Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Fauxpetals!

My friend Karen/Fauxpetal's birthday is February 29, so she only has a birthday about every four years.

May your special birthday be filled with joy, Faux! I'll be sending up prayers for your good health and happiness all during this leap year.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Little Irritations

Dog hair on the floor.
Bad drivers.
Screaming kids.
Bird poop on my car.
The Obamas.
Losing my balance.
Nausea and dizziness.
Running out of toilet paper.
Mom's nosy neighbor calling me to tattle or alarm.
Mice, cockroaches and June bugs.
Catholics who think they get to pick and choose.
Stinky people.
Political correctness.

Little Pleasures

Nuns who wear the habit.
Peach tea.
Dr. Pepper.
My lavender flannel robe Kelly gave me.
Aroma of my tea olive tree.
Looks of love from the puppies.
Bird song.
Old fashioned oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
Green grass.
Redbud trees blooming.
Chant, bells, incense.
Tea pots.
Little white Christmas lights, all year 'round.
Gruene Hall.
7 Up flavored LipSmackers.
Or peppermint flavored Burt's Bees.
My camera.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cream Tartlets

My raspberry tartlets didn't turn out as pretty as the ones in the magazine. We had to use frozen raspberries rather than fresh. But the girls enjoyed watching me make them. They liked the raspberry yogurt and they liked the dark chocolate, but they didn't necessarily like them together. :o)

I like them, though. Easy to make, and they are cute. The recipe is from the Winter issue of the Life: Beautiful magazine.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cream Tartlets

1 ounce dark chocolate
1 1.9 ounce package pre-baked phyllo shells (Athens mini filo shells)
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, softened
1/3 cup low-fat raspberry yogurt
15 fresh raspberries
Additional dark chocolate, for garnish

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 ounce dark chocolate on high power in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until melted. Spoon approximately 1/2 teaspoon melted chocolate in each phyllo shell. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes to harden chocolate.

In small bowl, stir toether mascarpone cheese and raspberry yogurt until well combined. Spoon mascarpone mixture into phyllo shells. Place a raspberry in each shell.

Melt additional chocolate to drizzle over raspberries.

Makes 15 tartlets, 50 calories each.

Monday, Monday

Foggy and cloudy here this morning--sixty degrees, going up to 66. Reece had his oatmeal and off he went to school with his backpack loaded with snacks and his kinderkeeper. I love him so much. I pray that he has a wonderful day and that he is safe at school.

Aubrey and Cammie were sitting in the hallway this morning, where they could see the TV. They had their blankies and stuffed animals. I asked them why they were sitting there and Cammie said, "We peeking." They are so funny.

Our weekend was nice and quiet. Josh grilled a steelhead trout with herbs on Friday, so I didn't make the salmon patties. I'll do that this Friday. Saturday Josh barbecued ribs, which were delicious.

I have been planning to make little raspberry tartlets ever since I saw a recipe in a magazine Kelly brought me while I was in the hospital in December. The kids got the ingredients for me, so I plan to make them today.

I have the news on--none of it good. I don't know why I even turn the TV on; it's depressing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Chitchat

Wow, it's 82* here right now, supposed to go up to 86 for a high.

Josh brought me a beautiful salad for lunch. I took the meat off (turkey I think), and the onions, and ate the greens (spinach), dried cranberries, feta, pecans, apple slices and raspberry vinegarette, and it tasted good, but I just got so sick. Not sure if it was the salad or if I'm coming down with the flu or something. I've had a lot of nausea lately, so it's probably just the chemo, meds, etc. in my body. Yuck.

I was going to make beef empanadas for supper tonight, but I think that will have to wait a few days. I made egg salad sandwiches last night, for Ash Wednesday. Josh brought some yummy bakery bread with lots of seeds and nuts. The kids had whole wheat white bread, and they all loved the egg salad. I don't think they had ever eaten it before. Tomorrow I'm planning salmon patties.

Aubrey just peeked into my room and said she is going for a walk. I said, "Who are you going for a walk with?" and she said, "Reece." I think I'd better go see what's going on. They can't go by themselves.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Labs and Aubrey Time

Ron and I went to the BMT clinic this morning for my lab work. We were out of there by 10 AM! My labs looked good, the doctor thinks I am doing great.

We looked at the CT/PET scans again. There are five small spots that lit up on the PET scan, but they're so tiny they don't even show on the CT scan. Even the "expert" didn't know exactly what they are, but described them as "tubular structures." Dr. O has decided to take me off the tacrolimus (the med that keeps my body from rejecting the transplanted cells) by next week so that my new immune system can take over. He said that we need to assume the spots are disease, and eliminating the tacrolimus will give the new cells a chance to do their work.

He has reduced the tac several times already, until I was only taking .5 mg once a day. I'll take .5 mg every other day this week, then none after Thursday next week. He said it could cause graft vs. host disease to rear its ugly head, but so far I've had none, and the amount of tac I take is so small that I can't imagine stopping it will make much difference. We'll see. Whatever happens, I'll deal with it.

Dr. O also took me off a couple of other transplant meds. I'm so glad. I get tired of taking so many pills.

Aubrey has been keeping me company this morning, ever since I got home and she and her family got back from the park. They brought some good breakfast tacos, too. We've watched Little Bear and now she is brushing her teeth. Uh oh, now she has gone downstairs and brought back some gummy princess candy. And now it is nap time.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chinese Dragons and Not So Angry Birds

Reece still likes playing Angry Birds, especially the one with the Chinese dragon. He told me that the "evil dragon bumps into his eyebrows" when he dives down to get the golden fish. He says the cutest things. :o)

He likes for me to draw the different characters. When I drew the Chinese dragon, Reece told me not to forget the "sharps." The "sharps" are the pointy things along the dragon's back. I just love that he came up with his own (very descriptive) word for them.

Yesterday there was a flock of little birds in the tree in our backyard. The whole tree was filled with them. They were so cute, and moved and flew so quickly. Some were hanging onto the ends of little branches. I don't know what they were, but I loved seeing them. Today Josh said, "Did you hear that bird? It sounds so loud it must be in the garage!" Sure enough, one of the little birds was in the garage. He flew out when Josh opened the door.

The day before (Friday) we saw another huge flock of birds in the same tree. They were a little bigger than the ones we saw yesterday, and colored differently. We are in a bird migration flyway, so in the spring and fall we often see flocks of birds that we normally don't see around here. I love birds, so it is a lot of fun to watch them.

Ron has the day off tomorrow; he's having a four day weekend, which is nice. He's grilling bratwurst and sausages right now, and Cyrise just told me he got a steak for me (I'm not a big sausage fan). So I'm looking forward to supper. :o)

*Later* Yum, it was delicious.

Hope you've had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cutest Cowboy Ever

Be still my heart.

I have always loved cowboys, and this is the most handsome one I've ever seen.

Sweet, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Chitchat

Chilly and a little rainy here today.

Reece went on his field trip to the rodeo with his class. This is the third field trip they've been on. He always has a good time, but comes home tired and grumpy. He said they looked at the animals and the bulls were "scary." He said he saw a rhinoceros; I'm a little confused about that. :o)

Tomorrow is Rodeo Day at school and they can dress in western wear. The rodeo is a big deal in San Antonio every year, and lasts for more than two weeks. We're kind of in the middle of it right now (Feb. 9 to Feb. 26).

Josh took me to BAMC this morning. I had lab work done, then waited and waited for the pharmacy to get my methotrexate ready. I didn't have to have anything else, so that was good, but I was there until 1 PM.

My chimerism test showed that my cells are 97.4% Johnnie now, another good thing! And still no signs of any rejection or graft vs. host disease.

Dr. O had the pictures from the CT/PET scan, and we looked at them, but he said the expert still needs to look at and interpret them. He thought everything looked good. There were a few little spots that were lighting up that could be lymph nodes, but he said they are so tiny that he's not too concerned and they could be some that are disappearing rather than growing. We couldn't see anything abnormal in my spinal area.

He gave me the methotrexate in my Ommaya port. I'm a little nauseous this afternoon. I keep running to the bathroom gagging, and Reece is feeling sorry for me. The nausea meds aren't helping much lately.

The BMT clinic has moved from its temporary quarters in a trailer sort of thing to their new digs in the new part of the hospital. It is so nice! They just moved yesterday, so they're all still learning their way around. The BMT ward will move onto the floor next week, so they will all be together. It will make it much easier for the staff (and the patients).

I'll go back next Tuesday for labs and Dr. O will have the report from the CT/PET scan expert by then.

Oh, I saw the transplant doctor who did my first transplant in September 2010 as we were leaving today. He has been in Afghanistan and got back in mid-December, but has only been back at work for a week. It was good to see him, but he looked so thin! I gave him a hug and told him I'm glad he's home safely. I asked him if he saw Dr. B in Afghanistan, and he said that they were not in the same area. Dr. B is in the cold part; Dr. W was in the hot part.

I forgot Gran's pills this morning, so Josh took them back to her for me after he picked Reece up at school. I didn't feel like going since motion seems to set off the nausea. He is such a sweet son. He's incredibly kind and gentle with Gran.

Ron is home from work now, a little earlier than usual. Cyrise is going to make chicken stir fry for dinner. That sounds good. Have a great evening.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Ron!

Forty-three years. Wow. Love you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Reece came home from school with a bag full of valentines and candy from his classmates and teacher. He had fun at the party and was so excited.

This morning before school he said, "Am I giving valentines to all my classmates?" and I told him that he was. He said, "And will they all give me valentines?" I told him yes, they would, and he said, "Aww, how sweet!" :o)

Ron is involved in an exercise at work this week, so Josh took me to the hospital this morning for my CT/PET scan. It takes a couple of hours, so he went home and came back for me later. I have an appointment at the BMT clinic on Thursday, and he will take me in the morning, but Kelly will pick me up when I'm finished. I'm lucky to have so many willing drivers. I'm anxious to learn the results of the scan.

Josh and I stopped at Gran's and took her some lunch on the way home from the hospital. She and Teddy were doing fine. We are still giving Ted the steroids, but tapering off them now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Chitchat

Teddy's medicines seem to be doing the trick--he is feeling much better, thank goodness! Kelly and I are going shopping for an end of the bed bench for him tomorrow. Meanwhile, he seems to know better than to jump off the bed or couch. He waits for someone to lift him down or up.

I have a break from the BMT clinic until next Thursday. When I saw the doc on Tuesday I told him that I've had more nausea than usual lately, so he is waiting to give me the next dose of methotrexate next week. We were at the hospital today anyway though, because I had a follow-up appointment with my radiation oncologist. I haven't seen him for a few months, since before the transplant, and he was very pleased with my progress.

We were waiting at the desk after my appointment, to schedule a six month follow-up. It was a bit of a traffic jam, with lots of people clumped together. I was noticing one ladies colorful shoes when I glanced up and saw her friend smiling at me. A few minutes later she came up to me and leaned over and said very softly, "Would it be okay if I pray for you?" I said, "Oh, thank you!" and she took my hand and prayed for me then and there. Sometimes people are so incredibly sweet.

We went by Mom's after leaving the hospital and took her a fajita steak cabana bowl for lunch. She loves them. I took Teddy for a walk, and he was feeling pretty feisty. Ron took me home, then he went on in to work this afternoon.

Reece's class is having a Fairy Tale Ball tomorrow, and he is supposed to dress up as his favorite fairy tale character. It's hard to come up with a fairy tale costume for a boy; girls are easier. We thought of Prince Charming, the Beast or Peter Pan. But his favorite fairy tale is Jack and the Beanstalk, so he is going to be Jack. He will carry five magic beans in his vest pocket. :o) I'll try to remember to take a picture.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vet Visit

Josh and I took Teddy to the vet today. We left him there for tests and x-rays. His blood work was perfectly normal, but he did have some inflammation in a couple of places along his spinal column, and that's what has been causing his pain. The vet gave us some steroids and a prescription for muscle relaxers. She said that it could have been caused by any number of things, including Teddy jumping off the couch or bed, and that little dogs with long spines and short legs are prone to this kind of injury. I am so relieved that he doesn't have pancreatitis or something. He did eat when we took him home, so I think he was feeling a little better.

It's been gray and rainy here today, and I've felt chilled all day. I'm sitting here wearing my sweatshirt hoodie in the house.

Another day at the BMT clinic tomorrow.

That's about it for now.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Johnnie!

Dear Johnnie,

You are in my thoughts and prayers, especially today as you celebrate your birthday.

I wish I could be there, but I'm sending you big cyber hugs and lots of love.

I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for your stem cell donation. You have given me the greatest of

Things are going well, your cells have engrafted and I don't seem to be having any rejection problems.

I pray that your new year of life is filled with joy and wonder and every good thing. And no bad things.

I love you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday Chitchat

It was such a warm, pretty day yesterday (Wednesday) here in south central Texas. It's very warm here again today, but mostly cloudy. I hope we get rain! It feels like spring, not winter.

Kelly came over yesterday and went with me to visit Gran and Teddy. We were worried about Teddy because he has been acting so lethargic lately. He was really glad to see Kelly. I truly think that he is depressed because he misses her and her dogs. After spending over a month with them, he felt like part of the pack, and now he's bored to death cooped up in Gran's apartment all day long.

Mom said that he hasn't been eating or drinking, but he will eat his food if you feed it to him by hand. Kelly and I took him out for a walk and he seemed fine, trotting right along. Ron and I stopped there today on the way back from the hospital, and Ted seemed about the same, but he did finally poop a little bit when I took him for a walk. Mom has not been taking him out soon enough. We got there at 3 PM and she was still in PJs and hadn't been outside. So Teddy hadn't been out either. :o(

After we left Mom's yesterday, Kelly asked if I wanted to stop by a church. I was surprised, but thought that sounded like a good idea. We went to the church near my house where we used to go, and when I knelt in the adoration chapel before the monstrance, I had the strangest reaction. I just started sobbing. It was as if Jesus in the Eucharist looked straight at me and said, "Where have you been?" I used to go to Adoration there from 11 to midnight every Monday night, and it was the most special hour of my week. I feel so adrift right now.

I had chemo this morning (Rituxan through my port). That will be the last Rituxan dose, at least for awhile. My blood tests are showing that my kidney function is not doing as well as it should, so they also gave me fluids through the IV. I know I don't drink enough water and am trying to do better. Everything else looked pretty good, though. They did the chimerism test today, to see what percentage of my cells are Johnnie's, but they didn't have the results yet when I left. I have to go back Tuesday--a little earlier than usual because Dr. O is worried about the kidney thing. I'm praying that when I go back they will tell me my new immune system is all Johnnie. :o)

I think I mentioned that Ron had shaved my head while I was in the hospital when my hair started falling out. Now I'm losing my eyelashes and the hair in my nose (and everywhere else). I have lost weight and look like a concentration camp resident. It makes me smile when someone says, "Oh, you look great!" But you know, my little grandkids don't even seem to notice. Now and then one of them will say something. Reece told me, "I miss your hair, Gramma." But then he rubbed my head, grinned and said, "But I like your bald hair." And Aubrey asked me a couple of days ago what happened to my hair. She has been very lovey lately, wanting to sit close to me and kiss me. It's sweet. I'm very blessed.