“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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Father’s Day!

1st, let me say Happy Fathers day to all those fathers (and those who assume the role) out there.

We had a nice day here.  Scott, Morgan and Jackson had gone to Atlanta for a show (Dan DTM) and we had their dog Finley.  Scott was going to come by and pick her up Sunday but first we all got together for breakfast.  The kids love “The Original Pancake House” in Savannah so we met them there.  The kids loved the chocolate chip pancakes!

Morgan’s parents (Lynn and David) were supposed to join us but something came up and they were unable to attend.   The kids gave me a card, we had a nice meal and a nice visit!

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1st Solo Boating Day…

June 13th was our 1st Solo day boating…   we had a 10:00 am Reservation and took a cooler with some drinks and lunch.  We headed south on the Wilmington River (on the ICW).  The ICW continued on a fork to the right (Skidaway River) which goes by the Isle of Hope.   We continued on the Wilmington, learning our way & navigating until approaching Wassaw Sound, which empties into the Atlantic.   I was not comfortable enough yet to enter the sound so we turned around and started heading back.   We anchored off of Skidaway Island and relaxed a bit and had lunch.  That was my 1st solo anchoring!

As we started back, I thought of jumping on the ICW at the Skidaway River for a bit but there was a boat running circles in the entry and I decided to just continue back.   Nervous about docking on my own but I did fine and we finished up, paid for fuel and headed home.   Very nice 1st excursion alone.

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Harper’s Dance Recital

Sunday June 11th was Harper’s Dance Recital.   It seems like each year the program gets better and this was the best by far.  It was again held at the Savannah Country Day school and they have an excellent Theater for the program.

Harper was in 3 programs and her cousin Laney was also in several.   We really had a nice time and the photos below were from Morgan.

Jackson, Will(Laney’s brother), Ella                                     Haper & Laney
Harper & Laney

 

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Savannah Bananas

Thursday the 8th of June, we went down to Grayson Stadium for the Savannah Bananas Baseball game.   They are a member of the Coastal Plain League which is a collegiate summer league, featuring top-notched college players from across the nation.

Ronald McDonald House Charities was a sponsor and offered tickets to it’s volunteers so Lyn got a set for us.   Scott, Morgan and the kids were also there as it was one of the games he purchased tickets for.

Though the home team lost, it was good entertainment and we enjoyed the evening out.

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Boating!

Boating, yes a new topic for us….   I have always had an interest in boats and enjoyed it when we had an opportunity but overall, there was just not enough time to do all the things I would like.  We were camping, working, lots of mc riding etc.

We have a camper and motorcycles but I also have more time since we are now retired and I am no longer doing long distance multi day rides.   Scott had approached me last year about maybe going in together on a boat club membership.  We looked into it but tabled it as he was into his house expansion.   Earlier this year, I asked him and he is not ready yet..

Well, we looked into it further and decided to go and join.  It is Freedom Boat Club and after a one time fee, you pay a monthly amount and have access and unlimited use to their fleet of boats.   Each location is independent and we met with the Savannah Club, toured the facility, reviewed the boats (currently 27) and determined this could work for us.

Basically, you reserve a boat, show up, climb aboard and go….   on return, dock the boat, fill up and pay for fuel used and go home!!   No cleaning, no maintenance, no repairs, no other fees (like ins, registration, slip, trailer etc.)

We had training yesterday (Tuesday) with a USCG captain on the boat, operation and navigation of the waterways.  That included class and on the water.   We have a boat reserved for this Friday and next Tuesday.

Sampling of their boats:

Freedom II

  • Hurricane SunDeck 188 OB
  • Deck Boat
  • 19′
  • 10 people

If a cruise with the family or a beach picnic is what you have in mind this is the boat for you. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 19′ / 5.8m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 36 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 10
  • Engine: 150 hp Yamaha Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Bow
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Ski Ring
    ✓ VHF
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Freedom III

  • Key West 203DFS Dual Console
  • Bowrider
  • 20′
  • 8 people

A great boat for fishing or cruising and has all the amenities for both. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 20′ / 6.1m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 60 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 8
  • Engine: 150 hp Suzuki Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bait Box
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ Fish Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Livewell
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Rodholder
    ✓ VHF
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Freedom XV

  • Hurricane FunDeck 226 Party Deck
  • Deck Boat
  • 22′
  • 12 people

Looks like and has the room of a Pontoon Boat but it has a Deck Boat hull. Great for cruising around and sight seeing with a large group.

  • Length: 22′ / 6.7m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 27 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 12
  • Engine: 115 hp Yamaha Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Ski Ring
    ✓ VHF
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Freedom X

  • 2016 Key West 2020 Center Console-
  • Bowrider
  • 20′
  • 6 people

A great boat for fishing or cruising. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 20′ / 6.1m
  • Draft: 12″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 60 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 6
  • Engine: 150 hp Suzuki Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bait Box
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ Fish Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Livewell
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Rodholder
    ✓ VHF

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They have multiples of each boat and we can take any of them that we choose.

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