June 15th, 2005.

Possibly the worst day of my life. Standing in the driveway @ 2pm and the awful doctor called that the biopsy showed multiple myeloma and he’d refer me to an oncologist.

I was referred quickly and by 4th of July week I was slated for radiation. 17 rounds of radiation. You went 5 days a week, so it was a little over 3 weeks.

What can I say except, it was what it was and it is what it is.

So 16 years later, I’m finishing up 6 months of Velcade tomorrow.

It is what it is.

Spring time busy.

There’s lots going on in the gardens and the yard. Flowers are blooming and all three lilac trees are in full bloom. This has been a really good year for flowering trees. Out Cherry trees maintained their blossoms for weeks which was unusual. Now the lilacs are in full swing and very full. The white roses are just starting to bud and a few have flowers. The Cecil Brunner looks to be ready to explode with pink blossoms.

Today I plan on applying the redwood stain to the new fencing. I’m going to use a small roller so I think it will go quickly but I’m not sure how much/far the gallon will go. It certainly wasn’t cheap at $58 a gallon. The garden shed is nearing completion and I have bought the same house paint to paint that. I’m still not thrilled with the way it’s positioned but done is done. We still need to get some roofing to finish the shingles. We had some left over when we had the roof re -done so we just need to get 2-3 more bundles.

The weather is stellar right now with this afternoon being @ 80 degrees. I plan on BBQ some chicken and tofu.

I need to write up my monthly menu and check the freezer. I know I’ve used up quite a bit and when we were in New Brighton my daughter also used up lots of frozen things so that’s good and I can write a list of what needs to be replaced.

After my doctor visit yesterday, which went fine, I stopped at Trader Joe’s in Roseville. I bought some bread things,bagels,pita bread, sandwich bread, some veggies, some frozen things too. TJ’s is great for snacks like sesame sticks so I got a nice variety.

The doctor visit was fine. He said to lower my Dex( from 16 to 12 mg) so it’s maybe not so intense. That’ll be nice. He also said we’ll just wait and see about Round 6. I think if the Dex is more tolerable he’ll go for round 6. I guess we’ll see. All my numbers were still great and my ratio even went down to 1.3 since Lambda went up slightly. So I’m pleased and plus I feel pretty good overall. I do feel pretty lucky that the cancer is being wiped out by Velcade. Unfortunately, there are always rogue cells left behind and that’s why relapse is inevitable. But that’s not now and I refuse to think about something in the future I have no control over.

Five on Friday

Finally, it’s 2021. I’m not sure how great the year will be but I’m hopeful. I start Velcade mid month, as expected. I asked about getting my shots in Rocklin which is about 25 minutes away, and he said sure that would work. Mercy ( or Dignity Health),has a satellite facility there and it will make it easier. Unfortunately, I’ve fractured another rib so it’s smart that I’m starting now. Fractures, in case you don’t know about Myeloma, are one of the damaging aspects of this cancer. I’ve had multiple rib fractures, so I know what it feels like. Unfortunate, to have it happen right now and also quite painful. It limits how much stuff I can do around the house. With rib fractures there’s not much you can do. If it’s a vertebrate or another bone they can some intervention. Oh well, I’m just glad it’s not a vertebrate.

We had a fun New Years eve with sub sandwiches from our Holiday Market. We watched the newish Starsky and Hutch and it was fun. We didn’t crack the champagne but will today.

Budget wise, I came under $800 on groceries including holiday food and alcohol. This is the lowest I’ve had since the pandemic started and I was stockpiling every month. Into January I’ll try and keep it between $700-800. That includes food, non food, and alcohol.(mostly wine and some beer). I’m planning a Costco trip mid month so we’ll see how much that adds if I add in prepper stuff. I’m not planning to but will stockpile a few things like coffee, Rosarita veg. beans, TP, and a few other things. The rest is just stuff we need like cheese, fish, bread etc.

I’m starting another round of decluttering. Mostly this is paper stuff. I’m going thru all our old receipts, medical things and throwing away anything that isn’t needed. Also, little stuff in drawers, like old pens, screws etc. It probably won’t add up to a lot but I’m motivated to do another sweep. I also started a bag for the food bank with food I know we’re not going to really eat. ( I see you canned chicken:) ). There’s nothing big I’m decluttering like furniture since everything we have has already gone thru multiple layers of decluttering. Still, I always like to look at things from a fresh perspective.

I’ve made up my monthly meal plan.

I’m renaming Wednesdays, Pasta Wednesday since that will be my Velcade/Dex day. It’ll make it easier for the others to cook if they know what the plan is. 🙂 I also dashed out to Target to get one of their simple calendars. I loved the one from last year but they didn’t have quite that style. It’s funny how such a simple thing like a minimalist calendar is so hard to find. I checked all over and the nicest were like $20 and up. Even on etsy they were expensive. So Target had just what I wanted for $5.00. It was pretty empty just like I hoped.

Simple Sunday

We were supposed to have a PGE blackout tomorrow but it seems that the last message I got said it may not happen. We are supposed to have 70 degree weather and some wind. JFC, this is December 6, where is the rain?? I guess we would be ready. We do have what we need and our heat is mostly wood and propane so it would be ok. I just hope we get some kind of rain soon.

This week is the kitchen zone for Flylady followers. It is my biggest zone and takes the longest. Still, clearing your counters and keeping your sink clean will go a long way.

I have a Tartine bread dough started and will do that tomorrow. I used up most of the pieces I had frozen so I’m ready to do a fresh batch.

We been having fun opening the Bon Maman advent jams. They are the cutest little jars which of course I am saving for?? Well, I’ll think of something. Seeds? spices?

I’m planning on making a curry for dinner in my new Staub. I ‘ll make some rice to go with it and also a tofu curry.

Tomorrow I have my labs and I am bracing for the worst. I think if it is under 600mg/L I’ll be happy. Well, not happy but ok. If the same pattern emerges though it will probably over 600. Guessing almost 400mg/L now, so adding 50% ( that’s what it’s done,) will take it to 600 or so. maybe I’ll be lucky though but who knows.???

Well, off to do the first fold on the Tartine bread.

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.

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.

 

Simple Sunday

For some reason, I got a bee in my bonnet. so to speak, to clean out and paint our ONE closet. It is a good size, 4×6. I always wanted to make this a half bath with a small shower but that would mean digging up our septic and putting a bigger one in. That expensive just isn’t on the table anymore( unless we win the lottery, and since I don’t play, that’s not happening).

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So we need to get a roller to do most of it. The Hardware store doesn’t open till 9am( here in town, not Home Depot). I have 1/2 a gallon of white and that may or may not be enough. We’ll start with the ceiling and then the clothes side. I’ll consider going into Home depot for more Behr paint or I’ll go tomorrow and finish the pantry side.  Getting the clothes back in would take priority as they are on the bed and the couch right now.

If nothing else it will get the dust bunnies out and freshen up the space which hasn’t been done, like ever.

Also here are the mylar bags filled.

 

These are really nice bags if you’re interested. The came from TheEpicenter in Oregon. They have a zipped part as well as the normal heat part. I read it can be tricky to do the heat but I had no problem. The oxygen tabs in them should pull the oxygen out in 48 hours. Some are already showing that but others seem the same. No matter they are sealed.  I already ordered another 20 bags since a few months ago you couldn’t even get these.

Tonight I ‘m making tofu burgers with macaroni salad.  I need to go to the store and pick up some burger rolls later.

Tomorrow are my labs. It’s been 8 weeks so we’ll see what they show. As I said before Myeloma just doesn’t disappear  so with my numbers increasing it’s a matter of time before I start Velcade and Dex.

Being off Facebook has been overall easy. Once in while I miss reading what people are up to but not a whole lot.

 

Off to paint!!!

The state of affairs.

Things are good this week with 2 doctor appointments down.

B had clinic on Tuesday and I drove him to UCD med center as it was an early appointment so there was traffic.  He’s back on prednisone for a rash but it is minor and seems gone now.  I sat in the car dealing with the financial fallout from the Cobra.  What has happened is this: His group insurance ended as of 7/31 and that’s when we initiated the Cobra thinking at $700 a month that would take care of all the bills.

Ha!!! NOw UHC Cobra is still saying because he was Medicare ELIGIBLE they won’t cover the full costs. WTF????? Well, long story short, after numerous calls we are on the hook for the August appointments.  I made payment arrangements while I was waiting for him to finish up at clinic.  All his appointments from then on were covered by Medicare. But we still were paying the Cobra till actually just the end of last month( January). Not sure this was necessary but open enrollment hadn’t quite started so even though we could have signed him up with special circumstances, we just left the cobra in place.

All I can say is if you’re ever faced with losing group coverage and have to go on Cobra …DON”T.  Overall, the cost factor doesn’t cut it or you need to absolutely clear what the cover. In our case, I just assumed everything was covered.

So then yesterday, I had to drive back down to Mercy cancer center for my appointment.  It’s kinda what I thought he would say is yes, it’s going up but too soon to start treatment and to keep thinking of this as smoldering myeloma.  So it’s watch and wait. That’s okay and when the time comes and my numbers are going up faster, I’m sure we will move ahead.

Today, I’m going to do some cooking. I’ve made hardboiled eggs and I’m going to make the olive and feta topping again. Plus I ‘going to grill some chicken for lunches and dinner. I think I’ll grill some onions while I’m at it.

I have some house chores to catch up on and then I’m going to hit the gym.

 

Simple Sunday

It is quite windy but clear here in Northern California. No rain on the horizon but the north wind is making it very cold.

The moon was big and bright to the west as we walked in the park. I only did 2 rounds as I wanted to get back to try and get on Recreation.gov to reserve Nevada Beach in August. I got back and on the computer by 7: 05 am and everything was gone. Oh well, I’ll check tomorrow.

My fractured rib area( old fracture, not new) has flared up again and is very painful so I am going to skip the gym and put Arnica on it. It started( about 2 weeks ago) when I had the very minor cold but I did cough and that always does it but yesterday I must have turned the wrong way and pulled the muscle. I think I first had this rib fracture after my first relapse in 2010 0r 2011. But last fall it acted up again and I went for an x-ray, so I know it’s not new but the old “chronic fracture area.  Very bothersome and limiting which I hate. Unfortunate Myeloma does affect the bones and ribs are always a target. I’ve read of people having a bone spontaneously break and that must be awful.

This week is the bathroom zone so I’ll try and limp thru that.  Other than that I’ll be home reading or just sitting.

I’m planning on making a mushroom ragu over polenta and a meat ragu for those that want it. I’ve been making the polenta in the Instant Pot and it works great for that if you’re interested.

We had a coyote come right next to the studio where my son sleeps and he got a chicken. It was at 3pm in the afternoon. Very bold coyote to do that. I’m thinking seriously we need a dog as dogs will keep coyotes away for the most part. This was very close to the house so that’s really bold and unsettling.  I’m still undecided about getting new chicks this spring. I think I’d like to take a break with the chickens but then again they do a lot of work in the yard. Of course, if they’re out free-ranging there’s obviously the risk of coyote or fox.

 

 

Monday Blues

It’s raining and I’m not walking and it’s 5:30 am. I haven’t bought the Frogg Toggs yet so I don’t have any rain gear. I guess I’ll get my ass in gear and do that this week as I don’t mind the rain as long as I’m covered up.

It hasn’t been a great week. I had some pain in my side last week and it turned out to be a mild case of diverticulitis. So now I’m stuck on antibiotics which wouldn’t be so bad but there’s 2 and one is one that is NO alcohol(wine for me) as it will give you a violent reaction. So not fun for me as I love my ritual of wine in the evening. Well, maybe change is good.

Then my CBC and CMP came in and they were all fine. Unfortunately, my Kappa light chains went up another 11 points to 55.7 and Lambda went down so that means the ratio went up( not good) to 5. 1.  I’m not freaking out but it’s clearly not a good sign. Treatment is out there again the question would when is my doctor going to think it should start. He still seems to think my numbers too low. They are low and I don’t want to start Velcade soon but time is ticking and I don’t want to have fractures or let my numbers get too high. Granted they are still low as when I started treatment before they were over 1000mg/L. I guess it’s just wait and wait some more.

I did do quite a bit of house tidying this morning. I decided I needed to do something or I was going to go stir crazy. So I swished and swiped the bathroom, tidied my office area, mopped the kitchen floor and washed some of the entryway windows. I plan to go out and put on the gas heater and clean the sun porch.

Well, on that depressing note I’ll close.