Good F-ing riddance 2008

Lousy year.

'Nuff said.

jc

The challenge of photographing kids...




For the last few years, we have gotten a family picture, usually at Disneyland, and send it out as a card.

This year, try as I may, I have been unsuccessful.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures later I have given up.

Herding these two so that I can get a good picture is near impossible. The requirements are simple:
  1. Both smiling. A real smile and not a "I am smiling, Dad" smile.
  2. Both looking at the camera. Jenna tends to look sideways at something -- anything -- that is more interesting.
  3. Hair in reasonable condition. They both have random bits of hair that like to streak across their eyes.
  4. Both eyes open. Two eyes per child, it is amazing that only three out of four are open at any one time.
  5. Camera works properly -- the flash isn't too close, too far, not working, inappropriate, or the focus is off some how. Nice camera, just not perfect all the time.
  6. Framing the picture correctly. This drives me crazy -- people want to take a picture of you and they take a picture of ALL of you. I don't care about anything below chest height... I want the face -- not the background.
So, we went tonight to the picture people and spent money to have done what I couldn't acomplish myself.

They came out OK.

One of them Jenna had her signature sideways looks, of course. The glare off my glasses (and bald head) were distracting. But Caitlyn, Mom, and Jenna looked great.

That's all I can ask for.

jc

Caitlyn's big award


She won an award for "Demonstrating exemplary effort, work habits, and behavior".

Yes, I am quite proud of my kid. There were only five awards given out to her class, and she got one.

Too bad her effort, work habits, and behavior don't come into play with her household chores!

Proud Dad...
jc

Update of the day - 4-Dec-08

Well, I am feeling fine. Better than I have in a year. Not much to report on with the health thing, other than I went back to my original Oncologist (Dr. Lee) yesterday, and got back up to speed with him.

He sent me out, telling me to loose weight, set me up with Aridia infusion, and sent me to the blood draw lab to get poked ( only 7 vials, a light day).

I started the Thalidomide Tuesday evening. Not much to report on that, no nausia or anything.

I took the Schicklets to Disneyland, had a great time, and got totally wore out. Crowds were there, but lines were not too bad.

That's enough small stuff for this post...

jc

Things to be thankful for...

  1. The previous post.
  2. My long suffering wife (if you are around me, you are suffering).
  3. The fires in Yorba Linda diverting north .3 mile and south .3 mile from my parents house.
  4. My perfect daughters.
  5. My family, friends, and well wishers that kept my spirits up when I was in treatment.
  6. You. If you are reading this you care enough to check in, find out what is happening, and suffer through my political rants (MORE TO COME!).
jc

The Latest News on the Cancer Front

The latest news on cancer is... there is none.

Bone marrow biopsy -- NONE.

Blood test -- NONE.

The doctor declared me cancer free. They used the latest equipment available, and could not find even the smallest amount of cancerous material.

For now.

There is a 70% chance that it will come back in the future. The idea now is to treat myeloma like a chronic condition. Just like diabetes or high blood pressure, or even high cholesterol, I will be treating the cancer with a low dose of chemo (thalidomide) until it doesn't work anymore.

Hopefully, that will be a few years from now.

Until then, I think I will go to Disneyland!

jc

Progress report

Today I had a bone marrow biopsy (BOO!), under general anashesia (YAY!). Have no idea what the results are, but I will find out Wednesday.

While I am a bit sore from the biopsy, I am even more sore from a slip and fall I had on Sunday. I hosed down all the ash from the porch, then as I walked out with a load of newspaper for "someguy" to pick up, my feet went out from under me. Scraped up my fore arms, with big bruises to boot. I also landed on the edge of the stair tread with the small of my back.

That was panic time.

If this had happened a few months ago, I would have broken my back. As it is, I have a bruise across my lumbar area, and boy is it tender. Most chairs have lumbar support, and since I tend to sit more, it is constantly being bothered.

Besides that, I feel better than I have in over a year. Looking forward to, and being, thankful on Thanksgiving.

jc

Fire Videos




I had a doctor's appointment at Kaiser Lakeview (went A.O.K) and had some time to kill, so I went to the burn area around the parents place.

When I said the fire split in two close to their house, it was CLOSE! 0.3 miles to the south and 0.4 miles to the north.

Hard to get good pictures, but I got a few.

Saw fire units from Fullerton, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, and several other places. Tons of fire equipment and Police in the area.

Very odd pattern of fire... at the Bryant Ranch school, I saw play equipment schorched at the top, melted and burnt, but the bottom was good as new.

I posted several videos on YouTube and put pictures on Flikr. Browse at will.

jc

Fire Blogging II

I always like seeing things on a map. It looks like this fire merged with the Brea fire and went up to Diamond Bar. It also went down the toll roads, south.

Diamond Bar to Irvine, what a fire!

It is amazing that the fire split right at my parents house.

The evacuation order was lifted about 45 minutes ago, so they charged into the area. They are settling back in. I guess the water supply is adulterated, so they need to boil water for drinking.

So, this interesting chapter is closed for the moment... I may go out there and get some pics later.

jc

Nap attack III

Jenna was good, so she got to play on the computer. Jenna was tired, so she got to sleep on the computer. Sleep, Jenna sleep!



I bet a few of you would like to do this at your office!

jc

Fire Blogging


The fires still rage, and the big concerns are: wind changes, flying embers.

Last night my parents place was under voulentary evacuation orders. Today it is manditory. No reports of looters, and the area is easy to secure, with only two main (no minor) ways in.

Mom and Dad are hooking up with their neighbors who evacuated their stuff. Hopefully they will get their belongings back and go back to their house today -- but I seriously doubt it.

The winds are calm, but if the normal wind pattern returns, the embers from the front of the fire (west) will come right back at them.

This fire spread so fast, it skipped many areas, so if the winds reverse, it will just burn those areas. No chance of a controlled backfire.

Here in Fullerton, the ash is falling like snow. It is not even 09:00 and the temp is 78, with 21% humidity.

There is also the Brea fire, not as bad, much closer than the Corona - Freeway Complex - Triangle complex fire. This one is more contained, scorched the high school and a few apartments. This one also shut down the 57 freeway, causing even more havoc on the OC freeways. It took my dad (who could not be bothered to stop golfing) 3 hours to get here to my house after golf last night.

Time for breakfast -- since I started typing the temp has gone up 1 degree and the humidity has dropped 1%. Not a good trend for firefighters.

jc

Yorba Linda fire (now called the FREEWAY COMPLEX FIRE)




I got the call to help my parents evacuate their house, and immediately jumped into the car and headed east.

The roads to the house were blocked, no one allowed in. I went over to the shopping area near there, where there is some high ground, and got some pictures of the fire. This fire started in Corona, at least 5-6 miles away. When I left, the fire had jumped the freeway (south) and was starting to tear through the apartments in Anaheim hills. That is picture 0018. When I left, the freeway was vacant, as you can see in picture 0029.
Picture 002 shows how the fire area when I got there. Directly in front is where my parents house is, looking due east, the fire off to the left and right (above the red pointed roof on the left). For those who know the area, I am at the El Torito restaurant in the Savi Ranch area. Luckily, the fire tore down the river bed ( center of picture 002) and didn't go up the hill. Another fire line went to the left (north) and that took out several large houses in the area above the Honda dealership near Yorba Linda and La Palma.

This is a fast moving fire, that has skipped areas and moved fast. Areas that were skipped are still in danger, embers are flying everywhere.

My parents are safe, as are their neighbors. Mom and Dad will probably stay here tonight, as the area is still an active fire area. Thankfully, their neighbors got into the house and evacuated some vital things, but at this point we don't know what that entails.

I am the point of contact for information, so go ahead and barrage me with questions.

jc

Crime of Hope and Change...

The Obama brown shirts are out, and --gosh-- how much do you want to bet that no one will be charged with a crime. If this were a racially reversed situation, all hell would have broken out. This looks a lot like typical Chicago thuggery.

"One approached me and got in my face and called me racist because I had the pin on. That really ticked me off, but I kind of left it alone because she was so much bigger than I am," said Grossmann. She is 5 feet 2 and weighs 120 pounds, and played boys high school hockey in Alaska. "The girls in the background were just a little bigger than me. They were mocking me from the sidelines."



Perhaps they were some of Obama's volunteers.

Of course, it also happens in California


Feel the love...

jc

Man Arrested at Philly Obama Victory Rally for Wearing a McCain/Palin T-Shirt



Dissent will not be tolerated. Crime of thought will be dealt with quickly, swiftly, and decisively.

They said that if Bush was elected, this would happen.

The crowd is instructive. Any disent in the future of THE ONE will be met with near riots of this sort.

Look familiar?

Get out your sand bags and ammo...

jc

Mandatory Virtue (resistance is futile) -- Updated

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.


If you don't serve, they may put a blue plastic bag over your head.

This kind of conscription was popular with the old soviet empire. Mao did it too. While leftists may think that it is "voluntary", what if you want to volunteer as a Minuteman on the boarder? A pro life clinic (one that doesn't abort babies)? No way.

How about a abortion clinic in a Latino area? Absolutely.

This is the thing that I fear, is required virtue.

jc

NOTE: Click on the blue underlined text for more information.

UPDATE: They changed the wording and removed the word "required". Obama has a history of changing his history to fit the times... Just like the USSR.

Sums it up for me...


Sooooo tired of political crap (and that says a lot for me) I went and took the girls to Disneyland. Small crowds, no lines. Perfect .

Gotta get dinner.

jc

Halloween on Nutwood


Folks don't believe me when I say there are going to be over 300 people over to our house for Halloween.

Believe it.

I had over nine pounds of candy, all of it gone at the end of the night. Strangely, this year things ended pretty much at 9:00. It was cold out (the first real cold night of the year).

The girls had fun giving out candy, but they had to stop when they got out of their costumes and started running around the house in their undies. They could not figure out what the problem was when I yelled at them to get dressed. Sheesh!
As usual, I made the kids sing for their candy!

Trick or treat,
smell my feet,
give me something good to eat! If you don't,
I don't care,
I'll pull down your underwear!

Catchy tune!

I was pretty wiped out after this, so I had a light day yesterday and today. Took a nap, just relaxed.

I feel a nap coming on, see you later.

jc

Obama Clause

How is he to pay for this?

jc


Obama Claus

October 30, 2008 11:00 PM

Once you get past the soaring oratory, to experience a speech by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is to be hit with an astoundingly lengthy list of promises.

"I don't know how any reasonable person" could think he'd really be able to accomplish everything he's pledging to do, said the mother-in-law of a colleague, a Missouri woman who intends to vote for Obama.

Just today in Sarasota, Fla., the Democratic presidential nominee said that he'd:

  • "give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
  • "eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
  • "give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
  • not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
  • "end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
  • "give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
  • "eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
  • "create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
  • "invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
  • "reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
  • build "a new electricity grid";
  • "build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
  • "eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
  • "lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
  • "if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
  • "end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
  • "invest in early childhood education";
  • "recruit an army of new teachers";
  • "pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
  • "make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
  • "stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
  • "end this war in Iraq";
  • "finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
  • "increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
  • "invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
  • "No more homeless veterans"; and
  • "no more fighting for disability payments."

This on top of his 30-minute infomercial last night, and the myriad other pledges and promises he's made throughout the last 21 months.

It's quite a list!

He does call for some sacrifices, though nothing that would equal the cost of these measures.

  • "Washington is going to have to tighten its belt. It's going to have to put off spending on things we don't need. As president, I'm gonna go through the federal budget, line-by-line, and we're going to end programs that we don't need. We're gonna have to make the ones we do need work better and cost less."
  • Of course, he'll soon be "asking folks who are making more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990s before the Bush tax cuts."
  • And in a way of attempting to head off at the pass any criticisms that there's no way the U.S. can afford all this, he says supporters should tell skeptics that ending the war will save the U.S. $10 billion a month.

The AP's Calvin Woodward took a look at Obama's assertion that he's "offered spending cuts above and beyond" what he's pledging to spend, and he concluded that's "accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by 'eliminating programs that don't work' masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are -- beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq."

Even accepting the savings Obama pledges to bring, the bi-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says Obama will add a net $428 billion to the deficit over the course of his term.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., too is making unrealistic promises. As the Tax Policy Center says of both candidates, "Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next 10 years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Neither candidate's plan would significantly increase economic growth unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases that the campaigns have not specified."

-- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

More talk about shrugging Atlas

Great video, quite insightful.

The gist is: why work your rear off if it is just going to be redistributed to some one else? $150,000 isn't that much, if the wife and I had our old jobs, we would be well over that. We would actually save money quitting a job.

What is my incentive to pursue a good job? Why would I want to start a new business, just to be working for taxes?

Count me out.

jc

The LA Times secret tape.

The Los Angeles Times has a secret tape that could be damaging to the Obama campaign. Release it? No. Could be too controversial. Have they done this in the past? Yes. Why the change of heart?

They don't want to be racist.

Am I wrong? Put it out there LA Times, take the heat.

Here is a quote from someone who has seen it:

Reason we can't release it is because statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. He congratulates Khalidi for his work saying "Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine" plus there's been "genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis."

October ANTI-surprise?

jc

(don't forget to click on the blue, underlined words)

Cartoon of the Day


Can you deny it?

jc

Went to Disneyland yesterday!


Scared the shit out of the Mouse and anyone else passing by!

When in a crowd, I need to wear the mask. When out in the sun, I need to wear the hat. I should have dressed like a goth, it would have been less conspicuous.

jc

...And it continues

Never dare to question THE ONE. Joe the plumber, Barbra West, who is next?

The left is happy calling the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "BusHitler", but they are turning out to be the true fascists.

jc

New National Anthem?

Give it time, someone will think it's a good idea.



Just a bit of pre-election humor.

jc

By the way, I am getting better...

... and more feisty.

Had a doctor's appointment on Thursday at the City of Hope, and all went well. Blood test came back OK, and I am chugging along. My energy is up (can you tell from my rants?) and my naps are becoming more infrequent.

My brain still doesn't function properly, but at least I remember my name...

jc

From the pen of someone MUCH smarter than I...

Victor Davis Hanson is a person with a big brain. Mine: shrived and feeble, Jim just pawn in game of life. Excellent, hard hitting information. I will quote it in it's entirety, or you can just click the link. His point about hoping that Obama is not serious about "x" is enlightening... how can Obama NOT be serious about those subjects?

Collin Powell? Just another Washington insider keeping his social options open. He has NEVER been a conservative. He was a republican only because that is where the power was at the time, he just as well have been Clinton's Secretary of State.

Obama plays dirty, as dirty as Chicago politics can be. Rope a dope McCain (the first time I have mentioned him in this blog!) wants to play fair, clean, and by Senate and Marquess of Queensberry rules. That is why he is getting his butt kicked.

By the way, why has Obama NOT gotten over 50% in any poll? His GD commercials are all over the place, he is inevitable, he has more money than God. Why the poor showing?

jc

Questions Still Not Answered

Why didn’t Colin Powell and Co. jump ship in, say, June or July, and endorse Obama after many months of campaigning when his positions were already well known? That is, why wait until late October when, after the financial meltdown, Obama surged in the polls? Had Powell come out even in the first week of September, he could have demonstrated that although Obama was down by three points, he was willing to stick his neck out with a principled endorsement that may well have made him persona non grata in a McCain-administration Washington.

Why didn’t the media or McCain just ask Obama a few of the following questions: Why did you keep emailing and phoning Bill Ayers for three years after 9/11, when the country was gripped by fear of terror, and Ayers, like bin Laden, said that he had not done enough bombing, and had no regrets about the terrorism he had committed?

Why did Obama say in 2004 to the Chicago Sun-Times that he went to Trinity Church every Sunday at 11AM, and then later claim he had not been there that regularly once Rev. Wright’s venom was disseminated to the general public? Is Obama for, or not for, a simple yes or no, missile defense, nuclear power, off-shore drilling, and coal-powered electrical generation? There might be legitimate answers, but surely the public could profit by them, rather than worry over the Palin pregnancies, wardrobe, or Tasergate.

Why did the greatest furor against Palin originate with women, both liberals like a Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, or Sally Quinn, or conservatives such as a Peggy Noonan or Kathleen Parker?

So far, none of them has adduced the necessary arguments that would justify their venom against Palin: they have not demonstrated that Vice Presidential nominee Palin has less government or executive experience than does Presidential nominee Obama; they have not shown that she has said anything in two months as disturbing as what Joe Biden says almost any day, and, in that vein, they have written few columns about Biden’s lunatic assertions, such as FDR addressing the nation on television as President in 1929, or that our nation’s enemies will test Barack Obama, and his reaction will so disappoint the American people that his polls will immediately sink; they have not shown that Palin’s ideas about shrinking government and keeping taxes low are less sound than Obama’s in time of economic downturn to raise aggregate taxes and expand government. So whence the vitriol, especially the frequent invective about Palin’s family, education, accent, or mannerisms, or the rather sexist suggestions that her looks bewitched either McCain or others?

Why do so many conservatives think that an Obama-elect might be prove a centrist, and so why do they use phrases like “I pray” or “I hope” that Obama might turn out, well, not to be Obama?

Jimmy Carter did exactly what he promised: raised taxes, grew the government, told the world he had no inordinate fear of communism, trashed our allies as retrograde right-wing authoritarians—and we got the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian hostage-taking (have we forgotten that the “Great Satan” originated as a slur against Nobel laureate Carter?), communism in Central America, the Cambodian Holocaust, and spikes of 12% inflation, 18% interest, and 7% unemployment.

For his first two years (until 1994 Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’ revolution, and Dick Morris’s ‘triangulation’), Bill Clinton, as promised, raised taxes, raised spending, tried to ram through socialized medicine, and by fiat wanted to force the military to accept those openly gay.

So why would any conservative think that Obama—friend of Ayers, Khalidi, Meeks, Pfleger, and Wright, veteran of mysterious campaigns in which rivals in 1996 and 2004 simply dropped out or were forced out, erstwhile advocate of repealing NAFTA, controlling guns, stopping new drilling and nuclear plants, zealot for bringing all troops home by March 2008, advocate of a trillion dollars in new spending, and raising the tax burden on the 5% who now pay 60% of the aggregate income taxes, supporter of more oppression studies and racial reparations—would not likewise try to govern as he has lived the last 20 years?

Why would anyone think that an Obama would not wish to enact the visions of those who first backed him—the Moveon.org crowd, ACORN, The Huffington Post, Sen. Reid, Rep. Pelosi, a Chris Dodd or Barney Frank—rather than the late pilers-on like Colin Powell or Scott McClellan? We should remember that, unlike the cases of Carter and Clinton, Obama would have both houses of Congress, and a (Republican) precedent of the federal government intervening into the free market, in the manner of 1932.

The Fox Ambush

I don’t like dry-gulching journalism, but there was a strange scene when the Fox reporter caught up to Bill Ayers and stuck a microphone in his face as he went up the sidewalk of his rather impressive home: Ayers, with a bright red star on his T-shirt, shoos away the reporter with the apparent mumble “this is private property” before the police arrive. How strange that an advocate for communalism and an erstwhile attacker of police stations reverts to the notion of property rights and police to protect him from an intrusive reporter. Right out of Thucydides Book III and the strife on Corfu, when the historian warns that those who destroy the protocols of civilization may well one day wish to rely on them.

What Was Conservatism?

Few seem to know anymore. The decline in the fortune of the Republican Party has prompted some conservatives to claim they were abandoned, and now must seek refuge of all places in the agenda of Barack Obama—as if growing government, larger entitlements, and higher taxes are the proper antidotes to the unhappiness of the last eight years. One is unhappy with the excessive spending of the Bush administration and the former Republican Congress so he favors the greater spending of the new administration and congress to come?

The tragedy of the Bush administration was largely fiscal. There were, of course, two costly wars, the economic downturn after September 11, Katrina, and the unregulated Fannie and Freddie fiasco that proved the catalyst to the Wall Street subprime speculation.

But that said, by spending beyond the rate of inflation, running up large annual deficits, adding to the national debt, and voting in more entitlements that could not be funded with existing revenues, conservatives committed two suicidal acts. One, they discredited tax cuts, which under George Bush clearly brought in more aggregate revenue and primed the economy. Had we balanced budgets by spending restraint, no politicians would now dare to suggest the answers for our present budget woes were to be found in higher taxes.

Second, conservatives grew the size of the government. Perhaps No Child Left Behind or the Medicare Prescription Drug supplement was felt to be necessary to ensure bipartisan congressional support for the unpopular Iraq War, perhaps not. But when a conservative grows the size of government, he not only suffers the wage of hypocrisy, but he wins the additional charge of encouraging all others to do the same. The inattentive water master who opens the flood gates of the dam can hardly complain that torrents cascade out.

Yet Conservatism is pretty simple, and is based on just a few principles. Human nature remains constant, and thus is predictable across time and space. There is a certain humility that comes with conservatism, since the ways of the world, despite the technological chaos, are constant. We know, 1000 years past or right now, that the more we tax something the less we get of it, while the more we subsidize, the more we obtain—given that people will slack when they can, and won’t when they can’t.

Sometimes this conservative take on human nature can get a little depressing, when we know that punishments really do deter crime, or silly things like high walls keep or fines on employers really do keep out illegal immigrants, or strong nations ready for war are not attacked while weak ones eager for peace are. So here we are on the even of a great experiment, akin to the European socialist model that contradicts human nature–one that its creators over there are now fleeing from as we apparently, a day late, a dollar short, seek to emulate it.

... And so it begins

Just as I predicted, the hate crimes have started.

UPDATE: THIS ONE IS FAKE. NOT THE REST.
A 20-year-old woman who was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield was also maimed by her attacker, apparently because of her political views, police said.
...
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said the robber took $60 from Todd, then
became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim's car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter "B" into her face, Richard said.


Will this hate crime be noted by Olby or on MSNBC, or even CNN? Doubtful. What if it were a hate crime against an Obama backer? Wall to wall -- with the headline "REPUBLICAN HATE CRIME SPREADS ACROSS AMERICA".


Yet there is more, a house shot up in Florida...

The home of a Central Florida Republican headquarters manager was shot up and damaged over his support of Sen. John McCain, the man told police.
...
The Republican manager said he is convinced he was targeted because of new McCain signs he added around his home.
And let us throw in some religious bigotry and intimidation to boot:

WASHINGTON — A church-state watchdog group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether the Roman Catholic bishop of Paterson, N.J., violated tax laws by denouncing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Would this happen to Trinity Baptist Church in Chicago? No.

Don't get in the way of the believers of the One. Just a cautionary note.

jc

Beer, is there anything it can't cure?


Mmmmm, beer.

Rice University (isn't rice part of Budweiser beer's recipe?) has developed a cancer curing beer.

Can I get it at Heroes?

A group of college students at Rice University are taking their favorite pastime and turning it into a research project. Their passion? Beer. Their project? Inventing a brew that contains resveratrol, a chemical present in wine that lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.


Go Rice!

jc

Comic of the day


Points against Obama

(When reading this, the underlined blue items are links to articles to back up my points-- footnotes if you will. Feel free to disagree with me, but put it in the comments section and back up your points with facts. jc)

This article has many points against Obama. I know that he is a poor choice for leading this country in the near future.


These are just a few of my concerns. When Obama looses (yes, there is a good chance of it), it will ignite a backlash among the believers that may be irreparable. The hate that Bush endured will be amplified, making the country ungovernable.

Is this a reason to vote Obama?

NO.

Some things need to be purged, and this may be a start.

Me? I am about to shrug Atlas, and go fishing (if the docs let me).

jc

PS. Yes, this is purposely provocative. Don't get mad, comment. Obamaniacs won't be able to face the facts... just watch.

Another great video

Home sweet home

Well, I am at home, functioning well.

I have zero energy. Zero. I actually went to Costco Wednesday, and it wiped me out all Thursday. Disneyland will have to wait a while.

Daily routine: Wake up, eat, sleep. Repeat.

Sounds like fun, but it kinda stinks. I am restricted from gardening, woodworking, going to public places, eating out, eating in (certain foods), and pets. The girls are ok, and I am allowed to watch TV. Not a recipe for a long happy life.

I should get some of my gumption back within a month or so.

I'm beat, goodnight.

jc

Final post from the City of Hope...

I am on track to be released some time tomorrow. They can't release me today, the person that does the paperwork works Monday through Friday.

What a way to run things.

The extra day will give me more platelets and white blood cells produced in a sterile environment.

I am down to one bag of juice being pumped into me, one catheter line not being used. I have had up to 7 or 8 bags of liquid being pumped into me at one time.

I pushed the doctor to get the damn Hickman Catheter pulled out of my chest. That is done by a surgeon under local anesthesia. This will push my check out time to after 2:00 or so.

The conditions of my parole require that I take it fairly easy for at least a month. Total recovery will take a full year.

It's late, more tomorrow.

jc

Good news

My white blood cell count is 6.6 today. That's good enough to talk discharge from the City of Hope.

The Doctor said that Monday they will start the discharge process on me. That also means that I will get this damn Hickman Catheter out of my chest. No more Heparin flushing! Regular showers! Sleep on my belly! Wrestle with the girls fearlessly!

After discharge, I will have a few limitations, but not as bad as I thought. Stay away from fast food for a while (I should do that anyways), large crowds, and folks with the flu. I need to be careful about food handling, and keeping things clean. No eating or playing in the dirt.

I am amazed that I bounced back so quickly, and with relatively few complications. I must admit, they have this down cold.

Call me if you want more information...


jc

Today's update

Well, they stomped out whatever was giving me a fever. Their big concern now is my mouth... mouth soars are an ugly complication of this procedure.

The treatment for the mouth soars involves several concoctions swished in the mouth and spit out. This afternoon, the first concoction gave me the dry heaves, thus ending the treatments. Now I am quite horse, just barely able to speak. Kristin may like that, but I sure don't.

Good news: my white blood cell count went from .1 to .3, still not fully functional -- but definitely moving in the right direction.

The physical therapy guy came in, I did some simple exercises, and got VERY tired. At this point I have no energy reserves. This will change over time, but it doesn't take much to wipe me out.

Getting better, feeling better.

jc

jc

Last Night


Well, the fever didn't go away by itself, so they iced me down (bags of ice in the armpits and a cold towel on my head), made me breathe steroids, and washed my mouth out with several foul concoctions. I do feel better today. I wish I could tell you what my temp was, but they do it in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. I took a picture of all this, and boy do I look silly.

jc

Rough day

Today started off a bit rough. A tickle in my throat started a cough spazam, that led to dry haves. It was sufficient to wreak my vocal chords, and 12 hours later, I am still throat soar and horse.

They gave me some medicine for some early mouth soars, I don't have anything to fight off the soars. So that I could eat without pain, they shot me up with morphine. My throat still hurt.

I also spiked a fever, so more blood drawn (catheter and old time needle), and of course, more bags of anti-biotics.

Needless to say, I slept most of the day.

Kristin came up today, but I am not blaming any of this on her...

jc

Day 7 & 8

Yesterday went well. Up until the Angels lost.

Today I slept. And slept. I received platelets (because I have none) and blood (super anemic). Uneventful, but challenging. Absolutely zero energy or stamina. Best for me to stay in bed. Took me all day just to read my online articles.

Even this short post wore me out. 'Night.

jc

Day 6

Today was nice and easy, no major strains.

My blood count is below 1, so I am officially in the danger zone. I am trapped in the room, all visitors gloved and masked. I can't venture out, either.

We seem to have my stomach under control, so I actually ate a whole quesadilla for dinner. That's it, just one. Almost too much.

Mom and Dad came by for a while, just to check up on me. Brought 3 days of papers, I will probably read them tomorrow. Depends, if I start to read too much, I get sick (weird, I know).

Well, the Angels are about to loose everything, tied, bottom of the 11th. Sheesh.

jc

Day +5

Well, today was a bit more under control than last. Only one puke, early in the day.

The other end, however, is a bit tender...

This is normal, things get wiped out, and they need to rebuild. I just wish they could knock me out for a week (beer does that!) and let it run it's course. They gave me a sea sick patch, and that seems to help.

They also started Nupigen again, so the bone pain may return. So far, all this treatment has been pain free.

Had a fantastic visit from Gary, which wore me out (I took an hour nap). Calls from Pauline and Bob up north and the girls helped break up the day too.

All in all, it seems to be going as scheduled... I just wish It would hurry. Although, I am in a quiet room watching the Myth busters Marathon, no screaming, no switching to HGTV, just Myth busting! This can work!

Gotta go, they are blowing crap up...

jc

What Realy Happened

What happened?




If I could be out there with pitchfork in hand, I would...

jc

Day + 4 (Friday)

OK, yesterday was yucky. Bungalow spins, puking, sleeping, not moving, and just trying not to do worse.

Today, less worse. Still some puke, but much less. I actually am working on keeping some juice down, 90 minutes so far! That;s a record.

Nothing but kudos for the staff here, I puke, they are here with meds and clean up ASAP. The biggest problem is the parade of "helpers" like physical therapists and nutritionists coming in to help... sometimes you just want to be left alone. They won't allow that here... you are an active patient.

Feel a nap attack coming, c-ya

jc

Day +1

Today was relatively quiet, no visitors (yet). I was busy on the phone and computer with Kristin, Mom, Dad, and the girls calling.

Got a great card from Henry Roder, it actually came snail mail -- and got here in time!

At this point, I can walk about for short periods without my "tree of life" following me. I have to wear a mask and gloves, so I don't catch anything from the great unwashed public. It is nice to walk around without the constant irritation of tubes and low level clicking and humming. This pleasure will probably cease at by the weekend, as the doctors expect my blood counts to crash, necessitating me to be hooked up and primed with antibiotics, anti fungal, and anti viral drugs.

There was the fire alarm going off, kinda messed up my nap time. Someone was over zealous with the popcorn, scorched it, and set off the alarm.

Well, I am going to walk a bit (while I can).

jc

Day Zero




Well, I have my stem cells back. Actually, only half of the 9.1 million, the rest in reserve.

They gave me some pre-meds for nausea, antibacterial and anti fungal treatments. Gotta keep those buggers down now.

The actual treatment was pretty low key. They just hooked me up to another drip on my pump tree, pushed it in me, and it was done in 25 minutes.

It feels good that this is such a routine procedure, that there was no hitches, complications, or panicky calls for a doctor.

Cold! The cells were frozen, so they defrosted them (no microwaves here!) just enough to get them flowing. The cold slush travels through the plastic tubing, into my catheter, up my jugular, and through the heart -- and hopefully on to recharging the destroyed bone marrow.

Afterward, I just took a hour and a half nap.

Pretty quiet day, though ultimately the most vital day of my adult life.

jc

Last day of chemo, all OK

Kristin and my parents visited today, and I walked down the hall.

Exciting.

Actually, I enjoy the company, it just does not last long enough.

It could be worse, luckily I have the computer to keep me occupied, as TV just doesn't cut it. Radio is ranting about the bail out plan -- BORING.

It is depressing to think that the idiots who got us into this mess are now "saving" us. As if.

Sigh, it's time for bed.

jc

The first full day at the City of Hope

Well, the highlight was Kristin coming and watching "Blazing Saddles" with me.

The first round of chemo seems to have gone through without a hitch. No dizziness, nausea or other side effect -- yet. I suppose that tomorrow they crank it up to 11 and zap me hard. Or not.

Dinner was adequate, pasta with potatoes and tapioca pudding.

If this keeps up, I will go crazy!

Nurse is changing my caps, bye

jc

Impressions of my first night

Well, the first night is over, and I have a few observations.

First, I miss my bed, pillow, and open window. The sterile vinyl bed, non absorbent pillow, and locked and sealed for my safety windows put a cramp in my style.

The constant click-click-click of the four IV pumps are not enough to come to the forefront of my consciousness, but click-click-clicks away at my subconscious. They also beep. Quietly at first. Then if ignored, they get really pissed off and go BEEP BEEP BEEP! Usually this happens just after you get back to sleep after your midnight blood draw (11 vials yesterday, 5 today ).

I forgot how skinny they make beds. I always said, the best marital aide is a King sized bed. While it is sort of cool to have it pop up and down, it is still a plastic vinyl (not even naugahyde ) mattress. I discovered that I sweat at night. Not major puddles, but just enough to "get sticky". Not very conducive to restful sleep.

The food isn't bad, once you figure out the system. I foolishly ordered steak with a side of corn, and a slice of chocolate cake. I have eaten bigger slices of beef jerky than this steak. Corn was good, but it's tricky when you are in bed (they roll off the spoon). Not quite enough for the night, so I ordered popcorn and apple pie before the kitchen shut down.

Breakfast and lunch today were actually good. Scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, biscuits and gravy... Yum! For lunch I had the chef's special, BBQ burger with cheese and fries.

They gave me my first chemo today. Looked like about a 1/4 cup of clear fluid. They prepped me with several anti nausea, anti this, and anti that potions, so I don't feel bad at all.

One last observation, in this hospital everyone entering the rooms must be gloved and masked. I am having difficulty dealing with people without the visual feedback of their face. I crack a joke, no smile (that I can see). It is like dealing with passive aggressive people, you just don't know. Makes communication difficult.

Gotta nap!

jc

I'm in the zone now...


I was scheduald for an 11:00 appointment, but yesterday they called and told me I was to be "on call".

They called at noon asking where I was.

Got to COH at 12:50, checked in, and waited.

And waited.

got into the room after 3:30.

Nice room. Cable, DSL, a view of the 605. The pidgens hang out and tap on the window when they want attention. Nurses come in to draw blood (11 so far today), and I have a good sized menu to order dinner from.

It definately could be worse.

Tomorow is the start of treatment, so I shoud get some rest -- I also get to watch the Angels on FSW without kids interupting.

jc

Oh, my room is 6125. Phone is 626-359-8111, but it is better to call me on the cell phone. Skype is also up and running ( jim.is.ill ).

Esh, holding pattern again...

Once again, the time table changes. Hopefully, they will have a bed for me tomorrow, until then, I am in a holding pattern.

We need someone to get those other sickies up and out of their beds!

jc

Time and Date set!

The time: sometime before tea (11:00)
The place: City of Hope in Duarte
The reason: check in to the hospital for treatment

Finally it happens. The stem cells are prepped, the chemo is set, and all I need is a bed (and a room).

FAQs

Can I come up and visit? Yes, but you will need to scrub up, mask up, and glove up before entering the room. While I appreciate any and all visitors, I totally understand that it is a long trip (32 miles one way from Fullerton), and Duarte is not exactly the garden spot of Southern California.

OK, it's a pain in the ass to drive up, can I call? Of course! I will have my cell phone with me, so you can call that phone (local to OC). You can also e-mail me often.


You will have a computer? Yes, TV and radio can fill the void only so much. The main reason is so I can have SKYPE with me, and you can call me that way ( search JIM.IS.ILL ) and we can video conference. Plus, I will be playing Battlefield 1942, blowing up Germans...

Where do we send flowers? Don't. Flowers, plants, even balloons are forbidden on the hospital floors. Save your money. Since everyone there has no immunity to allergens or disease, they keep them far away from folks.

How long will you be in there? Two weeks, possibly more. More time at home to recover, with a possible second treatment in 6 weeks or so. I will be "fragile" for 2-3 months.


When is it a good time to call/skype/visit? Pretty much any time. I will try to stick to my schedule of being awake from 7am to 10pm. I will nap a lot, but don't let that stop you. If it's inconvenient, I will let you know.


That SKYPE thing on the side of the post, says you are unavailable, can I still call you? Yes, that seems to be a bit buggy, but it's better than nothing. Remember, I can't go very far away from the computer. Call the JIM.IS.ILL account, that goes to the laptop.

That's all I can think of at the moment, so have fun while you can!

jc

New gadgets...

Check out the skype gadgets I just installed. Please play with them, so I know they work.

jc

Scary things at Disneyland -- Pre Halloween!


The crowds have thinned a bit at Disneyland, and I have been taking the girls there more often (while I can). While it's not Bats Day (dark, gothic idiots walking around in 90 degree heat) or Gay Day ('nuff said), you still can find freakishly dressed people around.

While I am obsessing about my hair, I saw two unfortunates that I had to take pictures of.

Purple Hair -- something to distract from the big butt, probably. Why would someone ruin perfectly good hair? Makes no sense to me.

Ultimate Mullet -- over compensating for the bald spot? Look, at some point, give up the youthful long hair. It's gray, stringy, and probably gets in your chicken noodle soup. You are not a Jedi Knight in training, either. Yes, it's impressive, probably taking the better part of 20 years of not cutting it, but it's over. It's 2008, not 1968.

The thing is, if you stare at them, they get irritated about it. Gosh, is that not what you wanted in the first place?

I have the same disdain for tattoos, and unless you are a pirate or a Marine, you are just a poser...

TIP: Click on the picture for a larger image, you will be frightened.

What has been happening lately


Actually, not much.

I am on hold with the COH until the 26th of September for admission, after which things will happen fast and furious.

I am using the time to relax, get mentally prepared, and catch up with some small projects around the house. I am also trying to spend time with the girls, doing various things (Disneyland).

The bald thing is also taking some getting used to. The wind blows over my head... and I feel it! Strange. Wearing a hat outside (I am not hep to putting sun block on). I have to keep shaving it, because if not, I will have fuzz when the next chemo zaps me. Fuzz is more annoying than long hair. I will see how I feel about it in October.

Well, Kristin and Catie are on their way home, so we are off to D-land.

jc

New hair style!



Well, it happened. Showering this morning, hair was coming out, getting in my face, and being generally bothersome. What do I do when something bugs me? Wipe it out!

Boy, it's cold.

When I went to the cheap barber this morning, I pulled out a chunk of hair and told her "take it all off!"

Since I have been going there for a while, she said "Number 2?", and I told her "NO! Number Zero!"

Let's see how Kristin likes it tonight...

jc

Leave a comment as to how you like it

9.1 Million!

Sorry, I have been fatigued and busy to update lately. Here is the big scoop... 9.1 million stem cells collected in 4 sessions! They say that that is pretty good (but they may just be blowing sunshine up my skirt for all I know).

So what does that mean? I get to stop commuting to Duarte every morning. I have forgotten how miserable drive time is. They no longer hook me up to a Rube-Goldberg type of machine to take the blood out, filter it, then put it back in. I no longer have to take Nupagen shots in the leg (sorry Kristin, no more stabbing the husband anymore).

I still have to take care of the Hickman Catheter (It's in my chest, Gary -- sheesh!). That means care around the wound site, daily double Heperin shots through the tube, and not being able to shower without covering the wound site in plastic sheeting.

I am looking forward to getting my stamina back, the Nupagen causes fatigue, and encourages bruising. Last Sunday, Jenna had an early birthday party (I'll be in the hospital on her actual birthday), and I really felt beat afterward. Getting the house ready on Saturday, I pushed a bit too much, hit the wall, and couldn't rebound as fast as I wanted.

Well, the girls are up from their nap, and I have to negotiate a treaty on who plays with what.

jc

Stem Cell Update

Well, for a successful transplant, they usually need 5 million stem cells. For Myloma patients, they like 10 million (but will settle for 8 million) -- enough for 2 complete transplants.

The first day my collection was 2.1 million, not bad they said.

The second day I filterd out 2.9 million -- great progress, half way there!

The third day (Friday) I pumped out 2.6 million.

Just short of the minimum. Drat. So, once again, up before dawn, drive an hour in traffic, lay on my butt for four dull hours, and drive home in traffic again. Just like a #@$%# job!

There are no real side effects from this harvesting, I just feel beat when I get home. The folks are super nice, and make it as pleasurable as possible. Just kills any momentum I may have had.

==============================================================

While I was there on Thursday they had two small girls getting their blood processed. To say it was difficult to watch is an understatement.

I am so blessed to have two very healthy girls, and I pray that they need not have this happen to them.

jc

Oh, I survived

Yesterday was busy, stem cell collection, Kristin interview, kid pickup, dinner, welocme back to school night, and >crash< fitful sleep.

Good news: it's not bad at all.

Bad news: it's not over. They need 10 million cells, not the typical 5 million. At best they can get 5 in one day, but there are many factors that say I may not get there. I will find out today how many I did yesterday.

Gotta go, don't want to be late.

jc

City of Hope stem cell collection

Today is harvest day. It's 6:10 am, and we will leave soon to get to COH. I will update later today as to what happens.

jc

And so it begins...

Last night, after unscrewing up my computer (screwing down?)with the invaluable help of my BFF Neal, the bone pain they have been warning me about hit.

Once again, a new level, a new form, a totally new experience with pain.

The Nupagen is supposed to stimulate my bone marrow into producing more blood and blood by products. Things I need, like white blood cells, red blood cells and most importantly, stem cells. The problem is, I felt it. Every over stimulated cell, pushing out with each heart beat. Each wave of cells accompanied by pain: pump, puMP, PUMP, PUmp, pump. Each pump taking my breath away, as the rib cage seemingly contracts to push out the life giving cells. The pelvis bone pumping out cells, making the knees weak. The spine thrusting out plazma, but making me hunch over like an old man.

The Rx for pain they gave me didn't kick in for what seemed forever. Vicodin is supposed to be taken (according to the directions) once every four hours. The problem, is that the pill lasts only three hours. Tough to sleep that way. I called the nurse at COH, and she said I can take two tablets. Joy.

The pain has stoped at this point, I don't know if it is the pills or that it has gone away on it's own.

Oh, well. This cheered me up this morning. A great new movie coming out, watch some of it here:



I'll go see it!

jc

There's always a catch!



Pretty much sums it up for me...

I love these guys, as bass-ackwards as they are, they are funny!

Enjoy!

jc

I'm doing well, thank you!

Well, two days after my "jolt" chemo, I am doing well. A lot better than I thought. Probably a lot better than I deserve!

No puking, no nausea, just a bit sleepy.

Sorry folks, I am just boring at the moment. Drowsy, dopey, and boring, is that to be my epitaph?

I am slowly coming to grips with the enormity of what I am to go through. Still awe inspiring as to what I have, how I have it, and what is being done. I am especially awed at the speed as to which I am being treated. Despite all the gripes folks have about Kaiser (and I have a few too), when the ball rolls, it rolls. I may never beat this, but I sure have a chance at kicking it down the road a few more years.

A few quick observations:
  • The City of Hope folks are almost to a person happy to be there. When I was pre-op, I noticed that they all were happy, smiling and somewhat jovial. And this was on a Friday! Yea, it could have been payday, but I think that you can't fake what I saw. Just the unguarded interaction between colleges was enough to convince me that this was the place to be.
  • The nurses at Kaiser really do care, but they have a much harder task at hand. They see the same folks come in for treatment, and see them slowly decline. It has to be rough. My chemo nurse was very nice, changed my dressing, and gave me a heparin shot. She didn't have to do that, but she cared.
  • Doctors are good, but the nurses and front line people are the greatest.
That's enough for today, tonight I get to make Kristin's day by being her injection target (ouch!).

jc

On the slippery slope to recovery

Well, I had my Cytoxin today. Six uneventful hours. I was expecting more discomfort, but I seem OK at the moment.

Now that I jinxed myself, let me tell you what I was expecting.

I was expecting to be bent over, puking my guts out, while my hair was falling like snow in Alaska. Has not happened yet.

Yet.

They gave me 2 drugs, in 3 forms, to help with nausia. Gave me one while I was hooked up to the Cytoxin, 2 different pills, and one supository (in case I really can't keep it down).

They were nice, gave me my Heparin dose, changed my bandages, and sent me home with another grocery bag of drugs, needles, and other supplies.

I start Nupagen shots tomorrow, and then the fun really starts.

Gotta fix dinner, more later.

jc

I survived!

As if anyone doubted it, I survived the procedure.

I have a sore neck, and it aches to turn my head, but it is OK. Now I need to figure out how to sleep on my back (again). Oh, stay away from me, I can't shower for two days.

It feels weird that I have these dangly things coming OUT of my chest.

I now have to be even MORE careful when doing things. No lifting (like I have not been doing anyway), keep the area clean, and don't play with the tubes.

Eeesh!

I'm sore, the Angels are loosing (bad), and I'm going to bed.

jc

It starts tomorow...

Tomorrow I go to the City of Hope and get my Hickman Catheter surgically inserted. I will be under general anesthesia for a short time. When I awake, I will have a tube dangling from my chest.

Joy.

Monday is when I get my "mild" jolt of chemo. 30 minutes of Cytoxan chemo should keep me puking for two days.

Joy.

Then Tuesday, Kristin starts injecting me with Neupogen. She got that special sparkle in her eye when she saw the needle, and found out that I need 2 shots a day. She giggled the rest of the class.

Joy.

Collection of the stem cells begin on September 3, lasting (hopefully) just 3 days. Then I get a rest.

I should be admitted on the 12th of September, but Meyloma patients are lower on the list of urgency, so it may be later.

Blogging may be lighter for the next few days, depending on how I realy feel.

Have fun, I am...

jc

I'm still here!

No, I have not abandoned the blogisphere. I just have not felt much like blogging. Yes, there have been things happening, but nothing "wow".

Kaiser has been bouncing appointments around like a spazmatic Jack Russel terrier on caffeine. I was supposed to see a neurologist (to calm Kaiser Sunset's fear of my back folding in half) to re-affirm that I can walk. That was moved to next monday. Then it was moved to this wednesday. See what I mean?

I did get to go to the OC Flyers game on Saturday. It was a double header, got there at 7, which is when the second game was to start, but the first game was still going (6th inning). Flyers won, then a 45 minute break, then the second game. Left early, because the girls were tired by 9:45. My great friedns Mike and Gary were there, though I missed Lou (he probably showed up after I left).

Kristin's computer finaly died last week, so we orderd her a new one. Bottom of the like Dell small business Vostro. Came with a monitor (bigger than mine!), Vista Home, and a small(er) harddrive. Works fine. I have been busy setting up all the programs (Firefox, Thunderbird, AVG...). The jury is still out on Vista. It works, a pain in the a** installing programs, but after that, it's OK.

Wednesday had the class at COH for the Hickman Catheter. Joy. It gets installed this Friday. Then things start happening. Self administerd shots, catheter upkeep, chemo jolts, stem cell harvesting, more chemo, then isolation.

Kristin got a sparkle in her eye when they showed us how to inject the Nupigen drug into my thigh. I didn't tell her that my thigh is still numb (probably will be for the rest of my life) from the nerve dammage inflicted on my L5 vertibre.

Sunflowers and Crazy cats


I just returned from the back yard, checking up on my sunflowers and such. This is the time of year when things get scorched, so I am trying to pay attention.

Guess who watched me the whole time? "Big orange fluffy cat" is the neighbor's cat, who likes it here much better than his own house. He proves it by strolling through the house when I have the doors open, squatting on the fence, and watching me do garden chores. This is such his territory that, today, he perched up on the picnic table and didn't move.

Caitlyn made a shopping list, which included:
  • lunch
  • a blue chair
  • a dog to chase the cat
  • dinner at Rubies
What a kid.

Anyway, the sunflowers finally came in, and have started to bloom. These were from seeds from last year, smashed up flower heads, scratched into the ground. I may be a proud gardener, but I am lousy with seeds. Not a bad crop so far. The flowers down below are a bit parched, so I will run the sprinklers for a while.

Heh, that will teach that cat...

jc

Some Kaiser Konfusion...

Today was spent on the phone or waiting for phone calls. That's OK, yesterday was busy, and I needed some rest.

Today's question was about my back. Specifically, my 5th lumbar. That's the one that has collapsed, starting the chain of events that has led us to this point. This cancer robbed my spine of it's calcium, thus making it brittle, mushy, and full of holes. One of the tests I took for the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) showed that bad vertebrae.

The BMT team up in LA was not happy. Not at all. They called me to get the story. I told them that DR. So (yes, that is his name) said it was OK... in fact I go to Disneyland (AHHHH!) and do some rides (NOT THE TEA CUPS!) and in fact I don't have my brace on right now (CALL 911, THIS GUY IS GONNA CRIPPLE HIMSELF!).

Sheesh, I have a mom, wife, grandma, aunt, and now a BMT coordinator that watches over my behavior.

Cancer sucks.

After a better part of the day being eaten up with this back and fourth, they did get to talk to Dr. So, who calmed them down, and they are happy again.

Some of my appointments have moved around, so if you need an updated calender, let me know.

I'm tired, I'll take a nap...

jc

Today's Oncology Appointment

Well, Dr. Lee chewed on me again for moving furniture. My bones were severely compromised by the Myloma, and I am as fragile as a baby bird.

Sheesh, I don't know how long I can go babying myself. Never had to do it in the past, not use to it now, hope I can get back to normal in the future.

On the good side, all my blood tests are good, and I responded well to the Revlimid and radiation treatments.

Today I didn't take my morphine, and I feel fine. I think I will stay off it for now. No pain, all gain.

Dr. Lee wants me to drop down to 200 pounds, which may be possible, but too skinny. We compromised by having me drop 10 pounds (down to 230) and let the other 5-10 pounds drop during the stem cell transplant.

At the moment, I am in remission.

Won't last long, but I am almost normal. Weak bones, but normal.

Well, I better let my bones strengthen with a long nap...

jc

Getting ready for School


Caitlyn is ready for school. Too bad they won't be using the play laptop she has. Pretty cool little toy, can fool the best... until you see the screen. The women folk are off shopping and getting hair cuts.

I, on the other hand, am reading the paper, listening to the radio, and enjoying the peace.

Anyone have a soultion for the one, small fly that is buzzing around my office? AAAARRRRRRGGGGGG!!!!!

Sheesh.

jc

Earthquake Damage

Well, not exactly damage, but changes in my general environment...

The crack in the front porch closed.

Wow.

Oh, and the gourds I have in the garage fell to the floor.

Devastating.

Here it is, a few days after the quake, and not only has life returned to normal, no one even talks about it anymore. Just another non event in our lives.

It shouldn't be that way. I am looking at some things around the house to "quake proof" and seeing that I have done a good job in keeping things in place. I'll do a few more things, but most of it's done.

================================================================

Still absorbing (coming to terms, getting used to...) the City of Hope news. I have a bit of reading to do on post transplant procedures. That is what I am mostly concerned with.

Up to the point of coming home, things are pretty much taken care of for me. One way to do it, no deviations.

Coming home will be relative anarchy. Such basics as food, air, and water will be my biggest worries. I am not used to living "super clean". I actually like having a bit of dirt (or paint, or sawdust) under my fingernails. It's manly! I even encourage the girls to get dirty, digging in their part of the garden.

Not for a while. How long? I need to figure that out, because late summer-fall is the time to start working on the garden.


===============================================================

Caitlyn is now a woodworker! Just ask her. She helped me put together her new computer desk from Ikea. She used the hammer, screw driver, and the power drill!

Gotta say, she has skills. More than some folks I know. If I can only get her to follow directions better, she could go pro.

===============================================================

Gotta go, lots of little projects to do today.

jc

The Big Announcement is HERE!

Finally, progress on the Stem Cell front!

Received a letter from the City of Hope (COH) today with some appointments scheduled for me. Called them up, chatted with Jill L., the Nurse Coordinator from the Division of Hematology and Hemoatopoietic Cell Transplantaion (that took up half of her buisness card), and got some dates and info on my upcoming procedure.

First, I am gratefull that I passed all the tests and qualify to have this cutting edge procedure done so soon after my diagnosis. 147 days have passed, and I am on the slippery path to total health... I need to watch out.

Now the dull specifics.

13-August -- Classes at COH. New paitient information, consulting on the catheter, care and cleaning of the catheter. Also, how to inject myself with Nutropin. Joy.

21-August -- Chemo at Kaiser Lakeview. This is to jolt my system into making more stem cells. Yes, I will still have hair afterwards. This is baby chemo.

22-August -- "Pic Line" time. Get my catheter inserted. This is so I can hook up to the machines quickly to harvest my stem cells starting...

1-September --... daily at COH. I will be my own milk cow, being milked of my precious stem cells for my own sake. Drive up, hook up, chill out. Un hook, drive home, chill out. Just like a job, but with needles.

Once they get enough stem cells (at least 4 or 5? How big are they?) they will admit me to my own private suite at COH. Actually, it's only a VERY sterile room, but I can call it whatever I want! That will be either 12-September or 19-September.

Now you know my schedule. I will try to pack as much face time in between now and then with each and everyone of you, so be prepared!

More soon,

jc