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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Update 12/17/2016

I am dictating this blog so please forgive any errors the time this
We went to Ames Iowa two visit with Tiffany and your family, Matt, Alexa and Bryon.  We stayed at the Hampton inn in Ames and the kids came to the hotel and we had Christmas with them there.  As always, I asked Alexa where she would like to go eat for dinner.  Her choice was Applebee’s, which is always a good choice.  We had a great meal and a fun time visiting with Tiffany and family.

The next day, Sunday, we went to church at 8:30 AM and was on the road to Beloit Wisconsin by 930.  The weather forecast for the day was some snow and maybe sleet.  As we left aims it was snowing but not that bad until we get to Iowa City and the snow became heavier and more abundant.  From Iowa City to Beloit the roads were slushy but very passable.  We arrived in Beloit at approximately 3:30 PM, which was about an hour later than I thought we would get there.

In Beloit, we stayed at the Hampton inn, my favorite place to stay there.  We went over to Robert and Sarah’s.  Madyson was a girl scouts but Mason was home and we visit with everyone until Madyson got home.  When Madyson got home we opened presents, the kids received a book of Guinness World Records for 2017, they had told their parents they wanted this book, but it was what they wanted.  They each received another gift are two and as in years past we gave the parents some money.  

We went to Beloit for two reasons, to have Christmas with the kids and to attend Mason’s band concert.  Since the band concert wasn’t until Tuesday night we filled the day is doing various things.

On Monday, we had lunch with Robert and a restaurant called Hhffrrrggh Inn, don’t ask me where they came up with that name I’m not even sure how to pronounce it.  We had a great visit with Robert and the food was delicious.  We gone to eat Sunday night at a restaurant called lucky Lucy seven, or some like sent.  Next door was a sushi restaurant that Roberts said was very good, Sarah said it was good when she didn’t eat raw fish.  So, on Tuesday we decided to give it a try.  It was very good, I really enjoyed it, and Sarah even bought some of their Tea.

Tuesday night was the band concert, Mason plays the saxophone.  The auditorium in the middle school is very nice.  We sat stage left and was able to see Mason as the played his instrument.  I always sit at the end of a row, or if it’s church in the back pew, because since I’m an old man I sometimes, most likely often, have to get up and go to the restroom.  The concert consisted of the sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade bands and each band performed 2 to 4 songs.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of them.

As we entered the auditorium though the band boosters were having a bake sale.  Now I cannot pass up any type bake sale, I always purchase something.  And this time was no exception, I bought some chocolate chip cookies, actually it was a donation you still paid for the cookies.  After the concert, we went to Culver’s for ice cream.  Since we were leaving the next morning and the kids had school we said our goodbyes at this time.

The trip home was a lot better in that there was no show on the roads and we made good time getting back to Omaha.

On December 8 I had an appointment with the orthopedic oncologist.  He took new x-rays and the x-ray showed the bone fracture healing on its own.  In fact, the new bone growth was more than double from the previous x-ray.  The Dr. said we would continue with the same treatment, that being I wear a sling and that I get another x-ray in the middle of January.  I was very happy with the results of the visit because as of now I do not need surgery.

I will attempt to get this new x-ray done at the veteran’s hospital in Phoenix Arizona.

Our plan is to leave for Phoenix on or about December 28.  We have a park model rented at good life RV resort and in Mesa, we have rented it was Sarah’s sister Cynthia.  We hope to arrive in Mesa on or about January 1.

On December 11 we headed for Burlington to visit my brother Larry and his wife Kathy. The have a very nice home located in the Village Coop of Burlington. They have a third floor corner or end unit, I love it because it has a great view. Sarah and Kathy went to concerts of Jill's kids, Matthew and Emily. Jill is Larry & Kathy's daughter. Tuesday Sarah and I visited with my aunt's, mom's side of the family, they live in a townhouse, very nice. We had a great visit.

Later that day we went to Caleb's basketball game. Caleb is a great nephew, the son of Brad and Jenny, Larry & Kathy's oldest. Caleb plays for the West Burlington Falcons, they were playing against my alma mater Notre Dame, but family won out and I rooted for the Falcons. It was a good game with the Falcons winning. We came home on Wednesday.

That about does it for now, and for those folks who are in the south the current temperature here is 7°.

Until later stay warm, drive safe.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Othopedic Consultation

OK we’re going to try this again; I will try dictating my blog.

For the past couple of months, I have had a pain in my right arm which I attributed to the radiation by hand for the bone cancer in the arm.  Two weeks ago, I went and saw my oncologist because of the pain, he took in x-ray been discovered I had fractured my humerus.  They gave me a sling to use until I could see an orthopedic oncologist.  Now I didn’t even know there was such a person as Orthopedic oncologist.  My oncologist put in a request for a consultation with the Orthopedic oncologist, who is located at the University of Nebraska medical center.

So, the request for the consultation was submitted on a Tuesday November 1.  On about the 7th of November I received a call from an individual at the VA telling me that I was going to be turned over to the choice care plan people and they would be handling my orthopedic oncologist appointment.  

On the 8th of November five received a call from an individual with the choice care plan, they asked me a bunch of questions and said that they would get a hold of the orthopedic oncologist, Dr. McGarry, since the request for the consultation was marked urgent the orthopedic oncologist would have to see me within two days of the request.  The following day I received another call from the choice care plan people, a different person from the one I talked to before.  This individual said approximately the same thing as the first individual, but this person asked me if I would be willing to have an appointment with someone other than Dr. McGarry.  I said that would be OK with me.

I didn’t hear from anyone for a day or two so on the 10th of November I called Dr. McGarry’s office myself and was able to talk to his nurse.  She indicated the Dr. McGarry could see me on November 14 so I took the appointment.  Now on the 11th of November the person from the VA who I initially talked to call me back.  He told me that I was being taken away from the choice care plan people and would be handled by the provider of agreement people.  So, on November 14 we were on our way to my orthopedic oncologist appointment and I received a call from a Dr. Coffee’s office stating that I had an appointment with him on November 16. Needless to say, I kept the appointment with Dr. McGarry and canceled the appointment with Dr. Coffee.

The x-ray that was taken on the 1st of November showed a fracture of the right humerus, but the good news is it also showed the bone healing itself.  Dr. McGarry said that everything looked good as of that x-ray and because I told him I wanted to go south January 1 he scheduled another appointment for December 8 at which time another x-ray will be taken to determine if the healing process is proceeding the way he wants and if it isn’t then we will talk about surgery.  So, in the meantime I am using a regular sling, the doctor’s office called the VA to get me a different type of sling.  Bottom line is I feel good, my arm hurts if I use it for almost anything, but the good news is that it is healing itself.

In the meantime, I’m sitting here at home and I received a message on my phone from my youngest sister, Tara, stating that she wants to go somewhere and would like the rest of us siblings to bill also.  I figured because she just retired a weaker so ago she is getting cabin fever already and needed to get out of the house.  So, we are all going on a cruise to the Caribbean next march.  I spent the last couple of days getting our reservation in for the cruise, researching and finding the least expensive plane tickets out of Omaha and booking a hotel reservation for the day before the cruise.  The cruise departs from San Juan Puerto Rico and returns to send one five days later.  Now I have never been to the Caribbean so there should be a very interesting trip, and it is one that I’m looking forward to going on.

So, you might ask what am I going to be doing and for the next 120 days.  Well here it is, next week we are going too Dallas Texas for thanksgiving, Sarah’s and niece Theresa and husband Ben are graciously hosting the family for thanksgiving dinner.  Carl and Marilee are coming down to our place with their motor home and we’re all going to Texas together.  Cynthia is writing was Sarah and I and we will be returning to Omaha on November 27.  Carl and Merilee will be leaving from Dallas and going to Arizona for the winter.  Our plan is to go to Beloit Wisconsin the first week and of December to have Christmas with the kids up there.  Than either on the way up or the way back from the Beloit Wisconsin we will stop and see Tiffany and family in Boone Iowa.

On December 8, I see Dr. McGarry and a decision will be made at that time as to whether I need to have surgery.  If I must have surgery hopefully it can be completed in time for me to go to Arizona January 1.  Our plan is to spend January and February at Good Life RV resort in Mesa Arizona.
We will leave Mesa on March 1 and proceed to visit John and Cindi, who will be camped south of Benson, AZ.  From Benson, I want to go to Roswell New Mexico so I can see where the aliens landed and check out all the information I can find on area 51.  That probably will take too long to do all that that I’ve never been there and I would like to see the place.  I also hope to go to Abilene TX to visit Dyess AFB where I was stationed for two years in the Air Force, I probably will recognize anything about the base but I was still like to visit it.  We would also like to go see Dave and Shari who will be camping in the hill country itself or west of Austin, TX.  From there it’s back to Omaha and filing are income tax and getting ready to go on our cruise.

So, as you can see I haven’t been up to much but I’m always tired, I guess that might be a sign of getting old because some days when I’m tired I fall asleep in my chair.

There isn’t much more to tell so I will sign off for now and update this 000Blog after my Dr. Appointment on the eighth of December.

I hope everyone has a very happy, safe, enjoyable thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Update 11/1/2016

I am going to try dictating as a message and about my experience today.  We will see how it goes.

I want to let you know all about my visit with my oncologist Dr. Ganti.  And I have been having pain in my right arm and I thought I would see if we could get an x-ray done today.  I was told to go to the VA this afternoon for an x-ray.  After the x-ray, I met with the Dr. He said, I fractured the humerus and in my right arm.  He believes this was the result of the radiation treatment that I received this summer.  The Dr. is setting up an Orthopedic consultation for next week.  We will see what they have to say about a treatment.  In the meantime, I am using an arm sling to immobilize the arm as much as possible
We did get to go to Wisconsin to see Mason and Madyson play ball.  Mason had a football game on Saturday the 22nd.  It was the championship game for their league.  Mason’s team and all the team members received a trophy.  Madyson had a baseball game on Sunday. They have a double header they won both games. Mason had a single ballgame on Sunday but they unfortunately lost by one run.

On Sunday Mason had an accident with a hedge trimmer. He accidentally cut his middle finger and broke the end of the bone.  It took 14 stitches to close up the wound, he will have to see an orthopedic surgeon to determine if he will be surgery to repair the bone.  Hopefully he will not need the surgery.
We are still planning on doing some traveling over the next few weeks.  This Friday we are going to Kansas City and hope to see my newest great-great nephew and his brother and sister.  Then we are having dinner with Steve and Lynne and possibly with Zach and Olivia.  (Cynthia is going with for us also.)

We have reservations, Jan-Feb, for a park model in Mesa Arizona at Good Life RV resort.  We are also planning on traveling in Texas in the month of March.  We plan on being home by the last week of March.

Well this dictating thing didn’t go to badly. I am not the greatest grammatically enhanced person, please overlook although grammatical errors.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Long Update 09/23/2016

It has been quite some time since I wrote a blog, to be honest I just haven’t taken the time and I didn’t feel like there was much to say, but today I will remedy that.
I believe the last time I wrote anything was the last of July. So here goes.

Sarah and I had lunch with John and Cindi, we worked with these folks our first year in Mesa. It is always great seeing them, Cindi is great and John is ornery. We always have a good time with them.

Sarah’s brother Bill and his wife Mable came to visit for a couple of days. They flew into Omaha on their way to the Cain reunion in Mitchell, SD. Amy, Sarah’s niece, put together the reunion, not many came but a great time was had by all. Cynthia drove Bill and Mable to the reunion and then to a couple of Mable’s family members. They all returned to Omaha and Bill and Mable flew home from here. It was great visiting with them. Bill, also, introduced me to a new wine I had never heard of, I believe it was called Reid, it is a Merlot and very good.

August fifth Sarah and I headed to Beloit, WI to visit Robert, Sarah, Mason and Madyson. Mason had baseball games on Saturday and Sunday, I wanted to see them all. There were four games, two each day, and they were all good games. Mason’s team came in third out of six teams and the teams they played were the twelve-year-old group, Mason is on the eleven-year-old team. It was a great weekend.

August 9 we started with a Cancer Support Group at the VA. There are only five of us in the group, two of us have our spouses with us. It is interesting from the stand point that I haven’t heard some of the things they are talking about and other topics I am familiar with but this reinforces the ideas with me. We went around the room and told our story. In my narrative I said that in Vietnam I drove an ambulance, we would take the wounded off of a plane and transport them to the Navy hospital or the Marine hospital. One of our members is a retired Navy corpsman and got on me about calling the Marine base hospital a Marine hospital, she said there are no such thing as a Marine hospital it is a Navy hospital. Technically she is correct, but we called it the Marine hospital for clarification of where the wounded were going. She understands but still insists we should have called a Navy hospital.

Met with my new primary care provider, PCP, Dr Berry. Nice young man, most everyone is younger than me anymore, we had a nice visit. He is the fourth or fifth PCP I have had since going to the Omaha VA. Only two have left the VA and the others have taken other positions within the Omaha VA. As one of the ER nurses told me, once you start at the VA you don’t leave.

Speaking of the ER, these are the nicest folks ever. They will do whatever it takes to make your visit as hassle free as possible. I have yet to meet a person at the VA here who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. I have yet to have a bad experience.

Carl and Merilee had to bring their new motorhome to Camping World in Council Bluffs for some warranty work. They stayed with us for a few days until it was done. We always enjoy their company.

August 31 I got my monthly treatment of Zometa, this for my bone cancer, and a couple liters of fluids. It seems I need fluids about every 10 to 14 days, I am told I get dehydrated from the cancer.

September 1 we headed out for Burlington with a lunch stop at Mt Pleasant to see Dave and Shari. I don’t remember the name of the place we had lunch, it is on the Skunk river south of Mt Pleasant. Anyway the food is fabulous and very reasonable. I had a tenderloin, one of my favorites, who am I trying to kid, food is one of my favorites. Dave and I had pie for dessert and it was great, of course we had ice cream on it. It was good to see Dave and Shari.
We were headed to Burlington for my aunt Marcella’s 90 birthday party on Sunday. The event was held in the community room of the village cooperative of Burlington my brother and wife live in. It was the perfect place to have the party, plenty of room and lots of parking outside. There were approximately fifty people who came to see me aunt in addition to relatives. In fact, there were a couple people who showed up that I had not seen in 40 plus years. It was a great time.

My doctor has always told me if I felt good go do something. So Sarah and I took off on the 9th for Carl and Merilee’s in Mitchell, SD for a trip to Door County, for you that don’t know Door County is in Wisconsin. We left Saturday morning in their new motorhome and were gone for ten days.

We spent the first night in West Salem, WI at a campground, I don’t remember the name, a nice campground but a bit pricey. We were going to go to church at 7 pm but when we go there no one was there, I guess they haven’t updated their website. So we decided to get something to eat. As we were driving through Bangor, where the church was, we spotted the Village Inn, a local bar and restaurant. I had prime rib, not too bad, I have had better but still this was good. I always ask for REAL horseradish not this creamy stuff they normally serve, usually I get it. I have had one restaurant where I couldn’t get the real stuff because they didn’t have any. For shame on them.

Sunday we went to church and then headed out for Oshkosh, WI and the EAA Museum. We stayed two nights at the Hickory Oaks campground in Oshkosh. We ate at the Dockside restaurant that night and you can skip this one if you are ever in Oshkosh, not very good.

If you have never been to the EAA Museum, it is a must see. (A side note. We lived in Wisconsin for twelve years and didn’t go to the museum. Our boys accuse us of never taking them anywhere when we lived there. My response is, I didn’t want to deprive them of the pleasure of seeing all this with their own kids. That didn’t go over too good with them.) We spent several hours in the museum, if you want to read all the descriptions of all the items it would take a couple days to get through all of it.

We had a late lunch at Friar Tuck’s, this is a great restaurant we all liked the food here.

Merilee and I like lighthouses. In fact, back in 2001 we all went to Hawaii for our twenty fifth anniversaries. While on the big island of Hawaii we had a rental car and were going to go see a macadamia nut factory but when we got there it was closed, it was January 1, 2001, New Year’s Day, I didn’t even give it a thought the place would be closed. So we saw on the map that there was lighthouse a few miles away. We headed toward it not knowing we were going to go through an area where the local volcano had erupted a few years ago and the lava flow went right through this area. But we were determined to see the lighthouse so we continue on not worrying about the road condition because we had a rental car. When we finally got to the light house it was a big disappointment. It was nothing but a steel structure like the windmill towers you see on farms in the Midwest, except instead of blades on top this one had a light, bummer.

Anyway, Oshkosh had two lighthouses listed on their map, we headed off to find them. The first one, Bray’s Point Lighthouse, we found, it wasn’t very big and was nothing to speak of and it was located in someone’s yard, with no good way to get to it. Merilee got a picture of it, I never did. The second one, Asylum Point Lighthouse, we also found but never go to see it. It seems it is on the grounds of the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. We tried to drive back to the lighthouse but couldn’t find any road that led to it. So we gave up on trying to see it.

Tuesday morning, we were up and headed for Door County. Our first stomp was at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, WI, https://www.shrineofourladyofgoodhelp.com/, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Good_Help. Instead of trying to explain what this site is and the history of it I will let you go to the two links above. You will want to click on the Peshtigo fire link, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshtigo_Fire in the Wikipedia article to get the total story behind the shrine.

After a couple hours at the shrine we continue our journey to Bailey’s Harbor campground in Bailey’s Harbor, WI. We got the camper set up, I wasn’t much help but I did help where I could and stayed out of the way otherwise. For lunch we went to Bailey’s Cornerstone Pub I believe that is the name. I had their clam chowder which was very good. Merilee had some walleye and it didn’t sit very well with her. So we didn’t go back there again.

That afternoon we drove up to Northport, WI, I wanted to show everyone the ferry, http://www.doorcounty.com/business-directory/washington-island-ferry-line/, that takes people to Washington Island, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Island_(Wisconsin).

Wednesday we were looking for some place for breakfast and one of the Workamper at the campground, who Carl knew from Whirlpool, it is a small world, said to go to the Sandpiper restaurant, http://www.maxweltonbraes.com/. Great food and plenty of it.

Then it was off to find the Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baileys_Harbor_Light, not a very good one.
The second one, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cana_Island_Light, was much better. There were 97 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse, I didn’t even attempt it but Sarah, Carl and Merilee did as shown in this picture.

I bought a book so I could say I was there. An interesting tidbit, I read the lighthouse keeper was paid $600 per year and the assistant was paid $300, this wage was unchanged for 30 years, I hope they didn’t have to buy their own food.

That afternoon we took a boat ride on Lake Michigan to see some more lighthouses and a sunken ship, http://shorelinecharters.net/gillsrock.html. As far as the lighthouses go it was a bust, we weren’t able to tour any of them but it was neat to see the different types and the sunken ship was a ship that sank just after the civil war, so there wasn’t much left of it. I enjoyed the boat ride but I really enjoyed the narrative by the captain. The boat was not very big twelve passengers and I was sitting up front so I could hear his explanations and ask questions. It was a good experience.

One of the interesting things the captain said was the state of Wisconsin won’t approve any more permits to build boat docks. So if you buy or build with water access you won’t be able to build a boat dock. I looked it up and here is the story on it, http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/2000/jun00/pier.htm.

That night we wanted pizza and someone told us about Joe Jo’s Pizza and Gelato, http://www.doorcountypizza.com/, so off we went in search of this place. Now something happened there that I have never experienced before. I wear a Vietnam Veterans hat a lot and I had it on that day. When we went into the restaurant I had it on, but I took it off when we sat down at the table. We had been there for fifteen minutes or so and the couple sitting behind us got up to leave and the one lady came over and asked if I was a Vietnam Veteran, I said yes, and she gave me money to buy a Gelato. I said that wasn’t necessary but she insisted and so I said thank you. I admit one of the reasons I wear the hat is so people won’t forget the Vietnam Veterans, a lot of them didn’t get a very nice welcome when they returned to the states, I don’t wear it so people buy me meals or deserts. However, when that happens, if it happens again, I will politely say it isn’t necessary but I will not argue with the person either. I do get a thank you for your service now and then and I find it is mostly people under fifty who say that. Regardless of the reason or circumstances the acknowledgment is greatly appreciated and I say that for ALL veterans.

Thursday Sarah Ann’s, Robert’s wife’s, parents, Dick and Terry, met us in Egg Harbor for lunch and then we went shopping. After a bit we headed for Fish Harbor for more shopping. Fish Harbor has a main street that is maybe two or three blocks long with nothing but shops all of which are unique to the area. Dick and Terry left a little after five, they had to pick up their dog by six or so.

For dinner we went to PC Junction, Bailey’s Harbor, WI, http://www.pcjunctiondoorcounty.com/. This place has a train that delivers your meal, if you are seated at the bar. I understand in the summer time it is near impossible to get a seat at the bar. The food was good and I did buy a shirt.

The next day Friday it was time to pack up and move on. We were headed to Beloit. Our original plans had us being in Manitowoc, WI to see the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, http://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/index.php. They have a WWII submarine there which you can take a tour of, but we decided to stay another day in Bailey’s Harbor and skip the museum, it turned out to be a good decision.

We were able to get into Pearl Lake campground, http://www.pearllake.com/. This campground does not allow visitors; I don’t understand that but that is their rule. If you are a scuba diver or want to be this is the place to go, the lake has an airplane and other various items in it for divers to dive on.

That night Mason’s football team was running onto the field at the varsity football game. We went to watch and I was surprised the varsity team let the younger ones run onto the field in front of them. The cost to get in to the game was $1.00 for old people like me and $3.00 for others. They had a pretty good crowd but I understand the home team lost.

Saturday we went to watch Mason plan football, he is the center and defensive guard. It was fun to watch him and to see how much better he is from a couple years ago.

After lunch with the kids at Noodle and Company, http://order.noodles.com/menu/noodles-beloit. Not a lot of variety, noodles and different toppings etc. but good. We headed for Spring Green, WI.

We couldn’t get into the only full hookup campground I could find in Spring Green so we went to Lone Rock, WI and the Fireside Campground, http://firesidecampground.com/index.html. Not a bad campground, the owners are new. The campground is over two hundred acres and there looks to be a lot of potential.

Went to church that night in Avoca, WI, at St Joseph Catholic Church. After church we were hungry so on our way back to the campground we found The Woods, a bar/restaurant in Lone Rock, WI, http://www.woods-bar-grill-the.hub.biz/. I had prime rib and it was good, but not the best I have ever had.

Our reason for being in the area was to see The House on the Rock, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_on_the_Rock. I had been there in the 1970’s but no one else had been there so we went to see it. It has expanded greatly since I last saw it and they have added a couple new features to the house. It took us over five house to tour the place, I was beat by the end of the day. I did buy two books, one is a picture book of what you see throughout the place and the other is about the original owner and how the house built and the collection of items you see.

After walking all day, I was beat. I said I wanted two drinks with my dinner. We stopped at Arthur’s Supper Club, http://www.woods-bar-grill-the.hub.biz/. I had the special, a Turkey dinner with the trimmings. I also ordered a whiskey old fashion, it was very good. So I ordered another one. The server brought the second drink and a few minutes later a third drink. She said they made two by mistake, I got three for the price of two, not a bad ending to a tiring day.

Monday we got up and headed for Mitchell. We got there around seven, unloaded the camper, ordered pizza for dinner and went to bed.

Tuesday, Amy and son Jasper came to the house and we all loaded into her van to go to breakfast. We went to the American Legion. They have a big building, with dart tournaments and bingo, looks to be a very active group.
Thank you Merilee and Carl for the great time traveling with you.

Sarah and I headed for Omaha about ten and got home by two thirty.

Yesterday was Eli’s sixth birthday so we went to lunch with them at the Red Robyn, it was a good time.

Without going into a lot of detail we are going to Mesa, AZ for January and February 2017. I have a few things to work out with the VA here and in Phoenix but the oncology case manager said it is all doable, so we are going for it. We have rented a place at Good Life RV Resort in Mesa and we hope to see a lot of the people we knew when we were there before.

I guess I have rambled on for too long, that is what happens when I don’t write for such a long time.

One commercial, please ask you friends and acquaintances to donate to my GoFundMe account so we can buy some more t-shirts for the veterans undergoing chemotherapy here at the Omaha VA, https://www.gofundme.com/db7q945h. Thank you.

Thank you for all the prayers and support you have given me in the past and I ask for your continued prayers.

Until later, take care and safe travels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bone Cancer

It has been a while since I have posted so I thought I would try to get one out today. I feel better than I have in a long time.

Here's what has been going on in my world. As stated in my last blog the doctor wants me to start getting an infusion of Zometa once a month. So that we have the least amount of chance for bone infection in the future the oncologist wanted an oral surgeon to assess my teeth for future dental work. The dentist did x-rays and examined my teeth and said I would need to have six teeth removed.Three upper and lower in the back and three lower front. So I had all six removed on June 9th, then I had to wait for 2-4 weeks for the gums to heal. The surgery wasn't too bad, the dentist was very good and kept the gums numb so I didn't feel any pain or not much anyway.

June 17th I started radiation for cancer in my right humerus, the cancer caused so much pain in my right arm I could not use it for anything. The radiologist said the pain would begin to diminish almost immediately and should all be gone with a month or so. I went through ten treatments, every day for ten days minus weekends. I have about 85% of arm usage back and it keeps getting a little better everyday.

I haven't traveled at all since April and I was wanting to go somewhere. So we went to Coralville where Carl & Merilee were camping and spent a couple of days with them. It was great my arm felt good and I was able to use it quite a bit, still a bit of a ways to go but getting there.

I saw the oncologist on Monday and he said all looked good, lab work looked pretty good and instead of seeing me in a month we are going two months. That was good news.

I still need to go to get fluids, it seems once a week or ten days, but I have no problem doing that. The folks at the VA are great, very accommodating and helpful.

Not much else going on so I will cut this short and say again, Thank you for all the prayers and support.

Until later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This may be a short post; it depends on my energy level.

For the past few weeks I haven’t been feeling the best I blamed it on the pain I was having in my back. I have a history of low back pain. Well it all came to a head Monday night. Last Thursday I stopped taking a pain pill because I was having some bad side effects food didn’t taste good, so cold turkey I quit taking the drug, gabapentin and tramadol. I think that is how they are spelled. I thought I was having withdrawals, the same effect as if I was using some street drug.

For some reason I always wait until nighttime to seek help, so nine thirty pm with Daniel driving, Sarah in the back and me in the passenger seat mourning like I was going to die. We get to the VA ER and they get me right in. In the course of events we find out the evening shift only has two nurses and one doctor on duty. I had full blood workup done, then a chest CT scan to rule the possibility of a blood clot. Finally, the doctor said they couldn’t find anything wrong so he gave me something for the pain and we came home.

I had an appointment set up with the oncologist on Tuesday, yesterday, I wanted to get to day.
Monday morning my primary care doctor called me, her day off but she took the time to call. We talked, I told her what was going on and she said the problems I was having wasn’t due to the drugs, she said there is something else going on, so she set me an appointment for Tuesday at noon.

Monday night I was going to the bathroom to get ready for bed and my lower abdomen bowled me over with pain, I thought I was going to pass out. I have never had pain like that before, well maybe the kidney stone I had many years back was close. Sarah calls 911, I could not move I hurt so bad. The Paramedics finally found our house and came in the house. The one PM was really good, actually they were all good, I was in so much pain I didn’t care if they were good or not. They asked me which hospital I wanted to go to and I said the VA. The PM said the VA is closed. I said the ER is closed when did this happen? No she said they are closed to any more ambulances for the night. So I ended up going to a hospital about eight miles from the house. I want to say the ride in the ambulance was one of the roughest I have ever been on. By time we got to the hospital my back hurt as much as my abdomen.

Again I went through a series of test, blood work and CT scan. They didn’t find anything other than enlarged lympnodes because of the cancer but they made a disc of the scan so I could give that to the VA the next day.

So yesterday we go down to the VA and I am to have a CT scan at 10 am. I told Sarah, before we left home, to bring some plastic bags because with food and drink not tasting good I probably would throw up. We get to the VA and I am so weak I can’t walk very far so we get a wheelchair for me. Sarah does a pretty good job of wheeling me around unless there is a bump she has some trouble getting over it. So anyway we get to the infusion clinic to get my port accessed, blood drawn and then I would go to x-ray for the scan. I tell the nurse about the last few days and she says you can’t have another scan so soon; the dye they put through the system can damage the kidneys. This dye, for those of you who have never had a scan makes you feel flush, warm and tingly and when it reaches the nether world you feel like you have wet your pants, I don’t know if anyone ever has, I know I haven’t. The nurse gets the scan canceled and pages my oncologists and she talks to him. He said he would come over and see me in the infusion clinic otherwise I would have to wait until 2:30pm. He comes in and says that all the trouble I have been having was due to the cancer, it is flaring up and doesn’t want to play the same game we have been playing up till now. (That is my take on what he said)

The doctor is changing the treatment I will be getting from now on. One of the drugs is a monthly infusion of Zometa, this is to curtail the growth of the bone cancer. But before I can start this treatment I have to be cleared by a dentist because of my tooth implant the dentist has to check my gums for any possibility of bone infection, I guess you don’t want an infection in the bone while taking this drug. The other drug is called Zytiga, I will have to take four tablets a day forever, it is to hold the growth of the prostate cancer. I will still have pain in the abdomen and elsewhere so I have morphine tablets for the pain.

This isn’t the way I had envisioned retirement but it is what it is, so Sarah and I will deal with it. These last few days has just reinforced what a wonderful friend, companion and spouse I have. I could not go through this without her help and strength, I thank God for her every day.

Please continue sending me the positive vibes and thoughts and most especially your prayers, I know they are there and it is a tremendous help to me.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 30, 2016

What a month, we have had a high of 78 degrees and today, March 24, a high of 37 degrees,  I guess winter isn’t done with us yet, no matter that it is spring.

We went to Beloit, WI for Madyson’s birthday party. Robert & Sarah had the party at the local roller rink. I hadn’t been in a roller rink for ages, it brought back a lot of memories of roller skating. I use to be pretty good at roller skating and ice skating, well at least I enjoyed it. We had a great time with the kids and Madyson cleaned up on presents, the majority of them appealed to the creative side.

I have some trouble with getting dehydrated, I drink plenty of water, most days between 60 and 80 oz. of water a day. Evidently this isn’t enough because I still become dehydrated and have to go to the VA to get fluids. Sometimes I will go weeks without needing more fluids and sometimes just days, but the VA folks are very nice and accommodating and take care of me immediately. So I was getting fluids on Mar 12 and 18, hopefully this will last for quite a while.

On the 16th I went to the dentist for more work on my tooth implant. The dentist did some scraping of the implant and said it looked good, so she screwed in a gold screw, I wonder if I am going to get a gold tooth, anyway she said all looked good for now. I go back at the end of the month to have an impression taken for a crown and then a couple more weeks and they will put the crown in and I will have my new tooth.

Last Tuesday we went to Ames, IA to see Tiffany, Matt and Alexa, Alexa’s birthday was on Monday so we got to see them and went out to dinner. Alexa is taller than Sarah and is becoming a nice young lady. We gave her some money for her birthday, she said she was going to buy some books at a book fair at school.

She loves to read and so I am glad to give her some money to help her get the books she wants. We had a great time with them.

Yesterday we went to Des Moines, staying in a Hampton Inn. We have several people we wanted to see while we are here, we try to see everyone but we usually don’t get it accomplished. This time we did pretty good. We had lunch yesterday with Sarah’s cousin Betty and husband Bob at Panera’s. I like Panera’s they have good food and great pastries. Last night we met Dick & Judi and John & Kathy at Smoky D’s for dinner. These were the first folks we met when we moved into our RV back in 2010. They are great people and we have a great time visiting with them. For various reasons we hadn’t seen them since 2014, so we had some catching up to do. Hope we can get together with them again before winter.

We met with our accountant and had great news, we didn’t owe any taxes. People ask me why we have an accountant, Greg Dahm in West Des Moines. I use to do our taxes until ten years ago or so I screwed up our taxes royally. I was referred to Greg and he was able to get it all straighten out for me and we have used him since.

Thursday we had a meeting with our financial advisor and found out we still a small amount of money to spend before the kids get it. Mike Canney, Morgan Stanley, is a great advisor and has done well with our investments, but more than that he has become a good friend and we cherish our friendship a lot. Ashley, Mike’s daughter, works with him and we can call her with questions and she is very knowledgeable about investments and is a great resource to get questions answered. We value this relationship and thank the Good Lord for it.

We met Laurie, Marci and Marie for lunch at the Chicken Coop. This place is right down the street from Marsh where these ladies all worked. We had a great time visiting with them. Without going into details it was fun to see them and getting caught up on all the news and goings on at Marsh. Thank you ladies for taking the time out of your busy day to have lunch with us.

Tonight we were to have dinner with Orren & Norma. Orren had developed a cough and a visit to the doctor said he had more than a cough so he stayed home.; Norma came out to the hotel and we visited a bit, then we went to dinner. Monterey Mexican restaurant was our choice and it proved to be a good choice. The restaurant was busy but the service was excellent and the food was hot and good. We had a very nice visit with Norma and hope the next time we are in town Orren will be able to join us.

March 30, 2016 (cont’d)

Friday we headed for Burlington to visit with my brother Larry and his wife Kathy. We even got to see Jill and Brad, two of their children. We had a great time with them. We also saw my aunts, Millie & Marcella. Marcella will be 90 in August I believe, we took them to Mass on Sunday at St John’s, the church I grew up going to. I lived across the street from the school and church. The school and nun’s house are gone but I have some great memories of growing up there.

We left for home after lunch on Sunday. We stopped at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery just west of Des Moines, so Sarah could pick up some Vietnam Veteran Memorial pins from Candi a member of the DAR in Des Moines. The DAR, Sarah is a member, is giving these pins out to all Vietnam veterans.

Daniel called and said he didn’t get the turkey on the grill as soon as he intended and it wouldn’t be done until six. This worked out well for us because we arrived at his house a bit before six and was able to join them for Easter dinner. I was great and we even brought some home with us.
We had a great trip and planning more to come this summer.

Until later stay safe and healthy.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I woke up with a bite of some sort. My thought was it was a spider bite. Later that day I wasn’t doing too well so we went to the ER at the VA and I was dehydrated so I’m talking with the nurse practitioner and I showed her the bite, she didn’t know what it was from either. She suggested I see my PCP, primary care person. In the mean time I put Neosporin and a bandage on the bite. On Wednesday of the same week I had an eye appointment and when I was done I called my PCP to see if I could get in to see her. I got in to see her that same afternoon. She didn’t know what it was from nor did another doctor, they suggested I go to the cancer center and see if it was something related to my chemo. I went and asked my oncology case manager, she is a nurse, she didn’t know and neither did one of the oncologist. Crystal, the clerk, said it looks like a spider bite, she said her grandmother would get them once in a while, I said I agree. My biggest concern was getting an infection, so the oncologist ordered an antibiotic for me and within a week the bite was disappearing and is now gone.

This has been a great week so far. I had a CT scan on Tuesday, lab work also and then saw the oncologist. All looked good and the doctor said “I will see you in three months”. Praise the Lord. Thank you to all who have been praying for me.

So we have a busy couple months coming up, with trips to WI, IA and MO. Granddaughters Madyson and Alexa have birthdays this month so we are going to go see them. It should be fun and it will keep us busy.

I hope all is well with each person who reads this blog. Our weather has been interesting, one day it is 60 and the next it is 30, sometimes in the same day. I do know it is March and it will continue to warm up and the weather will change from possibility of snow to thunderstorms and tornadoes, but this is the Midwest and we expect to have changes in the weather, you never know what to expect.
Hopefully I will get my new front tooth later this month. It is a strange feeling having a front tooth missing. Ice slips right through the opening, going or coming, it doesn’t make any difference. I have dribbled down the front of me more times than I care to count. My one concern is the dentist told me to be careful because my teeth are somewhat brittle. I said you mean I am old and she just laughed. So we will see how it all goes.

That is all I have for now. Till Later, stay healthy and safe. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Update February 9, 2016

I had my sixth chemo session last Friday, now we wait until I get a CT scan on March 1 and see the doctor the same day to see what the next step will be. I pray the doctor will say “I’ll see you in three months”. The chemo will have done its job and I will be good to do a couple of trips.

This last series of chemo had their moments of making me feel lousy, but I always felt I would come out of it and overcome the side effects. The one side effect that is difficult to get rid of is the tiredness, the feeling of weakness. My legs feel weak, I attribute the feeling to not walking enough, I don’t like the cold and if it is windy forget it I don’t go out. Now we have a treadmill and I have forced myself to walk on it, it is in the garage, so the temps are in the forties, no matter the temp outside. I had the garage insulated when the house was built, best money I spent. So I just have to force myself to get out and walk. One more side effect is the effects of prednisone, I feel and look like the statue of Buddha, my face has never been this round, I don’t believe. But again, it is partially due to lack of exercise, so I am going to make a push to walk more.

I’ll let you read about it if you want. The interesting thing about it to me is it tracks how well I sleep and then compares the results with others of my age group, if they can find someone still alive. I use a CPAP and it is supposed to put you into deep sleep, this device is indicating I am not getting to that point. Of course the fact that I am up three to four times at night to go to the bathroom just might be a factor in all of this. But then the consequences of not getting up to go to the bathroom are more unappealing to me than the lack of some sleep. Besides I can fall asleep in my chair during the day if I want too.

When my grandmother was still alive I remember going to her house and it would be 100+ degrees in there, or so it seemed, and she would be wearing a sweater and have a blanket on her. I always thought it was strange, not any more. I don’t have the house at 100+ degrees but I do wear a sweater and at times put a blanket over my legs. As I have mentioned before a side effect of one of the drugs I take are hot flashes and when I get one of those I take off the sweater but as soon as the sensation stops I get cold and put the sweater back on. I had a friend tell me once the best relief she found from the hot flashes was a cold shower, I haven’t tried that yet.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday already, where does the time go. I know a lot of people will be walking around tomorrow with a black spot on their foreheads, to remind us “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”. Here is a great explanation for the day, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday.

I had a phone call yesterday from a social worker at the VA. She said the oncology clinic had given my name to her as a cancer survivor and she wanted to know if I would be interested in taking part in a cancer survivor support group. I told her sure and she will be sending me information on the meeting.

This got me to thinking, when does a person become a cancer survivor? Is it after you have X number of treatments and you are still here or is it a certain number of days or years. For me I know I will never be free of cancer unless the Good Lord cures me of it. I will always live with the cancer, I accept that, and believe if I am ever free of it then I will have witnessed a miracle.

We were at our son Daniel’s for my birthday last Sunday and to eat smoked ribs, they were very good. We also watched Super Bowl 50. We had a great time and thank you Daniel for cooking the ribs.

A few years ago Sarah and I were in Green Bay, Wisconsin for a wedding. The only camp ground we could find was about thirty minutes south of Green Bay. One day we were looking for something to do and I came across a notice about a Shrine dedicated to Mary the Mother of God. Well being raised Catholic I thought we should go see it. I put the address into the GPS and we headed out, the location is out in the middle of nowhere and without the GPS I would have been hard pressed to find it, but it was worth the trip. Even if you don’t believe in miracles the story surrounding the events of October 8, 1871 make interesting reading. There were two events that are interrelated the Peshtigo fire and the survival of individuals who took refuge in a church while the fire surrounded them. Here are two links to offer more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Good_Help, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshtigo,_Wisconsin.

Reading about fire and talking about hot flashes makes me drink more water than I have ever drank in my lifetime. I haven’t had the problem of dehydration lately and I always wondered how I ended up with it to begin with. I have switched over to just bottled water now because I can measure how much I drink. Some days I feel like if you poked me in the gut I would spray water at the point of the poke.

We have quite a bit of snow on the ground right now but next week is supposed to be warmer so with any luck we will get rid of ALL the snow and not get anymore. Ha-ha, I know we will get more snow and have been known to get it all the way into April, don’t remember any in May but I wouldn’t doubt that it could happened. I just keep telling myself I don’t have to go out in the cold weather and the snow unless it is absolutely necessary.

I have been reading a lot  of books these past few months. Sarah got me started on a series of books where one of the main “characters” is a cat. They are mysteries, not difficult reading and usually I haven’t figured out the killer until the author reveals it at the end. The books are an enjoyable read, the authors are Sofie Ryan and Sofie Kelly, interesting enough the same person writes under both names. The other is Miranda James.

I am also playing the stupid Candy Crush Saga, Soda and Jelly, I have to quite playing them because they are so frustrating. However, my sister is ahead of me in Jelly and I am trying to catch up with her. She plays it a lot more than me so I don’t know if that will ever happen.

Well that is enough for now.

Until later.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Update 01/21/2016

My last three days of chemo ended Jan 8 and it seems like the recovery time keeps getting longer. I don’t think it does but it seems that way. During this last batch of chemo, I watched a BBC television show called The Vicar of Darby. It was about a female vicar for the church in the small town of Darby, UK. I enjoyed watching it, the British have a bit of a different sense of humor than we have but it was still fun watching the show. During one chemo session one of the nurses came in and wanted to know what I was laughing at, I told her. I felt a bit guilty because I didn’t want to upset any other patients but then I thought maybe by my laughing someone might feel a bit better knowing life needs to be enjoyed.

We haven’t been doing much, it has been too cold and I haven’t felt like getting out in it. I have read a lot; I have five or six books in various stages of being read. I get magazines on my IPad through the library, that is a great service. The Omaha Public Library has a little over a hundred magazines available for download to read. Most of them I don’t read, I have no interest in their subject matter, but it is still a great service.

I am waiting for the new Bond movie, Spectre, to be released. I don’t go to the theater to see movies anymore because I end up missing too much of the movie with my frequent trips to the restroom. I wait for them to go to DVD sales and then I either rent or buy. I have found renting the movie is a lot cheaper than go to the theater, although there is a theater here in town where seniors pay only $5 and then if you want popcorn etc. it will cost another $20+. Movie going isn’t cheap anymore, actually hasn’t been for some time now.

We are being buried in political ads. I know most of you think you are also, but we are getting hit with the national ads and the Iowa caucus ads.  Only two more weeks and it will calm down a bit, hopefully. I don’t mind politics; I just don’t like the meanness of it. I don’t believe half of what any of them say and whatever they claim they will do if elected has to be taken with a grain of salt because once elected their job becomes the job of getting reelected.

So I think this is very true:

“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain

I have always enjoyed Mark Twain’s humor, I have been to his home in Hannibal, MO, he wasn’t there at the time but it was still nice to visit.

We all need to have laughter in our lives, I have known too many people in my life who took everything too seriously or maybe I didn’t take things serious enough, I don’t know, I just know you have to have laughter in this life or it will get you down.

The internet has its place in our lives and probably takes up more of our lives than it should but I have found it to be a great place to find humor. You Tube is a great place, I love to go there and watch all the comedy, old comedy, that I want. I read somewhere everyone should have a good deep down belly laugh at least once a day. I try, I don’t always succeed but I try.

I subscribe to The Joyful Noiseletter, it is a publication of great humor, 
https://www.joyfulnoiseletter.com/. It was founded so the clergy could have humorous stories and anecdotes to tell from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. The contributors are from all denominations and all the articles are a great read. It has never failed to make me laugh.

Took the car into get the thirty-thousand-mile service done on it. I try to keep our vehicles serviced and I probably spend more than I should but I take them to the dealer of the manufacturer of the vehicle. I have done that for most of the vehicles we have owned. We just have the one car now, haven’t come up with a reason for two yet. Since neither one of us works and I don’t seem to get out much these days it just seems a waste of money to have two vehicles.

Speaking of money, I wonder what the actual price of a gallon of gasoline should be today, with the price of oil being so low, based on the value of the dollar versus when we were younger. I did see where a gas station in Michigan, I believe, had regular for eighty-four cents per gallon the other day. I am not sure I understand why the market is going down because of the price of oil. It would seem to me the low price of oil would cut transportation costs and most likely some costs elsewhere so this should bolster the economy not hurt it. Oh well, I am not an economist so I really don’t understand all that is involved in these numbers. I do wonder if I will have to be looking for work anytime soon.

I found a video of Johnny Cash singing this song so I looked up the lyrics and I liked them so here they are:

Ragged Old Flag

By Johnny Cash
I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your old flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."
He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.
"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when
Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing Say Can You See.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seems.
"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.
"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II.
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She was sent where she was by her Uncle Sam.
"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land here she's been abused --
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.
"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.
"So we raise her up every morning, take her
Down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground and we fold
Her up right.
On second thought, I do like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of the Ragged Old Flag."

Songwriters: JOHNNY CASH
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

Being a veteran this may have more meaning than to someone who has never served, I hope not but it is possible. Some say it is just a piece of cloth, but it is a piece of cloth many have died to preserve the freedoms it represents. I believe it is time for all of us, elected officials and the general public, to look at history and see what it tells us. Whether the general public believes it or not history does repeat itself and not always for the better. It seems to me the rhetoric in the political commercials are getting out of hand more so than in the past. The problem I see is a commercial says whatever they want without regard if it is the truth, half-truth, or blatantly false. Which poses the problem of what to believe or not to believe. I don’t believe a person should take at face value what is said by their choice of candidate, I believe it is the duty of all voters to research the truth and then decide who they want to vote for. Does this happen, maybe in less than ten percent of the voters. Even with that said this Ragged Old Flag gives everyone the right to choose who they want as their candidate and I stand behind that one hundred percent.

It is now almost two weeks since chemo and I am feeling a bit stronger. I hope I keep from getting dehydrated which as I have found out before can happen anytime. Hopefully my immune system is beginning to repair itself and the other systems are striving to get stronger. One more chemo on Feb 3,4 and 5, then we are done until tests indicate the need for another round of chemo. Our goal is still the same as when we began this journey, keep the cancer under control for as long as we can. God willing it will be for a few more years.

Thank you for all your positive thoughts and prayers, they mean a lot to me and I know they help.

Till later, Stay safe and healthy.