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MARYJEANSL's Recent Blog Entries

The summer so far

Monday, August 04, 2014

I haven't done much in the way of blogging lately. Things have been pretty tough in a lot of ways - from the $300 water bill, which I am pretty sure I have determined to have been caused by a problem with the sprinkler system this house has - to having to say good-by to my wonderful little dog, Cotton. She was the sweetest, best pet ever.
I cried myself sick that day. But she was going to die anyway, and I just couldn't watch her suffer.

There have also been some good things. My aunt's birthday party was a highlight of the summer, and I will, I hope, eventually get around to posting a few pictures. Friday Danny and I will be leaving for a week-long camp for kids with cancer and their families, and I am looking forward to that. I am a bit concerned about leaving Cecily to house-sit, but I believe she will be fine - just overactive mother nerves.

And, best of all from the SP perspective, I have actually started something of an exercise program. I hope I can keep it up. Yesterday Cecily and I walked two miles together (took us over an hour, so it was a very slow pace, but it was what we could do). And today I finally got finished mowing the entire lawn - in the scorching heat. I didn't think it would be that hard, but the heat made it much worse than usual. I definitely got my heart rate up. I also managed to get a sunburn in spite of sunscreen. Not too bad, fortunately, just enough to make my face feel hot. :-(

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN44 8/8/2014 9:14AM

    Nice job on the walk and completing the lawn! Glad you had fun at your aunt's party and hope you have fun at the upcoming family camp. Sorry to hear about Cotton. :(

I'm sure your daughter will be fine house sitting. I can relate to having those mom nerves though, after I just watched my 16 year old drive out of the driveway in his own car for the first time! He'll also be starting college full time this fall, so it's everything at once for him.. 16, new license, new car, and off to college all in the same summer. How does this happen so fast? Before you know it, Danny will doing the same thing...

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BROOKLYN_BORN 8/7/2014 11:13AM

    I sorry about your dog. They really are one of the family.
Congratulations on starting the exercise program. No matter how slow you go, you're still faster than all those people sitting home on their couch,
Hang in there!

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LINDAKAY228 8/5/2014 11:24AM

    Congratulations on getting the exercise in! I used to walk a lot faster, and further, but since the stroke my walking is slower too and I have to stop and rest a lot. It takes me over an hour to do 2 miles too. So you aren't alone but you are doing it. I'm so sorry about your dog, because I know what that feels like. They are so much a part of our families. I miss my lab Abigail so much too. My sympathies to you.
Have a lot of fun at the camp!

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Wrangler Day

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I have been lazy about posting stuff lately. There has actually been a fair amount of stuff happening, almost none of it related to my efforts to get in better shape and lose weight, but still...

On June 20th, I took Danny to one of the activities the local American Cancer Society offers for kids with cancer. This one was Wrangler Day at Rio Cibolo Ranch. RC Ranch is an entertainment ranch, which is to say that it is a real ranch, but at the same time, they are in the entertainment business. Groups of people come to see a ranch, go on a hay ride, see and feed cattle and other animals, eat Texas barbecue, etc., etc.

This event was just for kids with cancer. I was sorry that more kids didn't come, because it was so much fun, and they really treated the kids well. Danny was reluctant to come initially, but my feeling is that we should take advantage of opportunities to have fun and meet other kids with cancer - something we haven't really had much success at.

It was a very full day. We went on a hay ride, got to feed and pet a variety of animals (longhorns, beefalo, buffalo, llamas) - and sit on a longhorn! - play a lot of games (ping pong, shuffleboard, skee ball, horseshoes, etc.), eat a catered lunch, ride on the river, eat s'mores (huge, hot campfire, which was a bit incongruous in June in the middle of a hot day), play bingo, paint goblets to make a fancy chandelier...

Danny's favorite was the trick roper. He really wanted a picture with this kind and generous man, and he obliged.

There was also a sing-along with two talented young people who were both survivors of childhood cancer. That was a very nice message of hope for the families there.

By the end of the day, Danny and I were pretty tired. We had a lot of fun, but, as is unfortunately usual, he didn't really get to know any of the other kids with cancer. However, I was a happy mother when he said afterwards, "I had SO much fun!" I hadn't heard him say that in a very, very long time.

I am even willing to show a very embarrassing picture of myself. Danny begged me to get up on the long horn, and I finally said I would. Then he just *had* to take a picture. Anything to make him smile.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN44 7/16/2014 9:30PM

    Great the longhorns! Sounds like a fun day and a fantastic experience overall. emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 7/16/2014 11:58AM

    What an awesome day for your guys! And to hear him say he had so much fun is priceless to us mothers! Glad he went even though he didn't want to. Sorry you didn't get to meet more people though like you wanted, especially those with cancer or survivors

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    What a fun day for both Danny and you. Love the photos. Thanks for sharing.

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PRAIRIECROCUS 7/16/2014 1:11AM

    emoticon for sharing about that emoticon day
that you and Danny had at the Ranch !

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Appointment with my new GP

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I recently found a new doctor, and I must say that I am very pleased with him. I have had an oncologist and surgeon since 2007, when I was diagnosed with cancer, but I haven't had a primary-care doctor. A few years back, a friend referred me to one, but, in the end, neither she nor I was terribly happy with him. He was a pretty nice guy, and I'm sure a competent doctor, but I draw the line at a doctor who has the office staff send you a letter telling you your test results. I mean, I understand he is busy, but that's a bit too much.

So I wanted to find someone else. I had heard pretty good things about this guy. The same friend who left the other doctor had switched to him, and my pastor goes to him, plus one of my oncologist's nurses. That sounded like a good enough recommendation.

When I went to the first appointment, he took a thorough history and had blood drawn for a whole lot of tests. He also referred me for a colonoscopy, about which I am not at all happy, but that's another story. The follow-up appointment last week was to discuss the results.

I wasn't thrilled to find out that my thyroid hormone is low. Not low enough to require treatment at this point, he said, but when I asked if there is anything natural one can do to increase it, he said no. I am going to research that myself, though.

In addition, my levels of omega threes are about half of what they should be. Since I take quite a lot of Krill Oil, I was unhappy about that. Well, it turns out that I should be taking 2000 mgs. of omega threes, not 2000 mgs. of the Krill Oil. Yikes! At the strength of the oil I have been taking, to get 2000 mgs. of omega threes, I would have to take twelve capsules per day! There are only 60 capsules in the bottle - it would last five days. And they are pretty expensive pills to start with. I need to find stronger and cheaper pills.

On the plus side, my Vitamin D levels are good, so that at least was a relief to me. I take a Vitamin D supplement and try to get a little sun at least occasionally, before I put on the sunscreen.

Dr. F recommends a niacin supplement, because my levels of 'sticky' cholesterol are very high. That I don't mind doing. I just hope it works. He also recommends exercise to get my inflammation down. Big surprise there. But I really haven't found anything I like well enough to stick to it long term. With my bad hip, I simply can't run. :-( Walking is OK, but it gets pretty boring for me.

One other marker I am not familiar with is my coagulation genetics, which came out as intermediate risk genotypes. To improve my situation, he recommends that I take methylfolate, which, again, since it is a vitamin supplement, I don't at all mind doing.

Also on the plus side are my blood sugar numbers. They are very good. Also my liver function and kidney function look pretty good. My CBC is all fine. And after looking for so many months at Danny's terrible numbers, it seems strange to see a CBC with every single number in the normal range.

All this isn't too interesting, but I am very pleased to have a doctor who is really doing a thorough evaluation and telling me what I can do to improve things. He did also say that what he does is to try to prevent heart disease and stroke, but that in my case, what is really of concern is my risk of cancer. I do know that, but of course many of the same changes to diet and lifestyle that can lower the risk of heart disease can also lower the risk of cancer.

What makes me so happy is that he takes the time to do all this. My previous doctor didn't. And now, I do have my work cut out for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN44 7/12/2014 1:13PM

    I had no idea they check for omega 3 levels in a baseline blood draw. Interesting. And coagulation genetics? I didn't even know such a thing existed. Colonoscopies, on the other hand, I've heard quite a bit about, and therefore fully intend to avoid ever getting one. I've heard the prep for one of those is just a blast. Literally. emoticon Glad you found a doctor you're happy with. emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 7/7/2014 1:37PM

    I'm glad you found a doctor you like. Sometimes it takes some looking. And sometimes a doctor is good with one thing but terrible with a different thing. Glad he's really paying attention and giving you information. I didn't realize you had cancer too, only Danny. You really have had so much going on for quite a while! Even more of an inspiration to me!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 7/7/2014 11:58AM

    It sounds like you have found a keeper! I love how he ran so many tests.

I didn't realize the difference between krill oil and fish oil was so big in terms of dosage. I take both.

Hope you find an exercise you like enough to stick with. That is a hard thing to do!

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Friday, July 04, 2014

I have a bunch of blogs just waiting to be written, including one about a day Danny and I spent at a really neat ranch, and also my recent visit to my GP (some good news, some not so good). But CLAIREINPARIS posted one of those 'getting to know' you sorts of questionnaires I used to do a lot of, back in the day when e-mail was new and the earth was young, and I decided to go ahead and do the questionnaire before any other blogs. I hadn't done one in years. So, here goes:

Your go to chewing gum flavour…

Probably Juicy Fruit, but I rarely if ever chew gum.

Best time of the year…

I like the fall, but fall in Pennsylvania, where I grew up, rather than in
Texas. It just isn't that pretty (or that cool) here.

If you were a toe nail polish what color would you be….

Well, if the question is really what nail polish color I like best, I would
probably say a muted pink. If the question is really what color fits my
personality, who knows? Maybe tan.

Favorite pie…

Chocolate chess pie.

First record you ever bought…

That's really hard to remember. It might have been a Carpenters album.
Yes, I admit it (blush, blush).

Current perfume you use…

I really don't wear perfume.

Do you have any trophies or awards…

One, for a bowling league I was in some years ago. I believe it was
a trophy for participating. I have no trophy-earning skills whatsoever.

Worst day of your life…

I have had several super horrible days. One, maybe the worst,
was in January of 1982.

Do you cuss and swear...

Not often, and I try not to, but sometimes a word or two slips
out. I always regret it.

Celebrity crush you would get a hall pass for…

I have never had one that I can remember.

What is the new reward if it isn’t food anymore…

A new book, always a book.

What makes you the Zodiac sign you are…

I don't pay any attention to the Zodiac, other than knowing
what sign I am, which happens to be Libra.

What is your goal weight....

I have intermediate and long-term goals. My long-term goal
is 135.

Do you think you are a giver or a taker…

Honestly, I am more selfish than I would like to be, but
I am a giver as well as a taker, especially when it comes to my

Beach house or Mountain cabin…

Definitely the mountain cabin. I am not a beach person.

If you monogrammed your towels...

I'm not sure what the point of this question is. I would put my initials
on them.

Someone offers you free plastic surgery, what do you do….

Right now I would refuse it, but at some time I might consider a
tummy tuck.

I might be tempted to time travel back to….

I love history, and I would like to visit a lot of different times and
places. However, I don't think I would want to live in any of them.

Nickname in high school....

Some people called me Mati Jean or Maude. But the biggest one was
Mean Mary Jean, after a character in a Chrysler ad - "Mean Mary Jean,
superstar of our team..."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN44 7/8/2014 2:03PM

    "back in the day when email was new and the earth was young"... LOL! You should be a writer. I've never done one of these "getting to know you" questionnaires, but it was fun to read yours. TY for sharing! emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 7/5/2014 10:48AM

    Very interesting. I read CLAIREINPARIS's blog also. I keep saying I'm going to do it but haven't yet. I also have other blogs I need to write. Keep up the great work!

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Back to the Trenches...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

...which, in my case, means the dreaded *lawn!* I have, unfortunately enough, a huge back yard. My front yard is small and manageable, but the back yard is another story. It can't all be mowed in one session, because the mower will manifest its displeasure by stopping and refusing to re-start. Presumably it gets too hot and wants to cool off.

It mattereth not to me, because by the time the mower wants to call it quits, I have long since passed that point anyway. But the result of all this is that it is a rare day indeed when both my front and (entire) back yards are completely mowed. And we have had more rain than usual lately, and I have been out of town twice this month.

So, there was one part of my back yard that simply didn't get mowed. At all. Today I had to tackle the back yard, but even the parts that I had mowed two weeks ago needed it again. It's a very vicious cycle. So I donned my mowing uniform (shorts, T-shirt, tennies, sunglasses, baseball cap, sunscreen, and bug repellent, and had at it.

It's a jungle out there! Two hours later, I had made some progress, but was a long way from the prize. And I was exhausted, dehydrated (in spite of drinking quite a lot), and filthy. Did I mention it was in the 90s? Which is pretty much is every single day, all summer (and spring and fall) long, and which is why I put off mowing whenever possible.

On the plus side, I am optimistic that I may possibly be able to finish the back yard tomorrow, if I work hard.

By way of showing the immensity of the job, here are some before and after pictures of my back yard from a previous mowing adventure. That time I won the prize! But it was winter and much more pleasant mowing weather.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN44 6/30/2014 9:16PM

    Good for you for getting out there and giving it a 90 degree weather, no less! I don't even have time to think about my yard any more since I've gone back to work full time. DH does what he does with it, and I'm fine with whatever that may or may not be. Well, while it's a hot, sweaty, filthy job, esp. in 90 degree temps, at least it's a good workout. Gotta love functional fitness! emoticon

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    Congratulations on getting A LOT of the yard cut. I saw the pictures on your blog, and your yard and home are both beautiful.


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LINDAKAY228 6/29/2014 5:18PM

    I read the other blog and you do have a very large yard! That's a lot of work in the heat!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 6/29/2014 8:45AM

    My goodness, that's a lot of yard. We have a riding mower at my Mom's old house that DH uses, but that yard is flat. Here at the lake we're on a hill so riding is out. DH has been terracing with ground cover to cut down on the mowing area.

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