Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Overdue post update



  We'll start this off with a picture of 18 month old grandson Caleb. What a smile! What wavy locks ( too cute to cut yet, I'm told!). He is a bundle of energy....runs everywhere and climbs on everything.
   Weather... after only .4" rain in August and .2" in September we were bone dry. But in the last 10 days we received 1.75" with more on the way. We needed it. We have done very little outside work lately. Rita had successful surgery a week ago, hospitalized one night and bounced right back. Thank you, Lord. I couldn't do without her.
  Rita and I are working part time at Dave's store. We are handling the shipping of all the Amazon orders. About 2 to 4 hours a day. We are really enjoying it. Keeps us busy, it's a great atmosphere and we get to see Dave 5 days a week.
   I had my last chemo today I have 4 more radiation treatments, ending Tuesday the 14th. Then we will just monitor the blood tests and markers and an occasional PET scan. I am so looking forward to letting my body recover from 7 months of chemo and radiation. I have been lower than usual the past month. I can't gain weight no matter how much I eat and my walking has become more tedious and stumbling. My body needs a rest from all the poison and it is coming.
   Good news...my hair is growing back!! My goatee is back to normal and on my head, the hair is 1/2 to 3/4 inches long. Might be able to brush it back in a couple weeks.
   We are still trusting in our precious Lord for a complete healing. Please pray that my body will bounce back quickly when the treatments end next week. I need to gain weight to gain strength.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall Has Arrived



  This was taken 2 weeks ago and now even the green corn is dry. The garden is done for the year and only some cleanup remains. We are still eating the last of the sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, but that is it. Temps have cooled into 70-82 highs and 50's lows. Pretty nice weather.

   My radiation and chemo was suspended last Tuesday because of side effects. A very mouth-sore bottom lip and also diarrhea that caused a weight loss of 22 pounds in 8 days! And I certainly didn't have 22 to lose. I have regained a few, but at the lowest point last Thursday, I was 106 pounds less than what I weighed pre-diagnoses. The lip and mouth sores are marginally better and the antibiotic I am taking seems to be taking care of the other problem. They still don't know what it is; took more blood to culture yesterday.

   My guidelines are to call the doctor if my temperature exceeds 100.5. Wednesday night at bedtime it hit 101.3. Per Drs. orders we took Tylenol and by morning it was normal. We went in Thursday for blood samples and an IV fluid transfusion. Thursday night......same thing, only this time 103.5. The Dr. almost sent us to the emergency room but said take Tylenol and come in first thing next morning. Again, it was normal next morning; they still didn't have any results on the cultures, so I got more IV fluids as well as IV antibiotic. Sent me home with a week of oral antibiotic, too.  I feel good today; even mowed pasture for an hour or so this morning.

   The plan is to resume radiation Monday and chemo Wednesday, although maybe change the chemo drug. We are anxious to resume and Lord willing, 4 more weeks of treatment will be all that is needed.


   This is a picture son Dave got for me recently. The old rusty Farmall with Jeremiah 29:11....... For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

   I believe that verse is for me. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dave's New Store is Open



   Our son Dave opened his new store yesterday. There is still lots of work to do before the grand opening in October but it was a very successful day. We are so proud of him; this is his long time dream.

Sign at the entrance to the shopping center



Kid's book corner with video and Thomas table

Lounge and reading area

Check-out counter. G-daughter Brittany on the left; Dave and I on the right.

Here I'm talking to a lady who was waiting in line. 98 cent greeting cards on the right.


   Dave worked so hard with his crew this week to open on time. He pulled several all-nighters. In fact, Rita stayed for an all-nighter Friday night!

Medical update

   After 5 months of the chemo, my marker test moved up just a little...chemo was no longer effective, so we moved on to next phase. Last Wednesday I started daily radiation and I am wearing a fanny pack with an infusion pump that pumps a different chemo into my IV port 24/7.  This will be a 6 week treatment course. Side effects are mainly fatigue and nausea. After the first few days, I feel pretty good. I know that the effects are cumulative, so please pray that I will be able to tolerate it.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A New Toy



  So we went shopping for a lawn mower and came home with this beauty. Decided to go for the 6o inch heavy duty model and use it to keep the front pastures trimmed which means we'll go ahead and sell the John Deere tractor and bush hog. They delivered it this morning and I took a few trial runs around the pasture. Learned right away that the zero turn will take some getting used to. And the top speed of 8 mph is way too fast for a slightly bumpy field!! But it is a grass gobbling monster.
  The garden is definitely in late summer mode. Still getting sweet corn, Fortex green beans, sweet peppers, cucumbers and some tomatoes. The butternut squash is about ready to harvest and store. The watermelons and pumpkins are a bust. Won't plant those again; what little we eat annually of those 2 things can come from Kroger or Wal-Mart. I still have a lot of cornstalks to cut and compost, then start preparing the garden beds for a winter rest.
  We need rain badly....very dry. Storms the past few days were supposed to bring 1-1.5 inches but we only received .3".
  Our son Dave is about ready to open his new store in Murfreesboro. Called Christian Publishers Outlet, he will offer over 25,000 new discounted Bibles and books. I'll make another post when he is open in about 10 days.
  This is the second week of school and Wendy is again teaching 3rd grade at Blackman, Katie is a freshman at Eagleville, Jackson has started 5th grade home schooling and Brittany starts at Middle Tennessee State U.
  I saw the cardiologist yesterday for a follow-up and will see the oncologist tomorrow. 6 weeks of radiation treatment will start very soon. I'm feeling better after 4 weeks post chemo, but my feet are still bothering me a lot and making it difficult to walk.
  Until next time, stay well!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer ebbing away



  With today being the first full day of school and the garden harvest dwindling, summer is seemingly drawing to a close. It seems way too early.
   We have been giving away produce by the sacks full, but harvest is rapidly dwindling. We still have green tomatoes, but the plants are showing stress and not ripening as fast. I have been eating tomatoes once or twice a day for several weeks. The melons all came on at once as you can see in this picture.


   I am harvesting the last of the Cloud Nine sweet corn. All the corn that is later than this is Kandy Korn. Next year, we'll plant only Cloud Nine. It is a tall, strong stalk that doesn't bend in the storms. A sweet, white corn on a large ear,the husks are tight and it is not bothered by bugs or worms.

   The Summer Dance cucumbers are another keeper. Healthy vines and generous production of thin, long fruit that is tasty whether peeled or not. 

   We are still picking green beans from the Fortex and Annihilator plants. The yellow squash is about finished but a 3rd late planting is still to come. The Yukon Gold spuds and Walla Walla sweet onions are all dug and in storage and being enjoyed. Soon we will pick and store the Waltham Butternut squash. We planted some Jimmy Nardello long sweet peppers very late from seed, but we have 12" long fruit on the plants....waiting for it to turn red and try these for the first time. 
   I still have some blackberry pruning to do and lots of corn stalks to cut and compost, so there is no lack of work.
   Here is a shot of me returning from some bush hogging. 

   Quick medical update: I am feeling pretty good, starting the 3rd week off chemo. We see the radiologist for an initial screening next Monday and likely start radiation soon after. I still have the "concrete shoes" syndrome from the chemo, but my appetite is good and I'm maintainimg weight. The last CT was unchanged to improved, so that is positive. We just move ahead trusting God for whatever He has for us.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer on the Downside



  It's hard to believe but the summer gardening season is on the downside and school starts in 10 days!  We have been harvesting large quantities of produce from the garden. We are giving most of it to family and friends, plus 2 large bags to the chemo doctor's office for doctors and nurses. Dozens of ears of corn, honeydew and cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, onions, potatoes, sweet peppers and even still gleaning a few blackberries. We don't preserve much anymore, but Rita has frozen some cut corn, blackberries, peppers, onions, and made freezer jam from blackberries and peaches. Wendy and the girls made a 4 day trip to Orlando recently and brought us a box of delicious Georgia peaches.
  Yesterday was lawn mowing day but I was under doctor's orders to lay low, so Wendy and Steve came over and mowed for us and then stayed for some pinochle .
  I had chemo last Wednesday, then returned Friday feeling puny. My electrolytes were low, so got a liter of IV fluid. Also, my hemoglobin was low, on the verge of needing a blood transfusion. I got a shot of Aranesp, which builds hemoglobin, and return Monday for another blood test.
  The chemo has been progressively affecting my feet and legs and some of that can remain permanently, so the doctor thinks it may be time to stop the chemo and start radiation. I have a CT on Wednesday and return on Aug. 6 to see where we go next.
  Please pray that my blood levels will normalize and that I will tolerate the radiation side effects.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great Garden Harvest Continues


Closeup of zinnias and glads in the front garden bed


Beautiful sunset after a 1" rain last week


The Honeydew melons are just loaded with large melons

Cantaloupe are a bit later but loaded as well

Summer Slice cucumbers are plentiful and tasty

We are inundated with sweet corn. Seems it is all maturing earlier than suggested maturity date. The Cloud Nine is the best followed by Peaches and Cream, then Kandy Korn. I won't plant Spring Treat or Quickie again. I pulled about 50 nice sized Walla Walla sweet onions this week, like this one.

This is after 3 minutes in the microwave, then I enjoyed it!

The Butternut squash are loaded too

The near row is butternut....I count 10 visible in the picture.

Medical Update
  We had another great report last week...the cancer marker test declined again down to 527 (originally 36,000 and a month ago 1788). Just 500 points to the normal range now! Praise God!  Chemo continues.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blackberry pie and 4th of July



  We enjoyed a great Fourth of July. All the family was here plus Katie Bug's friend and her mother as well as Brittany's friend.


   As usual, there was about three times as much food as we could eat! Check this out....





   We are inundated with garden produce and are giving it away to anyone who stands still...family, friends, neighbors, the mail lady.  Sweet corn, tomatoes, blackberries, cucumbers, squash, green beans.. There are several honeydew melons 8" diameter already. I'll get some new pictures for my next post

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Garden Bounty


   First some beauty......first row of the garden beds with glads and mini zinnias.


Tall zinnias on the back of the calf shed.


A 4"x4" Yukon Gold already! An early Girl tomato and a Walla Walla sweet.
Harvest is in full swing; the past week included Quickie sweet corn, yellow squash, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and loads of blackberries.


The back garden; setting on lots of Butternut squash, cantaloupe and Honeydew measuring several inches. Just planted the rest of the bed in the foreground to the last planting of  Kandy Korn sweet corn and Connecticut field pumpkins. 


This picture is too distant, but l to r, flower row, then Annihilator bush beans, then onions and potatoes, all of which are maturing rapidly, then first and second plantings of sweet corn. We'll have Cloud Nine corn maturing next week, followed by Kandy Korn and Peaches and Cream.

Even a bunny shaped tomato!

Medical Update

   Pretty much "same old...same old".  Finished month 4 of chemo last Wednesday. Next week is an off week and then start month 5 of the same. Will have the next cancer marker test in less than 2 weeks....we pray for another decline in the number.
   The cumulative effects of the chemo are catching up to me a bit, but it's nothing I can't bear. It is working and that is the main thing.
   I thank those of you who continue to remember me and pray for me. It means so much.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Harvest Begins


  Harvest begins...here I'm digging under the most mature potato vine to "steal" a few Yukon Golds.


Took a Walla Walla, sweet too!

Breakfast featured fresh boysenberries on Bran Flakes. We had some yesterday over ice cream when family was here.

Cucumbers and Fortex pole beans are climbing; we are working hard to protect the pole beans from the pesky wabbits! Bush beans are behind me and will bear soon. (That's Uncle Charlie the scarecrow in the picture, not me!!!)


First planting of sweet corn looks great! Corn-on-the-cob within 2 weeks.

We have been picking the first tomatoes for a week now. Yumm!

This is the "back" garden. Yellow squash being picked now, butternut, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, watermelon, more cukes and pole beans, and late corn, with 1 more planting of corn plus pumpkins next week.

My 2 favorite modes of transportation: John Deere and the golf cart.

Medical Update
  Great news on the Pet scan last week. All normal! We are praising God for this. Started the chemo again last Wednesday after an extra week off. I was beginning to feel more "normal" but the chemo really knocked me back. I have trouble with fatigue and weak legs. Hard to walk very far at a time. Also had a pretty good bout of nausea. But we persevere, knowing the chemo is working and God has a plan. Pray that we stay faithful to Him...His plan...His timing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Blossoms and Berries



   We had a very dry May but received a welcome 1.25" of rain the past 2 days. The weather is unsettled and we'll likely receive more rain.
   The Knock Out roses and day lilies are blooming profusely and the garden is jumping.

On the right are the first 2 plantings of sweet corn. 5 varieties that should ripen in sequence, the first in about 3 weeks.The Walla Walla onions are rounding nicely, the Yukon Gold potatoes are blooming and falling over....new potatoes soon! Bush beans, Fortex pole beans and cucumbers on the left.

Boysenberries are ripe. Tart but sweet! Blackberries are very late but we should have a good harvest soon.

   Blueberries still promising a nice harvest.

   Not shown is the "back garden" where cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, summer squash, butternut squash and more sweet corn plus pumpkins are doing well.
   We actually harvested one tomato and one summer squash already!

Medical Update
   Prayer needed!  I had a CT at Vanderbilt last week and Dr Gian sees some "suspicious" areas on my liver that need further attention. So rather than start the 4th month of chemo Wednesday, I will have a PET scan next Tuesday and we'll go from there when it is determined what is going on, if anything, on the liver. Thank you for your prayers.