Saturday, July 31, 2010

Such a lovely birthday.....

Thanks for the great trip, Rosie! We had all the girls (The Queen, Christina, Lady Sovereign, GaGa, Beyonce, Shakira, Gwen Stefani, and Adam Lambert), some angry testosterone (Eminen, Metallica, Dropkick Murphys, Pittbull, Don Omar, Kanye, and a little Bon Jovi for sweetness) to keep us jamming all the way to Prattville. It was fun. Once we got there we had a great time with Ruth and Kik and Rosie's cousins, Charlie, Shane and Becca. Plus on Thursday, Momma and Daddy joined us for a great lunch with Ruthie's amazing lasagna and special Birthday Peach Cobbler!!! You gotta love warm fruit!!! Right, Char?!!! :>)

Anyhow, Ruth's house is so great and looks just like her personality: open, warm and sunny. The kids and Kik and I worked to put in a Rose Garden with beautiful yellow Knock Out Roses that smell lovely in front of her porch. Charlie, Shane, and Rosie dug all the holes while Becca kept the ice water coming!! It was hot as the dickens but I had such a great time doing it! Thanks for playing in the dirt with me everybody!!!

Got back with no problems last night. It was great to get back to my boys and had a Special Birthday Breakfast this morning with Brent making me bacon and omelets! Delish! Plus, I got all kinds of warm birthday wishes from all my Peds Care buddies.

Thanks to all of you for making my 46 years so incredible.

"It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive. It's my life. My heart is like an open highway. Like Frankie said, I did it my way. 'Cause it's my life!" Bon Jovi

Love to each - c

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road Trip

Rosie and I are leaving early in the morning to drive to Prattville (just outside Montgomery, AL) to visit my sister, Ruth, and her family who have just moved into their new house. We are very excited. We will also get to see my other sister, Kik, and her daughter, Becca, who is staying with Ruth while Kik does some work in Atlanta (She lives in Houston.) but will be finishing that up on Wednesday...AND Momma and Daddy will be coming up to Ruth's at some point as well. Rosie has made us CD's for the trip. She has helped me root and pot plants for Ruthie and we have her surprise afghans ready (shh...don't tell), cause that's what you need in 100 degree heat!! Anyhow, we think it will be fun. Brent and Fred-o will be staying home taking care of things this time.

Have been running 3 miles a day since my scans. I'm finally feeling stronger...more like how I did before all this. One thing I know for sure. Had Rosie not petted me and run with me and encouraged me and babied me and threatened to put her foot in it on occasion....I would not be where I am today. Her careful attention and willingness to take the time to stay by my side for the slowest walks and runs I know she has ever taken, I wouldn't have kept at it. It has meant more to me than she will ever know.

"...If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or talk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and every thing that's in it,
And - which is more - {your have become} a Woman my daughter!" Rudyard Kipling

I love you, Roo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Head docs

Saw both the neuro surg and neuro radiologists this morning. The radiologist was rather glib (as usual) and said that he was not impressed with the posterior lesion and didn't think it was anything. He was very pleased with the appearance of the frontal lobe lesion, stating that it was in keeping with his expectations for an area that had been irradiated so recently. That's about all he had to say on the matter. Didn't feel that there was a reason to do a repeat MRI any sooner than the one already planned as follow-up in 3 months, though if any of the other docs wanted it sooner then he would not object.

The neuro surg was sweet as usual and apologetic for not noting the occipital lesion initially and very sorry for any additional confusion or stress the new finding had wrought. He said he didn't think it was metastatic (because it hadn't "lit up" now or in the past, nor changed, etc.) though he apologetically said he still couldn't tell me what it was. He didn't think it was secondary to trauma. (Brent and I had postulated that it might have occurred in a bad fall I took down an entire flight of stairs with the back of my head thumping down each one several years ago.) At first he said, "Well, I think we should just go ahead and get another scan in about 6 weeks so that we can alleviate some of the worry." I just looked at him and said, "Whose?" He replied, "Well, your neurosurgeon's and his (pointing at Brent)! In an aside to Brent, he said, "She seems to be doing fine." We hashed it out a bit and Brent asked him, on a scale of 1-10, how worried was he that the lesion might be metastatic, and he said, "1". After all that, we decided to do the repeat MRI as scheduled, with the repeat PET, in 3 months. He too, was very happy with the appearance of the frontal lobe lesion and didn't feel that there was residual tumor there.

The whole thing is a bit disconcerting....I would have felt better had folks noted it and said, "Hey this thing is there, but we don't think much of it," and when it reappeared, we could all say, "Yep, there it is again." Brent will be checking in with my oncologist next week and see if she has anything to add and/or if she still thinks it wise to pursue a second opinion at this time.

I think it is an empty place in my occipital lobe where I had to delete some info because my brain was full and I needed some extra storage space for future sights!!!

"I see leaves of green, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. I hear babies crying. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know. And I think to myself....what a wonderful world." c

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oncology visit today...

...and no real news. She is not sure what the "occipital spot" is either. She talked to Brent about the most recent studies and treatment options...still nothing there for me at the moment. She will be checking with some peers about who the neuro person is they most recommend to have offer a second opinion. She is to get back with us about that next week. To see the neuro surg and neuro radiologist tomorrow.

Fred-o got his new tires and says that they are great. Rosie is the sweetest and cleaned my house top to bottom while I was gone. May have to send a letter of condolence to Ga Tech and tell them that she just has to stay home with me!!! HA!

Stay cool...c

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Well...a mixed bag as usual. The PET was absolutely negative, which, contrary to the sound of it is a good thing and means that per this scan there were no tumors noted from the chin down. This is really good news since any bits that might have been left behind from the prior surgery can rear their ugly little heads in about 2 months, not that they can't do that later...but this is still good news. The MRI was more complicated. The lesion that was treated with radiation in the right frontal lobe looks as though it is a "met that was treated", now showing an area of 7 mm (it had been 4, but the area of radiation should be a bit larger so that is appropriate) that is a little weird. The only problem with that area is a rim of "enhancement" that could be a smidge of untreated tumor or just some vessels or who knows. However, overall that area was read as "inactive". The "interesting" find was an area on the occipital lobe that looks like a "treated met". Since I have, as far as I know, never had treatment in that area, the "find" has confused everyone. I had the MRI done at Erlanger this time and the machine is newer with a little better resolution than the machine used at Chattanooga Imaging in April. The radiologist reading the MRI had the old films sent over and indeed, found the same occipital lesion on the April film. Neither time did the area enhance, nor has it increased from its current size of 7mm. It mostly appears to be an area of nothingness. Brent got a copy of the films and we have seen it for ourselves. The frontal lobe lesion lights up on the April scan and doesn't now. The three pronged "blank" in the occipital area is indeed there on both films and doesn't light up on either. SO.............I will be seeing the oncologist tomorrow and the neuro radiologist and neuro surgeon on Friday to see what they have to say. The radiologist reading the films talked to Brent at length on all the results and recommends a repeat scan in a couple of months.

On a more mundane note, got Fred's car serviced today. Will be getting him new tires tomorrow. After that, all cars have been serviced and repaired and folks are good to go. My dryer that never got fixed by the repair man and had to have its old part returned to it so that I could get my money back is now working just fine. Bizarre!!! But, it's good enough for me. On the other hand, the microwave has died completely, but I'll take a dryer over a microwave any day!!

May the scans of your head remain dull and all your appliances be in good working order!! - c

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MRI and PET....AGAIN...

...yesterday. They went as well as could be expected. Rosie had me out at Erlanger East on Gunbarrel at 0800 for the MRI. The lady there was very nice and remembered that she had arranged with Brent and the folks at Chattanooga Imaging to start the IV and leave it in for the PET scan they were to do immediately following the MRI. Her only concern was that Brent wasn't with me, but decided that Rosie was a "very pretty" and reliable sort! Once that was done, Rosie carted me across the street to Chattanooga Imaging where Linda, the same sweet lady who had done my PET last, did it again using my existing IV for the scan and labs, which was even more than I had hoped.

Once done, Rosie took me for a sub and we did the last bit of shopping for things she needs when she moves. Then, she drove out to get her car emissions checked and then to Erlanger's main campus where I had lab drawn in prep for all my upcoming doctor visits this week. After we made a small trip to the grocery store, we made dogs and brats with Kay's special relish (DELICIOUS, Kay....thanks!!) for the boys who walked in the door together.'s to all my pokers working together!!! - c

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The techie

Fred and I took the Roo down to Georgia Tech early Thurs am and dropped her off for her 2 day orientation and registration session. Then we were off to the Dekalb Farmer's market for a little shopping and home again. After getting some chores done around the house I headed back toward Atlanta Friday afternoon to fetch the girlie girl, stopping first to see my friends at Peds Care. (It was great to see all of you! I know I'm weird, but I can't wait to get back to work!!!! You all looked wonderful.)

Rose had a great time (albeit some of the sessions were boring and she was followed around by a couple of creepy guys who couldn't take a hint). She really liked the girl who was her roommate for the session, originally from Honduras and now lives in Miami, and another girl who is also interested in chemical engineering that she met in one of her registration sessions. She had fun at a dance on Thursday night and got a schedule of courses she is pleased with. I had warned her not approach the advisers like she was "all that" because everyone who got in is smart and the advisers have certainly had their fill of freshmen who think they are the hottest ticket in town....not that Rosie is like that, but I only have a little more time to get these sermons in!!!! And she kindly puts up with me telling her things like that, was pretty funny that at one meal all the guys at the table with Rosie and her roommate were bragging about how many AP courses they had taken and how they had done this and already accomplished that while she and her friend just smiled and said, "How nice." Then, the Ga Tech transcripts were given out... These are the papers that now erase all that has gone before. It represents what Ga Tech has decided all your work is worth in transfer credit. Rosie, followed by the other girl, had the most credits, by far, than any of the others at the table!!! She was given college credit for History, English, Chemistry 1, Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 as well as a Physics course. However, she is planning to retake Chemistry and Calculus 2 as well as Ga Tech's preferred physics course so that she will have a good foundation for the coming courses and that is fine with me. That still gives her credit for 3 courses and the others will be a good way to get her feet wet and review. I was tickled with how well she handled herself and managed everything on her own. Brent and I could have attended, but like her brother who did his orientation at UTK on his own, she didn't want us to. They're pretty cool kids, I have to say!!!

I was looking at some pretty gnarly traffic heading out of Atlanta as I was heading in, so after I picked her up we ate supper at Noodle, one of her favorite restaurants, and got caught up on everything. She is so excited about all the opportunities Tech offers and also about the fact that her good friend, Maureen, is going to be her roommate. They are making all sorts of plans. The way home was fine except we got hung up in terrible traffic once we were back in Chattanooga at the 75 - 24 split. There were wrecks toward town and toward Hamilton Place, so we just sat (for an hour!!!) and talked and listened to our music.

Fred-o has been gone this weekend, visiting some friends in Knoxville. Rosie and I have been doing some little chores and such while Brent is working the nursery. I had planned to get in some longer runs this weekend, but was rudely reminded that that was not to be, since as a prereq to the PET scan I'm to have on Monday, I am to remain calm with minimal exertion for 48 hours prior. YUCK!

I sit, twiddling my thumbs, very calmly and still......c

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Picnic at the Park....

And, yes, indigo IS there...I don't care who says otherwise!!

Inauspicious beginnings...

...can sometimes lead to the most wonderful outcomes. Our first trip to St. George was in a run down, rather dirty duplex across the street from the beach in a sort of no-man's land, yet, it is where we discovered our love for the area some 8 or 9 trips ago. As I already mentioned, this trip started somewhat badly as I wasn't feeling well with tummy troubles, head aches, and odd recurrent urticaria along with the rental place changes and rainy weather. But within a couple of days, all of those issues resolved leaving me feeling well, under beautiful blue skies, and in a great place to stay on the beach. This trip was truly one of my most relaxed and magical beach trips, beating out a stay I had with a couple of girl friends in Gulf Shores where I lived off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and swam with huge sting rays the summer before I moved to Chattanooga.

I so enjoyed all the creatures at St. George. We watched multiple pods of dolphins in the surf while we ate our meals on our porch. They seem to enjoy themselves so much. On the dock at our "original" place we watched a huge gar swim by as Brent and Rosie used the casting net to catch bait fish. Turned out they were the only two of us who caught anything but it was fun. Mullet were jumping while the egrets and herons watched quietly and red winged black birds and grackles twittered in the reeds. On the beach, brown pelicans flew in formation overhead, while terns fussed and gulls laughed. The sand pipers were busy on shore, becoming irritable if you came too close. We saw innumerable little mollusks of all shapes and sizes, busy hermit crabs, all sorts of sand crabs, and incredible numbers of blue crabs. Out at the park we even saw medium sized rays swish lazily by. It made my spirit soar to see them all and share their well as filled me with worry for them, should man and his pollutants spoil their world.

The surf was filled with sea weed after a recent storm when we arrived, but I assured the kids it would be gone within a day, and sure enough it was. We all had so much fun playing in the waves. Something we hadn't done much of in recent years because of increased numbers of sharks in the waters during those visits.

In our family, finding a sand dollar on the beach indicates supreme good luck...way better than a lucky penny or rabbit's foot or any of that sort of nonsense! We have collected them for years and we know just when and where we found them. Well....this trip we were the luckiest people in the world!!! I found a couple, Brent found several and Rosie was the sand dollar queen, finding them dried pure white and beautiful on shore, and by the handful in the sand below the surf....alive and gray with little surrounding 'legs' wiggling like crazy! It was amazing!

But our streak of wonders was not yet done. On Saturday, our last morning before leaving on Sunday, Rosie wanted to get up early and watch the sun rise at high tide. So...Brent and I agreed to get up with her at 0600. Bleary eyed we all walked out to the beach just outside our house. At first it seemed that some kids had piled sand in a very strange way, but then Rosie noticed an odd trench and tracks coming from the water and a large lump.....It was a loggerhead turtle (named Sally!!!) laying her eggs on the beach just in front of our house!!!!!!!!!!! In all these years I've never seen a sea turtle on the beach and always wondered how people knew that turtle eggs were present in those special cordoned off areas you see occasionally. But there she was!!! We watched as she laid her eggs, covered them, and with great difficulty, made her way back to the gulf. After the excitement, panic set in as I wanted Sally's eggs cordoned off special as well and as soon as possible. Not many people are answering the phone about turtles at 0600 on a Saturday, but we kept at it and finally Brent reached someone at the Park Service who said the "Turtle Man" would be coming by checking the beach very soon. Sure enough, down the beach he came. He noted the tracks and put up flags around the area and assured me he would be back to put up real posts and warning ribbons. About an hour later he returned. First he carefully dug down to find the eggs at the edge of the nest. And there they were. White and leathery looking. Turns out Sally had made 5 attempts on the beach above us, and finally deposited her eggs at our house. He packed the sand back around them and put up the protective perimeter. He told me that they should hatch in 60-80 days. Unlike their mom, baby turtle are not strong swimmers, they simply crawl to the water, swim just long enough to reach a current, and then drift. Since that was the case and the current is now filled with oil which would kill them, he said he would be coming back in 50 days to remove the eggs in order to protect them and allow them to finish hatching at a facility on the east coast. (Another little turtle fact: Even if Sally's babies are placed in the ocean somewhere other than St. George, it is still the place the females will return to to lay their eggs.) Isn't that all just the most amazing thing ever?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think Brent was a little worried that I might just have to stay at St. George for 50 more days...but I trust that the Turtle Man will take care of things.

And then.....Sunday came and we had to leave. Just a quick walk out to the beach once more, and there it was....a beautiful rainbow with a complete arch...and yes, indigo WAS in there, just as it should be.

May all your inauspicious beginnings turn out so well - c

Pics on following posts...........

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dock of the bay

Sally the Loggerhead Turtle

Isn't Sally beautiful?!! She didn't like the gulls and would put her head down and be very still when they passed over.

Those are her Caterpillar tracks onto shore. The turtle man thought she was young and small (about 200 pounds) based on the measurement of her tracks which was all duly noted in his turtle book.

Finally!!! Protective ribbons for Sally's babies!!!
Sally's house and our just beyond.

Beach scenes

A walk with Roise.

Mr. Crab
Playing in the surf.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

La isla bonita

What a lovely time it has been. We are packing up and heading back home this morning. We have seen so many beautiful things. Much more to come.

With love - c

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy 4th

Hope all had a good July 4 holiday. We got to be voyeurs of our various beach neighbor's fire works. They did a good job!!!

The drive down was easy. Brent was the navigator. Fred and I split the driving and made good time even with a picnic on the way. Once here, Brent ran into the rental place to pick up our key and was met with some disappointing news....the house we had picked out on the bay was discovered to be without a functioning air conditioner just that morning and it did not seem likely that it would be repaired anytime soon. The rental agency had "reserved" us a different place, though not on the bay, nor near the park like we prefer. He reported that the island was very full, due to the time of year as well as from vacationers running from the oil to the west. The place he had saved was a geometric dome, ugly, but more importantly without windows!!!! When we didn't seem thrilled to stay in a dungeon for a week, he came up with a pretty place, lots of windows, on the beach, however, it wouldn't be available until a day later.

Long story short, we stayed in the dungeon for a day and night, then moved to the nicer place, where we remain. We also negotiated an extra day, so we will be returning on Sun (rather than Sat) and can fish off the dock of the one we initially would have been in.

So...after a confusing start, we have been eating fresh sea food, fishing, swimming, walking and running on the beach, playing trivial pursuit, reading, watching "The Big Bang", and generally lazing about!!!

Here's to more relaxation for all. Love - c

Saturday, July 3, 2010


We're off to St. George this morning. Maybe the storms and the oil will stay away a bit longer. Looking forward to getting away with Brent and the kids to one of our favorite places. Loads of sunscreen packed!!! along with my bike and books.

Have a great weekend. Love - c