I'm going to have to find a purple t-shirt to wear because I just found out that is the color for pancreatic cancer.
This week began the War against the Cancer cells. RH (retired husband) had his first chemo treatment on Wednesday. I went with him because we had to watch a video on the various types of cancer, the medical terms that are used and what to expect and what to do to make the treatment more comfortable. We then met with a nurse who explained everything she was going to do and what the various bags of liquid were and why they were used in a specific order. RH had a couple of rough "sticks" before they got a good IV started. Once it was underway; it took about 1 hr and 20 minutes. They put an anti-nausea medication right in the liquid and also prescribed a few nausea pills and pain pills ~ just in case he needed them before the next treatment next week. He said he really didn't feel anything other than a couple of cold sensations in his 3rd and 4th finger towards the end. Fortunately, he said he hasn't felt bad at all this first time. Best of all, he has gained 4 lbs in the past 2 weeks.
The chemo unit is really very nice. There is the video room, a "nourishment" room which is filled with all sorts of food, drinks, juice, soda, freshly popped popcorn, a microwave, a refrigerator if you want to bring your own food, plus candy, crackers, and snacks. It's free (well, yes it is paid through our insurance) but no charge for the patient or any guests who might come in. They encourage friends and family to come too. There are comfy recliners for the patients with tables on each side for books and magazines, or to hold a drink or a laptop. There are different areas in the huge room. Some are by the windows where you can see a huge field of green ~ trees, grass, and countryside. There are two big screen TVs if you care to watch. Some areas are more private if you want to be alone. There is even a room with a bed and chair if you are not feeling well and want to lie down. The nurses rotate so RH may have a different one each time he goes. Everyone is very nice, very friendly and upbeat. We saw a few other patients this time. A few men but mostly women. So far, RH says he hasn't felt bad. He is a bit tired but they explained this chemo kills some of the white cells which control the immune system. He might experience muscle aches and pain like the flu too.
The day after his 3rd chemo treatment, he will have a shot to stimulate the growth of his white cells again so the count doesn't go down too badly. Of course, he must be careful about his health so I expect we won't go out too much when the 3rd week comes around. Anyway, that's MY plan but we will see. RH is still busy working in the yard and doing little chores. He promised he will stop and rest when he feels the need. He did take a short nap yesterday afternoon. He is still able to sleep in bed and usually sleeps 6 hours or more before he gets restless. The nurse also suggested he try Advil for his back pain and said as the cancer cells are destroyed in the lymph nodes, hopefully the back pain will reduce too. We also got some coupons for Boost and Ensure and they suggested he drink the Extra Strength kind with 350 calories per bottle 2 or 3 times a day. They also suggested cottage cheese (which he likes) for protein, eggs ~ of course, cheese and any other foods that he likes. Protein is the big deal to keep him healthier and stronger. His next treatment is next Thursday.
He got a phone call from the Oncology unit this week as well. There are some drug funded grants available that will pay his out-of-pocket expenses if we qualify. This would cover the co-pays and 20% that our insurance doesn't cover. Rh's portion is about $4400 out of pocket so it would be great if he can get reimbursed. He filled out the papers and he should be notified within 2 weeks.
We did other things this week as well. Monday we had lunch with some friends ~ 3 other couples. RH enjoyed talking with his former police co-workers and I enjoyed talking with their wives. Tuesday we had lunch with two other couples. Wednesday was chemo and blood work. Thursday I had a blood test and grocery shopping and today I am cleaning the house and doing laundry. Sunday we are visiting one of Rh's brothers if RH feels up to it. Monday I am getting my hair cut and going to the library. Tuesday RH will have lunch with his best friend. Wednesday I have a doctor appointment for my "wellness" exam for the year. Thursday is chemo and then it's back to our regular routine again.
I'm going to think of chemo as the purple cancer eater~upper.
So, I read some books too.
I've always enjoyed any novels by Maeve Binchy. Usually I would hear the characters speaking in an Irish accent as I read the story. I didn't hear that this time but the story line was as interesting as it always has been. This is Maeve Binchy's last book before she passed away in July , 2012. Again, she weaves a wonderful story and brings together many characters. As you read, each character is treated individually and the back-story is rich with detail. The characters always meet up in some way in the book. Many times previous characters from another book are also mentioned which gives the reader a smile or two. If you enjoy a good story without a lot of gratuitous sex and bad language ~ this is an enjoyable read.
Here's the book description....
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.
Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.
and a review... (some reviews were a bit harsh, saying this wasn't as good a book as her previous ones. I think the readers forgot that she was working on this book when she passed away.....she probably hadn't edited it as much as she would have done normally.)
Binchy's books draw me in so completely; I can't wait to pick one up and get back to her stories whenever possible. She makes me smile throughout, bringing the characters to life in such a crystal clear and charming way--when I reached the end of this book, I immediately made a mental list of who in my "circle of friends" and family MUST be convinced to read A Week in Winter. Now that Ms Binchy is gone, I will personally have to make do with starting at the beginning of her impressive list of books to recapture all that she creates for her Reader's great enjoyment. Amazing writer, simply amazing.
This book is about a young woman who grew up in a tiny community during the 1920's. Her life seems to be all laid out for her. She is the daughter of a preacher. She is engaged to another preacher who has taken over her church since her father's death. She loves her family. She sings and writes songs of faith. But one day she sees a new type of life in the city where her married sister lives. Movies, stylish clothing, dancing, restaurants and she has an opportunity to travel. Will she get caught up in the Roaring Twenties or return to the place where she has lived her entire life?
Here's the book description...
Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.
Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?
And a review...
Dorothy Lynn Dunbar's life is what you would expect it to be considering she was the daughter of a small town preacher. She lives with her mother waiting for the day she marries her father's replacement pastor, Brent Logan. She loves her life and the time she spends in the woods close to her house. There she can worship God and play for him on her brothers old guitar. Her life is one many would envy... but she can't shake the longing for life outside of Heron's Nest.
With seven weeks till her wedding day, Dorothy Lynn goes to visit her older sister in St. Louis. Planning to get her wedding dress, new guitar strings, and then head home, Dorothy Lynn is surprised at big city way of life. It was everything she had secretly wished for and more. The movies, dancing, fashion, and the strange woman evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson. When she has the chance of joining Aimee's crusade Dorothy Lynn realizes it was more than she had ever dreamed of doing with her life. But was it really what she wanted?
All for a Song by Allison Pittman was a fascinating story about one woman's life in the Roaring Twenties. I liked learning about Aimee Semple McPherson. Before reading All for a Song I had never heard of her before. So that was interesting. But the story itself didn't grab me like I was expecting it to. I found myself pushing through it looking for that one thing that would garb me and pull me deep into the story. But it didn't happen for me... This time. I look forward to reading it again in maybe a year or so and hopefully next time I'll find what I was looking for.
Another book written by a Real Housewife of..... This one is about Caroline Manzo of New Jersey. I enjoyed the style. The writing sounded like she talks on the reality show. She had a lot of good information about raising a family and being a wife. She obviously really loves her children, her husband and her extended family very much. What was even better was that she didn't talk badly about the other members of the reality show. If you have watched the program over the past 4 seasons, you know what is going on and how nasty it got ~ especially the last season. Caroline did explain that Season 3 and 4 were filmed back-to-back so there was no down time in-between for tempers to cool or issues to be settled. It really showed in the last season's viewing. And of course, the editing is done to make the problems between members of the "cast" seem even more shocking.
This is a very quick read. I did get tired, however, with all the advice but I know she was trying to answer questions that were included in the book and to get her point of view across.
Here's the book description....
Let Me Tell You Something offers insights and lessons on how to create a happy and fulfilling life from Caroline Manzo, the tell-it-like-it-is, breakout star and fan favorite of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
In this personal and practical guide, Caroline Manzo reveals how she has achieved a life that many viewers envy—a close relationship with her children, a strong marriage, and a firm belief in loyalty to friends. She brings her life experience and pragmatic outlook to tough questions about family, friendship, love, and more.
With wit and wisdom, Manzo opens up about life, family, raising children, love, and aging. Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother, and Street-Smart Businesswoman includes personal color photographs and lots of sage advice.
and a review... I have to say that there were a lot of bad reviews ~ mean and snarky actually. If you watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey, especially this past season, you will know that Caroline was portrayed as a bully. I don't think she was. I think it was the editing and that most of her scenes were when she was upset. But here's a middle-of-the-road review...
"Good book for one of the ladies from the Housewives. A little repetitive but she does have great relationship, friendship, parenting and self believing advice. No real dirt on the other housewives and the franchise, but I respect Caroline for that.
I put in a request for this book. I tried to like it but I just didn't. Maybe I just didn't get it. I don't know.
Here's a book description...
Kate Riordan fears two things as she grows up in the small Appalachian town of Swan River: that she’ll be a frustrated townie forever or that she’ll turn into one of the mysterious and terrifying wild girls, killers who start fires and menace the community. Struggling to better her chances of escaping, Kate attends the posh Swan River Academy and finds herself divided between her hometown — and its dark history — and the realm of privilege and achievement at the Academy. Explosive friendships with Mason, a boy from the wrong side of town, and Willow, a wealthy and popular queen bee from school, are slowly pulling her apart. Kate must decide who she is and where she belongs before she wakes up with cinders at her fingertips. Mary Stewart Atwell has written a novel that is at once funny and wise and stunningly inventive. Her wild girls are strange and fascinating creatures — a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness — and a promise of the great things to come from this young writer.
and a review.....
About 3.5 stars. At first I was a bit disappointed, because I didn't know where it was going, but then I got caught up in the story and the characters. The supernatural weirdness seems to jump out of nowhere. I felt the book was a bit uneven, but then I just got really into it.
Loved the descriptions of the Appalachian town, the female relationships and the way that the main character worries a lot about becoming evil, or getting stuck.
I'm a sucker for stories about teenage girls in boarding school settings. This book is definitely an adult book, even though it deals with teen girls. The narrator is looking backward, which gives it a more adult feel.
I will be really surprised if this movie doesn't get optioned into a film at some point. It could make a pretty good movie- think something like Foxfire or a boarding school story like The Wives of Bath crossed with The Craft.
On a side note, I was looking at photos of a ragdoll cat.....
Then I found out how much they cost.......never mind....!
First of all, Thank you so much for all the comments and prayers. It's really lovely to see how many of you read my blog and took the time to share your thoughts. RH appreciated reading the messages too.
So......yesterday we had a lovely pre-Mother's Day outing with our son, daughter-in-law, 2 step grandchildren, 1 step-grandson-in-law and 2 step-great grandchildren. I got gifts! A beautiful bracelet somewhat like the Pandora charm with a BEST MOM heart on it and.... A gorgeous Vera Bradley coffee cup with a lid to match and a bamboo plant. I used to have a bamboo plant but it got messy and didn't make it ~ so I am happy to have another one for good luck.
Here's a great photo of RH and our son......and another photo of our extended family including my daughter-in-law, 2 step granddaughters and 2 step great grandchildren...and of course, myself.
I have read several books in the past few days so I want to post about them to get them out of my head.
I remember these photos in a popular magazine of that time. ......What would it be like to be the child of a famous actress? Apparently, it isn't always wonderful. Sachi Parker is the daughter of Shirley MacLaine. She recalls her life in this book filled with many stories and odd occurrences. At first, I wondered if Sachi was as full of Irish blarney as her mother seems to be. But as I continued to read, most all of it seems very probable and even believable. How this child of one of our country's most beloved actresses still managed to find herself in spite of both of her parents is the real story.
This woman was called idiot by her father from a very young age, sent away at age two by her mother and moved to Japan to live with her father. Then she was raised by a Japanese woman in the household in Japan, put in various boarding schools and often not even inquired about for months by either parent. One year when the boarding school closed for the summer, neither parent came for her or sent her any money or a plane ticket. She was fortunate that a classmate's family took her in for a few weeks until she could finally locate her father. It is hard to believe. But somehow she managed to find her way and make a life for herself.
Here's the book description...
Shirley MacLaine is an Academy Award winning actress who has graced Hollywood with her talent for decades, known for her roles in The Apartment, Terms of Endearment, and recently the BBC/PBS smashDownton Abbey. Yet—as her daughter Sachi Parker can attest—growing up with the movie star was far from picture perfect.
The only child of MacLaine and her husband of thirty years, Steve Parker, Sachi’s surreal childhood began when she was sent to Japan at the age of two—though her mother would sometimes claim Sachi was six—to live with her mercurial father and his mistress. She divides her time being raised by a Japanese governess and going back and forth to L.A. to be with her mother, hamming it up on movie sets, in photo shoots, and Hollywood parties, even winning—and then abruptly losing—the role of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. As she gets older and attends boarding school in England and Switzerland, becomes a Qantas stewardess, and becomes involved in a series of abusive relationships she tries to unravel the mysteries of her childhood and her parents’ unconventional marriage.
Including twenty never-before-seen personal photos, Lucky Me is a fascinating look at Hollywood and what it takes to succeed there, the incredible ambition of Shilrey MacLaine and the fallout it had on her only child, as well as a woman’s attempt to understand and connect with her extremely complicated parents.
and a review...
This wonderfully written memoir by the daughter of the actress, Shirley MacLaine, is definitely not your typical child-of-a-celebrity-mommie-dearest story. It was an emotional roller coaster that was equal parts sad, shocking, and triumphant—but mostly shocking. In fact, some of the events the author shares are so outrageous that one would be tempted to write the entire story off as a complete fabrication. Unless...you've read Shirley MacLaine's previous works.
However, in spite of the indifference and neglect the author suffers at the hands of her weirdly disconnected parents, she continues to believe in their redemption, even in the midst of their repeated and often brutal betrayals. I found myself either marveling at the author’s resilience or cringing as I read about her childlike trust and unwavering faith in characters that were obviously examples of the worst humanity had to offer. But even those people didn’t come close to inflicting the kind of damage on her that the parents kept dishing out, even into her adulthood. Yet Sachi Parker remains steadfast in her compassion and understanding of her parents (and many of the awful human beings she’s encountered); and that’s what makes this story so compelling.
Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down.
This is a book written by Cheryl Burke from Dancing With The Stars. I was interested in reading about her background and how she got into dancing and then was invited to dance on the TV show. She did talk a bit about some of the celebrity stars she has danced with on the program. She seems to have something nice to say about each and every one of them. I didn't think this book was unusually revealing but it is a good book for a young person who is interested in dancing and might want encouragment to follow their dreams.
Here's the book description....
The inside story of the life of Cheryl Burke, TV star, dancer, choreographer, and two-time champion on the top-rated TV hit series Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl Burke has been dancing since the age of four and competing since she was thirteen years old. Over several exciting seasons, she has captivated audiences of Dancing with the Stars with her incredible dance performances, Emmy-nominated choreography, high energy, and bright smile. In Dancing Lessons, she takes you from her childhood years into the world of competitive ballroom dancing and on to Dancing with the Stars.
Includes behind-the-scenes stories and photos from the life of the first two-time champion of Dancing with the Stars
Shares lessons Cheryl has learned from her celebrity partners on Dancing with the Stars, from Drew Lachey to Chad Ochocinco
Includes personal revelations concerning Cheryl's childhood, weight issues, and the media. In Dancing Lessons, Cheryl Burke whisks you away to a world full of dancing, entertainment, and living to the max. In each chapter, you will discover a depth of passion in Cheryl's life that perfectly matches the commitment she displays on the dance floor. Cheryl's accounts of being a powerful woman putting her talent to work will inspire readers everywhere to pursue their own dreams.
and a review....
I love our "DWTS", so when Cheryl Burke's memoir turned up on a couple "best of" lists, I decided to read it. The good news is: she didn't have a ghost writer. The bad news is: she didn't have a ghost writer. The book is short, pretty fast-paced and has a positive vibe. Unfortunately, it isn't very well-written, and the phrase "it felt/was/looked awesome" is found on nearly every page. The stories about the show were interesting, although there was NO gossip or even a hint of snarkiness directed at anyone on the show. Sigh. Also, the chapters about her starting her own dance studios and clothing line were pretty snooze-worthy. However, it was a sweet little book, and I'm not going to hate on her for it.
If you have any interest in reading about the Southern plantations and slavery, then this book will be for you. The story changes between a young black slave who is the house girl on a very small plantation in 1948. She takes care of the Missus and the Mister. She has no rights of her own. She is fortunate that the Missus teaches her to read and write and even allows her to paint along side of the Missus. When the reader starts on the modern day story, part of the mystery is who really painted some paintings that belong to an old Southern family. Was it the Missus and/or the house girl? And will the young female attorney be allowed to follow her hunches and find the proof or even a descendant of Josephine, the house girl?
Here's the book description...
Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell.
New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.
It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?
Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.
and a review....
Told from two points of view, The House Girl is, on the surface, about a modern day lawyer doing research on a case for reparations for slavery. The first point of view is of the slave girl Josephine and her life in Virginia, and the second point of view is of Lina, the lawyer in a New York law firm who's been assigned to find someone they can use a the plaintiff in this case.
But underneath the surface there are similarities between the two that are revealed as the story unfolds.
Both women in the course of the book, learn things about family that astonish them. There is a link through the world of art. Josephine was a talented painter whose work has always been ascribed to the woman who owned her. Lina has a connection to the art world through her father. And both are restless to escape, Lina from her life as a first year associate lawyer, living her life in six-minute increments of billable time. Josephine runs twice, trying to escape her life as a slave.
You'll have to read the book to find out if either of them succeed. It's well worth the time to do so.
This is a real thriller....serial killer....lots of clues and lots of people who could be Neptune. The story moves between 1985 when the main character's mother disappeared to present day when the main character has returned to her home town and gets caught up in trying to find out who the serial killer is ~ because he has reappeared.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-faced story with plenty of twists and turns. I will be checking out more books by this author.
Here's the book description....
Bestselling author Jennifer McMahon is back with a gut-wrenching mystery about an architect whose troubled mother has been found 25 years after being kidnapped-by a killer who is still on the loose.
The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school's outcasts-Charlie, the local detective's son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother ~ Vera-an ex-model with many "boyfriends" and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears.
Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.
With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder
and a review...
Reggie is an awkward thirteen old teenager, a misfit among her peers and she is friends with Tara and Charlie. Her mother Vera behaves strangely but Reggie knows that she loves her in her own way. Her aunt Lorraine, her mother's sister, keeps the family together.
Tragedy strikes this small town when Neptune, a serial killer, starts kidnapping women, cutting their hands, and then killing them. There is so much panic in town and affects Reggie when her mother is the victim, her hand is found but the killer has not dumped her body.
Reggie somehow finishes high school and runs away from her bad memories and her aunt whom she blames for her mother's misfortune and becomes a successful architect. Till she gets a call from the past and now knows that her mother is still alive. Reggie has to take her back to her childhood home to care for her where she meets up with her old friends and again the killer Neptune strikes and Reggie has to solve the mystery before he catches up with her
A fast paced thriller and good story of dysfunctional relationship of flawed humans and love.
DIARY OF A MENOPAUSAL WOMAN BY CHERYL REID
......This was a free Kindle selection. I was attracted mostly by the title. As I read the entries, it became obvious that the author is English based on some of her word choices. This is a short series of blog entries. The most amusing parts are based on her addiction to chocolate and how she explains that if she breaks open the chocolate treats that the calories "fall out". Or if the chocolate has a fruit filling like strawberry, it is really just a fruit. If she buys the chocolate at a gas station, she really just bought fuel so she didn't break her rule of not eating chocolate. It's a very quick read and won't take over 2 hours to get through
Here's the book description by the author....
This was never going to be a book. It started as me having a rant when some people/scumbags broke into my car and then it developed into a diary of a menopausal woman.
Although life can sometimes feel like shit, if you laugh in the places where you would ordinarily cry, it’s not too bad and although I am skint, and on the bones of me arse, I am rich in ways that money just can’t buy.
and a review....
I was recommended this Kindle book by a friend and what a joy it was to read!
Cheryl has only recently announced herself as a writer. Cheryl started out as a humourous poet before branching out into publishing her diary.
Imagine Bridget Jones as a fifty-four year old single mother who writes poetry. That's Cheryl in a nutshell. The diary not only contains funny anecdotes about her life as a dog owner, chocoholic and woman. The lovely thing about this easy-to-read Kindle e-book is that it is real life and it really tugs at the heart-strings.
This account of single life at middle age in a credit crunch is really honest and funny. It's a real joy to read. Well done Cheryl!
OK Kids, I know you have been waiting and wondering just what is going on with RH (retired husband). He's been losing weight for months and not feeling well. After some tests last January in Florida, his gall bladder was removed and he healed from that. However, his stomach pain and weight loss continued. He wasn't able to eat much and we both knew there was more to it than his gall bladder. After some more tests in Florida, we decided to return to our home in Indiana. He had some more scans and was referred to another doctor. After that consultation, we were given a diagnosis but the doctor wanted more tests to confirm everything.
RH has pancreatic cancer. His adrenal glands are NOT affected ~ which is a good thing. The mass is about the size of a golf ball and there are a couple of lymph nodes showing cancer. That makes it Stage 3. Now he will be starting chemo next Wednesday. He will have one treatment a week for 3 weeks, then have a week off. Then another two months of 3 treatments and one free week per month for a total of 9 chemo treatments. About the end of July, he will have another scan to see if any of the cancer has been reduced. If the mass shrinks enough, surgery to remove the remainder is possible. Our doctor is optimistic that this chemo will help. We are feeling very comfortable with him and also hope for a good outcome. As the chemo treatments progress, we will see how it impacts our lives.
Depending on how RH handles the chemo treatments will determine what we do for the rest of the summer. We may go back to our place in Florida and put it up for sale, depending on how he feels. We have already had offers of help to go back and get what we want out of the RV unit. It would be nice if we could spend another season there before we try to sell it. All will depend on how RH feels and if he needs more chemo treatments or surgery.
Of course, we have been telling close friends and family members since we got the final results yesterday. It isn't easy to say the words because it makes it a reality. But it does help to know we don't have to keep it a secret or avoid talking about it any longer.
I just wanted to get this blog out so I don't have to think about being careful what I say.
I read several books this week but I will wait until the next blog to share that information.
OK kids, this is the third time again.....so I am so tired of creating this blog today that it is going to be very short.
RH (retired husband) is having several medical tests done. The next one is Tuesday morning. We have a followup with the doctor on Thursday. Please keep us both in your thoughts and prayers for the next several days.
Our house is still not sold. We reduced the price by $5,000 and renewed our contract. We have some interested parties but still not offers in writing.
I read several books this week. Here they are.
THE CROOKED BRANCH.....This was an excellent story. The main character is a new mother. Like most new moms, she is sure that she is not good enough and won't love her baby as much as she should. During one of her many hours of non-sleep, she finds the diary of her great, great grandmother in a trunk in the attic of her family home (which she and her husband had recently purchased.) The great, great grandmother has written about the time when the potato famine spread over Ireland. She also did not think she could be a good enough mother and was horrified with the thought that her children would starve. The book goes back and forth between the two mothers who were separated by over 100 years but still had the same worries and concerns about not being good enough.
I did not know how widespread and long lasting the potato famine was. I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done if I had been living in the 1840's.
THE PRETTY ONE....If you have more than one sister, you know that at any given moment, two of you are talking about the other(s). Oh yes you are! You may be discussing their problems or their faults but you are talking. In this book, there are 3 sisters and each has taken on a role in their relationship. Each one thinks the other two either have it all or never do anything right. It really isn't all their fault because their mother is always complaining about something. In any case, they do come together during the course of the story and everything turns out right in the end. There were a few unusual surprises but it made for an entertaining afternoon of reading.
Lost and Found by Kate St. Vincent Vogl
Another free book on Kindle. I wanted to enjoy this story and I did like parts of it. I have to say that the editing or lack thereof in the Kindle version really put me off. Chapters started anywhere on the page, often the page sizes were different and words would be started on one line and then shifted to the middle of the next line. It was difficult for me to keep all the people and names straight. Underneath it all was a story of a birth mother who found her grown daughter after the adoptive mother had passed away. There appeared to be plenty of love to go around even though it was hard to figure out which person belonged to which family...the birth family...the adoptive family...the husband's extended family and even some of the friends along the way.
I will say the portion of the book where the writer explains how hard it is to rewrite and re-edit your story struck home with me. She really expressed the difficulties of telling your story an d then hoping for favorable feedback.
If you have an interest in adoption and what can happen; this might be of interest to you.
DRINKING AND TWEETING....I've been addicted to the Real Housewives of......"anywhere" ever since the programs started. There is always someone the viewer loves to dislike...and Brandi Glanville was the one for the past couple of seasons. I thought she was just shooting off her mouth until I read this book. In spite of some snarky comments, she really does tell it all...good ~ bad ~ and ugly. I have to say that my opinion of her has changed. She is still unfiltered and loses her temper and probably had done even more bad things than we know. However, the way her marriage ended and the media frenzy that has gone on has been mostly one-sided and it usually wasn't in her favor. I also think she was bullied by many of the participants of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...and it wasn't always her fault even thought she often opens her mouth and inserts her foot!
This is a quick read. It fills in a lot of blank areas and it certainly gives the reader something to think about.
BROWNIE POINTS....I got this one free on my Kindle. It was a very quick read. It had a lot of humor mixed in with some good life lessons ~ like not making quick decisions on who someone is until you really know for sure. This family is made up of an Africian American father, a white mother and biracial twins (boy and a girl). The boy is gay. When he wants to join a group of girls who are interested in the same things he enjoys; it sets off a firestorm of media attention. Of course, there is a good outcome along with more life lessons.
It's been a busy week and the time has gone by quickly. However, it doesn't feel like we accomplished too much. RH (retired husband) has been busy at the big house getting the yard raked and mowed. He is trying to make the outside look well cared for even though Winter is still hanging on here. We had a lot of rain and even snow flakes this week. But finally we have had some days with sunshine so I guess Mother Nature is trying to sneak in. It won't be long before the big house will have yellow tulips in bloom and then comes the 3 lilac bushes that smell so heavenly. We also have a couple of climbing rose bushes that should be in bloom by the end of May. I expect I will be planting some impatiens to pretty up the space too.
I have been looking for signs of daisy plants coming up here at the downsizer. I will be planting some geraniums or impatiens here in the pots in the front yard next month.
My book went up for sale on Amazon.com this week too!
This would make a great Mother's Day gift.......hint....hint!
and speaking of books....
I read a few this week.
When you select a Danielle Steel book, you know what you are going to get. Lots of descriptions of fabulous clothes, beautiful people, lovely places to visit and over-the-top stories. This book did meet most of those criteria. However, I have to say that despite the usual gorgeousness of people, places and things, and the minor issues of long time love, infidelity, blame and forgiveness and even confusion of sexual orientation, this book had no plot. None....
There were hints of possible trouble to come but it never materialized. The one thing that I found truthful was the minor storyline discussion that if you want to write a book, you need to write for the commercial appeal to make money. Danielle Steel figured that out a long time ago and she obviously just wrote this book for the mass appeal of her name.
So if you want a story to read on a plane or on the beach, go ahead and try it. YOU might like it.
Here's the book description....I cut most of it because it gives away too much of the story...and there isn't enough plot, in my humble opinion, to give it all away now.
Every woman makes choices. And no one has made more difficult choices than Olivia Grayson. The enormously successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. In Danielle Steel’s character-rich new novel, Olivia faces the past, tries to balance the present, and makes amends where due, while still running her vastly successful business.
and here's another review.
I used to LOVE Danielle Steel books- my go to for reading... back in the day! I don't know if my taste for fiction has improved or the quality of DS's books have declined. I still keep picking up and reading her books hoping that this next book just might do her earlier works justice. But recently - they have disappointed.
One of the main peeves is her repetitive style of writing. She repeats the same idea over and over again as if the reader is slow and doesn't get it the first 5 times she mentions it. I find the constant repetition insulting to my intelligence - like I could not possible source out what she is trying to say.
It irks me that problems are resolved so easily - the victories just came so easily.
This book especially had very little character development. Perhaps the fault lies attempting to cover so many characters. Plus like many of DS's books, it is full of the lifestyle of the uber rich. That kind of a lifestyle is so completely beyond the realm of most people's reality - that it becomes removed and I found myself ignoring that part because I cannot relate to it.
Overall, if you are a Danielle Steel fan, you will enjoy this latest addition to her impressively long list of books. If you are not, this one will not turn you into one.
This is a great book if you want to read something light with lots of descriptions of food and places and jewelry....kind of a reality show in words. It has the usual formula of a very powerful and successful mother who has a multi-million dollar business. She wants her only child, her grown daughter, to come into the business. And of course, the daughter has a completely different passion. She almost always puts aside her own choices to please the ones she loves. She is married to a man who cheats on her ~ multiple times. Toss in a great friend who has known the daughter since childhood, a few "issues", some decisions, some clarifications and even a love interest. This book adds a bit of spice with some descriptive sex talk although the story would have been the same without that.
Here's the book description...
Cassie Blake, heiress to Fenton's, San Francisco's most exclusive department store, has been married to Aidan, a handsome UC Berkeley professor, for ten years. But when she discovers Aidan allowed himself to be seduced by one of his students, she moves into the third floor of her best friend Alexis's Presidio Heights mansion. Aided by the hilarious and high-spirited Alexis, Cassie has to decide if she can forgive Aidan and give their marriage one more chance.
Saving her marriage is not the only choice Cassie has to make. Cassie's mother is eager to have her oversee Fenton's new Food Emporium, destined to be San Francisco's hottest gourmet shopping destination. Her true passion has always been food, and Cassie suspects her mother might be trying to lure her into the Fenton's fold by entrusting her with such an exciting opportunity. And then there is James, the architect designing the Emporium, who is quietly falling in love with her.
Filled with delicious descriptions of high fashion, gourmet food and the City by the Bay, Market Street is a rewarding treat that will linger long after its surprising and satisfying finish.
and a review...
Intermingled along with the glamor and ostentation of the super-rich, Market Place tells a story about a broken marriage, and the heroine’s dilemma of either being in her marriage or out of it, as she decides if she can forgive a cheating husband or if she just needs to move forward and create a new life for herself. While the book flows well, I never became invested in heroine Cassie’s tribulations or happy every after or even that interested in the logistics of opening a gourmet grocery store in a high end department store.
Cassandra Fenton Blake turned her back on her family’s wealth and their exclusive department store, Fenton’s, when she married Aidan Blake. Aidan, as an ethics professor at Berkley, practices what he preaches, so they live comfortably in a nice but modest house. Cassie spends her time helping her husband with his papers, volunteering at Edible Schoolyard, and teaching children how to grow and cook their own food. She also is step-mother to Aidan’s teenage daughter.
Every time I look at this cover, I think I see a woman with her head in her hands facing the front. I don't know why....As another Jodi Picoult novel, this one does not disappoint. As always, the author weaves a detailed story and draws us into the middle of it. I often put myself into the storyline by feeling as though I am the main character and wondering "what would I have done"? This time the story goes back to life before, during and after the concentration camps in the 1940's. The story is told from the viewpoint of several people, including the main character's grandmother who was a Holocaust survivor and the viewpoint of an elderly German man who turns out to be a former SS officer. The mysteries of what really happened are revealed throughout the story. I have to say that the end did not surprise me but it was cleverly written and brought all the elements of the story together.
If you have never read a Jodi Picoult book before, this would be a great one to start with. If you have read her books, this one is very special
and the book description....
Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?
Here's a review by someone else....
I could not put this book down. Jodi Picoult has written a masterful story about the Holocaust. Is it possible for one person to forgive another person who in a past life, committed horrific crimes? Sage is a young woman with a secret that prevents her from becoming close to anyone. She is a baker who works at night and her boyfriend is a married man. She is close to her grandmother, Minka, who is a Holocaust survivor. An elderly man comes into the bakery one day, and Sage and Josef Weber become friends. Josef, too, has a secret, and asks Sage to forgive him of his past. There are twists and turns and some surprises. I did not particularly enjoy the last couple of books that Jodi Picoult wrote, but The Storyteller is one of her best books that she has written.
This was an amazing story! Set in the Alaskan wilderness during the 1920's, a couple who lost their child years before have settled in, hoping to make a new life. The wife had a favorite book as a child which told the story of an old couple making a snowgirl in the snow who came to life.
When the couple do the same thing, something happens and they are overjoyed. The struggles of living during the long winters and working together to survive is so detailed, the reader feels like they are there too. Some other characters become dear friends and help them make Alaska a real home.
So, did the snowgirl come to life? Is she real or a figment of "cabin fever"? What happens when spring comes? The story will draw you in.
Here's the book description....
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
and another review....
I loved this story! It was such a beautiful mix of pioneer historical novel and fairy tale completely infused with magical realism.
A couple in their 50s, Jack and Mabel, decide to homestead in Alaska in the early 1920s. They had had one child who was stillborn, and their childlessness was a nearly over-powering grief. Their first year in Alaska almost killed them. One night it snowed, and for a brief moment they shed their old selves and allowed their inner children to play. They built a snow-girl together, but in the morning she was gone. This was the beginning of their relationship with The Snow Child and their new friends, the Benson family.
I love how the author, Eowyn Ivey, weaves the sense of smell throughout her story:
"As she began to peel potatoes, he stood behind her and touched the tendrils of hair that had fallen from their clips and curled at the nape of her neck. Then he reached around her waist and leaned into her. All these years and still he was drawn to the smell of her skin, of sweet soap and fresh air." (p. 140)
"Garrett pushed forward, as if to go past her, and caught her scent. Labrador tea, elderberry, nettle, fresh snow. It was so faint that he found himself inhaling deeply, trying to catch more of it." (p. 289)
"Her cheeks were so smooth, so cold against his, and she tasted of the fragrance that all winter had haunter him -- mountain herbs and wet stone and new snow." (p. 313)
Ultimately, this is a love story. A bunch of love stories, actually. The mature love story of Mabel and Jack, the coming-of-age love story between Faina and Garrett, and the story of love between parent and child. Intertwined with these love stories are stories of growing up and growing into one's potential.