Renal Cell Live!

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Next Steps

We spent a long, enjoyable weekend running around doing things without specific deadlines and without specific agendas; more than anything else, we were reliving some of the the "good old days" when we found time to run away more than a couple of times a year. Right now, I feel well enough that I hope we can continue to do this more often; we had a blast. First, on Saturday, we visited the Wyandot County Humane Society in Upper Sandusky, OH, a no-kill shelter that generally has as many as 30 equine rescue animals available for adoption. We've decided that Jeb's companion will need to come from there; it's a private shelter operating on grants and donations, and we admire their perseverance in hard times and good times.

Saturday afternoon we visited my friend S in Findlay and puttered around her yarn shop until she closed, when we all headed off to a local apple orchard to see what was available. We were able to get fresh-picked Cortlands and Galas; fall orchard tours and visits are a delight always, and we love to find new ones to explore. We've decided that after retirement we'll just throw the occasional picnic into the car and take off for a quick daytrip whenever we wish - nobody to answer to regarding time; no questions asked, just go.

Sunday we picked up some small pieces of furniture from my friend/sister C2; she's moving and we decided to buy some pieces so she wouldn't have to work around them. We raced home, picked up the car, and headed to Delaware, OH for the All-Horse Parade, part of the Delaware County Fair activities, courtesy our friends J and E who provided brats and trimmings and seats along the parade route for some 30 or so people. It was a blast, even if we didn't get home until 7:00 p.m. I felt tired but at least survived the whole weekend without major relapse.

I'm off the steroids now and the throat swelling and other problems have been alleviated, and I restarted Afinitor tonight. My doctors are watching enzyme levels and other cues like hawks; I'll be starting monthly Zometa injections again soon as the blood calcium level is one of the most critical indicators of overall stamina and health at this point.

Oh well, best just to wait and see what happens. I am grateful for the lovely weekend we spent together, and we are anxiously counting down the days until retirement on October 29. I am ready to have Saint H home, rested and working on projects that he wants to pursue. I'm sure a lovely time will be had by all.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Buzz

Several weeks ago my dear sister J and I made arrangements for her to come visit. Saint H and I were upstairs last weekend to tidy and start getting things ready for her upcoming arrival next week. He came into the guest room when I was stripping the bed and said, "The bathroom fan is plugged with a wasp nest."

Further investigation revealed that we were, in fact, dealing with yellow jackets rather than just any old type of wasp. As I told J earlier this evening, I can think of nothing guaranteed to freak both her and me out than yellow jackets. Anyone who has grown up in the country knows that nature's little friends aren't always so friendly.

We grew up in a 2-story, 100+ year old farmhouse that our great-grandfather had expanded to its final size. My bedroom was next to the attic (or, as our mother called it, the "box room"). There were yellow jackets living in the attic, and at night they would crawl out through the mortise lock in the door and fly around or gather on the floor to sting through my toes the next morning. To this day I wear shoes or slippers around the house and seldom go barefoot indoors. I never go without shoes outside.

My sister was bothered by bumblebees and other stinging insects; one stung into her ankle and Daddy had to use pliers to pull it off of her. She'd had unsettled thoughts since we talked about it and I told her about the infestation; I'd had recurrences of my childhood nightmares that involves armies of yellow jackets streaming through the walls of my bedroom.

This afternoon I tried calling one of the big national firms with local offices; I was put on hold immediately. While I sat waiting for someone to return to the phone, I kept looking in the phone book and finally decided to hang up and call someone truly local. So the call went to a small firm whose home offices are in the tiny town up the road from us. First, I left a message. Someone called me back within 10 minutes, saying that they couldn't get to us until tomorrow afternoon, to which I agreed; a few minutes later, the friendly voice on the other end called back saying "one of our guys is coming back from a job right now and he'd be glad to stop by your house tonight." So I said "yes" of course, and shortly thereafter Dan arrived with his full beekeeping kit and protective clothing. He was here for over an hour and cleaned up after himself beautifully; he admired Mr. Duke (always a good policy), and turned out to be a near neighbor of ours. So, the buzz is - always use the local guys! We'll certainly use them again.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cretins and Salivations!

No idea where that line comes from but thought it appropriate for the day. We're in Cleveland resting up from all-day tests yesterday. I've hooked into the the hotel's network so I could update folks freely (and for free, hooray); will contact Geek Squad when we get home as I'm tired of being off-line.

I've spent time since the Friday before Labor Day getting the swelling down in my throat with steroids. As a consequence I've been off Afinitor since then; taking steroids in combination with these targeted therapies reduces the drug's effectiveness by something like 65%. At the price of Afinitor, I want a drug that works! I can swallow pills, food, and drink now, and am ready to go back on the drug therapy.

Yesterday's results were a complete success. No surprises on the labwork, all looked normal; the pelvic and abdominal scans were stable. The chest scans showed stability in the new lesions that had popped up in the last scan, even with just 4 weeks of treatment with Afinitor, and the big bad lesion in my right lung had reduced by 30-40% so it's less of an obstacle while we address the remaining disease progression. Top that off with Dr. LA's pronouncement of "beautiful" results from my MRI, indicating no activity in the brain lesions, and it was a great, great day.

I hope everyone else is dealing with the same level of success and good news - can't tell you how good it is to be alive and FEELING alive. My dearest Saint H has completed all the paperwork for retirement effective October 31 2010, after 24 years of service to the university. Then he's mine, mine, mine! I'm so excited I could burst!

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