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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pittsburgh Marathon

It's been too long since I last posted.  I apologize for that.  I have no valid excuse except that I have been overwhelmed by our new house, especially with the explosion of springtime plants and flowers as the warm weather has arrived.  There are beautiful gardens here left by the previous owners which are now springing into life.  How beautiful!  I feel the need to take care of these and nurture them.  I  am now their caretaker and I don't want to fail them.  There is a legacy here to be preserved.  It's also a good thing, as it is keeping me busy.  It's been very dry over the last month, so I have been watering a lot.  Fortunately, we have a well for watering the lawn and plants, so I don't have to worry about the water bill.

It is beautiful here...we love it!  It's so peaceful to just sit and look at the woods.  It's very different from the "River House" that we just left.  The Merrimack River was beautiful, but it wasn't always peaceful.  The current was often strong and the wind would gust in from the water and whip up the waves.  It was exciting at times, but not always calm.  We are really enjoying the total relaxation of just looking at the beautiful quiet woods adjoining our back yard.

Over the first weekend in May, I went to Pittsburgh to watch the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Unfortunately, Gretchen couldn't come because she had some previous commitments here.  It was a great trip, as I got to visit my brother Terry and his wife Sherry for a couple of days beforehand.  The 3 of us got play 18 holes of golf on a beautiful Friday.  That didn't suck!  Then on Saturday, I had the pleasure of having dinner with the rest of my extended family.  My sister-in-law Kathy and my niece Meghan and her husband Jon were there with their 2-year old son Chase whom I met for the first time.  I also got to meet my brother Terry's step granddaughter Briarly, also for the first time.  My God, it's been much too long since I have been back to my old home town to catch up with my family.  That was so awesome!

The marathon was wonderful!  40,000 runners competed, and it was amazing.  The weather was fantastic.  My son Brian and his wife Pam both ran the half marathon.  Pam's sister Michelle (who lives in Boston) ran the full marathon (gulp), and Terry's step daughter Bree ran a relay leg in the full marathon.  What a running family!

I had the pleasure of babysitting my grandson Logan for the night before and during the marathon.  I was nervous but it worked out great.  We got up early to get into Pittsburgh in time to see Brian and Pam run. Here is a picture I got at the 3.5 mile point in their run.  Look at them.  My God, it must be great to be young!

This brings up another point.  In my last post, I chronicled the MMRF 5K walk/run fundraiser event we recently attended in Boston.  While we were in Pittsburgh, my family of runners agreed that they would like to come to Boston next April to run in the next MMRF 5K event.  That would be awesome!  I have already emailed Anne Riskin to suggest that we could all join their team of Jeff's Juggernauts to raise money in memory of her husband Jeff who died of MM several years ago.  She will be delighted to have us join her team.  This should be a great opportunity for us to combine a worthy MM fundraising event with a family reunion.  I will keep you informed when we learn the particulars of next year's event, which should be announced some time in January.  I'm really excited about this!  I'm even thinking about training to run the 5K rather than walk it, but don't hold me to that.  It's just a wild thought.

Last week there was a Frontline program featuring the newsman Tom Brokaw, who has Multiple Myeloma.  I think it is awesome that he has gone public to raise awareness of MM.  I missed the broadcast, but the MMRF has made it available to view online.  Here is the link:  It's a very good and personal look at his journey.  If you haven't seen it, I would definitely recommend watching it.  He is a great spokesman for MM patients.  His journey was more difficult than mine, but I'm glad to hear that like me, he is in remission at this time.  He has also written a book that I may buy to get the details of his story.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

MMRF 5K Walk/Run

In my last post, I talked about the Boston MMRF Race for Research which happened today.  We got up this morning earlier than I like to get to South Boston in time for the race.  What an experience!  Over 2,000 runners and walkers set out on this picturesque harbor-side course to support this worthy cause.

Although it was chilly, the weather was great for the race.  Our friend, Anne Riskin, lost her husband, Jeff, to MM a few years ago.  She and her family started Jeff's Juggernauts as a fundraiser for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) after his diagnosis.  Jeff's Juggernauts did a really terrific job in fundraising this year, bringing in over $19,000 for MM research!    They are actually one of the most successful fundraising teams in the entire event.

Doing my job
I didn't do the walk, but I have a valid excuse.  I was honored to be assigned to the prestigious duty of holding one end of the finish line tape.  Anne Riskin held the other end.  If I had actually run (yeah right!) or walked in this event, I would not have been available for this important task, for which I think I was eminently qualified.  Things have a way of working out.  ;-)

There are 9 of these MMRF fundraising races held across the country, but the one in Boston is the largest and most successful.  All of the funds raised from this event go specifically into research to find a cure for Multiple Myeloma.  That makes this a particularly important cause for me.

Susan Riskin finishing the 5K
It was really special to be there today.  We watched people of all stripes, athletes and non-athletes, young and old, able and disabled, patients and caregivers, all there for a common purpose:  Let's just beat the hell out of this disease!

It was a pleasure to meet Anne Riskin's daughters today, Karen and Susan, along with the rest of her family and friends.  Susan, who is a marathoner (New York, Boston, et al) ran today.  Here is a picture of her finishing for Jeff's Juggernauts in honor of her father.

After the race, we went back to Anne's house for a brunch, where we got to know their family and friends better.  I'm really psyched to get involved in this next year.  Many years ago, I would have been delighted to enter the race as a runner, but I don't see a running future in my cards.  However, maybe I could do a fast walk.  I want to do all I can to raise awareness of this insidious disease and help fund the research necessary to find a cure.
Paul and me

Dr. Richardson has long been a big supporter and participant in this event, and he was there again today.  I heard that he took the red-eye back from California last night to be here in time to participate.  He spoke to the crowd before the race, but unfortunately, we didn't get there until afterwards.

However, I did have a chance to speak with Paul.  He was really pleased with how well I am doing, and I told him I was about ready to finish my clinical trial including 3 years of Revlimid maintenance and then go off the Rev, which was the original plan.  But Paul said that we need to talk about this, because recent data have shown that continuing maintenance with Rev is better than stopping it.  OK now! That's news.  Maybe Gretchen is right, as she has been concerned about my going off the Rev.

From my previous research, the thought was that continuing Rev maintenance too long might result in one's becoming refractory to it, so it might not work any more if relapse occurred.  Maybe the current thinking has to do with the fact that an alternative IMID, Pomalyst, is now available in case one becomes refractory to Rev. I'm just speculating here.  Anyway, I will be having this conversation with Paul over the next couple of months to see what's next.  I'm anxious to find out what their research is showing and what might be my options.  I'm really looking forward to talking to Paul about all of this soon.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Yesterday, spring finally arrived in Massachusetts.  With temps in the 70s, many of us human denizens cautiously emerged from our wintry dens to marvel at that strange bright orb in the sky.  The remaining banks of dirty snow are finally shrinking like the Wicked Witch of the West.  The epic Winter of 2015 is becoming just a nightmare memory.  Thank goodness!

We finally got everything moved out of our former residence into our new house at 10 Dole Place, West Newbury, MA  01985.  What a relief!  We are settling in nicely and we love our new home!  We're slowly figuring out where everything ended up as we continue to unpack. We had Easter dinner here for 13 of us, and it was quite a zoo trying to figure out where all the cookware and serving bowls were, but it worked out great.  My traditional smoked lamb came out awesome, if I do say so myself, as did everything else.  It was a delightful family gathering.

My test results from my recent bone biopsy have now been posted on the Farber Patient Gateway website.  I was pleased and relieved to see that the results are still great!  The Flow Cytometry results show no evidence of any residual disease.  The final note indicates that "Diagnostic histologic features of involvement by a plasma cell neoplasm are not seen."  In layman's terms, "There ain't nothin' there".  That's awesome!  It has now been 3 full years since my ASCT, and I'm still in remission, or as it may be medically described, stringent complete response (sCR) with no minimal residual disease (MRD).  However you describe it, I'm extremely grateful for that.

I do have one teeny tinsy concern, though.  It was noted that the bone marrow aspirate smear findings showed "mildly increased plasma cells" of 6%.  One of the criteria for stringent Complete Response (sCR) is for there to be less than 5% of plasma cells in the marrow.  So maybe I'm not in sCR after all.  I went back to my 2013 biopsy results, which showed only 3% plasma cells.  Hmmm.  Is this of concern?  I was going to email Dr. Richardson and ask him about this, but I then went back to my 2012 results, which showed 5% plasma cells.  It seems as if these numbers have bounced around within a very small range over the last 2 years, so I decided not to be a worry wart about it.  I might just mention it to Mary at my next visit on April 27 though, just in case nobody noticed it.  As a reference point, when I first checked in to the Farber in July 2011, my bone marrow biopsy showed that my marrow was 62% plasma cells.  Yikes!  I'll take 6% over that any day.

In a few short months, I will be at the end of the 3-year stem cell transplant clinical trial.  At that time, I will go off the Revlimid maintenance regimen completely.  Then I'll be on my own.  It will be a little bit like the first time I flew an airplane solo.  I was a bit nervous.  How is this landing going to go without my flight instructor?  I was just hoping I didn't crash and burn.  I didn't, so hopefully this will go the same way.  I guess we'll find out. 

Since my MM diagnosis, we have become friendly through a mutual friend with Anne Riskin, whose husband, Jeff, succumbed to MM about 6 years ago.  She and her family have been very active for many years in fundraising for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).  The MMRF sponsors wonderful research which has resulted in great advances in MM treatment therapies.  Every year, the MMRF holds 5K walk/run race in Boston to raise money for MM research.  This year's race will be held in South Boston on April 26.  Dr. Richardson is the honorary chair of this event and will speak before the race.  Here is a link to this year's MMRF race website:  MMRF Boston 5K Walk/Run 2015.

Anne and her family have formed a team called Jeff's Juggernauts, who participate in this race yearly to raise funds for MM research.  Unfortunately, we have had conflicts over the past couple of years and haven't been able to attend.  This year, however, we plan to be there for this exciting event on April 26.  We have made a contribution to Jeff's Juggernauts, but we won't actually do the walk (forget about run) this year, but maybe we will join Jeff's Juggernauts as active participants next year and try to raise money for the cause ourselves.  Here is a link to their website:  Jeff's Juggernauts.  I would encourage you to visit this website and make a contribution if you can to help them meet their fundraising goal for this year.  It would be greatly appreciated by me, as well as Anne and her family, and all those who suffer the burden of MM along with their loved ones.  Thank you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Farber Visit

Yesterday I went to the Farber again for my monthly checkup and (gulp!) a bone marrow biopsy.  Fortunately, my blood test numbers still look great.  The biopsy was another matter altogether.  My nurse practitioner, Katherine, was very sweet, but I missed Zack.  Zack was very good, so I was apprehensive without him.  My concern may have contributed to my being more sensitive to the pain of the procedure.  Ouch!  In any case, it was pretty uncomfortable, so Katherine suggested that the next time I should consider using medication.  I agreed with her, so next time I plan to be in la la land during the biopsy and it will be great!  I think I'm done with this macho routine.  As I get older, I think I'm ready to let go of my readiness to meet the challenges of life with all this bravado.  OK, just give me medicine.  It's not like I'm a war prisoner trying to protect our country's secrets.  I don't think I'd be very good at that.  So just knock me out, OK?

In my last post, I failed to note a significant milestone in my life.  On March 20, I celebrated my 3rd birthday anniversary of my new immune system.  We were in Hawaii at the time, so the event kind of passed unnoticed.  I'd like to take the time now to celebrate that.  Yippee!  Happy third birthday to me!  I am still in remission, which is awesome!  In another few months, I will be done with the Protocol I'm on, and I will stop taking the Revlimid.  After that, I will just go on living my life and wait for the inevitable to happen...eventual remission.

How long will that take?  I don't know.  I just read an online article about the utility of using flow cytometry to measure Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) in MM.  Here is a link to the article:  The basic message is that no MRD after initial induction is a really good thing and provides an independent measure of future prognosis.

Fortunately, I was diagnosed with no MRD after my initial MLN9708 treatment and also after my ASCT.  So I should be on the upside of the survival statistics.  Yes, I am, but from these data, that doesn't bring me a whole lot of comfort.  For those who achieved MRD, the median Progression Free Survival (PFS) was about 5 years, and the Overall Survival (OS) was about 7-8 years.  Wholly crap!  Based on these statistics, I don't have a lot of time left.  On the bright side, these data were based on earlier treatment regimens and don't account for all the new research and the myriad of recent treatments available for MM patients.  Therefore, I remain hopeful for a number of years of PFS remaining, and when the inevitable recurs, I expect a host of new options to extend my OS for a long time. So that's my optimistic assessment on all this.

There is a great miniseries now airing on PBS:  "Cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies".  It is presented in three 2-hour segments which aired yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I read the book and it is outstanding.  If you aren't watching it, look for it to repeat.  It illustrates how important Dr. Sidney Farber's influence was in the fight against cancer, along with many others.  It's a very thorough analysis of a very difficult disease but gives a lot of hope for the future.

It's all good!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Back from Hawaii

Sunrise over Haleakala volcano
After 8 days in beautiful Maui, we're back to the frozen tundra of Massachusetts.  Whoopee!  The calendar says it's spring now, but you'd never know it.  There is still snow on our roof!  Oh well. It was a wonderful family vacation.  One of the highlights was to take a tour to the top of the 10,000 foot altitude inactive volcano, Haleakala, to watch the sunrise.  We had to leave our hotel at 2:30 am (grog!), but it was so worth it.  What a beautiful sight!  Unforgettable.  Some of our group took a different tour which provided bicycle rides down the mountain after the sunrise.  We didn't do that, but I can live with it.

Sunset from the Marriott Hotel
We spent most of
the rest of our time at the Ka'anapoli Hyatt Regency hotel beach and pools, which was lovely.  I basically parked my ass on the beach while watching the younger, fitter members of our family swim, snorkel and surf the waves.  I was somewhat wistful thinking about how I would have been out there doing all that in days past.  Damn!  Some parts of getting older are not that much fun.

I passed a milestone while in Hawaii.  On March 20, I celebrated my 3rd birthday with my new stem cells!  I almost forgot about it, until someone reminded me.  One should never forget ones birthday.  Happy birthday to me!  I am so lucky to still be in complete response after three years.

All in all, it's good to be back home.  While we were away, our home decorator, Amy, did a lot to help unpack, organize and add homey touches to the house.  It looked great when we got back!  We love our new home, and we are starting to get settled in.  For anybody who cares, our new address is 10 Dole Place, West Newbury, MA  01985. 

Next Monday, I go back to the Farber for a bone marrow biopsy (ugh!)  My favorite PA, Zack, is no longer at the Farber, so I have to trust myself to one of the other PAs.  At best, the experience is not pleasant, but I just hope it is not too painful.  I'm also scheduled to get my final set of immunization shots, which include live viruses.  Mary and Muriel decided to postpone those shots until after our vacation because of possible adverse reactions to the shots. 

It's all good.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Prostate Followup

As you know, I had an elevated PSA (prostate specific antigen) test result of 10.5 last November.  That's above the normal range of 6.5-7.5 for someone my age, and well above the 2.0 result of my last test back in 2009.  We decided then to wait a couple of months and retest to see if that result was an anomaly or indicative of a possible problem (i.e., prostate cancer).

Last week I had my blood drawn for the PSA test again, and today I followed up with my PA, Susan Palmer to get the results.  She burst into the exam room and blurted out, "Don't you just love good news"?  I responded, "Does that mean that you bring me good tidings of great joy?", or something to that effect.  We sat down at her computer and she showed me the latest results.  My PSA level has dropped nearly in half to 5.3!  Wow!  That is the kind of tiding I like to get. She didn't have an explanation for why there was such a dramatic difference, but she did say that if prostate cancer was present, the numbers would keep going up, not drop like that. 

We then had a discussion about what to do next, if anything.  They typically advise that men aged 75 or older stop taking the PSA test, because even if prostate cancer is diagnosed, life expectancy is not necessarily increased by undergoing treatment, which has its own risks and side effects.  Their recommended cutoff age for PSA testing is even younger for men with "comorbidities".  That's a fancy medical term for a concomitant but unrelated pathology or disease that may shorten life expectancy.  In my case, the elephant comorbidity in the room rhymes with Multiple Myeloma.  Based on that, I would have a good reason at the age of 72 to say "Sayonara, Susan", and forget about ever getting my PSA tested again in the future.  After all, look at the much ado about nothing that all this botheration came to.  If I hadn't had that test done in November, I would still be fat, dumb, and happy.

However, I'm optimistic, and I'm not ready to treat my MM comorbidity as an early death sentence.  At least not yet.  Considering that I am still in stringent complete response and with all the recent progress in developing new drugs and treatment options, I'm planning on giving Methuselah a run for his money.  Therefore, I have opted to get my PSA tested again a year from now.  If it's OK then, I may do it again one more time and then fuggedaboutit!

We are slowly moving into our new house.  We are still surrounded by random unmarked boxes and of course, I can't find anything.  Today the house cleaners came to Old Wharf Road for the final cleaning, and we had a new granite kitchen installed at the new house.  However, the plumber still has to come to hook up the fixtures.  Tomorrow the lawnmower guy will pick up my riding mower from the old house to do a spring service and then deliver it back to the new house sometime.  Wednesday, we do the final walk through with the new owner, Nancy, and turn over the keys.  We still have to pack, as we are leaving for a Hawaiia vacation with the family on Thursday.  I have to say that we are both in a bit of a tizzy right now.  We haven't yet had a chance to look forward to our vacation, but I think that it is going to feel really good to leave this winter from Hell behind us and sink our toes into the soft warm sandy beaches of Maui.  Aaaah.  Aloha!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'm Back

When I last blogged, I was looking forward to leaving the subzero weather in Massachusetts to golf in 40 degree weather in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  Well, as it turns out, that was pretty optimistic as the weather was mostly in the 30's there last week.  Considering that it was 9 degrees below zero here the morning I left here (!!), I can't really complain.  Thank goodness I packed warm clothes!  We had two decent golf days with weather in the 40's, but we had to really bundle up for the rest of the week.  One day got washed out completely with torrential rains, and the fairways were pretty slushy for most of the week.  But you know what?  We still had a great time!  It's an awesome group and we enjoyed each others' company, with lots of jokes, ribbing, and banter.  The meals, prepared by our resident cooks, Paul and Joe, were delicious as usual.  What a great time!  It was a nice respite from the craziness of the move.  I felt bad about leaving Gretchen alone to deal with all the unpacking, but she assures me that she was fine with it.  She had a lot of friends helping her last week, and she said she had a lot of fun, so I guess it worked out well.

I went to the Farber yesterday for my checkup and Zometa infusion.  I'm happy to say that my numbers are still great!  My recent iron infusion has still overcome my previous anemia, so those numbers remain good as well.  My most very favorite nurse, Heather, administered my Zometa infusion, and she asked how I was doing.  She was very happy for me, but she also told me about how many patients she sees who are not doing so well.  It then really hit me again how very lucky I am right now!  I need to count my blessings every day that I am still disease free!  It has been almost 3 years since my stem cell transplant, which is amazing.  Thank you Paul Richardson, thank you for the clinical trial with MLN9708, thank you for the stem cell transplant clinical trial, and thank you Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  What more can I say?

I recently blogged about my MM patient friend, Steve, from Buffalo, who enlisted in a clinical trial for MM at the Farber for the experimental drug, ibrutinib.  Here is a link to that posting:  Ibrutinib clinical trial.  Unfortunately, Steve didn't find a benefit for himself from this trial, so he has dropped out, but there is encouraging news about ibrutinib.  I picked up the most recent issue of "Inside the Institute" at the Farber yesterday, and it had an article about the FDA approving ibrutinib for a rare blood cancer closely related to MM: Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia.  Ibrutinib targets a protein called BTK in malignant B cells.  It has already been approved for three other types of blood cancers.    This shows that a single agent can be effective against multiple types of cancers, providing they spring from the same molecular mechanism.  There is still hope that it can be effective against MM.

There are more and more results coming out these days about therapies that work for multiple cancer types.  Ibrutinib is just another example.  Despite my friend Steve's disappointing experience, this drug may provide some benefit to other MM patients.  It is just another arrow in the growing quiver of drugs that may provide either a control or possibly even a cure for Multiple Myeloma.  Let's hope.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


With all the new research being done on fighting cancer, one of the most promising areas is that of immunotherapy.  Today I read that Science magazine has just named immunotherapy, which unleashes the body’s own disease-fighting cells against cancer, as the "Breakthrough of the Year".  Pioneered by Dana Farber scientists, this approach to fighting cancer has shown remarkable promise.  Here is a link to the DFCI report on this article:  immunotherapy-for-cancer-named-breakthrough-of-the-year. 

I really think this is the best hope for the future of fighting cancer.  Harvesting one's immune system to fight cancer cuts right to the chase and avoids all the side effects of chemotherapy.  I have blogged about this approach in the past.  Here is a link to one of my previous entries on this exciting new research area:  immunotherapy-research.

This immunotherapy is already showing very promising results in melanoma, kidney cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer.  There is a lot of hope that this will prove to be of benefit for MM as well. I'm very hopeful that this approach will be a cure or at least a stop gap against many forms of cancer, especially Multiple Myeloma.

After the unbelievable weather we have experienced here lately, we finally got moved into our new home this week.  It was quite an ordeal, but here we are.  We love it!  We still have some small things left to move over here.  Nancy, the new owner of of Old Wharf Road, has been very accommodating, and she will allow us to put off moving some of the more difficult items such as the back deck furniture until the 4 feet of snow melts.  That could be some time in April or May or June?

As for the weather here, at this point I just say "bring it on!"  We have survived this far, so let's just go for the record books now.  I want to look back and say we made it through the worst winter ever.  So now I'm hoping for another storm or two to cement us in the historical record.

Saturday, I leave for our golf week in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  The weather forecast there isn't so great, as they have been hammered by the same Arctic weather that we have.  However, golfing down there in the 40's still beats shivering up here in the teens.  It's all relative.  I feel bad leaving Gretchen to pick up the remaining pieces of our move while I'm gone, but there isn't much left to do. 

It's all good.  Fore!


Monday, February 9, 2015


I don't believe this!  I have never seen more snow in my life.  This has been a real ordeal.  Not only am I having to keep this place shoveled out, but I have to keep digging out the new house with the snow blower almost on a daily basis for the last two weeks.  This is absurd!  We hired a mover, our friend, Chris, to come last Monday for an estimate.  We plan to do the move next Monday, weather permitting.  However, Chris said that our driveway was too narrow for the van, and we had to widen it.  I had our snow plow guy come back last week to make it wider.  He did what he could, but he said he couldn't go any further.  Since then, we've had another couple of feet of snow, so I don't know what we can do now.  We may have to hire a back hoe to clear enough room for the moving van.

Inundated deck
Oh, and that's not all.  I have to shovel out the back deck so they can get to the furniture out there to move it.  This picture was taken last week, so it's even worse now.  I have to clear a way to get all of this accessible by Monday.  Oh yes, and I have all my workshop equipment in the basement, so I have to clear a path from the bulkhead so they can get that stuff out and to the truck.  How am I going to to that?  Help!

But that's only one of the problems.  The oil delivery man came last week and said he couldn't get to the back of our house to fill the tank until I cleared a path.  So I shoveled a path through about 3 feet of snow to the back of our house so he could fill the tank to the apartment.  Since I also wanted him to fill the tank at the new house, I went over there and used the snow blower to clear a path to that fill pipe. Unfortunately, I didn't know where the bushes were located, so I ran over a bush and broke the belt in the snow blower.  It was still snowing, as usual, so I was at a bit of a loss.  I called my normal fix-it guy, and he said it would be a week or more before he could come get it to try to fix it.  Great!  Anyway, my next door neighbor, Jeff, had given me the name of a local guy, Bob, who he said was really good.  What a gift!  Bob came that day to pick up the snow blower, fixed it, and delivered back the next day.  Wow!  I was thrilled.  I was back in business.

Tough to shovel over these snowbanks
Now we have the third major storm underway in as many weeks.  Jeesh!  I shoveled here yesterday and again this morning.  As you can see from this picture, it's getting harder and harder to find a place to put the snow.  These banks are getting pretty high.  I'm getting too old for this shit!

Then I went to the new house and cleared all the paths with the snow blower.  Thank goodness for that snow blower!  Unfortunately, I found that the oil man had gotten there before I could clear his path.  Rats!  I called the company later and apologized for making him wade through all the new snow to get to the fill pipe. It's still snowing, by the way, so I have to repeat all this tomorrow again.  Oh yes, and on Thursday we are supposed to get another snow storm.  How great is that?  When will this all end?

I have to tell you that keeping two houses up and operating through this madness while we are in the midst of packing is a daunting task.  We better get moved by next week, because I'm leaving for Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina for my yearly golf vacation on February 21.  As much as I'm looking forward to getting out of Dodge right now, I don't want to leave Gretchen with lots of stuff to do while I'm gone.  So the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty intense.  Oh yes, and on March 12, we are leaving for a family vacation in Maui, Hawaii for 9 days.  That beautiful warm beach is looking pretty inviting right now.

Monday, January 26, 2015


It's Monday night, and we're hunkered down for the expected Blizzard of 2015.  As a survivor of the infamous Blizzard of '78, there's nothing in my mind that could compare to that classic.  That being said, I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the next 24-48 hours.  We have a backup generator, which has saved our asses in the past during the power outages that accompany most major storms here, but today I had trouble getting it started.  I got the ancient thing going twice for a short time before it just quit on me.  I tried again later with no success.  Now I have to cross my fingers and hope we don't lose power (unlikely), or I find a way to somehow rejuvenate this venerable piece of equipment back to life.  So tonight is an exciting time.  We have a fire going in the fireplace, which we will try to keep going through this storm.  We've stocked in food (and wine, of course) for the next couple of days, and if we still have power, I've planned a nice chicken dish for tomorrow.  If not, well, maybe some canned soup heated over our gas stove will suffice while we shiver in our coats.

We do have a last resort.  If we have no heat and our new house doesn't lose power, we could always go over there and sleep on the floor, since we have no furniture.  That doesn't sound real appealing.  That's way down on my list of options for now.  I think I'd almost rather find a homeless shelter with a bed.

I went back to the Farber last Wednesday for my monthly checkup.  Everything was still great, except I had come down with a cold, so they stopped my Revlimid for a week.  I got a prescription for a 5-day azythromycin antibiotic pack, which I started on Thursday.  I felt shitty for a couple of days, but fortunately, I have recovered and feel much better now.  The bad news is that I gave my cold to Gretchen, and now she is suffering.  If the weather permits, I will go back to the Farber on Wednesday and resume my normal schedule of Rev.

This has been a crazy time with the impending move.  We keep boxing up things to move and filling trash bags with things to throw out.  We also donated a ton of things to Big Brother Big Sister last week.  I almost think we are ahead of the game, but then I remember the 100 things I haven't dealt with yet.  Yikes!

The new house interior has been painted, and it looks awesome!  New rugs and furniture and granite counter tops are in the works.   My smartest move to date?  I rented the previous owner's snow blower for the winter.  Even though we hired our plow guy to do the driveway, we have 2 long walks from the driveway to the front and back of our new house.  I can't imagine having to shovel those, especially after the 3 feet of snow we are about to get.   Good move, Bill!  I'll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back.

In the meantime, we're just hunkering down and waiting this one out.  I'll let you know if we make it through.