Children Of The Story Teller

I keep track of my mileage.  The drive to Montana for my dad’s memorial service would be an exception.  My best with this 1957 Chevy has been about 18 MPG, although the Smiles per Gallon are a lot higher.

Boarder Crossing

So, it was a little disappointing when the speedometer quit working somewhere near Othello, Washington.  Oh, well….  I have a new GPS that will tell me my speed and the posted speed limit.  I just wouldn’t be able to track the mileage.  The fuel gauge has not been something to trust, but it was a general indicator.  When it remained on “E” after the next fill up, I thought we might just have to stop at every second or third town for gas, as my older son, Brandon and I would be basically flying blind.  But, the fuel gage came back to life and was much appreciated.  In Spokane, we stayed the night at my half-brother, Doug’s house.  It was great to visit and catch up with him, Megan, Jed, and Emma.

Brothers and Sisters

In Kalispell, we stayed with everyone at Barb’s house.   It was a house full of half and full brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.  Most were nearly strangers.  Some had never met.  It’s funny how that can happen.  I was glad for the unique gathering, sad that our dad couldn’t have been there with us.  It was the largest assembly of siblings I have been a part of since my mom married Mr. Kinkade.  There were nine sisters and brothers including half’s together at that time (about 45 years ago).  My total lifetime sibling count I believe is myself, two sisters, five half brothers, one half-sister, four step brothers and five step sisters.  Some of the steps I have never met.

There was a surprise birthday cake, like an indoor barbecue

Cancer Update:  The blood test results that came in just after the last bone marrow biopsy said the protein level is stable at 1.2, same as the last test.  I’m counting the stable report as more good news.

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Some Good News

I went to my Oncologist appointment yesterday expecting bad news from my recent bone marrow biopsy.  Usually if there is no bad news, I will get a phone call saying, “See you in three months.”  The call I got this time said the doctor wants to see me.

Myeloma cancer causes bone marrow to make too many plasma cells.  My first bone marrow biopsy was almost a year ago, August 2011.  At that time, my plasma cells were at 30% (normal is 5%).  The biopsy I had about three weeks ago shows plasma cells at 20%.  I asked the Doc what might have brought those numbers down.  She said “The treatments,” which took me by surprise because I’m not taking any treatments.  “The radiation treatments you had a year ago for the Plasmacytoma,” she said, “may be what brought the numbers down.”

I also have something called 17P Deletion.  This bumps my cancer up from a run of the mill Myeloma into a more aggressive, more dangerous category.   She told me I had it, but this biopsy shows no trace of it.  Gone?!  She said it was probably a, “sampling error” because this doesn’t just go away.  I think she wanted to reserve the right to not be surprised if it shows up again in a future biopsy, but for now, the test says it’s gone.  She will call me with the protein numbers they always check when those test results are available (from yesterday’s blood tests).

Thank you, God, for maybe a little more time, and thank you, friends for all your prayers.

Road Trip

Diane and I got home Friday morning just as the sun was rising.  Thursday late evening we decided to keep driving instead of finding a bed for the night.  We were on a road trip to do a little living while things are good.  A couple more days in southern California would have been nice, but it also felt good to head home.

In Anaheim we drove past the apartment building where we lived forty years ago.  FORTY YEARS?!  Forty years and twenty pounds ago.  We found and ate dinner in the restaurant where I proposed to Diane.  It wasn’t as nice as we remember.  It wasn’t the same building, it wasn’t even in the same town, but it was still Don the Beach Comber’s.

What happens when someone leaves the keys in their car

We reunited with some old and dear friends, even Disneyland felt like an old friend.  Napping on Laguna Beach was warm and relaxing, and the Sawdust Festival and the Art Festival were fascinating.  There was some really beautiful artwork there, but you can also take the silliest notion, put it on a clean white background, frame it and call it art (someone will apparently buy it).  The Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters was pretty amazing.  I wish they would allow non-flash photography (as opposed to NO PHOTOGRAPHY).

Diane had tickets to a taping of THE PRICE IS RIGHT Thursday morning.  She got on the laptop to verify things and discovered that taping had been cancelled so we slept in and left at check out time.

Interstate Five Sunset

The doctor’s office called my cell phone Thursday on the drive home; my first contact since the bone marrow biopsy.  I have an appointment Monday at 2:pm.