Saturday, October 29, 2016

Oh, it's SO good to be home again!

I was only in Omaha for three days but it seemed a lot longer despite the company and a constant parade of medical personal in and out of my room. But I can't overstate the excellent care, we are very lucky to be at the Ne. Med Center. Sue stayed over Thursday night with her sister and took me home Friday to their house in Sioux City where Bruce picked me up at 8 PM. We both so appreciated that because he was free to continue harvesting. The weather is not being cooperative, mornings are damp and foggy so until it clears out, they can't go.

I had to sit with Mollie for several minutes while she cried out her happiness that I really came did come back, leave it to a dog to celebrate a homecoming. Zoe was nuts, racing around the house and finally cornering 2 small mice in the upstairs bathroom that Bruce dispatched, before crawling in bed with me. Clyde was pretty low key but he produced a dead mouse this morning downstairs for Bruce to find and congratulate him. You gotta love fall in an old house.

I slept so good, there is nothing like your own bed cuddled up by my loving hubby. We had to run for parts this morning and calf vaccine for a sickly bovine, now just waiting for a meatloaf to cook for dinner. Food doesn't taste that good but I have to try and Bruce still needs to eat.

I thought I'd show off the t-shirt that Rosanne bought me for Halloween, I had to read it a couple of times before I burst out laughing. I'm also debuting my hair re-growth because it won't be here long after the massive doses of chemo.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

But I still love all my chemo caps from Alex, they keep this noggin toasty warm, especially at night. Everyone else loves them, she could have a cottage industry there.

Friday, October 28, 2016

3rd day and counting

The internet here at the hospital is come and go, I haven't been able to get on since yesterday this morning so take advantage when I can. They are really pumping it to me, I fluxuate between not feeling well and being very hungry. I ordered a big breakfast and some extras that go in the mini fridge for later like yogurt. Yesterday I mangaged to dump my yogurt, just opened, on the floor, I will be more careful today.

Sue can yesterday and had stayed most of the day, having lunch with me and doing laps in the halls. Since I was unemcumbered with the IV pole it was easy, now I have to drag it around where ever I go and that is a drag. It was grand central station early yesterday, people popping in and out. Dr. Lunning was in and said I could go home tonight after my infustions are done and Sue said she would stay with her sister Thursday and take me back to SC for Bruce to pick up. Bruce and Grassy are combineing corn so that was good news to him. After work Kim came up and then Stacy stopped in so the day went fast. I wish the nights went as fast, perhaps it's time to take my pole for a walk.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Operator, room 7434 please,"

If anyone is familiar with Ray Steven's 'Shrinrers Convention' you will recoginize the title, if you are too young, please google it for a laugh. Wednesday, Bruce, Janet and I came to Omaha to hear what the final verdict was from the cat scan and the plan to wipe out the dragons once again. I had to have another bone marrow biopsy because the pain in my back and side had returned but this one was completely different. While before I was knocked out and knew nothing about it, this time I was awake with Bruce holding my hand. I'm such a wuss, I was shaking to my toes but had the most caring Dr. and nurses and lived to see another day. The Dr. was also a fashionista wearing high heels, how could you not have confidence in her.

The nurse accessed my port, I didn't feel a thing there either, some have the touch, and then we were free to go have some lunch. The food is really good, they have at least two huge cafeterias besides the little corner stores for snacks and then back to check in to see Dr. Lunning.

Bruce is on harvest time, getting up early so he was ready for a nap and a recliner opened up when a lady was called back so he snagged it. It wasn't long before he was snoring, Janet was working on the never ending afghan for granddaughter, Jessie and I tried to read my book but thoughts kept intruding, running round and round in my head. Sister-in-law, Kim came from her office somewhere in the building and I was so happy to see her. She was very instrumental in getting me in down there.

Dr. Lunning showed up not long after being taken back to the exam room with an entourage, two other doctors and Stacy. He didn't mess around, said this lymphoma was out to get me, it was popping up different places and he wasn't going to mess around with it either. I'd already been told to pack a bag and stay for a few days, this was WAR! Bruce retrieved my suitcase from the parking lot while Janet and I waited on the 3rd floor, made our way to 1st floor admitting and then up to the oncology ward on the 7th. We'd already seen these rooms on the tour that Stacy took us on 2 weeks earlier, very spacious, mini fridge, flat screen TV with DVD player, fold out couch for company and a recliner. Except for all the equipment, I could imagine I was at the Holiday Inn Express, the towel was even folded into a elephant!

Everyone is so efficient, I soon found myself dressed in my flannel jammies and tucked into bed under the Prayer quilt that Sara and Joanne brought from their church, given a pain pill for the incessant pain and had a water filled heating pad ordered. It was time for Janet and Bruce to leave, things were waiting for both of them at home but I was left in excellent hands. Everyone is so very caring, and they go to great lengths to provide a clean setting. Instead of the little clip on my finger to measure oxygen, I have a disposable one wrapped around and then tossed.  The nurse, Bailey, gowned up to begin my IV with a mask for me.

I'm getting a combination of unpronouncable words that make up the chemo 'ICE' over the next three days. The first one, 'I', was last night at 9, ran for about an hour, then again today for 24 hours starting at 5:30. At 4 PM today I get the 'E' for 1 - 2 hours at 4 PM and the 'C' for 30 minutes at 5 PM. Friday I get the 'E' again for 1-2 hours at 5:30 and will be finished up the 'I' at 5:30. Depending on how things go, I might be headed home, otherwise it will be Saturday.

I will have to monitored at the Cherokee hospital for the next three weeks, shots and blood work and then back to Omaha for the second round. After that will be a short intermission, then another PET scan, bone marrow biopsy and off to the transplant without letting the little sneaky bastards get a foot hold once again. As Kim said, "Cancer doesn't play fair and we don't either."

I had a pretty good nights sleep and found myself wake at 5 so got my slipper and robe and did laps around the halls, Bailey got me another popscicle. I know I need to eat and thought that might get me in the mood. I'm having trouble getting email to send from my tablet so Janet wrote the family last night to keep them updated. I might have to resort to texting, AAUUUGGGHHHH!!! Seriously though, it's not too bad, my phone # is 712-230-1308, there I've done it, you all made the cut.

We have been inundated with offers to help out at home and in the field, we are so fortunate to have Bruce's good buddy, Grassy, to pick up the slack. I'm being sent bible verses by email from loving family and friends that I tried to remember while I was face down with my butt exposed to the world yesterday. We have such a tremendous support group, sister in law, Sue, made plans to come today and sister, Sara, offered to bring her motor home down and stay with an extra bed for someone. I know it's hard on Bruce, he'd like to be here but he need not worry, I'm in great hands. Especially God's hands.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Laughter IS the best medicine!

Two weeks ago, after getting disappointing news from Dr. Lunning and sharing that news, my good friend, Elizabeth, asked me to be her guest at the Jeff Foxworthy show in Sioux City. I jumped on the chance, I love Jeff and, after laughing my butt off at a Bill Engval show a few years ago, I couldn't wait.

I dressed carefully, wearing my chicken socks in salute to the comedian, he would have loved them and probably would have had a whole new routine built around them.

The show was at the Orpheum Theatre that has been restored to it's original glory and the cornerstone is this stunning chandelier, I had a heck of a time with the spelling and even spell check was stumped.

When I see it I'm just so glad I'm not the one who has to clean it!

I was the annoying person who took selfies of Elizabeth and I!

Then the show began and we were not disappointed, Jeff is so funny, Elizabeth had tears running down her face and we were both rolling in our seats.

The best thing about the show was the lack of profanity, which so many comedians think they have to spout. Jeff said he modeled himself after 'clean' comedians and it has served him well.

If you ever have the chance to see him and love to laugh, go, it's a great show.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finishing up at the Ehler's farm

Bruce is always happy to be done at the Ehler's farm and with his good buddy, Grassy, helping this year, it went fast.

It's about a 3 mile drive from there to the bin site so we both hauled, switching tractors along the way and Grassy dumped the corn. Grassy is such a good friend that he volunteered to stay home from the Iowa game yesterday to help Bruce finish!

Now that's a good friend!

Bruce reassured him that we could handle what was left in the field and we did. I hauled the wagons home and left them for Bruce to unload.

This is the last pass through the field.

Bruce is getting a sample of corn.... check the moisture content. The new unloading auger is awesome, he unloads the bin in half the time it used to take.

Bruce was unloading wagons for the final trip back to Ehlers yesterday when he called me at home and said he had a bearing going out on the Peck auger and would I call CS Agrow to see if they had one, giving me the part # and said it was the main bottom bearing.

But these farmers never give us ALL the information we need, do they?

Me - "Do you have the bottom main bearing for a Peck Auger?"

Mark - "What kind of auger is it?"

Me - "U-h-h-h, how many kinds of augers are there?"

Mark - "Is it a truck auger or a long auger?"

(No problem, I had that one nailed.)

Me - "It's a long auger that he uses to transfer grain between bins."

Mark - "What size is it?"

Me - "U-h-h-h-h, how many sizes are there?"

Mark - "Is it an 8" or 10"?

Me - "U-h-h-h-h, I think it's an 8", yeah I'm pretty sure."

Mark - "I think I have what you need."

Me - "U-h-h-h, can you be more specific, I'd hate to drive up there and not have the part."

Mark - "I really need to know the size for sure."

Me - "Can you call Bruce and talk to him, he has my pretty pink paisley phone because he left his in the combine, just don't make fun of him."

Mark made the call, confirmed the specifics and I hit the road to Calumet to retrieve the new bearing. Bruce is still babying the old one along, using lots of grease but when that no longer works, he has a new one to replace.

I'm always amazed at what he can fix, how many years it took for all that knowledge but the main motivation is that he's just a little bit tight and doesn't want to pay a service call. But it has served him well.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beavers at the pond - the bane of Bruce's existence!

Why is this man frowning?

(Clue - look at the high water in the culvert leading to another pond, BEAVER!!)

When he first discovered the plug, Bruce took a long pole over and tried to dislodge it manually, the beaver did a good job of engineering the clog and he was thwarted.

Why is this man smiling? Brian was brought in with his big truck to unplug what the beaver did, PAYDAY!

With the sure footing of a mountain goat, Brian threaded the air hose into the culvert, he did not want to take a dip.

On the back of the truck is a huge air compressor to power the hose to unplug the clog that the beaver built.

The high water forced it to find another route to the pond and was coming from around the culvert. That could create a lot of problems with the dirt eroding and it had to be stopped.

This was the puny stream flowing from the west side of the culvert, considering how high the water was, something needed to be done.

The only thing the compressor managed to do from the east side was dislodge some mud that discolored the water.

Brian changed tactics, brought the hose around to the west, at that point I scrambled up the bank because he warned against the blow back it could cause and missed the actual moment when all broke loose and this clog of branches and corn stalks shot out.

This truck is most often used to unclog sewers, think about that for a minute and you definitely want to keep your distance!

The water came gushing out, relief!

The plug of debris swirled around and around in the duckweed before finally traveling on down to the last pond and over the overflow. 

Lots of force here.

Why are these men smiling?

Clue - one is happy to have the clog out and other was happy to use his big tool.

This is the way it's supposed to look and you can believe Bruce is going to be on the lookout for the over sized rodent that was responsible for it. The beaver need to be on notice that he might be packing.

I've been rather troubled with some of my pictures lately, for some reason they just weren't that focused and I was blaming the camera. Well, Pinterest to the rescue, I did not know there was this tiny little wheel next to my viewfinder called the Diopter. It was turned and that threw off what I saw and focused on. Wonder of wonders, things are clear again!!!

Hallelujah, I'm going out to take more pictures to practice my new found knowledge. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

A young dog goes to heaven and the old dog grieves....

Saturday morning 2 yr and 9 month old, Murphy, suddenly, shockingly suddenly, died in our garage. We both knew she hadn't been acting herself for some time and was losing weight, I found that Mollie had been bullying her in the cat house where they both eat so we had lessons on eating etiquette, with some delightfully spiked dog kibble and the situation improved. Also, Murphy was such a scavenger, she ate anything she killed so I also dosed her with wormer. She still liked to ride in the gator, go to the pond, go to the farm to hunt rats and I thought all was well.

When I arrived home from Omaha Friday night I was taken back about how bad she looked and early Saturday morning took her to see Dr. Lisa. She found a tender spot in her belly, took an x-ray and found a mass that was pushing her intestines off to the side. There was no indication that this would not keep until next week to continue treatment and was sent home with antibiotics and some soft, easily digestible food. Bruce could hardly get Murphy out of the car, he carried her into the garage where I made a bed and set the food and water in front of her, she looked away, laid down on her bed with a big sigh and went to sleep. I left to help Bruce haul in corn stalk bales and returned not an hour later to find Murphy had died.

Bruce and I met her when she was three weeks old, she was the puppy that came to me so I knew she was the one.

Murphy came to live with us when she was 2 months old, in a snowstorm and met Mollie who took her under her wing and tried to teach her how to be a good dog.

A puppy that plays hard needs lots of naps....

....with all their friends around them.

An industrious puppy helps with household chores, such as pre-washing the dishes.

The highlight of their day was when Bruce came out of the house in the morning and he always took time to greet both dogs.

Murphy loved the snow and plowed tunnels through it.

She was my water baby, I've never had a collie that liked water but she reveled in it.

She never thought she was too big to be a lap dog.

Both dogs loved riding in the Gator, vests meant we were headed to the pond. 

She loved her camo vest, thought she looked HOT and couldn't wait to put it on, Mollie - not so much.

Murphy was always ready to dress up for Christmas.

People would ask me how I told them apart, I said Mollie was the sweet one, see that look on her face (R)? I called Murphy my devil dog and doesn't she look it?

"What can I get into today??"
Murphy never believed in laying on the ground when you could have a soft bed...

....and was a notorious chair hog.

We are a house in mourning and Mollie is grieving, keeping 'Lambikin' close by for comfort. When we went to the farm to feed the Lady Porky, instead of the excited yips, Mollie whined and looked all around, waiting for Murphy to come.

The hardest part was burying Murphy, Mollie didn't understand and was so distraught, she keep looking in the grave and back at us, "What are you doing?? This isn't right!" 

After Sadie died, I wasn't in any hurry to get a puppy but out of the blue, Bruce said, "Well, I suppose you are thinking of getting another collie." I took that as "go for it" and we had Murphy about 4 months later. I can tell you now that it's going to be some time before I'm ready, this really rocked me and I need to get rid of the load of guilt off my back for not taking her to the vet sooner. When we take these animals into our hearts and homes, we are responsible for them and I feel that I let her down. I do know one thing, my original schedule last week had me coming home sometime on Saturday, I wasn't supposed to come home and find her dead.

In the mean time I'm loving on the animals I have left so they will never be left wondering.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Home again and now we wait.

We had to be at the hospital at 6:45 this morning so decided to set the alarm(s) for 5:30 to give us enough time. First Becky set her phone alarm, I struggled with the clock in the motel and finally had it set, then, just for a lark, set my phone alarm. They all went off so we were not late.

Becky was able to partake of the motel breakfast and I was bummed when I found it was biscuits and gravy, dang it, I love that. I lusted over the smell of her coffee, it's been two days for me, if I thought it wouldn't keep me awake tonight, I would have had a cup when I got home.

Our first stop was the ultrasound department and the gal really worked my belly over, it's a very good thing I'm used the bathroom before going in. From there we found our way, with some help, the Clarkson building where I was to have the liver biopsy. We had a lot of time to read and people watch because we were really early, but we couldn't go have coffee and rolls to pass the time.

About 9:30 I was taken to pre-op with Becky loaded down like a packhorse with all our bags and purses, she insisted on pampering me. I can't begin to describe the wonderful, caring people working there and was soon in bed wrapped in warm blankets, an IV in my hand and reading my tablet. Then it was a long wait until Dr. Vargo came in to talk and get consent forms signed. He was the same one who did the lung biopsy so I was thrilled to see him and told him so. But he said he wasn't scheduled to do mine, that one of his partners was on so I asked if he was as good and he said he wouldn't be partners if they weren't so that satisfied me.

It was probably 11:30 before a nurse came and said it was time, I was fine until Becky hugged me and then the tears flowed and I was wheeled away. Instead of using the CT scanner to guide the biopsy needle, they saw the lesions on the ultrasound so could use it which was better. As hard as I tried, I couldn't stop the tears, even when Dr. Vargo came in the room, he drew me after all. I was swaddled in more warm blankets and young nurse kept mopping my tears and told me to take it one day at a time but it wasn't until I was given a sedative and then another one that things proceeded. I barely felt the 'bee sting' of the numbing shot and heard the clicking of the collection, then bandaged and wheeled back to recovery. I don't remember Becky coming back in and slept for 1 1/2 hours before being awakened and have my bandage checked for bleeding and offered something to drink, I chose a Coke. I had to stay another 1/2 hour to make sure all was well, the next time I woke up I had my wits about me and was ready to head home.

I was loaded into a wheelchair and wheeled all the way back to the underground parking where we started, Becky gave up some of bags we'd accumulated for me to carry in the wheelchair. I got a refill on the Coke before we left and ate a sandwich left over from our Domino's meal the night before. Becky is a great driver and got us home safe and sound. I can't say I'm not happy to be back home but disappointed that our well laid plans have gone ary for now. The dogs were ecstatic, Clyde's head was bobbing like crazy, Zoe just wanted to go to the gazebo. Bruce and Grassy were hauling corn stalk bales in from the field. I had a good excuse not to go out because my instructions are to not drive any heavy equipment for 24 hours.

The downside is I'm also supposed to avoid alcohol and boy could I use a glass of wine tonight!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Detour on the Road to the transplant

   My good friend Becky and I are lounging in the Baymont Inn in Omaha after a disappointing day at Ne. Med Center. It was supposed to be the beginning of the stem cell transplant, starting the shots to stimulate the stem cell, getting a catheter placed in my chest for all the medical procedures, and finally retrieving the stem cells. It was a very full schedule for the next week, then I was to get a week off to recouperate from the collection at home before entering the hospital for a three week stint.

   But blood tests on Tuesday showed suspicious activity in my liver that required a PET scan to show what was going on. The bad news was lesions once again on the liver, the good news is they found them so fast and the lung nodule is shrinking.

   BIG SIGH!!!!

   I'm doing that dance again, one step forward, two steps back but again, I'm so thankful for my wonderful Dr. Lunning and his attention to detail, leaving nothing to chance. Tomorrow morning we have to be at the hospital at 6:45 for an abdominal ultrasound, then to outpatient surgery for a liver biopsy before going home while all the good doctors analyze the results.

   So Becky and I are going to order in some food from Domino's Pizza and watch Hallmark Movie Channel. We both forgot our swim suits but since this hotel doesn't have a pool, nothing lost!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 calving is in the books - Finally!

As of Monday, the calving season is over, #40 finally produced a calf, she was the subject of many discussions like this.

"Did #40 ever have her calf?"


"Is #40 going to have a calf?"

"Who knows!"

Bruce came in for dinner and said he saw her on the hill by our house and saw a little black bundle so I took the camera out to chronicle the blessed event. #40 had crossed the creek and was with the cows down by the feedbunks but as soon as she saw me tiptoeing toward her baby, here she came.

Then the entire herd got in on it...

...she called in back up with 4 of her best friends.

She was not happy and the picture is terribly out of focus, but she is still on the other side of the creek.

Here is the baby, I didn't get too close because I didn't want the little fella to jump up and possibly go into the creek.

I sat on the hill for awhile, hoping his mother would come across but she was busy getting advice from the other cows.

With the schedule she has kept the last two years, she will probably get bred next spring with the rest of the cows, thus having 2 calves in 3 years.

She better shape up or will find herself on a truck out of here, the slacker.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Busy work

Once Bruce is in harvest mode, it's hard to get him to relax so when both beans and corn were too wet to continue harvest, he decided we could put up the electric fence on the north side of the pond field.

It was a beautiful day and the dogs love an outing with their camo gear on, Murphy was getting pretty pooped by this time.

Bruce drives along the fence with the wire winder unrolling the white tape....

....sometimes having to stop and remove those pesky mulberry trees that grow up. I went over later and put Tordon on the stumps to keep them from coming back but there will be a whole new crop next year when the birds sit on the fence and poop out mulberry seeds, sigh.

I drove the gator along behind, fastening the tape to the fence insulators, something I could do from my seat but sometimes it was a s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

The pile of mulberry trimmings grow and grow, I wondered if there would even be room for them all.

It didn't take long for that fence and then the dogs and I were free to go, they love to check out things at the pond, we stopped to see this huge old cottonwood that fell into the very first pond that Leo made. Bruce doesn't know how he would ever get this out, I guess it's good habitat for the fish.

The dogs spied another fallen tree and had to investigate, Leo said these trees were big when he was a kid so they have to be a couple of centuries old.

After that fun outing, we went to the farm to hunt rats, it was successful when Mollie caught a big one but she paid the price with a nasty bite on her nose. It only makes the dogs hate them more.

After that bit of exercise, Zoe and I settled into the gazebo for some reading and a nap, until.....

.....a terribly itchy foot woke her up....

....and she dug around in between her toes before finally eradicating it.