Day 193 – Rainy Day in Louisville

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Day 193 – Blessed

Hi guys, I have had a bit of a procrastination streak and I have been up and down the last 3 weeks.  Push, rest, rally and repeat – When I think about it that is what most of us go through in life it is just that it has become more top of mind with me.  It has been a pretty busy 3 weeks, Memorial Day weekend we decided to check out my stamina and headed to see out friend Steve, the Slawdog, Lawson, his wife Tina and their daughters Falin and Darin in Baker, FL.  For those of you geographically challenged folks, Baker is about 30 miles north of Destin, Fl and has about 7,000 residents and one red light.  They live on a farm that they share with Steve’s mom and dad and they raise chickens and cows. They also have 2 shops Steve has a car shop and Jim his dad has a wood shop testosterone on parade!  Steve came into our lives a couple of years ago when he was in Jacksonville putting sprinklers in the Fed Ex Ground facility near us and fate put us together when he wanted someone to teach him to turn.  Well over that 6 months he became part of the family and the rest is history.  We had a great weekend laying on the beach in Destin on Saturday and lounging by the river on Sunday.  We had lots of food and fun with the family and are really glad we made the trip.

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River Life
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The Family
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Kat’s new shoes

We hit the next week running going back to work on Tuesday and Wednesday I had my 6 month checkup.  Thank God I am still cancer free!  Of course I got the scope through the nose, but it was totally worth it.  Dr Dagan said I looked so good that we are going to skip the 9 month scans and just go with an exam.  We will repeat the scans at a year.  I told Carlene that they needed to do a better job telling patients about how slow recovery is and the smart ass told me that they did, but the hard headed patients didn’t listen. She looked back at her notes and let me know me that I was actually ahead of where she said I would be and that I should just zip it.  My weight was down a couple of pounds but I’m

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Picture Kat made for me!

still was well within the acceptable range.  All and all it was damn good news and with the continued improvements in taste, hair and strength they think that I should be back to normal by the end of the year – lets hope!  As you can probably guess with all of the activity and excitement I went down like a rock on Saturday.  I got out of bed and announced to Kat that it was going to be a couch day because I had absolutely no energy and didn’t see any coming at anytime soon.  She spent the day with her art and her bump on the couch.  Sunday was a little better, but not by much, after a shower we went wild and took a trip to Costco and took a nap together…WoooooHoooo!

This week was a lot better I worked Monday and Tuesday then my lovely wife treated me to a facial on Wednesday. Believe me manly men there is nothing better that a facial unless it is a massage!  Thursday I flew to Louisville to spend a couple of days with my Mom and am currently sitting with her

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Riveting TV…lol

while she naps and I am writing.  It has been a great weekend.  Friday night I got to go to my 45th high school reunion.  I went to an all male school so for our reunions we have one night that is a stag.  I went with a buddy I stay in touch with, Dennis Dauphinais, and really guys – those guys are freaking old!  Dennis and I stood at the door looking and couldn’t believe

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Bunch of Old dudes

 

how everybody had gotten so old and we stayed so young.  We

had such a good time we stayed for almost 5 hours.  Saturday I got to go to a favorite AA meeting where I reunited with some long term friends and then went to visit another who just got home from the hospital, Don Perkey.  Mom and I have been just hanging out catching up, working the jigsaw puzzle and taking lots of naps.  Tomorrow I think we are off to buy her a new pair of shoes then I head home first thing Tuesday.

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Downtown Louisville
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Puzzle Master
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The Puzzle

 

It has been a real introspective couple of weeks.  Last week I saw my therapist Louise and she is at the one year mark in her cancer battle so we had quite a bit to work through that day.  It was surprising how much we had in common at this stage of our recovery.  I was talking about how I went down on Saturday and she noted that it was no surprise with the stress and anxiety of a milestone doctor visit.  Even though you have the scans and know that you have the cancer kicked until the doctor puts his stamp of

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My Beauty

approval on the process you still have that memory of the first test when they told you that you have cancer.  The memory of the treatment and recovery silently live at the back of your brain especially when you haven’t recovered the first time!  We also talked about the wear and tear on family and friends and what a toll that can take.  We wrapped up the visit with talking about despite the wear and tear how eternally grateful we are for where we are.  Again, the sky is bluer, activities are more meaningful and the time with others is more special. This was further cemented at the reunion and sitting with my friend Don that just got out of the hospital.  Life is to short and sweet to worry about most of the things we worry about. You can’t change other people or affect most situations so why get yourself all twisted.  If I pay attention to living life one moment at a time, try to seek the good in that moment, trust God’s plan and try my best to the next right thing I am much happier and don’t worry about anything.

Don

Quote of the day – There isn’t enough room in your mind for both worry & faith. You must decide which one will live there  Anonymous

 

 

Day 173 – Life goes on!

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Day 173

Hello friends!  Monday night and another wonderful day.  If we could just get over this rain – I don’t think that it is ever going to stop!  We have been just plugging along trying to do as much as we can do while living life on life’s terms.  Two weeks ago I worked for Eric as normal, but as healing seems to go, after yoga that Thursday night I hit the wall and was not able to get up on Friday so Ms Kathy did not get a clean house for Mother’s Day.  She was fine with it and we piddled around the house and shop on Saturday.  Sunday we took a trip to Ft Clinch Park in Fernandina to enjoy Mother’s Day at the beach.  Albert, Jan, Will and Jessa joined us and we celebrated with lunch, shark tooth and shell hunting. The cool thing about the beach at Ft Clinch is that it is at the mouth of the St Mary’s river and with the jetties

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Happy Mother’s Day!

you can have either an ocean or sound experience depending on which side of the jetties you go. Needless to say, we had a wonderful day.  Monday I had my 6 month labs, CT and PET scan and followed that up with a customer visit, a stop at the store and our monthly wood turner meeting.  I left the house about 8:30 in the morning and we didn’t get home until about 9:45 that night.  Between a day at the beach and running around all day I had to call in dead Tuesday because I

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Test Day!

could not get out of bed again!  The not getting out of bed is not getting any prettier, I rolled out about 11:30 to eat, take my meds and get some water down.  I was back in bed by 12:30 and slept until about 5 when I got up to eat again and was back in bed by 8:30.  Wednesday I went to St Augustine to pick up a project, Gate Parkway to deliver a finished job and finally hit the shop for an hour or two to finish up a couple of wine stands for a customer and his dad.  I just just haven’t figured out how to effectively plan my days.  I try to plan for 4 to 6 hour days, but when I lose one or two days it just snowballs. It is a good thing that I am still telling my customers that it may take awhile to get their jobs finished.

We ended up the week Saturday with our bi-monthly SoMMA meeting.  This meeting we had Joyce Gabiou who shared her techniques for collage. You can see Joyce’s work by clicking here Joyce Gabiou Artist.

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Joyce Gabiou

As I was laying around Sunday recuperating it dawned on me that we began this cancer adventure a year ago this month.  We had dinner with Amy and Keoni and I started to feel puny the week after.  We went to Louisville the following week and Kat got sick on the plane and I thought that I picked it up because my lymph nodes had begun to really swell.  After a bought with pneumonia those nodes stayed around and the rest is history.  It is really hard for me to believe that it has already been a year –  diagnosed, treated and getting my 6 month post treatment check on the 30th. What a year it has been, fear, happiness, love, faith, pain, hope, reliance on self and others. My reliance on God has grown 10 fold as well as my reliance on others.  I have had to

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The Daring Duo!

learn to trust that God has a plan and have faith to do my best to accept and implement that plan with humility and grace.  I have had to learn to tell the truth when it comes to my needs and capabilities.  I have had to learn to reach out and ask for help when I need it and to fearlessly share all my feelings with you.  Tonight we share our 103rd chapter so far and I need to thank you for sharing them with me.  I could not have made it this far without you and your support.

Don

Quote of the day – Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller

Day 157 – REALLY?

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Day 157

Almost 2 weeks since I haven’t touched base – slowing down. I have been really tired and coming home to dinner and bed.  Tonight is an effort but you all show up and so can I.  It really does keep me up to have the connection.  Pull yourself together and do what you are supposed to.  It never occurred to me that this whole adventure would lead to a change in me. You get sick and expect to be right back to where you left off.  I am not so convinced that it is possible in the short term with cancer treatment.  Yeah there are the “surface changes.”  Glasses, hearing aids, saliva output down, taste diminished, hair loss, but most of those continue to improve, that aside, there are some things you start to wonder about.  My hat is off to the workers of the world.  I have a new appreciation for a lifestyle that involves regular hours and effort.  I am working Monday 10 – 2, Tuesday and Thursday 12 -4, yoga on Tuesday and Thursday, working on my projects on Wednesday and trying to keep the house clean on Friday.  Result – I am exhausted! well crap that is a lot more than I thought it was until I saw it on paper.  No wonder I’m sore and tired, but in my mind it is so slow coming back.  I am still getting an average of 10 hours of sleep a night but the weekend always has a catch-up day.

Last week while Will was in town Kat took off three days and the three of us went over to Ichnetucknee to float on Wednesday.  It was a beautiful day and nobody was over there so it was extra nice.  We got there early enough that we had the chance to go float down

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Will at Big Shoals

the river twice on Innertubes.  I bailed on the second trip to nap in the car, then Friday, after I worked Thursday, I skipped their trip to Big Shoals for a hike to stay in bed.  So those are the disappointing things and I have no reason to be disappointed.  God provided a wonderful week with Will and Kathy home and that is enough – I can’t force my way to well, and I keep getting good days.  Today the turning club had an event to attract new members and raise money for “Beads of Courage.”  WoodCraft sells the bowls as Mother’s Day presents and we turn in front of the store to drum up traffic.  My partner in crime Tina and I showed up and rocked. Turning and catching up while talking to members and customers on a gorgeous day.  A new turner in the club came by to learn how to turn bowls so Joel got one on one tutoring from Tina and I – He did an awesome job!

Last Sunday Kat took me down to an Acrylic Pour class by Jami Childers and the Art Center.  We learned some pretty awesome techniques and came home with 4 stunning pieces.  Besides if I am not doing something I am napping or sleeping…LOL

Last Saturday we took Will to the airport about 1 and were home in bed by 2, I napped until 6 and moved to the couch so I could be in bed early to take the class.  Oh, this another landmark month.  I am already at the 6 month work-up.  This month is the 2nd blood work, CT scan and PET scan, but that is later in the month.  Finally we have a visitor tonight.  Kat has been doing classes all day and a friend of ours let her daughter Maria come spend the night and have an art night and day with Kathy. Maria is 12 and they have already done ice dyed t-shirts, resin pours, dyed some wood and are currently watching videos and they just started!

And me? I’m going to bed!  A few prayers, some modified activities and I will get a second wind.  I really appreciate having you to talk to – I told you many times that I don’t always get solid information when I talk to myself and Kat gets to listen to it everyday! So goodnight and I will try to get back on schedule……we will see!

Don

 

LESSON OF THE DAY – Enough is as good as a feast.     Sir Thomas Malory

Day 144 – Worm Fest!

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Day 144

I woke up this morning not wanting to get up.  I was pissy and cranky and just not very grateful.  I was sore, tired, funky and just generally out of sorts.  It brings back memories of a childhood favorite;

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones
Eensie weensy squeensy ones
See how they wiggle and squirm!

Down goes the first one, down goes the second one
Oh how they wiggle and squirm!
Up comes the first one, up comes the second one
Oh how they wiggle and squirm!

I bite off the heads, and suck out the juice
And throw the skins away!
Nobody knows how fat I grow
On worms three times a day!

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones
Eensie weensy squeensy ones
See how they wiggle and squirm!

The good news is that I realized it and have made an attempt to stay out of everybody’s way.  William came home yesterday and Kat has been smoking ribs for a small party.  Jan and Albert, Uncle Mike and William’s dad David are coming over to say hi to Will.  He flew down for the week so that he could pick up his car and drive back to New York.  He brings his car south for the snowy season then takes it back north so he can explore in the spring and summer.  I got up and asked God to help me through the day by keeping my mouth shut and me on my best behavior.  I picked up sticks and limbs from the yard that came down in last Sunday’s mini storm then went to the shop to finish Albert’s Christmas present.  I made him a razor handle and stand to fit his preference of blades. It worked out pretty good because the other two have just been napping on the patio leaving me to my mood.

There is really nothing wrong or out of the ordinary I guess that it is just my “time of the month”…lol.  I have been trying to remain balanced in my activities but they just seem to pile up.  I haven’t written in over a week because I have been going to bed early trying to keep up.  I got my new glasses Friday a week ago and have been trying to wear them all the time to get used to them.  They have been an asset, but have taken a little more to get used to than the hearing aids. I did make a trip to Waycross Friday a week ago to see my friend Jerrid Roberts, AKA the Swamp Hippie 3, to pick up one of his ant hill pours.  Jerrid melts down aluminum cans  with a homemade smelter and then pours the molten aluminum into ant hills to get unbelievable sculptures.

He has a niece with cancer and is putting together a raffle consisting of artwork and asked me to do a bowl and Kat to use one of the anthills to work her magic on.  The next day Kat and I played around in the shop for awhile then got cleaned up and went to Gators Barbecue for dinner and ran by to see our in-loves Amy and Keoni for a minute to see how their hurricane reconstruction is going.  Sunday we had a fellow turner from the club, Jackie, come over to learn how to turn pens.  Monday I started a new adventure , I went to work part time.  My friend Eric Miller owns the company that I build table bases for.  He has had the good fortune of receiving a number of orders for furniture and can’t get to it all so I am working 3, 4 hour days for him, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  Now while that seems like a reasonable amount, it was extremely tough to get started – I have found muscles that I forgot that I had and the chemo-brain has presented some challenges.  Thursday I put 2×4 crosses on a table where the plans called for 3x3s and didn’t even realize it until Eric got back.  At least I had only done one!  But otherwise it went pretty well.  Here is a set of barn doors we did.

Wednesday I went up to Barb Hahn’s shop in Kingsland to play around with embellishment tools.  We tried so many different things that before we knew it it was 5pm!

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Embellishment 101

And Kat and I got to do something really special on Friday evening.  I have a client The Volunteers In Medicine who I make bowls for .  It is an organization that provides free healthcare to working uninsured patients.  They do this through the generosity of physicians, nurses and every type of healthcare provider who donate their time to treat these patients.  Last year there were over 200,000 hours donated. In recognition of 2,000 cumulative hours donated they award the volunteer on of my bowls.  This year I was asked to attend so that I could present the bowl. It went to Dixie Murphy, a pharmacist, who it turned out is a member of the Jacksonville Gem Society, a club that we just joined!  We also had the pleasure of sitting with one of last year’s recipients Tocca Chester who was just thrilled to meet us and learn about the bowl.  She was so interested that she is going to come out and spend a day in the shop.  It was a very humbling experience to be introduced to and thanked by people for their bowls that they treasure and appreciate.

So when I sit back and look at the last 10 days it is no wonder that I am tired, sore and a little grumpy!  We had the welcome home Will dinner and I improved a bit and am now sitting on the couch recovering.  Ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, fresh tomatoes and fresh baked bread – my wife is awesome – and I can even taste most of it!  Earlier this week I shared with Kat and Barb that the cancer and treatment has truly changed my life.  I have hearing aids, glasses, sores that haven’t healed, I get to wear a compression wrap on my neck and head every night to bed, I am continually fatigued, have reduced saliva, brush with special toothpaste, taste is compromised and still can’t think clearly.  (Really it can be argued that I never thought clearly…LOL)  But sitting here tonight I am grateful to be alive, grateful for my experiences,  grateful for my family and friends, grateful for my faith and for my sobriety.  I keep reminding myself through my daily discussions with God that this whole adventure is for a reason and in many cases I will never know who was influenced or given hope.  I continue to pray that at least one person will benefit from my struggles and find their own relationship with a God of their understanding.  Tomorrow will be another day, but because I told some people how I felt, said some prayers and took some action today I’m pretty sure tomorrow’s going to be a better day.

Don

Lesson Of The Day – Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.      Denis Waitley
 

 

Day 124 – UGH!

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Day 124 – Tired

Sorry I didn’t make it until tonight but I have just been wiped all week and going to bed early.  The week before just tore the wheels off the wagon, I had to get up with Kat at 6:30 3 days last week for appointments.  The other 2 days I had to get up to work on the table base for Eric and Saturday we had an outing with Jan.  Long story short I am still paying the price for pushing it 2 weeks ago.

Good news – I had my lymphedema PT twice last week and have been released to continue wearing the band and giving myself massages to continue moving the lymph from my neck area.  This will be a fairly long term exercise that will have to be endured.  I dislike wearing the compression garment, so much that Kat found it on the floor on her side of the bed Sunday morning, and I don’t even remember taking it off! But it is no worse than some of the other stuff that I have had to do so I shall trudge on.  Bad news – I had my yearly eye exam.  I don’t know if it was chemo related or not. but for the first time in 5 years my close prescription changed and I graduated to bifocals.  When Dr Russell showed me the chart with and without the distance script I was blown away – so the new glasses will be here this week.  The awesome news – The hearing aids just keep getting better!  Angela adjusted the volume up to normal and removed some high end so Sydney doesn’t sound so sharp when she shrieks. So between hearing aids, compression straps and new glasses it has been and expensive couple of weeks about $5,600.  Besides the fatigue I am doing pretty good.  Taste keeps getting better and my weight is still stable at 160 pounds.  I just have to fight the urge to push, as a matter of fact I have been put on restrictions this week by Kat.

I delivered the new table legs on Monday. As any new design goes, Eric and I had some back and forth on what we needed to do to make it work.  I ended up at Farmtastic Creations 3 days and Eric was here one day to get them right, but they are awesome!  He delivered it on Friday and we already have 2 customers looking to order their own. (If you click on the pictures it will tell you what is going on in each one)

This weekend we got up early on Saturday and picked up Jan to go to “The Maker’s Market.”  It was a craft type show that was held in a really cool venue “The Glassworks”  on Myrtle Ave.  They had about 50 vendors and food trucks and it was fun seeing what is out there.  Next we did lunch at V’s Pizza and had their chicken wings and blue cheese pizza. Both items tasted pretty damn good and really hit the spot.  We left there and headed to Eco Relics on Stockton Street.  They have the biggest collection of reclaimed crap in Jacksonville.  You can spend hours roaming the aisles never knowing what you will find, and after all that excitement we went back to Jan’s, borrowed a bed, and took a nap for an hour and a half!  If that wasn’t enough, we met Tina and her nephew Ben at Hawker’s Asian Street Fare for dinner.  We hadn’t seen Ben since last summer and it has been forever since we had seen Tina.  We ate and yakked for hours.  After dinner we strolled 5 points widow shopping and talking.  At one point Kat and Ben disappeared into a shop only to emerge with a pogo stick.  Ben picked it up pretty quick and I was on my way until I saw Tina wincing every time I tried, and after thinking about it, decided to leave the pogo stick for younger generations…it’s not like I need any new medical problems right now!

Sunday we had a visit from a new turner, Coleen.  Coleen is a member of our Turner’s club and was looking for some help with her bowls.  She and Kat worked while I slept and I took over after I got my exhausted butt out of the bed about 11.  It is so much fun to share what you know with others and you end up learning as much as you share.

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Fish Whisperer

After she left Kat worked on some fish carving and I started rebuilding the table saw.  The mechanism to change the blade angle pooped out on me while I was building that table base so I needed to get it fixed.  We finished the evening watching Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC and it would have been excellent had it not been for the hour worth of commercials.  When Andrew Loyd Webber first introduced this in the early 70’s it really struck my friends and I.  I have seen the live version at least 4 times and the movie well over 20.  It was a magic time for me. Catholic boy’s high school with “enlightened” religion classes, (We studied the rock opera Tommy in one) Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started laying the foundation of the God of my understanding.  As I sat there last night I was transported to time of my life that I had largely set aside.  The friends, the thinking, the discussions and the the times, it was cool to revisit the memories.  It was also a reminder how much of a role God has played in my life and how much I have been affected, whether I realized it at the time or not.  God has been good to me and a guiding force if I  accepted His presence and let Him guide me.  I wasted so many years trying to run the show without help only to be brought to my knees as the result of untreated alcoholism.  At that point I remembered that God of my early adulthood and asked Him for help me and since that time I have been blessed with everything that I need and given a couple of adventures that I never would have guessed would teach me so much. I think that I will keep trusting and relying on Him.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY -“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

Day 116 – Coming up for air

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Day 117 Compression Mask

This week I have been trying to get on a schedule – ugh I know – it sucks.  My goal was to get up Monday through Friday at 8:30.  Friday morning I woke up in a daze about 8 and I didn’t know what day it was or if Kathy was home.  For the most part it has been very successful and exhausting.  I have worked in the shop 6 days this week and have some progress to show on Eric’s project.  A bunch of rest breaks and slow progress, but I am grateful.  Now I can’t tell you that I actually made it up at 8:30 but 9:15 was the latest and I am okay with that. I made it to

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Chilly in the Shop

yoga 3 times this week but the downfall was when it came time to share with you – there just was nothing left.  I think the latest that I was up was 10 and that was yoga night. On yoga nights I do not get home until 8 and after I eat and sit down it is all over and when Saturday rolled around I did not get up until almost

2.  I barely had time to eat and take a shower before it was time to go celebrate a friend’s life at a memorial yoga practice.  My friend and yoga instructor Tricia lost her son Max to addiction and each year holds a practice to raise money for Gateway Community Services in honor of Max.  We had 85 people show

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4th Annual Practice in memory of Max

up to support her and it was awesome to see some old friends that I had not seen in awhile.  I was in bed by 10 and got up about 9:30 had breakfast and spent wonderful Sunday in the shop and hanging around with Kat.  She worked on “special projects” doing epoxy pours and alcohol ink and started to clean out the flower beds.  She finished off the weekend grilling a rack of lamb and preparing rice, field peas, corn and tomatoes.  I am really glad my taste is coming back!

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New Style Table

I am feeling pretty good!  Like I said tired but it is a good tired and I’m pretty sore.  The taste is still coming back slowly and the saliva glands are working better.  The only time that I have trouble with that is if I talk too much or try to eat to fast.  We grilled hamburgers Saturday night and I ate a whole burger, but it took me an hour to eat it.  I ended up cutting it in bite sized cubes so that I could chew it thoroughly enough to swallow it.  Any bites bigger than that I could not swallow unless I sectioned

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Beautiful Sunday

off my mouth like a squirrel and chewed smaller portions before swallowing.  Yeah I know  – you really needed that picture. I am still drinking the dandelion detox tea at night and have been able to start drinking my normal morning smoothie except I am substituting Ensure instead of coconut milk. I continue to do the daily lymphodema exercises and have been wearing my compression bandage at night.  I am up to keeping it on for 6 hours but it is a struggle.  Because of the toothpaste I have to use at night I cannot drink so at some point I end up with this “paste” in my mouth that I cannot swallow because of the bandage.  That and the itch it puts on the beard I have to get it off.  Weight is holding at 160, but if I keep eating like I am that will be short lived.  I still love the hearing aids and look forward to finding out what else they do next week – who knew!

So next week is another return to doctors appointments.  I have at least one scheduled for each day.  Mostly follow-ups but I do have an eye check-up and I think that I am going to have to buck up and have my prescription changed – ahh the joys of aging and treatment!  I still say both are definitely worth the effort because we have been so blessed by the experience that it is almost indescribable and it has been easier for me to see it especially when I feel better.   All of the efforts are beginning to pay off. I have so much more to say, but it is almost 8 o’clock and I need to still call my Mom and get into bed.  I will try to get with you more this week, but no promises!

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY –  “Thank You” is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”

Alice Walker

Day 110 – Insights

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Day 110

Happy Monday!  I know – keep it down Don it is Monday, but we all had another day to receive God’s gifts, whether we took the time to enjoy them or not. We have had an action packed couple of days since I shared with you last Wednesday.  Let’s see – Thursday started with me going over to UF Shands to meet with Kim, my lymphedema physical therapist.  She shared with me the “technique” for the massage needed to start the lymph flowing and it is 13 quick massages after you wear a compression bandage for 30 minutes.  I have to wear the bandage when I sleep, but you can see and feel the difference already.  I did yoga that evening but ended up with a primarily sleepless night.  Don’t know why, but I just laid and relaxed.  I got up early Friday because I had a busy day.  Our friends and artists Graeme Priddle  and Melissa Engler from Asheville were spending the night with us. They are traveling to do an installation in Miami for a client.  That means I had to pick up and clean the house and run some errands.  First I picked up the compression bandage – what a joy – not!  It wasn’t bad it is just that medical equipment people, to me, can be very cost driven.  I suppose it is just a necessity of the trade, but they seem more focused on what insurance will and will not pay than they do taking care of your needs.  Next was off to see Angela at Dr Moy’s for my hearing aid fitting.  Guys – WHO KNEW?  I have been re-introduced to a world that I had previously forgotten or didn’t even know about.  If I knew what an impact this would have on my life I would have done it years ago.  The TV is half volume, I can hear all the birds, the noises my truck makes, the washing machine, the sound water makes in the drain, leave crunching under my feet, everything said at a meeting, the rain.  I am blown away by what I can now hear – what a gift and blessing I have received!

Friday night was a blast catching up with Graeme and Mel.  We had BBQ from Gators off Beaver Street; ribs, brisket, sausage and turkey – delicious!  They all consumed “adult beverages” and we swapped stories until we were all tuckered out.  Small world, Mel asked about how I picked UF and I was telling her about this angel doctor that helped us when she suddenly asked if it was Mitchel Turk – It turns out that she is friends with Mitchel and Nadine.  We said our good nights and goodbyes because Saturday morning we had to depart before they did to get to our  SoMMa meeting in Ponte Vedra by 9:30. Here are the links to their work Graeme’s Graeme Priddle Melissa’s Mellisa Engler. We had a demo by pastel artist Lyn Asselta and it was eye opening to see what you could do with pastels. Lyn’s work can be seen here Lyn Asselta.  After the meeting we took a side trip to Ponte Vedra Arts and Crafts, what a cool store!  I looks small from the front, but it has the most amazing collection of fine art, basic art and craft items that Kat and I have ever seen.  Each isle is filled with some many products, techniques and ideas that we had to get out of there before we spent the retirement account….LOL.  Here is their website if you are interested  Ponte Vedra Arts and Crafts.  We then headed to one of our favorite 2018-03-17 13.55.59restaurants for lunch, Safe Harbor.  It is on the Inner Coastal on Beach Blvd. and we sat on the porch and stuffed ourselves.  Oysters, blackened and fried trigger, beautiful weather and the best lunch companion in the world!  It is soooo good to be me! We got home about 3:30 and immediately hit the bed. We napped until about 6, got into our pajamas and watched “The Wizard of Lies,” a movie about Bernie Madoff.

Saturday night and Sunday morning were rest catch up for me.  We were in bed by 10 and I slept until noon while Kat worked on finishing her alcohol ink class. Sunday afternoon I made it to the shop to work on Christmas presents until Jan, Albert and Finn stopped by for a visit.  We sat on the porch and collapsed while we caught up with each other’s lives and threw the ball for Finn. We made it to bed early again and I got up about 9 to work on a project for Eric at Farmtastic Creations.  I made it to Home Depot and worked in the shop until about 4.  I got cleaned up and had leftover ribs and turkey for dinner waiting for my baby to get home.  The days are still tiring and I am stringing more of them together – I just might be getting well.

I have enjoyed the rain today  Last night while we were sleeping we had “thunder boomers” and I don’t remember the last time I was awakened to them.  While I lay there I remembered my parents telling us that it was just the angels bowling.  I don’t know how to explain it other than I felt so relaxed and calm waiting for the next strike.  It probably started Saturday night before we went to bed.  I shared with Kat that I had no idea 5 months ago how much my life would change as a result of having cancer.  It’s not just special toothpastes, compression garments, hearing aids and sleep patterns – it is a new life.  Like sobriety and the loss of Sally it is another wonderful awful experience in my life.  New friends, and a new appreciation of old ones, a renewed relationship with God, the cigarettes are gone, the hummingbirds are back, the sky is bluer, the season more spectacular, I can hear and I love Kat more than ever.  It is like we are dating again and appreciating what we have.  I am thankful, grateful, blessed, excited and full of awe for the world around me.  It gets a little better every day and I still have a way to go, I cannot imagine the things to come.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” —Willie Nelson