Sunday 03-27-11 Beautiful Southern California

The view from our room…downtown San Diego and the harbor



Torrey Pines Golf Course


La Jolla Cove, California


Little Italy, San Diego


Mission Beach, San Diego



Post  Script:   Just saw Marcus Luttrell on Joe Nichol’s music video “The Shape I’m In”.  Nichols is working with Marcus and The Boot Campaign which is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness and gratitude to men and women returning home from their military service.

Friday 03-25-11

Hey Everybody!

Just to catch up a little bit, last Friday we flew to San Diego.  The night before I was in the ER with chest pains and a terrible rash on my legs.  Long story short, after a cardiac workup everything checked out fine.  That rash was weird…when the bumps popped out they already had scabs on them!  Very bizarre!   The Doctor was worried it was a bad side effect from my chemo so he called my oncologist’s partner who agreed to see me before our flight left the next morning.  They said my counts were too low to travel.  So with bags already in the car and a flight leaving in an hour, we headed to the airport.  The point of this blog is that I made a very deliberate decision to try to live my life as fully as possible and suffer the consequences, rather than stay at home afraid of becoming sick!  No way to live!  And I didn’t have any problems except a couple of extra pounds from all the wonderful seafood I ate while in Southern California!

So this morning I had to go back to the Doctor with my tail between my legs for a follow up visit.  And my counts are very low.  Too low to restart the Revlimid chemo.  To which I silently said yippee!  (That Revlimid sucks!)  Dr. Ravipati will call Dr. Garcia-Manero at MD Anderson and find out what he wants to do.  So I started another round of 3 neupogen shots in 3 days, and will make 2 more treks to Amarillo this weekend for shots.

Speaking of all this chemo and troubles stuff, while in San Diego at the cocktail lounge in our hotel, a young couple was sitting next to us at the bar.  The guy’s crutches slid over and bumped Wade. Those of you that know Wade, he had to make comment….”How’d you hurt your leg, ski accident during Spring Break?”  We had just connected through the Denver airport and no joke, saw lots of kids on crutches!  No, he just returned from Afghanistan on medical leave and was seeing the Doctor the next day in San Diego for his foot that was injured in an explosion.  His 3rd tour.  He was stationed at Pendleton.  He and his very cute wife are from Chicago and had gotten married 4 months ago, and his honeymoon was a plane trip back to Afghanistan.  Oddly enough, he took a book along on that plane trip to read, “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell.

OK yall, right before the crutches incident, Wade and I were talking about my troubles in the ER, low blood counts, traveling outside my Dr.’s recommendation, etc, etc, etc, cancer is not for sissies, etc, etc, etc.   I was totally blown away.  It just totally put everything into perspective for me.  I cried, and somehow managed to write  Adam and Lauren a note on a cocktail napkin, telling them thank you and what a blessing they had been to me.   All we have to do is look around and realize people make sacrifices for us every day every minute.  Well, not coincidentally, Marcus Luttrell was speaking at our convention 2 days later so Wade offered to try to get Adam and Lauren in as guests to hear the speech.  His Doctor’s appointments were the following day, so this worked out great.  They made it to the speech, and purchased a book and got to talk to Marcus and get their book signed.  Wow….this was awesome!  Especially since his first copy of the book didn’t make it back from Afghanistan!

Those of you that don’t know about Marcus Luttrell, he was born in Texas, was a Navy Seal, and the lone survivor of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of Seal Team 10 in Afghanistan.  Read this book!  He spoke for an hour and a half and it is an unbelievable, amazing story.  This is the second time we have heard him speak.  Again, you’ve gotta read this book!

I got some great pics of Adam and Lauren with Marcus. Thank you Adam and Lauren for being such a blessing to me!   So here they are.  More pictures of San Diego will follow later!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday 03-17-11

Today was a gorgeous day in Hereford Texas….the high was 86 degrees!  I’m sure it was some kind of record!

OK, the Revlimid chemo is just…….dirty!  After only a week, it took my neutrophil count down to .24 and made me feel very bad.  ( Normal is 1.6 to 7.7).  I now think I preferred the chemo going in my PICC line instead of my stomach.  So it was another round of neupogen shots, 3 shots in 3 days.  It worked very well, my neutriphil count got up to 3.6.  So  my Doctor has agreed to let me go on a business trip with Wade to San Diego for a few days and not resume the chemo until I get back.  I am officially on vacation!  Yippee!  Hopefully when I get back I will have some cool stuff to blog about.

Hope you all had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wednesday 03-09-11

Oh my gosh, I just made the most yummy enchiladas with tomatillo sauce so I feel compelled to share.  First a little history.  Matt Martinez Jr. ‘s grandfather opened the very first Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin in 1952.  Since then, Matt’s El Rancho Restaurant has been serving their family favorite recipes, and here is one of them.

First of all make the Tex-Mex Spice:  3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. ground cumin, 3 Tbsp. granulated garlic, 2 Tbsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper.

Poach chicken breasts in chicken broth until tender. Finely shred and chop, moisten with chicken broth and season with Tex-Mex Spice.

Tomatillo Sauce:In a heavy stockpot saute 2 c. chopped onion in 3 Tbsp. olive oil on low heat until translucent.  Add 2 tsp. fresh garlic, 3 Tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. sugar.  Stir and cook 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the onions.  Add 2 c. chicken broth; stir.  Add 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and quartered, 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, and 1 to 4 fresh jalapenos ( I used 1 large jalapeno).  Gently stir and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.   When jalapenos are soft, it is ready.  Remove 3 jalapenos (I removed them all, we have some tender palates at our house).  Process with a hand blender until smooth.  Taste for salt and spice. If you want it hotter, add another jalapeno back in, one at a time for desired heat.  I just chopped the jalapeno and we added them on top of our enchiladas for heat.

Fry corn tortillas 2 to 3 seconds on each side, drain on paper towels.

Fill tortillas with chicken, roll up, and put in greased casserole.  Top with sauce, sprinkle with shredded queso quesadilla cheese.  If you can’t find this, I would substitute Monterrey Jack.

Bake 350 degrees until bubbly.  Muy delicioso!

Tuesday 03-08-11

Blog Peeps, here’s my scoop.  Transplant has been posponed, I’m back on oral chemo to keep me stable.  Gay, my donor, has some health problems that need to be resolved or at least diagnosed before we can go forward.  Meanwhile MD Anderson is starting to look in the Bone Marrow Registry to see how good a match is available there.  Gay is a perfect match, meaning we matched on all 10 markers. Usually this only happens with siblings.  My chemo is bringing back some old familiar feelings, but I am getting along fine so far!  Wade says I just look like I’ve been on a 3 day drunk!  OOHHH these eyes can look BAD!

Two ladies please pray for:  Monica in Lubbock, and Darla from Clovis who is at MD Anderson.  I am really looking forward to eventually meeting these ladies!

I’m leaving you with Secret #26:   To enjoy a meaningful way of life and to produce long-lasting effects, the ability to endure must be firmly established within you.

And my personal secret, smile a lot today!

Thursday 03-03-11

Hallelujah!  I am coming back!  After 2 neupogen shots and 2 units of red blood Tuesday, things are looking up!  This time I got pretty low and it was harder to come back.  This just confirms that my doctors are right on with getting a transplant.  Quality of life.  Goes a long way.  Should be getting on my chemo very soon.  I’m just waiting to receive it in the mail, weight loss program will begin soon!  Since today is a happy day, I am going to post some random pictures that make me happy!