Home Chef

We have now finished our 1st 3 meals with Home Chef.   The meals all came out good, were easy to do and the prep was actually fun for me and we prepared them together which was fun.

All 3 were very tasty and there was plenty of food…   Lyn’s appetite was down with how she was feeling so I have cancelled the next 2 weeks delivery until we get her stabilized again but we talked at last nights dinner how pleased we were with the service.  She really ate good at last nights dinner and enjoyed the taste a lot!!   I am sure we will restart as she adjusts and when the selections match watch she can eat.

First up we had Spaghetti & Ricotta Meatballs

Next, Spicy Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Last night, Lemon Parmigiana Chicken Orzo

 

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“C” First Really Bad Days..

Tuesday August 1st, Lyn had a follow-up visit with Victoria.   This was 5 days after the 1st Chemo and she was feeling pretty good.  Victoria checked all her vitals and reviewed her blood work and was pleased with all she saw.  All ranges were well withing standards and she even commented she was prepared to give fluids but she was doing so good that she did not need any.

Then on Wednesday, the bottom dropped out.  She was feeling just lousy, weak and tired.  She had no appetite, ate almost nothing could not keep up with her fluids and eventually started throwing up and had bouts of diarrhea.  She spent most of the day in bed.

Thursday morning, not feeling any better and she went back to bed.  At one point she got out of bed, took about 6 steps and passed out, hitting her head on the wall and floor.  It was 8:30 and I called Summit but they did not open until 9:00.  I could have waited online for the On-Call person but hung up as we were going in anyway for a scheduled pump change.

Upon arrival, they checked white blood count and sent us back to the Infusion Lab.  Vitals showed very low blood pressure.  She also had lost 5 pounds since 2 days ago!!   Spoke to the nurse about the issues and they consulted Dr Mark and gave her fluids, attributing low BP and fainting to de-hydration.  After, they checked her BP and it was back up, they changed the pump and suggested with the food issue to eat snacks all day long.  I did a grocery list and picked up some suggested snacks for her.   She felt better later in the day and then Friday and Saturday she was much more normal.   We have to keep the fluids up and keep up constant eating small bites through the day.

She is also eating better which makes us both feel better!!!    Hey, it will be up and down, we just have to keep up the fight!  Today, Sunday, she is still feeling decent….

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Boat Course Complete

I completed my boat course and passed the final.  This is a basic boat, safety and navigation course put on by US Power Squadron.  Lyn and I began taking it together but she was forced drop out when Chemo started.

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This Months Photo’s

I have been a little delinquent in my picture taking lately, what with all the photos from the Vacation to process and this issues with Lyn’s health followed by my broken foot.  And we are also in the  rainy season!  I am making an effort in between the doctors appointments to try and get more active.

I entered this Photo in the MTF June Contest and in July it was announced that I placed 2nd…

I did the following B&W’s and entered one in the Nikon Weekly challenge.  I was pleased with my shots but it did not place.

Also did a moon shot!

Did some conversions also, one with special processing and several with Oil Paint Effects…

   

And then some others…..

And this one was entered in Nikon Theme “Panning” (IT WON!!) and the Theme “Metal”

 

My Favorite of July!

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“C” Preparing for Battle!!

As Lyn will be struggling some through Chemo with good days and bad, we have made some adjustments here to help her out…

  1.   I can help with cleaning but am just NOT good nor thorough.  We hired a housekeeper to come in twice a month and give things a good cleaning.   We interviewed 2 girls yesterday and Lyn picked one.  They will start in 2 weeks.
  2. Meals and Grocery – I can definitely help here but my skills are limited and I do not do grocery stores.   We decided to use 2 online services.
    1. Home Chef is a meal delivery service.  Each week we pick 3 recipes from 10 and they deliver ALL the ingredients in the proper proportions along with instructions for prep and cooking.   Prep the ingredients and follow the instructions!
    2. We also subscribed to a recipe service called EMeals.    Each week they deliver 10 recipes complete with grocery list.  Using their App, we can tag the ones we want and it will create a shopping list for those recipes we selected.   You can select all the items you have and it removes them, then passes the final list to Walmart Grocery.  I can add anything else that we need, submit the list and they pull it for pickup.

We have our first order coming next week from Home Chef and have already selected and ordered “stuff” for 4 meals via Emeals.  The Grocery Pickup was slick, easy and quick!

We have prepared two of the already and they were both good.

Spanish Style Chicken Legs

Ham & Biscuit Stroganoff

Flat Iron Steak w/potatos & veggies

Patty Melt

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“C” Ups and Downs…

I do not know what else to call it, one day up, one day day down.     Anyway here is a summary from Last month!  This has been a Journey!

7/7   See Sucky Friday…

7/10 DOWN – Heard from Dr Hunters office regarding the ultrasound that was aborted on 7/7.  They are unable to squeeze her in this week and then he leaves for 2 weeks vacation.  We cannot wait 3 weeks to get started!!!

7/12 UP – Had our 1st meeting with Dr Mark Taylor, whom I know from radio.   Scott joined us for this.  The meeting went well and he layed out the treatment plan.   It is aggressive and will be tough on Lyn but it has to be to beat this.   3 rounds of Chemo (3 weeks each), followed by a recovery then Atlanta for surgery…   a delay for recovery and 3 more weeks of Chemo.  She will receive 3 drugs, 2 at the start of each round and have a pump that will send the 3rd drug continuous 24/7.  Dr Mark agreed we are not waiting so will substitute a Pet Scan, the concern being to be sure the Cancer is not all her abdominal cavity.   The drugs can affect the heart so he wants a stress test done.   We will wait to get these all done and also a Chemo Class and the installation of a port in her chest and insurance approval.

7/17 UP  – Dr Taylor’s office called.  We have Chemo Class Wednesday and Pet Scan Wednesday afternoon.

7/19 UP – Excellent visit with Veronica (Dr Marks PA).   Morgan went with us to this one.  She went through in great detail the entire Chemo process and all of the side effects.  In addition we discussed some other issues and she was a “makes things happen” person.   The port had not been scheduled, she did it right there.  She scheduled the 1st chemo for Tuesday.  I asked about Pet scan results and she said normal would be to discuss when we came in for Chemo.  I indicated I did not want to wait that long so she set us up for Friday with Dr Taylor.

7/21 UP & DOWN – We met with Dr Taylor to discuss the Petscan results.   The UP is that it showed the abdominal cavity as clean (Great News).  The down is it showed a couple lesions on the lungs.   They are concerned and want to do a biopsy.  The good side is she has had these for several years and the other Dr’s have been monitoring and they have remained the same, as in no growth.   We are hopeful it will be nothing.   Dr Mark called to the surgeon who is putting the port in Monday and he will also be able to do the biopsy during the same visit.  Chemo is moved to Thursday and Dr Taylor will review the results with us then

7/24 DOWN – We got the port in and the biopsy done as scheduled though it took a bit longer.   In trying to get an IV in for the anesthesia, they tried 3 times on the left side and then switch nurses and tried 2 more on the right with no success.   At this point they decided to try a medical IV in the arm and brought in a technician…   They totally failed and after poking around and 2 techs, she is swollen and black & blue with still no IV line.  Now they called the surgeon in and he put the line in the right arm with no issue!   Now we just have to wait for the biopsy results.

7/27 UP UP and Away! – We met with Dr. Mark and the Biopsy came back negative…  Such great news!!!    We can now proceed with the treatment for the stomach cancer!   Two back to back scares and we won both, here is hoping that is a sign of things to come!

Mark walked us right down to the Chemo Lab where the staff set her up and then applied her 1st round of treatment.   It is a rough road we face but we are ready!   Finally, the treatment has started!

Thank you all for your support, thoughts and Prayers!

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Foot Update

On Tuesday July 25th, I had a followup at the orthopedic clinic to check my foot.   They took an Xray and after reviewing, I met with the Doctor.

The results were mediocre.  He felt I was doing everything correctly but it was not quite healing like he hoped.   Apparently he was looking for more of the bone fusing back together but in my case (and he said it is NOT unusual) it is fusing but it is more fibrous.

We talked about how long it has been and when I said 3 weeks, he felt better, stating it usually takes a full 6 weeks.  He is going to give it a couple more weeks and then re-check me then.   If healing it not satisfactory, he may want to perform surgery and install a screw.  Not excited about that!!

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13 Colonies Update!

As previously mentioned, I made contact with all 13 Colony Stations and the 2 Bonus Stations.    It was about a week after it ended when I started doing my paperwork and got it all submitted.

I have started receiving some of the cards back, 1st 6 are 5 of the Colonies and the Philly Bonus:

NH, PA, GA, DE & NY

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Dogs

Finley, Scott and Morgan’s dog spent a few days here visiting us.   They flew up to NY for Stephen and Rob’s Wedding.   (Lyn was unable to attend based on her Cancer)

We picked up Finley on the 12th and delivered her back on the 16th…     She is very good and we enjoy having her, Maggie not so much 🙂     They get along overall but Maggie is slightly intimidated by Finley as she is much larger and tends to be a little “pushy”, as in she always has to get to the front.

Finley is funny driving, she has to ride in the kids car seats.

We got some nice pictures of Finley…   Unfortunately Maggie is afraid of the big camera!

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Sucky Friday

Not the best title for an article, but anything else would be illegal!   Lyn had a test scheduled, EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound) to identify exactly where her cancer is located.  They put you under for this and enter with a scope via your throat.  I had not left the room very long when I was called back in and the Dr met me to tell me that he was unable to do the procedure. (This was after she was under anesthesia). Apparently there was still food in her stomach.   Very disappointing but he indicated they would try and squeeze her in as soon as possible.

She came to….   and they sent me to get the truck while they finished paperwork…   this is the icing on the cake…      Walking up a paved incline (very slight) I felt/heard a POP and my right foot collapsed.   I almost fell to the ground, only saved by grabbing the truck hood.   I could not support or put any weight on it….    lots of pain, assumed it was just my normal foot issues!

By next morning I was concerned it was something else (thinking torn tendon) and made arrangements to go to a local ortho urgent care walk in clinic.   A couple X-Rays later and we had the answer…   a fracture (end of bone snapped right off)

Anyway, now in a walking back ….   and not walking much!

Following up on Lyn’s issue…   we were informed that they had no openings to do the test this week and that the Dr was on vacation for the 2 weeks after that….     We see the Oncology Dr. on Wednesday and will see what he says, we are hoping we can just get a Chemo plan finalized and get started.   There are only 2 Dr’s in the area that do that test.

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13 Colonies

The 13 Colonies is a Ham Radio Special Event that runs the 1st week of July each year.   I participated last year and enjoyed it so was looking forward to it again this year.   The object is to make contact with operators assigned to work from each of the Original 13 Colonies.   If you get all 13, it is referred to as a “Clean Sweep”.   There are two bonus stations, one in Philly (Liberty Bell) and one in Great Britain!

Last year, I had all but one in 3 days…   and it took me until the last day to get NJ but I made it and got the “Clean Sweep”.   I also got the Philly Bonus but not GB

This year, I began the morning of July 1st and by the end of the day I had all 15 stations!!!  I had the 13 Colonies for the “Clean Sweep”, Philly AND Great Britain!   This year I had DStar capability and GB was doing DStar (along with HF) and I was able to make an easy contact that way.   Need to do up my logs and stuff and get the papers submitted…

(Picture is someone else’s 2017 Cert)

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Lemon Day….

NOTE: this was written June 14th and then updated at the end as of today, July 7th).

Lemon Day, Black Wednesday….   they all apply.   Today Jun 14th was the day Lyn had a procedure where they scoped her stomach and informed us that she has Cancer.   Not what we were hoping for but it is what it is…

How did we get here??   On Vacation, she was having trouble keeping food down and had been losing weight.   We stopped at a walk in clinic and they treated it with a prescription as an acid reflux type issue.   When we got home, she had an appointment with our Dr and he sent her for  a CT Scan.  It showed nothing so he scheduled an upper GI.  Results here showed what they called an abnormality at the top of the stomach.   He had her in for a consult and set her up with a Gastric Specialist.   They ordered a test with a scope where they go in an look inside.  That is what the did today and showed a large Mass in her stomach (he indicated he was quite sure it was cancer) and he took many biopsy samples and sent out with a rush order.   (It came back the next day as a definite for cancer).

Her cancer is diagnosed as signet ring cell cancer.   This in itself is not a good cancer (though none are) as it is aggressive and usually well advanced when detected.

She has a Chest CT scheduled for Tuesday the 20th and based on results will set the next plan of testing.  There has been no category of stage yet and the doctors have selected an Oncology specialist whom we are waiting to hear from for an appointment.  We are both anxious to get all the preliminaries out of the way, properly stage this and get going on a treatment plan.

Lyn is doing well at the moment…    and ready to FIGHT!
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UPDATE – As of today, 7/6/2017…    Lots of changes…

Lyn developed pneumonia (showed up in chest CT mentioned above) and we had to delay things  (Ultrasound) which was frustrating along with difficulty in getting questions answered timely.

  1.  Primary care – after a few issues (not directly with her Dr) we have switched her Primary Care Dr. to a Ham Radio Friend (Dr. Ken) who is a member of MDVIP…   they provide on the spot custom focused care.  We have a cell number and can call the Dr direct at any time with questions.   Yes, there is a fee…   but if you have ever needed answers and quick turnaround, then this is the way to go.
  2. Pneumonia – Called Dr Ken to get on MDVIP and solve pneumonia issue along with expedite Ultrasound.  He had us in the next morning at 8:30, had already seen the scans, prescribed medication and contracted gastric Dr to expedite test after cleared.
  3.  Oncology group has been changed.  We were concerned with lack of meetings there and Dr Ken asked if we minded if he could get us in with a different Oncology Dr/Group.  We agreed and he got us in with Summit Cancer Care, considered by many to be the best in the area and access to all the cutting edge technology.  Dr. Mark interned at Emory University Med Center in Atlanta and they have a premier Cancer Hospital. (more later)   Dr Mark is also in our Ham Group and I never knew he was an Oncology Dr.   Part of his Bio:
    “Mark A. Taylor brings extensive research experience to Summit Cancer Care as a result of ongoing involvement in research trials with the National Cancer Institute. His participation underscores Taylor’s commitment to providing the latest treatment options to cancer patients in Southeast Georgia. He has played an integral role in bringing new clinical trials to the St. Joseph’s/Candler System.”
  4. Surgeon:  This type of cancer is rare and aggressive,  Signet ring cell carcinoma.  (Leave it to us to find the tough ones!)   It is typically treated by Surgery.  Our son Scott, through his contacts and via a couple Dr’s passed on Dr.  Sarmiento’s name to us.  He is Chair of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine  (remember where Dr Mark Interned).   We looked him up and were impressed and mentioned him to Dr. Ken last Wed.  On Friday he had conducted a hone interview with Dr. Sarmiento and an hour later we were being called for an appointment yesterday in Atlanta for a special scan in the cancer center and then a meeting with the Dr.  This is the same doctor who performed the surgery on President Jimmy Carter’s liver cancer at this facility.  We are so grateful he took our case.  Side note, he knew Dr. Mark (Oncologist) and called him before we even left the office (he had Marks phone number in his cell!!

Ok, that is team and I think it is the best that could possibly be done in the southeast USA.  That includes our son who has been supportive and instrumental in getting us info, answers, and reviews.  (His sources recommended Sarmiento and confirmed Dr Ken and Dr Mark as 2 of the Best in the Savannah Area.   The interrelationships between the team I believe will be a benefit from the standpoint of communication and working together.   Special Kudos to Dr. Ken (our Quarterback) as he has been able to make things happen!

Dr Sarmiento reviewed the scans from yesterday and indicated in this type of cancer, the preferred treatment is a series of several rounds of Chemo. He pointed out that studies have shown better success rate this way as opposed to surgery 1st followed by Chemo. He feels that is the preferred treatment here as it will kill random cancer cells up front and also possibly shrink the tumor to give him a better margin during surgery.   He agrees with the ultra sound, glad that we are doing it as it will provide more detail but does not change the treatment plan.   Once Chemo is complete, we will return to Atlanta for another scan and to look at and hopefully schedule the surgery.

Going forward, the Ultra Sound testing is scheduled for tomorrow and then next Wed we meet with Dr. Mark to discuss the treatment plan directly.

While none of this is good, we are both optimistic and happy that we have a plan going forward.   We are pleased with the Team and ready, there help and guidance to win this thing!!!

 

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Harper’s Day!

June 22nd was Harper’s day with us.  Lyn had a Dr appointment early in the morning and then we swung by and picked her up.   Once here, she watched a bit of TV and then Lyn took her up to Michael’s to select a craft!   We try to something different with each of them when they are out for the day.   Harper really likes crafts.

They came back with a Sand Art kit and we set up to do it on the coffee table in the Living Room.   Upon finishing the 1st (there were like 5 in the kit) she said that she wanted us to have it!  🙂

 

The kids always get to choose where they want lunch and Harper chose Firehouse Subs (same as Jack).   We drove into Pooler and had lunch then back to the house.   Back at the house, they finished the other sand art items and packed those up to take home.  An enjoyable day with Harper!!!

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Dog Days!

Ok, maybe Doggies Day is a better phrase!!    Yes, we now have a new dog…    It has been 2 months since Snuggles left us to be with Herbie and Jingles.   On Fathers Days (Yes, that was a Busy Day) Lyn had stopped by Petsmart to pick up bird seed and they had an adoption event going on by one of the local Rescue Orgs.   She really liked this one little dog.  Anyway, she came home with the seed and found it full of insects, so a little later she took it back to return it.

She stopped by and looked at the dogs again…   Big Mistake!!   🙂    She took little Maggie for a walk…    tried to call me but I was cooking…   and told them she wanted her!   (I called her back and she informed me she was already  doing the adoption papers)

Anyway, she is a 2 1/2 year old tiny little Shih Tzu that is the sweetest little thing.   Very mellow and loving, she is a real joy.   She needs to put a little weight on and we are getting her in Friday to our vet for a check up.   She is spayed, has her rabies shot and is Heartworm negative..

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Smoking Day!

Smoking as in Meat!!   Still Fathers day but this was planned for today.   We are running 3 different meats today.

French Dip:   Using an Eye of Round Roast, also smoking an Au Jus with beef base, water, onions and seasoning.   (This is what will eat today).

  1. French Dip:   Using an Eye of Round Roast, also smoking an Au Jus with beef base, water, onions and seasoning.   (This is what will eat today).  Seasoning is nothing more than kosher salt and course ground black pepper.
  2. Chicken Breasts:  Marinated over night in olive oil, red wine vinegar and cajun spice.  Before cooking, add some more cajun and Janes Krazy Salt.  We cut these into cubes and prepare a dinner salad with the chicken added to the salad.
  3. Country Ribs:  The are seasoned with an AP (all purpose mix) and then Killer Hogs BBQ rub.   Part way through they are placed in a pan with pineapple juice and BBQ sauce.

Based on cooking times and temps, we started off with the chicken in the morning as it requires about 210 smoke setting.   We cooked these until done and then pulled them off to rest.  We would keep one for eating later this week and freeze the other 2.  Photos show prepped, cooking and finished….

Next up we added the ribs.   The country ribs would be cooked on the grate about an hour and a half, then moved over to a pan and continue for approx another hour.  In the pan is a mixture of pineapple juice and barbecue sauce.  The pan will be covered until they are done to temp and then they will be brushed and placed back on the grate to caramelize.  These will be frozen in meal size packs, keeping one pack out to eat this week.

  

Lastly was the Roast….   Flipped it once at about 20 minutes, cooked until internal was 132 which is rare.   The Au Jus was in pan along side, covered and simmering.  Photos showed seasoned, cooked, sliced & served!

  

Another great cook day!!!

 

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