Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My Christmas Greeting comes to you right in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas. I hope you are still reveling in the joy of the coming of Jesus! I point this out as a salve to my conscience as it has been almost a month since I posted and I had intended to post BEFORE Christmas. Hopefully you have had plenty of time this week to enjoy His coming as well as time with your friends and families. We celebrated with my family here in central Florida. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning found us at Rob and Molly's house for great fun and gifts. And Christmas dinner we all went up to Dad's house (across the street from Molly's)for a serious feast! And we had the treat of friends Kimberly and Kendrick Lau joining us for dinner. We all had a great time. After dinner the Florida contingent of the next generation had a sleep over at Molly's house and I can only imagine that they had a good time. I guess we should ask Molly if she and Rob enjoyed the craziness too. Work has been busy as expected this time of year. The Parks are full of Guests but everything is running smoothly. I so enjoy being in the Parks during these busy days and getting to interact with the folks from all over the world who came to celebrate with us. The weather has been beautiful particularly if they are from the colder regions. It has been plenty warm here to even enjoy the water parks and swimming pools. My health news is all good. I had a stress test yesterday and the doctor said it was fine. That means that my chemo treatments can likely go back to the one that my medical oncologist really wants to use, Kadcyla. So I figure we will get started with that new treatment sometime in January. I will keep you up to date, promise! Again I am wishing you all the best during this Christmas season and throughout the new year. I love you and thank you for the support! Wendy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How did it get to be December already?!

Hi everyone, I just don't know where the time goes. We had a great Thanksgiving last week. Lots of folks including some new and old friends. We did miss having Arra Mae and my brother Rob's family but I don't know where we would have put them. The house was busting its seams. We did get to include friends of mine from work, Kimberly and Kendrick and their parents Mae and Joseph. We also included the family of my nephew Jake's best girl Shayna. Her mom, Kathy and dad, Mike and grandmother, Josefina all of whom were good sports about the craziness at our house and were very interesting to talk with during the evening. Then Friday we headed to Pineland for a fishing and fun weekend with the Bundschus and Doerrs. I get to brag for having caught the only legitimate fish (in that it was a trout) Stan did catch a catfish/tourist trout but we decided it didn't count. Attached is a picture of my fish, you may need a magnifier! The poor little thing must have barely managed to eat the shrimp I had on as bait! Saturday evening some of the neighbors joined us for an appetizer and dessert party. Elmer won for the best pie (and there was quite a variety)with his homemade key lime pie. There were a lot of votes for the coconut cream and the banana cream too. And then we entertained ourselves with a sing along of old songs we all knew. It sounds corny but we had a blast!!! Other than that there is nothing new to report, all is well on the medical front. I will promise to try and stay more current on my postings. Hope you all are enjoying the Christmas Season. Don't let the hustle distract you from the Joy! Love Wendy

Friday, November 8, 2013

Health updates

Hi Everybody, Just wanted to give you the latest updates which are all good. Recent scans that were looking for heart and spinal issues following the tumor scare in September have all come up with nothing new to report. Yeah! And thanks be to the Lord who has held me safe in His merciful hand! After the doctors discuss the recent results I expect we will be back on track for treatments. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kind words. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate them and how well everything is going. Love you all, Wendy

Monday, November 4, 2013

I needed my IT guy!

These photos are from the trip to the Dominican Republic and I have been trying to post them since last weekend. I am a dunce at this and needed my IT guy (Michael) to help me shift the photos to our desk top before I could post them. Yeah Michael! Hope you all enjoy the pics of the beautiful Caribbean city of Santo Domingo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ola! From the Dominican Republic

Hi there friends, Arrived today in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to participate in the ECHO (www.echonet.org) Carribbean Conference. We have a Board of Directors meeting tomorrow and the conference begins on Tuesday. This afternoon I am sitting on the pool deck with soft breezes and enjoying the music and a good book. I will try to grab some photos tomorrow to liven up this blog. Otherwise, all is well. Next week I have a few more tests and I start a new treatment, Faslodex. But I am feeling great and obviously the doctors all cleared me for travel. Ido continue to thank those of you praying for me and the treatments. Pray also that through everything I give the credit of health and strength where it belongs, at the merciful feet of Jesus.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A pretty good Monday

Hi you all, Today I had a few more tests,saw Dr. Moroose and didn't have chemo. Last Friday's PET scan came back with very good news, the radiation stopped the tumor on my spine as did the previous radiation on the pelvis. Everything that we knew about is now stable and there were no new sites. One of my tests did come back with a result that will lead to more tests but it isn't a big deal. Dr. Moroose wants to clear that up and because the PET was so positive I am going to get a break from chemo for a little while. Yeah! I just wanted to keep you up to date. And since I get a break the next blog should be back to a travel blog as I head to the Dominican Republic October 27-31, to attend the ECHO Board meeting and the first Carribean Conference. So we can look forward to that rather than health updates. Love to you all. Wendy

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Finished radiation today!

Hi ya'll Just letting you know that the radiation treatments finished today. I am doing well and it will be nice just to go to work tomorrow morning! I am thankful for the amazing technology and the wonderful doctors, technicians and staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center. They work miracles every day. Wendy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quiet weekend

Not much to report, just hanging out at home, planning the fall garden and watching some sports. UCf Knights made a good showing against the #12 SC Gamecocks, just came up a little short. Unfortunately the Tampa Rays also came up short against Toronto and now they are in a mess in the wild card race. I am feeling good and only have three more radiation treatments. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. God hears us! Wendy

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Keeping you updated

Not that there is much new to tell. But after all the info last week I thought that I best stay current. So I am at radiation every morning by 7:30 and gone 5 minutes after that. Piece of cake. Yesterday I also saw my two doctors and they are happy with the treatment and progress. It is good to have happy doctors! Once we finish the radiation treatments there will be another scan and changes to my drug regimen. But none of that should be a big deal in daily activity. I continue to be amazed at how The Lord protected me over the last few weeks while I was not paying attention. I clearly see His hand protecting me and guiding me. This is always humbling and takes me to my knees (where I belong). So thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Trusting in Him

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New update

Hey ya'll Should have posted this yesterday when I got HOME! Sorry about that. After two radiation treatments over Thursday and Friday and that much longer on the IV steroids the doctors said I could go home. I continue the steroid treatment with tablets and go for another 8 radiation fractions over the next week and a half. It is so great to be on my own couch with at least one dog snuggled up and sometimes both. I can do light activity, Michael let me do laundry and cook an easy dinner but I was not allowed to help him till or rake the garden! Tomorrow I am going to church and back to work on Monday. Just wanted to let you know that I am doing well, thanks be to The Lord and some awesome doctors, nurses, technicians and others at MD Anderson Cancer Center! Wendy

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Update

Hey everybody! While I like sharing fun travel or fishing stuff with you all today is a health update. I have recently had some back pain and this week we determined that one of the spot on my vertebrae has grown some and is pressing on the spinal cord. So I am currently in patient at MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Orlando receiving steroid treatment to reduce the swelling. It is amazing the improvement in the pain since yesterday. I will also be starting radiation therapy to shrink the cancerous cells on that vertebra. In this situation I clearly see God in control as we were scheduled to head out on a two week vacation in Yellowstone next week and that could have had very serious results. So praise Him for the guiding hand. Yellowstone will be there next year! Just wanted to let you all know what is going on. Thank you for any and all prayers on behalf of Michael and me. Trusting in Him, Wendy

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pine Island Weekend

HI everyone, I am a little late posting this but had a busy work week. Last weekend over Labor Day Michael and I were down in Pineland,Florida with PERFAKT (Pineland Eating, Relaxing,Fishing and Kayaking Team). Meetings of the group are held at our friends Chris and Gayle Bundschu's home and attended generally by the four of us along with Stan and Beth Doerr. This past Saturday we headed out for a fishing trip with Captain Shane Dooley. WE had a great time and actually caught fish too. Here are three photos from the excursion and one of the amazing sunset from Chris and Gayle's porch.
Things are good here and I hope all is well with you and yours. Love, Wendy

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I am such a Slacker!!

It has been 6 weeks since my last post! And while that may be taken as a sign that nothing exciting has been happening it isn't very friendly. I had a friend recently let me know she was following but hadn't seen anything new. Health wise there isn't really anything new since the post the first of July. I continue to get treatments every 3 weeks along with my daily medication. I am working out more, usually swimming or biking and recently I have added some gentle yoga back into my regimen. I need the yoga to work on improving my flexibility which is sadly lacking. I got to go kayaking last weekend with a friend who wanted to learn. It was nice to be paddling. I am hoping to get to do more the end of the month when we visit Pine Island again. And later this month the Fall season of Volleyball gets underway on Tuesday nights. Work has been busy summer normal. It is wonderful that we have been getting the regular rains. The landscapes at Animal Kingdom show the difference that rain makes.Everything is lush and dark green and happy. The only problem with the every day storms is that our dog Maggie is very afraid of thunder and lightning. She can usually be found huddled under the computer desk. Michael and I are working on arrangements for a vacation to the Yellowstone area this Fall. Neither of us has been there as adults yet so this is a Bucket List kind of trip. Of course Michael is all about the fishing so he is studying about the fly fishing in the region and decided that I could help by learning to tie flies! And I actually am enjoying it. Tying flies is a cross between macrame and entomology, since I like both it works for me. Not that the products of my efforts will be much to attract fish but you never know! For those who have been following the Garden progress we are about to wind down for the summer. This morning I harvested black-eyed peas, okra, jalapeno peppers and eggplant. We have had a bumper crop of okra and so have had some great gumbo the last couple of months and I resorted to making okra pickles. Actually the pickles aren't bad. Pretty soon though we need to turn everything under and rest it a bit to discourage bugs. And then we can plant for the fall and winter. Looking forward to collards. Boy doesn't that sound southern! Don't turn your nose up at collard greens until you have had Michael's version. Yummy! Hope this finds all of you well and happy. Blessings and Love to you, Wendy

Monday, July 1, 2013

Great vacation and update from the doctor

Good morning everyone, Michael and I returned from the M3 Ranch this past Saturday. W had been there for the prior week, having a fun time with the Bundschus and the Doerrs, friends from Florida who came up to join us. It was a very relaxing time, we really didn't do much other than hang out, a little hiking, bird watching, puzzling and eating. Dad and Arra Mae were awesome hosts and Dad's cousin Joe was a masterful bar tender. The Ranch is truly a beautiful spot and we enjoyed the peace and camaraderie. There were lots of cute babies too, Moofasa the tame steer, Miss Mae a 3 month old heifer who loves to be petted and a family of donkeys with an adorable month old colt. All in all it was a special time. Today I met with my oncologist and the only bad news was that she is moving to Omaha, NE! I so appreciate her care for the last 9 months. I am sure that the doctor she is referring me too will be great as well. Anyway we talked more in detail about the results of the scans. There has been no increase in the mets as I said before. That indicates that the treatment is working exactly as it is intended. We will stay the course we are on. I feel great and Dr. Constantino even said I could go back to jogging carefully. I don't love running or jogging but it would probably help with weight control. So ultimately that is the info and I am grateful. Thanks be to God! Hope you are having an enjoyable summer. Revel in your friends and family. My love to you all. Wendy

Friday, June 14, 2013

Great News!

Hi there everyone! Today was a scan day. I had a CAT scan and an Bone scan and my doctor just called and said that everything is just like it was on the scan April 1. None of the mets have changed in the slightest. Lets all give a big thanks to the Lord who is in control of all this! God has been so merciful and I am thankful for all the prayers on my behalf. Now let's praise Him! With this news the treatment regimen that I am on will continue through the rest of the year as it is working so well. After that I don't know yet but God is in control. All is well. Love you all, Wendy

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Farming on Saturday morning and another shout out for Alison

Morning all, Michael and I spent our morning working the garden. I weeded and replanted a couple of pots while Michael reworked two rows that we will plant in a second crop of cranberry beans. Later this week we will start harvesting black eyed peas. Right now we can hardly stay ahead of the tomatoes and the carrots, squash and onions went to good use last night in pork fried rice. All morning while we worked the red shouldered hawk chicks were hollering at is from two nearby trees. They are flying short distances but still hanging around the nest getting fed. And from the other corner of the garden we were watched by the bluebirds who nested in a old sycamore snag. If you look down the hollow of the snag you can see two baby bluebirds with mouths wide open. So here is the extra piece about Alison. My last blog was dedicated to her. Then in her blog this past week Alison included a couple of photos with her wearing the "suck it up cupcake" t-shirt we gave her and told the story about why there even exist "suck it up cupcake" t-shirts. I love her blog! Alison and her husband Randall are sailing the high season there sail boat Tregoning. Honestly Alison's blog is so much cooler than mine I am putting a link here for I you to check it out www.tripsailor.com/sailing-blogs/6087-blog-exploring-coastal-wa-and-bc-2013 I hope you enjoy it. From a treatment standpoint all is well. I have chemo again on Monday and the a three week break. Mid June are more scans. Oh and having just been to see my dermatologist here is a reminder for all of you to be vigilant regarding skin cancer! Love, Wendy

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This is for Alison!

When Alison visited us a couple of months ago she got to see the newly planted garden. I promised to post photos as it grows along. So here is what it looks like this evening.There is a overall garden shot and then a peek at the tomatoes which are producing heavily but just starting to ripen. And there is a photo of one of the red shouldered hawk chicks in the oak tree next to the garden. I think the hawk family is responsible for very little squirrel damage in the garden so far. Hope where ever you are your Spring is going well and a big shout out to Alison and Randall in the Pacific Northwest on their sailboat Tregoning. Wendy

Monday, April 15, 2013

Doctors and Elephants

Hi there everyone, This morning Michael and I went into MD Anderson for an appointment with Dr. Constantino regarding the information from the last scans. Those were a CAT scan with contrast and a bone scan. The nurse for Dr. Constantino had read for me the radiologist's report so I was kind of expecting mixed news with some bad. Well that is why I am not a medical professional! Actually it looks like most everything that was seen in the original scans is either the same or has improved from treatment. The only challenge is we are comparing apples to oranges as one of the major initial scans was a PET and we don't have a repeat of that one. So we are going to stay the course we are on and in a couple of months redo the CAT scan and the bone scan to be able to compare apples to apples. Simultaneously and while much less scientific I do get to report that yesterday I swam for the first time in weeks and was very glad to be able to swim with no pain. I had done pulls previously (arms only) but yesterday I was able to do the full stroke and had no problem and even better I was able to switch to breast stroke and use a frog kick with no pain at all. That is a huge improvement because just 6 weeks ago I couldn't do it at all. I was so happy I was practically in tears when I left the training center. Yea! Okay now to the other part of my post title: After we left the hospital Michael and I drove down to the National Elephant Center (check it out at www.nationalelephantcenter.org)in Fellsmere, Florida. I went to take a look at how much space they have to grow browse for the elephants. We got the tour from John Lehnhardt and Jeff Bolling and I was very impressed. The team there has done a great job getting ready to establish the Center. The first barn is completed and they have functionally 4 paddocks on top of the 6 stalls in the barn. I am attaching some photos. Check the tractor in the shot of the barn to give you a scale for how big this structure is. Very cool that we could go help out with the browse production side.

Monday, April 1, 2013

An early morning

Hi everyone, I hope you had a lovely Easter yesterday. He is risen! This morning I was up and on the road early for an early appointment at the hospital. Starting the next round of big scans. I have a CAT scan first followed by. Nuclear bone scan. This is the first opportunity for the doctors to see the treatment impacts on the cancer mets. My instinct is that the results will show improvement. Those of you who see me regularly know that I am no longer limping and that movement is easier. This weekend my sister Cindy came from Boston to celebrate our birthdays together just like when we were children. It has been great hanging out with her and our family. Yesterday Dad barbecued his famous ribs and we ate like royalty. Dad really has the touch with ribs! Just wanted to let you know what is going on. Stay tuned for results from the scans soon. Blessings Wendy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yesterday was a good day!

Hi there, I have been slacking on the blog updates. After the flu there wasn't much exciting to report. I pretty much laid around outside of work and slowly improved, thankfully. Unfortunately there are still a lot of folks at work that are ailing. Before I get to yesterday let me share a couple of fun things from the end of last week. On Thursday as I pulled in the driveway I saw what looked like white birds working a thermal updraft. After pulling out my binoculars it turned out to be glider planes from a nearby airport. Usually you might see a couple at a time it there were easily 20 of them. Very cool so I grabbed Michael when I parked and made him come to the backyard to see them too. After watching them a while it looked like they were heading back to the airport so we jumped in the mini and drove down to watch them land. There ,it's have been 100 different planes at the airport and we got to see a bunch of them land. There was a club having a weeklong meetup at the gliderport right there on highway 33. It was fun to see all of those cool planes. And then on Saturday we drove down for the Farm Day event at ECHO. It was a beautiful day and the event was well attended. We got to see many of our favorite ECHO staff and interns. If you don't know about ECHO from my previous blogs be sure to check them out at www.echonet.org So finally onto yesterday. I had a big schedule at MD Anderson with chemo, injection and a doctor's appointment. Everything went just fine and now I have another 3 weeks off from treatments. But I do have the next round of scans at the end of March. As my bones are feeling much better I expect that the scans will show that. I just wanted to keep you all updated. Hope everything is going well for you where you are. Enjoy Spring! We have the first tomatoes on the vine in our garden and that seems like a good sign of a pretty spring to come. And Blessings to you this Easter! Wendy

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Wow! I can handle Cancer but this cold is kicking my butt!

Like many of you this winter I managed to catch a nasty cold this week. I certainly didn't mean to catch it but Michael caught it first and we do share a house and a bed. I hope to be on the upswing later today. I will just have to be tough and "suck it up, Cupcake!" Otherwise everything is fine here. I had chemo last Monday and now have a break all the way until March 18. That is wonderful, I just wish the silly cold wouldn't keep me from the gardening I wanted to do this weekend. Hope all is well in your world. Wendy

Monday, February 18, 2013

2 posts in one day!

Well I told you I would follow up. Everything went just fine. The hip x-rays were read by both the medical oncologist as well as my radiation oncologist. The word is that while I can't start weight bearing exercise for a couple more months yet from a cancer standpoint the hips look fine. Warning to any men following this blog you may want to tune out now. So sisters you know how much fun a mammogram can be, right? Well now think about the tech including a piece of hardware like oh say a port in the tissue that she is going to squeeze flat! Let me just say Ouch! Guys you can come back now. In between the scans and the doctor appointment I ran up to Maitland to drop a check at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and got to see a baby great horned owl. Let me tell you that was cool! The adults are huge birds and this baby is nearly full grown but still with baby feathers and awkwardness. The folks at the Center are rehabilitating her as she broke her wing badly when she fell from the nest. In this case she won't be able to be released back to the wild. When they get her fixed up and grown up she will be used for education to help her species and other birds of prey. Just wanted to share my fun bird encounter with you all too. TTFN Wendy

An overdue update

Hello, I realized that you haven't heard from me recently. Shame on me, but the good side of that was there was nothing to report. Maybe after today as I have a few scans and see Dr. Constantino later. At home Michael and I have been working on the garden and it is looking good. Hopefully our cold protection efforts this weekend will be successful in saving the tender crops like the just emerged beans and the newly planted tomatoes. It was 29 degrees this morning. As things grow up a bit more I will get a photo to share with you. Otherwise it has been pretty routine. One special thing this week is that we are celebrating Phyllis'(Michael's mom) 85th birthday today. She had some celebrations at the park where she lives over the weekend and this evening we get to take her out to dinner. Then later this week we are going down to Ft. Myers. Me to attend the ECHO board meetings and Michael to go play with Chris Bundschu. I thank all of you who are following this blog. It is great to know there are such awesome friends in my corner. Look for another post soon as I will let you know if anything or nothing comes out of today's scans and appointments. Love, Wendy

Monday, February 4, 2013

The day started out beautifully

As I was driving in to MD Anderson Hospital for my regular chemo treatment I passed a pasture just about at dawn and in the paddock was a young black calf running and jumping. to top it off the morning had patches of fog and the sun was just coming up and lit the fog so that it was pink. Pink fog with a cute black calf playing in it. Beautiful and surreal! The chemo treatment went fine and the new port work just like it is supposed to. That was a good thing. The last time it was just after the surgery and it really bruised up afterward. I think everything is nicely healed and it has settled in to be no excitement. Now I have two full weeks with before my next medical appointment, scan or treatment. WAHOO!! And to end the day Michael and I worked on planting more in our vegetable garden. Yes this is Florida and I planted my garden the beginning of February. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for another four weeks. But I really think it will be okay. Michael has done a great job at building the garden and I hope I can deliver some vegetables. Just wanted to let everyone know that all is well here. The next information will come after I have x-rays on the 18th. Love to you all. Wendy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thanks for the inquiries, I am doing great!

Hi there everyone, I have been delinquent again in keeping you all informed. Sorry and that means a number of you had to actually inquire. So I am glad to report that all is going well. This week I actually don't have any medical or doctor's appointments, Yahoo! The past Saturday Michael and I participated in the Walt Disney World Holiday Bird Count. Our zone to look for birds was around the Magic Kingdom. It was a gorgeous Florida day with nothing but sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the high 70's. We saw lots of beautiful birds from Bald Eagles to tiny Blue Gray Gnatcatchers. I am including some photos from that event. Wendy
At home Michael and I are working on getting our spring garden going and just generally enjoying the great weather. This week we will celebrate my Dad's 79th Birthday. Happy Birthday Papa!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Any Port?

So today Dr Chambers installed a Power Port. This is a mechanism that maintains a catheter in a vein that the doctors access to deliver chemo treatments. Oddly enough it is in the right side of my chest not the left. My friends out there who are sailors will get the humor. The procedure went fine and Michael and I were home by early afternoon.while my shoulder aches some I am happily ensconced on the couch with a dog on my feet and Michael is preparing dinner. I am very lucky. It will be a quiet weekend for us and I hope a good weekend for you all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here we are in 2013 and I hope you are having a great start! It is beautiful here with bright blue sky and warm temperatures. I pray that you will have a wonderful year. I am doing well a week after the last radiation treatment. The fatigue has eased and healing has begun. I am spending longer on the stationary bike every time I ride it and that makes me happy. Tomorrow I plan on getting back in the pool for a nice swim since the weather is so nice. I can't get too aggressive for a couple of months while my bones heal and fill in the gaps, but that doesn't mean I have to be still! Michael is watching me like a hawk to make sure I stay inside my boundaries. This week is already a blessing as I don't have any medical or doctor appointments, and that is a first since November. Not that I am complaining, the team at MD Anderson has been wonderful. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate them. So I hope that the New Year finds you surrounded by your loved ones and that the coming year brings you many blessings and opportunities to bless others. Love, Wendy