Friday, August 29, 2014

We will return to our regular blogging, after this short health care update.

I don't want my blog to become a caring bridge, that is a wonderful site but not for me, but I feel compelled to let my faithful readers follow along in my journey. Yesterday was a very dreaded appointment, a bone marrow biopsy. You know that has to hurt, even though they promised I would sleep through it, when they stick a big needle into your hip and through the bone to draw out some marrow. 

Bruce and I picked up Janet at 8:30 and drove in rain to Sioux City, it matched my mood. But I did not have the adverse reaction to St. Luke's as I did to BV hospital. We got right in, Janet and Bruce were with me for moral support and got to stay in my room the entire time I was gone. The nurses kept covering me with heated blankets until I was under a pile of six, I was hoping the doctor who was going to do the 'procedure' would not be able to find my fanny.

All too soon I was wheeled down a hall, into another room, with another very caring nurse who sat and brought me Kleenex's and listened to my tale of woe and was considerably outraged at how I learned this scary news. The anesthetist came in an introduced himself and found that he was from my old stomping grounds by Whiting and I knew his sister in law. Then the doctor arrived with two others in tow and started laying out stuff on a tray. He asked if I wanted him to explain the 'procedure' and I quickly said, "NO!" The anesthetist put an oxygen mask over my face and had a big syringe full of 'night, night' juice, I found out later it was Propofal, YIKES! That was what Micheal Jackson od'd on! 

The moment of truth, I was rolled onto my side, and to my dismay, they found my fanny, but then I got a little charge out of mooning three highly respected doctors, the anesthetist said, "This might burn a little........" and I woke up an hour later to a nurse asking if I wanted a warm blanket. There is something very comforting about being tucked in under a warm blanket, they tucked my feet, around my shoulders, this must be how babies feel in the womb, without all that sticky placenta surrounding them. If I'd had a raging fever I would not have passed the warm blanket, I wanted to take a pile home with me.

Soon I was back in the room, fed toast and juice and some ice water, I was so dry I could have spit cotton balls. As soon as I had my wits about me, the nurse pulled the IV and I made a much needed trip to the bathroom, relief! (While in recovery, a little boy on the bed next to me kept telling the nurse he had to pee and didn't want to wet the bed. The nurse kept telling him, he had a catheter in, that he would not wet the bed. Poor little guy, I could feel for him.)

Everyone in the room wanted to look at my bandage so I got to moon some more people and that was quite satisfying, that will teach them. By 12:30 I was wheeled to the portico covering the entrance, unceremoniously loaded into the car and we took off to find something to eat and there was a Culver's nearby. My sister, Rosanne and her family met us, then sister in law, Sue called that she made cookies for us, if people make you cookies, you go get them.

I slept all the way home and about 12 1/2 hours last night, I felt much better this morning, except for a sore hip, I knew it would hurt. The next hurdle is next Tuesday where I get a PET scan and I'm radioactive for 8 hours after so I have to avoid pregnant women and children.

I have one question, will I glow??

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cucumber to rind in 0 - 60 seconds!

Nothing goes to waste around here, if we don't eat it, it is passed on down the line to the dogs, cats, horses or chickens and I haven't found much the chickens won't eat. I got some over ripe cucumbers from Elizabeth's garden, split them and presented them to the chickens, it was like a machine!


The girls came running and scoured out the flesh....


Leaving only the thin rind that ended up in the compost pile.


Elizabeth has kept the girls in cucumbers and she asked me what the eggs will taste like, I never thought of that.

Maybe I should feed them some onions and put vinegar in their drinking water and have designer eggs, cucumber/onion relish eggs.

Maybe they would sell for big bucks.....and maybe I couldn't give them away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cancer, Lymphoma, Radiation, Chemotherapy......

......words that strike fear in the strongest person's heart. Those are the words that are being tossed around after test's revealed I have Folicular Lymphoma in an enlarged lymph gland in my right groin. Things move very slowly in the medical world, unless it's a dire emergency so this has been a most of the summer project. 

It was supposed to be a femoral hernia, but the Wheel of Misfortune instead landed on Lymphoma and the person who gave me that shocking news was the same one who answered the telephone in the Dr's office, filed reports and ordered up pizza for lunch. When I was able to take a breath and asked what that meant, she hemmed and hawwed and said I needed to call my family Dr. Not the way you want to hear that news!

Up until then, the only people who knew was Bruce, my Dr. and I, it was time to notify both immediate families and it was so hard, but the response of love and support that came back was fortifying and I cried over each one. (I've cried a lot.)

I had a week's wait to finally see an oncologist, it couldn't come fast enough and then when the day arrived, I was wishing it was another week. But I thought I would finally get some answers, a plan, a course of action, silly me. My stomach churned, I was wishing I'd not eaten as we, Bruce and his sister, Janet, my medical advocate, walked through the doors of BV Medical Center into the oncology department. There is that scary word again! I cried through the check in and drawing blood, I cried in the waiting room when I recognized someone I knew from working in Cherokee. I didn't want to be there! Everywhere I looked was something about CANCER! (DUH!) I didn't want to read a cookbook about cooking for cancer, I didn't want to pick up a booklet about Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, which is what I have. I didn't want to see all those pamphlets about cancer, they were everywhere!

We were finally called into a room for my medical history and I cried through that, surprise, surprise? Except for the part where they want a copy of your living will and power of attorney, that made me mad and it felt good to be mad. She said they didn't have to have it and I said Good, because you aren't getting it! And the questions they ask! "Do you have any sexual difficulties??" WHAT??? (Plug the children's ears!) What does that have to do with anything?? She gave me a folder with all sorts of compartments to have to keep all my stuff together, I didn't want it, I didn't want to be there in that room answering all those probing questions. Then she pulled out an envelope and was saying that every year they hold a cancer fundraiser, at that I thought, "Sh__! They are already going to hit us up for money!", and then she handed me a $25 gas card to help with the fuel costs of driving back and forth! 

Thank you, Lord, for not letting those words in my head flow out my mouth!

After an eternity in that room, we were finally released out into the general population, there are two waiting rooms, one had a crowd of people who were acting as though they were at a family reunion, I wanted nothing to do with them, I didn't want to be part of that family. To my relief, the other room was empty and I could sit with my back to the door so no one but Bruce and Janet would see the tears that continued. Luckily the TV had a guide posted on the wall so I turned it to the Walton's from CNN news which is nothing but extremely depressing these days. I didn't need that, I was already depressed. The nurse told us that new patients are the last to be seen so you can have lots of time with the Dr., we left home at 3:30 and it was now 7:00 when finally we were ushered into the last room. 

Dr. Rao is little and weathered but kind and had a sense of humor, I needed that but I still cried. She is from India but not that hard to understand and Janet had worked with her for a time in Cherokee. She went over my history but thankfully skipped the 'sexual difficulties' question, I don't think she wanted to know. She stressed that this is very slow growing, I probably have had it for some time and people live with it for years. She tossed around radiation and chemotherapy but first we have to find out if it has spread. So I have a bone marrow biopsy scheduled later this week and at PET scan (couldn't Murphy and Zoe do that here are home?) next week, both in Sioux City. I wanted it done the same day but it didn't work out but in retrospect, that means two meals out and that's not such a bad idea. I grimaced at the idea of bone marrow biopsy but she promised that I would sleep through it, just don't plan on operating any heavy equipment for a day or so after. WHEW! I had my eye on the payloader down the road.

It was nearly 8 PM when we finally escaped, we had no trouble locating the car as it was only one of three in the parking lot. We headed for Pizza Ranch, they quit replenishing the buffet at 8 but there was plenty of food available. I had lots of things to think about and luckily Janet and Bruce didn't talk much about the visit. 

I cried so much my eyes felt like they'd been in a Sahara desert sandstorm and my head was pounding. Bruce went right to bed when we got home because he had an early day today heading for the Farm Progress show at Boone IA with his farming buddies. I was up half the night, my head spinning, I wanted to crawl in bed and sleep but Bruce was snoring up a storm and that is not conducive to a good night's sleep. I finally went to bed and when I woke up, Bruce was gone and Clyde was on his side with his head on the pillow, "Good Morning."

I went to do chores, it's a beautiful morning, cool and very still and I've decided I just don't have it so bad! I'm absolutely sure that some of the other people there last night have a lot tougher road that I have and I need to quit wallowing and start looking ahead. 

I'm done crying.....unless you cry first, then all bets are off.

I have been torn about who to tell and how much and finally decided to do a blog post, it's a little out my ordinary blog but this is life and sometimes life stinks.

And sometimes sweet Zoe knows how to make me laugh.






Sunday, August 24, 2014

There was a little hen who had so many chicks she didn't know what to do!

It's been fun watching Larry's little bride care for her brood of six lively youngsters. At first they were in the  cage I borrowed from the neighbor but when we had 2 inches of rain I discovered it leaked so moved them into the east apartment that has it's own private chicken run. But there was one problem, it was not chick proof so when I'd go out to check, there would be 2 or 3 running around outside with their mother in a tizzy inside. The other chickens didn't seem to pay the tiny chicks any heed so I finally let the family out when I released the rest of the chickens. She took the babies out to the edge of the grove where there is a pile of mulch to scratch in and unearth all sorts of tasty treats.


The babies emulate her, if she is scratching furiously, they are scratching in double time.


If their mother is stretched out in the sun, they stretch out and warm themselves.


I'm not a good enough photographer to get many pictures when they are moving, and it seems as though they are always in motion!


I was worried I had a bunch of roosters when I saw these little tail feathers poking up on all of them, until I realized that is the most distinguishing trait of the Serama.


WHEW! I did not need a bunch of roosters!


The two young hens, Blue and Lucky stopped by to see what was going on.

"What the hey?? Where did all those little munchkins come from??"
I finally gave up and videoed their antics, I did not speed this up, this is how they scratch the ground!


The last few nights I've been late in getting them shut up and the little hen has them all tucked away in one of the nest boxes. Tonight I didn't have the heart to move her back to her apartment, instead I got the camera for a family photo, at least they weren't moving.

At first I thought she couldn't count but I was wrong, if she does not have all six with her, she is in a tizzy until they are complete.

If you look closely at the top two on the right, you can see they have combs, they are my two roosters and I think I already have a home for both of them, perhaps with a hen to keep them company.

"AAACCCKKKK! What was I thinking when I had SIX???"


Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweating in the good, old summertime.

We've had it pretty good this summer, instead of intense heat and humidity most of the time, we've had lovely weather, even chilly nights that made us welcome the covers. Until this last week, it's been HOT, HOT and HOT!! We sold the last of our fat cattle and Bruce needed to put a new fence on the east side of their lot and now was the time, before we wean our calves.

I made myself scarce during the destruction of the old fence, I've learned over the last 22 years that showing up at inopportune times can  get me put to work. Such was the case last winter when Mollie and I, this was pre-Murphy, walked over to the farm to see what was going on and found Bruce fixing a bracket on the loader.



"You are just in time, can you help me a minute?" 

AAAUUGGGHHHHH!!!! 

It's no fun tearing apart a loader in the winter when it's cold and everything is covered in manure.


But there isn't much Bruce can't fix or won't fix, he figures he saves himself a lot of money on repairs.


He's a little 'tight' but I always say it's served him well.


Sometimes things don't want to go back together like they did....


....but Bruce has his ways of  making it work. The 'minute' stretched into a couple of hours but what else did I have to do?


Sunday Bruce was straight forward in asking for my help installing the new fence, it was hot but the weathermen have been predicting rain everyday and he needed to get it done.

Notice the difference in garb? It's not often you will see Bruce farming in shorts! This was the first outing for the post hold auger we purchased with the Gehl skid loader.


It worked wonderfully!!! The only thing difficult was making sure it was straight up and down so the post didn't sit in the hole catty wampus.


After the first post was set, then Bruce ran a string to (hopefully) put all the posts in a straight line.


Don't you think he looks fetching in his shorts and work boots?

After measuring and spray painting the ground where the rest of the post should go, he dug a hole for each one.


It was HOT! Did I mention it was HOT? We needed lots of breaks with lots of water.


Murphy was quite curious....

"Just what is it that you are burying in that hole??"
Mollie could give a fig as she laid in the shade.


With all the posts in.....


...it was time to hang the panels. I was feeling the heat, big time, guzzling water and escaping to the shade with the dogs....

....and starting to whine a little.

I know, I should be tougher.



Bruce did not give into the heat, he persevered with sweat running in his eyes, pounding the gigantic staples into the posts, until all the panels were hung.

It was a great sight.


Then he sent me home while he finished, I went right to the shower, I would tell you that I went from the shower, buck naked, to the gazebo with an icy, adult beverage with rum in it, but that would be too much information.

AHHH, the joys of living in the country!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Could it only been a year ago since we were doing this???


How time flies when you are having fun on the farm! Just a year ago we were doing this after a storm went through our neighbors acreage and severely damaged his ash trees.


Because we needed wood for our winter fires in the kitchen stove.....

(And my usually, mostly, quite often smiling hubby!)

We hauled home several silage wagons full of logs to dry and split.


Fast forward one year and a month and here we are again....


....this time at our good friends, Mike and Becky, who took down several ash trees. The silage wagon was called into service again, after filling the bottom by hand, to cushion the falling logs from above....


....Bruce gets to use Mike's telehandler to load the rest, he wants one of these.


And could it have only been one year ago that I was freezing sweet corn?? Then I still had my beloved Sadie and her side kick, Mollie begging for some corn.



This year Mollie is the old dog.....full of stick tights from running through the grove....


....and Murphy is the young pup who is getting a taste of sweet corn for the first time and realizing it needs to be protected from the old dog who wants to take it away.


So she carries it off, away from the old dog before chowing down.



While I was in the garage, shucking and cutting the corn off, there were other dramas going on, Larry Jr., the half pint Serama rooster still has Chet, the big guy's number and makes sure he toes the line at all times. I had a flock of hens and the two rooster hanging around to clean off the cobs and Chet had to make sure he kept his distance, here he is hot footing it out of harms way.


Chet, Chet, Chet, you are an embarrassment to roosters everywhere.

Meanwhile, on the porch, sits the veggie basket that I haul back and forth to Elizabeth's house to fill with her garden goodies. Between trips it serves as a bed for Lucy and that makes the other cats jealous.


Lucy left the basket without saving it and Simon promptly took over.


It's good to be King.

Zoe has to check out the coveted basket.



"Are you really King?"

He is only until Lucy returns after having a snack in the cat house....


"Beat it, buster! This is MY basket!"

When no one is around, Stinky tries out the basket for size.....


"It's good to be King...."

Until Lucy comes back.....

...then you better beat it buster....

...she doesn't take kindly to claim jumpers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fair time!

The small town of Marcus, IA has it's own fair every August, in addition to the Cherokee Co Fair in July. Our garden club has many entries, Kim, starts planning weeks in advance, I'm slapping them together the afternoon of entry day - and it shows! Kim goes home with beautiful purple ribbons and cash award and I couldn't be happier for her. These are my hastily put together entries.



While I was slaving away in the garage, cutting, arranging and finding enough vases to hold the individual flowers, Murphy was giving me moral support. 

"My BED! I've missed you, zzzzzzzzzz!"

Our garden club had a great showing, I'm proud of you girls!


Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head back for the cattle show. Our Godson, Kirby, was going to be there with his heifer, Chubbs, his girlfriend, Lexi was going to show her. I had to stop and take a picture of these little, tired lambs cuddled up together.


Did they ever have the cattle! I was searching for Kirby and Lexi and the first ones I came upon was our young vet, Britt and her mother, Jan, putting the finishing touches on their Hereford heifer.


This little girl is getting a coaching by her father on the fine art of finishing a show calf.


It was a veritable city back behind with cattle, clippers, show chutes, generators, vacuums, electric cords and people fluffing and buffing their prize animals. 


And the inevitable cell phones.


I finally found Kirby and Lexi and Chubbs, getting the royal treatment.


After a bath, they get dried, combed, sprayed and combed some more.


In the show ring I found some familiar faces, Jill, the super girl from our COOP office....


....and Brian, who is the right hand man for our country vets when they are out on call.


I got such a kick out of this little girl, she was so intent on coiling up her lead....


.....just so.....


....such concentration...


....and off they go, around the ring with the calf losing patience.

"WAAAAA! I want my Mama!!"

Jill had to apply power to make this calf move.


Lexi and Chubbs showing their best....


....and it paid off with the 1st place ribbon!!


They went back in for the Championship and came out with Reserve, well done kids!


Back at the show ring I find Jan putting the finishing touches on the Hereford.

"I want that hair to STAND UP, dang it!"

Britt is giving her little protege some last minute advice before her first time in the show ring. 


And it just goes to show, you can't have too much BLING!


The fair was well attended, despite 3 inches of rain before and over an inch downpour the last day that did put a damper on things. Bruce and I were stuck in the Methodist church building during the rain, a great place to be since they were selling entire pies. We brought home a strawberry rhubarb and Bruce ate the last piece of pie for breakfast today, beats a bowl of Wheaties!