Friday, February 27, 2009

Labwork Today

Ed had blood work today and both his red and white cell counts are low. They gave him a shot of Procrit to help rebuild the red cells and if things aren't better by next Friday, they'll give him a blood transfusion.

This was a good nurse who explained some things to us. Ed said that by the 6th round of chemo, the medical workers probably think we know it all..... but we don't. He told the nurse about his dizziness and lethargy. She asked him several things and suggested he wasn't drinking enough. He needs to help his blood cells and kidneys flush out the poisons. I've been telling him to drink more but everyone knows that men never listen to their wives!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our First PJ Party

George and Kay Angelil, Ed's brother and sister-in-law, came from their Port St. Lucie home to visit us yesterday. Ed had chemo on Friday and felt more lethargic than he had after his other treatments, so it was good for us to have a diversion.
We took a chance on an unknown restaurant and went to the Bonefish Grill, which is part of The Shell Factory, and happens to be about 2 miles south of our RV resort. Well, we lucked out.....we all had the all-you-can-eat fish and chips. It was just delicious, without all the heavy breading some restaurants use on fish. George and I chose sweet potato fries, rather than French fries and they were yummy. We went to Beall's Outlet store, where we girls split from the guys. Kay and I looked at everything in the store, visiting all the while. She bought a seersucker pants outfit and I bought a fish sundress. Then we walked over to Beall's Clearance Center and looked at everything in there, too. By that time, we were beat so we called George and Ed to come get us.

They had looked at some 55+ communities. George is in real-estate, and as with most realtors, he likes to get a feel for the market in different areas. Plus, they might be interested in moving over to this less-crowded area one of these years.
Dinner was easy to put together because Ed and I had made Chicken Divan ahead of time. Ed got a bit bent out of shape because the biscuits sort of burned, but who cared, we just cut the burnt bottoms off. Look on the bright side.......that helped cut down on the calories in each biscuit. This was the first time we've had overnight guests in this RV and we learned one thing - anyone who sleeps over needs to have one quality - they MUST be very short if they want to stretch out on the sofa bed!

This morning we visited Old Bridge Village, a resident-owned waterfront community. What a wide range of prices and styles of manufactured homes - some new and some quite old. Kay and George headed home after our tour. I think all of us enjoyed our time together.

p.s. Ed is feeling better, although not quite the ball of fire that he usually is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

Today is one of those days that entices people to come to Florida for the winter. This morning was a bit nippy at 42 but by lunchtime it was about 70 with sunshine galore. It's pleasant to open the windows and not have heat or air conditioner motors running.

There was a big drive-way sale here in our RV park so I got up at the crack of 8:00 a.m. (what a shock to my retired body's schedule) in order to go shopping. Ed slept (his chemo yesterday went fine but he's usually lethargic for a few days afterwards) and I didn't bother him. I covered every street (there are 340 RV's here) so got some good exercise and spent a grand total of $2.50! Ed had been looking for some small white Correlle saucers and Wal-Mart doesn't have them. I found 4 for a buck - can't beat that, huh? (Beth, you would have enjoyed it.)

This afternoon we visited our neighbors across the street, Rod and Betty. They're from Vermont and are hobby photographers who do nature photos, especially birds and flowers. They've been all over the world taking photos including Antarctica, Norway, Africa, and especially enjoyed the polar bears in the Arctic. I hope to see some more of their pictures and we plan to go out to eat together soon. This year is their 50th anniversary and they gave each other a new fifth-wheel. They plan to take a trip to Nova Scotia this summer, following the route they took on their honeymoon.

Ed sat in the sun and read part of the afternoon. Now he's taking another wee nap and I'm just enjoying being here, listening to a few birds. I can't get over how quiet it is and there are 2 reasons for that........first, this is a 55+ park and secondly, we have double-paned windows in the RV. It's a tough life but somebody has to do it, right?!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Small Scare

On Friday, Ed had a slight sore throat and a swollen area just above his collar bone and slightly to the left of his Adam's apple that was painful. He was scheduled for his routine blood work at a different office that was closer to our RV park. His doctor wasn't at that office that day and the doctor on duty was too backed up to see him. At my insistence, we made an appointment to see his doctor on Monday.

Sunday, the throat was better but he had an earache all day. Monday, everything was better except I could still see some swelling. The doctor checked him out and said it definitely had nothing to do with his cancer, and the fact that the symptoms went away so quickly indicated it was nothing to be concerned about. Whew! I feel much better and though Ed would hate to admit it, I know he is relieved, too!

By the way, his blood work indicated that the procreate shot from last week had helped with his anemia so he got another procreate shot. If his red cell hadn't improved, he would've had to have a blood transfusion. It appears that he'll be ready for chemo this coming Friday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Greetings

Happy Valentine's Day
to each and everyone of you!

We appreciate your support and encouragement as Ed goes through chemo. Your love helps us to cope and keep optimistic. We're greatly encouraged by the shrinkage of the tumors in his lungs and hope these next few cycles will shrink them even more.

Several people have said that "Ed's too ornery to die" and the laughing from that and other funny comments is therapeutic for us both. With our sporadic internet service, I don't have time to email personal notes as much as I'd like to. But your email notes and comments on this blog page really help.

Love and thanks,
MaryMay and Edmond

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sentimental Journey to Sanibel Island

We took a "field trip" to Sanibel Island, Florida today. This is special to us because it was the first place we ever went for a Get-away Weekend over 10 years ago. It's known for its shells. We had a nice lunch, went shelling and returned to our Tastee Freeze to share another banana split. The weather was in the 70's with limited sun so it was a perfect day for driving and for the beach.

Those Bowmans just turn up all over the place,
don't they? (My Grandmother was Ruth Bowman May.)

The shells were not unusual ones today but
there were gazillion of them!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ed's New Doc in Ft. Myers

Choosing a oncologist from the yellow pages, which is what Ed was planning to do here in Ft. Myers, isn't my idea of a good way to go about it. We appreciate Joan Benson, a dear friend from our condo in Ft. Lauderdale a few years back, getting us in touch with the Pat and Norman Nybert. They recommended the doctor Norman is seing. Norman also has lung cancer and is on his 4th cycle, Ed's on his 5th. Ed met with Dr. Harwin today. At first he seemed to be a bit bland but when I remembered the Nybert's name, he really perked up and turned out to be very pleasant.

Ed's white cell count is good, thanks to the neulasta shot last week, but Dr. H. said he looked pale and perhaps he was anemic. Blood tests confirmed that, sure enough, his red blood cell count is low so they gave him a shot of procreate. He'll have lab work next week and his next chemo is scheduled for February 20th. Dr. Harwin pointed out that he'll have 2 weeks for his blood count to stabilize and to feel better. This anemia could also be a reason that he feels rather draggy.

The routine at this cancer center is pretty much the same as the other 2 centers he's been to......It goes like this: Do paperwork, go back to waiting room, get weighed, take BP and blood, go back to the waiting room, see the doctor, go to the waiting room until a chair opens, or go to the chemo waiting area to get a shot or take chemo, go back to the waiting room to check out and pay, pay, pay.

RV Park Attributes

Ed and I have learned that when we travel in a car and look for a motel, we want to be sure that they don't just have "Breakfast". Instead, we look for "Hot Breakfast". One involves a stale donut or one dry muffin with coffee; the other includes eggs, bacon, pancakes, juice, fruit, coffee, and more.

The list of desirable features for our RV accomodations grows as we experience different RV Resorts. First of all, the word "Resort" is used loosely and sometimes "Trailor Park" would be a better description.

So far, we know we want 50 amp hookups, internet service (not slow, not sporatic - but that's hard to judge ahead of time), bathhouses that are clean, near our site, and are heated/air-conditioned. We often use them as our shower is a tad tight for Ed and it's easier for me to wash my hair in a larger shower. Ed's now looking for concrete pads under the RV AND the picnic table area, not just under the picnic table area. Oh, and sites that aren't so tight that our awning overlaps the awning of our neighbor (as it did in one place in Ft. Laudedale).

I'm sure as time goes on, I'm sure we'll refine and add to our list of desirable attrubutes and tighten up on what is absolutely necessary. Sometimes, boondocking (dry camping) in a Walmart or Sears parking lot is better than wasting money on a lousy campground.

One more thing we're learning is that it's hard to tell from an internet website or from talking to an employee of a resort what a place is like.

Famous First Cousin Offers Help

When Stever (Ed's nickname for his son, Steve) was arranging the tickets to see Celine, he let them know about Ed's cancer. Rene (Celine's hubby and Ed's first cousin) called Stever to let him know how sorry he was. Also, he offered to have his oncologist take a look at Ed's medical records for another opinion. (You may remember that he had throat cancer about 10 years ago.) When we were in the room backstage with Celine, I gave the records to Rene.

The oncologist is in Palm Beach and called Wednesday. After reviewing Ed's case, he felt the treatment being given is appropriate and the shrinkage of the tumors is a good sign. Ed had questions about the long-term. We had been told that they usually give 7-8 cycles of chemo and if the tumors have shrunk, the patient gets a break. Regular scans would pick up when the tumors start to grow, then more chemo would be given. This doctor said another approach is the patient keeps taking chemo until the tumors disappear. However, the more chemo, the more severe the after effects. This explains why Ed has been feeling more yucky and that feeling lasts longer after each treatment. He had been hiding his reactions from me after former treatments but after the one last Thursday, he couldn't hide it.

I thank Stever for following up with this and I appreciate Rene's thoughtfulness.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Where it's warm....

Ed's been saying lately, "It's too cold here. Let's go to Florida, where it's warm......oh, wait, we ARE in Florida!" Can't you just hear him saying that?

Last night it went down to 31 degrees - our heat pump couldn't carry the load so we had to turn on the furnace, which worked fine. It got up to 61 today but they say it's supposed to be another cold one tonight. There are lots of planted flower beds and flower pots all over this RV park and they've all been covered with sheets and bedspreads.

Ed's been saying he wants to fsh.....personally, I can't envision him sitting still long enough to fish but if that's his desire, then why not? He bought a fshing license and some lures yesterday. Today went back to this factory outlet fishing store and bought a rod with all the trimmings. I have NEVER seen so many rods, lures, etc. etc. in one place. There must be at least 2 gazillion items in there.

He started talking to this couple in Walmart yesterday when he was looking for lures. The gal had taken a salt water fishing course and wanted to fish. She didn't want to invest a fortune until she decided how she was going to like it so Ed told them about this factory outlook store. This morning, he stopped by there for a minute and guess who was there? That couple. I hope that Ed's sending a new customer helped in getting him a better deal.

Don't know how much he spent. Here's where Ed stands on the matter and I've agreed to it: You don't ask how much my fishing equipment costs and I won't ask how much your blouses cost. (He always said that Mother and I collect blouses.....I had never noticed, but he's right.)

So long and have a lovely, warm, and cozy evening!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Moved to FL's West Coast

We moved to Ft. Myers on the west coast of Florida on Sunday. Ed's sister and I thought it would have been good to stay with the oncologist that he had in Ft. Lauderdae, but he wanted to see more of Florida. A lady who used to live in my condo, Joan Benson, lived over here for 6 years and got me in touch with her best friend's husband's oncologist. Ed's got an appointment for Feb. 6 with him. Interesting coincidence - the husband also has stage 4 lung cancer. Ed's doctor in Ft. Lauderdale asked who he was going to and he knew of Dr. fact, his partner used to work with him. Dr. Harwin is the senior member over a group of about 10 oncologists.

Even though I wasn't keen on moving, I do feel more like we're on vacation. In Ft. Ldl. we tried to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. Maybe knowing we were leaving motivated me to see several friends that I might have missed.

My friend, Linda Traub came on Saturday morning for coffee. I met Linda when we went on a work team with our church to Homestead, FL to help with recovery from Hurricane Andrew in 1994. Linda was the leader of the work team on the bus that day and I was enchanted with her "aliveness" (She's a teacher, wouldn't you know?). The pictures of the hurricane results could not begin to depict the devastation we saw. Her husband, Dr. Ray Traub, was so helpful with Alan the during the weeks before I had to place him in a home in 1996. Isn't it ironic that Ray now has Alzheimer's and is in a home? Linda is a tiny blonde who is real tennis nut, is involved with many church activities, and has "childlike enthusiasm" for everything. She was quite curious about our RV so, she not only got the inside tour, she also got the tour of the basement underneath the RV. She's a good model for me at making the best of difficult times.

I have kept in touch with Hazel Pennington, a co-worker at Antilles Elementary on Ft. Buchanan army base in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We worked together in 1973. She moved to west Ft. Lauderdale and when I moved there in 1978, she helped me pick out the carpet colors, etc. for the townhouse I bought in Davie. (I got a full refund when my plans changed and I married Alan.) She lost her husband, Dudley, 5 years ago and is still recovering. Maybe, because they had no children, they were closer than many couples. Hazel took me to lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, which was new to her. When she finished her salad, she thought she was finished. When I showed her the bread, pasta, soup, and desert bars, she could hardly believe that was all included in the price. We could have talked for hours more.....such a wonderful friend.

Celine - Ed's Version

This is Ed's version of seeing Celine in concert and going backstage to see her and her hubby (and his first cousin), Rene Angelil.

I quote: "We went to see Celine Dion in concert. It was a good show."