Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
It is different being in a study because I don't just keep taking the pills. I had to turn in the Rx bottles and remaining pills (along with my medication diary) and got new Rx bottles/pills for the next cycle. I guess they do that as a double-check to confirm the number of pills vs what I put on the diary. I did forget one evening dose so they would be able to see that when they count the remaining pills.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Apparently, some of the tests done previously are now "out of the window" - meaning that I need to have the tests again. So...tomorrow I go in for blood and other tests and a new chest CT. Per Debb (RN), they are trying to get me going on the drug on Thursday. We'll see... I have waited so long that I won't be surprised if they can't get me going until Friday or even Monday.
Most importantly, I am pretty sure that they now have all the necessary approvals. So...here we go...
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Next week I go through a batch of tests to confirm that I qualify for this special no-name drug that will battle with my lung cancer. Chest CT, Brain MRI, radioactive stuff injected to do a bone scan, CT on abdomen and hips, blood tests, EKG, eye exam and who knows what else. I will be glowing by Wednesday. But, hopefully, they will determine that I can start in the study of PF-02341066.
I admit that I am a bit apprehensive. I had hoped that this remission would continue for a few more months and would get us past the holidays. That was not to be. I am anxious to get going with this new drug. I want to see if it lives up to its supposed success. I'm the kind of person who likes to just jump into something, getting going, find out the side effects / deal with them. I think that is the only way to really make the most of this kind of new drug. So, PF-02341066 - let's get going.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I've been reading lots of paperwork about the study - various "informed consent" and disclaimer type stuff. It also includes some details about things I will need to do - follow up tests, etc.
I am sure glad that Jill got through her kidney transplant and is well on her recovery. It could have been pretty complicated otherwise. We will still need to coordinate her follow ups with what I need to do. So...I guess we move on to the next adventure.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
She has had her own serious health issues. We have been lucky that we have taken turns being in tough shape. I was scheduled to see Dr E (my oncologist) today and she told me to tell him that it isn't "my turn" right now. I did tell him that and he delivered great news. I continue to be in remission!!
He feels that I might expect to have a good run of time coming. Whenever my current remission ends (hopefully, quite a while from now), I will go on the NIH test chemo which is a "specialty" chemo specifically targeted for a somewhat rare gene which I have. He said that the NIH has had extremely good success with this drug; and, it apparently hasn't been causing side effects. He thinks it is possible that I may have a couple years before it will be necessary to figure out a next treatment.
Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to cancer. But, it sure is good to think that I may be feeling OK for a while.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
But, there are only a few things as good as fresh strawberries at this time of the year. Oh my gosh!! I have been buying 2 lb containers. Last week they last about 2 days. Today, I just ate about a lb in one sitting.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Dr Henderson informed me that my brain lesions continue to be stable. That's a very good thing and I am not experiencing any new neurological symptoms. I will go back in October for another MRI. Dr H wants to be aware of changes in the lesions rather than wait for new symptoms.
This afternoon, I visited Dr Phan - a retina specialist. Dr Zlioba had recommended that I see a retina specialist to evaluate what he called floaters. She confirmed the floaters in both eye and did a pretty complete physical evaluation of my eyes. She indicated that the current floaters are not causing any issues with my retinas. I will also go back to see her in October for a re-check.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
On Wednesday, went into the IU Simon Cancer Center for a chest Xray and appointment with Dr E. Drove to Joliet right after finishing with Dr E. Appointment with Dr Z on Thursday to do a final check on my cataract surgery. All went well at both appointments.
Back to work Friday after driving back to Indy on Thursday evening. Since I had mostly caught up on Tuesday, I spent the day doing normal things. Got a referral to a retina specialist at IU per Dr Z's suggestion. Apparently, I have "floaters" and he wants me to have them checked out by a retina specialist. Was able to get an appointment to follow my brain MRI and appointment with Dr H next Tuesday. So, I will spend most of the day on Tuesday at IU Hospital.
With Alaska behind us and no new trip scheduled yet, will be doing typical stuff for a while. Which means, work and medical stuff for both Jill and me. And, we are looking forward to a short visit from Julie next week.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The wildlife viewing was exceptional as always. Kodiak was a little disappointing - or we had overly high expectations. Seeing the pod of killer whales at Juneau so close to the excursion boat for about 20 minutes was outstanding and was a cruising highlight. I think I got my best-ever whale tail picture.
Entertainment onboard was just OK. Lorna Luft put on an unexpected, fabulous show - maybe one of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. However, much of the performances by the ship's show group was too obviously pre-recorded and blah.
Food in the dining room was generally good - as was the Lido Cafe. The Pinnacle Grill was outstanding. I admit that I ate a lot and gained 4 lbs. I don't usually have dessert after every lunch and dinner!
We, again, had very enjoyable dinner partners. And, we continue to prefer the "old style" assigned seating for dinner.
Scenery was awesome, as expected, and we confirmed that Hubbard Glacier is "the" glacier to see. Glacier Bay can't compare. Butchart Gardens remains an incomparable place to visit.
Travel to/from Seattle through Atlanta was grueling and we must only do a direct flight (and not so early) next time.
The ship, the HAL Amsterdam, was good. We did have glitches - like the toilet required 4 or 5 plumber visits. But, in general, it continues to be a nice ship after 10 years. The concierge at the Neptune Lounge (for suites only) was very friendly and helpful.
As always, I am very glad that we visited Alaska once again.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Most of the food was what I would call typical cruise ship food. I had a variety - steak, salmon, chicken, and lamb. Desserts were typically very good. If a dessert included chocolate mousse or was souffle, I had it. For some reason, I ate a lot more bread/butter than usual.
Jill ate small portions - usually mainly the protein - beef or chicken.
We ordered breakfast in our cabin almost every day. Went to the dining room once; but, ate the same things. So we figured there was no reason to bother leaving the cabin early. Most lunches were in the Lido Restaurant. Stir-fried rice or noodles with chicken or beef. Bread pudding and chocolate bread pudding most days.
A few times we had to eat on the run due to excursion timing. Missed a couple lunches.
I can't wait to get home on a scale. I think I have actually gained a few pounds. But, I'm sure that Jill probably lost wait since she ate such small amounts at all meals.
So...that's the food update.
Getting off the ship was a chore. Crowds crammed into hallways, stairways and elevator lobbies. It was a zoo. On the bus, I commented to someone from the Cruise Directors staff about the people packed like sardines and the safety issue. She told me that, if I was going to just complain, she would change seats on the bus. When Jill and I started to explain how other cruises have controlled such crowds, she blamed the passengers and said this is how they have handled such things for 3 years. It's a irritating story and she was ruder than anyone I have ever encountered on any cruise.
The wind was cold and biting. When we got off the ship, we had about a 100 yard walk to the busses. It was much worse coming back because we had to walk directly into the wind - one of those winds where you must lean into it to walk.
But, at the Gardens, it was quite pleasant. We both had to take off a couple layers. Lots of flowers - I don't know the names. But, very pretty. They have Rose, Japanese, Italian, and Sunken Gardens. We cut a few short because they involved too many steps or long upward slopes.
Didn't get back to the ship until 8pm - too late for our regular dinner. Luckily, we had made reservations in the Pinnacle Grill. We ate in this special restaurant 3 times. The food is as good as any top notch restaurant on land. I had filet mignon twice and lamb chops once. Chocolate souffle and creme brulee were great. Jill had filet mignon, a beef skewer and a chicken/turkey skewer - all were delicious but too much food for her. She went for the souffle all three nights.
It was a very late evening - complicated by the fact that we had to pack for departure today. We are taking advantage of expedited luggage handling. Once we put our luggage out last night, it goes directly to the airline and we don't see it until the Indy airport. Hope it works well.
Friday, June 11, 2010
We also saw many humpback whales - including a young humpback breeching (jumping) completely out of the water. Many of the whales were very close. Sea lions, a sea otter (apparently very rare in Juneau), eagles. Today was a superb day for wildlife. Cloudy, rainy, 50's.
We also saw Mendenhall Glacier; but, it is saw much smaller than the first time we saw it. It is retreating about 500 feet per year. Soon, it will not be worth a stop.
We are in Juneau today for our usual whale-watching. Based on history, we expexted the viewing to be good.
During the first two hours, it was basically a very scenic boat ride. Finally, during the last two hours, we saw lots of puffins and other birds. The narrator wasn't terribly good with identifying the birds. He was more an area history expert. We also saw several dozen sea lions grouped on rocky islands.
We certainly hoped to see more. But, it's wildlife and there is never a guarantee that you'll see anything.
We will spend tomorrow cruising Hubbard Glacier. In the past, it has been much better glacier-viewing than Glacier Bay. Hope that will be true tomorrow.
For anyone who watches Deadliest Catch, we saw the Time Bandit. Also saw Readout Volcano - the one that erupted in the last few months and delayed flights into/from Anchorage. Saw several other volcanos that apparently erupt every 10 to 15 years.
We head to Kodiak tomorrow. Will be on another wildlife excursion.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Some of the glaciers have retreated so much that they no longer reach to the water. They are melting faster than the growth of the ice pack. Much of Glacier Bay is now dirt/rocks without snow or ice cover. That doesn't diminish from the expanse of the bay; but, it is obvious that the glaciers are shrinking. We spent about 9AM until 4:30PM in Glacier Bay.
In general, it has been pretty chilly. Mid-40's in Glacier Bay. Highs in the mid-50's other days. We have had a bit of sun; but, it has been cloudy most days. Rain one day on the ship and light sprinkles one day.
Sunset at about 10:30PM. Right now, at 11:50PM, it is gray - but not dark. We don't see when it actually gets dark since we're sleeping. When I woke up briefly at about 5:00AM, it was already light outside.
Entertainment was special last night with Lorna Luft singing. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and the half-sister of Liza Minelli. She has a strong voice that is similar to her mother & sister. It was a great show - she is a strong performer/entertainer. Jill and I think this may be one of the strongest shows we've seen on a cruise ship.
Lazy day at sea today. Saw dozens of humpback whales from the ship. Had a good meal at the separate Italian restaurant - Canolletto's. Played trivia - won some, lost some.
I've been eating quite a bit. So, maybe I've put on some weight. Will see when we get home. Relaxing and naps most afternoons. Sometimes Jill goes to the casinos. She's up so far.
Tomorrow, we dock in Anchorage. We will be there for a long day. Don't have an excursion and don't know if we'll get off the ship. Depends on whether Jill wants to shop. I guess we'll decide after breakfast in our cabin.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Today, we are in Skagway. We walked around town and shopped. Nice little town with multicolored clapboard buildings and wooden boardwalks on both sides of the street.
Don't know if I'll have service tomorrow because we will be in Glacier Bay.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
We boarded a little before the cabins were ready; but, we were invited to the dining room for lunch - rather than the buffet on the Lido deck. It was nice to avoid the crush of people.
Our cabin is a nice suite (like we have had before) and we are directly across from the Neptune Lounge - the Concierge lounge for suite cabin only.
Yesterday was a day at sea. We saw about a dozen dolphins from our verandah. Other than that, it was just a relaxing day of doing basically nothing.
We had breakfast delivered to the cabin - way too chilly to eat on the verandah. Had lunch in the Lido - I would prefer to avoid that as much as I can. Met our dinner tablemates - a couple from Edmonton and a couple from the San Fernando Valley in CA. Good conversation the past two nights.
We arrived in Ketchican early this morning. It rains 162" average each year - more than 200 days per year. No surprise that it is raining today. We ventured off ship and shopped a few blocks before we had both had enough and returned to the ship and our warm cabin. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
Monday, May 31, 2010
Slept well. We both really needed it. Breakfast at Bella's - a French pastry place attached to the hotel. You can't beat a good chocolate croissant and caffe latte.
Took a Duck Tour of the city this morning. It was a little chilly; but they provided wool blankets. Very energetic, entertaining driver. Saw the house where much of Sleepless In Seattle was filmed. And, we heard many stories about Seattle history. As usual, it was an interesting 90 minute tour.
Then, we went to the aquarium. It was a good option for a brief activity. It was packed with families. We were both pooped by the time we finished the aquarium. We had planned on eating in the aquarium area; but, we just took a taxi back to the hotel.
When we got back to the hotel, we went to the Terrace where they could get Jill a cup of the chicken noodle soup that I liked last night (even though it wasn't on their menu) and I had very good clam chowder. With the bread and crackers, it was a good lunch for us.
Now it's time for a nap. We have almost adjusted to the time difference. But all that morning activity and walking has worn us out. I think we'll go back to Shuckers for dinner.
We board the ship tomorrow. Since our room tonight is compliments of Holland America, we have instructions for luggage handling and shuttle to the ship. They will take our luggage from our hotel room to our cabin on the ship. So, we don't need handle all the big luggage. If all goes well, we'll be on the ship mid-day tomorrow. Can't wait.
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I dropped Jill off at curb side luggage service. The AirTran guy saw that we clearly needed help. He helped take all 5 bags from our car to the check stand and gave me directions to parking. He also sent a wheelchair attendant to meet me along the walk from parking. This attendant pushed us both through security - allowing us to bypass the long line at security. By the time we got to the gate, the plane was already half boarded. The wheelchair attendant took Jill to the plane and helped her get her carryon into the overhead. He then pushed me to the plane. I was one of the last to board. The doors were closed for departure very shortly after I got into my seat.
This was way too close!! Damn near missed the flight. Not a good way to start a vacation.
The flights were uneventful - Indy to Atlanta and Atlanta to Seattle. About 6 hours flying plus a layover in Atlanta. We landed in Seattle about 12:20PM - about 20 minutes early. Our driver found us at baggage claim, got us to the curb and brought the car to us.
Seattle weather was very cloudy and only 51 - quite chilly.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is very nice, very classy. Starting with the Bell Captain, we were treated very well. Everyone at Reception and the Concierge was very friendly and helpful.
Our lunch at Shuckers (in the hotel) was excellent. Apparently, this is one of the top-rated seafood restaurants in Seattle.
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Monday, May 17, 2010
This morning we went to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. Unfortunately, my breakfast at the diner was just mediocre. Corned beef hash was only average. Potatoes were not good - something like sliced, rubbery boiled potatoes. Eggs were over easy rather than over medium as I ordered. At least they had cold whole milk.
Mid-day we went to Arielle's graduation ceremony. Typical long event with speakers and reading names of the graduates - only those in attendance. We only went to the separate, smaller ceremony for the Masters/PhD grads in the Arts & Sciences dept. Full school event was at the Penn football stadium and had around 6,000 grads.
They had a reception lunch in another tent next to the ceremony. As usual, I don't particularly care for that kind of meal.
Tonight, we went back to the Reading Terminal Market for a Philly steak sandwich - no cheese. Good sandwich. Huge. But, we enjoyed it. As far as I'm concerned, it was our best meal here.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
During the drive, I got to thinking about what would have been my situation many years ago before someone figured out how to remove cataracts and implant artificial lenses. I could tell that my vision was getting worse just about every week. Everything was blurry. I couldn't read street signs. I had to be within 8 inches to see my computer screen. I suppose 100's of years ago I would have just simply gone blind. Eventually, I may have just seen colors and blurry shapes. That would have sucked.
I still have a couple follow-up appointments. But, all the real work is done. I will now be able to see well when we go to Alaska!!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Surgery on the right eye is tomorrow morning. With the "twilight" anesthetic, I imagine I will sleep most of Tuesday as I did last week. Dr Z expects the right eye surgery to go just as well as the left eye.
If, however, I need reading glasses, I may have an issue posting here or reading/answering emails on my blackberry. I didn't think about bringing any reading glasses. We'll see.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Directions are that I shouldn't exert myself - just sit, watch TV, nap, don't lift anything, don't bend over, don't do anything strenuous.
I must put the patch back on to sleep so I don't rub or scratch the eye while sleeping. Two different drops four times per day. With all the sitting, I'll certainly have time to remember the drops.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Turned out to be a very productive day. But, I am wiped out. My feet are killing me. I walked more and stood more than I have in years. Had the chance to visit with many friends - haven't seen some of them in years. They have all been kind and supportive. Pre-diagnoses, pre-chemo and pre-radiation today would have been a blast. I am very glad I came to the conference. But, I know I will pay for it with a very worn out body.
With long flight and 3-hour time zone change, my body is out of whack and I haven't eaten as well as normal. Tomorrow I have a very full day. Visiting local properties with MT and, then, we have a full afternoon of meetings.
I miss Jill. I can't even remember the last time when she wasn't with me. But, I think it would have been even harder on her to make this trip. She will also have a rough day tomorrow - filled with more testing and seminars re: treatment. It will be a rough day for her and I will wish that I was with her to help her through it. I will be thinking of her all day.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Next up, I start the cataract surgery process Friday with an ultrasound to measure for the new artificial lens size.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Turns out they had a blazer in stock and they could tailor it to me - TODAY. And, I didn't have to pay for alterations. Now I have a very nice blazer for the Alaska cruise and for the conference in a couple weeks. I've never owned one tailored this well. It's not custom-make; but, it's probably as close as I will get.
And, this is a two-fer day. I also got the written notice that our home mortgage is now fully paid off. No more home mortgage payment. Hurray!!
Jill visited the doctor who did her stem cell transplant eight years ago and has been treating her since. He told her yesterday that her amyloidosis has been stable long enough that they now have many new treatment options in the event the amyloidosis becomes active.
Nothing really new about my health. Too much good news to talk about instead.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
He feels that it is time to do cataract surgery asap. He could do the surgery in the next couple weeks; but, he would not want me to travel. So, we will do it beginning the week after I attend a business conference in Las Vegas in mid-April.
Over a two week period he will do one eye one week and the other eye the next week. This expedited process will require that I stay in Joliet for almost two weeks. But, this will get both eyes done the quickest. And, I will have almost a month to heal before Alaska. He wants me to have a few weeks to heal before travelling.
So...I need to put up with so-so vision for just a few more weeks.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Since my vision has continued to deteriorate, I moved up my eye doc appointment. I go in this coming Saturday. Will find out if he recommends replacing the lenses in my new glasses or if I am getting close to doing the cataract surgery. I'm kinda hoping for lenses for now so that I can see better when we go to Alaska in late May/early June.
My health is, otherwise, very good. Just the usual aches & pains and a little cough. Gained a couple pounds during the cruise; but, I have leveled off at my pre-cruise weight. No treatments at the moment.
Jill has been undergoing various tests during the past week or so. So far, she has passed everything with flying colors. She has been having pain in her back - probably her kidneys. She sees her kidney doc soon - maybe tomorrow or next Thursday. We'll see if he recommends that she prepare for dialysis.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Well...we won trivia again. From the looks of some others, we have apparently become "that team". We won about 4 out of 7 or 8 times. We were very lucky that we had good team mates.
We sure have enjoyed the afternoon tea. Chocolate chip scones today with clotted cream and jam.
Tonight, they are showing the Oscars in the show lounge - in Spanish!! Apparently, the show will be on TNT from somewhere in Latin America. Should be interesting.
Docked. Waiting for our turn to disembark. It's over.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Immigration early tomorrow and, then, Key West. Finished immigration quickly. Just waiting for our excursion time. Don't know temp yet; but, it is very sunny.
Know now that, whatever the actual temp, it is quite chilly here in Key West. Probably about mid 60's. We took a glass bottom boat ride. Didn't see much - water had been stirred up by winds and waves the past few days.
Last excursion is over and we have our dinner tonight in the "special" restaurant. Jill has ordered filet mignon. I will pick either the filet or lamb.
Tonight we pack - Jill's least favorite time during any trip. Travel day tomorrow - at least we don't need to connect. We have a direct flight from Ft Lauderdale to Indy.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Naturally, we napped. Getting ready for afternoon tea and trivia. Still not hungry; but, I will probably have tea and a scone with clotted cream/jam.
We continue sailing to Key West. We should arrive tomorrow morning and will spend the day in Key West.
Nothing really different. Really good breakfast in our cabin. I've discovered that they make very good blueberry pancakes.
Then, we sat by the pool for a few minutes. Lunch at the buffet - good rice pudding.
Nice long nap this afternoon. Tea again this afternoon - followed by a surprising win at trivia.
Getting ready for dinner - followed by the show. I guess you could say that we're in a rut - a nice relaxing rut. Day at sea tomorrow.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Breakfast in our cabin has been very good for me. Jill doesn't as much; so, I think she has been OK with breakfast.
For lunch, we have been doing the buffet - but we missed lunch due to excursions on a couple of days. The buffet has been just OK. Nothing particularly bad - but the Holland America buffet at the Lido Restr is much better.
Afternoon tea, served in one of the lounges, has been excellent. Not a great sandwich selection. But, the desserts have been very good.
Dinners have also been mostly OK. A few things have been very good and others have been average.
The ship, the Navigator, has been very good for us. At just 500 passengers, it is a good size for us. Everything is within comfortable distance.
The evening entertainment in the show lounge has been very good. The ship's singers and dancers are as good as any we have seen. The other performers have been fun and very entertaining.
The butler has been reserved and not particularly outgoing; but, in general, he gets the job done. Not as good as the butler we had on Celebrity or the Concierges that we have had on Holland America. Cabin Stewardess has been very friendly and has done a very good job.
Waiters in the dining room have been much better the last few days. I get the impression that they have heard our complaints and must gotten our pics from when we boarded. They have clearly known who we are. Our waiter tonight addressed Jill by name even before we told him that she had a special order meal. And, they have been bringing two iced teas to avoid needing to refill.
I am now even more strongly opposed to open seating. Besides repeating the same initial conversation topics every night (boring!), it definitely feels as if many of the staff are not as motivated to please since they know the ship is "no tipping". It's too bad since we would normally tip extra for exceptional service by waiters and cabin staff. It is not likely that we will tip extra for this cruise.
Oh, second in trivia again today. And, Jill didn't go to the casino again today. Apparently, she is often unable to get a slot machine that she likes and she says the slots are very tight.
This was one of the only excursions that we paid for and I was quite put off that they clearly solicited donations for the school we visited. Also, their excursion description definitely did not help us to understand the difficulty of the steep, uphill walk and the many even stairs. It turned out to be an extreme challenge for both of us. The guide actually said "Of course we don't tell you. If we did, you wouldn't come". The only break in the beating that was the return boat trip was when they stopped the boat for about ten minutes for little kids in dug out canoes to badger us and try to harass us into buying their sea shell and trinkets. Certainly, we have experienced that type of thing before; but, it has never been so blatantly initiated by an excursion operator. We will try to find time tonight or tomorrow to lodge a complaint with the ship's staff.
Jill stayed on the ship today in Belize. Got a facial, took a nap and relaxed. She is feeling well today. I went on an airboat tour. Saw loads of birds and quite a few crododiles. Nice afternoon tea. Our team won trivia today.
Good dinner. Very improved service. Entertaining show by the ship's singer and orchestra.
The bus took us "downtown" to shop. Didn't take long to realize that most stores were the same as other islands. Diamonds Int'l and others of that type. So, we headed back to the bus pickup spot and just waited a few minutes for the bus back to the ship.
We missed lunch due to the tour - not a good thing for Jill. But, we can go to dinner in about 90 minutes.
Jill decided she needs a "do nothing" day tomorrow. So, I returned her excursion ticket.
Oh, I got a call from the concierge today. She said "I know that you cruise a lot and wanted to see if there is anything we can do for you to enjoy the rest of your cruise". I told her about some of our problems. We'll see...
Tonight we sail for Belize.
They offered most of the same excursions - so, we went on a sightseeing bus and saw local folk dancing. It was interesting and a chance for us to get off the ship for a few hours. On past visits to Cozumel, we have snorkeled the barrier reef - beautiful. This is where I fell in love with snorkeling. It would be nice; but, my snorkeling days are probably over.
Tonight, I had my best dinner so far - broiled red snapper. Unfortunately, service has not improved. Three nights, different waiters but similar inadequate service. Had to ask three times for sugar for our iced tea. Finally, he brought a container with lots of pink, blue and yellow chemicals and one real sugar. So, I had to ask him again for sugar - real sugar - artificial sweeteners.
One of our tablemates got very frustrated when she waited forever and had to flag down someone to refill her water. This was the second time they sat with us at dinner and the second time she had the same issue. She said she has cruised with Regent and has never before had such poor service.
Waited more than 1/2 hour for dessert menus after they cleared our table. I could go on about quite a few other things. But...clearly, we will not be sailing on Regent again. Most things are simply OK and are definitely not worth the considerably higher cost. I realize that we are being picky. But, that is supposed to be why we paid the high premium to be on Regent.
It is, however, a good thing to be in weather that is much warmer than home. And, we are getting lots of relaxing time. It was sunny all day today. Not sure of the temp; but, I did get chilly in short sleeves. Taking a sweater on our excursion tomorrow.
I have been feeling very well. Jill is doing pretty well. She has felt a little funky a few times - but not for an extended time. She was bothered a little by the waves yesterday.
Watched a lecture about the original people in the Caribbean and took a short nap afterward - not during the lecture.
Weather is rainy and a bit chilly. Since there will be no poolside activities, they are showing Julie & Julia in the show lounge this afternoon.
Lunch was OK. I had small portions of Caribbean Chicken, Beef Shortribs and Red Snapper. Also had linguine with bolognese sauce - which I finished since it was the best of the bunch. Chocolate banana roll was excellent.
After an afternoon of rough seas, the captain just announced that we will not go to Grand Cayman tomorrow. Really too bad because Jill was looking forward to swimming with the stngrays. Instead, we will continue on our sail to Cozumel and we will now spend an overnight in Cozumel. We were just planning to shop there; so, now I guess we'll have another lazy day on the ship.
Based on the captain saying that the swells were about 16 feet earlier today and it is worse now, I would guess the swells to now be 20 to 25 feet. Temps seem to be around 55 or 60.
Decent dinner tonight despite the very rough seas. Only one crash of plates. Initially, they cancelled the show that included dancers - unsafe. Now, they have also cancelled the show that was to be musicians. They are showing another movie - one that we have seen. So...Jill headed to the casino and I will look for something on TV in the cabin.
Being almost 1:30, we looked for food for lunch. We came across the pool grill which had burgers, brats, beef (maybe roast) and typical pasta and potato salads, lettuce salads. The brat was very good - or maybe I just haven't had one for a while. Everything else was like what might be served at a office picnic.
Unfortunately, we later found another buffet location that might be more to our liking. We'll try it tomorrow.
Staying with the food theme, it appears that I have a good selection of fresh fruit in the suite. I will certainly nibble on it tonight.
Dinner was OK. Jill's rice was excellent but the shrimp were tough. My pumpkin soup was good but the salmon not fabulous. Plain grilled with no sauce. Cut veggies were decorative. Baked potato was acceptable. Another at our table said her potato was not fully cooked. Creme Brulee was commercial - nothing special.
Biggest issue was the lack of beverage service. Jill and I got iced tea - what the waiter referred to as American Champagne - like he was looking down on us for just drinking tea rather their wines and mixed drinks. Unfortunately, those drinking wine at our table had glasses filled numerous times while Jill, another drinking water and I were basically left alone with empty glasses. It took quite a while to get anyone's attention. I finally talked with a Maitre de' and we suddenly had four glasses of tea. They finally filled Linda's water glass.
This was certainly not the kind of service we had expected. I contend that this is a negative of the open seating where a waiter doesn't serve you every night. But, hopefully, this will get better in the next few days. I am not yet a member of the "Regent is so much better club". I'll come back to this after a few more days.
It was a bit extravagant to have the butler unpack my luggage and hang/fold everything. But, he got things put away lickety-split. Cabins seem a little tight on drawer space.
The Regent Version of the Penthouse Suite is OK. Much smaller that the Royal Ste on Celebrity. 20-30% smaller than the Concierge Ste on Holland.
Tomorrow, while at sea, we will observe other things - TV entertainment options, other onboard entertainment, etc. As we settle in, we will certainly enjoy ourselves. Our comparisons will answer the simple question "Would we sail Regent again?"
Thursday, February 25, 2010
However, things went really bizarre when our taxi driver didn't have any idea how to get to our hotel - Spring Hill Suites Airport. He asked for the hotel name at least a dozen times as we drove. He asked if we had ever been there.
I finally, called the hotel and they told me we had gone too far and gave us directions. Our driver still couldn't handle it and I had to call the hotel again. I kept her on the phone and she said "Oh no, I can see your taxi and he just missed the turn."
Once we finally got there, he tried to tell me it was a Marriott even when I pointed at the Spring Hill Suites sign. He tried say it was my fault. It is owned by Marriott; but, it is not a Marriott. Just how slow and clear can you say Spring...Hill...Suites? And, how many times should need to give the exact address?
I asked him what he expected me to pay for that ride. I knew the meter was over $22 plus a $2 extra charge. He asked what I would pay and I told him I would pay $15. He shook his head and said that he would just give it to me free. Obviously, he didn't expect that I would say "OK" and went immediately to asking for the full fare - pointing at the meter. I handed him $20 - no tip. He took it and went away. I thought about taking his cab number but decided it wasn't worth the trouble. We decided it was as bad as our last car in Rome.
We checked in, got to our room and decided to order Chinese so we could watch the Olympics. Turned out the place we used (from the hotel-offered menus) was excellent. Hunan Wok II in Dania Beach. Way more food than we could eat; but, very reasonable price and delicious.
The rest of the night is Olympics and sleep. We take the hotel shuttle to the ship tomorrow.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today, I visited Dr Henderson to get the news regarding my MRI last week. Happily, the news is that the lesions in my brain are stable. No new lesions. Current lesions not active. Dr H discussed status of various side effects. No new side effects and most previous side effects have reduced or subsided. No neurological issues. I am having a some short-term memory issues and a little difficulty coming up with words and names. These are apparently common things after full-brain radiation and Dr H wasn't really concerned. Go back for new MRI in late June.
I also saw my ENT this week regarding the tubes in my ears. Everything is OK. Go back for re-check in August.
So...lots of good news in the past few weeks. I certainly realize that this will bite me eventually. But, I am happy to take the good news for now.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I see my radiation oncologist, Dr Hendersen, regarding the brain lesions on Feb 17 after getting an MRI on Feb 11. Haven't had any neurological side effects yet. So...hopefully I will get more good news. The radiation did cause the funkiness in my eyes and development of cataracts in both eyes. But, we are dealing with that and I will have cataract surgery when Dr Zlioba says I am ready.
Otherwise, no other real symptoms beyond the usual fatigue. It just slows me down and I need to limit activity. Thankfully, my very kind neighbor used his snowblower on my driveway last night and this morning. We got quite a bit of snow - maybe 8" or more. I'm pretty sure that would have been too much for me to handle.
And...tomorrow is the Super Bowl. We will be glued to the TV rooting for the Colts!!
Monday, February 1, 2010
This order was all casual shorts and pants. So, I will need to order some dress slacks for work. And, I will need to start replacing my shirts. I've been getting by wearing sweaters over my shirts. But, that won't work when it warms up. I don't think my weight will ever get back to as heavy as I was; so, I guess it's time to replace just about everything.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I have been doing pretty well. On Friday, I had a strange re-occurrence of the problems in my eyes - mainly just the right eye. During the afternoon, at work, the right eye started to get really itchy and watery. By the time I started to drive home, the right eye was blazing red and the lid was swelling. I managed to make it home and immediately put some of the Tobradex on the lower lid. Gradually got better during the evening and the red was gone by Saturday AM. Today, both eyes are pretty much back to what is normal for me - not perfect but acceptable.
Otherwise, most everything else is about normal for the circumstances. Pain in my right side is still there from the pleurodesis surgery last April. Have talked to the docs and this is, apparently, normal. The fatigue continues; but, I manage to deal with it. Just need a nap occasionally and I don't overdo activities.
Appetite is about the same. Not a lot of food is particularly interesting and I can't really taste some things. Typically, I just eat because I know I must. Normally, I need to eat pretty small meals and I supplement with yogurt or a nutrition drink (Ensure plus). I am continuing to lose weight - but much slower. I lost just 1 to 2 lbs this past week or so.
I bought some pants/jeans that were down one size. Too bad I bought as many as I did because I have only gotten a few months at that size. Now, I got a pair of jeans down another size - but even they are loose. I may need to go down again. That will be down 6" in the waist. And, I will try to get through this winter; but, I will definitely need all new sweaters and shirts. Jill says that I am "swimming" in my sweaters. Lots of cashmere to replace. AMVETs will like picking up all the donated clothes during the next few months.
I also just realized last night that I need to buy some things for the cruise. I had totally forgotten about that and it is coming up fast. At a minimum, I will need to buy some shorts. I don't have any except for my original size. Jill and I will probably go through Land's End online to see what we can order. I don't really have the energy to do lots of store shopping; but, we might do a little. But, I have become so accustomed to buying online because few stores carried the big boy sizes that I needed before the 69 lb weight loss.
Monday, January 18, 2010
This weekend was lots of football. Watched all or most of every playoff game. Colts play the Jets next weekend. We'll be in front of the TV for that game for sure.
I have been doing reasonably well. Haven't lost any weight in the past week. Eyes are watering. But, I can see reasonably well and my eyes aren't red. Another couple weeks before a spend quite a bit of doctor time during mid-Feb. ENT will check my ears and tubes. Radiation oncologist will get an MRI to check status of my brain lesions. Oncologist will get a CT to check whether my lung cancer is officially in remission. If the NIH agrees that I am in remission, will hold off on the NIH test drug until my lung cancer is active again. Hopefully, that will be quite a while.
All this just before we leave for a Caribbean cruise for a couple weeks. We are cruising on Regent Seven Seas for the first time. The Navigator is on the small side with just 500 passengers. Should be more comfortable for us.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have forgotten to mention my appetite and weight for while. I haven't had much of an appetite for a while. And, my stomach bothers me if I eat much at one meal. But, I eat anyway because I know I must. I need to get better at eating more smaller meals.
Since about a year ago, I have dropped from 265 lbs (on my scale at home) to 197.5 lbs this morning. Dropped below 200 lbs 2 weeks ago - first time in many years. So, I am down about 67 lbs.
I had bought new pants a size smaller over the past few months. But, it looks like I need to go down another size. Luckily, I can make the others work for a while. They aren't falling off like my original size. New pants need to be 6" smaller than my old pants. Sure didn't expect that. It is now getting to the point where I might need to consider the size of other clothing.
Take care and be well. - JimA
Sent via Blackberry. Please excuse short answers and typos.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
She also examined my eyes which have been bothering me for a week or so. Last Tuesday both eyes became very red, itchy, watery and crusty. This was much the same as a few months ago. On Wednesday, I started to use the ointment that was prescribed last time and my eyes have been better each day since. Most of the redness is gone and they aren't crusting up much. I am to use the ointment daily until 2 days after my eyes are what I consider normal. Dr F indicated that I do not have any infection in the eyes. As was the case before, it seems to be a result of eyelash loss from chemo. It is a relief to know that there isn't an infection. But, it sure is irritating again.
It has been cold - actually, frigid. We have a few inches of snow on the ground. Neighbor boy did the driveway once; but, we have had more snow since then. We just drove over it this morning when we went out to get groceries. I guess I may have to get help again since I can't really handle the snowblower.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Took down the tree today. That is a bit of a chore for us. Brett and Arielle have decorated the tree the past few years. That is a big help for us since the tree and ornaments are stored downstairs in the basement. But, of course, everyone is gone when it is time to take down the tree and return things to the basement. We had been putting it off for a couple days; but, decided we had to get it done today since we have theater tickets tomorrow - The Color Purple. And, we host our euchre group next weekend. So...though everything is not re-organized in the basement, the tree is down.