Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Glazed Turkey

LadyBug subscribes to Taste of Home magazine and cookbooks. We got a recipe from them that we adapted. Here is our new recipe:
Turkey Breast
1/2 cup preserves (we used Blackberry)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 325.
Place Turkey in a roasting dish (they recommend using a rack in it, but we didn't have one).
Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, basting the turkey to start, then every 30 minutes until the turkey is done. 
You will need to go by time, since the caramelizationof the glaze will keep the little red button from popping up. This is is SUCH JUICY turkey!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Waters Ripple and Flow...

We had a very eventful couple of days this week. First, LadyBug went in to have her filter removed. This is not a permanent situation, since she will have it put back in before the final operations. But it also keeps it from being a permanent addition to her vascular system.
The operation went very well, considering they had to go in through the left side, since the vein on her right side has closed up a little. They said it could be because of scarring, or from the chemo, but it simply meant they went through the other side. She was only in the O.R. an hour, which given our history, is a huge improvement over her usual 6-7 hour surgeries.
When she was out, it was only about 40 minutes until she could be released, so we were happy to not have another long stay! We even decided we had enough time before dinner to go to the dollar theater and take in a good movie.
Unfortunately, we chose "Fair Game," quite possibly the most boring movie in existence!! It is starring Sean Penn, which almost chased me away to begin with, except that his movie "The Interpreter" was pretty good. So we went in. Forty-five minutes later, we went back out, glad that we had only wasted $3. If you are looking for a great movie, look somewhere else. If you are looking for a good nap, stay at home--it's cheaper!
We then called LadyBug's sister and bro-in-law, Pillsbury Snowboy, and went out for sushi! I ate more than I have in awhile, but it was sushi, so too bad, so sad, I'm already over any guilt there wasn't.... Snowboy ate his fill in sushi also, since he'd obviously never had really awesome rolls before! LadyBug had the chicken and rice, and ate better than she had in a week! We were very excited for her to get her appetite back!  
While all of this was going on, our oldest son, Skitl, called to tell us his car had broken down. The gist of it is this: He hasn't been checking his oil or getting services on his car as frequently as he should, and the thousands of miles he's put on it caused the engine to seize. He has applied for a loan with Wells Fargo to fix his car, which requires a new engine. He only has three weeks left there, so it's rather ironic, but we didn't want him stranded in that city without transportation! My parents wondered if they should send him some money to help, but I was able to let them realize that this would not be the help he needs. He will come home and find a job, then go back to school.
When we were on our way home, we needed to stop for a few things at Wally World, and LadyBug got a little dizzy bending over. An hour later (okay more than that, since we drove in almost white-out conditions in that freak snow-storm!) she bent over to give herself a shot, got dizzy, nauseous, and threw up most of the dinner she ate. We called the hospital and they said since she was okay sitting in a recliner to just let her stay there, so she slept in the recliner.
This morning, she was still nauseous and throwing up, so she called Dr. Chemo's office. They said it sounded like she was dehydrated, so we took her to our local hospital, where she was given I.V. fluids, and nausea medicine, etc. We were also given some scrips for medicines she can put under her tongue. Our insurance doesn't like those types of pills, though, so discourage their use by making us pay more co-pay! We couldn't get both medicines, so we just got the nausea medicine, hoping that will help her keep down the other pills she takes. She is home now, and we a re watching her.
Speaking of dehydration, yours truly has been talking with a health-coach, who started me on a tracking sheet to keep track of how much water I drink each day. I have always told my students (and anyone else who will listen) that they need to drink more water, but i never knew just how much I WASN'T drinking! I have been amazed at just how much water 8 cups of water is! And I am getting to see more of the porcelain than usual (I know you are thrilled to know THAT tidy tidbit of information!). I am also adjusting my workouts to make the most out of them, and keeping up with my diet (okay, not a diet but a life-style change as my fitness friend tells me!). I am down almost forty lbs. now, so I am very happy about that--although the sushi binge may have set me back a week!
So there is our week. Not really. That was all just in the last two or three days. I'm beginning to think there are worse things than being bored.
Take care!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Half off, or 50%, Whichever is More

LadyBug just had her fourth chemo treatment on Thursday. This seems like just any other statement on the surface. But for us, this is a huge milestone. You see, she is only scheduled to have eight treatments, so this means we are half-way done!
But that's not all. Four chemo treatments down means we are done with the Adriamycin / Cytoxin combination! LaadyBug now prepares for four treatments of Taxol, which is purported to be a milder drug than the previous combination. It is true that everyone responds differently to the various drugs, but the nurse said everyone so far agrees that Taxol is not as harsh, and that they feel better on it than on the other.
This would be great news if it was already happening, but for now, we still have two weeks of side affects to deal with. So for now, LadyBug will be nauseous and tired, though hopefully not as tired as before, since Dr. Chemo prescribed iron pills for her. Her iron was supposed to be 36, but was closer to 14. That's not good. Hopefully the iron pills will boost her energy, if nothing else.
For me, I continue my fat-fight. I haven't lost much more in the last week or so, since these lbs. will not come off as easily, but I have also not been quite as strict in my diet. I have not been cheating or gorging, but have also not had quite as many salads. I have, however, been exercising every day, so am at least holding steady. I do plan to start getting serious again about how I eat, but a good friend cautions that if we don't enjoy what we eat, we are more likely to binge later. 
So I will be a good boy for awhile longer. I've lost 35 lbs. so far, and am aiming for another 35 before I am even remotely satisfied. I believe it will happen, so discouragement is not entering the equation yet.
With luck, by the time LadyBug is better, I will be healthy enough to get her back to strength. And hopefully be able to continue doing so for a long time to come!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It Is a Glorious Thing to Be the Pirate King!

I posted the full story last year, so I won't repost it. But I just want to put this out there: I have been alive 22 years longer than I almost wasn't. A misplaced sword almost did me in on Valentine's Day of 1989, and here I am 22 years later, kickin' like a Rockette (ya, just try to get THAT image out of your head!).
It has always given m a sense of perspective to think that I came within less than an inch of trading in my pirate costume for a robe and (hopefully) a halo. And I realize none of this makes sense to people who never heard the original story. Oh well. I still won't repost it. Look in my archives.
To those of you who were a part of my world back then, thank you for directing the path of my life. I love you all and appreciate who I am because I knew you. To those who were not there, but are a part of my life now, thank you for keeping me on that path, and showing me what true graciousness is all about.
And to my daughters, whose birthdays were last week and today respectively, thank you for continuing to give me reasons to appreciate the time I've had (even though you don't read my blog!).
Lastly, to my wife, LadyBug, the Love-of -my-life, thank you for being with me through it all. Thank you for being my reason for everything I do, and for inspiring me with you strength in adversity. I may not yet be the man you deserve, but because of you, hopefully I will be the man I should be.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day for Fathers

So I passed another mile-marker this weekend. Our daughter ZeldaPrincess just turned 17, and has a [new] boyfriend. we have taught our kids all their lives that they should wait until 16 to date, and 18 (college) to steady-date. With Skitl, our oldest, this wasn't an issue, because he was so shy. The next one, StarGazer, had a girlfriend as soon as he turned 16, but that lasted about two weeks, then he never went there again. Kissa went with a boy when she was a junior or senior, but again, it was short-lived and didn't happen again until college.
But with Z.P., this is her FIFTH boyfriend! She keeps settin' 'em up and knockin' 'em down. She even tells each one that she doesn't want a boyfriend anymore, but then turns around within weeks and gets another. We tell her every time she would be much better off if she would just date, which has about as much impact as if we were to tell the same thing to our living room sofa!
But this weekend, Z.P. has informed us that she and her friends made plans with her boyfriend to drive to his place and spend the day, since there is no school. The thing is, though, he lives 1 1/2 hours away on the other side of a very dangerous stretch of Interstate Freeway. Z.P. has been driving for only just over a year, but she was very upset when we informed her that she really shouldn't make plans like that without talking to us first, especially since we are NOT going to let her go.
I will often give in if I feel that a child's request is not unreasonable, but I have informed her that I will NOT be changing my mind on this one. I know that this decision is the right one, since all of the variables give me a bad feeling about the whole plan. Even knowing she wants to have her friends go with her doesn't make me feel better since teenage drivers are more likely to be distracted by friends in the car. 
Even so, I am asking (possibly in a means of justifying my decision) all of you... What would YOU say in a situation like this? If nothing else, perhaps knowing there are others out there who would be in the same circumstances would ease her eternal suffering over this one event. Again, I know in these circumstances my decision is the right one, but what would you tell your 17 year-old daughter?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spinning My Wheel

Not much has changed in our battle with cancer. LadyBug is more nauseous than before, and more tired than before, and has lost all her hair, but not much has changed. She goes up next week to see if she can get her filter removed. They will check for blood flow and clotting. If everything is okay, the doctor will schedule a surgery to remove the filter. Then, when she is ready to start the final stages of reconstruction, she will go back and have the filter put back in. Otherwise, she will have to have the filter replaced again. So we are hoping for good news, one way or the other.
As for me, I have been putting miles on my elliptical bike. It is a nice little machine we bought a few years ago from a golf shop for a nice price. I'll admit, for a while it was just a bulky coat-rack, but now I am spinning away every night. I have started easy, going for 15 minutes a day, which on the odometer amounts to about 2 1/2 miles. It doesn't feel like running that far, though, so I am happy about that. I hate running.
Once I get into better shape, I will up that to twenty or thirty minutes. I am currently trying to run every day except Sunday. Sometimes I am gone, so can't get to my bike, but I think I will live if I miss one or two days here and there.
The best thing, though, is that I have lost 31 lbs.!
On another tangent, those who are in the know are aware that I have finished my book. I submitted it to Shadow Mountain, a publisher that has produced some of my favorite books. I don't have any expectations, but lots of high hopes. That way, if I am rejected, I won't be completely destroyed, just delayed. I will continue to work at this, until I get to where I want to be. As my brother Stick said, at least I will have written a book. It is a huge thing to finish something that big. 
And it has been a while since I was as nervous as I was actually printing my submission and mailing it. Times like that remind you you're still alive, I guess, so it was about as much fun as I've had since I directed the premier of my 1st (and only...) Symphony. 
I find that every so many months, I have a creative burst that takes me in new directions. I have made a pinoeer outfit (some of it anyway), two didjeridoos (from PVC), several transverse flutes, my symphony, my book, numerous poems and songs arrangements, choral pieces, hats and scarfs (polar fleece), a rain-stick, political cartoons, various organization logos, and other little projects. I just feel I NEED to make things, but I never know what is going to spark an interest. I can't wait to see what's next!
We are off tomorrow to find ZeldaPrincess some shoes for Prom, and hopefully find a wheelchair for LadyBug. She is just too tired to get around when we go out. Take care, all. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. May the Lord bless you all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh My Hair! Part Deux

LadyBug got a new 'do. I will not post the whole story here. If you want to hear it, you must hear it from me directly. Sorry, just covering bases. Here is a picture of her new "cranial prosthetic:"

She goes for her third treatment tomorrow. This puts us more than half-way through the first drug therapy! She will only have ONE MORE TREATMENT OF THE RED DEVIL! Then only four treatments of Cytoxin is left! Of course, then she still has five weeks of radiation, but we are making progress here! 
I am not happy about the fact that I am leaving later that same evening for a weekend trip, but I cannot miss this conference. ZeldaPrincess will be here the whole weekend, and there is a chance that Kissa will be able to come, plus LadyBug will try going to a baby shower Saturday (if she is able).
I am looking forward to two days of training this weekend, plus some warmer weather! I am also looking forward to seeing some of my friends that I only get to see once or twice a year.
I have also started exercising. It's not pretty. So don't ever come to watch. But I am hoping that I can use this to drop even a few more pounds. I also hope that I can get into better condition. I would love nothing more than to get in good enough shape to go on a long-distance bike ride (pedal-bike).