Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bye, bye June!

And, guess what I discovered upon coming downstairs this morning...a picture is worth a thousand words! We had a leaky water heater...which sits on carpet that is in the closet under the stairs...that is in the living room. Old towels came out to sop up the water and the phone calls started! We had to have the utilities board come out to shut off the water (no shut off valve on the water heater itself...and the place next to the house, we can shut off the water is no longer accessible). Then to find a plumber...left a message with the one we used last...when I didn't hear back from him, called again and the recording had changed and they were off till July 5th. The next one I tried said that they could be there in a couple of the time they got there no more water in the tank to leak...most of the water on the carpet had been sopped up. It didn't take him long to fix the leak...AND to add a shut-off valve on the water heater. As much as this wasn't a wanted interruption in our lives, I am just thankful that it didn't happen while we were away at NIH. And, at least it was just a valve leaking and we didn't have to get a new water heater.

I had had plans to go to lunch with a friend...but ended up changing those plans and she came to the house and had lunch and waited for the plumber with me. Misery loves company!!!!!!!!!! We had a nice visit and the plumber came while she was here. But, it is funny trying to fix lunch without water...had to make two trips to Nathan's to borrow their time to fill the tea kettle and one time to wash a tomato!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home to rest and relax in a house that once again has running water AND hot water if needed. I forgot to mention yesterday that Woody did ask Dr. Holt about the pain he was having in the surgical site on his left scapular to whether he should be having it or not...when it might subside, etc. She said that it wouldn't be unusual at all for pain to last for another month...considering the size of the incision, that muscle had been cut into, etc. She did tell him that it would be ok to start doing some of the exercises that he was doing to increase motion in his upper arm. The surgeon at NIH had told Woody not to exercise his arm to the side for four weeks, but Dr. Holt said that the incision had healed up nicely and it would be ok to resume those exercises.

No word from NIH. I got to thinking that perhaps they will be having their Monday (the 5th) meeting on Friday (2nd) since Monday is a holiday. They met on the Friday before Memorial Day rather than that maybe (?) we'll hear something Friday. But...I'm not going to hold my breath!

Our weather is still quite warm...but it seems a little less least the heat and humidity don't seem to hit you so hard in the face when you open the door to go outside. There was a breeze blowing this afternoon...and in the shade of a tree it actually felt rather pleasant.

And...I finish the blog tonight wondering what July will have in store for us!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Foggy Morn!

But...look what rose up out of the fog over the Duck River and then landed so nicely so I could take its picture...a Great Blue Heron! We were heading Vanderbilt way by 6am. We got there in plenty of we used the valet parking where we would end up after Dr. Holt's appointment. Woody had x-rays taken of his upper left arm and also of it bent at the elbow. Then he saw a resident and a medical student and finally Dr. Holt came in. She is very pleased that everything is the way it should signs of more melanoma in the bone and the plate is securely in place. She has released him from needing to come back at six-month intervals. So at the moment he is pretty much Vanderbilt free...well, sort least no appointments on the books. After seeing Dr. Holt, we walked back through the hospital and down the looooooooong hall...over to Dr. Sosman's clinic area. We made arrangements yesterday to pick up a prescription renewal from him. The research nurse brought it out and talked to us for a few minutes. She commented that Woody looked good...just think...he has had two surgeries since he was last at Vanderbilt.

We were back home by a little before noon. Woody came in, ate a bite of lunch, and headed off to work. He worked several hours and then came home to have supper and to rest and relax. He said that he really didn't start hurting till he was heading home. He thought that was because he hadn't moved around much once he got to work.

Still no word from NIH...but, as Woody told the doctor today...perhaps that is because they don't want to give us the false hope like they gave us the last time...when they told us early that the cells were growing and then they stopped growing.
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Last one in the pool is a...

...toad!!!!!!!!! Graham, Abigail, Joy, Esther, and Elijah had a fun water day in their backyard. They found this toad last night in their garage and had kept him a cage and wanted to let him out to play in their pool. Kathy told them that he could get in after they were through swimming in the pool! So here is the last of their water play day! They did have fun. I took lots of pictures and then went home and took a nap...too much pool for me...I guess!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, didn't walk at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He is still having pain. We DIDN'T hear from NIH again today. I will be emailing the doctor in a couple of days, as it will then be three weeks since the surgery. I went to the grocery store today...really had an enjoyable time as I ran into lots of took me almost an hour to get out of the produce department! I came home and put groceries away and then went next door for their "pool party." Woody came home from work while I was over there. He took the fresh corn I had bought outside and shucked it. He has been doing crossword puzzles and watching the news.

I hear thunder in the distance at the moment. We will be getting up early and heading to Vanderbilt in the morning. Woody has a follow-up appointment with Dr. Holt. She is the doctor who removed the melanoma tumor from his upper left arm bone back in January of 2009. He goes back to see her every six months. So we will be going back to familiar territory tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Woody got up this morning and decided to take advantage of the "coolest" part of the day and took a short walk...around our block. We both went to Sunday School. Woody taught his class. Shortly after we got home, I decided to walk around our garden and managed to see this cabbage butterfly on our white butterfly bush...the first time that I have managed to catch a butterfly enjoying the butterfly bushes. After I took a few pictures, I went in to make our of our favorite pasta sauces...marinara calls for basil...I have some that we dried from our fresh, but sort of wanted fresh since we have an abundance in our backyard at the moment...but was too lazy to go out to get some and then remembered that I had frozen some fresh to see how it would worked great...and saved me or Woody some steps! I cleaned up the kitchen and by that time I was ready for a nap! I did manage a short nap...guess we will call it a "power nap" first I didn't think that it was long enough...but after I finally woke up I did feel refreshed. Woody has taken it easy this afternoon. He has had some pain.

I hope that we hear from NIH tomorrow. (Almost afraid to say it...last time I said that I thought that they would call, they didn't!).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Showers in Midst of Sunshine

All of a sudden this afternoon I heard something clicking at the windows and even though it was bright and was raining...and it rained fairly hard for quite a while considering there was so much sunshine all around. I am sure that there was a rainbow some where. I looked...but with all our trees there is a very limited view. I walked out on the front porch shortly after the rain started...and wow...what humidity! It was so humid that it fogged up my camera lens.

Woody slept in a bit later than usual this morning since it was Saturday. He made his usual Saturday trip to the library. He also stopped at the fruit market and bought some tomatoes. I have continued working on the top that I'm making for myself. Not long after Woody got back from the library, Graham came over. Woody put in one of the DVDs that he had gotten at the library and it got both Graham's and my attention...Wizard of we sat down and watched it. When it was almost over, Abigail, Elijah and Kathy joined us. After lunch Graham and Abigail came back over. They had gone home when we had our surprise rain shower.

Woody has taken it easy today. He has had some pain. He has kept occupied with crossword puzzles and DVD's. He wanted to watch the soccer game, but our TV didn't cooperate.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Turtle Art!

I was showing Graham some of the pictures that I took of his turtle, Paint, earlier this week. When I pulled this one up, I said that it looked like a painting on the top of the water...and then a real turtle below the water surface..."Turtle Art!"

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch (he said: "It were warm."), worked some more, then came home to rest and relax and begin his weekend. I asked how he would describe his pain tonight and he said: "under control." He has been working crossword puzzles and watching news on TV.

At the moment we have a thunderstorm rolling through. We had rain late this afternoon with only a few rumbles...this one seems a bit more intense. It has been another hot steamy day. I had an enjoyable lunch with friends and then came home to do some more sewing. I was going to go back to my sewing after I blogged...but will now wait for the thunderstorm to pass. I guess I'll go help Woody plug in a few words on his crossword puzzle instead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two weeks since surgery

Today marks two weeks since Woody's most recent surgery. I was hoping that I could come in and say that his pain is receding...and, perhaps it has...but he had a pretty rough time of it a couple of hours ago...but...he hadn't taken any pain medication since last night at definitely a lot longer between doses. He was hoping that the pain was getting better so he didn't take any pain medicine when he got home from work...but about an hour after he got home, he wished that he had taken it sooner. Woody got up early this morning, went to work, worked, too hot to walk at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax.

It has been another hot day here in Middle TN. I made a salad for our supper and sewed some today...but once just seemed too hot to do much of anything.

Tonight's blog pictures are courtesy of our daughter. Wade, Melany, Erin, and Alex went last week to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit at Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Gardens in Nashville. He is a glass blower extraordinaire! It takes teams to do the glass sculptures that he creates. His creations range from chandeliers inside to being parts of the gardens, ponds, etc. outside. This exhibit will be at Cheekwood until the end of October. Melany went back by herself yesterday and said that she sat by this pond and "chased" dragonflies. She managed to get a picture of a dragonfly perching on one of the Chihuly sculptures. Melany sent these pictures via email and I wasn't sure at first if these were real dragonflies or part of the sculpture...but when I increased the picture size enough I could see the hairs on them...a little too realistic for them to be made from glass!
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trying to feel cool... will post a picture of a fountain that I took while in Bethesda the last time. Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. Woody said that he didn't sleep the best last night. So he has been snoozing this evening. Hope that he can sleep tonight!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another hot one!

Another hot day here in Middle TN. Woody got up early, went to work, worked, didn't walk at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He is still hurting. I helped out with a reading program that they are having at our church this summer...a program that is trying to encourage summer reading. I showed the children the church library. After that, I went to the store to pick up a few groceries. It's just about too hot to do much of anything...the temperatures approached 100 again today!

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer!

First day of summer...and boy did the temperatures live up to the season change. I went out a little while ago to run an errand and I just wanted to turn around and get back into the air conditioned house!

Woody overslept a little for him, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He said that he hurt quite a bit while at work today. We didn't hear from the much for trying to predict! I made one of our favorites today...Sweet 'N Sour Pork. I also finished a sewing project so started putting things away from that project so I can get started on another. Almost too hot to do much of anything!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

My sister and I were talking last night and neither of us could believe that our father died five years ago this week. Today's blog picture is one that he took of the Arizona desert many years ago. It now hangs in our living I experimented with using our scanner so I could use one of his pictures in the blog this Father's Day. Daddy was an avid photographer...had MANY, MANY, MANY cameras...always had one or two or three his hand, hanging around his neck, or in his pockets. He never got into digital photography, but I think that he would have loved being able to take as many pictures as he wanted and not having to carry all that film. Mother was his film carrier...she always had film in her purse. When I first got my digital camera, I remember sitting in their sun room showing him all the things that it could do and questioning him about apertures, f-stops, etc. I wrote notes down at that time and have those notes stored on my laptop now so I can refer back to them. I remember when growing up and going on family Daddy would stop along the highways and bi-ways so he could take pictures...something that I didn't mind...but not the favorite memory of a trip for my sister! I guess you can say that the love of photography has been passed down over the generations in my family. My father's father was the town photographer in Glendale, AZ, when my dad was growing up. Then Daddy took up photography as a hobby. And, now I am enjoying capturing photos with my digital camera. Mother made the comment a while back that she thought that I might be even "worse" than my father when it came to the number of pictures that I take! That's what happens when you don't have to worry about running out of film!

Woody and I both went to Sunday School this morning. He taught his class. We came home and have taken it easy for the rest of the day. Woody hasn't taken his pain medication quite as regularly today as he did yesterday and he has been in more pain this afternoon. A little while ago I made some brownies that Woody and I plan to indulge in for a special Father's Day treat. Woody is "resting his eyes" while they cool! Hopefully he has had a restful and healing weekend. I expect that the NIH doctor will check in with us tomorrow...don't expect any news about the cells...but think that he will call to check on least he did the first time that Woody had surgery.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010


Several have been concerned about whether the mama deer is still is the glimpse that I caught of her last night. She is still in the area so I am sure that she and her baby have been reunited. This little wooded area is very close to where the fawn ran the other night.

Woody got up early and went on a walk...but not his usual long Saturday walk. Not long after he returned from his walk, we went next door to have a Father's Day breakfast with Nathan and family. Later in the morning Woody went to the library. He came back saying that he almost didn't get away from the library alive...several people approached his left arm/side a little too closely for his well meaning friend (who didn't know about his surgery) came up and took him by the arm and then proceeded to pretend (thank goodness) to sock him on the left arm! He did manage to get away from the library pretty much unscathed! He has taken it easy most of the rest of day. He does say that his pain has been pretty much under control today...he has been taking his pain medication and also been careful in how he moves that arm. There is pain, but not sharp pain today. This afternoon and evening he has done crossword puzzles, watched DVDs and slept off and on. Hopefully it has been a restful healing day!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Woody was glad to see the work week come to a close. He is going to try to get on top of his pain by being able to take his pain medication round the clock (if need be) for the next couple of days. He got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He has been watching news and working crossword puzzles. I spent most of the day sewing...working on something for's almost his first birthday...time does seem to go by so fast these days. Still very hot here in Middle into the 90's again today.

Tonight's picture is one of the flower clusters on one of our butterfly bushes...and it does attract flying insects. Take note of the one flying away from it...just above the leaves toward the right side of the picture.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Source of Pain

Blog in Woody's words tonight:

It has been one week since my surgery. As you can see the glue seems to be holding and the wound seems to be healing. However, it's causing a lot of pain. The 6-inch incision is considerably larger (almost 3 times longer) than the incision from the removal of the first tumor, this tumor was bigger (small peach size) and this surgery involved cutting into more muscle. I was hoping that removing this tumor would remove the pain there--which was basically 24-7 and fairly intense. And, that seemed to be the case initially. On the drive home my only complaint was of some pain at the top of the incision. But now the pain is similar to what I had before. I don't take any pain medicine from bedtime until I get home from work (I'm not supposed to drive while under the effects of pain medicine). But when I take the pain medication when at home, it doesn't always cut the pain.

I got up early, went to work, walked at lunch, worked some more, and came home to rest and relax.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Over the hump day

I can't believe that it is both over the hump day for the week and for the month! Where does the time go these days? Woody got up early, went to work, worked, and then came home to rest and relax. He didn't walk at lunch today. He is still having quite a bit of pain due to his incision. After he had been home for a while, he followed Nathan to the place where Nathan is having his van worked on and then let Nathan drive them back home in our car. This evening he has watched TV and worked on crossword puzzles. I kept busy today...mainly with cooking and cleaning up after my cooking messes. I had planned to go work in the church library, but a storm blew in about the time that I was going to I became a fair weather librarian! This evening I have been helping Woody with crossword puzzles...he works on one for a while and then hands it to me to work on for a while and then I hand it back to work!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh, Deer!

Look what Nathan and family found hiding on their driveway! And...they have been wondering who has been nibbling at their garden...Mama Deer! They scared Mama away when they went out to weed. A little after that, this little one went up to Nathan looking for his mama and then realized his mistake so hid on their driveway near a bush.

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked to the Credit Union and back, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. He was in quite a bit of pain when he got home...but his pain medication eased it pretty quickly. I am still trying to get back into routine...did some cooking (salad mode around here since it is so hot) and also worked on getting caught up on the wash once again. This afternoon, exhaustion caught up with me I rested with a book...planning to read...but that plan didn't last very long...guess you could say that I had a "power nap." We had a thunderstorm come through just a little before I fell it got dark and things cooled down a bit. A little after I got up, Woody brought the phone up to me. By the time I was off the phone, he had fallen asleep. A little while ago, he told me that when he woke up he wasn't sure how or when he had come upstairs...then he did remember that he had come up to use the computer and I was sitting in front of he went in and flopped down on the bed for a few minutes waiting for me to move...and the next he knew...he had had a "power nap," too! When I discovered him asleep, I picked up the crossword puzzle book, that he had been working on before he fell asleep, and I flopped on the bed to work on it...when there came a knocking at our was Kathy wanting me to get my camera and take a picture of the little fawn that was on their driveway...and...thus tonight's blog picture!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Running around in circles!

This was the day to get back into "routine" (whatever that is these days!). I had to pick up the mail, pick up prescriptions, buy groceries, etc. Woody got up early and headed to work. He did his walking in the morning, (good plan since it was so hot today) when he went to the dispensary to get the ok to go back to work. He said that this was a "hit your elbow day" for seemed that every time he went through a door he hit his left elbow. He put in a normal day of work and then came home to rest and relax. Nathan and family have been away and just came home today, so one or another of the children have been over here for part of the afternoon. Goosey has sort of been "show and tell." Everyone has had to see his scar. Graham came over to show me that he can now juggle rings! Abigail came over and helped me make tuna salad for our supper. She loves to cook. Joy and Esther were so cute playing with the toys from the toy closet. Graham tried to invent a solar powered weed eater with his K'nex and then it turned into a Saturn V rocket. Just a little while ago Kathy stopped in to check on Goosey. And, then... Nathan, Elijah and Abigail came over to see Goosey.

Now we're settling in for the evening...crossword puzzles, TV, maybe a little cooking...just good to be back and be able to attempt to settle into a routine. It has been a really HOT day...upper 90's and lots of humidity.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lazy Sunday!

Woody woke up pretty usual. I know that I woke up earlier than I usually do...but I had gone to sleep a lot earlier last night than usual, too. Woody got ready for church and then worked on crossword puzzles with the TV as background noise. I did a couple of things to get ready for church and then flopped down on the bed and took a nap before getting dressed to go to church! We both went to Sunday School. Woody taught his class. We came home and ate lunch. Woody did take pain medication and also Benadryl after coming home from church. His pain is mainly at the top of his incision. He hadn't realized till last night how long his incision was and also how high up it went. He hadn't realized that the pain that he felt was towards the top of his incision...he thought that it was another tumor that he hadn't realized was there due to the other one causing him so much pain. I know that he was relieved to see how high up the incision went and that the incision was what was causing him the pain that he felt...rather than another tumor! He started having sinus drainage after his surgery...probably due to the anesthesia. I finally talked him into taking some Benadryl to help dry it up. So between Benadryl and the pain medication that he took shortly after we got home from church, he got rather sleepy this afternoon! Around 5pm, he came upstairs asking where the afternoon had gone! I really couldn't tell him, as I had napped a good part of the afternoon, too (and mine wasn't drug induced!). That about summarizes our lazy Sunday! And, I will say is good to be home!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Twelve hours!

A lot of you have asked how many hours it takes to drive to NIH (Bethesda, MD). Today it took right at twelve hours. We started a little before 6am (Central time) and got home a little before 6pm (Central time). We had quite a bit of times the rain was coming down very hard. Prior to the rain starting, we were slowed to a snail's pace (tonight's picture) for around four loooooooooong miles due to an accident. We made several stops for gas, rest stops, lunch, etc. Woody did fine...again he drove (one doctor said that he could and one said that he couldn't...guess which one's directive he followed!). Both surgeons didn't want him to be taking pain medication if he was driving and he hasn't taken any since the evening of his surgery. He is in a lot less pain now than prior to the surgery.

It's good to be back home.
Now the waiting game has started to see if the cells they want to grow will grow from this tumor...again we won't know anything for two to three weeks.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sunny Day!

It has to be a sunny day...Woody got released from NIH this morning. He is doing great...not having much pain at all...hasn't had anything for pain since last evening.

I got to Woody's hospital room around 9am and it took till close to 11am till we were able to leave. When the doctor saw him very early this morning, he said that he was signing the release...well, it took forever for them to have the ok to take out the IV...and then we had to get back the pills that he had with him when he came...first they brought just two and had to go get the other one that was in a different place...then we had to wait on the doctor's note that said that he had been in the hospital for Woody to take to work on Monday...and then for the doctor to write a prescription...lots of "then this" and "then that's!" One of the first things that Woody said, when I got there this morning, was that he didn't want the nurse that he had had the day before...that she had been rather scattered. Almost immediately after he said that, who should walk in as his nurse for the morning! And, then the best...drum roll............the nurse likes Woody so much that she is going to put him on her preferred patient list for when he comes back!!!!!!!!! Too funny! She is very nice...just not as organized as some of his other nurses and he found that it took a long time to get things done when he made a request.

After getting "sprung," we came back to the hotel to rest and relax for a bit. On our way back to the hotel, Woody spotted an interesting market that he wanted to check out. After we had been back a while, we WALKED to the market...Woody said that he needed exercise...he said that it was a "good mile" (I think that round trip was closer to two miles...but that is me!). The market was interesting...this was a speciality type market/deli. We ended up eating part of what we bought there at a table at the market and then brought home some for supper/snacking this evening.

Woody seems none the worse for wear. My adrenalin rush seems to have stopped. I took a nap after getting back from the hospital and then flopped on the bed and stared at the TV after getting back from our lunch outing. Woody has been working crossword puzzles.

As Woody predicted, his pain is much less after surgery than it was prior to surgery. The incision looks amazing considering that it is only a day old. The main surgeon told us this morning that he was going to be talking to Dr. Sosman this afternoon (about melanoma research) and that he would report to Dr. Sosman on Woody's surgery.

We plan to start home in the morning...guess I'll be blogging some where along the road back to TN.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Successful Surgery!

Woody left his room around 11am and then was in the "holding" room for about an hour and a half. First the operating room wasn't ready, then they changed their mind about the type of anesthesia he was going to have, then just before going in for surgery he got up to go potty and somehow his IV became uncapped and blood went every where...I was not one of the targets! Major bio-hazard? I don't think that the custodian was really happy with what he had to clean up! There were a lot of conversations about how they would position him for the surgery...had to be careful of the left they decided that they would tuck it up close to his body. He had to be placed face down...that was the reason that the anesthesia was changed...the anesthesiologist hadn't realized the position that he would be in. Then we had to go over the fact that he is allergic to adhesives. Finally around 12:30pm they took him back for surgery. I got called back to the recovery room around 4pm. He was in quite a bit of pain when I first got to see him, but they gave him pain medication in his IV and in not too long of a time his pain was eased. I think that he got to the recovery room around 3:30pm. He was back in his room before 5pm.
The surgeons came in to talk to us before I left for the evening. They said that the surgery was successful. I think that this tumor was larger than the one they removed last month. I guess we will say a large apricot or a small peach. It was embedded in the muscle over his scapula. His incision is 4 or 5 inches long...sort of surpentined (I think)...I only looked at it once (really didn't look all that bad for such a new incision)! All sutures will dissolve and he has "glue" over the drains. Easy nursing this time! They said that if all continues to go well that he can be dismissed from the hospital tomorrow. We will stay at the hotel at least tomorrow night and "play it by ear" as to whether we need to stay any longer.
About his allergy to adhesives...the surgeon said that they were all impressed when they moved one of the EKG leads as to how it left a big red circle and it hadn't been on long at all.
When I left tonight, Woody was back to working a crossword puzzle and waiting for his supper...when I got back to the hotel and called him, he was still waiting for his supper...he was starting to get worried about it arriving. He was ready to eat his first meal of the day!
Tonight's blog picture is the shuttle that I take. It's rounding the curve at the point that it picks me up in the mornings and drops me off in the evenings. Tonight, while I blog, I'm eating a Caesar salad and a cup of white bean and spinach soup...oh, and they brought me some bread tonight, too. Tastes pretty good to have a "real" meal as I pretty much just snacked during the day today.
Hopefully Woody will be out of the hospital, when I blog tomorrow night. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. They were felt!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yes, surgery... maybe surgery...YES, surgery

Ok, I lied last night...Woody didn't have surgery today! The doctors came in early this morning and said that his surgery would be very late today as they had a long surgery before his. Then they decided that he needed a brain MRI prior to surgery. So they postponed his surgery, till after they found out the results of the brain other words by 8am, we knew that his surgery would either be tomorrow wouldn't happen, if there were signs of melanoma in his brain.

He had the brain scan around 11am. Mid-afternoon the doctors came in and said that they had looked at the scans and that they saw nothing. They were still waiting for the official reading, but they were sure that things were good to go.

Woody said that he didn't have a very good night's sleep last night. They came in at 1am to put his IV line in and then started the IV about an hour later and then it kept beeping for most of the rest of the night. He had to go on and get ready very early this morning for surgery (prior to it being cancelled) in case the first scheduled surgery got cancelled. He didn't get breakfast till around 10am...when they finally got him off the list of those who weren't to eat due to surgery! He had his MRI and then came back and ordered lunch. He also took a pretty good nap this afternoon. He was happy not to have a roommate...but that ended about an hour prior to me leaving this evening. I'm hoping that this roommate isn't like the one he had before...the TV was on constantly day and night. Woody hasn't turned on his TV. He has used his bedside computer to check on some elusive crossword clues.

Of course...this change in the surgery date changed hotel plans. I was wondering if I would be "homeless," but just before I came in to get a bowl of soup and blog, I was able to add an additional night for our room. The soup of the night is Tortilla Chicken Soup...again quite good...hits the spot after a long day.

So...I "think" that I will be reporting tomorrow night about Woody's surgery.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tranquil lunch before admittance!

We got to NIH a little before 8am after taking several wrong turns in the Bethesda rush hour traffic. Woody went first to the phlebotomy lab...which he still says is just not very well organized...this morning there were about 50 people there at 8am. After he had his blood work done, then we had about an hour to wait till it was time for him to have his CT scans done...again a long wait for him after he got called back till the actual test was done...he said that the test took about 5 min. After that we went to get salads, prior to him being seen by the doctors in clinic. We ate by this interesting fountain...the sound of running water sort of took the edge off all the voices around us. About the time that we were finished a couple with a little girl stopped at the fountain and the little girl proceeded to remove the stones from the top fountain and stop the water from running down to the lower fountain with her hand. After we ate, we headed upstairs to sign in to see the doctors. It didn't take very long for Dr. Pietro to come in with another doctor. They checked Woody's CT scans and then poked around on Woody to decide which of the harvestable tumors to use. They considered tumors under both arms and also the one on his back. I think that the tumor that they leaned toward was the one under his left arm...which would be hard to get to due to his lack of movement in that arm. It was finally decided to remove the one on his left scapular...which Woody was hoping that they would remove. They also talked about the option of us leaving NIH and going back to have the other "protocol" in Knoxville. We chose to go in the direction that Dr. Sosman at Vanderbilt indicated that we should go...NIH one more try at growing good cells from his tumor and, then, if that fails then to Knoxville for that drug study. After the decision to go forward with surgery, Woody was admitted very quickly. He was in his hospital room by 3pm (Eastern time)...being prepared for surgery tomorrow afternoon. I left him after he had an EKG. And, I will go back in the morning. I took a different shuttle this time since our hotel is in a different part of Bethesda. This one made many stops picking up folk at several businesses, etc. Most of the shuttle riders were heading to a METRO stop to head home after a day at work. Guess this is part of my adventure...experiencing big city life...I'm very glad that I live in a small town! I came back to the hotel and called Woody to let him know that I got here safely and then called Melany and Nathan to let them know about Woody's surgery tomorrow afternoon.

I am now down in the hotel restaurant eating their soup of the day...Italian Wedding Soup...very good. The rest of the evening will be occupied with reading and probably a bit of TV. I've almost finished a book since arriving in Bethesda. Hope that I brought enough reading material! The weather is absolutely beautiful...low humidity, breezy, moderate temperatures...very spring-like.

I'll report tomorrow evening, after I get back from the hospital.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bethesda, MD safely!

A beautiful day to view the Blue Ridge Mountains...I think that the above picture explains their name!

We left this morning about 8am central time and arrived here in Bethesda around 2:15pm central time. I am about to change my watch to eastern time so we won't be late to NIH in the morning! It has been a very nice and a bit breezy.

I am in the lobby using their free wireless and Woody is up in our room resting. I don't know that he would own up to it not feeling the greatest today...but I think that today's drive was a bit rough on him. He has found a comfortable position on the couch in our room and not moving till there is a need!

He is to be at NIH at 8am in the morning...hope that we can judge the traffic patterns! I was just told that this area has the third highest amount of traffic in the US. I'm not too worried if we are a bit late, as it is for blood work...but then Woody says that they aren't very efficient in their hopefully we can get there on time so we will be on time for his CT scan.

I'm heading back up to our room after I check email and a couple of other things on the computer. Then I plan to settle in to reading a good book and watching a bit of TV for the evening and perhaps plugging in a word or two in Woody's crossword puzzle.

I'll report on NIH decisions tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just another Sunday drive!

We got up, finished getting everything together, loaded the car, and headed to church. Woody taught his 6th grade Sunday School class and I went to my class. We left the church a little after 11am and stopped a little after 6pm. We have travelled about 350 miles today. We stopped at the same place that we stopped on our first trip to NIH. We are in Fort Chiswell, VA...settled in for the evening. We will eat breakfast here in the morning and then get on our way to Bethesda, MD.

We drove through quite a bit of hard rain...not something that either of us like...especially when the trucks start passing and making it even harder to see. The last 50 miles we started seeing blue sky. Woody has a baseball game to watch on TV, so he is happy...a good way for him to relax after today's drive.
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Saturday, June 5, 2010


Tonight's pictures show our "balloon flowers." Before they open, the are a small green "balloons" that become larger till they become a blue/purple "balloon," and then they open up into a pretty flower. A fun flowering perennial that Melany found for our garden a few years ago. I found all the stages when I went out to take the picture of an open one this afternoon. It has been a hot day in Middle reached 92 in Tullahoma, according to Weather Bug.

I have been gathering everything to pack today and have started putting my clothes in the suitcase...Woody's will be next. I did my pre-trip WalMart run and got some last minute things that we "needed." Then it will be gathering "things" that we take that don't go in the the laptop (so I can keep you all informed), camera and lenses (for blog pictures), cell phone (to keep in touch with family), and ALL the cords (to keep things charged and working) that go to each of these items. I have the cell phone charging as well as camera batteries and the laptop batteries are all charged we should be good to go as far as electronics.

We plan to leave after Sunday School tomorrow. So I will be reporting in tomorrow night from somewhere down the road heading toward Maryland.

Woody went to the library this morning and stopped at the fruit market for some tomatoes. He has spent a lot of the day in his recliner as he has been hurting quite a bit. He took a pain pill a little while ago and I can already tell a difference in how he feels. He watched a baseball game this afternoon, worked on crossword puzzles, watched a library DVD, and has gotten out the clothes he wants me to pack for him.
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Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm looking over...a...bed of clover...

...don't know if there are any four-leaf clovers in this patch or not! But, if Woody had been out in the yard when I was taking this picture, he would have been able to find the four-leaf ones if there were any!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more and came home to wait for Melany and Alex's arrival. Today was the last day for Space Camp for Alex and they stopped by on their way home. From the sounds of all that Alex shared, he had a great time. made a lot of new friends, and learned a lot! I guess all of Nathan's family except for Elijah (napping) filtered through at one time or another and got to visit with Melany and Alex, too. Alex got to use the Lego Mindstorm robots at Space Camp...something Graham was interested in since he has a Mindstorm Robot set. Alex told Graham that he would come back sometime and help him with building and programming his robots. Sounds like a good "boy cousin plan!"

Still in the getting ready to pack mode...will do some actual packing tomorrow...but right now I'm going downstairs to watch the National Spelling Bee (and fold some clothes).

One of Woody's research nurses (from his eight month drug study) at Vanderbilt called today to check to see how he is doing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pickin' up the pace...

...or at least trying to pick up the pace a bit after yesterday's sluggish entry...from slug to roller coaster! Guess both aptly describe our lives lately! This is a picture of Graham's K'nex roller coaster.

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more, and then came home to rest and relax. Last night was "one of those nights" when he felt that didn't get much sleep. Woody's pain seems to intensify at this time of day...he never is "out of pain" but there are certain times when it is worse...and he had one of those times a short while ago. Those are the times that he does finally give in to taking pain medicine.

I have heard from NIH twice today. I had a question that I needed answered prior to going to NIH on Tuesday, so I emailed the doctor. Not long after I emailed, the phone rang and it was the research nurse with the answer to my question. Then an hour or so later, I heard from the social worker. She had once again tried to get me housed in the lodge for the time that Woody would be in the hospital, if he has surgery. But there was only one night that it would have worked (and that night we hope to be back on the road again). So we will go with the hotel that I made reservations with yesterday.

I'm beginning to get ready for us to head off...again...almost time to pack...again! I got our clothes all ready last week...but am having to do it again as we have worn them in the mean while! I have also tried to do a little bit of cleaning (very little)...when it comes to the cleaning, the sluggish mentality seems to take over!

I'm blogging early tonight, as we are going over to take care of our five neighbor grandchildren, while Nathan and Kathy have a "date night."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sluggish cells

We received a call from Woody's doctor at NIH this morning. He said that they had looked at the cells again and that they didn't look good...that they had started growing when they were supposed to, but that the growth had slowed down...and that the cells didn't look good...that they looked sluggish. They don't want to deplete Woody's immune system and then give back poor cells.

So on to the next plan. The doctor decided to have Woody come back next week. He will have blood work and CT scans Tuesday morning, and then see the doctors and research nurse Tuesday afternoon. They will decide at that time if another of Woody's tumors is a good size to remove. If they decide that there is one they can use, he will probably have surgery to remove it on Wednesday. Then the growing process will begin all over again. The doctor said that they will try two different times to grow cells, but if this second attempt fails then Woody won't be in this study. If they decide that there isn't a tumor of the correct size, then we will just come on home.

The other study that both NIH and Dr. Sosman have recommended would take place in Knoxville. I emailed our Vanderbilt research nurse to see about getting Woody on a list for that one. She said that there wasn't a waiting list and that it usually took about a week to get an appointment to be screened for that program. We have decided to wait on signing up for it till after we see if he is taken out of the current NIH study.

Of course, this put me back on the phone to try to get hotel reservations. I had to call quite a few places till I found what sounded like a reasonable rate. Accomplished that with a lot less problems than the last time. And, there is a hotel shuttle to NIH at this hotel.

Woody got up early, as usual, went to work, worked, walked at lunch, worked some more and came home to rest and relax. He had a time of intense pain earlier in the evening. He is now downstairs working on a crossword puzzle. I am to go help him with the crossword, after I blog!

Woody decided on the title for tonight's blog...then he went out to find a slug...and then I had to take a picture of the slimy thing! Not my favorite of God's creatures!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First day of hurricane season!

I remember the first day of hurricane season because many years ago we were traveling to New Orleans way on June 1 and that was much talked about on the radio that I guess I filed "June 1" and "start of hurricane season" away in my brain!

Woody got up early, went to work, worked, but didn't walk at lunch. Today's work challenge for Woody = no airconditioning. A co-library worker and I worked in the church library for several hours this afternoon and got quite a few books processed (heads-up for FBC library patrons!). We had a thunderstorm roll through this afternoon.

We were expecting to hear from the research nurse at NIH today...but no call while I was home, no call to Woody at work, no message on the home phone and no message on the cell phone. So the waiting game is on once again. We did receive mail from NIH today...appointments for tomorrow...with information about times, etc. It said to call the number on another sheet if we needed to phone number on any of the we couldn't call. Funny to get the papers when we did..."if" we had been going for appointments tomorrow...we would have almost been in Bethesda, when the mail arrived today! We figure that the papers were sent out before the nurse canceled the appointments on Friday. They don't send appointment reminders quite soon enough when one starts driving two days prior to the appointments!

Maybe I will be able to tell you tomorrow when we will be going next to NIH!