Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Linda's First Outing With Her "No-Do"

DeBary, FL.

54 deg. mostly cloudy, no wind.
Forecast = Generally cloudy. High around 70F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday evening, Linda made the statement that she wanted to go to Walgreen's with Jim when it was time to pick up the rest of the prescriptions. She said that she wanted to go inside rather that through the drive-up window because there were some items she wanted to buy in the store. So,  ,  ,  ,  ,  after Walgreen's called early yesterday afternoon, Jim and Linda took CLT and headed over there.

Now, some of you that know Linda, know that she is the type of person who doesn't believe in hiding things or beating around the bush, so when they got there, she took off the hat that she was wearing and went inside bare headed!!!  :-O

The first stop in the store was the cosmetic counter where a sweet little clerk helped her pick out some makeup. (Linda hadn't worn any makeup for years, so she wasn't sure what she needed). From there she headed to where the turbines were (like the one Jim bought the day before), and picked out a purple one, (Jim had bought her a brown one). and then headed to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription.

All this with her new no-do and no hat!!!!

You see, she had made up her mind that her shaved head wasn't going to stop her from doing things and she had decided that the outing to Walgreen's would be a good "icebreaker". Well, it worked!!!! No one laughed at her or made any remarks and now she doesn't have to worry about going out in public. She'll probably be wearing some kind of head covering most of the time because she says that her head feels cold, but now she knows that she can go out and everything will be fine. ;-)

Yesterday evening, Laura stopped by to visit for awhile. (I'm sure she was curious to see how her mother looked without any hair). Then after she left, Jim and Linda watched TV until bedtime.  

Oh! Just one last thing. If your're going to be celebrating New Years Eve tonight, have a great time, but please be careful and watch for the crazies out there.

Did you know that the tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year was started by ancient Greeks around 600 B.C? They would carry a baby around in a basket to honor Dionysus, the God of Fertility and symbolize his annual rebirth.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Prescriptions, A Hat For Linda and Ashley Saves The Day

DeBary, FL.

59 deg. overcast, NE wind @2 mph.
Forecast = Sun and clouds mixed. High 71F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Saturday morning, Linda was pretty sore from the surgery, so Jim headed to Walgreen's to get Linda's regular prescriptions refilled and pick up a few other items. He would have had to wait for at least an hour for them to have the prescriptions ready, so he told them he'd come back later.

One of the things he found while roaming around in Walgreen's, was a turbine type head covering that the ladies wear after they've washed their hair. Jim though it may make a nice head covering for Linda after she lost her hair, so he bought her one.

From Walgreen's, he headed over to Winn Dixie, (which is just across the street), and picked up some essentials before coming back here to the house.

When he got back here to the house, he showed Linda the head covering, and she was thrilled to death!!! :-) She thought it was just great, and said that she thought she'd wear it a lot.  

After lunch, Jim went back to Walgreen's and picked up most of the prescriptions. I say "most" because again, they didn't have enough of one of the meds, so now today, (Monday), he'll need to go back again! :-(

By Saturday evening, Linda was feeling better and she asked Jim what he thought about going out to eat someplace? She was also thinking about Ashley coming Sunday morning to shave her head, and said that she'd like to go out to eat before that happened.

So, about 4:30 they took CLT and headed over to Gram's Kitchen and had their Prime Rib Special!!! Both of them were still talking about how good the steak was when they returned and it made my mouth water as Linda was wrapping up the leftovers to put into the fridge and freezer! .-)

Sunday morning, (about 11:00), Ashley came over took care of Linda's hair. By this time, the hair was starting to come out by the handful so Linda was glad that she had made plans to get it removed. Ashley was very caring but yet  professional and in just a short time, it was done.

After finishing, Ashley stayed and talked for awhile and then headed to one of her friends house for lunch.

Linda wants to thank Ashley so much for the way she handled the whole thing. Because of the way she went about it, she kept it from being the traumatic experience that Linda was dreading.

Thank you so much, Ashley!!!!!!!

A Point to Ponder :  Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Catching Up, The "Port" and Hair

DeBary, FL.

66 deg. overcast, NE wind @ 3 mph.
Cloudy. High around 80F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph.

Wow!!! I've really gotten behind with this blog, so I'll try to catch you up on what's been happening around here for the last 4 or 5 days.

Let's see now,    ,   ,  ,  ,  ,  ,   Christmas Eve, Laura, Lindsey and Anna stopped by for awhile just to visit and then Christmas morning, Jim and Linda took CLT and headed over to their house to exchange and open presents with Laura, Lindsey, Ashley, Chris, (Ashley's boyfriend), and Anna. From there, they all headed over to Marv and Inez's, (Lindsey's parents house in DeLand), where they had a nice meal and visited for awhile.

Again, Jim and Linda want to thank Marv and Inez for their hospitality. It was really nice of them to include Jim and Linda in their holiday celebration.

Jim and Linda didn't exchange gifts this year because they had just bought this new laptop computer for Jim and the Kindle Paper White for Linda. Besides that, they both said that they have just about everything else they need and there really wasn't anything else they needed or wanted this year.

Thursday was a busy day with 2 appointments. First they had to go over to the Florida Hospital in Orange City for a pre-op procedure, so they could do blood test and get all of Linda's medical information in preparation for getting the "port" inserted on Friday. After that, they had to hurry over to the Chemo place where they took more blood to make sure Linda's white cells were still plentiful so that her immune system keeps working.

Thursday was a hard day for Linda.  First of all, she wasn't happy about having the "port" inserted in her body and then, when she took her shower in the evening and combed out her hair, the comb was full of hair!! :-(   Yep, the chemo is doing it's thing on her hair and it's starting to fall out. This was expected, but was still was a traumatic time for her. :-(

Yesterday morning, bright and early, Jim and Linda headed over to the Florida Hospital where they implanted the "port" in Linda's upper chest. This was what they call an "outpatient procedure", so by about 3:00 or so, they were pulling back into the driveway.

Linda doesn't like the idea of the "port" thing at all, but she's trying to look at the good points. It will now be easier to get blood drawn for tests and will be easier on her veins when they are giving her further chemo treatments. As for the hair thing, she says that she won't have to worry about washing and combing her hair for awhile and will be able to easily wash her head.

Yesterday evening, Laura stopped by for while because she knew that Linda wasn't having a good day. By the time she left Linda was in a much better mood and was feeling much better though. :-)

So,  ,  ,  ,  that catches you up on the blog. Linda is feeling fine and only has minor pain from the insertion of the "port" yesterday. I don't know of anything special planned for today, but Sunday morning, because she has worked as a beautician,  Ashley is going to come over here and shave Linda's head before she starts getting bald spots. She will also be helping Linda with some eye make-up.

Yet again, Linda and Jim want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. It has really meant a lot.

Thank You!!! Thank You!!! Thank You!!!

Did you know that New Year is the oldest of all holidays, as it was first observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4000 years ago?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DeBary, FL.

62 deg. light rain, N. wind @ 5 mph.
Forecast = Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy this afternoon. High around 65F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph.

I hope all of you have a safe and Merry Christmas. Linda and Jim will be heading over to Laura and Lindsey's house either this evening or tomorrow morning to open presents and then will be going to Marv and Inez's house tomorrow for awhile.

Linda seems to be doing pretty well right now, but Thursday and Friday, she has appointments at the doctors again.

Did you know that in 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy youngsters?


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The First Day Of Winter

DeBary, FL.

63 deg. light mist, no wind.
Forecast = Plentiful sunshine. High near 85F. Winds SE at 10 to 20 mph.

Ahhhhh!!!!! The first day of Winter!!!! Frost nipping at your nose, (It'll get down to about 66 degrees here in Florida tonight), brisk winds blowing snowflakes through the air, (Brisk winds at 10 to 20 mph but only blowing some leaves around), snow crunching under you feet, (no snow, only gravel), all bundled up to go outside, ( no coats today cause the temperature is supposed to get up to 85 deg. ).

Yeah, winter is sure different down here in Florida!!! In some ways I kind of miss the snow and the crispness of winter, but I sure don't miss almost freezing to death when my fur is covered with ice and I'm shaking like a leaf in a 50 mph wind!!!  And, I know that Jim doesn't miss shoveling snow and dealing with all those slippery conditions.

Like anything else though, there are trade-offs. Down here, there's lots of bugs to deal with, the humidity is high much of the time, but unlike the Northern parts of the country, most days you don't even have to wear a jacket or coat. ;-)

At this time in our lives, I think Florida is the best place to be. As you get older, it's more likely that you'll break something if you fall on a slippery surface, the cold winds seem to make you feel colder than they used to and they don't call that wet heavy snow, heart attack snow, for no reason.

Yeah, Jim, Linda and I miss the pretty snow and ice on the trees, but we can always look at photos from the past.

Hope you have a great day, where ever you are. :-)

Did you know that the word solstice comes from the Latin words for "sun" and "to stand still?”


Friday, December 20, 2013

Feeling Better and More Appointments

DeBary, FL.

51 deg. clear, no wind.
Forecast = Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High 82F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.

By Tuesday, Linda's joint/bone pain was mostly gone with just a few aches here and there. It looks like the side effects from this injection, (she will be getting an injection after each chemo treatment), are going to last about 3 days or so.

In fact, Linda was feeling well enough that she, Laura and Jim went over to the Florida Hospital complex  where they went to an American Cancer Society office, where a very nice lady who was also an RN, showed Linda some of the hats, scarves and hair pieces that they had for cancer patients. All of the items that they had have been donated or purchased with donations so there was no charge for the 2 hats and 2 small hair pieces that Linda selected.

They also had a whole wall of informational  booklets available covering different treatments and types of cancer so Linda brought home some of them too.

Wednesday, Linda and Jim headed over to the doctor's office who is going to implant the "port". She still has a whole lot of reservations about the whole "port" thing but it sounds like she's going to go ahead and have it installed. In fact, she now has an appointment for pre-op on Thursday, Dec. 26th, and an appointment to have the port installed on Friday, Dec. 27th, all at the Florida Hospital in Orange City, which is only about 3 or 4 miles from the house.

The inserting of the port is an outpatient procedure and she should not have to stay overnight.

Yesterday, Linda had to go to the chemo place to get a blood test to see how the chemo drugs are effecting her immune system. The test results were satisfactory so it appears like the treatment is proceeding as planed.

After the test, and stopping by Walgreen's to pick up a prescription, Linda and Jim returned here to the house. Then, soon after they returned, Ashley stopped by and spent a good part of the afternoon visiting with them. ;-)

I don't think that there's anything special planned for today, or for this weekend for that matter. I think Linda would like to go out to eat somewhere, but the chemo doctor has told her that she should avoid large crowds or groups of people if possible because her immune system is compromised from the treatments and it would be easy for her to pick up some germs that could effect her health.

Did you know that in 1836, Alabama was the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday?


Monday, December 16, 2013

Dealing With Some Side Effects

DeBary, FL.

46 deg. clear, N. wind @ 2 mph.
Forecast = Sunny. High 67F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

Friday afternoon, Laura swung by and picked up Linda and took her over to the chemo place where the nurses took a blood test and gave Linda that injection that will help Linda's immune system fight off infections and other nasty things.

Because it's almost certain that Linda will loose her hair from the chemo treatments, from there they headed up to DeLand to check out a few places that they had been told, sold hats and head coverings of different styles. The trip was unsuccessful though, as one place was closed and the other was out of stock! :-(

Saturday, Linda started getting the joint/bone pain that she had been told about. It has been quite severe at times and has made it very difficult for her to do some of the things she wants to do. Over the counter medications have helped some but not as much as hoped. They didn't tell her and she never thought to ask how long this joint/bone pain is supposed to last, but if it continues, she may have to call the doctor and see if she'll prescribe something a little stronger.

She also has had some nausea, but the medications prescribed for that, seems to be keeping it in check.

Linda says that she feels that if these treatments are making her feel so crummy, the treatments must be doing their job in fighting any cancer cells that still may be inside her.

I don't think that there's much planned for today. Linda has almost all of the Christmas presents ready to be boxed up and sent out. I think Jim is planning going to the post office this morning and getting some of those priority boxes and then hopefully, tomorrow, he can get them back to the post office and get them in the mail.

A Point to Ponder : Life is just a bowl of cherries, you just need to remove the pits.


Friday, December 13, 2013

So Far, So Good!

DeBary, FL.

48 deg. partly cloudy, no wind.
Forecast = Mostly cloudy skies. High 73F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.

There have been some days lately where Linda was having doubts about this whole chemo thing. She got to reading all about the possible side effects of the treatments and that probably wasn't a good thing. One thing that did help was that she received some very positive comments and e-mails from some of my blog readers. Some of who had gone through the treatments themselves and others who had loved ones or family members who had. To those folks, Linda wants you to know that your advice and kind words helped tremendously.

Thank You!!!!

As many of you know, yesterday was Linda's first treatment. Everything went well, but they had trouble with her veins and she will more than likely have to have a "port" installed. I don't know a whole lot about it, but from what I gather, it's a device that's surgically  implanted just under the skin and is hooked to a vein. This     "port" can then be used for all further treatments.

Linda's not very happy about the idea of having a "port", but thinks it's probably the best solution. :-(

When Jim brought Linda home yesterday, she was feeling fine. So far, (and I even heard Jim ask her how she was feeling this morning), she has not had any side effects. She is taking preventive medication for nausea, and as of last night, her appetite was fine.

This afternoon, he has to go back to the chemo place and get an injection. This is to help her immune system. They've already warned her that it could cause bone and joint aches and have advised her what she should do if that happens.

For the next 2 weeks, she will have to go to the chemo place every Thursday and get a blood test so that they can keep an eye on what the treatments are doing to the blood. Then, in 21 days, (also on a Thursday), she will have her second chemo treatment.

In the meantime,  the chemo place is making arrangements for her to get the "port" implanted, (an outpatient procedure), at the hospital.

Again, thanks everyone for the thoughts, prayers, comments and e-mails. And again, the RVing community has come through with flying colors!!!! :-)

A Point to Ponder : Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Meeting and Emotions

DeBary, FL.

62 deg. light fog, no wind.
Forecast = Partly cloudy. High 83F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.

The Chemo Patient Education meeting on Friday at the Chemo place went well and the nurse, (I think Jim said that her name was Margret), explained the  whole chemo treatment process, showed Linda, Jim and Laura the facilities and talked about some of the common side effects. She also gave Linda a bunch of papers that described the procedure, gave instructions about what Linda should and shouldn't do before and during the treatments and listed more of the possible side effects.

The meeting took about an hour and soon, Linda, Jim and Laura were back here at the house and discussing what they had learned.

That evening, Linda started reading the papers that she had received at the meeting, and that's when things got tough! :-(  You see, they listed the many, many possible sided effects of the chemo treatments, and to be honest, many of them are downright scary!!!!

It was at this point that Lind's emotions got the best of her.

This whole cancer thing has been very emotional and reading about the side effects really hit Linda hard. In fact it hit her so hard that she and Jim stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, talking about everything that has already happened and what was more than likely to happen in the near future.

I was trying to get some sleep, but I did hear them talking about the treatments, what effects they would have on their daily lives and what the future looks like concerning travels, seeing family and friends and time here in DeBary.

All of this has  put a huge bump in the road for Linda and Jim. The future is very uncertain and only time will tell what will happen. We are so fortunate that we've had over 12 years to travel and hopefully we'll be able to do much more traveling in the future.

On a lighter side.

Did you know that a passionate kiss uses up 6.4 calories per minute?


Friday, December 6, 2013

CLT Goes To A Mechanic, Decorations and A Second Phone

DeBary, FL.

62 deg. light fog, no wind
Forecast = Mainly sunny to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High near 85F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.

Wednesday, Jim took CLT to a mechanic down on US 17/92. You see, for a while now, there has been a clunking noise coming from his steering wheel, and just lately, his horn has started blowing at odd times while driving down the road. Jim was quite sure that something had come loose in the steering column and didn't want to take any chances of the steering either locking up or coming apart! :-O

The mechanics at Bob Gorman's Alignment and Brake Center did a fine job and soon had CLT's steering repaired. While he was there, Jim also had the mechanic install new shocks on the front and do an alignment. Now CLT doesn't bounce while driving down the road and Jim says that he drives better too. :-)

While CLT was at the mechanic's, (Bob brought Jim back here to the house while CLT was being repaired), Jim and Linda finished decorating the tree. I think it looks pretty nice and I'm even starting to get into the Christmas spirit. ;-)

Then, about 4:30 Bob called and told Jim that CLT was finished and he would be picking him up in just a short while. In about 10 minutes, Bob arrived with CLT and picked Jim up. They headed back to the shop where Jim paid the bill, (Jim thought the charges were very reasonable), before bringing CLT back here.

Since she doesn't know how the chemo treatments are going to affect her, Linda's getting worried about getting everything ready for the upcoming holiday. In fact, yesterday, she and Jim were making a list of things that need to get done before the treatments start. Then, about 2:00 they took CLT and headed out to do some shopping and to see about getting another phone so that they can contact each other.

You see, all these years, Jim and Linda have only had one phone, and that had worked quite well because they were almost always together. Now, since we're here in DeBary, there already have been some times when a second phone would have come in real handy. After checking on how much it would cost to have another phone line added to their regular plan, it was decided to just go with a pre-paid phone, which was much less expensive.

After doing the shopping and getting the phone,  they came back here for while and then headed to Gram's Kitchen in Orange City for dinner.

This afternoon, Linda has an appointment at the chemotherapy  place for a "Chemo Patient Education" session. From what I understand, they will show Linda the facilities, explain the procedures to her and answer any questions she has about the treatment process and the side effects. Jim and Laura will also go along so that they will also have an idea of what Linda is going through.

 Then on the 12th, (next Thursday), Linda will have her first treatment.

A Point to Ponder :  Being kind is more important than being right.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Tree, A Gift For Linda and Friday's Appointment

DeBary, FL.

52deg. clear, no wind.
Forecast = Sunny to partly cloudy. High 78F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

Jim and Linda set up the new tree the other day and I think it looks pretty good. ;-)  Since this photo was taken, they have also partially decorated it, but haven't finished yet, so Jim didn't take any more photos of it.
They also strung a string of lights across the windows in the Florida room, but unless Jim takes a photo of them at night, I don't think you'd be able to see them in a daytime photo.

Oh, and Saturday, a delivery man brought a package!!! Linda didn't know it, but Jim had ordered a "Kindle Paper White" for her!!
You see, Jim had been thinking about getting her a Kindle for a long time but had put it off for one reason or another. But now, he reasoned that with this "chemo" stuff coming up, she could use it while she was getting the treatments and it would also be handy for her while we're here at the house and even while traveling. He chose the "Paper White" because Linda's eyes are not real good and the reviews said that it was the easiest one to see under most light conditions.

It took a little while but both Linda and Jim have figured out the basic use of it and have already downloaded about 30 free books from Amazon. ;-)

Laura stopped by for awhile yesterday afternoon. No special reason, just stopped to chat for awhile. I also found out that she's also going to go along to the Chemo place for Linda's "chemo patient education" appointment Friday afternoon. As I understand it, at this appointment, Linda will learn what's all involved with getting the treatments. She will be shown the facilities and a nurse who administers the treatments will walk her through the whole process and answer any questions she has.

Then, on the 12th, Linda will have her first treatment. :-(

OH!!!! I almost forgot!!!! Sunday, Jim and Linda went Christmas shopping and bought a whole bunch of presents. They said that the stores really weren't too crowded and in fact, were kind of surprised how few shoppers were out and about.

Don't think there's anything special planned for the next few days. Linda has been working on a few embroidery projects to use for presents and Jim has been doing a few things around the house, so I suppose they'll be doing more of that.

Did you know that the first Kindle was introduced on November 19, 2007, for $399?