Day 14 – 24 Radiations and Chemos to Go

LESSON OF THE DAY – Just plan plan one day on the weekend!

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Day 14 180 COLD lbs

Happy Sunday!  I hope that it was a perfect day for you and yours. For me it was a learning moment.  Yesterday I had such a great day we saddled up and headed out to WoodCraft to pick up our woodturning club’s items for the Jacksonville Fair and deliver them to the fairgrounds.  Kat and I left home about 9 and hung out at WoodCraft until noon.  Well thank God we thought to bring some warm clothes!  It was a balmy 50 degrees but we got to spend some time with our turning buddies and catch up.  We ended up with 35 entries and they are stunning.  Bernard and Susie met us at the fair to help unpack the boxes – Thank you guys!  The fair people will set the display and next Saturday is judging.

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Susie, Bernard and the entries

We were out of there by 1:30 heading to The Dreamette for an well deserved ice-cream cone and then home for a nap.  I got up about 6 and Kathy fixed pork barbecue sandwiches for dinner.

Guys I will be brutally honest – I overdid it this weekend and I can barely think! My throat hurts and I am weak. That is why I started with the lesson of the day.  Next weekend I am only planning one fun thing and if it is a must do, I’ll have my back-up buddies in place. So, with a grin and a groan I am going to bid you goodnight and head for the bed. I had a great weekend, learned some stuff and tomorrow is another day.  Peace Out

Don

Day 13 – 24 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 13 178 lbs

What an amazing day I had today!  I owe most of it to my beautiful wife who took me out into a wonderful world that only God could have created.  We got up about 8:30 and after my smoothie, Honeybun, Pedialyte, anti-nausea pill, aloe vera rubdown and a baking soda moth swish we were ready to go!  We headed out to see two of our favorites, Ray and Phyllis Smith.  Ray is a woodturning buddy of both of us and has a stash of  ramin wood that is perfect for a project Kat is doing and, as always, Ray was gracious and generous.  They are such a great couple that will do anything to help another person and Ray puts on a fresh fish fry that is indescribably delicious.  Phyllis is a sweetheart in a league of her own.  They are bright spots in our lives and we love them dearly. No trip to the Smith’s is complete without checking out the garden, a cup of coffee and a smile.

Next trip was to the see Keoni and Amy Mc-Switzer, our brother and sister-in-love. Remember, they lost their house in hurricane Irma and we wanted to check in them. It was such a nice day  that Amy was relaxing in the shade.  That and and they are at a stand still on reconstruction until the City, FEMA and the insurance companies get their acts together – it may be awhile. We just enjoyed some time together and looked at the horses.  We were just going to run by the store to pick up a pork loin for dinner so we invited them to join us for dinner later.

At home I set up the live stream for the Florida Georgia game and settled down for a nap while Kat whipped up one of her feasts and watched the fiasco that was once called a football game. Needless to say the 42 – 7 romp was a good day for Georgia fans.  Just about sunset I was sitting on the patio enjoying the quiet thinking about what a wonderful day it had been so far.  We had spend the day with friends, all going through their own difficult times and, you know, we all shared what was going on in our lives and every single person was so grateful to be where they were and to have each other in our lives.  What more in life could you ask for?2017-10-28 18.43.19Dinner was bacon wrapped pork loin, baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, and bacon, field peas, cauliflower casserole and pound-cake with ice-cream, strawberries and whipped cream. Add in phone calls from Kat’s daddy Larry, Bernard and my sister Jan…..it is wonderful to be me!  and I’m already done with a 3rd of my treatments.

God blessed me today by putting all these wonderful people in my life and giving me the time to spend with them.  I need to remember that life is more than checking off things that I need to get done.  Yes they are important, but what happens if I don’t get them done?  Probably not as bad I I think, after all they will still be there tomorrow.

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Getting ready for the fair

Tonight I sit with the love of my life, the woman who took me by the hand and spent the day with me.  Reminding me that if you don’t get in the way, it is all good.

LESSON OF THE DAY – Those lists can wait sometimes…you are important too

Day 12 – 24 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 12 180lbs

Happy Friday!  I imagine a bunch of you are putting the final touches on your Halloween costumes or if you are a woodturner in Jacksonville – getting your pieces polished for the fair deadline Sunday.  When Kat got home tonight she went out to finish hers up only to encounter a minor snafu and after a some weeping and gnashing of teeth we came up with a solution……I just hate that you have to wait to see it.  Mine needs one more sanding and a coat of juju and I will be ready too.  I had a pretty good day today, it was my “double treatment” day and I learned a few things last week.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturday I am now taking an anti-nausea medication and that really helps eliminate the full gassy feeling and I’ve learned to take a nap when I need too.  So after the 8am  treatment I came home ate a snack and went back to bed until about 12:30 then, stoked up with some lunch and a pedialyte, I went out to the shop and worked on my fish for the center until time to go back for my 3:00.  My throat is beginning to get touch sore, my saliva is thickening, gums are a little tender and my lips are dry, but overall I am in pretty good shape!  Nothing to complain about.

While in the shop I got a text from Eric Miller, one of my customers, with a picture of a

collaboration piece that he had finished and it turned out spectacular.  Eric owns Farmtastic Creations here in Jacksonville and they make farm furniture.  I do table and bench bases for them and if I say so myself we do some nice pieces.  Check out his Facebook page   Farmtastic Creations . When I got to the Center I spent some time with the Art person, Barbara, showing her the fish and discussing what they wanted.  It turned out that we knew about 4 artists in common and it was a wonder that we never met.  The world is such a small place when you take the time to to get out of yourself and find out about someone else.  I know, I have a little time on my hands, but this trying to treat everyone you meet with kindness is really contagious. Here are some pictures of some of projects they have done lately and I am really sorry that I missed the masks.

That is about it for me tonight….time to crawl in bed and snuggle up with my beautiful wife.  Have a great Saturday and thank you for checking up on me, I am blessed to have such loving caring friends.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – Listen to your body talking to you.

Day 11 – 26 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 11 182 lbs

Hola Compadres!  Thursday night and all is good in the house.  How the hell did it get to be Thursday night??? I went into the radiation treatment room and Hana goes I’ve got you scheduled at 8:20 in the morning I replied who did I make mad?  She reminded me that tomorrow was Friday and my double day!  But I get ahead of myself.  My day started with a text from my brother-in-law Albert wishing me a good day and a message from another woodturner, Suzanne Bonsall Kahn.  Susan sent me a picture of a project that she is working on to raise money for a “Movember” event and it is awesome!  It really gave me a smile and started my day. Suzanne is an accomplished woodworker, woodturner, artist and teacher.  She is on my “to do” list for classes to take.  Her

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“Movember”

studio is in Philadelphia and her work is wonderful.  You can check her out at   dovetailwoodarts.com or her Facebook page dovetail facebook  .  When I arrived at the center today I stopped at the art table to see what was going on and was met by Oscar.  I wish I could show you his picture but he was so cute and about 5.  He presented me with a Halloween Card and wished me a spooky day.  How can you not feel great!

When I got home I went to the shop and had a couple hours of fun.  I told you that I am making wooden fish out of scraps from my table bases for the centers art project.  Well here they are.

The only problem was it really took the wind out of my sails.  I knocked off about 3:30 and came in to get dressed for yoga and made the mistake of sitting down for a moment.  As I started to doze off I decided I needed a nap more than yoga so changed into my pajamas and snoozed.

Today was a good day, it was filled with people, sunshine, sawdust and you, what more could a person want.

Don

LESSON OF DAY – Take time to notice the little things they are important

 

Day 10 – 27 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 10 152 lbs

Good evening!  Another day in paradise and I am KING!  Still riding the high from the chemo boost with only some indigestion going on so not too bad.  After I finished up my evening with you I stayed up until 3 reading and finally fell asleep about 4 only to get up with Kat at 6:30….so the crash is coming, but I am enjoying it while I can!  I had my weekly meeting with Dr. Dagan this morning and with the extra fluids and my eating frenzy yesterday I got back up to my starting weight of 185!  The tumors are slightly down and I didn’t know it until today, but the daily radiation includes a CT scan that Dr Dagan reviews to watch the progression of treatment and make alterations if needed.  It was pretty cool that I could actually see the progress.  He is very pleased and needless to say so am I!  They did tell me to enjoy it while I can because a downturn was coming probably next week, but not to get to hung up about it because I am doing exceptional.  Next was radiation and catching up with Jenn and Hanna.  They spent last night looking for Halloween costumes for next week.  The whole staff dresses up so the child patients can trick or treat and they encourage the patients to dress up too.  Hmmmmm it’s been awhile, but who knows!  It is chemo day!  I skipped the lunch today because they where having spaghetti and meat balls and my stomach just couldn’t have taken it, so I went down to see Pam at the art table and committed to making some wooden fish for the patients to paint and be used on a hanging they have been working on for awhile.

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Studio Apothecary

Next up was a visit to one of the galleries that carry my work.  It is a new place on the outskirts of Riverside called Studio Apothecary.  It’s at 1268 McDuff Avenue and is open 10 – 7.  It is owned by Christianna White Fletcher and her Husband Jon and is a wonderful place. All of the artists are local and include a multitude of disciplines.  I got to meet their new employee Christina Bruno and her husband Wesley and spent at least an hour getting to know them and telling them about my pieces and the characteristic of the different wood.  But  all of you know how much I love holding my bowls  and talking about them.

Finally was a trip to WalMart for snacks!  Children I did it up! candy bars, eggnog and then Kathy Lynn brought home Little Debbies, Honey Buns, Sugar Wafers and 2 kinds of Oreos – Hoooked Uuuupp!  Gonna be the only patient to put on weight!

My intention today was to try to acknowledge everyone that I met and to greet them.  I opened doors, let people out in traffic, asked about them instead of talking about me, complimented appearance or just said hello.  I was as happy as ever and have never met so many smiling people.  It was infectious and gratifying.  I am going to try again tomorrow and encourage you all to give it a try.  I started that it was another day in paradise and I’m KING….I think I might have figured it out!  Sleep well guys!  I hope that you are all well.

Don
LESSON OF THE DAY – Try to be nice to everyone you meet, they feel better and so do you

 

Day 9 28 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 9 180 lbs

What a difference a day makes on this Roller-Coaster ride of cancer.  I felt better today than I have felt since treatment started.  I could speculate and say the chemo from last week had worked it’s way out of my system and while getting chemo they give me 2 anti-nausea drugs and a steroid before the cisplatin and then top off the cocktail with a bag of electrolytes. Instead I will be grateful and say that I had an appetite, energy and a renewed outlook.  There we a BUNCH of us in the room and the nurses were scampering.  Apparently the Doctors had a meeting this morning and came in 45 minutes late, so we all showed up at the same time.   Kelly was still as gracious and funny as ever and kept me grinning the whole 3 hours.  There was a fellow there with my type of cancer who was at 4 1/2 weeks who was really having trouble swallowing.  He is at the point where he comes in every day for a bag of electrolytes to keep hydrated and his treatment going for another week and a half.  Kelly held my hand and explained

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UF Health Proton Center

that his case was more difficult than mine because the cancer was on on both sides of his throat. She also told me that he didn’t keep up with his liquids and calories while he could.  She finished by promising to kick my ass if I let it happen to me as she gave me a pack of cookies and an orange juice with a smile.  My appointment with Dr Guthrie went great and to my relief I officially only lost 5 pounds.  While we were waiting Jan and Kat went over my food diary and suggested that I keep more junk snacks around while it is easy to swallow.  Candy bars, halloween candy, cookies, peanut butter, bacon, salami and just keep grazing!  Next up was the Center where I took my radiation treatment with Hana and John and headed home to ice down and get to go to yoga….I told you I felt great!  Oh and I did need to stop by Bernard and Susie’s to return her sunglasses that she let on the table when she came by to drop off dinner and get her jacket that she left Friday – HALLELUJAH!  I am not the only one!  Praise to the good Lord!

I am really glad that I went to Yoga tonight.  It was nice to be with friends in an environment of healing.  Trisha’s talk tonight was on acceptance.  She asked us all to set our intention of our practice on acceptance of the hardships and problems that face in our lives, not as a hindrance, but a part of God’s plan. Even though we don’t understand it just try to accept it as what is going on and try to have faith that it is meant to teach us something or play into something that has yet to be revealed. Most of all, that we will be enriched by the experience.  She has such a way of humbling herself and sharing personal experiences that have led to this discovery and to show us how it has benefited her in her life, all the while laughing along with us at her story.  Being a part of this group of humans, each with their own struggles coming together as a community, to grow in health and spirituality has become a cornerstone in my life.  Thank you Trisha and my group of Yogi’s, I love you and your friendship.

That is it today my friends.  Tomorrow is another day filled with challenges, growth and glimpses into who we are.  Thank you for being on the journey and we will chat again tomorrow!

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – Worry doesn’t change anything, instead of worrying try acceptance, take action and let it go.

 

 

Day 8 – 29 Radiation and 5 Chemos to Go!

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Day 8 176 lbs

Okay, fasten your seat-belts,  we are going to rumble tonight with an age old dilemma.  WEIGHT!  God bless those of you who have been born with the weight and shape of your dreams and even more to those at peace with yourself.  I know that is all over the board and I appreciate your contentment and happiness. I am not so blessed and haven’t really come to terms with the subject.  The Penny clan has always been characterized by it’s ability to look at a piece of cheesecake and put on 2 pounds.  Since childhood I have been up and down the ladder.  To keep my weight I have run, worked out, Adkins, Sugar Busters, South Beach, walked, starved, high protein, low carbs, moderation and through it all I have figured out how to maintain a 10 pound range between 175 and 185.  I feel best, ie clothes fit, work comfortably, at the 175 mark, but I know that Halloween through Christmas are going to put me near the 185.  Candy, cookies, ice cream, cake, special foods, eggnog I’m there!  And I have become at peace in that range.  Normally by summer I am back down and life is good.  This year with the injuries and pneumonia, it wasn’t coming off and secretly I was tickled to death when they told me I could lose around 20 pounds in treatment…..yes I know some of us ARE sicker than others.  When they did the throat biopsies I lost 10 pounds and was digging it, but the reality of what the doctors where telling me sunk in and I knew that I had to put it back on before I started.  I ate everything that wasn’t nailed down a gallon of ice cream a week, double desserts, honkin’ steaks, fried chicken, potatoes, biscuit and gravy, ribs, field peas, fish sandwiches, Kystal, McDonald’s, Wendy’s the Dreamette, anything that I thought that I might love and more and I made it!  1st weigh in was 186 pounds.  Dr. Guthrie told me that I needed to consume 2000 calories of high protein food every day, drink 2 liters of fluid and make one of those an electrolyte drink.  Well friends, it is without a doubt the hardest thing that I have ever done.  I keep a food diary and record everything that I eat.  For breakfast I drink a smoothie – one banana, one cup of coconut milk, 2 scoops of egg white protein, one cup of greek yogurt, and a cup of berries  and while it gets me 700 calories and 75 grams of protein – it fills me up!  I start immediately thinking of lunch because treatment is mid-day and I know if I wait too long I’ll really screw up dinner and miss my mark.  So I think of what sounds good and try to add to it.  Bologna sandwich, add mayonnaise and cheese to get the extra calories and protein, wash it down with eggnog and finish with a cookie.  Snack is peanut butter on crackers with cheese and then dinner!  Scrambled eggs made with cheese and milk mixed with sausage with a side of toast and finish it off with a bowl of ice cream before bed.  I AM FULL!  And you know the really stinking part of it?  When I stepped on the scale this morning I was 176 pounds… I have lost 9 pounds in a week.  WTF?? So I really packed it in today and we will see tomorrow.  I wander through WalMart, yes I am WalMart junkie, looking for that high calorie, high protein treat and worry what is going to happen when my throat gets sore and I have to go to softer foods.  BUT I will get it down because I DO NOT want a feeding tube.  Maybe the next time I need to lose a couple of pounds I will try the Dr. Guthrie EAT IT ALL DIET.  I know quit bitching.

Today was a good day.  I gave a little blood, spent some time on the radiation table with Hana and Jenn, wandered WallyWorld and came home and took a walk.  Just a little fatigued and sore, but tolerable.

I walked in the rain today and realized how much I missed it.  It was just a light drizzle, but cool and relaxing.  I met a couple of critters, a garden snake and a banana spider.  (that’s what we call them anyway) and communed with nature.  Bernard and Susie stopped by to deliver goulash, mashed potatoes and  corn muffins for dinner – it was spectacular! and I spent some time on the phone.  God is good and has given me another wonderful day.  Kat, Sydney and I are watching The Voice and getting ready for an appointment with Dr Guthrie, chemo and radiation tomorrow.  I hope that your day was just as magical, enjoy your evening and we will catch up tomorrow!

LESSON OF THE DAY – Be careful what you wish for, God may give it to you!