Monday, December 21, 2015

2nd Amendment

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Please don't hide behind the "right to bear arms". I have no problem with gun owners other than the fact they like to paraphrase the Second Amendment to suit their needs. Remember that when the amendment was written, the United States did not maintain a standing militia. Now we do. Personally, I see no need for military type weapons in the hands of non-military personnel or armor piercing ammunition in the hands of civilians. Body armor should be limited to military and law enforcement use only. Hand guns have only one real purpose - to kill other human beings at close range.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It was a nice idea

Well, some plans just don't work out the way you want. The trailer for instance. It was just too small, so we sold it. Surprisingly, we didn't lose money on the deal! A nice couple from Minden bought it. They have a much better tow vehicle. Hope they get a lot of enjoyment from it.

We like the idea of travelling around with a trailer, but we don't want to go in to debt to do it comfortably. A bigger trailer would require a bigger tow vehicle. Have you seen what a plain Jane Ford pick-up sells for now?

We will still travel, but plan to stay in motels on the way.

In the mean time, I've been busy building a pergola in the back yard and Lynn is working hard to finish the "quilt from hell". Oh, and we got a cat.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Honeymoon Suite

Part of the post-marriage plan, prior to Kyle's death and to Lynn's cancer, was to travel to some of the sites I have seen in my travels that Lynn has never seen. She has not been to Yellowstone. She had not been north of San Francisco until I took her to Washington last year.

We are doing our best to get back on schedule. To that end, we have been discussing whether we would travel between motels or look for an RV of some sort. Affordable motorhomes were too old. Travel trailers were too heavy for our Escape to tow. Tent trailers are too cold and don't have toilets.

It looked like we would be living out of suitcases.

Then I saw a craigslist ad for this.

We bought it. Fourteen feet long, 1960 pounds when empty. AND it has a bathroom!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Home Sweet Home

We have been home for a week. Sigh of contentment.

The house is surprisingly free of dust. It closes up tighter than we thought. Our neighbors did a great job keeping an eye on the place. We quickly put the air conditioner in the kitchen window and cranked it on "High".

Back to some of those projects we started before we left for Arizona. New door to the laundry. Window treatment on the back door.

Lynn's sister Roni rode her motorcycle down from Alaska and spent a couple days with us. She left her bike and flew back to the frozen tundra for an urgent surveying job.

We made arrangements to get a couple trees planted. Landscaping the back yard is in the planning stage.

The El Camino is in the shop to get some major oil leaks fixed. Rear main seal and oil pan gasket require removal of the engine. Might as well rebuild the heads and do a few other things while it's in there - right?

Lynn got an elliptical machine to help with her recuperation. The surgical area across her chest is still very tight and sore. She says she has bricks under her arms.

The refrigerator that was in the house when we bought it has decided to act up. It's 17 years old, so I guess we are lucky it lasted this long. Found one in town that will be delivered Thursday.

Lynn finished a quilt for her niece's baby shower.

We visited the Senior Center - they asked if Lynn was returning to work - NO! I visited the golf course - they asked if I was returning to work - NO!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

We're going home

Here is Lynn's decision:

I just wanted to let you know the latest.   After much research, consideration and a lot of inner turmoil, I have decided to terminate my chemotherapy.  I was never okay with it from the start. I refuse to continue to put any form of these horrible poisonous toxins in my body.   I am cancer free as of now and will make some lifestyle changes to help prevent recurrence.  I am 100% comfortable with my decision and am willing to take the risk of living another year, 5 yrs, 10 yrs or more cancer free vs loading my body up with toxins that produce no guarantees of my survival and studies have shown to even cause other major health issues down the road.  We already have a referral to a Medical Oncologist in Fallon, who is affiliated with MD Anderson where I can get follow-up scans in 6 months. My Med. Oncologist here said she supported my decision and that even though I have not finished all of the chemo regimen, I would have definitely reaped some benefit from the 2 months of dose-dense chemo that I have already received.  

My wonderful husband is very supportive in my decision and understands completely my feeling on the subject.  

I'm scheduled this week to get my port out.  After that we will pack up and head back home soon.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Round 4

Just got back from the cancer clinic. Round 4 of the A/C "Red Devil" knocked Lynn on her butt. She is out cold in the recliner beside me. Thank goodness this is the last of this drug combination. In two weeks she will start with weekly injections of Taxol. Here's hoping it will be less taxing on her body.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


She hurts so badly. The lymphedema flares up a few days after her infusion and I can't even touch her arms, let alone hold her when she cries in the night.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


We sold the park model in Apache Junction to a very nice couple from Mankato, MN. As part of the deal, we will remain here until Lynn's treatment is complete sometime in November. One more worry off our  minds.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two weeks

They said it would happen about two weeks after she started her chemo therapy. Lynn's hair is coming out in small clumps.

Infusion days start on the first floor in the Draw Lab for blood work (her hemoglobin was low today), then up a floor for a visit with her oncologist - Dr. Liu-Dimlao - and finally up to the the third floor and the Infusion Center.

Today was round two of her "Red Devil" infusions (out of four total). Unlike the first time, she had an afternoon appointment. She feels a little worse this time, but not nauseous.

Tomorrow we return for the neulasta injection and lymphedema therapy. I will get more instruction in lymphedema massage and Lynn will get more physical therapy.

Everyone we deal with at Banner MD Anderson makes the effort to ensure Lynn feels comfortable and to keep to the schedule.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rough weekend

The combined lymphedema and physical therapy were too much. Lynn was in constant pain all weekend. The pain pills only reduce the pain to an ache.

Temperatures continue to hover near 110 degrees. She can't go out in the heat. She's a prisoner of air conditioning.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chemo starts

A long day at the clinic. Got there before 9 for blood lab work. Place was packed. After 10 before Lynn was finished with blood sample and insertion of tube in her port.

Appointment with Doctor to go over results of the MUGA (heart blood pooling test).

Appointment for infusion was for 11:30, but it was after 1 when they got started.

Got home after 4.

Lynn is feeling okay. We'll see what tomorrow brings. These drugs affect everyone differently. Because Lynn never suffered morning sickness when she was pregnant, she may tolerate this drug well.

Tomorrow she gets a shot of neulasta (I'm not sure of the spelling. Supposed to help prevent infection), then lymphodema therapy (massage and exercise) Wednesday and Thursday.

She returns for her next cycle of chemotherapy in two weeks. She has four cycles of this drug, followed by 12 weekly doses of a second chemical.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lynn's new toy

Growing tired of giving all of our money to doctors and hospitals, we decided to do something silly and fun with just a little of our reserves.

While walking through the Mesa Market, we stopped to look at a cute, refurbished golf cart. This business buys old carts, restores them, paints them (this one was teal and white), reupholsters the seat(s), puts on new tires and finds new homes for them. The cart made Lynn smile.

We left the market after buying a few small items. As we were driving out, I jokingly said "Let's go back and get that cart." Surprisingly Lynn agreed.

I turned around, went back in the market and we talked to the lady minding the store. She told us about the shop where the work is done. Since it was on the way home, we headed that way and met the owner - Joe.

We took the tour of the facilities, got the full sales routine and picked out a cart that had not yet left the shop. It's not teal, but it fits Lynn better, with cute bucket seats and copper brown paint that sparkles in the sunshine. Kind of looks like a Transformer from the front. It doesn't come with a title, so we don't know exactly how old it is, but it is suspected of having been built in 1973. Only 42 years young.

Post script: Found a company that sells parts for older carts and have learned the JM stands for Johns Manville, who owned the Club Car Company for a few years in early to mid 70's. Ours is a Club Car Caroche.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A port in the ER

Yesterday Lynn spent the morning getting the port installed. It sits just under the skin in the small depression near her left shoulder.

Last night was spent in the emergency room because she had a reaction to something they did during the operation. It may have just been the adhesive on the drape, we don't know, they don't know. We have repeatedly told them she reacts to just about any adhesive.

Back to the clinic today for a consult regarding the port and maybe to start lymphodema therapy.

Chemo therapy starts on Monday, with lymphodema therapy Tuesday and Thursday.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

All clear

We got the results of the CT and bone scans - no cancer cells detected. Yay! That does not change the planned course of treatment. The MUGA or blood pooling test showed that her heart is strong enough for the chemo. The port gets placed on Monday with chemo starting the 15th. Lynn is in such pain and I can't comfort her by holding or hugging. Hopefully the lymphodema therapy will help.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Moving fast

The folks at MD Anderson don't give a person much of a chance to breathe.

We met with the oncologist today. The CT and bone scans are scheduled for Monday. A MUGA test is yet to be scheduled.

The AC (Andriamycin/Cytoxan) chemo is scheduled to begin on the 15th of June - every two weeks for 4 cycles followed by Taxol once a week for 12 weeks. Will have the port put in place soon.

The anti-nausea prescription is already waiting for us at Walgreen's.

We will remain in Arizona for another 4-1/2 to 5 months. If it is determined that radiation is required, we will be here longer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Post surgery report

Just got back from seeing the breast cancer surgeon. Pathology results confirmed most of what was suspected. The largest growth in the right breast was 2.8 cm, but there were multiple sights. The sentinel lymph node was cancerous, so additional nodes were removed. Of the 27 removed only 3 were cancerous. The pre-cancer growths in the left breast were also numerous but were still contained within the ducts. The sentinel lymph node examined when the left breast was removed was found to not be cancerous, so no additional nodes were removed on that side.

This changed the right breast to stage 2B and the left breast remained a stage zero.

Because only three lymph nodes were involved, radiation therapy is not anticipated. Because three lymph nodes were involved, chemo therapy is anticipated.

CT and bone scans are scheduled for the near future. One of the three drains left in place following surgery was removed today. Removal of the other two is eagerly anticipated.

We meet with the oncologist on Thursday.

Spirits are good, pain is bad, drugs are good.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Out of the hospital

Four hours of surgery, 2 hours in recovery - she was still groggy when they rolled her in to her room. Her face was ashen, her body orange from the beta-dine. The surgery went well. They tested her lymph nodes and found activity in the sentinel nodes under her right arm, so the first two levels of lymph nodes on that side were removed. This means she will need to undergo chemo therapy and possibly radiation. We will know more next week when the results on the other lymph nodes are in. We meet with her surgeon on Tuesday.

Lynn is in some pain, mostly from the three drains left in her chest. We have to empty the drain twice daily. When they drain clear and the amount of fluid reaches a certain level, the drains will be removed.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Biopsy results and surgery

Lynn goes in for double mastectomy on Wednesday the 20th.

Not the news we had hoped for, but what we expected. The cancerous and pre-cancerous growths are too many and too far apart for lumpectomies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Left breast

So glad we came down here for treatment.

Lynn had three, MRI guided biopsies done today on her left breast. Much less trauma. She was uncomfortable, laying face down in the MRI machine for two hours, compressing the right breast that had been examined yesterday.

Just have to wait until Friday morning to get the results.

Post Script: Spent the night (5 hours) in the (very cold) emergency room. The incisions wouldn't stop bleeding and Lynn was in great pain. New dressings, an ultra sound to look for problems and a shot of morphine. Got to bed at 3 a.m.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Right breast

Somebody at the hospital looked at all of the work that was scheduled for Lynn's breast tomorrow and realized that it couldn't all be done in the time allotted, so they called this morning and asked her to come in today at 12:30.

The general surgeon in Fallon did not implant a marker (or clip) in the tumor when he did the biopsy. They did that today. They also took three core needle biopsies of the second growth in Lynn's right breast (and placed a marker). After that was done, they did another MRI and a mammogram to be sure that the markers were identifiable.

Tomorrow we return to have the same procedures done on the three suspected tumors in Lynn's left breast. Results of today's biopsy should be ready then.

On Friday we meet with Lynn's surgeon again to discuss the results and to make a plan.

Lynn is very happy with how she is being treated at Banner MD Anderson thus far.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

MRI 5-9-15

The results of the MRI were not what we had hoped. The original tumor in the right breast is larger - 3.2 cm vice 2.0 cm - than previously thought which makes this Stage 2A. An additional area of concern was found in the vicinity of the original tumor. The MRI also revealed three spots in the left breast that require biopsy.

The MRI showed that the cancer does not appear to have spread to the lymph nodes.

Biopsies will take place next week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Return to AJ

Lynn and I begin a new adventure today. Not the one we had planned for this summer. We had quit our part-time, minimum wage jobs so we could travel. Lynn has never been to Yellowstone N.P. We thought we would visit friends and family across the west.

She discovered a lump in her right breast. These lumps are not unusual for her as she has always had cysts. This one scared her. Her Mother and Grandmother died of breast cancer. Lynn has been getting mammograms done since she turned 30.

This mammogram results showed the need for further testing. A biopsy of the lump was performed. The biopsy results confirm cancer is present. We don't know yet how bad. We don't know yet if it has spread to her lymph nodes.

Medical care in Fallon is spotty at best. An hour drive to Reno for every treatment/appointment did not appeal to us. We made arrangements to get treatment at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, AZ. The hospital is not far from the RV park where we still own a home, so we made the move to Apache Junction FOR THE SUMMER!

Our first appointment (I say "our" because we are in this together) is this morning at 9:30.

Post Script:

Five hours well spent. Happy we made the move down here.

News is about as good as it can be considering she has cancer. Initial thoughts are that it is invasive ductal carcinoma, about 2 cm in size. Stage 1 A.

We won't know for sure until after surgery, but it sounds as though a lumpectomy, radiation treatment and 5 years of taking a endocrine therapy pill rather than the chemo infusion treatment will be the plan of action.

Had an MRI today and will discuss those results with her surgeon on Friday.

Got a lot done in five hours today.

Feeling better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


If you have a 2009 or newer Ford vehicle, you most likely have the "Easy-Fuel" system. Ford decided to go to this "capless" system to make things easier for us. Another "Better Idea".

If you have a 2009 - 2013 Ford vehicle, you will have problems with the "Easy-Fuel" system. It may be as simple as having the check engine light come on or you may have your engine stall on the freeway. You can find lots of horror stories on the internet.

The check engine light came on in our 2010 Ford Escape XLT. I went to Autozone and had them read the code P0456 - Evaporative Emission System - Small Leak Detected (FREE at Autozone - $200 at the dealer). If you live in an area that requires a smog check, your car will fail the test until that item is corrected.

I went to a reputable auto repair shop in town and had them do a "smoke test" to locate the leak. It was the flapper in the "Easy-Fuel" system. The Ford recommended fix is to replace the filler neck unit with the new improved version (installed in Ford vehicles starting in 2013) at a cost of about $500 (more at the dealership). I was about to have this done when I found a you tube video describing how to maintain the filler neck so this won't happen again. You can watch it here: . It shows the problem on a Focus.

Remember that line from "Bonnie and Clyde"? "Dirt, dirt in the fuel line blow'd it away". Dirt and crud prevents the flapper from sealing in the filler tube. The video shows how to keep that flapper seal clean.

Ford knows this is a problem. That's why they redesigned the filler neck. That is also why they had Stant make a locking gas cap for the "Easy-Fuel" capless system. It not only provides some sense of security regarding your tank of fuel, but more importantly it keep the dirt out of the filler neck. You can order this cap at the dealer for $43. I have seen the cap on the internet for as little as $12.42. I'm old fashioned. I like to hold something in my hand before I buy it. My local NAPA store doesn't have one (though the Stant part number 10524 does cross in their stock system). Autozone doesn't have one.

I am off in search of the elusive gas cap. I'll be damned if I'm giving Ford any more of my money.