Thursday stuff

Yesterday was my doctor appointment and it went well. I’ll have my 8 week labs around the first week of December, then see him right after Christmas, then start Velcade/Dex in January. He did mention that there is a pill form of Velcade but since that would be a tier 5 drug, I just don’t want to deal with that. So the shot isn’t bad and neither is the drive. ( We got there in 50 minutes yesterday with NO traffic. So it’ll be 3 weeks on one week off. I’ll be ready!!!

I am having lots of anxiety about the election next week, along with the rest of the country.( well, intelligent people who can see Trump for what he is). It’s just a lingering underlying stress as to what’s going to happen. It’s not keeping me awake at night but still, I read the news compulsively for clues. Well, I guess we’ll know soon enough.

We shopped at Trader Joe’s in Roseville after the doctor appt( which was why B came with me). It was pretty packed with people but everyone HAS to wear a mask so it was ok. I loaded up on lots of things. Some prepper stuff like canola spray and tamari, and some just regular food. We were home by 12 noon so not bad at all.

As I mentioned, we adjusted our walk time till 6 so as to try and avoid jerk walker. He’s still there though and just as abrupt but at least walking the other way has made a huge difference. 6 am is nice because by 6:30 it’s predawn and the sky is lightening up. Sunday is daylight savings so I figure we will just walk when we feel ready and see what time that ends up being. I’m guessing the jerk will go by the darkness not the time. One example of him still being a jerk. So the confrontation was about his not using a flashlight, right? So he has been using one. Then this morning I saw him have it on and then as he approached us he turned it off. Uhh…passive aggressive anyone????

Tonight my son is going to make us an Oktoberfest dinner of Bratwurst something( not sure yet exactly what he’s doing) but at least I don’t have to cook.

I have a loaf of rye sourdough baking and it didn’t puff as much as I’d like but it still tastes great.

We are still getting lots of eggs and I’ve been keeping up on using them. I put it out on Nextdoor neighbor but no one answered. I’m guessing with the pandemic when everyone was buying chicks, and now they are all laying eggs. It’s okay, in a few months they will slow down once it gets cold.

I have loved lighting my beeswax candles for dinner time. I have lots of pumpkins on the table and around. We’ve been having a fire every morning too. It’s been about 45 degrees out, so chilly.

Simple Sunday

We are on extreme fire alert today thru Tuesday. Power will be shut off this afternoon. Scary stuff. Plus everything is so dry. These winds are supposed to be quite bad all the way to the Bay area. Geez. We really need a break here.

The winner of the bread recipe so far is the No knead sourdough. Both the rye and the white were superb. I may just keep tweaking it so it’s perfect. Of course, come next summer, I’ll abandon bread making and forget it all. Hummm…. maybe that’s why I blog about bread, so as to have a written history.

Success!!! We are walking a little later at 6am. The jerk is still there, but we are walking in the OPPOSITE direction and it makes all the difference since he’s not storming up behind us. Now he just storms by with his dog. It has been GREAT!

I had my biennial mammogram and will get the results next week. Since I didn’t hear anything I’m guessing it’s ok. I was in and out in record time as they have scheduled everything with Covid in mind so appts are spaced.

This week is my oncology appt. I’m not too concerned since I know it’s another 2 months before I’m starting something. That puts me after Christmas. So if all goes accordingly, I’ll wager January. After my appt, I plan to hit up Trader Joe’s in Roseville on the way home. I haven’t been there in months. There’s a few things I specifically want from there ( besides the Charles Shaw), tamari, hash browns, some frozen stuff which TJ’s does a great job of. That will go on my November food budget.

I was out in the prepper pantry in the barn the other day, and it looks great. I have to say, we did a great job on both food and nonfood. I can see periodically adding stuff but for the most part we are using stuff on rotation and then replacing.

The gardens are all cleaned up for winter. My daughter does a great job pulling everything up and putting it in the compost. We haven’t planted anything else yet but I may encourage her to start some chard and cold weather stuff. She did plant all the bulbs I ordered. I ordered 3 giant bags. We have one designated bulb area and in the spring it is very pretty.

This week is the living room zone, so I’ll wash windows and do a deeper dusting.

Halloween stuff..

Lanterns for later when the power is out.

Of course, we have out generators too but we’ll use them tomorrow for a few hours for the freezer and fridge.

It’s a Struggle…

Honestly, it is hard at times to be positive about having cancer. I can compartmentalize most of the time and I do. But then when labs come in and you have to face the reality it is hard.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2005, had the autologous transplant in 2006. I know how lucky I am to even still be here but it doesn’t make it easier. I relapsed in 2010 and actually did great on Revlimid ( aside from it causing severe IBS) for 5 years and then that stopped working. My kappa light chains went up to almost 1100mg/L so pretty high and my ratio was way up at 92mg/L. Velcade or bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor and worked astonishing well. Within 2 cycles my numbers were almost in the normal range. And that has lasted 4 whole years.

I have no complaints. But the reality is now my numbers are increasing exponentially and I have to deal with it. With my new numbers, I still think it will be January 2021 when I restart Velcade. Since I get my labs every 8 weeks that puts me at the beginning of December, with a doctor visit by the end of the month and then a start date. Velcade means weekly trips to the infusion center. It’s 3 weeks on 1 week off.

It’s depressing but the fact remains I have a cancer that goes in to remission and then re-emerges. It’s never going to disappear. Don’t get me wrong, I am exceedingly fortunate not to be dead from this already, so it’s really just a matter of buck up and deal with it. So many cyber friends with myeloma are long gone with very aggressive myeloma. Mine is always there but so far hasn’t been aggressive.

So here’s the numbers:

Kappa light chains at 382.mg/L up from 239.2mg/L

Lambda light chains at 11.2mg/L up from 10.2mg/L

ratio of the two at 34.11 mg/L up from 23.2

M-protein( SPEP) .4 up from .3

Well, blood doesn’t lie so there it is in black and white. The cancer cells are on the march.

Give me a few days and I’ll be okay with it and be ready to reset. Plus, after thinking about it, I wouldn’t want to start anything till after the holidays so there’s that as well. I’ll see what he thinks when I see him at the end of the month.

Fall Cooking and tidying

I made a lovely pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing the other day. It was just right for this time of year.

Actually, I couldn’t find pumpkin anywhere even Walmart. So I happened to check Raley’s/Bel AIr and they had their brand on sale for $1.25 a can. I bought 10. Then I forgot the cream cheese so B went to Bel Air and bought 2. Never again. He paid almost $5.00 a package. I can get 6 boxes at Costco for less than $7.00. Well, I guess it pays to have a stockpile of things like that.

I went for my labs Tuesday so I’m guessing I’ll hear the bad news by next week. He also ordered an IGG test which is immunoglobulins. I guess with Myeloma it must show differently but I can’t really say I recognize it. So we’ll see.

Today, I’m making a creamy chicken and wild rice soup for dinner. I have some frozen Borscht for the veg.

We actually have a cool cloudy day and it’s great. I washed all the outside windows with the Windex sprayer that attaches to a hose. Very convenient. I try and do the outside windows 4 times a year generally around the cross quarters. Since I do the inside windows with each zone that gets done in each room about every 5 weeks. I like clean windows.

In the bedroom I added a linen top cover. I love the look and feel of linen. I don’t think now that I have had linen sheets I could go back to regular cotton ones. So I was watching one of my favorite Youtubers, Benita Larsson in Copenhagen and she said in Europe most people only use a duvet cover over the bottom sheet. Then take that off to wash as needed. That wouldn’t work for us but I got to thinking about wanting a linen top cover. I checked everywhere for just fabric but it was all running about $45 a yard. So I happened to think of Ikea’s linen set. I checked and they had the king size duvet. Works perfectly and gives me the look I’m after. Oh, and it was only $79.99.

Linen king duvet used just as a covering for winter. I love how linen looks after it’s washed.

I also use linen napkins for meals and have a white set and a natural set. Sometimes I iron them but mostly I like their crinkleness.

I think I’ll go do some garden stuff also since it’s cloudy and I can get maybe one bed ready for fall planting.

I’m also going to get out my vintage Halloween stuff to put out.

Budget Friday

I’m trying to come up with a good blog title for Fridays. I’m not sure Frugal Friday quite fits.

Overall, we are frugal because we have no income per se except SS. So maybe just Budget Friday would work. I’ll see. But budget-wise, all Octobers bills are in. We do have the 2 annual bills of house insurance and Allstate which is twice a year. With ALL the insurance companies getting out of insuring California property, for the most part, we are now having to do the California Fair Plan which is added to the AAA insurance. We went from our annual bill being slightly over $1,000 to now we are slightly over $2,000. Quite a jump.

Costco was just at $450, so that will go on October’s food budget. About $70 was wine and beer. I did buy a bottle of nice champagne for celebrating birthdays. Actually, it wasn’t expensive at $15.00. Plus there were a few prepper items and 2 bags of Starbucks coffee that was on sale. With all 4 of us drinking coffee we go thru quite a bit. But I don’t see us going back to Costco till the very end of October or even the first week of November which could then include any Christmas food or items. Prepper stuff included tuna, Cholula sauce, TP, another case of water, extra butter, and extra cheese. The only thing I didn’t get and I need is some tamari sauce. I’ll probably just go down here to the store and pay their price. The best place to get low sodium tamari is Trader Joe’s but I don’t think I’ll be getting there any time soon.

So far this morning I have made pizza dough, washed living room windows, cleaned the ceiling fan, and am just about ready to clean the rest of the sunroom.

Our lovely fall weather continues with absolutely beautiful days with temperatures in the mid to high 80’s. Next week does have a few 93degree days but this time of year that doesn’t seem so bad.

Budget-wise, I did my LLS for the UHC premium and my medicare which they cover for 2 months so that will be here in a week or so. I am very grateful to LLS for my grant (myeloma) as it does cover health insurance. If we had to pay OP for us both it’s almost $700 so I’m not sure how the budget would do. Probably we would be in the red. But there are gifts sometimes even with having cancer.

B did order the boards for the house ( 5 of them) so that was $120 about. But the siding needs to be fixed. Other stuff, even the fencing by the barn is optional and can be put off if we don’t have extra money.

If you’re looking for a new TV series, The Boys, is quite good. It’s super heroes that are darker more evil and is well done. We just started Season 2 on Netflix.

Well, that’s a wrap for now.

Frugal Friday

My doctor’s appt went well. He’s clearly aware of my increase in kappa light chains and now the m -spike. So I feel reassured that when we move forward with treatment it’ll be the right time. Again at this rate, probably by the end of the year.  I definitely will not let them get over the 1,000 mg/L mark which is where it was when the other treatment of Pomalsyt( an oral chemotherapy) wasn’t working. But for now, I have a few more months of “freedom”.

  I also had a brief dental appt to check on the cold sensitivity where she had done the crown. It seemed it was all ok and she recommended using Sensodyne toothpaste.

We’re heading to Costco so as to take advantage of the coupon sales. Dish soap, laundry soap, and a number of other things are on sale and I’d like to get them. It will probably end up another $500 shop but that will go on September’s food budget.  I’m planning on about $600-$700 including alcohol( wine for me, beer for B).  Plus it’s our birthday month so we may have a take out dinner or two.

I bought some books from Goodwill books online.

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Of course, cookbooks!! The prices were good but not exceptional. the Pioneer woman one was $15 I think. Goldy’s was $7.00. Still, with the pet book store closed( where books are $1.00 each) there’s not a supply of cookbooks coming into my house which for me is cheap entertainment.

Last night I made a breakfast bake with hashbrowns, eggs, cheese, and some sausage on the meat side. It was very good and a good way to use up the eggs were getting from the chickies.

Tonight is pizza night. I might get a take and bake from Costco.

This weekend I have more tomatoes to process and I’m going to do a large pan of baked tofu as I need to use some up. Baked tofu is good cold or in sandwiches.

The days are really getting shorter and sunset now is about 7:40 and sunrise is 6:30am.  We’re still getting out to walk at 5:30 am but I think fairly soon we will bump it out to 5:45am.  This morning was busy down there with dog(jerk) walker getting there at 5:40am. We were almost done and he came blasting by and I yelled at him saying” On your left”. He does irritate me something wicked.

Well, I’d better get some things done so we can leave to get to Costco by

 9am when they open.

Catching up

 Monday morning….

We are still in the smokey haze although I thought it was a smidge better this morning then it seemed to seep in again.  Hopefully, there is  containment soon.

This morning I bagged up the 25 lbs of organic oats in the mylar bags and just need to put them in the buckets and take out to the prepper barn. Oh BTW, the swamp cooler is keeping the barn at 72 degrees or even cooler so we are good to go out there for the pantry being relatively cool.

I also started my menu plan for September. I try and do a whole month even though what’s there may not be on that day. It’s just a reference point.  I’ve switched up a few things like Taco Tuesday and that can be burritos or enchiladas or really anything Mexican. We love rice and beans so that’s easy to have ready. I always make more beans than needed and freeze the rest.

The chicken girls are now laying and so we’re getting lots of eggs but they are still small so you need to use double the amount. I’m guessing that as they mature the eggs will get to be normal size.  I read that you can freeze the eggs if you whip them up so I may do that down the road. I guess lots of pantry prepper people do that especially since right now chickens would be laying the most and in the winter will not.

Mondays we don’t walk so I stayed in bed till 5:30 am. It was ok but I think I prefer just getting up at 5am.

Wednesday morning…

Still somewhat smokey but better.

Today I head to Sacramento for my oncology appt. It looked Sacramento air was clear so that’s a good thing. I’m not expecting any big revelations from my doctor but I’d like his opinion on the now present monoclonal protein.

My new treadmill showed up and it is a small one. It has high ratings and seems to work fine. The only thing I don’t like is the latch to hold it up in the space saver position is a large bolt and is not that easy to get into position.  But the price was right( $300.). If I continue to be diligent and use it then I will consider a better model next year.  Used ones are impossible to find and I read it’s one thing you shouldn’t buy used. Nordic track has a mid priced model so I’d consider that but for now the small  one will have to do.

Facebook update: I’ve been off Facebook almost a month and it’s been fine. I have looked a couple of times as I wanted to see what a few people were commenting on. Overall, looking at it ,I felt it was  a waste of time and I’m glad to be off for now. That may change as the election gets closer.

I have my budget set for September and am planning another Costco trip next week ( or sooner if it works out). But that shop would go on Septembers’s food budget.

 

 

Friday Stuff

There are fires everywhere here in California. There is smoke everywhere and it’s best not to be outside too much. We did walk this morning but only a mile as you could see the smoke haze as it got light.  Vacaville is around an hour and a half or less away so that’s where most of the smoke is coming from. There’s also the fire near Reno and the smoke is filling the Tahoe Basin. This was the week we were supposed to be in Tahoe so perhaps it’s all for the best. So many people were getting evacuated that I -80 was shut down in Vacaville and Fairfield. Pretty scary stuff.

I feel somewhat optimistic after the DNC that perhaps the winds of change is toward decency again. But after the last election, it’s hard not to feel like something awful could happen. I honestly do not think our democracy would survive another 4 years of Trump. Extreme? maybe or maybe not.  We’re planning on taking our absentee ballot down to Auburn and drop at the office of the registrar. Easy to do and we’ll know its there.

I needed to do a fill-in shop before I do Costco at the end of the month so I decided to do Walmart pick up.  It was actually great. I forgot how easy it is to do and I love I can add on since I forgot a bunch of things and then everyone wanted to add a snack or fruit or something. I ended up just over $100. So that’s great. If I bought the same stuff at Bel Air it would easily be $200. One new thing I’m doing that I got from the Tightwad Gazette is to keep track of price points. It’s quite interesting to see the price differences. I’m sure if I was a couponer I could do better. But so far Costco still has most store prices beat.  For example, a half-gallon of organic milk runs about $4.79 in the stores. At Costco 2 gallons is just over $10.00. That is a huge difference.  There are lots of other examples too but what is at issue is you need either a second refrigerator or a freezer or have 10 kids which will drink all that milk. We just freeze the milk till we’re ready to use it.  Anyway, it’s been a fun exercise it frugality.

My right side ribs are pulled again and I’m having limited mobility with it but since I’ve had chronic rib fractures due to Myeloma, I just figure It’ll pass. Of course, the concern with myeloma is it does affect the bones so fractures are a common result of this cancer.  I see my doctor next week so we’ll see what he says.

I’m still making some freezer salsa and waiting on the next batch of Roma tomatoes to ripen. Probably by Sunday I’ll be able to make some more tomato sauce.  We definitely will have plenty to get thru the winter. I’ve been drying basil too since we have a nice crop this year.

We’re in between projects and since it’s been too hot outside to work on fences or anything for that matter. In the house, I still want to get painting done but we need to go get that paint at the Benjamin Moore store and that’s down by Trader Joes in Roseville. So maybe next week. Also there are a few pine boards in my office that need replacing so I’d like that to get done.  We are also planning on redoing our outside laundry since the floor is in bad shape. It’d be nice to have laundry somewhere in the house but there isn’t any space for a washer and dryer unless we built an addsition which we don’t have money for. Well, I’m grateful for what we do have.

 

Well, not good on the labs.

Well, I figured another increase. Up to 239.9mg/L from 176. So another almost 70 point increase. Lamba went down to 10.2mg/L so of course, that means the ratio went up. Up to 23.4 mg/L.

The bigger news is now there is finally a monoclonal protein showing:( it’s at .3  I haven’t had a M protein in over 4 years so that is a bit unsettling.  Well, as I’ve said, the blood tells the story. Not much I can do about it except plan on the timing of Chemotherapy. I’m guessing when I see him at the end of August he will still say, wait.  I’m predicting by November/December will be a good time to start.  If you figure about a 70 point increase each 8 weeks, that puts it at 4months apprx.

This will be my 4th relapse( well technically my 3rd, since I counting when I became refractory to Revlimid and started Pomalyst.) so I guess I know the drill.

 

Friday things

well, not good news on my labs:(

My kappa light chains went up to 176mg/L so a 66 point increase.

Lambda only to 13. mg/L ( normal as I am not Lambda myeloma)

ratio up to 13.44 so a 4 point increase.

Not happy but what can you do. I will see my doctor at the end of June. Not sure if I’ll do the video conference or just go down to Sac. Probably I’ll go down. I mean he isn’t going to start treatment yet anyway, but I’d like to check in physically.

We’re still looking at when I hit 500 mg/L so that maybe January. Or if things speed up sooner. You can’t really tell how it will go except it won’t go down.

I won’t lie that it doesn’t upset me but since this month is my 15 year since diagnosis( I’ll write about that later), you do get somewhat hardened to the fact that remission isn’t forever.

Other matters, B had his BMbiopsy Wednesday and was pretty loopy from the drugs but he said it went well( if enduring one of the most painful procedures you can go thru, can be ok).

I haven’t done any grocery shopping since the Costco Instacart last week. But I will go tomorrow as I need salad stuff and milk. I’d like to get to Trader Joes maybe next week.  I guess it all depends.

We’re in for a cool down here in Northern Ca. It’s been hot but not 100 degrees hot, just 95 degrees hot.

I read in the WP another Confederate statue was taken down. It was some Admiral. They did it either at night or early morning and it was whisked away. Good Riddance.  I also read that Lafayette Park where the peaceful protesters were attacked by the police used to be a slave market. One of the biggest. maybe Trump should read( ha ha ha) some history about the cruelty of selling black people.

That’s all I’ve got.