Friday, January 31, 2014

He made the right decision!

Back deck -- and it is still coming down!

Front of house...

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bummer - no bike show

Well, this afternoon, Marshall made the decision to back out of the bike show because of the weather that is being forecasted not only for our area but for the Denver area.  This is a HUGE disappointment because he's been looking forward to this show for a very long time.  Making the decision to back out was not easy, but pulling a trailer in a snowstorm could conceivably be dangerous and sliding into a ditch could cause damage to the bike, so he finally made the decision.  So now we do research to see when the next bike show will be.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Marshall was approached by a publication called Metastatic Cancer that is sent out to doctors' offices across the country.  They wanted to publish his story and a photo of him on his bike.  This publication should come out in March and I will put a copy on the blog.  He always likes spreading the word about prostate cancer awareness.

So now we look forward to tomorrow to see how much snow we get.

Dog sitting

Yesterday and today we were dogsitting for our dogsitter! She had to dog sit at a house that has four or five very big dogs and she didn't want to take her little girls with her. So we have had two girls in addition to our three boys. I have my Coco on my right, Baby on my left and Annie is in my lap. Annie is very very dark colored and it is so hard to get her to show up in a photo. She weighs about 6 pounds. Our Marlee is indifferent to these new temporary additions and he is off sleeping somewhere. And our cat Okie has been staying at a distance and showing his displeasure by hissing every half hour or so.

It is still 50/50 as to whether or not we will make it to the bike show. First, our new car did not have a hitch on it and one had to be ordered. It has not come in yet and if it's not there today we won't be able to use our car.

Second, Marshall asked the Toyota dealership to lend him a vehicle with a hitch to use for the weekend and they agreed; however, there is a serious snowstorm headed our way.

So stay tuned.....

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nothing is ever easy

Well, now that Marshall's bike was accepted in the bike show, we started getting ready for it but our new Highlander does not have a trailer hitch receiver. The dealership has ordered one for us and they hope it will be in on Thursday. Since we have to get the bike up to Denver and set up on Friday, this is cutting it close. So as of now, it is entirely possible that he will have to miss this show simply because we don't have a trailer hitch for towing the bike up there. It would really be a shame to miss that show, but you can only do what you can do.

Today we went over to Marketplace Shops in Canon City to close out our booth. I decided to rent a smaller space at Marketplace to continue to sell my sterling silver jewelry. It does really well there and I really enjoy making it, so today we closed out our larger booth and I set up my smaller display case.

We were going to come back and do some polishing on the bike, but Marshall ran out of energy so we just came home and went through the piles of stuff that we took out of our booth to see what we are keeping and what we are throwing away. Marshall sold knives -- really nice knives that are Made in America -- and we decided we will sell them on eBay in the coming weeks.  It was a long day for Marshall but he held up REALLY well!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

My birthday present….

Yesterday we took our 4Runner back to Toyota for the 5th or 6th time complaining about the gas mileage.  The mileage would fluctuate between 18 mpg all the way down to 6 mpg when Marshall was towing the motorcycle.  And when we went to St. Louis for Christmas it wavered between 14 and 16.  Totally unacceptable.  Toyota acknowledged there was a problem but was not able to fix it.

So Marshall was determined to do something about this.  After back-and-forth with our Toyota salesman, we left the dealership yesterday with a 2014 Toyota Highlander.  It sort of made my head swim.  But I do like the Highlander.

And since yesterday was my birthday and Marshall forgot it was my birthday, I have decided this is my birthday present!  The salesman was going to put a bow on it and take a picture of me with the car, but by the time we left the dealership everyone was tired (including Coco who we had to take with us so I could give him his medicine throughout the day) and we just skipped the whole bow/photo thing.

Friday, January 24, 2014



Marshall now has started a gnome collection. He also has a biker gnome (dressed in black leather) and a West Virginia gnome.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

My new regimen

I now have THREE males in my house that require regular medications and they are all on different schedules.

Marshall's cancer medications are first thing in the morning when he gets up over the course of a two-hour period and then again in the evening. And he gets nausea pills as needed.

Marlee requires thyroid medicine, eye drops and arthritis meds in the morning and arthritis meds in the evening.

And now Coco needs ear meds and a pain pill first thing; then he gets a nausea pill mid-day; then a pain pill in the evening. In addition, he has to have 4 small meals a day (with the new low fat food) rather than the 2 a day he had before. And I have to be sure he goes out every three or four hours and I have to watch to be sure he pees to be sure there are no blockages, which would mean an emergency trip to the vet.

One bonus -- as of today, the cat and I are still quite healthy!!!  And another bonus: Marshall is enjoying life to the fullest.  His motorcycle has been accepted in the big bike show in Denver on February 1st and he is busily preparing for that.

Last night I sat at my computer and prepared a very detailed daily "road map" for myself with checkboxes so I wouldn't miss anything. I don't know how nurses do it.

Fred came up with some wonderful "words to live by" that apply no matter what your life situation is:

Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.

If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it.

Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Coco had a bad day....

Our miniature longhair dachshund, Coco, has been acting kind of weird the past two to three days. And this morning he refused to walk any distance and basically turned down food. We knew something was very wrong when he refused food. So it was a frantic rush to the vet (35 miles away).

While he was at the vet, we did a lot of running around and Marshall even went over to Pueblo to get an oil change on the car. He held up SO well today under very trying circumstances. Yay!

Here's the scoop from the vet: Coco has pancreatitis and he has to get on a low fat diet, as well as some medications to help deal with the pancreatitis. He has bladder stones. He has two ear infections with impacted wax in the ears. He has decreased reflexes in the rear end and she is not sure what is causing that at the moment. And to top it all off, he has tartar, gingivitis and periodontal disease and has to have at least 4 more teeth pulled.

So she sent us home with a big bad of medications and a new line of food for him. Poor guy. I sure hope he feels better soon.

I think he forgives me, though. He decided he would sleep with me tonight:

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Monday, January 20, 2014


At the VFW Friday night, Marshall and I did get up for one slow dance and Char took a picture.  Marshall made it the whole dance before his legs started to give out.

Marshall has been feeling pretty good most of the time.  Still has periodic and unexpected nausea and other gastrointestinal difficulties but we keep the nausea pills super handy.  The petechia on his arms comes and goes. And the hot flashes still hit with a vengeance.

He has really been working on strengthening his legs and I am so glad about that.  He's been losing muscle mass and I'm glad to see him getting some of it back.  Leg strength and balance are very important.

We still haven't gotten word whether or not his bike has been accepted in a huge motorcycle show on February 1st (Marshall's birthday) and after seeing some of the bikes from past shows, we are not sure his bike will make the cut.  Hopefully we will hear for sure today.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fun trip to Denver

We have two friends, Jim and Char, who we met 12 or 13 years ago at the VFW in Golden where Jim played in a band. When we moved to Westcliffe, we didn't get to go see him any more and after a few years he stopped playing.

Well, last week, we saw a Facebook post that he was going to play again at the VFW in Golden, so we decided to go up there and surprise them.

We drove up yesterday afternoon and got a hotel, went to dinner and then headed over to the VFW. They were very surprised to see us -- and we also got to see other friends we haven't seen in years. So we had a really fun two days. Marshall's energy held up until about 8:00 and then he started fading so we left.

This is Jim getting set up to play. The dance floor pretty much looked like this all night long (LOL)....

Here's Marshall with our friend Betty on the left and Char on the right.

And most of the people at the VFW were wearing their Broncos shirts. GO BRONCOS!!!

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our booth at Marketplace Shops

We have decided to give up our booth at Marketplace Shops in Canon City. It's a great shop, but it isn't giving us (especially Marshall) the joy we had hoped. So we gave notice today that we will vacate on January 31.

I will keep making jewelry but I will put it on my Etsy website so I can do it all from home.

Marshall has been feeling pretty good, but when we went to Canon City today the nausea hit him again. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it so we keep the anti-nausea pills handy all the time.

Marshall has applied to enter his bike in a big show coming up in Denver on February 1 and 2. We will know whether he's been accepted in mid-January sometime. If he is accepted, we need to get working on making sure the bike is spic and span, and then we need to hope the weekend of February 1st is free of snowstorms! (February 1st will be his 68th birthday and it will also be very close to the 2-year anniversary of his cancer diagnosis.)

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Today's cancer center visit

Our first appointment today was with the psychologist. He saw both of us today so that I could better understand what's going on in Marshall's mind. We both really like this guy and it was a productive visit. However, he made it clear that future visits would be with Marshall only and will not include me. I am welcome to call him with any questions, but I won't be sitting in on any sessions.

Then we went to the lab and Marshall had blood drawn for his monthly tests.

Then we saw the oncologist (usually we see the nurse practitioner, but today it was the actual oncologist). We had a lot of questions for him.

The lab work came out right where it should be and the good news of the day was that the PSA -- after two months of going up a small amount -- went back down to 1.58. But Dr. Flaig stressed again that even when the PSA rises a bit, it is not the final say in how things are going. If Marshall doesn't have any pain (which he doesn't) and if his scans come out good (which they have so far), then things are going well.

However, there was that one test called a Chromagrannin which came out very high. The test has been done twice and it's come out high both times. Dr. Flaig said this can be high because of cancer growth or it can be high due to medications that Marshall is taking.

He doesn't want to start withholding medications just to discover if they are causing the Chromagrannin test to be so high, so to be on the safe side, our next visit on February 4 will be a 2-day visit and they will do all of the body scans again just to be sure everything is where we think it is (if that makes any sense). The scans and lab work will be done on February 4 and we will see the doctor on February 6. So it will be a little 3-day "vacation" for us (LOL).

We asked the doctor to clarify for us what the next step would be if the Zytiga fails. He said there are lot of options and we will go over them if and when it becomes necessary. Things change in the cancer world and new treatments are being approved constantly.

With regard to the Xgeva (bone strengthener) that was discontinued in October, they will probably resume that drug when we come back in February.

So that's the story for today.

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4:00am !!!

My day is starting out with  bang.

At 4:00AM this morning, Okie jumped up on the bed and started throwing up all over the bed.  Coco likes to eat that (ugh) so I had to fight with him to get him off the bed while trying to wake myself up.  Okie managed to throw up on both the comforter and the sheets.

I started removing all the bedclothes when I noticed Coco was pooping down the hallway (a little bit of diarrhea).  And Marlee wanted to start eating that (double ugh).

So I had to run to stop Marlee from eating that, but in the meantime, Marlee walked through it and when he ran away from me he tracked poop throughout the house.

So by 5:30AM I was scrubbing the floors, giving Marlee a bath, cleaning Coco up and changing all the bedclothes on my bed.

And now we have to go to the cancer today and I am EXHAUSTED!

**And, by the way, Marshall slept through it all…..

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Had to chase down Marshall's cancer drugs today

The renewal of Marshall's cancer medication was scheduled to be delivered yesterday, but we had to run to town and we missed the FedEx guy. So he didn't leave the package. That meant that today we had to run to Pueblo to the FedEx facility and pick up the drugs. Marshall only had two days supply left and we didn't want to take a chance.

But it was snowing a bit today so the ride to and from Pueblo was a little slippery for me. I was so glad to get back home.

And Monday is our next visit to the cancer center for bloodwork and a new PSA test. We always get a little anxious on those days.

Monday we will also be seeing the psychologist together.

I will report back on Monday or Tuesday.

[Tommy, if you are reading this, I hope you have weathered your chemotherapy and are on the mend -- we've been thinking of you...]

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Photo

Christmas 2013
Back row: Marilyn, brother Bob, daughter Tricia (cat Hopscotch), sister Linda
Front row:  Marshall, niece Margaret (Jack Russells Buster and Tyke),  great-niece Ellie,
Margaret's husband Cody, sister-in-law Liz and son-in-law Ed.