Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hope SPRINGS Eternal !

Dwarf peach tree March 22. Four nights later we had to cover it when the low hit 19. Last night and tonight are about 33-34, then maybe spring arrives! 62 today, 70's the rest of the week with nights much warmer.

  Wendy & Steve came over the 22nd and did several jobs for us, including roto-tilling some of the garden beds. Rita and I hope to plant two 21' rows of Yukon Gold potatoes and two 21" rows of Walla Walla onions Mon  or Tues.
  I had to order the Walla Walla sets online. All the Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart etc. garden centers carry Bonnie plants and they only stock a generic "sweet" onion. I checked with the manager at our local Mennonite nursery and he had never heard of a Walla Walla. I explained that it was "the Vidalia of the West". It originated on the island of Corsica and was introduced to the Walla Walla Valley in Washington State in 1900; the Vidalia started in Georgia in the 1930's.
  Some say that you can't grow WWs this far south, but we had an excellent yield last year, outperforming Candy and Red Granex.
  April forecast is mostly 70's with a few 60's and 80's. Lows mostly 40's and 50's with maybe 2 or 3 high 30's. We'll get past this hard winter yet!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Update & Then Change Focus

  This spread is from last Saturday when we had a wonderful visit from my niece Laurie and her husband Wayne from California. More on that in a subsequent post. This was a lunch layout with deli sandwich fixin's, sausage cheese dip, buffalo chicken dip, potato salad, fruit and veggie trays, apple pie and more. Yummm!

  Here is the latest medical update and prayer request Then I hope to start making some "regular" posts more tilted toward gardening and such, as I feel stronger and Spring holds promise, in spite of this horribly long and cold winter.

  I had my second chemo treatment last Wednesday. The good news is that I have really had no side effects as yet from the chemo. The not so good news is that God is not finished healing me yet. The Ca 19-9 marker test was again greatly elevated and the PET scan was, in Dr. Gians words, "a mess". So I most likely have cancer still lingering somewhere in the abdominal area. Dr. Gian added Abraxane to my Gemzar chemo last Wednesday...the latest potent and expensive drug, I guess.
  Yesterday, I spent 2-3 hours with Rita's help cleaning up around the shop with 2 trips to the "dump". (The gutters were not correctly installed on the shop building and I had a lot of rot behind them. So had Terry (who built the shop for us (but not the gutters!) take them down, repair, and re-install correctly. So we cleaned up all the old and rotten wood. I may have overdone it; came in the house for a nap and next thing you know I had a 101 + temperature. Our doctor instructions were to call immediately if I ever had a temp over 100.5 because my white blood cell count is low. So.............a trip into the emergency room, 4 hour stay, x-rays and blood tests, IV anti-biotic, and then, thankfully, back home. Tests were all good, no infections, so just a cautious and preventative measure.

  I feel better and stronger than I have in months, but obviously I have a long way to go. Please continue to pray for healing. We serve a great God who is able. Praise and thank Him!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Farm Update and Medical Update

  Look carefully and you can see the stock trailer leaving the driveway with our bull, 5 cows and 3 babies. We do miss them but we got a fair price and greatly reduced the workload. I have also sold the last 7 round bales of hay, both hay rings, the 3 point hitch bale spear and the cattle feeding trough. All through word of mouth or Craig's list. We sure enjoyed seeing the first 3 baby calves. That is the best part of owning cattle.
  Still to sell: the tractor, bush hog, lawn aerator, lawn thatcher and various fence posts.
  Here are a few more farm pictures.

  And here is Rita's beautiful Christmas cactus and a couple shots of Caleb:

  Here is the latest medical update:

    Yesterday was my first chemo treatment and it was uneventful. No side effects and all was well.
    Several things to be praying about. My original CT at Vanderbilt showed a nodule in my lower lung. Dr. Parikh referred to a pulmonologist who said it was nothing to be concerned about. I had another CT at St Thomas Rutherford 2 weeks ago which showed my entire lungs and a second nodule near the top was seen. Again, referred to a pulmonologist and he said they are too small to be biopsied; probably nothing to be concerned about but he will monitor it.
    I saw Dr. Gian, my oncologist, yesterday before the first chemo. I have been having terrible lower back pain. Hydrocodone didn’t help and had side effects. I was taking Tylenol and it helped but I couldn’t take it often enough to cover 24 hours. Dr. Gian took me off Tylenol (hard on the l liver) and put me on Ibuprofen 3X / day. It has virtually stopped all pain and last night was the best night I have had in weeks. He said the pain is likely from muscles still healing from my surgery.
    The biggest concern is that the blood test from 2 weeks ago saw a greatly elevated Ca19-9 level. This generally means a metastasis, but can also be still a reaction to my surgery, as the pancreas, liver, stomach, small intestines and ductwork were all cut into during surgery. The test will be run weekly to see if it is rising or falling. A sample was taken Wednesday. We are just trusting that it is not a metastasis.
    I felt better today than I have for a long time. My weight loss bottomed out at 90# and I have regained 6, so that is positive. I sold the 3 point hay spear today and was outside for 30-40 minutes loading that and visiting. I found that I didn’t have the strength to lift myself up onto my tractor seat! Going to have to pace myself. 
    Specific prayer requests:
            * That future tests show the CA19-9 coming down indicating no spread of cancer.
            *  Please pray for Carol, a blogging friend in Washington state. She has a vigorous return of cancer after 5 years from her original colon cancer Please pray for strength and for God's touch.
    Once again, thank you all for your prayers and all expressions of concern.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Latest Update

It has been about 2 weeks since my last post. On Feb. 24, I saw Dr. Lisa White for a pre-op appointment before out patient surgery to place a port so we can begin chemo. I was so exhausted by the time I got to her office that she ended up calling an ambulance to take me literally around the corner to the Rutherford Hospital ER. I was there 4 hours getting IV’s as I was severely dehydrated.  The ER doctor ran several tests , basically looking for blood clots, but all tests were clear.
However, this morning I received a call from my family doctor, Dr. Payne. He had received the CT from that day and there are a couple of “nodules” at the bottom of my lungs that they want to check out. I see a pulmonologist next Tuesday. Please pray that this is nothing abnormal. My original CT in November showed something similar and Dr. Parikh had a pulmonologist look at the CT and concluded nothing was wrong. We pray for a similar finding this time.
I had my pre-op this morning for the port, which will be done Friday morning, with chemo to start next Wednesday.
Needless to say, this is a difficult journey. Please continue your prayers and pray for my family, especially Rita, as they are bearing a heavy load.

On another note, I sold the cows as a group to a young rancher near here.  I was happy that he took them all and they are going to a good home. I sold a hay ring and will sell several more items in the coming weeks, including the tractor. Time to cut back to a more manageable workload.
Blessings to you all,