house and then he had his friends to a bowling alley for a party. I guess they had a great time and from the pictures I would say they did. I didn’t go I guess the drive over was catching up on me and I was pretty sure it would be very noisy.
Sarah Ann’s parents, Dick & Terry Schneider stayed at the Hampton also, we had a great time with everyone. I plan on getting to Wisconsin more next year to see Mason play baseball. We are going to visit in December and I hope to see him play basketball. It is great to see how he is developing into a great young man. He was showing us some of the exercises he does to strengthen his legs for baseball, he is a catcher, and I am telling you there is no way I could do what he does. I don’t believe I could have done them when I was his age.
So here we are back in Omaha and enjoying the wonderful weather we are having. I need some long sleeve shirts and Kohl’s has a senior discount on Wednesdays so we are going there to see what we can find.
On a sad note, we lost a classmate of mine recently, Mark Steingreber. I have known Mark most of my life. Mark was a great guy, friend, husband, dad and all around individual. We had lunch together at the classmate luncheon the last time we were in Burlington and Mark and I sat next to each other. We talked about a lot of things but the one thing I will always remember is talking to him about books. Mark was never a “reader”, he read mostly car magazines but his wife finally got him reading books. So I was telling him some of the books I have read and he wrote one down and I was going a mile a minute giving him more titles and he said, “Wait a minute let me read this one first”, I guess I was giving him too much information, I said call when you get this one read, I won’t be getting that call. God Bless you Mark and may He greet you with a BIG hug from all of us here.
That is all for now, until later.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Four down and two to go, I am going to get the full six chemo treatments. The scans they took last week. We got good and bad news, then some not so bad news. The scan showed the lymph nodes have shrunk by half, good news, bad news is something showed up in the bladder that they didn’t like, not so bad news is a urinalysis showed no caner in the urine, so now they will go into the bladder via the catheter route and see what they can see. They think it might be from the prostate cancer so we will wait to see what they will find.
Last post I said I hadn’t found any pros on the hot flashes, will I have found one and that is I DIDN’T GET THEM BEFORE NOW. I am sure they will back in full force after Sept 30 when I get my next hormone shot. Oh well small price to pay.
Sarah and I have done some landscaping around the house and before anyone asks no we nor I did any of it, we hired it out. We think she did a great job, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pretty-N-Pink-Jeannes-Landscape-Design/464053257018525. Here are a couple pictures.
We have received quite a few compliments from the other home owners.
Went to WI via Mt Pleasant, IA and Burlington, IA, saw a lot of friends and had a good time. We got to see Mason play baseball, his team is made up of nine year olds and they played a team of twelve year olds and almost beat them. It was fun to watch.
We left on the tenth and got home on the fifteenth I was a tired puppy but loved the whole trip.
Not much else going on here at the moment, trying to walk as much as possible but I am still gaining weight, I guess it is due to the steroids I am getting. I suppose I could play major league baseball as long as they don’t test me for drugs.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
It has been a while since I last posted so here goes with an update.
I have been feeling good, as I have said before I have a couple of days after a treatment where I feel lousy and very tired, other than that I feel good.
We bought two more chairs and a mirror, the chairs are for the living room and bedroom and the mirror is hanging on the wall of the dining area. I believe we have the house the way Sarah wants it. I like it too.
Haven’t really done anything outstanding the past few weeks, trying to get some walking done each day, if it isn’t to hot, and doing some reading. Russ Cerniglia stopped by a couple Sundays ago, he was in Lincoln promoting his BBQ sauce, it is good sauce, http://www.russandfranks.com/. Try some, I believe you will like it.
Today I had to go to the VA for a kidney/bladder scan and a CT scan. Before all of this I had to have blood drawn and for this I go to the Infusion clinic where I get chemo and (I don’t know what it is called but it goes in my port and they can draw blood from it or put fluids into me through it) but they put in this tube so they could draw blood and then when I went to X-ray for my CT scan they used it to put some sort of dye in me.
The kidney/bladder scan was first scheduled for nine but we got there about eight thirty so we were able to get in early. The tech asked me if I had drank three glasses of water an hour before, I said no and she seemed concerned but I told her if I had drank that much water I would never had made it without going to the bathroom, in fact, I said I needed to go to the bathroom at that time. She did the scan and didn’t seem to think it wasn’t a good scan. We’ll see next week when I have my urology appointment.
Then the CT person came out and gave me a twenty ounce cup of something, lemonade flavor, to enhance the CT scan. I drank it fairly fast so I got in early and before they could start I had to drink another cup, same size as before, then they could get started. As if I hadn’t had enough liquid they hook me up to a bag of saline,using my port, and then they inject some dye to enhance the pictures. I haven’t yet stopped going to the bathroom and it is four hours later. When the CT was done the tech told me to be sure and drink plenty of water. It seems I will get water logged in no time at all.
Next week I will have my fourth treatment but more important is on Tuesday I meet with the oncologist and hopefully he will tell me the chemo is working and the cancer is being eradicated.
In the mean time we are taking a short, quick trip to Burlington with a stop in Mt Pleasant to visit Dave & Shari Frantz and Moe. Then onto Burlington to visit my aunts, Marcella and Millie, then have dinner with Mark & Sharon Brueck. We are spending Weds & Thurs nights with my brother Larry and wife Kathy. Thursday we will visit cemeteries and then go to Ft Madison to see if we can find brother Jerry, hope to see him. Friday we are meeting a group of HS classmates for lunch and then onto Beloit, WI to visit Robert & Sarah, Mason and Madyson. Mason has a baseball game Sunday and then we head home on Monday. We are really looking forward to seeing the kids. We won’t be stopping in Des Moines on the way home but have planned a trip for some visits there in October.
Everyone tells me not to over do it, I don’t believe we will but the only thing you can do is listen to your body and if my body says to much then I rest but I believe I will be fine.
Some day I have to write about Hot Flashes, the pros and cons of them. Oh, wait a minute there aren’t any pros for them.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I went to see the oncologist yesterday, had my blood work done prior to my visit, and I learned a couple things and verified others. Long story short I will most likely have a total of six chemo treatments spaced three or four weeks apart. The spacing between treatments gives my body a chance to get my blood levels back to normal. So I started my third treatment today, so far so good, it was the double chemical, etoposide and carboplatin, the next two days I get the etoposide only, I believe.
I asked about the number of treatments and he explained it this way. The first treatment you have x number of cancer cells in your body and the first treatment kills a percentage of these cells, and each successive treatment kills a lessor percentage of cancer cells so by the six treatment the percentage of cells killed is at a level where another treatment would cause more harm to the body compared to the percentage of cells killed. So they stop the treatment and basically consider the cancer in remission until scheduling testing indicates the cancer growing, then treatments begin again. So that is our plan and hopefully and with the Good Lord’s help I will get to this point.
I am tired today but I attribute that to the fact I didn’t get to bed until almost midnight and up at six this morning, so it is early to bed tonight.
Sarah is going to stay at Daniel & Marie’s tonight, Thursday and Friday nights, while they are gone on a short trip for their anniversary. So I get the whole bed to myself.
If you are in our area call and come visit, I will tell you if I don’t feel up to visitors, there are only a couple days out of the treatment cycles where I don’t feel like getting together with anyone.
So bottom line is I feel better most days than I have for over a year, the doctor seems to think I am doing good enough to say I can travel any day I want within how I feel. So we are planning a couple of trips.
Thank you for all you prayers and thoughts they really do help.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
We aren’t doing much, I haven’t felt like it for the last couple weeks. Cynthia has been over to visit, she went to Sarah and her great niece’s wedding in Houston Aug 2, I wanted to ago but there is no way we could so we didn’t. This week we have long time friends Orren & Norma visiting for a couple days, it is great to see them. We went out to eat last night and showed them a bit of the area where we live and then spent a nice evening at home.
Robert, Sarah, Mason and Madyson stopped on their way to Denver a week ago Monday. They stayed the night, we went to Daniel & Marie's for pizza and a nice visit. The kids stayed in a motel because I was just done with a chemo treatment. The kids liked the motel because there was a pool. It was great to see them, we haven't seen them since April and aren't sure when we will get up to WI next, depends on the doctor visit next week. Mason and Madyson told us all about their activities, Mason in baseball and Madyson in dance and gymnastics. What a busy family, I get tired just thinking about all they do. This past Monday they stopped for a short time on their way home. They left Denver at 0530 and arrived home at 10:35 pm, 17 hrs on the road, it is good they are young. I remember doing something like that when I was younger but I don't believe I would even attempt it today.
Today the person who handles the warranty work for our builder is coming over to fix some of the things the workers didn’t do correctly or forgot to do, it isn’t much mostly small things but I figured as long as it is covered under the warranty I want to get it done.
We are going to Daniel’s tonight, Emily’s birthday, 8 years old today, so we are going over for a family thing tonight and Saturday she will have a party for her friends.
We are busy but we aren’t, I still read a lot and spend too much time on the computer playing stupid games but I enjoy it. I am reading a series of books by WEB Griffin, I like his writing. Although as I have found a lot of the writers I like aren’t writing the books with their name on them, they have other writers do the writing and they put their names on the books. Is that ethical? I guess as long as you declare it on the cover it doesn’t make any difference.
Well that’s it for now.
Friday, July 25, 2014
My blood work, taken prior to the treatment, wasn’t at the numbers the oncologist wanted but he okayed the treatment anyway. My red and white counts were below normal but I guess he thought it was still a good option to proceed. My task now is to stay away from crowds and don’t get into situations where there could be sick people, so we have canceled all travel plans until I see the doctor Aug 19th. Since the Chemo destroys the immune system I am not going to take any chances.
Not much else going on, I force myself to walk each day, I am up to a mile a day at this point. I know in a few days it will be difficult to get out and walk but I am going to do my best.
I have always had empathy for those who were going through cancer treatments but you can never understand the emotions and effect of the treatments until you experience it yourself and I wish that experience on no one. So I speak from experience to all men make sure you have a PSA done each year and after age 45 get a digital rectal exam. For those of you who didn’t go into the military, this is where the doctor says, “turn around, drop your drawers and bend over”. Both need to be done at the same time. I had the PSA done at each annual physical but not the DRE. Also make sure you research the symptoms for an enlarged prostate and get medical care if you get these symptoms see your doctor immediately.
Enough preaching but I believe it is very important. In my case I waited to long, in my opinion, to seek medical help and I am dealing with advanced aggressive prostate cancer. The doctors say I will have it the rest of my life, hopefully it can be stopped from spreading and then held in check. As the saying goes, all men if they live long enough will get prostate cancer, some of us get it sooner than others.
Life long friend Mark and wife Sharon stopped to see us last Saturday. Mark and I lived next door to each other for the first eighteen years of our lives. It was good to see them, we had a great time visiting and eating way to much food.
Daniel, Marie and the kids came over last Sunday, Sarah fixed lunch and Daniel did some things for that I couldn’t get done. It is always fun to see the kids, I wish I had their energy.
Robert, Sarah and kids are due to visit Aug 4 on their way to Denver, Sarah’s sister Catherine lives there. One of my regrets this summer is not having able to see Mason and Madyson play ball this summer. Hopefully next summer we will be able to get to see them play.
I guess that is it for now so until later.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I have some folks asking me what stage of cancer I have, I have stage four prostate cancer. I asked the doctor how they know the stage and he said because it has spread to the lymph nodes it is stage four. Ok, I know what I have to do and that is whatever the doctors tell me to do.
I have not had to bad of a time with the chemo, I had it two weeks ago, I did not get sick, they gave me medicine for that, and the only side effects was being tired and constipated, which I believe is just part of getting old also. I did have a pain in my side which we believe may be a lymph node or muscle strain. The other side effect which is of more concern is the neuropathy in my hands and left arm. Sarah had this when she had her chemo, she also had very sensitive finger tips, I don’t have that as of yet. Then there is the metallic taste I have in my mouth and some foods don’t really taste and smell all that good, but I eat what does taste and smell good and that keeps me going. All in all the first round of chemo wasn’t too bad, I start a second round next Tuesday for three days and we’ll see how that one will affect me.
The last couple days have been good, so Sarah and I went shopping. Tuesday we went to find comforters for the beds, found some on sale at Younkers. Of course when we got home one did not look right on the bed so we took it back yesterday and found the right one. The all looked good to me but Sarah didn’t like the one but now likes the one she exchanged it for.
I found a rv dealer who will sell the camper on consignment, I know I will take a beating on this but I don’t want the camper sitting around, someone should be enjoying it. I just have to get it to the dealer which I should be able to do tomorrow or the next day. The truck I will sell on my own after the trailer has been sold.
We have had a few visitors over the last couple weeks, Carl & Merilee surprised us one Sunday night by stopping on their way to Iowa City, they spent the night and headed out the next day. Merilee spent last night with us on her way to Mitchell, SD, her and Carl bought a house there to be close to Amy and the grandkids.
Mark and Sharon are due here from Rapid City, SD on their way home to Burlington. They will spend two nights with us, we are looking forward to seeing them.
Larry & Kathy were here a few weeks ago, she helped put the shade in the half moon window we have in the living room, it sure helped with keeping the light out at night.
It is always good to have company so if anyone is in the area call, we would love to see you. Please don’t take offense if I tell you I am not up to seeing anyone at that time because there are days when I don’t want any one around, most days are ok but there are a few when I don’t want company.
Nothing more has been going on, that I can think of right now so I’ll end this and post another entry after this next round of chemo.
Time for an update. I had the bone scan and other than two abnormalities on one rib on the right and the left, the bones were clear. The doctor doesn’t think it is anything because neither showed up on the CT scan, so we’ll see if the next CT scan shows anything.
I finished my three day chemo yesterday. For those of you who like to know the details, I received a shot on Monday, Leuprolide (Eligard), I get this every 90 days for the rest of my life. On Tuesday began my chemo treatments, I was given two drugs, Eoposide 240mg IV and Carboplatin 550mg IV, and for nausea they gave me Zofran (ondansetron) and Dexamethasone, good drugs because I didn’t get sick. I also had a bag of normal saline going in at the same time as the drugs. That is a lot of fluids which necessitated a couple trips to you know where. On Wednesday and Thursday I received the same treatment as Tuesday minus the Carboplatin.
I felt pretty good after each treatment but today I am feeling a bit out of it, just feel a little off kilter. Sarah keeps telling me that will happen, they also warned me that beginning about next Tuesday I will begin feeling tired and will become more susceptible to disease because my immune system will be gone due to the chemo treatment. Then the white blood cells will begin to regenerate and by the time the next round of chemo begins on the 22nd.
With all the negative press about the VA I must say I am very happy with my treatment here at the Omaha VA. The people are very helpful and friendly and I can’t say enough about the nurses in the chemo area, they are fabulous. I get my chemo at eight in the morning and my breakfast is waiting for me when I arrive, and on Tuesday I even got lunch. Like I said they have become very patient oriented. Now I was told that it hasn’t always been this way at Omaha, a few years ago someone took the bull by the horns and turned the facility into what it is today, not to say they are perfect but they have to be one of the best in the country.
As I have said before I don’t believe I could be in a better place to receive the treatments I am getting and I am very thankful for that.
Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes. You never understand what that all means to someone until you are on the receiving end of them.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Things are finally happening. I had a call from urology, Monday, with the results of the biopsy and I have prostate cancer which has, they believe, spread to the lymph nodes. The good news is things are beginning to happen to get started on treatment.
Yesterday I had a Power Port put into my chest. I was awake for the whole thing but didn’t really feel anything, it was like I knew what was going on but I didn’t care. Anyway the doctor did a great job and I haven’t had any problem with it yet just a bit of soreness.
I have started taking a drug called Bicalutamide a hormone, probably feminine, that is supposed to stop the prostate from producing testosterone which in turns lets the prostate send out the cancer cells. At least that is what I understand, all I know is it is supposed to suppress the cancer in the prostate and then next week we will begin chemo to take care of the lymph nodes. I will also begin getting a shot in the stomach every three months, this begins on Monday, and it does the same thing as the pill but with a slower release.
Plus the urology dept. has set me up for a bone scan and something else in Nuclear Medicine. I am glad we are finally getting to try and slow and stop this thing.
I feel good today, I have no pain from the surgery and by next week I should be in good shape. Of course then chemo begins you have a couple days of feeling bad, at least that is what I remember of Sarah’s chemo treatments and I suppose different drugs have some different side effects. I am ready for it and will be as upbeat and active as I can.
It is interesting I have gone from taking one pill per day to several pills per day, I guess that is what growing old is all about. Although I know people older than me who take nothing. However, I know there are people worse off than I and I pray they will be taken cared for properly.
Until later, have a great day.