Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dear Kids,
         Dad and John made a 2-day roadtrip to California, because John was interested in buying a glider from a guy who lives near Fresno.  Unfortunately, the glider was too small for John, even when they took out the seat, so they came home empty-handed.  But they had a fun trip.  Meanwhile, I was having yet another surgery on my hand.  Last week it was my left wrist, but when I took off the bandages on Tuesday, my left ring finger locked up.  It’s trigger finger, and I’ve had it on three fingers of my right hand.  There’s a quick surgery to fix it, but I had to have it done before next Tuesday, when my chemo starts.  So my nice hand doctor worked on it Friday afternoon, after he did all his other patients for the day.  So my hand is bandaged yet again, but it doesn’t hurt as much as  last week.
         Friday morning Sharon took the TEAS test, which she needs to be admitted to a nursing program.  It’s a test of knowledge in general, not like the more specific one John took to get into optometry school.  Sharon studied really hard for the math part, and she got a 98.  Her reading comprehension was high, but surprisingly, her grammar score was low.  Her overall score was 85, which she hopes will be high enough.  Besides the test, she also has to submit a letter of recommendation, and they look at grades, too.  We hope she’ll be admitted, of course. 
         Allen will soon be getting a lateral promotion, to detective sergeant.  It’s a position he should have gotten a while back, and the guy that beat him out is retiring.  There’s no pay raise, but Al will be working days now.  He expects to have the position for four years, and after that, he’ll be so close to retiring that he won’t even have to worry about working nights again.  We’re really happy for him, both for the kind of work he’ll be doing, and that he can have a more normal schedule now. 
         Last week I wrote about Lee Benson of the Deseret News writing a column about John’s eagles.  If you want to read it, just google Deseret News Lee Benson January 19 2020.  It’s called “Never underestimate the power of a deadline, and a mom” and I thought it was pretty stupid.  Lee Benson tried to cover too much ground, and he tried to cash in on the sob story of the brother of two of the eagles (quadruplets) dying in 2018.  He made a big deal about their mother keeping a spread sheet of the eagles’ progress, but to my thinking what John did was way more spectacular.  Well, I always did think Lee Benson was a dope, and I have nothing good to say about the Deseret News any more.  John was way more gracious about it that I’ve been.
         January is flying by!  Who would’ve thought? 
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dear Kids,
         I’m typing with one hand because I had a surgery on my left wrist on Friday.  I’ve been wearing a brace on it for months, because it hurt so much when I used my cane. Finally I had a window of time, before my next chemo starts, where I could maybe have something done with it.  I made an appointment with my hand doctor, and he said the pain came from “de Quervain” syndrome. There’s a band of tissue around the tendons that go to your thumb, and if it thickens, the tendons get stuck there and it really hurts.  He called it “trigger finger of the wrist.”  It’s a really minor surgery to cut that band, and he had time to do it right then.  Now it hurts like crazy because I can’t take hard pain meds any more, but when it heals, that will be one less pain I’ll have to deal with.  Up till now, I’ve only been adding pains, not subtracting them.  I even still have pain from the shingles I had, but I hardly notice it among everything else that’s wrong with me.  But now one thing will be better!
         A few days ago John had a phone call from Lee Benson, who writes a column for the Deseret News. Benson had a friend of a relative or whatever who was the parent of one of John’s eagles.  He could hardly believe that John had shepherded 15 eagles to the finish line, and he wanted to write a column about it. He and John had a great phone conversation. I don’t know when it will be printed, and I don’t know anybody who still takes the Deseret News, but John’s going to keep on top of it. I’ll let you  know when it shows up.  I’m glad something really newsworthy is going to be in the Deseret News.  We stopped taking it more than ten years ago, for lack of real news. 
         By the way, Dad saw a real bald eagle flying past our window yesterday morning.  Maybe he was looking for the 15 other eagles he’d heard about.  Or maybe he was looking for one last eagle court of honor he could crash.
         Our work on the cabin is moving ahead very slowly.  John and Dad have been working on the water tank, and yesterday afternoon they finally got it done, they said. I haven’t been back to see, but I’m hoping to start unpacking again.  It’s just like moving! I can’t even remember where the pictures and other wall decor goes. But we’ll get it done.  There will be lots of good times at the cabin again!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Dear Kids,
         I finally saw my oncologist this week.  He’d been out of commission for more than two months, and they said he was only working half-days now.  I asked him point blank if he had cancer and he said “Yes,” pancreatic cancer.  Whoa!  I’m just glad he’s back.  I hope he stays alive and well for a while.  I told him the whole ghastly tale of my chemo, but he knew most of from his notes from Dr. Thota.   I asked him if he had any more tricks in his bag, and he said lots.   He spent at least half an hour with us, telling me in minute detail what he wanted to try next.  It was great understanding him!  He thinks the best option now is for me to go on a gentler chemo–only one of the two drugs I had together last time.  The gentler drug only causes diarrhea, mouth sores, and rashes, but not the terrible nausea.  I might have to be on it for up to ten months, with a treatment every other week.  I’ll be wearing the pump for two days and then going back to have it taken off.  I’m willing to try it!  It won’t cure me, but hopefully it will stop the tumors in my lungs from growing for a while.  They have my first infusion scheduled for January 28.  Naturally I still need your prayers!  A miracle would be nice. 
         Scout is totally frustrated by all the snow, because he can’t find any mice.  He usually goes out first thing in the morning, scouts around, comes back in, and then sleeps  in the basement for the rest of the day.  But this morning, he didn’t even head for the back door.  Instead, he went to the coat closet and put his paws under the door.  There are usually play mice in there, knocked underneath, and he wanted a look.  I opened the door for him, and he looked in every corner.  Nothing.  So I got a play mouse from the kitchen drawer and tossed it to him.  He spent the next hour knocking it all over the house, getting really vicious some of the time.  Now I know how those poor outside mice get treated!  I’ll be glad when he can go for the real thing again. 
         Dad and I are making progress at the cabin, but it’s a huge project.  Yesterday John came and worked with Dad on the bathroom plumbing.  Next Saturday they’ll tackle the water tank.  Go, John!  He’s as good as a licensed plumber.  Our contractor’s son came and hung the rest of the doors, and he only needs to fix the air shaft over the fireplace now.  Meanwhile, I’ve been making beds, unpacking boxes, putting books back on the shelves, and hanging things on the walls.  It’s hard to remember where everything used to be.  I haven’t even started on the kitchen, and the mouse turds are still plentiful under the sink.  Maybe I should take Scout next time, and he can make sure there aren’t any live mice adding to the problem.
         So much fun!  January is going by fast this year.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Dear Kids,
         We’re all happy and relieved that Sharon’s family made it back to Maryland OK.  I guess their only hitch was the 2-hour delay in Evanston, but they still made their targeted stop that night. Dad and I really miss them, though; we really enjoyed the few days that our house was their headquarters.  I guess the New Years Eve party was wild and crazy, at least it sounded like that.  I was upstairs stretched out in the recliner with agonizing gut cramps.  And then, in case there hadn’t been enough partying, there was another party the next night. Nora’s family was on their way home from the cabin, and they brought the party with them.  It was too late for me to join in, but Dad and I smelled the bacon from the jalapeno poppers.
         By the way, in spite of the Mair party at the cabin, it really isn’t open for occupancy yet.  We still have to have the final inspection and then get a certificate of occupancy.  (The fake one Allen uploaded doesn’t count.)  There are about four things the contractor needs to finish, including getting a door for the Moose bathroom (who knows where the other one went!) and I’m going to start pestering him this week. 
         On New Year’s day Mandy and Eddie came to our house to visit Sharon’s family, and for some reason Sonia was obsessed with Eddie.  Maybe because he doesn’t like cats.  She sat on the bench next to him, staring adoringly, waiting for a chance to jump on his lap and make starfish paws.  He totally ignored her, which drove her crazy.  She wasn’t used to being ignored, because Sharon’s family had admired and petted her every minute of every day they were here.   After they left to drive home, she wandered aimlessly around the house for a couple of days.  Now she’s hanging out more with Scout, so it’s all OK.
         I’m supposed to meet with my oncologist one of these days, but he’s been very sick with something they won’t tell us about.  Whenever I ask, they say they don’t even know if he’ll get better.  Maybe he has cancer!  That would be odd.  During my chemo I was seeing his partner, the lady from India, but I had too much trouble understanding her.  For example, she said “I don’t want you to womit.”  I had to think about that for a minute.  And you have to understand your oncologist completely, because it’s a matter of life and death.  If poor Dr. Lewis doesn’t recover, I’ll have to find somebody new, that I can understand.  I’m sure everything will work out for me, though, and I’ll live as long as I’m supposed to.  About the only good thing in all this is that I have a permanent handicap sticker for our car.  Dad absolutely loves it.  I do, too.
         I hope you’re all having a great new year!  Lots of love, Mom