Archive | January, 2014

Taking the night off

31 Jan

Because of my feet and my back I thought it would be nice to just sit with a heating pad on may back, watch tv and play computer games. I have a zillion things to do over at the clubhouse but I think I can still get things done when the weather turns bad on Sunday. It was a stunning day today and we did play 18 holes. Supposed to be that way tomorrow too so will probably play again. Is it a good idea to play again? Probably not, but you know what? I’m so sick of this foot pain and back issue that at least it takes my mind off of it for a while. This morning I actually started my day off in tears because my foot hurt so bad the first step I took. I’m trying to hold off on a cortisone shot because I would like one before I go to Cuba but may not be able to wait that long.
This brings to mind that 10 years ago tomorrow was my life changing snow mobile accident that I still suffer from the affects from. Months of therapy, months of not even being able to bend over without holding my sternum because it hurt so bad to bend over, neck pain that was so crippling broken ribs that is such a painful injury and fighting depression from the whole ordeal. From being someone who could do anything physically that she wanted to do who has turned into someone who can’t even walk a block with my puppies. Not that the feet issue is from the accident but my life turned into a series of chronic issues, 3 neck surgeries, one dislocated shoulder, one shoulder surgery, a foot surgery and many issues with my back and my legs and now the feet shit. Most people get plantar fasciitis and it goes away in a couple of months with the help of inserts, etc. and mine turns into a chronic problem that is the worst thing I have experienced. I know, I know, everyone has something going on with their bodies at our age but I just really have a hard time accepting it. I am even considering medical marijuana when I get back to Colorado just to see if it helps something. As they say, “it’s my new normal” and I hate it. That’s just me today. I always try to think of someone who is suffering more and right now that person is Sydney who is probably going through something I will never fathom how bad it must feel.
I guess the bottom line is that I am feeling every bit of 61.


30 Jan

Remember a few months ago I was talking about trying to have a Swab Party for finding a blood donor for Sydney. It didn’t happen because all of my friends are too old but a few friends did send away for a swab kit. A donor was found and below is the story written by Sydney’s mom about the actual transfusion day. What Sydney has gone through to prepare for yesterday was grueling, painful, sad, tiring, etc. What these kids that have this type of leukemia go through is heart wrenching. Anyway here’s the story. From now on there will be a page called Sydney, like I did for my niece Juli, that you can keep up with a bone marrow transplant.

Day 0
8 hours ago
First off, for those of you that have a notification that goes off when there is a Caringbridge Update….everything is fine. :). This is just the first chance I have had to provide an update…..and what better time than when sitting in the uncomfortable chairs in the ICU. Oh, how I loathe these rooms!!! But, this is the best place to be tonight to ensure if there are any complications they are taken care of immediately. So, where do I start…

Day 0. It is such an amazing, incredible day when you think about it. New stem cells….new life. Truly a new birthday. Jason and Jeremy arrived about 9:30 (after dropping off coloring supplies at the clinic….they were out of Syd’s color for cancer kids packs). Shortly after they got to the room, the “green team” (ok, that is my nickname for the child life specialists) came to the room for the “Birthday Party”. There are two child life specialists, one art therapist and one music therapist. They brought a sign which is now hanging in her room for everyone to sign as they visit Syd. It says ” Sydney Rocks”. Very appropriate. They asked Syd what she wanted to do first at the party….open her present, sing……she said “have Jeremy open his gift” (that is just the way she rolls….). Jeremy got a cool pair of headphones and an iTunes card. He loved it! Then we sang some songs and played instruments, and then Sydney opened her gift (a pair of headphones and a cool mini art easel with paints). It was very cool and special. Oh, prior to the party, the art therapist asked Sydney if she wanted to borrow her camera (really nice camera) to take pictures all day to document her Transplant Day….of course she said yes! So, there were camera flashes going on ALL day!!! I am not really sure how many photos she and Jeremy took…but, wow…lots!!! She is going to come back to Sydney’s room on Friday to do two things….bring a printer and they can print out some of the pictures and bring a shutterfly gift card so Sydney and her can make a photo book with all the pictures. I love how they do these things!!!

We moved to the ICU about 10:30. Sydney walked. I don’t think many patients that are getting admitted into the ICU walk to their room….but, once again, that is how Sydney rolls!!! Then the waiting game. Original plan was transplant at 12, then 2, then 3. It is hard as the parent….waiting, waiting, hoping nothing is wrong and still entertaining the two children that depend on you. Oh my. I think we broke every rule in the ICU…we played music (softly), we took pictures, we face timed (thanks Aunt Stef and Uncle Steve)…at one point the nurse stepped out, Jeremy crawled in bed with Sydney and the monitors started beeping. The nurse came back in and Jeremy said ” by the way, her heart stopped beating”. Omg! I thought the nurse was going to fall over….then we all laughed. Needless to say, the Balzer’s made the ICU a “fun” place today.

At 3, the goods arrived. In a pinkish/purple colored cooler (we have a picture of the cooler!). About 3:30, the transplant started. It literally is like a blood transfusion. The stem cells look red and it goes from the bag into the tube into her port. Very slowly. For the first 25 minutes of the transplant, there will 11 people in the small little ICU room….all staring at Sydney. I don’t think she was thrilled with that….everyone watching for signs of an allergic reaction. The whole process took about 2 hours. Much more amazing than a blood transfusion, but, not much more exciting to watch. She was awake through the whole thing (the pre meds made her tired, but, she was watching TV for the last hour of the transplant). Jeremy left about 4pm…he wanted to rest a little before a church function tonight. Thanks again to the Greaves for their taxi service :). It was wonderful having him here,,,but, the hurry up and wait is not exciting for a 13 year old (ok, it is not exciting for any of us).

The evening has been fairly uneventful. The main concern is blood in the urine….means her kidneys are working in overload…so far no blood. She is having horrible stomach pains and very loose stools still…..a side effect still from the pre-bone marrow meds (chemos and ATG). She is in some major pain….they are going to start some different stomach coating meds to helpfully help. If all goes well, we should return to her room in the morning.

Jason is here tonight as well. As we learned before, it is hard to leave when she is in the ICU. You just don’t know what could happen. He made me go take a nap from 9:30-11:30 in her room upstairs and now he is upstairs hopefully sleeping until morning….tonight was my second night shift, so I will attempt to sleep a little in the upright, uncomfortable chair…..not thinking that is going to work very well. Oh well…it is one night. :). Jeremy is safe at home with Gpa M tonight.

So, I have to share one more interesting fact. The bone marrow was obviously brought from overseas by plane. It doesn’t fly alone…a person hand couriers it. The cooler gets its own plane tickets and “sits” right next to the courier. One security exception….no X-ray of the marrow!!! I just thought that was crazy….thanks to the courier for all the TLC last night and this morning. You delivered something amazing to Children’s Hospital today!!

So prayers….pray for the stomach issues to get better (or stop). Pray for a peaceful night. Pray for no infections (her immune system is completely gone). Pray for the stem cells to like their new home…..and to want to reproduce (ok, that sounded weird….the late night is getting to me)….it will take them time engraft (probably 14 days). Pray for limited Graft versus Host Disease (you want some to fight any remaining leukemia cells in her body but not lots to create other issues). Pray for the donor’s quick recovery. That is a large list…..

Thanks for all the support today and always. We continue to be amazed at the Sydney Rally Team. Guess that is just how you roll!!! Awesome!!! can read updates. Sydney is the granddaughter of our good friends Dave and Sherry.

61!! Who Knew??

29 Jan

Happy Birthday to me. Wow. When I turned 60 I thought it sounded kind of cute but 61 doesn’t have that same sound. I see 61 a lot in the obits! It’s going to be a great day. Denny made me a yummy breakfast and gave me a beautiful shirt and a really cool book called “Let Your Spirit Soar”. Now when people comment on how loud I talk I’m going to say “I’m letting my Spirit Soar!!”. (There was some discussion this week about my loud voice in the clubhouse the other day) My other birthday present is to myself. I am feeding my 61 year old body with healthier foods, no Wavy Lays and con queso, no Pepsi or any pop and no tootsie pops and other junky stuff. Today is Day 17 with none of that stuff. Now one would think I would have at least lost 1 pound? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll weigh myself sometime this week. But it doesn’t matter because my tummy is very happy and I’m not bloated.
Today it is a little warmer even though our water pump froze up last night but Denny put a heater on it and now I can take a shower. I have my quilt class from 1-4 and a massage at 5:30. This sewing and quilting and working on a jigsaw puzzle is wreaking havoc on my back and feet. Who knew quilting could be hazardous to one’s health! My latest project is a small quilt for the clubhouse that will hang up about the kitchen. I have the cutest rv park material that has trees and vintage campers on it. I also am going to buy some more of the material for curtains for the little campers. We found some sweatshirts on sale yesterday so I plan on embroidering later in the week too.
Not much else to yak about.

Monday Tidbits

27 Jan

First tidbit. After many, many practices I finally made our first official Circle the Wagons Hoody. Denny is wearing it proudly and now I feel like that is one thing I can get done for the Bird’s Nest.
Photo of the Llano River which runs parallel to the golf course. There were some pelicans hanging around and an eagle flying.
Yesterday it was in the high 70’s and very windy. We played with our friends Suzanne and Richard. It was my first 18 and I shot a 93. Can’t get too cocky, (even though I did birdie #1) because the course is very dry so the ball goes much farther than usual. Denny won $3 in quarters after chipping close on 18. He does that all the time. He can play like crap for 17 holes and then on 18 he finally makes a chip!!! Of course I’m upset because I had the quarters. 🙂
I do believe I’m beginning to sound like a Canadian with a Texas accent. Very strange.
Played cards last night with another Canadian couple. It was a different version of Rummy which was fun.
Denny is designing a small quilt for me to make for the Clubhouse. I have so many designs running in my head that I must write them down. With the weather being really crappy for the next 2 days I have lots of sewing time.
My Mom is doing really well and can finally get around now without assistance but she does use a walker. So glad that she can quit waiting for someone to come when she rings her buzzer.
Had a massage on Saturday after my brutal dog walk. She doesn’t think I have a rib popping out that it is a muscle spasm and that my back is super tight. Going to have another one on Wednesday. I have been continuing with my core exercises and I think I feel some tightening in my tummy, or……it’s constipation. MLMLML.
Was sorry to see Gary Woodland lose yesterday but what an exciting last round of golf. Didn’t know who was going to win.
That’s it for now. Got to get creative.

Both dogs may get traded in for a chihuahua today

25 Jan

So….Denny needed to take our propane tank to get filled on this cold, brisk sunny morning. I thought “Why don’t I take the dogs out for their morning walk?” which I never do. I bundled up, got the poop bag and off we went. The park we stay is on the Llano river which is beautiful. There’s a little park that sits by it and there is a little waterfall. Very serene. UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS ALSO A LOT OF GEESE!! I chose to take this route this morning. I thought it was weird that the dogs were practically running as we started out. I could hardly keep hold of them. Too late, goose poop heaven which they love, love, love…I felt like I was in an obstacle course trying to keep them from eating it. They each got a little but finally we were through the maze of the poop and I took a breath and was wondering if the rib that popped out in my back from all the tugging would go back in later today. We went through the little gate and were on the dirt path which I didn’t f@#$%^& know was lined with poop from who knows what. I got poop out of both of their mouths (thankfully it was frozen) and I was now beginning to get really pissed that I took them out. I started daydreaming about a little Rinky replacement. How a Chihuahua wouldn’t have this strong of a pull, how snuggly they are, how cute they are, etc… We still had a ways to go and I forgot that walking by the 4H barn brings up a whole ‘nuther issue-horse and cow poop. Off we go into the tugging game. “That’s it I thought, they are going to be traded in today!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally we made it back to the rv. My rib is out, I’m frustrated and I told Denny about the adventure. He said “We never go that way anymore because it is too stressful”. When I mentioned that I was taking both the dogs to the pound to trade them in for a Chihuahua he reminded me that Rinky could also dig in her paws for a piece of poop and food and actually lost her life eating an onion ring off the ground. Okay, okay Meeko and Jumper. You have a reprieve and we just won’t walk that way. But…then comes in the issue of brown grass and goat head stickers and that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

Many of you have been in my studio areas and know how unorganized I am and wonder how in the heck I get anything done. Well, I’ve done it to the clubhouse at the rv park. The good thing is that I do have to pick up each day so I can’t just leave it a disaster area. Also just another photo of some more quilt blocks I’m making. I could just make quilt blocks all days I think.
Last night Denny and I had a date night and we drove to Marble Falls to see “August:Osage County”. I give it a 2 out of 5. Of course Meryl Streep is riveting, but a little overacting maybe? What should have been a really emotional movie that maybe you would want to cry, it wasn’t. It was okay though but I would hope it won’t win an academy award and I don’t think Meryl or Julia should either. The movie did put the DYS in a dysfunctional family. Next movie we are going to see is the “Devils Due” which I am sure isn’t going to be up for any academy awards but Denny said he would go see it with me for my birthday.
Warming up and could be nice enough to play golf this afternoon and is supposed to be in the 70’s tomorrow.

24 Jan

My little what I thought would be a ballerina granddaughter Elliott has taken her first ice skating lesson. I wish you could see a picture of her pink ice skates. Hope you enjoy the video. I think that is her big brother Cade helping her. He is quite the skater and hockey player.
We are bundled up in the rv this morning. It is bitterly cold. Llano didn’t get the snow as predicted but it is slippery out. Thankfully it will be back in the 60’s. Great day to continue on my quilt blocks. Who knew I would enjoy sewing so much?? I think it is the excitement of seeing the different shaped blocks come together. I am working on Shoo Fly variations and I think I could make a whole quilt using those blocks.
It is someone’s birthday who shall remain nameless, and yes that could include it could be one of the dogs. We are actually going out on a date to see August:Osage County. I saw Meryl in an interview and she said she had a hard time playing that part because she came from a very loving mother and there was never any hollering or screaming in her home. I could have played that part easily since I think I was a hollering/screaming mother but could make up with Billie and KC with a bag of Wavy Lays, con queso and a scary movie with us all covered up on the divan with blankies.
That’s it for today.

A new quilt class

22 Jan

paris quilt block
I’m using my material that I bought in Paris for my latest quilting project. It will have at least 16 different blocks in it plus a really cool border which is the diamond shaped strip. Really liked the class and the teacher and the other 2 students. Tomorrow it is going to be crappy out so I will spend the entire day sewing. Denny will be driving the countryside with Carl checking out motels for our bicycle trip next November. It may actually snow a little bit.

Meeko has been a very bad dog this week and I made him look at the Humane shelter’s photo of a little chiuaua that needs a home. At the pro shop there is a little chuaiua named Bogey and it makes me miss Rinky sooooooo much. I did cut this picture out and I may call the number but hopefully she has been adopted so I won’t be tempted.

Wanted to give a suggestion regarding gluten free spaghetti. The brands we have been using for years have been just so-so. Last night we used a Quinoa brand and it was deliceeeeous. It breaks down into little pieces but that’s okay because it is still yummy.

I told the ladies at the quilt store to not let me buy anything else for a long time.

Played golf again yesterday afternoon. You wouldn’t believe how wicked the greens are here. I’ll need to play a few times before I cut down the number of putts.

We are going to see “August: Osage County on Friday. There is a nice theatre in Marble Falls which is about 30 minutes from here.

I just downloaded a book called “An Island Called Home, Returning to Jewish Cuba”. I am going with a group of 45 in April to Cuba. It is an (or a) humanitarian trip for the Jewish community in Cuba. I will understand more about the issues after reading the book. I’m very excited about going. My friends Judy, Nancy and Ginny from La Veta are also going. (Have I already written about this?)

One of the prayers I say for my new eating plan is the Serenity Prayer and then I end it with “please help me feed my body with nutritious foods to keep it strong and healthy”. I really do believe by starting my day before I get out of bed with that prayer that it is helping. I did weigh myself this morning and it said that I weighed 163 lbs but I don’t think that can be right because I was nekked and when I stood on it the number 30 came up but I also know I don’t weigh 133 lbs so I will have to zero out the scale. I will keep you posted. I think I should weight about 158. I am doing floor exercises for my abs and back and stretching. I am also dancing to my music for about 15 minutes to get my heart rate up some. Next week—–riding my bicycle.

Talked to my Mom the other day and she said she had turned over a new leaf on life. (or is it “new lease on life”) Judy rearranged her little apartment and she felt it was less crowded in the living room. She also said she wasn’t sure how long her “new leaf” turning was going to last, maybe til just 4 that afternoon. She is so funny. I will check in tomorrow to see how she is doing.

Jbirdworld has inspired a couple of my readers. Who knew!! One friend is going to see about volunteering at a nursing home and visiting patients that don’t have any family. Another reader has been inspired to begin quilting again.