Sunday, December 4, 2011

More CT Scan Results - Good News/Bad News

I have the latest results from my CT scan which was done on 11/29.  The original tumor is now nothing but scar tissue [good news], but the newest spot on my lung [it showed up when the new spot showed up on my liver] and on my liver are still growing [bad news].  The spot on the lung only grew 1mm [good news], but the spot on my liver grew almost 2cm [bad news].  There is some plural effusion showing on the lower right lung which is caused by the cancer too [bad news].  It's not as bad as when I was diagnosed, but we don't want it to get any worse than it is now.  My bones are still doing well too [good news]. 

This means that I will get a different chemo drug as of tomorrow, Monday, 12/5.  The drug is called navelbine and the side effects I have to worry about most are a low white blood count and constipation.  [Sorry if that's TMI!]  If my white blood count gets too low they will just skip a week until it goes back up and I'll have to stay away from anyone who is sick. 

I can handle these side effects and I'm hoping my taste buds go back to normal soon.  Growing back in my hair will be nice too!  As you can see, the results are mixed, but we'll concentrate on the good news!!

All Hope Warriors need to keep chanting the S.E.E. chant and concentrate on the liver and the newest lung spot.  All prayers and good thoughts are welcome too! 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

November - Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and while I didn't want to post lung cancer facts all month [because that would annoy even me], I thought I should take time to post the facts in one blog just to try to raise awareness about this cancer with a stigma.

My sister Barb noticed that advocacy has picked up since I was diagnosed a year ago and I think it has to do with the fact that it's becoming a world wide crisis. While it is a known fact that smoking causes cancer, in some countries like the U.S., smoking has decreased tremendously and people like me who have never smoked are getting lung cancer. This means that there are other factors that cause it and since this the most underfunded of all cancers in regards to research - both public and private - something needs to be done.

Here are some lung cancer facts:

· Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer for men and women in the USA – it kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers – COMBINED.
oLung cancer is the second leading cause of all deaths in the United States.
oLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in every ethnic group.
oAbout 213,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and more than 160,000 die from it.
· Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer and more than twice as many men as prostate cancer. Lung cancer surpassed breats cancer as the #1 killer of women in 1987. Twice as many women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
· It remains the most under-researched and under-funded cancer, in spite of its tremendous impact on public health.
· Women who have never smoked appear to be at greater risk for developing lung cancer than men who have never smoked.
oOf never-smokers with lung cancer, women outnumber men three to one.
oOne in five women and one in twelve men diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked.
oSignificant risk of lung cancer remains for 30 or more years after quitting smoking.
oNonsmoking-related causes of lung cancer include air pollution, radon gas, asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, soot, tar, and other substances.
· A report last week estimated that 21,000 people annually die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon, which is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco use. About one in 15 homes have elevated radon levels, the report said.
· Lung cancer is the “black sheep” of cancers, and the only cancer where the victims are stigmatized and blamed for their disease.This is true despite the fact that an estimated 60% of new lung cancer diagnoses will be in non-smokers – a combination of former smokers, some who quit ten or twenty years ago, and people who have never smoked.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the world and we need to increase public sympathy for the disease, not just on behalf of the patients but also in order to secure vital funding for research into this truly awful disease. Whether they have smoked or not, no one deserves lung cancer.

I would definitely like to eliminate the stigma of lung cancer. When someone asks me what kind of cancer I have and I say lung cancer, in most cases I know exactly what they are thinking and whether they try to hide it or not, it's quite evident..."Did you smoke?" I do get sympathy because I never smoked, but I have found it doesn't one deserves lung cancer...or ANY cancer.

If you would like more information on lung cancer or cancer in general, check out some of these web sites. And thank you for letting me get up on my soap box for a day...I do appreciate it!
LUNG CANCER ALLIANCE                                      LUNGEVITY

STAND UP 2 CANCER                                              LIVESTRONG

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The Hope Warrior Sisters sponsored a Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Awareness Vigil tonight and this is what I shared as a lung cancer survivor. 

Since I was diagnosed with lung cancer in July, 2010, many people have told me that because of my strength, courage or positive attitude that I inspire them.  I realized, however, that no one has ever asked me what inspires me.  If anyone would have asked, the simple answer is YOU.  All of you in your own way have inspired me. 
What have you done to inspire me?
·       Those who send me emails to tell me what’s happening in their world because it’s not all about me.  Hearing about your lives makes me feel normal. 
·       Those who still send me cards to let me know they care and are thinking about me. 
·       Those who take me out to lunch, or make us a meal and bring it to our house, visit me, send me a text, call or write on my Facebook wall just to be let me know they care.
·       The kindness of strangers who let me go ahead of them in line or give me an extra 15% discount at the cash register because they’ve been where I am.
·        My family with their unwavering support and love, ready to do whatever they can to make my life easier.  Especially my husband, the best caregiver ever who makes me laugh when I need it most.  And my sisters, who are not only my best cheerleaders, but my chemo buddies and they put together wonderful events like this because they care.
·        All of the health care professionals in my life who have helped me heal my body, my mind and my soul. 
·        My oncologist and all of the nurses and aides at OH Care who have always been so helpful, kind and caring and they always have a smile and make me feel that I matter.
·        My therapist from Cancer Family Care who helps me through the emotional jungle of cancer and has helped me discover how to enjoy life and live in the moment.
·        My Guided Imagery coach who has helped me learn to relax and meditate and discover how powerful the mind can be over the body. 
·        The trainers at the TriHealth Cancer Exercise program who helped give me the energy and strength I need to face my daily battle.
·       And the other people I’ve met along my journey with cancer who all have their own stories of strength and survival that always inspires me to want to do more.
It’s all of YOU that inspire ME.  What you give to me, I give back to you.  I know you say I’ve touched your lives, but you have also touched mine which has helped me find the strength I need to continue on my journey and for that I thank you. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hair Today...Gone Tomorrow!

I started chemotherapy on August 11, 2010.  At that time I had all of my hair and like most females, I spent a lot of money on it. Cuts, coloring, products, curling irons...all of that stuff.  I liked my hair and after some miscues in the 80's with perms [I guess there was a lot of people with bad hair in the 80's], I was comfortable with it.  It was straight and shiny and healthy and I didn't have much grey.  What's not to like?

Actually, my kindergarten picture - except for the crooked bangs - shows that I haven't changed my hair style too much over the years.  A bob is always stylish! 

Yes, my mom cut my bangs, but didn't all mom's back in the 50's and 60's? I remember that at some point she used this pink tape to hold our bangs in place and then she'd cut a supposedly straight line. It wasn't always, but isn't that the charming part of this picture?

Of course, once I got into high school the style was long and straight so I was in luck.  I didn't have to wear the orange juice cans or use an iron on my hair.  It was already straight! 
I lost my hair the first time in September, 2010.  It was pretty traumatic for me.  My hair started falling out slowly and then it started coming out in big chunks, especially when I washed my hair.  I wasn't in a good place then, so it just made it scarier for me.  I finally had my sister-in-law, Jeanne, come over and shave my head just so I didn't have to deal with all of the hair in the shower.  Here's a picture of me without hair back in September, 2010 and then another one with my new wig.  I guess I thought the sunglasses made me look more glamorous! 

The first chemotherapy drug I took was stopped after 2 infusions because it wasn't working and my hair slowly started to grow back in.  I wore the wig a lot because I just wasn't comfortable with my bald head even though everyone told me I had such a nice shaped head.  By February, however, my hair was growing out and after Jeanne trimmed it up, it looked pretty good, so I started going without my wig.  It was fine and I liked it and it was curly!!!  I had curly hair!!  I had heard that this happens to some people who go through chemotherapy, but I just didn't expect it.  When my hair started to get longer, I went to have Jeanne cut it again and she asked me what she should do.  I told her that I never had curly hair...I had no clue!  In Jeanne's hands, however, my hair couldn't have been cuter.  I had hair again and I loved it!

I was getting use to my cute, short, curly hair when I had to change chemo drugs again in August, 2011.  I was told my hair would fall out again, but I didn't want it to go anywhere until after Gretchen's wedding.  I am happy to say that my hair held on - nothing was coming out the day of the wedding - until the next day.  It's like my hair knew the wedding was over and it could fall out...and fall out it did! 

This time it wasn't traumatic.  I had been there, done that.  At least I am still here - hair or no hair - and that is the most important part.    I have a new wig - it's short and curly like my chemo hair that grew back in - but I haven't worn it yet because it's just not cold enough to wear a wig.  I'm sure I will soon, but in the meantime, I wear my hats and would like to get a few more hats just because it's easier not to have to mess with wigs.  If you would have told me a year ago that I would be OK with my hair falling out again, I would not have believed you, but it's true. 

This is me and my bald head.  It's part of my journey and I'm glad I'm embracing it this time.  It's a lot more fun!  In fact, I think I should be Uncle Fester for Halloween...don't you?  Just put some black around my eyes and a lightbulb in my mouth and I'm set!   

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fund Raiser and Other Stuff

First, the FUNd raiser!  On September 1st, the Hope Warrior Sisters [Barb, Pattie and Liz], had a FUNd raiser for the Lung Cancer Alliance, similar to the one we had in June to raise money for MS [multiple sclerosis] at Cheers to Art!  The turn out was fantastic!  It was SOLD OUT, plus there was a waiting list.  Due to the sell out, $500 was raised for the LUNG CANCER ALLIANCE!

The Hope Warrior Sisters selected the "Wishing Flower" picture to paint since we are all wishing for a world without cancer.  It was so great to see so many family and friends and we even had a "cousins" table - me, Pattie, Liz, Jeannine, Mary and Sharon [a 7 year lung cancer surivor!].  It was fun, as always, and made me feel so good to see so many people come and support our cause.  I also have to give a shout out to Jenn Hardin for donating plenty of cupcakes.  They were dee-licious!  Especially the Red Velvet - one of my favorites.  Jenn owns Cinsational Sweet Treats so if you live in the Cincinnati area please check her out. 

As always, we are grateful for finding out what a wonderful place Cheers to Art is and have enjoyed many sessions there.  The owners, Jill and Mike Carroll, are wonderful people and we've even made Jill an honorary "sister". 

Here are a few pictures from the event.

As you can see, we had a full house!  Lots of great looking Wishing Flowers!

More of the group!  I am sitting on the floor with my ball cap and to the right of me in the green shirt is my cousin Sharon [7 year lung cancer survivor]! 

I think everyone did a great job!  Some of us painted white flowers since white is the color of the cancer ribbon for lung cancer. 

The Hope Warrior Sisters!  I thought I had one with our 'honorary' sister, Jill, but I couldn't find it. 

Left to right:  Barb, Jackie, Pattie and Liz.

Two free painting sessions were given out and we had a goodie bag with information about lung cancer, writing your federal representative about the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act and information on the Shine a Light Vigil taking place on November 1st in Blue Ash, Ohio at the Blue Ash Shelter. 

Now on to the other stuff....
People were wondering if everything was OK because the last post was from Dale in August.  I'm sorry if anyone worried, but everything is fine.  I have found that it is harder to stick to a schedule in the blogging world than I thought possible.  The other thing is that when I said this would be updated weekly I was on the chemo drug gemzar and I was feeling good almost all of the time.  After my last CT scan, I started getting a different chemo drug called taxotere.  This drug is more toxic than the newer chemotherapy drugs and it has been a challenge to feel "good" all of the time.  I was getting thrush, but that's been controlled now by medication.  Taxotere also makes you extremely fatigued and it's really messing with my taste buds [everything either tastes bad or not the same - nothing tastes satisfying] and just a general feeling of bluckiness.  Generally, I've felt like crap and with just 3 treatments it's not always been for the same amount of time.  So...with the new chemo drug in mind, I will just let you know that I will post when I am able and I'm feeling OK.  Hopefully that will be more often than it has been since the beginning of August!

Please continue the S.E.E. chants, dances, prayers, good thoughts and vibes especially on Monday, September 26th when I get my next CT scan.  I don't know when I will get the results, but I will let you know when I do! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Update from Dale

I'm back!

Jackie has told me that there has been some interest in having a 'dale' entry in the blog again, so here, for your dining and dancing pleasure, is...

it's been a very busy month we're just winding down.

like all the rest, some good things, and some not so good things.

Jackie got her first dose of the new chemo, taxotere a couple of weeks ago.
does number two is coming up this Monday.

it's not as bad as the first batch, but not as good as chemo 2 or chemo 3.
(the cat in the hat had it easy, he only had to keep track of thing 1 and thing 2, we're up to #4)

this is one of those, bark of the pacific Yew tree, family of chemo.
so this one required more work for me too.

i had to plant and water the trees, watch them grow.
(much easier then Jackie's part, to go out in the back yard and chew to bark from them suckers!!!)

it's been an adjustment, she was very tired, had headaches, and some dizziness.
(the later required a quick trip for an MRI at B-North last week.

Jackie's sister Liz just got a new house.
finally out of an apartment and into a home of their own.

she's all moved in, the house warming was the other week, (after it was finally not 90 degrees)
so maybe a house cooling? or just not a house boiling!

she's got enough room, that she'll be able to start doing some of her second job actually there in the house.  (as soon as they can get the pole attached to the ceiling in the living room, that is)

Barb, the Hope Warrior Princess, had a party last week for her son Jake's graduation.
(she swears that it was not because they were waiting for the school to call back with a great big, "No you Di-int!")

another chance to get the family together, celebrate a positive step, and drink beer... more to come on that one!

from what I'm hearing it seems that Jake will be heading into fireguy studies in the next couple of months!

yes, I'm still employed!
I've even had a couple of trips out of town for training, Columbus, OH, and Verona, WI.
from what i saw at the Epic facility in WI, i found out that
a. the digitization of medical records is a lucrative endeavor
b. 90% of all construction in the state of Wisconsin is happening in Verona

this past weekend was Gretchen and Brian's re-wedding.
(OK, for you guys that aren't aware, they got married in the Dominican Republic in July, this weekend was the big party and Restating of the vowels.
(and a few consonants)

it was a great!

excellent time, enjoyed by all,
George (my brother) and his family came down from Chicago and stayed with Jackie and I.

much fun, much happiness, and a weekend of beer.

brought a tear to my eye!
(and the wedding stirred up my emotions too!)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not Your Normal Anniversary

One year ago today I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  No one ever wants to hear those words or join the club no one wants to belogn to...reminds me of the old Groucho Marx joke.  The two months before the diagnosis and the one year since have been quite a journey and at this point one I’ve come to enjoy – most of the time.  When the “1 year anniversary” started to come into focus for me, I was afraid to mention it out loud.  I was going to jinx it.  A year of waiting for the other shoe to drop has made me a little skittish, but I’m getting better. 

The first stop on this trip was around 2am on July 26th when I went to the ER at the hospital.  You’d think it was an easy decision to head to the ER when you can’t breathe and every breath feels like you’re being stabbed, but I didn’t want to go if it was “nothing” and Dale had to convince me it was serious.  I had, after all, been sick for over a month and steroids and antibiotics weren’t making me any better.  A CT scan had been done on July 22nd, but I didn’t have the results yet, so some crazy person inside of me thought that maybe I should wait and see what the doctor said about the results first.  I’m sure Dale wanted to throw me over his shoulder and just get me to the ER, but after more and more stabbing pains, I realized he was right. 

The ER was told about my CT scan so they got the results and let me know that I had a mass on my lung.  Actually, getting the results was not that easy.  The ER doctor, an arrogant ass with the bedside nammer of the aforementioned arrogant ass, told me I had lung cancer and then just shut up and stared at us.  Silence…nothing but silence and crickets.  Thankfully, the hospitalist came in soon after to admit me to the hospital and was not only the voice of reason, but was compassionate and kind – a good bedside manner.  She wasn’t happy that the ER doc concluded it was lung cancer since the CT scan only said “mass”.  The report didn’t have the word cancer anywhere in it and they could only tell what it was with a biopsy.  Plus I never smoked – it could be a lot of other things. 
Between Monday and Tuesday, I met the pulmonary doctor assigned to me and an oncologist.  The pulmonary doctor said that whenever they find a mass they have an oncologist assigned in case it is cancer, but it didn’t mean it was cancer.  I never smoked.  It could be anything.  The oncologist visited me too, but I didn’t pay much attention to her – it wasn’t cancer.  I never smoked. 

On Tuesday, I had a bronchoscopy so they could do a biopsy of the mass and figure out just what it was growing on my right upper lobe. 
Wednesday – July 28th.  The hospitalist came in and told me the results.  It was cancer. 

And I never smoked.

I went numb and then I cried and the words “my world crashed around me” were more real than I ever thought possible.  My mom died of lung cancer in 2002...but she smoked.  I never smoked.  Why me?  My oncologist was now just more than a nice lady who was never going to be my doctor.  She was good for me.  With everything going on, I knew she was THE oncologist for me and I looked forward to her visits every morning around 7am.  She told me to be positive – a positive attitude would really help me.  Positive attitude…I could do that.
I was released from the hospital on July 30th, but this is what I remember of that week.  I had lots of visitors and lots of flowers.  I remember the people who visited, but that’s it.  I put on a brave face, but I didn’t feel brave.  I was anxious and worried and the Xanax and other happy drugs made everything hazy, but I liked that.  I talked, but I don’t remember much of what I said.  I know I made people laugh, so I guess I was funny.  And at times I talked and talked…just words because I really don’t remember. 

August came and went.  I really don’t remember.  There were visitors and they brought food and I liked visitors because I could pretend to be brave and not think about that thing on my lung.  First I was numb and then I buried my head in the covers – literally and figuratively. 
September came and went – the month of the river of tears.  “Boo hoo September.”  I was afraid and I was sure that if I lived to see 2011 that I wouldn’t live much longer than that.  However, by the end of the month I was tired of the tears and tired of being anxious and depressed.  I asked my oncologist for an anti-depressant and got one and then – after tender prodding from a friend, my sisters and Dale – I asked my oncologist about a therapist or anyone I could talk to about this overwhelming sense of doom.  I hated it.  It wasn’t me.  She told me they always recommended Cancer Family Care so I called and started going one on one [I wasn’t ready for any group sessions] and I also started Guided Imagery – something to help me relax and heal. 

Both started in October – the month I started to help myself.  And see the light at the end of the tunnel…and it wasn’t a train.  And I took the cover off from over my head.  And I started to breathe again…and smile a real smile. 
November was a month of discovery, but I was happier.  There was still a cloud over me and it was shrinking, but there was still sadness about the future.

We usually put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t want a tree.  I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas.  It could be my last Christmas.  Bah humbug!  But then it finally hit me.  I loved Christmas and all of the craziness and hustle and bustle.  I don’t know why, but it reminded me of my mom and her smile and whether she really liked Christmas or not, it always seemed to me that she loved it.  And then it really hit me.  What if it was my last Christmas?  It could be anybody’s last Christmas and they just might not know it.  None of us knows what the future holds – we only have today.  If this was my last Christmas – and I really didn’t know – then I didn’t want anyone’s memory of me and this Christmas to be sad.  I didn’t want anyone to remember me not celebrating Christmas and being Scrooge.  I wanted to enjoy it and all of the things you do – shop and wrap and bake cookies and visit people and listen to Christmas songs and put up a tree.  So…we put up a tree and I started to enjoy life again.  And really smile…and laugh!  It was a beautiful month and every day since then has been a beautiful day. 

It doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time.  I still get sad or mad, but they don’t last as long.  I don’t wallow in them.  What did I learn and what am I still learning?
I accept that I can’t change the past.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn’t help – it only drives you crazy. 

I accept that I can’t control the future – no one can – cancer or no cancer. 
Today is the moment we live in and how we react to it and our attitude is the only thing we can control.  So I enjoy now.  I revel in the moments as they happen.  It’s true – stop and smell and the flowers – and look at things with new eyes.  Hang out with little kids – they know how to live in the moment and enjoy life. 

I enjoy life and I laugh.  I even laugh at my cancer because it makes my brain not work quite right all of the time and I say and do goofy things. 

Live in the moments as they happen and enjoy it. 
Live for today. 

“Live each day like it’s your last, ‘cause one day you gonna be right.”  ~Ray Charles
While my journey isn’t over, I didn’t get here alone.  So many people have helped me in so many ways and for that I am grateful.  I couldn’t have done it without my family, my friends, my co-workers, my oncologist, the oncology nurses, my therapist, my guided imagery coach, my internet friends…all of these people helped me whether they know it or not.  They have touched my life in ways I never thought possible and I hope in some way I’ve touched theirs too.

I can’t say it enough…thank you and bless you and my love to all.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good News and Bad News...

I went to my oncologist today for my weekly dose of chemo plus the results of my CT scan from last week.  Let's start with the good news!

The mass on my upper right lung has shrunk again and it's now down to 1.1 x 1.5cm.  There is another lesion on my right lung that when from 1.7 x 2.4cm down to 9mm AND there is no sign of cancer on my left lung

With the good news, unfortunately, comes some bad news.  The spot on the left lobe of my liver grew another centimeter, but no new lesions were found.  Bones within the pelvis show a new lesion and the lesion on my iliac has grown. 

I received a dose of zometa for my bones today, but no chemo drugs.  Starting on Monday, August 1st, I will switch from gemzar as my chemo drug to taxotere.  Dale found out that taxotere comes from the bark of a yew tree, so he feels we are barking up the right tree this time! 

The taxotere infusion will be every 3 weeks and there will be another CT scan around the end of September to see if its working.  It looks like we need to concentrate the S.E.E. chants and dancing and all of the prayers to my liver and bones. 

While I'm very happy about the good news and not so crazy at all about the bad news, I'd rather get good news and bad news then just bad news. 

Thanks to everyone for your continued support, S.E.E. chants, prayers, hugs and well wishes.  I could not have gotten where I am today if it wasn't for ALL of you! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cheers to Art!

My sister, Barb, found this great place to have fun with family and friends called Cheers to Art!  The first time I went was for our sisters "Girls Night Out in March and it was fun.  It's hard to describe Cheers to Art! but the best I can do is to say it's where you paint a picture [no experience required - really!!], listen to music and buy beer or wine too.  I think their web site describes it much better so check it out.  CHEERS TO ART!  If you live in Cincinnati the studio is in Maderia - you should definitely try it! 

My sisters and I decided to have a FUNdraiser at Cheers to Art to raise money and awareness for MS [Multiple Sclerosis].  The donations would go to our MS Walk team "The Spinning Wheels" and it was a great success.  The FUNdraiser was held on June 21 and there were 41 people in attendance.  We raised $410 for to help find a cure for MS.  It was a fun night and since it was such a success there will be another FUNdraiser at Cheers to Art! in September to raise awareness and money for lung cancer.  [Details to follow soon]

Here are some pictures from the MS Night at Cheers to Art! 

I'm not sure what they were doing, but Malachi is smiling at whatever Dale is saying and Dale is being Dale!  I'm not sure if that's an Uncle Sam or Smokey the Bear imitation. 

My sisters Liz and Pattie getting ready to paint their picture of the sunset.  Thanks to Liz for putting this all together - with the help of Pattie and Barb.

My sister, Julie [far left] and Dale [in the middle] with Julie's co-workers.  Do I see beer?

My nieces Sara and Jenny [left and middle] with my cousin, Mary. 
See how this place makes every body smile?

Tony with his interpretation of the sunset.  Abstract art at it's best!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Remembrance

Wednesday, July 13th was the anniversary of my Mom's death. I wrote a remembrance for the blog, but after looking through pictures I had to add to what I wrote I decided that as trite as it may sound, a picture is worth a thousand words. All of these pictures make me smile. Miss you, Mom!
Mom played the clarinet, saxophone and piano and was in a bad called The Klever Kids.  She is in the first row, 3rd from the right.
Mom is 5 in this picture and is already stylin'!  Black became her favorite color as she got older and I have to say, I like the hat!
This is Mom at the age 7.  You can tell that they added color to the picture and I would assume Grandma curled her hair.  I like the halter dress she is wearing too. 
Mom is about 18 in this picture.  I know she met my dad when she was 18, but I don't know if this was taken before or after she met him.  I have a feeling one of my sisters know. 
Mom and Dad loved to dance so this was not an uncommon sight.  How about the blue pants Dad is wearing?  He loved to wear colorful pants and yes, he did golf.  There is no date on this picture, but I would put it sometime in the late 80's or early 90's.
This was taken when we lived in Hartwell.  Mom had 2 dogs at this time and I don't know if this Duchess or Duke. I guess we would need a different shot to determine the dogs name.
This picture is dated February 1944 which means she would have been 16.  I'm not sure the occasion for this picture, but when I was young I thought she looked like a movie star in this picture.  I love the lace stole and her smile.
I had to add this picture becaues it looks like her head is sitting below her shoulders or that she has no neck.  This was on her First Communion day.
This was taken in 1946 in Florida. Isn't this kind of bathing suit back in style?  She was engaged to my dad at this point because she kept the letters he wrote to her while she was in Florida. 
This was in 1957 at the Lexington Horse Park.  Liz was born in December, 1956 so she must have stayed at home with Grandma.  From left to right is me [age 4], Pattie, Mom, Ellen and Tom.  Pattie is acting as if she likes me, but she did love to torture me.  I was an easy target, so I don't blame her. 
I've always liked this picture of Mom with my brother John.  This was taken at his wedding in October, 1999.  Mom is 71 in this picture and she looks so good!  And believe it or not, her hair is not dyed... that was her natural color. 
Mom is 11 in this picture and I love the whole picture.  Her shiny dress with her shiny saxophone and her shiny tap shoes.  Yes...tap shoes!  She would play the sax, sing and tap dance.  And she did it on the radio too.  I always thought that was funny - tap dancing on the radio! 

This is on her wedding day - November 28, 1946.  My sister Barb and my niece Jenny wore this dress on their wedding day too.  I wonder now what she thought seeing her daughter and her niece get married in her dress.  I wish I would have asked her.  She looks happy and it's the same smile I remember growing up that was always such a comfort. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

At Last, (and not the Etta James song)

it's been a long time since the blog has been updated, way too long aand i'm sorry about that.
i don't know where to start, (probably reading the last couple posts would have been good, but it's been so long that even i can't remember where it's at)
so, lets start in April, that's when things really started happening.
by now, everyone knows that jackie retired from anthem the 15th of april, (after almost 40 years on the job)
what most people don't know is that the last week, in and around all the fair well, and good luck parties, we got some bad news.
while the chemo was working on all the spots, and dots, and engaged lymph nodes, even clearing several, and giving jackie much clearer breathing and such,
a new spot was found in a scan on her liver.
with additional looking and scanning, it was determined that there was a new spot of cancer that was growing there, even while everything else was shrinking.
her chemo changed that week, and she went to a new treatment that now is a weekly dose of a different chemo.
(she is adapting well, and her new curly hair is still hanging on and acting however it chooses to)
we are not at a point in time where the doctor is ready for another round of scans, but jackie's mood, and drive, and all those other indications of well being are just fine.
on the regular side of life, several weeks ago, we went to St. Pete, in Florida to celebrate Chris and Sara's wedding.
it was a fantastic trip, did us both a lot of good, and we even got to see some homeless guy from the beach play the music at the wedding.
(no, wait... that was no 'homeless' guy, that should have said 'jobless' guy, me!)
the day after we returned i started a new job, (real job, no contracting), with Catholic Health Partners and so far, my badge is still working to open the doors every morning. (it appears that we DO need 'stinking badges')
other high points since the last posting are:
- there is now a new back door on the bodmo' house! (ok, it's big news to us)
- i turned 58 last week
- this week we had a very successful, and very fun MS fundraiser at 'Cheers to art' in maderia.

for upcoming news:
- gretchen and brian are getting married in Julaugust
- jackie and i both have 40th high school reunions this summer. (this makes me feel older then the whole 'turning 58' thing)
so, in the coming days/weeks/months, i think that our newly retired, and queen of free time, jackie, will be updating the blog, with occasional guess visits from me!

sorry for such a dry spell, but hey if i can't neglect my bloggly duties, what can i do!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tuesday Februray 15, 2011

what's been going on with YOU people?

here at the Bodmo' house, we're moving slowly toward spring.

on the good news side is:

* Jackie is officially retiring from Anthem on April 15th, just short of 40 years with the company

* Tony has officially gotten his letter approving his Social Security Disability. (it only took since july, 2007

* and the best news...
we told you that the alimta is shrinking all the little spots and dots, well the primary tumor, the one that started it all, (F*cking tumor), was originally found to be 6cm in size.
it is now just a little over 2cm.

so lets keep pushing!
tomorrow is another chemo day!
(they will continue every third wednesday forever - we hope)

time to roll out the S.E.E. chants.

keep the energy pouring out, aimed at the blue ash area, that's where the magic happens!

thanks for everything you've done.
(and good luck and positive thoughts to you too, Keith)


Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

we learned a new word this week.

it's what happens after you get you CT scan, but before the dr. tells you how it came out.

the scan was last thursday, the results are in, and all of you S.E.E. chanting lunatics must be making your neighbors wonder what you're up to!

you've been doing such a good job, that everything, including the main tumor in the right lung has shrunk even smaller then before!

you chance to do a bit more is right around the corner.
this coming wednesday is jackie's next chemo!
(that's the day after tomorrow)

so, this wednesday...

Do a little dance,
make a little...
no wait, that's something else!

but chant your little butts off!

Shrink Erase Eradicate!

it will do you good!
not to mention the good vibes will help us all, except for those pesky tumors, who will just keep shrinking!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20,2011

it's been a couple of days since our last update.
i mean weeks?

the holidays went very well!

there was a little fatigue after all the running around, lots of sleeping, listlessness.
(but that was me, jackie was just fine)

The picture to the left (i hope) is from Katie's half marathon down in Orlando, at the Disney run!
(left to right... Pattie, Liz, Katie, Teresa, Barb...the stalker in the back is Gary)

Liz did a 5K, and everyone else cheered Katie and Liz on!

in other news, Tony had his Social Security Disability hearing last week.
the judge said "i'll let you know in eight weeks".
(Tony's lawyer said it was a done deal and the eight weeks is just a formality)

so, Jackie's doing well, working full days, getting through the STUFF that is corporate america.
tony has an eye out for some regular income. (first time since mid 2008).
all the Bodmo's need now is to get the old man working and out of the house!

oh, wait...
i almost forgot!

last week, i started a new contract.
working for a Medicaid Insurance Co. in Dayton.

the drive is not the best, but nothing like mason to florence was last year.

the atmosphere, and the team are great!
and it makes a nice little trifecta for the new year.

so, next wednesday is the next chemo.
keep those S.E.E.'s coming.

thanks to all of you, ("All Y'all" for our KY fans), for all the love, and support through the last five months or so.

we couldn't be here without all the positive energy from you guys.

that's all i got!