Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday at the BMT Clinic

I had to have blood today. I need 2 units, but only got one today. We ran out of time. I'll get the other one tomorrow.

There is a reason my red blood count keeps dropping, but I'm not sure I completely understand it. It has to do with my old blood cells trying to break down Johnnie's cells because they think something is wrong with them. Breaking down cells uses a lot of folic acid, which is why mine has been so low. It also explains my fatigue caused by anemia. Dr. O has always told me it takes longer for red cells to come back than anything else, and that in my case it may take even longer. He said this usually resolves over time, can take up to a year or longer (one patient he had took 3 years).

Treatment is basically what we are doing now--labs to keep tabs on cell counts and blood transfusions when needed. If needed we can do apheresis (the same procedure they did to harvest Johnnie's stem cells), only they would harvest the antibodies from my old blood cells that are helping break down my new red blood cells from Johnnie. That would happen if they discover that I'm making way too many antibodies. This is way over-simplified and I'll try to get him to explain it to me again tomorrow and write it down. I don't understand it to be graft vs host disease, but something different. Anyway, not to worry. It's one of the things that sometimes happens with transplants and will be treated. Thank God we have doctors who understand this stuff and know how to make us well.

So, I spent the day at the BMT clinic. It was kind of fun today because Michael, our music therapist, was playing blues music for me. Then everyone else wanted blues music and the guy next to me was making up his own blues song about waking up in the morning and having heebie jeebies running down his arm (hey, I know exactly what he means). He had us all laughing. Actually, he was pretty good, and the song (I think he said it was the cancer blues) wasn't bad either. :o) Made me wish my son Jason had been there--he would have loved it.

My nephew finally got the casts on his arms and they will check in 4 weeks to see how his right wrist is doing. He seems to be taking it all pretty well. He's a baseball player, and I feel so bad for him. Right now he can't even feed himself. He's young and strong, though, and I'm sure he will heal quickly. Thank you for your prayers for Braden.

Reece is feeling so much better today, thank goodness! He will probably go back to school tomorrow. He has missed me today, and now wants to use my computer. I love how he sits so close to me and puts his feet on me. Guess I'll give him the computer for awhile.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weird Week

It has seemed like a strange week. Reece is still sick. That tamiflu didn't do a thing to help him. I guess his flu was already too far along. You have to start it early, the doctor said. And today Cyrise and Camryn are sick. We're probably all passing it back and forth. Our schedule is all messed up, so I hardly know what day it is each morning.  

Yesterday (Tuesday) Kelly came and got me and we went up to the outlet mall in San Marcos. It was nice just to get out for a few hours and spend time with Kel. We really didn't shop much, but it was fun. I exchanged those big bras I ordered for some that fit. I ordered on-line for the convenience, and it turned out to be very inconvenient. I never have very good luck ordering things on-line. It's always better if I can just buy it locally. 

Kelly got some really cute little mini cocottes--four of them in different colors--at the Le Creuset store. She also got a cookbook with recipes for them, and something free. I think it was a square baking pan, but I'm not sure. She loves dishes and cookware. Me too. 

I'll be at the BMT clinic at BAMC tomorrow for my weekly labs. Dr. O increased my synthroid dose last week, and added folic acid to my meds, so I'm curious to see if anything changed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend Chitchat

Reece's pediatrician said he has the flu. We were surprised to hear that, since he's not had vomiting or diarrhea, but maybe he has some different kind of flu. He's had a headache and for two days all he would do was lie on my bed and sleep or watch TV (mostly sleep). He also had a high fever. He's been on tamiflu since Friday, and he feels a lot better, but still has that awful cough and his runny nose has returned. We are having the worst allergy season we've had for years, so some of his misery may be that.

We've been having warm weather--temps in the 80s. Everything is so green. After our drought last year it is a real relief to see the grass filling in, and the leaves so pretty and green. The bluebonnets across the street are blooming like crazy and look so Texas. We need to get some pictures of the kids.

A pair of finches made a nest in the wreath on our front porch and Josh says there are 3 little speckled eggs down inside. I can't believe they built their nest so close to the front door! And we have wrens in the little old wren house on the back patio. They are smaller and sleeker than the usual wrens we have in there. It's so cute to see them building--all of a sudden old nesting material comes flying out of the entry hole. I always mean to clean out the wren house before they come back, but they surprise me every year. Oh well, they took care of the housecleaning themselves. :o)

There is bird song everywhere--jays, doves, mockingbirds, wrens, the finches and sparrows. I love spring time.

Josh and Cyrise had a garage sale Saturday and today. They had mostly baby and kids clothes, and I didn't expect them to do very well, but they made a few hundred dollars and got rid of lots of clothes. They want to go to Rockport for their anniversary April 1, and wanted to make extra money. They took the leftover stuff to Goodwill. As they were packing up, a lady who had bought a bunch of little girl clothes earlier came by and bought more clothes and the bumbo.

Gina poked Aubrey in the eye Friday and she has barely been able to open it since, until this afternoon. Poor little thing, she just looked pitiful. She sure is a tough little girl, though. Reece had a little tee shirt with a bulldog on the front, and it's been handed down to Aubrey. He likes to see her wearing it, and calls her "Tough" as in "Come on, Tough. Let's go outside." She's a real tomboy. She loves little dresses, but needs to be dressed in jeans or shorts because she's always showing her hiney.

They were playing outside and got wet playing around the pool. That's why they aren't dressed in the picture (from my photo booth on my Mac).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kismette!

Hope you've had a beautiful birthday!

May your birthday dreams and wishes come true, in this new year of your life and always.

These pretty peach blossoms are for you. :o)

Happy Birthday!

Prayers For Our Boys

My sister Johnnie emailed me today to say that her grandson broke both his arms when he fell off a trampoline at his coach's. There are 3 breaks, the left ulna, right radius head, and right distal ulna. Please send up a prayer for Braden, that he heals quickly and with as little pain as possible.

Reece is home from school sick again. I don't think he ever completely got over whatever it was he had last week. He fell asleep at school one day this week, and yesterday when he came home he was sad and felt bad. We thought it was because a girl in his class had been mean to him, and has even bitten him twice! But he had a fever last night, and today. His mommy made an appointment for him to see the doctor this afternoon. He feels terrible, and only wants to lie on my bed and watch Nick Jr., but he keeps falling asleep.

Thank you for your prayers for Braden and Reece.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just A Little Chitchat

Good morning! I thought I had posted since last week, but I see I haven't.

Spring break is over and Reece is going to school again, so we're back into a fairly normal routine.

We had thunderstorms at the beginning of the week, and three areas around us were struck by small tornadoes! We don't see many tornadoes in our area and I didn't know a thing about them until the next day. Thank God no one was killed, but some people were hurt and homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

I did take my Shark steam mop back to Target and they gave me my money back, but they didn't have another steam mop that I wanted. I'm thinking of getting a Eureka Enviro Steamer, since I've read more good reviews about it than any of the others. Reading reviews just makes me more confused, though, as there are good and bad ones about all of them.

Cyrise has been getting ready for a garage sale. She has washed and tagged five or six loads of baby clothes. Every time I go through the room she holds up something cute and says, "Remember this?" :o) They do bring back sweet memories.

Guess I'll go downstairs and find something for breakfast. Reece had his usual oatmeal this morning and it smelled cinnamon-y and good. Have a great Wednesday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fun

This week flew by quickly. Reece has been on spring break, so we haven't had to get up so early and he's been staying up late and sleeping with me and Papa. Now we need to get him back on schedule and back into his own bed. Josh and Cyrise took all of them to the park to ride the train today. They had fun.

Here's Josh with his four babies--Reece and Aubrey in front with a space for Mommy, Josh holding Gina next to Camryn in the seat behind them. Cyrise took the photo with Josh's phone.

Ron and I were at BAMC yesterday for my weekly labs. I was afraid I'd have to have a blood transfusion, but my counts were okay. Low, but not low enough for a transfusion. I've got the virus that's going around, and Dr. W (filling in for Dr. O) sent us to the pharmacy for a boatload of meds for my symptoms. He said a virus will run its course in 7 to 10 days, so it should be gone by next Monday. Meanwhile, I'm to go in right away if I get a fever or feel worse. My cough sounds awful, and my sinuses are constantly draining, but I don't really feel too bad. I have antibiotics, just in case something turns into an infection. They did a chest xray yesterday, and Dr. W said it looked okay.

I'm going to return the Shark steam mop I bought; I'm really disappointed with the results. Cyrise and I have both used it, and it leaves the tile dull and streaked. I like the steam, though, so I'm going to find a better one. I should have read the reviews before I bought it, but it had been highly recommended by one of my nurses, so I thought it would be good. Oh well, live and learn.

Ron bought a new flat screen TV for our bedroom. It's nice, but I had not missed the one that quit working at all. I'd rather have spent the money for other things for the house.

Been doing lots of laundry today, and cleaned the kitchen and stove. I should have cleaned the fridge. Cyrise went grocey shopping today and got so much stuff. Good thing they have their chest freezer here, or we wouldn't have room for everything.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday With Reece

Reece, waiting for Papa to bring him a bedtime snack:

"Papa is going to bring me a white cake."

"Is he?"

"Yes. And I will eat the white cake and Papa will eat a Ding Dong. We like to do things together."

Lately he has been telling me all the different things that Papa can do. He says that Papa can do these things because "He's an artist."

He went to the park today with his parents and sisters. I kept Gina at home with me. She was so sweet. Reece came home and said to me, "Gramma, I have bad news." (Lately it seems as if he shares some "bad news" almost every day). He looked so worried and upset. I asked what the bad news was, and he said the man at HEB "...killed my shark."


I was so confused. I asked him, "What shark?" and he said that they bought a rubber shark at the grocery store, and the HEB man had "killed him." I asked why the man would do that, and Reece said, "I guess he didn't like him." He had a rubber crocodile to replace the poor murdered shark (I think this is about the 4th or 5th crocodile--they are all over the house).

It turns out that the teenaged bag boy had let the shark get caught up in the conveyer belt at the register, and it got all mangled. When Cyrise asked for it (because Reece wanted to hold it in the truck), the boy said, "Oh, I killed it." The boy was just being silly, but Reece was really upset. Cyrise said he cried. Of course that was the last shark; that's why he got the crocodile instead. But he is still talking about the untimely death of his shark, and had Papa print out a half dozen little shark pictures this evening.

The kids grilled some kind of beef roll-ups filled with spinach, feta cheese and black olives tonight for supper, along with some bacon-wrapped sausage-stuffed jalapenos. Meat of any kind is unappealing to me right now, but I enjoyed the spinach/feta/olive filling, steamed broccoli and the grilled jalapenos (stripped of bacon and sausage). Aubrey enjoyed the beef I didn't eat. She is the tiniest little bit of a thing, and I swear she eats like a man!

Time for sleep. G'night.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Congratulations Cole and Kelly!

Dear Cole and Kelly,

May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

We are so happy to welcome you into our family, Kelly. We are praying for both of you, and for a long, happy marriage.

Our love to both of you.

(Cole and Kelly were married yesterday, March 10, in Steamboat Springs. What a beautiful place to begin their new life together).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I am so sick. Went in for labs this morning, and they were fine. So Dr. O decided to go ahead and give me the methotrexate in my Ommaya, as planned. But they had to get it mixed, so Ron and I went to Mom's and took her some lunch. We had Taco Cabana. Went back to the hospital around 1:30 and Dr. O came in shortly after that to administer the drug. It went okay, but I felt a little queasy. On the way home it got worse, and by the time we got here it couldn't be stopped. I hate to get sick on Mexican food. Sorry. TMI

Reece came home from school in the midst of my "choking up," as Cammie calls it. He informed me that he had bad news. I asked him what it was and he said, "Ms. C (his teacher) took my Indian." I think he took a little plastic Indian from home this morning and she confiscated it. They aren't supposed to take toys to school. We also found out (from a note in his kinderkeeper) that he got in trouble at school for taking something from her desk. So we're trying to get to the bottom of that. He said he took a bracelet. His mommy said he brought home a vintage looking R2D2 yesterday, so we're wondering if he took that from her desk. His daddy asked him if he found it on the playground, and he said yes, but now we're wondering. He has never stolen anything before, and we've never really talked to him about what stealing is and how it makes people feel until today. I asked him how he would feel if someone took his Angry Birds or his Kindle Fire, and he said he would be sad and mad. So I think he gets it. I told him he will have to take Ms. C's things back to her and apologize, and he said, "Okay."

Poor little guy--he's had a rough week. He was sick and missed several days of school, had the beginnings of ear and sinus infections, had to go to the doctor and get antibiotics (he hates taking medicine!). The area around his mouth and under his nose is red and raw from him wiping his nose so much. He's been grouchy and naughty and just not himself all week, so he's been in trouble at home, also. It's been a long week. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.

I'm going to take a nap.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I love this print. I'm missing Japan right now. It's cherry blossom time. We've been seeing and hearing a big owl around our house lately. He looks a lot like this one.

You can buy this lovely print here.

Sixty-seven degrees and rain here today. Not good rain, just misty drizzle so far.

Cyrise and I made empanadas for dinner last night and I had a couple for lunch just now. Not bad, and they look so cute; like little pies. They are made with browned ground beef, mild green chilies, taco seasoning and lots of cheese for the filling. You cut 3" circles from pie dough, put a spoonful of filling in the middle of one, brush an egg wash around the filling and top with another round of dough. We used a fork to seal the edges. A little more egg wash on top, bake for 15 to 20 minutes (or until golden brown) in a 400 degree oven. You don't need much meat; we had a lot of filling left over. Josh said he ate some with corn chips, sort of like nachos.

Reece has been out of school since last Friday, but went back today. I know he still doesn't feel up to par, and hope his day has gone okay. He saw the doctor yesterday and was given a prescription for antibiotics. The doctor said Josh brought him in just in time. He has the beginnings of ear and sinus infections . Poor little guy has been so miserable the past few days. He hasn't been like himself, but grouchy and unhappy. I'm anxious for him to get home!

I was at the hospital on Monday. Dr. O wanted to see that my blood counts didn't plummet over the weekend after receiving the blood transfusions last week. They were okay. I'll go back tomorrow (Thursday) for my usual labs and methotrexate in my Ommaya port.

Ron and I took Gran some Church's chicken for lunch Monday, and I was hungry for something sweet. They had little strawberry shortcakes at Church's, so I got one of them. O Yum! Now I want another one.

Ron just called to let me know that he had been to Gran's and she and Teddy are fine. He sometimes takes her lunch from where he works. There is a lady there who makes homemade food and he often gets a plate for himself and one for Mom. Today she had pulled pork sandwiches and pasta salad.

I have some laundry to fold and put away, and some dirties to go downstairs to the laundry room, so I'd better get busy. Hope your week is going well!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This Makes Me Grin

(Turn off my playlist music to listen to the video).

I still like to listen to James Dupre's YouTube videos, and I am captivated by the fiddle playing of this young man, Stevie Rees. He and his brother are playing with James in this video. I wanted to know more about him, and discovered that he's part of a wonderful Cajun family band, L'Angelus.

I think they are wonderful, so talented and sweet and funny. They are all great, but Stevie makes it all look as easy as breathing. God given talent.

Oh, and they are Catholic, pro-life, have been on EWTN, and have CDs of sacred music and Christmas hymns. Explore their official site, linked above.

Thanks, L'Angelus! Your music makes me smile and tap my feet and forget all about cancer. :o)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Minute With Aubrey

Sitting on the couch with Aubrey, me wearing one of my scarf hats that ties in the back.

Aubrey, taking a good long look at me in my hat: "Gramma, are you a pirate?"

Me, thinking it over: "Why yes, yes I am a pirate."

Aubrey: "Oh."


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sharks and Shopping

Had a nice Saturday. I talked with my sister Sandi for awhile this morning. She's busy getting ready for her son's wedding next weekend. The wedding will be in Colorado, and we won't be able to go, but I know it will be beautiful. I'm so excited and happy for them.

I met Kelly at Great Gran's around noon today. The three of us went out for lunch and then did some shopping. We got Gran a new vacuum cleaner. It's a Shark, and especially good for pet hair. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver, and Gran was very excited to use it when we got back to her place. She couldn't believe the dirt and dog hair it collected in just a few minutes.

We also finally got the stairs for Teddy. He used them right away getting on the sofa, but they are a little short for the bed. I think he will do okay with them once he gets used to them, though. If not, we'll get him a taller set for the bed.

I really enjoyed being out and about with Kelly and Gran. I was a little tired when we got home, but not bad. I loved going shopping and being "normal."

The little ones were glad to see me when I got home. Reece is still sick, Cammy has diarrhea, and Cyrise is not feeing well, either. Reece and I came upstairs with nacho doritos and cokes and he snuggled against me and played with his Kindle. He felt a little better and had a corn dog. I'm hungry, but nothing could get me to eat a corn dog.

Josh rented a Rug Doctor a couple of days ago and cleaned the downstairs carpets. They look better, but I am just itching to pull them up and get hardwood flooring. I would never have carpet again if I had my way. I'd love to have hardwood in the family room, the living room, up the stairs, the upstairs hallway, all of the bedrooms and baths. We have tile in the foyer, downstairs hall, kitchen, breakfast room, half bath and laundry room. The dining room has an old wood parquet floor that needs some work. This whole house needs work!

Oh, I also got a Shark today, but it's one of the upright steam mops, not a vacuum. I've wanted one for over a year when one of my nurses told me how wonderful they are. Our tile in the kitchen and breakfast room is always filthy, from the dogs and the kids. I'm hoping that we'll all use the steam cleaner every day, or at least a few times a week. It not only cleans, but also sanitizes the floor. Boy, do we need that!

Off to find food. Hope you're having a good weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Chatter

I've been feeling kind of crummy the past week and didn't really know what was going on. Then yesterday my labs showed that my red blood count was extremely low and I needed a transfusion. The doctor thinks it's probably from cutting back on my tacrolimus and I have a little graft vs. host disease, which he wanted because it helps to make the immune system stronger. I've had quite a bit of nausea, too. Not fun.

Dr. O said the most common symptom of graph vs. host is a skin rash. I don't have that, but have felt itchy and have some skin discoloration. He said it can manifest in the lower gut--the colon--and that causes diarrhea. Don't have that. And he said it can show up in the upper gut--the stomach and gastrointestinal tract--which causes nausea. Do have that, but eating something usually helps. My meds make me gag. I'm sure it's all in my head, but makes it hard to swallow them. And then I'm likely to throw them up. Grrr!

I got one unit of blood yesterday and another one this morning. I felt lots better after the one yesterday, and hope the additional one today will have me feeling great. I think the blood helped with the nausea, and I know it helped with the lightheadedness, dizziness and fatigue.

There is young man doing his internship in music therapy who comes to the hospital every day. He plays guitar, and I've enjoyed listening to him play (and sing sometimes), and talking to him. He can play just about any kind of music and is very good. It's amazing what listening to music can do for people. Sure makes me feel better (and happier).

I just had a good laugh. I ordered some bras from One Hanes Place online. They came today. I ordered the size I always wear, and two of them are a little too big since I've lost weight. But the third one is enormous! One cup could fit on my head as a hat. It just struck my funny bone when I pulled it out of the bag.

Kelly and I are going to take Gran to lunch tomorrow, and then shopping. I'm looking forward to it so much. I don't have to go back to the clinic until Monday. Free weekend--yay!!

Reece stayed home from school today. Poor little guy has a croupy cough and runny nose. He wipes his nose so hard and so often that it makes his upper lip all red and sore. We were outside and I asked him if he smelled the mountain laurel. He looked so sad and said, "I can't smell anything, Gramma!"

I've been telling him not to cough on me because it can make me very sick, so he has been trying not to cough on me. Last night he said, "Gramma, I didn't cough on you. I coughed on Papa." I told him I appreciated it very much. :o)

It's in the eighties here today with lots of sunshine. The grass is turning green, the leaves are budding out on the trees, and some things are blooming. Feels like summer and I love it! I'm going to go sit in the sunshine for awhile. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sandi!

I thank God for you.

You are a gift from Him to all of us who love you.

I pray that He will continue to bless you all of your life.

I pray for your good health, for your peace of mind, and that your laughter, love and joy will multiply every day of your life.

I love you. Happy Birthday!