Saturday, January 28, 2012


Thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement.  We are having a quiet, relaxing weekend doing NOTHING!  Hubby is making homemade pizza for dinner tonight -- thanks Gayle for telling us about the pizza dough at Trader Joe's.  He is doing a great job taking care of me and now he can add pizza making to his resume.

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2012

5 down, 26 to go and Raleigh RV Show

I know my life isn't very interesting these days, but it's life -- life happens no matter where we are or what we are doing!  That's just the way it is.

I started daily radiation on Monday. Following Monday's and Tuesday's sessions, I had a headache, along with nausea.  I had been told fatigue was the most likely side effect, so I was very surprised when shortly after my first session, I experienced a headache and felt nauseated.  It was so bad on Wednesday morning I was ready to call it quits.  I do not consider myself a wimp but certainly felt like one.  However, by the time of my appointment on Wednesday, I felt better.  I asked the technicians why I would have a headache and nausea.  They felt it was because of holding my breath.  Because of where the tumor was, I take deep breaths and hold it for several seconds during the sessions, in an effort to separate my heart from the chest wall as much as possible. On Monday and Tuesday, not only did I hold my breath for the procedure but for pics as well, so that meant I was holding my breath for several seconds a dozen times during each of those two sessions.  Plus, it was my first time and I was pretty blood pressure was up a little as well.  ANYWAY, I have now had 5 sessions with 26 more to go!

Last weekend our daughter visited us and we went to the Raleigh RV Show.  It was rainy and cold, so we were thankful it was inside at the Raleigh Convention Center.

There was a lot to see.

We had a GREAT visit with Alissa -- even though I didn't get a picture of her to share -- next time!

We love the wildlife around here.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time, God bless!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Last Saturday, we moved from the fairgrounds in Raleigh to Spring Hill RV Park.  Spring Hill is in a very rural setting, closer to Carrboro, North Carolina, than Chapel Hill, its mailing address.

Down this graveled road... the office... our site...

...nestled in the trees.

If you are looking for a high-end resort, this is not it.  There are no amenities here -- zero, zip, nada -- no laundry facilities, no bathhouse, no swimming pool, etc.  However, the cable is great, my Verizon aircard and phone work great, the sites are graveled and level and the wildlife is good -- birds, squirrels and deer.  We no longer have to travel 5 lanes of traffic to reach Duke...most of the way is back roads, which we prefer.  And the owner is very friendly, always working and will help you in any way he can.

This used to be a mobile home park and still has several mobile homes.  It is very shaded, which I'm sure those who are here in the Summer appreciate.   With no leaves currently on the trees, we were still able to get satellite, so we have the best of both worlds -- cable TV with local channels and our normal satellite stations.  

Another plus is the quietness -- it is very quiet -- no highway noise, no airplane noise, no trains.  We have been sleeping like babies.    This morning we woke up to three deer right outside our window.  We love seeing and watching them.  We also have been trying to walk every day.  It's a good place to walk -- we calculated our normal route and it is about two miles.  We want to keep up the walking throughout my treatment.  

Here are a few things we have seen on our walks:

A pair of red-headed woodpeckers

Red birds are in abundance.

White-tail deer -- they blend so well with their surroundings they are difficult to see.

Alan is always looking for various wildlife signs, especially Bigfoot...LOL.

Could these scratches be from Bigfoot?
Can you see them?

How about these clumps of fur?

And a hawk's nest

After my last post about the two separate sessions I had with two entirely different positions, my doc called and said after studying all the pics from both positions, they had determined that the supine position (on my back) was the best way to go.  I have to admit I was bummed.  I am not a medical expert by any means, but it seemed reasonable to me that in the prone position on the pink breast board would be the best way to go, as it separates the diseased breast from the rest of the body and would/should protect the heart the best.  However, Dr Blitzblau explained that because of where the tumor was -- near the chest wall and ribs -- that when the breast was separated downward, the heart followed.  And it also had to do with the dosage -- my heart could possibly get a bigger dose in the prone position than the supine.  That's probably way too simple an explanation but the best I can do at this point.  There comes a time when you just have to trust the professionals and move on.  I know they have worked hard to plan my sessions.  My first appointment to begin the planning stage was on the 9th.  Finally, on Monday, the 23rd, I will start Monday-Friday radiation, so in essence, it has taken two weeks of planning to ensure I receive the best possible results from radiation.  Of course, I am not their only patient.

I returned to Radiology Oncology yesterday for a "trial run" and more pics and additional markings.  I was told everything was perfect, my breathing was great -- taking a deep breath and holding it helps move the heart up and out of the way as much as possible.  So, I start the daily sessions on Monday at 12:30.  I can't tell you how much I am ready to get on with it and get it over with, so we can move on with our life.  Yesterday, seeing other ladies in various stages of hair re-growth, I almost felt guilty I was not also having chemo.  Even though chemo was offered, I declined.  Why you ask?  Stage 1, Grade 1, non-aggressive, no node infiltration, clean margins -- thus no need for chemo.  I am so blessed and thankful.  

One day last week we visited a mall.  The Crabtree Mall in Raleigh is very nice for shopping with a great variety of stores.  It was very busy, although these pics do not reflect that.  

No matter where we go parking lots are full -- the economy is apparently pretty good here.

We are looking forward to the weekend.  Our daughter is coming tomorrow and we plan to check out the RV Show at Raleigh's Convention Center.  It's always fun to look.  Her husband and the boys are hunting, so she's hanging out with us!

As always, thanks for stopping by -- have a great weekend and may God continue to bless our voyage, as well as our family and friends everywhere!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Yesterday I had an appointment for a CT scan and to be "mapped" for radiation.  This is a pic similar to the scanner that was used.  

A carbon fiber breast board (similar to the image below) was placed over the table and covered with a sheet.  

This is what I laid on for the scans.  There were times I was required to hold my breath for 20 seconds or so.  I was also marked in several places with a black marker that will eventually fade away -- no tattoos for me.  They took pictures of all the markings as well.

Afterwards, we headed straight back to the motorhome, as we did not want to be caught in the 5 o'clock traffic, plus it was raining.  Driving in 5-lane traffic at 5 o'clock in the rain is not fun!

This morn the Radiologist called to say they wanted me to come back for additional pictures and this time I would be laying on my stomach instead of my back.  I was really dreading it because I have never been one to lay on my stomach.   The purpose was to see which position would work best to protect my lungs and heart.  

I was the first to use Duke's new pink breast board.  

These three ladies were responsible for performing the scans, taking the pictures, marking me with the road map that will be followed during my 31 radiation sessions -- and for making sure I remained calm, cool and collected.  They were GREAT!!  I am so impressed with the technology, the organization and everyone involved with Duke's Department of Radiation Oncology.  They go out of their way to ensure you understand what is being done and are comfortable before going forward with any procedure.

My next appointment is Friday, January 20, then I will start the trek every day Monday thru Friday for 31 sessions.

As I walk the halls of Duke's Cancer Center, I am so thankful and blessed that my cancer was detected early and I have a GREAT prognosis.  There are so many out there who are hanging on to life by a thread.  I also know they are in good hands at Duke and everything that can possibly be done for them is being done.  God bless them and their families, as well as the good folks at Duke.

We move the Motorhome on Saturday to Spring Hill RV Park.  It is on the other side of Duke and will be a shorter commute for us and less traffic as well.  

It has been unusually warm here for January.  We saw these trees blooming outside Duke's Hospital yesterday as we were waiting at a stoplight.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, may God continue to bless our voyage, as well as our family and friends everywhere!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Not anything real exciting today.  We were up at six this morning and left the motorhome at 7:45 for my 9:00 appointment at Duke.  We left early because we didn't know how long it would take us with all the morning traffic.  It took almost an hour -- the traffic was INCREDIBLE!  This is a very busy area -- Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all the little places in-between.  

I was called to a room by "Joan," my Radiologist's nurse.  This was the first time meeting Joan and she was a delight.  She is originally from Finland.  Joan said she bragged about snagging a "Yank" and shortly after they were married in Finland, he informed her they were going to the States.  I was also seen by a Resident -- a Navy doctor.  This is the second Resident we have seen in Radiology that is a Navy doctor.  He has been in the Navy 24 years.  The Radiologist explained everything and answered all my questions.  I am impressed with my Duke radiology team.

I go back Wednesday for a CT Scan and "mapping" for radiation.  Next week I will start radiation 5 days a week for 31 sessions.  After I complete radiation, I will once again see the oncologist who will prescribe an estrogen blocker drug that I am supposed to take for five years.  Five years is a long time...I will be near 70 years old in 5 years.  None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, much less 5 years down the road.

We shopped at Trader Joe's today.  We have NEVER been anywhere near a Trader Joe's, so we now understand why people like shopping there so much -- we thought the prices were  reasonable.  We didn't buy a lot but did buy cereal that was recommended by Diabetes Living's website -- "Triple Berry-O's" -- honey oat O's with dried blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.  

When we returned home, everyone was gone and we were here by ourselves -- the only RV in the park.  However, after dark, another MH moved in.

It has rained off and on last night and today.

Not much else to report.  We are gearing up to watch the big championship game tonight -- LSU vs AL.  
Thanks for your prayers -- with so many praying for me, I know I will be OKAY!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


As planned, we moved the Motorhome to the fairgrounds in Raleigh on Friday.  As we were looking for a place to set up, a guy out for a walk stopped and asked if we knew about the new area...we did not.  He pointed us in the right direction and we are glad he did.  This area is away from the fairgrounds, overlooking the horse stables and arena that you can barely see thru the trees...

...and North Carolina State football stadium...

The way it's done here is you pick and site and then Security comes by to collect the fees -- or at least that's how it was for us.  We picked site 35 and set up.

As you can see, there aren't many here...just the way we like it -- not that we don't like people -- we do -- but it's very nice and quiet!

We were told by Security they plan to add at least 50 more sites, along with a bath house.

It's $25 a night for full hookups.  We would stay here the entire time we are here if they had a monthly rate.  They only allow two weeks stay but are willing to work with folks who are receiving treatment at one of the local hospitals.  However, at $25 a night, that would be $750 for 30 days -- a little steep for our pocketbook!

We started our weekend on Friday night, watching the Arkansas Razorbacks beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl 29-16.  


The Razorbacks ended the season, 11-2, having only lost to Alabama and LSU, who -- as you probably know -- will be playing each other in the National Championship game on Monday night.  I think that says a lot for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the SEC.  Woooo Pigs Soooiieee!!  

On Saturday afternoon, our daughter and family showed up to attend Winter Jam, a Christian rock concert.

Since no tickets were sold in advance -- only $10 at the door -- we showed up early to ensure we got good seats.  You won't catch many grandparents at an event like this. This little girl had the audacity to turn around and tell us we needed to be quiet...what???  Apparently this was her first concert.  She had no idea how loud it was about to become -- and it wouldn't be us making all the noise!

When we asked her to turn around, she snapped our pic at the same time we snapped hers...we just laughed.

We don't know about these grandsons -- they don't think it's cool to show enthusiasm about anything -- talk about stone-faced...

We love watching thousands of young people listening, raising their hands and praising God -- even if the music is L-O-U-D.

The fairgrounds has a flea market every weekend, so on Sunday afternoon, we checked it out.

You can find just about anything you want -- from fresh fruit and vegetables to antiques to new furniture.

All-in-all it was a great weekend.  The kids left and we came back to the Motorhome to rest.  Tomorrow we will be up and out early for my appointment with the Radiologist at Duke.  

Until next time, God bless our voyage and our family and friends -- wherever you are!