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Sunday, November 30, 2014


I had my monthly visit to the Farber on Monday.  All my numbers still look good!  My iron results are still great after my Dextran infusion last month.  I have noticed a distinct increase in my energy level.  While I still sleep a lot (10+ hours a night), I haven't been tired during the day, so I haven't been napping much lately.  Here it is about 11:30 pm, and I am still pretty wide awake.  Yahoo!

We got our first snowfall of the winter this past week.  I wasn't quite ready for it.  I have a cord of wood sitting in the driveway waiting to be stacked in the garage, and there are still some plantings to be cut down for the winter.  At least I finally got most of the leaves blown away or scooped up with my mower before the snow hit.  I've been a little bit lazy about getting all this done.  Maybe it's because I know it's the last time I'll be doing this here.  Or maybe I'm just lazy.  Anyway, I hope to get these things out of the way over the next couple of days.

We had a nice, comfortable Thanksgiving.  Because our family is dispersed, only Jeff and Christine, along with her mother and sister were here.  I roasted a 16-pound turkey on the grill and Gretchen worked her usual magic with all the fixins.  Everything was delicious!  It has always been our favorite holiday, and it was special to celebrate it here for our last time in this house.

Yesterday, we had our special friends, Bobby and Cathy, along with their children and spouses and granddaughter, for our traditional Christmas Tree hunt.  We do this every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We went to a local tree farm and selected Christmas trees to cut down.  Afterwards, we come back here for gumbo and chicken enchiladas.  Delicious!  This year, Gretchen and I thought we might not have a tree at all, since we will be moving soon, but we then the decided to get a small tree.  We found a tree that looked a lot bigger than what I thought we were looking for, but Gretchen really liked it.  OK, so I decided to cut it down.  Jeesh!  The saws they gave us must have been really dull, because it took me about 10 minutes to cut that sucker down (pant, pant).  We struggled to haul that thing on a sled all the way to the front to pay for it.  When we got there, we realized that this tree was actually much larger than we had thought, so we pleaded with the owner to trade it in for a small tree at the entrance that was already cut.  Gretchen did the talking, so they agreed, and we now have a nice small tree.  All that work wasted!  But I'm really glad to have a small tree for a change.

On Wednesday, Gretchen and I are flying to Orlando, Florida for 5 nights.  This is a reprise visit from our last visit in the spring to look at buying a timeshare from the Marriott.  We still aren't planning to buy one (Hello!  We just bought a house), but we still have to sit through a 1-hour presentation while there.  Jason and his girlfriend, Jessica, spent this Thanksgiving with her parents, but they are both coming to Orlando with us this week.  That should be a lot of fun.  She has never been on a plane before (!!), so this should be a real treat for her.  I just checked the weather and it looks like it might be in the mid 70's for the week without much or any rain.  That would be awesome!  They (and I) like adventures, so we may go to Universal Studios, and then perhaps drive to Clearwater Beach for a day.  Who needs to pack for a move, right?

Speaking of moves, we are proceeding with getting a mortgage and are still planning to close on January 2, 2015.  The owners of our future home, Ed and Claire Flaherty, have decided to put their furniture in storage and rent a place on Salisbury Beach on the Ocean for 6 months.  They got that idea from us, as we were thinking of doing that before Nancy, the new owner of our house, offered us a very reasonable rent to stay here.  They plan to move out before Christmas!  Well guess what, we aren't ready to move yet.  We have no intentions of rushing around trying to pack everything before the Holidays, so we are just going to chill for a bit.  I mean really, let's not get our bowels in an uproar over this.  Everything will happen in due time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Annual Physical

Well, it's official.  The P&S has been signed for our new house.  We are looking to close on January 2, although we still don't know when we will be moving in.  Nancy, who bought our house, would be happy for us to stay here through the winter, as she won't be moving in before spring.  That gives us a lot of flexibility to allow the owners of our new house to stay for a while if they need time to find their new home.  I don't know when this game of musical chairs will end.

I haven't had an annual physical for a while, so I recently scheduled one.  After the obligatory proctology exam (bend over and smile), Dr. Guidi informed me that my prostate is somewhat enlarged.   Over the years, I have elected not to have my PSA tested during normal blood tests.  The last time I had a PSA test was at least 15 years ago, and my number was below 2.  There is a lot of controversy in the medical community about the necessity for the PSA test, as it often reveals false positive results, which may lead to over-treatment of either benign or slow-growing prostate tumors.  Besides, I had no family history of prostate cancers.  So I again told the doctor not to schedule the PSA test when I came in for my blood test the next week.

When I arrived for the blood test, I suddenly made a spur-of-the-moment decision to have my PSA tested.  I changed my mind on this based on the fact that the chemotherapy I underwent for my ASCT (melphalan) and long-term use of Revlimid both have resulted in increased incidents of secondary cancers in MM patients.  For example, I had surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from my face earlier this year.  I don't know that that was linked to my MM treatments, but I think I can no longer wait passively while sitting on potential time bombs like this.

A few day later, the nurse, Gail, called me with the results of the tests.  "They were mostly good", she said.  Hmmm.  So, exactly what does "mostly good" mean.  Well, she then told me that my PSA result was high.  How high?  "10.5", she said.  Gulp.  For someone my age, normal PSA results should be less than 6.5-7.5, so this is a bit out of the normal range.  She then proceeded to get me an appointment with a urologist at Lahey Clinic on December 15. 

At this point, I decided to seek Dr. Richardson's advice.  I emailed him about my results and my scheduled appointment.  I told him that if I do get diagnosed with prostate cancer, I want to be at the Farber, and who should I see?  He responded immediately and said to go ahead with my appointment next month and we can go from there once we know what's going on.  He then recommended a couple of specialists at the Farber if that becomes necessary. 

I have to admit that I'm mildly concerned, but I'm not stressed out about this.  Que sera, sera.  All I can do is wait and see.  In the meantime, The Patriots are about to play the Colts, so I have to go watch the game!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New House

It's been a busy week.  Monday I had my monthly checkup at the Farber.  Fortunately, everything is still good with the MM.  Knock on wood.  The most interesting results were my red blood cell counts after getting the iron dextran infusion the week before.  Wow!  My hematocrit ("crit" in nurse speak) jumped from 37.7 to 44.4 (normal range is 38.4-48.2).  Similarly, my hemoglobin went up from 12.6 to 14.6 (normal range is 13.2-16.7).  That sure took care of the anemia!  I feel like Popeye--"I eats me spinach".  Watch out, Bluto!

After my appointments, Gretchen and I drove up to our summer place at the farm in upper New York state to join Jeff and Christine for a couple of days.  We had a great time cooking on the grill, sitting by the fire pit, and navigating the ATV trails.  We celebrated Christine's birthday on Tuesday by driving up to Montreal.  We had a delightful visit to the Museum of Fine Arts and then capped off the day with a wonderful meal at a nearby French (what else?) restaurant called L'Autre Saison.  It was scrumptious.  Montreal is a great city, and it is only a 45 minute drive from the farm.  Sadly, the season is coming to an end, so we closed up the place for the winter.  Until next year.

The biggest news of the week is that we have finally found a house!  Our experiment of dropping off flyers at houses that looked interesting to us has paid off.  We liked this house, and the owners got back to us saying they hadn't really thought about selling.  However, a couple of weeks later, they changed their minds.  We looked at it and it is the first house we have seen that meets all the criteria that are important to us.  It has a lot of privacy on a quiet street in a good neighborhood, an available first floor master bedroom/bathroom suite, two wood-burning fireplaces, attached two-car garage, upgraded granite kitchen and bathrooms, etc.  It even has a "drive-out" garage door in the basement that could accommodate storing our boat for the winter.  How cool is that?

 Here are some more pictures of our future home.  The eat-in kitchen features beautiful cherry cabinets and a gas stove.  It also has a three-season screened in porch that overlooks the private wooded back yard.  We haven't signed all the paperwork yet, but we are planning to close on the new place by January 2, 2015.  Hopefully, they will find a new house by then.  Otherwise, we may have to try negotiating an extension of our rental agreement here and renting our new house back to them for a couple of months.  Kind of weird, huh?  We'll see.  This is a really exciting time!

To cap off a whirlwind week, Jeff and I are going to the Patriots-Broncos game tomorrow.  This is a huge rivalry between two of the best quarterbacks of all time.  It will be a "Clash of the Titans" between Peyton Manning (#18) and Tom Brady (#12).  Some have referred to this as the "War of 1812".  Win or lose, this will be a memorable game.  It is supposed to be cold and rainy, but that's what NFL football is all about--pay $50 to park and $150 for a ticket to suffer in the stands in miserable weather with a lousy view.  Who wouldn't want to do that?