Friday things.

I had my consult with my PCP about my slightly higher LDL #. My HDL was very good and the ratio was good but he wanted/needed to tell me to try and cut out some higher fat foods like butter. 😦 I love butter but I told him I will do my best and he said we can test in another year. So that’s that. I will try to cut back on butter and cheese and some carbs. I cook with a lot of butter but usually in combination with olive oil. I’ll just try and be more conscious of using butter like on toast and bagels etc. Also, my thyroid numbers came back normal. Last time when my LDL was slightly high it must have been about 6-7 years ago, I started eating oatmeal for breakfast 4-5 times a week and within 6 months my cholesterol dropped 60 points.

My Myeloma labs came back almost the same as last month. So hurray on that. Another month of freedom so to speak. All my other labs were normal and the same as before. So all in all, it’s good.

Our anniversary is next week and B said I should go buy the Louis Vuitton. I said I’ll think about it. It’s not a cheap purchase and I’m quite happy with my Coach bag I bought that is similar in size to the Neverful. Still, a Louis is a Louis. I think my obsession( sort of) is that it’s French (although not many are made in France anymore) and the quality of workmanship. I only love the LV monogram and the black ones. The others are really quite gaudy in my opinion. Well, I’m certainly not getting younger:( That purchase would definitely NOT fit into Frugal Friday!!!

Today is a home day and I’ve done my morning reset, bathroom swish and swipe, and kitchen tidy. I plan on going to the farm this afternoon for a few things. I also am feeding my sourdough starter and plan on putting it into one jar instead of 3 1/2 jars. I might make some sourdough bagels this weekend. If I’m cutting out some carbs I might make bread with whole wheat as that is better on the glycemic scale.

Tomorrow after swimming I’m planning to go to Trader Joe’s for a few things. I know they have Ezekiel bread which is good and whole wheat tortillas too. I’m certainly willing to switch things up a bit. Besides, I always like a challenge.

Our hot weather continues. It’s very depressing after what seems like forever of 100 degree days. The nights aren’t cooling off hardly at all. Next week temperatures are all in the mid 90s so maybe that will be a little better.

I’m waiting for the next batch of tomatoes to ripen so I can process them. I’ll probably just do the tomato sauce again. I don’t think there’s too much else I’m interested in doing except getting some corn to quick freeze. Last year I did about 12 bags of corn and we used them all. Safeway usually has the best prices. I’ll check their flyer later.

On the spending side, I put an order into Rancho Gordo for 8 bags(1lb). Since they are in Napa they arrived in record time. If you haven’t tried their beans, you should. They are all heirloom and absolutely delicious. I ordered a new one to try called Whipple bean. I also added on a jar of Mexican oregano. When I opened it, it didn’t smell too much different from my oregano. So I’ll have to see how it is in recipes. Let’s see, I ordered falafel mix from Amazon because TJ’s doesn’t carry it in their stores anymore and finding it in the regular grocery store is a PITA. I bought some salad stuff from Holiday Market too. Even with cash envelopes, I’m still spending @ $700 a month on food. I guess that’s just the norm. At Costco, I did mostly cash and then the rest on the debit card. Costco is always more than I think it will be, of course!! Well, B did buy Sierra pale Ale beer but it’s really the best price for it if you drink beer. I also picked a few bulk items like sugar and some more flour.

Friday things

It’s been a quiet week and also an off week. With the 4th of July on Monday, I didn’t go to the gym and then I didn’t swim Tuesday because I didn’t want to get stuck in the traffic on I-80 with everyone traveling after the holiday. So I went to the gym Wednesday and now it’s Friday and I’ll swim tomorrow. But next week is also messed up because Monday I have my annual eye exam and I’ll get my eyes dilated so I need to drive straight home as my pupils stay dilated for hours. Then Thursday I have Dr. Laptalo, so no gym that day unless I went afterward. It’s always a crap shoot if he’s on time (almost never) or really late ( almost always). So if I don’t leave there till 11, I probably will not want to go to the gym at noon. Some weeks are just like that but I don’t have this happen that often.

I’ve been watching some youtube channels using the All Amerian pressure canner. I’m still undecided. I’d like to be able to can low acid foods( you must pressure can), or just stick with the water bath canning which is what I’ve always done. The canner is quite expensive at @$400, so not a small investment. I guess I’ll keep thinking about it.

The herbs I’ve been drying have come out very nice and quite fragrant so I’ve enjoyed that. This morning I’m making some herbed butter to freeze. I mix the unsalted butter with thyme, parsley, and chives and then roll in a piece of parchment to make a log. It’s nice to have in the winter.

The second batch of bagels I made yesterday came out great.

This is after the overnight fermentation in the fridge.

So using the barley malt syrup is absolutely a game-changer. It gives the bagels a nice chewy texture and delicious flavor. I plan on making these once a week for a while. It is a two-day process with a rise in the refrigerator overnight.

I went to the farm stand yesterday and bought some produce for the week. Beautiful lettuce, spring mix, radishes, cabbage, zucchini, and cucumbers. We’re lucky it’s 5 minutes down the road. I’m hoping to find some peaches this weekend to make some peach jam and maybe a peach pie.

I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week but I may go to Winco tomorrow as we need milk and a few other things. I guess I’ll just see after my swim. So the week has bfarm standeen quite frugal.

Other than that same old same old. It’s still hard to see the news and the horribleness of the Highland Park shootings. It’s really just crazy. Just think, you’re out with your family for the 4th of July to celebrate, and see the parade and then the next minute you’re killed by a crazed murderer with an automatic weapon. When is it going to end and we ban assault rifles. How many more must die.?

How I learned to live with an incurable cancer.

This past week marked my 17th year of living with Multiple Myeloma. I was diagnosed on June 15, 2005. But it’s clear that when I initially had the compression fracture of T 10 in November of 2003, Myeloma probably had been roaming around my body for a couple of years. But by the time of diagnosis, it was now a plasmacytoma on T 10. So that’s almost a year and a half from when I had the fracture. The course of treatment was 17 rounds of radiation, followed by 6 months of chemo every 3 weeks. Induction treatments now include Revlimid and Velcade which wasn’t available at my time of diagnosis. I had Doxil, Vincristine, Cytoxan, and dexamethasone. After that, it was preparation for the STC. I had the SCT in March of 2006.

I think part of the shock for me was, that I’d never really ever been sick, nor did I hardly ever use traditional medicine( since I was never really ill). Even at the time of diagnosis, my compression fracture was healing to some degree and I was not anemic, a common symptom of myeloma. In fact then and even now my CBC panel and CMP panel are all normal. But add in a light chain test and Spep test and there you go. At diagnosis, my SPEP was at 3.9. Not terribly high but high enough.

All of this was certainly foreign to me and I felt like a ‘stranger on a strange planet’. The first time I entered the chemo room, I cried. It truly was bizarre to see so many chemo Iv’s and patients ‘hooked’ up. After a time I did better and came to appreciate the hard work of the chemo nurses. Even now, last year going down to Rocklin Infusion, the nurses are just the best and it takes a special person to be a chemo nurse.

The first year was the hardest. The Stem Cell Transplant was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone thru. Some people sail the SCT, but I was pretty miserable. I couldn’t eat( I had to get 1 insure down a day), I had constant diarrhea, and just was barely conscious. But I did get thru it and it took almost a year to recover. But I did. I was stronger and wiser.

So what have I learned?

First, take each day as it comes. We really only have this moment and how we live in that moment takes us to the next moment. I still try to gauge how I feel each day and what I need to do that day or not.

Second, I learned to be more patient. There’s a time for all things and you can’t push time. So when I was in the midst of appts, treatments, etc, there was no rushing or trying to do something before it was time to do it( if that makes sense).

Thirdly, your blood is your blood, and the same with facts. The numbers are the numbers and you can wish, scream, pray, jump up and down but it won’t change a thing. Your blood is your blood. So, of course, be positive but no imaginary person in the sky is going to help you. It might make you feel better for doing it (the praying part) but it’s not going to change your blood or take away the tumors or whatever. This is not to say be reckless, or eat junk food( only occasionally:) ) or whatever but be sensible, eat healthy things and try and do some exercise even if it’s just walking.

Four, around five years into my journey, I started becoming more minimalist. As I’ve mentioned before, I had 4 great years with no treatment and my cancer was in remission. But myeloma just doesn’t go ‘away’. There are always some rogue cells and then you relapse. Flylady jump-started my decluttering and doing a daily ‘tidy up’. I started always having a clean counter and sink. And it really does work.

Fith, it is what it is. Always.

Becoming minimal really changed, although slowly, how I felt about everything. Money, bills, life, buying things, not buying things. and so much more.

When there’s always the “what if, when??”, it’s very hard not to obsess. Early on in this journey, I got a prescription for anti-anxiety medicine. It was a life saver. I stopped obsessing over everything. So, I suppose that obsessing taught me to not worry about what was going to happen but just BE with it. Although in truth, I needed the anti-anxiety medicine just to cope. Now, I don’t and figure, it is what it is.

In some ways, living with incurable cancer, it’s always there somewhere lurking in your mind. ( and unfortunately)in your body. You just have to acknowledge it and get on with living.

Since 2005, I relapsed in 2010, 2015, and 2019. Each time I’ve been lucky the treatments have worked although I suspect each time between relapses will lessen. That’s ok. It’s not my first rodeo.

To quote Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

and this one…

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver, Sometimes

Simple Sunday

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday it was 93 and hot. Today it is overcast and 70. We even had a sprinkling of rain. How cool is that and we really need it.

I had a good walk this morning and almost no one was there except the one runner who happened to be walking. At first, I didn’t recognize her not running, and then on my second round I said” oh you’re not running, I didn’t recognize you”. She laughed. So all in all a nice walk.

I had a bit of a setback yesterday from doing the weights on Thursday. I guess the lactic acid build-up or exercise flu hit me pretty hard. I felt pretty lousy all day and figured out it must have been the weights even though I hardly did more than 20 minutes. So when I go next, I’ll need to hydrate and do less. I’m very careful with anything I do physically but I guess it was more than my body could handle. The last time I did weights at the gym was February of 2020 right at the beginning of all the lockdowns. So perhaps even the small reps were too much. I guess there will be an adjustment period.

Today I’ll do the bathroom zone and quick house tidy. Mostly just putting things back where they belong. Since I didn’t feel like eating much yesterday my daughter put together some ravioli and salad. I’m not sure what I’ll do tonight as I still don’t feel like food much. Maybe breakfast for dinner.

I started reading ‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman and geez, wow, If you haven’t read go buy it, get it from the library. It is brilliant. Tragic, but brilliant. I’m not sure what the ‘banned book’ thing is about as the story is about his father in Nazi Germany and how he survived in Poland and then eventually was betrayed and was sent to Auschwitz. Maybe the White Supremacists don’t want the truth out there. ( I just looked up the banned book deal. Apparently, it Tennessee that banned because of language(damn) and nudity( I guess the naked men when they were stripped in the concentration camps). WTF, those horrors and so much more beyond our comprehension happened. The world CANNOT forget what Hitler did and was doing to eradicate and entire race of people.

I went to the farm stand Friday and picked up some early zucchini, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and some delicious peaches.

All good news with my labs. No increase and staying almost where they were right above high normal. So I made it to my goal which was to stay out of treatment for a year. Everything else will be icing on the cake. BTW, June 15 is my anniversary of my diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma. 17 years later here I am. Hopefully for a while longer.

This coming week should have much cooler temperatures except Wednesday which looks like a 90 degree day.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week with even a trip up to Lake Tahoe. I’ve wanted to try and stop at the Ritz Carlton in Tahoe to buy one of their signature candles. Each Ritz has its own signature fragrance. So that was our first stop. If you know Tahoe it is right next to Northstar on 267. It’s quite a ways back and feels a little like driving to the Overlook in “The Shining’. But it’s very beautiful. There was no one out front but the valet and he asked were we checking in? There’s NO parking at all in front of the hotel. So I said we were hoping to go to their gift store. He sort of hemmed and hawed a little and then said ok, pull over there on the right, and to give him our keys, and told us how to get to the spa. I practically ran in. It was really nice of him to let us do this. So anyway, long story short, I got the Tahoe Candle.

Barclay actually has enough points from his Marriot account for one night there so we will do that during an off-season time. Right now is perfect but we’re going to Capitola next week so it seemed too rushed to try and do it now.

From there we went to NuLeaf for B to get some chocolate and gummies. NuLeaf is in Incline, so you drive down to Kings Beach and then over to Incline going around the lake. Next, we stopped at Potlatch gift shop for some postcards of Tahoe I wanted to get you YouTuber Minimom who has asked subscribers to send postcards of the area they live in. She’s in New Zealand. I thought she’d enjoy Lake Tahoe. And we also picked up some stickers’ Keep Tahoe Blue”.

Next, we got sandwiches at a new to us place in Incline and then headed to Sand Harbor. Sand Harbor is one of the most beautiful beaches around Tahoe. There was pretty much no one there, maybe 5-6 other people. So it was glorious.

All in all a beautiful day.

Next Sunday we leave for a week at New Brighton State Beach. We have one of our favorite spots. It’s not an ocean view spot but it is open and near the bathrooms, if we need them. No hookups though. There are a few spots with hookups but they are hard to get.

I’ve cooked some great meals this past week from ‘The Le Creuset ‘ cookbook. The french onion soup.

A quiche

This week Flylady zone is the entryway. I did the windows and B replaced some pavers out the sunroom porch room so that was a nice improvement.

Our weather is going to be beautiful this week with temperatures in the 70s and even one day with an 80-degree day.

I have labs on Friday so I should get results next week while we’re gone. I’m not too worried about my numbers this time but I hope they are still in the normal range.

Here’s a view of the yard. Everything is very green and lush right now.

Friday Things

The most exciting news is my labs came back and my kappa light chains actually went down slightly INTO THE NORMAL RANGE!!! I’m pretty shocked really. I don’t know if I can remember when I started going out of range( increasing) that it ever went down. Well, I’m thrilled for another month of emotional freedom.

I was going to skip swimming tomorrow since my new suit didn’t show up but decided to just go for it. My current suit is fairly chlorinated and not in good shape but I figure no one is there to look at me and when I get out I’ll put my towel over me. Hopefully, my suit shows up next week.

Today is a home day and just pottering around. My daily chores are done and I might do a quick vacuum. I made the pizza dough for tonight, so that’s done. I have a few new books to read from the library so that’ll be fun.

I’m working on a small embroidery project from Posie in Oregon. I bought a PDF of her March pattern in which all the proceeds were going to Ukraine. I like embroidering but my hands can only do so much until they start cramping. Not much going on in the decluttering world. I’m in a good place with what we have and use. There’s always more but then that takes another level of what I want to keep and what I want to pass on. I have a great vintage turquoise blue typewriter but it’s been shuffled around for years with me thinking ” oh it’ll be a great display”. But honestly, I probably won’t do that, and plus I don’t have any room for it on a shelf. So, I’ll put that aside for the hospice thrift store.

I’m beyond thrilled at Ketanji B. Jackson getting confirmed for the Supreme Court. At least some good news.

We spent @ $400. at Costco which included $50. for lawn fertilizer, beer( $29.00), and something else that was non-food?? Oh, I think it was AAA batteries( $18.00) and gallon freezer bags($ 15). So, I’d guestimate that @$300 was for food.

It feels like it’s been a spendy week. And of course, the tree is going to be $$$$. But what can you do? If we didn’t have the money, I guess we wouldn’t do it. We’ve been there so…Plus, everything seems so much more expensive.

Friday things

Yesterday we ventured out to Costco and it was fine. We were only among a handful of people wearing masks but heck, that’s ok. We spent $300 on food and $80 on nonfood. Overall, that’s a low $ trip at Costco for us. I still need a few extras and I think I’ll have Barclay do that next week after he gets his port flush. What I’d like to take advantage of is the Nasacort that is on sale. It’s 4 of them for $28. I pay $18 at the store for one. So that’s a big saving. Then I went over to Dicks’ sporting goods for earplugs. They didn’t have the Speedo ones so I got the TYR as a backup since last week I had to swim one time without earplugs because I thought I left them home. In actuality, they were stuck in my towel and when I lifted my towel they fell out. Oh well.

OMG. good news!! LLS just opened funding for Myeloma so I jumped on and submitted my application and was approved. They have it very streamlined and it was easy to do. I was definitely getting concerned about funding. LLS covers our medicare and UHC so it’s a good chunk of change a month.

Today I need to go drop off food at the food bank, Goodwill, check on my prescription at Bel-air, and then drop books off at the bookstore.

I plan to make pizza tonight but I’ll use a Trader Joe’s dough. I’m going to top with the fennel sausage I bought in Napa. I think I’m going to pull the Ooni out and use that so one with be cheese and the other will be the sausage.

Our weather has been spectacular and we ate dinner on the patio 2 nights in a row. Next week does look quite a bit cooler.

I’ve been reading the book ” High on the Hog” that the Netflix original was based on. I’d highly recommend it just for the history part. What we did to Africans is shameful. All that history SHOULD be taught in high schools so students can learn about ALL of our history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. NOT just what the good White people did. Arghhhh, don’t get me started.

We’re working in the garden areas and decided to buy 2 galvanized water troughs that people use for raised beds. B filled one with garden soil and is ready to plant. We bought some things at the nursery to plant like onions, and parsley, cilantro, chives. My daughter has lots of seeds to plant too. The garlic in the barrels we planted is doing great. We do have the front garden beds almost ready. Those will be things like chard, lettuce, kale, etc.

Everything is starting to pop with this warm weather. It’s been a very pretty spring.

Middle of the week and hopefully not WWIII.

As I’m sure all of you are, I’m trying to find some hope that the situation in Ukraine turns around and Putin is kicked on his ass. It’s a scary situation when there’s nuclear capability. I refuse to be upset by gas prices or higher prices for anything. If that is the cost of freedom in Ukraine then so be it. I can’t stand the Biden haters who think gas prices are because of the pipeline from Canada. That has NOTHING to do with it. Oh well, since I am not that well versed in oil exchanges, I’ll leave it at that.

I’m definitely a little sore today from swimming yesterday as it had been 10days since we were gone. I did walk this morning and that was good. Today I’m just pottering around and doing some rearranging of things. I filled 2 bags with food for the food bank that was in my wine crate pantry. It’s stuff that’s been in there and I know I’m not likely to use. I emptied one Far Niente wine crate and used that for DVD’s and put that under my little Ikea couch I have in the sun room. As always, I try to keep like with like and the other crate of DVD’s in under there to so it’s the logical place for it.

Tomorrow I have my appt with Dr. L . My labs came back with virtually no change so that was VERY EXCITING. I am just slightly above high normal. If it can stay that way or near that till June it’ll be 1 year since my last Velcade so I’d be happy with that.

With spring bursting everywhere it’s hard not to go spend a ton of money on plants and seeds. We are buying 2 galvanized steel container to try as garden planters. The garlic in the barrels is doing great so I should get a good harvest of garlic.

Friday things

I just got back from getting my labs. It’s great that Quest is by appt. only. I was the only one in there and was done within 10 minutes.

There’s still no funding for myeloma at LLS so that’s not good news. I keep checking daily but there’s only mantle cell leukemia and Waldenstrom ( sp is probably wrong)( which is pretty rare.)So means February won’t be covered as that was my look back month meaning if I was funded in February, they would cover it even though my grant ended Jan 31. Tough break for us as that covers all my insurances.

Back home I put the sourdough cheddar jalapeno bread in the oven. This will be my last bread till we’re back. I’ll put my starter in the fridge tomorrow. I tried a sourdough rosemary baguette this week and it turned out great. I have a baguette pan I bought eons ago at Williams Sonoma and used that. The trick I think with sourdough and bread-making is just to keep doing it over and over. I can definitely tell by the feel of the dough how the hydration is. I had gotten a copy of Nancy Silverton’s Bread-making and read it thru. Overall, though, recipes look good, but they all make 2 loaves at a time and I don’t do that. Also reading about how she feeds her starter seemed too complicated to me. What I do is just keep adding equal amounts of flour and water at least once a day. Probably not as ‘scientific’ but it works for me. I also hate to throw away discard sourdough starter so I end up with 3-4 jars in the fridge. Oh well.

Then I’ve made the pizza dough for tonight and that’s in the bowl doing the first rise. It’s almost time to get out the Ooni for spring. Last night I used our new gas Weber that I bought for camping. I wanted to try it before we left. So I made BBQ chicken, BBQ tofu, roasted mini potatoes, and roasted veggies. WOW. It all came out delicious. I’m pleased and am looking forward to cooking with it camping.

It’s a cloudy day with rain expected off and on but it feels warm out. But it’s supposed to get very cold tonight with the possibility of snow. I plan on swimming tomorrow so I guess I’ll wait and see how it is in the morning. After swimming I was going to go over to Winco for some camping supplies. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just go to Safeway. I actually don’t need a whole lot but things like peanut butter and some veggies and cream for coffee.

In good news, AAA settled my claim for a fair amount. The depreciation was factored in and then the $1000 deductible. I can’t buy a new Louis Vuitton for what they gave me but at least the $500 in cash was covered. I miss my Louis but I certainly can’t spring for a new one. sigh….:( Maybe down the road I can get a used one. There are a few sites that sell authentic LV and they look good. Still more than the amount they gave me but not the cost of a new one.

The situation in Ukraine is so devastating. Almost a million people leaving Ukraine. I hope the sanctions President Biden is implementing work to cut off the money. No money = No war. I shudder to think what the asshole Trump would be doing. I still keep hoping he gets indicted for something. I made a small donation to World Central Kitchen that is providing food trucks on the borders to feed people. Here’s the link if you want to donate too. It’s a small thing we can do to help the Ukraine people.

Simple Sunday

We had a nice walk this morning and wow, Venus was right above the crescent moon. Very beautiful. Nobody was there initially and then the Le Foret guy( he comes out of the woods, honestly), showed up and then 2 others later. But we were done by that point.

This morning I’ve made the olive sourdough bread, a chocolate cake is baking, and I have a turkey breast in the crockpot. I’m just about done with the living room zone which BTW is just today and tomorrow and then Tuesday starts the entry zone. I would like to go to the nursery and get some kind of flower, like maybe some pansies. Our violets have gone crazy this year and are all over.

A week from today we’re heading to Bodega Bay. My son and daughter will hold down the fort. Both have to work so they’re here anyway. The weather looks nice enough with some wind which isn’t unusual. There are no hookups at Bodega so it will be l or solar.

I have my labs later this week and then I’ll get my results next week. I see Dr. L in mid-March. I would be pretty darn happy if my numbers stay about the same. Speaking of which, March 1st is my 16th re-birthday. Hard to believe, I was going in today and then getting Melphalan, and then on the 1st was when I got my stem cells. It’s really the melphalan that does you in It was hands down, the worst episode of my life. I remember we had terrible storms and looking out the window from the BMT unit over to the freeway and watching the rain and wind go sideways. That part of Sutter hospital has all been redone since then and actually the whole building I first got my chemo in was torn down and is now the Children’s Hospital.