Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

Our last stop on the way to San Angelo was Amarillo, TX. Al had a place in mind he has wanted to visit ever since he first heard about it.  It was kind of a "bucket list" type of thing. It is called Cadillac Ranch. He had seen it on Google Earth. and some of our friends had gone there. It's just a piece of property where 10 Cadillac's are buried half in the ground.  A piece of art work, I guess. They were buried in the 70's and have been a tourist attraction ever since. You can see them as you drive along the highway. Several people go there every day. Al says they all used to be a light blue color. In recent years though, people have been spray painting graffiti on them.  Unfortunately people leave litter and even their spray cans behind, as there is no one is around to monitor the place.

On our way in, we passed a man and I asked him if it was worth the stop.  He said, "No, not really, I drove 120 miles just to see it.,  I had to do it."  Well, that about sums up the place.  It really was kind of a hoot and did give us a chuckle.  Hope you enjoy the pictures from different viewpoints.  No captions necessary.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oklahoma City, OK

Sorry it has taken me so long to update my blog.  We arrived at Doug and Deja's last week and have been enjoying the grand kids immensely, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with them.   I keep meaning to update and show you our last couple of stops before arriving here.  I will put up some pics of the kids soon.   I know I am behind on things,  but I wanted to share with you the last couple of places we stopped before coming here.  I decided it would be nice to visit Oklahoma City again since I lived there 40+ years ago and haven't been back since.   Since my oldest son was born there, it did have a great deal of significance to me.

We visited the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum there. I knew it was a place that Al would enjoy visiting. We were there for a few hours and really enjoyed all the exhibits. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos of much of it and where we were allowed, we couldn't use a flash, so the pictures didn't come out well at all.

From beautiful art work,  western TV stars, such as Hopilong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and John Wayne etc.,  all kinds of firearms, as well as Native American objects,  and tons of historical artifacts that depicted western life back then.  I highly recommend a stop here if you are ever in the area.  Not only is it educational, but very entertaining as well.

                                         Picture taken outside the museum from parking lot.

  This is probably the only picture taken inside that came out fairly well, although blurry.

Another place we decided to visit was the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.  We all remember the horrible act of terrorism that happened here on April 19, 1995.  A memorial was set up here to remember those who were killed, and also those who survived, but whose lives were changed forever.  At this time in history, it was the costliest act of terrorism that had occurred on American soil.  One hundred sixty-eight people were killed which included 19 children.  Over 700 people were injured. 

We only visited the outside memorial, but there is also a museum you can visit.  Unfortunately, it was getting late in the day, so we didn't have time to visit it.  The outdoor Memorial was so nice and serene, a wonderful tribute to all those who perished on that day.

People leave all kinds of memorials here on the fence outside the place
This is called the Reflection Pool, flowing water that is supposed to help soothe wounds and provides a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts.   It is also meant to show the reflection of someone changed forever after their visit to the memorial.
Nice area to walk along the pool.
These chairs are set up as a remembrance of each of the 168 people lost on this day. They are set up in nine rows representing each floor of the building. A name is printed on each chair.
                                                    This building houses the museum.

Our next stop after Oklahoma City was to Amarillo, TX.  I promise a much more light-hearted post in a few days. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

North Little Rock, Arkansas


We are staying here at the Riverside RV Park in N. Little Rock. This park is owned and run by the city. It has only been here for 4 years. It is a really nice park, although it would be better if it had grass, but it is more like a huge parking lot. It is full hook up and the price was only $10.50 with our Passport America discount, so for the convience and our purposes we are very happy here.

The park we are staying at is located right on the Arkansas River, so the scenery is really nice. There is a walking bridge you can access from the RV park that takes you over to the Clinton Presidential Library. I took a walk over there today. It is 1/4 mile each way. After I got there I found out there was a $7 admission and I didn't bring any money. It was too nice a day to be inside anywhere so, after taking a few pictures I walked back.

Yesterday we took a ride on the trolley.  It runs from North Little Rock to downtown Little Rock.  It makes several stops and you can get off and on all you want.  We just wanted to get an overview of the city, so we only got off for lunch.  It was fun riding it and the driver pointed out all the attractions and of course, all the good places to stop for lunch.

Tomorrow we are headed for Oklahoma City.  We enjoyed our brief stay here and will definately come back for another visit.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.
Here is a view of the walking bridge from the RV park. 
My view walking across the bridge
View of RV Park from bridge

Clinton Presidential Library
The Trolley on it's way to pick us up
Inside the trolley.  Can you believe this trolley cost $800,000
to purchase and we paid only $2 for an all-day pass.
Here is what the tract looks like as we cross the river.
We stopped here and had pizza for lunch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Finally We Are Traveling Again

Well, I didn't know for sure if this day would finally come, but we left our home on November 2 and are headed west.  So far, it has been cold everywhere, but it does seem to get a little warmer with every place we stop.  The first night we drove out past Buffalo and spent the night in a WalMart parking lot.  Not my favorite, but there were no RV parks open anywhere.   Luckily, there were other campers there, so we felt quite safe and we both slept well.  The next night we stopped in at an RV park near Cincinatti, OH.  There were almost no RV parks open in Ohio either, but luckily we found  an RV park run by Hamilton County.  We stayed there for 2 nights.  Our next stop was Franklin, KY and tonight we are staying at an RV park in a town about 50 miles west of Nashville.

I wasn't planning on updating my blog until we visit some interesting places.  Right now we are just trying to get away from the cold.  To be honest, I'm hoping for a low-key type of trip.  Other than spending the holidays with family in Texas, we are not making any real plans.  We are trying to take each day as they come.  We do have places in mind we wish to go, and are making short term plans as we go along.  It seems kinda nice to not have commitments after the events of the past year.  I must say though, I am feeling well, and I am determined that this is going to be a great year health-wise.  All of my tests came back normal and I am in remission.

Of course, we do have family members in NYC, NJ and Long Island who are experiencing some really difficult times right now.  They are just starting to get things back to normal and are now facing a Noreaster coming their way.   Not only were they without power, but some have had to wait hours in line for gas.  We are praying all goes well for them.

Stay tuned.  Will update again soon.  I promise to make my next post a little more interesting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chemo Treatment is Finished at Last

It has been a long time since I last posted here.  I am finally finished with my chemo and will soon start my radiation treatment.  They will last 6 1/2 weeks and I will go every weekday.  Today I went for the simulation, where they get you set up for the treatment.  I will start treatment next Wednesday.

My last few rounds of chemo were a little more difficult for me.  I found myself being very tired much of the time and I have been suffering from migraines as well.  It was finally determined that the Neulasta shot I receive after each round of chemo, was probably the cause of the migraines.  Unfortunately, this shot is very necessary as it helps to keep my counts up and prevents me from catching dangerous infections.  After each round of chemo, my counts usually went down low on the 7th day, but by the 10th day were back to normal.  During those few days (always over a weekend), I had to be on antibiotics and be very careful not the expose myself to germs.

I feel great that this is now all behind me.  After going through chemo, radiation treatment will be a breeze, or so I am told.  I was told I will be in and out of there in 15 minutes each day. 

I probably won't be blogging on this subject again, but if anything new develops, I will send out an email to everyone.  I'm expecting the rest of my treatment to be uneventful which if fine with me.  Thank you again for all your support throughout my illness.  It means so much to both Al and me.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

At the Half-Way Point-Little Setback

I had my third chemo treatment 8 days ago.  Knowing I have three more to go, and also knowing I can do this, was very satisfying.  After having a chemo treatment my blood counts need to be checked seven days afterwards and ten days afterwards.  This is when my white blood cells are most apt to go down, making me more susceptible to germs and infection.  Up until now, my counts have been very good, so naturally I just assume this will continue for the duration.  Yesterday, I found out my white blood cell count was quite low.  The oncologist said I should be very careful to not put myself in a position where I may catch something.  I also have to keep taking my temperature and if it elevates to 100.5 or above, I must call them immediately.  Al mentioned to him how tired and weak I had been lately and he said this is a side effect of a low white blood cell count.

We were looking forward to a visit from Mike and Holly and their three boys on Saturday.  Al feels it would be best to put it off until my counts are higher.  So much is going around this time of year, and people don't always know when they are coming down with something.  It may seem like we are being a little over cautious, but we feel hibernation might be the safest way to go right now.  Hoping my counts will go up when I go back in on Monday.

I am so glad we are having a mild winter this year.  Most of the time I only need to wear my fleece jacket when going out.  It's amazing to me that 40+ degrees feels much warmer here in the Northeast than if we were in Texas or Arizona.  That would be a very cold day there.  When its 40 and the sun is shining, the air feels so good.  Knowing spring is around the corner and our neighbors will be coming home from their winter homes will make things much more lively around here.

Please say a prayer for me for this latest bump in the road.  I have no doubt my counts will go back up and I will be able to have my next chemo treatment in two weeks.  I am so grateful for all your prayers and feel that God has blessed me with a wonderful family and friends who care.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

One Month Later and One More Round of Chemo Down.

Well, it has been a month since I last posted here.  Things have been going fairly smoothly.  Considering I'm on chemo, I think all in all, it's not as bad as I expected.  I've had some bad days, but mostly good ones.  I'm often tired, but since I don't have to go to work, I am able to take naps whenever I feel the need. 

Thursday February 16th will be my next chemo treatment.  Then I will be at the half-way mark as far as my chemo treatments.  This past Thursday I went in for my counts to be checked.  Everything was very good and my counts were high.  I saw the PA this time and she said she was amazed at how well I am doing.  

Sorry, I don't have more to report, but actually I guess that is a good thing.  Thank you all for your comments on here, cards, emails, phone calls, & messages on FB.  I really appreciate hearing from all of you.  Also, thank you for your prayers on my behalf.   

My sister and brother-in-law stopped by the other day and brought me this sweet teddy bear.   The people in  their church have been praying for me and they have a really neat custom.  A teddy bear is passed around the congregation and each person prays for the person mentioned.  The tag says "Hello, The Hartford Yoked Parish has hugged me and prayed with me.  Now I bring you all the love and prayers I represent.  May you find the fullness of God's tender, loving care."

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Different Type of Journey

In October we were so busy, getting our 5th Wheel packed and our house ready for the winter ahead.  We were 95 % packed and almost ready to go.  We were excited about our plans and looking forward to going to some areas we hadn't been before.  

The day before our planned departure, I received a call from the Radiology place where I had gone to have my yearly mammogram.  They found a dense area on the mammogram and I was asked to come back in for another mammogram and an ultrasound.  So, on the day we were to leave, I had another appointment to see the radiologist.  No big deal, I thought, these things happen, and I'm sure we will be on our way the next day.  This was not to be.  After looking at the area on the ultrasound,  the radiologist said I need to see a breast surgeon for a biopsy.  Still thinking our trip would only be delayed another week or 2, I was able to get an appointment with a surgeon the following week.  Long story short, I had the biopsy and it came back positive for Invasive Breast Cancer.  It appeared that it was caught early, and the hope is that it hadn't spread.  The surgeon recommended a lumpectomy and told me that chances were good that it hadn't spread and that would mean 6 weeks of radiation.

A few weeks later, after numerous tests and procedures, I had the lumpectomy.  After the surgery, we were under the impression that all went well, all the margins were clear and nothing had spread to the lymph node.  I went back to the surgeon for followup.  She told me the surgery went very well and the margins were clear.  However, they did find that there was a very microscopic amount that spread to the sentinel lymph node.  It was only 1mm.  But, this may mean that I would need chemo as well.   So her scheduler made appointments for me with a Medical Oncologist as well as a Radiation Oncologist.

My appointment with the Medical Oncologist went very well.  He said he really wasn't concerned about the microscopic amount that went to the lymph node, but couldn't say until further testing if I needed chemo.  A test was done that involved sending a piece of the tumor to a special lab in California.  The test is called an Oncotype DX.  This is usually done with early stage breast cancer.  They test 21 genes in the tumor to determine the likelihood of a recurrence.  It took a couple of weeks for the results to come in . Unfortunately, my test came back as intermediate to high risk and chemo was recommended. 

It seems like a lot of time goes by between all the appointments and testing that has to be done.  I have had a bone scan, cat scan, blood tests, and most recently my heart was tested to be sure there are no problems. Last Friday I had my port installed.  We are now all set, and I finally started my chemo yesterday.  I feel pretty good, so far, but realize I will have some not so great days.  I will have 6 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks between each treatment (should take about 4 1/2 months) followed by 6 weeks of  radiation.  Of course, I am not happy about all this, but I really want to get this started, in order to get this over with and back to my normal life.

Al and I were disappointed that we are unable to travel this winter, but we are so thankful this was caught early and we know we will have many years ahead to travel.  We are also thankful for all the support we have received from all our family and friends.   Many prayers have been said and we are so encouraged that I will be completely cured.  This is not the journey we have anticipated, but I must say, it is something we have always known might happen.  None of us know when something like this will come into our lives.  So, for now we take one day at a time, do what has to be done and pray that all will turn out ok.

I know this is not supposed to be what my blog is about and I am determined for it not to be!   We are hoping to go away again next October and do all the wonderful things we had planned for this year.  Many thanks to all our friends and family for your continued support and, most of all your prayers.  We love all of you so much!